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Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

China's Zero COVID Policy 

Go to Google and type in the word COVID followed by the name of a city. Be sure to spell the name of the city correctly. When it comes up, scroll down until you see the graph and then go to the top left corner of the graph and change it to “All time.” The default is one year, but COVID is not quite three years old, so there’s no reason not to view the total span of its existence.

It’s a little confusing to read the dates at the bottom, because these are static screen shots, so they don't show the year. But if you Google them yourself and view them live, there will be a slider that goes back and forth and that will show the year. Basically, the “All time” setting shows you stats from the end of January 2020 to yesterday.

So what can we conclude from this? Clearly from the graph of Beijing below, the recent spikes have been astronomical compared to before. If you pan across the graph from January 2020 until now, you will see a few blips. At the time that they happened, they appeared as huge spikes, because the scale of the graph was much smaller. If one hundred new cases a day is considered an astronomical number (which it used to be in China), then some of those blips would go almost to the top of the graph. So when you look at a graph like this, it is always important to take note of the scale. Simply put: What is the highest number?

Guangzhou (below) looks similar to Beijing, but if you look at the numbers on the left side, it’s clearly much worse, because the top number is about twice that of Beijing. But although the cases are much more numerous, the pattern is the same. Nothing that happened before begins to compare to how bad it is now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

User Creation Script 

create user PM31415926 identified by password;
create user PM36211124 identified by password;
create user PM37211101 identified by password;
create user PM37211102 identified by password;
create user PM37211103 identified by password;
create user PM37211104 identified by password;
create user AM37211401 identified by password;
create user AM37211402 identified by password;
create user AM37211404 identified by password;
create user AM37211405 identified by password;
create user AM37211406 identified by password;
create user AM37211407 identified by password;
create user AM37211408 identified by password;
create user AM37211409 identified by password;
create user AM37211410 identified by password;
create user AM37211411 identified by password;
create user AM37211412 identified by password;
create user AM37211413 identified by password;
create user AM37211414 identified by password;
create user AM37211415 identified by password;
create user AM37211416 identified by password;
create user AM37211417 identified by password;
create user AM37211418 identified by password;
create user AM37211419 identified by password;
create user AM37211420 identified by password;
create user AM37211421 identified by password;
create user AM37211422 identified by password;
create user AM37211425 identified by password;
create user AM37211426 identified by password;
create user AM37211427 identified by password;
create user AM37211501 identified by password;
create user AM37211502 identified by password;
create user AM37211503 identified by password;
create user AM37211504 identified by password;
create user AM37211505 identified by password;
create user AM37211506 identified by password;
create user AM37211507 identified by password;
create user AM37211508 identified by password;
create user AM37211509 identified by password;
create user AM37211510 identified by password;
create user AM37211511 identified by password;
create user AM37211512 identified by password;
create user AM37211513 identified by password;
create user AM37211514 identified by password;
create user AM37211515 identified by password;
create user AM37211516 identified by password;
create user AM37211517 identified by password;
create user AM37211518 identified by password;
create user AM37211519 identified by password;
create user AM37211520 identified by password;
create user AM37211521 identified by password;
create user AM37211522 identified by password;
create user AM37211523 identified by password;
create user AM37211524 identified by password;
create user AM37211525 identified by password;
create user AM37211526 identified by password;
create user AM37211527 identified by password;
create user AM37211530 identified by password;
create user AM56000248 identified by password;
create user AM56000255 identified by password;
create user PM37211222 identified by password;
create user AM36211320 identified by password;
create user AM37211423 identified by password;
create user PM37211119 identified by password;
create user PM37211325 identified by password;
create user AM35211119 identified by password;
create user PM35211215 identified by password;
create user PM36211508 identified by password;
create user PM37211105 identified by password;
create user PM37211106 identified by password;
create user PM37211107 identified by password;
create user PM37211108 identified by password;
create user PM37211109 identified by password;
create user PM37211110 identified by password;
create user PM37211111 identified by password;
create user PM37211112 identified by password;
create user PM37211113 identified by password;
create user PM37211114 identified by password;
create user PM37211115 identified by password;
create user PM37211116 identified by password;
create user PM37211117 identified by password;
create user PM37211118 identified by password;
create user PM37211120 identified by password;
create user PM37211121 identified by password;
create user PM37211122 identified by password;
create user PM37211123 identified by password;
create user PM37211124 identified by password;
create user PM37211125 identified by password;
create user PM37211126 identified by password;
create user PM37211127 identified by password;
create user PM37211128 identified by password;
create user PM37211201 identified by password;
create user PM37211202 identified by password;
create user PM37211203 identified by password;
create user PM37211204 identified by password;
create user PM37211205 identified by password;
create user PM37211206 identified by password;
create user PM37211207 identified by password;
create user PM37211208 identified by password;
create user PM37211209 identified by password;
create user PM37211210 identified by password;
create user PM37211211 identified by password;
create user PM37211212 identified by password;
create user PM37211213 identified by password;
create user PM37211215 identified by password;
create user PM37211216 identified by password;
create user PM37211217 identified by password;
create user PM37211218 identified by password;
create user PM37211219 identified by password;
create user PM37211220 identified by password;
create user PM37211221 identified by password;
create user PM37211223 identified by password;
create user PM37211224 identified by password;
create user PM37211225 identified by password;
create user PM37211226 identified by password;
create user PM37211227 identified by password;
create user PM37211228 identified by password;
create user PM37211301 identified by password;
create user PM37211302 identified by password;
create user PM37211303 identified by password;
create user PM37211304 identified by password;
create user PM37211305 identified by password;
create user PM37211306 identified by password;
create user PM37211307 identified by password;
create user PM37211308 identified by password;
create user PM37211309 identified by password;
create user PM37211310 identified by password;
create user PM37211311 identified by password;
create user PM37211312 identified by password;
create user PM37211313 identified by password;
create user PM37211314 identified by password;
create user PM37211315 identified by password;
create user PM37211316 identified by password;
create user PM37211317 identified by password;
create user PM37211318 identified by password;
create user PM37211319 identified by password;
create user PM37211320 identified by password;
create user PM37211321 identified by password;
create user PM37211322 identified by password;
create user PM37211323 identified by password;
create user PM37211324 identified by password;
create user PM37211326 identified by password;
create user PM37211327 identified by password;
create user PM37211328 identified by password;
create user PM56000212 identified by password;
create user PM56000217 identified by password;
create user PM56000232 identified by password;

