Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Global Warming’ Category


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I’ve had a hard time blogging recently. Writer’s block. Stress in my personal life is one reason. Not helping. That’s just the background noise though. No, the real reason is more general. I’m extremely pessimistic about the state of the world, and the state of the USA in particular. In many senses I’ve always been a doomsday prophet, but the 21st century has moved into a whole new universe compared to my worrying about nuclear war in my younger days. So how do I write about this? Ten reasons I’m pessimistic about now. Who knows, hopefully this will be cathartic:

  1. The rich keep getting richer and more powerful. The upward transfer of wealth in America and the world accelerated under Covid. In other words, price gouging is at the heart of the global economic system. What are people going to do when the last dollar in America is in some rich person’s or corporation’s offshore account?
  2. The Cold War continues. The Cold War was stupid proganda to justify endless American war making and war spending from the beginning. The new Cold War is even crazier. China isn’t trying to take over the world, Russia isn’t trying to destroy the west.
  3. The War on Terror was a colossal fail. By every metric the War on Terror has massively increased global terrorism. War is the least effective way to fight terrorism. And yet here we are, bombs away, with nary a hint of protest.
  4. We forgot the lessons of Vietnam. This is a codicil to number 3:  Opinion | The Pentagon Papers’ Lessons Went Unlearned – The New York …
  5. Science denial is rampant. This is bizarre. When I was a kid and young person most people understood that science and reason were the shiznit. Now actual supposed adults in positions of power embrace voodoo nonsense … and they get more popular. Go figure.
  6. The Christian right wants to seize power. A third of the country wants America to be forced to live under their Old Testament take on reality.
  7. The GOP’s massive ongoing voter suppression, protest suppression, history suppression, and rights suppression campaign (abortion and LGTB rights.) The actual cancel culture.
  8. No independent media. When I was young the mainstream media was independent, even if they did try to influence politics. Not anymore.
  9. Climate change. It’s real, humans are causing it, efforts to mitigate it are still “too little, too late.” Fossil fuels are the most profitable extractive industry ever, but the costs are wrecking our world.
  10. AI, homemade doomsday devices, etc. In my lifetime (knock on wood) there are any number of potential technological advances that could lead to doomsday. It’s my answer to the Fermi Paradox, our form of life is ultimately self destructive, an evolutionary dead end.

And I’m sure I missed a few. The continued glorification of the Confederacy and white washing of American history. UFOs. Nearly half of Americans believe dinosaurs still exist. Yeah, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we are about to slide into some Golden Age. Snort. Biden will be the Pertinax of our time more likely. (Pertinax was a sane senator who became Caesar after the death of a crazy Caesar. His reign only lasted three months before the corrupt praetorian guard murdered him.)

On the plus side, a lady I like called me “Sweetie” today. Objectively there is no future relationship, but it made this lonely old guy feel good. Have a great week everyone.  #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found somewhere, possibly Public Domain, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

June 14, 2021 at 7:23 pm


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The GOP doesn’t actually believe in democracy or the will of the people. Missouri abandons voter-approved Medicaid expansion. Some of them still believe Trump will be returning to the White House: MyPillow’s Mike Lindell claims Trump will ‘be back in office in August’ in Steve Bannon podcast rant. I guess they don’t understand that we live in a Constitutional Republic. The election was held and certified in accordance with the constitution and the law of the land. This means it’s a done deal. The results of the election can’t be changed, no matter what. Even if Trump’s allegations turned out to be true … it wouldn’t change anything. Biden would still be the legal POTUS. Still, the GOP’s anti democracy trend is scary, and I’m in agreement with this link, not sure the democrats even care: The country is careening off a cliff — and Democrats are asleep at the wheel. The GOP is convinced global warming is no threat, so not surprising the Dems would regard the GOP’s anti-democracy trends as no threat. Fun times.

2-year-old boy shoots both his parents. Who the hell leaves a gun where a two year old can find it? These folks apparently. Sigh. This is another issue where who cares about facts. Most Americans think having a gun around makes them safer. Wrong. Empirically, factually wrong. America has 6% of the world’s population and 42% of the world’s privately owned guns. So if guns made us safer, America would be the safest country on Earth. It’s the opposite: Does a Gun Make Your Home Safer? Our leaders decided to rule based on people’s feelz though rather than facts, logic, science; and we’re all paying a terrible price for it.

