Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

TEN WAYS WE’RE EFFED

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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

UFOS, AZ AUDIT, NECROPHILIA, AND VULTURES

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What can I say, I try to cover all the bases on Doug’s Darkworld. UFOs first and again. Came across this: How Washington Got Hooked on Flying Saucers. A nice overview of how a handful of UFO true believers got UFOs back into the news. Interesting for the sociology and politics involved. Fascinating to me how many people seem to think that the Pentagon’s putative interest in UFOs means something. The Pentagon is probably one of the most unreliable sources in American history, that people invoke its authority when it suits their narrative is pretty telling. The good doctor goes into the actual details of the current bloom of UFO nonthingburger: UFOs Are Back – And They Are Still Nothing. Nothing to see here folks. I’d love for aliens to be real, when I was 14 I thought Chariots of the Gods was amazing, proof aliens are real! I’m a long way from 14.

And true believers is definitely it. I’ve gotten into a few debates with UFO believers the past week; it’s like debating 9/11 Truthers, evolution deniers, or AZ audit proponents. It becomes painfully clear there is literally no argument that will sway them. All I need is evidence and reasonable argument to sway my beliefs. I’m not hearing that. Examples: But pilots see them! Um, pilots are magically immune to the cognitive and perceptual biases that make humans terrible observers of unexplained aerial phenomena? Like sasquatch, at this point the lack of a single clear UFO photo is more than a little troubling, it’s damning.

And AZ audit supporters. Their main argument at this point is “If there’s no problem, why be afraid of an audit?” That’s pretty much like saying: “If the police searched a home and found nothing, why would multiple repeat searches be a problem? What have they got to hide?” Um, because the searches are disruptive, destructive, and destroy one’s property value? The same with the AZ audit (and more are on the way,) the 2020 election is already the most audited election in US history, and so far nothing has been found that is evidence of widespread fraud. This “audit” is both destroying people’s faith in election integrity, and giving the GOP cover to pass ever more restrictive voter suppression laws. Scares me, should scare anyone who likes living in a constitutional republic.

Moving right along: Morgue worker arrested after giving birth to a dead man’s baby. National Enquirer? Weekly World News? The Onion? Nope, for realies. The reader of a squeamish nature might want to skip this paragraph. I did confirm it. Sperm cells live up to five days after being, um, released into the wild so to speak. So as long as he wasn’t too long dead and had ejaculated before his death, perfectly possible. There was another case where a fellow sued for divorce because his white wife had a mixed race baby. He lost, turned out she had been faithful, he had routinely had sex with prostitutes on his way home from work, and then had sex with his wife. And a little fella hitched a ride so to speak.

The things one learns on Doug’s Darkworld. Necrophilia is a fetish. A fetish is being sexually aroused by something other than primary and secondary sexual attributes of a potentional sex partner. IE liking their genitals, chest, hair, butt, etc … not a fetish. Turned on by feet (the most common,) hats, or dead people … yeah, fetish. Fetishes are incredibly common, more than half the population has a fetish. And the vast majority of them are perfectly healthy. It’s only when taken to extremes that pathology sets in. In the case of this woman for example, necrophilia is an open secret in the funeral industry, but she was clearly out of control.

And vultures were circling my house this afternoon! That’s a sign of good luck, right? And Googling, I was right! Vulture Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens). Yeah, no, in common western parlance, vultures are a sign of imminent death. Though often humorously. I checked, the cat and the housemate are still alive. I still seem to be kicking. I blog, therefore I exist? Joking aside, the vultures were wandering up and down the shore of the lake. It’s been freakishly windy even by Iowa standards for days. Maybe dead fish were blowing ashore? The trees are waving outside my window as I type. Hope it ends soon. Reminds me of this story: A Wind is Rising. One of the first science fiction stories I ever read. Sticks with me to this day. And just now noticed it was published in the year I was born. Good omen or bad?