grant connect, resource to PM31415926 identified by password;
grant connect, resource to PM36211124 identified by password;
grant connect, resource to PM37211101 identified by password;
grant connect, resource to PM37211102 identified by password;
grant connect, resource to PM37211103 identified by password;
grant connect, resource to PM37211104 identified by password;
grant connect, resource to AM37211401 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211402 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211404 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211405 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211406 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211407 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211408 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211409 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211410 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211411 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211412 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211413 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211414 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211415 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211416 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211417 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211418 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211419 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211420 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211421 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211422 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211425 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211426 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211427 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211501 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211502 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211503 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211504 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211505 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211506 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211507 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211508 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211509 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211510 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211511 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211512 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211513 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211514 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211515 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211516 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211517 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211518 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211519 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211520 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211521 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211522 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211523 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211524 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211525 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211526 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211527 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211530 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM56000248 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM56000255 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211222 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM36211320 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM37211423 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211119 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211325 identified by password; grant connect, resource to AM35211119 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM35211215 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM36211508 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211105 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211106 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211107 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211108 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211109 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211110 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211111 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211112 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211113 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211114 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211115 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211116 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211117 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211118 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211120 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211121 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211122 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211123 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211124 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211125 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211126 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211127 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211128 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211201 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211202 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211203 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211204 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211205 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211206 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211207 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211208 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211209 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211210 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211211 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211212 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211213 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211215 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211216 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211217 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211218 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211219 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211220 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211221 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211223 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211224 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211225 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211226 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211227 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211228 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211301 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211302 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211303 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211304 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211305 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211306 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211307 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211308 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211309 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211310 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211311 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211312 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211313 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211314 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211315 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211316 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211317 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211318 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211319 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211320 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211321 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211322 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211323 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211324 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211326 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211327 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM37211328 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM56000212 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM56000217 identified by password; grant connect, resource to PM56000232 identified by password; create view PM31415926.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM36211124.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211101.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211102.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211103.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211104.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211401.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211402.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211404.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211405.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211406.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211407.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211408.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211409.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211410.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211411.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211412.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211413.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211414.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211415.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211416.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211417.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211418.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211419.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211420.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211421.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211422.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211425.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211426.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211427.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211501.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211502.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211503.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211504.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211505.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211506.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211507.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211508.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211509.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211510.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211511.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211512.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211513.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211514.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211515.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211516.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211517.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211518.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211519.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211520.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211521.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211522.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211523.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211524.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211525.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211526.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211527.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211530.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM56000248.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM56000255.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211222.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM36211320.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM37211423.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211119.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211325.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view AM35211119.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM35211215.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM36211508.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211105.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211106.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211107.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211108.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211109.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211110.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211111.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211112.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211113.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211114.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211115.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211116.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211117.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211118.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211120.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211121.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211122.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211123.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211124.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211125.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211126.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211127.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211128.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211201.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211202.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211203.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211204.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211205.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211206.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211207.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211208.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211209.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211210.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211211.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211212.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211213.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211215.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211216.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211217.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211218.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211219.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211220.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211221.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211223.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211224.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211225.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211226.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211227.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211228.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211301.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211302.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211303.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211304.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211305.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211306.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211307.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211308.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211309.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211310.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211311.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211312.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211313.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211314.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211315.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211316.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211317.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211318.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211319.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211320.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211321.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211322.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211323.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211324.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211326.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211327.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM37211328.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM56000212.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM56000217.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER; create view PM56000232.mygrades as select * from fall2009.studentrecords where student_id = USER;

Monday, November 28, 2022

SQL> @C:\chapter5\loadscores

1 row updated.

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1 row updated.

1 row updated.

1 row updated.

1 row updated.

1 row updated.

1 row updated.

1 row updated.

1 row updated.

1 row updated.

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SQL> spool off

Monday, October 31, 2022

2000 Mules Revisited 

This film posted above addresses the movie 2000 Mules. The 2020 election seems never to be able to escape controversy. Why are people still arguing about it after two years? I hate to even think about publishing yet one more confusing diatribe on the sad events leading up to the disaster on January 6th, 2020.

But recently John posted a video (above) in the Politics group regarding that movie. It’s not a shortened version of the movie; it’s a commentary on the movie. Basically this guy (he does not introduce himself) is saying that the movie is not convincing, because they don’t show more than one video of the same person. I am not sure how important that is, but I have to admit that it is a fair point. Nevertheless, I also had a problem with his approach, because he used that weakness as an excuse to blow off everything else in the movie.

But one thing he did in the video above that really fascinated me was to show that many media outlets who dismissed 2000 Mules had actually copied and pasted the Associated Press “fact check” written by Ali Swenson. That peaked my attention, because Ali Swenson’s bogus fact check is the one I featured in the podcast I made on 2000 Mules back in May (posted below). The main point I was trying make then was that she clearly had not seen the movie when she wrote that fact check. So now it appears that many, if not most, of the mainstream media reports on 2000 Mules were written by people who did not actually take time to watch the movie; they just copied from the Associated Press article written by Ali Swenson, who also had not seen the movie when she wrote her “fact check.” For this research, I give this guy credit. 2000 Mules should be in the Guinness Book of World Records as the movie most criticized by people who did not bother to watch it.

But astonishingly, this guy seems completely unaware that Ali Swenson’s own review is fundamentally dishonest, because she clearly had not seen the video herself when she wrote the fact check. This is not obvious when you first read the fact check. I was actually impressed by her fact check when I read it before I saw the movie. But as I explained in the podcast episode below, she wrote things in that article that she would not have written if she had seen the movie. He goes even further. He did an exhaustive research of everything (almost) that Ali Swenson had put online for the past ten years. He did this to show her credibility—all without ever noticing that she wrote a fact check about a movie she clearly had not bothered to watch. This leads me to wonder if he is really objective. He is disturbingly blind to the faults of someone he seems to have an emotional need to believe in.

But in spite of my respect for his research, there is something else about his review (I mean the video above) that troubles me. He focuses on what he sees as the great weakness of the 2000 Mules movie, but he totally blows off everything else, and this is not really fair to the movie or to its creators.

So here's a scene from the movie: We see a lady walking up to a box for depositing ballot envelopes. She puts a few ballot envelopes in the ballot depository, then she turns around, pulls off her rubber gloves, and throws them in the garbage can. Which of the following best explains this behavior?

  1. She is wearing rubber gloves to protect her hands from the cold winter air.
  2. She is wearing rubber gloves because she is afraid of getting COVID.
  3. She is wearing rubber gloves because she does not want her fingerprints to be on the envelopes, so she keeps them on until she has placed the ballot envelopes in the box, then she throws the rubber gloves in the garbage, because she no longer needs them to shield her identity.
Come on, you guys. Let’s have a moment of integrity. We all know what the obvious answer is. So does 2000 Mules prove that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election? No, of course not. Once the ballots are separated from the envelope, there is no way to tell where they came from, or who filled them out. So you couldn’t prove anything, and in fact, you couldn’t even prove that a single ballot was filled out inappropriately. But the fact that this kind of corruption is so difficult to trace is exactly why it is not legal to deliver ballots for other people. The only way to deal with certain kinds of corruption is to set up a situation such that it could not happen.

