Forty Days To Go: For me, Hallowe’en starts today

The worst day of the Salem Witch Trials came on September 22, 1692, three hundred and twenty nine years ago today.  Twenty victims were murdered by religious fanatics between June and October that year, eight of them on a single day.  It likely would have continued had Governor Phips not had his Joseph Welch moment, a moment that made everyone stop and look at what they were doing, the harm they were causing.  The trials ended by October 29, 1692.

I hereby declare that as soon as I came from fighting … and understood what danger some of their innocent subjects might be exposed to, if the evidence of the afflicted persons only did prevaile either to the committing or trying any of them, I did before any application was made unto me about it put a stop to the proceedings of the Court and they are now stopt till their Majesties pleasure be known.

The title is because September 22 to October 31 is forty days inclusive. Salem Witch Trials

Smithsonian Mag: A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials Witch Trials of 1692

Is there really any difference between the rabble that wanted to burn witches centuries ago, and the rabble today that want ignore scientific reality, actively seeking to spread a preventable disease?  The violent and fanatics of today may not be spreading fire, but they’re just as damaging with their spittle.

According to The Lancet, well over a million children worldwide have been left orphaned (both or their single parent dying) due to COVID-19, and over half a million more lost one parent.  And that’s only from official estimates; unofficial tallies from India suggest five million more people died than official figures, not counted because they didn’t die in hospitals.  They make Desantis’s fake numbers in Florida look like a minor bookkeeping error.  How many more million innocent victims will die and be left orphans before the pandemic starts to slow in 2022 or 2023?



In 1918, Sara Teasdale wrote and published a poem entitled, “There Will Come Soft Rains”, about the end of World War I.  While she was writing about war, she could have as easily been (and likely was) talking about the millions killed by the pandemic.  It seemed fitting, even if it has nothing to do with Hallowe’en.

"There Will Come Soft Rains"

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.


Stop Driving, Walk And Ride Instead: It’s World Car Free Day today

September 22 is World Car Free Day, a day and a movement to encourage people to walk, ride bicycles, and take public transit instead of driving wasteful single person vehicles.  There’s a myriad of good reasons to stop driving: it’s cheaper than owning a car, better for the environment, less wasteful, makes streets safer, less weight on crumbling infrastructure, among others.

As twenty months of COVID-19 have shown, bike riding had many positive effects on cities around the world.  Many are creating new bicycle routes or closing off large areas of cities to cars, returning public spaces to people that should have always been theirs.  New York’s mass of business closures due to the pandemic freed up streets, and Paris has enacted strict 30kmh speed limits throughout the entire city, excluding major thoroughfares.  If only more cities had the courage to try it as London and Brisbane have done.

World Car-Free Day 2021: History and Significance

World Car-Free Day, as the name suggests, is an opportunity to highlight the benefits of going car-free. The day is celebrated every year on 22 September around the globe to encourage motorists to give up their cars for a day.

According to the official website of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), “the event highlights the numerous benefits of going car-free to citizens—including reduced air pollution and the promotion of walking and cycling in a safer environment.”

World Car-Free Day: History

Multiple informal car-free days are being organized in countries like Iceland, UK, etc., since 1990s. However, the campaign went global with the World Car-Free Day launched by Carbusters (now World Carfree Network) in 2000.

From Living Streets UK:

World Car Free Day

22 September is World Car Free Day, when all around the world towns and cities allow people to experience streets free of motor traffic.

It’s a great chance to re-imagine our streets around people.

Car Free Metro DC:

What is Car Free Day?

Car Free Day is a free international event celebrated every September 22 in which people are encouraged to get around without driving alone in cars and instead ride a train, bus, bicycle, carpool, vanpool, subway, or walk. For those that have the ability to work from home, telework also counts. Car Free Day is open to all people in the Washington metropolitan area. To participate in this fun and worthwhile event, just fill out the pledge form, then go car free or car-lite (carpool, vanpool) on Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Not Just Bikes is a youtube channel made by a Canadian living in the Netherlands.  He talks about how rideable Dutch cities are by design, how bicycles and cars run parallel to one another in separate transportation systems that occupy the same space.  This shows that it can be done, but the problem is the obsession with “car culture”, and how cities are beholden to corporations and bad design based on gentrification.

