Waiting To Happen: Opening this will definitely be a surprise

“Go along with it?”  The NRA is Negligent, Rapacious, and Arrogant.  Again.

If a gun nut’s spouse hates guns, this will end in an argument and ruin the party.

If the kids don’t see it, they’ll spend days trying to look without permission.

If the kids do see it, they’ll spend every day trying to get their hands on it.

If the kids do get their hands on it, somebody is going to get injured or killed.

Shonen Knife Cuts: Another of their songs

Just so I don’t get called a curmudgeon, here’s a xmas song.  And since it’s clear I’m a long-time Shonen Knife fan, it’s “Space Christmas” from 1991:

Regarding December 25th, it’s Constitution Day in Taiwan, adopted into law in 1946.

Here are two posts from last year:

Today, I Work: Real things to celebrate on December 25th

99.99% Sucks: I hate xmas ‘music’

I went to work on Friday and enjoyed the day.  But I am looking forward to having New Year’s Day off.

 

Worse Than Originally Thought: As if the story of the New Zealand pilot weren’t bad enough

Taiwan’s CDC, CECC and EVA Air have completed their investigation of the New Zealand pilot’s actions and movements.  They have given the all clear.  Based on their handling of COVID-19 thus far, public response has been positive and trusting.

(I won’t be using the term “plague rat” again because it could be interpreted as racism.  I wrote the first post under the assumption that the NZ pilot was white.  I have since learnt he is of Iranian descent.)

EVA Air announced today, two days after the story broke, that they have fired the pilot.  I suspect that had more to do with doing a thorough investigation and covering themselves legally.  I doubt they were dragging their heels or trying to keep him.  EVA Air has also been fined NT$1million (US$34,746) for failing to ensure employees followed all safety protocols.  They should sue the pilot and get the money back.

EVA Air fires pilot for contravening COVID-19 rules

EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) yesterday dismissed a New Zealand pilot — national COVID-19 infection case No. 765 — as he failed to comply with the airline’s anti-virus measures and did not fully report his contact and activity history, it said in a statement.

EVA Air said that yesterday, its discipline committee teleconferenced with the man, who is in his 60s and hospitalized for treatment.

On Friday last week, the airline asked the pilot whether he had complied with its anti-virus measures, such as wearing a mask during a Dec. 12 flight to the US, after a Taiwanese in her 30s, a copilot on the flight, said that she had contracted COVID-19 and that the pilot had not worn a mask.

[. . .]

The New Zealander had visited Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store’s Tianmu (天母) branch in Taipei between 11:30am and 12:30am on Dec. 8, Far Eastern SOGO Department Store’s Tianmu branch between 6:30pm and 7:30pm on Dec. 10, and Costco Wholesale Store’s Nankan (南崁) branch in Taoyuan between 11am and 12am on Dec. 11, the center said.

As the New Zealander failed to honestly report his contact and activity history, including not even mentioning having close contact with case No. 771, which is a breach of the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), he could be fined NT$60,000 to NT$300,000, the center said.

The pilot now claims he is a “scapegoat”, but his own actions speak volumes – refusing to tell where he went, who he was with.  He will be lucky if he is only subjected to a ten year exclusion order and not a criminal conviction.  He went to four department and warehouse stores. A Costco customer has been hospitalized with symptoms (including lost of smell).  He went to restaurants in the city.  He went to Xiangshan, one of the more popular tourist sites (easy access with an elevated view of the city).

He rode the MRT (subway) during rush hour putting everyone at risk.  He knew he had it and did this.

The CECC have fully tracked his movements, traced and tested all people he came into contact with.  As mentioned before, the government has said it’s safe to attend New Year’s eve parties, though they have cancelled a tourist event on the east coast, watching the first sunrise of the new year and set stronger mask wearing requirements for public places. I’ll probably stay home.

He’s not going to receive a warm welcome when he gets home.  New Zealanders have expressed their displeasure with him on social media, and I doubt the NZ government is going to let him off lightly.  I hope his license to fly is revoked permanently.

Don’t Starve: If you thought 2020 was bad….

