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Open mike 09/05/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 9th, 2021 - 69 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

69 comments on “Open mike 09/05/2021 ”

  1. Drowsy M. Kram 1

    Following on from joe90's comment yesterday about the estimated under-reporting of COVID-19 deaths by country, including an estimated 10-fold under-reporting in Japan.

    And the gold medal goes to … Covid-19: Should we hold the Olympics?

    And sadly, based on the evidence of the past annoying, frustrating and restrictive 14 months, it seems more likely than not a final showdown between the Olympic Games organisers and coronavirus, will end with the Gold Medal going to Covid 19.

    A poll taken with 100 days to go, showed 70 per cent of Japanese don't want the Games to go ahead.

    If they don’t, athletes will be gutted after giving their all, so will exhausted officials. And this Olympholic will be disappointed.

    But when the three values of Olympism are excellence, friendship and respect, leaving the Japanese people in peace would exemplify those qualities better than holding the Games amid medical mayhem.

    Given the headine of that opinion article, for a moment I thought it might include a suggestion that NZ should offer to host the Olympics…

    • Treetop 1.1

      Even though it will be a first not to have the Olympic Games due to a pandemic, the host country gets to decide as Covid is bigger than the IOC.

    • mauī 1.2

      Given that likely most athletes and athlete support staff are probably under 60 or 70 and generally very healthy people, with some having already been exposed to the virus in the last year and developed antibodies, the likelihood of hospitalization or death for the participants is incredibly low I think.

      • Sacha 1.2.1

        Athletes can have fragile immune systems due to overworking their bodies.

      • Andre 1.2.2

        Even those who are young, fit, and healthy really don't want to get covid. The risks of long term damage are very high. I've got a nephew that's got long covid who is young and was fit and healthy before getting covid, and now struggles with a lot of things.

        https://www.sciencealert.com/young-adults-who-got-covid-19-show-lasting-cardiovascular-damage-in-study

        • mauī 1.2.2.1

          Young athletes might only get one chance to go to the Olympics and it's the highlight of their careers. I think that is the overriding factor.

      • Sabine 1.2.3

        maybe ask him what he thinks about having covid as a young and healthy athlet.

        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/cricket-black-caps-batsman-tim-seifert-to-remain-in-india-after-testing-positive-for-covid-19/IIELVSZ72FPCDNJQUHPKXWDPGM/

        lack Caps batsman Tim Seifert has been forced to remain in India after testing positive to Covid-19 just hours before he was due to leave the virus-ravaged country.

        Seifert, who represented the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, failed both his pre-departure PCR tests and as a result has been taken into quarantine. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) issued a statement saying the keeper-batsman is experiencing moderate symptoms.

        NZC Players Association boss Heath Mills told Newstalk ZB that Seifert is currently in a very anxious state under what are understandably stressful circumstances.

        NZC chief executive David White said Seifert had returned seven negative tests in the 10 days leading up to his pre-departure protocols, and was confident he would be receiving the best of care from his franchise.

        • mauī 1.2.3.1

          Presumably the money on offer trumped any corona concerns prior to leaving for India.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 1.2.4

        …the likelihood of hospitalization or death for the participants is incredibly low I think.

        Looks like we (and by ‘we‘ I mean ‘they‘) will find out.

        Nothing can stop Tokyo Olympics from going ahead, IOC No. 2 says

        Sydney – International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates was adamant Saturday that nothing could stop the Tokyo Olympics from going ahead, despite ongoing risks from COVID-19.

        Asked if there was any scenario in which the games, which are due to start on July 23, could be cancelled or postponed again at this late stage, he replied: “No, there’s not.

        Most Japanese citizens think it's not the best time to hold this 'unnecessary' global sports competition. Maybe they're just being selfish, but I tend to agree with them.

        Japan presses ahead with its great Olympics gamble
        The political determination to go on with the games is at odds with public enthusiasm

        Beyond the ferocious difficulties of organisation, the decision to hold the games at this time makes a staggering demand on the patience, bravery and public-spiritedness of Tokyo and Japan. Without any clear commitment to fun — and the fact that this is all happening precisely because humanity thrives on the unnecessary — that demand may prove excessive.

        • Incognito 1.2.4.1

          I hazard a guess that many Japanese are not keen on a large influx of people from all over the World, literally, including Covid hot beds. Keep in mind that Japan has one of the highest-aged populations in the world, if not the highest. I couldn’t see NZ opening up its borders and rolling out the welcoming carpet but we’d expect Japan to do so!?