ZDF Magazin Royale is a very popular German TV comedy/news show, in the vein of Daily Show and Full Frontal.  I don’t speak German, but the automatic translation subtitles on this video are good enough to understand the comedy.  And you understand the point the video is making about how governments and economies prioritize cars over human beings.

I expected comedy to bite at Angela Merkel, but I spit my coffee and almost dropped it when he called her the “stasi chancellor”.  I know she was born in East Germany, but smoley hokes, that was rough. ^_^


Normally, I Don’t: But this case is different

I generally avoid talking about specific foreigners in Taiwan because anything I say might come around (e.g. which foreigners deal in drugs, the racists and white supremacists, the rapists and stalkers, etc.).  But I will when it’s in public view, either published by individuals or in the news media (e.g. the drug dealing murder of three years ago).

A foreigner by the name of Sean King posted pictures of himself at an anti-vaxxer “protest” recently, where the uninformed were demanding Ivermectin.  I mean, seriously?

And yes, his shirt reads “doge lives matter”. 9_9

Sean King
18 September at 18:13

Taipei Day for Freedom
Ivermectin (伊維菌素) 在國外已經用的成功 (墨西哥,印度,日本), 為什麼台灣沒有呢?

Ivermectin is already being used successfully in other countries (Mexico, Japan, India), why isn’t Taiwan?

Taiwanese citizens might be able to argue with the government, but there is no “exemption” to vaccinations for foreigners.  Either he and those of his ilk will have to take the two shots, or they will eventually be deported.  They don’t have a third option.  I hope they choose “freedumb!” and leave the country.

There have been several trumpkins and others making themselves visible in the last twelve months.  They are few in number (both foreigners and Taiwanese), but to the majority, it goes from the eye rolling to outright embarrassing.  King does no favours to the reputation of other Canadians.

[Read more…]

Sometimes, I Worry: Do I talk about music too much?

The Stranglers are back with a new album, Dark Matters, a record that took a long time, effort, and hardship to complete.  They began work in 2020 after recruiting drummer Jim MacCaulay, following Jet Black’s retirement following a stroke.  Then in May 2020, keyboardist Dave Greenfield died of COVID-19 while in hospital for a heart problem. But they soldiered on, creating a great new work.  It was released on September 10, making an immediate impact on the UK charts.

The first single was “And If You Should See Dave…”, a tribute to Greenfield.  The third single is “This Song” (seen below), with an amazing parkour-filled video to accompany it.

What makes the video special is the “narrator” performance of Stuart Pearce, miming the words and acting out a role.  Yes, that Stuart Pearce, age 59, former Nottingham Forest defender (among other teams in a fifteen year career) who played for England at the 1990 World Cup, and currently manages West Ham United in the Premiership League.

Pearce is a lifelong fan of punk rock, and was more than willing to take part in the video when the band asked.  It’s three minutes of absolutely brilliant film.  I suspect half the budget for this video was spent on the choreography and closing areas off from photobombs.


A Carrington Event(ually) Will Happen

My absence caused me to miss an anniversary at the start of September: the Carrington Event of 1859 (CE, for short), when a coronal mass ejection or solar flare hit the Earth.

Sunspots are a cyclical event on the sun, with a period of seven to eleven years.  The more there are, the higher rate of plasma emissions which affects our atmosphere.  Over longer periods, the sun emits a large solar flare of ionizing radation, one of which began on August 28, 1859.

I once lived 800km of the Arctic Circle (1991) and saw the Aurora Borealis (*) during the Autumn Equinox.  Of all the human-made light shows and fireworks display that I have witnessed, none of them has yet to match what I saw over several nights in complete silence.  The night skies were bright enough to read books, and the displays went on for hours over the course of a few nights.  And yet by the descriptions of the Carrington Event, what I saw was barely a fraction of what people witnessed around the world for almost a week, both night time and day.

(* That video is the only one I could find that had natural sounds and wasn’t ruined by background music.)

In 1859, the only commonplace and major use for electricity was telegraph operation.  When the CE hit, telegraph operators reported burns to their fingers from their equipment.  After removing the batteries, they were able to transmit messages for several days without any human-built source of energy to power them.  It was the only effect then on industrial revolution machinery.

