Monday, August 31, 2020

People am stupid

I just saw something pop up on my YouTube home page, where some "pastor" was saying we've been lied to and that the cdc just spoke the truth.  He called out this line in a report:

"For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned."

And went on to talk about how this is all a hoax,  because only 6% of the reported number died front it, and see, it's nothing like we are told.  Mask wearing doesn't matter.  And the classic "I've never known anyone who was hospitalized."

We are clearly being lied to!

What I'd suggest instead is that the issue here is that he (and others like him) don't know how to read a chart.  Hey, the headline sounds good, why dig any deeper?! This is a failing of many to just accept one thing you hear without context, because it fits your narrative.  It's a failure to understand how "cause of death" is recorded.  And it's also a failure to understand basic science.

What this actually shows is that some of the underlying conditions many Americans have contributed to the higher-than-the-rest-of-the-world mortality rate.

I'd ask: do we have more deaths from these conditions than we had in previous years? The answer is yes, and therefore it's accelerated due to coronavirus.  You might argue "they might have died anyway," and that may be true, but it's missing the point that that they also had coronavirus, and that’s what is shown -  but Covid was still the ultimate cause.

They are just listing other conditions, because that what scientists do when they’re trying to understand what’s going on.

It’s so hard to counter stupidity.

We're doomed....

COVID-19 Provisional Counts - Weekly Updates by Select Demographic and Geographic Characteristics

Sent from my iPad

Friday, August 28, 2020

Ascent Of Man, episode 11 - Knowledge Or Certainty

In the 70s, Jacob Bronowski did a series called “the Ascent of Man”. The series is really quite good.

But this piece of storytelling is really deep and thought provoking.

Another thought on Religion

I was thinking more about my posts regarding religion. And maybe I'm wrong. Christianity isn't what it once was: a belief in an all powerful god who guides humans in some way.

Instead, it's become about Republican Jesus(tm) who is a white, gun-toting, self absorbed fellow who is in it for the cash.

That's what today's Christianity posits. And if we see it through that lens, then I reconcile peoples faith with what I see.

It's the 10 generally accepted recommendations (footnote: try not to break all of these at one time, and if you do, then make sure there's a darned good reason, like money).

It's stories about how a guy lived his life as a messenger for how you can pay cash to get in the afterlife.

It's about people preying on you while they ask you to pray.

It's absurd. And it's why there's a picture of Republican Jesus(tm) with his hand on trumps ass. Or maybe he's just reaching for his wallet!

Now it makes sense.

The messaging around Covid is wrong.

I read this article about the Covid messaging, and, yeah, Our messaging is totally flawed.

But here's the funny thing: as I look back to March, when we first got sent home in order to "flatten the curve," the rational part of my brain knew this was just to get us on the right path. It wasn't the final answer, and there was still work to do. 

But the emotional part, that feeds on stories, news, and my own desires to go about my life saw it differently. Sure, we'd still have things in place, but we'll come up with better methods for testing and tracing and be able to balance. 

And as I look back, I realize that the emotional part was a little wishful - at least in part because of the messages we were getting. 

My rational brain kept telling me that we were in this for the long haul. And people are inherently selfish and stupid. And there was nothing whatsoever being done to effectively manage the spread. 

And I can see why people don't get the science part. It's an unseen "enemy" and their odds are generally good. And there's no sensational story here. No villain to hate. So it's easy to go with the emotional idea. Reopen the economy! It's a hoax anyway!

But I keep going back to the realization that a plane disappears with 150 people on board and it's a mystery that captures everyone around the world. Around 4,000 people died on 9/11. And we changed security and people were okay with it. 600,000 Americans died in WWII and we were motivated to deliver, to ration, to work toward something. 

We're at just under 200,000 dead from the virus. 10s of Millions infected. 

And we're arguing over whether we should wear a mask. 

You bet messaging is wrong. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

A follow up about religion

When my dad died a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about religion and how there is surely no merciful god.