  2. Sabine 2

    Oh well, the dear Minister is 'dissapointed'. I guess that counts for 'strong' language and soon ACC will see that it is at fault and will help the dear Minister to be all happy again. Right? lol Tui.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/minister-whacks-acc-over-decision-to-pay-executives-bonuses-amidst-covid-19-austerity-moves/RXXJ75Z7TZAB2HUXORTHW7X77M/

    ACC paid its executives $1 million in bonuses during peak Covid-19 austerity even though it followed "pay restraint" advice for its general staff.

    And the corporation hasn't ruled out continuing to pay bonuses – which top $100,000 for some – even though the government has ordered a wage freeze on executive earners across the public service.

    ACC's attitude has copped it a blow from its minister Carmel Sepuloni, who has sent a clear message to the board overseeing the accident compensation provider that it needs to look again at the bonus scheme.

    good grief, when calling someone to have a' look again at hte bonus scheme' is considered a blow.

    I honestly can 't wait for Mrs. Sepuloni to finally leave government and get a job in the private unregulated market .Like her predecessor Mrs. Paula Benefit she surely would qualify to sell property to the highest bidder. Seriously, just leave and give the job to someone who is actually able to be more then just a quota women who does as she is told, in this case as in all the other cases nothing.

    Go home Mrs. Sepuloni. Just leave.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1

      The reason they have a Board of their own is that so the Minister can only 'signal' not direct the board, who likely has a CEO with operational control over things like bonuses.

      • Sabine 2.1.1

        Well she is politely signalling then, at best. . But then any reason to have ones mug in the news is a good one , and one needs to appear as to actually earn their wage. 🙂

    • Gabby 2.2

      Now THAT'S the way to get round a pesky pay freeze.

    • mac1 2.3

      Sabine, are you familiar with the song "Flowers of Scotland" where, after the battle of Bannockburn, the Scots sent the English king homeward "tae think again."

      There are degrees of asking someone to reconsider their actions and decisions………

      • Sabine 2.3.1

        well as far as i know the English king/queen never really left scotland. So i guess they should ask some more, and maybe the do again in the near future.

        • mac1 2.3.1.1

          You’re right, of course. Takes more than a fine tune and a good line to persuade the English monarchy to budge.

          That's the thing about the uninvited guest. They tend to return, unbidden.

          As for what Minister Sepuloni can do, reminds me of David Lange bemoaning his lack of power, being, in his words, not even able to sack a couple of painters outside his window who were smoking dope.

          • Sabine 2.3.1.1.1

            He, at least admitted that he is powerless. What i really dislike is this 'fly swatting' that amounts to nothing more then checking a box on a sheet of paper, to be returned for review. In the end it is meaningless, and they know it. So they may as well say nothing, stay invisible, collect their cheques. But this meaningless grandstanding is grating.

  3. Incognito 3

    Excellent!

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/125074548/cervical-and-breast-cancer-screening-programmes-to-get-major-upgrade-with-budget-2021

    “In Budget 21, we have invested up to $55.6 million in a major upgrade of the technology, and another $10 million is earmarked to match population growth and catch up on breast screens missed due to Covid-19 lockdowns.”

  4. greywarshark 4

    https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/why-are-we-moving-to-auckland
    Brian Easton on Stats NZ scenario that Auckland and hinterland will continue to grow in population but the other areas of NZ could remain relatively static.

    Easton thinks that the present possibility is of regions being drained of younger people, full of retired older people, and with insufficient income to provide the services that are needed by these, mostly, non-earners. (I am not placing any negative on that description, just a fact, and remembering that the retired are living longer, becoming more dependent, and costing more as they age under our present medical and cultural processes.)

    Easton refers to the limitations of the recently employed provincial growth boost. I think that we need now to look further at what can be done to enable regions to have a vitality with employment in a range of occupations. Development theory has dealt with this and I put two links below which seem to discuss this.

    I think that one problem with reversing even changing that drift to Auckland may be that if businesses in the regions develop and can operate from elsewhere, a bigger company may buy them out and shift the business to Auckland.

