Compare And Contrast: Taiwan’s situation is not like Ukraine

I’m sure you’ve seen a variety of reports and opinions about Taiwan’s situation with China compared to Ukraine’s with Russia, so here’s one more (before I give mine) from the Central News Agency using google translate:

Indian expert: The situation in Russia and Ukraine affects the Taiwan Strait and China will not take the opportunity to invade Taiwan

Two experts on China from India believe that although the Ukrainian crisis may indeed affect the situation in the Taiwan Strait, Beijing should still prefer to wait and see changes at this stage and will not rashly invade Taiwan.

[. . .]

Citing history, Vijay Kranti said China encouraged North Korea to start the Korean War in 1950, while Beijing seized Tibet while Washington was busy supporting ally South Korea. When asked whether Taiwan or Ukraine is more important from the perspective of U.S. strategic considerations?  Kranti said that, personally, it is likely Ukraine, because all US allies are involved in the Ukraine crisis, and the US anti-Russian mentality has not been eliminated.

[. . .]

On the other hand, Gaurie Dwivedi, a visiting scholar at the United Service Institution of India, a think tank, told the Central News Agency that while China may see the Ukraine crisis as a similar template for encroaching on Taiwan, it does not escalate provocation to Taiwan. Dwivedi, author of Blinkers Off, How Will The World Counter China, believes that the current situation is turbulent and unpredictable, and if China takes relevant actions, it will trigger a strong response from the United States, so “China should wait and see what happens at this stage.”

I doubt things are going to change for at least the next two years.  Some things about Ukraine and Taiwan are undoubtedly similar, but there are a lot of major differences that make an armed invasion unlikely here.

Then again, I could be dead wrong (figuratively and literally).  More below the fold.

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Music Rules: Little Earthquakes shook everybody

Tori Amos’s album “Little Earthquakes” was released on February 25, 1992, thirty years ago. It was her second album, her first as a solo artist. It’s on many “Greatest Ever Albums” lists, selling over ten million worldwide.

The record is Amos’s personal statement, and yet it’s so universal that every woman who listens can relate to these songs: “Crucify”, “Girl”, “Little Earthquakes”, “Winter”, “Tear In Your Hand”, and many others.  But the song that hits hardest has to be “Me And A Gun”, a vocal with no instrumental accompaniment at all.  It’s a fictional account by a narrator who murdered her rapist and is on the run.  Amos, who was raped a few years before writing the album, founded RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the largest nonprofit anti-sexual assault organization in the US.

Here is a stream of the full album from her official youtube channel, plus extra tracks (a full list below the fold). Her cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is staggering, seething anger instead of violent outrage.



It’s not just Tori Amos who is worth mentioning.  1992 may well be the greatest year in music for women recording artists.  A partial list of 1992 albums recorded by women is below the fold.


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Seen Today: On twitter

Two interesting twitter posts about Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared today.

First, by Charles McBryde:

Second, from Inudin Sayyed:

As Zelenskyy said himself to talk of evacation, “I don’t need a ride, I need ammunition.”  It seems Germany (and possibly others) are giving it to them.

It hasn’t come to that yet in Taiwan, and I’m hoping it doesn’t.  I won’t talk tough and say what I would do if the PLA tries an assault, but I hope the foreigners have the spine to stay, to sign up and show up, and take part in the defence (or at least, as medics and providing support).

Pissed Doesn’t Even Begin To Describe

I am fucking furious tonight.  Especially in light of that royal rapist getting away with his crime.  I hope the “settlement” doesn’t include a gag order on Ms. Giuffre, that she can tell every detail and testify to help others.

I was watching youtube videos, collections of reddit stories, and a few of them were about high school reunions (e.g. worst, most surprising things to happen, etc.).  I have never attended a reunion, and have no inclination to go back to Canada for my school’s fortieth anniversary, if there were one.

For a lark, I looked up links for any previous reunions of the 1985 class.

A ten year old news article popped up in the search: “Teacher charged with sexual assault”.  I read the bastard’s name, a gym teacher and basketball coach at my high school.  And I knew exactly which one of my classmates he was raping for five years.

