Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘aliens’ Category

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

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

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There will be a Borders III post, but it’s going to have to wait a bit. And boy, turns out there’s a lot of people on Facebook who claim to be the Messiah. I’ll get a post out of that someday too. I know someone who lost their wife and kids to a cult once, self styled messiahs have an unholy attraction for some people. Today, I’m going to be all over the place. Or more so than usual I suppose. My staff consists of one useless cat at the moment. Working on a partnership though, she’s already been far more helpful than the cat.

Moving right along, January 31 was a big day in history. I mean, every day has all sorts of historical events on it. (Except June 31, nothing ever happened on June 31, no one knows why.) However, January 31, a big day as in important well remembered events. This was the day in 1943 where German Field Marshal Paulus surrendered to the encircling Russians at Stalingrad, thus ending the greatest battle in history. Hitler had promoted Paulus to Field Marshal because no German field marshal had ever surrendered. Have I ever mentioned that Hitler was prone to magical thinking? Stalingrad was Hitler’s Pickett’s Charge, the war would only go downhill for Hitler from there.

On January 31 the VietCong launched simultaneous surprise attacks on every provincial capitol in South Vietnam, and even breached the American embassy’s grounds in Saigon. It caught America and South Vietnam by complete surprise, but it didn’t trigger the general uprising the VietCong had been counting on, and the Tet Offensive as it was called, was a tactical and strategic disaster, one from which the VietCong would never recover from. And in the USA, it was a political death blow for president Johnson, and significantly eroded American support for the war. That’s because some months earlier Johnson had announced … victory! The VietCong had been beaten, the war was all but over, the US could start pulling out. So yeah, a massive nationwide VietCong surprise attack pretty much destroyed Johnson’s credibility, and was in fact the beginning of the end for America’s misbegotten involvement in southeast Asia.

Well, those were the big two events, enough for January 31. Although in another historical footnote: Meet Eunice Foote, The Mother Of Climate Science Whose Work Was Ignored Because Of Her Sex. She was the first person to discover the role that CO2 plays in changing the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere. The greenhouse effect as it is called. Since she was a woman though, she wasn’t allowed to present her findings at the 1856 American Association for the Advancement of Science conference. A man got the honor and the credit 3 years later. Sigh. It would be over 100 years before she was recognized for her groundbreaking discovery.

In a medical breakthrough: Two more coma patients’ brains jump-started with ultrasound. Waycool. People sometimes come out of comas after years or even decades. The brain’s ability to heal itself is quite amazing. We are talking comas though, this would not have helped the sadly famous Terri Schiavo, she was in what is known as a persistent vegetative state. PVS is a horrible condition, the patient has normal sleep and awake cycles. They may laugh, they may cry, they may appear to be looking around. So it’s easy to see why friends and loved ones would very much cling to the belief that they are still alive and may recover. Alas, what PVS sufferers don’t do is communicate in any way, there is literally no one home. And while a few people who were misdiagnosed as being in a PVS have recovered, they were all showing signs of improvement after a few months. No one has ever recovered from an actual PVS diagnosis, the part of the brain that makes us who we are is irreparably damaged.

Moving from inner space to outer space (lame segue I know) here’s an interview with the professor who thinks Oumuamua was alien technology of some sort: Professor Avi Loeb: ‘It would be arrogant to think we’re alone in the universe’. On the one hand, he’s plugging his new book on the topic. On the other hand he does have a point regarding how the scientific community can be hostile and non supportive of anything related to aliens. A situation that’s unlikely to change until we actually find actual evidence for them, it’s way too easy for politicians to ridicule SETI, why attract attention from them?

And another scientist has come up with an explanation for the Wow! Signal. The Wow! Signal was detected in 1977 and has never been explained. Here’s another try though: Was the Wow! Signal Due to Power Beaming Leakage? Basically humans are starting to experiment with beamed power to launch spacecraft and such, and the Wow! Signal might well be “leakage” from aliens doing the same. It’s an interesting idea, and suggests we might want to observe that part of the sky continuously to see if it ever repeats.

Lastly, back on Earth. I, for one, look forward to Qbacca testifying at Trump’s impeachment trial: ‘Complete circus’: Lindsey Graham fears ‘QAnon Shaman’ testimony at Trump’s impeachment trial. All of Trump’s lawyers have quit at this point, it’s not clear who will represent him at his trial in just over a week. Apparently all he wants to talk about at the trial is his fantasies about election fraud. It’s gonna be interesting, if not a total circus. I don’t think Trump’s ever faced anything like it, this isn’t going to be a press conference where he can ignore questions, hurl abuse at the questioner, and storm out if he doesn’t like how things are going. He might try though, boy, won’t that be fun.

