Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Covid-19’ Category

SHARED IDIOCY, TRUMP, AND RELATED TOPICS

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I’m back! I was depressed by the flanking fire from my sister a few posts ago, but tearing each other down is what my family does. So the fact that almost none of them speak to me is a good thing. Oh, Happy Mother’s Day everyone. I miss my mom, but no one lives forever. No one that we know about at least. Though the idea that people may someday be able to hibernate is looking less science fictiony all the time. And I suppose having one’s brain copied is a form of immortality. We can’t build a brain from a recording … yet. Still, science could record sounds decades before they could play them back. That’s why there’s actually a minuscule chance that Lincoln’s voice was recorded and is lurking in some dusty attic somewhere. And the brain recording, a company is planning on offering the service, but it does have a downside: A startup is pitching a mind-uploading service that is “100 percent fatal”

So, the meme above. Sigh. No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. As one commenter posted: “The post is a series of logical errors.” As a friend put it: “This needs to go under the title ‘Conservatives Trying to Define Socialism but Just End Up Describing Capitalism Again.’” I’ll give it a brief review: 1) No one is suggesting legislating anyone out of prosperity. So straw man argument, typical GOP fear mongering. 2) Yes, that’s actually the problem, the rich are getting vastly more than their share, and it’s not like they’re working harder. The working class is literally subsidizing the rich through their labor. The author of course intended it as another version of the “welfare queen” myth, which is just that, a myth. 3) Yes, that’s how taxes work. Again, the author is just regurgitating the GOP welfare queen myth. 4) A friend got this one: “4 is just plain false. Economics is a big, weird subject, not very intuitive, and not a zero sum game. Dividing wealth among more people will – almost always – increase the economic power of the whole. Much, much more so than collecting wealth in only a few hands. Oligarchical Russia is not a wealthy nation. Dictatorial North Korea is not wealthy. The USA has millions of people below the poverty line. These nations WOULD be wealthier if wealth was more evenly distributed, because more people would be more productive.” 5) A weird GOP fantasy that half of people don’t want to work, and that the other half are subsidizing them. It’s completely at odds with reality. Most people are working hard while the profits are stolen by the rich. Basically the meme is an example of magical thinking, not logic: The magical thinking of guys who love logic

So the Trump takeover of the GOP is rolling right along, looks like Liz Cheney is on her way out: Analysis: With Cheney’s impending ouster, the GOP chooses Trump over principle. They’re choosing Trump’s delusions over reality. I think the GOP gave up principle after 9/11. Hell, Reagan really. The Dems caught on, they gave it up under Clinton. Hell, in some senses they all gave it up when America was founded on high minded principles … plus slavery, ethnic cleansing, and oligarchy. The concept of inalienable human rights is a good thing, but it still needs to be universally implemented.

Trump taking over the GOP, Covid continues. Global COVID-19 death toll more than double official estimates – IHME. No surprise there, governments always lie about mass death tolls. Wars especially, casualty counts in wars are always under reported. America is hit with a double whammy, not only are Covid deaths under reported, right wing delusions are making it worse: Tucker Carlson Doubles Down on Batsh** Vaccine Fearmongering and Fox News Torpedoed COVID-19 Science Hundreds Of Times Since January, Watchdog Says.

It’s just so weird living in America now. The worst global health crisis in a century, and America’s response to it has been frighteningly incompetent. And simultaneously seeing the rise of a cult-like leader along the lines of Saddam, Hitler, Mao, and so many others. My personal life being a series of catastrophes the past year hasn’t helped. I even had my heart broken this spring. You’d think at my age I could avoid such things, yeah, snort.

Have a great week everyone. Try not to get Covid. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 9, 2021 at 7:05 pm

CUTE COUPLES, INDIA, COVID, TRUMP, AND NEWS BITS

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I stumbled on this lovely World War One image. Two Australian soldiers in an R&R area in France, 1918. Cute couple, eh? One has to wonder what sort of R&R they were engaging in before the photographer showed up. It wasn’t a more innocent age, it was just an age where gay people stayed in the closet for the most part, and most people pretended they didn’t exist. Although the “hate gays” cadre was still active, Oscar Wilde was jailed for homosexual acts. Even then, like Socrates and his Hemlock, Wilde more or less chose jail as a form of protest. He was a man ahead of his time.

