Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.


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Well, a few terrible terrorist attacks in France. Macron has deployed troops to defend public sites: Macron deploys 7K soldiers to protect against attacks. Under the circumstances he has to do something, and this seems like a good call to my limited understanding. These attacks are by a small number of disaffected extremists, that ISIS and other actors have figured out how to activate so to speak. (Egged on by Nazi extremists as well.) A job for crack police and intelligence assets to root out. Unfortunately, the root cause of this horror, the endless European wars and propping up of criminal regimes in the Middle East/North Africa, probably won’t get addressed. We’re not really an intelligent species.

America broke its record for daily new Covid-19 cases yesterday. Covid-19 Live Updates: The U.S. Hits the 9-Million Mark as Infections Keep Surging. It’s going into a second wave in Europe as well. The US is still the world’s Covid-19 basket case though, as Trump has stopped even trying to do anything about Covid-19. That’s what the election days from now is about. A guy who literally thinks he’s the greatest POTUS ever, and Covid-19 is no big deal exaggerated by his enemies. Versus a guy who acknowledges Covid-19 is real, and requires a rational science based response. Fantasy vs reality basically.

Will Biden live up to his promise and launch a Federal effort to crush Covid-19? Damned if I know. Democrats have been promising stuff for decades and instead just selling out to corporate America. Still I can’t imagine that corporate America sees any profit in letting Covid-19 kill hundreds of thousands of people.

We’ll see. Or not. My current thinking is that Trump will declare victory on election night, McConnell and the SCOTUS will fall all over themselves backing him, and all hell will break loose. Will the Dem elite just roll over like they did in 2000? Will people take to the streets like during the Occupy protests? Will there be an explosion of civil unrest? Damned if I know, but whatever happens, I’ll be sure to blog about it.

Still seeing people who think things are going to get back to “normal,” that Covid-19 is just a temporary aberration, it will go away, and we can all go back to pretending that everything is under control. I’m sorry to say that when reality changes, it never goes back to the way it was before. Welcome to Earth.

One last link. A nice article in Alternet talking about how America is well on its way to becoming a failed state. Donald Trump and the American descent toward failed-state status. Alternet is a sketchy source, but this jibed with my understanding. America is not a failed state yet, but we had serious problems before Covid-19, and it hasn’t brought out the best in us. The GOP’s winning (short term) strategy of “Anything the libtards suggest is a plot to take away your rights” has rendered large parts of the country essentially ungovernable. Hope I’m wrong.

First full moon Halloween since 1944. Weird synchronicities there. By October 1944, any German (or Japanese) of sound mind knew the war was lost, Hitler was not going to lead them to victory. Not debatable. By the same token, any American of sound mind knows that Trump’s leadership is no better than Hitler’s, and horrible defeat looms. Hope I’m wrong.

Five more days until the solid human waste matter intercepts the rotating turbine blades. (Election 2020.) Thank you Ralph Johnson. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The French defeat at Dien Bien Phu. Credit: Public domain. Another instance where fantasy strategy failed.)

Written by unitedcats

October 29, 2020 at 8:39 pm


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So a few days after Trump decided to let Covid-19 spread across the land unhindered by the federal government, McConnell sent the Senate on vacation without passing any sort of economic relief bill. Basically when it comes to the worst pandemic in a century and the worst economic crisis in nearly as long, the GOP’s message to America is “You’re on your own.” As Trump Declares Surrender to the Coronavirus, GOP-led Senate Punts on Pandemic Relief. A week before the election, Trump and the GOP have announced that not only do they have no plans, they’re not even going to try.

In a normal election year this would be an example of how to lose an election, 2020, who knows. It’s not really going to get to Trump’s base, in fact to them he announced he beat Covid-19: White House science office takes credit for ‘ending’ pandemic as infections mount. And Trump and the GOP will just blame the Dems for the failure to pass any sort of economic relief. The fact that the GOP controls the Senate and didn’t even propose any economic relief bill is overlooked.

