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  1. author: Gwynne DyerAuto-eugenics’ is taking hold. Eugenics was a 20th-century pseudo-science that purported to improve the human breed by weeding out the ‘least fit’, often by measures like compulsory sterilisation or, in the case of the Nazis, death camps. But this is the 21st century, and now people can do it for themselves. ‘Auto-eugenics’ is the just-named phenomenon (you’re welcome) in which the excessively gullible and the intellectually challenged are weeding themselves out. It’s most prominent in the United States, where 28 per cent of Americans say they do not plan to get vaccinated against coronavirus or are unsure whether they will do so. The only country in the developed world where vaccine refuseniks are more numerous is Russia, where they at least have the excuse that the state lies to them about everything all the time. Typically, however, American vaccine refusal is twice as high as in other OECD countries – and so, of course, is the COVID-19 death rate. In fact, it’s considerably more than twice as high, because a bigger proportion of unvaccinated people means much more virus circulating in the population. COVID deaths in the United States last week were running around two thousand a day, whereas in Canada, right next-door, they were around thirty. If Canada had the same vaccination and death rates as the US, it would be losing almost two hundred people a day. President Joe Biden was on national television last Thursday urging unvaccinated Americans to get the jabs, and declaring ‘vaccine mandates’ that oblige federal employees and companies that employ more than one hundred people to do so. He even allowed himself a little anger towards the more than 80 million Americans who are still refusing vaccination. “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us. So, please, do the right thing. But just don’t take it from me; listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breaths, saying, ‘If only I had gotten vaccinated’.” But there’s a puzzle here. Deep down, Biden must realise that the unvaccinated are doing him a favour by dying in large numbers. More than 97 per cent of those two thousand dead a day are not vaccinated, and it’s a safe bet that at least 90 per cent of them are Republicans. The vast majority of anti-vaxxers who are still alive by next year’s mid-term elections will vote Republican, and if they all make it that far then the present ultra-thin Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress could easily evaporate. In the circumstances, therefore, Biden’s attempt to keep Republican voters alive borders on the quixotic. Or does it? A more cynical analysis suggests that he may be making a two-way bet. He is getting credit for doing his duty as president and trying to protect all Americans’ lives, but at the same time the added pressure that his new measures put on anti-vaxxers is likely to drive them even deeper into their rejection of science and logic. Joe Biden would need to be a great deal more naive than his career suggests to truly believe his appeals to the unvaccinated will have the right effect. Luckily for the Democratic Party, he is almost bound to fail. Republican governors from Georgia to Arizona are already planning to make legal challenges to his new vaccine mandates, and at the least they will probably manage to tie them up in the courts long enough to ensure that lots more Republican voters die. So in the end it comes down a kind of race. On the one hand, almost all Republican-controlled states are passing new voter-suppression measures to make voting harder for Democratic supporters, and especially for those who are poor and/or non-white. It’s bound to have some success, because these are often people who don’t have cars (make the polling stations few and far between), can’t get time off work (no Sunday voting), are suffering from ill-health (no mail-in ballots), etc. On the other hand, a significant proportion of Republican voters are striving to remove themselves from the gene pool by refusing to be vaccinated, and they can’t vote Republican if they are dead. Losing an extra 50,000 guaranteed Republican voters to COVID-19 each month is bound to have an impact in at least some marginal elections next year. Which trend will shift the needle more strongly remains to be seen, but it is bound to be a topic of furious in-house debate among Republican electoral strategists. You can safely assume that they have the relevant numbers at their fingertips, but that they are finding it almost impossible to shift the ideology. It’s generally seen as insensitive to talk about this sort of thing in public, but admit it: wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall when they debate this matter among themselves?
  2. Two Tribes are really Four? While western society appears to be locked in an endless 'two tribe' battle between 'the political left' vs. 'the political right', a new study from researchers at King's College London (working with IPSOS) indicates there are really 'four tribes'. They are: Political-Right (1/4), Political-Left (1/4), the Moderates (1/3), followed by the Disengaged (1/6). But here's the kicker: one third has never heard the term 'woke'; and those that have are split as to whether it is an insult or a compliment.
    comment: so perhaps this "woke" stuff is just another distraction created by social media
  3. Six Tribes? Watch this very informative interview between Jimmy Kimmel (host of an American late-night TV show) and Dr Katherine Hayhoe (climate scientist at Texas Tech University). In this interview Dr Hayhoe mentions that there are six tribes when it comes to environmental issues like climate change:
    1. Disengaged (no opinion)
    2. Dismissive (7%) these people scream that everything is a hoax
    3. Doubtful
    4. Cautious
    5. Concerned
    6. Alarmed
    She goes on to mentioned that the sum of Concerned plus Alarmed constitute 50%
  4. Electoral Reform: There was once a time when the two largest Dominions of the British Empire were Canada and Australia so I wonder why Canada stayed with first past the post (FPTP) elections while Australia, and most others, transitioned to proportional representation (PR)
    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominion
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_electoral_systems_by_country
    3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportional_representation
    1. FPTP: MINIMAL DECISION MAKERS - ALL FROM ONE PARTY: like a sports team, one party (or leader) receives all the glory (or blame). History shows that costly bad decisions are usually associated with "majority wins" because fewer people are involved in decision making.
    2. PR: MORE DECISION MAKERS - MANY PARTIES: numerous parties share the glory/blame because they are all "at the table" for every decision. I suspect that under this scheme, a more inclusive set of discussions will lead to fewer political errors (well it has got to be better than what we currently have). Perhaps this is the only solution to the current political divide among citizens.
    3. The first chart in the article under link-3 uses Canada as an example of what went wrong in 2015 where Liberal votes (39%) were "over represented" in parliament while all others (61%) where "under represented".
    4. It appears that Canada and India might be the only ex-Dominion countries still using FPTP. Perhaps we Canadian are just too stupid to change; or too influenced by American-sourced news.
    5. Food-for-thought: British politicians of all parties agreed to work together quietly under Churchill until the conclusion of WW2; everything went well (politically speaking) until the war end when party bickering resumed. If Britain had adopted proportional representation then I suspect:
      1. Britain would have joined the EU in 1952 rather than 1962
      2. there would have been no Suez Canal crisis which means the British pound might still be used as the world reserve currency.
        BTW, Anthony Eden won a majority government in 1955.
      3. there would have been no Falklands War
        BTW. Margaret Thatcher won a majority government in 1979
      4. there would have been no BREXIT
        BTW, exiting the EU began with a Conservative Majority
  5. Don't tell me about 'your' lost rights.
    One: I haven't heard whining like this ever since tobacco smokers were banned from smoking in public places (smokers lost the rights to infect others; non-smokers regained the right to breath smoke-free air). For me, COVID-19 is a lot like second hand smoke. You are free to do whatever you wish with your body and your health but if you do not want to get the jab then I prefer you keep your (potentially) disease ridden body away from me and my family and friends.
    Two: There have always been complainers. Seat belts had been installed in new autos since the mid-1960s but when the province of Ontario made seat-belt use mandatory in 1976, I recall hearing a lot of complainers bellyache about government interfering with their personal freedom. People were luckier back then because that "complainer megaphone" that we call the internet was not yet available to the common public.
    Three: If we were living in a Star Trek future then I'm certain that Doctor McCoy would simply recommend the jab as an obvious prophylactic while Spock would say "the needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few, or the one"
    Four: Many people who don't know a damned thing claim that "any vaccine mandate is unconstitutional" so think the issue should be taken to court. Well, I'm not sure how far we (society) are at this point, but a pandemic could be declared a national emergency in which case everyone's rights will be legally curtailed (e.i. your rights are conditional - not absolute). This has happened many times before (usually during times of war) although I do recall it happening in Canada, during the FLQ crisis (1970). So for you conspiracy theorists out there who are worried about a government control, taking the jab now will remove any justification for invoke something like a War Measures Act or Emergencies Act
    Five: Speaking of conspiracy theories, I am still shocked about how many idiots claim that a chip is begin injected with the jab (er, vaccine) to track you. First off, you are just not that important to be tracked. Secondly, how would a small chip be powered? (if tiny battery then the transmitter would have only a tiny amount of power). Thirdly, if the government wanted to track you then they are already doing so though your smart phone (so be sure to disable both the GPS and Bluetooth interfaces).
  6. Science deniers are not merely uninformed — they are misinformed
  7. Nuclear Energy: One Environmentalist’s Perspective (2021-07-09). Richard Wolfson discusses his book "Nuclear Choices for the Twenty-First Century: A Citizen's Guide", an authoritative and unbiased guide to nuclear technology and the controversies that surround it.
  8. POLIDIOT (political idiot) is a label applicable to both citizens and politicians who insist their "political option" is superior to "empirical fact". Have you noticed that political pundits are already reciting their favorite economic sound-bites while pretending the COVID-19 crisis (and associated economic recession) is over? To those people I present this quote from 1936:

    will work for food"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. There are not many who are influenced by new theories after they are twenty-five or thirty years of age, so that the ideas which civil servants and politicians and even agitators apply to current events are not likely to be the newest." --- John Maynard Keyes

    comment: no one "likes" the idea of printing up money but you would not like the alternative. Recall that very little was done after the crash of 1929; this resulted in a decade of hobos (homeless men looking for work), soup kitchens, and people wearing signs saying "will work for food"
  9. A new particle accelerator is being completed in Dubna, Russia, and is scheduled to be operational in 2022. This one is named NICA (Nuclotron-based Ion Collider fAсility) and is being built as a project of  JINR (Joint Institute for Nuclear Research).
    video (24-min): https://rtd.rt.com/films/russias-nica-big-bang-questions/
  10. Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism (published 2021). Author, Mariana Mazzucato PhD, argues that the Apollo Manned Space program (a public-private partnership proposed by President John F Kennedy) did more to stimulate the American economy than all other activities, both public and private, including defense spending.

    comment: recall that it was NASA's manned space programs that created: the integrated chip business, the mini-computer business, the micro-computer business (the Apollo Guidance Computer might have been the first practical micro), and the software business. These were all instrumental in creating ARPANET which later became the internet.
    Excerpt from page 80: [because of government investment] computers went from "30 tons and 160 kilowatts in ENIAC" to "70 pounds and 70 watts in the AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer)"

