Change.org Campaign – #FairCostcoRenew Demand Fair Equal Membership

Friday, 5 March, 2021

Here is my first Change.org campaign #FairCostcoRenew Demand Fair Equal Membership which is inspired and expanded from a six countries investigative report that I conducted in Jan 2021, “Why Costco rips millions off members in US, Canada, UK, … EXCEPT China?

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2021 Change.org campaign – #FairCostcoRenew Demand Fair Equal Membership

During renewal, Costco members in 7 countries are shortchanged up to 2 months. In 3 countries, rip off are up to 12 months. Members in only 2 countries are safe. US$3.54 billion profit in membership fee accounting for 88% of net income in 2020 shows these months of fees paid worldwide by millions of members for ZERO benefit takes unfair advantage of members to enrich Costco shareholders’ pockets.

Costco backdates your membership and give you up to 2 months LESS benefits after you pay 12 FULL months fee in SEVEN ( 7 ) countries. The SIX insidious Costco contractual words of “renewed within 2 months after expiration” count 12 months from your PAST expiration date (the rip off) instead of basing on the day you pay to renew which is how members are treated fairly with respect by Costco China & Costco Spain. Read Costco’s own contract wordings for yourself in countries listed below!

You get up to 2 months LESS benefits in these 7 countries:

Costco US (screen capture of Costco’s own contract wordings for membership renewal) (full contract – direct link to Costco contract Membership Terms and Conditions),
Costco Canada (screen capture) (full contract),
Costco UK (screen capture) (full contract),
Costco Japan (screen capture) (full contract),
Costco Taiwan (screen capture) (Costco Q&A),
Costco Australia (screen capture) (full contract),
Costco Iceland (screen capture) (full contract)

For the following THREE ( 3 ) countries, Costco demands an outrageous backdating of up to 12 months LESS benefits after you pay 12 FULL months fee. Costco counts 12 months from your OLD “date of membership” (contract language of Costco France) or “expiration date of the membership” (contract language of Costco Korea). No mentioning of “within 2 months” here, making things actually far far worse. For example, your membership expires on December 31st and you haven’t gone to Costco for almost a year. You go shopping for Christmas gifts and pay to renew on December 24th. Your membership would have expired merely days later on December 31st because the 12 months are counted from your OLD “expiration date” months and months ago.

You get up to 12 months LESS benefits in these 3 countries:

Costco Korea (screen capture) (full contract),
Costco France (screen capture) (full contract),
Costco Mexico (screen capture) (full contract)

Only Costco members in following TWO ( 2 ) countries experience ZERO membership rip off during renewal. Fairly, when members pay 12 months membership fee to renew after expiration, their “membership will be extended for 12 months from the date of successful payment of the renewal fee” (contract language in Costco China). The way members of Costco China are treated during renewal should really be the gold standard for how Costco members be treated worldwide.

ZERO membership rip off in these 2 countries:

Costco China (screen capture) (full contract)
Costco Spain (screen capture) (full contract)

*** Did you know?

Costco Canada members were shortchanged for 12 months (like Korea) as late as November 2020 (see Internet Archive info). And Costco Canada only reduced its rip off to the current 2 months a few months ago in December 2020! In contrast, Costco US members had been ripped off for “ONLY” up to 2 months since at least 8 years earlier than Canada. We are left to wonder why did Costco make the contract changes when it did? And why did Costco China members get fair treatment from day one when its first China store opened in August 2019?

*** Help #FairCostcoRenew change.org campaign

• Please sign & share this #FairCostcoRenew petition on your social media platforms to demand fair & equal global membership renewal. Enough is enough.

• Please use hashtag #FairCostcoRenew when you share.


Why Costco rips millions off members in US, Canada, UK, … EXCEPT China?

Thursday, 28 January, 2021

Oxford Dictionary defines “Rip Off” as “cheat someone, especially financially“. Decide for yourself if Costco‘s behaviours discussed in this report meet this definition of “rip off” or there are simply a lot of “misunderstanding”?

New & long time Costco members caught in the scheme

Since the world plunged into Covid19 global pandemic in March 2020, millions of grocery shoppers in US, Canada, UK, and around the world have become brand new Costco members and started bulk buying. Who can forget news and social media photos of empty shelves of “essential goods” from toilet paper, household cleaning items, flour to even dry pasta. When medical experts advise us to physical distance and stay at home, bulk-buying at places like Costco seems like a good way to reduce our risk of contracting Covid19.