Stay safe and warm everyone. Just maybe things will settle down now and the Capitol Riot was peak insanity over Trump’s election fraud charade. A man can hope. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Field Marshal Paulus surrendering at Stalingrad. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.

Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-F0316-0204-005 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

No changes were made in the image. Paulus actually survived being a Russian prisoner. Most of the nearly 300,000 men who surrendered with him didn’t. Stalin had in fact promised that Paulus’ men would be well treated, and did order so. Yeah, by this point the Germans had done terrible things in Russia, so Stalin’s orders were for the most part ignored. Paulus lived until 1957.)

Written by unitedcats

January 31, 2021 at 8:30 pm

BORDERS

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OK, off we go. News? I used to get a lot of news from the Wapo and the NYT, not anymore for reasons I explained at length in recent blogs. Now my top two news sites are the BBC and The Guardian. Plus other sites too, one should get their news from a wide variety of sources, international ones for sure. Haaretz and Al Jazeera are good for example. They all have their biases, blind spots, propaganda. This is what God gave us brains for, to separate the wheat from the chaff. I’ve never seen any major fact checking errors on Snopes for example, the truth is out there. In fact how people react to Snopes pretty much tells one if they are connected to reality or live in a fantasy world. I often hear a nice selection of false arguments from Snopes deniers. “They’re not professional fact checkers!” is my favorite. Um, so what? Show me a topic where Snope’s is factually in error. I’ll wait. And then Wikipedia is a great source for non controversial topics. A topic that corporate America or the US government wants to control the narrative on, skip Wikipedia entirely. What’s there may not be wrong, but it certainly won’t represent reality.

So, back to news, China threatens war if Taiwan declares independence.* Taiwan is a small island off the coast of China, a little bit bigger than Maryland, a little bit smaller than the Netherlands. It’s yet another relic of the Cold War. When Mao and his communists won the Chinese Civil War after World War Two, the US backed side fled to the island of Taiwan, and protected by the United States, there they remained. If the US hadn’t protected them, Taiwan would just be another province in China that no one outside of China had ever heard of.

And as I understand it, most people in China are adamant that Taiwan is indeed part of China, no discussion allowed. And this, in a nutshell, is why nationalism sucks sheet. The idea of a nation is great from many perspectives, but when that idea runs roughshod over self determination, it’s simply tyranny. When the United States declared independence from Britain, its revolution was based ostensibly on the ideals of self determination, not to mention inalienable human rights.  Yes, the founding fathers were hideous hypocrites who completely dishonored these ideals in the breach, founding a nation based on slavery and propertied white male supremacy, but the concepts are stll valid.

Alas, the world’s governments only apply them when it is in their interest to do so. America’s hypocrisy on this level is mind numbing, but of course completely normalized by the western press. To the point that many (most?) Americans are all for Taiwan being independent, but Crimea wanting to be part of Russia, that’s a terrible crime! The borders of the world were drawn up by the European colonial powers for their own exploitive ends, there’s nothing “normal” about them, but they are treated as such by the western press. A huge percentage of the world’s people, it must be in the 100s of millions, would rather be independent or part of another country than the one they are in.

Countless examples. The Kurds, 30 million of them, Kurdistan should have been a country after World War One. Kashmir, if they ever got to vote, would almost certainly want to be part of Pakistan. Large parts of Pakistan would rather be part of Pashtun Afghanistan. Tibet was once an independent country. I wouldn’t even know where to start in Africa, it’s a nightmare of colonial boundaries. And then countless indigenous people around the world would rather be their own country as much as possible. Why not, there’s at least 5000 ethnic groups on the planet, why should there be only 300 countries? Andorra, a nation the size of Peoria Illinois, has been independent for over 500 years. It can be done. And there are many others.

This, at the core of it, is why the aliens fly right by us. About 300 armed gangs control Earth for the benefit of a tiny number of people already so rich they could live a thousand lifetimes and not spend it all. Any sane species would long ago have fixed this. Give people self determination, and the border problems sort themselves out. And put mechanisms in place to make sure everyone benefits from the world’s wealth, it is a collective effort. Make it so businesses can’t pass health and environmental costs onto the public, the free market will indeed fix things like global warming. No ideology or religion need apply. They are the problem, not the solution. Granted some are worse problems than others. Anti-vaxxers. White Supremacists. Nazis. Yeah, I’m still anti-Nazi. Convince me otherwise. Though I do accept and try to understand the appeal. Germany was a modern educated land.