Richard Dawkins stepped in it by suggesting that aborting fetuses with Down Syndrome was a good thing, the proper moral choice even. He got schooled: Brendan O’Connor praised for tackling guest on his remarks about babies with Down’s Syndrome. On the plus side he did back down from his claim, which was ignorant at best. Ableist to eugenics promotion at worst. People with Down Syndrome report happiness with their lives, appearance, and family at rates that other people can only dream of. So the idea that them being born causes suffering is, well, wrong.

This is one of those issues with no black and white answers. Abortion is a right, that’s because forcing someone to bear a child against their will is wrong. The reason they choose to abort is irrelevant, it’s their life, their body. If people wanted to prevent as many abortions as possible, which seems like a laudable goal to me; then birth control, family planning, and sex education should be widely available. Those are the things proven to reduce the abortion rate. That the people who claim to be anti-abortion are overwhelmingly against the very things that prevent abortion pretty much shows they aren’t actually trying to prevent abortions.

Came across a good article about America’s crumbling infrastructure: Cracked bridge over Mississippi River highlights supply chain vulnerabilities. Like global warming, the US has ignored its infrastructure for decades. And now it’s time to pay the piper. In many ways that actually sums up modern America: the piper payment is coming due, and we ain’t even close to being ready. But boy, we’re not going to give up. Never think things through, but never give up.

And yes, image above, there have been some gas shortages because of a pipeline shut down by ransomware. There has been some panic buying. It didn’t go well for some people: Hummer loaded with four 5-gallon containers of gas catches fire after leaving Florida gas station. On the one hand, not too bright. On the other hand, he refused treatment for burns? Oh dear. Burns are a terrible injury even with prompt medical attention. I hope he gets to an ER ASAP. Maybe it was toxic masculinity,  but maybe he couldn’t dare incur medical expenses. In either case, not a good look for America.

Maybe that’s all I will blog about now. What the hell is wrong with this country. It’s gotten worse and worse my whole life. The rich and powerful exploit to their heart’s content, the military fights the war that never ends, while regular Americans are taught to blame each other, or foreigners,  or themselves(!) for what’s wrong. Endless source material for sure. What a time to be alive, stay safe everyone.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, I believe it’s public domain, but claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law in any event.)

Written by unitedcats

May 13, 2021 at 8:54 pm


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The modern GOP is pretty easy to predict, if something bad happens, the liberals engineered it. MAGA mob storms capitol? Antifa false flag operation. A terrible plague ravishes the land? Democratic hoax. The Texas power grid fails in a severe winter storm, those damn liberals and their green power! Fox repeated this particular lie endlessly. ‘Simply laughable’: How a lie about the Texas energy crisis dominated Fox’s coverage. It’s not really that laughable, because people believe the lies. No, GOP deregulation is why their power grid failed, it’s not even debatable. And people have been pointing out for a decade that the Texas power grid wasn’t ready for a storm like this: Beto O’Rourke said Texas was warned for years about power grid.

And Texas Senator Ted Cruz is really taking flak for fleeing with his family to Cancun while Texas suffered its worst natural disaster in decades. Millions without power, and he flies to Mexico for some sun. His excuse(s) aren’t flying well: People Can’t Help But Mock Ted Cruz’s Absurd Excuse For Cancun Trip. He blamed his daughters. Presumably they are liberals? It’s all just weird these days. But yeah, more evidence that more than just America’s infrastructure is rotten to the core, our ruling class is about the same. At least he’s getting fire from some fellow Republicans, but not most of course. If Obama had done something like this, the GOP outrage would have reverberated through the ages.

