Kempton & 張婉婷 給十九歲的我 (National Treasure) To My Nineteen-Year-Old Self – Mabel Cheung 2.5 hrs chat

Thursday, 19 January, 2023
  • 10 years in the making, 300,000 hours of footage, and 3 years editing
  • Calling 給十九歲的我 To My Nineteen-Year-Old Self a “National Treasure
  • What good can documentaries do? Can you imagine documentaries changing lives or society?
  • Director Mabel’s “Final Cut” & Ying Wa’s “Final Decision”
  • re Mabel and her filmmaking & loving life partner the late Alex Law 羅啟銳
  • Has Mabel thought of donating Alex’s and her creative archives to her alma mater HKU or NYU like Canadian author & living national treasure Margaret Atwood had donated 600+ boxes to create the Atwood archives at U of T?
  • Sending my thanks & love to Mabel & team, student interviewees, and Ying Wa Girls’ School 英華女校 staff
  • Concluding thoughts
  • Postscripts 後記

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Note: Distributor Golden Scene has provided this link to get Live information on showtimes of 給十九歲的我 To My Nineteen-Year-Old Self in HK (wide release Feb 2nd, 2023).

10 years in the making, 300,000 hours of footage, and 3 years editing

It was my great honour and pleasure to have an extensive ~2.5 hours four parts insightful video interview (watch here) with Ms. Mabel Cheung 張婉婷導演 , an award winning director from the start of her career including her first student film (the famous “Migration trilogy“: The Illegal Immigrant 非法移民 (1985), An Autumn’s Tale 秋天的童話 (1987) and Eight Taels of Gold 八兩金 (1989)). My previous “record” of longest film interview was ~2 hours with Taiwan director Mr. Shen Ko-shang 沈可尚 to talk about his documentary LOVE Talk 幸福定格 which he took 7 years to film 8 couples.

Mabel and I chatted last Sunday Hong Kong time (2023/01/15) to talk about her documentary (10 years in the making, 300,000 hours of footage, and 3 years in the editing room) 給十九歲的我 To My Nineteen-Year-Old Self (in short 給十九 ToMy19). And then the film won 2022 Best Film from Hong Kong Film Critics Society 香港電影評論學會 one day later on Monday (2023/01/16). Perfectly timed for Mabel‘s words of thanks to be appended to Part 4/4 of the interview clips.

My extensive ~2.5 hours chat with Mabel covers many topics, including scenes I love in 給十九 ToMy19 from the perspectives of movie viewers and also things that documentary filmmakers like myself or aspiring filmmakers want to know. Some viewers and filmmakers maybe curious how Mabel worked with 300,000 hours of footage to create a film that is loved by many? Or when the student interviewees didn’t want to be interviewed anymore, what did Mabel & team do to keep things going? What kind of advices does Mabel have for documentary or drama filmmakers or aspiring filmmakers wanting to create their first film?

Have a watch of all four parts of the interview. Mabel & I were originally scheduled to chat for 2 hours and those time flew by in the blink of an eye. And Mabel was so kind in giving me a 30 minutes extension. I used my additional time to ask questions I previously collected from a photographer friend interested in filmmaking and three questions by Norris Wong 黃綺琳 (note: Norris 黃綺琳 is Mabel’s former university student and current filmmaking project mentee 香港電影發展基金薪火相傳計劃 ((2022?)-(3) 張婉婷 / 黃鐦 黃綺琳)」).

Calling 給19歲的我 To My 19-Year-Old Self a “National Treasure

Right from the start, I mentioned to Mabel that I’ve watched 給十九 ToMy19 6+ times and I love it. In the same way that many Brits now love the Up (film series) (a series of docs featuring group of ~14 people in UK when they were 7, 14, 21, 28, … all the way to 63 years old) and consider Up (film series) a National Treasure, I love 給十九 ToMy19 a ton and also consider it a National Treasure.

