COVID-19 has now infected more than 215,956 people. There have been 8,757 confirmed deaths and 84,080 confirmed recoveries attributed to the virus.
Recent Updates Note: These are the updates from the last 48-72 hours. MARCH 18 -
United States: President Trump signed into law a coronavirus relief package, which provides free coronavirus testing and ensures paid emergency leave for those who are infected or caring for a family member with the illness. The bill also provides additional Medicaid funding, food assistance and unemployment benefits. The "third phase" coronavirus response bill is expected to pass later this week. Read more here.
United States: President Trump announced that home foreclosures and evictions will be suspended “until the end of April.” Read more here. He also invoked the Defense Production Act, which gives the government the authority to control the production and distribution of scarce materials deemed "essential to the national defense." In his executive order, Trump specifically cites protective equipment (presumably face masks) and ventilators as meeting the criteria in this provision. Read more here.
United States: Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ben McAdams become first members of Congress to test positive for coronavirus. Read more here.
United States: King County in Washington State is building a 200-bed field hospital on Shoreline soccer field amid coronavirus outbreak. Read more here.
United States: The New York Stock Exchange said starting March 23, it will temporarily close its historic trading floor and move fully to electronic trading. This is the first time the physical trading floor of the Big Board has ever shut independently while electronic trading continues. Read more here.
United States and Canada: US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have agreed to close the US-Canada border to all non-essential travel in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus. Trade will not be affected. Read more here.
Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a massive $82-billion aid package to help Canadians and businesses cope with the global COVID-19 pandemic, including income supports, wage subsidies and tax deferrals. The package includes $27 billion in direct supports and another $55 billion to help business liquidity through tax deferrals. Read more here.
Japan’s Hokkaido, the nation’s prefecture with the highest number of coronavirus infections, will end its state of emergency over the epidemic on Thursday. Read more here.
Europe: The European Central Bank launched an extra emergency bond-buying program worth 750 billion euros ($820 billion) in the latest attempt to calm markets and protect a euro-area economy struggling to cope with the coronavirus epidemic. Read more here.
France: French police handed out over 4,000 fines Wednesday to people found violating an order to stay at home, on the first full day of a lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Read more here.
Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa declared a state of emergency to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The new measures allow Prime Minister António Costa's government to restrict movement of people, temporarily suspend the right of workers in vital sectors — such as health, civil protection, security and defense — to strike, and ban protests and social or religious meetings Read more here.
Brazil: Davi Alcolumbre, the head of Brazil's Senate, became the latest high-level political figure to test positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. Read more here.
Chilean president Sebastian Pinera declared a 90-day state of catastrophe Wednesday to address the spread of COVID-19 in the country, which has 238 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. By law, a state of catastrophe puts the armed forces in charge of public order and security and enables military control of the movement of people and goods. Military officials will be able to issue direct instructions to public employees and local governments and establish measures deemed necessary to maintain public order, including curfews. Read more here.
Africa: Sub-Saharan Africa records first coronavirus death. Read more here.
Europe: This year's Eurovision Song Contest has been canceled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers confirmed on Wednesday, marking the first time that the much-loved competition has ever been scrapped. Read more here.
Australian airline Qantas and its subsidiary Jetstar will suspend scheduled international flights from late March until at least the end of May due to the coronavirus crisis. In a statement posted on its website Thursday, Qantas Group announced that 60% of its domestic flights would also be cut, and two-thirds of its 30,000 employees would be temporarily stood down. Read the announcement here.
RyanAir, Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier, said it expected “most if not all” flights to be grounded, apart from a small number to maintain connections between the UK and Ireland. Read more here.
MARCH 17 -
United States: A plan developed by the federal government to combat the coronavirus reportedly projects the pandemic will last 18 months or more and could feature multiple “waves.” Read more here.
United States: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin raised the possibility with Republican senators that U.S. unemployment could rise to 20% without government intervention because of the impact of the coronavirus. Mnuchin discussed the scenario with the lawmakers on Tuesday as he proposed an economic stimulus of $1 trillion or more. Read more here.
United States: Treasury and IRS to delay tax payment deadline by 90 days. Read more here.
United States: The U.S. military is preparing Naval hospital ships for deployment, and is looking to open its labs to help test civilians for coronavirus. The Pentagon also plans to distribute equipment. Read more here.
United States: White House requests and additional $45.8 billion in emergency funding due to coronavirus. The request comes on top of the $8.3 billion in emergency funding passed by Congress just two weeks ago and underscores just how dramatically financial demands at federal agencies have grown in a matter of days. Read more here.
United States: Schools are likely to be closed for the rest of this school year according to Governor Newsom of California. Ohio's governor has made similar statements. Read more here.
United States: Are Hospitals Near Me Ready for Coronavirus? Here Are Nine Different Scenarios. | There is a tool in the article that allows you to see your area's hospital capacity. See the interactive tool here.
EU: Leaders of European Union countries have agreed to close the EU’s external borders to most people from other countries for 30 days in a new effort to slow the coronavirus pandemic. Movement within European Union member nations will be still be allowed. Read more here.
Spain: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a package of measures worth a total 200 billion euros ($219 billion), between loans, credit guarantees, benefits and direct aid, to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the economy. The package represents about 20% of the country’s gross domestic product; 117 billion euros for the package will come from the government, with the rest to come from private companies. Read more here.
Scotland: No new jury trials will take place in Scotland for the foreseeable future due to coronavirus. Read more here.
Bolivia will close its borders to non-residents and suspend all international flights to combat the spread of coronavirus. The measure will remain in place until March 31. Read more here.
Australia declares emergency, warns coronavirus crisis could last six months. Read more here.
Euro 2020 has been postponed by one year until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.
MARCH 16 -
A Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating an investigational vaccine designed to protect against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle. Read more here.
The European Union will ban all nonessential travel into the bloc for at least 30 days. Read more here.
France has instituted a lockdown and will deploy 100,000 police to enforce the lockdown and fixed checkpoints will be set up across the country. Under the new measures, soldiers would help transport the sick to hospitals with spare capacity and a military hospital with 30 intensive care beds would be set up in the eastern region of Alsace, where one of the largest infection clusters has broken out. Macron also announced he was postponing the second round of local elections on Sunday. Read more here.
United States: President Trump held a press conference today, where he said that the U.S. may be able to get the new coronavirus outbreak under control by July or August at the earliest. He also said his administration may look at lockdowns for “certain areas” or “hot spots” in the nation, but said he wasn’t considering a full national lockdown. Watch the press conference here and/or read about it here.
United States: The Department of Health and Human Services experienced suspicious cyberactivity Sunday night related to its coronavirus response. The suspicious activity HHS was not a hack but it may have been a distributed denial of service -- or DDOS -- attack. Read more here.
United States: Six Bay Area counties announced “shelter in place” orders for all residents on Monday — the strictest measure of its kind yet in the continental United States — directing everyone to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible for the next three weeks. The directive begins at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and involves San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties — a combined population of more than 6.7 million. Read more here.
United States: New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut institute regional rules that ban gatherings of over 50, and close casinos, gyms, and theaters. Read more here.
United States: The Ohio primary has been postponed. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced late Monday that his administration will order that polls be closed on Tuesday due to a health emergency. Read more here.
United States: Dow Plummets Nearly 3,000 Points as Virus Fears Spread. Read more here.
Canada is closing its borders to noncitizens because of the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. citizens are exempt from the ban “for the moment." Read more here.
Israel is preparing to open four hotels across the country as quarantines sites for confirmed cases of coronavirus, Minister of Defense Naftali Bennett announced Monday night. The hotels will be used to treat people exhibiting mild symptoms of the virus. Read more here.
Finland closes schools, declares state of emergency over coronavirus. Daycare centres are to stay open but parents were asked to keep their kids home if possible. Read more here.
Sudan’s ruling sovereign council closed all airports, ports and land crossings and declared a public health emergency on Monday over fears about the spread of coronavirus. Read more here.
Amazon will hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the United States to deal with a surge in online orders, as many consumers have turned to the web to meet their needs during the coronavirus outbreak. Read more here.
The Peace Corps is telling its volunteers around the world that it is suspending all operations globally and evacuating all volunteers in light of the spread of the new coronavirus. Read more here.
United States: The College Board has cancelled the May SATs. Read more here.