The whole Trump world is a sea of misinformation. An interesting article comparing the US to South Korea in their response to Covid-19. Both countries had their first case on the same day last year. To say the outcome has been different is an understatement, South Korea controlled it just fine, only about 500 dead so far. Less than on most days in America. And South Korea did it by following the scientific playbook developed by the US. America could still do that, will we? Not under Trump: Instead of learning from South Korea’s coronavirus example, Trump is lying about it. Not surprising, Trump does not appear to be capable of learning from his experiences … (cough) sociopathy (cough.) On the plus side, all of the money so wisely spent (by Trump’s predecessors) in America on developing a pandemic playbook has saved lives. All over the world: How America Helped Defeat the Coronavirus* *Just not in the United States. Just not here.

And in a lovely little incident that sums up the whole Trump thing to many, Trump held one of his trademark rallies. In Omaha. He bused in all sorts of supporters for the event. And apparently didn’t plan on busing them home. So thousands of Trump supporters were abandoned outside in freezing weather. Creating a huge mess for police and other services, some suffered hypothermia and such requiring medical treatment. Old people and children dumped in the cold after being used basically as props for one of Trump’s rallies. Kinda does sum up the man: Trump Abandoning Thousands Of His Supporters In The Freezing Cold Has Led Many To See A Metaphor In The Whole Thing.

In conclusion, I realize Trump is about to have an amazing accomplishment under his belt, something that will get him into the history books. He’s about to break a record that even Obama couldn’t top. Election turnout this fall is well on track to be the highest in generations. Yes Mr Trump, you drove Americans to the polls this fall in numbers that are undreamt of by any of your predecessors. In a way that makes Mr Trump one of the greatest inspirations for democracy of my lifetime. I salute you Mr Trump for inspiring record numbers of Americans to vote. The fact that the majority of them are voting for Biden, well, it is what it is.

Less than a week now. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way before an election. Maybe Goldwater/Johnson, I was just a kid, but it seemed really emotional. Oh, less than a week before election day. Trump declaring he won, could happen any day. Fun times. Stay safe everyone.   #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Tweet. Credit: Attribution in image. Used without permission. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It made me laugh, and sometimes it feels like that’s all voting for Biden is.)

Written by unitedcats

October 28, 2020 at 7:14 pm


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I woke up this morning and went outside to look at the lake and the sky, I live by a lake, and it never ceases to amaze me. The world we share is exquisite in its realness. And the waves were really rolling in. Like big waves. Like surfing type waves. I’d never seen anything like it before, and have lived here for years. I was worried about boats and docks. Exciting. Then I realized, there’s no wind, this can’t be real. And then I woke up. Been awhile since I had a dream like that, reality and the dream country intertwined, but it happens.

I actually have a dream USA I visit regularly. It’s smaller than the real USA, one can drive across it in a day. I could write travel guides to parts of it. Some great hiking, I walk a lot in my dreams. I’ve had a number of people tell me they find that fascinating, I should write about it! I’m like, doesn’t everyone have a dream country that they visit regularly? Right? And what does the dream mean?

Beats me. I’m still trying to grok Trump deciding to just walk away from Covid-19. I’m not alone. Trump White House surrenders to the coronavirus, Trump team just announced its surrender to the pandemic,  Trump Tells Coronavirus, ‘I Surrender’, and my favorite headline:  The Trump administration’s covid-19 message: You’re on your own. Try not to die. That the pandemic was going to hit the US hard was a given, that the Trump administration would essentially do nothing didn’t cross my mind. I take back every positive thing I ever said about Trump, I was wrong. He is incompetant on a scale previously unimaginable in a POTUS. So so many people are going to die, so much loss and pain and suffering. And people think Trump was sent by God? That’s one sick and cruel God I guess.

And Trump’s not done yet. A week from tonight Trump will be declaring electoral victory, and who the hell knows what will happen then. For the past four years the Democratic establishment in Washington has essentially let Trump do whatever he wants, I’m not sure they have the spine to fight if Trump blatantly steals the election. I’m not sure how the American people would respond if Trump steals the election. That’s my current election prediction by the way, Trump is simply going to declare he won. And I think the Democrat establishment will just let him.

And the nation’s Covid-19 and economic death spiral will carry on, because in real life, Trump doesn’t have the magical powers he and his followers think he has. In other words, you think 2020 was bad, 2021 is going to say “You thought that was bad? Hold my beer.” I hope I’m wrong. For example, the crayfish apocalypse I warned about is happening: Escaped cloned female mutant crayfish take over Belgian cemetery. They’re coming for the dead, the living are next. I warned about it in 2018: The Crayfish Apocalypse.

