Dyatlov Passed: Has the death of nine student hikers in 1959 finally been explained?

In February 1959, a group of ten students from the Ural Polytechnical Institute went on a hiking expedition in the Ural mountains.  Nine of the ten died in what has come to be known as the Dyatlov Pass Incident. The area was later named after the group’s leader, Igor Dyatlov.  One of the students turned back due to illness, the other nine (seven men, two women) continued on their journey.

During the night of February 2, something happened that resulted in the violent deaths of three party members (fractured skulls, internal injuries) and caused the deaths of the others by hypothermia after they abandoned their tent at night, without winter gear on, and with gusting winds and low visibility.  Soviet investigators arrived at the site a month afterward.  Despite their efforts, they had no coherent explanation, and eventually the case was closed by summer.  Ludicrous conspiracy theories were postulated over the years, none based on any evidence.

In 2019, Russian investigators reopened the case.  With input from other scientists and the investigator’s own work, in January 2021 an avalanche has been named the most likely culprit.  The avalanche theory makes a lot of sense and explains most of the events and the group’s actions.  Feral animals could explain other details the avalanche can’t (e.g. missing eyes and tongues from some of the bodies).

NatGeo: Has science solved one of history’s greatest adventure mysteries?

The bizarre deaths of hikers at Russia’s Dyatlov Pass have inspired countless conspiracy theories, but the answer may lie in an elegant computer model based on surprising sources.

A 62-year-old adventure mystery that has prompted conspiracy theories around Soviet military experiments, Yetis, and even extraterrestrial contact may have its best, most sensible explanation yet—one found in a series of avalanche simulations based in part on car crash experiments and animation used in the movie Frozen.

In an article published today in the journal Communications Earth and Environment, researchers present data pointing to the likelihood that a bizarrely small, delayed avalanche may have been responsible for the gruesome injuries and deaths of nine experienced hikers who never returned from a planned 200-mile adventure in Russia’s Ural Mountains in the winter of 1959.

My own (wrong) theory was ergot poisoning from bad food or something similar. The timing of the event (hours after their last meal) and certain actions (cutting open the tent from the inside, going out without proper clothing, violence) could have been explained by hallucinogens.

 

A Funny Story To Tell: A personal anecdote

Here’s a personal true story.  I told it somewhere else tonight, so I figured I’d tell it here.

 


 

Several years ago, before I transitioned, I took one of my annual vacations in the Philippines.  The PI is close by, it’s cheap to stay there, books and other things I want to buy are in English, and I can pick up a lot of US imports that are not sold in Taiwan.  It was a normal trip of going to the airport, going through security, passport and customs, etc.  It was completely uneventful as I reached the lounge at the boarding gate.

Whenever I travel, I always book a diabetic meal with the travel agent.  I’m not a diabetic, but the food is always better, with very little fat.  The starch is always rice, noodles or potatoes.  There’s steamed vegetables or a salad, and it’s plain cooked protein, always either chicken or fish, chicken or fish. Dessert usually comes as a plain bun or a bowl of fresh fruit.  The bonus about having a special meal is that you always get served first.

Passengers were called to the gate in turn, and I boarded the plane when my section was called.  It turned out my row was in front of the bulkhead wall, no seatbacks in front of me.  As I got to my row, there was a man already there.  I could tell immediately from his white robes, white hat, facial hair and darker skin that he was a muslim, and probably from Mindanao in the south, the semi-autonomous muslim area of the Philippines.  I never talk to other passengers on planes, and this was a 75 minute flight, so I said nothing and neither did he.  I never heard him speak, and I assumed there was a good chance he didn’t even speak English.

About twenty minutes into the flight, the cabin crew began rolling out the cart to serve meals.  As mentioned, special meals get served first.  I unfolded the tray table from the armrest, and the flight attendant put it down in front of me.  I opened the hand wipe towel and used it, then the package containing the cutlery and the napkin.

Then it was time to address the meal.  I turned out the edges of the foil cover, lifted it off, and looked at the food.  And I look for several seconds.  Then I put the lid down on it again.

Barely audible to anyone, I said to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding.”  I lifted the cover and looked again, shaking my head.

“What?” The muslim man next to me spoke up.  It turned out he spoke English.  I was almost too embarrased to answer him.

I’ve ever been on roughly forty to fifty flights in my life, and as I said, I always ordered diabetic meals.  And the ONE time I’m sitting next to a muslim, I get served pork.  What are the odds?