I searched for other articles hoping for a proper resolution.  Instead, he got “a year of house arrest” instead of a minimum five years in prison after pleading guilty.  This from the same BC courts that allowed a catholic archbishop to walk after raping two First Nations women.  (*)  Once again, the white male run “legal system” protects its own.

I don’t care that the case was tried 36 years after the fact.  That doesn’t make his actions any less appalling.  She was the same age as me, 13 to 18 years old when he groomed, abused, and raped her. He forced her to get an abortion at one point.  Being put on the sex offender registry is not enough.

I was surprised to see – and admired her – for choosing to waive her right to privacy. She spoke in the papers for the sake of others, to give them the courage to come forward. I wish I could say something to her, but I doubt it would help to try and contact her out of the blue after 37 years.

For the first time in my life, I’m glad I was bullied and a social outcast at school.  I wasn’t a “cool kid”, wasn’t part of the rumour mills and gossip, so I heard very little, and I wasn’t part of spreading rumours around the school. I may have been a kid like she was, but that doesn’t make me feel less guilty, wishing I could have done something. She was one of the kinder people at school, friends with everyone, which is probably why he targeted her.

Again, the story was in the newspapers, but for the sake of her privacy, I’m not linking to them.

(* In the catholic cultist’s case, the decision was overturned by the surpreme court and the case retried.  He was convicted and died in prison.)

Put 60 Kettles On To Boil: JET successfully fused hydrogen

It was announced recently that the JET laboratory in the UK successfully fused deuterium and tritium hydrogen atoms to produce helium and produced a small amount of electrical power.  Eleven megawatts of power doesn’t sound like much now, but the radiation produced by cloud chambers a century ago weren’t very large either.

The benefit of fusion reactors is that the amount of radiation byproduct is (or may be) insignificant. Theoretically, a hydrogen or helium fusion reactor would produce little to no radiation.  Unlike fission reactors, a major fusion reactor accident likely wouldn’t hurt or kill anyone except those working at the reactor, if any at all.

BBC: Major breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy

The UK-based JET laboratory has smashed its own world record for the amount of energy it can extract by squeezing together two forms of hydrogen.

If nuclear fusion can be successfully recreated on Earth it holds out the potential of virtually unlimited supplies of low-carbon, low-radiation energy.

The experiments produced 59 megajoules of energy over five seconds (11 megawatts of power).

This is more than double what was achieved in similar tests back in 1997.

It’s not a massive energy output – only enough to boil about 60 kettles’ worth of water. But the significance is that it validates design choices that have been made for an even bigger fusion reactor now being constructed in France.

The question becomes, can this be developed and built fast enough to solve our energy and environmental problems?

Count Down: 50, 45, 40…

More frivolous stuff about music, three notable anniversaries.  It’s also a sign of how varied my tastes, that I can like them all.  The first three links are to youtube videos.

Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again (Naturally)” was released on February 18, 1972, fifty years ago.  It was a number one hit in numerous countries. It’s simultaneously one of the saddest yet most beautiful songs.  Back then, it was rare to hear a pop song openly ask, “if god exists, then why…?”

The Damned’s debut album “Damned Damned Damned” was released on February 18, 1977, forty-five years ago.  They were the first Punk Rock group to release a full album (yes, before the Sex Pistols).  The album still stands up after all this time, produced by Nick Lowe and contains several of the group’s best known songs.  Their performance on Craig Ferguson’s Late Show in 2008 was legendary.  The band still tours today, outliving all their contemporaries.

And it was forty years ago, February 19, 1982, that Ozzy Osbourne pissed off the entirety of the US by pissing on “the alamo” cenotaph, the sacred cow which glorifies racism, genocide, and massive failure of US government and military policy.

40 Years Ago: Ozzy Osbourne Arrested for Urinating on Alamo

Ozzy Osbourne didn’t wake up Feb. 19, 1982, and decide he was going to cause trouble that afternoon by pissing on a treasured national monument in San Antonio, Texas. He was simply going about his business, partying like a rock star, and after a few drinks too many he stumbled out in the street dressed in a dress owned by his future wife Sharon Osbourne (she had hidden his clothes to keep him from going out) and emptied his full bladder on the nearest statue he could find.