It may surprise some long time Costco members who have no idea that they have been caught in Costco‘s scheme for years. So the millions of new members who recently joined Costco since March of 2020 need to pay special attention and arm yourselves with knowledge in order to avoid being ripped off. For the record, this reporter’s family has a Costco membership. We shop at Costco periodically. One recent Costco experience was bad enough that it became the proverbial last straw and impetus to conduct this in-depth research and share with you these findings so you can judge Costco for yourself.

Guess what item

So what item does Costco rip members off the most? Hint: Some members get ripped off depending on your shopping habits and can add up to millions of dollars a year. Cosmetic, Costco chickens, or diamond rings? No, it’s what gets you in the door … your membership! For fiscal year ending August 30th 2020, Costco made a whopping $3.54 billion from membership fees.

By this reporter’s estimation (see below), Costco is potentially ripping off members worldwide from US$15 million to US$59 million a year, give or take a few million dollars. Not small change. So how does this scheme work?

The most troubling time of your Costco membership year

Costco membership agreements have pages of fine print. How many of the millions of new (since the start of the pandemic in March 2020) or existing 105.5 million worldwide members/cardholders have actually carefully read every word of the membership legal contract before they signed on the dotted line? One member in 50,000 or less?

You are not alone if you didn’t have time to read before signing it. Few years ago this reporter spent almost 10 minutes standing at the membership counter to read the legal fine print before giving up and signed on the dotted line without finishing like everyone else. Yes, this reporter is happy to say that bit of embarrassment has finally been corrected while researching for this report. Let’s take a quick look of the legal mumble-jumble and see if you notice the problem before it is explained with examples. Ready?

After reviewing five “Member Privileges & Conditions” contractual languages for renewals for Costco U.S. (pix), Canada (pix), U.K. (pix), Australia (pix), and Taiwan (pix), this reporter concluded that they are similar enough. So let’s look at the contractual languages used by the original and mother of all Costcos, Costco U.S. (pix),

“Memberships renewed within 2 months after expiration of the current membership year will be extended for 12 months from the expiration date. Memberships renewed more than 2 months after such expiration will be extended for 12 months from the renewal date. All renewals will be assessed at the membership fee in effect on the date the membership fee is paid.”

To make things easier to explain, we will use a concrete example with dates. Let’s say your membership expired on November 30th, 2020 (actually our family’s case), if you renew your membership within 2 months after expiration, even on January 30th, 2021, that is the last day of that “within 2 months” period, then you are one of the members that have been “ripped off“.

How so? Costco‘s contractual language forces you to pay 12 months of membership fee but only give you 10 months of membership benefits. Your renewed membership expiration date is unfairly backdated for two full months to November 30th, 2021, a rip off of 1/6 of the fee paid by loyal & renewing members! Making membership renewal time the most troubling time of your Costco membership. The kicker is that brand new customers signing up on the same date of January 30th, 2021 as you would get an honest expiration date of January 31, 2022.

How Costco China members are NOT ripped off?

Costco opened its first China store in 2019 August even though Costco co-founder and former CEO James (Jim) Sinegal first visited China over 25 years ago and had thought long & hard of how to be successful in China for years. This news clip posted by Guardian on Aug 28, 2019 is worth a thousand words of the business potential in China, “Opening-day frenzy at first Costco store in China

Read the rest of this entry »

Full Text of #AmandaGorman’s Inauguration Poem #TheHillWeClimb (reading & video interview + bonus lesson plan, 2019 reading)

Wednesday, 20 January, 2021

WATCH: Amanda Gorman reads inauguration poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’

[Following text is based on a version from WXIA-TV. With mistakes and typos corrected. Reformatted with emphasis added by Kempton. CNN reformatted it into very short sentences which somehow I dislike a lot.]

“Mr. President, Dr. Biden, Madam Vice President, Mr. Emhoff, Americans and the world: 

When day comes we ask ourselves, ‘where can we find light in this never-ending shade, the loss we carry, a sea we must wade?’

We’ve braved the belly of the beast, we’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace.
And the norms and notions of what “just is” isn’t always just-ice.
And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it, somehow we do it. Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.

We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one.

