Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

BIDEN BACKS UKRAINE’S CONFRONTATION WITH RUSSIA, THIS COULD GET UGLY

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Germans bombing Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine in 1941. Ukraine in living memory has suffered terribly at the hands of non-Ukrainians: Nazi Germans and Stalinist Russians. So a lot of bad blood there. That’s the background. Jumping ahead, both Bush and Obama tangled with Russia over border disputes between Russia and its neighbors. In both cases Russia was defending ethnic Russians or long time allies of Russia.

Bush encouraged Georgia to believe it had American support in the event of a confrontation with Russia. Two small breakaway provinces of Georgia had decided during the collapse of the Soviet Union that they wanted to be part of Russia, dammit; there had been blood spilt, but Russia ‘peacekeeping’ troops ensured their de facto independence from Georgia. Sashakvili, the leader of Georgia, attacked these troops in an effort to reincorporate the breakaway provinces  into Georgia. The Russians responded with overwhelming force. Bush told them to back off. Putin said “talk to the hand;” and Russian troops beat the crap out of the Georgian military, invading Georgia itself in the process. Georgia came to its senses, granted the two minor provinces to Russia, and that was that.

Then Obama took his turn. An anti-Russian coup took place in Ukraine, the US immediately proclaimed it legitimate, and the new rulers wasted no time passing laws that made ethnic Russians into second class citizens. The local government of Crimea then voted to join Russia, they held a plebiscite which also overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. Since, you know, Crimea had been part of Russia for centuries, and was populated almost entirely by ethnic Russians. Putin promptly annexed Crimea, and Obama was left with explaining how he had “lost Crimea.” And to this day Russia defending Russia, Russians and its allies is characterized as “Russian aggression.” Technically correct the same way that any chess player making a move can be characterized as the aggressor.

And now it looks like Biden is going to try his hand at facing off with Russia over its disputes with Ukraine. So freaking similar to Rome’s wars with Persia that it’s somewhere between scary and silly. Have we learned nothing? I digress. There are two eastern provinces of Ukraine that also saw pro Russian revolts, where the ethnic Russians declared a sort of independence from Ukraine. Supported by Russia. And there’s where the current problem is. Russia has built up troops there in case they “need” to protect Russians in Ukraine.

Will Ukraine “invade” its two eastern provinces, a replay of Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia? I hope not. Putin outmaneuvered Bush and Obama, I’d bet on him vs Biden and his handlers any day. Russia has nuclear weapons too, so it seems crazy to do anything that could provoke war with them. Ans as well Russia can easily field conventional forces that could crush Ukraine’s military in a conventional war. So if Ukraine does something stupid, it’s because they think the US will back them.

How will this play out? No one knows. I give a 50% chance something further stupid will happen. And there’s a 1-10% chance something awful to history changing will happen. Is Biden really a senile old fool, or a sociopathic mimic of the first order who will do what the Washington elite says? My bet is on the latter, hopefully we won’t find out. I guess if I get to see ‘Life meets Jericho,’ there are worse fates.

Have a great weekend everyone. Get a Covid vaccine as soon as you can, Covid is looking like a worse disease all the time. Stay safe. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

PS: And in the 24 hours since I started writing this, the situation has deteriorated: US Warships to Enter Black Sea in ‘Significant Signal’ to Russia, Russia Prepared for ‘Worst Scenario’ With Possible US Sanctions, and Ukraine’s Top Commander Invokes NATO’s Article 5 Military Assistance Clause as West Continues to Oversee Ukraine’s War in the Donbass. Fun times.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Used legally:This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license. Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B12190 / Kraagranger [Kraayvanger] / CC-BY-SA 3.0 )

Written by unitedcats

April 9, 2021 at 7:41 pm

Posted in 2021, Biden, Russia, Ukraine, War

STRANGE GREEN ROCK FOUND ON MARS, OTHER SCIENCE NEWS, AND #DEARMOONCREW

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NASA scientists have found a six inch long green rock on Mars. (inset above.) As most of the rocks on Mars are, well, rather drab dusty red colored (above,) this is definitely unusual. Tests are underway to figure out what it is. Since Mars had all sorts of water once, there are any number of possible minerals formed in hot springs and such. A meteor origin is possible too, a number of meteorites have been spotted on Mars. That’s because Mars gets more meteors, more of them make it to the surface because of the thin atmosphere, and then they just sit there waiting to be found because erosion and such is a slow process on Mars. This made me wonder if “shooting stars” can be seen on Mars, I checked, and I’m happy to inform the gentle reader that Mars certainly has enough atmosphere to burn up incoming meteors and make shooting star displays visible from the surface of the planet.