Gets weirder too. It’s becoming a thing in Evangelical circles to predict Trump is coming back. Not in 2024, but this year, 2021. The Christian Prophets Who Say Trump Is Coming Again. Somehow God is pissed that Trump is no longer president, and he’s going to reinstate him pronto. Because, Trump has God’s blessing or something. Yes, foreign and future readers, a lot of American evangelicals are, well, out of touch with reality. There’s no Constitutional way to change the election results. And boy, on the Evangelical fringe, the Texas winter storm was “scientifically impossible” and therefore caused by “weather manipulation:” Christian Activist: TX Freeze Was Weather Manipulation. Tens of millions of Americans believe this stuff, not promising for a healthy debate.

In many ways, all not that surprising. The GOP spent Obama’s administration pumping birther nonsense, claiming he wasn’t really the president, and doing everything in their power to demonize and obstruct him. It’s a logical extension to “Biden cheated so Trump really won.” Gotta remember, the GOP can’t win on popularity. Twice this century they “won” a presidential election even though they lost the popular vote, and Trump almost pulled it off again. The GOP right led by Evangelical extremists (people that want to turn the USA into a “Christian Nation,”) has moved considerably to the right in recent decades. Only maybe a third of America has followed them, the rest of us actually want to live in a secular democracy where Americans of all stripes are welcome. That’s why Obama got elected twice, the majority of Americans didn’t care that he was black.

I’m of course no Obama fan. While I think it’s a good thing Americans elected him twice, God bless em, their hearts were in the right place … Obama was true to his voting record. He was a complete tool of corporate America, Wall Street, and the pentagon. He normalized forever war and erased what remained of the Democrat’s actual progressive wing. Peace and actual economic justice are off the table, but LGTB rights! Couldn’t we have both? Not with Obama, and sure not looking like it with Biden.

My father is still alive, but very weak. Take care gentle readers, hopefully this is the last cold weekend in North America. Maybe. More likely than God putting Trump back into the White House. And if somehow Trump does get back into the White House in the near future, woo boy, blogging heaven! I’ll be back Monday, shares, comments, likes, follows, patrons, donations as always appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Mars Perseverance Rover two meters above the ground. Amazing Public Domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 19, 2021 at 8:43 pm


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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


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Ah, treppenwitz. Or esprit de l’escalier, the wit of the stairway. When someone claimed that having tens of thousands of troops in Washington for the inauguration was like being in a third world country, I should have replied: “Like one of those countries where the president incites a mob to attack the capitol to overturn a free and fair election?” The same person would have been apoplectic if the mob had been a BLM/Antifa mob.  Of course they don’t think it was a fair election, because how could their anointed by God leader possibly lose an election? Especially if he insisted he’d been cheated? I and many others have said it before, Trump supporters are now living in an alternate reality. Here is a great example: Sen. Graham calls out Biden administration’s claims that ‘everything is in shambles’. No Mr Graham, this isn’t the Obama playbook, Trump wasn’t a particularly good president, and after the election he basically ignored the exploding pandemic and everything else to concentrate on his fantasy quest to overturn the election. And his administration’s essential refusal to coordinate with the incoming Biden administration was historically unprecedented in modern times.

To back my point up, here are three of Trump’s most unqualified and corrupt appointments, all fired by Biden on his first day in office. The information comes from, but since it’s paywalled, I’m rephrasing it here:

Michael Pack. He was appointed in June to run the U.S. Agency for Global Media. The Voice of America international broadcaster. He tried to transform it into a propaganda outlet for Trump, despite a  mandate that prohibits such political interference. He purged the staff of the VOA and sister networks, replacing them with Trump loyalists, insisted on pro-Trump coverage, and unconstitutionally punished reporters who didn’t toe the pro-Trump line. He also illegally fired the board of the Open Technology Fund, which promotes international internet freedom, and replaced them with Republican activists. After whistleblower complaints, the U.S. Office of Special Counselfound it very likely that Pack had broken federal law. After being fired by Biden, he whined that his termination “was a partisan act,” talk about self-owning irony.

Kathleen Kraninger, confirmed as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2018. She had no previous experience in consumer protection. She scrapped a rule that restricted predatory payday lending, insisting that her staff downplay the harm to consumers. She refused to enforce a federal law that protected military personnel from predatory payday lending, basically allowing them to be defrauded by said lenders. She also approved a rule allowing debt collectors to harass Americans with limitless texts and emails. Charming, appointed to protect consumers, instead she protected predatory lenders.