Speaking of cute couples, I also stumbled on this today: Lesbian couple voted king and queen of their high school prom. Some days my blog almost writes itself. They were surprised they got elected; high school prom king and queen is usually a popularity contest, so they must be nice kids. Don’t read the comments on the link  though. Lots of, well, Christian hate. Well, not really Christian hate, what I’ve read about Christ indicates he was for love and inclusivity, not hate and exclusivity. And their hatred isn’t based on Christ’s teachings, it’s based on their interpretation of “God’s” teachings in the Old Testament.

Which is frankly, nuts. If I said that my invisible giant rabbit superfriend was going to torture everyone forever after they die if they don’t wear a red hat 24/7, people would rightfully think I was nuts. Especially if I insisted that 24/7 red hat wearing should be made compulsory under the law of the land, and that my rabbit superfriend was responsible for tornadoes and such which were punishment for not wearing the hats. Yet that’s what people on the Evangelical Right do as a matter of course.

One comment about the lesbian couple was, ‘How are they going to have kids?’  The commenter wasn’t being ironic or facetious either. Let’s see, lots of heterosexual couples are incapable of procreating, so they shouldn’t be couples? And like those same heterosexual couples, they can adopt. In fact the reason homosexuality appears to be common in the animal world is it provides couples to raise orphaned or abandoned children.  Oh, and in the case of lesbian couples, all making a baby requires is a turkey baster, some distilled water, and a donor. Voila, baster baby. And best of all for the people that claim to be “pro-life,” homosexual couples never have unwanted pregnancies. No abortions, and every child born is a wanted child.

So yeah. Homosexuality is a feature, not a bug. So, other news of the day. Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced. Paraphrased: Worms living in caves under the Amazon Forest cut off from the surface for tens of thousands of years care about this more than I do. Moving right along, Covid is exploding in India. All due to a Trump of their own: Prime Minister Modi’s culpability for India’s COVID crisis has become startlingly clear. What a nightmare, India’s capitol lit up at night by all the funeral pyres. I thought this would be happening last summer, I was wrong. Covid, the gift that keeps giving.

In the US it looks like herd immunity isn’t going to happen. Because of people like these:Former GOP congressional candidate says vaccinating people is the ‘modern day Holocaust’ and Rick Wiles Says COVID-19 Vaccines Are a Plot to Carry Out ‘Global Genocide’. The last half of my life has seen the rise of a world dominated by conspiracy theories. I knew when the anti-vaxxers first hit the ground that they were a new breed. A conspiracy theory so anti-reality that it would kill people. The anti-vaxxers have likely already contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide, and Covid is their shining light, they can indeed be one of the deadliest cults in human history. In fact their, well, lunacy, is reaching new heights: “The vaccinated are a danger to the unvaccinated because of shedding!”: The latest COVID-19 antivaccine disinformation.

Lastly, I’m not the only one frightened by the GOP turning into a personality cult based on Trump’s Big Lie: NYT Columnist Warns People Are Being Lulled Into False Security. What a time to be alive. Trump is the Abraham of our times. Have a great week everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public Domain World War One image, colorizer credit in the image.)

Written by unitedcats

May 4, 2021 at 9:23 am

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

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS

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The good news is that I got my first shot of the Pfizer Covid vaccine yesterday. The bad news is that I’m having a bad reaction to it, basically similar to a head cold. Having a reaction to a vaccine wasn’t on my bucket list, but here I am anyhow. On the plus side, it means it’s working. Still, my head is too logy to think straight, let alone blog. Sigh. So I just wanted to post and let my two or three faithful readers know I’m fine, and will resume blogging tomorrow. Hope all are having a good week, stay safe. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Public domain image from Snappygoat. I don’t think that fish is getting vaccinated against Covid, if so I missed a memo somewhere.)

Written by unitedcats

March 11, 2021 at 6:43 pm

Posted in 2021, Covid-19, Personal

STAN STYCH: “BE NICE TO EACH OTHER.”

