Category: Solving the wrong problem

It’s Time To Fear The Toilet

I like learning new things. Most of the time it’s useless information like, on average 100 people a year choke on ballpoint pens. Or Al Capones business card said he was a used furniture dealer. And that licking a stamp is one-tenth of a calorie. But once in a while I stumble upon something that’s interesting and useful. Like Covid is spread through the toilet. What?

If you have time, this article is an excellent read. It’s long and complicated. I confess, I’ve read it three times now and still don’t understand at least a third of it. It’s about the origins of Covid. But one section about transmission routes of Covid caught my eye. It turns out that the initial, and most probable, sources of infection were from fecal aerosols and Class B Biosolids. Fecal aerosols? That sounds horrible!

Toilet aerosols are, well… produced by the forceful evacuation of fecal material, followed by flushing (not sure how else to put it?). Large amounts of virus are shed in fecal matter. Part of the longstanding methodology of tracing virus spread is from testing wastewater. (I didn’t know that) So, you’ve produced a plume of virus containing aerosol that now wafts through the plumbing and hovers in air. Household member number two comes along to conduct their daily constitutional and, boom, transmission. The bulk of transmission, especially early on, came from intra-family and group living settings. Hmmm.

Next up is the Class B Biosolids. I’d never heard of that. I wish I hadn’t. It turns out that the “sludge” that comes from wastewater treatment facilities is repackaged as fertilizer. Yes, you read that right. Human feces, now branded as a “Biosolid”, is given/sold to farmers as fertilizer. Class B means it has NOT been treated to remove pathogens. So, we’re happily spreading Covid virus packed human feces fertilizer on our food source. This chart blew me away. It shows the top 500 US counties with Covid case increases early in the pandemic (Nov 2020). Next to it is the US counties with the highest level of corn production. The two are a near mirror image. Nah, that’s not frightening at all.

A few minutes of searching time and you’ll realize that none of this is new or novel information. It was well known science long before Covid, with plenty of papers in the various journals. Our various health departments and agencies clearly know about this. Yet, they spent over a year pushing respiratory droplets and fomites as the primary vector of transmission. We’ve been forced to wear useless masks in the hopes that they might stop the larger mucus particles and to panic buy sani-wipes to clean every conceivable surface before we sit down. Meanwhile the virus has been happily aerosolized and is wafting along in plumes, and slowly drifting down to be inhaled hours or days later in any room that doesn’t have adequate ventilation.

With pro sports back in swing, how many “super spreader” events have there been from stadiums of 70,000+ fans? None. They’re outdoors or in facilities with fantastic air circulation. There’s clearly been some limited spread at events like Sturgis. While most of the Sturgis rally is outdoors, what other component does it have? In the evening everyone heads to the bars and clubs with little to no real HVAC capability. Why haven’t there been any large spread events documented with the airlines? If primary transmission was direct respiratory droplet spread, you’d think we’d constantly hear of entire planeloads of passengers that tested positive. We don’t. Airlines have some of the most effective air circulation you’ll find.

This is not to imply that you cannot get Covid via respiratory droplets. Of course you can. But that’s going to happen in an environment of close contact for extended periods of time. Bars, clubs, friends sitting around the kitchen table for hours. Coughing, laughing, touching their face, sharing drinks, smokes, and physical contact (what do you think the young kids are doing at the clubs, silly rabbit?)

You are not going to get Covid walking through the grocery store, strolling through the restaurant to your table, or passing people on the hiking trail. If you do, you most likely passed through an aerosolized plume that’s been wafting in the air for hours already. Unless you’re wearing a properly fit tested N-95 mask… nothing is going to prevent that. Sorry.

There’s much more to unpack in this article, this was just the first part that jumped out at me. How much further I go with it depends upon the current state of my ADHD attention span, the weather, and my natural inclination to throw up my hands and decide never to write again at any given moment (happens multiple times a week).

The image I’m left with after reading this is that poor fellow who you spot walking along by themselves, outdoors, alone, wearing a mask. Fearful and paralyzed with the idea that the ‘Rona is just waiting for them around every corner. Can you even imagine them finding out there’s Corona virus in fertilizer and fecal aerosols? Being unable to eat or ever poop again would be a sad ending.

Let’s Trust The Science

The other day I rambled on a bit about a question I had – can you name an actual harm that Trump did to the nation? Not mean tweets harm, but real identifiable harm. Well I was shocked to find out that someone actually read my post, and not only that but took the time to comment (which I appreciate, good or bad). The comments pointed out that Trump took some actions to remove or modify environmental policies from the previous administration. Clearly that would cause harm, wouldn’t it?

You’d think this would be an easy answer. We have climate. We have smart people studying things. We’ve been measuring this for a long time. Simple, right? And the answer is… it depends on what data you choose to believe. Sigh.

But, but, these are scientists man. Science is always objective, right? Not when there’s billions of dollars in funding at stake. Oh come on, these are experts. They wouldn’t push science that wasn’t proven. Really? Please point me to any county, state, or country that can show any clear correlation between implementing a mask mandate and a lowering of covid case counts. We have a year and a half of clear data on this. The correlation signal should be pretty easy to spot. I’ll wait. Hint, you won’t find it. Yet the experts continue to yammer on and on about masking. We’re creating an entire generation of kids who are afraid to go outside and play without a mask on. Yet nobody can actually point to any real “science” to this other than “the experts say”.