[H] A Ton of Bundle Games (IndieGala, Humble, and Fanatical) [W] Nov. Humble Monthly Games (Not Darksiders III or Yakuza Kiwami)
I already own Darksiders III and Yakuza Kiwami 2, so I figured I'd just skip this month and trade for the other games on here. I haven't updated my list in a long time, so there may be one or two games that I don't have anymore, but I still own most of them. So far, the games I'm looking for are: Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition Crying Suns Darksburg Little Misfortune Smile for Me Darkwood Tsioque Rover Mechanic Simulator Youropa Townsmen - A Kingdom Rebuilt The ones that I have for trade are: Humble Gift Link - The Uncertain: Last Quiet Day Knights of Pen and Paper 1+2 Collection Road Redemption This War of Mine Throne of Lies The Online Game of Deceit Torchlight Torchlight II The First Tree One Deck Dungeon Skybolt Zack Golf With Your Friends - OST Codex of Victory Conglomerate 451 Deep Sky Derelicts Gift of Parthax Haimrik Quantum Replica Re-Legion Shiny Through the Woods The Inner World Pixel Heroes Byte & Magic Safety First! SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell The Textorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia + Soundtrack Vambrace: Cold Soul Soundtrack Vampyr AER Memories of Old Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth State of Mind Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide Batman - The Telltale Series Batman: The Enemy Within - The Telltale Series Oxenfree The Walking Dead The Walking Dead - 400 Days The Walking Dead: Michonne - A Telltale Miniseries The Walking Dead: Season Two Astebreed Definitive Edition LiEat Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight GET EVEN Carcassonne - Tiles & Tactics Mysterium: A Psychic Clue Game Small World 2 Splendor Twilight Struggle Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father Black The Fall Children of Zodiarcs Deadbeat Heroes Forgotton Anne Goetia Tokyo Dark The Turing Test Train Valley 2 A Good Snowman is Hard to Build A Mortician's Tale Alien Spidy Broken Age Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Brutal Legend Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition Darksiders Warmastered Edition DUCATI - 90th Anniversary Europa Universalis IV Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered GNOG Hacknet HIVESWAP: Act 1 Hollow Knight LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Lostwinds Magicka Music Maker EDM Edition PAC-MAN CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION 2 Party Hard Pikuniku Psychonauts Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville Sniper Elite 3 Speed Brawl Stealth 2: A Game of Clones Stick Fight: The Game Super Hexagon SUPERHOT This is the Police Tilt Brush Tropico 4 Undertale VVVVVV World of Goo Worms Revolution Zombotron Dead Rising 4 Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition RESIDENT EVIL 2 - All In-game Rewards Unlock STRIDER Reigns Reigns: Her Majesty Equilinox MagiCat Samorost 3 1 Screen Platformer A Glider's Journey Adventure Boy Cheapskate DX Animal Super Squad Anomaly 2 Anomaly Defenders Anomaly Korea Anomaly: Warzone Earth Anomaly Warzone Earth Mobile Campaign Artemis: God-Queen of the Hunt Balancelot Bastion Cathedral Chivalry: Medieval Warfare Clatter Dead by Daylight - Of Flesh and Mud Dead by Daylight - Spark of Madness Deadlight: Director's Cut Dino Run DX Downtown Drift Draw Your Game Drink More Glurp Jingle Jam Challenge Invisible Inc. Kalaban Kingdom: New Lands Motorsport Manager Must Dash Amigos Nemo Dungeon Neverwinter: Vestments of the Wind Pack Ninja Senki DX PAC-MAN CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION 2 Potatoman Seeks the Troof Pumped BMX + Rapture Rejects Rebound Dodgeball Evolved Red Horizon Rogue Rocks Scanner Sombre Songs of Skydale Stories: The Path of Destinies Super Chicken Catchers THE TEAR YORG.io Chasm Fluffy Horde Regular Human Basketball Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force Complete Deluxe Set Megatagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies (Neptunia) Moero Chronicle Neptunia Shooter Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls Trillion: God of Destruction Beckett Everything Rusty Lake Hotel The Stanley Parable Thomas Was Alone Yume Nikki YUMENIKKI -DREAM DIARY- Game Character Hub PE: DS Generator Parts Game Character Hub PE: Second Story Game Character Hub: Portfolio Edition RPG Maker MV RPG Maker MV - GENE RPG Maker MV - MADO RPG Maker MV - SAKAN RPG Maker VX RPG Maker VX Ace RPG Maker XP Visual Novel Maker + Live 2D Evergarden Shenmue I & II SYNTHETIK: Legion Rising Bridge Constructor Portal Portal Knights SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell Staxel Tricky Towers When Ski Lifts Go Wrong Planet Alpha Puss! The Spiral Scouts Cat Quest HIVESWAP: Act 1 Immortal Planet Pillars of Eternity Tyranny - Standard Edition Carrier Command: Gaea Mission Pound of Ground Take On Helicopters Take on Mars Ylands Distance God's Trigger Guacamelee! 2 MOTHERGUNSHIP DISTRAINT 2 Rusty Lake Paradise Unexplored The Adventure Pals Almost There: The Platformer Yoku's Island Express 60 Parsecs! Love is Dead Road Redemption Clustertruck Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor Party Hard Punch Club SpeedRunners Duskers Paratopic Pool Panic Red Faction Guerilla Re-Mars-tered Black The Fall Octahedron The Turing Test I'm not a Monster Wandersong 11-11 Memories Retold Impact Winter Little Nightmares PAC-MAN™ Championship Edition DX+ Project CARS Genital Jousting Highway Blossoms Just Deserts Purrfect Date Sunrider Academy Sunrider: Liberation Day - Captain's Edition Among the Sleep - Enhanced Edition Tooth and Tail Dandara MINIT Steel Rats 12 is Better Than 6 BLACKHOLE Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! Kingsway kuso Soft Body Way of the Passive Fist Slipstream Dear Esther: Landmark Edition GoNNER Headlander Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Bleed 2 Rapture Rejects Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder Sniper Elite 3 Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition Worms Clan Wars Animal Super Squad Anomaly 2 Anomaly Defenders Anomaly: Warzone Earth Blade & Bones Board Battlefield Clicker bAdventure Cloudborn Convoy Cube Link Deep Dungeons of Doom Detective Case and Clown Bot in: Murder in the Hotel Lisbon Don't Stand Out Dungeon Escape Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered Flux8 Freaky Awesome Guns of Icarus Alliance Collector's Edition Hackyzack The Haunting of Billy Hello Pollution! Hyperdrive Massacre Indecision. Kabounce Lakeview Cabin Collection Last Encounter LOVE Lucius Demake Marvin's Mittens Match Point No Time To Explain Remastered Race The Sun R-COIL Road Doom Slime-san Super Steampunk Pinball 2D Sure Footing Switchblade Starter Pack Temple of Xiala Throne of Lies The Online Game of Deceit Tower 57 Tross Unit 4 Wizorb Zero G Arena Colt Express King and Assassins Kentucky Route Zero RWBY: Grimm Eclipse War for the Overworld + Heart of Gold DLC The Dwarves Resident Evil Revelations Gremlins, Inc. Old Man's Journey Pathfinder Adventures Talisman: Digital Edition Carcassonne - Tiles & Tactics Talisman: Digital Edition How to Survive 2 Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition 12 is Better than 6 Bear With Me - Collector's Edition Dungeon of the Endless Jalopy NBA Playgrounds Action Henk JYDGE Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes Kingdom: New Lands Laser League Holy Potatoes! We're In Space?! Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City Grand Theft Auto III Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Filthy, Stinking, Orcs Sanctum 2 Grey Goo Sorcerer King: Rivals Green Man Gaming - CRUSADER KINGS II WARHAMMER END TIMES VERMINTIDE INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US ULTIMATE THE FLAME IN THE FLOOD FROZEN SYNAPSE PRIME BEAT COP SUPER CLOUDBUILT THE LITTLE ACRE INSURGENCY FEAR 3 DEAD AGE MAGICKA SERIAL CLEANER CASTLEVANIA LORDS OF SHADOW 2 FAHRENHEIT REMASTERED OPERATION FLASHPOINT RED RIVER ROCKET KNIGHT LEGO BATMAN BIOZONE ADR1FT Fanatical - Autonauts Guards How to Take Off Your Mask ENIGMA: Garfield Kart Stronghold Legends: Steam Edition Styx: Master of Shadows Among the Sleep - Enhanced Edition EARTH'S DAWN Do Not Feed the Monkeys Rain World Shadwen Syndrome The Technomancer Chess Ultra Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX!!!!! DEAD OR SCHOOL Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom XBlaze Code: Embryo XBlaze Lost: Memories Duke Nukem Forever GUILTY GEAR Xrd -REVELATOR- Party Hard 2 The Walking Dead This War of Mine Blood: Fresh Supply Syberia II If My Heart Had Wings LoveKami -Divinity Stage- LoveKami -Useless Goddess- The Surge Dungeons 2 The First Templar - Steam Special Edition Urban Empire The Dark Eye: Demonicon Chronicles of Magic: Divided Kingdoms Endless Fables 3: Dark Moor King's Heir: Rise to the Throne Lost Grimoires 3: The Forgotten Well My Brother Rabbit Noir Chronicles: City of Crime Path of Sin: Greed Queen's Quest 4: Sacred Truce Tharsis Little Big Adventure 2 Return to Mysterious Island 2 Damned Return to Mysterious Island Odyssey - The Story of Science Little Big Adventure - Enhanced Edition Sanitarium The Royal Marines Commando STARBO Raptor: Call of The Shadows - 2015 Edition Guns of Icarus Online Hamsterdam Gates of Hell Perfect Heist Aces of the Luftwaffe Operation Thunderstorm Clouds & Sheep 2 Archamon The Crown of Leaves HERO DEFENSE Tales From Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation Last Dream: World Unknown The Swindle Robothorium: Cyberpunk Dungeon Crawler Equilinox Rogue Wizards Codex of Victory Haimrik In Fear I Trust In Fear I Trust - Episode 2 In Fear I Trust - Episode 3 In Fear I Trust - Episode 4 The Watchmaker The Uncertain - The Last Quiet Day World's Dawn Extinction Infinite Air with Mark McMorris Super Inefficient Golf Tales of Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation Shadwen Creeping Terror Fantasy Wars Ascension to the Throne Savage Lands Survivalist Still Life Holy Avatar vs. Maidens of the Dead Syberia Miasmata Syberia II Looterkings Damned Lost Civilization QuestRun Railroad Pioneer SkyDrift Thunder Wolves Airline Tycoon Deluxe Overclocked: A History of Violence Dark Strokes: The Legend of the Snow Kingdom Collector's Edition Eternal Journey: New Atlantis Forest Legends: The Call of Love Collector's Edition House of 1000 Doors: Evil Inside House of 1000 Doors: Serpent Flame Joan Jade and the Gates of Xibalba Love Alchemy: A Heart in Winter Magic Encyclopedia: Moon Light Mind's Eye: Secrets of the Forgotten The Fog: Trap for Moths Analogue: A Hate Story Detention The Coma: Recut The Coma: Recut - Soundtrack & Art Pack DLC Revolution Ace Californium SkyDrift Clinically Dead Out There Somewhere Fate Tectonics Plazma Being One Finger Death Punch ESport Manager Dungeons 2 Galaxy Squad Oriental Empires Stars in Shadow TASTEE Lethal Tactics The Lion's Song: Season Pass Homeworld Remastered Collection Shuyan Saga Steel Vampire Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX!!!! Guilty Gear X2 #Reload Lifeless Planet Premier Edition Snake Pass BEEP DRAGON: A Game About a Dragon Destiny Warriors RPG Gun Rocket Labyronia RPG Labyronia RPG 2 LocoSoccer Out There Somewhere Storm of Spears RPG Subterra Sun Blast: Star Fighter The Odyssey: Winds of Athena Tiny Bridge: Ratventure Crouching Pony Hidden Dragon GAUGE Isbarah Poöf Puddle Replay - VHS is not dead Wooden Sen'SeY House of Caravan Cultures Northland Splatter Zombie Apocalypse Squirbs Learn Japanese to survive Hiragana Battle Airscape The Fall of Gravity Revolution Ace Labyronia RPG PARTICLE MACE Cultures 8th Wonder of the World GIBZ STAR WARS Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy STAR WARS Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast Dex Figment Hive Jump Jalopy PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIII STEAM EDITION Blades of Time Limited Edition Blood Knights Demonicon Drakensang GemCraft - Chasing Shadows Heroes of Annihilated Empires Inquisitor Knights and Merchants Lichdom: Battlemage Numen: Contest of Heroes Rune Classic Sudeki Two Worlds II: Velvet Edition Wizardry 6&7 Asteroid Bounty Hunter Charlie's Adventure Cube Runner Duke of Alpha Centauri Fly and Destroy Hungry Flame Neon Space Neon Space 2 ShipLord Slash It Slash