Making Do: When you’re not rich, you have to

This is pure nostalgia, not anything productive.

A few items ago, I mentioned working as a security guard during college back in the 1990s.  That almost always meant working nights unless working a concert, a beer garden or some other evening event.  FM radio and a walkman were accessories and necessities when bored out of your mind at 4AM and trying not to sleep on the job.  Late night radio is usually when you find interesting things that you don’t hear elsewhere, local DJs or the CBC playing stuff that would never pass in the daytime.

In the 1980s to early 2000s, CBC had two popular late night programs: Brave New Waves with Brent Bambury from Sunday to Thursday, and Nightlines with David Wisdom on Friday and Saturday.  They were “anything goes” programs, featuring the strange and the eclectic, introducing me to Nirvana and They Might Be Giants years before commercial success, John Zorn, Negativland, and a slough of others.  Here’s a 26 minute sample of Nightlines from 1989.  Brave New Waves ran from midnight until 4AM, Nightlines from 12AM until 5AM.  If you’re working security, you get to hear it on the air, but what if you hear and want to record something that will probably never be broadcast again because it’s too weird for commercial radio?

More below the fold….

[Read more…]

Maxwell Housed: From penthouse to penitentiary

Ghislaine Maxwell was recently arrested, a combination of pleasant, surprising, and overdue.

She is now being kept at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York.  She has been placed on suicide watch and given paper clothes, a fact she doubtlessly won’t like.  I suspect she isn’t a suicide risk, this is more about preventing whatever happened to Jeffrey Epstein when the security cameras mysteriously stopped working.

Ghislaine Maxwell given paper clothes at correctional center to avoid suicide attempt: Sources

Ghislaine Maxwell, the recently arrested confidant of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was given paper clothes upon checking into the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, over fears that she might take her own life, two federal law enforcement sources confirm to ABC News.

It’s unclear whether Maxwell has been placed on suicide watch.

Sources stressed to ABC News that it is standard procedure for high-profile inmates or new inmates. However, one source told ABC News that the federal Bureau of Prisons has gone to “great measures” to ensure Maxwell’s safety.

Her lawyers are arguing she “is not a flight risk”, a dubious argument for someone with three passports who spent ten months on the run, knowing she was wanted.  Five million dollars bond is throwaway money to someone with access to hundreds of millions, both Epstein’s money and her own family’s.  Her father was convicted fraudster Robert Maxwell, who stole hundreds of millions from the Mirror Group publishing company.  Put her in solitary if COVID-19 is such a concern.

Ghislaine Maxwell should be released from jail due to COVID-19, her lawyers say

Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime Jeffrey Epstein confidant accused of helping him sexually abuse underage girls, should be granted bail because of the COVID-19 threat in jail, her lawyers said Friday.

Maxwell, 58, has been locked up at a federal detention facility in New York following her arrest last week on charges connected to Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking network.

In new court papers, her lawyers cited the risks of the coronavirus as one reason she should be released from jail to home confinement. They proposed that she be freed on a $5 million bond secured by six co-signers and property in the U.K. worth $3.75 million.

The most galling “news” item I’ve seen recently came from Reuters (and others).  They’re inferring that people should feel “empathy” for Maxwell because she’s being subjected to strip searches and body cavity examinations for contraband.

I am not mocking her feelings or humiliation Maxwell feels as her body is invaded.  Where is the media’s empathy for the teenage girls who Maxwell helped traffic and rape?  I haven’t heard any.  The media only seems to care about a wealthy white woman, not dozens of teenage girls who did not put themselves in that situation.

‘Crushing experience’ awaits Ghislaine Maxwell at troubled jail

Ghislaine Maxwell was detained on Monday in a troubled U.S. jail in Brooklyn where she will undergo humiliating searches and be denied nearly all possessions, a far cry from the luxury estate where she was arrested as an accused accomplice of Jeffrey Epstein.

[. . .]

“You go from living a life like Maxwell to all of a sudden being in a situation where you’re being strip-searched and having people look into your body cavities,” said Cameron Lindsay, a former warden at the MDC. “That is a crushing experience.”