One of the stories I’ve been tracking this year is food and the potential of shortages.  As COVID-19 spread and international travel and trade slowed, one of the things moving less was people: farm labourers.  This isn’t just a potential problem for the US because of Cheetolini’s racist policies, this affects farming on many continents.  Australia is currently seeing a shortage of fresh produce, and it’s likely to hit every continent.  Even without China’s flooding and crop loss, this is a coming worldwide problem.

I pessimistically thought food shortages would happen in the fall.  But based on what business pages and international aid agencies are saying, 2021 could see worldwide famines.  Including the US.

UN warns that 2021 could be catastrophic due to COVID-19 fallout and famine

Misery loves company. In the case of COVID-19, that company includes unemployment, economic turmoil – and famine. And they’re about to come knocking.

“2021 is literally going to be catastrophic based on what we’re seeing at this stage of the game,” said World Food Programme (WFP) chief David Beasley at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday.

Global famine is “knocking on the door”, he warns.

And if you think Australia won’t be affected by all this, think again.

The warning signs are already there.

Notice how scarce out-of-season foods have become on supermarket shelves? Many vegetables and fruits must come from overseas. International trade has been disrupted and Australia’s ability to exploit cheap international labour has also been choked. This leaves many of our crops at risk of rotting in the fields.

The situation, however, is much more dire in Africa and South America. And that could trigger a global shortages and economic shockwaves.

Beasley says 2021 would likely be “the worst humanitarian crisis year since the beginning of the United Nations … As I say, the icebergs in front of the Titanic.”

More below the fold.  The items below are only a fraction of the news stories.

[Read more…]

Now They Know: And they don’t like it

This is strictly an opinion piece, no references to back it up.  Take it as you will.

 


 

A month ago, millions in the US ignored the warnings of medical professionals and scientists and criss-crossed the country, gleefully spreading COVID-19.  Now at the solstice, millions more are doing the same because “this might be grandma’s last xmas!”  Yes, it will, if you infect her.  A lot of this superspreading can be attributed to ignorance and blind belief in Cheetolini’s dictums.  But I think there’s another reason they’re doing it.

When I was a kid back in the 1970s, we had only three TV channels, and one of them was CBC in French, which I only watched for La Soirée Du Hockey or English language movies with French subtitles.  There were no home computers, we didn’t have a second generation home console (i.e. no Atari VCS), and worse yet, we lived 20km out in the country.  Many times in December, just before school closed for the winter break, I would go to the school library and borrow as many books as I could. Every December was the same: I was trapped at home with for two to three weeks.  Nowhere to go, nothing to do except read books, do winter homework or play boardgames with unwilling siblings.

In my mid-teens we moved to a larger (but not that large) town where pretty much everything shut down from the 20th until after New Year’s.  That’s also whe we got our first computer, but it wasn’t much better because there was no privacy to play or program what I wanted.  After finishing high school and working my first fast food job, I was actually glad to be working right up until the 24th when the place closed for two days, taking shifts others didn’t want.  I would be back on the 27th, using the excuse, “Nobody else is able to go in,” to get away from my “family”.  Even though there were more TV channels, there still wasn’t anything on, all playing “holiday” themed crap, including the sports.  (The breeding pair were monarchists, so I was forced to sit through the thirty minute “royal address” every year.)

I moved out and started college in my mid-20s (yes, that late), working as a security guard on evenings and weekends.  Coming from an abusive home, I was still guilted into returning for “family xmas”.  But working security gave me the excuse to volunteer for shifts on statutory holidays (December 25th and 26th, January 1st).  I got out of the house, and I was paid double time.  But even when I was away from the friction, living in that town still sucked: again, most everything was still closed from December 20th to January 2nd or 3rd.  Improved computers made it more tolerable in one way: internet access via the college’s VAX.  (Even in 1990 before web browsers, it was fun – Telnet, Newsgroups, MUDs, etc.)

Call it cabin fever, call it the stir, call it what you will.  The two weeks at the end of December were always the worst weeks of the year because they were two weeks of isolation.

