Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘Science’ Category


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Yeah, $600. Tens of millions of people are unemployed and/or in horrific arrears on their rent, more than 8 million have slipped below the poverty line. There’s basically pain all over: Tracking the COVID-19 Recession’s Effects on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships. The first stimulus was based on the fantasy that everything would be fine by summer. This one’s based on the idea that if they just throw crumbs at the poor they’ll make it through the winter? I’m not actually sure what it’s based on, $600 isn’t much money for most people and while welcome, I can’t really see it helping all that much. Many local governments, school districts, etc. are also hurting, and there’s damn little in it for them. It’s basically symbolic in my read, this way Congress can claim they are doing their job.

Meanwhile, in the Batcave or wherever billionaires hang out these days, things are just jim dandy: NET WORTH OF U.S. BILLIONAIRES HAS SOARED BY $1 TRILLION—TO TOTAL OF $4 TRILLION—SINCE PANDEMIC BEGAN. That money wasn’t sent from Mars, it’s a pretty safe bet that the economy didn’t somehow magically generate an extra trillion dollars. Basically while tens of millions of Americans got poorer, about 600 people got 1.6 billion dollars each richer. Pretty much means the rich got richer at the expense of the poor. I love how so many on the right scream about “redistribution of wealth!” when taxing the rich is brought up, but when the rich have the entire economy designed to redistribute wealth upwards, why that’s OK.

So yeah, trickle down isn’t working, nor has it ever worked. When rich people get richer, they squirrel it away. When poor people get richer, they spend it. Pretty sure that consumer spending is what drives the economy, yet somehow half of Americans have been  sold on the welfare queen myth and the idea that there’s only so much money to go around so that raising wages would mean lost jobs. It’s actually pretty brilliant in a way, the rich must laugh all the way to the bank at the idea that tens of millions of Americans are convinced that the rich getting ever richer while poor and working class Americans struggle … builds character or some shit? I really don’t get it, but I don’t get my world view from the lamestream media. And what happens when 600 Americans have all the money? At this rate we’ll know soon enough I suppose.

Meanwhile Trump’s quixotic attempt to overturn the election results continues apace. The various legal challenges have all fallen through, many long term Trump allies are saying “Dude, it’s over, give it up.” Seeing Republicans turn on each other is grimly satisfying, for once it’s not the Democrats forming up the circular firing squad. Plenty are still urging Trump to declare Martial Law, invoke the Insurrection Act, etc. I guess the next plan is to try and overturn the election in Congress when it gets back into session in January. Not quite sure how that’s supposed to work, some complicated shit with the Electoral college and a couple of amendments to the Constitution. The details are in this article: Here’s how the rest of Trump’s desperate effort to stay in power will play out. Again, we’ll see. 2021 will be starting off with lots of fun as the Trump administration winds down, blows up, or something.

Anything is possible now that Trump really is the heart and soul of the GOP. I didn’t know this, but the GOP didn’t even have a party platform for the 2020 election. First time ever. It really was Trump just claiming he did a great job and should get four more without specifying anything. Oh well, interesting article: Opinion | Is Trump Really All That Holds the G.O.P. Together? And in late breaking news, even Trump thought $600 was too paltry for words, threatening to not sign the stimulus bill. Well, good for him, though a day late and a dollar short, pretty sure it passed with a very veto proof majority. He had a number of problems with the budget part of the bill apparently (the stimulus was only part of the spending bill just passed,)  though it should be pointed out he had four years to address these issues: Trump tells Congress to rework COVID-19 relief package for $2K stimulus checks, hints he won’t sign. Always something new with Trump.

And ending on a science news note: The world’s oldest story? Astronomers say global myths about ‘seven sisters’ stars may reach back 100,000 years. It’s certainly an interesting idea. The idea is that the Pleiades, the constellation known as “The Seven Sisters” worldwide in numerous cultures, used to have seven stars 100,000 years ago. Honestly, I think it’s a stretch. So much “ancient aboriginal knowledge” is highly suspect, IE cultural contamination has been going on for thousands of years. Don’t even get me started on the nonsense about the tribe in Africa “remembering” visits from aliens from Sirius.

