A book club

This book club is ran by my local library and the leader is the librarian at the library. The non fiction caught my eye and quickly I borrowed the book Rising Strong by Brené Brown, so I can participate in the discussion.

I might have heard Brown’s TED talk in the past. An excellent speaker and story teller, however, I feel her theme is just too much of a chicken soup for the soul.

Courage. Vulnerability. Shame. 勇气. 脆弱. 耻辱.

They’re nouns that is in the eyes of the beholder. And interestingly enough, the group leader brought up an example by saying ‘I couldn’t resist eating chocolate during the Valentine’s Day because they’re so good…’

I’m wondering, it was her vulnerability alright, but was it her lacking of self control?

I still went because of the non fiction title of the club, but disappointed at the gathering. I was the first one to arrive and learnt that this meet was the third meet on the same book and one more to follow. She opened the meet by saying how much she loves qigong 气功 which wiki defines is a centuries-old system of coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial-arts training. She then went on to teach the principal of the book, mixing in the energy block … etc.

Wait a second. Didn’t we read the book? Shouldn’t we be discussing it, as to benefit from each other? At one point, she mentioned that she was brought up by being non confrontational. She was often at loss of words and pause. During one of the pauses, I asked the five women if they were taught to obey and not confrontational. The ladies from Iran said yes. The Canadian said, somewhat yes and the only American lady said, hell, no. I thought this was the only good thing I took from the meet.  

Posted in View from Bottom | Leave a comment

In a pink vase

This orchid is from Trader Joe’s, cost $13.

Posted in Horticulture 无病呻吟 | Leave a comment

Anthurium 红掌

Got this cutty, commonly known as laceleaf from Home Depot $10, right before the Valentine’s Day.

Posted in Horticulture 无病呻吟 | Leave a comment

China says …

Exclusive: Senior China diplomat concedes challenge of coronavirus, slams ‘overreaction’
Alessandra Galloni, Ryan Woo
BERLIN (Reuters) – A top Chinese official acknowledged on Friday that the new coronavirus is a deep challenge to the country, but defended Beijing’s management of the epidemic while lashing out at the “overreaction” of other countries.

FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin, Germany, February 13, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

In a wide-ranging interview with Reuters in the German capital, State Councillor Wang Yi, who also serves as China’s foreign minister, urged the United States not to take unnecessary virus-response measures that could hamper trade, travel and tourism.

“The epidemic overall is under control,” he said. “This epidemic is truly sudden. It has brought a challenge to China and the world.”

“We’ve taken such complete prevention and control efforts, efforts that are so comprehensive, that I can’t see any other country that can do this,” Wang said, adding that any leader in another country would find the challenge very difficult.

“But China has been able to do this.”

The virus, coming on the back of a disruptive trade war between the United States and China, has again exposed underlying tensions on multiple fronts between the world’s two biggest economies.

It has also posed one of the toughest challenges for President Xi Jinping since he assumed power in 2013.

During the roughly 90-minute interview, on topics ranging from the coronavirus to Hong Kong, and the Middle East, Wang repeatedly pinned blame on Washington.

Beijing has criticized the United States in particular for taking drastic measures on coronavirus, which have included travel curbs on visitors from China. The United States was the first to announce it was evacuating citizens from Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the virus outbreak.

“Some countries have stepped up measures, including quarantine measures, which are reasonable and understandable, but for some countries they have overreacted, which has triggered unnecessary panic,” he said.

“I’m sure that those countries are reflecting on this as the situation evolves and the epidemic is gradually brought under further control,” he said. “They will gradually release such restrictions. Because at the end of the day, these countries need to interact with China.”

The U.S. State Department and Treasury Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while the White House declined to comment.

Wang rejected the idea that China was not transparent enough in its initial handling of the outbreak. Top Communist Party officials in Wuhan and Hubei province, where the city is located, were sacked this week.

“From the beginning, we took a very open and transparent manner in releasing information to the international community’s cooperation on this effort,” he said, noting that fewer than 1% of global cases have been reported outside of China.

The coronavirus has infected nearly 64,000 people in China and killed more than 1,300.

“We’re not just defending the life, safety and health of Chinese citizens, but also making our contribution for global public health, and that should be recognized,” he said.

Beijing has urged countries to ease travel restrictions and resume flights after numerous airlines stopped flying to China.

“Only under the leadership of President Xi can we control this sudden epidemic, which has spread so quickly. This is not only to defend the health of the Chinese people, but also will prevent the rapid spread of this epidemic in the world,” he said.

“We have taken the most correct, the most rigorous and decisive measures to fight against the epidemic. Many measures went beyond international health regulations and the WHO recommendations,” Wang said.


In the far-ranging interview, Wang said he did not understand why the United States was using its power and trying to get its allies to attack a private company like China’s Huawei [HWT.UL].

On Thursday, U.S. prosecutors accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets and helping Iran track protesters in its latest indictment against the Chinese firm, escalating the U.S. battle with the world’s largest telecoms gear maker.

The United States has been waging a campaign against Huawei, which it has warned could spy on customers for Beijing. Washington placed the company on a trade blacklist last year, citing national security concerns.

“We don’t know why this superpower country is using its state power, and moving its allies to attack Huawei, which is a private company,” Wang said.

“Why can’t a Chinese company succeed based on its own efforts? Why can’t America accept that other countries’ companies can also display their talent in the economy, in technology?” he said.

“Perhaps deep down, it doesn’t hope to see other countries develop. It doesn’t want to see that other countries can become big and strong. It even resorts to rumors to defame other countries’ companies,” he said.

He called U.S. attacks on Huawei “immoral” and said there was no credible evidence that the company has a so-called back door that harms U.S. security.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that U.S. officials believe Huawei can covertly access mobile phone networks around the world through “back doors” designed for use by law enforcement. Huawei denies the accusations.


Wang also said he does not see a need to revisit what was agreed in the Phase 1 trade deal reached with Washington, after questions have arisen as to whether China would be able to fulfill its commitments to make vast purchases of U.S. goods due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“As we implement the Phase 1 trade agreement, we will accumulate experience and then we can consider when we should start Phase 2. I think this is a reasonable approach,” he said.

Still, he decried U.S. curbs on movement of people between the two countries.

“Objectively, this will bring some difficulties to implementing this agreement,” he said.

Wang noted that U.S. President Donald Trump has praised Xi’s leadership in China’s battle to contain the virus, and that his administration has said it stands ready to spend up to $100 million to assist China and other countries affected by coronavirus.

Posted in Celestial Empire, View from Bottom | Leave a comment

Dems demand … take down … Pelosi ripping up …

The full title is: Dems demand Twitter, Facebook take down edited video of Pelosi ripping up State of the Union speech posted by Trump

Just in case the article disappear, I screenshots it too … I do feel that it’s the moment that Dems lost their 2020 election … and Pelosi sealed it … Their calling to take it down, shows that they knew it too.

How about Bloomberg n Yang ticket?

Nancy Pelosi says ripping up Trump’s State of the Union was ‘the courteous thing to do’Video

Reaction and analysis from Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, ‘Fox News Sunday’ anchor Chris Wallace and ‘The Daily Briefing’ anchor Dana Perino.

Democrats are calling on Twitter and Facebook to take down an edited video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., ripping up the State of the Union address — claiming it’s designed to “mislead” people.

“The latest fake video of Speaker Pelosi is deliberately designed to mislead and lie to the American people, and every day that these platforms refuse to take it down is another reminder that they care more about their shareholders’ interests than the public’s interests,” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, said Friday.

On Thursday, Trump posted the video, made by Turning Points USA, which shows the “powerful American stories” that Trump highlighted in his State of the Union address interspersed with the moment immediately afterward when Pelosi tore up the speech.

The video appears to be a continuation of the point made by Republicans that Pelosi, in ripping up the speech, was also ripping up the stories of those Americans that Trump highlighted in the address — including stories of a Tuskegee airman, Americans killed in combat and a military family being reunited.

But Democrats objected to the video because it implies that Pelosi ripped up the papers after each story was told — which she did not.

The video was also posted to Facebook. Hammill was quizzed by Facebook spokesman Andy Stone about what he found objectionable to the video: “Sorry, are you suggesting the President didn’t make those remarks and the Speaker didn’t rip the speech?”