Lastly, Peter Robb. Confirmed as the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel in 2017. The NLRB’s mandate is  to enforce federal laws that protect workers’ right to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. Mr Robb is brutally anti-union. He tried to limit employees’ free speech, gave employers more ability to practice wage theft, crippled unions’ ability to collect dues, and helped prevent employees from organizing unions. He also tried to seize total control of the agency by demoting regional directors and consolidating power in his office, giving him unheard of power to bust unions and prevent new ones from forming. Biden fired his sorry a** after he refused to resign.

I’d link to the original Slate article, but I’m going to try to avoid linking to all unreasonably paywalled articles, what’s the point? I doubt very many of my readers subscribe to Slate. By the same token I unsubscribed to the New York Times today. I love many of their guest editorials, but I can’t share them with my friends and readers, so what’s the point? And boy, they made me jump through hoops to unsubscribe, further increasing my antipathy towards them. I swear, a lot of modern marketing seems to have avoided, I dunno, actually asking real people what they thought?

In any event, these and so many other examples show Trump not only broke his promise to drain the swamp, he was possibly the worst president ever for appointing industry lobbyists and Trump loyalists to posts where they were supposed to regulate said industries in a non-partisan way. Sigh. Hey, Trump University, a scam to cheat poor people out of their life savings shows what Trump really thought about poor and working class Americans.

So far Biden is at least paying lip service to the idea he is serving all Americans. He cancelled the Keystone Pipeline, which was interesting. Basically the pipeline only benefited the rich, had very serious ecological concerns, defiled sacred native land, and would have only provided a trivial number of jobs. IDK, this certainly seems to indicate that Biden won’t completely be a slave to the oil lobby. He also is going to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, which despite its flaws, at least acknowledges that human caused global warming is real. Which it is, the scientific debate ended decades ago; there are certainly questions about how best to deal with global warming, but pretending it’s all a hoax and continuing to pump CO2 and methane into the atmosphere to protect fossil fuel profiteering isn’t one of them.

Predictably, Fox News and the rest are already screaming in outrage about Biden. Apparently condemning white supremacy is an insult to Trump voters: Fox News upset over Biden’s denouncement of white supremacy – because it might offend Trump voters. Frankly, anyone who is upset about Biden denouncing white supremacy can go jump in a lake. Or jump in a time machine and go live in Hitler’s Germany. Hell, a QAnon congresswoman is already filing articles of impeachment against Biden. Yeah, gonna be a fun four years.

Lastly, I just found out that Trump had a button on his oval office desk that when he pushed, a butler would bring him a Diet Coke. Really. To me, that’s kind of grotesque, especially on the taxpayer’s dime. I can’t imagine even having a butler, just have a freaking mini fridge in your office if you need Diet Coke available 24/7. I would have made a very poor lord I guess. The button is gone now, Biden had it removed.

Have a safe and warm weekend everyone. The above meme references the explosion of Bernie in mittens memes after the inauguration. All good fun, though I’m sure Trump supporters, wed to the idea that Sanders is Mao reborn, are horrified. Think of the Children! Or some such, idk. Trump has zero sense of humor, and apparently his followers don’t either. I’ll keep blogging as long as I can. Comments, suggestions, shares, and especially patrons appreciated. I’ll never paywall my blog, but donors are incredibly appreciated. Thanks in advance, thanks for reading in any case. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

January 22, 2021 at 9:00 pm


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Maybe it’s just the joy of surviving surgery, and cancer, which does weigh on a man … but I’m thinking Trump is toast at this point. He’s been foiled at every turn in his increasingly desperate attempt to rewrite the election as a Trump win. Sorry Mr Trump, but a sharpie and an army of sycophants can’t change reality, Biden won the election. Sorry Ernest*, your guy lost, deal with it.

160 New York business leaders weighed in for transitioning to Biden. Basically the rich and powerful, the “made” people in the global corporate empire, who Trump has always aspired to be one of … have rejected him. He’s toast. Let me expound. The people that own everything are in a class by themselves. It’s not organized like say the Mafia, but in many ways it’s the same. Trump’s not welcome at the top, it’s over.