What a time to be alive. So many people still don’t understand that Covid-19 changes everything. I’ll keep blogging as long as I can. Hoping my cancer surgery isn’t cancelled as Covid-19 overwhelms our health care system. Woohoo! Stay safe everyone, comments, questions, likes appreciated. #CancerSucks #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public domain Snappygoat image. I selected this image because the waves in my dream were like this.)

Written by unitedcats

October 27, 2020 at 8:02 pm


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Victory in America day for Covid-19! The Trump administration has surrendered. Trump had one job  … protect America. And he’s failed, hundreds of thousands dead with no end in sight. Well, walking away from messes he has made is Trump’s life story. He couldn’t even make the announcement himself, some leader.

That was my first impression when I heard that Trump had given up on trying to stop the spread of Covid-19. Trump’s chief of staff admits US cannot control pandemic. I was shocked when I heard the news, and am more horrified on multiple levels the more I think about it. The first level is easy. Lots of people will die. Hundreds of thousands of them, even if Biden gets elected and does his job. This is unprecedented, like Roosevelt surrendering to Japan and Germany in 1944, but Trump still wants people’s votes!

And Trump thinks Covid-19 is all media hype? He’s upset that the mainstream media keeps covering the worst crisis to hit America since 1941? He in fact claimed the press’s coverage of Covid-19 was an “election law violation.”  Trump accuses media of ‘election law violation’ for reporting on COVID-19 pandemic. No Mr Trump, covering a pandemic that’s killing a thousand people a day is the media’s job. Defending the country against the pandemic is your job, because you don’t want to do it isn’t the media’s fault.

This is Trump’s equivalent to his bankruptcies, so on some level this isn’t a surprise. I myself predicted Trump might resign based on his history of bankruptcies. I realize now bankruptcy and resignation are two different things. A bankruptcy, one gets to keep one’s reputation, power, standing. A resignation, not so much. This surrender however is very much like bankruptcy. He’s just dumping the problem on states and local government, and walking away. Fully intending to remain POTUS and strut his stuff among the world’s elite.

Surprised this isn’t getting more press actually. It’s a sign of just how detached from reality all of modern America is. Yes, I call it the “China Virus” in the headline. That’s because this is how Trump portrayed Covid-19, as essentially an attack on the world and especially America by China. If it’s a Chinese attack on America Mr Trump, why aren’t you defending us against it?

Yes, the image, Lee surrendering to Grant. Very mixed feelings about the comparison, but thought it covered a lot. Lee at least put up a furious fight for years before accepting the inevitable. Trump hardly put up a fight at all, and surrendered in just over six months. Lee was an avowed traitor, who was a major leader in the greatest crime in American history. I wouldn’t call Trump a traitor per se, but not sure what other word applies to a leader who just opens the gates to an enemy? In any case, we are in a pivotal moment in American history.

2020 is proof positive that huge numbers of humans live in ideological/religious alternate realities. Had to happen sooner or later if history is any guide. Eight days till the election, what a wild ride this has been. The future has always been an unknown land, but usually in the west for generations, a general Pax Roma was a safe bet. Not now. “The map is not the territory” is a more important concept than ever.

Stay safe everyone, Covid-19 is a disease the gentle reader doesn’t want to get. Covid-19 changes everything. #WinterSucks #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Lee surrenders. Credit: In the image. Used without permission, unsure of the image’s copyright status. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 26, 2020 at 8:41 pm


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The first murder hornet nest has been found and destroyed in the United States. Scientists just sucked it out of a tree with a big vacuum. Sometimes the old ways are the best. The first time they vacuumed Westminster Cathedral 12 cartloads of vacuumings were hauled off. I digress. The murder hornet nest wasn’t unexpected, they’ve been in British Columbia since last September. Obviously they survived the winter, which tend to be mild at low elevations there. Despite all the hype, in the greater scheme of things this is relatively minor. IE people will learn to live with them, just like they live with other hornets. And beekeepers can protect hives by surrounding them with wire mesh. Finally, despite their reputation, murder hornets are actually a beneficial predator of insect pests.