[. . .]

Lindsay said MDC officials will have to weigh whether to keep Maxwell in her 10-foot-by-12-foot (about 3-meter-by-3.7-meter) cell alone or housed with another female prisoner.

A cellmate might help prevent her from attempting suicide, a critical issue following Epstein’s death, but Lindsay said the nature of her charges and her high profile also makes her a target.

For other prisoners, injuring Maxwell “would be a badge of honor,” said Lindsay.

Killing Maxwell “would be a badge of honour”?  That is a jail, not a prison.  The women housed with Maxwell don’t want to go to prison (espeically those overcharged and falsely charged with crimes).  It is a laughable notion that anyone would risk their freedom for a tiny bit of notariety.

Metro UK (hardly the bastion of honest journalism) reports that a man claims to have videos of rapes taking place.  I don’t want to see them, but if they exist I’d like to see names given.  He should name them now, let everyone know and make them defend themselves.

Ghislaine Maxwell ‘has tapes of two famous US politicians having sex with underage girls’

Child sex abuse suspect Ghislaine Maxwell has tapes of two prominent American politicians having sex with underage girls, it is claimed. Maxwell’s alleged stash was revealed by a jewel thief calling himself William Steel, who claimed he’d been forced to watch the abuse clips by Maxwell, 58, and her pedophile ex Jeffrey Epstein to prove their power.

Steel told The Sun: ‘I was forced to watch their videos because they were trying to impress me. They wanted to convince me of their power and who they held in their grip. They boasted about ‘owning’ powerful people.

‘Ghislaine was more into showing me those than Jeff…I saw videos of very powerful people — celebrities, world figures — in those videos having sex, threesomes, even orgies with minors.’

Steel says he was shown the footage to ‘intimate’ and ‘impress him. He added that Maxwell was a ‘nymphomaniac’ who ‘would try anything in bed.’ He said he is now keen to speak to prosecutors about what he saw after Maxwell was arrested on suspicion of child sex abuse.

Anyone with decency wants to see her forced to name names, confess, give justice to the victims and serve a life sentence.  I do not want to see another incompetent court allowing her to walk with minimal prison time.  I do not want her to be the Karla Homolka of the rich and famous.


Keep Out: An RSVP to the US

RSVP = Rattle Snakes and Varmints Prohibited

As we’re all aware, most countries now have COVID-19 under control enough for their medical systems to cope. But in certain other countries, it’s running rampant: Brazil, India, Russia, Chile, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China (whether they admit it or not), etc.  Australia‘s inept rightwing government opened three weeks too early.  Now the state of Victoria has to close again for at least six to ten weeks and the New South Wales border completely closed. Someone I know moved there this past year, and the second lockdown is hitting her hard because of her mental health issues.  The UK “reopened” last week, and people got riproaring drunk.

And of course, the US. Comparing the US’s and Canada’s numbers from the past month, the difference is stark and staggering.  It speaks volumes when even a rightwing buffoon like Doug Ford (Ontario’s premier) has handled things better than most US governors, including some democrats.

      Canada:     June 10     July 10     Difference

      Total        97,125     107,126        10,001
      Active       32,526      27,466        -5,060
      Deaths        7,960       8,759           799

      US:         June 10     July 10     Difference

      Total     2,067,718   3,291,786     1,224,068
      Active    1,115,747   1,694,620      +578,873
      Deaths      117,600     136,671        19,071

Unlike the others being overwhelmed, the US sees itself as exempt from other countries’ soveriegnty and right to limit travel in and out of the country. Just this past week, a bunch of 1%ers decided to travel to Italy on a private flight but were rejected at the airport. (Though not by all – some of the immigration officers were looking for an excuse to let them in.) They claim they were “treated like criminals” – but only if you mean like Roger Stone.  They certainly weren’t treated like Latin American migrants.

For whetever reason, some have been able to travel to Ireland. Some travellers say they will abide by quarantine rules, while others are clearly defiant and should be deported.

