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POST COVID WORLD[edit | edit source]

The post covid world is for us to shape as we recover. But amongst other things, it may be a world where we are more supportive of health care in the weaker economies after our success in eradicating COVID19 if we do. It looks as if we may well do once we have a safe and effective vaccine (the signs so far are good that we will achieve one). This pandemic highlighted how the health care in one country is important to the health care systems of the whole world. Also how closely linked our economies are too.

It has also made it clear in Asia that their cities can be cleaned of polluted air likely to lead to clean air acts of some sort and several cities are going to have some measure of traffic free city center zones on recovery.

Going to have more working at home, flexible working, less international face to face meetings and more videoconferencing, more shopping online, less flights, less traffic.

It's been a boost to renewables since when people are using less power then the renewables keep going at no extra cost while every megawatt of fossil fuels has to be paid for with fuel costs.

Based on all this then the recovery can be an opportunity to bake in some of these changes and move even further and a fair few countries wish to do it this way including Europe.

I.e. there will be some beneficial long term changes for sure, but we can encourage there to be more of them.

Generally we have shown that when there's the choice of human health and of the economy that countries are prepared to take drastic measures that affect the economy to protect human health, that human lives matter to us. This is something I think will influence decision makers and politiicans long term.


NOT HEADED FOR A COLD WAR[edit | edit source]

This is about how we are headed in the opposite direction, smaller wars, less casualties per war and total though more wars, and more connected to each other, countries are more affected by damage to other countries and also we are working together much more and we have many conventions on human rights and treaties and law of armed conduct developed much further, many things in WWII that happened on both sides wouldn't happen in a current war. https://www.quora.com/q/debunkingdoomsday/World-War-III-unlikely-trend-in-opposite-direction-to-smaller-wars-and-fewer-casualties-not-large-ones-and-reduced

Tamara KS Fist I do think it matters but not as much as many might think. Those are treaties that originated in a different world. That is from an era when the USSR was much bigger and East and West knew little about each other with much more mistrust than today. Glasnost made a big difference and is now normal. We can't go back to cold war conditions. http://www.coldwar.org/articles/80s/glasnostandperestroika.asp

Many of these treaties don't involve China in any way including the Open Skies agreement.

Trump is onto something that China needs to be more part of them in the future as we modernize the treaties and I don't think many would disagree there, but his process of doing that by just dropping them is what is controversial.

Like with the Iran deal where he just wants to drop it and start a new one.

Especially with the nuclear weapons treaties then China is just not interested in trying to compete with the numbers in Russia and the US and they need to reduce numbers of nuclear weapons ten-fold first before it really makes sense to involve the Chinese in tripartite negotiations.

But even without any of those treaties if it does end up like that for a while from 5th February 2021, we are still in a far better place I think than during the cold war. Countries won't start a nuclear war just because the treaties to stop it are gone. Nobody wants a nuclear war anyway - it is not of benefit to anyone. And I don't think in practice they are going to ramp up nuclear weapons and Russia doesn't have the capability anyway.

The one treaty we surely won't remove is the Outer Space Treaty which also prohibits nuclear weapons in space / on satellites.



First then in the US by constitution it is not permitted to force anyone to adopt a religion. That is by the first ammendment. It is not constitutional to teach religion in public schools. They can't promote religious beliefs or practices, just teach about them. Many countries have freedom of religion in the law.


In the US the most rapid growth is in people who do not belong to any organized religion, increased from 17% to 26% in the last decade.

They are gaining mainly at loss from Christians. All other religions increased slightly from 5% in 2009 to 7% in 2019 and only 1% Muslim which remains unchanged. 

https://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/ https://www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/what-the-fastest-growing-religion-in-the-u-s-actually-is.html/

The fertility rate of Muslims is reducing with prosperity same as for everyone else. This graph is for India, the Muslims have always had more children than Hindus but it used to be a difference of one extra child from 3.3 to 4.4 now it is just half a child from 2.1 to 2.6 and both are falling. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/what-a-narrowing-hindu-muslim-fertility-gap-tells-us-1550686404387.html

In the UK the high projection with a large amount of migration is for Muslims to increase from 4.9% in 2016 to 14% in 2050. Low estimate is 7.4% in 2050.


You are not talking about a Muslim majority in countries that have minority Muslim populations like India, Europe, US, etc.

But Muslims are growing slightly more than non Muslims.