While researching this particular rock I found out that the Chinese Yutu-2 Moon rover also discovered mysterious “gel like” green rocks on the Moon about a year ago. That mystery was solved though, the rocks were glass. IE rocks probably melted in a meteorite impact. Or maybe melted when they were testing Jewish space lasers. Sigh. Yes, Marjorie Taylor Green, the GOP’s “hold my beer” response to “Well, at least the GOP can’t elect anyone stupider than Sarah Palin;” actually blamed California wildfires on “space lasers.” Well, there’s one advantage to giving up science and reason, you can imagine whatever you want!

Sorry, slipped into politics for a moment there. Speaking of odd rocks found in far away places, I recall from my childhood that astronauts on the Moon announced they had found “green crystals” on the lunar surface. Turned out later they were joking. I was unable to confirm this on the Interweb though, so as it’s a fifty year old memory, I can’t vouch for it being accurate. Apollo 17 astronauts did indeed find unexpected orange soil on the Moon. Turns out it was volcanic in origin, created by an ancient fire fountain back when the Moon had active volcanoes. Interestingly enough scientists still can’t explain the origin of some of the unusual elements found in the soil samples after they were returned to Earth. That’s one of the wonders of science, if anything the things it can’t yet explain gets larger with every new discovery. No shortage of things for budding scientists to cut their teeth on.

Speaking of the Moon, I did apply for the #dearMoonCrew. This is a project to send eight passengers on board a spacecraft that will circle past the Moon in a few years. It was launched by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. I signed up mainly as a lark and for a bit of fun blog fodder. I waited until the last moment to actually fill out and send in my application. It was then I discovered I had made a horrible mistake. This is not a publicity stunt or such, the goal of the mission is actually incredibly cool.

Mr Maezawa is recruiting artists of all stripes (if one calls oneself an artist he’s good with it, and I sure as sheet think writing and blogging is an art,) who want to go to the Moon for inspiration, to inspire others, and to express themselves artistically. I mean, how cool is that? I could be the first blogger to circle the Moon! One better believe that would be the blogging opportunity of a lifetime. The mistake I made was not looking into it further, so my application was filled out at the last minute and wasn’t nearly as inspired and well written as it could have been. Oh well, missing opportunities is a long honored family tradition.

Still, I do want to go. They sent John Glenn up at 77 years old, so it’s not completely out of the picture. And I’ve been tagging #dearMoonCrew all over the place hoping my application at least gets passing attention. So gentle readers, if any of you are friends with Elon Musk (he’s supplying the spaceship) or the inestimable Mr Maezawa, please put in a good word for me!

Stay safe everyone, hope all are having a good week. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(NASA images the perseverance rover on the surface of Mars. NASA images are public domain so long as they aren’t used to indicate NASA endorses a product or service. No, NASA doesn’t endorse Doug’s Darkworld, although it would be cool if they did.)

Written by unitedcats

April 6, 2021 at 4:19 pm

TRUMP’S EASTER CRAZINESS, AT LEAST HE AND HIS FOLLOWERS ARE CONSISTENT

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The above was Trump’s pre Easter message. Let’s see, where to start? Um, over 60 lawsuits filed by Trump etc contesting the election got exactly nowhere in court, including plenty ruled on by Trump appointed (!) judges. So the idea (fantasy really) that the election was rigged causing Trump to lose is, well, not true. What the old folks call a lie. Pretty sure Trump believes it, what is it called when someone believes their own lie? Starts with ‘D.’ Doesn’t matter how many people believe it or are angry about a lie, it’s still a lie. I’m assuming he is referring to the Democrats as “radical left crazies.” No Mr Trump, the vast majority of them are about as radical left as Eisenhower or Nixon. And they’re no more crazy than Trump’s followers. As for facts coming out, none so far, but I will be happy to revisit the issue if they ever do. I won’t be holding my breath though.