And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide, because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: that even as we grieved, we grew; that even as we hurt, we hoped; that even as we tired, we tried; that we’ll forever be tied together victorious, not because we will never again know defeat but because we will never again sow division. 

Scripture tells us to envision that ‘everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid.’ If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade but in all the bridges we’ve made.

That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it, because being American is more than a pride we inherit – it’s the past we step into and how we repair it. 

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith we trust for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption we feared at its inception.

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves. So while once we asked ‘how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe,’ now we assert: ‘how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?’

We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.

Our blunders become their burdens but one thing is certain: If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy in change, our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left. With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one. We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west, we will rise from the winds swept north, east where our forefathers first realized revolution. We will rise from the lake-rinsed cities of the midwestern states. We will rise from the sun-baked South. We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover in every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful.

When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.

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20210120 CNN Anderson Cooper did a great interview with Amanda, check out the following video (AC360 tweet, YouTube). Amanda explained to Anderson the origin of the line “We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it” is tweets she read. She is inspired by words she read instead of images she sees. And they talked about the last few lines.

On Jan 15, 2021, I tweeted I was “Looking forward to poet #AmandaGorman’ #InauguralPoem #TheHillWeClimb on Jan 20th. Until then, watching Amanda, first Youth Poet Laureate of the United States in 2017, performing her poems in 2019 at The Museum of Contemporary Art.”

//For every teacher who wants a lesson on this…// [HT Molly] via @NewsHour //Lesson Plan: Discuss 22-year-old #AmandaGorman’s inaugural poem “#TheHillWeClimb”// (direct link to PBS lesson plan for grade 6-12)


“It takes courage to be a scientist.” – New Quote I Love

Monday, 23 November, 2020

Here is a new addition to my collection of Quotes I Love.

It is a strange thing to have to say in this world today that it takes courage to be a scientist. I used to think that it only took brains. And now you need to be brave and courageous as well to do science in the face of the anti-science movement that we see. And the ideologic politics that has come to this process.” – Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO (video source: 2020 Nov 23, WHO Media briefing on COVID-19 (time code 39m 24s))


(Last updated 20201009) #Covid19 Catchall

Friday, 9 October, 2020

Last updated 20201009 #Covid19 Catchall post

Pix Credit: NIAID (NIH) Flickr post

20201009, Stat News, “7 looming questions about the rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine” (many VERY insightful questions #mustRead)

  • How do you define high-risk health workers? Essential workers?
  • High-risk medical conditions push you to the front of the vaccine line. How do you prove you have them when you get there?
  • How do you vaccinate special populations when there are little or no data on how the vaccines work for them? [K: children, pregnant people]
  • How widely can Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine be used, given its taxing storage requirements? [K: “Pfizer and BioNTech’s candidate, which uses messenger RNA technology, must be shipped and stored at -70 Celsius.”]
  • How will Pfizer and BioNTech’s ordering system affect the potential rollout of its vaccine?
  • With air travel slowed, can vaccines get where they need to go quickly?
  • How can officials keep a highly coveted resource safe from theft — and prevent counterfeits?

20201009, The Atlantic, “Atlas Coughed – Donald Trump has steadily turned masks into symbols—not of government overreach, but of governmental impunity.

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Above Pix Full Credit: NIAID (NIH) Flickr post //Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2
This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. Image captured and colorized at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana. Credit: NIAID //


Remembering Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933 – 2020)

Saturday, 19 September, 2020

I find Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933 – 2020) extremely insightful and even funny at times, here are a few items in memory of Justice Ginsburg. (CNN, Guardian, BBC)

Updated: 20200923 Created: 20200918

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20200923, CNN, “More than 100 of Ginsburg’s former clerks will meet her casket at the Supreme Court steps today”

20200922, PBS NewsHour, LIVE Q&A: Marcia Coyle on the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and what’s next for the Supreme Court

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20200918, PBS, “Remembering Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dead at 87”

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20200920, WaPo, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life, in her own words”

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2019, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg: From Brooklyn to the Bench

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in this 2010 C-Span video (may be less known but insightful in a deep way), she read a speech that was originally to have been delivered by her late husband Marty who died of cancer. After the speech, she sat down and chat with Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin (who happens to now sits on the HKCFA as an overseas non-permanent judge).