‘We came to Ireland to essentially avoid Florida’ – The passengers arriving in Ireland from the US

As Irish people continue to be advised against non-essential overseas travel, flights in and out of the country have increased in recent weeks – including from some countries struggling to bring the coronavirus situation under control.

The US is one of those countries facing a continuing challenge, with many states seeing record high cases in recent days and weeks.

Four flights arrived in Dublin Airport from the US this morning – from New York, Chicago, Newark and Dallas.

[. . .]

Meanwhile, one of those flying in from Dallas called the 14-day rule “very necessary”, and said she’d be following the advice as she’s here for five weeks.

However, another passenger who flew in from Texas suggested the COVID-19 situation was “overblown”.

He argued: “I personally don’t know anyone or don’t know anyone who knows anybody who has had it.

Canada has this problem on a massive scale with a pourous 5000km long border and no wall separating it. Individual claiming they are “travelling to Alaska!” have turned out to be liars, stopping in Canadian towns and cities as if rules don’t apply to them.  The “driving through” exemption needs to end.  They can fly there or take the ferry from Seattle.

And now there are idiot politicians in the US demanding Canada open the border without restrictions. Whether they are just deniers (“hoax!”), selfish and unconcerned about other countries, or colonialists with blankets, they seem intent on making the US’s problem into Canada’s.

Canadians push back as U.S. Congress pressures Canada to reopen shared border

As U.S. members of Congress push Canada to reopen its shared border with the United States, Canadians are pushing back — both in government and on social media.

In an open letter addressed to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, 29 bipartisan members of Congress called on the Canadian government to plan a phased reopening of the Canada-U.S. border and to consider easing existing measures.

[. . .]

Despite the United States’ plea, a spokesperson for Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told in a Friday statement that the health and safety of Canadians is “absolutely priority.”

“Decisions about Canada’s border are made by Canadians, for Canadians,” said Freeland’s spokesperson, Katherine Cuplinskas, in the statement.

They had damn well better.

Putting Out: TISM’s most famous song was released in July 2005

TISM (an acronym of This Is Serious Mum) were an Australian alternative rock band from the mid-1980s until the early 2010s.  They performed live wearing white balaclavas and had ridiculous stage names. They didn’t have much international success, but were famous at home.

In 2004, they released their sixth and last studio album, “The White Albun” (that’s not a typo).  The albun’s. . .sorry, album’s single was “Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me”.  The band had a competition to make the video, and Flash animation artist Bernard Derriman won, the video seen below. It was released in July 2005, fifteen years ago. It’s still as funny now as it was then.

The song’s bridge is scientifically interesting, and infamous for its profanity:

All lives have to die, of that there’s no help
My favourite way to end ’em
Is the orb-weaver spider’s, whose pedipalp
Enters the female pudendum
Then dies on the spot
His corpse there still stuck
Left for his rivals to curse it
He would rather die than not get to fuck
Personally, I reckon it’s worth it

Hypocrisy Abounds: Mary Kay Letourneau, dead at 58

Mary Kay Letourneau died of cancer on July 6, 2020.  She was a schoolteacher who in 1997 raped her 12 year old student, Vili Fualaau. She was convicted of the crime, but given only a six month sentence.  She violated a “no contact” order and became pregnant by Fualaau a second time, whereupon she was sentenced to seven years in prison. She later married him, they divorced in 2019.

This was a case of the guilty and the victims, and no winners.  But it’s not her crime and death on my mind. It’s society’s hypocritical reaction to it, in two different forms.

First: The hypocritical response of toxic masculinity.

When there are cases of adult males raping children, you’ll hear threats of violence along with the outrage. “Castrate and kill the SOB!” is a common response. And when it’s teachers raping students, the outrage is about the betrayal of trust.

So where was that outrage when Letourneau raped Fualaau?  There was very little.  Many of those who threatened to kill male violators turned Letourneau’s crime into an adult male’s sick sexual fantasy. “He got lucky!” “Any guy would be glad to be in his shoes!” They say it all the louder when the woman involved is young and is considered attractive.