Today, the husband of an aunt died. He had an untreatable form of cancer, and was dealing with it as best he could.

He was a good man. He gave of himself and lived his life righteously. People loved him, and sort of like my dad, people were inspired by him. 

And here's the thing. He was a man of god, and considered himself to be a good Christian.

And yet he got sick. He suffered. And he passed away.

Meanwhile, there are unhinged narcissists who live on. Without suffering.

So if you still believe in this god, then you've been duped.

This is not a merciful god. And the jokes on you.

Fuck that noise.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The GOP, Trump, and the election

Sometime in early 2017, the GOP agreed to fold its campaign role into the Trump campaign. So essentially they act as one unit. 

It makes sense in some ways, I'm sure. One go-to place to collect campaign funds and coordinate election efforts  

But, it's much deeper than that. Now, all the money, all the data collection efforts, and the mechanics of a party are controlled by the trump campaign. 

To a large degree, this explains why the GOP is so complicit with the guy:  their re-election hopes, and the ability to manage voter information and open up "the war chest" belongs to Trump. As we know, he only helps people who kiss the ring. So they are, for lack of a better way to say it, tethered to him. 

And there's a few interesting little things about this Trump campaign running things. First, and most importantly, this is what Brad Parscale setup for him. And when he left, mr-fix-it jack-of-all-trades Jared Kushner took over. They manage all of it, using whatever they feel is right, whoever they want to hire. 

So when the "tik tok kids" took on the campaign before the Tulsa rally and screwed up their data collection efforts, it not only affected Trump - it also messed with the GOP. No wonder he wants to ban tik tok. 

But therein lies the bigger problem. If their "solution" to have really bad data is to simply ban a platform, then they they don't understand the internet and ergo likely don't understand what they have. 

In recent months, we've heard rumblings that the GOP isn't happy with the opaque nature of the Trump campaign. They aren't allowed to see anything and don't know how it's running. All they know is that they are given money at times. 

Since Trump is nothing more than a common criminal but with his hands in bigger pockets, you have to figure that he's using data collection for his personal causes. And I would guess that the money is being mismanaged in any and every way possible to ensure he gets most of it, personally. 

So here comes the election. If he wins, then he controls all the efforts in perpetuity and gets wealthy. 

Assuming trump loses, do you think he'd simply give all that up? I doubt it. He'll either tell the GOP to fuck themselves or he'll sell it to them for large sums of money. 

But since no one in the gop has any real insight into what it looks like, it could be complete crap. He could be selling vapor ware. Or he may sell a package that gives them things piecemeal and He gets rich. 

So they have to know that if he loses, they are screwed. 

So why govern at all? 

...which of these outcomes better suits him? Hard to say.  He stands to get wealthy in either case - and can totally screw with his enablers on a whim if he so chooses. 

As I've said before, I don't think he ever wanted to win. And while he is not the kind of person who would simply quit, if he did, then he hasn't a different kind of outcome. 

It might be better to just exclaim that everyone is mean to him, or have a "health issue" and just quit. 

We'll see. But it makes me laugh because these dumbasses in the GOP brought most of this on themselves. 

Good analysis here:

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

In a way it was inevitable, school edition

I remember hearing something on NPR years ago about progress made as a society.

They posited that if you were a doctor in the 1800s and got transported to (what was then) today into a modern operating room, you'd be lost. There would be no way to understand medicine or technology. And it's that way for many professions or occupations. The advances we've made would render most people unable to do their job.

But not so for teachers. If you took a teacher out of a classroom in the 1800s and moved them to today, it would be familiar. You still interact with students, still administer tests, and so on. Sure, the materials themselves may be unfamiliar and there could be a computer in use. But by and large, they could manage.

In the time between when I heard the story and today, little more has changed.

So in the spring, we had a pandemic and classrooms were closed and students switched not-at-all seamlessly to online education. It was hit or mostly miss. But the technology allowed for it.

