Category: Politics

Whatever You Think, You’re Wrong

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • In difficult times it’s natural to want an expert to tell you the definitive answer. We don’t deal well with uncertainty. Right now the social medias are chock full of people pontificating, lecturing, and shaming people by posting whatever “expert” opinion happens to fit their view of the world. The problem is… nobody really knows diddly squat yet. Seriously. Whatever you think we know is probably wrong to some extent. Every study you cite, I guarantee I can find an opposing study that says the opposite. It will be years and massive amounts of data analysis before we really understand this zombie bat flu virus. Seasonal influenza is probably the most studied virus ever – and we still don’t fully understand everything about it. This shit is complicated and takes a crapload of research to make any meaningful progress.

    This doesn’t mean there aren’t elements of truth in all the stuff you see being posted. It’s just that the real truth is nuanced, and will take a lot more data and time to tease out. Is Hydroxychloroquine an effective treatment? Possibly, given a very specific set of conditions we don’t understand yet. Are masks effective? Probably, given certain environmental conditions. Lockdown vs herd immunity? Way too early to fully make a judgement. The point is that real science takes time. Take every breathless claim posted on Twitter/Facebook/YouTube with a grain of salt.
  • The real failure is our governments inability to react quickly to actual measurable trends. They pick a one size fits all strategy and choose to die on that hill rather than adapt when data shows things aren’t what we originally thought. The under 65 and no comorbidities crowd aren’t impacted in any statistical meaningful rate by this pandemic. So why aren’t we modifying our approach to protect just those folks? Instead we’ll make everyone suffer because, god forbid, we admit we didn’t fully understand when this started. Changing your approach with the arrival of new (verifiable) data is the very foundation of good science. I think I read that somewhere.
  • We were finally able to join the modern era in internet speed. We live in the very first neighborhood built in our city so our infrastructure has been lacking. I was very pleased a number of years ago when we were able to upgrade to DSL and a blistering 33 Mbps download speed. They just ran fiber to our area and this morning I’m seeing 881 Mbps. Praise be, as the Handmaidens say.
  • Our hospital is virtually out of hand sanitizer. At least two-thirds of the containers on my floor are empty. How is this possible? As usual, reality on the ground doesn’t match the fancy claims our government makes.
  • I never saw Breaking Bad when it came out. Binge watched it the last couple of weeks. What a fantastic series. Just started Better Call Saul and it seems equally good.
  • Joe Rogan’s podcast jumping to Spotify is an interesting development. Google/YouTube’s censorship strategies are starting to get noticed.
  • In our corner of the world, this has been a cold, wet spring. It needs to get warm and dry soon or I’m going to lose it. Every day my motivation to go outside and recreate dwindles… which leads to my not caring what I eat. This is a poor combination. Sitting at home reading internet conspiracy theories on the social medias for hours is no way to go through life son

