Not sure. Watching, waiting for signs. One thing is certain.
"Whatever comes out of these gates, we've got a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? We stay together, we survive."
A great documentary from Russia's RT on food waste. Although everyone knows there is food (and water!) wasted all along the food chain, the numbers quoted in the documentary are an eye-opener. The only criticism I have is that at least at the beginning various speakers harp on the evils of capitalism and the profit motive, but the rest is so interesting I'll forgive these idealists for bringing in what I think is a useless argument -- particularly because these are not lecturers; they are doing something, in immediate, hands-on fashion, to combat food waste:
Britain has been “living out a foreign policy of a world that has gone,” one of [Boris Johnson's] closest advisers said. Beijing and Moscow have shown us the limits of the rules-based order. Britain can no longer afford to be a “status quo power” naively trying to resurrect a defunct system. “The world is moving faster,” the adviser said, “and therefore we have got to get our shit together and move faster with it.”
To do so, Johnson insists, Britain must be independent, united, and nimble.
Sounds good. But just how do independence, unity, and nimbleness translate into action?
(His foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, told me that instead of “some big cumbersome whale,” the country needed to be “a more agile dolphin.”) The prime minister has already indicated what this might look like: imposing human-rights sanctions on Russia, using the presidency of the G7 to turn the group into a wider alliance of democracies, and trying to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
If that's that their idea of nimble, unifying, and independent thinking, God help the British. Yet to change one's entire way of thinking is extremely hard. In lieu they create 'narratives' that sound nimble, etc. This in the hope that if they repeat the new narratives enough, it will somehow translate into real change.
But the British government does recognize that a chasm now exists between between the ways things are today and the old political narratives the government has constructed about it. To return to Tom McTague's profile of Boris Johnson for The Atlantic (The Minister of Chaos):
[Boris Johnson] also believes that the global zeitgeist has radically changed since the 2008 financial crisis, and therefore so too must Britain’s foreign policy. This is not an ephemeral, insubstantial thing: Voters will not accept a laissez-faire attitude toward free trade, deindustrialization, or the rise of China any longer. Whether voters’ demands on these issues are reasonable or constructive is beside the point—they are reality.
Yet all such issues ignore that the traditional form of central government, which has been in place for centuries, is crumbling.
The only glue holding central government administrations and their copycat regional governments together in certain parts of the world is authoritarian policies -- and in the more 'liberal' parts of the world, government policies that can only be described as sneaky.
Both strategies are an attempt to keep the system of government going because a truly different system is unimaginable, a kind of black hole into which we'll disappear.
The future in many respects is indeed unimaginable, but the key to responding to the present is to understand that governments are becoming obsolete because they became synonymous with overarching planning.
In general changes happened slowly enough in earlier times that governments could develop plans for entire swaths of society. In recent times, changes happen so fast that often by the time broad-scale plans are finalized and implemented, the situations they were meant to address have changed so greatly the plans are obsolete.
This has left governments attempting to stuff situations that no longer exist into plans that no longer work.
How to deal with the problem? On paper the solution is two-fold: reduce overarching planning, and accompany every plan with a detailed de-planning strategy.
The sticking point is that many people earn their living being planners at one stage or another of planning for governments. Reducing government planning also means reducing a work force.
So the change would have to start with simply addressing the government planning problem -- making it an issue. Get people to understand that the more extensive, costly, and permanent a plan, the harder it is to undo or revise it in the face of changed conditions. And emphasizing that applied sciences and technologies and many other factors are forcing fast and extensive changes in entire societies.
Secondly, don't make the mistake in reverse; that is, don't say, "We have to stop government planning." That wouldn't happen anyway. What can work is to pinpoint areas where less government planning makes overwhelming sense, and work toward reducing planning in those areas.
Michael Yon is reporting for the New John Batchelor Show on the many thousands of people from scores of countries struggling through the Darien Gap in a desperate effort to get to the United States. Here's part one of his report, and here's part 2.
What is the Darien Gap? It's a hellhole for people traversing it. From an article at Dangerous Roads:
... The Darien Gap is a region of southern Panama that borders Colombia and is the only overland route into South America. ... It consists of a large watershed, forest and mountains. It’s possible to cross it. However to all intents and purposes at the time of this writing ... it is strictly off limits for the vast majority of travelers.
The barrier of the gap is partly natural due the dense rainforest that covers the region and over more recent years the significant safety concerns from guerilla activity have further reinforced this.
The gap is 50km wide, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and 96km long. Known as a drug smuggling corridor between the two countries, it’s rarely seen by outsiders. It’s a lawless wilderness teeming with everything from deadly snakes to antigovernment guerrillas. Tens of thousands of migrants a year risk their lives to cross it. ...
The Gap also represents a break in the Pan-American Highway -- a lethal break. Dangerous Roads notes that the few people who successfully make it on their own through the Gap are Special Forces types driving off-road vehicles. Even for the most experienced it's tough going. (See the photo at Dangerous Roads of two men with the Trans-Darien Expedition trying to push their off-road vehicle across the terrain).