When males voice that opinion, especially talking heads on TV, it tells me they’re as much a danger to children as anyone who has raped a child. Letourneau’s crime was her sexual fantasy. How is it different when males talk and joke about it?  Rape harms children, no matter who the perpetrator is.

Second: The hypocrisy of news coverage and social discussion.

Can you name five adult male teachers who raped their students and became infamous for it? I can’t, even though such crimes happen with great frequency.

How many women teachers can you name who raped students and their names were plastered across the media? Search google for “woman teachers who slept with students” and you’ll find dozens of pictures, dozens of names. One link entitled “500 Female Teacher Sex Offenders – Female Teacher Sex Crime Cases” came from the Canadian Children’s Rights Council, a site that shouldn’t be glamourizing this crime or portraying it as a “female problem”.  But it certainly looks like it is.

The news media constantly focuses on the “danger of women teachers” to the exclusion of males who are far more likely to be predators. When I searched for “male teachers who slept with students” HALF of the pictures shown were women. This doesn’t happen by accident.

I Cried: Over a two minute stop motion Godzilla film

TOHO Co. Ltd. of Japan owns the character Godzilla, which first appeared in a 1954 film. It has appeared in 32 films over the decades.

I say It, because TOHO has always referred to Godzilla as It, never specifying a gender. Only films made in the US or translated for US audiences referred to Godzilla as “he”.

This past week, Cressa Beer released a stop motion film for June’s pride events. It’s only two minutes long and does not say a word, but it’s message of Transgender acceptance is wonderful. The film has TOHO’s approval, appearing on the official Godzilla twitter page.

Yes, I cried while watching this.

Let’s Remember: Ennio Morricone, 1928-2020

I’m sad to say that Italian composer Ennio Morricone (born November 10, 1928) has died of undisclosed causes, age 91.

Morricone has few equals as a film composer both in quality and length of career.  (Mancini?  Williams?  Schifrin?)  He wrote legendary pieces of Sergio Leone’s “spaghetti westerns” of the 1960s, working continuously over the decades (“The Mission”, “The Untouchables”) right up until the 2010s, with Quentin Tarantino’s “Hateful Eight”.

His career in writing film scores has few parallels, from the 1960s to the 2010, producing masterpieces all the while. From Morricone’s official youtube channel:

The Best of Ennio Morricone

The soundtrack to “Cinema Paradiso”

“Wisdom and Beauty” music collection

Do listen, it will enrich your life.  From the BBC:

Ennio Morricone: Oscar-winning Italian film composer dies aged 91

Ennio Morricone, the Italian composer whose credits include the “spaghetti” Westerns that made Clint Eastwood a star, has died in Rome aged 91.

According to Italian news agency Ansa, he died in hospital having fractured his femur in a fall some days ago.

The prolific composer also wrote music for Once Upon a Time in America, The Untouchables and Cinema Paradiso.

Having received an honorary Oscar in 2007, he went on to win one in 2016 for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.

Morricone, who was simply known as “Maestro” in his home town of Rome, scored more than 500 films over seven decades.

[. . .]

[Sergio] Leone called the composer’s contributions “indispensable” and would have him write the score before shooting so he could design his shots around Morricone’s contributions.

[. . .]

Before his [Oscar] win for The Hateful Eight, Morricone received Oscar nominations for Days of Heaven, The Mission, The Untouchables, Bugsy and Malena.

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Also of note, Charlie Daniels (October 28, 1936 – July 6, 2020) died of a stroke on Tuesday, age 83. His biggest hit was “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (link to the song), from 1979, which was #1 on the country charts and Top 5 on the mainstream charts in many countries.

Show And Tell: What I did on Saturday

Did anyone else see live music on Saturday? O_-

The Taipei Scream event took place today, eight bands performing 45 minute sets between 2pm and 10pm, followed by an afterparty at a bar.  I saw five great bands for NT$500 (US$17).  Of the three bands I didn’t watch, I saw five minutes each of two that weren’t particularly good, the opening act I missed completely.  I arrived just before 4pm, when one of my two friends’ bands played, the other at 5pm.

