Category Archives: Anti-science

Hot Air

Who Says We Don’t Make Anything In America Anymore?

So far as I can tell, this story is the real deal. This isn’t the fruit of the fertile imagination of some humorous writer from the Onion or another knockoff news satire site.

Some doohickey town in North Carolina had the opportunity to get a nice big solar farm that’d tie into the area’s electrical grid. A sweet move coming on the heels of the Paris climate talks and Prez O’s recent imprimatur of same, wherein he said the global pact is “the best chance we have to save the one planet we’ve all got” and that its implementation would be “a turning point for the world.”

‘Course, if that’s what our Imam-in-Chief sez, it must be as wrong as the sun rising in the west.

See, this little cow town had a big ol’ public meeting on the night its town council was to vote on a zoning ordinance for the land upon which the solar panels would be built. Now, normally, no one in her or his right mind would attend — much less pay attention to the blathering that goes on at such things — a meeting of a town council considering zoning matters.

The sane among us would prefer being impaled upon the tippy-top of Seattle’s Space Needle.

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Oh, Yeah, If It’s A Zoning Meeting or This….

But, apparently, the meeting in Q. was packed. The public got its chance to voice its displeasure over the plan, citing every drawback from loss of jobs (not explained) to the certain death of surrounding flora. Um, yeah, that’s what some retired science teacher (?!) said. Her name is Jane Mann and she testified that solar panel arrays suck up all the sunlight, preventing surrounding plants from getting their share of it. The plants’ photosynthesis processes, she said, shut down. She swore she’s seen brown and dead plants all around other solar farms. She also said she’s noticed a lot of cancer cases popping up around these facilities.

Bolstered by these clearly incontrovertible statements, the town council went ahead and denied the zoning request for the solar farm. It also instituted a moratorium on any other solar farm plans.

The story has reached across the mighty oceans, natch. Any story that illustrates just how unscientific we Murricans are — even our retired science teachers, fer chrissakes! — gets play in the foreign news media. And rightly so. Here, for instance, is a line from the Independent UK‘s story on the vote:

Members of the public in Woodland, North Carolina, expressed their fear and mistrust….

Yep. Fear and mistrust — two products of which we are inordinately proud in this holy land.

Sanders: Man Without A Medium

Here are the main reasons why the TV nets are ignoring Bernie Sanders:

He’s old.

He’s a Jew with a northeast accent.

He’s not handsome or dignified in that vanilla TV way.

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Square-Jawed, Greying At The Temples: Mitt Was A TV Hottie

His hair’s a mess.

He talks policy.

He hasn’t got a hint of scandal around him.

He’s not palsy-walsy with media conglomerate big shots.

He’s not a woman or a black man.

He hasn’t led a devil-may-care, dashing life.

He flies coach.

He doesn’t worship wealth.

The poor bastard. About the only way he’ll get real TV coverage is if he appears before a packed arena without a stitch of clothing on. Then they’ll talk about him.

A Little Love For Indiana

Dig: Doug Wissing, our town’s intrepid war correspondent, has a new book coming out on January 4, 2016, so save your pennies.

Wissing’s new tome, IN Writing: Uncovering the Unexpected Hoosier State, published by Indiana University Press, is a love letter to the Hoosier State.

Before I moved here, I had Indiana pegged as this holy land’s least remarkable state. Hell, after living here six-plus years, I still feel that way. But if anyone’s got the chops to sway that opinion, it’s Wissing. His new book has earned kudos from the likes of bestselling mystery writer Michael Koryta, historian and biographer Michael Shelden, novelist Dan Wakefield, and even former Congressbeing and current Indiana University SPEA big shot Lee Hamilton.

Wissing himself says:

Given my essays cover subjects naughty and nice, the publishers are touting it as alternative Indiana history, one that includes Indiana’s often counter-intuitive links to the wide, wide world.

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Wissing In Afghanistan

Okay, I’m game. I’m saving my pennies too.

