Monday: Fierce Dog

Hunger and fear are the only realities in dog life: an empty stomach makes a fierce dog.

— excerpt, personal journal of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott

This short film by Aaron Dunleavy was inspired by his childhood in Blackburn, Lancashire UK. The script was improvised and cast using locals.

All districts in Lancashire voted Leave during last week’s Brexit referendum, with 65% of Blackburn voters supporting Leave.

Worth noting an article in Lancashire Telegraph about an Aldi’s store under construction. Aldi’s is a German-owned grocery store chain; have to wonder if construction will be completed.

Brexit botch bits

  • @shockproofbeats on Brexit’s impact on Northern Ireland (Storify) — It’s messy now and promises to be even uglier.
  • Downside for China (and other foreign investors): Real estate purchases may be put on hold (SCMP) — Some deals in the works may be halted until the pound is more stable. On the other hand, Britain may step in and put the brakes on sales; too easy for overseas entities with big money to buy up property while pound is depressed.
  • Upside for China (and other banking centers): Business could pick up in Hong Kong (SCMP) — London is the second largest trading center of yuan next to Hong Kong; some of the business could shift back to Hong Kong, especially if HSBC bank choose to relocate its headquarters to HK from London.
  • No change in position on Brexit referendum since last Friday according to PM David Cameron (Independent-UK) — Though Cameron is now going to leave in September. He continued to push triggering of the Article 50 to his successor while taking pot shots at Labor Party over its purge this weekend. Not certain most Americans will notice just how Cameron has managed to shift the blame to both MPs and the people for a referendum he proposed, or how he has turned execution of Article 50 into a poisoned chalice. Lord Chancellor Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove, Leave campaign proponent, was present at today’s session in Parliament but said nothing before disappearing. Boris Johnson, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip and Leave campaign proponent, was noticably absent. Wankers all three.

Waiting around watching the court for good or ill until this morning is kind of like waiting for Shark Week — hey, it IS Shark Week! What a coincidence!

Miscellaneous trouble

Promises to be a busy week ahead. Stay tuned!

22 replies
  1. scribe says:

    There are Aldi stores in the US. The construction will continue.
    I believe this might be the first time in the history of Britain that no one has wanted to be prime minister. Volunteers?

  2. bloopie2 says:

    “@shockproofbeats on Brexit’s impact on Northern Ireland (Storify) — It’s messy now and promises to be even uglier.” Yeah, the English should have taken into account the fact that the Irish are too uncivilized to live peacefully with each other.

  3. Rayne says:

    scribe (5:17) — Well aware there’s Aldi stores here as they’re one of my favorite places to shop. But the U.S. has a stable currency and a good trade relationship with Germany. UK’s currency is iffy and the trade relation could change as soon as a Tory leader steps up to take PM role and kicks off the Article 50. If customers’ buying power has been seriously diminished and may remain so for +2 years, why bother hurrying construction’s completion, especially when grocery chains typically net 3-4% profit?

    • scribe says:

      Aldi is in the business of making money. They wouldn’t have gone where they’re going with their new stores if they couldn’t make a buck, preferably with someone else’s money. My betting is that the bank that loaned them money for the supermarket is the one exposed to Brexit risk, if only b/c Aldi’s big enough to force its lenders to take on that risk. If they want the lending business.
      Since banks count loans as assets (until they don’t perform), they’ll (a) chase the Aldis of this world because they can create big assets with one deal and (b) they’ll make sure that loan doesn’t crater around them.
      And I’ll bet Aldi’s margins are fatter than most, a product of their labor practices.

  4. bloopie2 says:

    Re: IRS hacking. Are there known instances of “hacking” of paper filers? Sure, once the data is entered it may be the same, but wouldn’t a paper filing (no PIN required) be more secure, in light of this repeated problem?

    • scribe says:

      Speak of the devil.
      I was just finishing up my taxes, having timely filed extensions earlier this spring during tax season before an extended work trip took me away from such pleasures.
      Having been the victim of identity theft a few years back (remember when some government employee lost a laptop with the Personally Identifiable Information of scads of veterans? Yeah. I was one of them.), the IRS kindly sends me a paper reminder both of that stunt and providing me with a PIN to put on my return. This year, I even got 2!
      Seems when they sent the original letter, the auto-date function set the date of the letter properly. But, the minion who prepared the letter took last year’s letter and forgot to change the tax year for which the PIN was applicable from last year’s taxes to this year’s. So, a few weeks later, they sent me a fulsomely apologetic letter telling me “Oopsie. Please go ahead and use that PIN for 2015 even though it says 2014. Our bad, but no harm.”
      Still, there are some things I do all paper, and my taxes (and refund checks) are one of them. Paper don’t break (as easily as computers).