Incidentally, C-Span excerpted this segment from the fireside chat after the speech here in this YouTube video “Ginsburg on Cameras in the Court

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In 2017, I added this Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote to my long list of Quotes I Love,

A great man once said that the true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle. It is the pendulum. And when the pendulum swings too far in one direction, it will go back.” – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933 – 2020) stated in a 2017 BBC interview (video) that US is “not experiencing the best of times”. Justice Ginsburg also used the idea in this quote in a 1999 forum (video) with UK Supreme Court Justice Baroness Hale of Richmond.

Read the rest of this entry »

20200827 #Covid19 News Clippings – Shame on #China

Thursday, 27 August, 2020

20200827 News Clippings

20200827 CTV News, “Opportunity ‘over’ to test potential COVID-19 vaccine in Canada after China halts shipment” (Shame on China)

” CanSino’s vaccine was developed using a cell line from the NRC that was previously used to produce an Ebola vaccine. The two organizations have worked together since 2013.

Clinical pharmacologist Sabina Vohra-Miller says handing over that kind of asset without securing intellectual property rights on the vaccine was a major missed opportunity for Canada.

“This is a miss because you wouldn’t have that by-product if you didn’t have that foundational system of the cell line,” she told CTV News.ca.

“We’re trying to be the noblest citizens in terms of advancing science and making sure that there is no gatekeeping with that, and you would expect that there would be a reciprocity on that.”

20200827 WHO Media briefing on COVID-19

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“Some days, we write good stories. Some days, we just write paragraphs around great quotes” – New Quote I Love

Wednesday, 26 August, 2020

Here is a new addition to my collection of Quotes I Love.

Some days, we write good stories.
Some days, we just write paragraphs around great quotes from insightful young men
Today was one of the latter days” – Doug Smith‘s tweet on 20200825

20200825 TorStar story by Doug, “After the Jacob Blake shooting, some Raptors wonder if the NBA needs to send an even stronger message” (excerpt) Read the rest of this entry »


(Last updated 20201009) News Clippings – #Covid19 #Canada Ventilator supply

Saturday, 15 August, 2020

Last updated 20201009

20201009, Stat News, “7 looming questions about the rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine” (many VERY insightful questions #mustRead)

20201009, The Atlantic, “Atlas Coughed – Donald Trump has steadily turned masks into symbols—not of government overreach, but of governmental impunity.

20200915, Guardian, “Sweden records its fewest daily Covid-19 cases since March – Chief epidemiologist puts low number of cases down to light-touch ‘sustainable’ approach”

FMI: 20200320, “The Tip of the Iceberg: Virologist David Ho (BS ’74) Speaks About COVID-19” (Note: I wonder if the insight in this March 20th article remains useful or relevant on 20200915?)

20200815 News Clippings

CBC News, “Ventilator supply starts to increase as chief public health officer warns of possible surge of COVID-19 – Canada ordered more than 40,000 ventilators — but only 606 have arrived”

Only a small fraction of the 40,000 new ventilators Canada ordered for hospitals last spring have already been delivered but several companies involved say their production lines will start delivering the products faster in the next few weeks.

The promise of new arrivals comes as Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, warned Friday that a fall surge of COVID-19 cases could overwhelm the health-care system, including its supply of critical-care beds and ventilators.

“What we know based on what we learned from other countries and cities that had a devastating impact in that initial wave, if you exceeded that capacity the mortality goes up really, really high,” she said.

Flu season and other respiratory infections common in the fall could put added pressure on the system if COVID-19 flares up in a big way.

Tam said there were many lessons learned from the spring, when the government was ill-prepared and without enough protective equipment for health-care workers, and feared a massive surge of COVID-19 would overwhelm the health-care system.

“We are much better prepared than we were before,” she said.

CNN, “CDC’s chief of staff, deputy chief of staff depart from agency

The pair [Kyle McGowan, the chief of staff, and Amanda Campbell, the deputy chief of staff,] had been criticized by Trump administration officials for not being loyal enough. McGowan started working in Health and Human Services under then-Secretary Tom Price. He first served as director of external affairs for HHS before moving to the CDC. CNN has reached out to HHS for comment about the departures.

When our politician ask CDN stars for Covid help, they obliged as only good CDNs would!