It 2 Spin Rush Survive in Space Upside Down Distant Worlds: Universe Heavy Burger I am not a Monster Learn Japanese to survive Hiragana Battle SimplePlanes Sword Legacy Omen Moero Chronicle Moero Chronicle - Deluxe Pack DLC 35MM Deadlight Distrust Killing Room March of the Living Savage Lands Tharsis Valnir Rok Survival RPG Dreamscapes: The Sandman - Premium Edition Dreamscapes: Nightmare's Heir - Premium Edition Sea Legends: Phantasmal Light Collector's Edition Witch's Pranks: Frog's Fortune Collector's Edition Kingdom of Aurelia: Mystery of the Poisoned Dagger Taken Souls: Blood Ritual Collector's Edition Silver Tale A Plot Story Hexus Jane Angel: Templar Mystery Dream Walker Witch's Tales Escape Doodland Mad Dream: Coma Earthworms Clinically Dead Mech Rage Camper Jumper Simulator ESport Manager Darkest Hunters The Sexy Brutale Beholder The Last Door - Collector's Edition The Last Door: Season 2 - Collector's Edition Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller System Shock: Enhanced Edition System Shock 2 Metal Fatigue Spirits of Xanadu Shadow Man I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream Homeworld Remastered Collection Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation PAYDAY 2 Jalopy Hover Figment Subterrain STARWHAL Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure Joggernauts The Long Reach Mainlining Coffin Dodgers The Rivers of Alice - Extended Version Zombie Kill of the Week - Reborn The Walking Vegetables Unbox: Newbie's Adventure System Shock: Enhanced Edition UNLOVED Killing Room Sir, You Are Being Hunted Styx: Shards of Darkness STAR WARS - Knights of the Old Republic STAR WARS Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords Shadowrun: Hong Kong - Extended Edition SimCity™ 4 Deluxe Edition STAR WARS™ - The Force Unleashed™ Ultimate Sith Edition METAL SLUG X Oxenfree Galactic Civilizations II: Ultimate Edition Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes The Political Machine 2016 The Corporate Machine Sorcerer King: Rivals Demigod Go! Go! Nippon! ~My First Trip to Japan~ March of the Living Four Sided Fantasy Dungeon Rushers The Invisible Hours Dead Secret The Free Ones HIVESWAP: Act 1 Castle of no Escape 2 Galactic Lords W4RR-i/o-RS Nogibator: Way Of Legs WN - ShP Fairy Lands: Rinka and the Fairy Gems Drill Arena Walhall Er-Spectro Risky Rescue Frederic: Evil Strikes Back 16bit Trader Midnight Mysteries Midnight Mysteries 4: Haunted Houdini Zombie Bowl-o-Rama Little Farm Silver Knight ANKI Lift It 3 Coins At School Deep Eclipse: New Space Odyssey Green Ranch The lost joystick UBERMOSH Vol. 5 Trip to Vinelands TTV2 SWARMRIDER OMEGA UBERMOSH UBERMOSH:BLACK UBERMOSH Vol.3 Iesabel Daemonsgate Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess Spiritual Warfare & Wisdom Tree Collection Prophecy I - The Viking Child Drakkhen Hostage: Rescue Mission King's Table - The Legend of Ragnarok Eternam Chaos Control Bubble Ghost Mystical Alien Rampage Frederic: Resurrection of Music Teddy Floppy Ear - Mountain Adventure Teddy Floppy Ear - Kayaking Millie Sparkle 2 Evo Story of the Survivor SharpShooter3D Goodbye My King Watch This! Crazy Oafish Ultra Blocks: Big Sale Crystal City Bloody Boobs AuroraRL Dispatcher Casino Noir Detective Noir Reptilians Must Die! The Braves & Bows Zzzz-Zzzz-Zzzz The Dweller Surfingers Timberman Sparkle 3 Genesis Cat on a Diet Zombillie Asteroid Bounty Hunter ShipLord Neon Prism Slash It Slash It 2 Cube Runner Upside Down Spin Rush Neon Space Neon Space 2 Duke of Alpha Centauri Hungry Flame Survive in Space Fly and Destroy Charlie's Adventure Luxor Evolved Luxor: Amun Rising HD LUXOR: Mah Jong Luxor: Quest for the Afterlife Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena Red Risk Particula Overcast - Walden and the Werewolf OutDrive Invasion Cubium Dreams Iron Impact Stigmat Marco Polo Cybercube Mr. Dubstep Monstrum Wick Lethe - Episode One 35MM I Shall Remain Silence of the Sleep Rebel Galaxy Punch Club - Deluxe Edition Grey Goo Definitive Edition RiME Gloom SharpShooter3D Goodbye My King Crystal City Art of Murder - Cards of Destiny Art of Murder - Deadly Secrets Art of Murder - FBI Confidential Art of Murder - Hunt for the Puppeteer Art of Murder - The Secret Files Chronicles of Mystery - Secret of the Lost Kingdom Chronicles of Mystery - The Legend of the Sacred Treasure Chronicles of Mystery - The Tree of Life Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual Megadimension Neptunia VII Megadimension Neptunia VII Digital Deluxe Set DLC Galactic Lords W4RR-i/o-RS Nogibator: Way Of Legs WN - ShP Fairy Lands: Rinka and the Fairy Gems Drill Arena Walhall Er-Spectro Daemonsgate Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess Spiritual Warfare & Wisdom Tree Collection Prophecy I - The Viking Child Drakkhen Marco Polo Hostage: Rescue Mission King's Table - The Legend of Ragnarok Eternam Chaos Control Bubble Ghost Mystical Alien Rampage Ocean Classics Volume 1 200% Mixed Juice War of the Human Tanks Worms Worms Reloaded: Game of the Year Edition Worms Ultimate Mayhem - Deluxe Edition Worms Crazy Golf Worms Blast Worms Pinball The Mooseman Sky Break Tropico 5 Super Cloudbuilt Tower 57 Dex Epistory - Typing Chronicles Deponia: The Complete Journey Table Top Racing: World Tour Riff Racer - Race Your Music! GT Legends GTR Evolution Vangers Insane 2 Zero Gear Race.a.bit Mashed Race: The WTCC Game + Caterham Expansion Little Racers STREET BARRIER X Super Toy Cars Mini Motor Racing EVO Drift Streets Japan Instant Death Spirits of Xanadu Swipe Fruit Smash Voxel Baller Breezeblox BalanCity VRog BoomTown! Deluxe City Siege: Faction Island Bomb The Monsters! Crazy Belts Rush for Glory Naval Warfare Insurgency Blood Knights Heroes of Annihilated Empires Wizardry 6 & 7 Drakensang Rune Classic Gemcraft - Chasing Shadows Knights and Merchants Etherlords I & II Sudeki Numen: Contest of Heroes Inquisitor Commands & Colors: The Great War Making History: The Calm and the Storm Gold Edition Attrition: Tactical Fronts Imperial Glory Praetorians Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty Commandos 2: Men of Courage Commandos 3: Destination Berlin Ominous Tales: The Forsaken Isle Beyond the Invisible: Evening Tearstone Entwined: Strings of Deception Vengeance: Lost Love The Rosebud Condominium Where Angels Cry: Tears of the Fallen (Collector's Edition) Lightning: D-Day Congo Merc Hold the Line: The American Revolution Battles of the Ancient World Peninsular War Battles 1812: The Invasion of Canada Russian Front 7 Wonders II 7 Wonders of the Ancient World 7 Wonders: Ancient Alien Makeover 7 Wonders: Magical Mystery Tour 7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven Discovery! A Seek and Find Adventure Gardens Inc. 2: The Road to Fame Glowfish Little Farm Luxor 2 HD Luxor 3 Luxor Evolved Luxor HD Luxor: 5th Passage Luxor: Amun Rising HD LUXOR: Mah Jong Luxor: Quest for the Afterlife Midnight Mysteries Midnight Mysteries 3: Devil on the Mississippi Midnight Mysteries 4: Haunted Houdini Midnight Mysteries: Salem Witch Trials Midnight Mysteries: Witches of Abraham - Collector's Edition Pickers Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena The Dweller Iesabel EM: Shader Attack Invasion Labyronia RPG Labyronia RPG 2 Legend of Mysteria RPG Chosen 2 Balloon Blowout Bayla Bunny Block Blowout Chess Knight 2 Dessert Storm Fantastic 4 In A Row 2 Fantastic Checkers 2 Ludo Supremo Mahjong Deluxe 2: Astral Planes Mahsung Deluxe Mini Golf Mundo Pepe Porcupine Puppy Dog: Jigsaw Puzzles Puzzles Under The Hill Ultimate Word Search 2: Letter Boxed Bubble Blowout Train Valley Broken Sword Trilogy Daemonsgate Chamber of the Sci-Mutant Priestess Prophecy I - The Viking Child Drakkhen Marco Polo Hostage: Rescue Mission King's Table - The Legend of Ragnarok Bubble Ghost Mystical Ocean Classics Volume 1 Pandora: First Contact 35MM Grand Ages: Rome GOLD GT Legends Nether: Resurrected CAT Interstellar Circut Breakers Memoranda Sins of the Demon RPG Gladiator Trainer Dragon Sinker Neon Chrome Skullgirls Mad Games Tycoon Replica Patrician IV - Steam Special Edition Patrician IV: Rise of a Dynasty Patrician III The Swindle Zenith Hive Jump ICY: Frostbite Edition Commandos Collection Revhead Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 Demolish & Build 2017 Robot Squad Simulator 2017 Skullgirls & DLC The Mims Beginning Dreamstones Cally's Caves 4 Tank Battle: East Front Tank Battle: Pacific Tank Battle: Normandy Tank Battle: North Africa Tank Battle: 1944 Tank Battle: Blitzkrieg Tank Battle: 1945 Civil War: 1861 Civil War: Bull Run 1861 Civil War: 1862 Civil War: 1865 Civil War: Gettysburg Civil War: 1864 SK8 King of the Eggs Bouncy Bob Hotel Dracula Warfront Defenders: Westerplatte Pony Island Who's Your Daddy SWARMRIDER OMEGA SWARMRIDER OMEGA OST DLC SWARMRIDERS: Original Soundtrack DLC DinoSystem Super Sports Surgery Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year Edition Startide Timberman Kathy Rain Table Top Racing: World Tour Z Dark Years Exowar Total Extreme Wrestling World of Mixed Martial Arts 3 IGT Slots Paradise Garden Anti-Opoly Wrestling Spirit 3 Draft Day Sports College Basketball 3 Draft Day Sports Pro Basketball 4 Defend Your Life Hyperdrive Massacre The lost joystick Orbital Racer RUNRUNRUN Murder... 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OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – Just take a hard left at Daeseong-dong…5
Continuing “Hey, Viv!”, I say, as we’re all being shuttled onto the bus which will take us to our hotel, “Toss me one of those miniatures, if you please. Yeah. Of course, Vodka’ll do. It’s bloody dusty round these parts.” Viv chuckles and asks if anyone else wants anything. He’s a consummate scrounger and somehow sweet-talked a demure and pulchritudinous female Air China cabin attendant out of her phone number, Email address, and a case of 100 airline liquor miniatures. That he looks like a marginally graying version of Robert Mitchum in his heyday and speaks fluent Dutch, French, and Italian might explain his success. I mean, a guy with four ex-wives can’t be all wrong, right? He’s a definite outlier in this crowd. We could be characterized as a batch of aging natural geoscientists who collectively, sans Viv, add up to an approximate eight on the “Looker” scale. Besides the years, the mileage, the climatic, and industrial ravages, it’s a good thing we all have expansive personalities, as most of us are dreadful enough to make a buzzard barf. But, save for Viv, no one presently here is on the make. Oh, sure; we’ll all sweet talk some fair nubile into a free drink or a double when we really ordered a regular drink, but we’re all married, most terminally, that is, over 35 years and counting. The odd thing is that save and except for Viv, none of us married folk had ever been divorced. That is strange, considering that the global divorce rate hovers around 50%, and we are often called to be apart from kith and kin for prolonged periods. However, we are always faithful and committed to our marital units and those vows we spoke all those many long decades ago. But, hey, we’re all seriously male and not anywhere near dead; and there’s no penalty for just looking, right? Continuing. We’re all loaded on a pre-war, not certain which war, by the way, bus which stank of fish, kimchee, and diesel fuel. We really don’t care even a tiny, iotic amount. It’s free transport, we’re tired of traveling, and not keen on walking any further than we absolutely have to. Viv has been passing out boozy little liquor miniatures, and I’ve been handing out cigars since I bought a metric shitload back in Dubai Duty-Free and somehow got them all through customs. We didn’t light up, as there was neither a driver nor handler present. So, we figured we’d all just wait on the cigars, and concentrate on having a little ground-level “Welcome to Best Korea” party until the powers that be got their collective shit together and provided drivers, herders, and handlers. We sat there for 15 long minutes. Being the international ambassadors of amity and insobriety, we started making noises like “Hey! Where’s our fucking driver?” and “I am Doctor Academician! Of All State Russian Geological Survey! How dare you make me wait? ” Suddenly, a couple of characters in ill-fitting gray suits and fake Rays Bans are outside the bus having a collective