He reiterated it on Easter: “Happy Easter to ALL,” Trump said, “including the Radical Left CRAZIES who rigged our Presidential Election, and want to destroy our Country!”  Well, at least he wished the Democrats a Happy Easter. He added that the Democrats desire to destroy the country. I know of no Democrat who wants to destroy the country. Oh well, when you have no ideas, no policies, no philosophy; name calling and fear mongering  is all that’s left.

Trump isn’t alone in his delusion, the Pillow Guy is confident his documentary and lawsuit will do the trick: Right Wing Watch on Twitter: “”That miracle is coming,” declares Mike Lindell, confident that his new documentary and lawsuit will overturn the 2020 election and have Trump back in the White House by August. Just goes to show that being rich and being smart are not necessarily correlated, for those that missed the fact that Trump does not appear to be the brightest candle on the cake either. Sticking to one’s guns is one thing, but this ship has already sunk.

Some of Trump’s followers don’t think a lawsuit and documentary are going to do the trick. Nope, gonna be a military coup that returns Trump to power: When Will the Military Intervene? Basically this guy’s theory is based on a series of dreams he had. Yes, his invisible superfriend visited him in his sleep and told him that the military will return Trump to power. Snort. The Pentagon just loves a draft evading coward who refers to veterans as suckers and losers. I wonder if he was using one of the Pillow Guy’s pillows? Maybe everyone who sleeps on one gets weird dreams and delusions?

Turns out Texas’s power problems weren’t caused by green energy after all. OK, only uncritical Fox News viewers thought that, the cause was unregulated power companies not wanting to spend a dime on being prepared for bad weather. Deregulation in other words. That doesn’t work for QAnon theorists though. Oh no. It was Biden and China, the Chinese paid him billions of dollars to test their “new weather weapons” on Texas. Whatever’s in those pillows, it’s getting stronger apparently.

Apparently a number of Christian prophets predicted Trump would win reelection. And for some, that’s all the proof they need that the election was stolen. That’s right gentle reader, since people claiming to speak for an invisible superfriend in the sky all said Trump was going to win, why God’s will was thwarted. Does Trump really understand just how bat shit crazy many of his followers are? That was a rhetorical question of course, Trump’s right there with them.

In today’s ‘cancel culture’ news it turns out that Georgia passing a horrifying voter suppression law has consequences. Major League Baseball is pulling their All Star game out of Atlanta. Predictably enough: Republican threatens MLB after Trump Jr goes nuts about the All-Star Game and Laura Ingraham and National Review’s Pathetic Defenses of Georgia’s Voter-Suppression Law. Basically Georgia is disenfranchising huge numbers of voters to prevent microscopic amounts of voter fraud. As I said before, making it harder for people to vote isn’t fighting voter fraud, it’s making it harder for people to vote. Why would the Republicans do that? (Another rhetorical question.)

Lastly, this article nicely covers the absurdity of the Republican claims about ‘cancel culture’: Cancel culture isn’t about denying freedom of speech, it’s about consequences. Basically white Christian America spent hundreds of years cancelling (often violently) anyone who didn’t meekly mimic their Christofascist world view, and those times are changing. It’s not ‘cancel culture’ it’s a nation growing up. Some of us at least. The ones still worshiping their old testament invisible superfriend, not so much.

Stay safe everyone. Tomorrow I’ll pick on Democrats and liberals, I wouldn’t want to be accused of bias.  #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Trump’s public statements are Public Domain under US copyright law. At least as far as quoting them goes.)

Written by unitedcats

April 5, 2021 at 6:38 pm

THE EVANGELICAL RIGHT AND THE GOP, THE REAL CANCEL CULTURE

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So much in the news about the left’s so called “cancel culture.” Much hue and cry about it from the right. What, exactly, is the left cancelling? I’m not exactly sure, the examples in the news are generally trivial, misrepresented, or both. A few old books that no one reads anymore are pulled from publication? A few people who have said horrible things have lost their jobs? I guess some speakers have been discouraged from speaking at some colleges? How, exactly, is this impacting the lives of people on the right? As far as I can see, other than being outraged by what Fox news and others tell them, it doesn’t seem to affect the average American in any way. It’s like the so-called “war on Christmas,” there’s no there, there. Americans remain completely free to celebrate Christmas any way they like.