The headline says it all: FBI: Far-Right Extremist Posed As BLM Protester, Fired On Minneapolis Police Precinct. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to point out that a right winger posing as a left winger to commit violence is right wing violence. Most political violence this election season has been from the right, though I doubt they don’t mention that much on Fox News. A lot of fear mongering from the right, So scary election season 2020 continues.

And this scares me. Will my marriage survive? It’s up to the Supreme Court. Several sitting justices have signaled they might revisit marriage equality. Why does this scare me? First of all the weird logic of “Your marriage takes away my religious rights.” Your religion says you can’t get gay married, great, don’t. When your religion tells other people they can’t get married because of your religion, that’s not religious liberty, it’s religious tyranny. Secondly, if they do this, half a million families are dissolved in the eyes of the law. More chaos and pain in already troubled times, to placate their God? There are zero logical or scientific reasons to outlaw marriage equality, any more than there were good reasons to outlaw miscegenation, laws which weren’t struck down until 1967. Wanting to dissolve consenting adults marriages is purely driven by religion, if not simple bigotry and intolerance.

I find it hard to get my head around the idea that there are people who think they know what’s good for everyone, and will gladly use the state’s power to enforce their religious beliefs on them. The very same people terrified of sharia law being imposed on them, have no problem enforcing evangelical law on everyone. Except it’s not that hard to understand, I’m a reformed bigot. It’s actually pretty simple, people that disagree with you are less than human in some ways. They are others, the enemy, not of the tribe. And they should get with the program and be grateful for it, or get out.

And a lot of these people are really angry now, urged on by Trump. 9 days until the election of my lifetime. Anything could happen. One positive thought, the captains of industry so to speak, must be a little alarmed at the prospect of an actual civil war or widespread civil unrest. Yes, so far Trump and the pandemic have been fabulously profitable for the ultra rich, but a country gutted by partisan violence? They wouldn’t want that, right? They’d do what needed to be done to keep the situation under control? LOL. Yeah, right. Kruppes and Mitsubishi rolled through WW2 without a peep even as their nations’ were being bombed flat. We’re fucked.

Here in northern Iowa, the atmosphere started freezing and falling to the ground today. As a friend said, anyone who likes winter never had livestock. Looks like we will get at least one more warmer spell next week, but still, we’re about a month ahead of the average first snowfall of an inch or more. Well, 2020 has been consistent so far, why not an early hard winter? Hope all had a good weekend. #WinterSucks #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(image: Murder hornet. Credit: Gary Alpert Used legally, details here.)

Written by unitedcats

October 25, 2020 at 7:44 pm


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So Friday the US hit a new daily record for new Covid-19 infections. Hospital admissions and deaths are trending up again too. Yes, it’s trending up all over the world again, but the US is still well in the lead in terms of being the hardest hit. Over 750 deaths. In Canada, 34. If adjusted for proportionate population, Canada has about 300 deaths. So Americans are dying at more than twice the rate of Canadians. But we’ve turned the corner. According to Trump. Right.

I hardly know what to say. A terrible new disease emerged last December, and the dear leader’s response since has pretty much been: “It’s going to go away soon!” Trump’s light at the end of the tunnel. For seven months that promise has held his flock in sway. How long can it go on? Well, Trump’s followers have been awaiting the imminent return of Jesus for two thousand years. So Trump’s core will never desert him.

Christianity, a religion for slaves. Short post tonight, watched a movie in its entirety. It involved England. Stay safe everyone, we were all force fed a red pill last December. Some haven’t accepted it yet. I appreciate my readers. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: It is what it is. Never thought I’d see the end of the world. Public domain image from Snappygoat.)

Written by unitedcats

October 24, 2020 at 8:17 pm

Posted in 2020, Covid-19, Elections, Trump


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One trump note to start, then on to science. At least it was a far more substantive debate than the previous yelling match. That’s about all that can be said about it. Trump reached dizzying new heights on the BS meter, almost everything he said was what the old folks called lying. Back when America was great, presidents didn’t lie through their teeth quite so constantly.  Just saying. Doesn’t matter, if Trump said it, it must be true. Trump has truly turned the GOP, or his core at least, into something pretty much indistinguishable from a religion. If Trump said or promised it, they believe. Like Trump’s health care plan to replace Obamacare, promised it during his 2016 again, now he’s promising it again. Or Trump’s Covid-19 plan. Lies and empty promises, well, it worked in 2016. Even using the same promises. Sigh.

