Gee, Thanks: For making me wait two weeks

After much foot dragging by my employer (they’re supposed to organize it), I finally have my booster third shot.

And 18 hours later, I’m as sick as a dog, unable to sleep, just like the first two times.  I already know I won’t be working on Monday.

The annoyance about their foot dragging: two weeks ago was a four day long weekend, Monday and Tuesday off.  And now I’m going to lose a day’s pay, or two.

Third shots are mandatory for nearly all foreigners and many Taiwanese.  Plus, there are a bunch of places now requiring proof of a booster shot.

Shots for kids are finally starting to roll out, too late for how they’ve recently “handled” things, the new policy of “live with COVID, for the economy!”  Active cases are over 10,000, many schools are closed, and it’s expected to hit a million by September.  Needless to say, I’m ticked.

What happens when (not if) the next variant appears?  What if it’s not so innocuous to inoculation?

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/taiwan/

This One Still Works: The Lynx web browser at 30

The Lynx web browser was first released in Spring 1992 (evidence here), is still in development with a new update sometime this year (v2.9.0).  Lynx was originally made for Unix, DOS and other text-only operating systems, but has also been ported to Linus, MacOS, Windows, and nearly every commonly used operating system.

Lynx is ideal for those who can’t use a mouse and want a keyboard operated browser, or they need a text-only brower which can be used with a text-reader (for the visually impaired).  The only problem using Lynx today is website design.

In stark contrast to Microsoft’s desire to force user migration, some people choose to maintain, port, and upgrade software.   The Bert Lance quote says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  It needs a corollary: “If it still works, don’t dump it.”

Here’s the wikipedia page

Where to get Lynx:

Invisible Island . net

lynx.browser.org

Invisible Mirror . net

And for those who want to try it, Invisible Island has a user’s guide.  There’s also one at the University of Toronto.  But considering how easy and intuitive is Lynx to use, you may not need it.


I don’t use Lynx much these days, but I have great fondness for it.  Back in the 1990s when I was at my poorest (unemployed, on welfare, using a Frankenstein PC), I couldn’t afford paid internet.  I could, however, use my 14.4K modem to dial into the local Freenet, for an hour per day (or more than one between 12am-6am) running Lynx to do it.  This allowed me to browse websites, read Usenet groups, send emails, reserve or renew books at the local library on Telnet, but most importantly, read the job bank at the local unemployment office (hooray for early adopters!) and find the job that got me back on my feet.  I might not be where I am today without the same opportunities.

Where The Evil Empire Began: Windows 3.1 at 30

Microsoft released Windows 3.1 on April 6, 1992, thirty years ago today. While Windows 95 was the game changer in terms of stability, functionality, marketing, and signalled the death knell of command line operating systems, it was Windows 3.1 that showed the platform could be taken seriously as a GUI, could host third party software, and was internet capable.

That was its highlight. The other things Microsoft did with Windows 3.1 were regrettable, despicable, and unforgivable.

 

 

First, Win3.1 started the ever growing feedback loop and arms race of computing.  Windows 3.0 could run on an 8086 computer, but Windows 3.1 ran only on 80286 in protected mode with 1 MB of RAM.  This forced users to buy new machines (what the industry calls “upgrading”) despite the fact their current machines still worked fine.  This led to the vicious and environmentally wasteful cycle:

new operating system requires new computer

new computer is able to run a newer operating system

 

Second, Windows 3.1 is where Microsoft’s unethical and criminal business practices really ramped up. Users of Digital Research’s DR-DOS were able to run Windows 3.0.  However, they could not run Windows 3.1.  This was not any failing of DR-DOS, which was fully capable of doing so.  Rather, it was due to code Microsoft intentionally writing code in Windows 3.1 that detected your version of DOS.  It is referred to as the AARD Code.

If you were running PC-DOS or MS-DOS, Windows 3.1 would start normally.  If Windows detected DR-DOS, it would refuse to start, displaying a false “error message”.  Digital Research tested and found the cause was Microsoft’s anti-competitive practices and filed suit.  However, by the time the case was heard and decided, the damage was done.  The public no longer trusted Digital Research’s products. The company was once a direct competitor of Microsoft (even after the mistake of not signing the deal with IBM that Microsoft did), but from then on it was a company in decline, eventually sold off to other companies.

How bad is Microsoft’s greed? So much so that decades old software which won’t run on modern computers (all their pre-NT operating systems) and would be too insecure or underpowered for today’s users, remains under copyright, not made available freely for collectors of old hardware.