Imagine what would happen to our modern electrical systems if another CE or larger solar storm hit us and we didn’t prepare or shut down our electrical grids in time.  They might all break down, burn, or explode and take years to repair.  Our modern way of life would come to a complete standstill.  Imagine the Northeast blackout of 1965 or the North American Ice Storm of 1998 carrying on for years. A Perfect Solar Superstorm: The 1859 Carrington Event

National Geographic: What If the Biggest Solar Storm on Record Happened Today? How likely is another Carrington Event?

Scientific American: New Studies Warn of Cataclysmic Solar Superstorms

The video below (made in March 2021) tells the story well, but misses a key detail.  (“Fascinating Horror” channel’s stories are generally well researched and told, and are never gratuitous when discussing people’s deaths, even in small numbers.)  The narrator tells how solar flares on the scale of the CE happen approximately every 150 years, and says that “we are overdue”.

He apparently missed or didn’t include the solar flare of 2012 (nor the 1972 event or others) which passed through our orbit but missed the Earth by nine days.  That makes it 152 years between such events, which means we should be safe for a while.  Or maybe not.



Interestingly, the Carrington Event came ten years from midway between the Mount Tambora eruption of 1815 (the “Year Without a Summer”) and the Krakatoa eruption of 1883.  Many millions of people worldwide likely witnessed two of those events, a few perhaps lived through all three.  It’s strange how those almost seem the defining natural disasters of the 19th century (before the majority of people lived in cities), while the 20th and 21st centuries are defined by meteor strikes (the Tunguska Event and Chelyabinsk Meteor) and by major earthquakes and tsunamis around the world.



I Expected As Much: Taipei won’t be having a pride parade this year

There will not be a pride parade in 2021 in Taipei nor in any other city.  Highly annoying, though not unexpected.  Even though half of the people in Taiwan will have at least the first shot and at least 10% fully vaccinated by mid-October (including me), an event of 100,000 people is just too big a risk for the government to permit.

Bars and nightclubs are closed, so there won’t be any large Hallowe’en parties either, though the CECC currently allows private indoor gatherings of up to eighty people, and outdoor ones up to three hundred.  I and others are looking at a rental hall for a small self-catered Hallowe’en event.

I’m definitely organizing a Walpurgisnacht event next April 30th (a Saturday), because nobody ruins my main holiday of the year.  Who knows, if vaccine rates are high enough and restrictions reduced to Level 1, there could be a pride parade around or during Chinese New Year (year of the tiger).  It’s not like anyone can travel.

From Taiwan Rainbow Pride’s facebook page:

臺灣同志遊行 Taiwan LGBT Pride 每年10月30日舉行,但受COVID-19(2019冠狀病毒疾病 / #這中國武漢肺炎)影響,主辦單位今天說,今年遊行將首度改線上辦理,設置互動式網站讓民眾線上參與,不開放民眾到場。
臺灣每年10月30日都會舉辦同志遊行,今年邁入第19屆,主辦單位日前透過臉書粉絲專頁宣布,今年同志遊行主題為「友善日常 in Taiwan」,且遊行形式首度為「線上為主、街頭為輔」。[. . .]#臺灣彩虹公民行動協會 秘書長 #蔡雅婷 今天告訴中央社記者,同志遊行舉辦多年,依照過去舉辦經驗,光是志工人數就會違反中央流行疫情指揮中心的規定,因此今年將首度轉為線上辦理,不開放民眾遊行。
Taiwan LGBT Pride [. . .] organisers said today that this year’s parade It will be the first time to change the line, set up interactive websites for the public to participate online, not open to the public to attend.

Taiwan hosts a gay march every year on [the last Saturday in October].

#Taiwan Rainbow Citizen s’ Action Association Secretary-General #Wu Yaxing told the CPS reporters today that comrade marches have been held for many years. According to past experience, the number of volunteers alone will violate the regulations of the Central Epidemic Command Center, so this year will It will not be open to public procession.