“They’re arguing it’s deceptively edited to misinform and want twitter to censor it,” National Republican Senatorial Committee senior adviser Matt Whitlock tweeted. “But.. she tore the speech that had those stories. Repetition to highlight exactly what she was tearing is not ‘misinformation,’ these Reps are gaslighting.”

The video is the latest controversy in the fallout over the State of the Union. The House on Thursday voted to table a Republican-led resolution to condemn Pelosi.

The vote, which fell along party lines, 224 to 193, effectively killed the measure introduced on Wednesday by Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, amid widespread GOP furor over Pelosi’s actions. The resolution called the speaker’s public shredding of the address “a breach of decorum” and said it brought “discredit on the House.”

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Nancy Pelosi not only broke federal law in regards to destruction of official documents, she pre-tore the pages and said it was all lies.

Well, so everyone honored is a lie?

The only thing missing from this video is a paper tearing sound. Maybe add in Swalwell’s fart heard around the world.


Posted in View from Bottom | Leave a comment

Why are we so insecure?

WSJ published an op by Walter Russell Mead, titled China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia. All hell broke out, within, Chinese groups. Someone is going as far as to rally people to sign a White House petition, asking WSJ to apologize. link

First, it’s just one mans opinion in a free press newspaper. Please don’t be so insecure and overreacting.

Second, Mr. President is very busy. He just shakes off the impeachment and is facing reelection, among many agendas.

Thirdly, why don’t you write a resounding rebuttal?

Fourthly, why do we feel the need of an apology?

U.S. cyclists arrived in Beijing in 2008 with face mask. You asked them to apprize, instead to make the air quality sweeter to breathe. My heart went out to these athletes. You inflicted your insecurity on a group of innocent people.

Sun Yang was banned in 2014 by Chinese Swimming Association and was called a drug cheat by an Aussie, Mack Horton in 2016. And you demanded an apology. The Aussies refusedflatly. As a footnote, two years later, it was alleged that he and his team used hammer to smash vials of blood samples in front to anti-doping testers.

A sportscaster describes a Chinese female swimming to have a great start but finished short, by saying went out like stink, died like a pig. Of course Chinese thought Byron MacDonald called their girl smelly and pig, therefore demanded an apology and received one. Really, like stink means very fast. Really?

I feel, an apology should be offered, to show the sincerity, not demanded. I guess China has one advantage that the most counties do, is they have 1.4 billion people. One percent of them decide to gang up on you, it’s a lot to deal with.

Did you like the kid who always cries when he or she doesn’t get what s/he wants, or running away from the play, “I’m going to tell my mom”? I didn’t. Did you? So please do not do that. And learn a little English. If I could understand a, b, c, so could you. Come on, sick man of … means that country’s economy was or is in a bad shape. Wikipedia says it goes back to 1853 and sick man of Europe first appeared in 1860 on the NYT. And many countries were called ‘sick man’ after. Just google sick man of Europe, there are about ten articles after 2002. So why are we so petulant about being called sick man? … Unless you really think you’re sick. Am I right?

This brings another question, what did we do wrong, to be so insecure? Did you hear IBM’s next CEO, effective in April, is an Indian. Can we please work toward one simple goal, like, to put a Chinese in a fortune 100 soon? Stop being so petty. Getting a seat closer to the chairman is not like being the chairman.




首先,这只是自由新闻报纸上一个人的意见。 请不要这么没有安全感和反应过度。

第二 总统先生很忙。刚刚摆脱弹劾,面临连任竞选。可能帮不到你。





一位体育节目主持人形容中国女子游泳比赛有个不错的开端,但烂尾: went out like stink, died like a pig。 中国人认为称他们的女选手臭又猪,因此要求道歉。道歉是并得到了。但是真的,like stink 意思是非常快 不是说她臭味。


还记得我们小时候和别人玩,总是有小孩没有得到自己想要的东西时哭泣,或者跑去 “我要告诉妈妈”?你老哭 谁还愿意和你玩呀? 因此,请不要这样做。另外学一点英语。如果我能学点a,b,c,那么您也可以。‘病夫’指的是该国的经济状况不佳。维基百科说它可以追溯到1853年。‘欧洲的病夫’第一次出现在1860年的纽约时报(NYT)上。之后,许多国家被称为“病夫”。仅谷歌 ‘欧洲病夫’,2002年以后大约有十篇文章。那么,为什么我们一被叫‘病夫’就这么敏感呢? …除非您真的有病。

这就带来了另一个问题,我们做错了什么,变得如此缺乏信心?您是否听说IBM的下一任首席执行官又是一位印度人 – 反正我的双手是数不过来了。我们能否朝着一个简单的目标努力,例如尽快使中国人领衔一个100强的公司?别这么小家气, 老浪费时间搞些无用功的事。好像在‘东京审判’里 让座位更靠近主席 丢人不?为什么不想着怎么当主席那?

Posted in View from Bottom | Leave a comment

Is Dr. Li a hero?

The ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, one of the eight who mentioned the coronavirus in Wuhan has died from it sometime today February 7 or 6 – it seems if you’re important enough, you can’t even choose when to die, naturally. The uncertainty of the time of his death was due to the prolonged resuscitation: some claimed that his colleagues didn’t want to let him go, and others said it’s from the higher up order to keep him alive, longer. In any case, one of the unintended consequences is (or it was the intention?), someone can righteously accuse BBC (Thur 22:51 – this was posted by a friend who lives in UK), CNN (Thur 10:54am) etc. of spreading rumors because they have reported Li’s death, while China News Weekly 中国新闻周刊 (Fri, 00:09 presume it was Beijing time) reports Li was still being treated in ICU. In any case, all three screenshots were posted on Thursday before noon EST, which was Thursday 4:39 pm in UK and Friday 00:39 in Beijing.

What is happening after his death is equally worth of noticing. People began to post Do you hear the people sing from the musical Les Misérables, based on the 1862 historical novel by Victor Marie Hugo:

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the songs of angry men? …

As usual, every side wants to get their voice heard and many posts were deleted within hours.

I very much empathy with Dr. Li and pray for his unborn child and the five years old son, and his wife and his parents. But please don’t forget, Li only posted his comment in his friend group and warned them not to repeat. Was this a heroic act?

The outpouring by the people toward him, is it their anger for the inaction by the government?

(As more info come to light … was it inaction by the government or the scientists, who after all, published Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China on Jan 29, 2020.)

Posted in Bitter medicine, Celestial Empire, View from Bottom | Leave a comment

Aetna code 82306

This cap code is how the doctor who exams or treats a patient and then bills the patient’s medical insurance. It represents the blood test of vitamin D. Aetna states that it “considers measurements of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D experimental and investigational for routine preventive screening.” Means they don’t cover it in the annual routine check up.

And I was billed for it on my annual physical $88.49.

So I set out to investigate it.

Call 1: late 2019 I made the call to my insurance and was then informed on Jan 3, 2020 that an additional $59.31 was made but I still have a balance of $29.18.

Call 2: Aetna said the balance was due to 82306 Vitamin D, which wasn’t covered.

Call 3: called laboratory billing department, the doctor office’s billing department and the doctor. Everyone tells to call someone else. And the good doctor didn’t return my two calls.

Call 3: Feb 6, the Aetna rep Ty called the lab who performed the test (call the doctor), and the doctor’s office (pls call back …).

Guess my time is toooo cheap.

Posted in Bitter medicine | Leave a comment

Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia

link to nejm on Jan 29, 2020

The virus from Wuhan has pushed New England Journal of Medicine to a new high. Because, it seemed, that the authors of the document (below) were more keen on publish their findings than to prevent a virus outbreak. In Wuhan China, doctors have detected the unknown virus, as early as December 2019 But the government (central and/or local …) knew the severity of the virus long before they made it public and tried to cover it up. Precious time had lost …

List of authors: Qun Li, M.Med., Xuhua Guan, Ph.D., Peng Wu, Ph.D., Xiaoye Wang, M.P.H., Lei Zhou, M.Med., Yeqing Tong, Ph.D., Ruiqi Ren, M.Med., Kathy S.M. Leung, Ph.D., Eric H.Y. Lau, Ph.D., Jessica Y. Wong, Ph.D., Xuesen Xing, Ph.D., Nijuan Xiang, M.Med., et al.