Love is hard to explain. In some sense I started falling in love with longitudinal documentaries in 1988 as I was lucky to discover and watched the first four Up (documentary series) when the subjects/interviewees were 7, 14, 21, and 28 years old, at the SigSam audio-visual library of my alma mater University of Toronto. To my knowledge, the Up (film series) produced by Granada Television for ITV is the oldest, most famous, and most successful longitudinal documentaries of all time. Hoop Dreams (1994) is another longitudinal doc I love. There is also longitudinal dramas like director Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood (2014) (same actors filmed from 2002 to 2013) and the Before trilogy (Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2013)) of romance films featuring the same leads.

And now you see why I’m primed to LOVE Mabel’s 給十九 ToMy19 which has become my latest favourite. Yes, a National Treasure. If I were a betting man, the 2022 Best Film mentioned above may just be the first of many awards. Of course, “winning awards” should never be any good filmmaker’s goal and definitely wasn’t Mabel’s as she told me. But a good film about HongKongers should be watched by more HongKongers.

What good can documentaries do? Can you imagine documentaries changing lives or society?

Many documentarians (good and even bad ones) aspire to capture their times for history. You may ask what good can documentaries do? Is it even possible that documentaries can change lives or society? Let me share two examples to illustrate.

Oscar winning director Errol Morris‘s documentary The Thin Blue Line (1988) was instrumental in Randall Dale Adams‘ (wrongly convicted of murder) exoneration the following year. Dear Zachary (2008) is a documentary that is instrumental in changing the legal system (specifically, bail reform) in Canada which I had the heartbreaking honour to video interview David & Kate Bagby when they attended the 2008 Calgary International Film Festival screening.

I hope a good documentary like 給十九 ToMy19 can lead to self and collective reflections, follow by positive changes in minds and actions of Hong Kong students, parents, teachers, school admins, education system, and even Hong Kong society in general. I wonder can and should 給十九 ToMy19 be screened at Ying Wa for all incoming new students in future years? Or will other Hong Kong schools want/plan to screen the film for teachable moments and learning purpose? I think the film contains many universal truths and can be used as good teaching aids in the hands of wise and loving teachers, vice-principals and principals. I think. I hope.

One scene that breaks my heart into a million pieces is the one that Vice-Principal Siu-Fung 小鳳 talked about some school where students (and their parents?) were thrilled to burn their school books after public exams were over. How tragic? Joi Ito (伊藤 穰一), former director of the MIT Media Lab, said this in a cool TED talk which I love, “Learning over Education. To me, Education is what people do to you. And Learning is what you do to yourself.”

For the books burning students, their cheering teachers & parents, I wonder what were they thinking? Do they think all their learning were “finally over” once they got accepted into university or graduated and got their undergrad degrees? Have they ever heard of or aspire to the idea/ideal of “Lifelong Learning“?

I want to especially thank the student interviewees and their families for their open sharing of a wide range of topics, including public health topics like mental health, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and many other topics that we can all learn more about and become better members of our communities. Be kind, be caring, and be loving of others.

Director Mabel’s “Final Cut” & Ying Wa’s “Final Decision”

As Mabel told me in our chat, she has the Director’s Final Cut on the documentary so that means anything that is on screen (or not on screen), the length, etc were all her decisions to make and her decisions were final. And “luckily”, the Hong Kong film censor did not have to cut one frame off her film.

And if my memory serves me, Mabel in one of her many interviews with media directly said (or implied) that it is always Ying Wa‘s “Final Decision”, in it I took it to mean that Ying Wa could have nixed the whole documentary after Mabel had done all the hard work. But Ying Wa did not. And for that, I thank the higher-ups at Ying Wa for letting 給十九 ToMy19 have her own life with us HongKongers and viewers around the world.

re Mabel and her filmmaking & loving life partner the late Alex Law 羅啟銳

My heart was broken into million pieces as I watched hours & hours of YouTube videos of insightful interviews of Mabel and her filmmaking & loving life partner the late Alex Law 羅啟銳. (see links below) The sudden passing of Alex last year came as a shock for Mabel and HongKongers and deeply saddened us all. Many in the film industry and media lovingly call the duo “雌雄大導” (for directors) drawing parallel to the saying “雌雄大盜”. To me, Mabel & Alex were 形影不離, the duo were actualization of the word inseparable for their creative & personal lives (see this 美紙 Art & Piece 2022 Nov cover (FB link)).