Song of the day: “Shut up and let me go” The Ting Tings

Won’t Get Fooled Again

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • Peaks out from under covers… is it safe to come out now?
  • I’m going to go out on a limb and say – it’s ok to use a little common sense now and again. Are you old, have known comorbidities, immune or pulmonary compromise? Taking care of a family member in that situation? Then I’d take this very serious and isolate yourself. Don’t feel well or have a cough? Wear a mask and be respectful of distancing. Be mindful of washing your hands or using hand sanitizer more frequently. Otherwise – it’s time to rejoin society. Go out get some sun, eat out at a restaurant, and interact with your fellow human beings. We cratered our economy. It needs to get going ASAP or we’re facing a dark future. We just printed $7 trillion dollars out of thin air. That’s not sustainable.
  • I have now used the 3-2-1 method of smoking my babyback ribs twice. They come out fabulous. I won’t be going back to my old method.
  • The government experts suffer massively from institutional inbreeding (TM Pat Mac). They appear completely unable to think out of the box and react to new or changing information.
  • That permit we were waiting for? Not only got it, but got the preferred date we wanted. We’ll be climbing Mt Whitney via the main trail mid-August. I’ve done it previously, but a few people in the group haven’t. This is a consolation prize for our failing to summit via the mountaineers route a few years ago. We turned around 300 yards from the summit.
  • My hospital issues one paper surgical mask that I have to wear for 12+ hours and make last three shifts. I don’t know where all these millions of masks are going you hear about on TV, but they’re clearly not filtering down to the healthcare workers in my state. I have sores on the top of my ears from wearing the damn mask for so long.
  • Interesting cross training observation. I did almost exclusively skate skiing all winter. No running or mountain biking since last fall. Starting running again now that it’s spring and it felt like I was starting all over. Sore muscles and gasping like a three pack a day smoker. With mountain biking it felt no different than last fall. No change to climbing or endurance.
  • I have not tried to get the COVID serologic test. I probably should. The last time I posted to this blog I’d gotten sick after Mrs Troutdog traveled to Vegas. Felt crummy for a handful of days and spiked a mild fever for a few days. This was early Feb. I think it’s a 50/50 that it was the China virus.
  • The toilet paper hoarding is further example that humans are easily frightened herd animals that will do unexpected and dangerous things when spooked. The hand sanitizer and disinfectant hoarding I get. But TP? Seriously people? I hope it’s a wake up call that you need a reasonable food and water supply, sanitation items, guns and ammo, a good first aid kit, and apparently now toilet paper. Dr Fauci and Govs’ Newsom, Whitmer, and Coumo aren’t coming to save you when SHTF. Oh, and bourbon. Plenty of bourbon.

Song of the day: “Won’t get fooled again” The Who

It Could Be The Ebola

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  •  I work in a hospital. I am literally surrounded daily by nasty bugs. I never get sick. Never. Mrs Troutdog has a new territory and had to fly to Vegas and LA. Sure enough, several days later she feels like crap. And… several days after that I now have the Ebola cold. It sucks majorly to feel horrible on my precious few days off. I don’t do well just sitting around. I tend to get very negative about life in general, nap, and buy useless junk on Amazon.
  • Speaking of bugs, have you been following the news about the latest epidemic? This year alone there have been 19 million cases, 180,000 hospitalizations, and 10,000 deaths. Oh wait, that’s the flu not the Novel Coronavirus. But yes, let’s freak out about 12 cases in the US. How about we put our critical thinking hats on people? (no, not the tinfoil one)
  •  We’re applying for a very hard to get permit for an outdoor activity today. Fingers crossed. More to share if it comes through.
  •  On that crazy running goal I was contemplating… I clearly haven’t been watching enoughDavid Goggins, because I bailed. I can’t seem to muster up the discipline to get my ass up early every single day. More importantly, Mrs Troutdog yelled at me for thinking I was 25 again. It was all in all very demotivating. I need to find some focus with activities and hobbies. I lurch from hobby to hobby, never getting good at any one thing. I think part of it is I have zero structure to my life. I know what days I work and beyond that, there is no plan. On my days off I wake up and try and figure out which of my 37 hobbies I’m going to do. No goals, no plans. There are certainly times I wish I had a more structured calendar. I’m sure there’s a YouTube video somewhere to help with this.
  •  I’ve completely enjoyed watching the goat rodeo that is the DNC this week. They better right their ship in a hurry if they want any chance of competing in the general election.
  •  I spent some time talking to one of our hospital case managers about insurance. Major insurance company A owns insurance company B. Patient who has insurance company A gets approved for rehab in hours. Patient who has insurance company B routinely takes 72 hours. The approval agent is THE SAME PHYSICAL PERSON for both company A and B. It defies description how convoluted our system is.

