Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

IOWA’S CAUCUS TO NOWHERE

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OMG. Well, glad I went to bed at ten. Never dreamt the “technical issues” would still be delayed as of this AM. My take now: It’s over, the DNC is determined that stopping progressives is more important than winning back the White House. Four more years of Trump coming, or maybe a corporate shill like Biden. Sigh. I hope I’m wrong.

That was my first impression (unedited) when I woke up this morning and saw that the Iowa Caucus results were still unavailable. I caucused, for one of those rare times in life I was in the midst of an historical event. An event that’s still going on. So I’m going to write about it as it unfolds.

My local caucus seemed badly run to me, but I’m sure nothing out of the unexpected. It’s the only Iowa caucus I’ve ever been to, so no standard of comparison. They were using a “new system,” something we had been warned about as the date approached. We as in local campaigners and volunteers trying to get out the vote for our candidate. We went, we caucused, we came home. We turned on the TV. I went to bed or so leaving a room full of Bernie volunteers (who were edgily confident of victory before the caucus) to talk among themselves and watch talking heads on TV trying to say something non insipid (increasingly failing) as they awaited the official results.

I went to bed because I’m not much of a party guy. I’m not going to have anything to say in a room full of excited Bernie supporters watching the caucus fail to unfold. I would have excused myself from a Superbowl party for the same reason. I did occasionally hear people talking all night long, and wondered what was still happening. And here I am, 520am Central Time. Still waiting.

Second impression: I think this means one of two things. Hopeless incompetence on the part of the DNC, because this looks really bad. The GOP base must be going nuts with glee and finger pointing about the silly stupid liberals. Or worse, this was a designed strategy to spike the progressive surge in the Democrat base, the people who want the DNC to go back to representing workers, unions, and regular Americans.

I haven’t read anything past the BBC headline linked above. My thinking will evolve while events unfold today, I’m going to wade into the sh*tstorm that must be going on in social media. Like jumping into a shark cage during a feeding frenzy, it’s for science! And informing my readers. So this is a “live” post. Have a great day everyone, don’t let the crazy get you down, I’ll be back, I will update later today.

8:11 AM Tuesday 4 Feb Update

It’s like being a passenger on the Titanic. Well, maybe not that extreme. Like the Romans watching when Emperor Commodus decided he was a God he fought in the colosseum. Well, not quite. It’s like anyone in history who looked around and said, sheesh, this is really happening, isn’t one? The first big lesson, reality bats last. Another historical event no one saw coming. People that claim to predict the future are full of it. People who claimed to have predicted the future just got lucky. Yet one or two good hits and one can make a career out of “predicting” the future, be it as a medium, a pollster, or what have you. People are just that eager to believe the future can be reliably predicted.

Still no results. Various campaigns are releasing their own numbers. The right is chortling about Democrat incompetence. Democrats are all over the place, though certainly seeing plenty of people convinced this is deliberate for some as yet anti-progressive purpose. IE Biden got clobbered, and the DNC is desperate to cover that up. I dunno, could just be a combination of things, incompetence figuring in there somewhere. It could be the beginning of the end for the Dems 2020 hopes, it could blow over in a few days. Then there’s this, 600-Pound Butter Cow Sculpture Wins Caucus. From 2012, but still relevant.

Part of this stems from the fact that the Dems platform since Reagan has been “We’re Not the GOP!” A pretty hard place to generate excitement from. This all does reinforce my thinking that the election campaign has as much relevance to the average American as the Superbowl. It doesn’t really matter who wins so long as everyone attends the game. On the other hand, Trump has really hurt some friends of mine in very real ways like denial of medical care. That’s new in my experience, the first administration in my life actively hostile to large numbers of Americans because of who they are.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Meena. Founder of RAWA, the Revolutionary Alliance of the Women of Afghanistan. I was planning on writing about her today, a lot to unpack there. The gentle reader never heard of her? That’s one of the many things to unpack. God rest her soul, I support her cause and goals.