The above map is a preliminary speculation about a balkanized America. The native peoples especially should be scattered about in ancestral lands, but it’s a start. I don’t think the world colonial government is going to collapse anytime soon, but many people were surprised by the fall of Rome and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Times change, I plan to blog about it as long as I can. The Earth Burning blog. Stay safe gentle readers. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

*China tends to be more forthwith than doublespeak western diplomacy, this is likely a promise, not a threat.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Map by blog author: Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

January 29, 2021 at 9:36 pm

GIANT SPACE LASERS FOR THE WIN

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That’s right: QAnon congresswoman believed California wildfires were started by a giant space laser. And she was elected. It’s sheet like this that makes the aliens fly right by, locking their doors as they do so. Let’s just say that the story falls apart (explodes violently really) upon even modest examination. There are vastly easier and cheaper ways to start fires. The technology to start fires using lasers from orbit doesn’t exist. Something like this would flag all sorts of detectors and sensors, humans do monitor Earth and near Earth in countless ways. And there’s no coherent reason for anyone to do this. However, as I am grasping more clearly every day, the far right political beliefs have morphed into a cult. And once one is in a cult, one simply interprets reality in whatever way fits the facts. As an extreme example, the Earth is only 6,000 years old, but Satan planted fossils to trick us into believing the Earth was older! Right.  OK, compared to space laser frisbees, maybe not that extreme.

In financial news, some people figured out a way to beat the casino for the rich that is the modern stock market. Good for them, though they were quickly shut down, can’t have regular people manipulating stock market prices: GameStop: Anger as trading in GameStop shares is restricted. Once upon a time companies sold stock to the public to raise money and all was good. If the company prospered, the stock went up in value, and everyone won. If the company floundered or went under, the stock became less valuable or worthless. A nice system that let companies raise money without risk, and allowed the people who gave them that money to prosper as well. Everybody shares the risks and gains. Those truly were the days when the stock market reflected the wealth of the country. Now, it would take a book to describe the giant rigged casino for the rich the stock market is. Day trading alone shows Wall Street is just a casino.

In political news, Mike Pence is homeless. Literally, unlike most of Washington’s glitterati, the Pences maintained no home away from their government provided residences the past decade or so. Homeless as in couch surfing at friend’s homes. Last I heard he still hadn’t talked to Trump since Trump sent a mob into the Capitol attempting to arrest and/or lynch him. That would put a strain on any friendship I would think. Trump has more or less denounced Pence as a traitor, so presumably he’s watching his back. I wonder what’s in store for him now, hell, he probably wonders. And whatever else one may think about the man, unlike so many other traitorous Republicans, Pence chose to stand with the Republic, not Trump’s stolen election fantasies. In some ways he was the rock that Trump’s insurrection wave broke on. Ultimately that may be the one thing he is remembered for in history. Good for him.

More Capitol Riot fallout: Second police officer dies by suicide after Capitol attack. What a horrible mess. One suicide is a horrible coincidence, two, a tragedy unfolding. These cops were attacked by what essentially was a “Blue Lives Matter” mob. In addition to the cop who died in the attack, over 50 were assaulted, one is going to lose an eye, some have brain injuries, one was

stabbed with a fence pole. Capitol Police union rebukes top brass after officers at riot sustain brain injuries, one will lose eye. No wonder so many on the right are into mass denial mode, a mob of right wing Trump supporters attacking police, couldn’t happen! Only leftists engage in political violence! Yeah, the cognitive dissonance among the right wing police that were assaulted must be pretty painful now.

Turns out veterans and active duty military made up a disproportionate percentage of the Capitol Rioters. As a veteran, this shames me. A veteran takes an oath to defend the Republic and the Constitution. Participating in this riot is pretty much the opposite of their sworn oath, fantasies about a stolen election notwithstanding. Many people weren’t surprised though, far right extremism has been an issue in the military for quite some time: Black Vets Weren’t Surprised Military Members Stormed the Capitol. Now They Want the Department of Defense to Root Out Far-Right Extremism in Its Ranks. Will the riot lead to change? Hell if I know, but the Civil War ultimately didn’t, so not holding my breath.