Song of the day: “Walkin’ On The Sun”  Smashmouth

I Have A Booty Issue

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • I have a confession. I think about booty way too often. No, not that booty you filthy animals, this booty. Pirates Booty, a tasty snack that has no nutritional value. It’s like crack though… once I start I can’t help myself. How come we never get addicted to say, carrots?
  • Whenever you hear/see that a bison attacked someone I always cheer for the bison. It’s usually a clueless tourist doing stupid shit and Darwin has a way of taking care of business. In this case, the poor guy and his girlfriend did nothing wrong. Except I wouldn’t have gone back to the same park after the first attack.
  • My refrigerator died. The freezer went to minus 14 and the fridge part had no cooling at all. I’m usually not very good at fixing things, but I consulted Dr Google and YouTube. Ordered a $40 part from Amazon, one trip to the hardware store and we’re back in business. We live in an amazing time. The entirety of all human knowledge is instantly available to us. It wasn’t that long ago and this would have been at minimum an expensive repairperson or more likely a new fridge.
  • I really like this post on Maximum Enthusiasm. I was reminded of it yesterday. Mrs Troutdog doesn’t like to cross country ski. She will, however, go snowshoeing. I don’t get snowshoeing at all. Why go clomping around like an uncoordinated 5 year old when you can glide and go fast? Anyway, I went snowshoeing with her yesterday. And after being slightly grumpy for the first ten minutes (because real athletes don’t snowshoe), I actually really enjoyed myself. I even said that it was the perfect way to end the afternoon. Life is what you make of it.
  • The United States is going to lose the 5G war. The implications of that are very serious and will define our role in the next tech revolution. This is a very good article on it that barely touches the subject. We need to take the China threat seriously. Too bad this sort of thing never gets discussed in elections.
  • I hope everyone survived the holidays and that your Festivus feats of strength and airing of grievances went well. I’m not one for New Years resolutions. Tim Ferris suggests that a review of last year is more productive than making resolutions. I’ll probably just stumble forward day to day without much of a plan. Its worked so far!

Song of the day: “Who will save your soul” Jewel

Join The Space Force

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • We now have an official sixth branch of the military – the United States Space Force. I happen to think this is a good thing. Combined with reviving the US Space Command, we’re actually planning and thinking ahead for once. With SpaceX driving faster/better/cheaper access to space I think commercialization and conflict in that area is going to happen faster than you think. Hate this president, like this president… one thing you can’t deny is that he gets shit done. You may not like what he’s doing, but that will be for historians to decide on the positive/negative impact.
  • Speaking of space, I watched Ad Astra with Brad Pitt last night. Well, I didn’t watch it with him, he was in it. Not bad. A tad slow but all in all worth a watch. I felt the portrayal of commercialization of space was a realistic look at the future.
  • Most of the day yesterday was spent knocking snow off the roof, then shoveling the resulting massive piles to other places, plowing the driveway, hot tube maintenance, wood chopping. You know, basic dude stuff.
  • On the subject of fixing things, I have about a 50% success rate with repairs. Our fridge has been on the fritz for a while now. The freezer is at minus 11 and the main compartment wont go below 50. This is bad. I finally consulted Dr. Google and it looks like it’s just a bad evaporator fan. A $70 dollar part that’s in my limited skill set to replace. As soon as the magic brown truck shows up with my part we’ll see what happens.
  • I’m researching password managers. I can barely remember my own phone number, let alone multiple long passwords. God forbid if someone got into my twitter account and hijacked my follower. Keeper is the one I’m leaning towards at the moment.
  • According to climate experts the earth was destroyed 20 years ago. You should listen to the experts.
  • For the three people who actually read my ramblings, I’m at work saving lives (or eating tasty snacks) for the next three days. Y’all have a merry Christmas if I’m still allowed to say that.

Song of the day: “Middle of the road” Pretenders

It’s A Conspiracy

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reported that they had their hottest day ever on Dec 17. Expect that it wasn’t. As Tony Heller points out, a cursory look at history would reveal that the past was much hotter. The BOM chooses to ignore pre 1910 data, claiming the thermometers of the time had a several degree margin of error. The BOM (and the US too) happily ignores the modern urban heat island variability however. Is it a conspiracy meant to help push the climate change agenda? I don’t know. I do know there is no such thing as “settled science”. The entire point of science is to invite debate and independent validation of data… when that gets shut down I get suspicious.
  • I’ve been hooked on a YouTube channel called Itchy Boots. It’s a young woman traveling the world on a motorcycle. She’s currently going from the tip of South America to Alaska.
  • Had the first ski day of the season with the hound. I ran enough over the summer that last season’s “long loop” didn’t seem very long today. That’s a good sign.
  • Tulsi Gabbard decided to vote “present” at last nights impeachment vote. I haven’t decided what I think about that. Part of me thinks you should have to commit one way or another.
  • I’m still in a weird place with social media. Half the day I’m disgusted by it all and declare I’m done with it. Which is why I haven’t gotten the camera out in a long while or done much writing. Then I’ll watch a few YouTube creators and get all inspired. Sometimes when you have about 3 followers it’s hard to stay motivated… and I struggle with the idea of self promotion. Is that really what I want to spend my time doing for something that’s just a hobby?
  • The best charts of 2019 from Semi-Rad.
  • Google, Apple, Amazon, and ZigBee announced they’re creating a single standard for home automation. This is a good thing.