19 References. 4 Citing Articles

The initial cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)–infected pneumonia (NCIP) occurred in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019 and January 2020. We analyzed data on the first 425 confirmed cases in Wuhan to determine the epidemiologic characteristics of NCIP.

We collected information on demographic characteristics, exposure history, and illness timelines of laboratory-confirmed cases of NCIP that had been reported by January 22, 2020. We described characteristics of the cases and estimated the key epidemiologic time-delay distributions. In the early period of exponential growth, we estimated the epidemic doubling time and the basic reproductive number.

Among the first 425 patients with confirmed NCIP, the median age was 59 years and 56% were male. The majority of cases (55%) with onset before January 1, 2020, were linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, as compared with 8.6% of the subsequent cases. The mean incubation period was 5.2 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.1 to 7.0), with the 95th percentile of the distribution at 12.5 days. In its early stages, the epidemic doubled in size every 7.4 days. With a mean serial interval of 7.5 days (95% CI, 5.3 to 19), the basic reproductive number was estimated to be 2.2 (95% CI, 1.4 to 3.9).

On the basis of this information, there is evidence that human-to-human transmission has occurred among close contacts since the middle of December 2019. Considerable efforts to reduce transmission will be required to control outbreaks if similar dynamics apply elsewhere. Measures to prevent or reduce transmission should be implemented in populations at risk. (Funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China and others.)

Since December 2019, an increasing number of cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)–infected pneumonia (NCIP) have been identified in Wuhan, a large city of 11 million people in central China.1-3 On December 29, 2019, the first 4 cases reported, all linked to the Huanan (Southern China) Seafood Wholesale Market, were identified by local hospitals using a surveillance mechanism for “pneumonia of unknown etiology” that was established in the wake of the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak with the aim of allowing timely identification of novel pathogens such as 2019-nCoV.4 In recent days, infections have been identified in other Chinese cities and in more than a dozen countries around the world.5 Here, we provide an analysis of data on the first 425 laboratory-confirmed cases in Wuhan to describe the epidemiologic characteristics and transmission dynamics of NCIP.

The earliest cases were identified through the “pneumonia of unknown etiology” surveillance mechanism.4 Pneumonia of unknown etiology is defined as an illness without a causative pathogen identified that fulfills the following criteria: fever (≥38°C), radiographic evidence of pneumonia, low or normal white-cell count or low lymphocyte count, and no symptomatic improvement after antimicrobial treatment for 3 to 5 days following standard clinical guidelines. In response to the identification of pneumonia cases and in an effort to increase the sensitivity for early detection, we developed a tailored surveillance protocol to identify potential cases on January 3, 2020, using the case definitions described below.1 Once a suspected case was identified, the joint field epidemiology team comprising members from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) together with provincial, local municipal CDCs and prefecture CDCs would be informed to initiate detailed field investigations and collect respiratory specimens for centralized testing at the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, China CDC, in Beijing. A joint team comprising staff from China CDC and local CDCs conducted detailed field investigations for all suspected and confirmed 2019-nCoV cases.

Data were collected onto standardized forms through interviews of infected persons, relatives, close contacts, and health care workers. We collected information on the dates of illness onset, visits to clinical facilities, hospitalization, and clinical outcomes. Epidemiologic data were collected through interviews and field reports. Investigators interviewed each patient with infection and their relatives, where necessary, to determine exposure histories during the 2 weeks before the illness onset, including the dates, times, frequency, and patterns of exposures to any wild animals, especially those purportedly available in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, or exposures to any relevant environments such as that specific market or other wet markets. Information about contact with others with similar symptoms was also included. All epidemiologic information collected during field investigations, including exposure history, timelines of events, and close contact identification, was cross-checked with information from multiple sources. Households and places known to have been visited by the patients in the 2 weeks before the onset of illness were also investigated to assess for possible animal and environmental exposures. Data were entered into a central database, in duplicate, and were verified with EpiData software (EpiData Association).

The initial working case definitions for suspected NCIP were based on the SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) case definitions, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2003 and 2012.6-8 A suspected NCIP case was defined as a pneumonia that either fulfilled all the following four criteria — fever, with or without recorded temperature; radiographic evidence of pneumonia; low or normal white-cell count or low lymphocyte count; and no reduction in symptoms after antimicrobial treatment for 3 days, following standard clinical guidelines — or fulfilled the abovementioned first three criteria and had an epidemiologic link to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market or contact with other patients with similar symptoms. The epidemiologic criteria to define a suspected case were updated on January 18, 2020, once new information on identified cases became available. The criteria were the following: a travel history to Wuhan or direct contact with patients from Wuhan who had fever or respiratory symptoms, within 14 days before illness onset.9 A confirmed case was defined as a case with respiratory specimens that tested positive for the 2019-nCoV by at least one of the following three methods: isolation of 2019-nCoV or at least two positive results by real-time reverse-transcription–polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) assay for 2019-nCoV or a genetic sequence that matches 2019-nCoV.

The 2019-nCoV laboratory test assays were based on the previous WHO recommendation.10 Upper and lower respiratory tract specimens were obtained from patients. RNA was extracted and tested by real-time RT-PCR with 2019-nCoV–specific primers and probes. Tests were carried out in biosafety level 2 facilities at the Hubei (provincial) CDC and then at the National Institute for Viral Disease Control at China CDC. If two targets (open reading frame 1a or 1b, nucleocapsid protein) tested positive by specific real-time RT-PCR, the case would be considered to be laboratory-confirmed. A cycle threshold value (Ct-value) less than 37 was defined as a positive test, and a Ct-value of 40 or more was defined as a negative test. A medium load, defined as a Ct-value of 37 to less than 40, required confirmation by retesting. If the repeated Ct-value was less than 40 and an obvious peak was observed, or if the repeated Ct-value was less than 37, the retest was deemed positive. The genome was identified in samples of bronchoalveolar-lavage fluid from the patient by one of three methods: Sanger sequencing, Illumina sequencing, or nanopore sequencing. Respiratory specimens were inoculated in cells for viral isolation in enhanced biosafety laboratory 3 facilities at the China CDC.3

The epidemic curve was constructed by date of illness onset, and key dates relating to epidemic identification and control measures were overlaid to aid interpretation. Case characteristics were described, including demographic characteristics, exposures, and health care worker status. The incubation period distribution (i.e., the time delay from infection to illness onset) was estimated by fitting a log-normal distribution to data on exposure histories and onset dates in a subset of cases with detailed information available. Onset-to-first-medical-visit and onset-to-admission distributions were estimated by fitting a Weibull distribution on the dates of illness onset, first medical visit, and hospital admission in a subset of cases with detailed information available. We fitted a gamma distribution to data from cluster investigations to estimate the serial interval distribution, defined as the delay between illness onset dates in successive cases in chains of transmission.

We estimated the epidemic growth rate by analyzing data on the cases with illness onset between December 10 and January 4, because we expected the proportion of infections identified would increase soon after the formal announcement of the outbreak in Wuhan on December 31. We fitted a transmission model (formulated with the use of renewal equations) with zoonotic infections to onset dates that were not linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, and we used this model to derive the epidemic growth rate, the epidemic doubling time, and the basic reproductive number (R0), which is defined as the expected number of additional cases that one case will generate, on average, over the course of its infectious period in an otherwise uninfected population. We used an informative prior distribution for the serial interval based on the serial interval of SARS with a mean of 8.4 and a standard deviation of 3.8.11

Analyses of the incubation period, serial interval, growth rate, and R0 were performed with the use of MATLAB software (MathWorks). Other analyses were performed with the use of SAS software (SAS Institute) and R software (R Foundation for Statistical Computing).

Data collection and analysis of cases and close contacts were determined by the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China to be part of a continuing public health outbreak investigation and were thus considered exempt from institutional review board approval.

Figure 1.