Lastly, just came across a great article re Gamestop etc.: Suck It, Wall Street. Highly recommended. Yeah, the rich in America are richer than they’ve ever been, and determined to get richer. I can’t see it ending well for them in the long run, but we’ll see. Maybe in 2100 Elon Musk will possess every dollar in existence, and then he’ll fix everything. It’s been a strange week for me, but I will carry on blogging for the people blocked by paywalls. Shares, comments, likes appreciated. Stay safe and warm everyone.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image Aftermath of the 1920 Wall Street Bombing. The bombing was never solved. Now we know why. Alien space lasers did it. Credit: Unknown, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

January 28, 2021 at 8:50 pm

DON VOYAGE*, HELLO BIDEN, BUT WHAT ABOUT QANON?

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The people who spent years listening to Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh had their chance, four years of a president who ruled based on their “tell it like it is” black and white messaging. And it was, as anyone in touch with reality expected, a disaster. The economy is in free fall, a horrible pandemic is raging, our foreign policy in shambles … AND THEY THINK TRUMP DID A GREAT JOB! I got a text from my remaining Trumper friend warning about all the horrors Biden will unleash. Thank you Rush, Alex, Fox News, Q, and all the rest for turning tens of millions of American brains into porridge. Good luck Biden and Harris, you’re going to need it.

That was my morning’s Facebook post, though not with the flag, with a picture of a contemporary homeless encampment. I’m not one of the people claiming that anyone who supports Trump is an idiot, my friend is a smart guy. But boy, Trump supporters have fallen for a lot of, well, nonsense since the Trump era started. They may not be stupid, but if one falls for lies that fly in the face of all evidence and logic, one needs a refresher course in reason and spotting logical fallacies.

And speaking of the same, what about QAnon? All their confident predictions fell through. Trump didn’t unleash a wave of arrests and put Biden, Clinton, etc in jail, and has indeed slunk off to Florida. Some of them are understandably shocked, and their reactions are all over the map. ‘We Were Played’: QAnon’s Inauguration Day Meltdown, QAnon believers refuse to give up even after Trump leaves White House — here are their craziest theories  and ‘I’m the laughing stock of my family’: QAnon believers implode as they watch Biden getting sworn in. As for the last one, dude, your family was laughing at you long before today I am sure.

In today’s epiphany, all sorts of people believing the Q conspiracy theory isn’t really hard to understand. Humans have a long proud history of falling for end of the world prophecies where some great event is going to happen that will punish the wicked and exalt the faithful: A Brief History of the Apocalypse. My favorite:

“Drawing from theology and astrology, German prophet Johann Jacob Zimmerman determined that the world would end in the fall of 1694. Zimmerman gathered a group of pilgrims and made plans to go to America to welcome Jesus back to Earth. However, he died in February of that year, on the very day of departure. Johannes Kelpius took over leadership of the cult, which was known as Woman in the Wilderness, and they completed their journey to the New World. Fall came and went and, needless to say, the cultists were profoundly disappointed at having traveled all the way across the Atlantic just to be stood up by Jesus.”

So yes, QAnon’s popularity isn’t some big mystery. People have been falling for such things for all of human history.

That being said, I have some other speculation. Second codicil, the QAnon theory is, well, a hoax. Let me review. The basic theory is that the world is being secretly run by a cabal of Satan worshipping pedophiles, with Clinton especially being one of the ringleaders. And Trump is secretly fighting these people and will eventually “come out” so to speak and arrest them all. And this has all been secretly revealed by the mysterious Q, who is a high placed somebody in the US government. Whoever Q is, and they haven’t posted since December 8, has yet to be revealed publicly. It’s all nonsense though, no actual evidence has been provided, and there are all sorts of logical reasons to dismiss it as nonsense.

So yes, the whole Q thing is nonsense. My second codicil, the whole QAnon thing has clearly been terribly damaging to the republic.I can’t think of any American who has benefited from QAnon except the people cashing in on it selling T-shirts and such. It didn’t help Trump, if anything it hurt him. It didn’t help the Democrats, the QAnon people were already Trump supporters. The only people who might conceivably benefit from QAnon were people who wanted to see America more polarized, violent and ungovernable.

So if Q was some random loser fomenting chaos in the USA, or a foreign power doing the same, why wasn’t he shut down? This is what puzzles me. US counterintelligence is so dysfunctional that they couldn’t stop Q? Or so dysfunctional that they didn’t see the harm Q was causing? Neither is a happy thought. Q was one person, or one institution at least posing as a person, and no one in the US was able to effectively out them?