The migrants who attempt the same journey are not Special Forces types and they travel on foot. They put their lives in the hands of guides who work for criminal gangs. Many of the migrants are murdered or die from the horrific rigors of the journey through the Gap.
Two million migrants --including 200,000 unaccompanied children and 1.1 million single males -- encountered at the border by the end of the year; Pacific Watch with Jeff Bliss, The John Batchelor Show, April 3 (Audiboom podcast)
It was a surprise pregnancy -- her first pregnancy. Mother and baby, a girl, seem to be in good health. The pregnancy was kept secret until Naomi made the birth announcement today -- not surprising given she is very private about her personal life.
On May 3, I published a post about Naomi's incredible nutritional regimen to protect the immune system. She released the information, which was quite detailed, as a public service last year because of the Covid pandemic.
I didn't know until just now, when I looked up her page at Wikipedia, that Naomi had been a cocaine and alcohol addict for five years. She also smoked cigarettes, which she also gave up.
She certainly got herself straightened out, and the nutritional regimen would have been a big help.
In any case, a healthy birth when the mother is at an age when many females have already gone into menopause is really something.
All the best to Naomi and baby.
Morning shake recipe:
April 12, 2021
All right. Here we are a year later; Naomi is now 50 years old, doesn't seem to have contracted Covid, and when last I checked was on a grueling photo shoot in Kenya. Like the great football player Tom Brady, staying at the top of her profession demands almost superhuman stamina, which doesn't leave room for being incapacitated by illness. So Naomi Campbell's nutritional regimen makes sense for her. Does it make sense for the rest of us?
That was my question last year. So I decided to wait and see how the Covid pandemic unfolded before discussing Naomi's recommendations. Given the severity of the pandemic during the past year, the expense of Naomi's nutritional regimen starts to look like a bargain if it can indeed greatly strengthen the immune system. The bottom line, however, is that many people would not be able to afford the regimen.
Just one of the supplements on the list, Humacel, costs $49.95 for a bottle of 60. But if the manufacturer isn't blowing smoke or simply wrong, Humacel (and I suppose similar preparations) could be a powerful aid for the immune system. Go to the Humacel website and read the product description.
I wouldn't attempt to add up the cost of just the breakfast ingredients, and I note that the list doesn't say what type of vitamin supplement Naomi takes, but the 'natural' brands can run into serious money.
It's all a judgment call; deciding which ingredients and supplements are best for you, and pruning ones that you think you can do without.
Another concern: While I've never used it, I do have a caution about pine bark extract. Years ago I'd heard such great things about it that I was on the verge of purchasing it when I decided to redouble my research into the extract, given its expense. I found one source, which unfortunately I've misplaced, that claimed pine bark extract blocks the body's ability to absorb Vitamin C.
From an April 22 article published at Medical Life Sciences that's headlined, Striking difference identified between mRNA vaccination vs. SARS-CoV-2 infection immune responses:
A team of scientists from the United States has recently compared the immune response elicited by natural severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination. Their findings reveal that, unlike vaccination, natural SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with a robust interferon response together with an induction of cytotoxic gene expression in peripheral blood lymphocytes. The study is currently available on the medRxiv* preprint server.
The article is directed at scientists specializing in the areas of research under discussion and therefore much of it is incomprehensible to this lay reader. Furthermore, the study is not yet peer reviewed and therefore can't be considered conclusive. But this part of the article is reasonably understandable:
By specifically analyzing the B cell clonal expansion, the scientists indicated that the increased interferon response during SARS-CoV-2 infection might have induced the differentiation of plasma cells in COVID-19 patients. In contrast, the vaccine seemed to trigger the expansion of circulating memory B cells.
Furthermore, they observed enrichment of activated T cells and natural killer cells with a high level of cytotoxic effector functions in COVID-19 patients. However, they could not detect such an immune signature in vaccinated individuals.
The study findings identify a notable difference between the immune responses induced by natural SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination. While the vaccine-induced immune response is mainly associated with viral clearance and protective immunity, an immune reaction to SARS-CoV-2 significantly increases the risk of heightened inflammation and immunopathology.
The findings square with the claim by Covid vaccine developers that their vaccines, while not necessarily giving full immunity to the Covid virus, can be very effective at protecting against the worst symptoms of the disease. I think the implication of the claim is that the vaccines ward off the infamous "cytokine storm," which is actually the killer in many if not most Covid cases.
If I understand the study's significance correctly, I have a question: Could the vaccines, by bypassing the immune system's response to the virus, weaken the immune system's natural defenses if the vaccines are repeatedly administered, as with annual booster shots?
I assume that would be a very hard question for scientists to answer off the top of their heads. And testing for side effects of vaccines probably wouldn't be broad enough to suggest an answer.
However, there is a way to come at the question without spending years at a lab bench. That would be to ask if there are ways other than the mRNA vaccine to tamp down the Covid-related cytokine storms, but which don't bypass or supplant any of the immune system's defenses. Some scientists are already asking pretty much the same question.
