I’ve been rationing my visits to Twitter because so much on #auspol is either blatant spin or outright rubbish. Now, apparently, I’m to be blocked:
And then I found out what the fuss is about. @GladysB is the newly resigned Premier of NSW who presided over the Delta outbreak that spread to my state, Victoria, and even across to New Zealand. She had to resign because she’s being investigated by ICAC on corruption. She is a monster. But inciting physical harm? Seriously?
So…the rather literary punishment of tarring and feathering is abuse…at least according to the Twitter algorithms. With so much misinformation and disinformation allowed to flourish on social media, I’m glad some steps have been taken to curb it. Just rather funny that a figure of speech triggers those algorithms but content that implies Covid is just a cold or the flu does not.
I could ‘recant’, but I won’t. Maybe by tomorrow I’ll see the funny side.
I never gamble because I don’t see myself as a ‘lucky’ person. I don’t even win anything at those stupid scratchies. So having to take a chance on AZ, however ‘small’ that risk may be, scares me silly.
And I hate not having a choice of vaccines. Not just because of the risk of blood clots, but because AZ is quite a bit less effective against Delta than Pfizer.
And while I’m at it, I hate the Morrison government for being such cheapskates. They put all their eggs in the nice, cheap AZ basket which is a big part of the reason we are so very far behind in terms of vaccinations.
And last but not least, I hate GladysB, Premier of NSW, for deliberately allowing the Delta outbreak to spread to just about every part of Australia [and even to New Zealand]. I don’t know if it was sheer hubris – “We are the gold standard state so we don’t need to learn from anyone else” or her emphasis on the economy rather than on lives, but she has helped to destroy the reasonable standard of living we used to enjoy despite the pandemic.
GladysB decided that we would all have to ‘live with Covid’, and now none of us have a choice in the matter.
So no, I’m not happy, and the next person who hangs shit on anti-vaxxers, just remember this: whether you agree with their reasons or not, those people are afraid. That is not a good place to be.
I’m not anti-vaccines in general, but I know what it feels like to be afraid of AZ. Trust me, it’s not a pleasant feeling.
So, 5,106,876 out of a total population of 25,698,093 won’t be counted at all. AT. ALL. That’s a lot more than I was expecting.
Hmm, if we subtract all those kids from the total population, how many people are left?
25,698,093 – 5,106,876 ————– 20,591,217 ————–
So, only 20,591,217 Australians are actually eligible for the jab.
Hmm, how much is 80% of 20,591,217?
It’s 16,472,973 Australians. [I looked it up]
If we take that number away from the total population [ 25,698,093 ] it means that 9,225,120 Australians of all ages will remain unvaccinated. 9 million people who will be vulnerable to Delta when we reach 80% and the need for lockdowns becomes ‘unlikely’.
Unlikely? We’re going to throw over 9 million people under the Delta bus but yay, we won’t have to have lockdowns?
‘Oh, but kids don’t get that sick…’
At least 1,245 Indonesian children have died from coronavirus since the pandemic began, although the actual number is thought to be higher, given the low level of testing for the virus in remote areas.
The majority of those who died were under the age of five.
According to the Indonesian Paediatric Society (IDAI), more than 100 Indonesian children have died every week since July from COVID-19.
‘Oh, but those that refuse to be vaccinated have only themselves to blame…’
Almost five million people deserve to get sick and possibly die? What sort of a sick society are we?
And what about those for whom the vaccine doesn’t work? Oh…you didn’t think of that, did you?
You know when a vaccine is said to be 90% effective [e.g. Pfizer and Moderna], have you ever wondered what happens to the other 10%?
Well, for that 10% of people, the vaccine won’t work, or will only work partially. And AstraZeneca has an even lower effectiveness rate.
‘Oh…but herd immunity will take care of that!’
Herd immunity is ‘Abracadabra!’ the magic phrase that will solve all our problems. Except it won’t, not with Delta and this first generation of vaccines. Why? Because herd immunity works by surrounding unvaccinated people with a ‘fence’ of vaccinated people. That ‘fence’ stops Covid from being able to reach the unvaccinated people.
But what if there’s a hole in the fence?
