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A message from Arnie about the war in Ukraine

March 19, 2022 — BarryK

Arnold Schwarzenegger has posted this nine-minute video on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/Schwarzenegger/status/1504426844199669762

Great video Arnie!    

Tags: ethos

The sad history of Ukraine

March 12, 2022 — BarryK

I posted recently about my step-mother's escape from Hungary in 1956:

https://bkhome.org/news/202203/a-sad-time-for-europe.html

A couple of days ago, I read a post by a Russian person in a forum, in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The post had some truths, some half-truths, and some complete untruths.

What is particularly sad is the truths in that person's forum post. As an example that the Western countries cannot claim to be on the "moral high ground", he referred to the great lie of "weapons of mass destruction" used as an excuse to invade Iraq. Yes, I have posted about that:

https://bkhome.org/news/202109/the-spectator-on-tony-blair.html

Going back further, another example of the "moral low ground", the carpet-bombing of North Vietnam and the spraying of Agent Orange:

https://www.bkhome.org/news/201904/young-couple-cycling-around-the-world.html

One thing that astounded me after the invasion of Iraq, was that George W. Bush got re-elected! That was a huge lesson to me.

So, Putin's "spin" to justify invading Ukraine, and manipulating the Russian media, nothing new here.

I won't post a link to that forum posted by the Russian person, as I don't want to target any individual.

In The West Australian newspaper today, Saturday 12 March, 2022, in the Letters to the Editor, page 145:

img1

I knew nothing about this "Holodomor". Is that true? I did some research, and ascertained that it is true, Stalin ordered the deliberate starvation of millions of Ukrainians. Here is one reference:

https://www.britannica.com/event/Holodomor

Crystal-ball gazing, trying to think of possible futures, none of it looks good. Is Moldova next on the invasion-list? Finland, if it chooses to join Nato?

What about Turkey, just about economically bankrupt, will it re-orient itself away from Nato, toward Russia? In return for very cheap or free oil. That will mean the end of Georgia, as it blocks land access between Russia and Turkey. Ha ha, this is wild speculation, take no notice of this paragraph!

I suppose the "best" outcome will be that the war in Ukraine just festers, no major escalation, and the attention of the world moves on. Not a good outcome, but unfortunately a likely one.    

I really should not indulge in political posts! Back off Barry, get back to EasyOS development!   

Tags: ethos

A sad time for Europe

March 02, 2022 — BarryK

We are daily seeing the brutal attack on Ukraine, on TV and the Internet and newspapers -- except you won't be seeing this, or rather you will be seeing a censored version of events, if you live in certain countries that control the media.

These events have reminded me of my step-mother's escape from Hungary, in 1956. She was a young single woman, age 23, and she and her sister had employment working in a clothing manufacturing factory in Budapest.

One day she was waiting in a queue to use a public telephone, when suddenly a fight erupted between Hungarian freedom fighters and Russian soldiers. A stray bullet hit my step-mother in the stomach.

She was taken to a hospital, and operated on. Russian soldiers came to the hospital, looking for anyone who had been admitted with gunshot wounds. They walked around the wards, and the Doctor told them she had just been operated on for appendicitis -- fortunately, the wound was just in that same place.

However, the soldiers looked at admittance documentation, and saw her name and admitted with a gunshot wound. The hospital authorities were able to warn her that the soldiers had looked at the records and had her name and home address.

She and her sister packed their few belongings and left. They walked for many days, in extreme cold, mostly hiding during the day. They crossed the border, I think it was Austria, but didn't realise they were over the border, and when they saw a soldier in the fog, who shouted at them, they thought that was the end -- but it was a US soldier.

They had a relative in Australia and were sponsored to come here, She arrived with nothing, just a suitcase with a pullover and toothbrush in it, and not understanding a word of English.

She is now 88. One of my sisters has recorded her adventure on a audio cassette tape.

Just an observation...

I know it is a very different situation, but I cannot help but notice the similarity of two authoritarian regimes in Europe and Asia when WW II started. Germany in Europe, Japan in Asia. Now we have Russia and China.   

Tags: ethos

Swollen lymph nodes after Covid booster

January 25, 2022 — BarryK

This is an interesting read:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2022-01-17/lymph-nodes-swollen-sore-covid-booster-immune-system-mrna/100754318

...the doctor quoted in the article alternates his arms for each shot. Very interesting.

There is a lot that happens in life that puzzles me. For example, the Australian authorities do not recognize "natural immunity" of someone who has already caught Covid-19. Instead, they are insisting everyone has to be vaccinated.

There was recently a very high-profile case, a tennis star was issued with a visa to enter Australia, but it was revoked when he arrived at an Australian airport, and he was deported. He had, apparently, cought Covid-19 twice before, but they did not recognise that and made a big fuss about him being unvaccinated.

There is a lot that happens, that the authorities are insisting on, that I don't think is justified, or is not entirely rational. Our State Government for example, insisting that everyone has to have the new SecureWA app on their phone.

Ha ha, better stop now.  

Tags: ethos

The ACT hits 100% vaccinated

November 19, 2021 — BarryK

The ACT (Australian Capital Territory) is technically not a State. It has a fairly small population and includes Canberra, the capital city of Australia. I posted recently about the very high rate of Covid-19 vaccination in the ACT, about 95% first dose, aged 16+:

https://bkhome.org/news/202110/95-percent-vaccinated-in-act.html

Now it has climbed to 97% double-dosed, ages 12+, and just on 100% single-dosed:

https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/updates/act-covid-19-statistics

Why so far ahead of other States? In fact, way ahead of other "wealthy" Western countries such as the UK and USA. The Canberra Times has offered a reason:

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7510009/the-act-has-gone-past-100-for-first-dose-rate-heres-how/

Quoting:

Firstly, the population is highly educated, and education and vaccination rates rise together. Educated people are more likely to accept the science and to accept vaccination.