I lifted the lid.  He saw it, I explained my story, and he laughed.  It wasn’t his meal and I wasn’t giving it to him, so he wasn’t bothered by it.  But for the next fifteen minutes, I’m sitting there chewing away, and feeling guilty with every bite.

Never before and never again have I been served pork as my in-flight meal.  The only time I got one, this happens.  It’s the story of my life.

I Laughed At First: After that, it wasn’t funny anymore

A Taiwanese man was fined NT$100,000 (US$3570) for violating quarantine in November.  The government recently rescinded the fine because it turned out the man was kidnapped by loansharks.

People I know were laughing at first.  Then reality set in.

If the man in quarantine had contracted COVID-19 and it was transmissable, and the goons got it from him, this could have turned into a mass spreading event.  Criminals aren’t likely to turn themselves in, even to doctors.  It would have been very hard to track and trace.

This is not the same as the “gentlemen’s clubs” that were shut down last spring.  The business men visiting those clubs with sex workers might get away with lying about where they were to protect their marriages.  Cooperation from debt collectors would be an admission of guilt.

Taiwanese man taken from quarantine facility by debt collectors

Ministry of Justice withdraws quarantine violation fine against man in central Taiwan

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has withdrawn a quarantine violation fine against a man in central Taiwan after he proved that he was taken from his quarantine location by a group of debt collectors.

In a statement released Wednesday (Jan. 27), the Changhua Branch of MOJ’s Administrative Enforcement Agency said the man, surnamed Chen (陳), was abducted by debt collectors on Nov. 1, 2020, while undergoing the 14-day quarantine requirement at his friend’s residence in Nantou County. It said Chen had returned to Taiwan from Hong Kong on Oct. 30.

According to the authorities, the debt collectors came across Chen when they were looking for his friend for payment. He was physically assaulted before being taken to his home to get money to repay his debt.

How Many Mistakes Before People Learn?

It was thirty five years ago, on January 28, 1986, that the space shuttle Challenger was launched and failed. At a height of 14-15km, the right side rocket booster exploded due to a failure of the “O rings” used to seal in the fuel. The warnings from several NASA and Morton-Thiokol employees about potential leaks and failures due to cold weather were ignored and overridden by senior management in both NASA and the corporation. NASA ignored its own protocols for aborting missions when in doubt about a mission’s safety.

As the shuttle and rockets broke up, the astronauts’ capsule continued upwards, reaching almost 20km. The capsule depressurized during the breakup, far above 6km where people can still breathe without tanks. News reports I found state the crew were likely still alive but rendered unconscious. Nothing indicates that they regained consciousness, though I’ve seen claims that some of the crew were heard to talk about using emergency air tanks.  One would hope they were unconscious as the capsule fell to the ocean at over 300kmh, enduring a 200G impact as it hit the water.

(Humans can be killed by 10G of continuous force for over one minute. In November 2020, Romain Grosjean suffered a 50G crash but for only fractions of a second. Richie Hearn endured a brief 139G crash in 1999, only six laps before the crash that killed Greg Moore. Both Grosjean and Hearn survived due to the HANS device.)

Everyone calls Challenger a “disaster”, but that word infers it was beyond human control or that no one was at fault. Call it an explosion, call it incompetence, call it greedy corporations making substandard materials, call it politicians putting nationalism ahead of science and safety. Just don’t call it an accident or “an act of god”.

More below the fold.

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Finally Fixed: Better to do it right the first time

In May 2019, the Taiwan government legalized equal marriage.  However, it only applied to people like myself who came from countries which have marriage equality.  For those who come from ignorant societies that oppress LGBTQIA people and our rights, marriage was not allowed.

Everyone knew it was discriminatory and people have protested for this to be changed.  There are many here from Latin America, Eastern Europe, Africa and probably elsewhere who cannot marry under the current law, and would face discrimination in their own countries for having a partner.

After two years of inequality based on passports, Taiwan’s government is changing the law.  Now all foreigners can marry Taiwanese citizens and have marriage visas.

With one exception: People from the PRC.  Laws between Taiwan and China regarding citizenship (and likely the UN’s refusal to recognize Taiwan as an independent country) will prevent this for now.  However, people from the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau will be allowed to marry Taiwanese citizens.

Taiwan to allow multinational same-sex marriages, but not with China

The Judicial Yuan on Friday (Jan. 22) approved an amendment paving the way for same-sex marriages between Taiwanese and foreign spouses, but not if the latter is a citizen of China.

