Author Archives: dontai

Doom and Gloom, and a Decade of Depression

I found the article Why Our Economy May Be Headed for a Decade of Depression very enlightening on trying to explain the current buoyant stock market vs so much job loss, as well as shedding some light into the future of this pandemic. This is an interview with Nouriel Roubini, “Dr. Doom”, and another article Ten reasons why a ‘Greater Depression’ for the 2020s is inevitable. Dr Nouriel Roubini is a professor of economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

qnreading from Chinese Social Media QQ: Unknown Protocol

I am a QQ user, which is part of Chinese social media. From Tencent 腾讯 in China, QQ is a simpler messaging and social media ecosystem than WeChat 微信. In the past couple of months I have been noticing more content is blocked to me here in Canada. More concerning is that China is beginning to use new protocols on the internet that are unique to China.

Geoblocking is regularly used by Chinese stores. I search for their products on Baidu, find images but cannot go to their web pages because they detect that I am not in China and block me. While this is annoying, at least I can understand the technical mechanism. They do not want Western eyes looking at their web pages, and that is their prorogative.

Changes in Person to Person Relationships Due to a Virus

It is remarkable that within a three month period, that one of the base building blocks of person to person relationships would change. This change is so markedly clear, in that there is a “before” state, and event, and then an “after” state. We are in the “after” state of the effects of CoVid-19, the corona virus that originated from Wuhan, China.

Where once we could meet strangers, make conversation and become friends quickly, there is now a wall of suspicion, a hesitation to greet the stranger, an unwillingness to start a discussion. We all do not want to catch this virus, get sick, possibly hospitalized, and then die. We have no immunity whatsoever from this novel corona virus.

CoVid-19 Corona Virus Face Mask Requirements by Country

Requirements to wear a cloth face mask, by country is evolving. Starting in Asia, acceptance has spread worldwide. This is an evolving situation, with more countries mandating use with time and social acceptance.

Maskenpflicht (mask duty) in German

Government Guidance Articles

Proofing Box: Home Made DIY options

After doing many versions of focaccia, bagels, pretzels and sourdough bread, it was obvious that during the rising period, or proofing, that temperature control is critical. We were using a stainless steel bowl, a pyrex plate as a cover and an incandescent lamp to raise the temperature. This made our proofing take many hours. For sourdough, even 6 hours was not enough.

Many DIY options exist. This is not complex. You need a heat source, humidity, an enclosed box and maybe a fan. It is also nice to see the dough rise.

Sourdough Bread From A Learner: Resources

A neighbour gave me a freshly baked sourdough bread, and then some starter. I like sourdough’s flavour, and had been thinking about trying it, but hesitated on the 5 day wait for the starter to get going.

There are numerous recipes online. We started with this recipe: Easy Sourdough Artisan Bread Recipe.

There are many variables when dealing with natural yeast. Ambient temperature plays an important role. The sourdough’s naturally occurring yeast takes time to rise. My first bread took 6 hrs, and I felt it needed more time.

Foreground to Background Blur with Gimp

I had cut the background out of an image, with the person in the foreground, and wanted a background that mimicked the SLR view of a low f-stop, where the foreground is sharp but background is blurred.

To do this in Gimp is interesting. I found an image with a very sharp background.
Here are the steps:

CoVid-19 Corona Virus Self-Isolation: Benefits

This Covid-19 corona virus pandemic has markedly changed our short-term behaviour. Schools, libraries, community centers, gyms,dine-in restaurants and most stores are closed. We are told to stay home as much as possible. It is inconvenient, to say the least. I am getting what Canadians call “cabin fever”, a feeling of restlessness, the need to go out and do something.

All is not lost. There are benefits to our new self-isolation.

CoVid-19 Corona Virus and Social Distancing: This Is Difficult

This corona virus, CoVid-19, originally from Wuhan, China, has decimated parts of China, and especially Wuhan. China’s control strategies were brutal. Here in the West we cannot implement the rough measures that China took. Instead we have opted for rigorous contact tracing investigations, blocking borders and social distancing. I don’t know if this will be sufficient to control the virus. We can only wait and see. For certain, our regular way of life must change, We’re not going back to normal, and for many months.