Windy day today, I thought the neighbor’s tree was slapping against the roof. Went out to inspect, phew, no tree. Just shingles flapping and blowing away in the wind. 2020, one damn thing after another. Stay safe, sane, and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

December 22, 2020 at 8:45 pm


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Yes, yes he did: Trump promises ‘big things’ will overturn election just days before Electoral College meets. He didn’t say what they were, and frankly I’m not too worried. For those who haven’t been paying attention the past four years, empty promises are one of Trump’s mainstays. I don’t think there’s any real chance he could overturn the election, his efforts to do so have been farcical failures so far. He’s also expanded his claims, he’s now claiming that all sorts of elections were rigged, not just the election for POTUS. No evidence for this of course, but all based on his belief that Trump supporters are in the majority in America. No, no they aren’t. Most Americans are actually fairly tolerant and live and let live types, not MAGA evangelicals living in fear of libtards and mythical communists conspiracies.

Covid is ripping right along. 9 out of the top 10 world Covid hotspots are US states. Mind numbing, nu? This is a foreign article about how America turned into an ungovernable mess, makes some good points: Why Freedom Became Free-Dumb in America | by umair haque | Nov, 2020. Depressing as hell. Then this, basically claiming McConnell is going to do whatever he can to kneecap the Biden administration. Mitch McConnell’s dark pivot: Wreck the economy — and sabotage Biden’s presidency. We’ll see, unfortunately the election plotters somehow forgot to steal McConnel’s Senate seat. This also has an interesting take on the mess: Opinion | How the ‘stolen election’ myth will swallow the GOP.

Well, some science for a bit. The Japanese probe Hayabusa2 has returned a sample of an asteroid safely back to Earth.  The second time ever this has been done, the first Hayabusa mission brought back the first sample from a different asteroid. When I was a kid all the sci fi stories and movies were about sending astronauts everywhere. Nope, as dead as flying cars. Robots will explore the Universe, not people.

Speaking about our universe: Here’s what an astronomer who believes aliens may be out there thinks about UFOs. Not much, in fact he points out a really amazing thing about UFOs which I had never known. The vast majority of global UFO sightings … are in America. Frankly more proof that our whole freaking country has gone insane, but I digress. The article has some good learned speculation on aliens, the Fermi paradox, etc. Fun read for those so inclined.

Moving right along: An Astronomer Has Searched The Universe For a Potential Message From Its Creator. No, not a joke post. Can’t hurt I suppose, looking to see if there’s any messages from a creator somehow woven into the fabric of reality. Spoiler alert: He hasn’t found any yet. The big question I have about something like this is, if he finds something, does it mean the Universe was created by a creator? Couldn’t it also mean we are living in a simulated universe? Or that advanced aliens are screwing with him? I just don’t see what it would prove. On the plus side, he does find the old testament woven into the background of the Universe, fun blog posts.

Still no snow in northern Iowa. I am going to have to put metal plating on the new kitchen door to prevent the cat from destroying it. One of those sentences I thought I would never write. My fault though, if I’d known I was going to survive cancer surgery I would have slipped the cat sitter an extra $20 to arrange an “accident” while we were gone. Missed opportunities, the story of my life.

Stay safe and sane everyone, only three more weeks of 2020  to go. Looking forward to 2021 saying, “You thought 2020 was bad? Hold my beer!” #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #spaceexploration

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Near Earth Asteroid 162173 Ryugu, whence the samples returned from. Well under a mile wide, it has a surface area smaller than New York’s Central Park, only about 600 acres. A person walking on the surface would weigh less than a penny. In other words, one could commit slow suicide anywhere on 162173 Ryugu simply by jumping upwards vigorously and sailing away into space.)

