Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

STAR TREK, STAR WARS, WORMHOLES, ETC.

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Well, turns out wormholes might be possible after all! Woohoo! Last I heard the only way to make a wormhole requires negative energy/mass, about a Jupiter’s worth of it, which we currently can’t produce. And unless a corkscrew shaped superstring was popped right into it, the wormhole would close back up instantly. The chances that a corkscrew shaped superstring exists is also, well, unlikely. So no Deep Space Nine wormholes. Physicists aren’t going to give up on a great idea, and they came up with a new type of wormhole that doesn’t require the negative energy or the superstring! Alas, the wormhole is only traversable by atoms in a quantum state, which means we could send clumps of atoms through it, but not people.

OK, no wormholes yet, how about a warp drive, that staple of Star Trek? Yes, another breakthrough: A potential model for a real physical warp drive. Corkscrew shaped superstring? Nope. Could power a real spaceship made of normal matter? Yes. So what’s the catch? Requires the same damn planet sized amount of negative energy fitted into the spaceship. Dammit. No Federation of planets on the horizon yet.

Granted travel to nearby stars using off-the-shelf (or close to it) technology is feasible with flight times of 100 years or less. See Project Daedalus or Project Longshot. Those are both just planning concepts though, and would be mind numbingly expensive to attempt. In a more practical vein, Breakthrough Starshot was launched in 2016, and aims to send probes to nearby stars using solar sails powered by giant lasers. It would have flight times of 20 to 30 years, the pictures and data sent back would take four years to get back to Earth. So quite conceivably people alive today could live to see the first pictures sent back from probes to nearby stars. I’m gonna certainly do my best to live to see that. The 60s are the new 40s, right? A man can dream.

Speaking of travelling between stars, it’s possible that the origin of Oumuamua may have been figured out. In 2017 Oumuamua was the first interstellar visitor ever spotted zipping through the Solar System, and it was quite the mystery. Wasn’t a comet, wasn’t an asteroid, and it had a long skinny shape never before seen in any comet or asteroid. There was and is speculation that Oumuamua was an alien probe or such, but most scientists don’t find the arguments for that very convincing. Well, the mystery may have been solved: Interstellar object Oumuamua was part of a planet, not alien spaceship. The idea is that it was originally part of a planet like Pluto or Triton (a moon of Neptune,) then blasted into interstellar space by some cosmic cataclysm. And originally it was much larger, mostly made of nitrogen ice.  As Oumuamua approached the Sun the ice boiled off, leaving a progressively more flattened core the way a bar of soap turns into a flat sliver as it wears away.

Closer to Earth, the problem of Mars’s missing oceans has been solved. Mars once had a lot of surface water. Oceans’ worth actually. So what happened to it? Well, Mars doesn’t have much of a magnetic field, so while it early on had an atmosphere and oceans, the solar wind stripped it away, including the water. And we are left with the dry desert Mars we so love today. Well, it was never really established just what happened to all that water, and a new study says much or most of it may well still be on Mars, trapped in minerals in its crust. Granted mostly an academic issue, but good to know. And might have implications for ultimately terraforming Mars I suppose.

My original life plan was to become a Mars geology expert and shoot for getting on one of the first Mars missions. I was a silly young man. I also joined the service thinking I would be serving my country. That was even sillier. Now that I am older and wiser I know the answer! Star Trek! Yes, referring to the meme above, I know, that may have been the most tortured segue in history. I am always trying to expand my writing boundaries. As for the meme, it’s kind of apples and oranges. Star Wars is space opera, Star Trek is science fiction. So one can enjoy them both without having to choose.

That would be the cowards way out though, Star Trek rules! Tomorrow if all goes well, my Stonehenge mystery post. Stay safe and warm everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Meme found on Facebook. Credit: Looks like Imgflip.com? Used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

March 16, 2021 at 8:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

“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

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS

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The good news is that I got my first shot of the Pfizer Covid vaccine yesterday. The bad news is that I’m having a bad reaction to it, basically similar to a head cold. Having a reaction to a vaccine wasn’t on my bucket list, but here I am anyhow. On the plus side, it means it’s working. Still, my head is too logy to think straight, let alone blog. Sigh. So I just wanted to post and let my two or three faithful readers know I’m fine, and will resume blogging tomorrow. Hope all are having a good week, stay safe. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Public domain image from Snappygoat. I don’t think that fish is getting vaccinated against Covid, if so I missed a memo somewhere.)