Maybe more on Meena and RAWA later. Back to caucus hell.

10AM, Tuesday 4 Feb Update

Well, it’s over. Trump wins. We’ve gone beyond clusterf*ck now, they could have tallied up the results on their fingers by now. What a gift for Trump on the day of the SOTU (State of the Union Address.) I imagine some bizarre alternate reality now where the caucus results won’t be announced until the eve of the election. I joked with friends about Trump cancelling the election and we could all relax and go home. Never dreamt the DNC would be the one handing the election to Trump on a silver platter. Also remember a lot of people wondering why the Iowa caucus was such a big deal. The same reason getting out of the starting gate in a race is a big deal. Gonna be an interesting campaign if this is any indication, the way watching a train wreck in slow motion is interesting. Jesus wept.

11:30AM Tuesday Feb 4

Three more points as we wait, still, for the caucus results to be announced. I remember friends positing that the raft of Democratic candidates (There were three in the 2016 caucus, and only two counted) was a deliberate attempt to siphon votes away from Bernie so that Biden, the anointed establishment candidate, would quickly emerge as the front runner. Seems far-fetched, but secret deals in smoke filled rooms have always been a hallmark of American politics. If not all politics. If that’s the case, boy, it blew up in their faces spectacularly. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that Biden’s performance was anything less than disappointing. I don’t think the DNC really understands how much the average American wants real change, not just more empty promises. And Biden is about an empty a promise as it gets, especially since his promises come down to “I won’t rock the boat!” Dudes, the boat needs rocking, that’s why Trump won in 2016.

Also reminded of times I pointed out that Clinton’s loss to Trump pretty much showed she couldn’t run an effective campaign. Loyalists insist it was anything from sunspots to invisible Russian trolls. Well, the DNC just demonstrated they can’t even run an effective state caucus! And this is the party that’s going to beat Trump? Not off to a good start.

Lastly, I feel so bad for all the staff and volunteers in every candidate’s campaign. They put in huge amounts of effort and enthusiasm into their chosen candidate. And as the hours drag by, it more and more seems like it was all one giant waste of effort. Even when the results are announced, I seriously doubt it’s going to be too little too late. One or two candidates needed to make a strong showing so others would start dropping out and the leaders could start to pick up momentum. Instead we have this:

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This is not going to end well. Sigh.

Last update, Tuesday night, 4 Feb 2020

They started to release results. Buttigeig leads, Sanders in second, Biden in a distant fourth. All kind of irrelevant, the damage is done. Now off to watch The State of the Union Address. Taking one for the team so to speak. I’ll blog on that tomorrow.

Comments and shares appreciated!

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Public domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 4, 2020 at 4:37 am

WHY I’M VOTING FOR BERNIE SANDERS*

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*This post will likely piss off everyone. It’s what I do. What can I say, it’s a gift. Note, first off I didn’t say I was a Bernie Sanders supporter, and when I say vote, I mean caucus for. That’s right, I live in Iowa, where my primary vote actually means something. Muhahaha! Sorry, got carried away; it’s all the cornfields, they get into one’s dreams. So I will caucus for Bernie. I’m not quite sure what caucusing is, but afterwards I will blog about it. Who I will vote for in the general election, it depends on who’s running I suppose.

So yes, why? Why is someone who mutilated ballots in old elections and whose last act of political activism was protesting against Jane Fonda in the seventies, why am I now doing stuff for Bernie Sanders? Because Bernie Sanders is talking about the real issues destroying America. Wealth inequality, climate change. And our insanely aggressive imperialistic foreign policy.  And health care for all is a no brainer, literally everyone wins. All of which I am happy to defend logically. And he’s consistent, unlike faux progressives like the Clintons or Obama, Sander’s life history is actually progressive. Plus a lot of my dear friends are enthusiastic Bernie supporters, that has to count for something, right?