CBC News, “Seth Rogen tells B.C.’s young people to ‘smoke weed and watch movies’ instead of partying – Joins fellow Vancouver native Ryan Reynolds in issuing COVID-19 warning”

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20200812 News Clippings – The Russian Vaccine, Dr. Gupta not sending kids back to school, Kamala Harris

Wednesday, 12 August, 2020

20200812 News Clippings

20200811, Science Mag, “The Russian Vaccine”

“Many will have heard Russia’s announcement that they have approved a coronavirus vaccine. I’ve already had several people ask me what I think of it, so let me be clear: I think it’s a ridiculous publicity stunt. If it’s supposed to make Russia look like some sort of biotechnology powerhouse, then as far as I’m concerned it does the opposite. It makes them look desperate, like the nation-state equivalent of a bunch of penny-stock promoters. The new airliner design prototype just got off the ground – time to sell tickets and load it full of passengers, right?

Why so negative? Look at what’s being claimed – the first coronavirus vaccine to receive regulatory approval. But “regulatory approval” is not some international gold standard, and these sorts of decisions show you why. Let’s be honest: there is no way that you can responsibly “approve” a vaccine after it’s only been into human trials for what numerous reports say is less than two months. That’s about enough time to do the first steps, a Phase I trial that gives you some idea of immune response across more than one dose. It is simply not enough time to do a reasonable efficacy workup as well, and absolutely not enough time to get any sort of reading on safety. Here’s a good article going into those timelines in more depth.”

20200812, CNN, “Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Why I am not sending my kids back to school”

20200812, NYT, “Why Kamala Harris Matters to Me”

PBS News Hour tweet (very heart warming story): “In a photo of Joe Biden asking Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate, you can see a Hagar the Horrible comic strip on his desk. – In 2018, Biden shared with @JudyWoodruff why that strip is meaningful to him”

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20200810 News Clippings – The virus doesn’t have a brain, Winter is coming, HK police arrest pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai & activist Agnes Chow

Monday, 10 August, 2020

20200810 News Clippings

HKFP (AFP), “I’m prepared for prison,” the 71-year-old Jimmy Lai said. “If it comes, I will have the opportunity to read books I haven’t read. The only thing I can do is to be positive.”

20200810 WHO Media briefing on COVID-19

Three sets of Q&As that I find very insightful. [K’s note: Love this quote: “The virus doesn’t have a brain. We are the one that have brains. […] how we can outsmart something doesn’t have a brain that we are not doing such a great job now.”] 11:41 What are the keys to vaccines development? [HT Philip] 12:38 Dr. Ryan’s answers. 15:35 Dr. Bruce adds more. [… When it comes to a key to finding the vaccine …]

41:52 Q: When you talk about know your enemy, what is the virus trying to do?

42:13 Dr. Ryan: The virus doesn’t have a brain. We are the one that have brains. [… great answers ] Maria may have something to say about how we can outsmart something doesn’t have a brain that we are not doing such a great job now. #frank

42:59 Dr. Maria: [… “The goal of a virus is to make more virus. The goal of the virus is to, I would use the word “survive” if it was alive, it is NOT alive. It wants to reproduce. It wants to find individuals to …] […more great answers!] Read the rest of this entry »


20200807 News Clippings – Aluminum Tariffs, HK Carrie Lam sanctioned, Georgia student’s ‘good and necessary trouble’, No mask no flight

Friday, 7 August, 2020

20200807 News Clippings

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland on U.S. imposed aluminum tariffs (Press Conf + Q&A)

CBC P&P, //“We’re their closest allies… and he comes and backstabs us like this? Unacceptable,” said Ontario’s @fordnation about U.S. President Trump imposing tariffs on Canadian aluminum. “We will come back swinging like they’ve never seen before.”// #TeamCanada #TeamOntario//

HKFP, “US sanctions Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, police chief and 9 other top officials for ‘undermining autonomy’” Read the rest of this entry »


How do you know SARS-CoV-2 (#Covid19) is not man-made, man altered, or genetically engineered?

Monday, 3 August, 2020

Since covid19 kinda took over our world, I geek out and try to learn more about the science of this monster.

Anyway, one great source of scientific information I accidentally discovered (via Gladwell when he talked about himself interviewing Fauci when he was reporting on HIV-AIDS years ago) is a podcast call TWiV “This Week in Virology”. I started listening to TWiV in recent months hosted by a group of virologists that have been recording the TWiV podcast for 10+ years (e.g. Sept 2008: “TWiV 2: Polio is not dead”).