Anyway, back to global warming. Yes, I said global warming because that’s what this was about until the “experts” decided it needed to be re-branded. It’s now called CLIMATE CHANGE. Convenient, because any weather abnormality can now be attributed to CLIMATE CHANGE. The last few years we’ve tacked on EXTREME WEATHER. Because, of course, EXTREME WEATHER is naturally caused by CLIMATE CHANGE. It’s just science, man.

This is such an enormous topic, it’s virtually impossible to boil it down to easy, bullet point, talking points from any side of the argument. Have we experienced global warming? Yes. Somewhere between 0.3 and 0.7 degrees centigrade in the last century. The global warming hypothesis that started in the late 80’s is that there will be about a 1 degree increase in temperature for each doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere. The kicker that Al Gore capitalized on is that the claim that greenhouse gases would cause a positive feedback loop, adding another 2-4 degrees of warming and eventually causing a tipping point that was unrecoverable. Throw in a scary hockey stick graph, some images of polar bears stranded on melting ice flows, and voila – we have a crisis!

The challenge with any hypothesis is that your findings have to be independently reproduced to have any credibility. Mann’s hockey stick graph used cherry picked data and code that turned any inputs into a hockey stick. The projections the IPCC uses year after year to predict gloom and doom are based upon models that have been laughably wrong. Not just by a little bit but by massive amounts. And wrong year, after year, after year.

But, but, what about the wildfires every summer? And the hurricanes? And the melting ice caps? And increased numbers of hot days? And rising sea levels? And polar vortexes? OH MY GOD, THERE’S EXTREME WEATHER EVERYWHERE!!

Burn acreage is down massively. Hurricane frequency is way down. Artic ice reached above normal levels this year. The number of hot summer days is actually down. Sea level isn’t rising. And on, and on, and on. Can you find a particular data point and extrapolate from that some causation? Sure. But when you take multi-decadal trends (which is what climate is), any changes seen are mostly… meh.

Unfortunately people cherry pick and alter the data. What? Yes, the temperature data is altered. Half the US weather stations are “zombie” stations – they don’t actually exist anymore. Their data is computer generated from a model/algorithm. Weather stations that 40 years ago were in a field are now surrounded by asphalt parking lots and building exhaust vents, a.k.a the urban heat island effect. Most scary graphs start from the 1960’s/70’s. Why? It was a very cold period – remember they were predicting in the 70’s we were heading into a new ice age. It’s not convenient to start your data points earlier than that due to the extreme global heat of the 1930’s (the dustbowl).

It goes on and on. Our data collection is a mess. And unfortunately scientists actually do lie. Remember climategate? Emails showed they were conspiring to find a way to “hide the pause”. We’d had a 17 year pause in any signs of warming at that point. A very inconvenient truth. So yes, count me as a skeptical when it comes to experts making any extreme global warming claims.

And the cherry on the cake is the UN/IPCC climate treaties. The US was correct to pull out. They achieve nothing except massive wealth transfer from the US to other countries, while not actually requiring other countries (CHINA) to do anything. China is building out coal fired plants as fast as they can go, meanwhile the US and Europe doom themselves to voluntary CO2 restrictions that cripple our energy production. Here’s a perfect example of looking at the data – we had a near complete shutdown of the world a year ago. A more extreme version than any UN agreement could have hoped for. And what happened? Atmospheric CO2 didn’t budge in the slightest. Zero change. So tell me again how any UN agreement (costing gazillions of dollars) is going to “fix” global warming when a global shutdown didn’t make any impact?

The global climate is ungodly complex. Solar impacts, ocean currents, equatorial winds, and yes even manmade issues… there are so many factors impacting the climate. We’re still in the infancy of understanding the impact of things like solar cycles and ocean currents. I think it’s foolish to think we can point to just one possible cause with all its associated faulty data, politics, and agendas and say conclusively – ah ha, that’s the issue.

So, did Trump cause harm by pulling out of the Paris Agreement? Since none of the previous four UN climate summits achieved anything… I’d argue it made zero climate impact. The effect of substituting Obama’s Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy rule will depend upon which side of the global warming/greenhouse gas side of the coin you’re on. If you think, like the green new deal zealots that the world will end in 12 years if we don’t do something NOW!… then yes it caused harm.

My position is that when you strip away all the politics, media hype, and academics jockeying for the next round of funding – we honestly don’t really know. Lots of hypothesis, very little reproducible findings that conclusively prove correlation/causation. And with the frightening rise in fuel and energy costs (and the associated rise in the costs of all goods) happening right now, I’m going to be a skeptic when it comes to making changes that will make things economically worse for the planet.

Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth came out in 2006 and claimed we only had 10 years left before we reached the point of no return. And 15 years later… the polar bears are thriving. The west coast isn’t under water. We’re not wearing shorts in the arctic. I’m pretty sure we don’t need to panic. My prediction? At the current rate of change it will take about 100 years before we’ll see a clear enough signal in the data to show if we’re really warming or not vs one or two year abnormalities. Climate is measured in decade and century time scales. And in a century from now, I’m reasonably confident we’ll have alternative energy sources we currently haven’t thought of. Our technological advance is going to happen independent of global warming fears. It’s our human nature.

