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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

CIRCLE PACIFIC ADVENTURE 2016: Day #16--What's Interesting in the Orient?



If you regularly read this blog site, you know that malaria parasites kill more humans than humans.  We murder at the rate of 475,00/year, with snakes next at 50,000/year.  Sharks?  Fewer than 10/year.

Female mosquitos kill 750,000 of us/year by transmitting a parasite when she sucks into you, where just one can lodge itself into your liver and quickly multiply 10,000 times.  Two weeks later...  Malaria was eliminated in the USA in 1951, but there are 1500 cases/year from travelers returning home.

While pharmaceutical firms are getting closer, there is as yet no vaccine to prevent malaria.  Basically, you need to avoid getting bitten by mosquitos.

So I read this commentary by Gwynne Dyer:


He has suffered from this disease, looked into the matter and came up with a simple solution that surely deserves some consideration.  He underscores that any prevention strategy is a whole lot better than curing the ailment.  Basically, he found out that where there are chickens there is a lower incidence of malaria.  No, it's not because chickens eat mosquitos.  So as we can't go around holding a chicken, what is the real answer?  It turns out that just the feathers sort of reduced the incidence of mosquito bites.  

Distilling the essence of chicken odor (isobutyl butyrate, naphthalene, hexadecane, etc...) and using this concoction as a preventative also helps.  While essence de poulet won't be on the market anytime soon, it is now being investigated by academics.

Switching to subject #2, did you know that the Philippines was Asia's fastest growing economy this year, with a 7% annual expansion from April-June?  In May, then-Davao City mayor, 71-year old Rodrigo Duterte, decisively won the Philippines presidential election.  He was Davao city mayor for 22 years and used civilian militia and innovative techniques  to curb violence and drugs.  He was elected on a promise to win the country's war on crime by killing thousands of drug dealers.  President Barack Obama called in congratulations and reaffirmed the close relationship between the two countries.

In a rather straightforward manner, he one-upped me, for I published a solution for crime in the Huffington Post.  At least they published Part 1, but refused to accept Part II, THREE STRIKES AND YOU'RE DEAD!    So I posted THREE STRIKES AND YOU'RE DEAD in this blog, and followed it up last year.  Duarte bypasses the judicial process!  Red countries have the death penalty.

In his first press conference, Duterte indicated that there was no excuse for journalists who engaged in corrupt activities and took bribes.  Keep in mind that 176 journalists have been murdered in the country since the era of Ferdinand Marcos.  Then early in June he announced to his country, kill a drug dealer and I'll give you a medal.

Today, we found out that 1,900 drug pushers and their ilk have been killed by the police and vigilantes, nearly 60% by the latter group.  Shoot to kill is Duterte's policy.  Incredibly enough 640,233 suspects and addicts voluntarily surrendered to the police! The United Nations complained, so Duterte responded with:

I don't give a sh*t about them’

...and threatened to leave the UN.  Stay tuned on the Philippines War on Crime.

Oh, he also informed John Kerry that the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg is a "gay son of a bitch."    They got into an ongoing feud when Duterte made a joke about a rape having occurred in his city and Goldberg, certainly rightfully, responded in reprimand.

On a lighter, but heavier, side, the Philippines today reported on the largest pearl in the world, a 75 pound, 2 feet wide colossus:


Turns out that a fisherman found it 10 years ago and just let authorities know about the existence of this rarity.  It probably came from a giant clam, which can weigh up to 900 pounds:


Japanese Olympian Asuka Teramoto weighs 82 pounds:


Moving to the east and north, it's that time of year when South Korea and the United States conduct their annual large-scale military exercises, involving 50,000 SK and 25,000 USA soldiers.  True to form, North Korea threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike if anything provocative occurs.  How serious is this?  They already launched a  warning missile from a submarine today.  Can you believe they have 70 subs?

Frankly, I think it is more dangerous than many think, for the only way something terrible will happen is if Kim Jung Un's leadership is on the verge of collapsing, he just could make a desperate attempt to stay in power by doing something so inconceivable.  There has been a series of diplomatic defections lately, and something, indeed, is happening.   Where is Dennis Rodman when we need him?   Oh well, I'm in Bangkok, 2312 miles away from Seoul.

Further west in Hunan Province, the Zhangjiajie glass bottom bridge opened this week.  It is 1411 feet long and just under 20 feet wide.  There is a 984 foot vertical drop.  The Grand Canyon Skywalk is 718 feet above the canyon floor.  Their upcoming bungee jump will break the current record currently held by the Macao Tower.


I leave for Sydney tomorrow, but I'm still in Bangkok, where the most interesting news of the day is the removal of a 2.5 pound tumor near the heart of a privately owned 13 foot long, 110 pound Anaconda:


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There are now eight ocean storms:



In the Atlantic, Gaston is just about now attaining hurricane strength, but will strengthen into a Category 2.  However, all models show a veering off to the north and east away from the USA:



The interesting combo is in the West Pacific, where Typhoon Lionrock, once headed for Okinawa, has increased in strength, reversed courses and seems now headed back for Japan:



I've never seen that before.  The intriguing complication, though, is that yet another potential typhoon has appeared in the general neighborhood, and, as Lionrock and Mindulle just missed each other a few days ago, and the fickleness of Lionrock, one wonders if there can now be a real encounter coming up:


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