meltdown. Somehow, someone fucked up and put us on a ‘regular’ bus and not the ‘VIP’ bus. In other words, we got to see what the locals really got to ride around Pyongyang on instead of our supposed to be impressed by the bus that wasn’t there; but was now just arriving. A spanking new purple-and-chrome Mercedes long-haul bus shows up. It even has our group name emblazoned above the placard that normally tells where the bus is headed or who it is for: “’국제 석유 지질 과학 연합’ [Gugje Seog-yu Jijil Gwahag Yeonhab] or ‘International Union of Petroleum Geological Sciences’”. We are brusquely ordered off our present bus and into the opulent, obviously bespoke, bright yellow faux-leather interior Mercedes-Benz Tourismo RH M. It’s so new and so obviously a ploy to get us to think that all things here are so new and opulent, it even smells of that new car, ah, bus, aroma. “Well, we’ll take care of that soon enough”, I muse, as the bus is equipped with ashtrays and we’re going on the scenic route to our hotel, which is only 25 or so kilometers from the airport. However, it was announced that it’ll take us about 2 hours to get to our hotel since we need to see the city in its best light and get a feeling for the town if we should ever find ourselves lost and alone. We all know what’s going on. They’re getting our rooms ‘ready’ for our arrival and need some extra time to make sure everything’s all wired in and transmitting properly. “Guys”, I muse to our new handlers, “I’ve been to the Soviet Union, pre-wall fall. I stayed in places where I was definitely among the first westerners ever to grace their porticos. We’re a busload of natural scientists, of eight different nationalities, covering the economic spectrum from staunch capitalism to sociable socialism to hard-core communism. You even think for a second we’re going to spill any beans about anything you’d find interesting or useful? Think again.” In fact, it would become a running joke between us all to see what sort of fake bombshells we could drop into the normal conversation what would give the listener’s the greatest case of the jibblies. But for now, our bags were all loaded into the cargo compartment of this very, very nice, I must admit, mode of conveyance. Our handlers: ‘Yuk’, ‘No’, ‘Man’, and ‘Kong’, are all seated upfront and please with their latest tally of bodies. We have a couple of shady fellow travelers with the knock-off Ray-Bans and shiny gray suits that just appeared out of the woodwork in the back, seated by the loo, watching over all of us, and we’re going on a fucking city tour, whether we like it or not. We’re all present and accounted for. Let’s keep our camera in our bags for the time being as the drinking and smoking lights had just been lit as the bus fired up its new German-engineered and machined precision diesel engine. The bus rumbled to life and after a moment or two of checking that all dials, gauges, and indicators were where they were supposed to be; without so much as a cursory glance, we pulled out into traffic. Except there was none. Not another bus, pushbike, tap-tap, scooter, car, truck, hover-board, or motorcycle in sight. Nothing. Seems we were a big deal. They shut down the main drag so we wouldn’t be encumbered by such proletariat things like traffic jams or people-things cluttering the roadway, clambering for a look at the Western scientific cadre. So, away we whizzed, sans traffic and into the very belly of the beast, and onward; eventually, towards our hotel. Our handlers were very kind to point out passing scenes of interest. “Look, look! There’s the Potong River. Notice all the lovely birds, ‘eh what? See the Norwegian Blue? Beautiful plumage!” “See here, look. Here’s the Taedong River. Many forms of fish in the river. Maybe we’ll see some fishermen. If you like, we can stop, and ask them about today’s catch.” We all declined, as we were certain that the fish the ‘random fisherman’ we’d talk to was flown in fresh from elsewhere earlier in the day. Besides, we were comfortable. We had our drinks, our cigars, and we were leaving the driving to someone else. After being driven around the city and seeing all the wonderful monuments, like the faux Arch of Triumph, which looks exactly unlike its namesake Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile in Paris. The Arch of Reunification, a monument to the goal of a reunified Korea, which, by necessity, is unfinished. Then there’s the Tomb of King Tongmyŏng, where people are lining up, just dying’ to get in. Finally, we all called for our hotel, the Yanggakdo, after yet another mausoleum, the Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun. Arches or tombs. Such a stunning array of monuments and places of less than moderate interest. We were interested in Mirae Scientists street (Future Scientists street). It is a street in a newly developed area in Pyongyang to house scientific institutions of the Kim Chaek University of Technology and its employees. But we were told that it was too late, there was not much there to see, we needed to express written permission to visit, and we’d be going there tomorrow or next week. We wheel into the parking lot of the Yanggakdo Hotel and are immediately unimpressed by the pseudo-Baroque concrete fiasco that appears to stand, wobbly, before us. It’s a page right out of the Soviet Construction-For-The-Masses Handbook. A cold, gray concrete edifice with multitudes of seemingly little, tiny windows. A perfect metaphor for our travels thus far; look at the expansiveness of Best Korean wonders, through this pinhole. However, we judged too soon. We were told to go inside and check-in, whilst our luggage would be de-bussed for us and handled by the expertly efficient hotel staff. The lobby was opulent, tastefully laid out in earth tones of facades of veneers of marble, granite, some garnet-mica schist, if my hand lens doesn’t lie, some Prepaleozoic anatectic migmatite, displaying intricate and intense plication, xenoliths, and graphic delineation of minerals by segregation through melting points. There was a gigantic well-appointed and well kept up aquarium, complete with snuffling sharks and nuclear-submarine sized groupers. Very handsome indeed. Impressions increasing slightly. Then we see that there’s a bloody casino on the bottom floor of the hotel, several bars interspersed throughout the hotel, and karaoke, of which I’m not terribly fond, but some of my European counterparts almost swooned at the prospect. There are a large pool and weight rooms/gymnasia, saunas and places to relax outside of one’s room, but still under the watchful eye of the thousands of ill-concealed video cameras at every turn. “Covert surveillance” may be a thing in Best Korea, but it’s a practice still leaves a lot to be desired. The Eastern Siberian Russians back before the wall fell were more covert with their obvious button audio microphones woven into the fabric covering the headboard of your Intourist bed than the Best Koreans here. Their cameras were ‘disguised’ as flower arrangements, overhead lights, and speakers inexplicably placed into things like standing ashtrays, refuse bins, and randomly placed holes in the wall. The floors were all covered with exquisite what looked to be hand-woven rugs of most vibrant crimson and gold; the usual Communistic colors. Always with some sort of floral pattern or pattern that’s supposed to be reflective of nature, as I was told. Evidently, for workers to remember what nature was as they don’t get out much with 14 to 16 hours workdays here in the Worker’s Paradise. Enough of the travelogue; we all wander up to the front desk, and each with their own passport in hand, request our reserved rooms. We supposed that we would all have rooms on different floors as the reservations were made, expired, re-made, juggled, rebooked, allowed to expire, re-jiggered, and finally formalized a scant week before we left the UK. Nope. No such luck. We were all on the 39th floor. The place boasts 47 floors, of which, the top floor is a revolving restaurant. Evidently, food tastes better when you’re rotating. However, it won’t spin unless you first buy a drink. We had that thing whirling like a NASA centrifuge after its discovery the second night. Yeah, all 12 of us are bivouacked on the 39th floor. A floor with approximately 30 rooms. I guess we could have played “Room Roulette” and see who got which room and who’s luggage. Or we could switch every day or two to drive our handlers nuts. Or, we could just take our assigned rooms, which were conveniently located one empty room apart. Meaning, no one had adjoining rooms. Why? Fuck if I know. We didn’t spend much time in our rooms, and that time was either sleeping or showering. We’d all meet at the bar, casino, restaurant, karaoke, bowling alley (all three lanes) or actual meeting rooms every once in a while when we thought we should get together and compare notes. It was the most inexplicable situation. Plus, we spent an inordinate amount of time waiting on the fucking elevators to take us to our room. These elevators, and if you think you’re going to get a batch of aging senior scientists to schlep it up 39 floor’s worth of stairs, think again; are the slowest elevators in the civilized world. And that was the consensus of scientists representing not only Europe and North America, but Russia as well. 15-25 minutes added to each journey, up or down; stopping on every floor, except 5, on the way down.. Jesus Q. Fuck, dudes. If you can’t construct a bleedin’ elevator that works better than those at the Sozvezdie Medveditsy Guest House in Lesosibirsk, Eastern Siberia; then I suggest you seriously rethink your plans for world domination and new world order. Grako and Erwin once, while waiting for the fucking elevator, figured out that we were earning some US$25 each just to wait for the lift to arrive and take us to our rooms. Every day. Sometimes several times per day. With that, we all agreed to toss our “waiting time” funds into a kitty and on our last day of captivity here, blow it all in the hotel casino. Whatever became of that would be donated to the Koreans we thought most deserving of our largesse. Would it be our handlers? How about the Korean Scientists we’d be meeting? The affable and most accommodating concierge? Or that plucky little Korean charwoman who was always on our floor and kept everything spotless, right down to our freshly laundered and pressed field clothes and newly polished field boots; done without our requesting or knowledge? Only time would tell. It could be a fortune or it could be bupkiss. Just like our expectations of the Heavenly Kingdom where we were currently sequestered. As it was, with our official protestations, they kept only photocopies of our passports as we roundly refused and threatened a full-scale karaoke battle right here in the lobby if they didn’t relinquish our passports immediately. I had broken out my nastiest cigar and was primed to offend. With that, we all had our keys and trooped over to the elevators for our first, of many, inexplicable waits. We made many uncharitable and potentially nasty remarks about the Anti-Western posters that made up some of the wall décor. Once we finally made it to our floor, we all fanned out to find our rooms. Viv found his first and was quite pleased to report to the rest of us that there was a “Welcome” basket in his room. We all hoped that we would be receiving one a well. I was in room 3914; which I considered a close call, but later only wondered as there was no 3913. Upon entering, I saw it was 1980s Hotel 6 opulent, but with an excellent over-city view. True it was late, dark, and the city was only somewhat lit up; I was looking forward to the view of the town in full daylight. The room had a ‘king’ bed; that is if the king in question was Tutankhamen, the stubby, Egyptian boy king. The bed had no mattress pad and no box spring but it was hard enough for my liking. Many of my compatriots didn’t agree and complained bitterly. They eventually received thin mattress pads for all their kvetching. There was an ancient Japanese color television, which only had 2 English language channels - Al Jazeera and the BBC, which was on a dated news loop. Watching the local channel is amusing though; the ads for ‘personal enhancements’ were hilarious, even without understanding a word of the