The entire point of science is to question. Question the data. Question the findings. Question the methods. Question the motivations. Question, question, question. And when you run out of questions and can’t find fault with the results, you’ve arrived at a solid scientific theory. With climate, we’re still at the very beginning. Questioning isn’t denial, it’s what we’re supposed to do.

Back off, man, I’m a scientist.

 Dr. Peter Venkman

A Return To Chaos

In about a week we’ll be watching the most consequential election of our times… according to the news. It’s for the governorship of Virginia. I’m sure there’s other elections going on in the country, but for some reason all the smart people believe the outcome of this one will signal the how the rest of the elections will go for the next four years. Whatever. The democrats are apparently worried and have brought out the heavy hitters to help campaign. No, not Brandon but Obama. And yesterday the former and current acting president said something during his speech that caught my ear.

“We’re not going to go back to the chaos that did so much damage” said Obama. Hmmm. Just exactly what damage is he referring to? That’s a serious question. I’m not talking about the four years of hysterical teeth gnashing and wailing brought about by Trump Derangement Syndrome. That’s entirely an issue brought about by the left and fueled by the “media”. Madonna and Ashely Judd wearing pink pussy hats and caterwauling like scalded cats about blowing up the white house and being nasty women perfectly encapsulates the TDS that started right after the election and grew steadily for four years. While annoying, that’s not destruction.

So what exactly did the bad orange man destroy? The economy? Jobs? Gas prices? Border security? A rapid vaccine development in the face of a pandemic? Trust me, there’s plenty not to like about the guy but I can’t think of any actual harm that happened or was exacerbated on his watch other than triggered snowflakes devastated by mean tweets.

It must be really painful for the left right now, as evidenced by the complete radio silence about this president. Nobody is even attempting to defend anything the administration is doing. CNN spends its time covering ani-vaxxers, an actor shooting someone, and never ending analysis of the Laundrie murder. MSNBC still covers the devastating capitol insurrection 24×7. Meanwhile kids, pull up a chair and lets think about the achievements under the current administration:

  • A disastrous Afghanistan pull out that got US solders and marines killed, droned a car full of kids, and left behind hundreds of Americans. Oh, and gifted the Taliban $80 some odd billion dollars in military hardware. Tens of thousands of unvetted Afghans have been brought in as refugees and released into the country.
  • Rapidly accelerating inflation, gas prices, food costs, and a worker shortage that nobody can explain.
  • A supply chain crisis the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Hundreds of ships anchored offshore with no way to offload. Store shelves are empty, manufacturing is shut down, and consumer goods like cars and appliances are non-existent. Meanwhile the transportation secretary who was already AWOL on this issue, goes on paternity leave (and nobody in the media even notices).
  • A mishandling of public health messaging that’s so inept it’s causing reasonable people to question vaccines simply because they no longer trust the governments message. Public health officials demanding you “follow the science” while actually ignoring the science. Our covid czar Fauci is caught lying about funding gain of function research in, wait for it… Wuhan. A president to actually believes millions of people should lose their jobs if they don’t submit to the jab.
  • An unimaginable border crisis that grows by the day. A record 1.7 million unvaccinated and unvetted people intercepted and released into the country. Hundreds of thousands more that snuck in without detection. New caravans of thousands are heading to the border at this moment. Secret flights are sending folks to cities across the country in the middle of the night. The Vice President, appointed as the border czar is… simply AWOL. But dammit, we will investigate the border patrol riding horses. The public imagery is horrific!
  • From a foreign policy standpoint, we’ve managed to piss off the French, provoke the China/Taiwan issue and North Korea is back to launching missiles. Straight out of the gate our secretary of state attempted to lecture Chinese officials and got his ass handed to him. Speaking of China, they’re now actively posturing and provoking militarily on the sea and in the air.
  • Crime and murder are at all time highs across the country. Meanwhile the attorney general appears to be more concerned with parents attending school board meetings.

In times past, any one of those issues would be enough to hamstring a president for the duration of their term. All of this and we’re not even a year into this administration. The growing list of crises is causing actual damage, with no relief in sight. There doesn’t appear to be anyone in the administration even attempting to get out in front of any of this. All efforts appear to be solely on getting the two, five, seven, ten trillion (I’ve lost track of what it is now) in new spending passed. Because printing new trillions of dollars during inflation/stagflation is clearly sound economic policy.

No offense, but I preferred the previous chaos and damage.

I Want The Data

A short one today. The local hardware store in our little town just reimplemented a mask mandate to shop there. The city council is contemplating reinstating the city-wide mask mandate. I’m sure cities across the country are evaluating the same thing with the new delta (sshhh, don’t mention the country) variant of the virus which shall not be named.

For roughly a year every city, county, state, and federal public health office has been collecting extensive data on Covid cases. We know exactly how many new cases we had for every single day in every corner of the country (and world). Every single person in the country has seen multiple instances of the bell-shaped curve graphs showing the current state of Covid case counts.

So here’s my question – with all that data it should be very simple to show a strong correlation between the implementation of a mask mandate and the reduction of case counts, right? The entire point of the mask (as we’ve heard ad nauseum) is that they protect you and others from transmission of the virus. So, across the country the data should easily show the date of a mask mandate and shortly afterwards case counts dropping. Seems like simple science, no?

