Thursday, January 26, 2017

"You still have time."

Give it a second.

"Demonstrations serve a useful function in a democracy — but only when they have clarity of purpose."

Protests these days are, mostly, akin to masturbation.  There's nothing wrong with it and you should do it if you want.  But know it's mostly just about making yourself feel good.  

The Pointless Women's March Against Trump -   "If anything, this particular demonstration is shaping up to be a feel-good exercise in search of a cause...

Everything else about the Women's March, however, is reaching a level of absurdity worthy of the man they are protesting. Start with the fact that they are billing this event as the voice of women when 42 percent of women (and 62 percent of non-college educated white women) actually voted for Trump. Then there's the almost-comical progressive hysteria over the event's name. It was initially called the Million Women March. But that was hastily dropped after the original organizers, three white women, were slammed for "cultural appropriation." Why? Because they were allegedly poaching the heritage of the 1997 Million Woman March for black women. Further appropriation concerns arose because the event evidently encroached on the legacy of the 1963 March on Washington by Martin Luther King Jr. when he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. In response to this objection, the organizers had to actually release a statement billing the Women's March as a tribute to King. As if such bickering over semantics wasn't enough, the Facebook page of the event is rife with arguments about whether an event organized primarily by white women can be sufficiently "intersectional" — or attuned to the issues faced by, say, poor minority women who reside at the "intersection" of class, race, and gender concerns in America. 

Wasn't this supposed to be about opposing Donald Trump? Some amount of conflict in a rally (organizers don't want to call it a "protest" because they insist they are not protesting Trump, just putting him on notice) of this size and complexity is natural. But when an event is grounded in a genuine existential threat, it helps people overcome their particular interests and agendas – and find a unifying vocabulary without this level of squabbling...

Sure, he is a sexist pig who likes to go after high-profile women — Rosie O' Donnell, Megyn Kelly, Alicia Machado — who cross him. And although he seems to have calmed down on that front since he got elected, it is entirely likely that once he's in office and faces criticism, he'll return to form...  But here's the curious thing: On women's issues, there is a wide gulf between Trump's character and his policy positions. For much of his adult life, Trump claimed to be pro-choice on abortion. Now he insists he's pro-life, and is threatening to appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. This is a genuine problem for women (like me) who strongly believe in reproductive rights. However, in other respects, Trump has made a concerted attempt to extend an olive branch to the feminist lobby. 

He has embraced gender wage parity, government-mandated maternity leave, and child tax deductions in defiance of his own party. One can debate the wisdom of these ideas, but not that they are intended to help women. And then there are his three female Cabinet appointments, and a fourth woman as U.N. envoy. This is all in sharp contrast to his rhetoric...

Opposing him will require focused vigilance, and concerted activism that is targeted, intelligent, nuanced, and appropriately calibrated (as as I have argued previously). But prematurely elevating the faux concerns of a hyper-active feminist lobby will make it far more difficult to launch a serious resistance movement. It will allow Trump to depict his critics and dissenters as overwrought hysterics and dismiss the concerns of genuinely targeted groups."

"Nearly 55 years after Silent Spring we do know [that] Carson's concerns have turned out to be way overblown."

I remember one of the English lessons in the Jr High textbook in Japan was all about Silent Spring and Rachel Carson.  [Japan, despite being covered in concrete, has a huge infatuation with nature.]  And then, having done some research into her, and discovering that she was wrong about a lot of things.  A lot of her work was fear mongering and juked stats.  And the ban on DDT likely did much more harm than good, especially for the folks who died from malaria.  But she's still venerated by the eco & political folks.  

Rachel Carson: New Documentary on PBS Tonight: "It is not an exaggeration to say that we are all still living in the intellectual and public policy world that Rachel Carson constructed in that book. "Already alarmed about the environmental damage caused by the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, Carson determined to alert the public to the dangers of pesticides and began the work that would define her legacy," explains the documentary press release...

Time has proved that Carson was right that agricultural spraying of the popular pesticide DDT did reduce the populations of hawks and eagles by thinning their eggshells. She was also right that widespread use had resulted in increasing pesticide resistance among many targeted insect species. These findings did indicate that they should be used more judiciously. Somewhat surprisingly, the documentary does not delve any more deeply into what science has discovered about the risks and benefits of synthetic pesticides in the 55 years since the publication of Carson's book. So what light does subsequent research shed on the claims made in Silent Spring? 

As an elegant and effective rhetorician Carson understood that while some Americans might be a bit worried about the health of birds and other wildlife, what would really get their attention is cancer. She was most concerned about the long-term effects of exposures to pesticides and other synthetic chemicals, but she sought to frighten readers with anecdotes about acute exposure producing cancer with months or weeks. She tells a story about a woman "who abhorred spiders" and who sprayed her basement with DDT in mid-August. She died of acute leukemia a couple of months later. In another passage, Carson cites a man embarrassed by his roach-infested office who again sprayed DDT and who "within a short time … began to bruise and bleed." He was within a month of spraying diagnosed with aplastic anemia. Again, comparing pesticides to the contamination of milk by radioactive fallout, Carson aimed to worry parents about the possibility of their kids getting cancer...