language. There were a couple of chairs and a low table, built-in dresser drawers for our clothes, a rusty and probably unusable room safe with corroded batteries, a small table built out of the wall that would serve as my travel office, and would-you-believe, a rotary telephone; how’s that for nostalgia? There was an old-model radio built into the nightstand next to the bed. I was very surprised to find it not only received AM, FM but shortwave as well. I had brought along a pair of Bose headphones and during some rainy down days, spent many fun-filled, and I mean that sincerely, hours DXing from the comfort of my ‘enormous’ king bed. Beyond that, the room was very nondescript. Like any other of the millions of rooms in hotels around the world that unlike here, aren’t claiming a 5-star rating. I mean, it was clean, if not a little long in the tooth. But didn’t smell too terrible, even after I took care of that with my Camacho offerings. It was utilitarian, everything worked, even the water pressure, which surprisingly could strip off layers of one’s skin if you weren’t careful. The bathroom, though no Jacuzzi, had a large enough bathtub for the occasional soaking period. Western accouterments in the bathroom were also welcome additions. My knees can’t handle the traditional squat-holes any longer. There were an electric teapot and several brands of tea, but no coffee. A quick “Gee! I sure wish I had some coffee!” to the four walls and damned if 30 minutes later, a porter didn’t arrive to replenish my tea and courtesy in-room coffee… There was a small Japanese brand in-room refrigerator which I thought might house a mini-bar. Oh, no! It was actually a complimentary larder stocked with all sorts of Best Korean goodies. Multiple cans of Taedonggang beer. Several bottles of Pyongyang Soju, in various flavors ranging anywhere from 16.8 to 53 percent alcohol by volume. My fridge was skewed towards the right-hand side of the bell curve; the more heavy-duty boozy side. Evidently, my reputation had preceded me again. There was a selection of German-style wheat beers from the Taedonggang Brewery and the more familiar ales, steam beers, and lagers. There were some imported beers like Heineken, Bavaria, Pils, a couple of Japanese brands: Asahi and Kirin, and something called ‘Hello Beer’ from Singapore. There were also ‘sampler’ bottles of Apricot Pit wine, and a couple of high-alcohol fruity liquors made from constituents such as apple or pear, and mushrooms. There were also special medicinal liquors like ‘Rason’s Seal Penis Liquor’. That is going home with me unopened. There were a couple of bottles of local sake, called Chonju. Finally, there was a couple ‘samplers’ of homemade alcohol known as Makkoli. Plus there was something called ‘Corn Grotto’, which for the life of me, looks and tastes much like a very passable Kentucky Sippin’ Bourbon. I put our concierge on instant danger money the very next day. He’s yet to source me more than a fifth of the stuff so far. I found that there is a popular drink here which mirrors the Yorsch of Mother Russia. Beer and soju can be mixed to create *somaek’; a foamy, frothy, funky drink of many flavors, depending on the soju chosen. Is ethnoimbibology at thing? The science of how different cultures drink and the effects of drinking culture on different societies. If not, now I have another Ph.D. to pursue after I endow a chair at some likely Asian university. Anyways, in everyone’s room was a “welcome” basket, just chock full of Best Korean goodies. Postcards, stamps, ads for coin sets, stamp proofs and other goodies that could be purchased at the hotel. There was a field notebook, which I thought was a very nice addition, newspapers, cookies, crackers, biscuits, candies, fruit drinks, and some fresh fruit; although tamarind chewies and durian chips aren’t on my list of personal favorites. There were a couple of tour books, just chock full of staged photos. These were very nice as well, as so far, we haven’t had much time for shopping outside of government stores or smaller family-run shops in town or out in the boonies. A few of us were hungry and decided to see what the hotel had to offer room service-wise. Bupkiss. But, they did have a selection of restaurants. There is a Chinese restaurant, a European restaurant, and a Korean restaurant on site but they all serve the same food...a Best Korean attempt at western food. And it was weird being the only ones in the restaurant even though it was fully staffed. We grazed lightly and decided to do some late-night perambulations around our hotel. Our handlers admonished us to stay within the confines of the hotel, or see them if it was absolutely necessary to go walkabout. In the hotel, we were on our own. We found that there were tunnels in the hotel’s basement. The basement tunnels were a real bonus. There’s a bar with pool tables, a karaoke room, bowling, and a massage parlor, where I was beaten and pummeled into submission by tiny, diminutive, little Korean lassies fully 1/5th my size. It was wonderful. There was a hairdresser’s, who were completely befuddled by my shoulder-length silver-gray locks and full gray Grizzly Adams beard. They did provide a lovely shampoo/cranial massage though for the equivalent of US$2. There were a couple of shops selling Chinese goods rather than local stuff, which was sort of disappointing, a cold noodle bar, and another casino. No shops selling Korean Communist propaganda posters, as I wanted to augment my Soviet-era collection. Perhaps I’ll find something in-country later on. We were shocked to find that the casino had WiFi that was uncensored and we were able to access; after a fee of liquor miniatures and a cigar or two. We were supposed to have access to the global internet, not local intranet, from the universities that we would be visiting. However, all of that was under the heavily squinting eyes of handlers and guys in shiny suits wearing fake Ray-Bans. I still had my secret satellite internet lash-up available, but that was iffy, a pain in the ass to set up, and ridiculously expensive. However, it did work on the 39th floor and the times I used it instead of wandering down to the tunnels, no one appeared to be the wiser. Thus far. So typically, we’d just head to the basement casino with our laptops, iPads, and phones. Bam! Robert’s your Sister’s Husband, we could connect more-or-less free with the outside world; hence how you are reading this now. Herro! “Yes, I’d sure like another beer. This time a porter, if you please.” The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain. Or the more they put into locks, the easier they are to pick. Besides, we were told we’d have access to unfettered and free internet. OK, so we just found it for ourselves. Whaddya expect? We’re scientists, motherfucker, back off. Ahem. Back to reality. The breakfast buffet the next morning had a wide choice of Asian and Western food, although the choices seemed to be the same every day. The main event was to beat the Chinese tourists to the egg station every morning. Breakfast always included fried eggs, a limited selection of pork, kippered fish, potatoes, rice, fruit, and a very Titanium-dioxide-white white bread After a while, I took to going to the small market behind the lobby, buying some imported Chinese or Japanese nibbly bits and heading to the tunnels for a few breakfast beers before the long hard day’s work. It took almost a week, but I gained the trust of some of the workers in the tunnels and they showed me the on-site microbrewery at the hotel. It produced very passable, and very, very cheap beers of several varieties. Liquid bread. Beer. Is there nothing it can’t do? After breakfast our first day at the hotel, we were told to meet in the Conference Room “Il-sung” as we were going to have a ‘Welcome foreign imperialist scientists’ introduction and indoctrination. Besides our handlers and the shiny-suit squad, there were several Korean folks we didn’t recognize. These were students, scientists, and scholars from the Kim Chaek University of Technology, Kim Il-sung University, the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology; all hailing from Pyongyang, and the University of Geology from North Hwanghae Province. “Oh, marvelous”, Erlen remarked, “It’s going to be a bloody Chautauqua. We’ll be here all day.” “Well”, I replied, “It could be worse. We could be on a bus headed off on another unscheduled road trip.” As we found our seats, our Korean counterparts were busily setting up portable screens, like the ones your grandfather had for showing his 2.1 Googleplex worth of travel slides every Christmas or Thanksgiving get-together. They had a couple of ancient Chinese brand laptops that could have doubled for body armor, they were so thick and heavy. While they fiddled with running cords for the overhead projectors and 16mm film projector; yes, it was going to be movie time as well, the hotel’s restaurant folks wheeled in carts laden with scones, cupcakes, and other sweet sorts of bakery. Another cart was wheeled in with pump-pots of hot water, tea, and coffee. Usual scientific meeting fare. There was one final cart that made the day bearable. It held a pony keg of hotel micro-brewed beer on ice, with several dozen frosty mugs available for all who wanted to partake. There were instantly 12 mugs that were spoken for. I grabbed a cold beer and wandered around the conference room, sipping beer, chewing on an unlit cigar, and just trying to be pleasant to our hosts and their scientific guests. I was surprised when one North Korean professor, who spoke amazingly British-tinged English, offered me a light for my cigar. “Is smoking allowed here?” I asked. “Allowed?” he laughed heartily, “My good man, it’s practically a prerequisite.” “Here then”, I said, offering him a nice, unctuous Camacho, “Try one of mine.” Dr. P'ung Kwang-Seon of the North Korean University of Geology became my instant and lifelong friend at that moment. We had a very nice chat, much to the chagrin of the gray suit cadre, who could hear what we were talking about, but probably didn’t understand anything beyond every 8th word. After a while, we were asked to take our seats, after refreshing our drinks, and introduced to the group of Korean geoscientists we’d be interacting with during our stay here in Best Korea. I tried to record every name, but between the students, other scholars, and professors from the various universities, I decided I’d ask for a list of participants once the day had worn on. After all, they had all our names, references, and resumes if the thick folio they kept referring to was any indication. There were a couple of hours of introductions, as every one of the Korean geoscientists there introduced themselves, mostly through translators, told of their personal area of specialty, and their latest work. Most were what would be considered geoscientists, but oddly enough, not one that you would consider a petroleum geoscientist, however tangentially. There were geomorphologists, structural geologists, petrologists, mineralogists, marine geologists, engineering geologists, and seismologists. However, there were no stratigraphers, sedimentologists, paleontologists, or geochemists. We were all geoscientists, but apart from the obvious Korean:English disparity, it was as if we spoke different scientific languages as well. That would be our first hurdle to overcome. They had no oil industry here; none whatsoever, therefore why one would bother with the geosciences that fed directly into petroleum? That, in and of itself, would make it difficult to explore for oil in the country. Couple that with the fact that they’re so insular, think their version of ‘science’ is the best, at least that’s the official line, and think all other’s ‘science’ is capitalistic, substandard, and inferior doesn’t bode well for your country discovering anything either oily or gassy. We were having another conclave around the beer keg, ack, err…a ‘coffee break’ and I mentioned this fact to my scientific colleagues. “Guys”, I need input here, “We’re going to get precisely nowhere if they won’t even acknowledge that they have major problems from the start.” Ivan replies, “Very true. I’ve seen this before back home. You get a group so entrenched in their own little corner of science, they can’t even accept