He had no idea he was standing at the city’s sacred 60-foot-high Cenotaph, located directly across from the Alamo building. Hell, he was barely in any condition to remember what city he was in, let alone where he was relieving himself. Contrary to popular belief, Ozzy didn’t technically pee on the Alamo building itself, he peed within the Alamo Plaza, and he chose a pretty bad place.

I sometimes wonder if Osbourne’s public urination was a distraction or continued excess.  It was only a month earlier, January 20, 1982, that he bit the head off a bat during a concert.

The Why Doesn’t Matter: Everyone will speculate anyway

Even if the reason was despair and depression after being held a year in jail, this is going to raise questions (e.g. Why wasn’t he on suicide watch?) and feed the rumour mill.  Bloody hell.

Jean-Luc Brunel: Epstein associate found dead in Paris prison cell

A French modelling agent and close associate of the late US financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has been found dead in his prison cell in Paris.

Jean-Luc Brunel was found hanged in his cell in La Santé prison at 01:00 on Saturday, prosecutors told the BBC.

The 76-year-old had been held for over a year as he was investigated on suspicion of the rape of minors and trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation.

[. . .]

Brunel was detained at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport in December 2020 as he was trying to board a flight to Senegal.

His arrest was part of a French inquiry into sex trafficking and sexual assault allegations against Epstein, focusing on potential crimes committed against French victims and suspects who are French citizens.

Prosecutors suspected Brunel of raping, sexually assaulting and sexually harassing multiple minors and adults. They also suspected him of transporting and housing young girls or young women for Epstein.

Take A Second To Glance: Caesium is a really cool element

And by cool, I don’t just mean it’s melting point of 28.5°C, one of five metals with melting points not far above Standard Temperature and Pressure.  (Five of the six alkali metals have melting points under 100°C.)

Caesium is atomic element number 55 (yes, that’s its proper spelling), and has one stable isotope (133).  It is found mostly in central Canada and north-central US, and is a byproduct of lithium production and refinement.  It was identified as an element in 1860 by German chemists Gustav Kirchhoff and Robert Bunsen (the latter of whom also invented the Bunsen burner).

Caesium is an alkali metal, and is used in drilling fluid, optical glass, vacuum tubes, radiation monitoring equipment, and other uses.  It has no known biological uses, and is a low hazard to human health.  As with other alkali metals (lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium) it is highly reactive with water, with explosive results(Both are from the Periodic Videos youtube channel.)  On the Pauling scale, of all the known and tested elements caesium has the lowest Electronegativity, 0.79.



Caesium’s most important use is in atomic clocks.  The Earth’s rotation varies (speeding up and slowing down), so a solar clock cannot be highly accurate.  But Caesium atoms vibrate at a consistent rate, 9,192,631,770 times per second with little variation, making them ideal for atomic clocks.  They are accurate to within a second every three million years.

9,192,631,770 times per second would make me about 15,955,555,359,818,592,000 vibrations old.


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Nothing To See Here: The car(nage) isn’t his fault!

Melon Husk is one of the most successful serial killers, never to blame or held accountable for the deaths his cars cause.  It’s always “the nut behind the wheel” or “a software glitch”.

I mentioned before that last fall Paris banned cars from all roads other than major thoroughfares.  This resulted in an immediate reduction in injuries and deaths of pedestrians and cyclists.  In December 2021, there was a grand total of one cyclist kill by a car in Paris.

He was killed by a Tesla model 3.

Runaway Tesla left trail of destruction in central Paris, say witnesses

PARIS, Dec 15 (Reuters) – The off-duty taxi driver who crashed a Tesla Model 3 in Paris on Saturday night ploughed through metal posts, a row of pay-to-ride bicycles, a recycling bin full of glass and hit pedestrians and a van before finally coming to a halt, witnesses said.

Tillard Diomande was serving clients from behind his bar in the Moonlight African restaurant when the Tesla (TSLA.O) careened past. When he stepped outside, he said it was carnage.