In this May 2020 episode “TWiV 610: Coronavirus FAQ” which at the 1:14:55 timecode, they answered a listener Margaret’s question:

“what are your thoughts on the Wuhan bioterrorism theory?”

The Q&A is about 15 minutes long only. Totally worth your time.

Here is an excerpt from TWiV Helper Kiki’s comments on TWiV 610:

*Margaret: what are your thoughts on the Wuhan bioterrorism theory—intelligent people apparently are going into conspiracy theories? Quote from Ed Young in the Atlantic (quoting someone else) “Journalists still think of their job as producing new content, but if your goal is public understanding for COVID-19, one piece of new content after another doesn’t get you there, it requires a lot of background knowledge to understand the updates and the news system is terrible at providing that knowledge. Instead the staccato pulse of reports merely amplifies the wobbliness of the scientific process, turns incremental bits of evidence into game changers, and intensifies the already palpable sense of uncertainty that drives people towards misinformation.” Plain English explanations:

how do you know SARS-CoV-2 is not man-made, man altered, or genetically engineered? Evidence points to CoV-2 originating in nature NOT in a lab. First you would need a virus to start with that we can then engineer—from all the papers and genomes that are accessible in the databases, there was no virus that we had accessed that was close enough to CoV-2 that could have been human modified to the current form, except a bat virus from 2013 that is still genetically very different. Nobody took a virus that did not infect people and modified it so that it could: first, because scientists currently do not know how to do that, second, because there is nothing genetically close enough to be a precursor. Again scientists wouldn’t know what to do—the viruses being made have all had research into infecting animal vectors like mice, so there is a large gap in knowledge. While it is possible to chemically synthesize this virus from scratch, it is very unlikely that scientists would know what to make. There are differences from the 2013 bat virus in the receptor binding domain (RBD) and the furin cleavage site that make sense for increased infection capability and to make the virus pathogenic to people, but there are also a lot of accrued mutations (eg mistakes and changes in the RNA) that don’t appear to have any particular effect. It is hard to imagine how all of those random changes would have been picked up if this was being made in a lab—seeing all of the random mutations or genetic drift that would be seen if the virus was evolving in nature but not what you would see if the virus was evolving in the lab is the biggest indicator that this is not man-made. There are too many natural-looking mutations to be likely created. The furin site as an intention insertion is off-base as it is not necessary to infect humans. There are bits and pieces that people would not have thought to combine into a successful virus. Also, some of the changes to the RBD are novel and had a very unexpected impact on viral transmission, so this would be incredibly unlikely to have been found and used with no prior research. Bottom line: there is zero evidence that CoV-2 came from a lab and a ton of evidence that the virus came from nature


Dr. Anthony Fauci at Stanford Med Webinar

Monday, 13 July, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci & Dean Lloyd Minor in a Fireside Chat | StanfordMed LIVE – July 13, 2020

via CNN //Fauci: In 50 years, we’ll talk about coronavirus “the way we used to reflect on the 1918 outbreak”

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Dr. Anthony Fauci called the global coronavirus pandemic “unprecedented” and “the worst nightmare.”

“One thinks about the worst nightmare of an infectious disease person who’s interested in global health and outbreaks – is the combination of a new microbe that has [a] spectacular … degree of capability of transmitting, and also has a considerable degree of morbidity and mortality – and here it is, it’s happened,” Fauci said while speaking during a webinar with the Stanford School of Medicine.

“Your worst nightmare, the perfect storm,” he added. “I think 50 years from now, people are going to be reflecting historically on this, the way we used to reflect on the 1918 outbreak,” Fauci said.//

via CNN: //US didn’t shut down entirely, and now country is seeing surging cases, Fauci says Read the rest of this entry »


Dark: Seasons 1+2+3 Recap+Ending Explained+Interviews

Monday, 29 June, 2020

Just watched (almost non-stop Friday-Sunday) the whole Netflix Dark TV series seasons 1+2+3 in the last few days and quite enjoyed it! Here are a few spoiler-filled Recap+Ending Explained+Interviews that I had a lot of fun watching, enjoy (I tried to put the ones I enjoy more first)! BTW, did you watch Dark in its original German audio track or English dub? I think I may rewatch the series finale once more, this time in German, just to see how it goes.