Written by unitedcats

December 7, 2020 at 5:16 pm


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Good news for starters: Georgia governor rejects Trump’s call to ‘overrule’ elections officials with emergency powers. The Republican governor of Georgia has decided not to secede from the Union. IE he refused to override his state’s electoral win for Biden, since there is no evidence of the massive voter fraud Trump claims. Yet Trump and his followers sure as shit believe there is. One takeaway for me is to question what I believe, do I have similar blind spots in my reality testing? Point them out in the comments please.

Some say Trump is losing it: Trump’s Final Days of Rage and Denial. Or this, not paywalled:

Donald Trump ‘facing a rapid decline’ as he wallows in ‘rage and denial’ over election loss: report. IDK, he’s certainly in a unique position, the first president in American history to refuse to concede a presidential election. Rock meet hard place. Like 9/11 Truthers and Birthers, show me the evidence. None yet. Russiagate too. I’m an iconoclast, limiting my readers but at least I can live with myself. Here, long speculative read: Opinion | Why Do So Many Americans Think the Election Was Stolen?

Meanwhile, Covid’s second wave, the Northern Hemisphere’s winter cold and flu season, is exploding pretty much everywhere. The places pretending Covid was a hoax are getting slammed really bad: Opinion | Covid-19 Came for the Dakotas. I’m not sorry, Covid is real, not a communist plot. A 9/11 a day in American deaths now, who knows how many more with long term or permanent health issues. What a freaking mess. Stay strong people.

So some great science news. And science IS making great progress with Covid. That’s tomorrow though. Calling it a night. In northern Iowa, no snow yet. Def unusual. Another layer of oddness in the hell year of my life. Most of which I’ve dodged by being socially isolated since March. Cue hysterical laughter. Good thing I don’t own a chainsaw. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #CabinFever

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: PSA. Trust your doctors people. Used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. God bless health care workers.)

Written by unitedcats

December 6, 2020 at 8:29 pm


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Good news, bad news, horrifying news, just another day in 2020. This was in the small “good news” pile: Opinion | The Deep State Is on a Roll The article doesn’t mean the traditional understanding of ‘Deep State,’ the author is talking about all the judges, election officials, representatives etc across the country who decided protecting the institutions of democracy across the land was more important than any loyalty to Trump. The people that did their jobs, did their jobs well, and are sticking by them. Yes, Mr Trump, it was a fair and honest election, you lost. Trump’s chances of overturning the results of the election, never good to begin with, are getting slimmer every day. That’s a big national win.

In a local lose: Insane Christians Convinced a South Dakota City to Water Down Its Mask Mandate. And they are insane, wearing a mask is neither a political nor a religious issue, just a matter of public safety. You know, saving lives? In dark irony, I’m betting most of these people would call themselves “Pro Life.” I guess they should change it to “Pro life so long as I don’t have to lift a finger or inconvenience myself in any way to save lives.” I particularly liked the lady claiming “God didn’t intend for us to wear things on our faces!” … while wearing a pair of glasses. I guess she got a special dispensation from God for those? If one out of 800 South Dakotans dying of Covid-19 didn’t make these people see reason, nothing will.

In bigger bad news, or future bad news: What South Korea Can Teach Us About Vaccine Hesitancy. Basically, while it looks like vaccines will become widely available in the US over the next few months, there are real fears that resistance to taking the vaccine will be so high that vaccination rates will be well below the threshold for herd immunity. In fact I fully expect the GOP to politicize vaccines just like they’ve politicized everything in recent decades. If Biden and the Democrats are for vaccines, then by God vaccines are a communist plot to turn Americans into gay transexual socialists! So Democrats will line up to get vaccinated, Republicans won’t. We won’t get herd immunity, but at least there will be far fewer deaths among the vaccinated.

In foreign bad news, a prominent Iranian scientist was gunned down in the street. Almost certainly by Israel. Almost certainly in an effort to scuttle any chance Biden has of getting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) back in force, the humiliating agreement Iran signed to allow intrusive western monitoring of its nuclear program. Israel more than any other nation needs a scary Iran to distract from its own aggressive foreign policy, mistreatment of its Palestinian citizens, and utter failure to persue peace with its neighbors. We’ll see, maybe I’ll write a dedicated post on the Middle East mess. “Bad actors, acting badly” or some such horror.