From How To Geek: Windows 3.1 Turns 30: Here’s How It Made Windows Essential

 

Are there hardcore people still using Windows 3.1?  Yes, and they made a Wordle clone for it.

Ars Technica: If you’re still on Windows 3.1, Windle is the best way to get in on the Wordle craze

And one more pointless piece of trivia:

Review Geek: An easter egg in Windows 1.0 has been found in 2002.  37 years later.

Credibility Matters: I’ve been waiting for a news source like this

A youtube channel called “China Insights” (incites is more like it) is of dubious quality.  It makes many allegations, and while it shows video of many events, it never lists sources that can be checked.  (There are other bloggers and vloggers who have even less credibility, producing opinion and not news.)  It’s annoying because some of what is posted in their videos is verifiable, but not all.

For weeks, CI has been claiming massive lockdowns across China, of people starving and separated from their families, that the “zero COVID policy” is causing human rights abuses.  These items from Deutsche Welle and ABC (US) are the first credible news sources I’ve seen to report that the entirety of Shanghai is under lockdown.

Beijing “plans” the economy and society, dictating numbers that reality often fails to meet.  Some rumours (CI and others) say “zero COVID” is predicated on doing a certain number of tests, and not about reducing the actual number of infected people.  Witness the cases during the olympics.  It makes you wonder what the real counts are, both sick and dead.

Jilin province has one of the worst rates of infection, and that is the province which borders North Korea (once part of the Shilla Kingdom, 800 years ago).  How bad is the spread in that country?

 

I Have Something To Show: Filling and killing time

I have multiple bigger topics on the go (read: too many irons in the fire), but not the time to finish them all at once.  Here’s a quick one about mathematical devices, related to stuff about slide rules.

Chris Staecker is a professor of mathematics at Fairfield University.  He also has a youtube channel with lots of fascinating content.  Some of it is advanced mathematics, and some is amazingly accessible, even when he’s discussion complex equations.

First is a playlist of videos about Calculating Devices.  Some of them are educational toys (e.g.
“Monkey Multiplier”), some are household or general purpose devices (e.g. HandiAdd and the Quick Adder, the latter of which was in the house when I was a kid).  For some of them, Staeker provides links to PDFs so you can create your own devices on acetates or paper.

And then there are devices that are absolutely fascinating.

First, the Equamater which allows you to determine the function of a curve.  It’s easy to draw a curve from a function when you have the raw data, but what if you have neither the data nor the function, all you have is the curve on a Cartesian grid?  The Equameter enables you to calculate and roughly approximate the function which he demonstrates.

 

Second is the Steinhaus Longimeter which allows you to measure the length of a curved line on paper.  It consists of three overlays (three grids of squares rotated to 120 and 240 degrees) which you place over the drawn line.  Count the number of lines on the grids that the line crosses, and you have the length of the line in millimetres.

 

Last, is a different playlist with only two videos: the Paper Computer.  It was invented in Germany in the 1980s to teach machine language coding, and presented on a TV show.  Again, there is a printable version.  Using a small set of basic instructions, you can figure out standard program techniques for sequence, looping, branching, and memory addressing instructions.  The work is done in the programmer’s head, but requires learning logic and good coding techniques.

Staecker’s presentation is humourous without being condescending, and informative without being overwhelming.  If only all youtube producers were as watchable as he is.

 


 

Unrelated, I recently sawthis is highly amusing and valuable image:

Mathematical functions explained by hand gestures

Their Humanity Exhumed: Can we call them ex-human too?

I was debating whether this should come in two posts or one.

Alvin McEwen (aka Black Tsunami), author of the Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters blog, just posted another detailed and accurate dissection of rightwing and religious hate propaganda against LGBTQIA people.  From his post:

Visual montage – Just a few of the times conservatives have accused LGBTQ people of ‘indoctrinating,’ ‘recruiting,’ or ‘grooming’ children

So now in defense of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, folks are labeling LGBTQ people as ‘groomers’ who are targeting children for sex talk. It’s an ugly claim, but it’s hardly new. In fact the most potent weapon in the arsenal of the anti-LGBTQ industry for decades has been the accusation that gays are ‘indoctrinating children,’ ‘recruiting children,’ or (as it is spoken now) ‘grooming children.’

It’s powerful because it touches on the most primal fear of parents – that their children are going to be harmed. That fear coupled with the continued ignorance about LGBTQ lives and our families (some people aren’t even aware that we are raising children) becomes a powerful weapon which can be used to undermine our equality time and time again.