DARK Season 3 Ending Explained! (K’s note: one of the better (or the best?) ending explained of Dark S3 so far)

DARK SEASON 3 Ending Explained Breakdown + Full Series Spoiler Talk Review | NETFLIX

Dark Season 3 Ending Explained | Netflix (Note: I feel like this reviewer, in fact, I skipped episodes 5, 6, 4(?) and jumped right to e7 and e8) Read the rest of this entry »


20200624 Kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight

Thursday, 25 June, 2020

Posts from 20200624

1a) #GreatPodcast #LoversInADangerousTime “Got to kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight”
On this Tuen Ng Festival (#端午節), here is a heartbreaking, heartwarming, and insightful podcast to listen.

#FrontBurner //One woman’s fight to free her husband from a Chinese jail//

//In an exclusive interview this week with The National’s Adrienne Arsenault, Michael Kovrig’s wife spoke out for the first time.

Vina Nadjibulla says Ottawa could do more to get her husband — and Canadian Michael Spavor — out of jail in China. Both men were arrested in December of 2018 just days after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver on behalf of American justice officials.

Today on Front Burner, Arsenault brings us more on Nadjibulla’s fight for her husband’s freedom — and how she is helping him stay resilient.//

1b) 20200622 //Michael Kovrig’s wife on fighting for his freedom: exclusive interview//

//Michael Kovrig’s wife (though separated) Vina Nadjibulla speaks for the first time in an exclusive interview with Adrienne Arsenault about his detention, Canada’s diplomacy and her fears for the future. Nadjibulla also shares letters Kovrig has sent during his 560 days in a Chinese prison.

#MichaelKovrig
#MichaelSpavor
#China
#Huawei//

2) Two great answers from Dr. Mike & Dr. Maria (WHO 20200624 WHO Media briefing on COVID-19)

WHO official transcript PDF link: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/transcripts/virtual-press-conference—24-june—covid-19.pdf

38:08 MR (from WHO official transacript) “If I could add on this, we tend to get positive information on remdesivir and we all chase that for a while and then we get stuff on dexamethasone and then we have a discussion about oxygen and then we have a discussion about other things.I think we need to really start seeing this as how do we optimise the clinical management of all patients who become sick; from the very moment that someone feels sick, getting an early diagnosis, being able to see a qualified physician or nurse and understanding, that physician or nurse being able to understand your underlying conditions, your likely risk and being able to put you into a pathway to see and seek and have the right care available. […]”

42:52 MK “That’s really a fantastic question. We are living in a time right now where there’re so many different groups that are carrying out really incredible research, real-time research right now for a new virus that we didn’t know anything about six months ago.We are learning about severity, we’re learning about transmission, we’re learning about treatments, we’re learning about every aspect of this virus and it’s happening at an incredibly rapid pace so that’s very positive. We’re seeing innovation in areas that we hadn’t seen before. You’ve mentioned the use of masks and we talk about different types of fabrics. That didn’t exist a few months ago.”

3) 20200624 Presser – Trudeau addresses calls to intervene in Meng Wanzhou case, announces investments for students | FULL

xxx


20200618 – Dr. Anthony Fauci: “Science is Truth”

Thursday, 18 June, 2020

Learning Curve (Podcast from HHS.gov) Dr. Anthony Fauci: “Science is Truth” Wednesday, June 17, 2020

“AF: Yeah. Well, one of the problems we face in the United States is that unfortunately, there is a combination of an anti-science bias that people are, for reasons that sometimes are, you know, inconceivable and not understandable, they just don’t believe science and they don’t believe authority. So, when they see someone up in the White House, which has an air of authority to it, who’s talking about science, that there are some people who just don’t believe that. And that’s unfortunate because, you know, science is truth. And if you go by the evidence and by the data, you’re speaking the truth.

And it’s amazing sometimes the denial there is, it’s the same thing that gets people who are anti-vaxxers, who don’t want people to get vaccinated, even though the data clearly indicate the safety of vaccines. That’s really a problem. I think the people who believe or people who understand and have trust in someone who has a very, very long track record of always speaking the truth based on evidence, and I’ve done that, as you said, through now six administrations. This is my sixth administration.”

Reuters, 20200618, Chinese fighter jets buzz Taiwan again, stoking tensions


“I opened a door”: D.C. resident #RahulDubey #ArcOfMoralUniverse #OneBend

Thursday, 4 June, 2020

I heard this on my radio podcast last night, wow! “D.C. resident Rahul Dubey gave refuge to around 60 protesters inside his home after law enforcement had pushed them down his street, firing chemicals at them.