Even in Muslim contries then many who are not Muslim. Often people worry about Sharia law - this is not a legal system it's just like the Jewish courts it is mainly to do with matters of importance to Muslims that are not covered by law (e.g. not being able to borrow or lend money with interest or things to do with marriage). It does not make any difference to anyone who is non Muslim. For Muslims the main concern is about whether those who go to the Sharia courts are always aware of their legal rights under ordinary law - those rights are not affected in any way by the Sharia law but sometimes they may not know about them.

Sharia law is only part of the legal system in a few Muslim countries - and some countries who used to have it in their legal system no longer do, so all this concern some have about Sharia law is not based on anything, it's going the other way. It is normally a non binding advisory law for people concerned about following the guidelines of their religion.


This proposed new security law is now bound to go ahead in some form. It is a big change to the security situation in Hong Kong though the details are not yet clear.

The Chinese say they did it out of security concerns and not to change the judicial and legal independence of Hong Kong and it doesn't change the "Basic law" that governs Hong Kong. But, depending on how the law is implemented, it might mean that China can for the first time send intelligent agents and police to Hong Kong to join in with the local police in enforcement.

This also can have knock on effects that the U.S. will deliberate whether to renew Hong Kong's status as a city that U.S. businesses can visit without visas, with zero tarrifs and other measures - it's a multi-billion dollar entry point to the Chinese market for internationals, and also it is a financial hub for China to get finance for its industry on the international markets.

This in turn would also matter for China since Hong Kong is of great financial importance to them too, and especially for the recovery after the pandemic - they will be hampered in recovery if Hong Kong loses its preferential status.

This would also be a major decision for the U.S. if they decide to revoke this status as nearly every major r US financial firm has business operations in Hong Kong and 1,300 American companies in total.

Also, the Chinese would be likely to retaliate and it might cause problems for phase 1 of the U.S. Chinese trade deal.

China in turn of course will be aware of all this and the details depend on what China does exactly in the detailed implementation of the law. It's also sure to face local protests in Hong Kong. The international reaction has been rather muted partly because countries are caught up in the pandemic, and it is hard to protest in Hong Kong during the pandemic too.

ABOUT THE LAW[edit | edit source]

This is still early stage. It is not going to make Hong Kong into just a part of mainland China but it is of concern for those who are pro democracy and free speech in Hong Kong, it is likely to be introduced into an annex to Hong Kong law and the overall mini constitution for the law in Hong Kong itself is not changed. That's why the Chinese say it still retains one country two systems.

The pro democracy people are most concerned by a provision in this proposal that seems to let Chinese intelligent agents and police to have some enforcement powers in Hong Kong for the first time - to do some of the policing there. The biggest concern is for a section:

"When needed, relevant national security organs of the Central People's Government will set up agencies in Hong Kong to fulfil relevant duties to safeguard national security in accordance with the law."

Hong Kong has its own law enforcement agencies independent of China and the concern here is that it may lead to China having its own law enforcement in Hong Kong as well.

Hong Kong will still have its own laws. This means it will all be interpreted according to the legal framework of Hong Kong which is different. The Chinese are not changing that - Hong Kong will still be interpreting it all in its own legal system.

It is just a draft proposal at present and a lot will depend on the details as it is implemented. There is lots of room for ambiguity at this stage.

BBC has good article here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-52771718 See also


DETAILS OF THE LEGAL PROCESS[edit | edit source]

Short summary the Chinese NCP are proposing to introduce security legislation to implement article 23 to prohibit "treason, secession, sedition (and) subversion" against the Chinese government - which Hong Kong is supposed to implement itself but never did.

The concern is that this law might make last year's pro democracy protests illegal in Hong Kong. If it does that Hong Kong will likely lose its favourable status with the US which made it exempt from the tarrifs in the trade war.

If it is implemented then the process would be completed by the end of June.

Depending of course on what the proposed legislation says - this is bound to have lots of protests in Hong Kong as happened when a similar attempt was made in 2003 which was eventually called off.

On the other hand the timing might have been chosen because with COVID19 it is difficult to protest in Taiwan.

Of course the timing of this is very significant. It may well be that a decision was taken by the leadership in Beijing to push through this legislation now because of course it's difficult for people to protest in Hong Kong,"


Straits Times says that the aim of the proposal is to stop pro-democracy protests like the ones last year. This is likely to lead to large scale protests in Hong Kong.