The first link (to facebook) contains a few pictures from each of the five bands I saw: All My Boyfriendz, second was Last Minute Latin Band, next The Flat Fives (not the US band of a similar name), Bunnlysium and headliners Skaraoke.  Skaraoke is the band pictured below.

The second link and third link are sets of video clips from the five shows, plus a couple of clips from the after party.  The sound in person was far better than the recording on my phone.  And to quote the lead singer of Bunnlysium, “**** the CCP!”

The organizers were American ex-pats, so naturally they made the event about that and not a word about Canada Day.  You can’t have everything in life. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Followed by a Cosplay event on Sunday.  Unfortunately, I don’t have costume ready, so I’ll only be taking pictures.


An item I wrote about fireworks three years ago.  Don’t use them in populated areas.


Infamy Remembered: RB Bennett, 1870-1947

Richard Bedford Bennett (RB Bennett) was born July 3, 1870, one hundred and fifty years ago today.  He died June 26, 1947, clearly not soon enough.  He was Canada’s 11th prime minister, “leading” the country from 1930 until 1935.

If by leading, you mean leading it into ruin that didn’t have to happen.

Bennett was a millionaire lawyer who came to power via populism, opposition to the moderately successful 1920s under William Lyon Mackenzie King.  Despite empty promises, Bennett’s policies were empty and his ineptitude made the effects of the Great Depression far worse.

Does that sound at all familiar?

Up until Bennett, the majority of Canadian prime ministers were Conservative Party leaders.  After Bennett, the majority (of numbers and years in power) were Liberal Party leaders.

From the CBC:

Blaming the Prime Minister

Richard (R.B.) Bennett was a tough-talking millionaire whom Canadians turned to as a beacon of hope during the first years of the Great Depression. He soon became the focus of a nation’s anger as hard times intensified.

Bennett, the Conservative opposition leader, ran against Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King during the 1930 federal election. King had led the country through the prosperous 1920s but did little to acknowledge the growing economic crisis. Bennett seemed to offer more hope.

“The Conservative Party is going to find work for all who are willing to work, or perish in the attempt,” he told a Moncton audience while on the campaign trail. “Mr. King promises consideration of the problem of employment. I promise to end unemployment. Which plan do you like best?”

Canadians elected Bennett with a commanding majority.

Once in office, Bennett had few concrete visions for drawing Canadians out of the crisis. Basically, he believed governments should interfere as little as possible in the free enterprise system. His few efforts to regulate the economy involved traditional policies. Bennett raised tariffs to unprecedented levels in an effort to protect Canadian markets and convinced Britain to offer Canada some preferential trading opportunities.

But these efforts did not stop the economic hemorrhage.

By 1932, almost a quarter of workers were jobless. Bennett was forced to adopt less traditional economic measures and the federal government gave the provinces $20 million for relief programs. Bennett also created labour camps to provide unemployed single men with a subsistence living. Men lived in bunkhouses and were paid 20 cents a day in return for a 44-hour week of hard labour.

The camps were very unpopular and so was Bennett. His initiatives offered Canadians no concrete ways to get back to work.

Canadians looked at the portly bachelor who lived in style at the Château Laurier Hotel in Ottawa and wondered how he could ever understand their misery. The Prime Minister became the target of endless jokes. Cars which were towed by horses because there was no money for fuel were called “Bennett buggies.”

From there, it gets worse.

To those from the US reading this, may your incompetent buffoon be deposed ASAP.

What Does It Take: For a crimes against humanity charge?

If intentionally starving Palestinians to death, denying them food and an income, then shooting those who try to save their crops doesn’t count, what does?  Are comparisons to the Lodz Ghetto “unfair” because the Palestinians aren’t walled into a confined space…oh, wait, they are.