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“Be nice to each other.” That was my father’s last message to me. He passed earlier this afternoon. 22 February 2021. He died of Covid, and a broken heart. I’m at sea, my father and I weren’t close, in many ways we never understood each other, but he was a good man, and he tried. Now all is gone. He was a kid in the 30s, a teenager during the war. In Canada. Went on to college and became an engineer. Got into sales and management, then to CEO. Had many insights on that. And he raised four kids, all of whom are good people. Loved two women, both of whom preceded him in passing. He loved to fish. He loved photography. He skied.

I guess you’d call my father one of the depression generation, before people stated this whole stupid gen whatever crap. He grew up on a Ontario family farm in the depression: They plowed using horses, heated their house with coal stoves, had an outhouse, and the only running water was a hand pump well in the back kitchen. A radio was it for entertainment. A different world from the one most people alive in the west grew up in.

Stan Stych. He lived through the 1930s depression (he only survived childhood because of penicillin,) World War Two, the Cold War*, the Sixties, and all that followed. All history now, part of the lost country. He’ll live on in my heart and my dreams so long as I live. That’s him on the left above, San Francisco behind, taken from Alcatraz. Circa 2009. My father was a complicated man, we had a complicated relationship. Life’s like that. The world is a complicated place.

I’m doing what the Stych tradition dictates, carrying the soul of the dearly departed to the next life on a sea of alcohol. A tradition that has no doubt been practised by so many families for countless generations. My father made the world a better place, I can only hope to do the same. I love you dad, I’ll miss you.

Five hundred thousand dead of Covid in the USA, I thought my dad was safe in Canada. No one is safe from Covid. It is a nightmare disease. I may take a break from blogging for a few days. Stay safe gentle reader.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. (Text and image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 22, 2021 at 9:55 pm

RUSH LIMBAUGH, THE MAN WHO CONFLATED PATRIOTISM WITH ‘HATE THY NEIGHBOR,’ IS DEAD. GOOD.

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I’m not normally one to celebrate someone’s death, but there are the rare cases where I will make an exception. Rush Limbaugh is one of those cases. Hell, the first case, I’m not sure I’ve ever been so unconflicted happy that someone died. This was a man who devoted his life to persuading Americans to blindly hate their fellow Americans for no other reason than differences of opinion. More than anyone else Rush created the divided America we live in today where a third of Americans fear and hate anyone who doesn’t think in lockstep with them. When I was younger Republicans and Democrats disagreed, but generally got along fine outside of politics. Name calling and accusing the other of wanting to destroy America was in the fringe, not mainstream. This is a guy who said (paraphrased) we should keep two liberals alive in every town on display so people can see what they were. If that’s not mindless hatred, I don’t know what is.

Rush also normalized name-calling as a mainstream thing. Referring to people one disagrees with as ‘libtards’ or ‘feminazis’ isn’t political disagreement or debate, it’s dehumanizing one’s political opponents so that their viewpoints don’t have to be considered, let alone discussed. Name calling is just one of the many false arguments and logical fallacies Rush normalized. People say, why not just listen to what he has to say! I did, on a number of occasions. A third of what he said was just insults and name calling. A third was just lies. (Another truly special form of false argument.) And the last third was just false arguments strung together. They sound terribly convincing to people who agree with his conclusions, but aren’t actually logical arguments at all.

Just one example from when I listened to him. Rush claimed that a study showed that if California adopted health care for all, it would cost more than the state’s entire existing budget. Right, let’s think about this. Every other developed nation on Earth has universal health care, at far less cost than Americans pay, but California, far richer than pretty much all of them, can’t possibly afford it? Safe to say that this “study” was conducted by America’s corporate “profit off of sick people” health care disaster. And Rush was carrying water for them. Yeah, he cared about Americans. Snort.

Rush was not a conservative either. Or more accurately, he changed the definition of conservative into “someone who hates and fears anyone who isn’t a conservative.” Eisenhower would have been appalled. Hell, even Reagan would likely have been appalled. Hating other Americans is neither conservative nor Christian, but Rush worked very hard to change the definition of conservative into hate-mongering, false argument spewing fools. Good job Rush, tearing a country in two is a real accomplishment.