or acknowledge that others exist. Not only exist but actually know more about a certain problem than do you.” Dax joins the fray, “Sure, that’s very true, but who’s going to tell them this unfortunate fact? They could take that as a personal, national, and global insult. Imagine you’re at an international conference and a bunch of foreigners walk in just to tell you you’ve been doing it all wrong for the last 75 years.” I add, “Remember, though. These characters are scientists as well. I think it’ll be a good measure of seeing what sort of science and scientist we’re dealing with here. If they are truly researchers, they’ll listen to and evaluate what we say as for veracity and accuracy. If they’re just a bunch of Commie goons; no offense, Comrade Academician Ivan, they’ll get all pissed off, kick us out, and we get to go home and enjoy our triple Force Majeure pay.” Ivan walks over and deliberately steps on the toes of my newly polished field boots. “In Soviet Russia, field boots walk on YOU.” He laughs in his heavily inflected, and scary, Soviet-era speech… “Yes, I agree”, Joon adds, “But who is going to address this issue with our hosts? Perhaps one of our Russian comrades, as they are, or were, more politically aligned with our Korean friends and perhaps best understand the issue?” Ack speaks up, grinning maniacally, “No, I disagree. We should have the one person here who so encapsulates the ideologies and political leanings that they love to hate here so much. You know; the quiet, diminutive, and soft-spoken North American…” Dax recoils, “Oh, no! I’m not going out in front of this mob of ornery Orientals…” I smile wanly and tell Dax to cool out. “Relax, Dax. They’re talking about me.” “Oh, yes”, a collective group of voices replies, “Yes. Let out fearless Team Leader break the bad news to our Eastern Colleagues. That way we can gauge their reactions to being bounced around scientifically by a member of the Evil Capitalist Cartel.” “OK”, I reply, “I’ll do it. But be forewarned, my fine feathered fiends. I get stuck on a topic that’s not precisely my bailiwick, I’m going to throw your ass to the wolves. Remember, we’re all in this together.” Whoops, and catcalls were reduced to mumbles and ‘Aw, fucks.’. Chautauqua resumption was called and I asked for the floor. It was a bit off the agenda, but since they’ve been chewing the air for the last several hours, they understood it would be appropriate for us to at least try and get a word in edgewise. I downed my beer, and grabbed a fresh one as what I was going to say was going to be harsh, cut-and-dried, and rather pointed. But delivered in a pleasant manner. I hoped. This all had to be filtered through a series of translators, one for general conversational Korean and another for the more technical and scientific transliterations. I realized I was going to be up here for a while. So, I brought a cigar. One way or another, I was going to deliver our pronouncements and hell, I may as well be comfortable while doing it. . “Greetings and felicitations, my Eastern Colleagues. Let me first say how nice it is to be here in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as part of the ….” I’m going to fast-forward through all the flowery bullshit and introductory happiness; I’ll going to just cut to the guts of the matter. “…Now, you do know why there has been virtually no oil, gas nor any other hydrocarbon related deposit discovered here in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea?” I asked by way of a rhetorical question. I sipped my beer and lit my cigar. In for a chon, in for a won. I let the buzzing subside on the side of our eastern counterparts. “Because, and please do not take this as insulting or derogatory, but as a statement of irrefutable fact, no one with the proper training nor experience has been looking. You’re historically guilty of applying the science incorrectly and letting dogma and politics guide your search, instead of the scientific method and the facts. Geology, like all natural science, is just as truth based on the facts for a capitalist as it is for a communist. Reality is not influenced by your beliefs, be they scientific or political, secular or spiritual, ‘trusted’ rather than ‘thought’; any more than by your wish that it wouldn’t rain today during a raging thunderstorm.” Little Boy over Hiroshima was dropped with less effect. Our Democratic People's Republic of Korea colleagues erupted into a chaotic mixture of stuttering, internecine yelling, accusations, and sputtering. Calling for decorum, I figured that since I was this far gone, I may as well push the plunger all the way to the bottom. “Gentlemen, I do not denigrate the science of geology as taught and practiced here in Best Korea.” I actually said that, sort of a slip of the tongue. Continuing, “However, one would not fish for Bluefin tuna from a rowboat in a pond with a fly rod. One does not hunt bear in the city with a slingshot. Just as one doesn’t search for oil and gas with mining engineers, geomorphologists, and seismologists.” I let that sink in and after the translation, they calmed a bit and wanted to hear the rest of what I had to say. I could sense a couple was less than thrilled with what I had to say, but forging onward… “One fishes for Bluefin tuna in the deep ocean with huge rods, reels and a specialist boat captained by someone with deep experience in hunting the elusive fish. One hunts bear in the proper environment, the taiga or forest, with the proper tools and guided by one with the education, learnedness, and experience to know how to make the hunt come out successful.” Hit them with some analogies they can relate to and digest. Now, go for the carotid. “Just like one does not hunt oil and gas without stratigraphers, sedimentologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists, and other oil and gas experts who have the education, experience, and knowledge to know where to look. Knowing which environment looks most conductive to hide your quarry, if you’ll pardon the pun, and how best to find them, the guys who know how to corral and de-risk them once you find them, and the engineers and technologists who know how to bring them to the surface so they can be utilized.” They had stopped being irritated and were listening in rapt attention. “My colleagues and I have spent the last few days going over, in detail the geology of your country. There is nothing we can see that would preclude the development, entrapment, and preservation of economic quantities of oil and gas. Ture, the geology is quite complex as is the structural history of the entire peninsula. That’s one other thing you will have to accept. Geology doesn’t give the tiniest shit about political boundaries. One must look at the big picture, and that doesn’t stop at some man-made borders. Ignore that fact at your peril, because if you continue to view the geology here as not existing across political boundaries, you are preadapting yourself for failure.” Drs. Ivan, Volna, and Morse make certain that everyone sees the ex-Soviets agreeing with the bushy-bearded, cigar-chomping American capitalist. “So,” I said, hoping to bring this little spit-balling session to a fortuitous close, “If we can have an agreement; scientific agreement, on these points, then I am certain we can find a way forward with not only this discussion but the program we can devise for the best Korean (notice phase shift?) geologists to take the project forward both scientifically soundly and economically successful.” My North Korean counterpart gets up from his seat in the conference room, goes to the keg, taps a couple of beers and walks up to the podium where I was standing. “Thank you, Dr. Rocknocker, for saying what needed to be said”, he spoke in perfect English as he handed me a beer. I grinned and gratefully accepted the beer. “Why, Dr. Chang Kwang-Su”, I said, as that was his name, “You old fraud. You do speak English; and very well, I must add.” “Yes, almost all of us do”, he relayed, “But, as you said, we are most reserved. We were more or less under orders of the ‘most illustrious’, to play coy, and act as if we spoke no English.” “I see.” I said, “I’ve worked in several FSU countries as well as Russia and saw that there as well. I guess old habits die hard.” “That they do, Doctor.”, he replied, “But, we must now tell you the truth. We knew exactly what you said is true, and we agree. We are not as totally insulated from the outside world as some suspect.” “Well, I was going on what your superiors related to us. Like the police that had all their toilets stolen, I had nothing else to go on.” I replied. “Ah, ha! Quite!”, he chuckled, “We had long suspected that we were lacking in certain areas of scholarship. What you said cements that fact as it was an independent conclusion. We can now present that to our superiors with the caveat that unless we bolster work and training in these areas, the hunt of hydrocarbon resources here will be for naught.” “I am relieved”, I said, truthfully. “I was slightly concerned that some might take umbrage to being told their science is not up to specifications. I tried to be the bearer of that bad news but deliver it gently. Here, I find you need that to use that as a truncheon to smack one’s boss upside the head and tell him that an upgrade is required. And fast.” “Ah, so”, he replies, “We are in total agreement. Now that is out of the way, we would appreciate it if you’d help in designing a course of study for up and coming local geoscientists. Then, we can go forward with a great plan to search for oil and gas here in…Korea. Correct?” “Absolutely”, I remarked, “You’ve got over 400 man-years of science and exploration expertise here in this room alone. Let’s shoot for the moon, so to speak. Let’s get you up to speed on scientific journals and articles that are available out there in all of academia and industry. Let’s get you communicating on a global basis. Let’s prove that you can talk science with global scientists and still not have it affect your political or nationalistic aspirations one little bit. Let’s see if we can drag you, figuratively speaking, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.” “Doctor”, Dr. Chang remarked, “You are the embodiment of what we were always told what Americans are. Brash, loud, confident, and evil. Except for evil, you are American as we were led to believe.” “Hey, I take that as a compliment”, I exclaim. “You think that’s bad, I’ve got a bunch of earnest Europeans, raucous Russians, and a couple of cagey Canadians on my side as well. Before we’re finished here, we’ll have you ordering hachee, dining on Caldo Verde, snacking on salmiakki, drinking Russkaya vodka with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, eating poutine, and rooting for the Packers.” “Doctor, I don’t know what half of that means, but I hope it comes to pass. It sounds most fascinating.” Dr. Chang chuckles. The rest of the day was spent with various groups crystallizing and breaking off from the main crowd; then reforming as different groups. This was good, as it showed an interest across not only national borders but across ideologies and scientific specialties. Most everyone here spoke English with some degree of fluency, so the translators were called in only occasionally. I made certain they were included in everything that transpired that day. I want everyone to feel ‘part of the team’. How better to show the classlessness of Western science to include everyone in on both sides of every discussion and activity? To be continued…
Making sense of where a conspiracy in COVID could be hiding
Wall of text, doing as much for my own thinking as anything else TL:DR- Did China send infected testing kits to Iran and Italy, and false negative kits since? Deliberate or just crooks? Has this caused unnecessary over reactions globally? why aren't cities or countries already going dark from COVID? The billionaires and non political leaders are strangely silent. The world has fired all its bullets. If this comes back there is no next time. Could something emerge from those ashes? HOW COULD CHINA HAVE POSSIBLY CONTAINED THIS? How did Wuhan get it, but Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou & Shenzhen etc did not. It is impossible. So the possible outcomes are either
It is just not that contagious.
