Your Guess Is As Good As Mine

I suppose that the new coronavirus epidemic is the main news item these days. But I seem to know less and less about it. And more and more it’s a matter of guessing.

What’s happening in China? According to some reports, the Chinese economy is imploding, because everybody is staying home, and not going to work. According to other reports, everything is under control, and functioning more or less normally. Which is it?

One interesting thing about China, as far as I’m concerned, is that I never get any hits on my blog from China. Or none that I’ve ever noticed. And that has led me to suppose that the Chinese internet doesn’t connect with the global internet. Chinese people can post videos on Chinese websites, but not outside China. So Chinese videos seem only to leak out when people outside China somehow manage to see them. So China is a black hole. And yet it’s the most populous country in  the world.

I should add that my blog gets hardly any hits from India either. And that’s the next most populous country in the world after China. But I get quite a few hits from Russia. So Russia is far more open than China (and India).

Anyway, perhaps that’s why I don’t know what’s happening in China: the information isn’t getting out. Or what’s getting out is what the Chinese government allows to get out through official Chinese news media.

And with the arrival of the internet, it becomes more and more possible to get news from unofficial sources rather just than official ones. The internet is news by word of mouth, but amplified to travel on the grapevine all over the world, not just to friends and neighbours on the same street. The internet has made the world into a small town, and it’s no longer possible for the little town’s newspaper to define what is and isn’t news. And people stop reading newspapers when they find that they’ve been bending the news, and can’t be trusted. And that’s why news organisations everywhere are slowly going out of business: they’re not trusted any more. Instead of people getting news from a single source, they get it from multiple sources. But the sources often conflict, so the news becomes uncertain. You don’t know who to believe, or what to believe.

My current guess is that the new coronavirus is highly infectious, but not particularly lethal. I suspect it’s being hyped up to be worse than it actually is. After all, everything gets hyped up to be worse than it actually is (e.g. climate change), so most likely coronavirus is being hyped as well.

But that’s just my guess.

Your guess is as good as mine.

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21 Responses to Your Guess Is As Good As Mine

  1. What’s happening in China?
    If the news tells me there is a disaster underway, I’m more inclined to believe it’s business as usual and there’s nothing to see here
    It’s only when the news is silent, like about Paris, that I think there may actually be something up.
    News is a bit topsy turvy these days

    • beobrigitte says:

      I’m more inclined to believe it’s business as usual and there’s nothing to see here
      It’s a new kind of flu and it is amazing to see that we all are arseholes with it.
      I’m not fuzzed about first infections. Easy. It is ADE (antibody-dependent-enhancement) I begin to feel uncomfortable about. r.
      But there is no point talking science here. We’re away with the republican mixer.

  2. smokingscot says:

    Not many people in China understand English and search engines rarely give a foreign language option to a search if their device is set to a default Mandarin or Cantonese. Similar story throughout the world.

    In Russia I believe you have links to your blog from Russian websites – and that’s your gateway.

    Surprisingly I get a few hits from India as well as Hong Kong, mainly my post on how many fags one can roll from a pouch of tobacco. I’d also mention that post also attracts hits from university computers from the English speaking world. Same with the one I chucked up at the end of last year that dwells on the same topic – in anger.

    I see two passengers from that Princess cruise ship died in Japan.

    On a lighter note I was chuffed to see there’s now growing anger in China at their big brother tactics, so one chap took it upon himself to crash a “temperature tent” – using a little bitty Renault. Shanghai, short video.

  3. Joe L. says:

    I never get any hits on my blog from China. Or none that I’ve ever noticed. And that has led me to suppose that the Chinese internet doesn’t connect with the global internet.

    This is essentially true. It has been dubbed the “Great Firewall of China.” The Chinese internet prevents citizens from visiting most foreign websites. There are Chinese alternatives to all the major sites, including Google, which have been approved by the Chinese government. It is assumed all of the “approved” sites offer backdoors for the government. This allows the Chinese government to control the information their citizens receive, prevent any unflattering information from reaching the rest of the world, and also allows them to surveil their citizens (which allows for Orwellian programs like their Social Credit System).

    • beobrigitte says:

      Take this advice of a dotty old lady that seems so happy and jolly in the SD bar.
      I guess you have me old girl down as the idiot I display myself. (It is my time off and I love to be the funloving idiot)
      You are taking pride in being a critical thinker? My advice is starting from afresh, Back to basics, as we in science say.

  4. Dmitry says:

    Hello, people, I need help – and to hell with China (for a while). I’m to talk about employment of smokers issue on Tuesday on the TV. I seem to remember somebody mentioning that smokers, in some cases, can be more productive (whatever it means) than non-smokers. So, have there been any serious medical or other reports on that? With links, or at least with the names of the researchers?
    And when I’m through with that, I may contribute to any Sinological discussion you start.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Klaus K in Denmark has several articles about this sort of thing, several of which I’ve helped translate into English: Search my blog for Klaus K.

      My article Nation of Morons

      Brain Researchers: Smoking increases intelligence

      Positive effects of nicotine on the brain’s performance is now confirmed by the Danish nicotine research at the Panum Institute in Copenhagen. We can now add another piece to the puzzle which clearly shows that smoking increases the intelligence. According to an interview with brain scientist, Professor Albert Gjedde in Ekstra Bladet.

      Albert Gjedde, along with two colleagues started with nicotine tests, according to Gjedde clearly shows that if a heavy smoker suddenly stops smoking, then it bears negative consequences on his brain activity.

      “The energy metabolism of oxygen in the brain decreases. This means, that one’s thinking capacity is also decreased. But if you start smoking again, so does the energy sales at the usual level, “he says. Albert Gjedde explains in the interview that a number of now concluded studies that smoking increases intelligence:

      “If you have to explain the concept of intelligence, it is in fact the ability to make sensible choices – to anticipate future challenges. And this is where nicotine can help”

      Also Nicotine Improves Brain Performance

      Lifestyle “Improvements” Don’t Work

      Also, Smoking Ban – A growth killer nobody notices


      Also Science is conclusive: Tobacco increases work capacity

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    O/T Now the antismokers are making a play for prohibition of smoking. The latest attempt is a call to ban smoking in PRIVATE HOMES in Suffolk County, NY.

    Check out the reports:

    “N.Y. County Legislators Propose Bill to Ban Smoking in Private Homes”

    “Suffolk County To Attempt To Ban Smoking In Private Homes”

  6. Dmitry says:

    Oh, and Frank – happy birthday!!!

  7. Clicky says:

  8. Barry Homan says:

    Happy birthday, Frank!

  9. beobrigitte says:

    People, I do apologise for being incredibly harsh and rude. It is my last option, the one that is of the helpless kind, to get our rational observations back.
    As for laboratories………………. (boy, this one comes back in new variations almost daily). Please start your research with what is called External Quality Control to monitor all diagnostic laboratories’ performance. (We do need the correct results to be passed on!)
    Boring, isn’t it?

    Tedros, in the meantime is after more cash. He twitters endlessly about NCDs, so brace yourselves for things to come.

    For amusement type into google search: coronavirus updates live.
    On page 1 you will find:
    Coronavirus Latest Updates: Everything You Need to Know … › Health › Infectious Disease
    12 Feb 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) officially named the new coronavirus disease COVID-19 on Tuesday.

    • smokingscot says:

      IMO you may be as harsh and rude as you wish. There is a great deal of utter rubbish being written about the virus and I can understand your frustration at trying to get to the nub of the subject – I appreciate your efforts.

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