In other good news, Oxford seems to have developed a vaccine that will be easy to deploy anywhere, and at cost, which is minimal. This isn’t the best article, but close enough. There’s no such thing as “Big Pharma,” nonetheless the idea that the profit motive is the best way to motivate people is sick and wrong. Short version, we appear to have a vaccine that we can easily deploy anywhere, which gives us a shot at global victory over Covid-19.

And that’s what is required. Once again for those in the back, Covid-19 is not a new cold or flu. I know some long haulers, all Americans will (or will get to experience it themselves) as the virus rages out of control while the POTUS simultaneously ignores it, prevents the incoming Biden administration from coordinating with federal health agencies, and goes golfing. Most diseases only affect part of the body, colds/flues are limited to the upper respiratory tract. Covid-19 goes EVERYWHERE, I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything quite like it: Puzzling, often debilitating after-effects plaguing COVID-19 “long-haulers”.

Oh, Covid-19 is actually real. Many people predicted that since it was a Democratic hoax to make Trump look bad, it would magically disappear after the election! This would be like someone thinking in the US election of 1940 that the Nazi conquest of Poland and France was some sort of hoax, and would magically disappear after the election. Yes, it’s that fucking stupid. And Ted Cruz was a big proponent of same. Wrong Ted, Covid-19 is real.

Aside from my optimistic prediction that Trump will indeed be dragged from the stage, we’re not out of the woods yet. There’s still a lot of politics and wishful thinking poisoning America’s response to Covid-19, and there’s every reason to believe it will continue to explode. I’ll be straight up, I’ll bet before it’s over Covid-19 kills at least one person out of every three hundred, at least a million dead Americans.

In other words, we need to eradicate this disease. Any other option is mass death and disablement and economic carnage on a global scale. This is an object lesson for global warming, another threat that needs to be eradicated to avoid the same fate. Just the timeline is different. Will we pass either test? Damned if I know, but at least Biden acknowledges they are real threats.

I can live with that. So will a lot of people. Bye Don. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Facebook grab, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Terminator 2, Judgement Day. Great movie, everyone should see it.)

Written by unitedcats

November 23, 2020 at 8:23 pm


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So far, yes, Biden is looking good. He’s putting together a solid plan for when he gets into office, the pandemic being the first issue to address, he’s naming his pandemic task force on Monday. He will be taking charge while the second worst (and a good shot at becoming the worst) health crisis in American history is raging at its peak. What a nightmare, but Biden’s doing it with diplomacy and aplomb. He offered a solid olive branch to Trump supporters. Just the professionalism of it all is impressive, something that’s been sorely lacking in the White House the last four years.

The economy, racism, and climate change are Biden’s other three priorities. Everyone loves a good economy, but in many ways the economy is out of the president’s hands. More importantly, if the president actually does his job, running the country in a rational manner, the economy will take care of itself just fine. But yeah, Biden will not be inheriting a good economy. Well, at least he’s had experience inheriting a bad economy from GOP predecessor.

Racism, boy. A small majority of white Americans think whites are a discriminated against minority now. I think it’s safe to say that most of them are Trump supporters. They think racism is no longer an issue, or that non-whites have an advantage now over white people. Both premises are deeply wrong, yet here we are. Acknowledging this does not mean they are bad people, but Biden has his work cut out for himself here. How does one address an issue people think doesn’t exist?

Same problem with global warming, Trump and his supporters don’t think it’s real or it’s been exaggerated. Sigh. Global warming is real, human activity is causing it, it needs to be dealt with. There’s exactly zero reasons not to transition to a greener economy. Solar, wind, 4th gen nuclear are the wave of the future. Some stock will lose value, so what? Because an industry was once profitable doesn’t mean it has some God given right to profit forever. It’s called progress, the barrel making, whale oil, and saddle industries had their time in the Sun. Fossil fuels are the same, especially coal.

Will Trump concede and let this all transpire? That’s the big question now. Trump hasn’t given up, the GOP is divided. There’s even a rumour that Melania urged him to concede. From this one article, Trump does have some ways of constitutionally circumventing the election results: The Trump campaign is reportedly ‘discussing contingency plans to bypass election results’. Seems like a long shot to me. IDK, some claim Trump is incapable of conceding: Experts explain why losing is ‘like psychic death for Trump’.

I hope it all works out. In that vein, one nice thing. It’s cool we have the first black female VP. Little black girls the country over can be like, wow! Kids being inspired is a good thing, nu? Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Peace is a good thing. Public Domain image from Snappygoat/Pixabay.)

Written by unitedcats

November 8, 2020 at 7:52 pm


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It’s true: Trump Will Undergo Televised Medical Evaluation on Friday Night, Fox News Announces. I guess tomorrow I’ll blog about the results, if they aren’t boring. (See * at end) Boring is rarely a word associated with Trump these days as the last few weeks before the election slide by. Can’t even hardly keep up with Trump’s nonsense, some of which is increasingly incomprehensible. Like this: “They literally want to take buildings down and rebuild them… with tiny little windows. Tiny little windows so you can’t see the light.” Trump was ostensibly talking about the Green New Deal or something, nobody really knows what that was about. Maybe he’s seen a secret report about a secret plan? Here’s rest from the same interview: Here are 7 ridiculous moments from Trump’s wacky and nonsensical remarks.

Well, if Trump is having cognitive issues, no surprise: Nearly one-third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients develop brain malfunction, study finds. The second debate has apparently been cancelled at this point, wouldn’t surprise me if there weren’t any more debates. The first one pretty much jumped the shark. Trump is however planning more rallies and superspreader events. Even Doctor Fauci has chimed in on Trump’s refusal to face reality: White House hosted Covid ‘superspreader’ event, says Dr Fauci. At this point wondering if we are going to see Trump slip further and further into madness in the weeks to come.

The good doctor Novella blogged about Pence’s climate change denialism: Climate Denial Talking Points. Almost unprecedented, but scientists all over the world have realized that Trump’s utter failure to address Covid-19 in a rational scientific matter really means he’s off the rails. Climate change denial, it’s not that hard to swallow. At this point it’s a social belief inculated by the GOP and the fossil fuel industry. It may be driven by money or ideology, but at least in the short term it’s not insane.

Covid-19 denial, that’s a whole different ball of wax. There’s no reason to deny its reality, there’s every reason to fight it tooth and nail like pretty much every other nation on the planet. Instead Trump has been the greatest dissembler of Covid-19 misinformation on the planet, and to this day has refused to launch a national effort to fight Covid-19. It’s no wonder scientists are starting to speak out, the economic cost and social damage of letting Covid-19 rage out of control in the US is going to be staggering. In most of the world’s democracies, the Trump administration would have gone down in a vote of no confidence months ago.

I know, I know, in many ways I keep saying the same thing in different ways. Just in the hopes that as my words wander through the Interwebs, maybe they will make a few people think here and there. Denialism of all sorts is a cancer that’s destroying America now, even as it makes the rich ever richer. Covid-19 denial is killing thousands of Americans a week now, I don’t see that I have any choice but to keep writing about it. Keeps me from jumping up on park benches and speechifying. That rarely ends well.

Here in Iowa autumn is definitely upon us. I chose the image above because it captures the colors and mood of autumn, and reminds me of Iowa. Trees, lakes, boats. An Alfred Sisely painting. “Autumn Banks of the Seine near Bougival.” Painted in 1873. It looks so peaceful. I guess life does go on after awful things. 1870-1871 was the Franco-Prussian War, which saw northern France invaded, Paris captured, France humiliated. Hundreds of thousands dead. It was no world war, but was a huge deal in France at the time. And here just a couple of years later Sisely is painting beautiful landscapes.

So here’s hoping a few years from now the sorrows of 2920 are behind and I will be writing about kittens and science again. And here’s a nice story about the same to end my Friday night. A study has confirmed that slow blinks work on cats. Wait, what? Yes, a human who slow blinks at a cat is far more likely to be approached by a cat in a friendly manner. A slow blink is eyes half closed, blink slowly. This is how cats smile, and when they see a human smiling at a cat, they respond favorably.