Some day I would love to ask Mabel about her & Alex’s creative process. Hopefully Mabel will let me interview her again in the future. Will see.

Recommended YouTube videos: a) 書展2013:移民3部曲 – 羅啟銳、張婉婷 (2013, 76 minutes), b) 影談系列——張婉婷 · 羅啟銳《秋天的童話》映後談Movie Talk—Mabel and Alex “An Autumn’s Tale” Post-screening Talk (2022, 105 mins), c) 影談系列——張婉婷 · 羅啟銳《玻璃之城》映後談 Movie Talk—Mabel and Alex “City of Glass” Post-screening Talk (2022, 88 mins)

Has Mabel thought of donating Alex’s and her creative archives to her alma mater HKU or NYU like Canadian author & living national treasure Margaret Atwood had donated 600+ boxes to create the Atwood archives at U of T?

Knowing how precious Mabel’s and Alex’s creative archives can be of inspiring values to filmmakers of this and future generations, I asked if Mabel had thought of donating Alex’s and her creative archives to her alma mater HKU or NYU like Canadian author & living national treasure Margaret Atwood had donated 600+ boxes to create the Margaret Atwood Papers at U of T that anyone can access digitally and freely?

Mabel thought who (no one really?) would be interested in Alex’s and her creative papers? I promptly said I would and think many people would too! And I suggested the papers should be digitized for easy and free global access. (Yes, I’m selfish and thinking of making sure me in Canada can access easily.) Mabel wasn’t thrilled of the amount of work involved. Of which I said it would totally be the receiving institution’s job (in fact, a pre-condition) to make sure these precious papers and creative materials of Mabel’s and Alex’s are as easily, digitally, and freely accessible for research purpose as the Margaret Atwood Papers at U of T that people can access and have a look anytime, like now.

If and when Mabel has decided to donate more of their creative papers, I would love to chat with Mabel to talk more.

Sending my thanks & love to Mabel & team, student interviewees, and Ying Wa Girls’ School 英華女校 staff

I want to send my thanks & love to Mabel & team for their hard work in the last 10 years. Without their dedicated and persistent hard work, 給十九 ToMy19 would have been impossible to make. My special thanks to the so called “師奶兵團 (義務導演) C9 Army corps (Volunteer Directors)“!

And I want to send my thanks & love to all 30+ Form 1 student interviewees, all 13 student interviewees that appeared on the film credit list that, I understood, to have participated till the end. And in particular the 6+3 interviewees that we got to know a little in the film.

In order of featured appearances

「阿佘」Britney

「阿聆」Hayley

馬燕茹  Jenny

“Madam”  Karen

「香港小姐」“Miss HK” Katie

「阿雀」“Birdy” Chloe

plus

“Ken” Myra

Shirley

Angel

And I also want to send my thanks & love to all of Ying Wa Girls’ School 英華女校 teachers, vice-principals, and former & current principal.

To all who appear in front of the cameras, I again thank you for making 給十九 ToMy19 possible.

Concluding thoughts

After watching 給十九 ToMy19, a National Treasure, that took 10 years to make, it is easy for us viewers to think we, all of a sudden, “know” all of the interviewees “deeply” because we watched them “grew up” in front of our eyes for 10 years, right? 10 years flew by in the blink of an eye. Some of us may think we know something or even a lot about them, right? I’m afraid that will be wrong. I think, all documentaries, no matter how good, can only capture some very small parts of people. In fact we only know very little about our beloved student interviewees as there have been a lot of growths and changes happening off cameras. Especially since the film finished shooting in 2019 which was over 3 years ago.