That being said, essentially I see my Bernie support as a version of “voting for the lesser evil.” I’m a cynical old SOB, Clinton and Obama both made all sorts of progressive promises, then delivered to the Pentagon and the bankers. I’d like to believe Bernie is different, and I do in the sense I’m happy to caucus for him and provide logistical support for his local campaign efforts. In the sense that I’m a Bernie fan, nope, I suspect he’s as much a part of the system as any other career Washington politician. He just comes from a local political background where being progressive is harmless. And just to recap, yes, I am a cynical old SOB.

I also think the American governing system is so controlled by special interests, oligarchs, what have you; that even if Sanders gets elected, he will be effectively paralyzed by a largely uncooperative congress. And then the GOP will make hay claiming it’s now proved that progressive policies don’t work. Depressing, the Trump junior as president alternate reality. I mean, the Bushs managed a presidential dynasty, why not the Trumps? On the other hand, I can imagine a world where  Sanders is sincere, manages to get a few policies up and running, and the results speak for themselves. A man can dream, right? On the gripping hand, I can  imagine a world where Sanders gets wellstoned.

A few other observations. The campaign in general is just another example of how stinking wasteful America is. Staggering amounts of time and money are being poured into a “campaign” that is essentially non stop now. Such a waste of time, energy, and money. Granted, waste is a part and parcel of modern America, but it seems to be much worse now than back in my day. And widespread waste in a society where so many are wanting seems to be a symptom of, well, something bad.

The other observation is just how far the political reality gap is these days. I saw a FOX news snippet where the newscaster called Sanders and Warren “two commies.” No people, Sanders and Warren aren’t communists. America does have a communist party, but its heyday was before World War Two, it has maybe 10,000 members now. Sanders and Warren aren’t socialists either. Again, there is an actual American socialist party, but they too are a shadow of what they once were. We essentially have one political party with two factions, but they play this game where the other party “is going to destroy America.” No, neither the Dem base nor the GOP base want to “destroy America.” Get a hold of yourselves people.

Oh, yeah, go Bernie!

And lastly, my life lately has been a perfect storm of intersecting global and personal issues, which has interfered with writing. On the plus side, the older I get, the easier it is to deal with crap.

Have a great weekend everyone. Remember, any day you wake up in the morning is a good day.

Comments welcome.

(Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. Image: Bernie Sanders with cat, photoshopped image. Credit: The whole story here, claiming Fair Use under US copyright law. Go cats, Go Bernie!)

Written by unitedcats

January 17, 2020 at 7:52 pm

SPACE FORCE, THE FINAL BOONDOGGLE

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I had an interesting experience this morning. A Jew and a strong atheist mansplained to me that I was not a Christian. It was a remarkable and sad experience. Remarkable, because I am a Christian, but since I don’t fit their definition of Christian, that magically makes me not a Christian. No different than someone telling me what my gender or sexual preferences are. Things that I would know. And they both consider themselves open minded people. When one insists that other people conform to their world view, that’s not open minded. A failing not limited to evangelicals and MRAs.

Also today, I had to lift a fifty pound sack and haul it around. It was surprisingly easy, I wasn’t sure why. It’s not like I have been lifting weights. I then realized, oh, right, I’m not running around with forty extra pounds strapped to my waist anymore. Somehow I think these two items are related somehow. Probably because I am still getting rid of stuff, and still trying to separate my social beliefs from my evidence based beliefs. It’s all tied together. At least for me a cluttered life is a cluttered mind.

Washington continues to career along. As the above illustration shows, papers which in almost any other country, especially parliamentary democracies, would bring down the government, are flying pretty much under the radar here. Many of us figured out long ago that Afghanistan was a mess and short of sending in hundreds of thousands of occupation troops, or nuking it into a parking lot, either of which have significant downsides and would likely create worse problems, nothing like victory was possible. A trillion dollars and frightening amounts of blood and the country is more of a mess than ever. Afghanistan too. In Washington though, no one is ever wrong, and no one is man enough to admit failure, so 18 years on our war of choice on the other side of the world drags on. Made and making a tiny handful of Americans even more obscenely rich, it’s not like that trillion dollars was invested in Afghanistan. Jesus wept.