But if this movie (2000 Mules) does not prove that Trump won, does it at least show evidence of malfeasance? It certainly does. It’s not perfect, and the observation made in the video above is well taken. But his failure to address critical information presented in the film is also concerning. It suggests that perhaps he is not totally objective.

So why do people avoid this movie so much? Because they are clearly threatened by the possibility of having their chosen beliefs knocked down. My advice: watch the movie. Watch it critically, and then share your thoughts. But share your thoughts after you have seen the movie. All comments are welcome. If you comment on the video above, I will assume that you watched it. But if you comment on 2000 Mules, I may take the liberty to ask you if you actually watched it, because so many people haven’t, even including people like Ali Swenson, who wrote a fact check about a movie she had not actually seen.

Where will this end up? Will there ever be healing from this national hate fest that pits people against each other in American society? I’ll tell you the answer: Democrats think Republicans are the problem. Republicans think Democrats are the problem. Healing will not come until both Democrats and Republicans realize that they have forgotten God. 2000 Mules is a good example of this problem. The Movie accuses people of corruption. They don’t name the people, but we led to assume that they are opponents of Trump. Democrats, in other words. But I don’t know how many of you remember that, just before he left office, Donald Trump pardoned Dinesh D’Souza. Do you remember what the crime was? You guessed it. Election fraud. Granted, it wasn’t voter fraud. But it was fraud nonetheless—a crime to which he pled guilty in a court of law. There is a lot of corruption in the Democratic party. But the Republicans are not better if they measure themselves by the Democrats. A little bit better than really bad is still bad:

But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. (2nd Corinthians 10:12)
The only hope for America is for everyone to allow themselves to be held up against God’s standards.

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Friday, September 30, 2022

Washing Clothes in China 

I remember lying in bed wondering if there was any place in this city where I could buy a Panasonic washing machine. I had just rented an apartment that had a separate laundry room.

In answer to my desire, a friend of mine told me that a local international school was having a sale. KIA (Kunming International Academy) has quite a turnover of teachers—probably more now because of COVID, so the school was selling off their household furniture. The apartment I had just rented was pretty cheap because it had no furniture in it, which is not common in China. So I welcomed the news. We went out there, and I found very good bed, a desk, two bedside cabinets, an excellent refrigerator, and, last but not least, a Panasonic washing machine! God is good.

The thing was not new, of course, but it was in mint condition. I did have to buy hose and clamp, but otherwise, it was ready to start using. But I had no idea which buttons to push and why. So I took a picture of the console and sent it to a church friend who is getting her Ph.D in Australia. She sent it back appropriately marked. Pretty easy, actually. You can just ignore all that other stuff. It does it automatically.

Vagabond that I am, I had not had a washing machine in my house for thirty-five years. In America, I always used laundromats. When I came to Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics as a database instructor in the Software College in 2004, I lived in the foreign teachers’ dormitory. There was a floor lady on the fourteenth floor where the foreign teachers lived, who was there during the day, and there were two washing machines in her office. So that was almost as good as having my own machine.

When I left Beihang University after six years and moved out to the village in the western hills where I lived until I moved to Kunming, I rented a little hovel that had no room for a washing machine. That place was pretty tiny. Fortunately, a friend of mine told me about a laundromat at the Geosciences university that I could use for a price. So I carried my laundry into town in a basket every month (more or less) and washed it in one or two or three of their machines.

One of my neighbors in the village tried to show me how to wash my clothes by hand. I did not learn quickly. I noticed that she would sometimes rub two parts of a garment together. Why? Washing machines don’t do that. If you are wondering how to wash your clothes by hand, I’ll tell you what to do: Sneak up to a washing machine when it is in operation and open the lid just enough to see what is going on in their without tripping the automatic shutoff. Whatever you see, do that and you’re good. You don’t need to do all that other stuff. Anyway, I did not wash my own clothes very often, but once in awhile I might wash a garment of two.

I had lived in that little village for ten years when I moved across the country to Kunming in May of 2020. I lived in a small Chinese hotel for five months until I got my own place. So I washed my clothes by hand in the sink most of the time, although they did have a cheap washing machine there that I could use. After I found an apartment, I continued to wash my clothes by hand, because my place had two big sinks, but no separate laundry room. But when I moved to the place where I am living now, I decided it was time for me to have a washing machine, and I guess God agreed, because I got one almost immediately.

This washing machine is not large by American standards, but it’s way good enough for me. But it’s amazing how quickly you get spoiled when you have your own washing machine. As I said, I lived in that little village in the westren hills of Beijing for ten years. Since I had to put my dirty clothes in my laundry basket ad take it into town on the bus, I was always having these arguments with myself about whether or not a particular garment was really dirty enough to warrent being washed. Now I throw stuff in the washing machine all the time that isn’t really that filthy.

I should say a thing about dryers in China. There aren’t any. I have never seen a dryer in China. But you cannot enter a house or apartment anywhere in China without finding a clothes line in the back room. When I say “room,” I use the word loosely. It’s usually a porch or balcony. In Beijing such a balcony will be closed in. But in the south of China you will see both. The line I had in my little hovel in rural Beijing just had a bar across the room near the ceiling. My apartment now has a cable system that allows me to crank one side at a time down to hang clothes or remove clothes and then crank it back up to the ceiling. Maybe a big American family would prefer a dryer, but for me, the Chinese system is so much less trouble.

But if you can wash clothes by hand, is a washing machine necessary? For Chinese people, not really. Most Chinese people can get on quite well without a washing machine. In fact, people in the countryside of China who have grown up washing clothes by hand don’t trust washing machines. If you read the book Mao’s Last Dancer, he talks about how his parents came to visit him and they were happy as a lark washing their clothes with a garden hose. If you have ever been to the countryside of China, that won’t surprise you at all. To someone from the countryside of China, running water is like having a washing machine. But doesn’t everyone have running water? Nope. Back in 2004 I went to a little village in Shanxi Province where the people lived in Yaodong (earth caves) dug out of the side of the mountain. They had a little well I their yard, so they had water. But it wasn’t running water.

Here is a washer woman from Langmusi, a little village up on the Tibetan Plateau I used to go to in the summertime:

You can see from this picture that country people in China will do anything to find running water. Once they have that, the rest is easy.

So what is the advantage of washing clothes by hand?

Chinese people’s answer: You can’t trust washing machines. They won’t get your clothes clean.

My answer: You get to listen to interesting podcasts that you don’t usually have time for. Stuff you subscribe to because you think it’s good, but that you never get around to listening to. There is another advantage: You really get an idea how much soap is appropriate, because lf you use to much detergent, you have to rinse your clothes lots of times.