In May 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize gay marriage, but it only approved unions between citizens of countries where same-sex marriages are legal.

The Judicial Yuan’s amendment of the Civil Code Articles 46 and 63 will allow same-sex marriages in Taiwan between a Taiwanese national and a citizen of nearly any other country, regardless of whether same-sex marriage has been legalized there or not, CNA reported.

Now if I could only find a 45-60 year old man who’s willing to accept Trans women.  As I joking said elsewhere, my dating profile would read:

I’m Intersectional.  No smokers.  Chew with your mouth closed.

I’m not overly picky.

This Sickens: Rightwingnut perverts at it again

From the party of “christian morality”, “family values”, and swallowing koolaid.

Kellyanne Conway has committed revenge porn upon her own daughter.  I’m sure Ted “Crude” Cruz would like to defend her, and wants to look at the picture in question.  And he will try to blame Claudia Conway for causing it.

Kellyanne Conway Accused Of Posting Topless Image Of Teenage Daughter On Twitter

Former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has been accused of posting a topless photograph of her teenage daughter, Claudia Conway, on Twitter.

Social media erupted on Monday night after Conway’s account, @KellyannePolls, allegedly shared a Fleet — a post on Twitter’s mobile platform that is meant to disappear after 24 hours — showing a partially nude Claudia, who is 16. The image has since been deleted, but other Twitter users say they took screenshots of it.

The situation then made its way over to TikTok, where Claudia often posts about the goings-on within her family. Over the course of the last year, the teenager has been sharing videos that appear to show her tumultuous relationship with her parents, Kellyanne Conway and vocal anti-Trump lawyer George Conway.

After commenters wrote on Claudia’s posts that Kellyanne Conway’s account had shared a topless photo of her, the teen made videos telling her followers, “I don’t know if this is a joke or not, but I’m really scared” and asking, “Is this real?”

Florida man wants to look into children’s underwear.

He’s a republican, of course.

House Republican introduces anti-trans legislation that could lead to genital exams for school girls

A Congressional Republican has introduced a federal bill that would ban transgender girls and women from participating in school sports.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) introduced H.R. 426 yesterday, which would threaten federal funds to state and local athletics organizations if they allow “a person whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.”

The bill does not describe exactly how schools should determine what someone’s sex assigned at birth is, just vaguely stating that “sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”

His name reminds me of Steubenville and what happened there.

 

Try And Try Again: Repeating the lies in hope that one sticks

Anti-Transgender bigots, TERFs and other human garbage are repeating the same failed tactics of prior bigots: Repeating lies in the hope that enough people believe them.  And if one lie doesn’t work, invent and repeat another.  This tactic was used against Black people, jews, women, gay men, immigrants, migrants, the poor, and now it’s being used against Transgender people.  When one lie fails, invent a new one.

A few years ago, “bathroom bills” were all the rage among the garbage, falsely babbling about “Trans predators in bathrooms!” despite no evidence for it.  When anti-Trans bigots like cops admit there’s no evidence, you know it’s a losing argument.

Then came the lie that “Trans women should be locked up with men because they will sexually assault cis women!”  We know why people like politicians and presidential candidates supported this: because some of them wanted Trans women locked up in men’s prisons where they would be abused, assaulted, raped, and murdered.  If they were so concerned about cis women’s safety, why weren’t they advocating separate jail and prison wings for Transgender people?  Why were they denying medical care to Trans people in prisons?

When that didn’t work, “sports bills” came in, pretending that “Trans women would force cis women out of sports! endanger them in locker rooms!”  The lie kept being perpetuated despite no evidence of any “danger” or “threat”.  All they had was fearmongering and “anecdotes” of things that never happened.

Now the bigots pretend they are “concerned for children’s health”.  No doubt in the same way that fatphobic bigots claim they are “concerned for fat people’s health”.  Body shamers use that as an excuse to defend their bigotry and abuse, and anti-Trans bigots do the same.

The extreme rightwing in the UK, from Boris Johnson’s tories down to the neonazi group “LGB Alliance”, oppose hormone blockers for children claiming they are “too young to decide”.  On top of that, they spread the fiction that “children’s genitals are being mutilated” despite the fact that doctors will not perform surgery on children.  (Unless they’re Intersex kids, of course, then the children’s rights don’t matter to doctors.) 

