Tag: Science

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?

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

I Might Be Lost

  • Many moons ago in a former life I was a member of a search and rescue team. I had training in many subjects; rope/technical rescue, swiftwater rescue, tracking, land and open water navigation, incident command, etc… Trust me, it sounds way cooler than reality. Nowadays I’d get lost driving to the doughnut shop without my phone navigation. Anyway, two things happened yesterday that drove home the importance of embracing the old boy scout motto – Be Prepared. The first was a quick snowshoe outing. Well, I thought it was going to be quick. It was to a place I’d never been and we have multiple feet of brand new snow. I brought nothing. No water, no gear, no first aid kit. We didn’t let anyone know where we were going. We wandered through the woods for several hours and by the time we got back to the car it was snowing pretty good. I know better and should have been at least minimally prepared. In my head I justified it with thinking it was a pretty highly visited area and our distance wasn’t very far. I didn’t think much more about it until late in the evening. Some folks we know in another part of the state managed to get lost and caught out after dark in the wilderness. Temps were dropping into the teens and snow was expected. We were on the phone on and off for hours as family tried to coordinate search and rescue efforts from afar. I fully expected to be heading north on a multi hour drive to start searching come first light. Details are still sketchy, but they were located and everyone seems to be ok. What’s the point of all this? We all get complacent. We put off planning and preparing. I’ll do it tomorrow. The problem with emergencies is that they happen when you least expect it. Do you have an emergency kit in your car? In your home? (Texas residents certainly never expected to be in their predicament) I’m not saying you need to go full on prepper mode, but could you and your family last three days if something happened? A week? If you’re heading out for some outdoor fun, does someone know where you’re going and when to worry if they don’t hear from you? I think society today has become conditioned to feel safe. Someone in authority will always be there to bail you out. I can always call and someone will come rescue me. Fortunately in this country that is true more often than not. I think the winning attitude is to assume that isn’t true and prepare accordingly. I know this was a wakeup call for me to stop being lazy and get my shit together. We have a local apparel company here that’s run by an ex SEAL called 30SEC Out. They have a sticker I really like that says “Expect to self rescue. No one is coming”. I think it’s a great motto for life in general. I may have to buy a few just remind myself.
  • According to VP Harris, they’re starting from scratch with their Covid response because there was no existing plan. Curious since the U.S. has carried out more vaccinations than any country in the world, and given a first dose to a higher percentage of its population (12%) than all but five small countries. Covid cases have plummeted by 77% in the US. There’s talk we’ll reach herd immunity by April. Which is also interesting because when the previous administration was in power, to mention herd immunity meant you were a science denier. Ain’t politics grand!
  • I bought a drone. Well, technically I’m on on the waiting list with an option to buy a drone when it’s available. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with it yet. It’s capable of some truly amazing footage. I suspect I’m telling myself that the only thing keeping my little YouTube channel with 12 subscribers from going big time is not having a drone. Well, that and not actually making very many videos. I’ve got the adventure bike, the gear, the plans, the time, and soon the drone. I guess there are no more excuses. Bummer. Now I’m going to have to actually execute on all my grand plans for adventure content. As they say, talk is cheap. Planning is easy. It’s the doing that’s hard.
  • Is it just me, or does the new press secretary always seem unprepared? She had absolutely no answer when asked “Biden suspended a Trump Administration executive order that was aimed at keeping foreign countries, specifically China, from interfering in the U.S. Power grid… why did he do that?” As press sec, I would think you’d have an answer ready for any executive order your president signed. Especially one potentially related to a natural disaster that’s currently happening.
  • I don’t know what happened here, but yeet is right! Watch this seven second vid. And with that, I’m off to do my last full-time shifts. As my coworkers tell me, I’m moving to the princess shifts. I’ve been working since I was fourteen. It will be very strange to not be full-time. Exciting, worried I’ll be wasting my time, nervous about not being productive, looking forward to a new chapter, and a little apprehensive about the unknown. Time to face all those fears head-on!

Song of the day: Smash Mouth – All Star

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)

It’s Science Baby!