Israel settlers set fire to Palestinian fields in West Bank

Israeli soldiers shot Palestinians after their fields were set on fire by extremist settlers in the West Bank

Israeli soldiers shot Palestinians after their fields in the north of the occupied West Bank were set on fire by extremist settlers, reported Wafa news agency.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official in charge of the settlements file in the northern West Bank, told Wafa yesterday that the Israeli settlers took advantage of the hot weather to spread the fire they set in Burin village, south of Nablus.

He added that settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar set fire to fields in the village and when residents attempted to stop them, occupation forces shot rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas at the Palestinians.

According to the Times of Israel, Palestinians from Burin filmed ten masked settlers descending from the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Givat Ronen, hurling stones at a construction site on the edge of the village before setting an adjacent field on fire and fleeing back toward their outpost.

Rights group Yesh Din said residents had told them that the masked settlers fled toward the Har Bracha settlement after setting the fire.

The rights group said another blaze was reported in the eastern part of Burin an hour later.

This sounds like an organized and coordinated attack, not “the israeli military showing up to defend squatters”.  Why were they right there, at the ready to fire after the arson if it wasn’t planned?

It’s not the only inhumane thing I’ve heard this year.  From Counterpunch, April 2020:

Spreading the Virus of Occupation: Spitting as a Weapon in the Hand of Colonial Israel

Spitting at someone is a universal insult. In Israel, however, spitting at Palestinians is an entirely different story.

Now that we know that the deadly coronavirus can be transmitted through saliva droplets, Israeli soldiers and illegal Jewish settlers are working extra hard to spit at as many Palestinians, their cars, doorknobs, and so on, as possible.

If this sounds to you too surreal and repugnant, then you might not be as familiar with the particular breed of Israeli colonialism as you may think you are.

[. . .]

Two particular elements in this story require a pause:

First, that acts of spitting at Palestinians and their properties, by both occupation soldiers and settlers, have been widely reported in many parts of occupied Palestine.

This means that, within a matter of days, the Israeli army and settlers’ cultures so swiftly adapted their pre-existing racism to employ a deadly virus as the latest tool in subjugating and harming Palestinians, whether physically or symbolically.

Second, the degree of ignorance and buffoonery that accompany these racist and degrading acts.

The power paradigm that has governed the relationship between colonial Israel and colonized Palestinians has, thus far, followed a typical trajectory, where Israel’s bad deeds often go unpunished.

Considering Palestine’s population density (847/km^2) is more than twice that of Israel (400/km^2) and the lack of medical resources due to blockades, Palestine has done surprisingly well.  Palestine‘s rate of COVID-19 infections (3150+ out of 5.05m) is one fifth that of Israel‘s (27,600+ out of 8.89m) and the death rate 1/18th (10 versus 326).

War crimes such as the intentional bombing of non-military targets like schools continue unabated.  Maybe the US will be too busy with COVID-19 to veto a UN resolution….


Music Rules: The years certainly have gone by…

Two thoughts on Canada Day, 2020:

In one of his many collections of essays, Canadian humourist Eric Nicol mused about what it means to be a Canadian.  He wrote that a Canadian citizenship document would probably say:

“This is to certify I am not an American.” 

I’m not much of a nationalist or flag waver, so that sums me up pretty well.  We can’t even do controversy well, like the Canadian ambassador to Russia allegedly “interfering” with Russia’s attempt to ban marriage equality.

One of the few things I am nationalistic about is music.  Most Canadian music doesn’t travel well because of Canadian Content laws, or CanCon (which will turn 50 years old in 2021).  The laws forced record companies to develop Canadian acts, which created multiple generations of Canadian music.  But at the same time, the US, UK and other places said, “They’re only on Canadian radio because of CanCon, not because they’re any good.”  Their loss.  (Except France, which was happy to have Quebecois artists.)

A year before CanCon, Mashmakhan’s “As The Years Go By” was released in summer 1970, fifty years ago.  It was a #1 hit in Canada in August 1970, a Top 40 in the US, and went platinum in several countries, a rarity for any singles in that era, let alone for a Canadian group. It wasn’t number 1 on Dominion Day (what is now Canada Day), but this is close enough.