Song of the day: “Fly” Sugar Ray

The Shocking Truth

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • I am utterly flabbergasted at the number of people, in today’s day and age, that don’t wear a seatbelt in the car. Somewhere in the ’80’s the seat belt chime was standard in every vehicle. You have to go out of your way to not put on your seat belt today. Every single week (yes, EVERY week) there’s someone on our hospital floor who was ejected during a motor vehicle crash. Here’s the shocking truth just in case you weren’t aware… when an object travelling at a high rate of speed comes to a sudden stop – all that energy has to go somewhere. That energy is you being shot out of the vehicle like a cannon. Trust me, the outcomes aren’t good. Shattered pelvises and femurs from hitting the dashboard on the way out. Broken arms, destroyed shoulder joints. Broken ribs and pneumothoraxes. And last but not least – life altering head injuries. Wear your damn seatbelt.
  • On a whim I ordered a pair of pants from an ad I saw on Instagram (I never do that). So far I’m really impressed with the Northbound Gear pants. Tough, warm, and good fit. We’ll see how they hold up over the ski season.
  • We’ve set a record for the most number of days without a sunspot. It’s a good thing the sun has no impact on climate.
  • My resting heartrate is definitely bradycardic. We have so many stroke patients on our floor I’m freaking out now about my stroke risk. Time to make an appointment with my doc so he can talk me off the ledge of hypochondria. I’ll also be asking to add the Apo B test to my blood panel to find out more about my cardiovascular disease risk. Which is silly because I know that regardless of the result, the answer is to be strict with a better diet. Which I won’t do. I like nachos too much.
  • The Senate just passed the most recent National Defense Authorization Act. Under this deal we will be borrowing $2.75 Billion every single day to fund it. Eh, pocket change. Walking around money. But what’s really important is that you get outraged over this shinny object over here…
  • Gordon protects his little humans every day. We don’t deserve dogs.

Song of the day: “Freaking Out” Juiceboxxx

Triggered

Cool things, random thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • Someone posted some political crap on the Facebook the other day that seriously pissed me off. I even contemplated writing about it. This morning I stumbled on a Joe Rogan clip that made me realize it was stupid to even give it any mental time. If you only have, say 100 units of time in a day, do you really want to waste some of them thinking about a stupid comment? No, that’s for losers. I choose to use my units of time in a more productive way. Like reading a twitter thread by Kilian Jornet listing the ski resorts that allow uphill traffic.
  • I made a half-assed decision on the running goal. I will spend the next three weeks training as hard as I can and keeping the diet dialed in. At that point I’ll do an honest self appraisal. If I can stay disciplined, focused, and 100% effort for three weeks… I’m in.
  • We’re thinking about a vacation in March. I’m completely paralyzed about where/what to do. I honestly don’t know what I want to see. What a first world problem.
  • I’m currently reading New Gingrich’s book “Trump vs. China: Facing Americas Greatest Threat”. You can argue amongst yourselves about whether Trumps approach is right or not… What you can’t dispute is how dangerous China really is. If you don’t think so, then you seriously have your head buried in the sand.
  • I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to decide on a firearm for Mrs. Troutdog, mostly centered around pistol vs revolver. I finally decided on the Ruger SP101 in a 3″ barrel. For the limited time she’ll actually practice I think it was the right choice.
  • At the moment I think the democratic choice has to be Bloomberg. Personally I think they should embrace Tulsi. I could actually see myself voting for her. The democratic party is in a bit of a circular firing squad right now. The UK vote should be a serious wake up call for them.
  • I need to (re) learn my heart rhythms and reading ECG strips. Soon we’ll be responsible for our own monitoring (currently a telemetry floor does it for us and calls if there’s an issue). This worries me.