Below are just a few examples of conservatives and religious right playing the ‘gays want your children’ card over the years. Some go as far back as the mid 1980s.

While he doesn’t say it explicitly, you can tell he’s drawing comparison to the KKK’s racist hate propaganda of the 1960s.  Both the “cartoons” and false accusations of sexual predation and violence racists hurled against Black people are the same type of propaganda aimed at LGBTQIA people now.

Hate propaganda works for two main reasons:

1) It’s easier to tell the lie than it is to refute it.

2) Those who believe lies will repeat them without checking.

 


 

Xtra Magazine published a damning article linking TERF ideology and fascism.  TERFs willingly side with ideologies that would take away women’s right to work, health care, birth control, education, and even their right to vote, simply because those they align with hate Trans people.

The worst part is, they know.  They would rather give up their rights than allow people outside the cishetero binary to exist.

How the far-right is turning feminists into fascists

When I first started asking about the connection between anti-trans politics and the American right wing, my concerns were simple. I’d covered abortion for several years, and some of the tactics being used by organized transphobes—noisy “protests” outside clinics, or doxing and harassing doctors—were similar enough to the “pro-life” movement’s that I expected some groups were working together. 

I was right; there was a connection, which I’ve covered already for Xtra and other outlets. What I did not expect was that asking researchers to situate anti-trans activists in the context of the broader right would turn out to be one of the scariest questions I’d ever ask. Every researcher I spoke to told me that the situation on the ground was far worse than I thought. Anti-trans activists had not hitched their wagons to the American right wing. The far right was using transphobia to advance their larger agenda, and that agenda was both more violent and a lot more successful than I knew. 

What follows is an attempt to summarize that agenda—although the full picture, comprised as it is of activist splinter groups, bizarre conspiracy theories, social-media hate campaigns and titanic global funding initiatives, is both too complex and too weird to ever fully summarize. It’s a story in which “eco-fascists” infiltrating lesbian folk festivals bump up against anti-Semitic conspiracy bloggers and Vladimir Putin’s global dark money operations; strange enough that it’s hard to take seriously, but very serious, and increasingly dangerous to us all. This is how trans-eliminationist thought became mainstream politics, and it has grave implications, not just for trans people, but for democracy itself. 

TERF is insufficient since it generally only applies to those who are cis XX.  WXYZ is now my preferred term for male anti-Trans bigots:

white (W) male (XY) cis (Z)

Collectively (as one collects garbage to dispose) I now call them AHAB:

AHAB: Assigned Human At Birth

They have given up any sense of human decency with their racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia as their core ideology, along with their hate of Transgender, Non-Binary, and others outside the tiny cishetero binary.  AHAB is apt because it applies to all of them, right wing bigots and others: fake and performative feminists, apologists, and Caitlyn “Death Race 2000” Jenner.

Will History Repeat?: And Putin’s “dirty war” in Ukraine be his downfall?

It was on April 2, 1982, forty years ago, that Argentine dictator Leopoldo Galtieri ordered the invasion of the Falkland Islands, initiating a ten week long war in the South Atlantic.  Galtieri believed that “Argentina inherited them from Spain” as justification for seizing them; in reality, he was looking for a “win” because public dissent and defiance against the fascist government’s brutality was growing.  He also made the assumption that the United Kingdom’s distance, fading military, and US refusal to get involved, would mean he could take the islands permanently without much of a fight.

Both of which sound a lot like Putin’s thinking and actions in Ukraine today.

Argentina’s “dirty war” of US-backed fascist dictatorship began in 1976.  It ended in 1983 with Galtieri’s resignation and free, democratic elections, though little accountability for the atrocities committed over those eight years.  With enough pressure, we may see Putin’s own military and inner circle turn on him.

France24‘s item on the anniversary makes zero mention or allusion to Putin and Ukraine, but the writer doesn’t need to.  The allegories and comparisons speak for themselves.

Argentina’s dictatorship dug its own grave in Falklands War

Argentina’s embattled military dictatorship was on its last legs when it sought to secure a lifeline with an invasion of the British Falkland Islands 40 years ago this week.

The gambit was initially successful as the attack was feted by a previously hostile public.

Yet the brief misadventure ultimately failed to breathe new life into the dictatorship floundering under social unrest and economic crisis, serving instead to precipitate its demise.

