Twenty-Seven Years ago

These are pictures from 1993!


Peter with Caroline, Uta, Troy and Ryan in September 1993 in the park at Moss Vale Station Peter with Caroline, Troy,  Uta,  and Ryan in September 1993 in the park at Moss Vale Station

Troy and Ryan are the twin sons of Monika.

The three sisters: Gaby, Caroline and Monika, as well as Monika's daughters, Tashi and baby Roxy. August 1993 The three sisters: Gaby, Caroline and Monika, as well as Monika’s daughters, Tashi and baby Roxy.

This picture was taken in front of Gaby’s house, probably on Gaby’s birthday

which was on the 28th of  August.

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The Psychology of Political Helplessness

This looks to me like a very interesting blog!

Learned helplessness

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Learned helplessness is behavior exhibited by a subject after enduring repeated aversive stimuli beyond their control. It was initially thought to be caused from the subject’s acceptance of their powerlessness: discontinuing attempts to escape or avoid the aversive stimulus, even when such alternatives are unambiguously presented. Upon exhibiting such behavior, the subject was said to have acquired learned helplessness.[1][2] Over the past few decades, neuroscience has provided insight into learned helplessness and shown that the original theory actually had it backwards: the brain’s default state is to assume that control is not present, and the presence of “helpfulness” is what is actually learned.[3]

In humans, learned helplessness is related to the concept of self-efficacy; the individual’s belief in their innate ability to achieve goals. Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from such real or perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation.[4]

Culture, Class and Civilisation

I think this is an interesting subject!

Journal of People


Culture, Class and Civilisation

Dave Lordan

Culture Matters | September 16, 2020

Culture, class and civilisation

About 10,000 years ago, after 3.6 million years of the Stone Age, humanity began to slowly and stutteringly transform itself. A nomadic species made up of small egalitarian groups and surviving (or not) on the given bounty of the Earth, changed into a settled, class-based, accumulative society. It was based on agricultural surpluses, and institutional hierarchies and gross inequalities were to become a permanent feature. The domestication of certain animals such as the sheep and the goat, cultivation of high-yield grains, and improvements in food storage methods, irrigation, and farming methods and technologies, gave humanity for the first time the problem of more than enough stuff to go around – surplus – and what to do with it.

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The ambitious mass testing plan that might be as good as a vaccine

On Coronacast with Dr Norman Swan

The longer this pandemic drags on, the more likely it is that people will get fed up with taking themselves off for a coronavirus test every time they get sick.

It might sound counterintuitive, but the solution might be to test everyone more.

Regular, targeted but rapid testing of people, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not, could allow us all to return to a somewhat normal life.

On today’s Coronacast, Tegan Taylor and Dr Norman Swan discuss the possibilities and challenges of a mass testing scheme.