In fact, there are two holes in the herd immunity fence. The first one is that breakthrough infections happen, and when they do, the fully vaccinated person is as infectious as if they hadn’t been vaccinated at all. The second is that this crop of vaccines do not provide permanent protection from transmission.
In fact, that protection looks as if it might wear off rather quickly after just four months. This basically means that the fully vaccinated could well end up infecting the unvaccinated themselves…which means:
There will be NO herd immunity.
In a year or two, there may well be vaccines that protect us from serious disease AND from infection. Only then will we finally achieve herd immunity.
Getting back to the Doherty report, their modelling included a number of assumptions based on data from March this year. Back in March, there was very little Delta circulating. Now, it’s running wild. Back in March, we were also delighted to discover that the vaccines provided good protection from transmission. Now we know that protection is short-lived.
Things have changed, but our politicians are still flogging the same plan. Living with Covid is smoke and mirrors with a generous dash of tricky numbers.
This should be a must-watch video for every Australian because Australia is the driest continent on Earth, and water is life, our life:
Illegal harvesting of flood plain water in the northern part of the country is killing off the food production located in the south. And who benefits? A few very rich individuals and some multinationals that play with our water as if it were the stock market:
I knew some of this from the Four Corners report that aired in 2017:
But Four Corners had to be a little…circumspect. The people in the Friendly Jordie documentary pull no punches. Our water is being stolen to enrich a few people and organisations. The theft of our water is being facilitated by politicians in the National Party, which is part of the Coalition currently in charge of politics at the national level.
Think this only affects a few small communities in the back of whoop whoop? Wrong. All of us city people will be affected too…when food becomes more and more expensive. By then though, it will be much too late.
Please! Watch this video and pass it on to others. The corruption has to be stopped, and we’re the only ones who can ultimately stop it.
My thanks to @RonniSalt from Twitter for pointing me at this Friendly Jordies video.
Photo of evacuees on the beach at Bateman’s Bay, from the Twitter account of Alistair Prior.
This is the beach at Malacoota, on the Victoria side of the border. Photo taken from the Twitter account of Bluesfestblues.
This is, or was, the historic township of Cobargo, NSW. Three people are unaccounted for. Photo taken from the Twitter account of Siobhan Heanue.
Despite being ringed by fire, despite whole communities huddled on beaches watching their towns burn, despite the growing death toll due to these unprecedented fires…the Sydney Fireworks will go ahead.
What are we celebrating, exactly?
Both Gladys Berejiklian [Premier of NSW] and Clover Moore [Major of Sydney] have made glib remarks about ‘community’, and staging the fireworks for the community.
But which community? The ones with no homes to return to? The ones who’ve lost loved ones to these fires? The ones watching their towns burn even as I write these words?
Those communities don’t have tv’s to watch, but even if they did, do we honestly think they’ll enjoy watching pretty fireworks when their own skies are red with flame and ash?
Do we really think the fireworks will make the victims feel better?
Ah, but Clover Moore says she hopes the fireworks will make people donate to the victims…
Does she really think Australians are that callous, that selfish, that uncaring?
We didn’t need fireworks to donate after Black Saturday. We gave and we gave and we gave. We gave until it hurt because we all knew someone who knew someone who died in the fires, or lost everything. So much less than 6 degrees of separation.
We gave out of shock, out of survivor guilt, out of a genuine desire to help.
But it was more than that. We gave because it was the only way we could show our solidarity, our respect.
We gave as a way to mourn.
It was Australia and Australians at their very best.
No, the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney have nothing to do with community, or caring. They’re all about the tourist dollar, and as such, they are obscene.
We are better than this.
I won’t be watching any fireworks, anywhere in Australia, because we are still burning. Every state, including my own. And things are likely to get worse as the fire season progresses.
There is nothing to celebrate this year. Not a single, bloody thing.
I wasn’t going to write a bushfire post this year  because I thought there was no need, not with the devastating fires in NSW and QLD to focus everyone’s thoughts. But I’ve just been on Twitter and seen some of the misconceptions about bushfires.
So…here are some basics:
Fire needs just two things to burn: fuel and oxygen. However the size of that fire depends on many things:
Dry fuel – makes a fire burn harder and faster. Fuel is made of up dry grass, leaves, small twigs and fallen branches that build up on the ground over time.