Eight days after the invasion of the South Atlantic archipelago on April 2, General Leopoldo Galtieri, the head of Argentina’s military junta, addressed fevered throngs from the balcony of his palace overlooking the central Plaza de Mayo square in Buenos Aires.

“If they want to come, let them come, we will give them battle!” he trumpeted to the cheering crowds in a direct challenge to the British military as a task force traveled south to free the islands.

The public support was a coup by the junta given that just 10 days earlier, tens of thousands of Argentines had filled that same square in the biggest mobilization against the dictatorship since it took power in 1976, chanting: “Elections now!”

The junta thought that by claiming the Falklands — which Buenos Aires argues it inherited from Spain when it gained independence in the 19th century — it would be able to turn the tide of public opinion in its favor.

Unlike Putin perpetrating war crimes against Ukrainians, the Argentine regime committed genocide against its own people, in its “dirty war”: the torture of dissidents, “death flights”, kidnapping of orphans.

The catholic church was complicit.  There are questions about how involved the current Argentinian pope was, but to claim that he “knew nothing” reeks of Sargeant Schulz.  From The New Yorker, March 2013:

Pope Francis and the Dirty War

As in Spain during its Civil War, when the Catholic Church openly sided with Franco’s inquisition, and in Rome during the Second World War, when the silence of Pope Pius XII was understood as a tacit admission of Vatican acquiescence with the policies of the Axis, the role of the Argentine Catholic Church in the junta’s anti-Communist campaign was queasily intimate. In official discourses, one of Bergoglio’s predecessors, Archbishop Juan Carlos Aramburu, openly sided with the military’s stated need for a purge, in which freethinking priests and nuns were also killed. For the most part, the Church remained mute in public about what was going on. But some priests were actually directly involved in the repression, by all accounts, with military chaplains going so far as to bless the drugged bodies of suspected guerrillas marked for execution as they were loaded onto military planes, from which they were then hurled to their deaths, unconscious, over the Rio de la Plata.

There have been past accusations, including testimony from a handful of priests and bishops, that the man who is now Pope Francis was complicit, too, if in a more subtle way. He was, in the early years of the Dirty War, the provincial, or superior, of the Society of Jesus in Argentina, at a time when the Jesuits produced some of the more freethinking and socially liberal clerics in Latin America—a number of whom were targeted by military leaders during the era’s repression—and later led a seminary. The key allegation against him is that he pointed out left-leaning priests to the military as dissidents, leaving them exposed, and that he did not defend two kidnapped clerics or ask for their release. He has denied this, and says instead that he protected priests and others—just quietly, in secret.

Argentinian people want justice, not “reconciliation”.  Many families of the “disappeared” were never given answers, loved ones never buried, children never found.  Whether Ukrainian people get answers or return of those missing and kidnapped in the past month remains to be seen.

30,000 People Were ‘Disappeared’ in Argentina’s Dirty War. These Women Never Stopped Looking

Draped in lush trees and surrounded by stately buildings, Buenos Aires’ Plaza de Mayo might look like a place to check out monuments or stop for a relaxing rest. But each Thursday, one of Argentina’s most famous public squares fills with women wearing white scarves and holding signs covered with names.

They are the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, and they are there to bring attention to something that threw their lives into tragedy and chaos during the 1970s: the kidnapping of their children and grandchildren by Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship.

For decades, the women have been advocating for answers about what happened to their loved ones. It’s a question shared by the families of up to 30,000 people “disappeared” by the state during Argentina’s “Dirty War,” a period during which the country’s military dictatorship turned against its own people.

Some of the pilots who flew the “death flights” have been brought to trial, but the generals and those who gave the orders escaped trial mostly via death by old age and disease.  At least Putin’s generals have paid the cost of their crimes, having been killed Ukrainian defenders.  From Axios:

Argentine ‘death flights’ trial gets underway

For the first time, Argentina is carrying out a trial against Army members specifically for the so-called vuelos de la muerte, where thousands of dissidents between 1976 and 1983 were drugged, forced onto military aircraft and dumped into the ocean to drown.

Also from France24, a brief timeline of the dirty war.

A little more below the fold, three songs of the era, two about the war and one not.

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Influenza Returns: But with a whimper, not a bang

Last year, both I and PZ Myers wrote about the historic record low number of influenza cases around the world.  Flu season isn’t over, but we can already see that in places where there are lax attitudes or resistance towards masks there has been a major rebound influenza cases.  And where masks are still mostly required, there hasn’t.