Also in Washington, Congress funded another bloated Pentagon budget, including Trump’s “Space Force.” Since the Space Force is yet another  vehicle to transfer more taxpayer money upwards, I guess it’s appropriate. Sigh. I sigh a lot lately, when I’m not screaming in dismay. We already have too many branches of military service, adding another just increases the expense, internal politicking, and waste in the military. Not even mentioning the fantastic impetus to global arms race a space force will engendre. It’s pretty clear this is an ego and vanity driven idea too, since the military is against it for one. And under international law there are extreme limitations on military operations in space, so it’s not even clear what such a force would do. Details, details I guess.

To paraphrase, a trillion here and a trillion there, and pretty soon we’re talking about real money. Sigh. At the core that’s the second main reason why our post World War Two spending is insane. Our country’s rotten infrastructure, education, and health care is embarrassing for the so called greatest country on Earth. In those respects we were once the envy of the world. And this is all because trillions of dollars have been spent on a military bloated beyond reason and endless colonial wars. Well, and trillions in tax breaks for the rich and corporate America.

Lastly, I’m having health issues, so some posts are going to be delayed from time to time. Sometimes scheduled writing time turns into miserable suffering time. And since I’m not really from California, I don’t feel compelled to share any more on that topic. Don’t worry younger readers, you’re not missing out. If you get old you too will spend half your time listening to friends’ medical complaints. The other half suffering your own. Old age is its own worst enemy.

Have a great weekend everyone. Comments, questions, and as ever, shares appreciated.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Facebook meme. Credit: Unknown, used without permission. Will attribute or remove as needed  if so informed.)

Written by unitedcats

December 13, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Posted in afghanistan, Personal, Trump, War

WUT R WERDS

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In other words, the post I was working on isn’t finished yet, so I’m going to wing it this morning. There’s always something to write about, old or new. I’m watching an old movie for example, ‘Dances with Wolves.’ I tried to watch it when it came out, and couldn’t plod through it all. Not enough explosions for my younger self maybe? Halfway through now, and plodding definitely covers it. Plus somehow Kevin Kostner makes my skin crawl now, that’s a new experience. I will finish and report on by Monday. Two other famous (in their time at least) movies I couldn’t get through were ‘Gandhi’ and ‘Amadeus.’ I don’t believe I will be reattempting them, unless I lose a bet I suppose.

In India four men were accused of raping and murdering a woman. Made the news big time. Then the police took them to the scene of the crime for some reason, where they attempted to escape and were all shot and killed by the police. Rejoicing and celebration in the streets. That’s at least the gist of it from what I can tell. Well, they won’t be raping anyone else. Not sure really what to think of it all. Sort of sounds like an extrajudicial execution, I mean really, all four? I hope they were guilty, sort of, what an odd thing to hope for. Violence against women does appear to be a major problem in India, although it’s pretty much a problem everywhere. My only cogent thought on this is that I simply don’t know enough about India to have cogent thoughts about this. Other than rape is one of the ultimate evils, and it’s often treated far too lightly in the west. The story just got me, and a lot of people I suppose.

In other unfinished business I really tried to get through the Longmire books. I really liked the show. I liked the characters in the books too, but every book introduced a new cast of secondary characters. Worse, each book, at least the last two, used a narrative style where the damn book was half flashback. Two stories intermingled into one, sometimes each with its own cast of secondary characters. I finally gave up, I couldn’t keep  track of who was who when and where and what now. And wasn’t that a tortured turn of phrase, but it expresses how I feel. The dent in the wall where I threw the last book also expresses it.

An anti-vaxxer has been arrested for mass murder in Samoa. I wish. No, but he was arrested for ‘incitement against a government order.’ Samoa is in the midst of a measles epidemic that has killed 63 so far. Samoa has a population of about 200,000, about the size of Salt Lake City, so 63 deaths is a big deal. And anti-vaxxers spreading lies about vaccines are playing a huge negative role. This guy was telling people that vaccines are dangerous, and measles can be cured with vitamin C and papaya leaf extract. Right.

Worse, the anti-vaccine movement is getting more militant and effective in their global campaign to bring back deadly diseases humanity vanquished long ago.  Here’s the whole Samoa story in great detail, it’s freaking infuriating. I’m starting to wonder if the anti-vax movement is secretly run by extraterrestrials seeking to quietly depopulate the Earth. Probably a science fiction B film in there somewhere. More likely though it’s what most human failings can be attributed to. We’re not really an intelligent species.

And since its Friday, I’ll end on a positive note. A cute animated story about a little girl who writes a letter to Santa. Aw. But misspelled it ‘Satan.’ Uhoh. It goes downhill from there. Enjoy it here.

As always, remarks, queries, and, well, thesaurus.com couldn’t come up with a good synonym for shares. All still enjoyed and acknowledged. Enough lame thesaurus jokes.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A tweet. Credit: Tweeter or Tumblr thescalexwrites? Maybe this fellow? Used without permission, but since it’s floating around Facebook I hope I can be forgiven.)

Written by unitedcats

December 6, 2019 at 9:42 am

DEATH, LIARS, JEFFREY EPSTEIN, AND GOD IN SCHOOL

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After my old friend Connie died last week I was chatting with another friend about how many people we had known who died the past few years. It’s been grim for the both of us, the price of growing old. I joked that it’s not safe for people to become friends with me now, they are getting knocked off so regularly. So I am a little creeped out that a fellow I met just a few months ago was killed Friday night.In fact he’d just been by my house Friday morning to talk to my housemate. She still has a note in her pocket from him. She’s pretty upset, she knew him better than I. And he was good friends with the lady who lives across the street, so lots of sadz going around. I know it’s just a horrible coincidence, but still definitely creeped out by it. He managed to kill himself driving the wrong way on a highway, which adds a whole other layer of wrongness to the whole thing. He might have had a few, the police haven’t revealed anything yet. Still, if one saw the weird way the freeway is connected there, it could easily have just been a careless mistake driving at night.

So RIP Richard, I’m sorry I never had a chance to get to know you better. You were quite the character and had an active varied life till the end, you will be missed and mourned. My housemate Elle is out now trying to find a live tree to plant in your memory. And next lifetime dude, wear your damn seatbelt. 

Speaking of death, guess what, Jeffrey Epstein is still dead! The rise of the conspiracy theories about his death is … interesting. I know people who are 100% convinced Epstein was murdered, not debatable in their book. Somehow they make the leap from “suspicious circumstances” to “murder,” without the benefit of evidence. Sorry people, but where there’s smoke … sometimes it’s just smoke.

The aspect of this that I want to propound on is something a lot of people seem to not understand. In every field of human expertise, there are individuals with zero scruples. IE there are experts who will happily take money to promote any viewpoint. In this case a famous forensic pathologist Michael Baden came out publicly stating he thinks Epstein was murdered. The fact that he has a history of propounding controversial opinions and was paid by the Epstein family doesn’t seem to matter, Epstein truthers have seized on it as “proof” Epstein is murdered. No, it’s proof that some people will do anything for money.

Russiagate, 9/11, global warming denial etc. all have a handful of experts touting their line, just like the tobacco companies had no trouble finding doctors to claim tobacco was safe. So because an expert is parroting some conspiracy theory is proof of nothing. Other than the aforementioned proof that some people will lie through their teeth for money. Proof requires actual evidence, not “my expert opinion says this is so.” That people place so much stock in such people is evidence we need to teach critical thinking in schools.