In conclusion, it appears to me that the only two possibilities are massive incompetence on the part of US counterintelligence, or worse, Q wildly outclasses US counterintelligence capabilities. IDK, maybe I’m reading too much into this, but two ugly speculations come to mind. Q is an AI, Roko’s Basilisk has already come true, an AI has “woke” so to speak and is already programming humans for its own purposes, impervious to human intervention at this point. Or Q is an alien entity, AI or not, but again so far ahead of us that we might as well be ants trying to stop it.

And if this is my last post and I suddenly stop posting, well, then I’m onto something, nu? Hey, dark speculation is what I do. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

*Stephen Colbert I believe

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: QAnon flag. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. This image was originally posted to Flickr by Anthony Crider at https://flickr.com/photos/16086041@N00/49416341132 (archive). It was reviewed on 21 January 2020 by FlickreviewR 2 and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.)

Written by unitedcats

January 20, 2021 at 8:28 pm

Posted in 2021, aliens, Elections, QAnon, Trump

2020 ON THE WAY OUT, ITS LEGACY: A TRIFECTA OF AWFUL STILL GOING STRONG

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Monday evening. Survived Christmas, such as it was. Christmas dinner arrived frozen, sent from distant lands. A storm blew through, but no biggie, the brunt of it was north. I’m going to resume blogging five nights a week at least. The solid human waste matter is still intercepting the rotating turbine blades, but people are getting used to it. Or are in denial. I guess a lot of people’s identities are so wrapped up in who they see, where they go, etc., that Covid restrictions are harder for them. Random thought for the hour.

I have been collecting links for days while cogitating what my next post would be about. And it always comes back to, OMG, is this real? Half the country and the president think the election was stolen from him? They actually effing believe this. Despite the fact that there is no actual evidence supporting this contention, nor anything about the election that appears particularly untoward. Trump was a terribly polarizing president, wildly popular with his supporters, wildly unpopular with everyone else. Who indeed outvoted his supporters.

Could I be wrong? I guess intellectual honesty requires I at least entertain the idea. If it’s true, I’m either delusionally insane or incapable of rational reality testing. Idk, if such was the case, wouldn’t one of my friends or family try to bring it to my attention? Not yet. I think it’s safe to say, show me actual evidence of massive voter fraud and I’ll reevaluate my position. Oddly enough, I doubt Trump or any of his followers would say that about their belief. The human ability to self gaslight may well be the death of us all. It’s killed hundreds of thousands of Americans so far this year.

So freaking weird times continue. Since 9-11, America has been the “evidence, schmevidance” country. Saddam had WMDs! No, no evidence was ever found for that, the opposite in fact. Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii! Um, no, no evidence supporting that was ever found. Nor evidence that the twin Towers were brought down by anything other than airliner impacts. Covid 19 is real and terrible, Biden won the election. It is what it is.

I guess believing these things puts me in a minority. So yes, three really big things are happening simultaneously. Trump and company’s belief the election was stolen. A terrible pandemic. And a devastated US economy. I don’t think any of these are debatable. The US and world economy has done what it was designed to do the past year, siphon money upwards. Covid has made the poor poorer and the rich richer both internationally and intranationally. Especially in the US, where government relief has been paltry towards the poor and working class, while the people and companies at the top got enormous handouts of public money in the name of relief.

The 600 richest Americans are a trillion dollars richer now than they were at the beginning of the pandemic. What, they got 600 great paying part time jobs? Snort.  None of this seems like it will end well. We’re going into 2021 with three huge problems that if anything are getting worse. Has Trump really thought this through, if he somehow snatches the presidency from Biden, he’s going to inherit a country reeling under a devastating pandemic, and a collapsed economy, both once in a century bad events, and the worst partisan political crisis since 1860. There’s never been a trifecta like this in my life.

And plenty of other stuff going on too. A big, but at least bloodless, suicide bombing in Nashville. Fortunately QAnon has figured it out, it was a Chinese missile strike attempting to  destroy voting machines before Trump supporters could seize them as evidence. I wish I was making this up:

‘It was a missile strike’: Trump fans go nuts claiming Nashville bomb was Chinese plot to steal election. See, when one’s view of reality becomes adrift from reality itself, any belief becomes plausible.