In space news, China is about to collect the first moon rocks since the 1970s. Better yet, they are collecting them from a never before sampled part of the Moon, the Mons Rümker formation (photograph above,)  an isolated volcanic formation. It’s believed to be only about a billion years old, while the Apollo Missions landed in regions where the rocks were 3 billion years old or more. Apparently these new samples will help estimating rock ages throughout the Solar System. China has quite an ambitious Lunar program planned. The next step is a permanent robotic base, followed up by a manned base in the 2030s. Humans may well return to the Moon in my lifetime, I’d get a kick out of it.

In other space news, a new mystery: Astronomers Are Mystified by These Ghostly, Unexplained Circles Seen in Space “Seen” is not quite the word, these are only visible in radio frequencies. Big fuzzy rings of radio emissions in space, lots of them, found because we have a new super sensitive radio telescope mapping the heavens. Astronomers have no idea what is making them, we don’t even know how big they are or how far away they are. IE we could be seeing local things in our galaxy all the way up to giant chunks of the Universe itself.

They are however natural, no reason to believe otherwise. I just love as we explore the Universe, we’re constantly finding things no one expected. Pretty safe to say we always will, the Universe is complicated and unexpected in any direction we look. We’re nowhere near understanding it all, nor is it likely we ever will be in anything resembling the near future. On the other hand, our modern scientific understanding of the Universe and the world around us is amazingly accurate compared to most of human history.

On the gripping hand, modern science may well usher in a nightmare world. Until the late nineteenth century, people were more or less evenly matched when it came to dishing out violence. If ten people attacked, ten people could defend. Obviously there are codicils, an armed trained knight could take on a bunch of peasants, but it still basically boiled down to one on one. The invention of gunpowder even more smoothed the odds if both sides had gunpowder.

Then, in the late 19th century, smokeless gunpowder was invented. One person could fight ten people, even 100. Guerrilla warfare suddenly became a viable strategy. And the trend has accelerated since then, small numbers of people with advanced weaponry can kill huge numbers of people. This scary article looks into this. Basically, it’s just around the corner possible to fill a semi truck with millions of mini-drones that can be programmed to seek out, say, human heads, and set off a one gram shaped charge that will, well, blow the brain in that head to bits.

That’s right folks, we are the cusp of an era where OBL could kill millions of New Yorkers, not just a few thousand. This article goes into some of the thought and speculation about how this will play out: Omniviolence Is Coming and the World Isn’t Ready. Best not to even think about what governments could do with this technology. This is why I think intelligence such as ours is an evolutionary dead end, sooner or later some Hitler/Jeffrey Dalmer will kill us all.

Stay safe and sane everyone. Comments, likes, shares, etc appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #Omniviolence

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

Written by unitedcats

December 2, 2020 at 8:32 pm


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In a follow up to yesterday’s post about Election 2020 Truthers, I read a great article on a similar historical event, where the majority of the German people came to believe Germany didn’t lose World War One! Oh no, a secret cabal of German Jews and leftists sold out Germany!  And I’m sure some still believe it. No, Germany soundly lost World War One, Germany was starving, her allies had surrendered, the fortified German Hindenburg Line had been broken, and countless ships full of American troops and supplies were making the Allies stronger every day. It was an utterly hopeless situation, continuing the war would have just wreaked terrible destruction on the German people and Germany itself.

And as I learned, when the Allies presented the Treaty of Versailles to the Germans, it was so horribly unfair to Germany that Germany’s government contacted the head of the army and asked if there was any way Germany could continue the war? It really was a bad treaty, many at the time said the Treaty of Versailles would cause the next war. “No, no there wasn’t” was the answer. In any event the sad result of all this was a Germany believing horrible nonsense, and along came a man to exploit it to the hilt. As the article does point out, Trump isn’t Hitler, that’s not the point. Anyhow, good read: 1918 Germany Has a Warning for America.