And then Covid came along. I always wondered if Rush’s schtick was just an act, and he was laughing all the way to the bank. Then America faced the worst crisis of his life, one that cried out for an apolitical science and reason cased response. What did he say? “Yeah, I’m dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.” And millions of his followers believed him, and all the other BS about Covid being some sort of Democratic hoax to make Trump look bad. And hundreds of thousands of people who could have lived are dead as a result. Good going Rush, like Trump, you could have helped lead America and the world in the fight against Covid. You chose ignorance and partisanship instead.

And Trump gave Rush a Medal of Freedom. That Trump gave it to him, and he accepted it pretty much sums both of them up. I was hoping that maybe when Rush was diagnosed with fatal cancer he might change his tune. People can change. Carnegie was a rat bastard all his life, but in his old age he spent nearly a trillion dollars in today’s money on public works. Rush didn’t ever change. If there’s a heaven and a hell, I know where Rush is going. Jesus and so many others told us to love our neighbor, not hate and fear him.

I dunno, kind of a negative post. I think humans all need to work together, we are all in the same boat. I just think that those who devote their life to demonizing other humans are part of the problem, not part of the solution. I’ve yet to hear a convincing argument to the contrary. Maybe Rush’s death heralds the end of an era, the one man who really took up his mantle (a certain former president) may also be on a downward spiral. Hate isn’t going to fix America, it’s time to move on. Yeah, I’m an optimist.

My father still lives. Spring is around the corner. Life goes on. Stay safe and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public Domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 17, 2021 at 9:51 pm

DARK DAYS, A PERSONAL BLOG POST

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I’m sorry readers, no archeology post tonight. I was looking forward to it, I was going to share my theory that Stonehenge was all just an amusing misunderstanding. However I’m too out of it for a coherent post tonight, but going to come up with what I can. Basically my father is on his deathbed. He’s pushing 90, and has Covid. Worse, or better, depending on one’s viewpoint, he’s pretty much refusing all but palliative care. He might pull through, but not looking very encouraging at this point. He’s had a long full life, he knows that a full recovery from Covid is unlikely, and if it’s his time to go, he accepts it.

I think he wants to avoid the fate of his father, my grandfather. He outlived three wives (one of whom died in his arms,) went blind, and spent the last years of his life pretty much wishing he’d died younger. I can see why someone might want to avoid that. My dad thought he’d avoided that fate because my stepmom was 20 years his junior. They were a really happy couple. Then she got ALS and passed in her fifties. Dad never really got over that. Love is a wonderful thing, but it usually ends with some sadness on someone’s part.

So I’m more or less on deathwatch, waiting to see if my father lives or dies. One of those life events that no matter how much one knows it is coming, one is never really prepared for it. I was lucky, I lived until my forties without losing anyone close. Since then, yeah, death happens. Always hard. Even an ignostic such as I takes comfort in the idea that maybe there is another side where our passed loved ones wait for us. Seems unlikely, but I’ll find out sooner or later. Or not find out if there isn’t. As Mark Twain said “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

Covid I fear. Now that it has struck close to home, my anger and hatred toward Rush, Trump, and all those who made Covid far worse than it had to be in the US and the world is reaching new heights. Millions of Americans, not to mention many foreigners, are experiencing or have experienced the loss of loved ones to Covid because of Trump and companies reality denying nonsense. Rush: “It’s just a cold folks.” Trump: “It will all be gone by Easter!” Yeah, the nightmare is far different. Trump could have led America and the world in the fight against Covid, saving hundreds of thousands,  if not millions of lives. All he had to do was follow science and reason, previous administrations had planned and prepared for something like Covid. Instead Trump, Rush, and their ilk chose to politicise and cripple America’s response to Covid. Trump is literally the world’s number one global purveyor of false Covid information.

I won’t be consumed by anger and hatred though, life is too short. It is what it is. And I can take pleasure that in the long run, Trump’s legacy will be to be remembered as the worst American president ever. His cultists may think differently, but history is not kind to cult leaders, for good or for ill, accomplishments are what counts. A rusting pointless wall on the border will be Trump’s greatest legacy. Ozymandius understands.