I only dealt with a fortnight of it once per year.   For millions, 2020 meant and entire year of that.  No work, no socializing, no entertainment other than what you have in the house.  Millions of people may have been mentally and emotionally damaged over the past twelve months of lockdowns.  I suspect the anti-maskers aren’t as much against masks or loss of income as they are freaking out because they can’t do anything.  Maybe it’s why many willingly bought into “COVID doesn’t exist” and “freedumb”, because the social and physical isolation was getting to them.

After moving abroad in 2001 to countries where “christmas” is a non-event or only commercial, it was a relief.  Lunar New Year also results in a long shutdown (6-10 days where nothing is open) but until 2020 I had the ability to travel to the Philippines or other places where the New Year is a non-event or a minor one.

But living abroad still comes with isolation: you’re living in a foreign country and not speaking the language.  Over nineteen years, I have lost count of foreigners doing “midnight runs”: packing a bag the night after getting paid and running for the airport.  This is why I tell people who plan to teach ESL, “Don’t come here if you can’t go three days without having a conversation.”  I see a lot of the same behaviours and reactions in midnight runners and those rebelling against lockdowns.   For those in the US, Canada and elsewhere, getting out of the mentally damaging situation didn’t require packing up and flying home.  They could just go out the door and pretend everything was fine.

We are already seeing mental health issues in kids, and increases of Intimate Partner Violence in relationships.  Just wait until things “go back to normal”.  Mental health could end up being as big a  pandemic as COVID-19.

 


 

Having said this, I do find it a delicious irony that the religious are now enduring the same boredom and social control that non-believers have to put up with on such “holidays”.   I love the fact that those who have long said, “participate or shut up” are now being forced to participate and have no way to opt out.

Now they know.  And they don’t like it.

Point Proven: And it only took two days

This item appeared in the Psy Post on December 20, 2020:

New study links psychopathic tendencies to racial prejudice and right-wing authoritarianism

Pathological personality traits are associated with prejudicial views, according to new research published in Personality and Individual Differences. The findings indicate that people with calloused, deceitful, and manipulative interpersonal styles are more likely to endorse right-wing authoritarianism and express hostile attitudes towards marginalized groups

[. . .]

The researchers found that heightened interpersonal and affective psychopathic traits were positively associated with social dominance orientation and right-wing authoritarianism, which in turn were linked to increased anti-immigrant attitudes towards Middle-Eastern refugees and distrust of minorities.

“The findings of the study suggest that psychopathic traits, particularly the calloused and deceptive traits, are robustly associated with the tendency to prefer a society that keeps marginalized groups low in status and power and are also predictive of the propensity to use aggression towards violators of traditional social norms, both of which are salient predictors of a variety of prejudicial attitudes,” [Sandeep Roy, a clinical psychology doctoral candidate at the University of North Texas] explained to PsyPost.

This item appeared in The Insider on December 22, 2020:

A white supremacist who has advocated for legalizing child porn was arrested and charged with kidnapping a 12-year-old girl he met online

A self-proclaimed white supremacist who has advocated for the legalization of child porn and created online chat rooms for pedophiles was arrested and charged with kidnapping a 12-year-old girl.

Authorities said Nathan Larson abducted the girl after meeting her on social media in the fall, according to a Saturday press release from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Fresno police said Larson was arrested at the Denver International Airport during a layover with the girl, who was reported missing on December 14 and has since been reunited with her family. Larson, who is 40, was flying with the girl from Fresno to his home in Virginia, according to police.

I think we can safely say, point proven.

A Selfish Idiot Got In

People in Taiwan are pissed, and rightfully so.  A selfish idiot from New Zealand got loose in the country, violating quarantine and spreading COVID-19.  Likely, intentionally.  I want to know whether he has posted any “corona is a myth” garbage on social media.

The text is changed not because of the griping in the comments, but because a detail about the pilot came to light.

On Sunday, the government announced that a NZ cargo pilot (hereafter referred to as Plague Rat) violated quarantine on December 8, travelling around Taiwan, shopping in Costco and elsewhere, visiting tourist sites.  The scumbag claimed he “didn’t keep track of where he went” but failed to tell the CDC and CECC that he was accompanied by two other pilots, one Taiwanese and one Japanese.  His movements had to be tracked by surveillance camera and other means, and track down everyone he was potentially in contact with.