Plenty of Chinese in those cities did get it and a few million might have died but overall it is not that bad
Chinese got it and all were secretly inoculated
They have yet to get it, and when they come outdoors it will eventually break out
WHY IRAN AND ITALY UNLIKE EVERYWHERE ELSE The BIG question which makes little sense is this is how did Italy and Iran get it so bad, so fast, but nowhere else has had a similar explosion It does not seem probably that Italy and Iran were that close in time to Wuhan, but the rest of Italy and the world were that far behind them, and it is yet to happen WHY ARE CRUISE SHIPS SUCH PETRI DISHES FOR THIS? Cruise ships have been a ground zero. In Australia we were in lock-down and in late March, after the lock-downs they let the Ruby Princess just unload passengers at Circular Quay,. It was known at least 7 people had the virus, and ships were a petri dish, and yet late one night someone opened the gangplank and over 2000 people just walked off into the night. At least a few hundred of them we now know have the virus. Anyone who knows Australia’s border security and quarantine, and immigration, knows this just doesn’t happen. How did they get at least 20 people to stand back and let those people disembark PATHETIC PROTECTION PRACTICES THAT ACCELERATED THIS- NEGLIGENCE OR DELIBERATE? Some international travelers who returned to Australia in early March, before the lock-downs, were found to be super spreaders- but the people they infect don’t seem to be super spreaders which makes little sense. In Australia we had multiple instances of people returning from USA, 1 went to a wedding in Hunter Valley upon arrival and infected 31 of the 51 people there. Another went to a 50th in Noosa and similar spreading, another landed from Aspen went to a party in Melbourne and similar infection rates. So how is this happening, and why are those hundred people similarly not infecting on a mass basis? Now we aren’t testing much in Australia. Lack of kits and what’s the point- if you have normal cold symptoms just lock in at home and ride it out until you feel better. If a 70+ year old Prince Charles can recover in a few days why overwhelm health facilities over nothing and risk nothing more than spreading the infection on right. (So it is “just like a cold then, right?”) MAKING SENSE OF INACCURATE DATA THAT CONFUSES AND CONTRADICTS It has now been long enough that those people should have similarly infected people on mass. Yet they haven’t. Unless you want to think a huge number of people in Australia already have it. But that can’t be- if so then this appears to be a con, and why are we bankrupting millions of people and risking our economies to prevent this? It doesn’t make sense. So how did Italy spread like wildfire but pretty well just stop in the local area. Iran similar. Now enough data is out that we can see most of those who died in Italy were the old, poor health, the air quality. male, smokers, multiple other conditions. We have perhaps 2% (confirm) who die with COVID where it can’t be attributed to multiple other underlying health conditions, and their cause of death is being put within the COVID death tally So why is Rome not disintegrating and their death rate beyond control? Do we not think those people in the north did not travel to Rome and it spread there before anyone figured out what was going on up North and they started to distance/ quarantine? No way that didn’t happen The data we are so far seeing is a blip. If UK lost 57,000 in its last bad flu season, let’s call that 4 months, that’s what, 3,000 people dying from it in a week during the season. 10,000, 50,000, 100,000…1million dead WITH this worldwide would not be unusual And why have we not seen countries with huge density and poor sanitary conditions just explode? More people travel from Wuhan to Thailand than travel to Northern Italy How did NYC act as an epicentre but LA, Disneyland, Chicago, San Fran- other high urban and ultra high-contact business districts. Why are they weeks behind NYC? Why has a Nigeria not gone dark? They have 1 slum with 10 million people living in mud, occupying an area 10x10km. Or Sao Paolo? Or India. (They’re going to die from food riots before COVID) And Indonesia- 1 mosque has 150,000 people in it these places are ground zero for mass fast transmission. Or Manilla. Or Bangkok. Infection through ordinary passenger and people movement in these cities must have seen those cities infect up light years ahead of Northern Italy did. THE ONLY PLAUSIBLE EXPLANATION I CAN SEE TO WHY ITALY/ IRAN INFECTED SO HARD AND SLOW EVERYWHERE ELSE When this first appeared in Italy and Iran as a new virus that hospitals needed to test for, testing kits WERE sent from China them and these kits WERE infected. It appears that this is what massively accelerated the spike in those 2 locations, and why Bangkok, Manilla, NYC, Rome etc have been a slot burn of person to person low level and accumulation infection. We will probably find that the Shenzhen company that sent those kits also sent them to parts of France, UK and Spain explaining their high initial deaths Whether this was deliberate remains to be seen. I am a hard core conspiracy lover from way back, but I can see that this could have simply been more dirty crooked Chinese businesses and this one just really fucked us all good. ODD ASPECTS OF IT- WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE AND THE BODIES? There is so limited footage anywhere in the world showing hospitals and medical centres that appear to have any sense of emergency. Perhaps everyone is out the back and all other things aren’t happening. No kids are in the park falling off a skateboard, no one driving having an accident therefore COVID is the only stuff happening in hospitals and it is “out the back”. That’s entirely plausible No testing happening- too much footage of empty testing facilities around the world. This is very odd. You'll see a lot of this soon Only 1 footage of body bags in a NYC hospital – eerie but not proof of anything RUMOURS OF HOW COVID WORKS AND IMPACTS
It is suggested by some that Asian men have a DNA difference that makes them more susceptible
It is suggested males who recover become sterile
It is suggested if you recover your lungs are effed.
It is suggested that you are not immune and will be worse the next time it comes back
There is too little data to really know any of this
But there is a MASSIVE VACUUM of factual information- how is it that we see footage of and hear of people walking and just dropping dead. What is COVID doing that causes that if that is really happening? It is suggested that if you get coughed on, or a small exposure, it’s not much- that’s a cold you just caught and just got 10 units of “it”. If so this could explains why for most people it really is a non issue, a mild cold. That could explain how someone like Peter Dutton or Boris Johnson got it but his wife and kids who live shoulder to shoulder in a house and car etc did not catch it Some suggest there are super spreaders, they are carrying say a “10,000 load”. According to some they may only be capable of passing on a 100 infection load say, And that person might give off a 10 load and so on What the emerging data does show is that Nurses and Doctors may be the ones in real trouble. They are being repeatedly exposed to asymptomatics with say 10 units, and over and over and they are building up to a 500 or 5000 themselves. This appears to be a slow burn for them and one to really watch for. (When enough of them decide they aren’t going to work we’re in a world of trouble) THE SHUTDOWNS ARE NECESSARY BECAUSE THEY ALL CAN’T BE THAT DUMB TO DO THAT IF IT WASN’T A REAL CRISIS Well yes they can be that dumb. Often leaders are just narcissists who ran the system such that they end up in a position of power and we defer leadership to them not on their ability but they occupy a chair. Their decisions are usually based on what is hoped to be good advice from people who lack information and just see what counterparts elsewhere are doing. It’s often a giant circle jerk and they are relying on little, poor, weak and false information. Watching WHO backflip since January should be enough for you to know that they are bought and owned and incompetent in this. Their information have been shown to be false repeatedly. You watch, they’ll tell us we need to wear masks now. DOGS THAT DON’T BARK People on this sub know that it isn’t the dogs that bark that are the problem. It’s the dogs that don’t bark. Consider this, think of alllll the non-political leaders around the world. Those who are the captains of industry, the super leaders and super wealthy, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson, each country has them. “Philanthropists” and futurists. Well apparently this is an existential crisis. Billions are afraid for their health and livelihoods, their ability to earn money and provide for their families. It has now gone on long enough that our lives and world will change massively. In the meantime, fear, anxiety, depression, domestic violence, alcoholism, child abuse will explode. Where are they? Where are the great futurists? Where is Elon Musk? Where is Jeff Bezos? Where is Bill Gates? Don't say they are running their empire and its in crisis- they have multiple CEOs do that for them Ask yourself where are the billionaires and people standing up in your nation saying we need to come together and build community and local digital and physical support networks? I don’t know why but we are being deliberately isolated from each other, physically and psychologically. All of the global elite have gone to ground. Those dogs are too silent THERE IS A REASON THEY ARE STAYING SILENT. My observation is that they either know something and are deliberately staying out of this, or they are truly corrupt and believe this will blow over and keeping their cash dry to buy investments for cents in the dollar Whatever is happening they appear to know *something*. These people are such psychopaths, narcissists and ego trippers that they just can’t resist in moments like this There’s a reason they have gone to ground. Maybe they are just ugly without stylists and botox. Maybe it is lack or that adrenochrome, maybe they’re all in NZ. I have no idea. But I smell a ~~rat~~ **bat** YOU SAW A LIST OF ALL THOSE TOP 500 CEOS RESIGNING There’s 500 of them and let’s say they stay on average 4 years in the job, that’s 10 a month ordinarily resigning. Keep moving But it is undeniable that those US politicians on the inside of this saw something a few months ago and sold stocks and bought others. (In principle they should be on the end of a rope for this) TIMING IMPACTS/ SURROUNDING EVENTS Would any of the following have affected the timing of this? Happened Right after Hong Kong elections, Right after Taiwan Elections, Right after Chinese New Year, Right after Northern Hemisphere comes out of its flu season period, right after Davos? ANTI CHINA SENTIMENT WILL FORCE CHINA'S HAND INTO SOMETHING You watch, in the next few weeks there will be an explosion of anti-china sentiment. Buy Australian, America First, British Businesses First. The problem is we have sucked so hard on the China nipple that we will starve if Mother Xi takes it out. You want to see half the universities in UK, Australia and Canada close down- just watch. All they have to do is say fine, we won’t buy your wool, or your coal, or iron ore. In Australia’s case it would FINISH us. Overnight. Never mind our dollar should fall to USD$0.40 after the printing we’ve announced it will fall to US$0.20. Too many instances of Chines people around the world doing weird things to spread an infection- if they had it, licking things – admittedly probably just mentally ill people but it feeds into the anti china hate People will turn on China and governments will need a scapegoat for the taxes that will come to pay for this. IF China did this deliberately to destabilise and kill or conquer the West or if they are just innocent victims of crooked businessmen and their pride prevented them from admitting that we’ll see I guess SO WHAT WILL HAPPEN? It all Depends on whether it was a State Sponsored plan to destroy economies and destabilise them for whatever objective, or if it was just more crooked Chinese businesses who’s factories sent infected testing kits, and false negative testing kits, and falsely labelled fake-masks (Google fake baby formula, fake eggs, fake condoms, etc). This is entirely plausible as would be a cover up in China of that - the face thing Chinese need to grow up and get over. WHAT DO I THINK? I have no idea. Here is what I think I know
Govts will bankrupt 10 generations to keep people happy tomorrow
Govts are utterly incompetent
We are relying on beurocrats and public servants to deliver us from evil. The problem is they have jobs for life and pensions for life. They are incapable of being objective in this
We have no reason to trust China- Chinese businesses and the Chinese government
India has 2 weeks or it will go dark. Not from the virus but from food insecurity. First the 2 x religions will turn on each other in small locations, then there will be a wave of exodus for protection, then people will see the govt will not be able to deliver the food, and then the place goes up in smoke
If this is shown to be a false alarm- there was an unintended/ deliberate infection into Iran and Italy, and unintended spread through false negatives, and a few super spreaders distorted, people who have lost things, like their business, will be pissed off. Casino’s will be the some of the first places to be lit up
There are too many silent dog
OR This is deliberate and we are all fucked. IS THERE AN ILLUMINATI IN CONTROL? Perhaps. But we have now seen that these NSA, FBI, CIA KGB, Mossad etc intelligence agencies were a myth all along. That anyone with half a functining brain left them and went into private business and the only people left there are zealots, dinosaurs and losers. We know this because they have information but showed no intelligence - none of them saw this or protected against it. No country secretly stockpiled PPEs and Ventilators. Instead it looks like they bought faulty shit from China that fucked them well and good, with economies on the edge of an abyss if a jolt to the system happened during this crisis BILLIONS IN THEIR HOMES, FIRST TIME IN HISTORY, ON LINES, SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING- WILL SOMEONE REVEAL THEMSELVES? If there was a god, a magician, a healer, an ET, a UFO, a time traveler, a reptilian overlord, a simulation programmer from the 25th century well, now is their window to reveal themselves. Don’t hold your breath, if they are holding back because they somehow know this goes pear shaped then if it is pear shaped no one will be on line to witness their majesty. Their window is closing daily THE POWERS THAT BE WILL NOT LET US OUT SOON ENOUGH TO REHIRE AND GET THE ECONOMY MOVING BACK TO WHAT IT WAS Our economies have been so wrecked that the politicians now need this to be bad to make it justifiable Their best hope is many thousands dead and they can claim the line was not breached they flattened the wave and we can thank and re-elect them, it was all necessary. The cure was worth the price As soon as they take the foot off the brake and we come out of our little ice igloos and someone gets an infection they have to shut the economy and travel and movement down again. Governments and police forces NEVER hand back power given to them…EVER. And we have conditioned ourselves to them The cure WILL be worse than the cold, so to say IT IS INEVITABLE THAT WE ALL NEED TO BE INFECTED WITH THIS >75% of us need to become infected and immune from this before we can resume any sort of global normal. Borders cannot open for mass travel until then. Expect rolling infections. They will move medical personnel and supplies zone by zone and turn it from Red to Green. Then you can have your microchip that proves you are not infected. Or a bracelet if you prefer I am not particularly a deep ended NWO ZOG 666 believer, but I cannot see how this will not be an eventuality. They simply will not allow global travel if they open the doors and this breaks out again. We will have already seen airlines and travel industry go out of business. It can’t happen again. No green check mark, no travel. (And this explains the silence and absence of Bill Gates by the way) HOW CAN I TELL WHETHER IT WAS A CON OR A REAL? There cannot be a nation that does_not_go dark because of this. There HAS to be a country that smashes the line, Shit even if it were a TB or whooping cough outbreak, something, somewhere, very soon. If it doesn’t then we have been had. And if we have been had then there was a reason. And we are all inside. Isolated. Relying on the govt to eat, and when we are allowed to leave our homes to buy food. With dogs that aren’t barking. It was a set up. For some reason. In 2020 just like they said REAL THREATS IN THE MEANTIME
The internet going down
China blocking supply of Tungsten (the most critical raw material on earth and 90% of it comes from China)
Someone spikes a local water supply
A few interconnectors go down sending a city dark
That this really is a slow burn thing and the nurses and doctors get ill and don’t turn up
THERE’S ALWAYS A SAVIOR WHO WILL OFFER HOPE Whoever offers the best solution in or from this- he’s probably the master villain in all this ILLUMINATI, 666, NWO, FREEMASONS, ZOG, REPTILES, ICKE, SKULL&BONES
I guess here we are there aren’t we. The world can be tipped one way or the other and it will happen now in COVID or in the next type of COVID. Just like the starship enterprise in a battle our global shields are down to 20%- we can’t do another bailout, or rescue, we’ve fired all our photons and those that are on order for future delivery. We’ve spent our global pennies and we better hope it works
If anyone stands up and offers us a solution it can will demonstrate if there really ever was a hidden hand of apron wearing, cult chanting overlords pulling strings behind the scenes after all
WE ARE 100% EXPENDABLE AND ON OUR OWN IN THIS
Individually you are 100% on your own in this, No one is coming to help you. Your police will even arrest you if you step out of line or don’t line up for your sedative
Media, politicians, police, military, sportspeople, business leaders, they all exist to serve themselves, at your expense and that is never been more apparent than now
Sadly there is probably not much we can do. We are all tiny cogs in a big charade. Of incompetence or design.
