Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Iowa’ Category

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Scary on the face of it, and scary because it certainly seems to imply to me that they see people practicing their 

Or, what’s the GOP up to now? For starters: Half a Year After Trump’s Defeat, Arizona Republicans Are Recounting the Vote. Yes, despite no evidence of the massive fraud that Trump claims, the GOP is still trying to overturn the election results. And the company in charge of the recounting … is headed by a big “Stop the Steal” proponent. Since Biden has already been sworn in, I can’t see any good coming of this. Just a continuation of the modern GOP’s program to reject the reality of anything they disapprove of. At least they’re consistent.

That’s when they’re not freaking out about about stuff that isn’t actually happening: Where’s The Beef? Republicans Outraged Over Biden Meat Policy…That Doesn’t Exist. Basically a satirical article in an English paper claimed that Biden’s Green New Deal would involve Americans massively cutting back on their beef consumption. And this wasn’t just passed on by people on the fringe; governors, politicians, and Fox News ran with it. No, Biden is not planning to nor has he proposed any changes in America’s dietary habits. Like Obama’s “death panels,” they are spreading outrage over something that isn’t real. Twilight Zone politics?

On the plus side, they are passing laws to protect people’s rights. The Right to Crash Cars Into People for example. Republicans are falling all over themselves passing laws that are essentially encouraging people to drive their cars into protestors. How is this helping? Isn’t driving a car into a crowd terrorism? Scary on the face of it, and scary because it certainly seems to imply to me that they see people practising their right to protest as somehow the enemy? As in the meme above states, make it make sense.

According to the good doctor Political Polarization is Exaggerated. I certainly can’t argue with him, most people are just people. And most people are pretty decent. I go by the 10-10 rule, I’ve also heard it as the 15-15 rule. Basically ten percent of people are really good people, the people that hid their Jewish neighbors during the holocaust good. Another ten percent are bad people, the people that helped round up and murder their Jewish neighbors. And 80% of people will pretty much go whichever way the wind blows. With good leaders they will be good people. With bad leaders, well, they will go along with bad things.

And right freaking now, the GOP’s leaders are scaring me. So I’ll keep blogging about them. The Biden administration is boring. “Watch me move the Dems even more to the right while pretending to be a progressive!” Who could possibly have predicted Obama’s VP would take the Dems to the right? Yes, that was indeed a rhetorical question.

Winter might finally be over in Iowa. Fingers crossed. In 1947 they got ten inches of snow in late May. In the late 1800s two Iowa counties got a hailstorm so bad drifts were six feet deep. All the birds and rabbits etc were killed. Sheesh. Well, as global warming continues (it’s no more a hoax than Covid is a hoax) we will get to see more extreme weather events. It’s not hopeless, but it’s now or never. As the article points out, the trope that green power will ruin the economy is what the old folks called a lie. Doing nothing about global warming willdevastate the economy, but hey, the most profitable industry the world has ever known will continue to profit! Well, it’s a tossup as to whether fossil fuels or war profiteering is the most profitable industry ever, but neither of them are helping.

And boy, dating sites in the US are really weird now. I’ve been investigating. A huge number of, well, sex workers. Cute young woman posting T&A shots with suggestive profiles. Whatevs. A lot of foreign women posting, I’m guessing they are looking for a ticket to America? (And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.) Then there’s the ones who are pretending to be Americans, but obviously aren’t. Obviously they aren’t because there’s mistakes in their profile, and more on point, their English is fractured. Fractured as in “No one whose first language was English would ever construct that sentence.” And they seem to really want to get cell numbers and emails. Neither has any beyond minuscule value, so I’m puzzled about what that’s about.

Have a great week everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

April 26, 2021 at 8:25 pm

BOOM!

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

March 21, 2021 at 7:51 pm

Posted in 2021, Iowa, Personal, Philosophy

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

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

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Just a quick post today. Now that we’ve made it safely (so far) out of Trump’s tenure in the White House, I’m going to stop blogging daily. It’s just too much to keep up with, I need my weekends. I’m switching to a five days a week format, and likely with a bit more organization. One day will be science news updates, one day will be a history post, things like that. Possibly a space exploration day. That leaves two days a week to cover current events. As always, I’m open to suggestions. I’ve also come up with a neat way for people to make one time donations to keep me fed so I can continue to blog. I will be announcing that tomorrow. I am very grateful for whatever support I get, just this week a long time reader is sending me a pair of nice gloves, woohoo! Thank you Lars!

And just for fun, the above is a mystery pic. It’s actually a double mystery, a mystery inside a mystery as it were. What is it, that’s fairly easy. And what the hell are the stripes? That one even scientists can’t explain yet. So many things science can’t explain, but that’s a feature, not a bug. Whenever someone said “damned if I know,” well, means one is dealing with an honest person.

In Iowa, oh my, negative temps in fahrenheit and celsius. The polar vortex is here, so much for our mild winter. Nowhere near the magic -40 though, even with wind chill counted in. Magic as in 40 below is the same in both fahrenheit and celsius. Diesel fuel starts to freeze at 40 below. And it’s really easy to get hypothermia and die at forty below, I know this from personal experience. Well, not the dying part, I managed to save myself, but boy was I stupid. How I ever survived my foolish youth is one of the mysteries of my life.

Oh, yeah, there was some sort of big sportsball game today. I heard the commercials were awful. I didn’t watch it because I knew what the score was before the game started. Zero to zero. Hey, cracked me up when I was eleven. Stay safe and particularly warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: I will reveal tomorrow, but it is reproduced here legally.)

Written by unitedcats

February 7, 2021 at 7:42 pm

Posted in Iowa, Personal, Science

COVID-19 KILLED MORE PEOPLE YESTERDAY THAN DIED ON 9/11, D-DAY, OR AT PEARL HARBOR

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Yesterday more Americans died of Covid-19 than died on 9/11, D-Day, or at Pearl Harbor. And it’s just going to keep getting worse for months. It’s a fucking nightmare, I sometimes want to go scream in the streets. Because THIS DIDN’T NEED TO HAPPEN. If Trump, Rush, and the like had done what pretty much every other leader on the planet did in March: Shut the country down, national mask mandate, national test/trace/quarantine program … hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS HAVE DIED NEEDLESSLY.

This isn’t politics, there are no partisan issues here, no one’s rights or freedoms were threatened, it’s a PANDEMIC. A brand new highly contagious disease is sweeping the world, one that really early on we knew wasn’t no goddamn flu. Reality changed, and Trump and his ilk have so retreated into a world where everything is partisan politics, most of them still can’t see that Covid-19 is real. In my state, our governor, Covid Kimmy, did almost nothing. The bill is coming due: Iowa Is What Happens When Government Does Nothing.

Americans spent TRILLIONS of dollars after 9/11, and wildly expanded the government to prevent a repeat, we literally changed our very lives. And now something a hundred times worse is happening, and Trump and most of the GOP leadership are MIA when it comes to fighting it. WHY AREN’T PEOPLE SCREAMING FOR ACTION? Biden is at least promising to take action when he gets into the Oval Office.

Which office Trump has yet to admit won’t be his much longer. His legal options at overturning the 2020 election, slim to none at best, have all failed. Now his followers are calling for suspending the Constitution, citing Lincoln’s admittedly regrettable seizure of unconstitutional power after the South seceded: Trump backers, including Flynn, edge toward a call to ‘suspend’ Constitution to head off Biden taking office. Sigh. It’s kinda scary, they are claiming some worldwide leftist communist conspiracy cheated on Biden’s behalf, and in reality Trump was reelected. This is, um, nonsense? And Lincoln did what he did because the South seceded, not because he lost an election.

So the next few months are going to be horrible. One out of every 1000 Americans is already dead of Covid-19, it’s easily the third or fourth mass death event in US history, AND THE WORST IS YET TO COME! The American end times are here gentle reader, Covid-19 has us surrounded at Stalingrad, and our leaders still don’t see we’re at war. We’re being slaughtered.

We’ll see what happens the next few months. What a mess. What do you get in the greatest Empire the world has ever known, when you cross an out of control pandemic with a delusional lame duck president? Stay tuned. Stay safe and sane everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

Written by unitedcats

December 3, 2020 at 8:35 pm

2020 ELECTION TRUTHERS

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I spent some time today in an online forum where there’s still left/right political discussion. It was fascinating, enlightening, and horrifying. People convinced the election was stolen from Trump were in major evidence. What truly struck home was their parallels to 9//11 Truthers. Does the gentle reader remember them? The people who claim the Twin Towers were brought down by controlled demolition? They’re still around, but in the aughts, boy, endless presence. And there was no way to sway their belief, it’s when I realized how powerful conspiracy ideation really is. And how self reinforcing it is, some of the people I saw today were intelligent educated people.

Motivated reasoning and cherry picking on steroids. They start with a conclusion: The Towers couldn’t have been knocked down by airliners/Trump couldn’t have lost the election. And then they search for ‘evidence’ that supports their conclusion. And in both cases there was a vast trove of material to sift through to cherry pick that which ‘supports’ their theory. Even more so in Trump’s case where his dozens of lawsuits and other efforts to prove a massive fraud occurred have generated vast amounts of, well, nothing that actually counts as evidence in a court of law. It doesn’t matter how many excitable people saw something they didn’t understand, actual evidence is needed to prove fraud. This kind of ‘logic’ will find ‘evidence’ that supports any theory.

There won’t be any real evidence found of course, because the initial “The election was stolen!” premise fails any number of questions. First of all, is there anything funny about the election? Why yes, yes there was. Trump did better than most pollsters predicted he would. That’s a failure of polling, which happened last election as well. The majority of Americans are slightly left of center, that’s why Obama got elected twice and a whole lot of other things like weekends and sick leave for God’s sake. There was nothing surprising about Trump losing the election, I voted for the first time in decades, so I know millions of others followed suit. Not because we hate Trump, hell, I never met the man, but because he’s been a divisive and incompetant president.

And the premise falls apart on other lines of inquiry too. Who masterminded this plot? Trump is claiming there was some sort of coordinated super secret plot to change key votes in numerous states? And why, Trump was losing in the polls? None of it matters though. Unlike a 9/11 Truther, I can imagine evidence that would change my mind. I watch a wide array of web sites, if actual Watergate quality evidence of some great Hillary coordinated plot to steal the election for Biden comes out, it would get out there.

So I think Election Trutherism is here to stay. I think the related sciences, sociology and psychology come to mind, are having a field day. Huge numbers of people are going to continue to think that Biden stole the election the rest of their lives. A grand case of mass conspiracy ideation. How it is going to play out in the real world, damned if I know. The 9/11 Truthers faded into the background eventually. Here’s hoping.

Gonna be awhile before this all plays out. Covid-19 is continuing to rampage. At this rate over half a million dead is pretty much a certainty. If key people die, who knows. Trump’s attempts to change reality by magic have been thwarted so far by reality, turns out The Castle is not so easy to storm. Still, Trump has created a movement who will be claiming he won the election until they die. That’s something, isn’t it?

November is almost over and December is upon us. A green Thanksgiving here in Northern Iowa. We had some snow in October but long gone now, the lake so low a beach one can only walk on once a decade or so has been revealed. I’ll try to get a good pic, a ghost beach? I wonder if there is an actual word that means intermittent beach? Drought beach? Some native languages must have one for sure. Cold and windy, but no snow. Green Christmases are not unknown here. Oh, the town is holding a town wide Christmas light contest. I turned off my bedroom light last night, and thought a 747 was about to hit the house. I guess my neighbor has decided to participate.

Stay safe and sane everyone, have a great week. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Twin Towers during the crime. I found it on Wikipedia so claiming it as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

November 29, 2020 at 8:48 pm

NOT BORED YET

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OK, looking like Trump’s coup attempt, or whatever one wants to call his attempt to deny he lost the election and go on to a second term … is pretty much over. Looking like we’ve hit the Watergate phase here. Trump will be shuffled off the stage like Nixon, pardoning people left and right. Ho hum. Or ho hum to me, I’ve certainly had enough of the man. Unless there is some new great perfidy, I’m gonna start phasing out my Trump coverage. The Trump era is fading.

A shame really. He had half the country in his thrall. And then with the arrival of Covid-19, he was handed an opportunity few leaders ever face. A horrifying attack on America, an attack all Americans would rise to resist. The likes of Pearl Harbor or 9/11. That’s what Covid-19 was, an enemy that wanted to kill millions of Americans. An attack that was utterly apolitical, it transcended politics. If Trump in March had donned a mask and led a science based response to Covid-19, the GOP and his base would have followed. And far far fewer Americans would be dead, and Trump would have been triumphantly reelected.

Yeah, didn’t happen. This goes into it: The Rise (and Fall?) of Trump’s Viral Death Cult. Oh well, we’ll see what happens next. The Covid-19 death toll will hit at least 500,000 before it’s under control late next year. If all goes well. Biden will try to reestablish the pre-Trump international order. He may or may not succeed. Covid-19 and Trump have changed everything. That was Trump’s, and by extension his followers, great failing. They didn’t understand that Covid-19 was real, not some libtard plot. In the weird alternate universe the GOP has been building since the McCarthy era, everything by the opposition is some subversive commie plot to destroy America.

Great strategy politically, always ends badly when it collides with reality. And here we are, the economy trashed, the pandemic out of control, the rich looting like there’s no tomorrow. We’ll see how it falls out, but still going with “This isn’t going to end well.” I suppose that applies to everything if one steps back far enough.

So this was the first day in months where I felt physically OK and not more than usual worried about imminent death. IE gee, I can get myself a “I beat cancer” T-shirt. Yeah, no. Looking like a mild winter here in Northern Iowa. Hoping it extends to other realms. My dreams have been freaking intense lately, like a second life. Stay safe and sane everyone. Comments, questions, suggestions, etc. appreciated.#StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Nixon’s farewell address to the White House staff. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

November 25, 2020 at 8:37 pm

THE TRUMP TRAIN WRECK CONTINUES, RUSH LIMBAUGH IS DYING, AND A 22ND CENTURY GLOBAL CATASTROPHE IS AVERTED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

October 20, 2020 at 6:31 pm

TRUMP, BABYLON BEE, SATIRE, AND OTHER ONGOING 2020 CRAZINESS

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In the “Well, this is new from a POTUS” file:   Trump retweets satirical news story about Joe Biden and Twitter. Apparently not realizing it was satire.  On the one hand, whatevs, most people have fallen for a satirical article once or twice. Sometimes major publications fall for a story. And Babylon Bee is a right wing site more or less. Still, embarrassing. Sorry confused future readers and foreigners, our president Trump sometimes has the self control and wisdom of a spoilt 13 year old.

So this, this article got me thinking: Covid: One-way ‘travel bubble’ opens between Australia and NZ. Nice, some air travel is opening up again. I have a few friends that have made flights. Still, the point to be made, the world’s airline needs are a fraction of what they were pre-covid, and there’s little chance that will change for years. It’s actually a good thing, the world’s airline industry was artificially bloated and subsidized. IE the world’s airline industry shrinking  is bad in the short term, people will lose jobs; but it’s great in the long term.

Gonna be a lot of stuff like that coming up. A friend sent me a magazine: ‘New York,’ November 2019. The last month of the pre-Covid era. Its title: “The Weirdness is Coming.” I’ll let the gentle reader track the magazine down if so inclined, not online that I could find. It’s futurism, IE a whole collection of ideas about what changes are going to happen over the coming decades. Interesting stuff, there’s a lot of wild technologies coming on line. And humans speculating about such is a new thing. Times do change.

Possibly the most interesting thing about the magazine, maybe one out of four items in it … oops, no longer applies. And no longer applies, or has been superseded … because of Covid-19. Something I’m still trying to grok, living in a sheltered corner of rural Iowa myself. It’s especially weird in addition because I live in America, where the ruling party has decided to just more or less ignore Covid-19, and huge numbers of citizens are pretending it will all go away soon. Oh dear.

Times do change. Was in the park today looking at the kid play area. Plastic fantastic like nothing I had as a kid. We had swings, teeter totters, monkey bars. Often with little or no ground padding. I remember monkey bars on asphalt. See image above. Broken bones were not unusual in my childhood, though I never suffered any. All the kids were free range too. A block or so by second grade, a few blocks by third grade, a mile or more by sixth grade. Rode off on one’s bike and explored the world nearby. I could write a book about what I remember.

Truth be told one could easily spend more time writing about an experience than the experience took. Another example of the Universe being infinite no matter what direction one looks. Sorry for the short blog tonight, have a great weekend everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Kids on monkey bars in the 1960s. Found it on a public image site, claimed as Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 16, 2020 at 8:08 pm

TRUMP TELLS WHITE HOUSE CROWD THAT CORONAVIRUS IS ‘DISAPPEARING’ AMID SHARP INCREASE IN CASES

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Yes, yes he did. From march until today that’s been Trump’s response to Covid-19 … it’s no big deal and it’s going to magically go away soon. Guessing that every day fewer people believe him as they see their friends and relatives sicken and die while Trump does nothing except make empty promises. Here’s one man’s horror story as he found out just how full of sh*t Trump’s claims are: He called it a ‘scamdemic.’ Then his family fell ill, one by one. Please dear reader, do everything you can to avoid this plague, the lives you save may be your loved ones.

In more grim Covid-19 news: Covid-19 virus ‘survives on some surfaces for 28 days’ Granted this isn’t as scary as it may seem at first pass, it’s looking pretty solid that airborne transmission is the main vector. As it’s been pointed out, if one gets Covid-19 one has usually been in a bar, restaurant, or church in the prior two weeks. Or been in close contact with someone who has. Still, another reminder that when it comes to avoiding Covid-19, an excess of caution is the watchword. I need to put a new bottle of alcohol in my car.

In the “Dr Faucis’s days are numbered” file: US Election 2020: Anthony Fauci says Trump campaign ad quote misleading. Basically the Trump campaign edited a quote by Doctor Fauci to make it appear he was saying Trump did “everything he could” to fight Covid-19. Doctor Fauci said nothing of the kind. In other words, while ignoring Doctor Fauci’s recommendations, they lie and claim he supported Trump. A lie inside a lie. This is how Trump has fought Covid-19, by lying. No national shut down, no monitoring the borders for Covid-19, no national test/trace/quarantine program. No nothing, except giving a giant pile of money to the pharmaceutical industry to develop a vaccine. And even if they do, which is by no means certain, a vaccine is only a part of a strategy to fight an infectious disease. By itself it certainly won’t get in under control. Millions of Americans still refuse to wear masks or take other precautions, safe bet they will refuse a vaccine as well.

If the Vietnam War was going on, I’d be blogging about it every day. Covid-19 has already killed about four times as many Americans as our misbegotten war in Vietnam, so yeah, I’m going to keep blogging about it. As so many feared, a second wave is starting up in Europe, though granted it’s nothing like the ongoing carnage in the USA. It means Covid-19 is going to be with us for a while yet. Hell, it’s going to be with us forever most likely, I can’t see it going away any time soon. No matter how much Trump thinks he can bend reality to his will by saying Covid-19 is going to magically disappear.

And people really aren’t ready for the economic fallout that’s coming either, especially in the USA. Huge numbers of small businesses aren’t coming back any time soon. Whole classes of employment have been wiped out, like house cleaners.  In countless ways the cost of Covid-19 is going to be staggering. We’re talking trillions and trillions of dollars in the US alone. It’s hard to imagine how that’s going to play out, but in a country where the sole mission of government is to facilitate the upward transfer of wealth, it’s not going to be pretty.

In non Covid-19 news, I took a mini road trip today. Of the dozens of pictures I took, I think two were passable. I’m gonna share them now, because, well, tomorrow will likely bring a dozen new blog post topics. 2020, the gift that keeps giving.

I have high standards, these are both mediocre photographs. Slideshow OK though. Enjoy! Photography is an art, like writing. Taking these images is an example of white privilege though. I’ll try to explain that in a future blog.

Short post today, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m good. Hope everyone had a safe and sane weekend. Comments, shares, likes appreciated.  #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Top image: Facebook grab, attribution in the image, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. Second and third image: Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

October 11, 2020 at 8:49 pm

Posted in 2020, Covid-19, Iowa, Science, Trump