From CNA (Central News Agency) Taiwan:

台灣同志遊行首度改線上 不開放民眾入場(中央社記者吳欣紜台北8日電)台灣同志遊行每年10月30日舉行,但受COVID-19(2019冠狀病毒疾病)影響,主辦單位今天說,今年遊行將首度改線上辦理,設置互動式網站讓民眾線上參與,不開放民眾到場。

台灣每年10月30日都會舉辦同志遊行,今年邁入第19屆,主辦單位日前透過臉書粉絲專頁宣布,今年同志遊行主題為「友善日常 in Taiwan」,且遊行形式首度為「線上為主、街頭為輔」。


Taiwan gay parade changed its line for the first time, not open to people(Central News Agency reporter Wu Xinjun, Taipei, 8th) Taiwan’s gay parade is held on October 30 every year. However, due to the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), the organizer said today that the parade will be reorganized online for the first time this year, and an interactive website will be set up. Online participation by the public is not open to the public to attend.

Taiwan holds a gay parade every October 30th. This year is entering its 19th edition. The organizer recently announced through its Facebook fan page that the theme of this year’s gay parade is “Friendly Daily in Taiwan” and the parade format is “Online for the first time.” The main and the street are the auxiliary.”

Cai Yating, secretary-general of the Rainbow Citizen Action Association of Taiwan, told a reporter from the Central News Agency today that gay parades have been held for many years. According to past experience, the number of volunteers alone will violate the regulations of the Central Epidemic Command Center. Therefore, this year, it will be transferred online for the first time.


Pilots have been complaining that the public sees them as the “bad guys”.  Instead of bristling at criticism, why don’t they tell their fellow pilots to obey quarantine procedures?  Or agree to tighter regulations?  It’s bad enough that they are only required to quarantine for seven days, not fourteen, without them openly flouting the minimal rules.  All three mass outbreaks since the new year were caused by pilots violating the CECC’s guidelines: first the first last December, the the largest outbreak in May, and the most recent in August.

I wish I had the voice to talk to the government and they would listen:

1. Put the pilots on a thirteen week rotation system.

2. They work for six weeks, flying in and out, living sequestered at an airport hotel.  They can rest sufficiently between flights, and are isolated from the general population.  They can talk to their families online and by phone in real time.

3. They quarantine for two weeks at another hotel separated from active pilots.  Then they get five consecutive weeks off to rest, living with their families.

This would eliminate the possibility of violating quarantine rules while not impinging excessively on their personal lives.  This is what mining companies do when working in remote locations (e.g. the Arctic), they work for extended periods then have extended time off after travelling home.  But unlike miners and other FIFO and DIDO workers (fly/drive in, fly/drive out), they would still have access to conveniences, entertainment, food, etc. and have live communication with their families.  They could even meet them in person if separated by a barrier.  The mental health issues would not be the same as it is for those working in isolated locations.

Nothing Changed: Trudeau’s power grab failed

Dustbin Trudeau called a snap election in August 2021, only twenty one months since the last federal election (December 2019), yet Canada allows a sitting parliament up to five years.  His hope was to get a majority after riding high in the polls.

Instead, parliament will have almost exactly the same distribution of seats.  This $600 million debacle of ego and a power grab accomplished nothing except give Trudeau two more years on the clock than he already had with the same parliament.  It created potential mass spreader events everywhere, inflated the cost of an pointless and unnecessary election that taxpayers will foot the bill for.  If he wanted to win a majority, how about acting in the public interest and doing what’s best for the country and saying “look what I did” in 2023?

After the December 2019 election, I said “a tolerable result”.  This is intolerable.

Unless Trudeau accomplishes a lot in the next three years, this will almost certainly cost him the next election.  Historically, Canadians vote for the clowns in retaliation after elections like this.  If the pandemic isn’t resolved by then, the clowns would reignite it with their incompetence.

And yet if Trudeau did manage to make positive changes (which would only happen if the NDP and BQ force him to), he’ll get the credit.  That means another corrupt liberal majority, just as bad as a conservative majority.

After approximately fifteen million votes have been counted:

                2019   At dissolution
                ----   --------------
Liberal          157   155
Conservative     121   119
Bloc Québécois    32    32
New Democratic    24    24
Green              3     2
Independent        1     5

                2021    Votes (~15,000,000)
                ----    -------------------
Liberal          156    4,761,585 (31.744%)
Conservative     122    5,099,692 (33.998%)
Bloc Québécois    32    1,177,521 ( 7.850%)
New Democratic    26    2,654,703 (17.698%)
Green              2      339,528 ( 2.263%)
People's Party     0      769,591 ( 5.131%)
Other              0      143,000 ( 0.953%)

This proves again why Canada desperately needs proportional representation, and why the liberals and clowns are adamantly against it.  I would even be willing to tolerate rightwing extremists and racists like the PPP holding seats if it meant we never have a majority government again.