The US has postponed its decision about whether to keep Hong Kong's special status which let it be exempt from US tarrifs during the trade war until after this session is over.

Depending on the outcome of this parliamentary session, if they do this then Hong Kong will likely lose its special status for trade with the US.


In more detail. The resolution will pave the way for legislation - expected to vote on the resolution on May 28. A draft law would be presented at the end of June and could be promulgated to Hong Kong at the end. of June.


AFP summary:

> China's parliament said Thursday it will introduce a proposal for a national security law in Hong Kong at its annual session, in a move likely to stoke unrest in the financial hub.

They are doing it to > "necessary to improve and uphold the 'One Country, Two Systems' policy,"

So they are at least in principle keeping to One Country, Two Systems.

The NPC will use article 18 of Hong Kong's basic law allows the NPC to add legislation to an annex of the mini-constitution without it being scrutinised by the city's lawmakers.

It will implement article 23, which says that they must enact national security laws to prohibit "treason, secession, sedition (and) subversion" against the Chinese government.

This has never been implemented because of "deeply held public fears it would curtail Hong Kong's widely cherished civil rights"

They explain that

> An attempt to enact Article 23 in 2003 was shelved after half a million people took to the streets in protest


More details here



The main thing holding back China is the financial value of Hong Kong to them. As China has become more open to the world, other cities have taken over some of the functions of Hong Kong but Hong Kong remains the main financial hub and connection between China and the rest of the world.

Many in Hong Kong say this is the end of Hong Kong's one country two systems policy, see for instance ‘This Is The End Of Hong Kong,’ Warns Legislator, As China Proposes New Security Law | NBC News

However there is an element of hyperbole here, it's not the end of the system, it's a modification of it and the extent of those changes are not yet clear.

In practice China are not planning to override the Basic law that keeps it a separate system. Carrie Lam, leader of Hong Kong, said that these plans would not change Hong Kong's judicial independence or the independence of its legal entities and said the intention of Bejing ws to tackle illegal activities that they believed damaged national security. Hong Kong says national security law will not hamper judicial independence

Hong Kong is especially important for China as they rejuvinate their economy after the pandemic.

Hong Kong is a vital cog in China’s economy. While China still has extensive capital controls and often intervenes in its financial markets and banking system, Hong Kong is one of the most open economies in the world and one of the biggest markets for equity and debt financing. China uses Hong Kong’s currency, equity and debt markets to attract foreign funds, while international companies use Hong Kong as a launchpad to expand into mainland China. The bulk of foreign direct investment in China continues to be channeled through the city. And many of China’s biggest firms have listed in Hong Kong, often as a springboard to global expansion. Xi makes high-stakes power play in move to subdue Hong Kong - Reuters

What they are doing is that they are bringing Hong Kong more in line with China on national security.

Chris Patten, the former British governer in Hong Kong put it like this in an online presentation to members of the city’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club:

“I think there has been a significant change in China, in Beijing, since Xi Jinping became president or dictator for life, complete with a personality cult which is extraordinary. I think the sad point is that Xi Jinping and his court have regarded Hong Kong and Hong Kong’s freedoms as an existential problem for them because Hong Kong represents so much of what they don’t like.” Xi makes high-stakes power play in move to subdue Hong Kong - Reuters

However they are treading a fine line here, as Hong Kong does risk losing its status as an international city, for instance the zero tarrifs with the US

The US is due to review the status of China and have postponed the review to see what China decides. The US as well as China would both be impacted strongly as a result of any such change.

Summarizing part of:

  • 1,300 American companies have business operations in Hong Kong. This includes nearly every major US financial firm. 85,000 U.S. citizens live there as of 2018
  • The US has visa free travel with China which could revert to strict Chinese visa rules - this would impede business travel
  • as of 2018, the U.S. had $82.5 billion invested in Hong Kong and Hong Kong had $16.9 billion invested in the U.S.
  • $67 billion annual Hong Kong - U.S. trade of goods and services.
  • Hong Kong in 2018 was the US's third largest export market for wine, fourth largest for beef and seventh lanrgest for all agricultural products, with a goods trade surplus of t $26.1 billion.

China would likely retaliate and it could impact on the phase I trade deal.


Europe has always been rather cautious about officially criticizing China and the British haven't said much yet, not as official government statements. They are also pre-occupied with the COVID pandemic which may be an extra factor, not having as much bandwidth for other responses as usual. But 191 parliamentarians and policy makers from 23 countries have signed a strongly worded statement

“We, the co-signed, write to express grave concerns about the unilateral introduction of national security legislation by Beijing in Hong Kong.