If I may use a “musical tangent” of a song example to illustrate growth and changes. Do you remember in the first few minutes of the film 「阿佘」Britney sang an excerpt of “Think of Me” from Phantom ? I love it. But Britney didn’t. Britney wasn’t too happy as she told Mabel, because she thought she kinda sang off-key (走音) for a few words and would rather see her singing cut. But I (we) love it, right?

Thing is life is all about growing & learning. We all mature in time. Our singing. Thinking. Now here comes my “musical tangent” from me doing “too much research”. This is a clip of the talented Emmy Rossum singing “Think of Me” in The Phantom of the Opera (2004). And in 2012, eight years later, Emmy on a late night comedy talk show singing “O Mio Babbino Caro” impromptu and it was, to me, 20x better than her 2004 movie singing because her voice has more practices and time to mature. I’m no expert in music. Maybe Britney can have a listen and tell me? Or better, maybe we all can have a “listen” to the “music” of growth, learning and maturity with our “ears” in our hearts.

Postscripts 後記:

P1.S.) 張堅庭 Alfred Cheung’s take ===> I read from Facebook that Mabel’s director good friend Alfred Cheung 張堅庭 watched 給十九 ToMy19 in Taiwan twice in three days. Alfred shared a story of an interesting encounter with a 2x viewer concluding with the comment “這就是「給19歲的我」的另一種吸引,有時紀錄片比劇情片更讓人刻骨銘心。近期的心水推薦。”.

P2.S.) 小鳳 Siu-Fung is #cool ===> Check out this interview of Vice-Principal Siu-Fung 小鳳 shared by the movie Facebook page, “我要用上帝的愛浸死他們——訪《給19歲的我》英華女校副校長

P3.S.) Words about translation of National Treasure and pandas 熊貓 ===> I’ve decided to keep on using the English words National Treasure and not translate it to Chinese for this article. For my generation, it feels easier to say “love you” to my parents instead of saying the words “我愛你” which feels very 肉麻. To me, the words 國寶 should ONLY be used to describe pandas 熊貓 like the adorable Jia Yueyue (加悅悅 ‘Canadian Joy’) and Jia Panpan (加盼盼 ‘Canadian Hope’). So 給十九歲的我 To My Nineteen-Year-Old Self will always be a National Treasure to me. :)

P4.S.) 金成 + 張婉婷 ===> Of the many recent interview videos of Mabel I’ve watched, 金成 has done one of the most comprehensive and insightful interview and I highly recommend watching, 叔叔的愛(番外篇):金成、張婉婷對談.

P5.S.) Unprofessional to call 給十九歲的我 “National Treasure”? ===> I can always count on my Better Half being frank with me and call my bull beep out. She warned me that by calling 給十九歲的我 To My Nineteen-Year-Old Self a National Treasure, I appear rather “unprofessional” and appear to “suck up” to Mabel and others. But did I? Did I NOT ask some tough questions during my extensive interview with Mabel? Did I NOT try to correct Mabel about some minor factual info (about the Up (film series)) when I could easily have said nothing? I felt important to ask questions in a respectful manner as Mabel is an accomplished filmmaker and yet, to do a good job, good (and sometimes tough) questions must be asked. While I was typing this, I kept thinking of Alex telling Mabel that her 1st and 2nd versions of 給十九歲的我 To My Nineteen-Year-Old Self was “boring” 好悶啊. Something only an honest and loving partner can and must keep on telling each other. I continue to mourn the passing of Alex, one half of a beautiful creative duo. To expand, “雌雄大導” focus on their creative work, while “形影不離” transcend work and become encompassing of work and life with love. Me think.