If the parties were allotted seats by percentage of the vote, the liberals or conservatives would need BOTH the BQ and NDP to support them to pass any legislation.  That would be a government which actually represents the public interest.  The liberals and conservatives would never form a coalition.

Seats by percentage of votes, 2021:
Liberals        107
Conservatives   115
Bloc Québécois   27
New Democratic   60
Green             8
People's         17

What a pointless waste of time, money, resources, and risk, all for the sake of his ego.

This is Canada’s most expensive election

When Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau asked Gov. Gen. Mary May Simon to dissolve Parliament in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, he triggered what is estimated to be Canada’s most expensive federal election ever.

Elections Canada is projecting a $610-million price tag for the 36-day campaign.

In 2019, the election cost $502.4 million.

[. . .]

A fact sheet posted on the Elections Canada website from November 2020 estimated costs for pandemic safety material (such as masks, plastic dividers and sanitizer), adjustments to the vote-by-mail system, and a voter information campaign would cost approximately $52 million.

This might be Trudeau’s last stand.  I would like to see him wake up and realize now is the time to push for prortional representation.  New Zealand has a parliamentary democracy with prortional representation, and it works.  Copy theirs.  Or even ranked voting, but end this “first past the post” crap.

First photo in colour of Trudeau donning blackface emerges on eve of election night

Yet another photo of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau donning blackface has emerged, on the eve of the 2021 election day, potentially serving a blow to the prime minister’s hopes of securing a majority government.

[. . .]

The [2001] photo has caught the attention of several international media publications, with British outlet the London Daily Telegraph being the first to break the story, followed by reports published in the Daily Telegraph, Reuters and Yahoo News.

He was 29 when he did this.  Is he going to call it “youthful indiscretion”?



Side note: Because it was a snap election, my mail in ballot didn’t arrive in time, once again cheating me of my right to vote.  Not that would have made a difference in the riding I am forced to vote in, which always votes for the clowns.

Common Sense Returns, Finally: UK courts have overturned the Bell v. Tavistock (poor) decision

In December 2020, courts in the UK inexplicably and incompetently ruled that hormones were “experimental” and thus should be denied to Transgender children in the UK.  TERFs and other anti-Trans bigots cheered and rubbed their hands with glee at the thought of en masse suicides.

The original decision was a fiction and based on a falsehood.  The anti-Trans bigots found a single “detranstion” case of a teen, and (mis)used that individual as the tool of their agenda.  They made the false argument that one case of one person “detransitioning” meant that all Transgender children should be denied medical care that would save their lives.

They falsely inferred that treatment was “forced onto children” as if doctors were performing experiments on unwilling patients.  Hormone replacement therapy is not permanent, it can be reversed, so any claim of “harm” from HRT is a lie.  But the harm from undergoing unwanted bodily changes IS a source of harm to Transgender children.

The decision was reversed based on the Gillick Principle, that children who are aware can and should be part of their own medical decisions. The right for Transgender children to obtain care is no different than children wanting to be vaccinated or receive blood transfusions in defiance of their parents or others with legal custody.  A child’s health should come first before ideology, religion, or anything else.

Mermaids UK, a charity that helps Transgender children, has issued a statement in response to the decision and the ruling being overturned.

Mermaids statement on the Bell v Tavistock appeal

The Court of Appeal has today told the High Court that it got Bell v Tavistock wrong. Its judgment today overturns a judgment that the High Court made in December 2020. This is wonderful news following almost 10 months of huge difficulty.

Mermaids and most importantly the trans young people and their families that we represent are relieved that the Court of Appeal has today (Friday 17 September 2021) overturned the High Court’s decision from December 2020 that effectively barred trans young people from accessing life-saving medical treatment on the NHS unless they had a court order.