Onset of Illness among the First 425 Confirmed Cases of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)–Infected Pneumonia (NCIP) in Wuhan, China.
The development of the epidemic follows an exponential growth in cases, and a decline in the most recent days is likely to be due to under-ascertainment of cases with recent onset and delayed identification and reporting rather than a true turning point in incidence (Figure 1). Specifically, the latter part of the curve does not indicate a decrease in the number of incident cases but is due to delayed case ascertainment at the cutoff date. Care should be taken in interpreting the speed of growth in cases in January, given an increase in the availability and use of testing kits as time has progressed. The majority of the earliest cases included reported exposure to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, but there was an exponential increase in the number of nonlinked cases beginning in late December.

Table 1.

Characteristics of Patients with Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan as of January 22, 2020.
The median age of the patients was 59 years (range, 15 to 89), and 240 of the 425 patients (56%) were male. There were no cases in children below 15 years of age. We examined characteristics of cases in three time periods: the first period was for patients with illness onset before January 1, which was the date the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was closed; the second period was for those with onset between January 1 and January 11, which was the date when RT-PCR reagents were provided to Wuhan; and the third period was those with illness onset on or after January 12 (Table 1). The patients with earlier onset were slightly younger, more likely to be male, and much more likely to report exposure to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. The proportion of cases in health care workers gradually increased across the three periods (Table 1).

Figure 2.

Key Time-to-Event Distributions.
Figure 3.

Detailed Information on Exposures and Dates of Illness Onset in Five Clusters Including 16 Cases.
We examined data on exposures among 10 confirmed cases, and we estimated the mean incubation period to be 5.2 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.1 to 7.0); the 95th percentile of the distribution was 12.5 days (95% CI, 9.2 to 18) (Figure 2A). We obtained information on 5 clusters of cases, shown in Figure 3. On the basis of the dates of illness onset of 6 pairs of cases in these clusters, we estimated that the serial interval distribution had a mean (±SD) of 7.5±3.4 days (95% CI, 5.3 to 19) (Figure 2B).

In the epidemic curve up to January 4, 2020, the epidemic growth rate was 0.10 per day (95% CI, 0.050 to 0.16) and the doubling time was 7.4 days (95% CI, 4.2 to 14). Using the serial interval distribution above, we estimated that R0 was 2.2 (95% CI, 1.4 to 3.9).

The duration from illness onset to first medical visit for 45 patients with illness onset before January 1 was estimated to have a mean of 5.8 days (95% CI, 4.3 to 7.5), which was similar to that for 207 patients with illness onset between January 1 and January 11, with a mean of 4.6 days (95% CI, 4.1 to 5.1) (Figure 2C). The mean duration from onset to hospital admission was estimated to be 12.5 days (95% CI, 10.3 to 14.8) among 44 cases with illness onset before January 1, which was longer than that among 189 patients with illness onset between January 1 and 11 (mean, 9.1 days; 95% CI, 8.6 to 9.7) (Figure 2D). We did not plot these distributions for patients with onset on or after January 12, because those with recent onset and longer durations to presentation would not yet have been detected.

Here we provide an initial assessment of the transmission dynamics and epidemiologic characteristics of NCIP. Although the majority of the earliest cases were linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market and the patients could have been infected through zoonotic or environmental exposures, it is now clear that human-to-human transmission has been occurring and that the epidemic has been gradually growing in recent weeks. Our findings provide important parameters for further analyses, including evaluations of the impact of control measures and predictions of the future spread of infection.

We estimated an R0 of approximately 2.2, meaning that on average each patient has been spreading infection to 2.2 other people. In general, an epidemic will increase as long as R0 is greater than 1, and control measures aim to reduce the reproductive number to less than 1. The R0 of SARS was estimated to be around 3,12 and SARS outbreaks were successfully controlled by isolation of patients and careful infection control.13 In the case of NCIP, challenges to control include the apparent presence of many mild infections14 and limited resources for isolation of cases and quarantine of their close contacts. Our estimate of R0 was limited to the period up to January 4 because increases in awareness of the outbreak and greater availability and use of tests in more recent weeks will have increased the proportions of infections ascertained. It is possible that subsequent control measures in Wuhan, and more recently elsewhere in the country as well as overseas, have reduced transmissibility, but the detection of an increasing number of cases in other domestic locations and around the world suggest that the epidemic has continued to increase in size. Although the population quarantine of Wuhan and neighboring cities since January 23 should reduce the exportation of cases to the rest of the country and overseas, it is now a priority to determine whether local transmission at a similar intensity is occurring in other locations.

It is notable that few of the early cases occurred in children, and almost half the 425 cases were in adults 60 years of age or older, although our case definition specified severe enough illness to require medical attention, which may vary according to the presence of coexisting conditions. Furthermore, children might be less likely to become infected or, if infected, may show milder symptoms, and either of these situations would account for underrepresentation in the confirmed case count. Serosurveys after the first wave of the epidemic would clarify this question. Although infections in health care workers have been detected, the proportion has not been as high as during the SARS and MERS outbreaks.15 One of the features of SARS and MERS outbreaks is heterogeneity in transmissibility, and in particular the occurrence of super-spreading events, particularly in hospitals.16 Super-spreading events have not yet been identified for NCIP, but they could become a feature as the epidemic progresses.

Although delays between the onset of illness and seeking medical attention were generally short, with 27% of patients seeking attention within 2 days after onset, delays to hospitalization were much longer, with 89% of patients not being hospitalized until at least day 5 of illness (Figure 2). This indicates the difficulty in identifying and isolating cases at an earlier stage of disease. It may be necessary to commit considerable resources to testing in outpatient clinics and emergency departments for proactive case finding, both as part of the containment strategy in locations without local spread yet as well as to permit earlier clinical management of cases. Such an approach would also provide important information on the subclinical infections for a better assessment of severity.

Our preliminary estimate of the incubation period distribution provides important evidence to support a 14-day medical observation period or quarantine for exposed persons. Our estimate was based on information from 10 cases and is somewhat imprecise; it would be important for further studies to provide more information on this distribution. When more data become available on epidemiologic characteristics of NCIP, a detailed comparison with the corresponding characteristics of SARS and MERS, as well as the four coronaviruses endemic in humans, would be informative.

Our study suffers from the usual limitations of initial investigations of infections with an emerging novel pathogen, particularly during the earliest phase, when little is known about any aspect of the outbreak and there is a lack of diagnostic reagents. To increase the sensitivity for early detection and diagnosis, epidemiology history was considered in the case identification and has been continually modified once more information has become available. Confirmed cases could more easily be identified after the PCR diagnostic reagents were made available to Wuhan on January 11, which helped us shorten the time for case confirmation. Furthermore, the initial focus of case detection was on patients with pneumonia, but we now understand that some patients can present with gastrointestinal symptoms, and an asymptomatic infection in a child has also been reported.17 Early infections with atypical presentations may have been missed, and it is likely that infections of mild clinical severity have been under-ascertained among the confirmed cases.18 We did not have detailed information on disease severity for inclusion in this analysis.

In conclusion, we found that cases of NCIP have been doubling in size approximately every 7.4 days in Wuhan at this stage. Human-to-human transmission among close contacts has occurred since the middle of December and spread out gradually within a month after that. Urgent next steps include identifying the most effective control measures to reduce transmission in the community. The working case definitions may need to be refined as more is learned about the epidemiologic characteristics and outbreak dynamics. The characteristics of cases should continue to be monitored to identify any changes in epidemiology — for example, increases in infections among persons in younger age groups or health care workers. Future studies could include forecasts of the epidemic dynamics and special studies of person-to-person transmission in households or other locations, and serosurveys to determine the incidence of the subclinical infections would be valuable.14 These initial inferences have been made on a “line list” that includes detailed individual information on each confirmed case, but there may soon be too many cases to sustain this approach to surveillance, and other approaches may be required.19

Supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the National Science and Technology Major Projects of China (2018ZX10201-002-008-002, 2018ZX10101002-003), the China–U.S. Collaborative Program on Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Disease, and National Mega-Projects for Infectious Disease (2018ZX10201002-008-002), the National Natural Science Foundation (71934002), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance [CEIRS] contract number HHSN272201400006C), and the Health and Medical Research Fund (Hong Kong). None of the funders had any role in the study design and the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data or in the writing of the article and the decision to submit it for publication. The researchers confirm their independence from funders and sponsors.