Stay safe everyone, have a great week.  #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Vultures over my house. Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

May 24, 2021 at 8:16 pm

UFOS ARE THE ANGELS OF OUR TIMES

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UFOs have been in the news. This is just one version of recent events: Leaked video appears to show UFO plunging under water off California. The basic story is very simple, some military authorities say there’s something going on in these videos where humans can’t be doing. Tacit admission, shall we say, that UFOs may well be alien in origin. Sigh. For this to be true, IE alien UFOs, probes or what not are flying around in Earth’s atmosphere, requires layers of special pleading. IE all sorts of logical problems with the premise need to be explained away. Not a promising start in other words.

So let’s dive into this. OK, say military authorities decided that Sasquatch was real? Or Nessie? Or Leprechauns? Or Santa Claus? Would that make the idea that any of those was real more likely? No. Military authorities historically are often wrong, and often lie. The idea that the military is taking UFOs seriously, if that’s even what’s happening, is simply an argument from authority. It goes downhill from here. Here’s another layer of special pleading. There is zero evidence of alien intelligence in the Universe. SETI has tried all sorts of promising approaches, and found nothing. And there’s zero evidence on Earth of alien probes, no crashed ones have ever been found, no one has ever taken a good picture of one. Nada.

But, but, the military has all sorts of special sensors and stuff! These are infrared motion pictures for example, how  many of those are around? Well, quite a few I am sure. I digress. Any student of the history of military sensing technology knows it’s a long history of false alarms and mistaken identifications. There’s all sorts of ways birds, bugs, and all sorts of other stuff has been mistaken for something other than what it is. The flying rods nonsense is an example of people not understanding what new technology was recording. It’s not that hard to find experts pointing out there’s nothing unexplainable in these infrared videos. I mean, this story has been popping up repeatedly for years.

That doesn’t sell though. In the Internet Age, especially, for every site trying to promote sober analysis (like this one I hope,) there are dozens preaching to the choir. UFOs sell, and have for decades. Humans want to believe. The same way they want to believe in angels. Many still do believe in angels. It’s a comforting belief. And people believe that UFOs are real for the same comforting reasons. Wouldn’t it be nice if intelligence such as ours could not only exist far beyond our level, it could actually be benign toward us? Or least indifferent. The people who believe in Ancient Aliens certainly demonstrate the former.

Myself, I think the evidence indicates that aliens do exist, but in a far darker form than people imagine. A topic for another post. In other news, what a mess Washington is now, sheesh: The congressman from Hell is a symptom of our rotten political system. Good but depressing read. In personal news I socialized for the first time in a year yesterday. The cat got all the shrimp, the guests carried away the leftovers, and what they didn’t take my housemate ate in the morning. I’ve been missing this? Joking aside, good times. Hope all are having a good week. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Sunset on Mars. Credit: NASA. NASA pics are public domain so long as not used to imply endorsement. NASA does not endorse Doug’s Darkworld.)

Written by unitedcats

May 18, 2021 at 7:34 pm

SHARED IDIOCY, TRUMP, AND RELATED TOPICS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

May 9, 2021 at 7:05 pm

STRANGE GREEN ROCK FOUND ON MARS, OTHER SCIENCE NEWS, AND #DEARMOONCREW

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NASA scientists have found a six inch long green rock on Mars. (inset above.) As most of the rocks on Mars are, well, rather drab dusty red colored (above,) this is definitely unusual. Tests are underway to figure out what it is. Since Mars had all sorts of water once, there are any number of possible minerals formed in hot springs and such. A meteor origin is possible too, a number of meteorites have been spotted on Mars. That’s because Mars gets more meteors, more of them make it to the surface because of the thin atmosphere, and then they just sit there waiting to be found because erosion and such is a slow process on Mars. This made me wonder if “shooting stars” can be seen on Mars, I checked, and I’m happy to inform the gentle reader that Mars certainly has enough atmosphere to burn up incoming meteors and make shooting star displays visible from the surface of the planet.

While researching this particular rock I found out that the Chinese Yutu-2 Moon rover also discovered mysterious “gel like” green rocks on the Moon about a year ago. That mystery was solved though, the rocks were glass. IE rocks probably melted in a meteorite impact. Or maybe melted when they were testing Jewish space lasers. Sigh. Yes, Marjorie Taylor Green, the GOP’s “hold my beer” response to “Well, at least the GOP can’t elect anyone stupider than Sarah Palin;” actually blamed California wildfires on “space lasers.” Well, there’s one advantage to giving up science and reason, you can imagine whatever you want!

Sorry, slipped into politics for a moment there. Speaking of odd rocks found in far away places, I recall from my childhood that astronauts on the Moon announced they had found “green crystals” on the lunar surface. Turned out later they were joking. I was unable to confirm this on the Interweb though, so as it’s a fifty year old memory, I can’t vouch for it being accurate. Apollo 17 astronauts did indeed find unexpected orange soil on the Moon. Turns out it was volcanic in origin, created by an ancient fire fountain back when the Moon had active volcanoes. Interestingly enough scientists still can’t explain the origin of some of the unusual elements found in the soil samples after they were returned to Earth. That’s one of the wonders of science, if anything the things it can’t yet explain gets larger with every new discovery. No shortage of things for budding scientists to cut their teeth on.

Speaking of the Moon, I did apply for the #dearMoonCrew. This is a project to send eight passengers on board a spacecraft that will circle past the Moon in a few years. It was launched by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. I signed up mainly as a lark and for a bit of fun blog fodder. I waited until the last moment to actually fill out and send in my application. It was then I discovered I had made a horrible mistake. This is not a publicity stunt or such, the goal of the mission is actually incredibly cool.

Mr Maezawa is recruiting artists of all stripes (if one calls oneself an artist he’s good with it, and I sure as sheet think writing and blogging is an art,) who want to go to the Moon for inspiration, to inspire others, and to express themselves artistically. I mean, how cool is that? I could be the first blogger to circle the Moon! One better believe that would be the blogging opportunity of a lifetime. The mistake I made was not looking into it further, so my application was filled out at the last minute and wasn’t nearly as inspired and well written as it could have been. Oh well, missing opportunities is a long honored family tradition.

Still, I do want to go. They sent John Glenn up at 77 years old, so it’s not completely out of the picture. And I’ve been tagging #dearMoonCrew all over the place hoping my application at least gets passing attention. So gentle readers, if any of you are friends with Elon Musk (he’s supplying the spaceship) or the inestimable Mr Maezawa, please put in a good word for me!

Stay safe everyone, hope all are having a good week. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(NASA images the perseverance rover on the surface of Mars. NASA images are public domain so long as they aren’t used to indicate NASA endorses a product or service. No, NASA doesn’t endorse Doug’s Darkworld, although it would be cool if they did.)

Written by unitedcats

April 6, 2021 at 4:19 pm

TRIBES

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Caitlyn is often annoying, but sometimes she is very on point. The idea that the west gives a flaming hoot about oppressed Muslim minorities doesn’t pass the laugh test, but here the US is, leading the sanction charge against China. I could provide examples, but those that see the point don’t need them … and those that don’t will rationalize them away. People are loyal to the world view of their choice, and will reject out of hand any facts that contradict it by one means or another. Is this what Colonel Kurtz meant when he said “Everyone is loyal to the nightmare of their choice?” Maybe. I’m pretty sure it’s what “The map is not the territory” alludes to.

So I want to write endlessly about what is going on in the world, but how do I do so without a 12 volume preamble explaining that everything most people know about the world is mass marketed crap designed to make them support the status quo and the powers that be? When Marx said “Religion is the opiate of the masses,” he kinda meant it literally.  The Trump/GOP cult is the current major local manifestation of this, but the Dems are not really better off, just different.