“I thought it was an attack. There was glass, dust … it was as if there had been a blast,” Diomande told Reuters.

One person was killed, three were seriously hurt and another 17 injured in the accident in the 13th arrondissement of the capital on a street lined with bars, restaurants and shops.

Accordign to the Tesla Deaths website, as of today there are 234 deaths related to the cars, and twelve people Melon Husk has killed with his “autopilot”.  Just look at this video, the tesla turns towards a cyclist for no reason on a public road.  If not for intervention by the passenger behind the wheel, the car would have killed the cyclist.

Why is this crapware allowed on the road?

One Door Closes, The Other Opens: Britannia rues the waves

A century ago, the british empire still circled the world and was flush with cash.

Now it’s circling the bowl, about to get flushed.

Maximilien Robespierre is a youtube channel covering events on the Irish Isle and British Isle.  In this interview with author Kevin Meagher seen below, they discuss “Is A United Ireland Inevitable?”  Very likely yes, as the british economy lurches from one disaster to another while Northern Ireland stays buoyant thanks to the “Northern Ireland Protocol”.

For those who don’t know what it is, the NIP is a special exclusion for occupied Ireland.  The rest of the United Kingdom has completely left the European single market after brexit, but occupied Ireland has its feet in both camps.  It is both allowed to trade freely with free Ireland (and thus access the European market) while simultaneously being part of the UK.  It is the only part of the UK not to experience a massive economic downturn.

However, there are restrictions: Only goods produced in occupied Ireland can be exported to Europe as part of the European Union.  Anything coming from Britain cannot, and is subject to customs checks and tariffs if it crosses into free Ireland.  Anyone who has been watching A Different Bias will know that the UK economy is tanking and UK exports to Europe that once took an hour are now taking two days to cross the English Channel.  And January and February are the slowest months of the year, so just wait until the busy season comes.

Boris Johnson the lavaTories keep blaming the pandemic, but even the UK’s rightwing media are starting to tell the truth.  Johnson’s delusions of “global britain” have turned out to be local and isolated britain.

There is renewed talk of a second Scottish independence referendum, and both Wales and occupied Ireland are talking about leaving the UK.  Wales might become its own country, and a Sinn Fein led government would reunite Ireland.  Last week, the pro-UK rightwing parties ruling Belfast rendered themselves impotent after their leader resigned as First Minister, effectively suspending the government until new elections later this year.


Have you ever heard the allegory about a fifteen year old who thinks he knows everything and doesn’t want to obey rules at home, so he leaves?  And how it doesn’t take long for him to realize what a mistake he’s made?  The UK is that teenager.

Johnson and the lavaTories came to power with the ludicrous notion that the EU was “holding us back!” and that leaving the EU would bring “economic freedumb”.  Leaving didn’t bring independence, it brought exclusion.  Johnson is desperately trying to sign trade deals that are essentially worthless, and nobody wants to trade with the UK, they want to trade with Europe.  Johnson expected the US to side with it, but decades of pro-Irish sentiment (and having an Irish-origin president) has put the US completely on Ireland’s side.  The UK has no allies anywhere.

The UK still has money in its pockets, but it’s quickly running out.  How soon before it runs back home to mommy and daddy in Brussels?  Or maybe they won’t, since being part of the EU means being a democracy with human rights.  If you think the US republiclown’s voter suppression moves are bad, you should see what Johnson is proposing, e.g. criminalizing public protest.

I’ve said several times elsewhere that England could end up being the North Korea of Europe, and I don’t see anything to dissuade me of that.  The Channel Tunnel and rail travel through it will either become the thing that saves England from economic collapse, or England uses it to hold Scotland and Wales hostage.  Or both.

The Plot Thickens: As the blood thinners bring a double standard

I have zero interest in the olympics, and paid no attention to (actually did not hear about) Kamila Valieva’s positive drug test until discussion came up in a women’s group.

She took trimetazidine.  I heard about that drug around the time I was taking valsartan to lower my blood pressure.  For those with high blood pressure, it thins the blood and allows it to flow more easily in the body.  In athletes, that increased blood flow can increase how much oxygen enters the muscles, increasing athletic performance.  It’s a banned substance for that reason.