Opposing hormone blockers for under 18 kids is not “concern for children’s health”, it endangers Transgender children.  It means children’s bodies will undergo changes that cause physical and emotional stress – unwanted breast development and unwanted hair growth.  The sadists know that denying health care to kids will increase the rates of suicide amongst Transgender kids, which is exactly what bigots want: more suicides.

Just as the COVID-19 variant spread from the UK to the US, so has the “children’s health” fiction.  Eight US states with republiclown governments (Iowa, Mississippi, and Montana among them) are trying to past “bills” that will deny Transgender medical care to children under 18.  Attempts to legalize and codify hate and violence are likely to spread elsewhere.

Iowa bill would criminalize medical treatment of transgender youth because they will “outgrow” it

Montana Bill Limiting Transgender Youth Health Care Advances

Mississippi may ban trans people under 21 from receiving healthcare

From the UCLA School of Law, Williams Institute:

Prohibiting Gender-Affirming Medical Care for Youth

Eight states are currently considering bills to deny gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth. Most of these bills propose to make it a crime or cause for professional discipline for medical providers to deliver gender-affirming care to minors.

Eight states are considering bills to deny gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth, including nearly 17,000 transgender youth ages 13 and up. These states include Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota.  Most of these bills propose to make it a crime for medical providers to deliver gender-affirming care to minors or a cause for professional discipline. In two states, Missouri and New Hampshire, parents could be reported to child welfare agencies for facilitating access to gender-affirming care for their children. State-specific estimates of the number of youth at risk of being denied gender-affirming medical care are provided in the table below.

Gender-affirming medical care is recommended for transgender youth by the American Academy of Pediatricians and the Endocrine Society.10 Gender-affirming medical care includes the use of hormones to delay puberty and to promote physical development that is consistent with a child’s gender identity (their internal sense of who they are). A new study published in Pediatrics finds that access to pubertal suppression treatment is associated with lower odds of lifetime suicidal ideation among transgender adults (Turban et al., 2020).

Research shows that gender-affirming care improves health outcomes for transgender people, including youth. A comprehensive review of research on the effects of gender-affirming medical care conducted by Cornell University concluded that access to such care improves the overall well-being of transgender individuals and found no evidence that it causes harm (Cornell, 2017). A study by the Williams Institute concluded that risk of past-year suicide attempts was lower among transgender people who wanted and received gender-affirming medical care (Herman, 2019). More generally, research indicates that efforts to support transgender youth in living according to their internal sense of gender is associated with better mental health and feelings of safety at school, while efforts to change the gender identity of transgender people (i.e., conversion therapy) are associated with suicidality.

If you’re against attempts to criminalize medical care for cisgender women, you should be equally opposed to criminalizing medical care for Transgender people.

 

 

Maybe It Was Too Good To Last: Taiwan has its first mass outbreak

[ Addendum below as of January 26 ]

It’s funny how reckless airline pilots didn’t cause a mass outbreak of COVID-19, but doctors and nurses, and families visiting hospitals did, despite wearing PPE and knowing proper procedures for prevention.

Five thousand people in Taoyuan are now in home quarantine, and all private academies will be closed for anywhere from two weeks to a month.  Fortunately, the one month long winter vacation has just started (January 21), so public schools were already closed.  But language schools and academies for science, math, arts and other things will also close.  It’s going to be a big inconvenience to parents; many kids are sent to winter camp classes during this time.

The number of carriers from the hospital was less than ten (staff and patient family members), but the number of contacts multiplies quickly.  Fortunately the government’s connection of the health care and cell phones helped them track down all people potentially exposed.  The US has Rachel Levine, and Taiwan has Audrey Tang.

As said before, Taiwan News is fourth rate “journalism”.  But they match the press releases from the government’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), so they’re credible here.

5,000 people to be isolated amid new hospital cluster cases in northern Taiwan

Following two new coronavirus cases associated with a hospital cluster in northern Taiwan on Sunday (Jan. 24), the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has announced that more than 5,000 more people must enter home isolation to prevent further spread of the disease.

[. . .]

The latest case had visited floor 12A, which up until Sunday CECC officials had considered a relatively low-risk “green zone.” However, Minister of Health and Welfare and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that in light of the new infections, the floor’s status has been changed to “red zone,” as has the entire hospital.