On the other hand, there are things the religious right is working assiduously to cancel. They want to cancel about a million marriages for starters. They want to wreak havoc in a million households, imagine being married, and the government simply outlawing your marriage. To say that would impact people’s lives negatively is an understatement. I don’t see anyone on the left calling for conservatives marriages to be annulled, let alone actively pursuing that goal in the courts.

The evangelical right not only wants to cancel women’s access to health care, they are doing a good job of it. And doing a good job of it by closing down Planned Parenthoods’, appealing to the Supreme Court: Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, 573 U.S. 682 (2014,) and fighting against birth control and sex education. Yes, they want to cancel the very things that prevent abortions, so this isn’t about saving babies, it’s about cancelling lifestyles they don’t approve of. Hell, rafts of bills designed to prevent women from accessing health care, sex education, and birth control are passed by the GOP regularly.

And of course they want to cancel transgender people. They did manage to cancel them in the military, though Biden has reversed that. They have done everything they can to prevent them accessing health care, participating in society, etc. The fact that transgendered people have always existed and always will exist because human’s biological gender/sexuality exists over a broad spectrum doesn’t matter to the evangelical right. Male/female dichotomy, heteronormality all the way for them.

Hell, not just women having their access to health care cancelled. The evangelical right wants to give health care providers the right to refuse to treat people because they don’t want to treat certain people whose lifestyles/identities they don’t approve of. Imagine telling firemen they could refuse to fight a fire if they didn’t like something about the owners/occupants of a building. Again, no one on the left has proposed anything like this, let alone made it central to their political philosophy.

Speaking of political, they also want to cancel people’s right to vote. The GOP has been passing “New Jim Crow” laws for decades now, bills designed to make it harder for poor and black people to vote. Or democracy itself in the case of rampant GOP gerrymandering. And lately it’s getting worse, a law has been proposed in Arizona to allow the legislature to simply overturn the people’s vote for president! All in the name of fighting non-existent widespread voter fraud. And if there was widespread voter fraud, making it harder for people to vote isn’t fighting it, it’s making it harder for people to vote. There is no logical connection here.

Still, America is a country where huge numbers of people accept that killing 200,000 old men, women, and children “saved lives.” No one has ever explained to me how that works without the use of magical thinking. Moving right along, some on the right have followed this type of thinking to its “logical” conclusion, and simply want to cancel Americans who disagree with them. Yes, they are making the case that Biden voters “aren’t real Americans.” New Claremont essay reveals how Republicans are rejecting America:

“Most people living in the United States today — certainly more than half — are not Americans in any meaningful sense of the term,”Glenn Ellmers, the essay’s author, writes. “They do not believe in, live by, or even like the principles, traditions, and ideals that until recently defined America as a nation and as a people. It is not obvious what we should call these citizen-aliens, these non-American Americans; but they are something else.”

So many things sick and wrong with that sort of thinking, I don’t know where to start. Crazy times. Have a safe Easter Weekend everyone, celebrate it (or not,) as you want. It’s still a free country. Sort of. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A forest in Indonesia cancelled by a volcano, public domain image from Wikipedia. I hope it doesn’t come to that in America, literally or metaphorically.)

Written by unitedcats

April 2, 2021 at 8:23 pm

BIDEN, INFRASTRUCTURE, OIL, WAR, RAPE IN THE NEWS

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Biden tells Johnson they should build massive global infrastructure plan to rival China. Well, when is the US going to invest in its own antiquated and failing infrastructure? Biden didn’t say. He did say this though about China, Washington fear mongering at its best:

“They have an overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world. That’s not going to happen on my watch.”

No Mr Biden, it’s America that is obsessed with being the most powerful country in the world, it’s America that sees everything in terms of rivalry. This is a nice article that ties into that mindset: The Origins of America’s Unique and Spectacular Cruelty. I was particularly struck by the point that a ridiculously high percentage of the American economy is profit driven. Like health care for example, no other nation has allowed giant corporations to turn health care into a profit making industry. It’s the major reason our healthcare system is so obscenely expensive compared to other countries. The whole idea that somehow profit is the best way to motivate institutions to do a good job is somewhere between silly and sick, though a lot closer to sick. It’s warped our thinking about so many things.