    Back to the book: The author explains how the South Korean government invested the tiny sum of 100 Million dollars into the Korean electronics industry with the intent of making Korea the leading manufacturer of digital displays like large screen televisions, computer monitors and cameras. That investment paid off in unexpected ways including the development of technology that created the smart phone business which they also own.
  11. Global CO2 levels hit a new peak of 419.05 ppm in April-2021 then increased to 419.13 ppm in May-2021 comment: 419 ppm = 0.419% (seems small until you realize that it is 5 times larger than 0.08% which is the legal limit for drunk driving)
  12. World’s largest-ever iceberg breaks away Antarctica (this one is the size of Puerto Rico)
  13. COVID-19 and two decades of misinformation
    Misinformation 1: The Republican-dominated Congress of 1987 eliminated the FCC Fairness Doctrine citing a violation of the right to free-speech by corporations. This enabled politically biased outlets like Fox News (Cable TV) and Rush Limbaugh (Syndicated Radio). Americans seem unaware that one-sided political propaganda in Germany resulted in world-war-2
    Misinformation 2: The internet (1969) enabled the world-wide-web (1991) then mobile social media (2007). These technologies have enabled an ever increasing amount of medical and scientific nonsense (vaccine hesitancy is one example) from non-experts on both sides of the political spectrum. They also bankrupted many respectable newspapers as advertisers moved their money online. Recall that "newspapers could be sued under libel laws" so they employed editors and journalists to provide "best effort reporting" of fact-checked information. Alternative media sites hide behind Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act so check nothing:
    The information Age: Evolution by natural selection is a scientifically proven fact. Five years after Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, Herbert Spencer published Principles of Biology containing the phrase Survival of the Fittest. A full year of COVID-19 deaths, combined with people still questioning science, caused me to wonder: what will human society look like when this is over? We live in the age of Survival of the Smartest because everyone needs to be able to separate fact from fiction or political opinion. Because many prefer information from politically-biased ALTERNATIVE STREAM MEDIA rather than neutral MAIN STREAM MEDIA, a lot of stupid people are going to die (they will think they are "politically right" but will also be "dead wrong"). These deaths might not change human biological evolution since many who will die have moved past their reproductive years. Meanwhile this WHO chart shows COVID-19 evolving through the Greek Alphabet
    • variants of concern-1: alpha, beta, gamma, delta
    • not sure why they jumped past letters 5 + 6 (epsilon and zeta)
    • variants of concern-2: eta, iota, kappa, lambda, mu (lambda and mu may prove to be as deadly as delta)
    COVID-19 stats:
  14. Ontario COVID-19 "ICU" Patient Numbers are too high. ICU ("intensive care unit") is a hospital bed associated with a full-time nurse and a ventilator (people who lived through the Polio crisis would be more familiar with the phrase "iron lung"). Premier Doug Ford announced a province-wide shutdown starting April-03 because the ICU patient count was 421 but projected to hit 800 by the end of the month (there are only 800 ICU beds in the whole province).
  15. Sea-level rise is rising faster: One proof of climate-change is the increasing rate of sea-level rise. Most climate-change skeptics stand down after they see the graphs showing average annual sea-level rate of rise doubling from 1.7 mm per year (averaged: 1870-1990) to 3.4 mm per year as measured by modern weather satellites. Multiplying by 100 yields 340 mm or 13.4 inches per century. But the contents of this recent scientific paper from Denmark ( https://os.copernicus.org/articles/17/181/2021/ ) are even more troubling. The first line of the abstract reads "Recent assessments from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) imply that global mean sea level is unlikely to rise more than about 1.1 meters within this century but will increase further beyond 2100". This statement infers that one meter (39 inches) is within the scope of possibility.
  16. Commenting on Huawei: It appears to me that western society only supports capitalism "when the west wins". When a Chinese company, like Huawei, becomes the next Nortel, then ridiculous conspiracy theories are invoked. IIRC, Huawei was one of many companies that bid on the sale of Nortel's intellectual property, as did Apple, Google, Blackberry and others. Huawei was not one of the winners which forced it to increase its own R&D operations (estimates put Huawei R&D in 2019 at a massive 40% of net income). Experts agree that Huawei is 18-24 months ahead of their competition on 5G. If Huawei was stealing they could not be that far ahead.