This means that all wards will be treated as high-risk. Chen said all patients discharged from the hospital between Jan. 6-19, along with people living with them and related contacts, will be identified and told to enter 14-day home isolation immediately, followed by seven days of self-health monitoring and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

The governement’s releases came late in the day, so there’s no word on whether Taipei city and metro area will be affected.  I’ll likely find out tomorrow.  As of yet, I haven’t received any emergency messages on my phone.  Taoyuan is an hour away from Taipei by car, but there are three train lines and but routes out of the city as well.

Schools shut down in Taiwan’s Taoyuan amid hospital cluster outbreak

Following two new coronavirus cases associated with a hospital cluster in northern Taiwan on Sunday (Jan. 24), Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) on Monday (Jan. 25) announced that all activities at schools will be suspended immediately, including the privately run Cornell Bilingual School.

In response to the expanding scope of the outbreak in the city, Cheng announced on Monday that all school winter classes, volunteer services, clubs, winter camps, and all other activities using school spaces will be halted immediately. Students who had been taking classes will be asked to study at home and do their coursework online.

The winter vacation for Taoyuan’s school system started on Jan. 21, but a number of extracurricular activities had been slated on school properties over the break. However, Cheng on Monday announced that effective immediately, all supplementary classes, volunteer services, clubs, camps, and any other activities taking place in school facilities will be suspended, in order to reduce risks associated with large gatherings of people.

The government’s releases today include a list of locations where the people visited. Normally when cases were singular and they could control the situation, they didn’t tell where people were to avoid panic and prevent harm to businesses. But here the number and types of places could lead to a mass spread, and they want to keep people away from them (e.g. restaurant, supermarket). The PX Market chain has nothing to do with US military stores.

Hospital cluster cases visited PX Mart, Danan Market in northern Taiwan

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Monday (Jan. 25) provided a list of the locations where two new cases from a hospital coronavirus cluster recently visited while contagious.

On Sunday, the CECC announced that a man in his 60s (case No. 889) who had received treatment unrelated to the virus at Taoyuan General Hospital from Jan. 8-11 had contracted COVID-19. In addition, a female family member (case No. 890) who had been caring for him also tested positive for the virus that same day, bringing the total number of cases associated with the hospital cluster infection to 15.

After receiving notification of the family cluster infection, the health department immediately launched an epidemiological investigation. A preliminary investigation has revealed a history of activities in public places during the contagious period for cases 889 and 890.

 


Addendum:

The number of of people in quarantine has multiplied.  But better safe than sorry.

13,000 in Taiwan’s Taoyuan to be quarantined amid hospital cluster

5,000 to enter home isolation, 8,000 to undergo quarantine in Taoyuan as concern grows about major outbreak

As the number of cases associated with a hospital cluster in Taoyuan expands and the source of the two latest infections remains a mystery, city officials estimate 13,000 people will need to be placed under quarantine.

On Sunday, the CECC announced that a man in his 60s (case no. 889) who had received treatment unrelated to the virus at Taoyuan General Hospital and his wife, also in her 60s, who had been caring for him both contracted COVID-19. This brings the number of cases associated with the hospital cluster to 15.

On Monday, Minister of Health and Welfare and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said all patients discharged from the hospital between Jan. 6-19 and people living with them, caregivers of hospitalized patients and people living with them, and people exposed to case no. 889 will be identified and told to begin 14 days of home isolation immediately. Presently, 2,991 people linked to the hospital cluster are already undergoing quarantine, and it is estimated that more than 5,000 will be among the contacts listed by Chen.

[. . .]

An estimated 9,000 people are currently undergoing home quarantine in Taipei. As fears of a major outbreak in northern Taiwan increase, some have suggested a full ban on overseas arrivals, but Chen insists that such a ban is not necessary at this stage.

In a Taiwan foreigner’s facebook group, one individual (a Russian) posted this ludicrous comment about the latest news item:

Without due legal process, government decides to arrest 5000 people, and the population is okay with that

“Arrested”?  They’re staying in small hotels, have TV and wifi and decent food.  They’re not in jail cells.

My response: If you don’t like how they’re handling it, go home.  Seven dead and less than 1000 cases speaks volumes.

Grandfathered In: One of the most influential computer games turns 45 (or 50)

In December, I posted about the demise of Creative Computing in December 1985.  And in the item, I said I found that out while researching something else.

Well, here it is.

In January 1976, Creative Computing published code for the computer game Chase, or Robots as it’s sometimes known.  It was not a new game at that point.  Its creator is unknown, but the game dates as far back as 1971 or even 1970, making it fifty years old.