Canberrans are also better paid and more likely to be in full-time employment than the average Australian, and that, too, is a good indicator of the likelihood of getting vaccinated.

Here in Western Australia, the vaccination rate is considerably lower, blamed mostly on our complacency, due to being covid-free. The entire State is covid-free, so we have complete freedom, just like pre-pandemic times.

The price we are paying for this is very tightly locked down borders, but this will ease in the future, and we are bound to lose our covid-free status.

In WA we do have a small number of very vocal anti-vaxxers. I have received a couple of anti-vax pamphlets in my letterbox. One of them was titled "They are coming for your children", with a couple of Internet URLs -- one link is to a Sky News video, the other to a right-wing pro-Trump site in the USA.

Yes, I understand the point of view that personal choice should be respected, and that we should not be forced to be vaccinated, nor have our travel and attendance at public venue rights curtailed.

However, those who choose not to be vaccinated should take on responsibility for their decision. That includes paying for their medical treatment, such as in ICU at a hospital. Unfortunately, this is not going to happen, not in Australia.

In Singapore, most of the covid patients in ICU are un-vaccinated. So far, the Singapore Government has been footing the bill; however, that is about to change:

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/covid-19-patients-who-choose-not-to-be-vaccinated-have-to-foot-own-medical-bills

There was a panel discussion on TV here in Australia discussing that decision by the Singapore Government, and a couple of politicians on the panel explained that this will never happen in Australia. They explained that the AU public health service has never discriminated on the basis of "poor life choices", and that will not change.

Yes, and what about "long covid" -- we have to foot the bill for that too.  

Tags: ethos

95 percent vaccinated in ACT

October 31, 2021 — BarryK

In the ACT (Australian Capital Territory), over 95% of those age 16 and over have had their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, 92% have had the second dose. 

In NSW (New South Wales), the most populous State in Australia, 93.5% have had the first dose and 87.5% have had two doses. Statistics from here:

https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccine-rollout-update-30-october-2021

I find these statistics to be very interesting, as the Grattan Institute predicted that 10% of the population are "entrenched ant-vaxxers":

https://bkhome.org/news/202107/proof-of-covid-19-immunity-required-in-france.html

The ACT I can understand, as that has the capital city, Canberra, and a lot of public servants. But NSW has a very diverse population, blue collar workers, many ethnic communities.

There has been an outbreak of Covid-19 in NSW and the ACT, which has scared many, but perhaps what has chipped away at the resolve of many anti-vaxxers have been reports of what it is like in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) of hospitals, and personal reports of the effect of long-covid. For example:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-05/coronavirus-longcovid-vaccinations-infectious-disease-pandemic/100514548

And then there are the ACT and NSW governments mandating proof of vaccination to attend some venues. And also mandating that workers in certain areas must be vaccinated. All of these will be contributing to that high vaccination percentage.

I am wary of statistics, as that old saying goes, "There are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics". I thought that quote originated from Mark Twain, but not so:

https://www.york.ac.uk/depts/maths/histstat/lies.htm

Oh, I like this one, from the above link, a lawyer advising a client:

"There are three sorts of liars, the common or garden liar, the damnable liar, and lastly the expert"

Note, I have had both doses of Pfizer vaccine. The first dose, had no side-effects, not even a sore arm. Second dose was 5 weeks after the first, 4 days ago, still no symptoms, except a very slight soreness at the site of injection. Very slight, hardly noticeable.

EDIT:

More articles about, and personal experiences of, long-covid:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-18/long-covid-presents-opportunity-to-support-chronic-illness-mecfs/100506530

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-15/what-does-long-covid-feel-like-australia-research-latest/100429496

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-10/long-covid-19-victim-urges-regional-qld-to-get-jab/100524252

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-30/covid-smell-taste-loss-epworth-rehab/100501236      

Tags: ethos

Grey saltbush Atriplex cinerea

October 18, 2021 — BarryK

There is a little bare patch in my garden, where thought would buy a ground cover plant, something drought tolerant. Bought "Atriplex cinerea" seedling from Bunnings, and Australian native coastal plant.

When I got it home, I looked closely, and it has little bumps all over the leaves and stems. I wondered whether that was an infestation, however, a bit of online research showed that's how it is. See this photo:

img1

Photo is from the wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atriplex_cinerea

My garden is sandy soil, not coastal, so it will be interesting to see how this plant fares.

It was very interesting to learn that Atriplex cinerea is edible. The wikipedia mentions it being used as feed for cattle, and I found this link:

https://www.bushecho.com/wild-edibles-grey-saltbush/

...edible for humans also. As the article states, it is easy to identify, with those little globules all over it, so probably easy not to confuse it with some other poisonous plant -- don't  quote me on that, just guessing.

Always interested in growing edible plants, so looking forward to this one thriving.

Ah, the ocean! I regularly drive to the ocean, where there are rugged limestone cliffs, and walk the pathways:

img2

...see that hunk of limestone standing alone, undercut by the waves. It is home to various sea birds.    

Tags: ethos