    It seems that there must be a firm reaction to that, with regions taking shares in businesses that support employment and prosperity in their area. They must be prepared to buy remaining shares if necessary to stop ownership and control passing from the region. That will slow or stop the drain of employment-rich businesses or specialist firms or entities from being taken over, bought out and being surgically removed from the home base and even from NZ. And of course this will increase the money flow in the regional economy, with benefits from the multiplier effect.

    Regions could be encouraged to embrace an appellation approach and be jealous of their good name for producing something, produce or knowledge, and look to attract more of the same if it is sustainable and healthy as a category, ie I am not keen on going nuts about smart technology such as rockets and other possible warlike or out-of-brain space ventures.

    There is theory on this in Development Studies. This is an introduction to a piece on Core-Periphery Model from SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-319-74336-3_320-1

    Core-periphery imbalances and regional disparities figure prominently on the agenda of several disciplines, which result from their enormous impact on economic and social development around the world. In sociology, international relations, and economics, this concept is crucial in explanations of economic exchange. There are few countries that play a dominant role in world trade (sometimes described as the “Global North”), while most countries have a secondary or even a tertiary position in world trade (the “Global South”). Moreover, when we are discussing global, continental, regional, and national economies, we can present regions and even smaller territorial units (such as subregions, provinces, districts, or counties) which have higher wages than some underdeveloped areas within the same larger area in focus.

    A second piece from SpringerLink on Development theory. https://innovation-entrepreneurship.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s13731-021-00146-8
    Exploring a leading and lagging regions dichotomy: does …

    by T Ejdemo · 2021 — These theories made analytical modeling of the growth path possible, … While this development has been important for furthering our … the different amenities that make certain regions attractive places to live in. … (2007) outline four sources of such benefits, or agglomeration … Privacy Preference Center …
    There has been a long debate about the role of industry structure in the literature on why some regions successfully achieve economic growth, while other regions stagnate or decline. This paper provides an empirical analysis in which we, based on a cluster analysis, develop a taxonomy for regional growth. In a second part of the study, we explore how specialization and entrepreneurship are meaningful to discriminate between the different types of regions.

    Our results suggest that regional entrepreneurship and industry diversity characterized by relatedness are key elements in understanding why some regions are leading while others lag behind. The suggested taxonomy is argued to contribute with a nuanced perspective that can enhance discussions about improvements of regional development policies and to further empirical analysis on the topic.

    • Incognito 4.1

      I’ve put the text that you copied & pasted in blockquote because it was normal font and indistinguishable from your own words, especially in long comments. Please pay more attention to proper formatting next time, thanks.

      • greywarshark 4.1.1

        Thanks Incognito. Thought I had – in a bit of a rush so missed some. I'm always pressing the wrong button lately.

    • Sacha 4.2

      Regions could be encouraged to embrace an appellation approach and be jealous of their good name for producing something, produce or knowledge

      That's a very Hawkes Bay policy concept you have there. 🙂

      • greywarshark 4.2.1

        Is it working for them? Can it be done elsewhere that you can think of? How hard is it to get off the ground?

    • RedLogix 4.3

      Interestingly here in Australia the opposite is happening right now – the regions are booming and experiencing real skill shortages.

      • greywarshark 4.3.1

        Why's that RL? Can you put your finger on the main reasons.?

        • RedLogix 4.3.1.1

          Several.

          One has been the lack of specific skilled immigration this past year. Previously the regions were relying on this to fill the gaps created by the usual drift of young people into the cities.

          Another is paradoxically that the CBD's have become less attractive during COVID and more people are working from remote locations than ever before. This means regional towns have more people around who aren't commuting, creating more local business for cafes, pubs and so on. A real shortage of chefs and hospo workers has resulted.

          Plus I think a lot of Australians have woken up to something I've mentioned before – that many of their regional towns (not all I admit) are really attractive places to live and work. Low costs and good wages make for strong business and household prosperity. Hell if you're a trusted and respected local tradie, or have a well established business in many of these towns it's likely you're doing very nicely thank you. I know it changed our life living in Ballarat for just five years.

          At least that's my sense of it for the moment.

    • Bearded Git 4.4

      Very Auckland-centric post Grey…..the Queenstown Lakes district population is going bananas…..too far south to count?

      • greywarshark 4.4.1

        That's the whole point BG – the Brian Easton was Aucklandcentic. The word though is that in the South Island Christchurch will boom, and Queenstown will be okay while there is snow? Or does it do well most of the time. It is dependent on international tourists by air though isn't it?