The decision today has reinstated the test of Gillick and re-emphasised that it is for the clinician together with the patient and the family to make decisions on a case-by-case basis. It was not for the court to make generalisations about consent at different ages, nor should the court be routinely part of the consent process for puberty blockers.

The Good Law Project also issued a statement:

Update from Court – The Bell v Tavistock appeal

Over the last two days, the Court of Appeal has heard submissions in relation to the decision made by the High Court in December regarding the ability of children under 16 with gender dysphoria to consent to treatment with puberty blockers.

Although the judges in the Appeal made clear that the High Court had not found illegality according to the terms of the initial claim (i.e. that children under the age of 16 could never meaningfully consent to treatment with puberty blockers; or that they were not being provided with the correct information to enable them to do so), the judges had issued a declaration and provided guidance in the judgment that has sown confusion and doubt in the minds of clinicians and patients as to the steps legally necessary for prescription.

Barristers for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust yesterday argued that in its decision the Divisional Court wrongly departed from what’s known as the Gillick principle of the capacity of a child to consent to treatment, and relied on unsubstantiated and improperly submitted evidence.

Fenella Morris QC representing the Trust emphasised the highly responsive and individualised consent checking processes which are applied when considering a referral for the consideration of puberty-blocking hormones. She also argued that the regulatory framework that governs such decisions is already both lawful and effective, in line with the principles set out in Gillick, and that a young person and their family should lawfully be supported by a clinical team to achieve informed consent, rather than requiring intervention by the Court.

The reversal means doctors will now be making medical decisions on a case by case basis (as they should be), and not by courts making sweeping judgements without concern for or endangering children’s health.

The question now is, will TERFs and other anti-Trans bigots like Rowling take the Scanners response to this?

Gone, But Not Forgotten: The Lokomotive Yaroslavl Team of 2011

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl are a hockey team in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).  Most KHL teams (19) are based in Russia, but five clubs are in nearby countries (Finland, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, China). This means many flights are on Russian air carriers, whether commercial or charter.

In 2011, Lokomotiv had a new head coach in Brad McCrimmon (1989 Stanley Cup champion with Calgary, also a long time Philadelphia Flyer) who was highly respected on and off the ice across North America and Europe.  They also had many high profile players such as Pavol Demitra, bringing them in and away from the NHL with large salary offers.  Oil prices peaked in the early 2010s (Russia is a major exporter), so many KHL teams and their sponsors had money to spend.

Below is a photo of the 2011 team, taken days before their season began.


On September 7, 2011, ten years ago, thirty sevem team members (players, coaching, staff, etc.) boarded a charter flight for an away game in Minsk, Belarus.  The Finnish goaltending coach and reserve players did not travel with the team.  Spirits were high for the new season, and everyone expected things to be normal. The flight crew were very experienced, and it was a sunny day.

Within an hour, all but two on the plane would be dead.

While the crew were experienced, and the captain the most experienced, he was not very familiar with the plane they were flying. He unknowingly was activating the brakes while trying to take off (video of computer animation). The plane become airborne a few hundred metres after the end of the runway, but crashed less than a kilometre away.  As all planes are at takeoff, it was loaded with fuel.  The crash ripped apart the plane, burning and killing all but player Alexander Galimov (who would die of burns the next day) and the flight engineer who was in the back of the plane.  He was the only survivor. It was the third worst sports related airplane crash ever (in number of athletes killed, not other passengers).

The coaching staff were three well known names: McCrimmon, Alexander Karpovtsev, and Igor Korolev. Among the players who died were several former NHL and AHL players and well known international players: Pavol Demitra, Robert Dietrich, Stefan Liv, Ruslan Salei, Josef Vašíček, among many others.

The disaster was notable for how it effected the entire hockey world. This wasn’t just a Russian sports disaster, every major hockey playing country was affected.  Everyone in the NHL and top European leagues (Finland, Germany, Sweden, Czechia, etc.) knew somebody on that team.  I don’t know if there has been another sports related incident or disaster (other than 1955 Le Mans race and the 1972 olympics) that has affected as many countries and people at the same time.

Though I had stopped watching hockey when I moved abroad (internet streaming wasn’t a thing, no internet radio stations carried games, and the US military channels in South Korea never broadcast the NHL), I knew about and had watched many of these players in the 1990s.  The news was devastating to hockey fans everywhere.