  5. Rayne says:

    bloopie2 (6:41) — No, the British should have taken into account the fact their hegemonic occupation of other countries damaged relationships between people within the same land mass for more than a hundred years. Like indigenous tribes and colonists of two different countries. In retrospect, the Hawaiians should have eaten more than Captain Cook.

    (6:44) You mean like the numerous cases of mail and wire fraud committed every year using mailed W-2s and tax filings? Oh yes, that’s so much better. Let’s do that instead of implementing inexpensive but effective two-factor authentication. ~smh~

    • bloopie2 says:

      Agree 100% on the two-factor authentication. Although I’ll bet my bottom dollar that that will be broken too in our lifetimes. And on the occupations, well, yes, the English should not have done that, but you can’t say that Protestants and Catholics who still hate each other one or two hundred years later are without blame. At some point you forgive and forget and move on.

  6. bevin says:

    “…the British should have taken into account the fact their hegemonic occupation of other countries damaged relationships between people within the same land mass for more than a hundred years. Like indigenous tribes and colonists of two different countries. In retrospect, the Hawaiians should have eaten more than Captain Cook.”
    Agreed. Whatever happened to Hawaii anyway? We know the British didn’t take it over, subject it to genocide, steal its lands, enslave its people, so I guess all went well.

  7. P J Evans says:

    On the mosquitoes – that’s not the important part of the article. The important part is at the end, where they have the maps showing them expanding their existing range. (Talk about a bass-ackward story: the history is nice, but is it important to know that when you’re dealing with them now?)

  8. lefty665 says:

    Would that mosquitoes were the worst thing that the Govt unleashed on us in the ’50s, ’60s and beyond, all the way to tomorrow.
    The latest on Zika (since the analysis that the strain of the virus circulating in humans is genetically different from that in mosquitoes) is a study comparing pregnancies and Zika in Brazil and Columbia. The conclusion is that there is no correlation between Zika and microcephaly, There is however another variable in Brazil, the insecticide pyriproxyfen that has been put in the water there to kill mosquitoes. If Rachel Carson was still around she’d be saying “Won’t you ever learn? I explained all this 50 years ago”.
    Here’s a report that includes a link that goes back to the science:
    Doesn’t mean that any disease is harmless, or that an inflammation cannot cause fetal defects if it happens at the wrong time. But, it does explain why a seemingly benign virus suddenly was associated with birth defects. It seems that the Zika hysteria was drummed up by NIH and CDC to wake up the dorks in Congress to appropriate research money. As with mosquitoes released 60 years ago, hysteria spreads.

    • P J Evans says:

      You need citations on that, since the tests I’ve read about are actually showing a correlation between Zika and microcephaly, and no one I’ve read is saying the strains are different.

      They did just discover a different species of Borrelia that causes a different version of Lyme, though.

  9. Rayne says:

    P J Evans (8:27) — Yeah, that piece buried the lede, but then I may have plugged it the same way Atlas Obscura did in their tweet. Had I promoted the history, might have viewed the story differently. I didn’t find the maps as helpful — to me the kicker was that aegypti had been eradicated, and we now have them back spread across this hemisphere only because U.S. government conducted human experiments on unsuspecting civilians. Jeebus.

    And now Congress can’t find its butt with both hands to muster funding to fix this self-administered mess? ~ smh ~

    lefty665 (11:22) — We’ve been through this already.
    (1) It’s NOT the pesticides because we’d see these same birth defects in the same rate in other parts of the world if it was, with or without Zika. Scientists have already said this.
    (2) The reason Zika’s effects on humans is different between Brazil and Colombia may be two-fold: first, the disease has mutated rapidly in humans, with at least 12 mutations noted already in Brazil alone as of April this year. Second, the disease may not have spread the same way it did in Brazil which may have limited occurrences as well as monitoring of the disease and of birth defects.
    (3) Zika also causes Guillain-Barre syndrome, which has been more widely reported in Colombia versus Brazil. This means the virus is still a neurological agent regardless of its location.