The PBS documentary shows clips of Carson interviews aired on the CBS Reports program in the spring of 1963 with Eric Severeid. "We have to remember that the children born today are exposed to these chemicals since birth; perhaps before birth," warns Carson. Now what is going to happen to them in adult life as a result of that exposure? We simply don't know because we've never had this kind of experience." Nearly 55 years after the publication of Silent Spring we do know and, fortunately, Carson's concerns have turned out to be way overblown. 

For example, in Silent Spring Carson warned, "Today, more American school children die of cancer than from any other disease [her emphasis]." That is still true today. But why had cancer emerged as the greatest killer of children in the 1950s? Not because it had significantly increased, but because far fewer were dying of the infectious diseases that had killed them in droves during earlier decades. The good news is that due to improvements in treatment the death rate from cancer for children 14 and under has fallen from 6.5 in 1969 to 2 per 100,000 now. Cancer incidence has ticked up for children under age 14 from 13 cases in 1974 to 17 cases per 100,000 now. 

As the American Cancer Society notes, a small percentage of cancer in children results from inherited genetic mutations, but otherwise, there are "few known risk factors for childhood cancer." Despite activist urgent alarms, subsequent decades of research have proved that exposure to trace amounts of all sorts of synthetic chemicals are not increasing the age-adjusted incidence of cancer. In fact, the cancer incidence rate among Americans has been falling for more than two decades. According to the latest Cancer Statistics 2017 report from the American Cancer Society, the overall cancer incidence rate (2004-2013) was stable in women and declined by approximately 2% annually in men, while the cancer death rate (2005-2014) declined by about 1.5% annually in both men and women. 

As the American Cancer Society has noted, "Exposure to carcinogenic agents in occupational, community, and other settings is thought to account for a relatively small percentage of cancer deaths – about 4 percent from occupational exposures and 2 percent from environmental pollutants (man-made and naturally occurring)." The documentary also includes a clip from CBS Reports featuring American Cyanamid biochemist Robert White-Stevens. "Miss Carson is concerned with every possibility of hazard and danger whereas the agricultural school has to concern itself with the probability, the likelihood of danger and assess that against utility," states White-Stevens. "If we had to investigate every possibility, we would never make any advances at all because this would require an infinite time for experimental work and we would never be finished." 

White-Stevens was arguing against what is now known as the precautionary principle; the idea that new technologies must be proven entirely safe before they can be deployed."

"Michael Keaton kept saying "I'm Batman" during Spider-Man fight scenes."

Keaton Wins.

Batman News: "When asked what it was like working with Keaton, Holland said “Pretty cool. He’s a badass. We have a fight in the movie and I punch him. He turns around and says [in a deep voice], ‘I’m Batman.’ He kept doing Batman quotes on set.”"

God damn it, Obi-Wan.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

First Principles.


"...when the protesters all wear pink hats. You can pretty much ignore that movement. Unless they get better hats."

Battle of the Hats | Scott Adams' Blog: "Colors influence people directly and irrationally. Trump’s red hats spoke of power and certainty and sex. That’s what red gives you. Pink gives you the opposite. Pink will lower aggression and make you want to cuddle with a kitten. That’s what the studies say. So pink is not a fighting/protesting color if you want to keep the base energized. I’m also having a hard time figuring out what the pink-hat people are protesting about that they don’t already have. I understand that abortion is in the mix. But the hats seem to have some sort of generic anti-Trump message that to my mind is conflated with an anti-alpha-male vibe. It’s a confusing message and not completely positive.  Compare that to Make America Great Again. Simple, universal, and memorable. Now let’s talk about the shape of the hats. I understand that the hats are supposed to evoke cat ears, as in pussycat, as in female genitalia...

If the movement was designed to generate sympathy, it worked. I feel sorry for the men marching in those hats. On a symbolic level, that’s as close as you can get to eunuch status. The science would say that those men did not go home and have amazing sex that night. On average. Philosophically, I’m in close agreement with the protestors in the pink hats. I like equal rights in all its forms and I think women should have the best healthcare they can get. I also think men should sideline themselves on questions of abortion and reproductive rights. Women take the major physical burden of reproduction and I think society is most stable when women take the lead in crafting those laws...

I mention all of that so you know my analysis of the hats is separate from my political preferences. On a persuasion level, Trump’s hats were a base-clearing home run. But the pink hats are emasculating for men (literally and chemically) and that’s not the unifying message that I assume the organizers planned.