P6.S.) Ming Pao’s insightful interview with video ===> worth a read and watch, “花十年拍紀錄片變「老頑童」 張婉婷面對生活像快要崩潰的牆|張婉婷專訪” [HT YWGS]

P7.S) 張婉婷想做飛機師 ==> I love this interview a ton, “(端傳媒) 導演張婉婷專訪:用十年紀錄香港千禧世代之後,她想做飛機師” [HT YWGS] I wish I had more time to chat with Mabel about her dream (or desire) to be a pilot (想做飛機師). You see, my US Wyoming based political talk show host friend Glenn is a private plane pilot and owns a small plane. With my previous CAATS – ATC (Canadian Automated Air Traffic Systems – Air Traffic Control) Software Engineering experience, we love to talk shop sometimes including topics like glass cockpit, Boeing 737 MAX tragic crashes & groundings, … and sometimes Glenn shares beautiful made-by-pilots cockpit YouTube videos like “Vancouver Island Series – Tofino, Long Beach – Can’t believe this is allowed! – Part 4 – (S3:E4)“. I would love to ask Mabel if she really wants to fly herself? Or would she be just as happy (like me) to watch beautiful clips like Vancouver Island Series – Tofino, Long Beach – Can’t believe this is allowed! and be amazed? Or Mabel really want to fly in the air?

P8) 說自己想說的話 ==> Check out am730 “張婉婷是香港的童話” as I love this line a lot, “然後,張婉婷輕輕笑一笑:「我們拍電影,不是為賺錢,是為說自己想說的話呀!」” [HT YWGS]

P9) 20230128 Ming Pao 明報OL, (with video) “《給十九歲的我》成績超乎預期 張婉婷盼成功為母校籌錢建泳池” 20230128 香港01, “優先場票房600萬 張婉婷面對負評︰不能客觀評價

Update history: 20230128 6:28am Minor editorial changes + adding news links. 20230125 11:20pm Minor editorial changes + adding internet links. 20230121 12:25pm Created Internet archive saved page to properly and permanently link info to 香港電影發展基金「薪火相傳計劃 ((2022?)-(3) 張婉婷 / 黃鐦 黃綺琳 project. 5:52am Added P8 and reworded the beginning of each Postscript a little. 20230120 12:50pm Title change to match video clips and few other editorial changes. 11:22am MST Style and top picture position change. 5:18am MST – Add a pix up top which links to YouTube list of all 4 videos. Add P6.S., P7.S. and other minor updates. 20230119 10:25pm MST – Added P4S 金成 video interview recommendation. Added P5S My Better Half challenged me and asked: Did I “suck up” to Mabel and others by calling 給19 ToMy19 a National Treasure? P5S is a reply to her legitimate question. 20230119 9:47pm MST – Fixed typos and making minor changes

First published: 20230119 ~8pm MST


My Brand of Poison #SARSCoV2 – Eight #LessonsLearned from 22 #Covid19 Rapid Tests

Wednesday, 18 January, 2023

First published: 20221224   Latest Updates: 20230118 (Work-In-Progress version, I hope to add more, including useful links to the full text entry at the bottom. And hopefully add a few more tweets to make it to the promised Eight Lessons! :)

I recently tested Covid19 positive. Two weeks later (20221224), I live to share my stories.

Lesson 1: Covid #RAT test before attending events with friends & loved ones (or even strangers). You don’t want to spread Covid to people and get them seriously sick or even dead. The guilt I would have felt if I got any one of them seriously sick. I don’t want to risk that.