I personally think that the biggest advantage Chinese people enjoy because of their ability to wash their clothes by hand is that they can travel lightly. Chinese young people usually carry not that many outfits and wash them at night. Americans carry everything they are going to need for their whole vacation and wash everything when they get home. I am kinda in between. I usually carry enough so that I have enough to wear until I can find a youth hostel that has a washing machine—hopefully once a week or so. So I don’t travel quite as lightly as Chinese people. But less than most Americans. When I travel in the mountains of western China, people are like, “You have such a big backpack!” But when I go to America, people are like, “Where’s your luggage?” I think it's going to be changing, though. More and more we are going to see the younger generation using washing machines and forgetting all about washing clothes by hand.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Joining the Jesus Revolution 

The podcast leaves you in Clarksville, Tennessee, after my return from the Democratic convention in July of 1972, This is because, as it turned out, Mary and Dennis were moving back to Oregon the end of August, so I decided to just wait and ride back with them. So my hitchhiking adventure was over for that summer. It wasn’t exactly the end of my hitchhiking; I hitchhiked down the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska with John in the summer of 1979 (another story for another time)

What were the factors that led to the great Jesus revolution of the Seventies?

The Jesus movement was a spiritual revival among the counter-culuture “hippies” who had more or less dropped out of the ordinary course of life in cold war America, particularly during the period of the Vietnam War (1964-1974).

The hippies were the offspring of middle class Americans who had focused their attention on developing financial prosperity, mainly as a reaction to the deprivation of the Depression years. The years following the depression and the second world war were years of prosperity, which resulted in a “baby boom.” People who had spent their childhood in the Depression were very focused on developing the kind of success that would protect them from ever having to return to what they had seen as children.

Americans who had grown during the Depression years were understandably determined not to suffer the deprivation they had seen their parents endure. The problem was that as they focused on developing economic affluence and security, they often neglected the deeper side of life, so their children grew up with a sense of aimlessness that made them weary of the material affluence their parents had worked so hard to give them.

Futility. What’s the meaning of it all? This feeling of futility was greatly exacerbated by the Vietnam War, which the Americans just couldn’t seem to win. Those who have lived through the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have no idea—these modern wars are fought with minimal American involvement (roughly 2500 American casualties in Afghanistan and 4500 in Iraq). Almost 60,000 American soldiers died in Vietnam (58220).

Seeing so many people die for a war that the Americans just couldn’t seem to win, created a deep, nationwide despair. In addition to this, the mainstream media billed the war as unwinnable. In February of 1968, the Tet Offensive caught the South and the Americans off guard, and made for depressing news stories. But what many Americans to this day do not know is that the Tet offensive was a disaster for the North. The attacker always has the initial advantage. So what? The fierce response by the South, aided by the Americans devastated the North. But the mainstream media, led by Walter Cronkite, sold it as a defeat to the American public.

I remember the Tet Offensive, but I did not know at the time how badly it had been misrepresented by the media. I first became aware of this problem when I read Nguyen Cao Ky’s book. It’s been years, now, since I read it, but he expresses his astonishment at the Americans for regarding such an extraordinary victory as a defeat. And he wasn’t the only one. Here’s a comment from a Vietnam vet on an article praising Cronkite’s response to the Tet offensive. The article is favorable to Cronkite, but the comments in the comment section below the article are ruthless in their repudiation of his nefarious influence on the American public, and were written by people who knew a lot more about the subject than the guy who wrote the article:

I was there with a rifle in my hand, BUNKY. . We totally destroyed the VC and they never again were a viable force. , We had the NVA in full retreat across the Cambodian boarder and the DMZ. –Mathew Molk
There were lots of problems with Vietnam, so it is not my intent, here, to blame the whole national disillusionment on one journalist. Still, with the media presenting a false story of what was really going on, it was all but impossible for the nation to be unified. And after Nixon resigned, it was all over. The North Vietnamese were afraid of Nixon. But after he left, they started violating agreements they had made when he was still president, and took the weak, half-hearted response from the Americans as encouragement to keep going, with the result that the Americans escaped literally from the roof of the embassy.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. That was three years later, in 1975. This was 1972, four years after Cronkite’s commentary, and three years before it all came to an end.

So the first factor was futility, with the inability or unwillingness to get out of the quagmire a big cause of that futility.

The second factor, I think, was a sense of ambivalence. Ambivalence about life, and ambivalence about God. In the words of Desiderata, a poem that was popular when I was a senior in high school, “Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.” Whatever you conceive Him to be?? What arrogance! Do you allow people to believe in you whatever they conceive you to be? So this generation with a sense of ambivalence about who they were, and what their powerless country was, and with nothing more to rely on than a DIY God, had a strong inclination to give it up. To throw everything to the wind, and just experience existence for whatever it was worth.

You see, a God you have to create the definition for is really no God at all, and that was the real point. For many, many young people, there really was no God, and this life is really all there is. There’s nothing else.

It’s hard to describe my relationship with this ambivalence and futility. I did not believe it, especially the idea about God being basically created by man instead of the other way around. But I felt it very deeply. I just didn’t know the cause of it. How could a generation like the generation of my parents, which was so focused and ambitious, beget a generation so unfocused and ambivalent? But the question is flawed. “Desiderata” was written the year my mother was born. The self-made God idea came from them. “Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.” In other words, you are the only God you can rely on.

I took a sheet of notebook paper, and drew a line down the middle. Then I drew a horizontal line across from one side to the other. Then I drew a diagonal line, and another and another until I had a asterisk covering my page with the spokes of the wheel coming out from the center. I started writing on the lines, one word on each line. Believe it or not, I didn’t even think to count the words until the other day when I was reminiscing about this. When I was finished, I had written exactly twenty words.

I wrote those words down the side of a piece of paper and submitted it to the literary magazine at South Salem High School. Believe it or not, they published my “poem.” In retrospect, that may not have been such a good idea, because it had my name on it, and someone who did not know me could be justified in concluding that I was expressing my own philosophy. That’s because they didn’t see the original. You see, I had not written it as a poem, I had written it on the spokes of a wheel as a vortex that was sucking in an entire generation. But can one express the futility and ambivalence of the sixties in only twenty words? You decide. Here are the twenty words:

  1. life
  2. is
  3. a
  4. mad
  5. ball
  6. of
  7. fire
  8. circling
  9. the
  10. globe
  11. and
  12. falling
  13. into
  14. the
  15. sun
  16. to
  17. say
  18. hello
  19. to
  20. oblivion
I did not want to be swallowed up by that vortex, and I saw the Jesus revolution as an antidote to the emptiness of that futility and ambivalence. Many things can be uncertain and indefinite and life still goes on. There is still hope. But there is no hope if God is not definite. We do not define God. God defines us.

So I wanted to leave and never come back, and that brings me back to what I said at the beginning of the podcast. I said that God said yes and God said no. How do I explain that? The best analogy I can think of is Jesus in the temple as a little boy. You see, his parents were very frustrated with Jesus, and their frustration was understandable, but he hadn’t done anything wrong. His behavior was not rebellious. You could say it was childish, but he was a child, after all. It’s not wrong for children to be childish. The whole reason kids need parents is so their parents can cover for their childishness so that they don’t get hurt by it. Mary and Joseph failed to do that. But God had mercy on them, too. He understood that they had quite a child on their hands.