Tegan Taylor: Hello, this is Coronacast, a podcast all about the coronavirus. I’m health reporter Tegan Taylor.
Norman Swan: And I’m physician and journalist Dr Norman Swan. It’s Thursday, 17 September.
Tegan Taylor: So Norman, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this pandemic is taking a while to run its course.
Norman Swan: I hadn’t noticed, I’m glad you told me.
Tegan Taylor: Newsflash: pandemic goes on forever. Or it feels like it does at least. And we are getting fatigued about a lot of things, but one of those things seems to be testing. And we keep saying on this show and elsewhere that if you’ve got symptoms you should get tested, it’s the way to know how much of the virus is out there. But, my gosh, it’s winter, runny noses. What happens if everyone just gets fatigued with this and just doesn’t bother coming forward for testing anymore?
Norman Swan: Well, I think it’s already happening. The Chief Health Officer in New South Wales, Kerry Chant, yesterday or the day before was saying that the testing rates in New South Wales have dropped off, and I think she was quite alarmed about it because the Chief Health Officer doesn’t know whether there are only a few cases each day in New South Wales because there are only a few cases each day in New South Wales or it’s because people are not coming forward for testing.
Tegan Taylor: Well, like we were saying yesterday, there was a stage where there was probably six or seven times as many cases as was actually being picked up by testing.
Norman Swan: Yes, according to that study. It’s probably less than that and we’ll find that out next week, but there are more people out there with the infection than are coming forward. And the real problem is how much it’s spreading in the community.
So here we’ve got a situation where people are getting fatigued, they’re not coming forward, if you’re in lockdown in Melbourne you don’t want to go out. So there’s all sorts of reasons why you don’t come forward, and there’s probably fewer viruses around of other kinds and you’re not getting the symptoms to make you come out, but there are plenty of people who would be asymptomatic. And it’s going to take a while before a vaccine comes on-stream, so we’ve got come backwards and forwards, and lockdown, not lockdown, having those arguments, running the risk of outbreaks.
And actually an ex-patriot Australian who is a very eminent epidemiologist and has got the chair of epidemiology at Oxford University, David Hunter, and another very experienced epidemiologist Julian Peto, have come up with a suggestion which is…at least in the UK context but it could work here as well, which is that instead of people coming forward for testing, you actually go out and test everybody. You test as much of the community as you can on a regular basis. Now, they are saying twice a week, which just doesn’t sound feasible at all.
Tegan Taylor: That’s a huge burden, yeah.
Norman Swan: Yes, so that’s like 120 million tests a week, that’s extraordinary. And the UK’s testing regime is not working at the moment. But let’s just talk about how it might work in the Australian context. So you’ve got a situation, for example where in Victoria you might have 30 cases a day, you’re still not sure how much virus is going around. You know that south-eastern Melbourne and the north-west corridor, maybe a few other areas are getting a few cases but you don’t know how much virus is around, and you could actually go in and mass test, and mass test on a regular basis so that you can pick up whether or not there are changes in the community and how many people are walking around with infection who don’t know it.
One of the necessary developments here probably to make this happen would be much more widespread adoption of rapid testing, which we talked a bit about yesterday, but the technology is getting better because one of the disincentives to being tested is that you’ve got to self-isolate until you get the result, but if you get the result in 15 minutes, effectively you don’t have to self-isolate until you get the result and then you would have to isolate if you are positive. But there wouldn’t be that many positive people, although there would be a few false positives out there in the community.
That way you could track infection in the community and pounce on it early and deal with it that way. You wouldn’t have to do it in Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, and probably not Queensland, but maybe parts of New South Wales and Victoria, and it could be a way of getting out of this and then maintaining a much more normal way of life apart from that testing.
Tegan Taylor: So, 15 minutes until results is super-fast. So you’re saying that this technology already exists. Why aren’t we using it now? Why are we still waiting two or three days for test results?
Norman Swan: It’s more expensive. The accuracy in some of these tests is a bit lower, and the technology is not necessarily available in the sort of bulk that’s needed, although the Americans have got some of these technologies up in bulk. I know that we are developing some of our own, but we could move to a more rapid testing regime.
So it’s probably not the whole of Australia. It could be the whole of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, and it could be parts of New South Wales, to supplement the fact that people are not necessarily coming forward, so that it stays under control. And the incentive for everybody is, yes, some people would be inconvenienced by having to be isolated if they came up positive but they wouldn’t have to wait too long before getting the result.
And if we accelerated this, it could be a way of getting under control in a much more normal way of life, and the economy coming back to life, with borders down, prior to a vaccine.
Tegan Taylor: They did do some mass testing in Melbourne though, didn’t they, and that didn’t really seem to pay off in the way they thought it would.
Norman Swan: Are you talking about the asymptomatic testing they did a while ago?
Tegan Taylor: Yes, they went door to door and tested people in their homes.