  5. Byd0nz 5

    The facist Israeli forces are at it again with continued abuse against Palastinians with only a little bit of lip service from the west, no sanctions of note. No they save that for Russia and China and, and, and etc.

    Like the Myanma regime, the Israelis do as they want with no meaningful opposition from the 5 eyes group or any other Western powers.

  6. Incognito 6

    Government bills undergo months (sometimes years) of development and are lovingly crafted by professional legal drafters.

    Loads of work goes on behind the curtain and sometimes the step-wise improvements feel like a dance of the seven veils, which doesn’t go down well with the restless mob of moaners.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/the-house/audio/2018794581/public-help-makes-good-bills-great-law

    Most MPs know drafting perfect law is a tough ask – and the first draft seldom catches all the complexities of real life. Almost no law can, but they try their best.

    Pull the other one, mate! How hard can it be? cheeky

    When a bill passes a first reading debate in Parliament the MPs are saying ‘we think the concept for this bill is worth exploring further’.

    That’s all well and good – but it’s often afterwards that MPs really earn their pay trying to make a concept, however well-intentioned, work practically and effectively in the real world.

    And the best people to help with that are often us – those from ‘the real world’.

    Because the real world is a complex place and nothing beats experience.

    This is why people should engage more in the political and democratic processes; voting once or not even and then moaning about it 24/7 for three full years doesn’t cut it.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      A very wise explanation. The older you get the less perfect you expect anything human to be – you begin to be grateful for anything that's just 'good enough', much less 'better than what came before'. devil

      The same with our Parliamentarians. None of them are perfect either, and it's not a job I'd have the balls to tackle. Democracy is about holding their decisions and actions to account – it’s not about tearing them down and denigrating them as persons.

      • Incognito 6.1.1

        yesyes

        • greywarshark 6.1.1.1

          That comment is one of the good insightful things that show up randomly on this blog Incognito. My repeat comment is that the 20th century ended with things in a mess so we have to do better in the 21st, ie now. And I don't think very many people take a real interest in understanding the issues and thinking of the whole population to be affected by policy.

          My social policy classes at Massey included a statement that often the delivery of policy does not match the politician's intention. How one can get anything done intelligently and fairly in these days is a big question.

  7. joe90 7

    ​We're still in the game.

    2:02pm NZT (2:02am UT) – Portugal, Lisbon

    2:08pm NZT (2:08am UT) – Italy, Sicily

    2:11pm NZT (2:11am UT) – Israel, Tel Aviv

    2:11pm NZT (2:11am UT) – Saudi Arabia, Riyadh

    2:14pm NZT (2:14am UT) – Australia, W.A Perth region

    2:52pm NZT (2:52am UT) – New Zealand, North Island, Wellington

    3:02pm NZT (3:02am UT) – Eastern Pacific (Forecast)

    3:17pm NZT (3:17am UT) – Mexico, near Mexico City

    3:22pm NZT (3:22am UT) – U.S.A, Florida near Orlando

    3:37pm NZT (3:37am UT) – Portugal near Lisbon

    3:39pm NZT (3:39am UT) – Morocco / Algeria border

    3:45pm NZT (3:45am UT) – Libya, desert

    3:47pm NZT (3:47am UT) – Sudan near Khartoum

    3:50pm NZT (3:50am UT) – Ethiopia, near Addis Ababa

    3:51pm NZT (3:51am UT) – Somalia, near Mogadishu

    4:17pm NZT (4:17am UT) – Australia, northern Tasmania

    4:20pm NZT (4:20am UT) – New Zealand, North Island, Northland.

    4:48pm NZT (4:48am UT) – Mexico, near La Paz

    4:52pm NZT (4:52am UT) – U.S.A, Texas, near Dallas

    4:55pm NZT (4:55am UT) – U.S.A, Tennessee, Nashville

    4:57pm NZT (4:57am UT) – U.S.A, Washington DC

    https://www.haurakigulfweather.com/space

    https://twitter.com/hashtag/LongMarch5B

    edit: https://orbit.ing-now.com/satellite/48275/2021-035B/CZ-5B/

  8. Rosemary McDonald 8

    Is anyone here tracking The Long March 5B rocket as it hurtles home?

    Suggestions for an accessible and easy to interpret website would be gratefully appreciated. One report had it landing up the road at Cape Maria van Diemen…would be all kinds of awesome to see this thing.

