Musings: Vaccines, Virus, Masks, Chess, and Boxing

English Sunday Dinner at The Tavern; Kata Beach, Phuket
  • A Canadian Expat Kicked Me Out of the Universe
  • Covid-19 Definitely Positively Absolutely Came From The Lab
  • Is It A Good Thing That Covid-19 Killed A Bunch Of People?
  • A Thought Experiment About Masks
  • My Alternative To Social Media: High-Level Chess
  • I Watched The Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder Heavyweight Boxing Match

A Canadian Expat Kicked Me Out of the Universe

One of the elements I’ve enjoyed now for about 9 1/2 months living here on Phuket is the expat crowd. Generally, pretty high quality—much different than the woke scene of Karens and Kens in Chiang Mai, the pot-bellied sexpats of Pattaya…or whatever the urban crown of Bangkok is like (I spend as little time as possible in BKK).

It came to pass that the first resident I met was a Brit guy, here over 30 years already. He owns three thriving restaurants on the main beach road. He and another guy often sponsor BBQ or fish-fry get-togethers of upwards of a dozen other guys from all over—generally from countries with English as first language.

Three Americans, a Brit, and a Canadian

While I have no moral reservations about giving out Eugene’s last name, on a personal note it seems a bit butthurt and puerile like, so I’ll pass. I’ll say that Eugene is the quiet type; so, a valid assumption is that perhaps he’s more intelligent, thoughtful, reserved.

I hadn’t seen him since the heavier lockdowns got going mid-July, about three months ago; until Saturday night, just a few days after easings on Oct 1. Bars, night clubs, and pool halls can open again, until 10pm when the vampires come out to prey on the wicked.

After Martin, from Scotland I think, came up to greet me, I spotted Eugene across the way. So I head over.

“Hey Eugene, how have you been? I was just chatting with Martin across the way.”

“I’m fine,” he replies, then adds, “are you vaccinated?”

“Fuck no.”

“Then stay away from me.”

“I believe in Covid.”

Literal quote. We’re in a pool hall with six tables and about 6 oval bar stations to sit around. Zero masking or distancing, 200+ people in the place, easy.

Think about that insanity. It’s as if he’d come up to scold me about not wearing my garlic necklace.

Wonder how long he’ll keep up that attitude when he finds himself the one most shunned. For the record, I don’t care if you’re vaccinated or not, wear a mask or not, or practice heightened levels of distancing. I presume as with other things, if you’re sick enough you’ll probably be wanting to stay home.

Covid-19 Definitely Positively Absolutely Came From The Lab

From a recent WSJ piece.

Based on experience with SARS-1 in 2003 and MERS in 2012, we know that many people are infected by a host animal long before a coronavirus mutates to the point where it can jump from human to human. An extensive data set from late 2019—more than 9,000 hospital samples—is available of people exhibiting flulike (thus Covid-like) symptoms in China’s Hubei and Shaanxi provinces before the epidemic started. Based on SARS-1 and MERS, the natural zoonotic theory predicts 100 to 400 Covid infections would be found in those samples. The lab-leak hypothesis, of course, predicts zero. If the novel coronavirus were engineered by scientists pursuing gain-of-function research, there would be no instances of community infection until it escaped from the laboratory. The World Health Organization investigation analyzed those stored samples and found zero pre-pandemic infections. This is powerful evidence favoring the lab-leak theory.

Within months of the SARS-1 and MERS outbreaks, scientists found animals that had hosted the viruses before they made the jump to humans. More than 80% of the animals in affected markets were infected with a coronavirus. In an influential March 2020 paper in Nature Medicine, Kristian Andersen and co-authors implied that a host animal for SARS-CoV-2 would soon be found. If the virus had been cooked up in a lab, of course, there would be no host animal to find.

Chinese scientists searched for a host in early 2020, testing more than 80,000 animals from 209 species, including wild, domesticated and market animals. As the WHO investigation reported, not a single animal infected with SARS-CoV-2 was found. This finding strongly favors the lab-leak theory. We can only wonder if the results would have been different if the animals tested had included the humanized mice kept at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

https://archive.ph/XFqvq

Final word. Who will be held accountable for any of it? Nobody. That’s how the world works, now.

Is It A Good Thing That Covid-19 Killed A Bunch Of People?

I think the better question to ask is whether or not we accept the limits and expectations of natural reality. Of course, we do what we can to save and help, within reason, and this is what medical science is all about and on large—combined with other measures such as water and refuse sanitation—humanity has done quite well.

But come the fuck on!

Well over 99% of people who were ever diagnosed, survived. Does that sound like a planet killer to you? Add to that, less than 3% of the global population has even been diagnosed with the thing. Yes, 238 Million so far is a big number. 8 Billion is far bigger.