By about 1900, 1950 at latest, it was easily possible to provide everyone on Earth with food, shelter, education, health care. Modern machinery could do the work of countless humans, a steam shovel or tractor could do the work of dozens or hundreds of men and horses. And factories, oh my. Everyone on Earth could have their basic needs met, with plenty left over for those that wanted more. So why aren’t we doing this?

And that dear readers is why I blog, trying to figure out why when humans live in Eden, they create societies based on systematic inequality. I think it comes down to tribal thinking. Most on the left have no problem recognizing that there are “religious” leaders whose only goal is exploiting religious people’s faith to get rich. What they don’t understand is that for every faux religious leader cashing in on the credibility of their believers, there is a faux ecologist, faux animal right’s activist, faux liberal politician, etc. doing the same thing.

Once one has decided one’s tribe is the “good guys” and other tribes are “bad guys,” all possibility of a worldview based on reason and science ends. It’s the logical fallacy that is destroying our future. I don’t know what the answer is, but I think reason and science hold the key if there is such.

And on the basis of all that, my blog format is going to change. 3-5 nights a week I’m just going to pull the most interesting links/events out of the day’s news and comment upon. I just don’t have what it takes to make dedicated posts now. And the world we live in is in huge flux, despite the voices of normalization running amok. The world we all knew did die at the end of 2019, the new world is still unfolding. Better yet, thick and thin blogs are easy and fun to write. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 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

March 27, 2021 at 8:30 pm

MR SAFETY, AR-15s, ETC

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I was heartened by a number of comments about my story about rushing to the neighbor’s house with a fire extinguisher and saving the day. I posted it all over the place, as is my wont. A number of people said something along the lines of “Wow, I just ordered a fire extinguisher.” So woohoo, I was a positive influence on people. I’ve been Mr Safety since I was a teenager, in that I realized that most of life is boring and safe, but life can go horribly wrong without warning … and one can have only minutes or less to mitigate one of those horrifying moments. That’s why I’ve taken a lot of first aid classes, lifesaving classes, etc. And I’ve learned all sorts of little tricks to mitigate or prevent disasters.

So I went to the library today. Library staff: “You’re the guy who stopped the fire!” I was, well, flabbergasted. Yes, the library is three blocks from my home and I’m a regular, but how did they know? I was too surprised to ask, especially since an excited patron started asking questions about what went down. I’m a local hero, though it really wasn’t a big deal. I’ve been told the local paper may call me, which is just so small town Midwest that it’s making my face hurt from smiling.

Mass shooting in Colorado. Both a lot … and not much … to say. Short version seems accurate. Colorado bans AR-15s, because their only civilian purpose is mass murder. NRA sues, ban is struck down, mentally unsound man buys one and commits mass murder. Gee, 90% of Americans think people who want guns like this should only be allowed to do so after a background check. The NRA begs to differ. “Gun sales trump sound social policy” in their world.

What’s to say? Sure, people have a right to own guns. No problem. There’s no such thing as an unfettered right, people shouldn’t be allowed to have tactical nuclear weapons or WMDs, but where’s the line to be drawn? I think civilians should be limited to double barrel shotguns, bolt action rifles, and revolvers. Perfectly adequate for home defense and hunting purposes; but makes it impossible to gun down dozens of people in public venues.

On the gripping hand, that Biden is leaping into action on this is an example of the Dems exploiting “culture wars” instead of actually trying to fix America’s problems. Medicare for all or making the minimum wage a living wage would save huge numbers of lives and make life better for tens of millions of Americans.  An AR-15 ban would save a few hundred lives a year. Guess which one Biden is embracing? And the sad truth is that even in this, he will likely fail. Our democracy is broken.

The wackiness continues in the right wing evangelical fringe-o-sphere: ‘Prophet’ Robin Bullock Says Biden’s Stairs Stumble Is a Sign His Presidency Is ‘Finished’. Joe Biden: The worst president – ever! Wnd.com. Trumpists Still Pushing Election Fraud Claims and Conspiracy Theories. All fairly predictable sadly, once they had decided Trump was sent by God, rational debate was pretty much no longer in the cards. Well, if Trump was sent by God, God has a sick sense of humor.