I have no idea what the result of Republicans en masse believing the election was stolen will be. Usually these mass crazinesses fade out without much long term damage. Still, thinking about it, a lot of them in recent decades have eroded people’s trust in government, science, and public institutions. Trutherism reduced faith in government for sure, imagine thinking your government would murder thousands of Americans. Birtherism obviously eroded faith in government. The anti-vaxxers, yeah, good job folks, erode trust in modern medical science, one of civilization’s greatest accomplishments. There are more. And now Trump has destroyed faith in the electoral system. Granted the Dems didn’t help with their widely believed fantasy about Russia somehow getting Trump elected. Not really the same thing though.

On Sunday Trump on Fox News repeated his whole list of voter fraud, minus any evidence. Today, Monday, the last two of the six states Trump contested, Wisconsin and Arizona, certified Biden’s win. Trump’s flood of legal challenges all have come to naught, often with Republican, even Trump appointed, officials ruling against him. Trump now claims the Justice Department and the FBI are in on the conspiracy. OK then. 2020’s last gift, Trump has unmoored his flock from reality. And the social contract as well:

“At a minimum, for half the population, Trump has successfully redefined liberty and freedom as doing whatever the fuck YOU want to do with no regard for the consequences to others.  Or as the Trumpies like to sloganize: Fuck Your Feelings.”    — Coop Scoop Nov 30:  Our Own American Perón Edition

Pretty much. I still think fun times are ahead. Yes I was being facetious, there’s going to be little fun this winter. Covid-19 continues to explode, and it’s safe to say this winter will be the worst mass death winter in US history. Our hongerwinter is upon us. Pestwinter in our case. That might have some impact on unfolding events, nu? Thank you Mr Trump for that as well. Stay safe and sane everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #Dolchstosslegende

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved

(Image: A field, public domain from Snappygoat. Dunno where the trail goes from here, who knows what’s around the next bend?)

Written by unitedcats

November 30, 2020 at 9:02 pm


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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


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Well, when all is said and done, Biden won by a landslide. The only winner this century with a higher margin was Obama’s win in 2008. Biden easily won by a much higher margin than Trump won by in 2016. And Trump had no problem claiming his 2016 win was a landslide, so he’s hoist by his own petard. Granted many of his followers think Trump was cheated out of the election, frankly though, being that out of touch with reality must be a crippling condition. I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

In other news, Trump gave a bizarre 63 second(!) press conference where he appeared to take credit for a record high stock market. Since he had predicted the stock market would tank if Biden was elected, it’s certainly odd. I actually find the whole stock market thing infuriating. A record high stock market means the upward transfer of wealth is reaching record highs. IE great news for the rich, not so great for the rest of us. In point of fact the poverty rate has been spiking while the rich are wallowing in ever more wealth. It’s also a sign (along with almost fawning mainstream coverage of Biden) that the rich and corporate America are thrilled with Biden.

There was a time when what was good for GM was good for America. Back when the minimum wage was a living wage, and good union jobs were plentiful. Those days are long gone, and until there’s a revolution, I can’t see them coming back. Greedy rich people control America now, and have created a horrible culture. The story of the 737 Max is a fantastic example of this, well, sickness. Where everything, including human life, is sacrificed in pursuit of higher stock prices and executive bonuses: Boeing’s 737 Max Is a Saga of Capitalism Gone Awry.

In other parts of our galaxy, a candidate source for the “Wow!” signal has been proposed. The “Wow!” signal was a brief but strong repeating radio signal picked up by a radio telescope in 1977. They were in fact scanning for alien radio transmissions. It was a strong signal, a scientist examining the computer printout circled it and wrote “Wow!” next to it. It never repeated, and no source for it was ever identified. Well, that was 1977, we have much better star maps now. A scientist realized this, took a new more accurate look in the direction the signal came from, and found a star very similar to the Sun: Sun-Like Star Identified As the Potential Source of the Wow! Signal

Yeah, kind of a long shot, we have no reason to believe there’s anything special about the Sun. Nonetheless, can’t hurt to take a much closer look at this star. We can listen for transmissions on many levels, and search for planets. It’s only 1800 light years away, that’s next door astronomically speaking. Hypothetically, if it was aliens, they sent the signal 1800 years ago, and their knowledge of Earth was as it was 3600 years ago. And, well, humans were building cities by then, great agricultural civilizations had arisen. From 1800 light years away, the changes that made in Earth’s atmosphere might well have been detectable.