Drs. Q. Li, X. Guan, P. Wu, and X. Wang and Drs. B. Cowling, B. Yang, M. Leung, and Z. Feng contributed equally to this article.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent the official policy of the China CDC. All the authors have declared no relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced this work.

This article was published on January 29, 2020, and last updated on January 31, 2020, at NEJM.org.

We thank Wuhan CDC, Huanggang CDC, and other prefecture CDCs and medical institutions in Wuhan for assistance with field investigation administration and data collection and the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, China CDC, for assistance with laboratory testing.

Author Affiliations
From the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing (Q.L., X.W., L.Z., R.R., N.X., C.L., D.L., J.Z., W.T., L.J., Q.W., R.W., Y.Z., G. Shi, G.F.G., Z.F.), the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Wuhan, Hubei (X.G., Y.T., X.X., Y.W., Q.C., M.L., C.C., R.Y., S.Z., Y. Luo, B.Y.), the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, School of Public Health, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (P.W., K.S.M.L., E.H.Y.L., J.Y.W., T.T.Y.L., J.T.W., B.J.C., G.M.L.), the Chinese Field Epidemiology Training Program, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing (T.L., R.Y., S.Z., H. Liu, Y. Liu, G. Shao, H. Li, Z.T.), the Jingzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Jingzhou, Hubei (T.L.), the Chengdu Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Chengdu, Sichuan (H. Liu); the Hunan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Changsha, Hunan (Y. Liu), the Anyang Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Anyang, Henan (G. Shao), the Panjin Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Panjin, Liaoning (H. Li), the Guizhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Guiyang, Guizhou (Z.T.), the Jiading District Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanghai (Y.Y.), the Nanchang Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Nanchang, Jiangxi (Z.D.), the Inner Mongolia Comprehensive Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia (B.L.), and the Baoshan District Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanghai (Z.M.) — all in China.

Address reprint requests to Dr. Feng at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, No. 155 Changbai Rd., Changping District, Beijing, China, or at [email protected]; to Dr. G.M. Leung or Dr. Cowling at the School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, 21 Sassoon Rd., Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China, or at [email protected] or [email protected], respectively; or to Dr. B. Yang at the Hubei Center for Disease Control and Prevention, No. 35 Zhuodaoquan North Rd., Hongshan District, Wuhan, Hubei, China, or at [email protected]

Posted in Celestial Empire, Current Affairs, View from Bottom | Leave a comment

Margaret Chung 张玛珠

The spellings of 张: Zhang, Chang, Cheung and now Chung:

Lady Chung (1889-1959) was someone special, very special. Her life story is worthy of several books:

  • she was the oldest of eleven children
  • she began to support her family and raise her sibling since ten
  • she won many speech awards – OMG
  • she was the first known female Chinese to attend a medical school
  • … and obviously the first female Chinese medical doctor in US, in 1916
  • … being the only woman in her class, she called herself ‘Mike’
  • … how a female, gay, Chinese physician find a job in US …
  • Madame Jiang 宋美齡 got the most credit for the Flying Tiger but it was Dr. Chung who secretly recruited the pilots who jokingly called themselves the “Mom Chung’s Fair-Haired Bastard Sons”
  • oh, among her sons, were Ronald Reagan …
  • she was an army surgeon
  • … and her sons bought her a house after WWII
  • Chester W. Nimitz was one of her sons and pallbearers

RIP Margaret and thank you so much!

张玛珠(1889-1959)是一位非常特别的人。 她的人生故事值得几本书:

  1. 她出生于加州 是11个孩子中最大的
  2. 从十岁开始,她开始养家糊口,抚养弟妹。
  3. 她赢得了许多演讲奖-OMG
  4. 她是第一个进入医学院学习的华裔女性 毕业于1916年
  5. …而且显然是在美国第一位华裔女医
  6. …是班上唯一的女人,她称自己为“迈克”
  7. … 一位女性同性恋华裔医师如何在美国找到工作…
  8. 宋美龄夫人因“飞虎队”而获得最多的赞誉,但张医生偷偷招募了飞行员,他们开玩笑地称自己为“妈妈张的混蛋儿子“
  9. 哦,在她的儿子中,有里根总统…
  10. 她是一名军医
  11. 第二次世界大战后,她的儿子们给她买了房子
  12. 她过世于旧金山
  13. 切斯特·尼米兹(Chester W.Nimitz)是她的儿子和护柩者之一


Posted in Celestial Empire, View from Bottom | Leave a comment

Wuhan coronavirus, and the vaccines

A scary virus is going around, and truth and rumors are flying as well…

I know a vaccine is far away to treat the current outbreak but the recent case of that Shanghai clinic’s owner Dr. George Kuo over Prevenar 7 came to mind.

The case went like this: because Chinese government requires each imported vaccine needs to be renewed every five years and they can deny the renewal without a reason, so they did to Prevenar 7 in 2015. It would take Pfizer 18 months to get their Prevenar 13 approved in China. So, during this period, Dr. Kuo whose clinic caters to the foreign community and upper crest locals, found a supplier in Singapore and imported 13,000 doses of varied vaccines himself, and got caught. He was tried in a Shanghai court, and convicted of selling “fake drugs”. His sentencing was seven years in jail, according to the law.

Before going on further, here is a little reality in the vaccine: 90% vaccine market in the world is dominated by four big pharmas: two in US, one each in France and UK. And they basically are doing a decent job and most other countries take them without a fuss. I remembered taking my infants to their pediatrician for checkups and ended up always getting some sort of injections even I didn’t ask for any of them. (A bad mom who didn’t do her homework.) And the doctor always dutifully wrote down on a chart. (This would prove to be very useful since many places require it: schools and camps, just to name a few.)

Guess I was just a lucky go happy kind of person, and totally dictated by the pediatrician. When the FDA approved it and my kids would receive it.

Chinese has their own fda: cfda. CFDA checks every imported vaccine and the time they spent checking, could be as long as ten years. I didn’t make this up: Jack Ma’s South China Morning Post revealed that, for example, the clinical trial of China to approve (HPV, 2006) vaccine took a decade. During these time, Chinese who has means went to Hong Kong to get it.

Sanofi makes good rabies vaccine but due to the difficulties they encountered in China, they withdrew from China gradually since 2010. And the fake vaccine from Changsheng Bio-tech 长盛生物技术公司 appeared on our horizon in 2018.

How to balance the protection of your local market vs healthy competition is a thin line.

Shortly before the new year 2020, Dr. Kuo’s fate has a reversal: his 7 years reduced to two years because they updated 未经批准进口的药按假药论处 the unauthorized imports of drugs are treated as counterfeit drugs. Kuo’s fine was ¥50,000 from ¥2,000,000.

疫苗 … 想起上海美籍华人郭桥 Prevenar 7, George Kuo — 上海疫苗版“药神”案: “销售假药罪”改判“走私罪”, 刑期大幅缩短 — 是朋友经手的案子. 国内的作风非常难理解. 说不更新就不更新… 也不替孩子们着想 … 所以郭才私下进口.

四大药厂 (2美国 1法国1英国) 生产全球 90%的疫苗. 但是中国会用10年的时间去衡量 (临床)一个进口的疫苗 (HPV) 下一代的疫苗都上市了!!! 我就奇怪 难道美国 欧盟的FDA 还需要中国再去验证吗?匪夷所思. 结果就是, 比如 Sanofi 的rabies 狂犬病疫苗很好 但是由于国内的政策 Sanofi 从2010年 开始慢慢离开了中国. 接下来就是我们看到的长盛假疫苗. 没有竞争 消费者吃亏.

Posted in Celestial Empire, Current Affairs | Leave a comment

A game night?

A game changer: the video or laser tag games are coming to you, in a truck.

Going to a laser tag game or video arcade are gone and instead, a truck comes to you.

For this company, for a maximum of 20 players, a video game for 90 min is $499 and two hours $549, and laser tag 2 hours is $599.


游戏的规则改变了: 视频或激光标签游戏来到您门口. 这家公司的游戏卡车最多可容纳20个玩家. 视频比激光标签便宜一点. 有90分钟或者两个小时不同长度的套餐.