WHAT WILL BE THE OUTCOMES
Our masters will have more power and they will not hand that back. They never have and never will
The wealthy will become even more wealthy
We will all work longer, for less, and owe more, individually and collectively. And death duties. Guaranteed
If not from this one, within a few years the next “one” will melt the system. THAT is where if I were a hidden hand I would expose myself. Exhaust the people during this one, bleed it dry in this one, strike in the next one
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
I have no idea. Get out of debt? Buy food? Build a bunker? Stock up on toilet paper? Pray? Beats me
The best outcome might be to simply accept the inevitable and convince your other you might as well become swingers and enjoy it
A STADIUM'S WALKABILITY: Using Google Maps, I look at each stadium's walkability and locale
Walkability is something that's important to a stadium. There has to be activity around the stadium for fans to do before and after games. A few stadiums have excellent walkability, while others are terrible. I'll analyze each stadium using Google Maps, as I haven't been to many of these places, and I'd appreciate input from you guys about other things from each stadium that add to the walkability of a stadium.
HONDA CENTER (ANAHEIM): The area around Ponda seems a little low-key. There's several microbreweries and restaurants, but they seem to be more towards the baseball stadium or on the other side of the river. Walkability seems a little limited in this regard, especially since there's a train station directly serving the stadium.
GILA RIVER ARENA (ARIZONA): Okay, this stadium gets a lot of shit for how remote it is, but it has an entertainment plaza with lots of activity right in front of the stadium, similar to LA Live. Is this plaza any fun? It looks like fun on gamedays.
TD GARDEN (BOSTON): I'm not familiar with Boston, but the stadium is surrounded by highway ramps. That being said, there seems to be a lot of action directly outside the stadium. Great for some quality gameday grub. It's all close together too in concentric avenues in a triangle-shaped block. Really spiffy.
KEYBANK CENTER (BUFFALO): Parking lots, a casino, a couple restaurants, and a huge marina. Oh, and there's a minor league ballpark. I don't know much about Buffalo, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of action. Maybe there's more than what's being presented?
SADDLEDOME (CALGARY): Served directly by rail, the Saddledome appears to be a part of the Stampede fairgrounds complex. But the Stampede is after hockey season, so aside from the museum and some country-western bars, what's there to do come gametime?
PNC ARENA (CAROLINA): .......I'm not seeing anything. There's a college football stadium, a high school football field, a large horse stable, and a tiny bistro. Help me out here. This looks really really sad.
UNITED CENTER (CHICAGO): The action seems to be several blocks away in Greektown. This part of Chicago doesn't really have the best reputation, so I'm not sure if I wanna be in this area after dark, especially since there's nothing directly outside the stadium. Walkability is pretty iffy.
PEPSI CENTER (COLORADO) There's a freakin' amusement park! Doesn't look too big but it looks like it could be fun. The stadium is also next to where the Broncos play. Doesn't seem to be a whole lot of restaurants, but there's two restaurants called Brooklyns, wonder if they're any good?
NATIONWIDE ARENA (COLUMBUS): I do believe this stadium is the crown jewel of Columbus' walkable urbanism. There's a lot to do around the stadium! Bars, restaurants, shops all within an arm's reach! This is what an NHL stadium should have. Bravo!
AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER (DALLAS): There's a plaza thingy right outside the stadium, which is neat, also there's a lot of bars and stuff a couple blocks up from the stadium. It looks very encouraging.
LITTLE CAESARS ARENA (DETROIT): I know this stadium, along with Comerica Park and Ford Field, are supposed to be catalysts to revitalize Detroit's downtown. There are tons of restaurants and bars, even a casino, and it looks like a lot of fun. I beg the question...how safe is Downtown Detroit?
ROGERS PLACE (EDMONTON): Your gaudy airplane-hangar-of-a-stadium is right in downtown, with lots of things to do all within an arm's reach of the stadium. I love how part of the stadium has a skyway over the street. A vast improvement over your old stadium, which doesn't have anything of note.
BB&T CENTER (FLORIDA): There's a large outlet mall, an IKEA, and a boulevard full of chain restaurants. Not easily accessible by public transport. Pathetic. Next!
STAPLES CENTER (LOS ANGELES): LA Live is the shit! A great place to hang out on gamedays. Lots of activities and fun to be had. Served by the LA Metro. They really knocked it out of the park here. This is peak walkability.
XCEL ENERGY CENTER (MINNESOTA): Located in St. Paul, Minneapolis' more cultured, preppy, bougie older brother. There's a neat little park area and a lot of bars and eateries along 7th Street. Looks like a fun stadium to be around. St. Paul looks bloody beautiful and the stadium is in a great location.
CENTRE BELL (MONTREAL): Well, it's Montreal, famous for its food and nightlife, and the stadium location seems to be within a stone's throw of it all. Nothing really to complain about, looks like a lot of fun.
BRIDGESTONE ARENA (NASHVILLE): Well, this doesn't disappoint. Museums, legendary music venues, plenty of bars and restaurants, and the stadium is close to it all. The stadium really set out to be part of the Music City and god damn I am envious on how great the walkability is. A+, I truly am envious.
PRUDENTIAL CENTER (NEW JERSEY): There's a few bougie breweries, some chain restaurants, a famous deli nearby, and a Planned Parenthood. It's fucking Newark. I value my life dearly. Sorry.
BARCLAYS CENTER (NY ISLANDERS): A crown jewel of gentrification. This stadium doesn't look like it belongs in the neighborhood, like it was tacked on haphazardly. I mean, there's a lot of bars and restaurants, but how many are there as a result of Brooklyn's ongoing gentrification? I look at this one rather carefully, as it feels rather inauthentic. Sorry Isles fans, I hope your stadium issue gets fixed soon.
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN (NY RANGERS): It's a stadium in Manhattan that sits on top of a train station. It's had peak walkability since it was built, although I can imagine Manhattan can be quite expensive. Literally anything and everything is surrounding the stadium. Words simply can't do it justice.
CANADIAN TIRE CENTRE (OTTAWA): An outlet strip mall and a Costco. Fucking what. Next!
WELLS FARGO CENTER (PHILADELPHIA): I understand South Philly isn't the safest of neighborhoods, but that parking lot is massive. There's a building called Xfinity Live that's supposed to be a hub for all three stadiums, with entertainment options. What is there exactly?
PPG PAINTS ARENA (PITTSBURGH): It's next to a college campus, but the fun stuff outside of the stadium seems to be in Downtown a couple blocks down. Doesn't seem like a bad time.
ENTERPRISE CENTER (ST. LOUIS): Considering it's downtown, you have to walk a few blocks to get to the fun part of town, but it doesn't seem too bad. I can't really see a whole lot, so help me out please?
SAP CENTER (SAN JOSE): I don't think they had walkability in mind when they built the Tank. Everything is very spread out, I mean there looks like to be good stuff but you have to drive several blocks down to get to anything. This stadium would really benefit from a BART extension.
AMALIE ARENA (TAMPA BAY): I'm gonna hate saying this because they're a rival team, but I fucking LOVE Tampa's Channelside neighborhood. Friendly atmosphere, lots of good times to be had, and it's peak Florida fun. This was a great place to put a stadium, it's no mystery how the Bolts packs the house every night, win or lose.
SCOTIABANK ARENA (TORONTO): What can I say? It's a stadium on the waterfront of a major North American city, downwind from an iconic world landmark and a couple blocks away from the fucking Hockey Hall of Fame. Anyone that can't find anything fun to do around the stadium is a fool. The sentiments I had for Madison Square Garden, I echo those sentiments with Toronto.
ROGERS ARENA (VANCOUVER): This area looks like a lot of fun. Gastown looks like a grand old time. There's a marina, several nightclubs and bars, and it just overall looks like I'd be entertained around these parts.
T-MOBILE ARENA (VEGAS): It's the fucking world-famous Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. Get a clue. Next!
CAPITAL ONE ARENA (WASHINGTON): It's in Chinatown with lots to do and the US Capitol building is nearby. This looks like a prime location for a stadium. Kinda confusing to consider that this team once played in bumfuck Maryland.
BELL MTS PLACE (WINNIPEG): I know Winnipeg has a poor reputation for lacking in nightlife and activities, but I'm not seeing a whole lot outside of the stadium. A bar here, and restaurant there, which is odd considering the stadium is surrounded by buildings. I expected there to be a lot more and I'm just not seeing it.
If anyone has anything to add or correct, please comment. Thank you!
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