I have yet to see any data that shows a mask mandate having any impact whatsoever on case counts in any part of the country. Have you? Don’t you think the powers that be would be hammering the news talking heads every night with these charts to prove how effective their mask mandates were? Instead, the CDC’s strongest case for masks seems to be a report on two hairstylists who were positive and saw a bunch of clients. They all wore masks and nobody else was infected. So there you go – based upon two hairstylists, we all have to wear a mask.

We’ve had a real world, year long experiment with extensive amounts of data. Before you force me to wear the damn mouth diaper again, I want to see the data. Not theory, not anecdotes from hairstylists or isolated lab experiments attempting to measure droplet velocities. We know the date we started wearing the damn masks. Can you correlate a drop in case counts afterwards? It doesn’t seem like a hard question, does it?

The Ex Post Facto Study

  • As humans, we really like passing new laws, creating processes and procedures, and establishing new rules to solve the problems we’re experiencing. What we don’t do a very good job of is any sort of analysis of our newly created bureaucracy to see if it actually did anything useful. Laws and processes, once created, tend to stick around forever. For example at the start of the pandemic that shall not be named for fear of woke xenophobia, my hospital started a screening process for anyone entering. They purchased fancy stand alone scanners that let me scan my badge and take my temperature. I never use it because I have to log into it the night before (a software system the hospital had to purchase), answer the same stupid four questions, and then the next morning my temperature never registers with the automated machine because I just walked across the parking lot in 40 degree temps. The backup to the automated station is an employee who asks the questions, manually checks my temp (which still fails), and then gives me a sticker to put on my badge to “prove” I’ve been screened that day. When the ‘rona started everyone was panicking and I’m sure this process seemed reasonable at the time. It’s been in place for quite awhile now, so a retrospective study seems appropriate. Has this system actually “caught” any cases of Corona? I doubt it. How many people with 104 degree temps and difficulty breathing actually go to work or randomly show up to visit aunt Sally in the hospital? Or, they are asymptomatic and would have passed the screening anyway. Naturally the in-person screeners are only going through the motions at this point. I walk up say “no changes”, they try to scan my temp for 0.2 seconds, I grab my sticker and go. So in retrospective, is it worth continuing this? What made me think of this was something Grandpa Joe said during his weird state of the union speech last night. He dredged up the standard we need more gun laws rhetoric, saying we need to ban ghost guns and pass universal background checks. Ignoring what drivel that is for the moment, this seems like a prime opportunity for a retrospective study. We have tons of historical data in the form of crimes committed with guns. If we looked backwards and applied the new proposed laws, how many of those crimes would have been prevented? e.g. how many shootings have occurred with “ghost guns”? How many people went through some sort of firearm purchase at a flea market or gun show, bypassed a background check, and then went on to commit a crime? It seems pretty simple to look backwards to see if something would work moving forward. But that assumes you actually want the answer.
  • Spell check is a wonderous thing. Without it my writing would look like a five year old’s. Spell check elevates it to at least sixth or seventh grade. But the problem with spell check is you have to be roughly in the ballpark for it to give a suggestion. Take for example “bureaucracy”. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten it right first time. Unfortunately I never even get close enough for spell check to offer a helpful hint. I end up Googling things to stumble across the right spelling. Which brings me to my new phone. I like using the “swype” keyboard rather than entering in individual letters. The default swype implementation on the old Pixel phone was marvelous. I only had to get semi-close to the actual letters and it somehow knew what I was trying to type. It often had the correct contextual suggestions for the next word and the next word… magical. Samsung’s implementation on the other hand is very disappointing and more often than not I have to go back and type everything out. Sigh. I know you can download other swype keyboards, but that would take actual effort.
  • I violated my newly vowed rule to simply pay a professional to install things rather than me spending 10x the amount of time to do the same thing. I got some parts for the new ginormous motorcycle but the idea of waiting for an appointment and then paying someone $75 an hour to do what I should be able to do just killed me. And sure enough… two and a half full afternoons, many expletives, phone calls to customer support, and two new one-time use tools and everything is installed. But at least I feel good about my manliness. Cue Tim the toolman grunt.
  • This past weekend was very rainy and outdoor stuff wasn’t an option. I was bored and decided to conduct research and do an actual experiment. I’ve been needing a navigation solution (long story) for the backcountry while on the motorcycle. I wanted to use my phone rather than purchase a $600+ GPS device. I ended up spending the better part of a day researching options, downloading software, creating routes and maps, and really learning the systems. And the pièce de résistance, I created three custom routes and then went out and drove them to see which system performed the best. An actual experiment. I am a dork of huge proportions. But, at the end of the day I think I have a system that’s going to work.
  • I don’t think there’s much to say about the weird state of the union last night. Grandpa Joe is not a gifted orator. For all his flaws and ignoring content, Obama could deliver a good speech (as long as the teleprompter was working). Clinton too. For speechmaking ability I’d rank the presidents in the following order: Obama, Reagan, Clinton, Bush 43, Bush 41, Biden. As far as content goes, all SOTU speeches are stupid. They’re long whish lists of crap that never gets done. If you’re a fan of everything big government, you loved Biden’s speech. If you’re a minimalist government type, it was abhorrent. I don’t think there was much in the middle for this one.
  • I’m going to ride the ginormous motorcycle a fair number of hours north today, then come back on Saturday. Sort of a pre-travel trial run. I’m waiting for my soft luggage panniers to arrive and then all the pieces will be in place to hit the road! Interesting how much effort, planning, and research it’s taken to be able to experience the “freedom” of the road. LOL.