Posted in View from Bottom | Leave a comment

Tokyo Trial 东京审判

Tokyo Trial was the military trial (imtfe) held from 1946 to 48 in Tokyo (immediately after the Nuremberg trials from 1945 to 46), to determine the fate of Japanese war criminals during WWII.

I first watched the 4-part tv mini series (东京裁判) by Netflix, which is centered on the eleven judges, their struggles, understanding and application of the laws. Japan’s NHK made the proposal of the series, was listed with USA as country of origin, whichever that mean. It premiered in 2016, and is the best movie/tv series I’ve seen in 2019, for the many questions and point of views it asked and stated, even I feel Japan is trying to wash herself clean. The 11 nations were

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. France
  4. Netherlands
  5. Australia
  6. India
  7. Canada
  8. China
  9. New Zealand
  10. Soviet Union
  11. Philippines


  1. The Chinese judge 梅汝璈 was portrayed the poorest. He didn’t get to speak at all. The only two occasions he spoke, one was him arguing that he should be sitting next to the president of the tribunal, and second miss him wife and family – how petty!!
  2. The Americans and the Brit, basically dictated … Not to mention Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who needed the emperor to achieve his goal, therefore, he said, the emperor would not be tried. A small question, couldn’t they pick a better actor to play MacArthur?
  3. The Russian general who was the only one with an interpreter, was the funniest guy around. But he didn’t have opinions unless it was ok’ed by Joe Stalin.
  4. The Aussie was the president. He was too liberal, got kicked off … but eventually returned to preside till the end.
  5. The Dutch … faced pressure from his superior who asked him to kiss up to the powers of the day … basically US and UK to curry favors …
  6. The Frenchy was a sissy, agreeable.
  7. The Filipino was fine, go with the flow
  8. The Indian was the most interesting, even that made him an odd ball: he strongly opposed the criminal charges, arguing the aggression of war was NOT a crime; and after the conclusion of the trail, he visited Japan four times, and visited the criminals in prison. Oh well.

I found a movie of the same name by googling 东京审判 (东京裁判 will return Japanese sites …) 1 hour 47 min long, made in 2006 by Film Bureau State Admin of Radio Film & TV. For the first 15 minutes of the movie, it was the Chinese judge arguing his seating with the chief judge (president). I couldn’t watch it any more. Unbelievably petty. Had the writer and director gone mad?


东京裁判 (Tokyo Trial) 是紧接着纽伦堡审判后的二战军事法庭, 判决日本战犯。

东京裁判迷你剧是2016年上映的由NHK日本放送協会提议,围绕着11个审判官, 他们对法律的理解和运用: 怎么判决那些日本战犯.  剧中有非常多的好又尖锐的问题 值得我们深思. 觉得应该是今年看过最好的影视片。不足的是中国法官梅汝璈只有2次出声的机会: 1次是争座位 (真够无聊的) 另一次是想家了。 我又羡慕妒忌了: 小日本可以制作出这么高水平的剧替自己洗白.

看完后余兴未完 手痒 … 在网上找到2006年国内拍的电影 ‘东京审判’. 一小时47分长 但是开始的前15分钟几乎都是梅汝璈在争座位 要从第三换到第二 不给就回家. 简直不能相信会有这样无聊少智的 编剧 导演 … 不知道梅/编/导有没有想过 这不是勇敢 不是赢 … 相比之下 2016的片实在是高出很多 … 无语


我也查了一些中文的: 38分钟长由石凉讲述的审判 (这里是溥仪上厅佐证)  … 相比之下 还是迷你剧比较好. 中国拍不出高质量的剧或者写不出值得尊重的书 世人怎么会理解?


Posted in View from Bottom | Leave a comment

Vatican Uses Donations for the Poor to Plug Its Budget Deficit

WSJ News Exclusive 2019.12.11

Only 10% of donations to the Peter’s Pence collection go to charitable works
VATICAN CITY—Every year, Catholics around the world donate tens of millions of dollars to the pope. Bishops exhort the faithful to support the weak and suffering through the pope’s main charitable appeal, called Peter’s Pence.
What the church doesn’t advertise is that most of that collection, valued at more than €50 million ($55 million) annually, goes toward plugging the hole in the Vatican’s own administrative budget, while as little as 10% is spent on charitable works, according to people familiar with the funds.
The little-publicized breakdown of how the Holy See spends Peter’s Pence, known only among senior Vatican officials, is raising concern among some Catholic Church leaders that the faithful are being misled about the use of their donations, which could further hurt the credibility of the Vatican’s financial management under Pope Francis.
The Vatican is currently embroiled in a scandal over opaque real-estate investments in London, which has triggered a power struggle within the Vatican’s bureaucracy and led to the dismissal of its chief financial regulator. Last month, the Vatican was suspended from an international network of anti-money-laundering watchdogs.
Meanwhile, the Holy See is struggling with a growing budget deficit, with the pope warning cardinals of the “grave impact” on the body’s economic future. The Vatican’s continuing financial problems reflect a lack of progress on improving its management and finances, which Pope Francis was elected in 2013 with a mandate to overhaul, following allegations of corruption, waste and incompetence there.
Under church law, Peter’s Pence is available to the pope to use at his discretion in any way that serves his ministry, including the support of his administration. The collection’s website says that, to support the pope’s charitable works, “Peter’s Pence also contributes to the support of the Apostolic See and the activities of the Holy See,” emphasizing activities that help “populations, individuals and families in precarious conditions.”
The assets of Peter’s Pence now total about €600 million, down from about €700 million early in the current pontificate, largely on account of unsuccessful investments, said the people familiar with the funds’ use.
The use of Peter’s Pence donations mostly to plug the budget deficit is particularly sensitive for Pope Francis, who began his pontificate by calling for a “poor church for the poor,” and has continually emphasized the church’s mission to care for and advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable.
The head of the Vatican’s press office didn’t respond to a request for comment on the use of the funds.
Peter’s Pence, a special collection from Catholics around the world every June, is billed as a fundraising effort for the needy. The Vatican’s website for the collection, www.peterspence.va, describes it as a “gesture of charity, a way of supporting the activity of the Pope and the universal Church in favoring especially the poorest and Churches in difficulty. It is also an invitation to pay attention and be near to new forms of poverty and fragility.”
A section of the website dedicated to “works realized” describes individual grants, such as €100,000 in relief aid to survivors of last month’s earthquake in Albania or €150,000 for those affected by cyclone Idai in southeastern Africa in March.
Local church leaders echo the Vatican’s line when soliciting contributions. According to the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: “The purpose of the Peter’s Pence Collection is to provide the Holy Father with the financial means to respond to those who are suffering as a result of war, oppression, natural disaster and disease.”
But for at least the past five years, only about 10% of the money collected—more than €50 million was raised in 2018—has gone to the sort of charitable causes featured in advertising for the collection, according to people familiar with the matter.
Meanwhile, about two-thirds of the money has been used to help cover the budget deficit at the Holy See, these people said. The Holy See consists of the central administration of the Catholic Church and the papal diplomatic network around the world. In 2018, the budget deficit reached roughly €70 million on total spending of about €300 million, reflecting chronic inefficiencies, rising wage costs and hits to investment income.
Donations to Peter’s Pence have dropped notably in recent years, to over €50 million in 2018 from over €60 million in 2017, these people said. Concern among ordinary Catholics over the church’s clerical sex-abuse crisis, as well as about the Vatican’s financial transparency, have weighed on donations, these people said. Another decline is expected for 2019.
The Peter’s Pence fund, which is managed by the Secretariat of State, the Holy See’s executive, has been under increased scrutiny since October, when Vatican police raided the Secretariat’s offices and those of the Vatican’s financial watchdog as part of an investigation into a large investment in a building in London’s upmarket Chelsea district. Vatican officials familiar with the secretariat’s operations believe at least some of the money for the controversial investment came from Peter’s Pence.
In November, Pope Francis said that he had authorized the raids because of apparent corruption, but he defended the practice of investing Peter’s Pence donations in real estate and other assets, rather than using it for charity immediately.
“When the money from Peter’s Pence arrives, what do I do? I put it in a drawer? No. This is bad administration. I try to make an investment and when I need to give, when there is a need, throughout the year, the money is taken and that capital does not devalue, it stays the same or it increases a bit,” the pope said last month.
But no more than a quarter of the annual Peter’s Pence contributions is available for investments, after the bulk is spent on the Vatican’s operating costs, according to the people familiar with the fund.