As summer ends, though, kidding goes out the window when I talk about a darker event in Canada’s history.

You Suck: Thumbs in the womb as predictors of handedness

I actively look for articles and studies on handedness but they’re not always easy to find.  Sometimes I only run across them by accident, like this item from June 2020 on handedness in the womb.  It addresses the “nature or nurture” argument about handedness:

Does Left-Handedness Develop Before or After Birth?

About 10.6% of humans are left-handed (Papadatou-Pastou et al., 2020). One of the longstanding questions in scientific research on left-handedness is, at which point in life it actually develops.

One commonly held idea is that it is possible to know for certain whether a child is left-handed or not once he or she starts writing. However, scientific studies show that left-handedness actually develops much earlier to in primary school. In fact, it actually develops before we are even born.

Scientists have investigated left-handedness in unborn babies using real-time ultrasound recording in order to track the movements of their arms and hands in the womb.

For example, one study analyzed real-time ultrasound recordings of 72 fetuses 10 weeks after gestation, focusing on left and right arm movements (Hepper et al., 1998).

[. . .]

The big question about these studies on arm movements and thumb sucking is, whether these behaviors actually predict left- and right-handedness later in life or are unrelated. To answer this question, a longitudinal study tested handedness in 75 children aged between 10 and 12 years in which thumb sucking preferences had been examined using real-time ultrasound recording when they were still fetuses (Hepper et al., 2005).

The results were quite impressive.

Overall, 60 of the children were right-handed as fetuses and all 60 were also right-handed at ages 10 to 12. Thus, a preference to suck the right thumb as a fetus is highly predictive of right-handedness in later life. The remaining 15 children preferred to suck the left thumb as fetuses. In this group, 10 children were left-handers at ages 10 to 12, and 5 were right-handers.

Thus, thumb-sucking preferences as fetus predicted handedness as a child in 70 out of 75 children correctly.

The emphasis at the end is mine.

Once again, correlation does not prove causation, but it does prove this should be studied more.  Leave lefty kids alone until the science is in.  And even then, leave them alone.

Last Gasp: Cheetolini knows he can’t win

According to a new item in Politico, it’s not if Cheetolini loses, but how badly.  Despite all the attempts at vote rigging, the rousing of the rabble, corruption and placing cronies into positions of power, and the toadies in the senate, he still can’t consolidate unchecked power.  I suspect he realizes now he can’t even steal the election by force.

Trump admits it: He’s losing

Amid a mountain of bad polling and stark warnings from allies, the president has acknowledged his reelection woes to allies.

The president has privately come to that grim realization in recent days, multiple people close to him told POLITICO, amid a mountain of bad polling and warnings from some of his staunchest allies that he’s on course to be a one-term president.

[. . .]

What should have been an easy interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday horrified advisers when Trump offered a rambling, non-responsive answer to a simple question about his goals for a second term. In the same appearance, the normally self-assured president offered a tacit acknowledgment that he might lose when he said that Joe Biden is “gonna be your president because some people don’t love me, maybe.”

[. . .]

If Trump’s numbers erode to 35 percentage points over the next two weeks, Nunberg added, “He’s going to be facing realistically a 400-plus electoral vote loss and the president would need to strongly reconsider whether he wants to continue to run as the Republican presidential nominee.”

Behind the scenes, Trump and his team are taking steps to correct course. In the week since his Tulsa rally, the president has grudgingly conceded that he’s behind, according to three people who are familiar with his thinking. Trump, who vented for days about the event, is starting to take a more hands-on role in the campaign and has expressed openness to adding more people to the team. He has also held meetings recently focusing on his efforts in individual battleground states.

I know Hitler analogies are always a bad idea, but that republiclown is adopting the “hands on approach”, assuming he’s a military or political genius who can fix everything.  He can’t even run his own businesses, going bankrupt six times.  And he seems hell bent on emulating a second by allowing COVID-19 to run rampant: Hitler’s desire to destroy Germany completely rather than the country live in defeat.