More Stuff To See: A video about factorials

I also ran across this video today, the seven types of factorials.  I knew several of them from statistics, compsci, and math classes in college: Standard, Double, and Primorial.  I’ve seen and used Hyperfactorial, but didn’t know its name or that it’s a thing; many Asian countries, cultures and religions are big on the number 108 (3^3 * 2^2 * 1^1).  Subfactorial and Exponential are cool but I never saw them, and I’m sure I would have encountered Superfactorial if I had gone on to more advanced stats or math classes.

What he doesn’t explain in the video is why he’s holding that plushie Pokemon ball.

And cripes, did I feel old.  “Hashtag”, guy?  Not pound or number sign (#)?


I Knew: But the detailed explanation helps

Have you ever wondered why there are no green stars?  A good educated guess is that it’s related to the narrow spectrum of visible light, that green is in the middle of the red, green, blue spectrum which together makes white light.  But this video gives a more detailed and comprehensible explanation of the science that the layperson can understand.


Where he lost me was when he hypothesized about how a star could appear green: an alien intelligence using “Dyson spheres” and “building a green filter around a star as a beacon” to attract attention.  But why create massive constructions when radio signals would be easier and detectable much further away?  Otherwise, it’s worth fifteen minutes (except for the ad from 5:20 to 6:20).


Grandfathered In, Part 2: I tried to Warner you….

Scatterbrain and procrastinator that I am, I never got around to the second part on the family tree of Chase aka Robots (the first written in January 2021).  The anniversary of a key computer game has finally kicked me out of my laziness.

This is Chase’s second family tree: First Person Shooters.  (This was originally intented to be the third part, but what the hey.)

As mentioned in part one many moons ago, Chase was the impetus for Berzerk, a twitchy maze game from 1980 with walls and robots trying to kill you.  At that time, Silas Warner was trying to create a game about World War II, watching films like “The Guns Of Navarone” for inspiration.  Around that time, he played Berzerk in an arcade and decided to create a slower paced and more puzzle-like maze game where the player’s goal was to escape from a Nazi castle.  Thus, Castle Wolfenstein and its sequel Beyond Castle Wolfenstein came to be.

Castle Wolfenstein was released in September 1981, forty years ago.



More below the fold.

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He’s Gone: Clive Sinclair, dead at (ZX)81

Clive Sinclair has died after a ten year battle with cancer (July 30, 1940 to September 16, 2021).

Sinclair was a prolific inventor, who created the first pocket calculator in 1972 (two years before Texas Instruments), the Sinclair Spectrum computer range which introduced millions of people to computing not just in the UK, but also across Europe and clones in the Soviet Union.  Generations of computer programmers exist because of his affordable computers.  He also invented a watch, an LCD TV, and others.

Kotaku: Father Of Home Computing Sir Clive Sinclair Dies Aged 81

Deutsche Welle: UK inventor, computing pioneer Clive Sinclair dies at 81

Boing Boing: Sir Clive Sinclair, 1940–2021

Engadget: Home computer legend Sir Clive Sinclair dies at 81

IEEE Computer Society: Sir Clive Sinclair (bio, not an obituary)

Some of the obituaries I’ve seen bother me because they keep bringing up the C5 and other failures instead of focusing on his successes and his influence on computing.  This is a man who changed lives without hurting people (unlike, say, politicians).  He deserves more respect than they’re giving him.

Self Owned: TERFs must love serving the patriarchy

The Terrible, Egregious Racists and Fascists (TERFs) prove once again how willing they are to live down to their name, that they are willing to serve and reinforce the patriarchy that their mouths frothingly claim to oppose.

Krystal Jackson was a school teacher in Fresno, California until recently after being arrested for raping a male junior high school student.  TERFs are using Jackson’s arrest to incite hate against Transgender women.

But there’s one slight, teeny-tiny, eentsy-weentsy, itty-bitty flaw in their argument:

Jackson is a cisgender heterosexual binary woman (or “biological woman” as gender hypocritical TERF trash call themselves).  Jackson is an XX person with breasts and a vagina that devoloped in the womb, not through surgery.