Written by unitedcats

March 11, 2021 at 6:43 pm

Posted in 2021, Covid-19, Personal

WHAT HAPPENED HERE?

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Neat photo, eh? What happened here? That is the remnant of a concrete building, the metal is indeed rebar. Thick iron rods embedded in concrete, in fact this is what reinforced concrete is, concrete with metal bars in it. No, nuclear weapon damage. In fact this damage was done by a natural phenomena. I’ll give the answer at the end of the blog.

I get my Covid vaccine on Wednesday, knock on wood. Not sure which version it is, doesn’t matter. I’ve kept current on vaccines all my life with no problems, this one will be a blessed relief. It doesn’t by any means I can just go back to “pre-Covid” behaviour. Well, I suppose I could, but it would be stu-pid. Like “OK, I’ve got a seat belt now, let’s crash my car for fun!” stupid. Vaccines are not necessarily 100% effective, and this is a terrible disease, one best avoided if at all possible. So I’ll still be masking in public and socially isolated, but I will be less stressed about it and will resume outdoor socializing with friends, maybe indoor with vaccinated friends.

Huge numbers of people being vaccinated world wide, good news. Bad news, and it is indeed very bad news, this isn’t going to magically return the world to its pre-Covid state. We aren’t going to be able to say “Phew, it’s under control now, throw away your masks and parteh!” That’s because Covid is unlike any previous disease, it’s a terrible disease, and it’s not going anywhere. It’s not going anywhere for two reasons. First of all it’s the disease from hell. Second of all, people are stupid.

By disease from hell, I mean it’s a terrible, highly contagious, widespread disease … that is mutating as I type! New strains have emerged that are even more contagious than the original version, more likely to reinfect Covid survivors, and at least somewhat resistant to some or all of the current vaccines. And new versions will continue to evolve, so vaccines will have to be continually updated. This is a war that will likely continue the rest of our lives.

Secondly, many people, including some US state governors, are simply pretending everything is now OK and lifting all restrictions. This is literally bat shit crazy, but welcome to the American 2020s where the GOP lives in pretend reality. As long as people continue to pretend that Covid is no big deal or just a temporary thing, especially people in power, we’re effed. And that would definitely be America, as someone put it, a state lifting precautions is like a designated peeing area in a pool. Here’s the good doctor on the science: COVID Race Against Time | NeuroLogica Blog.

So trying to parse just when the American  right exited reality, today’s theory is that it was after Gulf War Two, the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. Anniversary coming up. Before the invasion there was much public debate, the right claiming Iraq and Saddam were an existential threat to the US, and we needed to invade to eliminate Saddam’s WMDs. This was right after 9/11, so Americans were afraid of mass casualty attacks. And as a codicil to this, they argued that the people of Iraq would be happy to have Saddam removed and freedom and democracy bestowed upon them! On the other side people argued that the threat posed by Saddam was at least wildly overblown, and that nothing good would come of this invasion.

At least there was debate about the potential war, and common ground to debate about. Saddam and Iraq actually existed, the debate was about what America should do about it. The “Invade Iraq!” faction won (not that there was ever any doubt,) Iraq was invaded and conquered easily! The results, twofold: First,  exactly dip squat was found of any WMDs, Saddam had in fact destroyed his WMD programs exactly as he was told to. Secondly, democracy and freedom didn’t flow through the streets, mass bloodshed and instability did. Continuing to this day.

So let’s review. Turns out the 2003 Iraq invasion was utterly unjustified, and the results were catastrophic by any reasonable measure. After Vietnam at least there was some general agreement that the war was a mistake, after Saddam’s fall turned into a nightmare, nothing doing. The War Party, and that includes plenty of Dems, just carried on as if everything was fine. Not surprising it was all coincidental with birtherism and trutherism, the two other big fact free beliefs of the post 9/11 era.

