Archive for March, 2014

The Cost of Immunity

I saw this post this morning. People over-using skin cleaners and developing rashes.

We’ve become a nation paranoid of encountering a germ. Our cleansers shout that they kill 99.9% of germs. Of course, if you know math, that means that for every 1000 germs, one survives. The strong one. And then, you inevitably wander into it, touching or eating it. And your immune system has to fight the Bluto of the crew, before getting a chance to build up immunity by meeting the Pee Wee Herman of the crew.

And worse, we lug around big jars of hand sanitizer, and are encouraged to bathe in it before…everything. Especially before eating.

Wow. So to avoid ingesting a germ, we are encouraged to dip our hands in this chemical soup and then, guess what, eat some of that.

How about I pour you a double-shot of the stuff and you knock that back before dinner?

Me, I’d rather meet a handful of stray germs in a dark alley than ingest any of that noxious stuff. But you go right ahead.


Closed Loop Systems

Picture in your mind an island. It is overrun with rabbits, and has a small wolf population.

Those wolves will eat well, have plenty of resources, and produce lots of offspring.

Before too many years there will be a thriving wolf population, and the rabbits will be diminished.

Eventually the rabbit population will be reduced enough that the wolves won’t have enough to maintain their number. They will undergo competition, and one way or another, a bunch will die off.

As the wolf numbers decrease, the rabbits will recover, and the cycle will begin again.

If the island were truly isolated and this cycle were the only one being considered, the populations might reach some point of balance and maintain there. But such isolation is an illusion. The rabbits are in another cycle with grass for them to eat. Weather will affect both populations, other predators of either species, and so on.

The point is that mother nature works in a closed loop system. A bunch of closed loop systems. Of course, in every one of the phases, something bad is happening to one species or another: predation, starvation, etc. But the loops are closed and, for every pendulum swing, the pendulum eventually swings back.

People who believe in global warming as a crisis believe that an abundance of CO2 will raise the temperature of the planet in a runaway, open loop manner. They want to find some method of capturing that CO2 and holding it inactive so the environment is safe.

But mother nature already has that tool and that capability. That tool is called plants. An overabundance of CO2 will necessarily create a situation where plants can and will grow. Faster, larger, more densely.

The warmists will say ‘weather is not climate’ when trying to refute observations that don’t match their predictions. But at the same time will believe they have to ‘fix things’ immediately, rather than wait for the natural cycles to reverse a trend.

But, as with the wolves and rabbits, in the cycles of climate, ‘bad things’ will happen. People who build homes on the water’s edge might find the water rising. Um….duh! There was a time the continental appendix known as Baja California stretched as far north as present day San Jose, because the Pacific Ocean reached in and flooded the central valley. Should we build massive sea-walls to keep the coastline as it is today, just because that’s where the coastline was when we started paying attention? How is that human meddling any better than the human meddling that is allegedly causing global warming?

Bad things happen. Hurricanes, tornadoes, sure. Is there intensity changing? Some say yes. Is their frequency changing? If anything, we are in a lull. Nevertheless, they happen. And property is destroyed and people are injured and killed.

Sad things.

Bad things.

But it is an illusion to believe humans are causing it, or can prevent it. In fact, it’s the same sort of illusion that forms the foundation of faith in any religion you care to name.

Mother Nature is a closed loop system. Not a person, not a God(dess), and not a manifestation of human action.

Trust the planet to care for itself. It’s been doing so since long before you or I came along.

Carnivores Rejoice

Wow, I thought the science was settled.

My rule: if a farmer will eat it, I’ll eat it.

Nickels and Dimes

Years ago a friend asked me what I thought of this new DRM (digital rights media) stuff that was just catching on. I didn’t want to say it, but I was at the time a dinosaur who had no idea what the implications were. I owned CDs of all the music I wanted. I downloaded it to my iTunes (not on the cloud then or ever) and I was happy.

In intervening years I’ve downloaded a (very) small number of songs from iTunes. But mostly I still insist on getting CDs. I’ve bumped briefly into DRM elsewhere, but tend to avoid it as much as possible. The worst place for me is the non-free phone apps. And now I see my wife buying ebooks and when I ask her if she can share one with me, she tries, and what I get is a pointer to where to buy the book myself. Excuse me, I paid for that book on her phone, why should I buy it again?

And now come the marketeers. What do you do with a nation of people who are used to having any luxury they want and are frustrated at the restrictions being put on them? Why, you sell them the same things they already have, but without the restrictions.

Worst offender so far is a new AT&T service that will let you access all music in their library for 1 flat rate. Per month. You don’t actually own anything. You just listen and pay, or don’t listen and still pay, then do it again.

Then on my xbox I looked up a game in the app store to do karaoke. See, my singing is, well, hideous. I only do it when I am alone or torturing detainees*. But I enjoy it. So I thought a bit of karaoke in the safety of my own home would be a humanitarian thing to do.

Found the app. Downloaded it. And it gives you access to 5 songs. Everything after that is available on a rental basis with the longest rental being 1 month and the shortest being 2 hours.

It’s like an escort service for your vocal chords. No thank you.

Of course, each of these things is priced at a place where it really doesn’t seem like much. Especially when, as we’re taught to do by charity calls, we break it down into metrics of the equivalent daily cups of coffee. So no doubt people will pay for these things. And piss their money away getting something of no greater value than the things the own, or could own if they pooled that money for a short time.

I don’t know which bothers me more: the companies that do this, or the people that line up to pay for these things.

* if you are humor impaired, let me clarify: that was a joke.

Gotcha Back

It is a risk any time you mock a politician. That at some point in the future a politician you support will make the same kind of gaffe, and you will have to decide whether to
a) roast your guy/gal
b) ignore it, sacrificing your integrity
c) pretend you didn’t hear the new gaffe

Back during the years of Bush ’41, Dan Quayle made his famous potatoe spelling gaffe. He took somewhat universal derision. Television shows of the era got in on the act–I particularly remember an episode of Murphy Brown where the title character had a dump-truck full of potatoes dropped at the VP’s residence.

Well, it’s payback time. Picture a President, a black President (yes, I use the word black, no I do not use it in a derogatory tone)….a black President, introducing Aretha Franklin. What is the one word that that President should really be absolutely certain they know how to spell.

You guessed it.

Now, every democrat/liberal who ever laughed at the potatoe thing, make your choice. Party loyalty, or keeping your integrity. What will it be?

Ah, option c. As always.

Fiddling About

I know Obama ran against George Bush’s accomplishments. But I didn’t know that included George H W Bush’s overseeing the end of the USSR.

Now #nero is fiddling while Putin reclaims lost pieces of the empire. Maybe he can send Susan Rice out to tell us the Russian troops are just protesting a YouTube video.