The TERFs have passed judgement and ruled that Jackson “isn’t a woman, it’s a man with a penis!” because Jackson fails to meet the TERF standards of femininity and physical appearance.

From LGBTQ Nation:

“Feminists” claim child molester is transgender because her mugshot isn’t feminine enough

Anti-transgender activists on Twitter are now saying that a woman who committed a sex crime is transgender because, they argue, the alleged molester’s mugshot doesn’t look like a cis woman.

Krystal Jackson, 39, is a teacher in the Kings Canyon Unified School District in California who was arrested this past Friday, accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy three times. She is facing four counts of rape, as well as several other charges connected to the alleged sexual abuse of the minor.

Local reporting has not said that Jackson is transgender or given anyone any reason to believe that she is. And a woman who claims to have grown up in the same town as Jackson said that she is “a cis hetero woman.”

But that’s not stopping anti-transgender activists from insisting that Jackson is transgender. The activists are commonly referred to as TERFs – transgender exclusionary radical feminists. They do not share the same ideology as most of the rest of the feminist movement and work with the religious right to oppose transgender civil rights.

“Does this mean HE gets to be placed in women’s prison??” wrote a Twitter user who goes by “Mel,” referring to Jackson with “he” and apparently arguing under the assumption that Jackson is transgender and should not be housed in a women’s prison. “Yeah, but Self ID is SUCH a grand idea.”

If not for the crime involved, this story would make for hilarious reading, especially while watching TERFs fall all over themselves.  First as they rabidly attack Jackson and spew insults at Transgender people, then as they beat a hasty retreat and try to scrub their facebook and twitter pages after Jackson’s genetics were revealed.  They want to pretend that they never said things that they did and were screencaptured.  And, of course, there are also the most rabid of all, those who still claim “Jackson is a man!” even after the majority of their ilk have run away from the story.

Point And Shoot: When politicians incite murder on camera

Gavin Newsom’s victory in Tuesday’s recall ballot was a foregone conclusion – not because “teh elekshun was stowlun!” as trumpkins would claim, but because the only people who wanted the recall vote were the excessively wealthy.  A 63% to 36% (7:4) margin of victory was inevitable, given Newsom’s management of the health crisis and other issues.

Rachel Maddow noted on Tuesday’s show (before the count was in) that Larry Elder’s laughable campaign admitted defeat in the recall vote, claiming they already have proof that the vote was rigged.  Before the vote happened.

At first that sounds like typical republican incompetence, but it was accompanied by words intended to incite violence.  Quoting Maddow, from the above link (Elder’s words in red):

[I]f you do not believe them, if you do not take these claims of theirs very, very seriously, they also want you to know the top republican candidate for governor in California also wants you to know that there’s a pretty good chance that if you don’t go along with this, if you don’t believe it, if you resist, there’s going to be some shooting.

Here is the opening salvo on that part of the website for Larry Elder, republican candidate for governor in California. Quote:

They say that in america, there are four boxes of liberty. The soapbox, the ballot box, the jury box, and the ammo box. We trusted in our elected officials to safeguard that ballot box. However, when those officials, either through laziness or incompetence, allow thieves to steal amidst the dead of night and cheat our ballot box, we can no longer rely on its contents.

Will we now have to fight the California jury box, in the hope that the final box – the one most akin to Pandora’s – remains closed?

If that isn’t an incitement to kill people after losing an election, what does it say?

As it turns out, a murder in Texas last November was a case of this.  A week after Cheetolini lost, a republican shot a married couple for being democrats, murdering the wife and severely injuring the husband who survived.  It was only revealed this week that it was a politically motivated murder.

Husband ‘relieved’ after suspect is charged for killing wife in central El Paso

EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14/CBS4) — Daniel Kaufman, whose wife was shot and killed in central El Paso last year, said he is relieved to hear that someone has been charged for the crime.

El Paso police arrested 38-year-old Joseph Angel Alvarez on September 8, 2021.

According to the arrest affidavit, Alvarez conducted the crime because he didn’t agree with the beliefs or political views of the victims.

He was arrested in connection with the death of 50-year-old Georgette Kauffman and the assault on Daniel Kaufmann.

The shooting happened on November 14, 2020, at the 3000 block of Copper Avenue in central El Paso.

Cue republicans claiming that she “voted while dead”.