Scientists Discover … January 21, 2019

Well, I don’t feel like writing about politics tonight, and not too much of significance is happening in my personal life, so I’m stuck for a topic.  There’s a little trick I did a couple of  weeks  ago, or maybe it was a couple  of months ago, to  find a topic and to reconvince myself that the human race isn’t doomed, irrevocably committed  to a path of self-destruction.  I go to Google, type in ‘scientists discover’ and set the filter  to ‘last  24 hours, and bingo.  There are things happening that will  change the world.  Unfortunately, the first 3 articles to pop up tonight weren’t universally optimistic, but it’s still educational  and fun.
Scientists discover new architecture in corn… well, there are positive and negative points to GMO products, so I went to the article with a bit of trepidation.  They were mostly talking about corn for making ethanol, which may  be a boon to mid-western farmers, but  it isn’t much better for the environment than regular oil.  We need to be converting to solar and wind and electric cars and high speed trains, not to  fucking ethanol.  Still, it’s an increase in our overall scientific knowledge, and it may yield some positive  benefits.
The next article was Scientists discover hidden blood networks  that cross through bone.  Cool.  You would have thought we’d have had the  body  pretty well mapped out by now, as doctors have been cutting  open bodies for thousands of years, but apparently we’re still  learning stuff.  I’m not clear about the  applications on this (maybe a cure for bone cancer?) but the more we learn about our bodies the  better.  I feel sure  this  research will  save lives, somehow, at some point in the future.
The third story was Scientists discover freaky fish thriving in waters we thought were deadly to life.  I thought they were  going to be talking about extremophiles near ocean-bottom vents, but no, they are talking about de-oxygenated zones, and they’ve actually  found some fish that can live there.  Now, this one is some scary shit, because human beings sure as hell can’t live without oxygen, and the water is not that far from the land, they even touch  at points.   We may not extinguish all life on  Earth in the next  12 years… just any species that breathes oxygen.
And monsters will inherit  the Earth.

 

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The Imaginary Need for Secrecy

I very seldom play Facebook games, and I never share them.  In  the beginning, I did a few of the name tests.  You know, what is your gangster/unicorn/rapper name, stuff like  that.  I took the Which Hogwarts House Do You Belong in test and they put me in Hufflepuff, when I know perfectly  goddamned well I should be a Ravenclaw, so screw you, Mark Zuckerberg, you are not the sorting hat.

But, I’m not too bothered  if other people do.  Different people are entertained by different stuff.  I just want to write poetry and argue about politics, and there are plenty of people who aren’t into that at all.
Anyway, with this 10  year photo challenge.  I wasn’t tempted to participate, but saw nothing nefarious in  it, either, until somebody suggested that maybe Facebook was using it to build a data base to study age progression/facial recognition technology.  Now, I don’t think anybody’s got proof of that, but it’s right off the bat believable.  It does accomplish exactly that and, as a computer firm, it’s almost certainly something they’re working on.
There are good uses and bad uses for this technology.  Looking into the future, someday this  will be standard procedure if you’re thinking about marriage.  “What is she/he going to  look like 10 years from now?” is kind of an important question and if an answer is available, why not take a peek.
But mostly the police will want to use it.  I’ve got mixed feelings about that.  If they’re using it to  look for kidnapped children or victims of the  sex-trafficking industry, then it’s a good thing.  If they’re trying to find some kid who sold pot in High School 30 years ago, which is what they’ll mostly use it for, because they are dicks, then I’m against it.
The thing  I wonder  is this:  if that’s their goal, why weren’t they just upfront about it.  You know “We are building a database to study facial recognition and, if you wouldn’t mind, could you post a photo of you 10 years ago and one that’s current?  It’s for science.”  They might not have got  as many photos, but I’ll  bet they would have got enough.
Facebook (and all corporations,  really) have got that government disease.  They are just so  used to  keeping  secrets from the public that it’s become a habit and they  do it even when they don’t need to.  It’s a very unhealthy aspect of our society.

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Punks v. Old Indian Dude

I am using the word punks in the old 50s and 60s use of the word, somebody with a loud mouth that couldn’t back it up, somebody who thought  they were a big shot, but they were a scared, little wimp inside and everyone knew it.  That kind of punk.  I mean no  disrespect to fans of the Ramones and anybody who’s ever sported spiky hair.
So, the punks in the news today are a bunch of kids wearing MAGA hats from a Catholic High School in Kentucky, confronting an elderly native American man who  was banging a drum and chanting.  Most of them were shouting and jeering, lots of them were laughing, a few of them were taking photos, and one extremely  creepy  dude was right in the old man’s  face, just staring creepily, the way  creeps do.
Certainly, they are horrible kids, their parents (who  are  undoubtedly smug, rich racists their own selves) should be deeply  ashamed.  Oh, how do  I know they were racists, you  ask?  As I said, they were wearing MAGA hats.  I’m tired of saying “Not all  Trump  supporters are racist.”  Hell they ain’t.
They should probably be expelled  from  the school, especially  creepy dude, he should probably also be followed around for  a while and maybe have a few sessions with the school shrink.  He looks like the type who  kidnaps and abuses animals.  Of course, I don’t  know the  boy personally, so I’m not making any allegations, he just looks like that.  You know, creepy.
But, I doubt they  would be.  There were probably about 15-20 kids involved.  At $10,000 a year tuition, the school  would be out $200,000 for  the year.  I’d be happy if they at least expelled creepy dude, though.  He should have that on  his record.

I don’t expect it, though.  There wasn’t actually any legal infraction.  They were being rude and abusive to an old man, but it was at a  political rally  where many  sides were involved, some confrontations are almost inevitable.  And, to a large extent, most of them were just acting the way uninformed, immature, high school  boys with a pack mentality always  act.  They follow the  worst among them and they all feed off each other. It’s not a new thing.  It’s just that now everything gets  filmed.  So, it can be remembered forever.
Yes, these kids behaved badly.  But, this incident will  fade from the public view in a couple of days, and maybe that’s even  a good thing.

Some of them may still  grow up  to  be  good  kids.

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Leading With Love

I have been a huge fan of Tulsi Gabbard ever since she resigned as vice-chairman of the DNC.  I thought, this is a person with rare political courage.  Also, since she was on board with Bernie, you could see she was for most of the things I’m for, and against most of the things I’m against.
But there was one little personal quirk, or so  I  read it at the time, that bothered me.  It was the way she was constantly bringing up ‘Aloha’ and it struck me as a little bit off, a little bit soft, and airy, and other words you  don’t want associated with your campaign.
I must say, I enjoyed it maybe more than  what it was worth when she tweeted “Being Saudi Arabia’s bitch is not Making America Great Again.”  I thought, aha, now she’s catching fire.
Well, I was just watching a video  of her, from a while back, before she’d announced, certainly, and she was doing her standard explanation of what aloha  really means and I suddenly realized: she totally means it.  She’s not just joking around with her Lead With Love slogan.  This is more than a buzzword, more than a slogan.  This is a powerful statement, this is a defining message, this is why she’s running, and it’s revolutionary.
Imagine a society where the leaders actually lead with love.  Universal Health Care is obvious.  If you love people, you want to take care of them and not let them die.  You want to preserve the Earth so that people younger than ourselves can have a future.  If we had leaders that truly believed in, and practiced, love and respect for all the world’s peoples, what today is  settled by war might be settled by a couple of phone calls, in a way that benefits everybody.
She is strong, and obviously well-informed, on the issues.  But I’ve never heard a politician stressing quite so much that  everybody should just be a little bit nicer to each other.  It’s a beautiful thing.  It’s a powerful thing.

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Work in Progress

I woke up this  morning with the beginnings of  a poem in my head, well, not just like that, it didn’t come to me in a dream or anything, more like I  was lying in bed this morning thinking about what I should write next and that is a very good time of day for me re creative thought.  First I thought ‘Well, I should make it something like a  double dactyl, because that’s a rhyme scheme I like very much, it’s fast, it’s energetic, but I don’t like sticking to it too strictly because it’s really hard (sort of like this diet, but I’m actually not doing too badly), so I was thinking, like, da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da da sooner or later, and that was the first line, sooner or later, but it will probably go somewhere in the middle and then gradually the idea grew and some key elements are the double helix of the DNA and how that’s a spiral and how a forward pass in American football is a spiral motion, and a spiral staircase also, so there’s a connection between American football, spiral staircases, and DNA, and somewhere ‘Stairway to Heaven’ fits in there, and the overall idea is that all in the universe is connected (the lesser, the greater and sooner or later da da da da da da da da da da da, but it takes time, it takes time not only to understand the universe but even to perceive it, so that’s as far as I’ve got, will work on it this weekend.  Peace out.

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More Thoughts on the Tulsi Candidacy

…and you can expect this to be a common theme over the next two years.  Even though the shitstorm that greeted her announcement has been shocking and awesome, a firehose of flaming horseshit, a tsunami of negativity, she will be a major force to contend with, and I’m predicting right now that she’ll be the next president of the United States.
As a friend of mine put it today “If she can weather this, she will be absolutely invulnerable.”  And weather it she will.
Of course, we all get our information from different sources, so it’s possible I’m not seeing the same reality as some other people.  I belong to a couple of Bernie groups, a couple of Tulsi groups, one group that calls itself The Progressive Party, and one group which calls itself Alliance Against the Democratic Party’s Hypocrisy, or something like that.  So, when I see the criticisms of Tulsi, I also see the rebuttals happening pretty much instantly.  There are plenty of voters who are a lot less involved, who get their news from CNN or Fox, who are seeing all the smears against her, and none of the counter-points.  Still, we’ve got two years to set them straight, some of the charges might actually work in her favor, and as long as she’s in until the debates, she will come out of them as strong as hardened steel.
Take the charge that she is homophobic.  Anybody who follows her knows it’s complete bullshit, most people in the gay community seem to be very supportive of her, and the disconnected voter is probably not that interested in the issue, so that won’t sway them one way or another.  The charge that she is too close with Prime Minister Modi of India is easily debunked, so people in the know know it’s no big deal.  People who are getting their news from main stream media are probably scratching their heads and saying “Who is Modi and why should anybody care?”  The charge that she is pro-Israel has been balanced by the simultaneous and equally hysterical charges that she is anti-Israel.
So, I think she’s going to come through it just fine.  They have already hit her with their best shot, and all they’ve done is to increase her name recognition.

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1000 Hamberders

Great being with the National Champion Clemson Tigers last night at the White House.  Because of the Shutdown I  served them massive amounts of Fast Food (I paid), over 1000 hamberders etc.  Within one hour, it was all gone.  Great guys and big eaters.  – Donald J. Trump, president of the United States

It is traditional, of course, to entertain championship sports teams at the White House, although I don’t know  why.  It’s not as if  they  are astronauts, or  scientists, or have done something to advance society.  Still, all  presidents do it.  That’s not  the problem.
A lot of people are focusing on the president’s ridiculous misspelling of hamburger.  As one person pointed out, it is actually a difficult mistake to make.  Hamberder gets a red line under it and auto correct will correct it.  Still, plenty of people will defend him, saying “It’s just a typo.”  I’m not buying it.  The d for a g is a likely typo, they are not too far apart on the keyboard.  An e for a  u is a bit less believable.  I’m pretty sure he  was actually trying for  hamberger.
But there is so much more  wrong  with this tweet, and this situation.  One of the players was overheard to say that at first they thought it was a joke.  You don’t really expect to be served fast food at the White House.  It’s not like they planned a casual atmosphere.  They still  used  the fancy plates and stuff.  It all just looked a bit ridiculous.
Then  he says “because of the shutdown” while neglecting to add “which I caused.”  It’s not  like he’s a victim in this situation.  I’m sure he and his family are still  eating.
There’s the 1000 burgers lie (it was about 300) which was absurd and unnecessary.
Then he insists on pointing  out that he paid (which I  doubt, but for arguments sake let’s assume that he did.)  He’s a billionaire.  Are we expected to be impressed that he splashed out for a few hundred burgers  and some pizzas?
Also, it does not compensate  the government for  all the times he’s charged the secret service for their rooms at Mar-A-Lago, where I’m sure people  weren’t eating hamberders.
The tweet (and the whole situation) show the president to  be classless, illiterate, dishonest, and sort of offensive.  Nothing we didn’t already know.

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