Or, look at it this way. World population grows on net by about 200,000 per day. Right now, about 1,000 people are dying daily from Covid. The world is overcoming that by 999,000. Per day. That number will increase so that there will never be even 3% of the global population that was ever diagnosed with the thing. And in case you wish to claim that it’s because of the vaccines, look into good data from Israel where it’s arguable that vaccination actually caused clinical infection in many.

The real bad and the real harm is what has been done to the 99%+ of survivors and the other 97% of the global population over the last 20 months. It’s criminal, and far exceeds what Nuremberg was all about. But just as with culpability for the lab leak, nothing will ever come of it.

A word on vaccine mortality. This morning I get sent a 2-hr long video purporting to prove that 200,000 have died as a direct cause of the vaccine(s). I have to say—in addition to not getting to have your cake and eat it, too—that a year or so ago, one side was touting every plausible death as a Covid death and the other side was calling foul, properly.

Now we have that other side trying to count every plausible death as a vaccine death.

On average, 150,000 people die every day worldwide, 55 million per year. If you’re vaccinating hundreds of thousands, even millions daily—many of them the old folks—then you’re bound to have a lot of statistically normal deaths in proximity to taking the vaccine.

You still have to look at total all-cause mortality to see if you’re being fooled by favorite causes of death, be that favorite cause from Covid or now, of vaxx.

One thing that can be done is to look very hard at the cases where average years of life lost is huge.

For example, if an 82-yr old dies, AVERAGE years lost per average life expectancy is zero. If a 30-year old healthy man dies of myocarditis right after a vaxx, average years lost is 52. That’s where efforts should focus, the eyebrow-raising deaths.

…As an experiment—having grown weary of tit-for-tat debates on Covid face-to-face here in Phuket—I’ve taken to saying:

“Oh, [X] number died? Good!!! They were weak and feeble, and nature kills the weak and feeble so they don’t reproduce weak and feeble and also so that those weak and feeble don’t place undue burden on the strong and healthy.”

Try it. See what happens.

A Thought Experiment About Masks

In Mike Eades’ weekly The Arrow Newsletter #40, he kicked it off with a lengthy debate he’d engaged in with one of his readers.

I got the following email from a reader:

“Peer-reviewed studies and a comment on the inconclusive Danish study. Denmark (and Norway), regardless of this study, took all the precautions they could, masking included, and are now back to normal (guardedly). Fortunately, it looks like the US is on the downhill side of the Delta surge. Maybe we can soon take a break from fighting pandemic misinformation.”

He appended this link to his email containing a list of 49 studies purporting to show that masks were indeed a bulwark against Covid.

You’re welcome to click the link above to see the whole back-and-forth which had me wishing that Mike would just dismiss him.

Similarly to my above section where I’m sick to death of all the blather and bullshit over something that kills less than 99% of those infected and only infects less than 3% of the population, the mask thing.

What if, whether than arguing whether or not they’re effective, you instead over-the-top acknowledge that they’re 100% effective. BUT, not just Covid. Also: colds, flu, pneumonia. They have Sooper Pow3rz!

So, what if we can gather reliable data to show that wearing a mask literally prevents death in 2.5 other people per year for every person who dutifully wears one outside the home, all the time, every time?

Given such information, would you then wear one for the rest of your life anytime you left the home, and no cheating?

How about if it was 5 other people? 10? 100? 1,000?

I’ve used this one a lot and eventually I get to 7,999,999,999 and say, “so sorry, not my problem.”

Try it. See what happens.

Alternative To Social Media: High-Level Chess

Back in 1976, at the age of 15, I began playing chess in high school daily. Soon, I could beat everyone every time, even all the adults. Even professional engineers who attended our church. It’s easy to learn the rules, takes a lot to even become good on average. I accumulated a library of 30 chess books, read every one, and went move-by-move through all the famous games, and every tournament game Bobby Fischer ever played. A year later I had my drivers license and that afforded me a bit of freedom to explore on my own.

There was a mall in Reno, NV and one of the outlets was one of those game shops. There were no video games yet, so it was all board games and such, plus an impressive collection of offerings in chess boards and pieces. And, they had a display of the newest thing: The Fidelity Electronics Chess Challenger, a computer!!! If you’ve watched A Christmas Story a dozen times as I have and recall how much Ralphie wanted that “official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock,” you get a sense. Alas, the financial means were not going to be available for that, for me.

But the proprietor of the shop was super kind and allowed me to play on the display model whenever I would come in.

I forget how many levels it had, or what the level it was set to the first time I played it, but I beat it the first time ridiculously easily, which made my head spin. Once I figured out the levels, I was able to set it to the highest and still beat it. My interest on saving the money to buy it waned.