Good news, science has saved us again. Turns out we needn’t fear alien invasion! Nope, it would simply be too damn expensive for them to invade Earth: The Cost of Visiting Earth May Be Too Astronomical For Aliens. Phew. One less thing to worry about. Stay safe and warm and sane everyone. Oh, right, Covid apparently does drive some people insane: Small Number of Covid Patients Develop Severe Psychotic Symptoms. Covid is the gift that keeps giving. Happy holidays. #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. Made me laugh. I need help, but so many of us do these days. :) )

Written by unitedcats

December 28, 2020 at 7:10 pm

WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN THE LAST DOLLAR IN AMERICA IS DEPOSITED IN AN OFFSHORE ACCOUNT?

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Yeah, $600. Tens of millions of people are unemployed and/or in horrific arrears on their rent, more than 8 million have slipped below the poverty line. There’s basically pain all over: Tracking the COVID-19 Recession’s Effects on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships. The first stimulus was based on the fantasy that everything would be fine by summer. This one’s based on the idea that if they just throw crumbs at the poor they’ll make it through the winter? I’m not actually sure what it’s based on, $600 isn’t much money for most people and while welcome, I can’t really see it helping all that much. Many local governments, school districts, etc. are also hurting, and there’s damn little in it for them. It’s basically symbolic in my read, this way Congress can claim they are doing their job.

Meanwhile, in the Batcave or wherever billionaires hang out these days, things are just jim dandy: NET WORTH OF U.S. BILLIONAIRES HAS SOARED BY $1 TRILLION—TO TOTAL OF $4 TRILLION—SINCE PANDEMIC BEGAN. That money wasn’t sent from Mars, it’s a pretty safe bet that the economy didn’t somehow magically generate an extra trillion dollars. Basically while tens of millions of Americans got poorer, about 600 people got 1.6 billion dollars each richer. Pretty much means the rich got richer at the expense of the poor. I love how so many on the right scream about “redistribution of wealth!” when taxing the rich is brought up, but when the rich have the entire economy designed to redistribute wealth upwards, why that’s OK.

So yeah, trickle down isn’t working, nor has it ever worked. When rich people get richer, they squirrel it away. When poor people get richer, they spend it. Pretty sure that consumer spending is what drives the economy, yet somehow half of Americans have been  sold on the welfare queen myth and the idea that there’s only so much money to go around so that raising wages would mean lost jobs. It’s actually pretty brilliant in a way, the rich must laugh all the way to the bank at the idea that tens of millions of Americans are convinced that the rich getting ever richer while poor and working class Americans struggle … builds character or some shit? I really don’t get it, but I don’t get my world view from the lamestream media. And what happens when 600 Americans have all the money? At this rate we’ll know soon enough I suppose.

Meanwhile Trump’s quixotic attempt to overturn the election results continues apace. The various legal challenges have all fallen through, many long term Trump allies are saying “Dude, it’s over, give it up.” Seeing Republicans turn on each other is grimly satisfying, for once it’s not the Democrats forming up the circular firing squad. Plenty are still urging Trump to declare Martial Law, invoke the Insurrection Act, etc. I guess the next plan is to try and overturn the election in Congress when it gets back into session in January. Not quite sure how that’s supposed to work, some complicated shit with the Electoral college and a couple of amendments to the Constitution. The details are in this article: Here’s how the rest of Trump’s desperate effort to stay in power will play out. Again, we’ll see. 2021 will be starting off with lots of fun as the Trump administration winds down, blows up, or something.

Anything is possible now that Trump really is the heart and soul of the GOP. I didn’t know this, but the GOP didn’t even have a party platform for the 2020 election. First time ever. It really was Trump just claiming he did a great job and should get four more without specifying anything. Oh well, interesting article: Opinion | Is Trump Really All That Holds the G.O.P. Together? And in late breaking news, even Trump thought $600 was too paltry for words, threatening to not sign the stimulus bill. Well, good for him, though a day late and a dollar short, pretty sure it passed with a very veto proof majority. He had a number of problems with the budget part of the bill apparently (the stimulus was only part of the spending bill just passed,)  though it should be pointed out he had four years to address these issues: Trump tells Congress to rework COVID-19 relief package for $2K stimulus checks, hints he won’t sign. Always something new with Trump.

And ending on a science news note: The world’s oldest story? Astronomers say global myths about ‘seven sisters’ stars may reach back 100,000 years. It’s certainly an interesting idea. The idea is that the Pleiades, the constellation known as “The Seven Sisters” worldwide in numerous cultures, used to have seven stars 100,000 years ago. Honestly, I think it’s a stretch. So much “ancient aboriginal knowledge” is highly suspect, IE cultural contamination has been going on for thousands of years. Don’t even get me started on the nonsense about the tribe in Africa “remembering” visits from aliens from Sirius.