Moving right along, a whole concept I’d never heard of before. Carcinization. This is when an arthropod evolves into something like a crab. It’s happened no less than five times. Yes, parallel evolution is a thing, but five different times, that’s special. God likes crabs? No, it’s obviously a highly effective animal design in certain habitats, so it’s evolved repeatedly. It’s proved to be a great way to study evolution. Yeah, probably only of interest to the biology nerds: Animals Keep Evolving Into Crabs, Which Is Somewhat Disturbing. I just think it’s neat that there’s a specific word for it. Carcinization, going to be a challenge to fit into daily conversation.

And in more biology, electric mud! News to me, I can’t keep up with everything. Hell, so much new is being discovered these days, that no matter how much one tries, there’s more to learn every day. Anyhow, about ten years ago, in a freak experimental discovery scientists found out there are bacteria that form electrical circuits so to speak. Allowing them to perform biological functions over a distance. It was so weird it was disbelieved at first, but now two species have been discovered and it’s definitely real. I mention it because it’s interesting, and a wonderful example of how science is self correcting. This discovery will require rethinking a lot of things about, well, mud. Here’s the article for the suitably nerdish: ‘Electric mud’ teems with new, mysterious bacteria.

It’s more or less common knowledge now that while Neanderthals have been extinct for some 30,000 years, a lot of their DNA (possibly as much as 20% of it) remains mixed into human DNA, because humans and Neaderthals cross bred. Slightly less known, the Denisovans, another recently discovered extinct human ancestor that cross bred with humans, thus some of their DNA also survives in human populations as well. Well, studying modern human DNA scientists have discovered DNA that’s neither human, Neanderthal, or Denosivian. They don’t actually know what it’s from, Homo erectus is the best guess so far. Pfft, sometimes scientists have no imagination. It’s clearly alien DNA, I mean they had to be doing something with those probes:  Mystery ancestor mated with ancient humans. And its ‘nested’ DNA was just found. Helpful illustration above. People just love to have sex. And not even necessarily with other people.

Speaking of aliens, ever look up at the sky and wonder if anyone was looking back? Well, scientists wondered if aliens using the same technology we use to discover exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars) would be able to see Earth? They found about sixty nearby G-type stars that could conceivably detect Earth, and in fact they could likely tell a fair amount about Earth. I wonder if the SETI people will give them a good look, if they can see us it stands to reason they might try to contact us. Or worse: Aliens From These Worlds Could Be Watching Us Right Now

In more news to me, there’s a type of beetle that can survive getting run over by a car. It’s called a diabolical ironclad beetle. That’s a pretty neat trick, normally cars running over bugs is a quick trip to that great windshield in the sky, or wherever bugs go after they die: The diabolical ironclad beetle can survive getting run over by a car. Here’s how. Obviously this might well have practical applications, keeping things from getting crushed is always a good thing.

Lastly, in the “humans have issues” file, I found out what happens to items returned to Amazon. I would have just guessed they were returned to inventory and sold to someone else. Nope, for the most part they get trashed: Hidden cameras and secret trackers reveal where Amazon returns end up. It bugged me, seems like such a waste. Certainly another indication of how inherently worthless most things are in the modern world. I realized what bugs me though. If they are just going to throw it out because it’s cheaper than restocking it, why not just cut the cost further and have the consumer toss it? Wouldn’t that be the greener and cheaper solution?

And once again I wish my friend Peter was still alive to ask him of this, he was a world class economist. What a strange world we live in. Even before  Trump and Covid-19 it was weird, now, well, that’s why I blog every day. 2020 America, books will be written. Stay safe and have a great weekend everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Best free image I could find of a Neanderthal. I wonder what they would have to say about the times. Lost forever I guess. Credit: Stefan Scheer Used legally, the various legal stuff here.)

Written by unitedcats

October 23, 2020 at 7:43 pm


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OK, debate night. At least it’s on so far. First though, a correction. Turns out the Ratcliffe FBI stuff yesterday was team Trump nonsense, trying to once again cast doubt on the integrity of the upcoming election. My bad. Like I said, the crap is flying so fast now I can’t keep up. And internationally too. Protestors shot in Nigeria, not looking good. The fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh continues, thousands dead. Covid is making a big comeback in Europe. 2020 is not going out with a whisper, that’s for sure.

Still seeing people online who aren’t really getting how terrible the pandemic is, either out of simple denial, or a more complicated effort to rationalize away Trump’s failure to fight Covid-19 effectively. Met a guy who thinks Covid-19 will all go away after the election, because it’s mostly liberal media hype just to make Trump look bad. I really don’t even know what to say to such people anymore, I’m with Bill Murray. For the people that can read, this is one of the best overviews of the whole pandemic I’ve seen yet: America and the Virus: ‘A Colossal Failure of Leadership’

A brief summary for those who can’t get past the paywall. It’s a sad and infuriating story. Before Trump America was the best prepared nation on Earth for a pandemic. Started with Bush 42 actually. He read a book about the 1918 flu pandemic, was alarmed, called together some experts and asked how prepared America was? Not very was the answer. So he set up a pandemic response team and crafted a pandemic response plan. Obama expanded on it. And Trump dismantled it over three years, and when the pandemic hit, he threw the plan out the window in favor of winging it.

To be fair the article goes into the failures of China and other players, and the scientific missteps made along the way. Science is self-correcting though, realizing they were wrong and issuing new guidelines shows that science works. Since Trump can never admit he was wrong, his response to Covid-19 is still basically just winging it. The article also mentions that if the US had handled Covid as well as most other developed countries, only about 50,000 people would be dead. Trump’s claim he prevented millions of deaths is, well, bullshit. The last point, the point that isn’t being talked about at all as people envision it’s all going to go away when we get a vaccine. Right now the economic price tag is about 16 trillion dollars. That’s about 125 thousand for every household in America. Not the flu morans.

So covid-19 is as serious as a heart attack. And I guess it won’t be covered in the debate tonight. (I was wrong.)  I’m about to watch it. I’ll post some impressions tonight, more tomorrow if it ends up being something to blog about. I’m betting Trump has a fit and storms off the stage at some point.

And Biden has walked into a trap. Normalizing the idea that Russian can influence the election is playing right into Trump’s hand.


Biden’s doing OK, but I want to see Trump staked in the heart.

I just wish Biden was a great debater, a Lincoln or Roosevelt or even Obama would have eviscerated Trump.

“The preexisting condition plan at the same time we get the infrastructure plan.” Point for Biden.


Trump is a master of the gish-gallop argument. Except he believes what he is saying.

Had to mute Trump as he went into a horrific racist victim blaming rant about illegal immigrants.

I know a DACA kid. She came into the country at 2 years old in the trunk of a car. She’s a fantastic American.

Possible exception of Abraham Lincoln! No Mr Trump, just no.

“All talk, no action!” That’s Olympic class rich coming from Trump.

OK, I watched almost all of the debate. Trump is brilliant at what he does, he didn’t lose. That most of what he said was irrelevant (cherry picked) or untrue will be lost on a huge number of Americans. He didn’t storm off the stage, I lost a bet. Biden, well, he could have done worse. I’ll call it a draw at this point.

Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(image: Found on Facebook, attribution unknown, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 22, 2020 at 7:56 pm


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In local news, this is what I found while treasure hunting (metal detecting) yesterday. A US penny, 1853. About the size of a modern quarter, pure copper. 1853, whole different world. My state, Iowa, had only been formed seven years earlier, the county I live in only two years earlier. No planes or cars then of course, if one went anywhere, one walked or rode a horse. Though train and steamboat travel was getting popular. Photographs had been around for about a decade, so was the telegraph, the first long distance electronic communication system. The country had become a much smaller place, news could travel across the nation instantly, when previously it would take weeks. And plans were afloat to lay the first transAtlantic telegraph cable. The stirrings of the modern world were starting.

And America was in the death spiral leading to the Civil War seven years later. Since before 1820 there were slave states and free states, and by 1853 it was really starting to heat up. Especially in Kansas as free state and slave state vigilantes wreaked violence, around 200 people would die in “Bleeding Kansas,” as this prelude to the Civil War would be called. Here, Clear Lake Iowa was literally just being founded, the first settlers arriving two years before. So if my coin was dropped in 1853, it was dropped by one of the very first settlers. Though it’s also possible it was lost by a Winnebego Indian, Clear Lake was a popular summer home for them.

And here’s a positive local story about same. One of the very earliest settlers was some fellow who claimed he was a notorious Indian fighter. Well, one night some local Winnebagos had a little too much to drink, and a party of them set out to pay him a visit and see this guy for themselves. Well, word got to him before they arrived … and he fled with the clothes on his back, never to return. Be careful what one brags about I would say.

So it was a good way to end the treasure hunting season. Will inspire me to do more next year. Alas the US has no treasure trove laws, so I have to be careful to only search private property with an agreement with the landowner. Europe would be so much better, far more treasure to be found, and treasure trove laws mean if you find real treasure, the government will pay you a fair market price for it. Everyone wins, treasure hunters get the reward for their finds, priceless historical artifacts become public property for science and show. Here in the US, no treasure trove laws, so looting is the order of the day. Another aspect of “modern” America that doesn’t reflect us in a good light.

Like, say, the current election. Both sides are frantically slinging mud and hoping it sticks to the wall. Far more so than in any previous election I recall, I mean really, life was boring before 2020. I can’t keep up with them all. There was something about Hunter Biden’s emails, that Trump claimed was the political crime of the century. Is there a word for when one’s hyperbole has been hyperbolized? Then Trump claimed the media was deliberately ignoring the Hunter Biden story to make him look bad. No Mr Trump and Trump followers, they ignored it because the Hunter Biden story stank. And at this point appears to be a whole lot of nothing.

By the same token the FBI came out with some stuff about Russia, Iran, and the election, which has also been immediately blown out of anything resembling proportion. FBI director Ratcliffe said Russia and Iran had obtained US voter information, no hacking involved. And why would there be, it’s publicly available information for the most part? And apparently some Iranian servers have used this information to stir up trouble, but  Ratcliffe was again specific, the Russians haven’t done so. In other words, Russia obtained some public information about US voters … and this is being breathlessly touted as “Proof of Russian election interference!” and “Why is Trump not doing anything about it!” Give me a break.

And frankly the idea that some foreign power is causing dissent in the US now is like saying a guy running around in a hurricane with a squirtgun is a public menace. We’re doing just fine on our own with an out of control pandemic and an out of control POTUS. This was a good one: Trump’s campaign is laser-focused on appealing to Donald Trump. After 2016 no one wants to predict the election result, but Jesus, is Trump’s campaign run by squirrels wearing a human suit? There’s this, Tiffany Trump tried to hold an LGBTQ pride campaign event, it didn’t go well: Tiffany Trump burned over disastrous LGBTQ pride campaign event: ‘Beyond pathetic’. Or this mind numbing image:

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here to point out that this says far more about whoever created, vetted, and approved this image than anything about Biden. And yes, it’s real. And once again with feeling, screw the people that mainstreamed name-calling as acceptable political discourse. It’s like living in a country run by preschoolers.

Tomorrow, the last Biden/Trump debate! My only prediction … it won’t turn out the way anyone predicted. Might well be a shitshow like the last debate, but doesn’t take a crystal ball to “predict” that. Maybe something really fun will happen, Biden’s human mask falls off and reveals a reptoid. Trump pulls out handcuffs and tries to citizen’s arrest Biden. It’s 2020 right? As my ancient nemesis Missy would say “Not bored yet.” #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Coin photo: Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Billboard image: Pittsburgh City Paper. Used without permission, but claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I’m promoting and linking to their article.)

Written by unitedcats

October 21, 2020 at 7:22 pm


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The above made me laugh, getting harder to do these days as the train wreck that is US election 2020 rolls merrily along. Trump was a big proponent of birtherism, the idea that Obama was born in Kenya, and thus wasn’t eligible to be the POTUS. A theory that never had a single shred of evidence in support of it, but nonetheless was (and likely still is) believed by millions of people. America in the 20th century, there’s zero evidence for it, but I think it should be true, so I believe it. And Trump is the ultimate embodiment of that philosophy of life.