This is a comprehensive assault on the city’s autonomy, rule of law, and fundamental freedoms. The integrity of one-country, two-systems hangs by a thread.

It is the genuine grievances of ordinary Hong Kongers that are driving protests. Draconian laws will only escalate the situation further, jeopardising Hong Kong’s future as an open Chinese international city.

If the international community cannot trust Beijing to keep its word when it comes to Hong Kong, people will be reluctant to take its word on other matters. Sympathetic governments must unite to say that this flagrant breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration cannot be tolerated.”

Britain's official reaction is much more muted: said that

“We are following reports and monitoring the situation closely. We expect China to respect Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms and high degree of autonomy. As a party to the joint declaration, the UK is committed to upholding Hong Kong’s autonomy and respecting the ‘one country, two systems’ model.”

Virginie Battu-Henriksson said in a tweet

“EU is following very closely developments related to #HongKong. We attach great importance to 'One country Two Systems’ principle. Democratic debate in Hong Kong and respect for rights & freedoms are the best way to preserve it in context of poss. national security legislation”

The U.S. State Department made the strongest response, warning that if Hong Kong doesn't retain enough autonomy it may roll back the favoured status of Hong Kong trading terms.

“Any effort to impose national security legislation that does not reflect the will of the people of Hong Kong would be highly destabilizing, and would be met with strong condemnation from the United States and the international community,”

that it may roll back


Historical background - Hong Kong used to belong to Britian as an overseas territory. It had a 99 year lease signed with the Chi'ng government of China in 1898.

The UK had bad advice from its Chinese "experts" in 1972 when they asked Deng, then supreme leader of China, what he thought about the expiration of the lease. The Chinese government had already declared the three treaties void when it entered the UN in 1972, although it agreed that Hong Kong was still under British rule. The Chinese attitude was that Hong Kong was not a colony of the British but was "de facto" under British rule. This pragmatic approach is from the Chinese policy of "Changqi Dasuan, Chongen Liyong" ("preparing for long term, utilize fully").

So, Hong Kong was allowed to prosper, except briefly in 1967 with pro-China elements in HOng Kong starting riots to overthrow the "British Imperialists".

China benefited and still benefits greatly from Hong Kong as a financial base, regional headquarters of many multi-nationals giving them access to the Chinese market, and to raise funds for Chinese enerprises.

If the British had never raised the question with the Chinese, it would probably still be in charge of Hong Kong.

However Britain did raise the issue, in 1979 when Lord Maclehose, former Governer of Hong Kong asked Deng Xiaping, the paramount leader of China what the Chinese government thought about the expiration of th e treaty. Deng was perplexed and unprepared, and only replied saying investors in Hong Kong don't need to worry.

By 1982 when Margaret Thatcher (British PM) visited China, the Chinese had already decided to resume sovereignty over Hong Kong.

Their solution was the one country two systems approach with a mini constitution for Hong Kong called the "Basic Law".

More details here:


The US won't need to do this again if it does test, trace isolate properly which it is now doing. The first wave never needed to happen either if they had done this in February.

What the US needs to do is to ramp up test trace isolate, and it is doing that but the tracing teams in many states are still not large enough. Will see the effects soon of the increase in tracing last week. Once you do that you can bring it right down by experience of other countries, combined with limited or localized lockdowns.

It's important to realize the reason for the first wave to understand that you can stop a second wave. That the reason for it was inadequate testing and inadequate contact tracing. So - fixing both of those will prevent a second wave together with if necessary localized swift lockdowns such as China just did.

No country has faced a second wave as big as its first wave, not of the ones that had big outbreaks. You can stop any outbreak as soon as it starts. South Korea may be closest to what the US could face if it does aggressive test, trace isolate.

It is too soon to see what the effect will be as it is only in the last week or so that most states have started to employ enough contact tracers to do the job adequately. You need to find the contacts fast, ideally on the day that the case is diagnosed, not over a period of many days due to lack of people to do the tracing. Still, most states don't have enough for the ideal number of tracers. This means they are not tracing everyone or taking too long to do the tracing. Some have statistics showing the % of cases they have traced - it should be close to 100% with only the most recent cases on that day not yet traced.