A woman has since tested positive, the first local transmission since April 12.  Potentially others may carry it as well.

Two colleagues of Taiwanese pilot among three new COVID-19 cases

Two colleagues of a Taiwanese pilot who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and an Indonesian man were the three new COVID-19 cases reported in Taiwan on Sunday, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The new cases brought the total number in the country to 766, CECC spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said at a press conference.

The two colleagues of the Taiwanese pilot are a man from New Zealand in his 60s and a Japanese man in his 20s, both of whom are also pilots, Chuang said.

The three operated a cargo flight to the United States on Dec. 12, and returned to Taiwan on Dec. 16. That same day, the Taiwanese began to have a cough, runny nose, and a fever, and she was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 on Friday.

The New Zealander and Japanese were thus tested for COVID-19 on Friday, and their results came back positive on Sunday, Chuang said.

According to Chuang, the New Zealander flew to Manila on a same-day return flight on Nov. 28, then flew to the U.S. on Nov. 29 and returned to Taiwan on Dec. 4.

[. . .]

The CECC is still tracking down possible contacts related to the airplane cluster, as the New Zealand man was active outside of his residence in northern Taiwan from Dec. 8 to 11 after completing his quarantine requirement. The man told CECC personnel that he did not keep track of where he went, so the CECC is still trying to determine the places he visited during that time, Chuang said.

The government has since levied a fine of NT$300,000, the heaviest yet related to COVID-19.  But I say that is still insufficient.

If a passenger’s behaviour forces a plane to land, they are often required to reimburse the airline, along with other fines and legal consequences.  The same should be done here, since his actions have forced multiple stores to close temporarily or indefinitely while their staff are checked and the buildings are disinfected, and the cost for the government to track and test.

Pilot fined NT$300,000 for impeding epidemic control probe

An EVA Airways pilot from New Zealand, who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19, was fined NT$300,000 (US$10,649) Tuesday for failing to provide comprehensive information during the contact tracing process by Taiwan authorities.

The Department of Public Health in Taoyuan, the city where the pilot lives, said he had violated the Communicable Disease Control Act, after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 20.

When the pilot was asked to list the places he had visited and the people with whom he had come into contact since his most recent entry into Taiwan on Dec. 4, he “failed to provide detailed and accurate information,” the department said in a statement.

Instead, he said he could not remember his movements after his three-day home quarantine period, which is the standard time for flight crews in Taiwan, and he did not mention that he had been in close contact with a Taiwanese woman Dec. 7-12, the department said.

Because of his selfishness and stupidity, Taiwan has now had its first local transmission in 254 days.  Time will tell if others were also infected.  Thankfully, Taiwanese people and foreign residents have, with a few exceptions, been responsible and responsive to the government’s rules, instructions and notices.  There have been a few vocal anti-vaxxer and anti-mask pinheads, but they have not travelled.  With only special exemptions like pilots, diplomatic or other types, leaving Taiwan is probably a one way trip.  Residents who leave may not be able to return.

Taiwan announces 1st local coronavirus case in 254 days

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Tuesday (Dec. 22) announced its first local case of the Wuhan coronavirus, breaking one of the longest streaks in the world without a domestic case at 254 days.

During a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, health minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced Taiwan’s first confirmed local case of COVID-19 since April 12. Chen said the local infection, Case No. 771, is a woman in her 30s who came in close contact with Case No. 765, the New Zealander pilot who had been associated with a cluster infection among pilots.

[. . .]

The health department arranged for her to undergo a test for the coronavirus that day, and she tested positive on Dec. 22.

Thus far, the government hasn’t placed any new restrictions on cargo pilots entering or returning, but they should.  The crew of cargo ships coming into Taiwan’s ports are not allowed to leave their vessels.  They have to remain on board while loading and unloading.  The same should be done with foreign pilots, restricting them to a fixed location at the Taoyuan International Airport and not allowed into Taiwan.

I hope the scumbag is given a ten year exclusion, not allowed to enter until 2030.  On top of being fired from EVA Airlines (a Taiwanese carrier).