Windy day today, I thought the neighbor’s tree was slapping against the roof. Went out to inspect, phew, no tree. Just shingles flapping and blowing away in the wind. 2020, one damn thing after another. Stay safe, sane, and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

December 22, 2020 at 8:45 pm

BIDEN WON BY A LANDSLIDE, THE WOW SIGNAL, AND OTHER RANDOM NEWS OF THE DAY

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Well, when all is said and done, Biden won by a landslide. The only winner this century with a higher margin was Obama’s win in 2008. Biden easily won by a much higher margin than Trump won by in 2016. And Trump had no problem claiming his 2016 win was a landslide, so he’s hoist by his own petard. Granted many of his followers think Trump was cheated out of the election, frankly though, being that out of touch with reality must be a crippling condition. I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

In other news, Trump gave a bizarre 63 second(!) press conference where he appeared to take credit for a record high stock market. Since he had predicted the stock market would tank if Biden was elected, it’s certainly odd. I actually find the whole stock market thing infuriating. A record high stock market means the upward transfer of wealth is reaching record highs. IE great news for the rich, not so great for the rest of us. In point of fact the poverty rate has been spiking while the rich are wallowing in ever more wealth. It’s also a sign (along with almost fawning mainstream coverage of Biden) that the rich and corporate America are thrilled with Biden.

There was a time when what was good for GM was good for America. Back when the minimum wage was a living wage, and good union jobs were plentiful. Those days are long gone, and until there’s a revolution, I can’t see them coming back. Greedy rich people control America now, and have created a horrible culture. The story of the 737 Max is a fantastic example of this, well, sickness. Where everything, including human life, is sacrificed in pursuit of higher stock prices and executive bonuses: Boeing’s 737 Max Is a Saga of Capitalism Gone Awry.

In other parts of our galaxy, a candidate source for the “Wow!” signal has been proposed. The “Wow!” signal was a brief but strong repeating radio signal picked up by a radio telescope in 1977. They were in fact scanning for alien radio transmissions. It was a strong signal, a scientist examining the computer printout circled it and wrote “Wow!” next to it. It never repeated, and no source for it was ever identified. Well, that was 1977, we have much better star maps now. A scientist realized this, took a new more accurate look in the direction the signal came from, and found a star very similar to the Sun: Sun-Like Star Identified As the Potential Source of the Wow! Signal

Yeah, kind of a long shot, we have no reason to believe there’s anything special about the Sun. Nonetheless, can’t hurt to take a much closer look at this star. We can listen for transmissions on many levels, and search for planets. It’s only 1800 light years away, that’s next door astronomically speaking. Hypothetically, if it was aliens, they sent the signal 1800 years ago, and their knowledge of Earth was as it was 3600 years ago. And, well, humans were building cities by then, great agricultural civilizations had arisen. From 1800 light years away, the changes that made in Earth’s atmosphere might well have been detectable.

And if they are watching us still, they’re seeing Earth as it was around the year 200. Septimus Severas was Caesar of Rome, I’m sure I’ve written about him before. An amazing character and life. Leading armies until his sixties, when bad English food and weather killed him. The Mayan Civilization was just beginning. Japan, China, India were all broken up into warring states. Hell, there were thousands of nations around the world, the Roman Empire was a complete anomaly at the time.

Back on Earth today: Evangelical Doctors’ Group Pleads With Churches To Stay Home. Not quite sure when evangelicals went off the deep end, the ones I knew in the 70s were cool. Good to see some of them still are rooted in reality. God would no more want his followers to hold services in an open field during a lightning storm than he wants them to gather in groups during a plague. God made reality for us to live in, and he wants us to follow its rules. Don’t play in traffic, don’t swim in shark infested mustard, don’t gather in groups during a pandemic. Same thing applies to Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving leftovers won’t taste as good if you’re on a ventilator,’ health department warns.

At least there’s some promising vaccine news: We Have Several Vaccines for COVID – Now What? With an incoming president who is actually going to fight Covid-19, by late 2021 things should be looking up. Knock on wood. Stay safe everyone. Comments, questions, likes, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A scan of a color copy of the original 1977 computer printout. Credit: Credit: Big Ear Radio Observatory and North American AstroPhysical Observatory (NAAPO). Copyright: This image is ineligible for copyright! The first time ever I came across an image like that, learn something new every day.)