While I’m detailing America’s faults, here’s another: US Fossil Fuel Companies Get a Shocking Amount of Implicit Subsidies Each Year. It’s only shocking to people who haven’t been paying attention. More than $50 billion in the US, nearly a trillion dollars annually over the entire globe. Coal being far and away the worst, if coal power had to pay the health and environmental costs of mining and burning coal, it would all stay in the ground right where it is because there’d be no profit in mining it and burning it for power. Just another way the economy of the world is geared towards making obscene profits for the few by passing the costs onto the public. Ain’t capitalism grand?

Lastly, it really needs to be repeatedly said that America is one of the most warlike (as in endlessly waging wars) nations the world has ever seen. It’s insanely expensive, and not only unnecessary, it’s actually causing terrible harm. And yet here we are. Waging war around the world, suffering a terrible level of domestic gun violence, and most Americans are just oblivious to it. It’s really weird if one steps back and looks at it. No other country built a giant fleet of bomber carrying ships and uses them constantly to bomb people around the world. Your tax dollars at work.

So yeah, speaking of surreal (welcome to America,) the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that if a woman is drunk when she meets a man, he can’t be charged with raping an incapacitated victim. Say what? They are literally saying if a man drugs his victim or gets her drunk, he can be charged with raping an incapacitated woman … but if she was already drugged or drunk, it’s not quite rape? He is going to be retried on a lesser charge, but people are outraged. I am certainly with those who say Minnesota rape law needs to be rewritten.

Oh, the trial of George Flyod’s killer started. Hopefully it will proceed to a sane conclusion, and there will be no unrest. Blog fodder if there is. Um, windy as hell in Northern Iowa. Trump cultists are still predicting his imminent return to the White House. Worse, the GOP seems to be running with “Biden winning was a coup.” Stupider and far more mainstream than birtherism, yeah, American politics not looking good. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Snappygoat image of the USS Kitty Hawk, Public Domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

March 29, 2021 at 8:03 pm

TRIBES

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Caitlyn is often annoying, but sometimes she is very on point. The idea that the west gives a flaming hoot about oppressed Muslim minorities doesn’t pass the laugh test, but here the US is, leading the sanction charge against China. I could provide examples, but those that see the point don’t need them … and those that don’t will rationalize them away. People are loyal to the world view of their choice, and will reject out of hand any facts that contradict it by one means or another. Is this what Colonel Kurtz meant when he said “Everyone is loyal to the nightmare of their choice?” Maybe. I’m pretty sure it’s what “The map is not the territory” alludes to.

So I want to write endlessly about what is going on in the world, but how do I do so without a 12 volume preamble explaining that everything most people know about the world is mass marketed crap designed to make them support the status quo and the powers that be? When Marx said “Religion is the opiate of the masses,” he kinda meant it literally.  The Trump/GOP cult is the current major local manifestation of this, but the Dems are not really better off, just different.

By about 1900, 1950 at latest, it was easily possible to provide everyone on Earth with food, shelter, education, health care. Modern machinery could do the work of countless humans, a steam shovel or tractor could do the work of dozens or hundreds of men and horses. And factories, oh my. Everyone on Earth could have their basic needs met, with plenty left over for those that wanted more. So why aren’t we doing this?

And that dear readers is why I blog, trying to figure out why when humans live in Eden, they create societies based on systematic inequality. I think it comes down to tribal thinking. Most on the left have no problem recognizing that there are “religious” leaders whose only goal is exploiting religious people’s faith to get rich. What they don’t understand is that for every faux religious leader cashing in on the credibility of their believers, there is a faux ecologist, faux animal right’s activist, faux liberal politician, etc. doing the same thing.

Once one has decided one’s tribe is the “good guys” and other tribes are “bad guys,” all possibility of a worldview based on reason and science ends. It’s the logical fallacy that is destroying our future. I don’t know what the answer is, but I think reason and science hold the key if there is such.

And on the basis of all that, my blog format is going to change. 3-5 nights a week I’m just going to pull the most interesting links/events out of the day’s news and comment upon. I just don’t have what it takes to make dedicated posts now. And the world we live in is in huge flux, despite the voices of normalization running amok. The world we all knew did die at the end of 2019, the new world is still unfolding. Better yet, thick and thin blogs are easy and fun to write. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 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

March 27, 2021 at 8:30 pm

MR SAFETY, AR-15s, ETC

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I was heartened by a number of comments about my story about rushing to the neighbor’s house with a fire extinguisher and saving the day. I posted it all over the place, as is my wont. A number of people said something along the lines of “Wow, I just ordered a fire extinguisher.” So woohoo, I was a positive influence on people. I’ve been Mr Safety since I was a teenager, in that I realized that most of life is boring and safe, but life can go horribly wrong without warning … and one can have only minutes or less to mitigate one of those horrifying moments. That’s why I’ve taken a lot of first aid classes, lifesaving classes, etc. And I’ve learned all sorts of little tricks to mitigate or prevent disasters.