In Chase, you are a human being chased by robots that are trying to kill you.  Why are they trying to kill you?  Be. . .because they are, that’s why!  You can move in eight cardinal directions or (if you have any available) teleport to another location.  And with each move, the robots will move ever closer towards you.  In the screen capture of the version I play on Ubuntu (seen above), you have two teleport options if they get too close: randomly (which may get you killed, but unlimited use) or safe teleport (up to ten per level).

Your goal is to kill all the robots on each level, either by luring them to crash into each other or into piles of broken robots.  If you are strategic, you can use collisions to create walls and safe spaces.  If you feel you are in a safe place (see image above, bottom left), you can hit “last stand” (or “wait for robots”) and the remaining robots will charge at you.  For every robot destroyed via “last stand”, you gain one safe teleport, up to a maximum of ten.  This is the only way to earn them.

Chase is a simple but fun game, one of those programs people learn when they start out programming because it teaches array handling, keyboard inputs, modding, and other important skills.

As it turns out, Chase may be the most influential computer game in history.  It has three distinct family trees of descendants with more than a hundred games resulting from it.

Below the fold is the first of the three family trees.  Two more posts will come soon.

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You Screw Up: What happens when you make celebrities into politicians

The US knows full well what I’m talking about, but I’m not referring to the US.  This is about Canada, where the Governor General Julie Payette (a former astronaut) has resigned in disgrace.  There has never been a situation like this in over 150 years.

The Governor General is the “liaison” between the prime minister and the crown in England.  It’s not just a ceremonial position, the GG has actual powers which include forming and dissolving parliament.  In the case of a non-confidence vote (the opposition parties collectively vote out the ruling party) the GG can either call a new election or ask the second largest party to form a coalition government.  And with Trudeau’s liberals being a minority government mired in the likely worst political scandal since Fred Rose, both are real possibilities.

From the Canadian government’s own website, a list of some of the GG’s duties:

Constitutional Duties

Canada is a constitutional monarchy, where the duties of head of State and head of government are distinct. The governor general exercises the powers and responsibilities of the Head of State, Her Majesty The Queen. As such, the governor general is non-partisan and apolitical.

As The Queen’s representative in Canada, the governor general has a number of responsibilities, one of the most important being to ensure that Canada always has a prime minister and a government in place that has the confidence of Parliament. The governor general’s other constitutional duties include:

  • swearing into office the prime minister, Cabinet ministers and the chief justice of Canada;
  • summoning, proroguing and dissolving Parliament;
  • delivering the Speech from the Throne;
  • granting Royal Assent to acts of Parliament;
  • appointing members of the Privy Council, lieutenant governors and certain judges, on the advice of the prime minister; and
  • signing into effect official documents, such as orders-in-council.

Dustbin Trudeau nominated Payette for the GG position based on her fame, instead of taking recommendations from experienced civil servants.  He needs to take personal responsibility, but glory hound that he is, I bet he’ll try to blame “poor advice from others”.

Payette stepping down as governor general after blistering report on Rideau Hall work environment

Gov.-Gen. Julie Payette and her secretary, Assunta di Lorenzo, are resigning after an outside workplace review of Rideau Hall found that the pair presided over a toxic work environment.

Last year, an independent consulting firm was hired by the Privy Council Office (PCO) to review reports that Payette was responsible for workplace harassment at Rideau Hall.

Sources who were briefed on the consulting firm’s report told CBC News that its conclusions were damning.

[. . .]

In a media statement announcing her departure, Payette apologized for what she called the “tensions” at Rideau Hall in recent months, saying that everyone has “a right to a healthy and safe work environment.”

“Tensions”?   The only tensions were the ones she created.  Her pathetic resignation statement is a classic not-pology of a narcissist, refusing to take any responsibility for her own actions, blaming and inferring that others were at fault.  Her resignation is the bare minimum.

Dustbin Trudeau’s resignation should quickly follow.  He is a disgrace.

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How Quickly They Forget: Alberta’s rightwingnuts can’t keep track of their racist members

Alberta’s “United Conservative Party” is trying to kick out Derek Sloan, a member of its government, after it was revealed  he received a political donation from a known white supremacist.  Sloan is arguing in his defence that he “received 13,000 donations” and couldn’t keep track of every single donor.