We certainly should discipline children when they rebel against authority. But we should be very careful not to discipline children for being children. But to my point  God favored the desire of Jesus to be about his father’s business. But he also made Jesus go back to Nazareth and grow up to be the son of a carpenter.

So in like manner, God perceived my desire and helped me make that summer more than just a field trip. But God also made me come back. God knew that the work he had for me to do required more education that I had at that time.

From where I sit, fifty years later, I can see now, how sometimes the mundane routines of life are just as important in shaping you into the tool God needs, as the excitement of an Explo 72 experience. Jesus had to wait eighteen years to begin the ministry he had intended to be about when he was twelve years old. The wait was useful. And I can say that the years I spent at the teachers college in Oregon, as well as the University of Regina in Saskatchewan were very useful in shaping me into what God needs me to be at this time my life, not to mention the years I spent at the chalkface, and even the years I spent on the road as a truck driver.

On the last day of Explo 72, there was a rock concert in a wide open space in Dallas. It was actually a piece of land that had been cleared for the construction of a freeway, but the freeway had not been built yet. I would venture to say that the thousands of people who rush back and forth over that freeway today are ignorant of the Godfest that lived in that space for one brief moment in time.

I don’t remember what Billy Graham said. It’s just been so long ago. But I do remember Larry Norman. He was talking and singing at the same time. I don’t remember the names of the songs, but one little snippet of his remarks has stayed with me over the past five decades:

…Don’t trip out, it’s not the biggest thing you’re ever gonna to be part of. Not the biggest thing you’re gonna do.
Jesus gave much the same message to his disciples: “Greater things than these shall ye do…”

When the huddle is over, it’s time to play ball. And the game is more important than the huddle, even though the huddle makes the game more efficient and effective.

So that’s my Explo 72 story. And if any of you have an Explo 72 story, I would like to hear it.

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Sunday, July 31, 2022

Book Reviews 

For several years in the noughties, I wrote reviews for Amazon. It just seemed simpler to publish them on that site. Recently I have started putting new reviews here on my blog. It's just simpler. But the old reviews from Amazon will also be listed here.

Amazon Book Reviews
This is a collection of book reviews I published on the Amazon website years ago. Most of them are still there and available to read.

Buddha's Child: My Fight to Save Vietnam
This book is essential to understanding the endgame in Vietnam. Mind you, this is one person's story told from his perspective. So it should be balanced by other reading. Still, it is immensely useful in building an understanding of the war and how and why it failed.

Gone With the Wind
Margaret Mitchell's classic Civil War novel set before, during, and just following the American Civil war, and written in the South during the Jim Crow period of the first half of the twentieth century.

Mao's Last Dancer
Fascinating portrayal of a boy from the countryside of China who was chosen to become a professional dancer. His descriptions of country life, especially in terms of relationship, are very real and quite compelling.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

INTERVIEW: John the Anthropologist 

Dictionary.com defines anthropology as “the science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind.”

My friend John is a life-long student of the subject and has traveled and studied extensively. In our wide-ranging conversation, we talked about his travels and observations, the people he met, and his personal philosophy.

I was particularly interested in what he had to say about Afghanistan, becaue I have had an interest in that country for some time, particularly during a sabbatical I took in 2010-2011. He talked about his acquaintance with Ashraf Ghani as a young man.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashraf_Ghani I mentioned the contrast between Ashraf Ghani, who escaped from Afghanistan just before the Taliban took over, and Zelenskyy, who refused to leave Ukraine after the Russians invaded. In fairness ot Ashraf Ghani, it must be admitted that it isn’t really a fair comparison. Ashraf Ghani had no chance to lead his country in a resistance against the Taliban that had any chance of success. I have to say that if I were the president of Afghanistan and Biden was president of the United States, I probably would have left too.

Another very interesting thing about Afgnanistan is the folk lore / theory that the Pashtun people of Afghanistan are the ten lost tribes of Israel. The 12th chapter of the Book of 1st Kings tells how Israel was split apart between the northern and southern kingdoms after the death of Solomon. Eventually, the ten tribes of the northern kingdom were swallowed up by the Assyrians, whereupon they disappeared from history.

Down through the ensuing centuries there has been much debate about what happened to them. One of the most interesting is the idea that the Pashtun people are in fact the descendants of the northern kingdom, which, as I mentioned, disappeared from history after they taken away by the Assyrians.

I also mentioned Elliot Aandahl, one of the two people I have read who wrote personal accounts of driving the old Burma road. I have read both of Elliot Aandahl’s books, but for the life of me I cannot recall which of them contains his story about driving the Burma Road with a truckload of Bibles. I misstated the sequence of events a bit. I was talking about the Burma Road as an alternative to flying over the Hump, because that method of transporting goods for the support of China’s war effort ws so dangerous. That’s true, but in fact, the Burma Road existed before the Hump. Flying over the Hump began to take the place of the Burma road after Burma was overrun by the Japanese who closed down the Burma Road. Later, the Burma Road was reopened after the allies were able to recover territory from the Japanese. This is because the Hump was so dangerous. If I have the time sequence right, Elliot Aandahl’s trip took place after the Burma Road had been reopened.

I asked John about his personal beliefs, which is something I often do with people who don’t mind such questions, which is something you have to be sensitive to. I have asked this question many times in China. In China, people don’t generally volunteer information about such things, but they are never offended when you ask, and respond without hesitation, usually by saying something like “We Chinese have no belief.”

In America, sometimes people are offended by such questions. But John is pretty open and friendly. This conversation was largely biographical, so we did not have as much time as I liked to talk about philosopmy—I hope we have further upportunity to discuss ideas in a future podcast episode.

I should add a note about the guy who got in trouble because of his failure to report to the police. He had an additional issue, because he had some kind of legal problem in the States, so that no doubt influenced the way he was treated. But what eventually happened to him fits what I heard years ago in Beijing when I was helping another illegal alien. Basically, they hold you until they have a plane load of people going to your country, then they put you on that plane and deport you. But I should emphasize that there is no reason for a foreigner to get into this situation. Even during COVID, when leaving China has been problematic, I have merely gone to the Entry Exit office and gotten an extension (for 940 RMB). If they are not going to give you one, they will tell you, and then you can leave by the time they have given you. If you stay at an international youth hostel, your police registration is built into your reservation at the hostel so you don’t need to go to the police. Also, if you are a teacher living on a university campus and you have a legitimate foreign expert certificate, you will have a foreign affairs officer who interfaces with the police for you. General rule of thumb for foreigners who want to try living in China: Stay at an international youth hostel, or get a teaching job.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Sekai Report is a news and analysis program presented by Beijing Diary and nosted by Eric.