The question is, will the US survive that long?  Some people are optimistic.  I’m not so sure.

A Milestone Reached: 10,000,000 COVID-19 infections worldwide

For the past three months, I’ve been keeping track of when the number of worldwide infections hit each new half million infected (except for the first listed, of course).  These are not exact times and numbers, but close enough to within the hour and within 500 deaths.

In March, it took roughly six days for each new 500,000 infections.  Now in June, it’s taking less than three days.  Depending on how you view it, the “good” (?) news is that most new infections are limited to four countries: the US, Russia, Brazil and India. The rest of the world pretty much has it under control, even hard hit countries like Ecuador. (China’s real numbers are anyone’s guess. The government’s tallies certainly can’t be believed.)

Please excuse the missed times and numbers on June 21 and 24, things were hectic on those days.

June  27 @ 18:00 UTC: 10,000,000 infected, 498,900 dead
June  24 @ **:** UTC:  9,500,000 infected, 484,900 dead
June  21 @ **:** UTC:  9,000,000 infected
June  18 @ 18:00 UTC:  8,500,000 infected, 455,000 dead
June  15 @ 12:00 UTC:  8,000,000 infected, 436,200 dead
June  11 @ 15:00 UTC:  7,500,000 infected, 420,400 dead
June   7 @ 14:00 UTC:  7,000,000 infected, 403,000 dead
June   3 @ 17:00 UTC:  6,500,000 infected, 384,500 dead
May   29 @ 22:00 UTC:  6,000,000 infected, 366,000 dead
May   25 @ 04:30 UTC:  5,500,000 infected, 346,700 dead
May   20 @ 10:00 UTC:  5,000,000 infected, 325,000 dead
May   14 @ 21:00 UTC:  4,500,000 infected, 302,000 dead
May    8 @ 21:00 UTC:  4,000,000 infected, 275,000 dead
May    3 @ 11:00 UTC:  3,500,000 infected, 245,000 dead
April 27 @ 08:00 UTC:  3,000,000 infected, 207,000 dead
April 21 @ 16:00 UTC:  2,500,000 infected, 174,000 dead
April 15 @ 09:00 UTC:  2,000.000 infected, 126,800 dead
April  8 @ 20:30 UTC:  1,500,000 infected,  87,800 dead
April  2 @ 18:00 UTC:  1,000,000 infected,  51,000 dead
March 26 @ **:** UTC:    500,000 infected,  34,000 dead
March 20 @ **:** UTC:    275,000 infected,  11,400 dead

Other good news: In the first month, the number of dead increased almost 50% each time. The numbers of new dead have decreased roughly every two weeks, from 40,000 in early May down to less than 15,000 in June for every 500,000 new infections. That tells you the hard work of nurses, doctors and other medical workers have paid off. Let’s just hope that effort hasn’t gone to waste.

What I Saw: My trip to Chiayi last Sunday

As mentioned a few days (posts) ago, I went to Chiayi, Taiwan last Sunday, June 21st.  Chiayi is exactly on the 23rd parallel, the Tropic of Skin Cancer as I call it. The combination of summer solstice and annular solar eclipse in the same afternoon were too good to pass up.

The good: I got to see both with my own eyes, the sun directly overhead at noon, and the darkened sky as the full eclipse happened.  This is a corona that you do want to see.

The bad: I got stuck at the High Speed Rail station, unable to get into downtown Chiayi until 13:00, which meant the most of the objects I shot weren’t perfectly aligned with no shadow.  And my camera was useless for photographing the eclipse, but at least there are other people’s photos I can link to.  And I got a horrible sunburn, even with an umbrella.

This photo is from an item on the Central News Agency (Taiwan)A second news article on the site includes a two hour video of the full event on youtube.  Below the fold are a few of the pictures I took at the Solar Exploration Centre, and from other sights in the area. also has an item on the event with photos from around Asia.

[Read more…]