And now here we are 6 months later. No one gave any thought to what we do when it was school time again. No one committed effort, money, or time to the problem.

Instead many just wanted us to return to school basically as it was around February. And with no thought given to how to keep kids safe.

Surely there were things that could have been implemented...but if we use the shooting in parkland a few years ago as a test case, that seemed unlikely. The simple answers - fences and more police - don't solve anything, they just sound nice and make politicians feel good about themselves. And because you can't just put a virus fence up, there is really nothing simple they can apply. 

And given that in nearly 200 years, teaching hasn't evolved at all, really, then 6 months was never going to cut it in terms of finding practical solutions for teaching during a pandemic.

We're so stuck in doing things the same, we have no interest in funding education, and the politics of the situation (from large scale, to unions, to the school itself) mean that there's really no possible outcome *today* that's going to be good.

It's going to take a serious overall of education that perhaps starts with private enterprise (much like NASA is now letting private companies launch rockets) take on the less bureaucratic nature of enhancing, well maybe reinventing, education.

Hopefully it starts to happen soon.

We started school today and it's marginally better than it ended last school year. But this isn't the answer. And neither is going back to exactly what we had before.

Photo from Teacher Magazine

Thursday, August 13, 2020


I've been giving a lot of thought to religion lately. As Karl Marx said at one point "religion is the opium of the people" because it gives some comfort in the face of difficult circumstances.

And surely he's right. People would rather rely on a higher power and look for some kind of divine intervention than have to think for themselves.

My dad passed away last week. He was a good guy. Never sought attention, fame, or glory. His own brothers-in-law had no idea he invented the things he did, because he didn't brag about it.

He constantly taught and mentored. He gave of himself. And yet he was stricken with this disease and lost the essence of what he was, and died relatively young.

Meanwhile, you have people like the orange menace in the White House who have lied, cheated, stolen, lived on vanity and sought fame, never giving back to anyone. And people like him don't suffer through things like this.

So you talk to religious folks and they talk about god working in mysterious ways, or there being some grand plan, or there's scripture that explains it.

Fuck that.

That's just noise. If that's your religion. If that's how your god works, then you are being ridiculous. There's no mercy in that. There's no thinking that god is trying to do anything good for humanity that he supposedly created. And if the Bible is to be believed, and god cast out sin with the story of Noah, then why do good people die and narcissists live on? Seems backward to me.

And then there's the second piece to my puzzle. My dad was surely not religious. He was born to a Jewish mother and never had religion growing up. Then, as an adult, he looked for a religion that worked for him. We went to a fair number of churches and he found that they were all about profit, rather that prophet.

At one point, just to prove a point, my dad became an ordained minister from some church. All it took was a few bucks and he mailed away for a certificate. No training. No religion required. If memory serves, the only thing they encouraged him to do was set up his own church ministry and contribute to them.

That was the end for him. He never again considered religion as meaningful. Now, I said that he got engaged with things because his sons did. And that's true.

When it was time for me to go to high school, my parents decided the best education for me was catholic high school. So I went there. And to save a few bucks on the tuition, we started attending sunday services and making a minimum donation to the church.

In a way, my dad went *for me* and not for himself. He never believed nor cared. And he actually never went back as I entered my senior year.

So it's an enormous joke that's being perpetrated here at the end.

You see, my mom has several fairly religious siblings. And she asked one who's a minister at an evangelical church to hold a service.

It annoys me to no end. But I suppose ultimately the joke is on him, my dad would actually laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Now I just need to think of the right words to say if I'm asked. Snarky but truthful.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The kids will win.

When the parkland shooting happened a few years ago, several of the more vocal survivors started talking about how "the kids will win."

Of course, derision was cast at them by the establishment.

But many in that generation became registered voters that year, and more have since then. So they can back up that statement with a voice in shaping the nations future.