People have always believed in nonsense, it’s just sad so much of it has gone mainstream in America the past few decades. Now we’re at a point where the POTUS doesn’t seem to live in the real world anymore. Birtherism seems quaint in comparison to some of the stuff popping up these days. This week’s Skeptoid had a good article: How to Extract Adrenochrome from Children. Basically, and it’s all wrapped up with QAnon now, there’s this idea that the world’s elite are secretly kidnapping children and torturing/killing them to produce adrenochrome in order to use it as a powerful hallucinogen or as some sort of fountain of youth drug.

Sounds crazy, right? The thing that is almost unbearably stupid about this “theory” is that adrenochrome isn’t a controlled substance, and is cheap and easy to acquire. It’s not some sort of fountain of youth drug, and the idea that it’s a hallucinogen was made up by Hunter S Thompson for a work of fiction: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Basically the adrenochrome theory is a modern incarnation of blood libel, the idea that Jews secretly kill Christian children to use their blood for ritual purposes. In other words, the Middle Ages never ended, we just have cooler stuff now.

Speaking of train wrecks, Trump’s campaign is seen as going increasingly off the rails. Several interesting links. First of all, his campaign spending apparently has been shockingly inept, pissing away huge sums of money on questionable things. Or even just basically being little better than embezzlement. The saddest and funniest thing is that they ran Trump TV commercials in Washington, where Trump has zero chance of winning, just because Trump likes to see himself on TV. Yeah, that’s money well spent. Trump’s campaign has burned up money like ’10 monkeys with flamethrowers’: GOP strategist.

The last debate is in two days. Apparently the moderator will be able to shut off the microphone to avoid a repeat of the first “debate,” which largely consisted of old men yelling at and interrupting each other. Saw this headline about Trump’s latest antics: Trump looking like a trapped animal trying to gnaw off its own leg as his 2020 bid flounders: reporter. It made me laugh, here’s the original article without the hype: The Donald Trump Show Must Go On

The madness continues on the campaign trail. I thought it was an interesting read. Lastly, a little gem from the New York Times. Trump Is Giving Up. Against both the coronavirus and Joe Biden, the president’s strategy increasingly accepts defeat. Fun times.

Rush “It’s only a cold folks!” Limbaugh has stage 4 lung cancer: Rush Limbaugh says his lung cancer is terminal. Well, no one lives forever. I won’t mourn his passing. He devoted his life to encouraging conservatives to hate and misunderstand liberals. He was one of the founders and purveyors of the toxic partisanship that is now the heart and soul of Trump’s America.  The man who made childish name-calling a hallowed principle of the right. And Mr Limbaugh is one of the biggest drivers of Covid-19 misinformation, the blood of thousands of dead Americans is on his hands. You could have been a force for good Rush, you chose hate until the end. Jesus wept.

Not a whole lot of good news, as one might expect living in a country where a pandemic is essentially raging out of control. Best guess now is that Covid-19 has directly and indirectly killed about 300,000 Americans. Likely to hit 400,000 by year’s end. So a city the size of St. Louis has died, a city the size of Minneapolis by year’s end. The coronavirus pandemic has caused nearly 300,000 more deaths than expected in a typical year.

Fortunately, while it doesn’t help with the Covid-19 situation, NASA was able to make a great start at averting a potential giant asteroid strike in the 22nd century. How did they do that? A probe, OSIRIS-REx, made a controlled short touchdown on Asteroid Bennu and retrieved a sample. Which it will fly back to Earth in 2023. Bennu is about a third of a mile wide, and has a non-trivial chance of striking Earth in the 22nd century. It would be the equivalent of a good size nuclear bomb, dozens of times bigger than the Hiroshima bomb.

So wait, how does getting a sample of Bennu help prevent a collision? Basically, the more we know about it, the better we can predict its orbit and tell how much danger we are really in. And by the same token, the more we know about it, the more we can plan how to move it if it does need to be nudged away. And when it comes to preventing asteroid and comet strikes, the more lead time the better, several decades at minimum. So good going NASA.

Looks like winter has started here in Northern Iowa. Cold and rainy with freezing nights. Sometimes we get Indian Summer weather into November, maybe not this year. Well, if there was a year for an early cold nasty winter, it’s 2020. Bring it on. I did manage to make one last metal detector find, and a nice one it is. When I can get a good picture, I’ll post about it.

Stay safe everyone, comments, questions, shares, likes, appreciated. Patrons too. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image. Used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 20, 2020 at 6:31 pm