    It’s not hysteria when the statistics support the concern. Last month there were 279 pregnant women who’d tested positive for Zika and were being monitored by the CDC. As of two weeks ago six of them had given birth to or lost pregnancies due to microcephaly and other Zika-related birth defects — and we don’t know many births total out of that 279 to date let alone how many have latent defects apart from microcephaly yet to be diagnosed. This rate of microcephaly and other birth defects is absolutely unheard of, and I’ll point out if these women were in the U.S., they weren’t uniformly exposed on a sustained basis to pesticides.

    IMO, based on the rate of mutations compared to sampling elsewhere, the vector which is just as problematic as Aedes aegypti mosquitoes is unprotected sex. This is something Congress should remedy by providing adequate funding for birth control, but the radical fundamentalist GOP members are more interested in radical fundamentalist votes than actually doing their jobs and protecting their most vulnerable constituents. And nearly all of them being male will never experience the Alien-like hell of wondering if they are carrying a damaged fetus that will suffer a short, excruciating life.

  10. Rayne says:

    omphaloscepsis (8:54) — Some things don’t change, I guess, potholes then and now. Britain sucked at self-maintenance in the 1960s, and they still suck now in spite of their EU membership.

  11. lefty665 says:

    Rayne @ 3:24 “MO, based on the rate of mutations compared to sampling elsewhere, the vector which is just as problematic as Aedes aegypti mosquitoes is unprotected sex.”
    If we could do something about that, maybe we could prevent some of those damned dumb Congresscritters too. But they protect their legacy by doing things like prohibiting Planned Parenthood from participating in Zika funding.
    But wait, there’s more. In some of the only actual scientific testing of Zika that’s been completed, the strains circulating in mosquitoes are genetically distinct from what’s circulating in people. The method of transmission may be similar but the vector very different. At this point unprotected sex looks like the primary problem, as it so often is.
    Testing of pregnant women with Zika will be the first real data that CDC has come up with, and that’s a step in the right direction. But, by testing cases that come in from the wild it is very hard to control for other variables. It will be hard to tell what the numbers really mean. Get your cognitive dissonance shields ready for more “Zika like”, “consistent with” and similar faux science that masquerades coincidence as causality.
    This was a specific pesticide that Brazil decided to put directly in the drinking water to kill mosquito larvae. Is there evidence it is used that way elsewhere? If so, please provide the links so we can all look at that and the related disease statistics.
    Women in Brazil were drinking pesticide. The heavy incidence of microcephaly was in the areas where that happened. There’s more coincidence with pesticide caused fetal abnormalities then there is with Zika. If you’ll take coincidence as conclusive on the one hand, why not on the other?
    No disease is a good disease. Anything that causes inflammation at a critical point in pregnancy, especially early, will do bad things. Often it seems our immune system response is the proximate culprit. The more severe the infection, the stronger the immune response. There’s discussion that better prevention of severe illness (like flu) in pregnant women and the proliferation of lesser diseases and allergies is linked to the reduction of things like young adult onset schitzophrenia and explosion of less severe autism spectrum disorders.
    With Zika it looks very much like Rachel Carson and Pogo were right once again about insecticides/pesticides and “We have met the enemy and he is us”. DDT or pyriproxyfen, a rose is a rose. Carson and Kelly had it pretty much on the money 50-60 years ago. As the tune from that era put it “When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?”
    Zika hysteria, hula hoops for the ‘teens.

  12. lefty665 says:

    PJ Evans @3:28 See my “Comments and Tips” to Rayne #349 for the link to genetically separate strains of Zika in mosquitoes and people. Rayne’s got it right, unprotected sex looks like what’s spreading Zika in people.
    Might also look at #350 and #351 for more tips. NIH and CDC have been reduced to Chicken Little “the Zika is coming, the Zika is coming” to blast the dumbf**ks in Congress off their butts to provide funding. Even with that they’ve been only partially successful. The administration has contributed to the mess by unilaterally moving funding from Ebola to Zika.
    While we can encourage NIH and CDC in their efforts to get Congress to fund Zika research, there’s no requirement that we succumb to Zika hysteria. Wink wink, nudge,nudge.