So I went to the library today. Library staff: “You’re the guy who stopped the fire!” I was, well, flabbergasted. Yes, the library is three blocks from my home and I’m a regular, but how did they know? I was too surprised to ask, especially since an excited patron started asking questions about what went down. I’m a local hero, though it really wasn’t a big deal. I’ve been told the local paper may call me, which is just so small town Midwest that it’s making my face hurt from smiling.

Mass shooting in Colorado. Both a lot … and not much … to say. Short version seems accurate. Colorado bans AR-15s, because their only civilian purpose is mass murder. NRA sues, ban is struck down, mentally unsound man buys one and commits mass murder. Gee, 90% of Americans think people who want guns like this should only be allowed to do so after a background check. The NRA begs to differ. “Gun sales trump sound social policy” in their world.

What’s to say? Sure, people have a right to own guns. No problem. There’s no such thing as an unfettered right, people shouldn’t be allowed to have tactical nuclear weapons or WMDs, but where’s the line to be drawn? I think civilians should be limited to double barrel shotguns, bolt action rifles, and revolvers. Perfectly adequate for home defense and hunting purposes; but makes it impossible to gun down dozens of people in public venues.

On the gripping hand, that Biden is leaping into action on this is an example of the Dems exploiting “culture wars” instead of actually trying to fix America’s problems. Medicare for all or making the minimum wage a living wage would save huge numbers of lives and make life better for tens of millions of Americans.  An AR-15 ban would save a few hundred lives a year. Guess which one Biden is embracing? And the sad truth is that even in this, he will likely fail. Our democracy is broken.

The wackiness continues in the right wing evangelical fringe-o-sphere: ‘Prophet’ Robin Bullock Says Biden’s Stairs Stumble Is a Sign His Presidency Is ‘Finished’. Joe Biden: The worst president – ever! Wnd.com. Trumpists Still Pushing Election Fraud Claims and Conspiracy Theories. All fairly predictable sadly, once they had decided Trump was sent by God, rational debate was pretty much no longer in the cards. Well, if Trump was sent by God, God has a sick sense of humor.

A town in Illinois became the first American city to offer reparations to blacks: Evanston, Illinois, becomes first US city to pay reparations to Black residents. No, not for slavery. The biggest way blacks were cheated of wealth was after World War Two when they were systematically prevented through fair means and foul from buying homes in the suburbs. White families got richer and richer after the war as their suburban homes increased in value, home blacks couldn’t by. So this is redressing a contemporary wrong, and only applies to blacks who lived in Evanston. Seems reasonable enough to me, though I’m sure many bigot’s heads are exploding in outrage over this.

Crazy busy day, I have my mojo back. Tomorrow, more science. The one thing that may save the human race, because politicians sure ain’t going to save us. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 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

March 25, 2021 at 6:01 pm

BOOM!

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Shortly after I got up this morning I hear a loud bang. My housemate calls out, “Are you OK?’ The bang wasn’t upstairs, I was fine. Thought about it, went down to investigate, halfway down the stairs I hear my housemate on the phone to 911, there was an explosion next door, he can see flames and black smoke. I’m like “Oh sheet.” I get dressed real fast, grab my fire extinguisher, run next door. A trash can had caught fire and exploded, raging fire in the wind, side of house was already nicely burning. The neighbor and a passer by were trying to fight it, but all they had was a rake and a hose that wasn’t long enough and had little pressure. The fire was winning. I waded in with my fire extinguisher and got it under control until the pros arrived.

In my life I’ve now saved two cars and a house because I keep fire extinguishers handy. I was a Boy Scout and a Marine, be prepared and if there’s an emergency, run towards it. The moral of the story though, every kitchen should have a fire extinguisher prominently located and everyone in the house should know how to use it. Minutes count when fighting fires. I think I read it’s typically less than ten minutes between a house fire’s ignition and it spreading to the entire house. Maybe I didn’t save their house, but I certainly prevented much worse damage. And it was windy as hell, extreme fire danger weather, it might well have spread to other houses before the fire department arrived.