And if they are watching us still, they’re seeing Earth as it was around the year 200. Septimus Severas was Caesar of Rome, I’m sure I’ve written about him before. An amazing character and life. Leading armies until his sixties, when bad English food and weather killed him. The Mayan Civilization was just beginning. Japan, China, India were all broken up into warring states. Hell, there were thousands of nations around the world, the Roman Empire was a complete anomaly at the time.

Back on Earth today: Evangelical Doctors’ Group Pleads With Churches To Stay Home. Not quite sure when evangelicals went off the deep end, the ones I knew in the 70s were cool. Good to see some of them still are rooted in reality. God would no more want his followers to hold services in an open field during a lightning storm than he wants them to gather in groups during a plague. God made reality for us to live in, and he wants us to follow its rules. Don’t play in traffic, don’t swim in shark infested mustard, don’t gather in groups during a pandemic. Same thing applies to Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving leftovers won’t taste as good if you’re on a ventilator,’ health department warns.

At least there’s some promising vaccine news: We Have Several Vaccines for COVID – Now What? With an incoming president who is actually going to fight Covid-19, by late 2021 things should be looking up. Knock on wood. Stay safe everyone. Comments, questions, likes, shares appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A scan of a color copy of the original 1977 computer printout. Credit: Credit: Big Ear Radio Observatory and North American AstroPhysical Observatory (NAAPO). Copyright: This image is ineligible for copyright! The first time ever I came across an image like that, learn something new every day.)

Written by unitedcats

November 24, 2020 at 8:24 pm


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And away we go, the gentle reader thought Covid-19 was bad this spring, they ain’t seen nothing yet. Trump has pretty much abdicated from actually running the country, and completely abdicated on doing anything about the pandemic. Most state governors are doing very little as well. So basically America has resigned itself to hundreds of thousands of additional deaths and millions more Americans with long term or permanent health problems … because it’s too much hassle to do anything about it? I mean, hell if I know. The world, the future, many Americans look on with astonishment and horror as the world’s last superpower allows a pandemic to spread unchecked through its population.

Amazing what one can get used to I guess. America has been lost in space for decades really, it’s not like our attachment with reality was terribly strong to begin with. Maybe it began with the Moon Landing Hoax. The idea that possibly the most well documented event in human history was somehow a hoax. I sometimes think that was the moment the “I believe something that wouldn’t even make a believable science fiction movie” virus got hold. Comic book thinking I call it. That’s about the level of it. Grown ups unable to see that certain ideas are both logically absurd, have zero evidence in support of them, and a mountain of evidence against them.

Things like holocaust denial, flat earthers, anti-vaxxers, etc. I used to debate people like that, now they’ve retreated into their own online realities. At least people are trying. Hell, I’m trying, it’s why I write. I’ve been fascinated by the amazing universe we live in since forever, and never stopped trying to figure it out. And the secret of the universe: It’s easy to get people to believe BS. And here America is, steeped in BS while awash in the wonders of actual science. Go figure. Hell, science has made it even easier to get people to believe in BS. Advertising and propaganda are sciences now, and quite effective ones thank you.

A moment here to thank the church for laying the groundwork for America’s disenfranchisement from reality. By church, I mean fundamentalists and biblical literalists of all stripes. By 1830  science knew that the Earth was at least millions of years old and there was never a global flood. By 1870 the scientific debate over evolution was over. But to this day tens of millions of Americans teach their children that Genesis was literally true. This is why the aliens lock their doors and fly right by.