Valieva claims she “must have gotten it from a glass of water” that her grandfather was drinking from.  How much water was she drinking?  Five litres?  Or drinking a glass every day?  You don’t get a detectable amount in your system from a single passive drink.

According to the US’s NIH, the drug has a half life of six hours.  For it to be detectable in a drug test would mean she was taking it repeatedly over a long period of time or in a significant amount the day of the test.  From the link:

After oral administration, trimetazidine is rapidly absorbed from the intestinal tract, without significant effect of food on its bioavailability. The mean peak plasma concentration (Cmax) of the IR formulation was found to be 53.6 μg/L and was reached within 1.8 hours; the area under the plasma concentration–time curve (AUC0–∞) was 508.9 μg·L−1·h−1 after single and 831.4 μg·L−1·h−1 after multiple doses. Steady-state levels of trimetazidine are reached within 24 hours; it is biotransformed to a low extent into several metabolites only detectable in the urine. Trimetazidine is weakly bound to plasma proteins. Its elimination half-life is about 6 hours after single or repeated oral administration of IR tablets, with the majority of the drug excreted in the urine. In patients with renal impairment and in elderly people, the elimination half-life of trimetazidine increases, whereas the renal clearance decreases when compared with healthy young subjects.

Even if she didn’t know she was taking it, somebody was giving it to her.  That still makes her dirty and disqualified.

This, of course comes almost a year after Sha’Carri Richardson’s positive drug test for marijuana.  THC, the active substance in marijuana, is a depressant.  It decreases athletic performance and reaction times, something detrimental to sprinters which Richardson is.  So why was she disqualified?

Think back to the 1998 Nagano olympics.  Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati (white) was first disqualified after testing positive for having THC in his system.  That disqualification was overturned because it was deemed “accidental inhalation” (are you kidding me?) and “did not improve performance”.  If it didn’t improve his, why did it improve Richardson’s?

It’s Time To Name And Shame: Visit

Convoy Traitors is a new website created by an IT specialist in Ottawa. He’s the hero we need right now, trying to stop the clowns and he’s not in it for the money.

He decided the best way to fight back was to name the commercial companies whose trucks were in the convoy. The trucks are on public streets, and the clowns claim to be “proud”, so there’s no violation of privacy.  From the website:

Site Mission

Our mission is to document and shame every business that is identified as being involved in the 2022 Truckers Convoy occupation of Ottawa. This includes truckers, supporting businesses, hotels, and restaurants. By naming and tagging we hope to ensure that any future internet searches reveals the true nature of these businesses.

Note: I will only be posting clear photos where I can verify the business name and relative location. Close-ups, blurry shots, or shots outside of Ottawa are not posted.

Asking the internet to do anything is like trying to herd cats, but please don’t assume that because a company was represented at the protest that they condoned the actions of their drivers. Many truckers are owner/operators, working under contract for a parent company. Companies, you should be more careful about who associates with your business name.

Some of the trucks are being used with the business owners’ permission, and they are facing potential loss of business.  Other trucks are being used without permission, and employers and business owners are beginning to take action (firings, criminal charges).

The OPP and Racist Corrupt Misogynistic Pricks (RCMP) should have treated those in the “convoy” the same way they treated peaceful First Nations protesters at the illegally constructed pipeline.  But they didn’t and the won’t because cops are inherently racist.

Truckers misrepresenting employers by joining Ottawa protest, companies say

Daniel Miousse was shocked to see a photo of one of his company vehicles among the truck convoy protesters in downtown Ottawa, which was recently posted online.

Miousse, who owns an industrial fence company near Montreal, said he had no idea the pickup truck or his employee were in the nation’s capital. 

“One of our employees took our truck since, I think, last Wednesday,” said Miousse, who is currently in Florida. “I was very upset. So I sent four people Sunday morning to get our truck back.” 

He said he plans to fire the worker.

“I need to see him and ask him some questions. Why he didn’t ask anybody in the company?” said Miousse.