Newscasting has changed so much since I was a kid. But even since the 90s, there has been a major shift. When I moved to Beijing from Arizona in 2004, there was no Twitter, which was probably a good thing, because I ended up spending a lot of time reading Chinese media—mainly the China Daily, and also watching the news on CCTV. I used to ask media types what they taught in journalism school, because I noticed that government media outlets tended to mix editorializing with reporting. Never could I have imagined that the American media would become as bad or worse in their complete abandonment of even a pretense of objectivity.

I think I know when it started. It was Rush Limbaugh. He was able to get on the radio for three hours a day and express his opinion about anything and everything. The opposite end of the political spectrum had nothing to counteract his friendly, humorous, hugely popular presentation.

I heard Rush Limbaugh a lot, because I was a truck driver in those days. When you’ve got a load from Chicago to L.A. with nothing but miles and miles of road in front of you and nothing to do but listen to the radio, or to books on tape, a show like his is pretty welcome.

Fox News started just as I was leaving the road at the end of 1996. News as entertainment, with an emphasis on ratings. It one sense it was a refreshing relief from and balance to the well institutionalized lack of objectivity in the traditional media. But it sparked a backlash that was not good, because it just seemed like everybody threw news to the wind and focused on stroking the prejudices of their respective audiences.

When I talk about issues, I am not a disinterested party. I try to be fair, but not neutral. Why not? Well, because an issue is, by definition, a conflict of values. If everybody had exactly the same values, there would be no issues.

But we don’t. We have differences. Pretending those differences don’t exist is not the answer. We need to face them squarely and try to understand how they came about—how I came to believe this and you came to believe that. I have values—I can’t pretend to believe that I do not. And I try to be patient with those who have different values, and I try to understand how they could feel that way.

But there is one thing of which we must be ruthlessly intolerant: That is deliberate attempts to perpetrate falsehood. I can try to understand a journalist who says something I do not believe. But I have nothing but contempt for a member of the media who says something that he or she clearly does not believe to be true, just to push an agenda.

But unless you are persuaded that the person with whom you are arguing is not sincere, you must try to see things from where they are standing. You must stop talking, walk around to where your counterparts are, and try to see things from their point of view, because you’re never going to see what they see from where you are standing.

IssueDateTitleDescription
08
5 October 202208 Sekai Report: Why Queen Elizabeth MattersMy life intersected with the British Empire at three specific places. In this podcast I try to explain the significance, not only of the monarchy, but more specifically, of the life of a very noble person who gave herself to serve the people. We should never whitewash the injustices that came with colonialism. But there were good things to, and it does not do justice to history to ignore them.
07
11 June 202207 Sekai Report: Kavenaugh, Ukraine, Sussman >> ”Be sure your sin will find you out.”"Whoever, with the intent of interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer, in the discharge of his duty, pickets or parades in or near a building housing a court of the United States, or in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer, or with such intent uses any sound-truck or similar device or resorts to any other demonstration in or near any such building or residence, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."
06
4 June 202206 Sekai Report: Law of Unintended Consequences / Biden on Taiwan, Media on BidenToday’s podcast starts with a discussion of the Law of Unintended Consequences. There is a pithy statement from the Old Testament that exemplifies this principle:

“For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7)

We also discussed reaction to Biden’s statement about Taiwan (PRC vs. ROC), which I think was a bit sensationalized. Perhaps it wasn’t the best, but it also wasn’t that bad, and I agree with Gingrich that it should not have been walked back. Coincidentally, today is the anniversary of Tiananmen, which is not mentioned at all on the mainland, but used to be commemorated in Hong Kong. I do not talk about that event in this podcast, because I have addressed it elsewhere.

05
28 May 202205 Sekai Report: Guns DO kill people / Twitter back and forth between Beth Moore and Allie Beth StuckeyMore and more we are coming to realize that something must be done about the ease with which young people can access semi-automatic weapons. It is pure insanity to allow 17 and 18 year old young people to carry around a semi-automatic weapon without any supervision. Americans are being forced into the realization that guns DO kill people.
04
20 May 202204 Sekai Report: Bezos on Biden, Inflation, Ukraine, Baby FormulaWhat is the cause of inflation? Why can't the government just print more money if they want to spend more? What can Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 teach us about the consequences of an ill-fated conflict? The way I have heard it expressed in China is, "History has never been kind to an emperor who wages war without an honest justification."
03
13 May 202203 Sekai Report: 2000 Mules, AP’s Fake Fact Check, Victory Day in Russia, Steve Bannon, Mark LevinOur discussion today centered around Victory Day in Russia, where long range nuclear weapons were displayed in Red Square, and the new film "2000 Mules," documenting organized crime in the 2020 election."
02
8 May 202202 Sekai Report:Russia’s territorial expansion, ”Denazification”, Supreme Court leak, 14th AmendmentWhat is the history of Russia's territorial expansion? I talk about this and about Russia's determination to celebrate some sort of victory on Monday--the anniversary of victory over the Nazis. Also, the legal foundation for Roe v. Wade, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dislike of it.
01
06 May 202201 Sekai Report: Mariupol Steelworks, Lack of moral focus, Crybully, and Sinn FéinThe war in Ukraine. In this episode I discuss the lack of moral focus on the part of the Americans. And the problem seems to be more profound in the right than on the left. Also, why does Taylor Lorenz attack someone for telling the simple truth? The Bible says, "to punish the just is not good (Proverbs 17:26)."

Friday, April 29, 2022

Science Night - Shortwave Radio 

I have had a life long obsession with electricity. I don’t know why, but I was always fascinated with electricity and how it worked. I remember when I was very small, Dad would buy a few batteries and bring them home for me to play with. I suppose he picked them up after I got tired of them and put them in a flashlight or something. That was when we were living in Williston. When I was seven, we returned to Japan.

One time Dad took Mary and I with him on one of his trips to Tokyo. We went shopping on the Ginza and I talked Dad into buying me a little toy phone. It had two little telephones with a wire strung between them and ran on D batteries. For some reason, the little two-prong plug on the end of the wire fit into the side of our table top radio. Curious, I plugged it in and burned out a tube on the radio.

Dad was not fond of my fascination with electricity. One time I got a hold of the cord for an old toaster. I got the brainy idea to use this cord to plug my battery powered phone set into the wall outlet so I wouldn’t have to use batteries. I cut and stripped the coating away from the ends of the wire and wound them around the positive and negative metal strips in the battery case. Dad saw what I was doing and freaked out. He ripped the cord out of the phone and told me in no uncertain terms what he thought of my idea.

Another time I took an old portable electric shaver Dad had given me and tried to turn it into a power station. It was a cheap little affair—a battery box that held 3 D cell batteries with a mirror on the front. You could plug the shaver into the battery box when you were a train or something and shave your beard.