Not that that is going to happen anytime soon in America. In fact just the opposite, a bill has been passed in Ohio, a law called “The Ohio Student Religious Liberty Act of 2019.” The title is deceptive (deliberately so obviously) as it has nothing to do with religious liberty. It’s about letting Christian instruction into public schools. The evangelicals have never given up since the SCOTUS ruled that schools have no business conducting religious services in public schools. Send the kids to private school or Sunday school if one wants them to get religious instruction. Worse, this law at first pass at least would force teachers to accept religious answers from students as the equivalent of the actual science.

Sigh. No, creationism and evolution are not equivalent, one is a religious myth and one is a solidly established scientific fact. Forcing teachers to accept them as equally valid isn’t religious liberty, it’s Christian tyranny. Even scarier now that SCOTUS has been packed with Christian apologists, this law might pass constitutional muster. And America will be that much closer to emulating the theocracies in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Jesus wept.

I got a new patron (Woohoo!) and the odds are against anyone else I know dropping dead soon, so I plan on a great week myself. Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Road, Sunset, Horizon. Credit: Beeki, Pixabay. Pixabay license. Free for commercial use, no attribution required.)

Written by unitedcats

November 18, 2019 at 5:40 am

RIP OLD FRIEND

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I received an email the other day informing me that an old friend had unexpectedly died. Her housecleaners found her, she lived alone and died alone. She loved her kids and grandkids though, so she was not alone in the world. Her son was the one who informed me, a kindness on his part. He’s a good man. Connie, was, well, a character. That’s a euphemism for “she could be difficult.” A trait I share, so our friendship was not without its ups and downs.

I knew her for over twenty years, she started out as a client, and I did work on and off for her through the years. She liked redecorating her house. Remodelling more accurately. It never ended, it was a process without a goal. A lot of eccentricity involved. Like the Winchester Mystery House on a smaller budget. She once had me cut holes in various exterior walls to look at the view, so she could decide where she wanted to move windows too. Most people rearrange furniture, Connie rearranged walls, windows, and everything in between. Some of the things she did would have horrified those with more refined or preservationist tendencies, but hey, it was her house.

She was generous to a fault. And a serial pet adopter. She’d adopt a pet, decide it didn’t suit her, and return it. She donated generously to the various adoption agencies though, so, all good. And when she did get a pet she liked, she loved it fiercely. She had bad luck though, her last three cats all died prematurely. I can’t even remember the name of her last cat, tragically hit by a car. He was a black cat, Midnight maybe? He was why I chose the image above, if there’s another side, he was waiting for her.

I was pretty upset to get the news of her death. I’ve lost so many friends and family in the last few years one might think I would be numb to another death. Nope, not even close, tears in my eyes as I type this. I went out to watch a sunset Connie would never see. A good way to say goodbye to an old friend. A lot of beer was involved, floating the dead to the hereafter on a sea of alcohol is a tradition in my family. Lots of feelz. Feelings are what lets us know we are still alive inside. And I’ve always thought as long as loved ones remember them, people never truly die. I’ll miss you Connie, I imagine you now telling God how to remodel heaven to your liking. Forever.

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Moving right along, yeah, I am pretty atheistic, I suspect there is no hereafter. Still, to paraphrase Mark Twain, I was dead a long time before I was born, and I don’t recall it ever bothered me any. I’ll find out someday. Dying is the one thing in life that everyone gets right sooner or later. No hurry though. I’m down thirty pounds now, my doctor says it will definitely improve my odds of reaching seventy. I still have a lot of blog posts in me.

Things are actually a bit slow on the writing front as the endless effort to monetize Doug’s Darkworld grinds slowly forward. I have obtained expert help, but it’s still a slog. Millions of damn readers and still not seeing a dime. Money isn’t why I write, but still, a little would go a long way. If I ever do manage to get ads working for me, I have big plans.

Until then, I plan to relax this weekend. I hope my readers do the same.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Tree, landscape, sunset, lake,sky. Credit: From Pixabay, free for commercial use, no attribution required.)