    • Rosemary McDonald 8.1

      Cross posted…

    • Pat 8.2

  9. Sabine 9

    that is just shameful

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300300660/women-are-being-forced-to-give-birth-in-handcuffs-with-prison-officers-in-the-room

    he OPCAT reports are not public. Stuff tried to obtain them from the Children’s Commissioner in January 2019 under the Official Information Act, a request that was declined.

    New Assistant Māori Commissioner for Children Glenis Philip-Barbara, who has been in the job six months, says she was “horrified” by the report’s contents.

    “I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be handcuffed while heavily pregnant or in labour and being robbed of those moments after having a baby, the most powerful moments of a woman’s life,” she said. “This is totally unacceptable, and we’ve told Corrections this.

    “Disturbingly, we found women who were afraid to speak out about this degrading treatment for fear of being punished or losing their babies.”

    Philip-Barbara says she advocates community-based mum and baby centres outside of prison walls and culture, as outlined in Corrections’ Hōkai Rangi strategy.

    Current practice was a long way off, she said. “I can’t find an alignment between handcuffing women after labour and birth and a visionary strategy for wellbeing.

    • greywarshark 9.1

      This is what I read of happening in the USA. I never thought we would adopt it here, but by hiring private firms to run our public institutions the practices that are used elsewhere are likely to be used. Meanwhile the government can say that is an operational matter, and lose all integrity on the way. How can we respect a government that runs our country in this careless way? Shameful on all of us, but good NZ people have been trying for ages to change things for the better.

      Unfortunately the whole of society is in the process of being downgraded by the Masters of the Universe. It says in an old Oxfam brochure that the 80 richest people have as much as the poorest 3.5 billion. By 2016 the richest 1% will own more than all the rest and tax dodging costs poor countries $160 billion every year.

      • Sabine 9.1.1

        Nope, this has nothing to do with private firms.

        These people are essentially wards of the state, irrespecitve of who the jailor is (private prison or state run), and the state has a duty to make sure these people – men and women – will get a decent and human treatment during their time locked up for what ever reason. After all the best out come for society is to not make these people any worse but rather help them to rehabilitate so that they become decent members of society.

        Shackling a women to a bed while giving birth is not decent and humane treatment. It is torture. Schackling women so they can't change their blood soaked pads, is torture and physically dangerous it can lead to sepsis, etc etc etc.

        But then the buck does not stop with government, right? Someone ese must be responsible, can't be government, and it certainly can't be a labour government. But it is.

        Our society is not being downgraded by the 'masters of the universe' its being downgraded by our governments that allow this shit to happen, and who wash their hands like Pontius Pilates by blaming the contractor who does the deed for them.

        To blame 'masters of the universe' as if we could not name these 'masters's is a cheap cop.

        Btw, this has been going on for a while now in NZ, under National and Labour. So fuck em both for that bit of 'acceptable ' torture. Cause that is what it is, torture.

        • mac1 9.1.1.1

          Sabine, I read this too, and was horrified. The practice is illegal and immoral. Unlike Minister Sepuloni, apparently, I hope Minister Kelvin Davis is able to bring some justice to these issues because it requires more than urging "to think again'.

          I was engaged In a conversation today with a racist right-winger who accused Davis of being a do nothing, I hope that both you and she are wrong in your perceptions- else we are indeed in trouble.

          I'm not accusing you of anything like I heard today, but I had three otherwise objectively decent people spouting the most vile and shameless racist bilge I've ever heard. I just hope they were trying to wind me up……. that's the kindest twist I can put on their talk.

          I know you have no such thinking, but I hope you are wrong about possible outcomes in this 'shackling of a woman in childbirth'. I want you to be wrong as I want these three racists to be wrong in their acceptance of even worse racial violence.

          For this behaviour to be acceptable, condonable and even thinkable is beyond decent human comprehension.

          • RedLogix 9.1.1.1.1

            I'm deeply unimpressed myself – this needs some real strong sunlight shone on it.

        • greywarshark 9.1.1.2

          Sabine I don't understand you. I was talking about what group of officials, employed and enabled by whom. actually did this. I was not debating the actual amorality of behaviour. Do you actually read things thoroughly before venting here.

        • Foreign Waka 9.1.1.3

          Hi Sabine

          Yes, indeed. It takes some very callous people to do this and given that the ministers in change don't even make any statement reveals more that one likes to know.