Sloan has also made it known that the another white supremacist voted in the last UCP leadership contest, and that the voter has not been removed from the party.

And the UCP leadership knows he’s still a party member.

Remember, Alberta, you could have kept the NDP in power and handled COVID-19 properly without corruption, incompetence and racism.  Now you have the second worst number of cases per capita.

.

What do I mean by incompetence?  UCP “leader” Jason Kenny is whining because Biden cancelled the Keystone oil pipeline.   Kenney wasted taxpayers’ money on the deal despite knowing it was bad for the environment and economy.

Alberta premier calls for compensation amid cancellation of Keystone XL

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is asking the prime minister to press the United States Administration for compensation amid the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Within hours of being sworn in on Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order revoking the Keystone XL permit.

The move drew quick criticism from the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan, whose energy sectors were depending on the US$8 billion project.

Last spring, the Alberta government invested about US$1.1 billion (C$1.5 billion) in the project. Kenney has said the province has about $1 billion at risk if the project is killed.

Violent White Males Act Out Again

In any week of the year, even during the last twelve months, you can find news story after news story after news story about violent males, especially violent white males, threatening and committing violence against women.  When they don’t get the response they “think” they’re entitled to, they “think” they’re entitled to take revenge.  Many times, with a gun.

So why is it different now?  Because in the past, it’s only been incels on the street.  Now it’s republican incels in the US government who “think” it’s okay to threaten women with guns.

Michigan official shows gun after public meeting criticism

A county official in northern Michigan displayed a rifle during an online meeting in response to a citizen’s comments about a far-right extremist group, drawing outrage from some local residents.

Ron Clous, an elected member of the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners, was at home during the livestreamed meeting Wednesday, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

During a public comment period, a local woman, Kelli MacIntash, criticized the board for allowing self-described members of the Proud Boys to speak at a commission meeting last year and urged commission Chairman Rob Hentschel to denounce them. The neo-fascist group is known for engaging in violent clashes at political rallies and some of its members took part in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

At that point, Clous stepped away from his webcam and returned with a rifle. MacIntosh told the Record-Eagle she felt threatened.

“This guy is in the middle of a government meeting brandishing a weapon,” MacIntosh said. “Why would I not think they were trying to harm me?”

MacIntosh, 74, told The Associated Press on Thursday that she planned to file a report with the Michigan State Police.

“I didn’t think he was going to shoot me, obviously, but I do think his whole point was to intimidate me and threaten me and anyone else who’s going to speak out … and see if he can stir up masses of people who are just looking for things to fight about,” she said.

Maryland house rep Andy Harris tried to enter the capitol with a gun.  He is clearly someone who should not be allowed to own a gun.

Funny how those who most loudly spewed “back the blue” are the ones yelling most loudly in defiance of cops trying to stop illegal guns from entering buildings.  Now the call the cops “traitors” in a display of peak white privilege.

 

Let’s Remember: Hank Aaron, 1934-2021

Hank Aaron has died age 86 (born February 5, 1934; died January 22, 2021) of natural causes, in his sleep.  He played from the time of “integration” (read: end of segregation) and was a class act, beginning to end.  Even when he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record and was showered with abuse, threats, and racism, he never lost or compromised his dignity.

The most amazing thing about Aaron’s 755 home runs was his consistency.  Between 1955 and 1974 when Aaron broke the record, over twenty consecutive seasons, he hit at least 20 home runs.  His single season career high was 47, and he hit 40 or more only eight times.  He is also the all time RBI leader, passing Babe Ruth in the 1975 season.

Hank Aaron’s MLB career statistics, Baseball Reference

I would like to include obituaries on Aaron from the media, but unfortunately all of them call him the “former home run career leader”.  I refuse to recognize Barroid the Steroid Bonds as the record holder.  (How ridiculous are Bonds’s fans?  I was a called a “racist” on one forum for saying Aaron still holds the record.)

Now maybe the Atlanta MLB team will stop dragging their racist heels and change the team nickname to the Hammers.

Face Off: How many have you collected?

Remember a few years ago when Pokemon was all the rage, everyone walking around streets with app, trying to “catch” rare pokemons and almost getting killed as they crossed the street without looking?

I never played it, I didn’t see the point.

Now I am collecting, except it’s medical masks and not Pokemons. But I still need the snowmen, pandas, pigs, and other colours and designs I’ve seen.  Bonus: entering stores to look isn’t dangerous.

Gotta mask ’em all!