Posted in View from Bottom | Leave a comment

Are the knights of 9/11 heroes?

Who’s he (wiki & zh wiki) and what does “spend ¥1 and come in…” mean? Like a peepshow at Amsterdams or former Times Square in New York?

On top of his Weibo, are prices: ¥388, ¥688, ¥988 for various services.

… and there is this post, asking, if “911的那些英雄们, 算不算侠客?” Google translates to “are the heroes of 9/11 heroes?”

Is he kidding???

Reading through a few of his recent posts, I think the ‘heroes” he meant the hijackers. I looked him up, he’s Beijing University’s professor.

接受再教育时间:请问 “大家快来花1元围观” 是啥东东?


好奇 … 找到这个孔老二后人的微博. 顶上是

普通问答388元,私信咨询688元,复杂问题和文章辅导988元!… 加入劝学群或报名人民研究生,…,让知识有价!”

世界小 但是奇人怪事 日日不断

阿姆斯特丹的红灯区也是便宜 丢点钱就可以进去看美眉 … 纽约以前在时代广场也有,丢钱就可以进去看美女 [呲牙] 特此小怀念一下


Posted in View from Bottom | Leave a comment

When a DNA Test Says You’re a Younger Man, Who Lives 5,000 Miles Away

2019.12.07 NYT

After a bone marrow transplant, a man with leukemia found that his donor’s DNA traveled to unexpected parts of his body. A crime lab is now studying the case.

Three months after his bone marrow transplant, Chris Long of Reno, Nev., learned that the DNA in his blood had changed. It had all been replaced by the DNA of his donor, a German man he had exchanged just a handful of messages with.
He’d been encouraged to test his blood by a colleague at the Sheriff’s Office, where he worked. She had an inkling this might happen. It’s the goal of the procedure, after all: Weak blood is replaced by healthy blood, and with it, the DNA it contains.
But four years after his lifesaving procedure, it was not only Mr. Long’s blood that was affected. Swabs of his lips and cheeks contained his DNA — but also that of his donor. Even more surprising to Mr. Long and other colleagues at the crime lab, all of the DNA in his semen belonged to his donor. “I thought that it was pretty incredible that I can disappear and someone else can appear,” he said.
Mr. Long had become a chimera, the technical term for the rare person with two sets of DNA. The word takes its name from a fire-breathing creature in Greek mythology composed of lion, goat and serpent parts. Doctors and forensic scientists have long known that certain medical procedures turn people into chimeras, but where exactly a donor’s DNA shows up — beyond blood — has rarely been studied with criminal applications in mind.
Tens of thousands of people get bone marrow transplants every year, for blood cancers and other blood diseases including leukemia, lymphoma and sickle cell anemia. Though it’s unlikely that any of them would end up as the perpetrator or victim of a crime, the idea that they could intrigued Mr. Long’s colleagues at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department, who have been using their (totally innocent) colleague in IT as a bit of a human guinea pig.
Chris Long agreed to serve as a guinea pig for his colleagues’ experiment to help them understand how a bone marrow transplant could confuse a criminal investigation.
Tiffany Brown Anderson for The New York Times
Where will the DNA go?
The implications of Mr. Long’s case, which was presented at an international forensic science conference in September, have now captured the interest of DNA analysts far beyond Nevada.
The average doctor does not need to know where a donor’s DNA will present itself within a patient. That’s because this type of chimerism is not likely to be harmful. Nor should it change a person. “Their brain and their personality should remain the same,” said Andrew Rezvani, the medical director of the inpatient Blood & Marrow Transplant Unit at Stanford University Medical Center.
He added that patients also sometimes ask him what it means for a man to have a woman’s chromosomes in their bloodstream or vice versa. “It doesn’t matter,” he said.
But for a forensic scientist, it’s a different story. The assumption among criminal investigators as they gather DNA evidence from a crime scene is that each victim and each perpetrator leaves behind a single identifying code — not two, including that of a fellow who is 10 years younger and lives thousands of miles away. And so Renee Romero, who ran the crime lab at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, saw an opportunity when her friend and colleague told her that his doctor had found a suitable match on a donor website and he would be undergoing a bone marrow transplant.
“We need to swab the heck out of you before you have this procedure to see how this DNA takes over your body,” she recalled telling him.
Mr. Long agreed. He welcomed an intriguing distraction from his diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes, both of which impair the production of healthy blood cells.
At the time, he said, “I didn’t even know if I would live.”
Four years after the bone marrow transplant, Mr. Long’s semen contained 100 percent of his donor’s DNA.
Tiffany Brown Anderson for The New York Times
Four years later, with Mr. Long in remission and back at work, Ms. Romero’s experiment persisted, aided by her crime lab colleagues. Within four months of the procedure, Mr. Long’s blood had been replaced by his donor’s blood. Swabs collected from his lip, cheek and tongue showed that these also contained his donor’s DNA, with the percentages rising and falling over the years. Of the samples collected, only his chest and head hair were unaffected. The most unexpected part was that four years after the procedure, the DNA in his semen had been entirely replaced by his donor’s.
“We were kind of shocked that Chris was no longer present at all,” said Darby Stienmetz, a criminalist at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.
If another patient responded similarly to a transplant and that person went on to commit a crime, it could mislead investigators, said Brittney Chilton, a criminalist at the Sheriff’s Office forensic science division.
And it has misled them, Ms. Chilton learned once she began to research chimerism. In 2004, investigators in Alaska uploaded a DNA profile extracted from semen to a criminal DNA database. It matched a potential suspect. But there was a problem: The man had been in prison at the time of the assault. It turned out that he had received a bone marrow transplant. The donor, his brother, was eventually convicted.
Abirami Chidambaram, who presented the Alaska case in 2005, when she worked for the Alaska State Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory in Anchorage, said she had heard about another disconcerting scenario since then. It involved police investigators who were skeptical of a sexual assault victim’s account because she said there had been one attacker, though DNA analysis showed two. Eventually the police determined that the second profile had come from her bone marrow donor.
Similar scenarios could also create confusion around a victim’s identity — and in fact it has, said Yongbin Eom, a visiting research scholar at the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification. In 2008, he was trying to identify the victim of a traffic accident for the National Forensic Service in Seoul, South Korea. Blood showed that the individual was female. But the body appeared to be male, which was confirmed by DNA in a kidney, but not in the spleen or the lung, which contained male and female DNA. Eventually, he figured out that the victim had received a bone marrow transplant from his daughter.
The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Reno, Nev., ran an informal experiment that could have broader criminal implications.
Tiffany Brown Anderson for The New York Times
The specifics of Mr. Long’s situation raise an inevitable question: What happens if he has a baby? Would he pass on the genes of his German donor or his own to future offspring? In this case, the answer will remain untested because Mr. Long had a vasectomy after his second child was born.
But what about everyone else? Three bone marrow transplant experts who were surveyed agreed that it was an intriguing question. They also agreed that passing on someone else’s genes as a result of a transplant like Mr. Long’s was impossible.
“There shouldn’t be any way for someone to father someone else’s child,” said Dr. Rezvani, the Stanford medical director.
That’s not to say that other forms of chimerism haven’t created comparably confusing scenarios. Fraternal twins sometimes acquire each other’s DNA in the womb; in at least one case that led to unfounded fears of infidelity when a man’s child did not seem to be his. In another case, a mother nearly lost custody of her children after a DNA test.
But a donor’s blood cells should not be able to create new sperm cells, Dr. Rezvani said. Dr. Mehrdad Abedi, the doctor at the University of California, Davis, who treated Mr. Long, agreed: He believed it was Mr. Long’s vasectomy that explained how his semen came to contain his donor’s DNA. The forensic scientists involved say they plan to investigate further.
Everyone who has reviewed Mr. Long’s case agrees on one thing: He is a living, breathing case study of one, and it’s impossible to say how many other people respond to bone marrow transplants the same way he did. It’s simply one of those curious possibilities that forensic analysts may want to consider when DNA results are not adding up.
For his part, Mr. Long said he hopes to meet his donor during an upcoming trip to Germany and to thank him in person for saving his life.
DNA and Bone Marrow Transplants
One Twin Committed the Crime — but Which One? A New DNA Test Can Finger the Culprit
March 1, 2019
DNA Double Take
Sept. 16, 2013
A Pregnancy Souvenir: Cells That Are Not Your Own
Sept. 10, 2015
At 71, She’s Never Felt Pain or Anxiety. Now Scientists Know Why.
March 28, 2019
Five Blood Transfusions, One Bone Marrow Transplant — All Before Birth
May 25, 2018
Can Biology Class Reduce Racism?
Dec. 7, 2019
Heather Murphy is a general assignment reporter who often writes about advances in DNA technology.
Sign Up for the Morning Briefing
Get what you need to know to start your day, delivered to your inbox.