I hope you make it dad. I love you. And if your druthers is to not carry on, I can accept that. Stay safe and warm gentle readers, appreciate your loved ones while they are still here. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A crow in a tree, crows are psychopomps. Public Domain image from Snappygoat.)

Written by unitedcats

February 16, 2021 at 9:33 pm

Posted in 2021, Covid-19, Personal, Trump

TRUMP WON’T BE CONVICTED, WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

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I think the chances of Trump being convicted by the Senate are essentially zero. The vote may happen as early as Saturday. I haven’t been following the impeachment much, because what’s the point? There’s really no question of Trump’s guilt, but the GOP Senators either don’t care, completely live in a fantasy world where the Capitol Insurrection Riot was somehow a Libtard False Flag attempt to make Trump look bad, or worse, think it was justified. Trump himself once said: “I Could Stand In the Middle Of Fifth Avenue And Shoot Somebody And I Wouldn’t Lose Any Voters.” He might as well have said “I could stand on the National Mall and incite a mob to storm the Capitol and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” His defense team is playing to their choir, not making any actual attempt to defend him. Trump encouraging his followers to storm the capitol to prevent Biden being certified as president is indefensible in any real world sense. The GOP is now a personality cult no longer living in the real world, so they, and their followers, see nothing to defend.

I have no idea what happens next, but I can speculate. Trump will likely run again in 2024, there doesn’t appear to be any way to prevent that unless he is convicted at his impeachment trial. I expect the GOP and Trump will spend the next four years doing everything in their considerable power to sabotage the Biden administration. They live in a world where they are God’s favorites, and Biden is evil incarnate. The few republicans who have stayed on the side of sanity in all this will be shown the door and replaced with Marjorie Taylor Greene clones. I think Roe vs Wade will effectively be gutted, if not overturned entirely. The only way Biden could really fight all this would be to pass the sorts of progressive legislation that most Americans crave, and would dramatically improve the lives of Americans. Medicare for all and raising the minimum wage back to a living wage alone would do it. I doubt that’s going to happen, the bottom line is that the Dems serve the same corporate masters that the GOP does, neither party represents the average working class American anymore.

The country will become more polarised than ever, and political violence is certainly a strong possibility. The police will continue to kill people with impunity, the rich will get ever richer, Covid will continue to inflict a terrible toll. And Biden has already made it perfectly clear that our imperial wars will continue unabated. The nation’s infrastructure, schools, and health care system will continue to decline. Crime rates, especially violent crime, have been trending up the past year and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. The most powerful country and empire the world has ever known is ruled by a fantasy/religious driven personality cult and a political party that is corruption personified. Rome never did particularly well under co-emperors, and I can’t see the US doing so either.

So yeah, the glass is half empty and the other half is full of shit. This is America. On the plus side, all sorts of exciting stuff is likely to happen, and we can look forward to endless outrage from all quarters. And it’s a golden age for bloggers! Even though we are kind of old hat now. Writing is what I do, and I will continue to do.

Today was going to be miscellaneous links that I didn’t get around to this week, but alas, couldn’t help ranting about the impeachment and the sad state of the republic. I have a few though to round out the week with. There’s this for starters: Psychoanalyst Justin Frank: Capitol riot was a source of incredible pleasure’ for Trump. At least Trump’s state of mind is endlessly fascinating in a morbid sort of way. This analyst thinks that Trump does indeed believe he won the election. And since Trump is a Covid survivor, this is more important than ever: Post COVID-19 brain-related symptoms may be common, study indicates. There’s still people out there who think Covid is a hoax. America, land of the deluded.

It’s been a hard week for me, thus the image of a tired cat. And at least one more week of near or below zero temperatures here in Northern Iowa. A few years back the snow was gone and the lake unfroze by late February. Not this year. Stay safe and warm everyone. Double masking is now recommended, I wear a really tight mask with an extra filter inside. Why the hell would I want to risk getting a disease that infects my brain for God’s sake? Oh, have a great weekend everyone, I will resume blogging on Monday. Likes, shares, comments all appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image. Tired cat. Credit: Public Domain Snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 12, 2021 at 7:32 pm

NUMBAT THURSDAY

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That’s a numbat. I had never heard of numbats before. It’s now my new favorite animal. Like many Australian animals, the numbat looks as if it was designed by a committee. In this case a committee of eight year olds. And in this case, the end result works. It looks cute, determined, and inquisitive at the same time. A cross between a fox and a chipmunk. And now that I have brought numbats to the attention of the world, can a Disney movie starring one be far behind? And if so, this blogger will gladly provide the voice for said numbat hero.