I got a big board and mounted the battery box on it, then I took some wire and tried to wire a an assembly that would power a little light that I had—I can’t remember how I had it set up—anyway, it didn’t work. Useless. But at least it was harmless. After all, what kind of danger can you have with three D cell batteries? Nevertheless, Dad warned everybody to stay away from it. I think Dad was probably the most non-technical person I ever met in my life.

But not all my ideas were dangerous. We had a portable stereo with fold out speakers that were hung on hinges that were open at the top so that you could easily slide them off. Then you could pull the cord out that was stored in the speaker box and set the speakers out away from the stereo to increase the effect. I wrapped one end of the wire for my phone around the hinges and strung the wire into my bedroom. That way I could lay in my bed, pick up the receiver to my toy phone, and listen to the stereo in the living room. Dad thought that was pretty clever. So did Mom.

We lived in a duplex in Sakata. There was a wide hallway between the two units. When we came back to Japan in 1961 there were four kids in our family, so it was thought the back part of that wide hallway could be made into a bedroom for John and me. It was actually a clever use of wasted space, but it meant that anytime anyone wanted to use the bathroom, they had to walk through our bedroom. Dad has often recounted one time when he was walking through our bedroom and he saw me lying on my bunk staring into space. He said, “What are you doing, Eric?”

“Thinking.”

“What are you thinking about?”

“Electricity.”

But as the years went by, I began to see that electricity was not enough. There was more to life than electrons flowing through a wire. I became interested in radio, because I listened to the Voice of America, and also the Armed Forces Radio from Tokyo on our shortwave receiver (the one I ruined). When I was in 5th grade, I talked my parents into buying me a portable shortwave radio for Christmas.

I was moving from electricity to electronics. I remember my 9th grade science teacher defined the difference between electricity and electronics. I can’t remember if I asked him this question, or if someone else did. I hope I didn’t bother Mr. Hegland too much with my questions. One time I asked him what would happen if you breathed liquid oxygen.

He said, “I don’t know. Frost your tonsils?”

Anyway, he said electricity was about electrons traveling in a wire, while electronics had to do with the electron under souped up conditions. I knew right then and there which one was for me.

So I became less and less interested in electrons in a wire. I was fascinated with how they behave when you shoot them through a vacuum, such as in a vacuum tube. And especially I was interested in what happens when the frequency of the oscillation is so high that the current in the wire floats off the wire into space. Radio. I had first become interested in radio as a child listening to the portable shortwave radio that I had begged my parents to buy me for Christmas. Many years later, when I was living in North Dakota, I learned Morse code and became a licensed Amateur Radio operator.

So what is “shortwave?” How does a short wave radio work?

As radio developed through the first half of the 20th Century, there was a general classification into three ranges of frequency: Long Wave (LW), Medium Wave (MW), and Short Wave (SW). Long Wave doesn’t really count, because those frequencies are used for non-broadcast stuff, such as non-directional beacons for aircraft guidance, so we won’t be talking about them for our purposes today.

So the longest waves used in broadcast would be the Medium Wave, which are typically used for local AM stations, the Short Wave, used for commercial shortwave stations, and then very, very short wave, which is what FM stations usually use. But we didn’t have FM when I was growing up in Japan. Even in the United States, FM listening did not overtake AM listening until 1978. Now, of course, FM predominates, with AM being mostly the domain of talk radio.

I should add, to avoid confusion, that abbreviations AM and FM refer to the way the signal is modulated, which is a separate issue from the frequency and wavelength issue. So we’ll leave the AM-FM discussion for another time, because I want to talk about the differences in wavelength, not the differences in modulation. Both shortwave and what we used to call “medium wave” stations use amplitude modulation. The only difference is the frequency, and how different wavelengths behave in nature. But it turns out that’s a pretty big difference.

So let’s take some examples just for purposes of illustration.

When I was a truck driver, I listened to a lot of AM radio, because that’s where talk radio tended to reside. Also, one of the characteristics of medium wave signals is that they tend to have better ground wave propagation than FM. You can often follow an AM station for a hundred miles, while an FM station will fade out much sooner.

So let’s take a typical AM (medium wave) station for example and determine the wavelength. The company I worked for was in Fargo, but the hub of our operation was really Chicago. Chicago is the transportation hub of North America. So I will use WLS Chicago as an example. WLS is at 890 on the AM dial. That would be 890 kilohertz, or kilocycles, as we used to say when I was a kid. That means that 890000 crests of a radio wave pass a given point in a given second.

Since the speed of light is constant at 300 million meters per second, there is obviously a direct relationship between frequency and wavelength. So let’s do the math:

300000000 ÷ 890000 = 337.08 meters
So the wavelength from crest to crest of a radio signal coming off the WLS tower would be 337.08 meters. If you use the wavelength calculator it comes to 336.8455. That’s because the wavelength calculator uses a more precise number for the speed of light. Anyway, it doesn’t matter—we’re just trying to get a general idea.

So now lets try an FM station just for kicks. One FM station I really like to listen to online is Heaven 88.7 from Fargo, North Dakota. That would be 88.7 Megahertz. So, again, let’s do the math:

300000000 ÷ 88700000 = 3.38 meters
Now let’s do shortwave. I don’t remember the frequencies for the stations I listened to as a kid, but just as an example, the initial shortwave frequency for HCJB, a famous old missionary radio station in Ecuador was 5.986 Megahertz. The wavelength was 50.26 meters.

So the wavelength from crest to crest of WLS Chicago is over 1000 feet—about 1100, the wavelength for Heaven 88.7 in Fargo is about 11 feet and HCJB’s wavelength was roughly 165 feet.

So what are the differences between those frequencies and the way they operate?

The signal from medium wave (what we now call AM) stations has very good ground wave propagation. That means you can follow an AM station for a long time. A hundred miles would not be unusual. That’s kinda nice if you’re listening to a specific program, because you can listen to the whole show without interruption. But AM stations are very susceptible to electric activity in the atmosphere. Thunderstorms, or even dry thunderstorms with no rain but with a lot of electric activity can wipe out the signal of an AM station.

FM stations are strictly line of sight. That would be a function of the frequency. But FM stations are almost immune to the kind of static that can totally destroy an AM signal. I think that’s really more a function of the way FM is modulated (by frequency rather than by amplitude). I will deal with that some other time. But now I want to talk about the strange and unique feature of shortwave signals.

In 1912, the U.S. Congress imposed the Radio Act of 1912 on amateur radio operators, limiting their operations to frequencies above 1.5 MHz (wavelength 200 meters or smaller). The government thought those frequencies were useless. This led to the discovery of HF radio propagation via the ionosphere in 1923.

So what is the unique feature of those "garbage" wavelengths that was discovered by amateur radio operators? It’s so bizarre that no one could have imagined it. Shortwave radio signals travel in a straight line, of course, so since they do not follow the curvature of the earth, they go straight out into space. But when they hit the ionosphere, that band of highly ionized particles in the far outer atmosphere, they “bounce” back to earth. I put the word “bounce” in quotes, because it isn’t really reflection, it’s refraction. The ionized particles in the ionosphere bend the signal so that it does a hairpin turn and heads straight back to earth.