Hoosier Hilarity

Here’s a quote from red-hot funnyman Jim Gaffigan, who — I had no idea — is a Hoosier:

I’m from Indiana. I know what you’re thinking — Indiana… Mafia. But in Indiana it’s not like New York where everyone’s like, “We’re from New York and we’re the best,” or “We’re from Texas and we like things big.” It’s more like, “We’re from Indiana and we’re gonna move.”

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Gaffigan

M*U*S*H

I take my life into my hands by uttering this but it needs to be said: M*A*S*H was a pretty good TV show until Harry Morgan replaced MacLean Stevenson as the colonel.

Harry-Morgan-007

Harry Morgan, Emoting

Good god, Harry Morgan was wooden. He boasted an acting range that spanned from A to B. He brought that stiff, stilted stage manner over from Dragnet and added nothing to what could have been a brilliant show. It wasn’t, although millions of people think it was.

But, as I always say, what do people know?

Hot Air

Oh, Those Deer Again

As mentioned earlier in these precincts, the upcoming deer cull (or, if you prefer, kill) has raised a lot of hackles around town. A private wildlife management company (or, if you prefer, hired assassins) will mow down a few of the cuddly but troublesome ruminants this fall. Some B-town residents are in favor of calling out the Air Corps and having them drop the A-bomb on the Griffy Lake area where the deer loiter. Others say, Hey, wait a sec, those little cloven-hoofed Bambis were here first so we should learn to live with them. All of them.

The argument has reached sniffy and huffy proportions at times. The city’s Parks & Recreation Dept. approved the cull plan earlier this year. The City Council followed up by waiving the city’s no-shootin’-o’-them-there-firearms ban. Mayor Mark Kruzan then vetoed the Council’s waiver. The majority of the Council sniffed, stuck to their guns (pun intended), and overrode his veto.

Bloomington Council

Bloomington’s City Council

One of our fave Pencillistas is Bloomington City Councilperson Susan Sandberg. She voted yea on the cull and has been dodging missiles ever since. And, like pretty much all political discussion these days, the rhetoric turned ludicrous. Some anti-cullers have suggested that the kill plan is symptomatic of this holy land’s love affair with guns and one or two have even suggested that recent muggings on the B-Line Trail just may be a direct result of the Council’s (and Sandberg’s) mania to solve our problems with firearms and violence.

Well, our gal got pushed over the edge by that. Sandberg took to Facebook the other day and huffed:

I just have to get this off my chest based on a subtle but false remark made in the last Council meeting. To equate gun violence against human beings with my position on responsible deer population management in the Griffy Woods Preserve to protect the ecology of other species is simply not acceptable. For all who follow my posts here, there is no one, I repeat NO ONE who is more horrified by senseless gun violence in America than yours truly. To suggest that those of us who support managing the over abundance of deer in Griffy is in any way related to a reckless gun culture or a direct cause of violence in Bloomington is irresponsible and untrue. I will not let that propaganda stand without respectful rebuttal. I’ve heard that some folks are out there saying that the recent violence on the B-Line trail is directly related to the City Council supporting lethal and humane methods of deer management in Griffy. Those two issues have nothing to do with each other and to spread that false line of thinking is offensive and absurd. I’ll be much more outspoken about this in public meetings if these false comparisons continue.

I, of course, leapt to Sandberg’s defense. Hell, she may be a Congressbeing or even the Governor one day and wouldn’t it be swell to have a friend in either the state’s or nation’s capital?

Like The Dude, Sandberg drew a line in the sand and would not let this (verbal) aggression stand, man.

From "The Big Lebowski"

This Will Not Stand

Later on in the comment thread, SuSand hinted that some communiques from the anti-cull gang have been threatening and one or two have even characterized her as a Hitler. Susan Sandberg, I’ll say here and now, is no Adolph Hitler — she’s not even a vegetarian.

I spoke with another high-ranking official in these parts yesterday afternoon. Whadja think of SS’s smackdown of her critics the other day? I asked.

This high-ranking official eyed me for a moment and then responded, “When you take the job, you’ve got to accept the criticism that comes with it.”

I think my high-ranking official source is right. Therefore I advise S-squared to ignore the dumb bastards in the hereinafter. I’ll take up the sword in her stead. I’m no elected official so I don’t have to put up with anybody’s stupidity.

Bomb Newark

Here’s a Wow! quote from the front page of Sunday’s New York Times Book Review:

There are places in America where life is so cheap and fate so brutal that, if they belonged to another country, America might bomb that country to “liberate” them.

That’s as powerful a statement as I’ve read in a big-time media outlet in I don’t know how long. Honestly, I can’t imagine how the line got past the NYT editors.

It is incendiary, it is dramatic, it is shocking, it is bold and, above all, it is true.

It’s the opening sentence in a review of the book, The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, the saddest of possible tales about living in the slums of Newark, New Jersey. The book traces the life of the title kid who somehow succeeds despite being raised among gangsters, poverty, miserable schools, and the constant threat of violence. He found his way to Yale University where he majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. But Rob also had a daddy-o who was a dope dealer and who warned him off reading books because they’d make him soft. Rob eventually inherited his daddy-o’s drug business. Then he was killed.

Book Cover

A NYT columnist named Anand Giridharadas wrote the review. Jeff Hobbs wrote the book. I suppose if you want to drive yourself into a deep depression, you’ll read it. On the other hand, there’s a lot about America that’s awfully depressing and it does us no good to ignore it.

Boom Times

Just for the record, I’m four-square in favor of the pounding the US and its temporary allies are giving those ISIS boys in Syria and parts nearby.

Tomahawk Missile

Stock Image Of A Tomahawk Missile Launch

People here and there are harrumphing that the whole ISIS scare is a false flag thing, that the US can’t be trusted to deliver us the truth since Iraq. It’s true Little Georgy Bush’s funtimes war against Saddam Hussein was based on pure, unadulterated bullshit. And that indeed should give us pause every time the leaders of this holy land try to sell us a bill of goods.

It doesn’t mean, though, that every utterance from every succeeding president is fraudulent.

The world needs to be wiped clean of ISIS.

Science (Non)Fiction

Lisa Winter writes in IFLS about the Top 10 Unsolved Mysteries of Science.

That is, the most perplexing questions we haven’t been able to answer about the world — hell, the Universe — around us. Those who scoff at science (can you believe I’m actually writing these words in the 21st Century?) say, See, Science doesn’t know everything!

Correct. Science doesn’t know everything. Actually, science knows nothing since it’s a descriptor of a process rather than a person or group of people who, like, know things.

Those anti-science-ites like to say things like that to infer that not only does science not know everything, it really knows nothing. Evolution? Bah. Global warming? Puh-leeze. Childhood vaccinations? Never. That’s a lazy over-reaction on a par with those (as mentioned in an entry above) who think that because of Iraq, all American presidents lie about everything.

Bumper Sticker

Well, presidents do lie and science — or , more accurately, scientists — are scratching their heads about any number of things. As Osgood Fielding III says in Some Like It Hot, “Nobody’s perfect.”

Here then, acc’d’g to Lisa Winter, are the most troublesome Q’s scientists face these days:

  • Why is there more matter than anti-matter?
  • Where is all the lithium?
  • Why do we sleep?
  • How does gravity work?
  • Where are all the extra-terrestrials?

From "The Day the Earth Stood Still"

Where Are These Guys?

  • What is dark matter?
  • How did life begin?
  • How do plate tectonics work?
  • How do animals know where to go when they migrate?
  • What is dark energy?

When I was a little kid, I’d watch cars zip by on North Avenue on Chicago’s Northwest Side and feel frustrated because I couldn’t figure out how they could move. Nothing was pushing those cars; nothing was pulling them. The fact that they were zipping by seemed, to my little mind, impossible. Somehow, though, I knew it wasn’t impossible, nor was it magic. There was a reason, an explanation, a confidence that I’d eventually know.

Scientists today are like little kids when it comes to the aforementioned ten bogglers. No, science doesn’t know everything; it’s got a million questions.

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