Infectious New Zealand pilot shopped in stores in Taipei, Taoyuan

Infected New Zealand pilot shopped at Sogo in Taipei and Costco Taoyuan

After news broke of Taiwan’s first domestic case of Wuhan coronavirus in eight months on Tuesday (Dec. 22), the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) listed the locales where a New Zeland cargo pilot had traveled when officials believe he was infectious.

[. . .]

During questioning with the CECC, the New Zealander claimed that he could not recall where he had gone and “did not have the habit of recording where he had traveled and when.” In order to clarify contacts of the New Zealander between Dec. 8 and 12, a detailed investigation of the man’s activity history was carried out by the health and police departments, and the inquest revealed that he had traveled to multiple public locations during the aforementioned period.

As can be seen in the chart below, he went to the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Tienmu Store in Taipei between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 8, the Far Eastern Sogo Tianmu Store in Taipei between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 10, and the Costco Nankan Store in Taoyuan City between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m.

The CECC reminds those who were at any of these places during the time period listed above to please carefully monitor their health. If symptoms appear before Dec. 25, they should wear a mask, go to the nearest designated community testing center, and undergo a coronavirus test if a doctor deems it necessary.

In response to the news, Sogo Tienmu announced that it will be closing at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and will carry out extensive disinfection. All Tienmu store counter staff will begin self-health monitoring.

I was going to post this a few hours ago, but I couldn’t make myself cut out the profanities until now.

Taiwan’s CDC, CECC and government have done an amazing job at keeping COVID-19 under control and out of the country.  But all it takes to ruin it is one selfish individual.

 

2020 Just Piles On: If you’re looking forward to 2021, I have bad news

No, this is not another of my calendar reform rants. It’s about calendar reform that already happened.

Since 1971, the ISO standard calendar (ISO 8601) has been accepted worldwide and used in many systems and bodies: governments, business, accounting, UNIX and other computers, etc.  The standard was accepted primarily for financial systems, so that every year starts on a Monday.  There are no months in the ISO calendar, only weeks.  In 2015, a weekly numbering system was added, from 1 to either 52 or 53, depending on the year.

In the ISO calendar, the new year always starts on the Monday closest to January 1st, which can be up to three days before or after the actual date.  January 1st falls on a Monday four times every 28 years, but at intervals of 11, 6, 5, and 6 (2018, 2007, 2001, 1996, 1990, 1979, 1973, 1968, 1962, 1951, etc.).  The pattern is interrupted by a 12 year period (or 6 and 6) when the century is not a leap year (1906, 1900, 1894, 1883. . .1816, 1810, 1798, etc.).

In 2020 on the Gregorian calendar, Monday, December 27 is four days before January 1st (a Friday).

The first day of the ISO 2021 calendar is January 3rd.  

That means three more days of 2020.  Enjoy.


Tom Scott made a video about the ISO calendar on December 30, 2019.  If I believed in supernatural hokum, I’d say his words at 2:53 weren’t prophetic, they were a curse.

So, if 2019 has been a rough year for you, and you want to leave it behind, change calendars for a while. Welcome to the twenties.

Look What I Found: The “Music Time In Africa” archive

The Music Time in Africa archive is found on the University of Michigan website.  It aims to be a digitized audio collection of VoA radio broadcasts.  At the moment it mostly contains scans of scripts, but there are some digitized broadcasts available (e.g. MTiA of July 24, 1983).  The collection runs from 1966 to 1995, and covers broadcasts aired in and with artists from dozens of countries.

From the Voice of America site where I found it:

A journey from international shortwave to digital broadcast, the Music Time in Africa Archive takes audiences through an on-line experience of vintage Voice of America radio programs broadcast from 1966. The collaborative project with the University of Michigan digitized nearly 900 audio recordings and associated scripts of the weekly radio program. The archive now features 691 radio programs with a combination of program script and broadcast audio, with an additional 120 radio programs coming soon.