The states that opened up too soon - it's mainly because it is much easier to do contact tracing under lockdown - if they kept lockdown for a bit longer they could have speeded up the contact tracing as people would have had fewer contacts and would be in a much better situation coming out of it.

But they can suppress right down while keeping some physical distancing, the public alert and rigorous test, trace, isolate like South Korea and then you do get a sort of extra waves but suppress them fast. South Korea basically has a first wave, a smaller second wave and an even smaller third wave. US states may face something similar. The extra waves due to cases from neighbouring states or local superspreader events.


Even 2022 is very fast for a new vaccine. Some of the vaccines are further ahead than others because they are basing it on work already done for SARS or MERS. The oxford study builds on a vaccine they were developing for MERS which is why they have a short timeline compared to some other vaccines that have less history But we can go back to close to normal without a vaccine. Look at South Korea, say, or New Zealand or Greece. That sort of a "new normal" is within reach for everyone. The California one is actually making artificial antibodies. This works like a vaccine but you need constant doses - your body doesn't learn how to make the antibodies. Still it is useful for treatment for people who have it mild or to prevent infection. But it would be a big thing to give it to everyone if it worked.

Likely to have an element of physical distancing for some time but they may reduce that. I don't think that being close together actually matters if they are not talkign from what I've read, seems like an over-reaction so they may weaken those once they are more familiar with this virus.

Yes. If we had done rigorous test, trace and isolate worldwide in February or March we could have eliminated it from the world. That is why the WHO didn't declare it a pandemic. We can still do it if we were rigorous enough about it. But it has spread to so many countries it is hard to see them all doing such rigorous test trace isolate that it is completely gone.

But in principle it could be eliminated that way without a vaccine even now.


It is just a device that helps people with Alzheimers to set down short term memories. Doesn't seem likely to do much with people who don't have problems with short term memory - despite all the hype. It doesn't "record memories" - nobody knows yet how we remember things and there is no readable memory there - no memory storage in the sense of a computer memory. It just records a signal that our brain uses to prompt itself to remember things, and then plays that signal back whenever you want to remember something. So, it doesn't play back actual memories - the signal it plays back is one that was recorded long ago when you set down a completely different short term memory - it is just a signal that for some reason seems to help your brain to remember stuff generally. And nobody knows why this signal helps anyway.

It is highly unlikely anyone will want this done to them, especially surgery to implant such a device, unless they are seriously affected by Alzheimers but it may be helpful to Alzheimers patients. Elon Musk does a lot of hype about projects he is involved in. It may have some wider use but that's not clear at all. Also it would be hard to get permission to offer surgery to people for memory issues generally - it is a medical procedure to implant it. Would have to be licensed as a medical procedure. The whole thing is rather a wacky idea at present.

You certainly won't be forced to get it. What he wants it to be is some kind of neural version of Google Glass as an interface to the internet but it's not at all clear it can do that. It is possible to read brain waves and to get people to learn to move a mouse around on the screen by using feedback so they learn to generate the necessary brain waves to move it about - but that is nothing, it's like using twitches of muscles in your cheek. When Stephen Hawking used a muscle in his cheek to "talk" the computer wasn't mind reading Steven hawking, he was just using it like a tool. This would be mainly of interest to people who can't speak or type I think to use it in that direction and again - it is highly unlikely anyone would want brain surgery in order to move a mouse around with their brain waves - and you can measure brain waves without an implant.

Also - Google Glass didn't succeed, turned out most people are happy typing away to connect to the internet. We are yet to find a way of connecting online that people prefer to typing plus mouse interaction with a 2D touch pad or screen - or to live chat via video. Lots of other things been tried, get a small band of enthusiasts but no widespread uptake.

It's all rather half baked at present. Mainly, it does potentially have some value for Alzheimers' patients. The rest is raher unconvincing.



No country has faced a second wave as big as its first wave, not of the ones that had big outbreaks. You can stop any outbreak as soon as it starts. South Korea may be closest to what the US could face if it does aggressive test, trace isolate.

It is too soon to see what the effect will be as it is only in the last week or so that most states have started to employ enough contact tracers to do the job adequately. You need to find the contacts fast, ideally on the day that the case is diagnosed, not over a period of many days due to lack of people to do the tracing. Still, most states don't have enough for the ideal number of tracers.