The wheel is spinning, who knows where it will land. There’s people who think about things, and people who find someone comfortable to think for them. Both have an evolutionary advantage I suppose. I write for the former. I hope. So, image above. Came across that because a friend asked if the Romans who died in Pompei died quickly? Yes, yes they did. Pompei was hit by a nue ardente, or pyroclastic flow. Basically super hot gas (450F plus degrees) and molten rock ash. Flowing faster than a person can run. Like being tossed into a blast furnace. A windy blast furnace. And that’s what the image above is, a reinforced concrete building in Mexico hit by a pyroclastic flow in 1982. Killed at least 1900 people. From a dormant volcano. Oops.

Stay safe everyone. Crazy days. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(image: Described in text. Taken by a USGS employee as part of their job, so public domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

March 8, 2021 at 9:33 pm

Posted in History, Iraq, Personal, War

MARCH 4TH 2021: BIDEN REVEALED AS CHINESE CLONE, TRUMP REINAUGERATED AS THOUSANDS OF SPACE FORCE SHOCK TROOPS DESCEND ON WASHINGTON. HUNDREDS ARRESTED, AOC, HARRIS, AND HILLARY FLEE ON AIRFORCE TWO TO CUBA

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“Washington is calm tonight as Space Force Shock Troops backed by thousands of QAnon and related militia forces swept into Washington, with Trump revealing in a press conference damning evidence of high crimes by the Democratic Washington establishment; shortly afterwards he was reinaugurated as the US president. The carefully planned and executed “Operation Storm” caught various Democratic criminals in the act, many confessing and providing evidence to avoid summary execution. Across America millions came to the streets to peacefully celebrate a return to justice and democracy, and the fitting end to one of the most demonic conspiracies ever.”

Well, that was fun. Once again QAnon’s hopes for their Messiah being magically reinstated have failed to materialize. And messiah it is, Trump’s popularity isn’t based on any reality based examination of his life and accomplishments, except in a few exceedingly narrow categories. Interesting times indeed. I’m frightened of Trump supporters now, there’s been a lot of crazy talk. In Texas in particular there’s talk of secession and kicking Democrats out of the state. Yeah, extremists for now, but scary times.

We are seeing the GOP doubling down on voter suppression efforts in states they control. Another beauty of Trump’s truthless claims of massive voter fraud. Healthy democracies make it easy to vote, because it’s not that hard to prevent voter fraud in the computer era. The US is not a healthy democracy, with GOP gerrymandering and voter suppression making it less so on a regular basis. The truth is most Americans are reasonably liberal and open minded, and not interested in living in a “Christian Nation” defined by an old testament Evangelical worldview.

Frankly at this point, give the GOP Texas and the south. I sometimes think the North should have just let the South go its own way in 1860. Slavery was already an athema to the rest of the developed world. The CSA would have been the Saudi Arabia of the world, without the oil. They would have been a friendless pariah state, with an economy increasingly lagging in a growing industrial world. Slave plantations could not compete with factories and mechanization. IE the South was a freaking lost cause in 1860, and is even more so now.

So give Texas, Florida, and a half dozen southern states to the Trump supporters and let them create their deregulated Christian utopia. Then the rest of us can rejoin the modern world and get on with an inclusive democratic America based on what works best for the common good. No ideology necessary. Things like single payer healthcare, a minimum wage, etc help everyone. The rich are slightly less rich, they’ll survive. Works just fine in the rest of the developed world, why the richest nation the world has ever known can’t provide a fair distribution of wealth to its citizens isn’t because of shortage, it’s because of greed.

So, two other items in the news. The people who have the rights to the Dr Seuss books announced that they would cease publishing six of his more obscure books because they contained offensive racist stereotype images. And the right wing “cancel culture” outrage machine went into full ballistic mode, claiming censorship, Biden did this, etc. Sigh. Times change people, and often for the better. Recognizing that dated racist stereotypes aren’t really a good thing to distribute is a perfectly reasonable and commendable business decision. If people just need to have one of these books, they will be on Ebay forever. And boy, it was a brilliant marketing move, sales of Dr Suess books have gone through the roof.

In a similar vein, Mr Potato head, a toy from my freaking childhood, rebranded their product to be more inclusive. They made it so kids could make Mr and Mr Potato head, etc, if they wanted. Again, the right wing outrage machine went nuts. What can I say, if your worldview is so fragile that even acknowledging that other views are possible … you’re a fucking Nazi and a disgrace to Christ. Let me be clear, I don’t have a problem with Trump supporters. I have a problem with them thinking their way is the only way and everyone who doesn’t think their way is the enemy.