    I think it was Deng Xiaoping who once said "The Middle East has its oil, China has rare earth". Since modern electronics is dependent upon rare-earth materials then it should be no surprise that Chinese-made electronics is much less expensive. Speaking of Deng for a moment, in 1985 I was attending school in Boston where it appeared to me that Chinese students were everywhere. Apparently, Deng had sent 1.3 million Chinese students to the world to receive a top-quality western education paid for by China (one of my more-gifted Chinese classmates was accompanied by "two minders" who were there to ensure that he returned to China). Unlike Mao, Deng saw great value in education and realized that this was the best way forward for China. Thirty five years later, China has moved more than 350 million Chinese citizens from poverty into the middle class. This number is greater than the current population of the USA so is it any surprise that China is doing well? Meanwhile, there is a tendency amongst westerners to label "an educated person" as "an elite". It seems to me that the world has flipped.
  17. Our culture is awash in lies, dominated by streams of never ending electronic hallucinations that merge fact and fiction until they are indistinguishable.  We have become the most illusioned society on earth.  Politics is a species of endless and meaningless political theater.  Politicians have morphed into celebrities.  Our two ruling parties are, in reality, one party - the corporate party.  And those who attempt to puncture this vast, breathless universe of fake news, designed to push through the cruelty and exploitation of the neoliberal order, are pushed so far to the margins of society, including by a public broadcasting system that has sold its soul for corporate money, that we might as well be mice squeaking against an avalanche, but squeak we MUST
  18. A conservative friend of mine was fond of asking me political questions (I am a centrist) then would cut me off mid-sentence before I finished answering. Apparently he was the only conservative amongst his family of brothers, sisters and parents but had no problem thinking he was right (er, correct)  while they were wrong. How could this be? This thought rattled around in my mind until I stumbled across a book titled The Republican Brain which was positively reviewed by liberals and conservatives alike. The book contains several points which I will pass along here:
    • Size differences in two brain structures, the amygdala (larger in conservatives) and the anterior cingulate (larger in liberals), bias human perspective of the world.
    • Conservatives see most issues as "black-and-white" (or good-and-evil) and are more pessimistic while liberals see "shades of gray" and are generally more optimistic
    • Conservatives are more fearful of others so are more easily encouraged to vote for POPULIST issues like "building the wall" or BREXIT (funny point: Britain had the lowest number of per-capita immigrants but had the highest political reaction against them)
    • Conservatives play politics as a team sport so will almost always "vote their party" while Liberals will split their vote choosing alternate parties (not very smart in first-past-the -post)
  19. Philosophical razors
    • Occam's razor: Simpler explanations are more likely to be correct; avoid unnecessary or improbable assumptions
    • Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity
    • more examples: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_razor
  20. When I was young, everything I knew about politics and economics came from secondary school so found myself reading books recommended by others which included The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek. Then when I heard Marget Thatcher quote the book, I wondered if she was reading a different translation since her quotes bore little resemblance to the book I read (was Thatcher paraphrasing?). I recently stumbled onto this gem which was also written by Hayek which I only pass along as food-for-thought. It is titled Why I am Not a Conservative (whoa! this article is an excerpt from a 1960 book titled The Constitution of Liberty - I wonder if Thatcher knew about this)

Continued: Index Part-2 (more sciency stuff)

"2001: A Space Odyssey"
A mysterious monolith awakens the imagination of humanity's distant ancestors.
A second monolith awaits humanity's giant leap to the moon. And in orbit around Jupiter,
a third monolith beckons humanity to transcend beyond the limits of of body and machine.
Click: 2001: A Space Odyssey @ Wikipedia
"a Feynman Diagram"
Feynman Diagram (animated) Feynman Diagram (static)
"All forces in the universe are mediated by particle exchange"
This "Feynman Diagram" (of electron repulsion) depicts the movement of two electrons (1 to 3 and 2 to 4) in space and time. A virtual photon transfers energy between them (5 to 6) causing them to repel each other.
To learn more:
1) brief explanation
2) detailed explanation
Legend: Y-Axis (up-down) is time while X-Axis (left-right) is space

Neil Rieck
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Yes, this is the old "Laptops and Lederhosen" site
  • Humanity's coming Dark Age
  • STEM Book Recommendations (Dark Age vaccine?)
  • Thomas PaineThomas Paine (1737-1809) wrote about many modern topics including "racial equality" (he proposed "abolishing slavery" 100 years before Lincoln). The following three titles are a "must read" for all modern citizens:
  • Adam Smith (1723-1790) professor of "moral philosophy" (economist) developed economic theories with the intent of redistributing wealth to workers who were about to be displaced by the industrial revolution. Anyone reading Smith's books will come to the conclusion that American capitalism is based upon a synthesis of Adam Smith and Charles Darwin (survival of the greediest). Many things Americans attribute to Adam Smith are not found in his books (the 'invisible hand' is mentioned only once in a revised edition of WoN). What would he think about hedge funds and activist investors?  
  • The $6 Trillion Dollar War by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E Stiglitz
  •   Comparative Anthropology
  • the Enlightenment (my favorite topic)



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