Written by unitedcats

November 15, 2019 at 4:34 am

Posted in Personal

US HOLDS IRANIANS HOSTAGE FOR 26 YEARS AND OTHER NEWS

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I had planned to write more about the Iran hostage crisis, but life got in the way. Life does that, it’s as if reality has volition of its own that transcends my carefully laid plans. Who knew? So I’ll just be quick, this link, and pointing out that the US installed and supported a brutal dictator in Iran from 1953 to 1979. So no surprise that the people of Iran deposed him. And since the coup that installed the Shah was plotted and conducted from the US embassy, not a surprise that militants occupied the embassy after Jimmy Carter foolishly let the Shah come to the US for medical treatments, fuelling rumours that the US planned to reinstall him by force. All of course unknown to most Americans, who have simply erased pre-revolution Iran from their minds.

Reminds me of an anecdote by one of the hostages. After nearly a year in captivity, one of the hostages snapped, and yelled long and hard at one of his guards about the injustice of holding him and his fellow hostages prisoners for nearly a year. The guard listened to it all, and when the hostage was done, the guard simply said: “America held our entire country hostage for 26 years.” The hostage had no reply to that, because, what could he say? Alas those 26 years don’t exist for most Americans, last time I checked the CIA’s official history of Iran … starts in 1979.

I came across a curious article about how science denial works. The short version is that science denial “works” because a lot of people engage in black and white thinking. In this type of thinking ideas (or scientific theories) are either 100% proved … or false. And since nothing in science is 100% proven, there is always something for people to latch onto to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I definitely recommend the article. The only thing I would add is that unfortunately now there are very powerful interests at work exploiting this tendency in human thinking to promote egregious nonsense like ‘intelligent design’ or ‘global warming denial.’ How to get through to such people? Beats me. Teaching critical thinking in schools would be a start, but the very same interests certainly aren’t going to stand for that.

Interestingly enough in this next article on the evolution of bipedalism, one can easily see how black and white thinkers could fool themselves into thinking that the incredibly complicated and as yet not fully understood evolution of humans is flawed. Especially if one was already wedded to the simplistic idea that Fod snapped his fingers and magically created the Universe out of nothing 7,000 odd years ago. No need for complex theories to explain the amazing complexity of life and evolution.

Not much in the news today. Or same ol same ol to be more accurate. So … science! A NASA engineer has come up with theoretical propellantless engine that could reach 99% of the speed of light. Wait, no propellent? Isn’t that basically a perpetual motion machine, thus violating the laws of the Universe? Pretty much, but his idea somehow takes advantage of a loophole in special relativity. My understanding of special relativity is weak, so I basically have no clue about how he claims his ‘helical engine’ concept works. Still, good to know people are thinking about how to get off this freaking rock.

Well, this was interesting. Turns out the Black Plague was killing people thousands of years before the first pandemic, the Plague of Justinian which devastated the Eastern Roman Empire in 541-542 AD. It killed as many as 50 million people in the two centuries that followed. And it all appears to have been the same strain, so why did the plague not cause pandemics prior to the first outbreak? Possibly it did, but so far there’s no historical or archeological evidence for such. So scientists are trying to figure it out. Crowded cities? New rats? Lack of exposure to horses? Wait, what, how is exposure to horses related to plague outbreaks? Apparently they may be naturally resistant to plague, though how that helped prevent pandemics is a little unclear to me. In any event, interesting speculations, read about it here.

Here’s a last fun science headline: ‘MIT’s ‘virtually indestructible’ Cheetah robots can now play soccer.’ Great, indestructible robot cheetahs. Black Mirror tried to warn us about this, but did we listen? Nope. Another sign of the coming apocalypse.

Stay warm everyone, our lake froze this morning. So much for Indian Summer. Hell, so much for fall.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A hunter-killer metal dog from Black Mirror’s episode Metalhead. Credit: Possibly Edemol Shine UK? Used without permission, but since I am plugging their show, hopefully I can be forgiven.)

Written by unitedcats

November 13, 2019 at 6:04 am

Posted in History, Iran, Personal, Science