Basically at this point Trump is the Messiah to his followers. We’re far beyond politics, debate, or compromise. Historically messiahs make terrible heads of state, Trump certainly filled those shoes nicely; but to his followers, he was the best president ever! And still is to many of them, I came across this today:

“Wow. Just wow.

I went to a friends house tonight to say goodbye to her mom who is moving back to Alabama. I’ve seen these people all along, and we’ve been careful, but their politics are opposite of mine. We normally just don’t discuss it, but tonight I walked into it.

They honestly believe:

Biden is not actually president, Trump is.

Hillary is in jail.

A secret inauguration happened today.

They had a lot of reasons to back up their claims.

They spent much of the evening showing each other pictures from right wing social media “proving” their theories.

Crazy is real, peeps.”

OK then. I wish we could just shuffle Trump supporters off into a private holodeck universe where they could live out their lives in some fantasy Trumptopia. No such luck. Have a great weekend everyone. Sorry I haven’t been blogging as much, processing my dad’s death is harder than I expected. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(image: Public domain Snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

March 5, 2021 at 8:56 pm

AMERICA, HISTORY, VIOLENCE, TRUMP

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I realized today that I am suffering from symptoms of anxiety. Not terribly surprising,Covid is still raging, the worst American mass death event of my life, and I’ve been socially isolated for a year. That’s going to be stressful. And my father just died. And not only died, but died of Covid. I know I’ve written about how Covid was going to kill people we knew, but I wasn’t prepared for it to hit so close to home. Couldn’t have been prepared actually, the death of a loved one will always hurt, but some deaths are worse than others. This one will always hurt, I lost my dad in the pandemic. Words I never dreamt I would say.

There’s one other thing  though. Bear with me, going to try to tie some things together. A huge source of the anxiety I realize is due to the Capitol Riot. This was an unprecedented American historical event, like 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, no one really saw it coming.* That’s not really what’s bothering me though. That I could deal with … if the national response to it had been, well, rational. IE: This was Trump’s doing, and it’s unacceptable. Like how most of England responded to Guy Fawkes attempt to blow up the King and Parliament.

No, that’s not how Trump supporters responded to the Capitol Riot. Broadly speaking they responded in two ways. Denial and rationalization. Trump supporters either denied Trump caused the riot, it was some sort of Antifa/Democrat false flag operation; or it was a justified response to the “Voter fraud cost Trump the election” lie. While there are some voices of reason among the Republicans, a very solid majority is, well, believing the lie. Living in a fantasy world. Seceding from reality as it were.

And this isn’t new, this is where I am stepping back and looking at the bigger picture. How to say this? White America is a nation almost unequaled in its staggering propensity to justify violence that preserved its white ruling class superiority. And the Capitol Riot was an extension of the same, it’s not some distant historical aberration, this attitude exists with us today. “Everything’s fine, America is great, any problems are caused by minorities themselves or leftists.”

Mass shootings for example. America has a horrible problem with mass shootings, no other developed country has anything like it. And when one of them does have a mass shooting, they do everything they can to prevent another, usually with great success. In America, people pretend it didn’t happen, or pretend it was unavoidable. The right’s response to America’s horrible gun violence problem is pretty much the same as its response to the Capitol Riot.

And it goes all the way back. America’s founding fathers set up a system where white property owning males reigned supreme. Race riots and native genocide were a huge part of American history, not to mention lynchings. The freaking Civil War, the greatest mass death event in US history, was fought because a certain subset of white Americans wanted to own human beings as property.

And they haven’t given up yet. The Confederates called the Civil War “The War of Northern Aggression” and that mindset is still driving Trump supporters. No, progressives don’t want to cancel them. They don’t want them to feel guilty for the crimes of their ancestors. They don’t want to outlaw Christianity or install a communist government. We just want them to acknowledge that there were terrible things in American history, and we can do better.

