Afghanistan can’t wait for the U.S. to get out of the way — to let in China and Pakistan

As the U.S. exits Afghanistan, Beijing is preparing to swoop into the war-torn country and fill the vacuum left by the departed U.S. and NATO troops.

China is poised to make an exclusive entry into post-U.S. Afghanistan with its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source close to government officials in Afghanistan told The Daily Beast that Kabul authorities are growing more intensively engaged with China on an extension of the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — the flagship project of BRI, which involves the construction of highways, railways and energy pipelines between Pakistan and China — to Afghanistan…

In other words: The Afghan government, behind the scenes, is welcoming China immediately after saying goodbye to America.

Yup. All part of an obviously subversive plot. Here’s Uncle Sugar finishing decades of superb foreign policy – stationing tens of thousands of American troops in yet one more small nation to show off the benefits of American democracy [and military hardware]. We’re going out the door. Meanwhile, the “subversive” Chinese and their Pakistani allies in the Belt-and-Road Initiative are actually going to build highways, railways and energy pipelines – making the country a key link in East/West infrastructure. And profits.

How sly.

Growing Marijuana in a vertical farm


Jean Chung/Bloomberg

South Korean startup Farm 8 Co. is among a proliferation of indoor urban growers that saw sales jump during Covid-19. It’s looking to increase sales by almost 50% to 90 billion won ($79 million) this year, partly by boosting production of medical and cosmetic-based plants such as ginseng, centella asiatica and artemisia campestris, Chief Executive Officer Kang Dae Hyun said. In August, the company joined the country’s first regulation-free zone for medical cannabis, growing and processing hemp for cannabidiol (CBD)…

Other vertical farms are also using the technology to meet rising demand for stringent quality control in medical and cosmetic applications, such as Denmark’s International Cosmetics Science Centre, Poland’s Vertigo Farms and California-based MedMen Enterprises…

Farm 8 currently grows about 1.2 tons of salad greens per day on less than an acre (0.5 hectare) of land, spread across locations in three cities in South Korea, including in a busy subway station in South Korea’s capital. It’s one of the top local lettuce producers for fast-food chains including Subway Restaurants, Burger King Corp. and KFC Corp. Sales rose 30% last year…

South Korea became the first country in East Asia to legalize cannabis for medical use in 2018, and in August 2020, the government set up a free trade zone for industrial hemp in the southeastern city of Andong to develop and extract cannabidiol for medical use with private companies. Marijuana remains illegal for recreational use in the country.

Just like the culture wars here in the GOUSA, the political powers-that-be in South Korea are sidling up to legalizing weed across the board. And like the candyass pols running things here, agonizing over electoral politics with a last century outlook is more important than medical and scientific reality.

I suppose the traditional relationship of cash over Christianity will continue to win out, albeit slowly. The legal weed bill here in New Mexico passed through the representative side of our state legislature and is sitting and waiting for action on the Senate side. The average glacier moves forward faster than so many “modern” political institutions.

Coronavirus infections increase 21% among children. Please ignore Trump!


The mask that Trump should be required to wear

A report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association shows 74,160 new cases of coronavirus among children from August 6 to August 20. According to the report, this is an increase of 21 percent in cases over the past two weeks…

In regard to hospitalizations, between 0.2 percent and 8.6 percent of children diagnosed with coronavirus were hospitalized. “At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children,” the report said.

They don’t get as sick as the people around them that they infect.

An entire fourth grade-class in Mississippi was forced to quarantine and move to online-only learning after multiple teachers tested positive for coronavirus. Adam Pugh, Superintendent of the Lafayette County told The Associated Press that 200 students were told to quarantine after a majority of students were exposed…

You’d think there might be rational limits to stupid. You’d be wrong. After more than 500 students, faculty and staff tested positive at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox ordered all bars in the city to close down for two weeks.

I’m not certain how useful the reasoning was.

Test of pandemic drones ends before it starts!


Draganfly X4-P

WESTPORT, CT, USA — The town is ending its participation in a controversial “pandemic drone” program to suss out potential coronavirus patients after an outcry from residents and others who complained that the initiative infringed on people’s privacy rights…

Westport’s police department had teamed up with a Canadian company named Draganfly on the initiative…

Under the program, the department’s drones were outfitted with Draganfly’s specialized sensors and computer vision systems that measured a person’s fever, temperature, heart and respiratory rates from as far as 190 feet in the air, Draganfly claimed. The technology also detected people sneezing and coughing in crowds.

Soon after the announcement of the program, however, people complained that to the police department and First Selectman Jim Marpe that it was intrusive and an invasion of privacy. Though Draganfly said it was not using facial recognition software, nor was it collecting any personal data, residents complained that it was still too much like Big Brother.

And so it goes. I wasn’t surprised that Westport coppers were willing to trial something this innovative. They’ve used drones for several years – starting with projects aimed at finding drowning victims in Long Island Sound. Moved on to multiple uses in the years following.

Westport is Connecticut’s hotspot for COVID-19. It sits in Fairfield County which butts up against the New York State line. It’s a popular commuter home for folks earning incomes with lots of 0’s on the end in New York City.

The coronavirus is killing more men than women in the US

Kaedrea Jackson has noticed something peculiar during her shifts inside the emergency department at Mount Sinai Morningside hospital…“It seems there are more men coming in with really severe illness,” said Jackson, an emergency physician. “In general, I’ve seen more male patients. And when they do come in, they are at a sicker state.”

Coronavirus data reported by more than a dozen states and the nation’s largest city support Jackson’s experience. In most states, slightly more women are getting infected than men. But of more than 3,600 deaths in 13 states and New York City that report fatalities by gender, the majority of victims are men.

The disproportionate toll of the virus appears to have deep biological roots. An emerging body of research has revealed that women’s bodies are better at fighting off infection, thanks to the hormones in their systems and the genes on their two X chromosomes.

Scientists say these differences may partly explain why men have been hit hardest by the covid-19 pandemic. And they may provide a vital clue in the search for a cure.

RTFA for more detail. Some of which just adds more variables, obscuring a conclusion. Some is useful – in my mind’s eye, anyway.

My first reaction flows strictly from evolution. Women are mothers, the final resource of our species. I would hope that nature succeeds at keeping us around, healthy, in secure numbers. Even if we seem to be spending much of recent history trying to wipe ourselves out.

The Climate Has Already Changed

❝ The Washington Post…published a massive, interactive feature on the effects of climate change in the United States, headlining the story by promising to illustrate the corners of the country that are warming fastest as the effects of a century’s worth of carbon emissions take hold.

❝ Climate change doesn’t warm the globe equally, according to the article, and some parts of the Lower 48 have already crossed the critical threshold of a 2 degrees Celsius temperature increase.

❝ “Today, more than 1 in 10 Americans — 34 million people — are living in rapidly heating regions, including New York City and Los Angeles. Seventy-one counties have already hit the 2-degree Celsius mark,” according to the article. Alaska is the fastest-warming state in the country. Rhode Island has already crossed the 2 degrees Celsius mark. New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts are close. The article includes an searchable graphic that produces the increase in temperature for U.S. counties.

If you’re still catching a free peek at the POST, more power to you. Retirees managing their resources tight enough to maybe live as long as they’d like to…are more pennywise than that. Here’s a link to the Washington POST article. As more folk quote it – it will become available in widespread fashion. Sounds like a good one.