I turned to postal chess.

Exactly like that. 9 cents per post card. We all played 6 games concurrently with 6 others. You had 3 days from the date you received your move to postmark your return move. Over a couple of years I played dozens of games with strangers all over the USA and my rating went from about 1,200 to about 1,800. That’s moving from C, through B and A, to Expert.

Then I got wind of a new chess computer, The Great Game Machine.

And I was able to get one. I believe it was 1980, I was studying math and computer science at college, plus working full time. So I was able to save some bucks.

Finally I had a tireless opponent that could beat me. But, for it to do that, I had to set it up on the higher levels where it could take 2-4 hours per move. Problem: overheating. Then, after a day or two spent on a game, it would go haywire. I came up with a heat-sink solution: one of mom’s cookie sheets. Turn it upside-down, place the right-hand edge of the machine just over the edge of the overturned sheet, and it was in close enough proximity to the metal underside of the machine to dissipate heat.

I can’t for the life of me recall what happened to it.

But, anyway, I purchased a standard tournament kit online, a chess clock, and set it on my patio. I regularly get games with guests, some of whom play online at chess.com.

It has been really cool for me. Two nights ago, a former guest dropped by at 1am, just wondering if I might be out playing chess.

Highly recommended. And if you don’t know how, or you suck, go to chess.com. Apps for your phones and tablets, too. It has all manner of instructions, you can play with the computer all the way from dumb-ass Jimmy with a rating of 600 that I can beat blindfolded, to Master. I’m now beating the 1,500 rating level regularly, working my way back.

I regularly play my friend Andy Curzon in UK, 2,200 rating. Master. I almost got him 2 times so far. He knows I will, pretty soon.

I Watched The Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder Heavyweight Boxing Match

I’ve pretty much thrown off sports, especially with all of them transforming themselves into woke pussy-boys on company time. Not sure that’s trickled on down to the boxing and MMA communities yet. I catch some of it when I’m out and about.

I was not aware of this contest at all. I didn’t even know the history. If I watch a sports bout, it’s not because I’m either fan or follower. That said, I’m not immune to finding the excitement of others somewhat cathartic. Yesterday, after a 2-day fast, I decided to break it with a substantial portion of bangers & mash down at Mark’s The Islander, an English-style pub and sports bar.

300 grams. Bang!

So, as I’m eating, Mark and all his mates were talking about the bout, calculating the time it would start here. Turns out, 7pm Eastern, 4pm afternoon in Vegas; but about the first 4 hours are the exhibition or down card or whatever. Anyway, main event was about 11am Sunday, Phuket time. Or something like that.

I’d paid it no mind but then an American buddy stopped by my flat to ask where to watch it and I told him The Islander, just 1.5km away. He later messages that he’s at Coconut Bar, even closer, but it has a better setup for viewing. Then newly arrived Andre from Paris, across the way:

“Je vais voir le boxing. J’ai un app.”

“Bien; donc, tout le monde, alors, meme les Francais…” I reply.

So I go in, and not at all wanting to go to a sports bar (I dislike them), I start surfing channels on the TV. When not using my Roku Stick, it’s always on Discovery, Discovery Asia, or Smithsonian. But sure enough, there it is on PPV Channel 36, full HD. They’re in round 9 of 10 of the final bout before the Main Event. Perfect timing.

The announcing is in Thai, but since when do you need to know what you just saw; a roundabout, uppercut, or jab…and whether it was right or left? I learned that boxing announcing is wholly superfluous—though I would dearly love to hear Howard Cosell do it again.

These are two big dudes. Fury, the white Brit at 6’9 (206cm) and 277# (126 kilo). Wilder, the black American at 6’7 (201cm) and 238# (108 kilo). I didn’t have a dog in the fight but I appreciated Wilder’s sound, healthier, leaner body composition and thought Fury looked plump and sloppy for a world-class athlete.

But, the numbers generally prevail in this sort of thing, especially in boxing, with so many elements to it. In round 1 when Wilder was throwing these long reach punches against Fury’s torso, I thought he’s expending a whole lot of energy in terms of oxygen demand in exchange for little damage, if any. As I recall, he got knocked down twice in round 2; then, surprisingly, knocked down Fury twice in round 3.

But that was about the end of knockdowns. From then on, it was a contest mostly of endurance. Both were so gassed most of the time. Throwing punches is extremely taxing. KO in round 10 of 12, Fury prevails.

Yea, a bit entertaining, but I just don’t get how such things generate interest and promotion into the 100s of millions of dollars. To each their own, I guess.

…Even if you want to kick the unvaccinated out of the universe…


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