Not a huge surprise to cat lovers, “don’t look straight at them and keep eyes half closed” has been the advice forever. Nice to see it pass scientific muster, it is real apparently. Does lead to a lot of further questions. I mean, just what is going on here? Somehow part of the cat brain that is wired to communicate with other cats is also responding to human faces? Can the human brain be so tricked? Is this reverse anthropomorphism? Food for thought: Study Confirms ‘Slow Blinks’ Really Do Work to Communicate With Your Cat.

Have a safe and sane weekend everyone, enjoy the nice autumn weather if you have it. Comments, likes, share appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

*Trump’s “medical exam” did not impress apparently: Commentary: Trump’s made-for-TV ‘medical exam’ is as much a sham as his COVID-19 response

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Autumn Banks of the Seine near Bougival, Alfred Sisely, 1873. He’s been dead 120 years, so in any sane world his work is public domain, and so claimed under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 9, 2020 at 8:40 pm


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Trump is still kicking. He even made a brief drive by foray from the hospital. They say he might go home Monday. Still conflicting reports on how sick he was and is. The fact that he’s not tweeting up a storm would indicate to me that he’s pretty sick. Numerous other people in his circle are infected as well. Good chance an event they had last Sunday in the White House was a “superspreader” event, so this isn’t over yet. Seems pretty clear Biden is gaining in the polls, hard to see how Trump could spin this in a way that makes him look good. I’m sure he’ll try though.

I can’t see any but Trump’s hard core supporters being impressed by Covid-19 spreading through the White House. We’re still losing about 750 people a day to Covid-19, the only thing worse in history is the Civil War and a few months of the 1918 flu. This means as it spreads, more and more people are going to have friends or loved ones sickened or killed by Covid-19. Reality intrudes on fantasy. Here’s a good overview: Trump’s strategy of COVID denial is defeated by COVID

Kind of intrudes on multiple levels. 2020 is not a fluke, it’s a culmination of trends scientists and science understanding folks have been warning about for decades. Covid-19 is just one example. By the 1980s scientists had a basic understanding of emergent diseases, those that jumped from animals to humans. And they knew then that sooner or later, something nasty and at least as infectious as the 1918 flu was going to appear. It was a certainty. It was just luck it happened this particular year, but there was nothing unexpected about Covid-19. We could have defended ourselves against it, but our efforts were badly coordinated and poorly implemented. And ultimately failed, Covid-19 is here to stay.

In any event, Covid-19 is just one of the things going on. This is a good article about how Global Warming is slamming us now: 2020: The Year of the Converging Crises, Dealing with one crisis at a time was a luxury that is now over, and climate change has become the “threat multiplier” we knew it would be. The world keeps rolling on too. Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region has reached war status. Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Major cities hit as heavy fighting continues. This one’s a mess, but like so many of the world’s conflicts, it appears to be a legacy of colonialist border drawing. (The Soviet Union being the colonialist power in this instance.) Hopefully it won’t spread, but sooner or later another world war is pretty much a given.

And in fun news, the #ProudBoys hashtag has been hijacked by, proud boys! Just not the ones the founders of the Proud Boys had in mind. The Proud Boys are a white supremicist, male only, ultra nationalist organization. Basically fascists. So now gay married couples are hijacking their hashtag with stories of, well, happy gay couples: The “Proud Boys” Hashtag Has Been Taken Over By Gay Love. I thought from the beginning that the “Proud Boys” chosen name was problematic. I was apparently right.

The whole gay marriage furor always baffled me. I grew up in a heteronormative world until I was in my late twenties. I had no contact with gay people, routinely derided them among my peers, didn’t give it much thought. Then I landed in Berkeley amidst a gay friendly community. And gee, finally confronted with gay people, what to think? Well, I think girls are hot. Most girls think guys are hot. What’s the diff if some girls think girls are hot, and some guys think guys are hot? I couldn’t think of any objections. Whatever floats your boat, what consenting adults do is none of my business.

