Tag Archives: Diseases

The Apocalypticon ~ New Zealand mosque shooting, diseases, Mueller, Russia, corrupt Putin, the corrupt rich, flip the bird, Android malware, Arctic unravelling, Death Metal


It is with great distress that I have to accept that this happened in ‘clean, green, safe and multicultural’ New Zealand: ‘One Of New Zealand’s Darkest Days’: Shootings At Mosques Kill At Least 49‘ I have just returned from the vigil at Aotea Square in Auckland which was attended, in my estimation, by 5000-6000 people. Look, I’ll be honest: I think the Muslim faith is nuts … as nuts as all the others. But if we all killed each other for our odd beliefs, well, none of us would be here. Aroha, people, and my heartfelt condolences to all those families torn apart by this terrible crime. I am so, so sad this happened in our country of refuge. Jacinda Adern is going to change the gun law, and if there’s anything at all to thank any god for, in this mostly secular country at least, maybe it’s that. You have to wonder why 26,000 guns were imported to New Zealand last year when our Army strength is under 9000, so just what in hell is going on?
Want to help? You can be supportive to Muslims [come on, think now how frightened NZ Muslims must feel at the moment].
Facebook, YouTube both promised to remove footage of New Zealand mosque massacres, which the gunman live-streamed from a Go Pro. [You know, a nipple on a picture of a breast disappears in 2 seconds but it takes hours to remove a  video of someone murdering people. Go Facebook, go Facebook …]

Diseases — Measles: Amid two ongoing measles outbreaks on both sides of the United States, New York City health officials say an unvaccinated student attending school was linked to 21 other cases of the virus. Dozens of people have been infected since last fall in the city’s ongoing outbreak, one of particular magnitude. (It’s happening in New Zealand too.) [I have to wonder though: if someone with measles goes to school, aren’t they only infecting the others who didn’t have the vaccine?]
And here’s the harrowing story of a child in Oregon who contracted tetanus because he wasn’t vaccinated. This illness could have been prevented with five doses of the tetanus vaccine, for US$150. Instead, the ordeal cost US$811,929. [Bargain, then.]
Italian schools have begun turning away children who have not received mandatory vaccinations. The New York Times reported that at least 300 children were told they could not attend kindergarten in the city of Bologna this week.

Mulling Mueller —In an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives has called for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election to be made public when it is completed. [Hear, here!] The Mueller investigation has resulted in criminal charges against more than 30 individuals and entities already, including multiple aides and associates of President Trump.

Around the world of craziness — Russia blocks encrypted email: Russia has told internet providers to enforce a block against encrypted email provider ProtonMail. [So you won’t be able to email stuff like ‘Putin’s a corrupt fascist arsehole’ any more. Yes, I wrote Putin’s a corrupt fascist arsehole. Decrypt that.]
Here’s what a ‘very likely’ sequel to California’s 1862 megastorm would look like. No, it’s not fun.
Yeah, everyone loves rich people. [Newsflash: I don’t.] Federal officials have charged dozens of well-heeled parents, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, in what the Justice Department says was a multimillion-dollar scheme to cheat college admissions standards.
But in California you can flip the bird at cops — If you’ve ever been tempted to make a rude gesture at a police officer, you can rest assured that the Constitution protects your right to do so, a federal appeals court says.
Google Android anti-virus apps are bullshit — Austrian antivirus-testing lab AV-Comparatives tested 250 antivirus apps in Google Play against 2000 malware samples. They found that only 80 (32%) of the apps could stop even a minimal amount of malware.

The Arctic is unravelling — Even if carbon pollution magically stopped tomorrow, the region’s winters would still warm an astonishing 5° Celsius by century’s end. Meeting the Paris Agreement pledges — which do not get us to the 2° warming goal — would lead to that level of warming by midcentury and up to 9° Celsius by 2100, along the way unravelling one of the most fragile ecosystems on the planet and displacing people who have done very little to cause the disruption.

Any good news at all? Death Metal actually makes people happy. [Well, that’s a relief.]
Also, this is the 100th Apocalypticon. Wow!

The Apocalypticon ~ Diseases, fragility of China, spawned in the USA, around the world, and some good news


One of the strangest things that can sicken us is a rogue misfolded protein that destroys the brain — But Prion is even scarier than we knew. Researchers were able to find the prions responsible for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the most common prion disease in people, seeded everywhere in the eyes of 11 patients affected by it.
Rat hepatitis in humans — A 70-year-old Hong Kong woman has contracted the rat-specific version of Hepatitis E, signifying only the second time the disease has been documented in humans. Health officials in China are now scrambling to understand the implications of this disturbing new development.
Don’t eat the Romaine! The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out an unusually strong statement telling Americans to toss any romaine lettuce in any form: whole, chopped, pre-bagged into Caesar salads, combined into spring mix, and so on. The warning covered not just homes but retailers and restaurants, and came with a recommendation to empty any fridge where romaine has been stored, and wash it out with soap and warm water.