The states that opened up too soon - it's mainly because it is much easier to do contact tracing under lockdown - if they kept lockdown for a bit longer they could have speeded up the contact tracing as people would have had fewer contacts and would be in a much better situation coming out of it.

But they can suppress right down while keeping some physical distancing, the public alert and rigorous test, trace, isolate like South Korea and then you do get a sort of extra waves but suppress them fast. South Korea basically has a first wave, a smaller second wave and an even smaller third wave. US states may face something similar. The extra waves due to cases from neighbouring states or local superspreader events.



Not big ones. A big asteroid or comet will be spotted months to most likely years in advance. Large comets are very easy to see at a great distance. As they get smaller they are harder to spot but we spot nearly all small ones in advance too, depending on the direction.

We are much safer from asteroids and comets than any previous generation - but the risk has always been tiny on a personal level - your parents, grandparents, great grandparents going back and back - there were no big comet or asteroid impacts. The last really big one was before humans evolved in the time of homo erectus 700,000 years ago - that was 1 km in diameter which is just large enough to throw up enough dust to make a difference to crop yields for a few weeks.

Although we don't yet have total certainty we have found 95% of the 1 km asteroids and none of them can hit us for centuries.. Which is what you expect to find. Most of the remaining 5% have probably been behind the sun for the last decade - and as soon as they peek out beyond the sun we spot them with likely decades of warning before any flyby of Earth in an orbit like that.

So - it is now extremly unlikely that we are hit by somethign as big as 1 km with less than a decade of warning, and at that size it is most likely hundreds of thousands of years of warning. It never was a likely scenario.

We are safer from them than any previous generation.

Earth can be hit by smaller ones without warning. The most common size of asteroid is very small, 40 meters or smaller, even 20 meters like the Chelyabinsk one - many of those. The smaller the more there are.

Every century a few people die of meteorite impacts worldwide but this is very rare, e.g. most recent death from hailstone in the US is 2000, no recorded death from meteorites in the US.

3 reindeer herders and thousands of reindeer died in Siberia in 1908 and there are several other deaths by meteorite worldwide every century. But nowadays we would be able to warn most of these people. We might already be able to warn those reindeer herders if the same thing happened again.

It is exceptionally unlikely that a small asteroid hits a city directly. A nearby hit blowing out windows like Chelyabinsk is more likely. As a rough estimate it's likely on average we'd wait 8,000 years for the next impact on a city.

Your personal risk is minute to almost non existent. But of the 7.5 billion people on Earth then it is still possible that some die of an unexpected small asteroid. In another decade or two this will become less and less likely to the point where I expect every asteroid and eventually even small fireballs will be predicted in advance. I expect that 20 or 30 years from now you'll have an app on your smartphone or whatever it is that will be alerting you even to nearly all or all individual bright fireballs before they hit our atmoshere  . That could be done via a couple of orbital telescopes in the L1 position keeping an eye out for small asteroids a day or so before they hit Earth plus sensitive telescopes on the night side.



Bill Gates is not involved in cryptocurrencies. He is invovled in the fight against pandemics. And he doesn't make vaccines, he is financing the fight to develop them. Big pharmaceutical companies would make them. Nearly all children in the UK, US etc get vaccines against various diseases that in the past would kill them like measles, mengitis etc and no they do not get injected with "chips" as part of the vaccine, doesn't make sense, what would it do?

You aren't a computer. Nobody has even found a single line of code in a brain or anything that can add, multiply, bit shift, or any bits or bytes or anything even remotely resembling computer code or programs or compuer hardware. You can't be controlled by a chip. It is possible to insert an RFID chip like the one in a contactless card payment - but few would want that and it is nothing at all to do with vaccines and such a chip wouldn't fit into a needle.


For some reason that "solution" that civilizations destroy themselves gets lots of publicity. There are many others. The "sustainability" solution favoured by Carl Sagan is that civilizations learn to live in the universe sustainably.My own preferred solution is the sustainability solution - goes back to Carl Sagan. It doesn't get much publicity for some reason and is not really covered there. This is the idea that advanced civilizations learn to live in the universe sustainably. If you look at where we are headed and where we came from, then extrapolate forward centuries, then millennia then millions of years it seems a likely path, not only that, likely all civilizations learn to recognize that it is important to live sustainably in the universe at quite an early stage (we are only a couple of centuries into our industrial revolution, would be just a blink of time, would seem not much beyond stone age for an advanced extraterrestrial).