Lesson 2 Backstory: In the recent months, I’ve elderly friends & relatives testing #Covid19 positive. Sadly, their friends, loved ones, family members & even their medical doctors had NOT heard of the potentially #lifesaving (+major risks reducing) Covid therapeutics #Paxlovid

Lesson 2: If my elderly 65+ loved ones were to test Covid positive, I’ll make sure their MDs look at using #Paxlovid to reduce risk of serious cases/death. MDs’ “never used Paxlovid before” are bad reasons. Find trusted MDs that have prescribed it & know how2 use it properly…

Note: Link to #JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) – Original Investigation – Infectious Diseases research “Incidence of Viral Rebound After Treatment With Nirmatrelvir-Ritonavir and Molnupiravir” (Note: Nirmatrelvir-Ritonavir = Paxlovid)

P.S. Sorry4 taking longer than I hope2 share my #Covid19 lessons. So far (as of 20230118), I only had time to share two good lessons so far. In the mean time, wishing you all the best & good health in 2023! #Covid19 is NOT over. But we (countries w good supply of mRNA vax & effective therapeutics like #Paxlovid) are in good positions 2fight #Covid

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Full text version (minus pix) of the above highlight version with pix on Twitter.

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My Brand of Poison #SARSCoV2 – Eight #LessonsLearned from 22 #Covid19 Rapid Tests

I recently tested Covid19 positive. Two weeks later, I live to share my stories.

When my friend/mentor share his insights, he loves to add that is only his “Brand of Poison”. So I’m going to steal from him. And these stories and lessons learned are my “Brand of Poison”, nothing more. I think there are still lots of #ScienceInProgress with Covid19 (have you listened to the podcast #TWiV This Week in Virology?), so when in doubt of what I say, do NOT blindly trust me (I’m an expert in nothing), fact check me with your own doctor, expert doctors, Covid19 researchers, and especially peer-reviewed published research papers with solid data from reputable scientific journals.

Lesson 1 Backstory: I’m four doses vaccinated with Dose 4 in September 2022 (Pfizer-BioNTech original and Omicron BA.1 bivalent Covid19 vaccine). I fully understand vaccines protect us (greatly reduce risks) from seriously illness and deaths but the vaccines are NOT designed to give sterilizing immunity (100% protection) so there are always some risks.

So after 3 years of not hanging out with my MBA classmates, I was seriously missing them and looking forward to our Potluck Party. I try to be responsible and without any symptoms, I RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) test myself the night before the party while I prepared my dish (pork ribs with pineapple). I just didn’t want risk my classmates getting Covid from me or not having enough food. So I RAT tested myself once and I got a positive reading. Beeping beep! Just to confirm the first test wasn’t faulty, I RAT tested myself a second time. Sure enough, the 2nd test still had a faint line on T, so I had no choice but concluded myself Covid positive and called my MBA classmate/host to cancel and apologize. I originally thought I could deliver the food to the party but I’m glad my friend said they have enough food. I was also worried about contaminating the food with my beeping Covid. It turned out I was pretty tired the following morning plus it was rather cold outside so I was glad I didn’t have to go out and have a long drive.

Lesson 1: Covid #RAT test before attending events with friends & loved ones (or even strangers). You don’t want to spread Covid to people and get them seriously sick or even dead. The guilt I would have felt if I got any one of them seriously sick. I don’t want to risk that.

Lesson 2 Backstory: In the recent months, I’ve elderly friends & relatives testing Covid19 positive. Sadly, their friends, loved ones, family members, and even their medical doctors had NOT heard of the potentially lifesaving (+ major risks reducing) Covid therapeutics Paxlovid. Some medicinal doctor and even infectious disease specialist (in US) claim to have heard of “Paxlovid rebound” and baselessly recommended against taking it.

I’m NOT a medical doctor nor expert of anything but in the last ~3 years, I’ve listened to Dr. Daniel Griffin’s weekly clinical updates on the great #TWiV “This Week in Virology” podcast. Should you blindly trust me? Absolutely NOT. Because blind trust is NOT scientific & dangerous. Covid19 is a disease that is still #ScienceInProgress in the recent months and years as we keep on learning new things.