          This is such a disturbing report that I am really aghast. The very inclination of taking such action against a women who gives birth reminds me on those nazis who believed that there is such a thing as a "undermensch".

          • Sabine 9.1.1.3.1

            Women, have been 'untermenschen' for the longest time. Misogyny, racism, and classism allows for this type of torture.

            No kindness and gentlenessness for incarcerated pregnant, birthing, nursing women. And the little new born urchins can learn from their first breath, that if they don't toe the line they will be in here next.

            Labour – like National – , does not give a flying piece of fudge about the poor. hungry, homeless, or those in prison.

  10. Incognito 10

    An oldie but a goodie. The difference in accountability between the public and private sectors.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/ieditoriali-were-safer-if-jobs-are-on-the-line/TTOVRK6MC44V4XOVANZGYN26MA/

  11. RedLogix 11

    Here is a recent article from a very well respected science author Nicholas Wade on potential the origins of SARS-CoV2.

    Neither the natural emergence nor the lab escape hypothesis can yet be ruled out. There is still no direct evidence for either. So no definitive conclusion can be reached.

    That said, the available evidence leans more strongly in one direction than the other. Readers will form their own opinion. But it seems to me that proponents of lab escape can explain all the available facts about SARS2 considerably more easily than can those who favor natural emergence.

    It’s documented that researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were doing gain-of-function experiments designed to make coronaviruses infect human cells and humanized mice. This is exactly the kind of experiment from which a SARS2-like virus could have emerged. The researchers were not vaccinated against the viruses under study, and they were working in the minimal safety conditions of a BSL2 laboratory. So escape of a virus would not be at all surprising. In all of China, the pandemic broke out on the doorstep of the Wuhan institute. The virus was already well adapted to humans, as expected for a virus grown in humanized mice. It possessed an unusual enhancement, a furin cleavage site, which is not possessed by any other known SARS-related beta-coronavirus, and this site included a double arginine codon also unknown among beta-coronaviruses. What more evidence could you want, aside from the presently unobtainable lab records documenting SARS2’s creation?

    And before anyone responds to this, I strongly suggest you to read the entire article and address the argument. There is a lot more detail, and good links than just the above quote. I've spent sometime reading this and it's references. Wade is a very experienced writer and would not be putting his name to this lightly.

    The somewhat shocking bit of new information in this article I was not aware of previously is that these potentially dangerous experiments were being done at a very modest BSL-2 level of protection. Until now I had assumed they were using BSL-4, which did count firmly against the lab-leak hypothesis; but it turns out this was never the case.

    • Rosemary McDonald 11.1

      …proponents of lab escape can explain all the available facts about SARS2 considerably more easily than can those who favor natural emergence.

      Some of the very earliest analyses of the virus genome when the Chinese Government released the information to the world early last year was that it was clearly made in a laboratory. This narrative was very quickly replaced by the fantastical 'wet market' theory, and up until very recently any brave soul who has dared to venture back to that original evaluation has been immediately slapped down and accused of being a tin-foil-hat-wearing-nutbar-conspiracy theorist.

      As for the less than optimal laboratory security…https://www.the-scientist.com/the-nutshell/moratorium-on-gain-of-function-research-36564… there was a very good reason why the US government banned (in the US, anyhoo) the type of research that cold have led to the development of our Corona…

      Hoping that one day our own Nicky Hager will write the book…

    • Forget now 11.2

      Wade is more; formally, than currently; a very well respected writer about science. He has no research background, and only a BA to back his notions up. Since 2014 he has mainly been notorious for misrepresenting others research to their great irritation.

      Wade juxtaposes an incomplete and inaccurate account of our research on human genetic differences with speculation that recent natural selection has led to worldwide differences in I.Q. test results, political institutions and economic development. We reject Wade’s implication that our findings substantiate his guesswork. They do not.

      We are in full agreement that there is no support from the field of population genetics for Wade’s conjectures…

      This letter was submitted on behalf of more than 100 faculty members in population genetics and evolutionary biology (listed below).

      https://cehg.stanford.edu/letter-from-population-geneticists

      So you'll have to forgive me not exposing myself to his nonsense. Because; so what?

      Even if we concede the point; for the sake of argument, that SARS-CoV-2 was definitely genetically engineered and released by the Chinese government for some nefarious purpose (which seems unlikely – especially since their vaccines are so bad). Where does that get us in dealing with the pandemic?