  13. bloopie2 says:

    Here’s some tidbits from a great speech by Yvette Cooper, former shadow Home Secretary. Link as follows,

    She said it was important to understand why people voted to leave. They did not feel they had anything to lose, she said.
    The cities voted in. Industrial towns voted out. Digital growth areas like the M4 corridor or the University towns voted in. The Tory shires and the Labour coalfields voted out. Scotland voted in. England and Wales voted out. The young voted in. Older votes chose out. Graduates in. Working-class communities out.
    Those who saw globalisation as an opportunity voted in. Those who felt globalisation was a threat and didn’t trust “the system” to make it better voted out … Communities who didn’t believe the Remain campaigns arguments about risk because they didn’t feel they had much more to lose. People who said they didn’t believe “experts”, because too often experts have let them down …
    A Tory prime minister could not persuade them. Because a Tory government has let them down. But Labour had nothing to say that could convince them either. They weren’t convinced by staying in Europe because they couldn’t see how they benefited.

    She said the leave vote was a sign that politics has failed.
    We are here without a plan because politics has failed. Because our political process just couldn’t deal with the difficult issues so they got worse. Because too many of our politicians couldn’t work out how to solve problems so they made false promise or just walked away. Because too many towns feel they have no future. Because immigration seemed too hard to solve. Because the EU seemed too hard to reform. Because inequality is still rising and it seemed too hard to stop. Because we weren’t prepared to take action to sort out housing. Because trust collapsed. And with every layer of failure, politics just made it worse.

  14. lefty665 says:

    Rayne @3:24, here’s a link to the statistical analysis that concludes there’s no direct link between Zika and microcephaly. They control for the variables you note and more.
    It includes this:
    “An alternative cause of microcephaly in Brazil could be the pesticide pyriproxyfen, which is cross-reactive with retinoic acid, which causes microcephaly, and is being used in drinking water [7-9].”

  15. Rayne says:

    lefty665 — Two things, and then I’m moving on.

    (1)(a) Brazilian Association of Collective Health (Abrasco) said they were quoted incorrectly on a technical note wrt mosquito control methods to fight Zika. They said,

    ‘at no time said that pesticides, larvicides or other chemicals are responsible for the increasing number of cases of microcephaly in Brazil.’ What the entity’s note said that she considers dangerous that mosquito control is done mainly with larvicides.

    The initial misunderstanding was widely disseminated, and nobody in English-speaking enviro-blogosphere has bothered to read either Spanish or Portuguese refutation and clarification after the fact.

    (1)(b) If pesticide pyriproxyfen were implicated in microcephaly, the rate of microcephaly would have increased in all countries where the chemical is used since its introduction in 1996, in sync with its use in the environment. Uptick has not happened until Zika spread in South America.

    (2) Scientists in two separate studies (Report on U.S. study here, with photos | Report on Chinese study here) have directly observed Zika virus attacking lab-grown mice pups’ brain and neuro tissue.

    Together, the findings indicate that the virus by itself can wreak havoc, says Michael Diamond, a viral immunologist at Washington University in St. Louis in Missouri who let the Cell study. “Some people feel there are many cofactors like insecticides,” Dimond says. “Our study suggests at least you don’t have to invoke other things.” And by providing an animal model for the fetal damage, the studies should also ease the path for testing potential vaccines and treatments. (emphasis mine)

    Or these studies should have eased the path to funding for more studies, vaccine development, and testing if we were governed by sentient beings with a modicum of decency, instead of parasitic radical fundamentalist half-wits who don’t give a flying rat’s whisker about the suffering of mothers and infants whatsoever, let alone the future of the human genome.

  16. lefty665 says:

    Unquestionably we need more study/research, and I trust you’re talking about our esteemed congress critters in “parasitic… etc”. Nice wordsmithing.
    (1) We have no suggestions so far that anyone anywhere in the world other than Brazil has used pyriproxyfen in water routinely consumed by pregnant women.
    (2) Sumitomo’s own tests showed birth defects related to pyriproxyfen
    (3) the analysis I cited above found no correlation between Zika and increased incidence of microcephaly, and that “An alternative cause of microcephaly in Brazil could be the pesticide pyriproxyfen, which is cross-reactive with retinoic acid, which causes microcephaly, and is being used in drinking water [7-9].”
    Zika may well be capable of doing bad things, but for sure pyriproxyfen causes birth defects and causes microcephaly. In Brazil microcephaly cases are concentrated in areas where pyriproxyfen was put in drinking water and are coincident with that use.
    Zika hysteria, hula hoops for the ‘teens. This craze too will pass. Maybe we will begin to listen to what Rachel Carson had to tell us before we achieve a truly “Silent Spring”.

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