Objection to gay marriage comes down to seeing a married couple … and being offended because their genitals aren’t “appropriate?” Ew, I mean just ew. Who sees a couple and wonders about their genitals? A lot of Republicans apparently. I’m digressing all over the place, I guess I’m worried that some Handmaid’s Tale future for America could still happen.

No horrible new national Trump news as I type now. 30 days until the most important election of my lifetime, if not in US history. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Stay safe everyone, comments, likes, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 4, 2020 at 8:11 pm


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The above made me laugh, so I thought I’d share. Depressing day, but every day is depressing in America now. A commenter about yesterday’s post said they didn’t think some of the worst case outcomes were terribly likely. I certainly hope he’s right, I’ll be thrilled if the election happens, and the new (or reelected) POTUS gets sworn in next spring without undue violence or other extreme outcomes. People always hope for that, they pretty much never expect the kind of horrors that unfold regularly throughout history. And granted, no one has a crystal ball. That being said, the corruption, wealth inequality, and other failings in modern America were already at historic levels before Trump and Covid-19. And Trump has not only done nothing to fix them, his whole reelection campaign is based on stoking fear and hatred in his base. I think we’re beyond a peaceful resolution at this point. Wars etc. happen when leaders on all sides trap themselves into courses that can only lead to war. I think we’re there, I hope I’m wrong.

And this just in: US election: Trump won’t commit to peaceful transfer of power. So Trump simply is not going to accept that he lost the election, period. This is a guy who actually believes he’s popular with most Americans, and that the lopsided popular vote in 2016 was due to fraud perpetrated by the Democrats. So yeah, if he loses the election, Trump will claim it was a fraudulent result, and do everything in his power to “fix” it. I don’t see that ending well.

A few random links, in random order. In the “Life on Venus” front a new study is out: How Much Life Would Be Required to Create the Phosphine Signal on Venus? As informed readers know, the chemical phosphine has been detected in the atmosphere of Venus, and scientists are mystified, since biological processes are the only known way phosphine could be produced on Venus. The study shows that the amount of life required to produce that much phosphine is, well, trivial. Life even at vastly lower levels than the life found in Earth’s atmosphere could easily produce the phosphine detected. Not proof of life, but if huge amounts of life had been required then it would be a strong argument that some as yet unknown non-biological process was creating the phosphine. Safe to say Venus is going to get a lot more attention from scientists searching for extraterrestrial life.

In global warming news: The Richest One Percent Emits Twice as Much Carbon as Half the World. No surprise at all. Just another metric of extreme wealth inequality in the world today. Sure, lots of people used to be slaves and serfs. Thank goodness that’s no longer the case. But, what the fuck difference does that make if a huge percentage of the world’s population has essentially nothing, while a tiny percentage of the world’s population essentially owns everything? If capitalism was going to fix this it would be getting better. Wealth inequality is getting worse. Not sure what’s going to fix it, but the mythical free market that 1% apologists love to worship sure aint doing the trick.

Covid-19 isn’t wreaking as much havoc in Africa as was feared. Likely a number of reasons, but here’s one possibility: Exclusive: Study suggests dengue may provide some immunity against COVID-19. It would certainly be interesting if the poorest and most neglected parts of the world were somehow less susceptible to the ravages of Covid-19. Silver lining.

And lastly, not a huge fan of John Pavlovitz, but sometimes he is right on: The Weakness of MAGA Men. Can’t argue with him. Hatred, bigotry, and most of all an attitude of sophomoric certainty and moral superiority are the hallmarks of cowardice. Thinking your cult leader has all the answers and everyone who disagrees is wrong is the thinking of a scared child, a child afraid to admit the world and the people in it are complicated and require compromise, empathy, and introspection to understand. Alas, as I’ve said before, America is a country where right is wrong and wrong is right. 

In other words, if one thinks running around in public with an AR-15 makes them some sort of patriot, they’re a pathetic manbaby. What can I say, I’m getting less diplomatic as the Covid-19 death toll ratchets upwards while Trump and his followers imagine that flag waving and shooting libtards will fix what’s wrong with America. What a freaking time to be alive. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

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

Written by unitedcats

September 23, 2020 at 8:13 pm