A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.

6 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. Caution First and Then Hope.


    COVID-19 continues to be a world issue, second only to our destruction of the world climate and the failure of COP26. Neoliberal capitalism continues to fail on all fronts. But to focus on COVID-19.

    Germany is experiencing a major new wave of COVID-19 infections, its worst wave since the beginning of the pandemic. Latest daily cases are about 29,000 and they have been higher to about 45,400 cases on 10th December. It’s probably too early to say cases have peaked. Germany’s double vaccination rate is mediocre at 67% and single vax rate is 69% which portends slow improvement. Death rates have not yet risen markedly. It’s too early in this wave to know what death rates will do. Germany’s hospitals are struggling and winter is coming.

    Germany’s poor performance has lessons for Australia. You cannot take off other controls when your vaccination rate is still mediocre. Compared to what is really needed to stop COVID-19, a vaccination rate of less than 95% for all persons over 5 years of age is mediocre. That is the realistic bottom line with this highly contagious, dangerous and insidious disease.

    Australians should not be lulled into a false sense of security. Our total vaccination rate is still far too low for safety. We should not be easing off on other control measures. However, we are easing off because our governments are stupid. The main factor in our favor at this point is that we enter Australia’s hot summer months. This will encourage people to go outdoors and avoid stuffy rooms, though it will encourage air-conditioned “mall-walking” in shopping centers which is not a good idea. Keep wearing masks in indoor public settings and on public transport, would be my advice. Go indoors in public settings as little as possible. Watch out for inadequately ventilated indoor spaces, including offices.

    Full vaccination is not 100% protection and the dangers are still significant if you are over 60 and/or have medical pre-conditions. Maintain sensible care and vigilance. Masks, hand-washing and simply avoiding potentially dangerous spaces and maintaining distancing is a big part of this. Keep events outdoors (with sun cover and sun protection). That will make a huge difference for the better.


    There is possibly more hope around the corner. Scientists are working on a very low mutating section of the COVID-19 genome. This section encodes aspects related to viral reproduction and not related to the issue of entering cells via the agency of the spike proteins as is the case with the current vaccines. The virus virtually cannot mutate this critical genome section as reproduction simply stops. It’s a section highly “intolerant” of mutation. Almost any mutation stuffs it up. It is critical and only one code sequence works for the purpose, pretty much.

    By targeting this section, a vaccine theoretically can be made which stops all COVID-19 variants; the virus very probably cannot mutate any vaccine escape variant. Such a vaccine would stop all members of the coronavirus family as this genome section is common to all. This is potentially very good news. Will have to see if they can crack this puzzle. The chances seems good with all the latest advances in vaccine technology.

    In the meantime, get double vaxxed AND continue to take care. Don’t blindly assume you are totally safe, presently. It would be foolish and a waste of quality life years to catch COVID-19, and possibly die or get long-covid, just before an even better vaccine turns up. Take care and consider the case of Germany as an example. We are not out of the woods yet.

  2. Austria has introduced a no vax lockdown – no private contacts, no leisure, just work and essential shopping allowed. Wished we would do the same. We will probably require a full lockdown to avoid a full medical breakdown since we wait so long. Bavaria is reporting 500 cases a week per 100000 inhabitants. 97,6 for the vaccinated, 953 for the non vaccinated. Underreporting is probably more significant among the vaccinated, due to a higher number of asympthomatic cases, but the vaccinated are also less contagious on average. Add some reporting delay, the high r, some underreporting and one ends up with 2% of the unvacinated getting infected this weak. Almost 3% next weak…… Arround 30% of the 18-60 age group in Bavaria is not vaccinated. Maybe even more important, so are some 15% of the 60+. The worst rates in West Germany. We still allow no-vax to work in elderly care or in hospitals. Incredible.

    The correlation between right wing nutery and no vax seems strong. According to one poll, 65 % of the no vax voted for the far right afd or the even more nutty new founded no vax party. Anoter more moderate no vax party, Freie Wähler could even gain votes overall, while the AFD lost votes overall. The only left wing party that possitioned itsself as semi no vax did not gain any no vax votes from that positioning. Die Linke only lost sane voters.

  3. Following the complete and utter failure of COP26, hijacked by fossil fuel interests once again, the world faces disastrous climate change, already under way, and certainly running not just for centuries but for several millennia or even longer. Our only realistic goals are mitigation and adaptation. Attempts at mitigation must continue. Anything that reduces fossil fuel use legitimately, without sabotage, terror or war, will be a good thing. However, on our progress to date, little of real effect will happen until natural limitations limit us and our systems.

    The rest of our effort will have to go into adaptation. Under neoliberal capitalism, which shows no signs of reform any time soon, we can expect no serious mitigation and adaptation efforts from our captured governments. It will be up to every individual and family to make their own efforts. We will be on our own. Again, we can attempt community and political efforts, and ought to do so, but we can also predict the near certain failure of all such efforts under implacable and immovable neoliberal capitalism.

    If you have the resources and the youth to move or adapt, I would advocate doing so as soon as possible if your current locale will become unsafe under rapid climate change. You would have to do your due diligence and ensure a residential siting away from all likely effects of sea-level rise, floods, bush-fires and urban unrest. Yet, it needs to be capable of resupply from urban or regional centers.

  4. This might be an interesting addition to my previous rant: The death rate among (known) infections in Germany right now is 0,8%: read 400 death at current case numbers per day. Far from the 90% reduction in death rates among the vaccinated. Because well a) most cases are not vaccinated, b) a major part of the reducation in death rates comes from not getting infected at all which does not make it into the statistics as explained in a post here not too long ago. c) Also some undetected harmless cases, albeit that seems to be the case to a far lesser extend these days than in the early days of the pandemic.

    Would have hoped the numbers are somewhat better since the no vax skew quite a bit younger than the population at large.

    Meanwhile, former far right constituional judge Kirchhoff gives interviews explaining how all restrictions for the non vaccinated would be non constitutional. Kirchhoff is , no actually should – be infamous for the ruling imagined by him that a tax rate above 50% is unconstitutional. A ruleing sufficiently mad to be later overturned. If you think that made him a non person along with all the other judges involved in that ruling in polite society, you´d be wrong. Rather it almost made him minister of finance.

  5. Conservatism and crazy corona theories part 10: Catholic hard liners.
    The pope considers vaccination a moral duty. Not so his conservative opponents. Catholic hardliners are nutty people in general to be sure. Albeit they tend to be nutty people that construct rather elaborate intelectual constructs to justify their positions. Corona denialism in contrast is anything but intelectual. Yet, it correlates pretty strongly.

  6. Austria just introduced a general vaccination mandata, starting in February, a first among western nations. Sounds like the fines for breach will be limited. Probably less severe than the fe facto price the non vaccinated already have to pay in many places. Still a good step in the right direction.
    Waiting for the load declarations that this would be unconstitutional in most other nations, the same ones that already had vaccination mandates for various other diseases, mandatory military service and 10 year mandatory schooling. Time to stop pretending constitutional court justices are anything beyond bad politicians undermining democracy anywhere. The us case is just most obvious.

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