Yes, I’m very tired. Four ten plus hour days on limited sleep will do that to a person. Still, I promised my faithful readers a blog every weeknight, so I will persevere. Thursday was going to be a history post, but not much happened on February 11 in history. Not terribly surprising, history is mostly wars and such, and until recently, wars tended to be something conducted during the summer in the northern hemisphere. There was the carnival tragedy of 1823, sheesh, 100 or so young lads killed in a crush. One of the last battles as the Japanese closed in on Singapore in 1942, resulting in the first crushing victory of an Asian army over a European army in 400 years (so they don’t teach this one in British schools no doubt.) February 11, 1979 is the traditional date of the Iranian revolution, the one that toppled the ruthless US installed dictator. The latter part not taught in US schools I suspect, in fact last time I checked the CIA’s official history of Iran starts in … drum roll … 1979. And of course February 11, 1812 is the traditional date for the beginning of gerrymandering (and the end of representative democracy) in the US. That one’s too depressing for words. So no history post tonight, but on the plus side, history will still be there next Thursday! Stuff that’s already happened is reliable that way. (Well, not always.)

So a few interesting links as I stumble exhausted through the rest of tonight’s post: Here’s the real reason Republicans are obsessed with hating Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In short, half of white Americans live in a fantasy world where whites are a discriminated against minority now. In other words, the only real contact half of white Americans have with minorities is what they see on Fox News etc, otherwise they couldn’t believe transcendent absurdities like this. The article puts it all together and into perspective nicely. Yes, very depressing.

John Pavlowitz has a nice take on “Cancel Culture,” the current right wing (fantasy) outrage de jure: The Cancel Culture is Just Adult Accountability. He’s right on target as is usually the case, “Cancel Culture” is just the current version of the “War on Christmas,” the evangelical fantasy that Christianity is somehow under attack in the US. Playing the victim is pretty much all the evangelical right has these days, and the ‘Mandalorian’ actress played it to the hilt, among other offensive posts, claiming that Trump supporters in the US face the same persecution that Jews faced in Nazi Germany. Right. A few other takes on the situation, and the evangelicals’ screams of outrage: ‘Mandalorian’ actress axed over divisive social media posts and Gina Carano’s Mandalorian exit proves ‘cancel culture’ doesn’t exist – despite what her fans say.

Running out of steam here. One last article. Yes, Trump’s abysmal response to Covid really did kill several hundred thousand Americans: US could have averted 40% of Covid deaths, says panel examining Trump’s policies. Sigh. This was apparent to anyone not living in Trumptopia in March when his Covid response essentially boiled down to “It’s all going to magically go away by Easter!” He was the worst president in American history just by that standard alone, no other president’s flaming incompetence and denial killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. But just like America by so many objective standards has the worst health care in the developed world, the people living in Trumptopia are blind to it, because their leaders and media tell them it isn’t so. It’s a cult who think their beliefs give them magical power and/or that God will deliver them from their supposed enemies and restore them to their imagined past glories. Trump’s response to Covid was like Hitler’s “no retreat” order in Russia, why, if people just have the willpower, they can accomplish anything!

It’s never worked before in history, because reality trumps fantasy every time. Magical thinking sure has caused a lot of death, destruction, and sorrow though, and I fear we’re not out of the woods yet. Still, what a time to be alive in America watching and chronicling it all. Stay safe and warm everyone. Comments, shares, likes, patrons, and donations appreciated. (Thanks for the gloves Lars, they’re wonderful, pics to follow.) And if the gentle reader doesn’t want to support me, well, maybe they’ll help save the numbat: Project Numbat. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Numbat in Perth Zoo. Credit: Martin Pot. Image used legally: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.)