Norman Swan: Yes, you’d have to bring the community with you. I think what happened with the asymptomatic testing was that people got confused, they got confused about whether or not they should isolate and so on and there were mixed messages. But communication would have to be crystal clear. Here is a way of us…it’s a preventive measure rather than, if you like, a panic measure because it’s starting to break out. This is not an easy option but it is an option worth considering, but the community would have to be on side and understand what’s going on.
Tegan Taylor: Well, let’s take a couple of questions from the audience, because you legends just keep sending them in and thank you for doing that. Greg is asking; after seemingly endless colds and sniffles last year, his two young children have not had any cold symptoms since March, which has been wonderful, so what is the impact of that going to be on the development of their immune systems as young kids? Greg thought the theory is that the exposure to colds and flus going around helped children to build up a resistance to them for later life.
Norman Swan: The important time for the development of the immune system is the first year of life and that tends to be a time where kids don’t get a lot of coughs and colds, they tend to get them when they start preschool, kindy, family day care and so on when they are mixing with other kids. And there is no question that you do build up some immunity to cold viruses, like the coronavirus, the same family as COVID-19.
I think nobody knows the answer to that question. They are beyond that critical first year where the immune system is developing. My guess about what will happen, and it is just a guess, is that they will catch up, is that as kids start mixing again, as we go out and about, after a vaccine emerges or after lockdown finishes, then kids will just catch up, and they will have a period, maybe it’s a year later, when they have these coughs and colds, but they will get them.
Tegan Taylor: What about these kids in the first year of life who have been in lockdown this year?
Norman Swan: Well, as I say, kids in the first year of life do not tend to get a lot of coughs and colds unless they are in family day-care. So most kids are not exposed to a lot of other kids in that first year of life, so it really is in toddlerhood and the preschool age group that they get this maximal number of infections.
Tegan Taylor: And we’ve got a question from Malcolm saying; any chance you could talk a bit about the long-term effects we are starting to see from Covid?
Norman Swan: Yes, it’s still relatively uncharted territory. There is a study going on in Australia led by St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, looking at these long-term effects. And what some people are getting…and it seems to be a recognisable syndrome which partly involves fatigue, it can also involve the heart, that some people get infection of the heart tissue, even though they might not have had a severe bout of COVID-19.
And what this means is that there is probably going to be a longer tail of COVID-19 in the community, and also people emerging with problems who never knew they had COVID-19 and subsequent testing for antibodies will discover that they have. So it is another reason for really keeping a lid on this pandemic, so a lot of people are talking about opening up and ‘let’s not worry too much, what are we worried about, the mortality rate’s going down’, but what we are discovering is that people who get mild illness, this could go on for a long time and they can be quite sick.
Tegan Taylor: And a lot of this evidence is anecdotal but I have seen some of the studies saying that it doesn’t have to be people who are hospitalised to be seeing these long-term symptoms continuing.
Norman Swan: That’s right, and sometimes it’s quite young people.
And we’ve got some feedback for our clarification corner team.
Tegan Taylor: Yes, Helena is saying; on today’s Coronacast (as in yesterday) Dr Swan mentioned that the AstraZeneca vaccine is being tested on people already infected with coronavirus, but isn’t a vaccine supposed to be used on healthy people to prevent catching coronavirus or prevent the disease? I think maybe she has misinterpreted or…would you like to clarify, Norman?
Norman Swan: Well, it could be that I just was pretty crap about explaining myself. Sorry about that Helena. No…I’ll tell you what I was talking about in a minute, but no, these people are not infected with the coronavirus, and the hope is that they do get infected with the coronavirus after they’ve been immunised so that you can see whether or not they’ve been protected. So you’ve got one group with the active vaccine and the other group…in the case of the Astra trial they are getting a meningococcal vaccine as a placebo. So that’s the idea, they are not infected to start with but hopefully they are infected going down the track.
Where I probably confused you was that in this case where this woman who caused the trial to stop had a problem, one of the things they would have wanted to know is had she been infected with the coronavirus after her vaccine? Because it’s that situation which they are worried might cause an overreaction of the immune system. So not before she’s had the vaccine but after. One of the safety issues is that when you are infected with the real virus you might get an overreaction of your immune system. But no, people that go on a trial are not supposed to have had the coronavirus first.
Tegan Taylor: Thanks for clarifying, Norman. And that’s all we’ve got time for on Coronacast today.
Norman Swan: We love your questions and they are what prompt the discussion, so go to our website,, and click ‘Ask a Question’.
Tegan Taylor: You can also leave a comment if you’d like to tell Norman what you think about his rapid testing scheme, another Norman scheme, and also don’t forget to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts if you can, because we truly do love reading them.
Norman Swan: And I’ll try not to be too confusing tomorrow. See you then.
Tegan Taylor: See you then.

WIP Wednesday- Cloud Sail Shawl

This is a very enjoyable post!

Creations of a Patchwork Momma

At the beginning of August I started working on the Cloud Sail Shawl. It has replaced the TV knitting I enjoyed while working on my Zebrino Shlanket earlier in the summer. It’s made with Fyberspates Cumulus lace weight yarn. The blend of mulberry silk and alpaca fibers is super soft and an absolute pleasure to touch! I also love the vibrant colors which are hard to capture on camera. The turquoise is my favorite.

Close up of the delicate stitches

I’m enjoying knitting this project so much that I bought four more autumnal colors to make a second shawl. The next one I make will be a gift, but I’m keeping this one for myself!

This project is suitable for beginners. If you’d like to find out more you can purchase the pattern here. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do! What projects are you working…

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Brief History

East Turkistan, also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, lies in the very heart of Asia. Situated along the fabled ancient Silk Road, it has been a prominent centertur of commerce for more than 2,000 years. The land of East Turkistan gave birth to many great civilizations and at various points in history has been a cradle of scholarship, culture and power.

The current territorial size of East Turkistan is 1.82 million square kilometers. The neighboring Chinese province annexed part of the territory as a result of the Chinese communist invasion of 1949.

East Turkistan borders China and Mongolia to the east, Russia to the north, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the west, and Tibet to the south.

East Turkistan has a rich history and a diverse geography. It has grand deserts, magnificent mountains, and beautiful rivers, grasslands and forests.

The Manchu Invasion

The independent Uyghur Kingdom in East Turkistan — the Seyyid Kingdom, also known as Yarkent Kingdom — was invaded by the Manchu rulers of China in 1759 who annexed East Turkistan into their empire. The Manchus ruled East Turkistan as a military colony from 1759 to 1862. During this period, the Uyghurs and other peoples of East Turkistan valiantly opposed the foreign rule in their land. They revolted 42 times against Manchu rule with the purpose of regaining their independence. The Manchu were finally expelled in 1864 and Uyghurs established Yetteshahar State. However, the independence was short lived, Manchus invaded East Turkistan again in 1876. After eight years of bloody war, the Manchu Empire formally annexed East Turkistan into its territories and renamed it “Xinjiang” (meaning “New Territory”) on November 18, 1884.

Chinese Rule in East Turkistan

After the Chinese Nationalists overthrew the Manchu Empire in 1911, East Turkistan fell under the rule of warlords of Chinese ethnicity who came to dominate provincial administration in the later years of the Manchu Empire. The Chinese central government had little control over East Turkistan during this period. The Uyghurs, who wanted to free themselves from foreign domination, staged numerous uprisings against Chinese rule, and twice (in 1933 and in 1944) succeeded in setting up an independent East Turkistan Republic (ETR). However, these independent republics were overthrown by the military intervention and political intrigue of the Soviet Union.

In October of 1949, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops marched into East Turkistan, effectively ending the ETR. The Chinese communists established the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the territory of East Turkistan.

The Chinese communist reign in East Turkistan can be considered the darkest chapter in the history of the Uyghurs and East Turkistan. Under the current conditions, the very existence of the Uyghur nation is under threat. The Chinese communist government has been carrying out a vicious campaign against Uyghurs and other indigenous people of East Turkistan in order to permanently annex the lands of East Turkistan.

Despite all the brutal and destructive campaigns by the Chinese government against their identity and existence, the Uyghurs and other indigenous peoples of East Turkistan refuse to be subjugated by China and keep carrying the torch of resistance against Chinese occupation, handed down to them by their ancestors.


East Turkistan is the homeland of the Turkic speaking Uyghurs and other Central Asian peoples such as Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tatars and Tajiks.

According to latest Chinese census of 2010, the current population of East Turkistan is 21.81 million, including 8.75 million ethnic Han Chinese (40,1%), who illegally settled in East Turkistan after 1949 (the ethnic Han Chinese numbered 200,000 in 1949). The Uyghurs make up at least 11 million of the population, although the 2002 census listed their number as around 10.2 million and still constitute the majority of East Turkistan. However, the composition of the population shifts more and more in favor of the Han Chinese, turning the Uyghurs into strangers in their own land. However, Uyghur sources put the real population of Uyghurs around 20 million.

East Turkistan is located beyond the logical boundary of China, the Great Wall. Historically and culturally, East Turkistan is part of Central Asia, not of China. The people of East Turkistan are not Chinese; they are Turks of Central Asia.

Records show that the Uyghurs have a history of more than 4,000 years in East Turkistan.

Throughout the history, independent states established by the ancestors of the Uyghurs and other indigenous peoples thrived and prospered in the lands of East tTurkistan. Situated along a section of the legendary Silk Road, Uyghurs played an important role in cultural exchanges between East and West and developed a unique culture and civilization of their own.

In their early history, the Uyghurs, like most of the other Turkic peoples of Central Asia, believed in Shamanism, Manichaeism and Buddhism. Starting from the 1st century AD and until the arrival of Islam, East Turkistan became one of the great centers of Buddhist civilization.

The conversion to Islam began when contacts between Uyghurs and Muslims started at the beginning of the 9th century. During the reign of the Karahanidin kings, the Islamization of Uyghur society accelerated. Kashgar, the capital of the Karahadin Kingdom, quickly became one of the major learning centers of Islam. The arts, sciences, music and literature flourished as Islamic religious institutions nurtured the pursuit of an advanced culture. In this period, hundreds of world-renowned Uyghur scholars emerged. Thousands of valuable books were written. Among these works, the Uyghur scholar Yusup Has Hajip’s book, Kutadku Bilig (The knowledge for Happiness, 1069-1070) and Mahmud Kashgar’s Divan-I Lugat-it Turk (a dictionary of Turk language) are most influential.


East Turkistan covers an area of 1.82 million square kilometers, which is twice as large as the Republic of Turkey or four times as large as the American state of California. More than 43 percent of this area is covered by deserts and another 40 percent is covered by mountain ranges.

This huge land is charcterized mainly by two basins bounded by three mountain ranges. The two basins are the Tarim Basin in the south, which measures 530,000 square kilometers, and the Junggar Basin in the north, which covers an area of 304,200 square kilometers. The Tarim Basin contains one of the largest deserts in the world — the Taklamakan desert. The Junggar basin contains the Kurbantunggut desert.

Tengritagh mountain range (Heavenly mountain) crosses the central part of East Turkistan, dividing the country into south and north. Within East Turkistan, the Tengritagh mountain range is 1,700 kilometers long and 250-300 kilometers wide. Altay mountain range in the north forms the border of East Turkistan with Mongolia, Russia and Kazakhstan. Its section within East Turkistan is 400 kilometers long. The Kunlun mountain in the south forms the the border between East Turkistan and Tibet.

The most important rivers are the Tarim River (2,137 km long), traversing almost the whole length of the southern part of East Turkistan and emptzing into the desert; the Ili River flows west to Kazakhstan and into Lake Balqash; the Irtish River flows northwest out of East Turkistan and into the Arctic Ocean; the Karashaar River flows east from central Tengritagh into Lake Baghrash; the Konche River, starting from the Baghrash lake, originally flowed into Lopnur Lake, but now disappears in the desert long before reaching the lake.

. . . . . .

Inside the World Uyghur Congress: The US-Backed Right Wing Regime Seeking the “Fall of China”

“True or not, nearly everything that appears in Western media accounts of China’s Uyghur Muslims is the product of a carefully conceived media campaign generated by an apparatus of right-wing, anti-communist Uyghur separatists funded and trained by the US government.”

The Most Revolutionary Act

While posing as a grassroots human rights organization, the World Uyghur Congress is a US-funded and directed separatist network that has forged alliances with far-right ethno-nationalist groups. The goal spelled out by its founders is clear: the destabilization of China and regime change in Beijing.

By Ajit Singh

The GrayZone

In recent years, few stories have generated as much outrage in the West as the condition of Uyghur Muslims in China. Reporting on the issue is typically represented through seemingly spontaneous leaks of information and expressions of resistance by Uyghur human rights activists struggling to be heard against a tyrannical Chinese government.

True or not, nearly everything that appears in Western media accounts of China’s Uyghur Muslims is the product of a carefully conceived media campaign generated by an apparatus of right-wing, anti-communist Uyghur separatists funded and trained by the US government.

A central gear in Washington’s new Cold War…

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