The US is (sadly and unsurprisingly) where flu has made a comeback – not as bad as in previous years, but enough to be out of step with other countries.  According to data on the US’s CDC website, these are the current numbers.  That’s a quarter of the US deaths from flu in a regular year, but compared to 2020-2021 where there were less than 3,000 flu cases, this is a disaster.

CDC estimates* that, from October 1, 2021 through March 26, 2022, there have been:

3,500,000 – 5,800,000 flu illnesses

1,600,000 – 2,700,000 flu medical visits

34,000 – 69,000 flu hospitalizations

2,000 – 5,800 flu deaths

Health Canada publishes weekly reports on influenza.   The numbers for 2021-2022 are similar to 2020-2021, only about 1% of tests being positive, though the number of tests performed went up 50%.

Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre has similar results, their report for Week 12 in 2022 (page 9 of the PDF) showing abnormally low numbers.

Even the UK isn’t that bad.  Boorish Johnson and his cast of rightwing brexit clowns have reduced COVID-19 testing and mask restrictions (with inconsistent rules that they break themselves).  But even so, the UK Health and Security Agency‘s shows only a minor rise in flu cases in the UK for Week 13 of 2022 (page 21 of the PDF), a rise that corresponds with reductions in mask mandates.

Flu News Europe (a publication of the European Union) reports below average number of flu cases for 2021-2022, from countries that have reported.  Here at home, we’ve had mandatory masks since last spring, so the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 numbers are near identical.


One good note about COVID-19 and the effectiveness of vaccines: On April 1, 2022, the seven day moving average of deaths was 3,768.  That last time it was that low was March 31, 2020, when the moving average was 3,755.

Reddit Sucks: Usenet was better

I have long avoided reddit because of all the negative things I heard about it over the years: the racism, right wing hate groups, conspiracy theories, and all sorts of other garbage going unchecked.

I finally signed up for an account last week (Intransitive101) to see what it’s like because of youtube video compilations, reddit posts rendered with text to speech programs.  I wanted to see the groups where some of this stuff comes from because I share their POV on some of them (e.g. childfree groups, AITA stories, etc.).

After being on for a week, I have reached four conclusions:

One, it’s a corporate owned inferior clone of Usenet.

Two, Usenet didn’t have ads, and moderated groups kept out spammers.

Three, Usenet didn’t have censorship (*), and it had accountable speech.

Four, .sig files (ASCII art and text) beat customizable avatars.

(* If a company limits speech on behalf of or under direction of a government, it’s still censorship.)

This Makes PETA’s Freezer Of Dead Animals Look Good

My first response to reading this story was to think, “I didn’t know anti-abortionists were this depraved.”  My second response was, “Actually, they likely all are.  Just look at all the clinic bombers and those who murder doctors.”

What’s really galling is the white privilege and selective enforcement on display.  There are pictures of cops entering Handy’s house that show her casually sitting on the sidewalk, not in handcuffs.  She had five foetuses in the house from a break in at an abortion clinic in 2020.

Her name may be Lauren Handy, but I’m already nicknaming her Edith Gein.

Five fetuses found at home of anti-abortion activist, DC Police say

Police discovered five fetuses at the home of an anti-abortion activist in Capitol Hill on Wednesday, the department has confirmed to WUSA9.

Officers responded shortly after noon to a home on the 400 block of 6th Street SE to investigate a tip about potential bio-hazard material in the residence. Once inside, they located the fetuses. The remains were collected by the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The home was occupied by Lauren Handy, an anti-abortion activist who was indicted along with nine others Wednesday by a federal grand jury. Handy is accused of felony conspiracy against rights for a blockade inside a D.C. abortion clinic in October 2020.

WUSA9’s camera was outside as DC Police homicide and forensic services detectives took evidence out in red biohazard bags and coolers from the rowhouse’s basement.

Handy declined to speak on camera Wednesday, but told WUSA9 she expected the raid to happen “sooner or later.” She also declined to say what was in the coolers, saying only that “people would freak out when they heard.”

Now We Know: It was all a distraction

Greg Abattoir, Texas governor, has been trying to criminalize the existence of Transgender people and criminalize medical care that will save lives.  As it turns out, those hired by his regime have been caught for a second time involved in the sexual abuse of children: making child pornography, abusing children in the foster care system who had been taken out of abusive homes.

How interesting that this appears the day before Transgender Day of Visibility.  Found via Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:

Judge calls for federal investigation of child porn allegations at Refuge facility in Bastrop County

A federal judge, expressing disappointment with Texas law enforcement, is now seeking a federal investigation into allegations of child pornography at a Bastrop County foster care facility for victims of sex trafficking.