Marxists now being persecuted in China — Young people who belong to Marxist groups have recently become the unlikely targets of a state crackdown due to their zeal to help educate and mobilise China’s working class to fight for their rights. [OMG that’s so crazy!]
“As Communists, we should incorporate Marxist classics and principles into our lifestyle and treat Marxism as a spiritual pursuit,” President Xi Jinping said at an event celebrating the bicentennial of Marx’s birth in May … But in August, police arrested more than 50 student activists, many of them members of college Marxist groups.
China’s plan to judge each of its 1.3 billion people based on their social behavior is moving a step closer to reality —  Beijing set to adopt a lifelong points program by 2021 that assigns personalised ratings for each resident.
Former FBI guy advocates retaliatory cyber attacks against China — Louis Freeh, who ran the FBI for almost eight years until 2001, said the threat of criminal charges or jail time would do little to prevent state-sponsored hackers from continuing to steal valuable intellectual property. He reckons targeted cyber attacks and a strong deterrence capability are the most effective way of preventing China and other countries continuing to steal Australian commercial secrets.
The US government is reportedly trying to persuade its foreign allies’ wireless and internet providers to avoid Huawei equipment — Officials have spoken to their counterparts and telecom bosses in Germany, Italy, Japan and other friendly countries where the Chinese company’s equipment is already in use.

Spawned in the USA — James Comey, the former head of the FBI who was fired by President Trump, says he will push back on a subpoena to appear in a closed-door session before the House Judiciary Committee unless he is allowed to testify publicly. “I’m still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions,” Comey tweeted. “But I will resist a ‘closed door’ thing because I’ve seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion.”
Americans blame social networks — A new survey from Axios finds that a majority of Americans don’t think social networks are good for the world. [But hey, Facebook delivered the really really best president ever!]
Creepy Facebook patent — A recently published Facebook patent application imagines an unnerving way to use your data. The company filed for a patent that explores piecing together information about a user’s entire household based on the pictures they upload, presumably for targeted advertising. And yes, Instagram photos were also cited in the filing. [I stopped using Instagram  a few weeks back, no regrets.]
US Ground Zero for climate change — The northernmost city in the US continues to be ground zero for the impacts of climate change. As sunlight fades from the Arctic, sea ice began to form this week around Utqiaġvik, an Iñupiat whaling community located on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. And that’s not right, as the sea should have been covered in ice weeks ago.
Climate change is already causing more frequent and severe weather across the US, according to a Federal report — and the country is poised to suffer massive damage to infrastructure, ecosystems, health and the economy if global warming is allowed to continue, according to the most comprehensive federal climate report to date. [Oh, wait, Trump can’t here is he still has his head in the sand.]
An emerging, deeply weird conspiracy theory for the Californian fires — This holds that those fires aren’t caused by wind patterns, brutally dry conditions, the worsening effects of climate change, or possible downed power lines, but by a sinister scheme directed by nefarious elements within the government. [Of course! Except the ‘nefarious element’ is the government, starting at the top.]
Rains coming to damp the fires … and may cause another disaster — In what may be the first bit of good news in a while for Northern California, rain could be on the way by the end of this week. It could put the kibosh on the Camp Fire, ending one chapter of the deadliest and most destructive fire in California’s history.
Unfortunately it won’t be all good news as the rain could trigger mudslides, hamper search and rescue operations, and make the lives of thousands who are homeless miserable.

Around the world — Of course, Trump famously said the Calfornian fires were caused by not raking between trees. So Finns have been making fun of him ever since.
Russian hackers exploit deadly plane crash to go phishing — Security firm Palo Alto Networks has issued a new warning about phishing attacks linked to APT 28, the elite Russian hacking group tied to the 2016 election interference in the United States. The document, sent to myriad targets in North America, Europe, as well as a former Soviet state, was designed to capture the attention of those interested in the Lion Air 737 MAX airline crash in late October, which killed all 189 aboard.
North Korean state media announced the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, recently oversaw tests of a “newly developed ultramodern tactical weapon.” The new report is extremely light on details, but it’s a reminder that very little has actually changed in the US-North Korea relationship since US president Donald Trump took power. Both countries have nuclear weapons and both are on a hair trigger as they develop new capabilities. [Or have they just figured out how to make rifles out of plastic?]
Sperm whale dies full of plastic cups — A dead whale floated ashore in eastern Indonesia with its stomach full of plastic junk, including 115 plastic cups and two pairs of flip-flops. World Wildlife Fund researchers found roughly 6kg of plastic in the 9.45m long sperm whale, reports the Associated Press. [Presumably the two people wearing the flip-flops didn’t make it.]
Dutch government finds Microsoft collected telemetry data — Microsoft has been accused of breaking EU’s GDPR law by harvesting information through Office 365 and sending it to US servers. The discovery was made by the Dutch government.

And in good news … A US federal judge has refused to throw out a lawsuit against neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer alleging it led a “terror campaign” against a Jewish real estate agent, Tanya Gersh, and the Southern Poverty Law Center tells the New York Times it expects the civil case to now proceed to a trial.
The lawsuit accuses the Daily Stormer and its founder, racist troll Andrew Anglin, of mounting a coordinated harassment campaign against Gersh that eventually resulted in her family receiving over 700 messages including death threats and references to the Holocaust.
And my favourite: Siri pulls up image of an actual dick when asked about Trump — The apparent glitch was reported on Thursday by the Verge, which noted that the error may be the result of some turkey day trickster either editing Trump’s Wikipedia page or attempting to game an algorithm associated with the image Siri pulls up automatically.