Did that make any sense? I’m frightened and anxious because we went through the looking glass the past few months. This isn’t Birtherism or Russiagate nonsense, Trump supporters are now living in an alternate reality. Trump is their messiah, and he tells them what is real. This scares the f–k out of me. Nixon or Reagan don’t hold a candle to this sort of devotion. There’s never been anything like this in my life before, and as a student of history, Trumps are few and far between.

Usually they’re smarter though. What a sheetshow. Stay safe everyone, still crazy times everywhere. Covid is in fact real. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

*If on January 5 one predicted “Trump will incite a mob tomorrow, and they will overrun the Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the election,” one would not have been taken seriously.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Public domain Snappygoat image.)

Written by unitedcats

March 3, 2021 at 10:20 pm

THE ENTIRE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IN ONE BLOG POST?

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I was going to sum up the entire upcoming Biden administration in one blog post, but I realized that’s impossible. Maybe double spaced with anecdotes? It would still be boring fluff. The upcoming Biden term can actually be summed up in two words: “Obama 2.0” In a sentence: “Obama faithfully served Wall Street, the Pentagon, and corporate America. Biden will do exactly the same.” I see zero indication from his history or actions since taking office to indicate otherwise.

On the plus side, it simplifies analysis of what will happen now. Mainstream Dems will be happy, they liked Obama, they will like Biden. The Dems that understand that some actual changes need to be made or the rich will just keep getting richer on the worker’s backs, well, they can protest. Look what Occupy Wall Street accomplished. I just don’t see anything earthshaking coming out of Demland in the near future. Bernie has been safely sidelined, maybe AOC will get something done, but I’m not betting on it.

On the right, well, they have seceded from reality, not sure what’s in store for them. Biden’s election didn’t usher in some sort of socialist nightmare, see meme above, but that won’t change the fact that a huge percentage of them are still following Trump, convinced he actually won the election. I don’t have a problem with that. Trump has spectacularly failed at pretty much everything he’s done, the chances he will provide the GOP with competent leadership is effectively zero. Timothy McVeigh type lunacy is possible, but without anyone at the helm, that won’t change anything. Still, scary times: The Republican revolt against democracy, explained in 13 charts.

So if we step back, and look at the world? We’re still screwed. The world is run by a handful of armed gangs whose purpose is to protect the rich and keep them growing ever richer. A world wracked by utterly unnecessary war and poverty. Humans easily have the knowledge and resources to turn Earth into a happy place for all. Yet here we are, learning nothing from Covid, essentially betting that Global Warming is a hoax, and running a global economy based on exploitation of workers and the environment for the benefit of the rich.

It’s not going to end well. The science of exploitativeness is easily winning against the science of cooperation and empathy. Dark irony really. The great secret humans used to conquer the globe and become the most successful species ever was the gift of community cooperation. And that same talent made it possible for the few to get the many to cooperate for the benefit of the few. And this gentle reader, is why I think intelligence such as ours is an evolutionary dead end. Ultimately even less successful than the dinosaurs. They had no clue the asteroid was coming, we have plenty of warning and are still oblivious.

On a personal level, hope to be here for a few more decades blogging on it all. The deathwatch and mourning for my father is over. Thanks for the condolences. As his eldest child, I got to identify his remains today. All virtual due to Covid of course. The funeral home sent me pictures. Yep, it was him. Not that there was any doubt. Sad beyond words, but words are all I have. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

March 1, 2021 at 7:48 pm

Posted in 2021, Biden, Personal, Trump

STAN STYCH: “BE NICE TO EACH OTHER.”

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“Be nice to each other.” That was my father’s last message to me. He passed earlier this afternoon. 22 February 2021. He died of Covid, and a broken heart. I’m at sea, my father and I weren’t close, in many ways we never understood each other, but he was a good man, and he tried. Now all is gone. He was a kid in the 30s, a teenager during the war. In Canada. Went on to college and became an engineer. Got into sales and management, then to CEO. Had many insights on that. And he raised four kids, all of whom are good people. Loved two women, both of whom preceded him in passing. He loved to fish. He loved photography. He skied.

I guess you’d call my father one of the depression generation, before people stated this whole stupid gen whatever crap. He grew up on a Ontario family farm in the depression: They plowed using horses, heated their house with coal stoves, had an outhouse, and the only running water was a hand pump well in the back kitchen. A radio was it for entertainment. A different world from the one most people alive in the west grew up in.