      But; yes, I am in full agreement that there is risky research being done with bioweapons RL. By many nations, including China (though if I was expecting them to release biological agents anywhere, it'd be; Xinjiang, rather than Wuhan). Do you think they'll stop if we ask nicely?

      Or is this just more pre-preparation for a war between China and the "Anglosphere" (that word is my new pet hate).

      • RedLogix 11.2.1

        In this response:

        • You attack the messenger by minimising his credentials and ignoring his decades of experience.
        • You attack his credibility by raising a totally different issue
        • You fail completely to address any of the questions raised
        • You fail completely to propose any alternative argument to support your position
        • You openly admit you didn't read either the article or any of it's references.
        • And finally you attempt a distraction by raising the question of an intentional release of the virus of which neither Wade nor I made any mention of whatsoever.

        Six serious strikes. I contemplated banning you, but consider this a final warning.

    • Gabby 11.3

      What has Wade to say about yanker involvement in this germ lab?

      • Incognito 11.3.1

        Just a few things, e.g. a whole section has been dedicated to this:

        4. The US Role in Funding the Wuhan Institute of Virology

        Why don’t you read the linked article before you ask questions that can be answered simply by reading the linked article?

    • Drowsy M. Kram 11.4

      Neither the natural emergence nor the lab escape hypothesis can yet be ruled out. There is still no direct evidence for either. So no definitive conclusion can be reached.

      And we may never know, leaving each 'side' to champion mutually exclusive hypotheses. But if both hypotheses are plausible, then it's common sense to consider how best to prevent a reoccurence via either hypothetical mechanism of origin.

      And it's common sense for qualified scientists to continue to try to pin down the (most likely) origin of this pandemic, although some may be a bit distracted right now.

      Researchers analyze the host origins of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses

      Here's a link to the source paper:

      Fundamental evolution of all Orthocoronavirinae including three deadly lineages descendent from Chiroptera‐hosted coronaviruses: SARS‐CoV, MERS‐CoV and SARS‐CoV‐2

      Since the publication of Wassenaar and Zou (2020) and Greger (2020), the Chinese government has banned the eating and trading of wildlife due to the coronavirus crisis. Differently from previous efforts to regulate the management of wildlife in China, the current ban is expected to have permanent effects as it becomes law in the next few months. Nevertheless, the proposed legislation has loopholes for trade in wild animals for medicinal uses (Wildlife Conservation Society, 2020). Moreover, there are many ways besides traditional Chinese medicine that humans would come in contact with bats hosting coronaviruses or other potential human pathogens.

      Bat‐hosted viruses of many taxa infect wild animals, domestic animals and humans (Plowright et al., 2015). A few examples include filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg virus), henipaviruses (Hendra and Nipah virus) and coronaviruses (SARS‐CoV), all of which cause severe disease in recipient hosts and have the potential to become pandemic (Chua et al., 2000; Leroy et al., 2005; Janies et al., 2008).

      Therefore, if the divergence between CoV RaTG13 and SARS‐CoV‐2 is perceived as too high to place the former as the immediate ancestor of the latter, this does not mean that the immediate ancestor of SARS‐CoV‐2 has to be a virus hosted by an animal other than a bat.

      It is reasonable to assume that we have not yet identified the CoVs that are more similar to SARS‐CoV‐2 owing to sampling bias. This realizeation leads to increased demand for screening wildlife for viruses immediately associated with transmission events leading to human infections. This realization also strengthens increasing claims for more rigorous wildlife disease surveillance as a strategy to abate future zoonotic disease outbreaks (Watsa and Wildlife Disease Surveillance Focus Group, 2020). However, given that bat‐hosted viruses are frequently associated with emerging zoonoses (Plowright et al., 2015) and that SARS‐CoV‐2 is phylogenetically closer to bat‐hosted CoVs than to CoVs hosted by any other animal, we can place bats as priority targets in efforts to increase our knowledge about the world's virome in general and the emergence of SARS‐CoV‐2 in particular.

      • RedLogix 11.4.1

        The natural emergence hypothesis should be pretty easy to confirm; after all we found the intermediate hosts for both the original SARS and MERS virus's. Considering the immense interest in doing so, the complete failure to find or confirm such a host for SARS-CoV2 after more than a year has passed is very striking indeed.