Actions of people like Rahul is how our #ArcOfMoralUniverse can be changed #OneBend #OnePerson at a time.

20200603, CBC Radio As It Happens (7 minutes audio segment) ‘You would have kept that door open’: D.C. man hailed as a hero for giving refuge to protesters

20200602 WaPo, “‘I opened a door’: D.C. man shelters dozens of protesters from police”

20200602, NPR (2 minutes), “D.C. Resident Helps 70 Protesters To Avoid Arrests For Curfew Violation”

xxx


Maya Lin – Great minds of our time

Monday, 25 May, 2020

As I’ve been doing some #ThoughtExperiments for a “Covid19 global memorial”, I can’t helped but be inspired a lot by the amazing Maya Lin‘s design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial! After learning more about Maya Lin, I’m totally adding Maya to my long list of Great minds of our time  Here in this post, I capture some great videos, etc that I’ve come across and try to learn from.

Posted 2016, American Academy of Achievement, Maya Lin 2000 (interview conducted in 2000) (~62 minutes)

Via “The Film Archives” Youtube channel posted 2015, Maya Lin: Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Architecture, Biography, Design (2000) (~57 minutes)

2017 TIME, Maya Lin On Being A Female Architect: ‘I Didn’t Want My Gender To Become An Issue’ | TIME (~3 minutes)

2018, WoodrowWilsonCenter Youtube Channel, The Battle Over a Vietnam War Memorial (~18 minutes)

2014, Maya Lin, Architect and Artist: Talks at GS Read the rest of this entry »


Ditch #complicated #remdesivir #Patent2017 and focus on #GS441524 #Simpler #Safer #ancestor #Patent2009?

Thursday, 14 May, 2020

The following news is highly technical #Chemical #Pharmaceutical #Covid19 science. If I may share with you my trick and general approach to learning: I often try to read something and understand it as much as I can KNOWING I don’t know a LOT. Knowing what questions to ask and what we don’t know is part way to understanding/”some minor progress in understanding” new cutting edge science. To quote a Quote I LOVE by the Nobel Economist Ronald Coase when he was 100 years old, “You don’t know what you can learn until you try to learn.”

Have a read of May 14, 2020, Stat News, “Gilead should ditch remdesivir and focus on its simpler and safer ancestor” By Victoria C. Yan and Florian L. Muller  [HT Gabriel @gmleunghku for his RT this morning, I saw the STAT News op-ed but his RT put it more on my radar]

Here is an excerpt from //Opinion: Gilead has another antiviral that’s easier to make and safer to use than remdesivir. Why isn’t it giving that drug any attention? The world can only hope it isn’t for the sake of protecting its intellectual property.//

“The attractive profile of GS-441524 from both manufacturing and clinical perspectives raises this question: Why hasn’t Gilead opted to advance this compound to the clinic? We would be remiss for not mentioning patents, and thus profits. The first patent on GS-441524 was issued in 2009, while the first patent for remdesivir was issued in 2017.

We aren’t the only ones questioning Gilead’s strategy. We have spoken with a number of chemists, biochemists, veterinarians, and others who are also surprised that GS-441524 has remained out of the spotlight. Veterinarians we spoke to have noted that the strong antiviral activity of GS-441524 has resulted in a “miraculous turn of events” for cats infected with feline coronavirus, which was once considered a death sentence.

Given GS-441524’s optimal properties, we — along with the millions of people awaiting an effective treatment for Covid-19 — are left to wonder why Gilead isn’t giving it the same attention it is giving remdesivir. The world can only hope it isn’t for the sake of protecting its intellectual property.”

[NOTE: Do NOT take experts’ words blindly but let them highlight potentially interesting questions or where cutting edge science is]

P,S, In the 90s, I, for no good reasons that I can remember and may be I had too much money to waste/spend, subscribed to The New England Journal of Medicine for one full year! May be it was to broaden my understanding of medical science, better armed myself to read medical research, or simply to reduce my fear of reading research papers that I really know very little! I particular enjoy, if I remember right, reading the concluding paragraphs of many research papers talking about what’s “NEXT” for the researchers, what were their “unknowns”!

Gilead should ditch remdesivir and focus on its simpler and safer ancestor - pix

Gilead should ditch remdesivir and focus on its simpler and safer ancestor – pix


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