Song of the day: “Foxtrot” Tigerblood Jewel

A Case For Universal Basic Income

I should start out by saying that I do not agree with implementing a Universal Basic Income (UBI). However I recently listened to a podcast with Andrew Yang, a 2020 presidential candidate, and he made the most compelling case yet for it. I think the alarm bell he’s ringing is true… I’m just am not convinced UBI is the right solution.

Mr. Yang’s premise is that due to AI and automation one-third of all working Americans are going to lose their job in the next 12 years. Most of these workers are going to have a very hard time finding new employment. He makes the case that it’s not realistic to think that you’re going to re-train a truck driver from rural Iowa to write code. By giving every working age American $1000 a month you provide a safety net that will be put back into the economy in the form of gas, groceries, fuel, etc… A UBI paid for by a VAT tax. You have a choice of taking the UBI or social services (e.g. food stamps) but not both.

I agree that the coming AI boom is going to displace mass numbers of people. The Mckinsey research group estimates between 400 and 800 million people will be replaced by automation by 2030 worldwide. In the US, the top ten professions are mostly all lower wage jobs. The top five are:

  • #1 for males – truck driver
  • Retail sales
  • cashier
  • office clerk
  • food prep
  • customer service

The mean annual income in the US is $46,000. Every single one of those most common jobs listed is replaceable by automation. A third of the country out of work is a recipe for a real economic crisis that I’m not sure we can survive. The taxpayers are going to pay one way or another – in the form of food stamps, medical, etc…

There are folks who claim we’ve always had revolutions in technology that displace workers – let them #learntocode (don’t put that on Twitter!) The difference between the first and second industrial revolutions and today’s displaced workers is twofold; first the scale of displaced workers was much smaller and second, those revolutions actually spawned a middle class. An uneducated displaced farm worker could move to the city, work in a factory and support a family. Today it’s actually those lower-middle class jobs we’re removing.

So what’s my solution? I don’t know. As a libertarian-ish person I have a very hard time seizing taxpayer money and giving it to others because they made poor decisions and aren’t busting their ass to improve themselves. I also recognize that a mob of hungry, desperate people rioting with pitchforks isn’t in societies interest either.

Most politicians will push for ungodly expensive government boondoggle spending programs to “re-train” workers. Those are usually bottomless money pits with little positive outcome. I applaud Mr. Yang for at least being brave enough to raise the issue and give a plausible solution.

Is UBI the right solution? The more I think about it, the more I’m on the fence. It’s not often I stumble upon an issue where I don’t have a clear opinion. What do we do with 100 million people in this country out of work and no skills to bridge the gap? I’m curious what you think? What’s the right answer? Is this even a problem? Maybe the revolution will happen slower than we think. It’s certainly worth having a discussion… but I suspect we’ll ignore it until too late.

I Just Don’t Care


You see Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.

Peter Gibbons

I don’t care what your cause is. Saving the whales. Education. Transportation. Border walls. Healthcare. Wars. Infrastructure. Climate change. Everyone has their hot button interests. I’m sure they’re all worthy in some way. There’s just one problem. WE CAN’T PAY FOR ALL OF THEM.

As someone once said, eventually you run out of other peoples money. Whatever topic is your burning issue, the one that gets you to fire up the Facebook meme machine… great, more power to you. Advocate the hell out of it. But what I do want you to do as a responsible citizen, is tell me what you’re going to cut to pay for it.

You don’t get to just add spending any more. You want to fund research for the mating habits of the snowy plover? Great! Tell me what existing program is less important that you’ll cut funding for.

Could you imagine? We freeze local, state, and federal funding at it’s current point. Every single program, existing and proposed, has to compete for a fixed number of dollars.

Sorry, I’m under the weather and may have had too much cough medicine. I nodded off and had a weird vision of government. Carry on.