I'm not going to sit here and try and speak to what they want, but I can generally tell you that they come from a variety of backgrounds, social statuses, have mixed families in terms of religion and race, and are connected to the world in a way that those of us who are little older can't quite comprehend. Plus many are technologically savvy.

So when they hear about progressive issues, social injustices, or people telling them to let the adults lead, they bristle. They're ready to tackle these things.

A couple of years ago, the first of what will probably be many elected representatives took office, in AOC. The establishment hates her, but thats their problem. They'll have to get over that. She is starting a move that will drive more younger people into caring about politics.

And then you hear about the Tik Tok kids that essentially is an informal group of these folks. Trump and others see them as a threat - because they successfully disrupted a klan, er, trump rally and essentially took them out of the data collection business (the backbone of last generation political campaigns).

So they want to ban Tik Tok. But what they really don't get is that it's not about the platform. That's just *a tool*. Take it away, and they'll find another. They're pissed off and motivated. And my hunch is that they enjoy tweaking the old establishment.

These kids are learning how to assert themselves. And frankly, given how the old, white, male establishment treats everything, I can't blame them. Kids were shot in school, the wealthy are granted all manner of privilege, there's racism and xenophobia, and no one is taking charge during a pandemic. It's time for the next generation to take the reigns and shape the future.

There was another thing that has happened in the last few weeks: college football student athletes are banding together to demand change in the face of the pandemic. They want us to recognize that they are the product and thus will change the way college football is managed.

Since this is *the* money maker in most universities, the programs will have to listen.

They have a long list of things they're asking for, but at the heart of it is that they want a seat at the head of the table to help guide what football should be doing now, and 20 years from now. It's another example of the kids finding the will - and a way - to win.

No matter what, they'll outlive the old establishment.

So buckle up. Things are about to get interesting.

Marco on Karen Bass

I find it highly amusing that lil Marco spoke of this a week or so ago, and now is sending around this in fund raising emails. The horror! She actually mourned someone's death. 

Marco likes to quote a particular book that has some stuff in there from a central character about compassion, and turning the other cheek - even against your enemies. 

Yet its okay, in his opinion, to celebrate the death of another human and decry anyone who mourns Castro. 

Perhaps he really doesn't understand that book. 

And I know. It's always about Cuba with him. And secondarily it's about party and politics. 

Meanwhile, the guy in the Oval Office overtly supports dictators around the world, lauds then, salutes their generals, and says they are doing a great job - at least in part *because* they are dictators. 

From Kim Jung, to Duarte, to the mess that is Venezuela, mr trump has a thing for dictators. And he doesn't seem the least bit concerned about that. 

Heck, even when he does nothing about the killing of US troops, funded by a close-to-a-dictator in Putin, marco brushes that off with a shrug. 

But he's "tough" on Cuba. And therefore it's different. 

Surely, Marco is blinded by his own family's history with Cuba, and not appreciating how trump is a wanna be dictator who would do many of the things Castro did, given a chance. 

"Willing ignorance" is an interesting turn of phrase because that's exactly what the GOP about everything trump does, even when he talks up communism. 

A communist sympathizer already inhabits the Oval Office. He's just playing dumb and hoping you won't notice. 

What a fool we have representing us in the senate. 

Karen Bass had this to say about Fidel Castro's passing in 2016:
"The passing of the Comandante en Jefe is a great loss to the people of Cuba."

That's a direct quote, , and she is currently one of the top candidates to be Joe Biden's candidate for Vice President. It's comments like these that show the willing ignorance Democrats have when it comes to communism. 

They're more concerned with pleasing far left voters than they are with speaking out against a communist dictator. It's awful, and shows how out of touch the party has become. 

Karen Bass' comments concern me, and the fact she's even being considered as Vice President should concern every single American in the country. 

We can't allow communist sympathizers to infiltrate the highest ranks of our government,

Monday, August 3, 2020

Peter Kennedy Patents

Patents granted:
8,427,445Visual expander
7,760,187Visual expander
Patents awaiting review: