Saturday, December 5, 2020
"This New Technology Will Dangerously Expand Government Spying On Citizens"
"San Francisco Economy is a Disaster: Nuclear Winter with 2nd Lockdown - Bankruptcy an Option in 2021"
Musical Interlude: The Traveling Wilburys, "End Of The Line"
"A Look to the Heavens"
"Covid-19 Pandemic Updates 12/5/20"
"Why I Mask"
"A Hall of Smoke and Mirrors"
"They Want More..."
The Daily "Near You?"
"95 Questions to Help You Find Meaning and Happiness"
2. Why do you matter?
3. What is your life motto?
4. What's something you have that everyone wants?
5. What is missing in your life?
6. What's been on your mind most lately?
7. Happiness is a ________?
8. What stands between you and happiness?
9. What do you need most right now?
10. What does the child inside you long for?
11. What is one thing right now that you are totally sure of?
12. What's been bothering you lately?
13. What are you scared of?
14. What has fear of failure stopped you from doing?
15. What will you never give up on?
16. What do you want to remember forever?
17. What makes you feel secure?
18. Which activities make you lose track of time?
19. What's the most difficult decision you've ever made?
20. What's the best decision you've ever made?
21. What are you most grateful for?
22. What is worth the pain?
23. In order of importance, how would you rank: happiness, money, love, health, fame?
24. What is something you've always wanted, but don't yet have?
25. What was the most defining moment in your life during this past year?
26. What's the number one change you need to make in your life in the next twelve months?
27. What's the number one thing you want to achieve in the next five years?
28. What is the biggest motivator in your life right now?
29. What will you never do?
30. What's something you said you'd never do, but have since done?
31. What's something new you recently learned about yourself?
32. What do you sometimes pretend to understand that you really do not?
33. In one sentence, what do you wish for your future self?
34. What worries you most about the future?
35. When you look into the past, what do you miss most?
36. What's something from the past that you don't miss at all?
37. What recently reminded you of how fast time flies?
38. What is the biggest challenge you face right now?
39. In one word, how would you describe your personality?
40. What never fails to frustrate you?
41. What are you known for by your friends and family?
42. What's something most people don't know about you?
43. What's a common misconception people have about you?
44. What's something a lot of people do that you disagree with?
45. What's a belief you hold with which many people disagree?
46. What's something that's harder for you than it is for most people?
47. What are the top three qualities you look for in a friend?
49. When you think of home,what, specifically, do you think of?
50. What's the most valuable thing you own?
51. If you had to move 3000 miles away, what would you miss most?
52. What would make you smile right now?
53. What do you do when nothing else seems to make you happy?
54. What do you wish did not exist in your life?
55. What should you avoid to improve your life?
56. What is something you would hate to go without for a day?
57. What's the biggest lie you once believed was true?
58. What's something bad that happened to you that made you stronger?
59. What's something nobody could ever steal from you?
60. What's something you disliked when you were younger that you truly enjoy today?
61. What are you glad you quit?
62. What do you need to spend more time doing?
63. What are you naturally good at?
64. What have you been counting or keeping track of recently?
65. What has the little voice inside your head been saying lately?
66. What's something you should always be careful with?
67. What should always be taken seriously?
68. What should never be taken seriously?
69. What are three things you can't get enough of?
70. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
71. What fascinates you?
72. What's the difference between being alive and truly living?
73. What's something you would do every day if you could?
74. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
75. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
76. What makes you feel incomplete?
77. When did you experience a major turning point in your life?
78. What or who do you wish you lived closer to?
79. If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
80. What's something you know you can count on?
81. What makes you feel comfortable?
82. What's something about you that has never changed?
83. What will be different about your life in exactly one year?
84. What mistakes do you make over and over again?
85. What do you have a hard time saying "no" to?
86. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
87. What's something that used to scare you, but no longer does?
88. What promise to yourself do you still need to fulfill?
89. What do you appreciate most about your current situation?
90. What's something simple that makes you smile?
91. So far, what has been the primary focus of your life?
92. How do you know when it's time to move on?
93. What's something you wish you could do one more time?
94. When you're 90-years-old, what will matter to you the most?
95. What would you regret not fully doing, being, or having in your life?"
"The Truth Virus: The Most Dangerous Virus in the World"
“Lessons From the Inbox on Divisiveness and Unity”
“I collect my hate mail. Not because it makes me angry or because I want to obsess over it. It's just so interesting and I want to understand it. I receive a lot of emails in response to columns and most are generally positive. But the negative ones are really negative. This fascinates me.
For example, in a recent piece on how the media will miss President Trump when he's gone, and vice versa, a reader unleashed a stream of conscious under the subject "Absurd!" He went on to call me "demented" and then took a shot at Kentucky, where I currently live. Mind you, he sent this email to me on Thanksgiving. The funny thing is the piece wasn't really partisan in any way and I still can't figure out how it could enrage someone to the point where he would still be thinking about it a week after it was published.
There's a lot of anger out there, folks, though that's not exactly breaking news. Here's another. "Your column, 'Lessons learned from the 2020 election,' validates the axiom 'to assume makes an ass of you and me.'" That was it, the entire email. I'm not sure how the axiom applies in this case but these things don't have to make sense.
I sometimes read my hate mail to my students who find it entertaining and often sit, slack-jawed and incredulous that people can be so mean. In response to a column about California Gov. Gavin's Newsom's draconian rules for holiday celebrations, a reader responded with a question. "What overdramatic nonsense did I just read?" It got worse. She called me "dim" and "childish." She ended with "keep your uninformed views in your own disastrous state." Again, a swipe at Kentucky? I never realized there was so much latent Kentucky hate among the populace.
Prior to the election, several readers responded with dire prophecies. Interestingly, predictions of the "end times" came from both sides of the political aisle. My favorite was from a man who began his email with, "I've got news for you pal... ." The poor guy was so worked up he wrote some 500 words on the pending disintegration of our economic and political systems.
I respond to every email I receive, even the mean ones. It seems to me that those of us who do this kind of writing have a responsibility to at least attempt to understand why someone who disagrees with me believes what he believes. This is not always easy, of course, especially when the one who disagrees begins his email, "Dear boil on journalism's rear... " That's me, if you didn't put it together.
The reader was responding to a column about the conduct of reporters and the president at White House press briefings. I was critical of both but the reader didn't see it that way. We had a back-and-forth during which he seemed to gradually soften. Then, after about the sixth email exchange, he wrote, "Thank you for your conversation. I wish more people would talk or argue viewpoints... " It struck me that maybe the man just wanted someone to listen to him, about anything. We never came to an agreement on the issue at hand but, by the end of the conversation, that didn't seem to matter.
Not all of these exchanges have happy endings. One concluded with a simple suggestion: "Shut up!" Not necessarily bad advice.
"Covid Is Revealing the Cancerous Underbelly of U.S. Healthcare"
Friday, December 4, 2020
"China On The Brink Of A Major Food Shortage! Prepare For Worldwide Starvation"
"A massive food crisis seems to be looming over China. The country has faced multiple challenges in 2020. Floods, plagues, and the trade dispute with the U.S. all contributed to seriously affect the production and distribution of food. Although the Chinese government has made everything to keep this situation under the wraps, many indicators point out that shortages have been happening in a wide range of food products and the nation has been relying on imports to meet the demand. Food prices have been soaring like never before, and experts have been warning for a hunger emergency at the same proportions as the 1959 Great Chinese Famine. In this video, we disclose how several supply disruptions have left China struggling to ensure food for its citizens.
China's list of problems keeps growing. It started with the burst of what turned out to be a global health crisis, which caused record-high unemployment rates, an economic meltdown, led millions to poverty, and sparked a global backlash. Now, the Chinese government has been secretly dealing with a food emergency in an attempt to avoid the public's commotion. Despite Chinese premier Xi Jinping's constant denials that the country could be facing hardships on its food supply chains, experts have been claiming on local reports that China was indeed in the middle of a food crisis.
According to some of these reports, there are many reasons behind this situation. The Chinese premier even launched a public campaign aiming to reduce food wastage. Oftentimes the measures adopted by government officials to make sure the population continues to follow the rules are considered invasive and aggressive. Throughout the year, the Chinese media have been dismissing any discussions about a potential food shortage, but the relation with economic partners and the expansion of imports have been showing otherwise. For instance, a recent article has exposed that as China edges towards a food crisis, it looks at India to feed its citizens.
China is importing rice from India shows that the country is in desperate need of rice. It has contracted Indian traders for the import of 100,000 tonnes of broken rice for $300 per tonne. On top of that, local news announced in September that prices of corn were soaring as the country was headed towards a substantial shortage of corn in the upcoming 2020/2021 season.
One of the main drivers to the spike in corn prices was also the occurrence of the African Swine fever outbreak that infected and decimated 40% of the total Chinese pigs’ population, consequently decreasing the supply but increasing the prices on pork. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, pork prices went up 52.6% in August compared to the same time last year, while corn prices, which is the main porcine fodder, climbed 20% compared to 2019. The United States Department of Agriculture divulged that China imported 195,000 more tonnes of American corn than the year before.
Furthermore, the country has suffered from severe floodings and droughts this year, which declined the agricultural productivity of the country and resulted in a considerable increase in food prices. Overall, food prices have increased by 11.2% compared to last year's statistics. The price level of vegetables climbed 6.4% in one month, while egg prices surged by 11.3% within the same timeframe. Evidently, pork prices grew the most, by 52.6% compared to 2019.
Lockdowns also worsened China's food difficulties. Workers had problems getting to work, which caused a shortage of physical labor that affected production levels. While some crops were not picked, others were not even planted. That's why the overall supply of agricultural goods inevitably decreased.
With all evidence on the table, there's no wonder why experts have been questioning the Chinese premier's statements that no shortages are happening. According to Associate Professor of the National Defense University, Shen Ming Shih, the figures released by China officials aren't likely to be true, while also pointing out that when the country experienced natural disasters that culminated in a hunger crisis in what is known as the 1959 Great Chinese Famine, Chinese officials released similar orders to prevent people from wasting food, which might be an indicator that a hunger crisis is indeed on the horizon.
“Borrowers Can’t Pay Debts; Economic Reality Will Be Vicious; US Jobs Smashed; Student Loan Bubble”
Musical Interlude: Mason Williams, "Classical Gas"
"A Look to the Heavens"
“To some, the outline of the open cluster of stars M6 resembles a butterfly. M6, also known as NGC 6405, spans about 20 light-years and lies about 2,000 light years distant. M6 can best be seen in a dark sky with binoculars towards the constellation of Scorpius, coving about as much of the sky as the full moon.