So back to Paxlovid. Remember I said do NOT blindly trust anyone, including me, a NO expert of many things? In this case, even some MDs & infectious disease doctors are misguided to think “Paxlovid rebound” is a thing to NOT recommend lifesaving #Paxlovid to very elderly (like 70+ 80+ or even 90+?). Well, take a quick look of the Key Points, Findings, and Meaning published as a peer-reviewed JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) – Original Investigation – Infectious Diseases research paper that is based on a CUHK cohort study of 12,629 adults in Hong Kong with Covid19: “Incidence of Viral Rebound After Treatment With Nirmatrelvir-Ritonavir and Molnupiravir” (Note: Nirmatrelvir-Ritonavir =  Paxlovid)

Lesson 2: If my elderly 65+ loved ones were to test Covid positive, I’ll make sure their medical doctors look at using #Paxlovid to reduce risk of serious cases/death. MDs’ ignorance or “never used it before” are bad reasons. Find trusted doctors that have prescribed Paxlovid & know how to use it properly & know its contraindications to use it safely.


“We tried.” – Mikhail Gorbachev – New Quote I Love

Wednesday, 31 August, 2022

I’m adding a new addition to my collection of Quotes I Love.

Werner Herzog Question: “I would like to hear what should be on your gravestone?”

Mikhail Gorbachev (1931 – 22022) Answer: “We tried.” – Meeting Gorbachev (2019) (Trailer)


“What a Wonderful World” #Lviv #Ukraine Pianist video interview

Wednesday, 9 March, 2022

Watching a reporter’s tweet video of a pianist playing “What a Wonderful World” outside Ukraine Lviv Station amongst many refugees escaping Putin’s War put me to tears. Less than 6 hours later after that first tweet, I tweeted my wish to chat with/interview the pianist, a near impossible (NOT impossible) wish. Less than 48 hours after that, I chatted with her and here is my interview with her.

P.S. If you like there are a bit more of additional background and my “journey” in telling this story here.

xxx


#PianistFound “What a Wonderful World” #Ukraine #Lviv – video interview done (Editing in progress)

Saturday, 5 March, 2022

Video Interview Current Status: Video interview completed this morning. Editing in progress. Brand new entry to be written. This will take me some time. Stay tuned. Near Impossible (but one tiny step closer)

NOTE: Video being worked on & new entry being written.

Last (and no more) Update for this entry (NEXT one will have the video interview, yeah!): 5:50pm, 2022, March 7th

Previous Updates: 5:59am, 5:43am, 3:58am, 3:00am, 2:53am, 2022, March 6th

6:30pm, 12:49pm, 12:31pm, 2022, March 5th (all times MT)

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NEW Post Title: #PianistFound “What a Wonderful World” #Ukraine #Lviv near #impossible video interview

Brief Note:

the pianist’s beautiful playing of “What a wonderful world ” 🎼🎶#Ukraine 🎹 #Lviv put me to #tears😭💔! [HT lyse] I know it is near impossible (NOT impossible) but I wonder if there is video interview of the pianist? I for one would #LOVE to interview her & chat.😭

As tweeted on 11:25am MT, Mar 5th, 2022

I would love to find the pianist to video interview her & chat. I know it is near #impossible but I would LOVE to video interview her & chat. Would love any help I can get, can you help add some missing details? Or help connect?

Pianist: Olya Olyusia (Olya’s Instagram) (Major thanks to @BigBenDeCastro’s tweet for solving the mystery in his reply to @ScooterCasterNY’s tweet of Olya playing another song)

Location: Lviv Railway Station (Google Map)

Piano playing time/date: ~March 4th, 2022 MT (based on Susan’s Tweet1)

Olya played What a Wonderful World at 1:45

Video #1: Tweet1 [HT Susan]

Video #2: Tweet2 [HT lyse & Andrew]

Song used in Movie: Many movies have used “What a wonderful world “, Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) starring the late Robin Williams is possibly one of the more famous one. Someone was kind enough to post a clip of the song/movie on YouTube and here it is. (BTW, the clip has another great song “Over the Rainbow” (not in the movie as far as I know)).

Time for some shut eye.

(To be continued)

xxx


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

x


“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”

xxx


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”

xxx


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 »


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