The broadcasts feature show hosts playing a variety of African music and original field recordings by VOA ’s “Music Man for Africa,” ethnomusicologist Leo Sarkisian.  Sarkisian recorded and collected music from the early 1960s through the late 1980s throughout the entire African continent, including pre-independence regions and states such as Balundo, Upper Volta, and Rhodesia. Visitors can play digitized broadcasts with original sounds and scripts, searchable by location or performer.

[. . .]

Launched in 1965 by Sarkisian, Music Time in Africa is VOA’s longest running radio broadcast to the African continent. The program continues to feature traditional and contemporary music from musicians throughout Africa.

This should be worth a few weeks or months worth sifting through.

This is as much for friends in Taiwan to click through as FtB readers.   In the past two years I’ve met a large number of people here from various countries, west, east and south.  Facebook doesn’t allow enough space or multiple links in its posts.

 

The ILGA Report Published: Sex for one, harm dozens of the other

The ILGA (or International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) have published their 2020 world report on rights and protections for LGBTQIA people. While there is progress in many countries, there are still 69 backwards and uneducated countries were being human is criminalized.  Eleven of them still do or may murder innocents.

The ILGA’s State-Sponsored Homophobia: Global Legislation Overview Update (PDF) and Sexual Orientation Laws In The World Map (PDF) show improvement over 2019, which is significant considering how a worldwide pandemic would make it easier for oppressive governments to violate LGBTQIA rights.  On the other hand, countries like Poland, Russia, Hungary, Brazil, and the UK have regressed under “populist” rightwing fanatics.  The map below is reduced, the original can be seen here.

As has been noted by many writers and photographers throughout the past year, the greatest problems and dangers for LGBTQIA people has been at the individual level.  Many have lost jobs due to shut downs, forced to live with bigoted “families”.  Most who earn a living as sex workers have lost all income and are ineligible for unemployment benefits.  Homelessness is rampant and people suffer abuse at even higher rates of Intimate Partner Violence than women and children who have endured IPV this year.

If there is one bright spot about the epidemic, it has forced individuals and governments to stop and look at themselves and each other.  The two year (yes, 2021 too) reduction of pollution, reduced international hostilities (for the most part), and the fragility of our ludicrous economic system might make everyone rethink how we live, trade and work.  And about human rights.

The Gong Shows: Why bother now?

(NB, in advance: Other than the first link at the top, many links here are of dubious quality and origin.  Take everything with a block of salt.)

For unfathomable reasons, members of the falun gong cult held a rally in Taipei on Saturday in support of Cheetolini.

Pro-Trump crowd holds rally in Taipei

A crowd yesterday marched in Taipei to rally support for US President Donald Trump and show opposition to the Chinese Communist Party.

At the parade organized by Epoch Media Group — publisher of the Epoch Times and affiliated with Falun Gong — participants carried placards with slogans such as: “Taiwan-US cooperation, we support Trump to dispose communist China” and “Taiwan, Fight for Trump.”

Some signs echoed messages used by Trump supporters who believe he won the US election last month, with phrases such as: “Stop the Steal” and “Make America Great Again.”

[. . .]

With drums and music, the march traveled several blocks around Taipei 101, ending at a nearby plaza, where talks and music videos were presented and streamed online.

Event organizers estimated that about 8,000 people turned out for the event.

“Without US protection, Taiwan would not have its freedom, and instead we would be slaves ruled by communist China. Trump is the best US president for Taiwan, signing laws to have officials visit and sell US weapons for us to fend off a Chinese military attack,” pro-Taiwan independence campaigner Rishen Wu (吳日昇) said at the march.

In the crowd, an American, who identified himself as Jerry, said he was touched to see so many Taiwanese at the rally.

Jerry, with no picture or last name.  I wonder of he’s one of the “mask refuseniks” in Taiwan facebook groups.  And “epoch times”?  Epic fail is more like it.

[Read more…]

Do As You’re Told: Quarantine rules exist for a reason

I have two tales of quarantine violation and punishment, one reasonable and one inequitable and possibly racist.


First, the US, and another case of americans thinking rules don’t apply to them, or “COVID doesn’t exist”.

Skylar Mack is a university student from Georgia, US. She went to the Cayman Islands (CI) on November 27 to be with her boyfriend, a professional jetskier.