Song of the day: Sugar Ray Fly 1997

I Don’t Know, But I’ve Been Told

  • GIGO. Garbage In, Garbage Out. If you haven’t heard that expression before, it’s an old-school programing adage. Your belief systems are a product of the inputs you consume. Consistently consume information from just one source and that’s what you’ll believe. A recent, annual, survey that focuses on false beliefs broken down by political ideology, gender, etc… illustrates this. The questions ranged from Covid, race, gender, and the climate. Biden voters had false beliefs 61% of the time, while Trump voters were wrong 42% of the time. If you consume your information solely from CNN, MSNBC, Facebook, and like minded Twitter follows, then of course you’ll have a skewed vision of the world. The same is true of Fox, but per the survey to a lesser degree. Take for example the recent expose of CNN by Project Veritas. Oh, you didn’t hear about it? That’s because there’s zero coverage of it on CNN, MSNBC, Politico, and Twitter permanently banned Veritas’ account. Veritas published video footage of a CNN technical director saying the networks focus was to get Trump out of office. “Look what we did, we got Trump out. I am 100 percent going to say it, and I 100 percent believe that if it wasn’t for CNN, I don’t know that Trump would have got voted out. … I came to CNN because I wanted to be a part of that,” Chester stated. He then said, “[COVID] will taper off to a point that it’s not a problem, anymore. Climate change can take years, so [CNN will] probably be able to milk that quite a bit. … Climate change is going to be the next COVID thing for CNN. … Fear sells.” You would think “The most trusted name in news” getting caught talking about pushing a specific social/political agenda might be a story. The fact that it’s not even mentioned by the major outlets speaks volumes. This really shouldn’t be a surprise, but clearly a large percentage of people take whatever the news media says as gospel. Hear it often enough and it starts to become a core part of your beliefs. The goal of the School Of Contrarianism is not to claim what I say is correct. I’m probably full of shit 38.4% of the time according to the latest surveys. The goal is to get you to question. Question everything. Just because some 23 year old “journalist” did a copy/paste of an AP story and then added their own opinions to give the story some “depth” doesn’t make it correct. We’ve gone from the 1960’s Timothy Leary/counterculture slogan “Question Authority” to becoming mindless lemmings of corporate wokeness. Ever see the movie The Truman Show? That’s us today. We’re all stars of the show, only we don’t know it. (P.S, lemmings don’t really jump off cliffs and commit mass suicide. Boom, mind blown.)
  • Speaking of blindly following a narrative, the Biden administration continues to give focus to the cult of global warming. Here’s a good place to start practicing your path down Contrarianism (TM). In the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) the Monthly Energy Review, they report that energy-related CO2 emissions decreased by 11% in the United States in 2020 primarily because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions. Furthermore, U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions fell in every end-use (consumer) sector for the first time since 2012. We had a record reduction in CO2 emissions, so we have the first actual laboratory experiment to see what happens with CO2 in the atmosphere. Remember, reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere is the entire goal of the green new deal that’s supposed to save us from this existential threat. So what happened? Nothing. Zero change in atmospheric CO2. Not even a blip. Meanwhile, China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng on Friday said, “Some countries are asking China to do more on climate change. I am afraid this is not very realistic”. On Wednesday President Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry, admitted Wednesday that the US reducing its emissions to zero wouldn’t make much of a difference in the global climate change fight. Yet we’re moving forward on a $2 trillion climate agenda. How does this even make sense? As a junior Contrarian, start questioning this sort of crap.
  • The Minneapolis City Council has voted 11-1 to oppose the use of tear gas and other munitions as part of Minnesota’s response to civil disorder. Closing arguments in the Chauvin trial start Monday. I’ma gonna grab my popcorn for this one. I’m sure Minneapolis will come out just fine from all this. A few mostly peaceful protesters and some bad words shouted. It’ll all be good.
  • You should read this letter from a parent who’s pulling his kid out of an expensive private school. We’re creating an entire generation of mindless lemmings (I can’t help but perpetuate this lemming myth). I’m reminded of a meme I saw the other day that speaks truth. “Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. Weak men create hard times”. Sorry for the blatant cisgendering stereotyping. If I’ve insulted your personhood and cosmic aura, I apologize.
  • I decided to install a part on the ginormous motorcycle yesterday. I was going to have the dealership do it, but it kills me to pay someone to do what I’m (mostly) capable of. It took half a day, one trip to the auto parts store for a specialized tool, several skinned knuckles, many four letter words, and watching a how-to video approximately thirty times before I realized there was a specific orientation to get the parts to fit. I should have just gone to the dealership. Do you think I’ve learned my lesson? Probably not. As Forest Gump says, “I’m not a smart man”.