What does this mean? It means that with a shortwave receiver, you can get very strong signals from stations very far away. When I was a child, I used to listen to the Far East Network (Armed Forces Radio). I grew up I the northern part of Japan, about 350 miles from the transmission tower in Tokyo. A little less than 300 as the crow flies. You would think a signal from that tower would be really faint by the time it got to us. In fact, what we got was a very strong signal being beamed directly our way from outer space after bouncing off the ionosphere. As you can see in the diagram at the top of this post, sometimes a shortwave signal will even bounce back up and do it again. Eventually the signal would become pretty weak, though. But the signal from that first bounce—I mean right after it has been to the ionosphere for the first time—is pretty strong.

I also listened to the Radio Moscow English Language station. I don’t think it was being beamed all the way from Moscow. The studio would have been in Moscow, but the signal was probably relayed and then beamed across the Sea of Japan from Vladivostok, which was about 500 miles from where I grew up.

The other one was Voice of America. When I turned on my radio and heard a guy saying, “This is the Voice of America, coming to you from Omaha, Nebraska,” I don’think the signal was coming from Omaha. Probably relayed across the Pacific and beamed from a VOA tower in Okinawa. That’s just a guess.

Keep in mind that in northern Japan in the sixties, there was no internet. We had television, but it was mostly local programming. Same with radio. So as Americans living in the backwater of Northern Japan, we would have been pretty isolated. But because of shortwave radio, we had good access to information.

The diagram at top of this blog post might be a little misleading, because it looks like the signal is a laser beam that is beamed back to earth at one precise location. In fact, when the signal comes back down to earth from the ionosphere, it is sprayed over a wide area. So there is considerable flexibility. Nevertheless, there is an area which is too far from the transmitter to get a direct signal (because of the curvature of the earth), but not far enough to get the first blast of signals that come back from the ionosphere. This area is called the “skip zone.”

I should add that the area where you get the strongest signal is also influenced by the frequency, and thus, by the length of the wave (since the speed of light is constant). For example, when I was sitting in my radio shack in western North Dakota tapping out Morse code, I found that if I was using the 80 meter band, the strong signal would likely be from western Montana. But if I was using the 15 meter band, I was more likely to get a strong signal from New York or New Jersey.

Fortunately for me, the place where I grew up (Tohoku region of northern Japan) was located far enough from Tokyo to get really good reception from that first bounce off the ionosphere.

It’s ironic, you know. I don't know just who was responsible for the allocation of mission fields for the MacArthur missionaries after World War II, but for some reason, they gave us the backwater. The back side of Japan. Inaka no inaka. But as any Tohoku MK can tell you, it was actually the best side of Japan. You couldn’t find a more peaceful, beautiful place for a kid to grow up. It was just a little isolated. But because of shortwave radio, we were not cut off from the world.

When we moved to the United States from Japan in 1967, I was 13 years old. Junior High. In terms of culture, there was so much about America that I had to get used to. In that sense you could say that I was behind. But in terms of information, I was really ahead. My peers grew up choosing between the rock station and the country station. I grew up choosing between the Voice of America and Radio Moscow. I spent my childhood thinking through issues that most kids my age had no knowledge of nor interest in. We did have other sources of information. The Japan Times was an English language newspaper that was freely available (by mail, I think). I learned about the Cultural Revolution in China from my Weekly Reader in school. And I would sometimes get 16 millimeter films from the Japan-America Culture Center at the public library in Akita. But it was really shortwave radio that opened a window of information for me as a child.

So what is the future of shortwave? Does it even have a future?

It’s hard to say. Certainly it is on the decline because of Internet radio, which I will discuss some other time. But there could be situations where it could become a last resort.

Many years ago, just after I had come to China, I used to hand out ITL (invitation to listen) cards for a Christian radio station (BBN Radio) that had—and still has—a very strong Internet portal.

I must have handed out four or five thousand of those things, mostly in front of Haidian Church in Beijing. Several of the church ladies thanked me profusely. They had never dared to believe that there could be such a thing as Christian radio, and in their own language.

One Sunday morning I was walking away from the church after the service on a Sunday morning. A young lady came running after me. I heard her yelling. I turned around as she said, “You have to come back! It’s very serious.”

I returned to the church with her, and she brought me to a lady who was on the verge of tears. She was desparate. Turns out she had not been able to connect to that Internet radio station, and she couldn’t figure out why. I explained to her that there had been an earthquake off the coast of Taiwan, and an underwater Internet trunk line had been severed.

I told her it might take a month and half to fix it. Later, I was reading an online Yahoo Group for teachers in China, and someone expressed concern about this. Another guy told him not to worry because the Internet is “robust by design.” I thought, “In your dreams, fella.”

The Internet was created by the US military, so the Internet backbone inside the continental United States is powerful. But international it was hanging by a thread. Not sure how it is now, but an international system so dependent on undersea cables could easily be sabatoged. Since every country uses the Internet, it would be tough for them to do it without hurting themselves, so that is a deterrent, I guess. And as satellite connectivity increases, undersea cables may become less and less of an issue. Still, the Internet does have an Achilles heel.

In contrast, if you and I are having a shortwave communication, World War III could be going on in between us and it would not affect our communication. To disrupt shortwave, you’d have to wipe out the ionosphere.

Practically speaking, though, it is on the wane and has become more and more the domain of hobbyists. People living in America don’t need to use shortwave to find that one rare English speaking station several hundred miles away. And, as I said, people in other parts of the world are relying more and more on Internet radio.

I can think there may be some left over confusion about the difference between “modulation” and “frequency.” We will definitely be expanding on this issue in the future. In this blog post we focused on the difference in frequency. When I was a kid in Japan, there was no FM. So we had a MW (medium wave) band and a SW (shortwave) band. It wouldn’t have made sense to say “AM” and “Shortwave,” because shortwave signals are also AM (amplitude modulated). In America there is no shortwave, so the only AM stations are the traditional MW (medium wave) local broadcast stations. So it’s easier to say “AM” and “FM,” than to say “medium wave” and “really, really, really short wave.”

For local transmissions were you are close to the radio transmitter, FM is clearly superior because it is impervious to static, and uses less power than AM. It has very poor ground wave propagation, but that’s not an issue if you’re just staying in one place. This has meant that more and more local stuff is becoming FM, which has stressed AM stations financially. If it wasn’t for Rush Limbaugh, many of those old AM stations would have gone bankrupt, which would be sad, because they are still good for rural areas where people typically drive for longer distances. With AM, they can listen to the same station for a long time, which would not be possible with FM.

Shortwave stations like the ones I listened to as a child are not that useful in the United States, but they do still have usefulness in developing countries because they can cross both physical and political boundaries, and provide access to poor people in remote areas who do not have good local radio.

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