And boy, well, my adrenaline gland works just fine. Near twelve hours later and I’m still wired. I may not sleep for a week. OK, that’s an exaggeration, I hope, but the experience really had a huge effect on me. My sense of time was especially affected. Hard to explain. It feels like it just happened, but it was 12 hours ago? Right after it happened I decided to cook myself a nice breakfast. It only seemed like it took a few minutes, but I was surprised to see it was over thirty minutes on the clock. I did wonder why my hash browns were cooking so fast. Had a few similar experiences in my time, “the world turns to ice” is one way I’ve described it.

So how did this happen? How did a trash can spontaneously explode? The neighbor says she put a candle in the trash, and apparently it wasn’t fully extinguished. Might have been last night even, not sure. She was pretty upset. The trash can was obliterated, nothing left but little puddles of burning molten plastic. The firemen said a plastic bottle exploding is what caused the explosion, or two explosions according to my housemate. Makes me realize modern isn’t always better. Up through the 70s trash cans were made of metal, and if the trash caught fire, the fire was contained. Not anymore, plastic trash cans are potential little napalm bombs.

On the plus side (aside from being a neighborhood hero) it kinda reset my mental state too. I won’t say my broken heart is mended, but certainly put some distance between me and it. Did that make any sense? I was going to write about my upcoming Moon trip today, but this seemed more timely. So tomorrow’s blog, help Doug get to the Moon! Yes, I’m serious, and it’s for a good cause. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Scene outside my home this morning. Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

March 21, 2021 at 7:51 pm

Posted in 2021, Iowa, Personal, Philosophy

DEBATE IS A LOST ART, DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME, AND MASS SHOOTER MADNESS

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Debate? A dying art at least. I’ve more or less pulled out of Facebook. Partly because of an embarrassing romantic disaster. When it comes to those, I’m a Viking. It’s a gift apparently. They aren’t even interesting to write about. Self deprecation I can enjoy, but when it comes to dating fiascos, about as much fun to write about as to endure.

Moving right along, I realized there just isn’t debate anymore on Facebook. One can agree with what people post, and beyond that it’s a waste of time. As I predate the internet I think I can safely say there’s been a subtle (OK, not that subtle) change in people over the past few decades. Most of them have become utterly sure of themselves. And it’s all over the map. Try to debate with an anti-Vaxxer? No point. Or someone who hates GMOs and glyphosate? The same. Or just about anything, people can’t even accept the idea that they might be mistaken in whatever it is they know.

It used to be that this kind of certainty was limited to know-it-alls and evangelicals. Now it seems that “Evidence, schmevidence, I know I’m right” is infecting all sorts of people and infiltrating the mainstream. Congresswoman Lauren Boebert’s latest conspiracy theory sort of ties it all up. She’s convinced all sorts of Democrats will be arrested and the GOP will get control of both houses of Congress before the 2022 elections even. I’d say it’s bonkers as well, but tens of millions of people believe QAnon’s ever changing predictions. She’s not alone. What’s going to happen when everyone in America just makes up their reality as they go along?

Who knows, but there will be lots to blog about I suppose. Moving right along, I got my clocks all changed finally. Yes, the biannual blood sacrifice to time zones. Why do we change our clocks twice a year? It’s like the old joke: Q: “How many men does it take to put a new roll of toilet paper on the dispenser?” A: “No one knows.” Basically only golf courses really benefit from daylight saving time. And I mean blood sacrifice literally. After the time change there’s an uptick in strokes, heart attacks, car accidents, and workplace accidents. People die. If that’s not a good reason to scrap the whole thing, I don’t know what is. The golf courses will survive.