Song of the day: Fatboy Slim – The Rockafeller Skank

Research Paralysis

  • We live in a wonderous time. We have the entirety of human knowledge instantly available with one mouse click. This is a blessing and a curse. The kids of today have no idea what it was like to “comparison shop” back in the old days. Pre-internet if you wanted to do some research your choices were 1) Read magazine articles (yes, printed on actual paper that you had to purchase) 2) Talk to your neighbor Bob who used something similar twenty years ago 3) Go to the store and talk to a salesperson. Of course we also didn’t have 37 different choices for the same product either, so it was a little simpler. Today is different. I’m currently researching a reasonably high dollar purchase and the information is overwhelming. Step one is the casual search to figure out who the possible manufacturers and models are in the space. Step two is going to the manufacture web sites to get a sense of price and features. At this point I’ve narrowed things down to a handful of possibilities. Now comes the fun part. The user reviews. Using a combination of review sites and activity specific forums, I’ll spend countless hours reading user reviews. What you typically find is; 5 reviews saying it’s the best product ever invented; 7 reviews stating the product disintegrated thirty seconds after opening the box; 2 reviews of a completely different product; 3 reviews of the first version of the product from seven years ago; and 18 posts asking to click this link for free pre-paid phone cards. The next step is the dark hole of YouTube videos about the product. Those also fall into several distinct categories; Slick, professionally produced, manufacturer videos; Generic reseller companies that talk about the products but never offer opinions for fear of offending suppliers; Internet influencers paid to promote a product; And Joe-Bob from Nebraska who recorded a “review” video with his cell phone in the garage, with audio so bad you can’t hear anything but dogs barking and lawnmowers in the background. My final research step is to stumble upon a product I hadn’t heard of yet that looks absolutely perfect and has great reviews. I get all excited and then realize that it’s a European product not available in the US. Sigh… back to step one. It can literally take me weeks (months on occasion) of paralysis to make a decision for fear of choosing the wrong thing. While I appreciate all the new choices we have today, in hindsight I might have been better off in the old days with a salesperson just telling me what I need.
  • Speaking of purchase decisions, for those of you keeping track at home, I did get a new phone. I made a last second audible (audible. phones. see what I did there? gosh I’m clever) and went with the Samsung S21. I ended up liking the camera better and it was in stock. I’m all about instant gratification. So far so good. And the best part… it looks like my navigation issues with the phone and ginormous motorcycle may be mostly solved. My first test ride and it worked great. Mostly. Now the headset on the helmet is having trouble with a Bluetooth connection to the phone. How come things just aren’t easy?
  • I got an email today from United Airlines updating me on their role in the “global fight against climate change”. I guess they’ve made some commitment to becoming 100% green and reducing carbon emissions by 100% by 2050. I’m not sure that’s even possible unless they’re using battery operated planes using electricity only from wind farms… but whatever. This email was announcing their groundbreaking “Eco-Skies Alliance” and the commitment to SAF – Sustainable Aviation Fuel. What is SAF you might ask? Evil oil companies use things like used cooking oil in a chemical process to make it similar to standard jet fuel. They blend it with regular Jet-A and supposedly achieve lower carbon emissions. Sounds great, right? The problem is that it’s massively more expensive than regular Jet-A. So they’ve formed this group soliciting corporations to voluntarily contribute money to a fund to help airlines purchase the stuff. Oh, and to lobby congress to provide massive funding and subsidies to lower the price. So, as you end up paying the additional “SAF tax” on your airline ticket do you honestly think you’re preventing global climate disaster? I guess it doesn’t matter. At least United is woke and cares about the environment and the poor polar bears who are running out of ice and tasty seals to snack on.
  • Oh, by the way all that sorting of your recyclables you’ve been doing… China’s not buying our garbage any more, so in most cities all that stuff just ends up in the same landfill. So does that mean I still have to wash out my mayonnaise jars before throwing them away or not?
  • I’m not entirely sure why, but some scientists had a debate about who would win in a fight between King Kong and Godzilla. It astounds me that paleontologists actually had enough time to seriously think about this. I’m even more amazed that I read the entire article.

Song of the day: The Clash – Train in Vain (Live at the Lewisham Odeon)

How Does One Percent Sound?