That would lead to the situation we see that if there are any aliens they are having a minimal impact on the galaxy. In particular they haven't expanded and tried to take over all the solar systems in the galaxy but are content with whatever planets they live on already.

If you look forward we are learning to live more sustainably and to have less impact and be more respecting of human rights and of other species too.

There are several other proposed solutions and many of them are rarely mentioned too but I find the sustainability solutions most plausible myself.

I have combined it with the idea of "galaxy protection". The idea is that just as we see it important to protect Earth and to protect other planets as we explore in our solar system - that when an extraterrestrial starts to explore from star to star they will see it as important to protect the galaxy and to protect themselves.

This also would lead to a galaxy like this one. We don't have aliens trying to take over our solar systems because aliens want to protect the galaxy from themselves.

They do that out of self interest because a galaxy full of warring aliens would not be a safe place to live in. By protecting other planets from themselves as galactic conquistadors they also protect their own home planet from their descendants as galactic conquistadors that over millions of years could develop to have all sorts of extraordinary ideas. They need to make sure that their descendants have the same galaxy protection values as themselves. However they do that, it leads to a galaxy looking like the one we see.

See my galaxy protection section of "Okay to Touch Mars?"


Also my "pale blue dot" essay.



Oh, there is nowhere to go. The Earth is the best place in the solar system for humans. Mars is actually if anything less habitable than the Moon. To make Earth as uninhabitable as Mars you would need to remove all the atmosphere, except a tiny amount of CO2 which you not only couldn't breathe but without a spacesuit you would not even be able to hold your breath but would be unconscious in seconds and the moisture lining your lungs and mouth would boil.

You would also have to remove the seas and all the water and nearly all the ice at the poles. You'd have to get rid of its magnetic field somehow. You have to move it further from the sun so that it gets so cold that carbon dioxide freezes out as dry ice "snow" every winter in the tropics. Even then it would still be far more habitable than Mars.

The idea that it makes ssense to leave Earth to go to Mars even as a "backup" doesn't make sense. There are many unoccupied islands on Earth and even the most remote island covered in ice would be a far better place to live than Mars. Or the sea bed. Almost anyhwere on Earth, even the summit of mount Everest is far more habitable than Mars.

You can build space settlements yes. But they are vastly more expensive and harder to run than the same settlement on some remote island on Earth, for one thing you don't need spacesuits just to go outside and repair the settlement, you don't need meters of radiation shielding covering it, you don't need to make all your own air to breathe and don't need to contain that air against an outwards pressure of ten tons per square meter.


Carl Sagan put it like this, and his remarks still apply:

> ...There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand.

For the next few decades at least if we have space settlements they will depend on Earth to supply them with provisions, make the spacesuits, the habitats, the equipment, and they will need to be of value to Earth, exporting something useful to us here, or as tourist destinations or as science outposts.

My article here might help:


Elon Musk's ideas are science fantasy - he never explains how his million colonists are supposed to support themselves financially. He talks vaguely about them paying for the colony by licensing inventions to Earth - but it's the other way around they will need many inventions and high technology which they will need to license from Earth, it's hard to see how they could be so much more inventive than us that they pay for eveything by charging us for using their inventions. There is nothing known on Mars that is valuable enough to pay for the costs of transporting it back to Earth

- though there are some things on the Moon that might be, since transport from the Moon to Earth is much easier than from Mars. The Moon is also close enough within reach for tourism to be able to finance some of the settlement there.

But neither is a place that rich people could escape to and live unsuppored by Earth.


This is very rare. We are seeing these cases because once you have 4 million people infected you can expect a few to have rare conditions. Suppressing COVID19 will mean suppressing this as well, if it is because of covid19. So yes we can get back to normal. First, as many countries have done, suppress it so there are hardly any cases left, just a handful a day in a country, and then some regions and countries even down to none a day like New Zealand. Then when we get a vaccine we can eliminate this disease from the world.

Kawasaki syndrome is a very rare condition that you get with a number of different infectious diseases. Mike Ryan said: "Just to reassure parents out there, this is a rare complication and one should always be watchful in children who are experiencing infectious disease for any deterioration in their condition. But I think it's important that parents out there are reassured"

This is how the WHO responded to a question on 29th April:


There are some recent rare descriptions of children in some European countries that have had this inflammatory syndrome, which is similar to the Kawasaki syndrome, but it seems to be very rare. What we've asked for is for the global network of clinicians to be on alert for this and to ensure that they capture information on children systematically so that we can better understand what is occurring in children and so that we can better improveour understanding and guide treatment.