  • So the LA county health district agreed to let outdoor dining reopen. But after careful study of many peer-reviewed academic research papers and consulting with the high priest of Covid (Fauci), they have banned restaurants from having their televisions turned on. I shit you not. The new health order reads: “Televisions or any other screens that are used to broadcast programming must be removed from the area or turned off. This provision is effective until further notice.” These people have lost their minds. I literally don’t know what to say about this other than I hope every restaurant in LA county says a big F-U and turns on their TV’s. Thank god we finally have an administration that believes in science again.
  • An excellent list on how to be a man in 2018 (yes I know it’s now ancient). All young men should read this. It’s from GSElevator, who you should follow. I was and then then Twitter did it’s thing and unfollowed him for me. Didn’t realize it until someone else retweeted something from him. Those wacky guys at Twitter.
  • Speaking of deleting, Google removed at least 100,000 negative reviews of the stock trading app Robinhood from the Google Play app store after angry users sent a flood of critical reviews that caused the app’s rating to plummet on Thursday. Nothing to see here, move along.
  • Having spent approximately 10,000 hours researching, I finally decided on which motorcycle to buy. I skipped on down to the local dealership, ready to plunk down some quan on a fantastic new machine. Ah, nope. Turns out dealerships have specific ordering windows and are only allotted a certain number of specific bikes based upon their sales revenue. The bike I wanted was not on their list. The purchasing manger said that if I wanted to put down a deposit they would try to get one, but no guarantee. When asked if they did get one, when would it be, the answer was maybe April. Sigh. I’m trying to give them money, why is this so hard? Looks like I may be doing a multi-state trip to find one.
  • So how many domestic insurgents did the troops in DC’s new occupied green zone repel today? It must have been a lot. Otherwise why would we still have many thousands of troops in place? I wonder if any journalists are going to ask the question? I visited DC a few years ago for the first time. Thank god we did because I have a feeling it’s never going to look the same.
  • This guy is an actual firefighter who green screens himself into silly TV drama scenes and makes fun of their portrayals of fire fighting. It’s pretty funny.
  • And finally, because it’s Saturday and I’m all out of outrage for the week, a list of the 50 best cult movies. Like any ranking list you’ll never get everyone to agree, but The Big Lebowski is number one and I’m good with that.

Song of the day: New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle [Live in Glasgow]

Yogi Bear And Pic-a-nic Baskets

  • We had a bear come visit the other day. Our security cameras caught him in all his glory sauntering around our front door and then making his way over to the garbage cans. He was a big fella with obviously no shortage of pic-a-nic baskets in his diet. It’s always good to be reminded from time to time that we are not the top of the food chain. I know nothing about bears, but clearly it’s not hibernation time yet. I guess I’ll need to take the dogs random barking at seemingly nothing more serious now.
  • Filed under, time get the pitchforks out yet? If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth watching this short clip of an LA restaurant owner in tears. She’d spent thousands of dollars trying to comply with the random lockdown rules, creating outdoor dining with tables properly spaced. All so she can stay in business and try and pay her rent. She shows up and what does she see? A catering company for a movie shoot right across from her restaurant, setting up huge tents and tons of tables… not spaced out like she’d been ordered to. Hollywood will have different rules because they’re woke and are big campaign contributors. If that doesn’t make you want to give a big F-you to the government and bust out the tar and feathers, I don’t know what will.
  • Speaking of lockdowns, a bunch of Bay Area counties are rushing to make sure they kill all business just in time for Christmas. I’m not exactly clear on how you can enforce “stay at home except for essential business”? Last I checked, you are under no obligation to tell any government official where you’re going or what you’re doing. I’m pretty sure we don’t require “travel papers” to move about in this country.
  • While on the subject of Third Reich analogies… The city of Pasadena will now have “volunteers” walking the city streets to ensure people are wearing mouth diapers. Snitch on your neighbors! Earn fun prizes!
  • I’m always suspicious of people who seem to like publicity a little too much. Dr Faucci certainly seems to be milking his 15 minutes for all it’s worth. The dude is on any TV show that will have him, multiple times a day. Clearly doing “science” doesn’t take much time out of his day. It was no surprise that he jumped at becoming Biden’s “medical advisor”. Cue the book deal in 5,4,3….
  • On December 5th 1933 the Eighteenth Amendment, prohibition, was repealed. I’ll drink to that!
  • The other day China landed an unmanned vehicle on the moon and planted (another) Chinese flag. It’s unfortunate we don’t have actual news anymore in this country or you would have heard about it. DNI Ratcliffe thinks China is the worlds greatest current threat to freedom. Come on man! China’s our partner.

Song of the day: Junkie XL, Elvis Presley “A Little Less Conversation (Elvis vs JXL)”

Notions Of Cool V.011

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old guy (who still thinks he’s 20) finds cool or worth pondering.

  • I was fluctuating between 200-205. Hit 173 this morning. With a good poop I might hit 172. Not that I’m counting.
  • Listened yesterday to someone being told that if they continue the current lifestyle choices their lifespan will be measured in months. The response? “What time is dinner?” Hard to fathom.
  • We’re seeing the dimmest sun since 1978. The current solar minimum is trending towards the century-class minimum of 2008. Also, for the first time in 132 years, LA did not reach 70 degrees in Feb. No point to that other than you can find extremes on both sides of the thermometer at any day someplace in the world.
  • A baffling recycling program. Now take this and imagine the rules on medical waste. We have four different tubs that various wrappers and things must be disposed into. Nobody can figure out how to open the tops so all wrappers just end up in the trash or placed on top of the container.
  • No idea why I thought this was interesting. “The International Space Station is passing over the Idaho State Capitol Building on March 02, 2019 at 06:38AM, for 614 seconds.” More importantly, why someone took the time to figure it out.
  • This is my MTB ride. Not sure why I’m thinking about cycling. There’s some kick butt spring skiing pending.
  • I still scan tech blogs. I’m realizing that I still really like systems. I started wondering if I should migrate that way in healthcare? I’m not sure I could give up the three day work week though.
  • If you ever wondered where the US navy is currently operating at any given time, here you go.

Song of the day: Agent Orange “This is the voice”