  • 0.5%. That’s a pretty small percentage. If you didn’t see it, the CDC just released their study of mask mandates and Covid case and death rate growth. Since masks are the universal cure-all for Covid, you’d think this study’s results would be touted far and wide across the media. I would have expected at least a 5-15% reduction, maybe 20%. You probably didn’t see it though. Why? The results showed a 0.5% reduction in case rates during the first 20 days. A 1.5% reduction after 80 days. These numbers fall within the margin of error, which means that just about anything could have accounted for the reduction they saw. The study lists a whole host of things that they did not control for that may have impacted the results such as physical distancing, business closures, ventilation, etc… So, the accepted authority on masking still can’t point to any actual data that shows masks have any impact whatsoever. No matter though. The high priest of Covid, Fauci, stated that data and evidence don’t matter. When Fauci, was asked “what’s the science” for denying vaccinated Americans a return to travel, he replied: “When you don’t have the data and you don’t have the actual evidence, you’ve got to make a judgment call.” Yo, science bro.
  • Speaking of science, Dr Atlas was universally hammered, mocked, and cancelled during his tenure as an advisor to the president. Worth reading his thoughts.
  • We have a leak. As I sit here there are multiple high powered fans attempting to dry out walls, ceilings, and floors. It’s like sitting in a hurricane. I can’t hear myself think and the dog hasn’t come out from his bed in two days. It’s truly frightening how fast a little bit of water can do a tremendous amount of damage. We’ve never had to navigate the bureaucracy of homeowners insurance claims before, so this should be interesting. I’m cynical and the only thing that comes to mind is the Seinfeld episode about car rental reservations. I have a feeling the insurance companies are very good at collecting your payment… paying out however? We’ll see.
  • The Pentagon has extended the national guard in DC for another two months. Those insurrectionists are tricky folks. They could pop up out of the bushes at any moment. Gotta be ready. I imagine the rioters have secret storage facilities where they’re passing out buffalo hats and zip ties as we speak. Boogaloo bois coming over the wire any time now.
  • Today they’ll pass another $2 trillion in spending. I don’t think much of it has anything to do with Covid, but who cares? I did see the unions will be happy. $86 billion to bail out failing pensions. You can argue if that’s a good or bad thing, but shouldn’t something like that be argued as it’s own entity? We don’t have any of this money, we have to borrow it from other nations. I heard something the other day that put it in perspective. It was in relation to foreign aid, but the principle is the same. Every time we give aid to a foreign nation, we first have to borrow it from another foreign nation, so we can turn around and distribute it to a different foreign nation. Crazy if you think about it that way. Since we’re already printing money, maybe we can print a few extra dollars so I can fix my leak.
  • I took the ginormous motorcycle out for it’s third official outing and made a little video that didn’t turn out too well. I have two technological challenges to overcome before I can begin my “summer of George”. The first is getting Android Auto working. I found the right cable and it works intermittently. The process is to sync the Bluetooth headset in my helmet to the bike, then plug in my phone and the motorcycle then launches Android Auto. It works briefly then shuts off. Twice the headset stopped pairing, and twice the phone was no longer connected. I am navigationally challenged, so getting this working is key. This is slightly ironic since I once taught a class on UTM and land navigation, but that’s a story for another day. The second issue is that while trying to record my travel the audio from my mic stops working. How am I going to become a huge YouTube star with no audio? Such first world problems.

Song of the day: Elle King – Ex’s & Oh’s (Official Video)

Results Matter

  • I’m going to talk about mask mandates. Don’t worry, it’s not another diatribe about politicians, power, and people being lemmings. It’s about science and how we’ve lost the ability to ask basic questions. Many edicts these days are nothing more than a hypothesis. Everything from wearing a mask, herd immunity, lockdowns, climate change, to stimulus packages are simply a hypothesis. Someone, probably smarter than me, has an idea that if we do X, then Y will happen. Then we go about conducting an experiment or implementing the idea. I have no problem with that (other than some of the ideas are colossally stupid). Take the mask mandates. While it defies what we previously believed about masks, maybe wearing a piece of cloth over your mouth will make a difference? Well, we now have almost a year of data. This is the point in the experiment where you take a look at that data and decide if your hypothesis was correct. You are supposed to be a contrarian at this point. Did what I thought would happen, actually occur? If it did, are there other reasons why it could have? If you can say yes at this point, AND multiple independent other tests find the same result then you can call your finding an accepted theory. This is called basic science, dude. The problem is that we’re no longer allowed to ask the question. If you do, you’re a flat-earther. A science denier. So, did the mask mandates work? Take a look at this chart of Montana. Does this even remotely look like the mask mandate had any impact on the Covid case rate? Every other state looks identical. Even a fifth grader would look at that and conclude the masks had no impact. So why aren’t we asking that question? The truth is that we don’t know yet what’s driving the rise and fall of Covid cases. We were warned that Christmas and Thanksgiving gatherings would become super spreader events. They didn’t. We’ve had multi-hundreds of different implementations of lockdowns, distancing, restaurant and retail opening/closings, and in the big picture… the curve of Covid cases has been about the same in every state. Covid also caused the lowest level of greenhouse gas emissions since world war two. An unintentional test of the greenhouse gas/CO2 hypothesis. What happened? CO2 concentration in the atmosphere continued to rise, and in May reached the highest concentration in human history. A thinking person would either conclude that either the original hypothesis wasn’t correct, or that it’s not realistically possible to drive emission rates low enough to make a difference. But we can’t ask those questions. Being a contrarian is not subscribing to some wacky QAnon theory, it’s subscribing to actual science and asking questions. It’s a little frightening that group-think so dominates our life. Be a contrarian. Ask the questions.
  • Speaking of QAnon, the experts believe that today there will another mass uprising and attack on the capital. The house will not be in session today because of the extreme nature of these threats. Thank god we still have troops and razor wire surrounding the capital. We shall wait and see what the bad orange man’s virtual army will do. The capital police have asked for an increase in their budget of three quarters of a billion dollars. That’s a lot of money. They have 2,000 officers and guard two square miles. That’s roughly $3.1 million per officer. That doesn’t seem out of proportion at all, does it?
  • The outdoor chain REI did not make a profit in 2020 and will not offer a dividend this year. I’m sad/not sad. I don’t want to see any business go under because those jobs impact regular people. I also stopped supporting and shopping at REI in 2018. Which made me extra sad because I used to work there many moons ago. Why did I drop my support? Because they decided politics was more important than business. In 2018, in response to a shooting, REI decided to no longer carry products like Camelbak because they were owned by Vista Outdoor brands. Their crime? Vista Outdoors also own several shooting sports brands. I get that a corporation wants to have a conscious. I know that is important to some people. But there’s also a lot of folks who don’t want politics injected into everything. Woke corporations, musicians, Hollywood actors, athletes – I’m purchasing or watching you because of your particular skill at something, not your politics. Of course you have the right to be as vocal as you want about something. I also have the right to not shop your brand or watch your films because of that. I suppose we all have to decide how principled we want to be. Having now ranted about this, I also admit to being a hypocrite. I will go out of my way to fully support brands and people who like the same things I do. Sigh, humans are complicated creatures.
  • Yesterday I got the new ginormous motorcycle fully registered and licensed. The roads were dry and it was nearly 50 degrees. That meant I did my first real ride AND I wore the new fat Elvis suit for the first time. Whoowee, this thing is awesome! I’m in love. If you’ve never ridden before, there’s just something about being on a powerful motorcycle. Especially one as technologically advanced as this one. It makes mediocre riders like me look good. If all that wasn’t enough, we also managed to find Mrs Troutdog a new motorcycle yesterday as well. She’ll be able to hit the road with me soon! Well… as soon as she overcomes the fear of the freeway anyway.