Written by unitedcats

February 11, 2021 at 8:56 pm

SCIENCE TUESDAY

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I can probably think of a better title than “Science Tuesday.” One thing at a time though. Today’s pic, a Sundog. Also known as mock suns or parhelia, it’s a little rainbow to one side of the Sun, often two of them on either side equidistant from the Sun. They can also be pretty bright, and look like little Suns. We saw a pair on the way home from Iowa City a few weeks back, it was cool to see. Caused by hexagonal ice crystals floating down horizontally, if I understand this correctly. I didn’t take the above pic though, it’s a public domain Snappygoat image.

This week’s Skeptoid podcast was interesting. It’s usually at least somewhat interesting, but after all these years a lot of the best and well known topics have been covered. (Skeptoid posts every Tuesday morning, another reason for Science Tuesdays.) This week, Our Lady of Zeitoun. Nope, I never heard of it either. It was an apparition of (allegedly) the Virgin Mary that appeared on the rooftop of a church in Cairo for several years starting in 1968. It was a huge deal in Egypt at the time, tens of thousands of people came out to see it, millions may have seen it all together. Various church authorities “investigated” it and determined it was real, no surprise there.

What was it? Distant car headlights occasionally glinting off steeple windows. Why were so many people convinced they were seeing the Virgin Mary? This is where it gets interesting. Yes, of course it was mass hysteria. Interestingly enough though the people of Egypt were primed for just such an event, so it didn’t occur in a vacuum. (Note that the Virgin Mary is holy in Islam as well, so there’s nothing odd about Muslims seeing Mary as a Godly apparition.) They were primed because the previous year the Six Day War happened, where Israel attacked and crushed Egypt, Jordan, and Syria’s militaries in just six days. Ten to fifteen thousand dead Egyptians killed or missing, and a big chunk of Egypt (The Sinai Peninsula) occupied by Israel. Another example of something that makes more sense as part of a larger context. Kind of applies to everything I suppose, but it’s easy to lose sight of.

Continuing yesterday’s Mars news: We Just Got The First Photo of Mars From China’s Tianwen 1 Probe, And It’s Breathtaking. And I didn’t catch this, but a Mars satellite from the United Arab Emirates just entered Mars orbit: Emirates Mars Mission: Hope spacecraft enters orbit. Great, the people of UAE now have a satellite named hope. Actual hope for, say, democracy and human rights, nope. Just another appallingly despotic country ruled for the benefit of the west, so of course it flies completely under the western media’s radar. Fun times: Israel’s Honeymoon With the United Arab Emirates Is Grotesque.

Hey, it wouldn’t be Doug’s Darkworld if I didn’t slip in links like that. In Covid and Facebook news: Big News: Facebook Just Banned More COVID-19 Anti-Vax Content. Sounds good to me. People who want to spread dangerous nonsense shouldn’t be given platforms to do so on. They can start websites or print flyers and stick them under windshield wipers or whatever, it’s not like this is censorship or their freedom of speech is being infringed on. I know a lot of people are concerned about recent efforts by social media platforms limiting hate speech and such, but at this point the damage caused to society by people like anti-vaxxers has grown so great that something needs to be done. I’m all for bringing back the Fairness doctrine, getting rid of it was what started us down the road to Americans living in different realities.

Stuff like this nonsense for example: The latest antivax false claim: mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 are not vaccines but “medical devices” or “gene therapy”. Or this: Covid: ‘How a picture of my foot became anti-vaccine propaganda’. I don’t have a whole lot of patience with anti-vaxxers, since their idiotic ideology is killing people. Anti-maskers either. Or maybe I’m just turning into a cranky old man. Lastly: We Need to Plan Now For The Pandemic That Comes After COVID-19, Scientists Say. Fat chance though, we’re not even taking global warming seriously and it’s going on right now. Fossil fuel use is destroying the climate and killing huge numbers of people, but God forbid governments do something.

We’ve basically built a planetary economy based on weapon sales and oil, the two most profitable industries that ever existed. “Supertankers are the Spanish galleons of our time.” Quoting the alien in Plan 9 from Outer Space: “Stupid, stupid, stupid!” What else is there to say? Stay safe and warm everyone. Likes, comments, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Sun and sundog. Credit: Diane Renkin. Public Domain.)

Written by unitedcats

February 9, 2021 at 7:39 pm