Written by unitedcats

November 24, 2020 at 8:24 pm

48 HOURS FROM NOW ALL HELL WILL BE BREAKING LOOSE

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Two days away from the most important election of my lifetime. An election that transcends politics, it’s basically a referendum on reality itself. Yeah, Biden is a corrupt Washington insider who will represent the bankers, the pentagon, and big corporations, like every president since Reagan. (And that most certainly includes Trump, he’s been a wonderful friend to the rich.) Biden however, understands that Covid-19 is real, Trump is still operating under the bat shit crazy idea that it’s some sort of Democratic hoax. Yes Mr Trump, the entire world is staging a hoax just to make you look bad.

As one might expect, lot’s of crazy stuff is going on. Dr Fauci is under fire from the White House for being honest about just what a disaster Trump’s response to Covid-19 has been. Trump has repeatedly quoted Dr Fauci out of context or otherwise tried to claim that Fauci approved of Trump’s utterly unscientific approach to fighting Covid-19. Pretending that science supports an unscientific approach is about as playing politics as it gets. Trump’s response to Covid-19 was not in any way shape or form based on science. Playing politics with Covid-19 has been Trump’s playbook from the beginning. Over 200,000 Americans are dead and the pandemic is roaring out of control as a result.

Trump is out of control too, running around holding huge indoor rallies that are basically superspreader events. A study out of Stanford says Trump’s rallies have spread about 30,000 cases and killed about 700 people. Essentially Trump is deliberately spreading Covid-19 among his dedicated fan base. While really upping his quota of lies. Claiming doctors are making money by claiming Covid deaths when they aren’t Covid deaths. Transcendental nonsense according to the AMA, and like Trump has  been from the beginning, horribly insulting to the medical community.

Trump pretty much has nothing good to say about people who don’t support him. Not terribly presidential in my book, but the people steeped in “the libtards are what’s wrong with America” mentality eat it up. Who wouldn’t want to be one of the good guys, heroically vanquishing America’s internal enemies, the Democrats? The majority of Americans apparently. That’s one of the aspects of modern America that gets ignored by the right. Progressives or whatever one wants to call them have outnumbered the people who identify as Christian white Americans for decades. Obama got elected twice. Gore and Clinton both won the popular vote. It is what it is.

I’m still betting Trump will just declare victory on election night. In his mind, he’s the greatest and most popular president ever. He actually believes this, and surrounds himself with people who tell him “You’re right again boss!” What will happen after that is anyone’s guess, but I don’t think ballots matter. What is America going to do when Trump says “I won the election!” and nothing will sway him from that conviction? What am I going to do? Keep blogging!

A little part of me says, great, I hope Trump does win the election. Another four years of Trump will leave America as a basket case, and maybe then we’ll get a real revolution. Stay safe everyone, this was the last normal weekend for awhile. Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

PS:

From the files of:

*everyday anxiety

*covid anxiety

*election anxiety

I once thought that if the world was attacked/threatened by alien invaders from another universe, we, as the human race, would rise together, work together, and overcome our differences for the sake of humanity and the continuation of life on this planet.

But we are not that. We are so flawed, this beautifully tragic chaos that is human condition.

You do understand, I think, that when the alien arrives amongst us, they will be so advanced, so utterly foreign, that we will not be capable of understanding what is happening, incomprehensible to our eye, they will be rendered invisible.

The alien is among us. It is invisible. The scope of destruction is incomprehensible. It uses our bodies to live, it migrates between us when we get too close. It has not only physically weakened us as a species, but has entered our minds, insidious, we are falling into deep depressions, acting out against each other when we are no longer allowed to sing, dance, or celebrate together.

The enemy is here.

But we cannot get past our petty differences and feelings of invincibility. The human in us cripples us in a way that only helps the alien replicate. We supply the living cells for the enemy to thrive.

There is no soul. There is no thought. This is the invasion.

—anonymous

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: From 2014 is all I could find, it’s all over the interwebs. Used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law, will gladly attribute properly if so informed.)

Written by unitedcats

November 1, 2020 at 8:13 pm

SCIENCE! MOSTLY. EVOLVING CRABOIDS, ELECTRIC MUD, HUMAN ALIEN HYBRIDS, UNCRUSHABLE BEETLES AND WHO’S WATCHING US?

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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