But it seems to be very rare and only in maybe one or two countries so far and a number of additional countries they have not reported this yet but this is something that the clinical network is looking into specifically.

MR I just may supplement and emphasise for all parents out there that the vast, vast majority of children who get COVID-19 will have a mild infection and recover completely and Kawasaki syndrome is a syndrome that's been around for a long time; it's a rare condition, it happens.


It usually resolves itself but it is associated with inflammatory processes in the blood vessels and we're very grateful to the clinicians who've observed this in children but they have said this is an atypical Kawasaki syndrome. They're describing something they have seen in children. It's a very important observation and it may reflect too, as we've seen in adults, the fact that the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing COVID-19 obviously is causing inflammation and attacks tissue other than lung tissue.

We are in a situation where clinicians are looking at what those other effects of having this coronavirus infection are and we've seen this in the past with many emerging diseases; they don't necessarily only attack one type of tissue; there can be multiple organs affected and many of you have seen the reports of other organs that have been affected with this disease.

So it's really important that this information is shared around the world. It's really important that paediatricians and clinicians get time to collect information and share that but again just to reassure parents out there, this is a rare complication and one should always be watchful in children who are experiencing infectious disease for any deterioration in their condition. But I think it's important that parents out there are reassured

FINE TUNING OF THE UNIVERSE[edit | edit source]

Debunking: Four Reasons You Shouldn’t Exist

This is something that we have known for a long time that the universe is very fine tuned to us. First of all - we are on one planet amongst many, only this one is adjusted to humans - well - no surprise because we evolved here. But - it also seems not just our planet is in a "habitability zone" not too hot and not too cold for instance, in a way the entire universe is, the rules of physics are just right. Some physical constants if they were just slightly different, we wouldn't exist.

So - is it like the planet Earth - with us in the habitable zone, but Mercury, or Pluto, say, are not habitable, at least ,not for creatures like us? Are there maybe dozens or even trillions or vast numbers of universes and we are in the habitable zone of types of universes?

Do all those other universes exist, like the planets exist, and if so are they empty of life, or do they have other forms of life we can't imagine?

Those are the sorts of questions behind this, but they are usually phrased differently, not that we shouldn't exist, as we obviously do, but more "how do we come to exist?", "what lead to a unvierse forming that is just right for living creatures with intelligence"?

We can't really answer this. We don't really know what it is that makes it possible for a universe to exist. At least, we can't create universes ourselves. Is there perhaps some sense in which only universes like this, or at least ones with intelligent life in them can exist? Some think that perhaps that's the case, the "anthropic principle" that in some way this universe is able to exist because it has the capability to have beings like us in it. There are various ideas about why that might be.

But really - there is no way we are going to answer this any time soon.

It is not any kind of a risk for our universe. Whatever the reason it is here, it clearly happened, worked, we are here.



To debunk: 10C Above Baseline

This is absolute NONSENSE. Says not a single independent climate scientist would say that we are headed for 1.5 C. The IPCC is not some dictatorship - the papers they summarize are by independent scientists - it just summarizes the already published science in the journals and you can read the original papers themselves and they are accurately summarized.

Richard Betts, whose talk he cites tweets:

Roger, this is absolute total and utter drivel There's no scientific basis whatsoever to expect 10C global warming within "20 or 30" years (or even this century)
The article also misrepresents my talk at the Oxford conference. I did *not* say we "expect 4C by 2055" with "BAU"
I also said
"it is still too early to say whether any particular scenario is being tracked by current emissions"
4C would be expected cause severe impacts (whether in 2055, early 2060s or later) but this article is wrong to misrepresent me in support of ludicrous 10C claims

It says 4 C would lead to human extinction - how can anyone say such UTTER NONSENSE - how can they even believe it? I just don't understand how anyone could think that a world 4 C warmer would be uninhabitable to humans. https://www.quora.com/q/debunkingdoomsday/Even-worst-worst-case-climate-change-scenario-is-not-Human-extinction-or-collapse-of-civilization-science-needs-to-be

This is my annotation of that article: Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against


This is about the IPCC and how they do a systematic review of the literature. https://www.quora.com/q/duzzmyeobxjljrpq/No-the-IPCC-does-not-err-on-the-side-of-least-drama-just-follows-scientific-method