And now into this mix, throw Trump. He really is a figure of incredible historical prominence. Obama, Palin, Biden will all be historical footnotes someday, Trump will be a Caesar, Napoleon, or Hitler. People will remember him. There really hasn’t been any American in my life like him, able to get blind devotion and support from tens of millions of Americans, he’s their messiah. Trump’s a brilliant self-promoter, one of the best in history. He’s parlayed it into a fortune, world wide name recognition, and the presidency of the United States.

I’d say I’d love to meet Trump, like I’d love to meet Obama or Caesar or Lincoln, but no. I don’t think there’s really anyone there there. He hasn’t grasped Covid-19 is real just for starters. In any event, the chances I will interview Trump for my blog are minimal. Still, it’s 2020, anything is possible. Stay safe everyone, Dr, Fauci hasn’t given up hope: U.S. reports record 153,400 new Covid cases as Dr. Fauci urges Americans to be careful: ‘It is not futile’. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, attribution unknown, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

November 14, 2020 at 8:24 pm


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The world turned to ice for me tonight. Only the second time in my life that’s happened. Let me explain, I’m sure others have experienced the same. Time slowed down is another way to put it. I was out by the lake waiting for the sunset. A woman with her two toddler children was to my left. One of the kids made a run for the lake. Across the road. I was like, whoa, hope no car is coming … glanced to my right, oh yeah, there’s the car moving right along … And that’s when the world froze. I was paralyzed for a moment, I was not close enough to get to the kid, so I started moving towards the car. No thought involved.  It screeched to a halt, the driver saw me or the kid. Everyone was very upset, but we all went our ways. Halloween night, guess being scared is on point so to speak.

Still calming down. Good to know I’m still alive actually. I’m guessing that my body fired off a spurt of adrenaline and other chemicals. I wasn’t exactly calm before either. So there’s a limit to how far I can calm down. I have, as they say, the anxiety. The election is three days away, and I am not sanguine about the outcome. As in, I fear it’s going to be ugly. Republic changing ugly. Trump is no Caesar, but he might be the end of the republic nonetheless. His followers are capable of anything.

This for example: Biden Team Cancels Texas Event After Highway ‘Ambush’ by MAGA Cavalry. Yes, the Biden campaign bus was ambushed and surrounded on its way to a campaign event. This isn’t “protest.” In any previous election year this would have pretty much been a campaign destroying scandal. Now, it’s the new normal. Trump is not exactly known for his efforts at reconciliation and compromise. What’s going to happen if he openly encourages armed revolt? What will his followers do? I hope we don’t find out.

The few Trump supporters I know think Trump’s going to easily win reelection, and the whole left wing media hoax that is Covid-19 will fall apart having failed to dislodge Trump, and things will get back to “normal.” And Trump’s second and third terms will be even better! The libtards will finally be put in their place! And America will be great again. I would call this a reality testing issue. On the left, we have the flip side to Covid-19 denial. Trump denial. Still a lot of leftists claiming Trump and Biden are equivalent, and support for either is selling out. Well, good for them, vote for your candidate of choice. They’re wrong though.

There’s a class of people in history whose gravitas or whatever one wants to call it sucks in huge numbers of, well, supporters? It’s more than that though. There are people who just are shining stars in their age, movers and shakers, people who had a vision and compelled others to follow. Washington. Joan of Arc. Lincoln. Mussolini. Ghenghis Khan. Jackson. Hitler. Julius Caesar. Churchill. Mao. Caesar Augustus. Many others, but still, once in a generation leaders. Trump is one of those, Biden isn’t. Trump and Biden are not the same.

If Trump was a Lincoln or even a Caesar Augustus, I’d be “Go Trump!” No, he’s a Jackson or Mussolini at best. Trump lives in a world where science is fake news. That disqualifies any leader, and makes messianic leaders like Trump even more dangerous. Biden may be a corrupt Washington insider, but he still lives in the real world. This election comes down to a vote between reality and fantasy. Or look at it this way. Our house is on fire. Trump says it’s too expensive to fight the fire, it’s no big deal. Biden says letting the house burn down is going to be a lot more expensive than fighting the fire. Seems like a no brainer decision to me.