Song of the day: ZZ Top – I Gotsta Get Paid

Maybe I’m Wrong?

  • I’m often wrong. Some days I feel like I’m wrong more than I’m right. But when it matters, I take extra steps to try and not be wrong. As a healthcare worker, you better hope I doublecheck what I’m doing before I inject something into your bloodstream. Since we’re about to spend a truckload of money to fight the scourge of climate change, don’t you think we should take a moment to doublecheck our work? Our climate czar John Kerry said that we only have 9 years left to avoid climate disaster. In 1989 the UN said we only have 10 years before the planet is destroyed. In 2006 Al Gore said we only have 10 years before global warming destroys the planet. In 2009, NASA’s James Hansen said we only have until 2013. AOC says we have until 2030, so at least there’s a little time left. 45 years ago it was global cooling that would become our biggest issue. Can we all just get our stories straight please? Before Bill Gates funds a program to inject tinfoil into the atmosphere to block the sun, shouldn’t we be pretty sure we’re actually causing global warming? If government and “scientists” were being intellectually honest, they’d fund a red team to try and disprove the global warming theories. Because every single climate model and prediction has been wrong. Not a little bit off, but spectacularly wrong. As the old saying goes, correlation does not imply causation. And since the very premise of the scientific method is to put out a hypothesis and let others try and disprove it, shouldn’t we be doing that? It’s only once it can’t be disproven it becomes accepted theory. The fact that you’re not allowed to question something should bother you. Therefore, I’d like to be proven wrong. Please show me proof that A) the earth is warming at a dangerous rate beyond what could be attributed to natural cycles, and B) that it is without a doubt being caused by man. Probably most importantly, if A and B are actually true then please prove that anything proposed by governments would actually solve A or B. I don’t think you can. So tell me again why we’re going to impact our economy for something nobody can prove with solutions that we’re not sure will even work?
  • Speaking of spending money on lost causes, the US has spent spent more than $787 million dollars on “gender equality projects” in Afghanistan. So tell me again why my taxes need to go up?
  • I found a pretty good YouTube series about a group of guys who take an eight day motorcycle ride around my state. It’s very well done and neat to see some of the local trails that I’ve ridden. It was compelling enough that I blew most of my morning yesterday being nonproductive and watching it. I sent the link to a buddy who started watching it with his young son. His son became so enamored with it, he got out maps so he could follow along where they were going. I love seeing that. That’s the sort of spirit we need to be instilling in young folks. Curiosity and exploration is what built this country. We need more of it.
  • While on the topic of exploration, the Mars landing of the Perseverance rover was very cool. It is amazing what we’re capable of from a technology perspective these days. I do wonder why we have such a heavy focus on Mars though? I get that it may be the end goal, but why all the focus now? Meaning, shouldn’t we be concentrating on how we’re going to build structures, manage food, water, and oxygen, etc… on someplace that’s just a bit closer? Like the moon perhaps? I honestly don’t get why we’re focused on a place that takes a year to get to rather than one that takes a few days. It seems like logistically we could achieve the same technology learning goals easier, by going to the moon rather than Mars. Maybe we are doing that and it just hasn’t hit the news. Perhaps the moon just isn’t sexy enough. I’ll have to do some research.
  • The UCI just announced that it is banning the “super tuck”. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s a technique where a cyclist sits down on the top tube to be more aerodynamic and shifts weight forward for increased speed downhill. Many folks don’t realize the pros can easily hit 50 miles an hour downhill. Doing the super tuck at ludicrous speed takes testicles much bigger than mine, that’s for sure. Oh, sorry to leave you with that image. Here’s a video of super fast cycling descents to make up for it.
  • Last night I had an enormous plate of Mexican food. This morning I’m eating a bowl of croutons as I type this. In a little while we’re going to meet some friends for breakfast and I’ll have a huge breakfast burrito of some sort. Meanwhile I wonder why my pants no longer fit. I saw a quote today that describes my problem exactly. “I have the palate of a raccoon”. Yep, that’s me. Sigh.

Song of the day: The Kinks – Lola (from One For The Road)