Just an update

This blog is rarely used but is being maintained for the sake of previous posts. See the forum or wiki for more up to date action.

Jellyfish spotted in Love River under the Qixian bridge in Kaohsiung

Not too long ago, the only things you could expect to see floating in the Love River were garbage, raw sewage, used condoms, and an occasional corpse. How times have changed. The river is now full of life and generally odor free. Kaohsiung has managed to pull off a very positive transformation. The pictures are horrible, but today I saw many very large jellyfish in the river. An OGOB (old guy on bike) stopped to see what I was looking at, and informed me that they were common now. They had to be at least a foot in diameter, and there were more than I could count. Click on the pictures for larger images.


Jellyfish in Love River, Kaohsiung, December 2014


Jellyfish in Love River, Kaohsiung, December 2014

Moringa tree spotted in Kaohsiung

It’s hard to see, but just left of the street lamp is a moringa tree that hasn’t been pruned in quite a long time. This is on the bike trail that starts at the harbor and runs along the old rail road track. This spot is very close to what is at present the north end of that bike trail, north of Jianguo Rd. There is a broad leaf tree behind the moringa making it more difficult to see. Click on the picture for a larger image.



Moringa on the north end of the bike trail in Kaohsiung, December 2014.

Live streams of Hong Kong Occupy Central / Umbrella Revolution protest

You can find links to live feeds of the Hong Kong Occupy Central / Umbrella Revolution protest at http://formosahut.com/hk.shtml.

Buying Skype credit in Taiwan

Skype has recently started requiring people in Taiwan to buy Skype credit through PChome. Many people are finding that once they connect to Skype from within Taiwan, they can no longer add credit in the normal way, through the Skype web page, but instead are forwarded to PChome where they are required to divulge all sorts of personal information. This happens even if you created your account in another country, and it’s happening to people even after they return to the country in which they created their accounts. Skype, this sucks, and you suck.

There is a way around it, but it ain’t pretty. If you’re in Taiwan, create a new Skype account while you are logged in to a VPN. Then you can buy credit on that account in the normal way. I just tried this and it works. What I haven’t done yet is actually use that new account to call a land line, but when I do, I will be sure to turn on my VPN before I log in to that new account.

Before I created this new account, I did try to buy through my existing account while logged on to my VPN and after clearing my cache of all history, cookies, and sessions, but it didn’t work. Obviously owners of these accounts get flagged as being in Taiwan. It’s a really, really idiotic situation.

A better alternative is to dump Skype and use a different service. A couple options are Line and Viber.

Car nearly smooshed by boulder

I’m not clear on where in Taiwan this happened. This was published by The Guardian at http://is.gd/3xb1Et.

Download the video: Boulder almost hits car

Train meets landslide

And the landslide wins. This was during Kong Rei.

See the story at http://is.gd/Mz0f4Q.

Train meets landslide

Taiwan government knew about rabies well over a year ago

I find it surprising that nobody is getting in trouble for this. If I knew of a serious, possibly life-threatening situation in my classroom a year ago but didn’t notify anybody, I’d at the very least get fired and possibly charged with criminal negligence. Rabies was discovered in Taiwan in May of 2012, but the public and international community wasn’t informed until a year later. A year. That means that not only were people in Taiwan put at serious risk, but rabies could have been easily exported during that year because Taiwan maintained rabies-free status, allowing for less restrictions on animal exports and relocation of domestic animals.

CDC expands human rabies vaccine program

…Chang said the first confirmed indigenous infection of a ferret-badger was recorded as far back as May 2012, therefore, the CDC’s “Ensuring Safety” vaccination program has been adjusted to cover people who may have been bitten back then.


First human rabies case

This was bound to happen. Given the fact that the government knew about rabies on Taiwan for a YEAR but didn’t inform the public, chances are it’s far more widespread than they’re letting on.


Man tests positive for rabies after pet bite

A man in Taitung City tested positive for rabies last night after he was bitten by his pet ferret-badger on Monday, according to the government.

The ferret-badger died Tuesday morning.

Rabies returns to Taiwan

This is a pretty big story. With all the stray dogs in Taiwan, I suspect rabies will spread quite quickly. Just as disturbing is that it appears the government (Council of Agriculture) has been hiding from the public the fact that rabies has been back for more than a year. What were they going to do? Wait until a person died of rabies before letting us know it was back? That’s a bit like the fire department knowing a building is on fire, but not pulling the alarm until someone smells smoke.

Story found at http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2013/07/17/383947/Rabies-resurfaces.htm.

Rabies resurfaces in Taiwan for 1st time in 50 years: expert

TAIPEI–Rabies, a fatal disease that affects animals and humans, which is caused by a neurotropic virus, was recently detected in the remains of wild Formosan ferret-badgers, a veterinary research team confirmed yesterday.

This means rabies has reappeared in Taiwan for the first time in 50 years, said Victor Fei Pang, a professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine of National Taiwan University, during a meeting convened by the Council of Agriculture.

The meeting was held after Shih Wen-yi, former deputy director-general of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), said in a Facebook post on Monday that the COA might have been concealing information from the public about the return of rabies for more than a year.

Rabies is a zoonotic disease, which means it is transmittable from animals to humans, Shih told reporters on Tuesday. Rabies has the highest case fatality rate of any conventional infectious disease, approaching 100 percent, he said.

The COA convened the meeting of experts one year after the disease reappeared in Taiwan and has not yet informed the CDC of the matter, Shih said, adding that three of the samples taken from six Formosan ferret-badgers at the NTU’s School of Veterinary Medicine have tested positive for rabies.

Meanwhile, the three cases of rabies were confirmed during the meeting — two in dead Formosan ferret-badgers in Gukeng, Yunlin County, in November 2012 and one in Yuchi, Nantou County, in December 2012. Another Formosan ferret-badger that was sent by an amusement center in Nantou to NTU’s School of Veterinary Medicine in May 2012 also tested positive for rabies, according to Pang.

Also on Tuesday, Susan Chang, director general of the COA’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, said that the bureau has prepared 12,000 doses of anti-rabies vaccine to be given free of cost to domestic animals in the mountainous areas of Yunlin and Nantou.

Chang said the bureau has stockpiled 100,000 doses of the vaccine and plans to import 80,000 more in late August, while veterinary medicine manufacturers have stockpiled 230,000 doses and plan to import 200,000 more.

The bureau said it will report the cases to the World Organization for Animal Health. Currently, Japan is the only rabies-free country in Asia, it added.

Meanwhile, only 10 countries and regions around the world are free from rabies: United Kingdom, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Japan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and Guam.