Take a look at this April 13 report from The Jerusalem Post:
Recently economist Terry Anderson sat down with John Batchelor to talk about themes in a book of essays he edited, Adapt and Be Adept: Market Responses to Climate Change.
The book is indispensable for businesspeople under the gun of changes in weather patterns that are threatening to destroy their companies and entire industries. But the tales Terry recounts, by turns funny, sad, and exasperating, lay out the shrewd ways that people found to profit from climate policies they knew were useless at stopping climate change.
Now that the new received wisdom is that it's not possible to stop the climate from changing, the tack is to urge everyone to find ways to adapt to climate change.
Yet what's clear from Terry's crash course is that human nature is most adept at doing what it wants to do for as long as possible. There's a good reason for this. Human societies reflect the "If it ain't broke don't fix it" rule, which works out to defending the status quo. The business of being adaptable is okay for childless couples, adventurers, and CEOs desperate to keep their companies profitable, but the majority need and demand stability for child-raising and communities made up of families.
Donald Trump won his first presidential campaign by in effect promising Americans that he would return their society to a stable way of life. Joe Biden won the White House by projecting a very stable personality and by promising that he and not Trump would restore stability to the USA.
So is the question for the policy experts that Terry quotes how to be adaptable in ways that don't signal vast disruptions in society?
I think the first question is whether it's true that climate change can't be stopped. When you cut the question into manageable bites, the answer is that it is demonstrably possible to stop and even reverse weather patterns that carbon emissions modelers insist on terming "climate." It's not possible to persuade those people to re-think their models, but it's been shown time and again that relatively small changes can produce big changes in the weather. An example I once quoted is that major loss of forest in one part of the USA produced more rain in another part of the country -- and in direct, cause-and-effect fashion.
So the idea is to first sort out what can and should be changed, and aim adaptability at what can show quick changes. Once people see with their own eyes the success they have with small actions that don't disrupt society, they build up enthusiasm for making more changes.
Well, this is a big discussion, and a good launching point is Terry Anderson's talk on John Batchelor's radio show at CBS Audio Network. (Podcast) But the key is small changes taken by many people. Sweeping policies implemented in the wrong direction are what got us into this "climate" mess in the first place.
Yet given that low oxygen is a red flag that a person can be chronically low in iron, the doctors should next give iron intravenously and do so immediately. They can test later for iron levels but in an emergency situation, just go ahead and plug iron into the Covid patient who is having trouble breathing.
How much iron? I don't know about IV administration but if I recall 45 mg is the 'safe' daily limit for oral ingestion of iron, although fairly recent research has shown that iron is better absorbed if it's taken every other day, not daily.
All this said, I don't know how fast IV iron can raise the oxygen level, but I do know that the oxygen-saving action of E is virtually immediate, and with somewhat less assurance I think it's about the same for powdered Vitamin C. So the beauty of E and C is that patients don't have to be admitted to the hospital before they can be treated with the vitamins. It can be done in the ambulance or while the person is lying on the ground outside the hospital waiting for a bed.
As I noted in an earlier post, the only problem with E is that unlike C, it won't be absorbed unless it's administered along with some fat. Any kind of fat -- including butter, ghee, vegetable oil, or fatty cheese or fish, meat, etc. This presents an obstacle for ambulance and ER personnel who'd be able to administer E even before the person is admitted to the hospital.
The workaround I suggested was piercing E gel caps and squeezing the oil into vegetable oil, then pouring the oil down the person's throat if he's too sick to be spoon fed the stuff. There could be better solutions but that's the one I came up with on the fly.
Now. I want to show you a list of seven symptoms. Each symptom description is accompanied by a brief explainer but I'm omitting that.
Covid Symptoms: Facing difficulty in breathing? These 7 symptoms indicate that your oxygen levels are down:
2. High fever
3. Frequent coughing
4. High blood pressure
6. Chest pain
If the short-tempered ones yell, 'Is this Covid or low oxygen they're talking about?'
The author is talking about both.
In other words, people who are chronically low in iron would be particularly vulnerable to the deadliest aspect of the Covid virus. So I find it a tragic irony that the author of the above list is an Indian writing for an Indian publication, and on April 23 -- as Indian Covid patients were suffocating while waiting for oxygen. But he doesn't make the connection, and obviously neither have doctors all around the world who've been treating Covid.
Those doctors, and the public health agencies they listen to, are chasing a virus when they should first and foremost target the most deadly symptom of Covid, which is low oxygen. Vitamins E and C are stopgap measures; they don't cure low oxygen, but iron can. There are reasons other than low iron that can be responsible for the condition, but given the circumstances with the Indian Covid patients who have breathing difficulties, chronic low iron should be the first suspect.
Here is an plain-English explainer from the top-flight Cleveland Clinic about the difference between hypoxia and hypoxemia along with a discussion of treatments for them. Note that the clinic's list includes a few symptoms not on the above one, but those can also indicate Covid infection.
See also: What to expect from an iron infusion