Low humidity – i.e. moisture in the air and soil – makes a fire burn harder and faster.
Strong winds – provide the oxygen to make a fire burn harder and faster. They also transport embers ahead of the main fire.
Embers – land on dry fuel and start spot fires.
Spot fires act like pre-ignition for the main fire.
So far, these conditions could apply to any fire, in any country of the world. In Australia though, things are a little different. As well as all of the above, we also have to contend with native vegetation that evolved with fire. Some native plants developed ways to keep the species going after a fire. In fact, the seeds of many of our natives need fire to germinate.
In a nutshell, most Australian natives evolved to burn. This includes gum trees [eucalypts].
Gum leaves contain eucalyptus oils.
When these oils heat up enough, they turn into a volatile gas.
Add a spark and this gas goes ‘boom’. It’s an accelerant – like throwing petrol onto a camp fire.
Lightning strikes from ‘dry storms’ provide the spark that starts hundreds of fires every year.
So let’s look at a couple of what-ifs. Let’s say a lightning strike starts a fire. If the humidity is high and the fuel is wet – e.g. winter – the fire doesn’t go very far.
But this is what happens in summer:
Lightning [or human stupidity via an angle grinder creating a spark, an over-heated car starting to burn, a camp-fire left unattended, blah blah blah] starts a fire in grassland.
The grass fire spreads into scrub land.
The scrub land fire spreads into native forest.
The scrub at the base of the gum trees burns hotter and hotter.
The eucalyptus oil in the gum leaves heats up.
The volatile oil in the gum leaves becomes a gas and suddenly the whole tree is on fire.
As more and more trees burn, and the wind pushes the embers and superheated air ahead of it, the conditions for a ‘crown fire’ emerge.
A crown fire is when the fire jumps from tree top to tree top. This is a fire that nothing can stop – no amount of water bombers, no amount of fire fighters, no amount of chemical retardants. In fact, water bombers can’t even get near this kind of fire because it creates its own weather, crazy weather that makes flying virtually impossible.
In 2009, south eastern Australia was in the grip of the Millenium drought and an El Nino weather event. For those who don’t know, during an El Nino period, south eastern Australia goes through an extended ‘dry’ spell with much less rain than normal.
In February 2009, an extended heatwave of 40+ degree temperatures, extremely low humidity, high fuel loads and a ferocious north wind [bringing even more heat from the Centre] combined to create Black Saturday, the worst bushfire event in modern Australian history. 173 people died.
Now, ten short years later, NSW is likely to have another perfect storm of fire conditions…tomorrow…at the very beginning of summer…with the worst of the fire season still to come.
I’ll be honest, I’m scared. Conditions here in Victoria are cool and wet, for now, but the worst is yet to come. How will Warrandyte fare once the grass browns off and the damp fuel load turns into dry kindling? And even if we squeak through this fire season, what about next year and the one after that?
Some years ago I attend a Climate Change rally in Melbourne, and one of the speakers [from the CFA*] said something I’ll never forget. He said words to the effect that there are no climate change deniers at the end of a fire hose.
Climate Change is not causing bushfires, it’s making them bigger and more frequent. Exactly as the climate scientists predict.
Climate Change is also extending the length of the fire season. When I was a kid, January and February were the bad months. In years to come, fire season may extend from the beginning of Spring [September] through to the end of Autumn [May].
Three people have died in NSW already. How many more have to die before we stop ‘praying’ and start doing something useful?
I hope with all my heart that the legacy of Black Saturday means that Victorians remember how helpless we all felt, and act accordingly. We’ve been there. We know. The only thing we can control, even a little, is the fuel load. Reducing the fuel load won’t stop a fire from starting, and it won’t stop a fire from spreading, but it may reduce the severity of that fire by stopping it from becoming a crown fire. Harm reduction. The life it saves could be your own.
And Warrandyte? If you haven’t cleared your block yet, what the effing hell are you waiting for? NSW and QLD may be the canaries in the coal mine this year, but make no mistake, we’re in that bloody coal mine too.
To EllaD and the GO in Taylors Arms – stay safe.
*CFA – Country Fire Authority, the volunteer fire fighting organisation in Victoria.