        More striking is Wade's claim that SARS-Cov2 is rather feeble at infecting bats, despite it's already documented ability to leap to other species like minks with relative ease. This just adds more layers of mystery and stacks against natural emergence from bats ever further.

        My conclusion, informed not just by Wade, but by numerous sources personal and scientific, is that SARS-CoV2 is exactly the kind of virus that we would expect to emerge from the Gain of Function experiments we know were being conducted at WIV. And what are we to make of data like this:

        Steven Quay, a physician-researcher, has applied statistical and bioinformatic tools to ingenious explorations of the virus’s origin, showing for instance how the hospitals receiving the early patients are clustered along the Wuhan №2 subway line which connects the Institute of Virology at one end with the international airport at the other, the perfect conveyor belt for distributing the virus from lab to globe.

        The moment this outbreak first became public in January 2020, an independent investigation team should have been immediately flown to Wuhan for a forensic, pockets out, in depth turning over of the books. Instead the CCP authorities have obstructed any useful investigation. Even the WHO trip early this year is widely understood to have fallen short of definitive or credible even.

        Moreover a large segment of professional virologists worldwide are clearly implicated in a massive conflict of interest here; this event has the obvious potential to be a catastrophe for their profession. (Incidentally Vernor Vinge in his original Peace War trilogy written in the 80's clearly anticipated an event like this, as a result biologists were a deeply hated and outlawed group, with just a handful left driven into hiding.)

        Moreover the while the US authorities were highly concerned about GoF research risks, and went to the extent of 'pausing' all such research. But the legislation had a loophole which allowed two individuals to bypass it:

        This seems to mean that either the director of the NIAID, Dr. Anthony Fauci, or the director of the NIH, Dr. Francis Collins, or maybe both, would have invoked the footnote in order to keep the money flowing to Dr. Shi’s gain-of-function research.

        It seems to me there's an international cast of individuals here who must know far more about what actually happened than we're being told. From the esteemed Fauci himself, through Daszak's blatant conflict of interest that he formally perjured himself about in Lancet, to Baric's professional links to Shi, through to the utterly opaque, obtuse responses from the CCP authorities, it's clear we're not getting straight answers.

        And sometimes it’s the little slips that stick in my mind – right back in early January 2020 Xi XInping himself used the odd phrase “this demon virus”. And at the time I said to myself – what does he know?

        • Drowsy M. Kram 11.4.1.1

          …it's clear we're not getting straight answers.

          Many people clearly believe that, and a subset of those people are attracted to ideas about various possible COVID-19 cover-ups and conspiracies involving the evil CCP, the conflicted Daszak, Baric and their ilk, the esteemed Drs Fauci and/or Collins, "a large segment of professional virologists worldwide", all of the above, and/or something/someone else altogether.

          The natural emergence hypothesis should be pretty easy to confirm; after all we found the intermediate hosts for both the original SARS and MERS virus's.

          How long did it take expert scientists to identify those intermediate hosts? In the case of SARS the 2021 paper that I linked to makes it clear that there was no intermediate host involved in the primary infection of humans – SARS was transmitted directly from bats to humans.

          Less than 18 months into this pandemic we are faced with numerous conspiracy theories and misinformation. Rather than accepting or rejecting either of the two theories mentioned in Wade's analysis, I believe it's prudent to wait for further investigations led by expert scientists – perhaps (in the fullness of time) something along the lines of the Rogers Commission set up to inverstigate the cause of the space shuttle Challenger disaster.

          The alternative is to declare the case closed, one way or the other. It's crystal clear that Wade isn't prepared to do that. I applaud his integrity in that regard, and fully support his statement:

          Neither the natural emergence nor the lab escape hypothesis can yet be ruled out. There is still no direct evidence for either. So no definitive conclusion can be reached.

          I hope we can all agree on that. My personal preference is to wait until more (direct) evidence is available before 'passing judgement'. Maybe it serves some purpose not to wait, but that might have me veering into conspiracy theory territory, so I'll leave it there.

  12. Stuart Munro 12

    SIS to share data with selected private sector companies | RNZ News

    An odious step – essentially fascism – a secret collaboration between corporates and an unaccountable part of the state. That's not what we have an SIS for. Resignations in order.

  13. greywarshark 13

    NZ Feminism background by Sue Kedgley. Details that a lot of people would not know, or may have forgotten.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/2018794740/sue-kedgley-50-years-at-the-feminist-coalface

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