Stan Stych. He lived through the 1930s depression (he only survived childhood because of penicillin,) World War Two, the Cold War*, the Sixties, and all that followed. All history now, part of the lost country. He’ll live on in my heart and my dreams so long as I live. That’s him on the left above, San Francisco behind, taken from Alcatraz. Circa 2009. My father was a complicated man, we had a complicated relationship. Life’s like that. The world is a complicated place.

I’m doing what the Stych tradition dictates, carrying the soul of the dearly departed to the next life on a sea of alcohol. A tradition that has no doubt been practised by so many families for countless generations. My father made the world a better place, I can only hope to do the same. I love you dad, I’ll miss you.

Five hundred thousand dead of Covid in the USA, I thought my dad was safe in Canada. No one is safe from Covid. It is a nightmare disease. I may take a break from blogging for a few days. Stay safe gentle reader.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. (Text and image.)

Written by unitedcats

February 22, 2021 at 9:55 pm

TEXAS FOX LUNACY, WHY AMERICA IS BROKEN ILLUSTRATED. AND MARS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

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

Written by unitedcats

February 19, 2021 at 8:43 pm

STRANGE DAYS, WEIRD TIMES IN AMERICA

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Came across this article: The United States is visibly in an early stage of disintegration, as the Internet changes before my eyes. Tonight’s recommended read. Both the left and the right are claiming Internet censorship, both are right in that there’s a struggle to control the narrative on the Internet, but suggesting it is some monolithic entity like liberals (The Right’s Straw Man nonsense,) to the Tech Giants/government (In the Left’s fear that progressive views are being shut out,) isn’t supported by evidence or reason.  Damned if I know what is going on, but the times are a changing rapidly. Both America and the world are in difficult times.

The recommended article about the U.S. being in disintegration had some false arguments in it, but factually it was right on the money. By any rational metrics the US is way sick. All the gains in the economy the past four decades have gone to the people at the tippy top. Legalized corruption on a breathtaking scale. Our infrastructure is a decaying joke, our public education and health little better, the shame of the developed world. Our military eats up all the money the rich don’t get, and the rich profit handsomely from it to boot.

We haven’t won a war for decades despite massive military spending, but we have this global military empire fighting low level wars all over the planet. Is there some plan to this? No. And our new Caesar, Biden, has made it clear he’s going to keep it all up. So there’s that. And, well, half the white population is convinced that  all of America’s problems are caused by everyone else …  in this big violent liberal conspiracy to destroy America somehow. Freaking weird people.

And Covid is ravaging America like no other country because our ruling class is so dysfunctional. Isn’t that a diplomatic way of putting it? So it’s not a good look for the largest empire the world has ever seen. America is kind of the New Byzantine Empire. I could write a blog about that alone, but not tonight. Huge, corrupt, archaic, a hollow empire, not adapting well to the changing world. An empire where a rich province is struck by a natural disaster, and the results are far worse than they could have been because it is in a corrupt dysfunctional empire; and the Right blames the liberals and green power. Like Trump’s claims about election fraud, the idea that green energy and AOC(!) are responsible for Texas’s poor response to a blizzard are both silly and easily factually refuted. Future historians will have fun with America in the 2020s. I mean, I’m a contemporary, and it’s crazy to me.

On the plus side, sort of a side effect to all this madness, a Golden Age of Solar System exploration. NASA just landed the most sophisticated robot lander ever on Mars. It takes 3-22 minutes to get radio messages to Mars, so real time communication is impossible, probes have to do some things, like landing, by themselves. And this one, Perseverance, was the first one to land in a tricky area, chosen for its science potential; instead of all previous landers who tried to land in big flat areas. Science marches on.

The Perseverance rover is also going to gather samples to be picked up and returned to Earth on near future missions. I plan on continuing to blog until then. Though my erstwhile assistant wants me to try vlogging. She has a point. The deep freeze continues in Northern Iowa. No news about my father, he is alive or dead. Stay safe and warm everyone.  God bless. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: First image from the just landed NASA Perseverance Mars lander, with a photoshopped recent viral Bernie Sanders image. Attribution unknown, claimed as Fair Use under US Copyright Law.)

Written by unitedcats

February 18, 2021 at 8:56 pm