Unsurprisingly, fascistbook says the Convoy Traitors website “violates community standards”.  Yeah, right.  Fascistbook’s only standards are double standards.

Let’s Play: Some thoughts on “wordle”

Wordle is mastermind times the alphabet.

Oh, wait, you wanted more?  Okay.

Wordle was invented in October 2021 by Josh Wardle.  Filmmaker Tim Wardle is his brother.  Although Wardle was born in Wales, I doubt he has any family connection to John Wardle (a/k/a Jah Wobble, ex-Public Image bassist).

Grant Sanderson, creator of youtube channel 3Blue1Brown, recently made a video on wordle, seen below.  He did a statistical analysis showing that a thinking person with a good grasp of English (and perhaps access to the lexicon used by the game), should take four guesses on average to find the word. Others have written strategies on solving wordle puzzles.

As the preview picture shows, Sanderson suggests the word CRANE as the best opener.  It’s a good choice for multiple reasons.  First, all five letters are among the thirteen most common letters (ETAOINSHRDLCU) which make up about 84% of letters used in English.  Second, some of the letters are in positions that they occupy in many words (e.g. silent E at the end, R in many consontant digraphs).

I disagree with him only on the initial words to choose.  My default first and second words when playing are SHARE and TONIC.  They contain ten unique letters (all from the thirteen most common), are again in commonly found positions, and the first uses a digraph.


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Their Ignobel Prize Awaits: The study of emojis

Nature has published a study on emojis.  This could be a prime candidate for the Ignobel Prize this year.   The study classifies emojis in two ways:

valence: positive or negative emotional expressions

arousal: how the emoji is interpreted or responded to

The range of emojis, their meaning, and how seriously each is taken.  Which makes me wonder why this was even done to begin with.

Classification of 74 facial emoji’s emotional states on the valence-arousal axes


Emojis are frequently used by people worldwide as a tool to express one’s emotional states and have recently been considered for assessment in research. However, details regarding the ways in which they correspond to human emotional states remain unidentified. Thus, this study aimed to understand how emojis are classified on the valence and arousal axes and to examine the relationship between the former and human emotional states.


Based on our findings, the fact that emojis can display human emotional states in considerably greater detail than reported previously will accelerate their use in research fields such as consumer studies that can benefit from evaluating these states. This is because the traditional text-based methods can be taxing for the participants, and emojis are considered an easier way to examine human emotional states. In addition, the latter may have the advantage of being less impacted by the participants’ native language than the former. However, this study, as well as prior research on human emotional states expressed by emojis, have many limitations, which are discussed below. Further research is warranted to deepen our understanding of the relationship between emojis and human emotional states; nevertheless, our findings would further increase emoji use in various research areas where human emotional states need to be assessed.

I Know How He Feels: Sometimes, nostalgia feels good

Frivilous nonsense here:

Cinemassacre‘s (also known at the Angry Video Game Nerd) release his latest video a few days ago, and it really hits home.  It’s not just about VHS and video formats or Nintendo games.  It’s about that sense of anticipation of movie watching (saving money to buy or searching video stores to rent movies).  It’s about the waiting and the effort required to enjoy movies (watching or recording from TV, being home or setting your VCR).  It’s about the shared experience of an era that only people who lived throught it know about.  And it doesn’t have to be movies or TV – it could be anime, comic books, magazines, the newest Dungeons & Dragons module, whatever.

It’s now possible to watch anything instantly from any era.  I bet I could binge watch any TV series from my past (or before I was born) and see every episode.  But as he says, it’s not the same, both because the instant gratification takes away the anticipation and the effort, takes away the mystery of not knowing what to expect.

Worst of all (though he touches on this the least) how music is no longer an album experience.  Artists make ten to twelve songs, but because only one gets heard, the rest are ignored instead of shared secrets, favourite album cuts that dedicated fans know and anticipate at live shows.

At 17:55, he says:

“But on the other side of that, there were many other bands that I didn’t get to hear back then because I was too busy focusing on one thing at a time.  So, the question is, is it better to have access to more all at once, or to have less, and appreciate it more?

I identify with and shared the same experiences he talks about.  This might even bring a tear to some eyes. ^_^