Posted in View from Bottom | Leave a comment

A few good men – movies

In November, I saw three great movies: Midway, the Irishman & Ford vs Ferrari. They’re all historically accurate, and I enjoyed all three very much.

The battle that sealed the fate of Japan in WW II. The storyline is gripping with equally good acting and actions.

The Italian mobsters/Hoffa (who killed President Kennedy, really?), the subject is less relatable, dark and depressing and is long, @ 3:30 but the acting is beyond great, especially Joe Pesci – hope he’ll win an Oscar – De Niro (Raging Bull in 1981) and Pacino (Scent of a Woman in 1993) each had won a best actor award. I did feel I was watching a movie.

A few memorable scenes, like the flag (Hoffa/Pacino), the coffin (Sheeran/De Niro), and if we can do the president of US, we certainly can do the president of a union (Russell Bufalino/Pesci).

The Ken Miles, Carroll Shelby and Ford movie, showed that the dull and crummy Ford had a such glorious past, winning four 24 Le Mans in a row (1966-69). The first one was under Carroll Shelby (an American who had won it in 1959 with Aston Martin) and Ken Miles, which is the story of the movie. Ford’s second win was also with Shelby (Miles died two months after the 1966 race, in August 1966).

The 1966 race was great for Ford teams, winning #1 #2 and #3 spots but heartbroken for the leading team … The winner of that race Bruce McLaren went on to form his own team and dominated F1 world (Lewis Hamilton just won his 6th championship earlier this month, one shy of Michael Schumaker).

I went to Champion Spark Plug 500 at Pocono Raceway (1992.6.14) in PA, where and when Alan Kulwicki won.

In 1966 race, Ford had another driver who later reached great success, Mario Andretti, (he shared drive with his two sons in 1991…) Another interesting anecdote was, when Mario was hurt beside his car, he was carried to an American doctor bec they generally avoided the French dr.

Shelby died in 2012 at age of 89. On and off, Ford made high performance cars that bears his name, with the strips on the hood, which made them striking and easily recognizable. Shelby only built two Super Snakes cars in 1966, one was drove off the cliff on the Pacific Ocean (yes, the car and driver all disappeared …) and the other one sold for $5.1 mil in 2015. The used Shelby cars generally sell for about $50,000.

In real life, Ferrari asked to be purchased by Ford. However, the negotiation fall apart therefore came the four glorious years of Ford. Half a century later, Ferrari is known as the designer’s car perches at the top of the food chain while Ford is still for the masses, at the bottom.

Now, what December will bring to the movie theaters?

Midway is pretty good
新鲜出炉的抗日神剧 Midway

这个2019的新电影(重拍)关于二战中一个具体战役 the Battle of Midway 1942 六月 4-7号 非常值得看 历实+动作

小日本的海军是英国人的功劳 – 和咱们晚清几乎同时 … 这里节省几万字.

鬼子偷袭珍珠港 是美国自己咎由自取 – 谁让你断了人家的石油呀 …
另外一个原因是小鬼子已经把中国制裁的服服帖帖,伸延 觉得他们可以打赢美国 所以偷袭 (希特勒也觉得他可以拿下俄国喔 … 咱毛主席说过 蚍蜉撼树谈何易… 节约一千字)
好运 美国的航母都不在珍珠港 – 所以才会有六个月后的底气
美国想教训一下日本 重振士气
… 王熙凤 … 机关算尽
美国的赢也来之不易 频频失误;损失一个航母
但是最终还是歼灭了鬼子全部航母 – 四个
从此 鬼子只能从进攻变成防守
… 美国将军会为明天保留点实力; 鬼子相反是破釜沉舟 (他们殉情的倾向可圈可点)… 所以然后就没有然后了.
美军15架飞机轰炸了东京 (看的俺这眉开眼笑的) 所有的飞机都没有了 – 没有油了. 飞行员跳伞有的进到中国 有的进到俄国 … 小日本为了报复 杀死了一万多中国人
在二战中 美国就知道被日本俘虏了 除了虐待就是折磨
… 不过半个世纪,日本变得文明 受人尊敬和欢迎 – 值得我们思考…
话说Midway战役后 没有航母了, 鬼子开始挖地洞 打游击… 美国大兵还在不断的死
老杜忍无可忍,tnnd 原子蛋 the 狗日的
一颗炸了 不行

… 二个战败国 没几年变成了第二和第三经济体… 哎… 大概命运不同吧

这个抗日神剧 拍的真不错


The Irishman – I heard you paint houses

爱尔兰人 (2019)
是根据 “我听说你是刷房子的” (刷房就是杀人.) 一书改编的. Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro 德尼罗饰演 )是少有的几个爱尔兰人参与到意大利黑手党家族. 据他自己临死前说, Jimmy Hoffa 是他杀的. 甘迺迪总统是黑手党杀的. …

三个半小时的电影有点长 尤其是三个老男人挂帅 但是确实有 “看电影” 的感觉
Joe Pesci 乔·佩西演的特别好

Goodfellas (1990; 好家伙?)也是 Martin Scorsese 马丁·斯科塞斯 导演的 … 这二部电影相差29年.


Ford vs Ferrari

福特 对 法拉利: 即闷又大众化的福特曾经有过如此光荣的过去 – 连续四届赢得勒芒一日赛 (1966-69)。

福特第一次赢是卡洛尔·谢尔比(Carroll Shelby)(一个美国人开着阿斯顿·马丁(Aston Martin)赢了1959的勒芒一日赛 )和迈尔斯(Miles)的故事。福特的第二次胜利也是与谢尔比一起(米尔斯在1966年比赛后的两个月即1966年8月去世)。

1966年的比赛对福特车队来说是一鸣惊人的,赢了#1、2和#3,但对于领先的车队却伤心欲绝…那个比赛的获胜者布鲁斯·麦克拉伦(Bruce McLaren)后来组建了自己的车队并统治着F1世界。路易斯·汉密尔顿(Lewis Hamilton)本月早些时候刚刚获得了他的第六个冠军,只比舒克梅尔(Schumaker)少了一个。

1992年我在宾夕法尼亚州观看了一次比赛,Alan Kulwicki赢赛。在1966年的比赛中,福特有另一位车手马里奥·安德雷蒂(Mario Andretti),他后来不仅赢得多种冠军 更在1991年与他的两个儿子同开一车. 另一个有趣的轶事是,当马里奥在车旁受伤时,他被送到一名美国医生 – 因为他们都尽量避开法国医生。


在现实生活中,是法拉利要求被福特收购。合同没有谈拢所以才有福特的四年好时光。这么多年过去了 法拉利仍然栖息在顶 而福特汽车仍位稳压底,是大众的首选。

马特·达蒙 和克里斯蒂安·贝尔都演的好; 贝尔的 beatnik 演得挺淋漓尽致的。 不知道如果他碰上一个好牙医 形象会不会好一些?(Ralph Fiennes 拉尔夫·菲恩斯, Hugh Grant 休·格兰特 。。。 妈妈咪呀, 难道英国没有像样的牙医?!)

这个11月,三部精彩的电影:《中途岛》,《爱尔兰人》。 《福特对法拉利》。 都是史实且精彩, 不知道十二月的电影院会有些什么好戏?


Posted in View from Bottom | Leave a comment

Three amigos

I bought three orchids but only two made it.


Posted in Horticulture 无病呻吟 | Leave a comment