...if someone associates you with a weak color, such as pink, and the science says the color influences people toward weakness, don’t take that as your brand. Run away from pink unless you are trying to persuade people to drink some herbal tea and take a nap. If you are the new President of the United States, and you see hundreds-of-thousands of protesters marching in the streets, what do you do? Well, in most cases you would treat that as the nation’s top priority. You don’t want it to escalate to social collapse. I can think of only one scenario in which such a large and vocal movement should be ignored until they run out of steam. That rare situation is when the protesters all wear pink hats. You can pretty much ignore that movement. It will fizzle out on its own. Unless they get better hats."

Baker-Miller Pink - Wikipedia: "Baker-Miller Pink is a tone of pink claimed to reduce hostile, violent or aggressive behavior. The color is also known as P-618 , Schauss pink, or Drunk-Tank Pink and was originally created by mixing one gallon (3.78 L) of pure white indoor latex paint with one pint of red trim semi-gloss outdoor paint. Alexander Schauss did extensive research into the effects of the color on emotions at the Naval Correctional Facility in Seattle, and named it after the institute directors, Baker and Miller...

In the late 1960s, Alexander Schauss, Director of Life Sciences at the American Institute for Biosocial Research in Tacoma, Washington, did studies on psychological and physiological responses to the color pink. Schauss had read studies by the Swiss psychiatrist Max Luscher, who believed that color preferences provided clues about one's personality. Luscher noticed that color preferences shifted according to psychological and physiological fluctuations in his patients. Luscher asserted that color choice reflects emotional states. He theorized that one's color choices reflect corresponding changes in the endocrine system, which produces hormones. Schauss then wondered if the reverse might also be true. Could color cause emotional and hormonal changes? Could various wavelengths of light trigger profound and measurable responses in the endocrine system? In early tests in 1978, Schauss observed that color, surprisingly, did affect muscle strength, either invigorating or enervating the subject, and even influenced the cardiovascular system. Schauss began to experiment on himself, with the help of his research assistant John Ott. Amazingly, he discovered that a particular shade of pink had the most profound effect. He labeled this tone of pink P-618. Schauss noted that by merely staring at an 18 × 24 inch card printed with this color, especially after exercising, there would result "a marked effect on lowering the heart rate, pulse and respiration as compared to other colors.""

"I don’t support Trump... but I don’t support mass hysteria, either."

Listener-Blue — "Boy, you sure are going out of your way to defend the guy.": "Not really defending Trump as much I am saying that I don’t like people panicking and doomsaying about Trump. I mean, I think it’s clear that I don’t like him as much as the next guy. He’s a self-indulgent egotist who surrounds himself with cronies and people who are smarter than him to compensate for his lack of intelligence. He only got this far because his opponents managed out-stupid even him...

I find his plans on trade to be extremely flawed, and while I’m not doomsaying, I feel we could run into several trade problems with China...

While I’m not a fan of the ACA (this may come from a personal bias, considering I live in somewhat small city, and me and my family knows a several people who either can’t afford it anymore, or now have health bills as almost as big as their house notes), I don’t think it should be gotten rid of cold turkey, and more amended and fixed so it doesn’t screw over people as much...

I don’t think he’s a giant white supremacist (anyone who even thinks that, be they left-wing or right-wing, is giant dumbass), but I would be lying if I didn’t think he was at least a really insensitive asshole when it comes to things regarding race and creed, with there being some hints of xenophobia, though not as big as Tumblr makes it...

I have no doubt that Trump is not going to be as great a president as his more rabid supporters think he will be (which, in fairness, I find to be just as annoying and fanatical as Hillary and Obama’s rabid supporters), but I’m definitely not going to completely lose my head over him being president, and I’m just going to wait a while until I decide to make my full verdict on him as a president. I don’t support Trump or endorse, but I don’t support mass hysteria, either."

It's okay to light people on fire if they have the wrong politics.


This dude gets it. "Trump protesters quieted at UW."

#Triggered - “How the Women’s March’s ‘genital-based’ feminism isolated the transgender community.”

Women's March 'Dangerous Space' With 'Oppressive Message': "Transgender activists are upset that the women’s march over the weekend was not inclusive to biological men who identify as women, as the protest presented an “oppressive message” that having a “vagina is essential to womanhood.” Saturday’s event to oppose the inauguration of Donald Trump was largely a “white cis women march,” with too many pictures of female reproductive organs and pink hats, according to trans women and “nonbinary” individuals interviewed by A fight is brewing between “trans-exclusionary radical feminists,” or “TERFs,” and transwomen, according to the article, “How the Women’s March’s ‘genital-based’ feminism isolated the transgender community.”"

"City Councilman Sworn In With Captain America Shield."

Nicely done.  Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movie, TV News: "Diep is the son of Vietnamese refugees. He was born in Houston where his parents first settled and moved to San Jose in 1999 where he graduated from Independence High School before going on to UC San Diego to get his degrees in political science and history before getting his law degree from University of the Pacific."