The CI has strict quarantine regulations that have kept COVID-19 under control. The CI have had only two deaths and (as I write) less than thirty active cases in a country of 66,000.

Those regulations include a mandatory two week quarantine, which includes a monitoring bracelet to track people’s location. Mack decided she was exempt from the law, intentionally removed the bracelet, and on November 29 attended her boyfriend’s competition where thousands were gathered. Responsible citizens informed the police, and she was detained. Her boyfriend was also arrested for aiding and abeting, since he knew she was supposed to be in quarantine.  Dozens of CI citizens are now in quarantine because of her selfish actions.  This was not a boating accident, it was deliberate and malicious.

The two pled guilty in court. They were expecting and initially handed a light sentence including hours of community service. This has been appealed and the two will likely spend four months in a CI prison before being deported.

U.S. college student sentenced to 4 months in prison for breaking Cayman Islands’ COVID-19 protocol

An 18-year-old college student from Georgia has been sentenced to four months in prison in the Cayman Islands after breaking the British Caribbean territory’s COVID-19 protocol while visiting her boyfriend for a jet skiing competition, according to her family.

Skylar Mack, a pre-med student at Mercer University, left for the Islands November 27 after testing negative for Covid-19 at home, her grandmother, Jeanne Mack, told CNN.

When Mack landed, she was given another COVID-19 test, which came back negative and she was told to remain in isolation for two weeks. Instead, she decided to attend her boyfriend’s jet ski competition two days later.

“In her mind, as long as she stayed away from everybody, she would be OK to go watch her friend’s race, it was their big national finals race, the last race of the year, big deal,” her grandmother said.

Race attendees, who knew Mack, reported her breach of isolation and officials arrested her.

Her boyfriend, Vanjae Ramgeet, 24, is said to have “aided and abetted her in the breach,” the Cayman Compass newspaper reported. He was also charged with failing to comply with COVID-19 regulations, according to attorney Jonathon Hughes who represents the couple.

[. . .]

According to the family, the U.S. Embassy in the Cayman Islands told them Mack is being made an example of.

“I truly believe she needed to get in trouble, because she did something wrong. I don’t believe she needed to go to prison for four months for one breach,” Jeanne Mack said.

Her family, the US, and COVID deniers see this as an “injustice”, that the CI is making an example of them. And their point is?  She is a pre-med student who should know better, that negative tests don’t prove you don’t have COVID-19. She should be expelled from the university if this is her attitude.

In my eyes, they’re getting off lucky and should be grateful. The two will be in a warm climate during winter and flu seasons, not in danger of contracting COVID-19 during the worst months of the pandemic. They’ll get back in mid-spring, when vaccines are more likely to be available and some of the population will have been vaccinated.


Second, Taiwan’s responses to quarantine violation is raising some eyebrows.  Not just about the severity of the fine, but how different the penalties depending on who the violators are.  More below the fold.

[Read more…]

The Diseased Mind: The CDC’s 2021 calendar is bizarre

Taiwan’s Centre for Disease Control has been amazingly successful in keeping COVID-19 at bay.  It helps that they had a plan in place long before the outbreak, and the general population listened when the CDC set rules and guidelines.  The result is life here has gone on as normal.

(It’s so normal that we’re having concerts.  Green Day is coming to Taipei in March.  If I get a ticket, I am definitely taking the Tuesday off to go see them.)

Part of the success has been the messaging, clear guidelines that people were willing to follow.  But like anywhere else, COVID-19 fatigue is setting in with some people, including me.  I often go to the nearby park and other places where I don’t have to wear a mask, I’m so tired of wearing them (and my ears hurt).

To combat the fatigue and keep people’s interest, the CDC commissions a local artist named Chiyou (蚩尤) to create a calendar, one month for each of twelve diseases.  When I first looked, I thought, “What a bizarre idea, how is that going to help?”

Then I got to Hepatitis, Ebola, the Plague, then the others.  And it began to make sense.  The calendar is actually a great idea, and the art doesn’t minimize the dangers of disease despite the personification of each with an artwork.  More images below the fold.

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