During a virtual court hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Janis Jack raised concerns about the allegations, which involve staff at the Refuge Ranch residential facility for minors. Court monitors, who are tasked with overseeing the improvements in the Texas foster care system, this week said they found holes in the investigation undertaken by Texas Rangers into the allegations.

Earlier this month, the Department of Family and Protective Services had alerted the court monitors of an urgent situation concerning the safety of children at the Refuge. The department reported that it had received several reports since Jan. 24 to the statewide intake hotline alleging sexual and physical abuse; sexual exploitation; neglectful supervision; and medical neglect at the facility.

It also reported that the incidents could also potentially involve sex trafficking of the children by staff members, including selling nude photos of the girls and providing them with drugs.

Texas also holds concentration camps where migrant children suffered systematic sexual abuse by ICE agents, the US government not bothering to do background checks.  It makes you wonder if they were intentionally hiring pedophiles.  Naturally, the US government says it’s not responsible for the actions of people it employs.

Well Said: The Insufferably Intolerant Science Nerd’s latest post deserves a read and applause

Earlier today (depending on your time zone), the Insufferably Intolerant Science Nerd posted a follow up to events of the previous twenty four hours, two posts about bigots and those pretending they “protect women”.  (IISN’s first post, and her second post.)  Predictably, none of the attacks were about acting in women’s interests, they were cis heteros attacking LGBTQIA people, or worse, individuals within LGBTQIA peopleattacking Trans people.

Below the fold is IISN’s most recent post, complete and unedited with permission.  If anything is altered, that was an accident on my part during formatting (e.g. wordpress’s handling of paragraph breaks) that I will amend if pointed out.

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So It Is: March 23 is Atheist Day

Seen on reddit, in regard to Atheists’ Day:

Chef_Fats: Pineapple on pizza?

2skgody: That’s a religious question.

I still say Atheist Day should be Labour Day (September 1st), since it requires education and effort.  And easter should always be on April 1st, as it was in 2018.

I couldn’t think of anything special to say, so I borrowed a “ten questions for atheists” list and answered it.  I’m sure everyone will disagree with my answers below.

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A New Policy Drafted: Will Taiwan resume conscription?

For decades, Taiwan had mandatory conscription with a year’s service, and mandatory annual exercises for the reserves.  The public’s dislike of the draft, combined with the (then) perceived lack of threat from China, led in 2019 to a reduction in service length, and no conscription at all for some.  Taiwan’s government is now rethinking that policy.

Changes to conscription not imminent: Taiwan defense minister

Extension of mandatory military service unlikely before next year

The government will study proposals to lengthen the conscription period from four months to one year, but any changes will not take effect this year, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said Wednesday (March 23).

Amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, experts pondering China’s designs on Taiwan have recommended that the country’s compulsory four months of military service is too short to build an effective defense force. The most common suggestion is for the period to be increased to one year.

Asked for his opinion by legislators Wednesday, Chiu said no precise length has been decided but that a report on the issue would be completed this year. However, any changes will not be implemented until at least one year after they are agreed upon by the government, CNA reported.

This potential change follows warnings that the mass murdering regime in Beijing was mulling over whether to invade later this year, a followup to all the posturing and illegal incursions into Taiwan’s airspace.  Ukraine’s defence of its land, combined with more countries aligning with Taiwan over China has likely made the regime hesitant.

Xi considered invading Taiwan this fall: FSB whistleblower

Document believed to be leaked from Russian FSB claims Xi considered invading Taiwan in fall for ‘little victory to get re-elected’

A whistleblower from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) reported that Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping (習近平) had considered launching an invasion of Taiwan in the fall of this year before the “window of opportunity” closed with the disastrous Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The head of the Russian human rights group Gulagu Net, Vladimir Osechkin, recently on Facebook began releasing documents containing Russian intelligence concerning the war in Ukraine. One document, which Osechkin claimed was written by an intelligence officer from an analytical unit of the FSB, apparently revealed China’s original timeline for attacking Taiwan before Russia began its invasion.

Whether this is true or not, it is a wakeup call, and some younger people are changing their attitudes toward military service.

Two opinion pieces were posted on Taiwan News, “The Taiwan Territorial Defense Force needs you”, and “It’s time to open up Taiwan’s reserves to foreign workers”.  I doubt Taiwan’s military would take in recruits, even if they had military training, but volunteers for logistics and medical care would likely be welcome.

I really should get back in shape, just in case.