I guess illogical stuff is the theme for the day. So how about the guy who shot eight people to death because of his “sex addiction?” Worst mass shooting in two years. Woohoo! No worries though, the US is still the developed world’s mass shooter winner. Hell, everything shooter winner. So yeah, white guy goes nuts and shoots a bunch of Asian women working in spas. He apparently thought they were prostitutes tempting men? He’d been to an Evangelical “Clinic” to be treated for “sex addiction.” In other words he was a guy confused about his sexuality, and he went to religious quacks for “treatment.” Didn’t end well. Oh, yeah, the sheriff said “He was having a bad day.” Yeah, pretty sure his day was nowhere near as bad as the friends and loved ones of the people he killed. America, where punching down is manly. Got Trump elected, and re-elected if one buys the “Stop the Steal” nonsense. Snort.

I have applied to be the first blogger to circle the Moon. Fingers crossed. Tomorrow’s post. Stay safe gentle reader. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Meme found online. Claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. The link in the meme is a dead link, so attribution unknown.)

Written by unitedcats

March 20, 2021 at 7:45 pm

LIFE IS ABOUT FINDING A SAFE PLACE TO REST

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Life is about finding a safe place to rest. Working is easy, for most of us. Finding a safe place to rest, trickier. Nowhere is every really fully safe of course, cosmic debris can get one anytime, anywhere. Still, most of us in the west have it pretty good. However, even if one finds a safe spot from outer demons, the inner ones remain. Maslow didn’t account for them. Kafka tried.

I notice a lot of people are writing “One Year of Covid” posts. True enough I suppose. I wondered when I first began to be alarmed, and I’m pleased to say that by late February 2020 I was already very concerned about Covid and blogging about it regularly. Maybe pleased isn’t quite the right word, relieved? I was right! (“Extremists are only valuable to have around when they are right.” — Anonymous.) I’m an extremist in the global disaster sense, I knew early on that Covid was a big deal, that every precaution to avoid getting it should be taken, and I urged others to do the same.

A year later, what’s the deal? About 750,000 Americans have died of Covid, about ten million have long term health deficits from Covid. Yeah, the official death toll is just over 500,000, but the excess deaths, deaths above the normal death rate, are about 50% higher. And Covid is the only thing that accounts for it. 3rd or 4th worst mass death event in US history, and it’s still not over yet. And not likely to be anytime soon, Covid is mutating rapidly and it’s already clear that vaccines will need constant updates. The flu from hell is here to stay.

Amazingly enough, people have normalized Covid in many ways. It’s not like a war. October 1918 was the deadliest month in US history, dwarfing all else. Yet few Americans know that, forgotten in history, because they died of the flu. The same now, just under one in every four hundred Americans dead, vastly worse than 9/11 (250 times worse) … and Covid is just background noise in the media. Life goes on I guess. Some people still think Covid is a hoax or exaggerated. It’s their social knowledge. Social knowledge is a powerful thing. Rules us all really. This is important to let me clarify. Social knowledge is what one’s tribe believes to be true about the world.

And until the Age of Science, social knowledge was all people had outside of their own limited experience. And we’re a tribal animal, it’s very important that the tribe members all live in the same reality. So it’s not surprising that people are prone to adapting the shared world view (another term for social knowledge) of their friends, family, and community. And since we all have a need to understand the world, or make sense of it at least, people who claim to explain the world can become very popular. Messiah’s are common, and some do indeed change the world.

Christ, Buddha, Muhammad come to mind. Trump is another, though who knows how long term his effect will be. Q as well. The popularity of both is perfectly normal human behaviour. Will they be temporary disturbances in the force, or will they ripple down through history? Will there be a church of Trump or Q? Damned if I know. I’d give both at least a 1% chance of seeding something long term. Today’s theory is that Q is an AI or an alien (or an alien AI,) experimenting on the human race. Might be benevolent, benign, or malignant. Ancient aliens theory is quaint compared to my suspicions about aliens, nu?

Here in northern Iowa, winter came back, but it’s rapidly leaving again. I’m going to plant flowers, and when I get my second Covid shot, I’m leaving too! I’m going to drive around the country, see stuff, take pictures, and blog. And since there are people out there, even if it violates the introverts’ code, I will sometimes talk to them. Shudder. Hopefully they will say something worth blogging about. And with any luck I will find nice spots to rest in briefly while I am at it. A man can dream.

Stay safe everyone. As always, comments, likes, patrons appreciated.   #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Picture I took of the frozen lake and seawall just before winter ended the first. I photoshopped out a second ice fishing hut, and I’m pleased with the image I created. It was a magical sunset.)

Written by unitedcats

March 18, 2021 at 7:27 pm