Vote Biden. Or vote green or whatever, vote for your candidate. Don’t vote for Trump, his rejection of a science based response to Covid-19 has killed tens of thousands of Americans already. Hell, the man is trying to spread Covid-19, not fight it. Stanford study estimates that 18 crowded Trump rallies ultimately resulted in 30,000 coronavirus cases.

Image above is an artist’s impression of a view from the surface of Titan, a moon of Saturn. The only moon in the Solar System with a significant atmosphere. Clouds, rain, weather, lightning, rivers, lakes, seas. Must be freaking beautiful. Would require one hell of a space suit, hundreds of degrees below zero. A world turned to ice.

Stay safe everyone, enjoy the last weekend. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Artist’s impression of a view from Titan’s surface. Credit: unknown, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 31, 2020 at 8:12 pm


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The first murder hornet nest has been found and destroyed in the United States. Scientists just sucked it out of a tree with a big vacuum. Sometimes the old ways are the best. The first time they vacuumed Westminster Cathedral 12 cartloads of vacuumings were hauled off. I digress. The murder hornet nest wasn’t unexpected, they’ve been in British Columbia since last September. Obviously they survived the winter, which tend to be mild at low elevations there. Despite all the hype, in the greater scheme of things this is relatively minor. IE people will learn to live with them, just like they live with other hornets. And beekeepers can protect hives by surrounding them with wire mesh. Finally, despite their reputation, murder hornets are actually a beneficial predator of insect pests.

The headline says it all: FBI: Far-Right Extremist Posed As BLM Protester, Fired On Minneapolis Police Precinct. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to point out that a right winger posing as a left winger to commit violence is right wing violence. Most political violence this election season has been from the right, though I doubt they don’t mention that much on Fox News. A lot of fear mongering from the right, So scary election season 2020 continues.

And this scares me. Will my marriage survive? It’s up to the Supreme Court. Several sitting justices have signaled they might revisit marriage equality. Why does this scare me? First of all the weird logic of “Your marriage takes away my religious rights.” Your religion says you can’t get gay married, great, don’t. When your religion tells other people they can’t get married because of your religion, that’s not religious liberty, it’s religious tyranny. Secondly, if they do this, half a million families are dissolved in the eyes of the law. More chaos and pain in already troubled times, to placate their God? There are zero logical or scientific reasons to outlaw marriage equality, any more than there were good reasons to outlaw miscegenation, laws which weren’t struck down until 1967. Wanting to dissolve consenting adults marriages is purely driven by religion, if not simple bigotry and intolerance.

I find it hard to get my head around the idea that there are people who think they know what’s good for everyone, and will gladly use the state’s power to enforce their religious beliefs on them. The very same people terrified of sharia law being imposed on them, have no problem enforcing evangelical law on everyone. Except it’s not that hard to understand, I’m a reformed bigot. It’s actually pretty simple, people that disagree with you are less than human in some ways. They are others, the enemy, not of the tribe. And they should get with the program and be grateful for it, or get out.

And a lot of these people are really angry now, urged on by Trump. 9 days until the election of my lifetime. Anything could happen. One positive thought, the captains of industry so to speak, must be a little alarmed at the prospect of an actual civil war or widespread civil unrest. Yes, so far Trump and the pandemic have been fabulously profitable for the ultra rich, but a country gutted by partisan violence? They wouldn’t want that, right? They’d do what needed to be done to keep the situation under control? LOL. Yeah, right. Kruppes and Mitsubishi rolled through WW2 without a peep even as their nations’ were being bombed flat. We’re fucked.

Here in northern Iowa, the atmosphere started freezing and falling to the ground today. As a friend said, anyone who likes winter never had livestock. Looks like we will get at least one more warmer spell next week, but still, we’re about a month ahead of the average first snowfall of an inch or more. Well, 2020 has been consistent so far, why not an early hard winter? Hope all had a good weekend. #WinterSucks #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(image: Murder hornet. Credit: Gary Alpert Used legally, details here.)

Written by unitedcats

October 25, 2020 at 7:44 pm