A town in Illinois became the first American city to offer reparations to blacks: Evanston, Illinois, becomes first US city to pay reparations to Black residents. No, not for slavery. The biggest way blacks were cheated of wealth was after World War Two when they were systematically prevented through fair means and foul from buying homes in the suburbs. White families got richer and richer after the war as their suburban homes increased in value, home blacks couldn’t by. So this is redressing a contemporary wrong, and only applies to blacks who lived in Evanston. Seems reasonable enough to me, though I’m sure many bigot’s heads are exploding in outrage over this.

Crazy busy day, I have my mojo back. Tomorrow, more science. The one thing that may save the human race, because politicians sure ain’t going to save us. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 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

March 25, 2021 at 6:01 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

“NOTHING WILL FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE”

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OK, I think I am at the root of my writer’s block. I’m sick about writing about politics. For a number of reasons. I was pretty obsessed with it in the run up to and after the election, writing daily for several months. Politics was never one of the big interests in my life, so on some levels it was a chore. The whole Trump phenomena, while fascinating in sociological, cultural, and historical perspectives, is nonetheless exhausting. Especially this last year where he so profoundly dropped the ball on Covid. Plus I’m stressed out in general from social isolation, and my father dying of Covid has still not fully been processed. Losing a family member to a natural disaster is bad enough, worse when one’s own government’s incompetence made the disaster far worse than it needed to be.

Enough about Trump. That felt good to type! No, the core of the reason I am sick at heart about politics now, is that in many ways things are worse under Biden. Let me get this off my chest and I’ll get back to historical puppy massacres and other non political topics. It’s worse, because now far more Americans are out of touch with reality. During Trump’s term, yes, his followers were blind to just what a terrible president he was. At least the majority of Americans understood Trump was a terrible president for more or less objective reasons. Now with Biden in charge, it’s much different. The Trump supporters all hate Biden, and for ridiculous reasons that for the most part have nothing to do with reality. And Biden supporters for  the most part don’t see that Biden is terrible for poor and working class Americans. Just like they are so fond of pointing out about GOP voters, the Dems voted for and are happy about a candidate who is utterly opposed to their interests. Try this article, it explains it better: “We really haven’t contemplated the idea that the U.S. will continue to go its own hyper-capitalist way, cementing its status as the gun-toting, feudal, corporate-governed freakshow of the West.

So we’ve got the Dems pretending to help the American people while they sell them out to the big corporations, the rich, and the Pentagon. And the GOP fighting a weird fantasy socialist Democratic plot, so engaged in culture wars and owning the libs they no longer even pretend to govern  … and their fans eat it up. Two great recent examples, laws passed or proposed by state GOP governments: Republican Lawmaker Proposes Death Penalty For Women Who Have Abortions In The State and Oklahoma House Passes Bill To Give Immunity To Drivers Who Hit Protesters. The thing to note about these laws, and so so many GOP laws, is they don’t actually try to solve any problems. Threatening women with the death penalty isn’t going to prevent abortions, it will just make them more expensive for rich people and more dangerous for poor people. And how the hell does encouraging people to drive into crowds of protestors solve anything?

So yes, back to history, science, war, and other fun topics.Maybe even some fiction, that would be fun. Lastly, I want to thank all those who expressed concern over my father’s illness and death. And concern over my bad reaction to the Covid vaccine. It only lasted a day, back to good health now and looking forward to April 15th when I will be able to cautiously emerge from social isolation. It’s been a rough year, anxiety is still definitely an issue, but hopefully things will look up from here. Stay safe everyone: #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution in image, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I mean, it’s simply a quote, it’s always legal to quote people within reason.)

Written by unitedcats

March 15, 2021 at 7:12 pm

Posted in 2021, Biden, Personal, Politics, Trump