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The recent Pacific Northwest heat wave is said to have killed thousands of clams and mussels along the coast; baked 'em right on the beach.

We are an overturned butter truck away from a heck of a party.


A judge in Spain says that Shakira may have avoided paying the taxes she owed and should go to trial.

Hopefully, her hips won't be called in to testify.


In a tragedy that's becoming all too common among millennial women, local wife and mother of three Destiny Madur sadly passed away after she only managed to drink seven and a half glasses of water instead of the recommended eight on Saturday.

"This death was entirely preventable," said presiding ER doctor F.P. Langley. "It's so sad to see a young, healthy woman like Mrs. Madur not drink all eight glasses of water a day as we've been recommending for some time. She was trying to down that last half a glass and then just left it on her bedside table, which kind of looked like the house in Signs with all the water containers left everywhere. But she started watching one of her TV shows and forgot about it."

Dr. Langley said that as soon as the clock struck midnight, Madur realized her mistake and reached for her glass of water to finish it off, but it was too late. She died moments later. Her husband says he is dedicating his life to making sure people drink eight glasses of water a day. "It's what she would have wanted," he said somberly. "She was always telling me to drink more water. In an ironic twist of fate, that's what undid her in the end. WHY, GOD!? WHY?!?!"

According to experts, millions of women die every year after not quite managing to chug a full eight glasses of water a day. "It's the number one cause of death in America," said medical journalist Paul Breadcrombie. "So very sad."

At publishing time, sources had confirmed most men haven't drunk a full glass of water in over a decade and are totally fine.


My friends asked me to go camping, so I made a list of the things I would need:

#1. New friends.


What does a British owl say?

Whom...., whom.

Quote of the Times;
“Pedophilia is the end game of equality. It always was. And every single conservative who proudly embraced “judeochristianity” and every single liberal who preened about how he only judged people by the content of their character bears their share of the blame for walking down this road. Jesus Christ came to divide, not to unite, and there is absolutely no equality of any kind, not in Heaven and not in this world. If you are preaching unity, equality, tolerance, and inclusiveness, you are serving evil.” - Vox Day

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Hospital to stop delivering babies as maternity workers resign over vaccine mandate by Brendan Straub

LOWVILLE, New York (WWNY) - Lewis County General Hospital will stop delivering babies after September 24 because too many maternity unit workers have resigned over COVID vaccination mandates.

That’s according to Lewis County Health System Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cayer, who held a news conference Friday in Lowville.

He said 6 employees in the maternity unit resigned rather than get a COVID shot and another 7 are undecided.

According to Cayer, the hospital will be unable to safely staff the unit and will pause delivering babies after September 24.

He said he hopes this is a temporary situation and will work with the state Department of Health to make sure the unit won’t permanently close.

“If we can pause the service and now focus on recruiting nurses who are vaccinated, we will be able to reengage in delivering babies here in Lewis County,” said Cayer.

Cayer said 165 hospital employees have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19; that’s 27 percent of the workforce.

The other 464 workers, or 73 percent of employees, have gotten their shots, he said.

In August, the state announced all health care workers at hospitals and long-term care facilities across New York would be required to have gotten at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination by September 27.

Cayer said the announcement prompted 30 workers to get vaccinated, while another 30 resigned.

“Our hope is as we get closer (to the deadline), the numbers will increase of individuals who are vaccinated, fewer individuals will leave and maybe, with a little luck, some of those who have resigned will reconsider,” he said. “We are not alone. There are thousands of positions that are open north of the Thruway and now we have a challenge to work through, you know, with the vaccination mandate.”

News of the Times;
I couldn't afford one of those DNA tests, so I just announced I won the lottery.

I soon found out who all my relatives are.


Muslims are a lot like breakfast eggs.

If they aren't Sunni side up, they're probably Shiite.



Phones can be used for talking to people AND to avoid talking to people.

If you sliced wolverine directly in half, which side would regenerate?

Is Hugh Hefner In A Better Place?

Captchas can't distinguish between bots and drunks.

A saddle is like a human-horse adapter.

Kids are just drunk adults.

Accidentally having a small magnet on the bottom of your laptop is like finding a tick on your head.

Why does children's cough syrup taste like candy, but regular cough syrup tastes like donkey balls?

We should have more average looking models so we can see what we're actually going to look like.

If a cyclops closes its eye, is it a wink or a blink?

Everything we eat turns to sh!t.

All of Robin William's quotes are sadder when you realize some of them are referring to himself.


Although my daughter wasn’t much of a bowler, when her friend’s bowling team was down a player, my daughter agreed to fill in.

“So how’d you do?” I asked a few days later.

She rattled off her scores: “One sixty, one sixty-seven, and one fifty-five.”

“Wow! That’s great!”

“No… One game sixty, one game sixty-seven, and one game fifty-five.”


Kelly Clarkson's ex-husband is going to receive almost $200K a month in support payments.

You know, with budgeting, you could make that work.

Quote of the Times;
The hospitals are “overwhelmed” because they keep “firing” people. Yet won’t hand out termination letters because they know they can get sued. - Danelishen

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
No, Jesus Wasn't a Socialist by Lawrence Reed

Christian charity, being voluntary and heartfelt, is utterly distinct from the compulsory, impersonal mandates of the state.

The claim that Jesus Christ was a socialist has become a popular refrain among liberals, even from some whose Christianity is lukewarm at best. But is there any truth in it?

That question cannot be answered without a reliable definition of socialism. A century ago, it was widely regarded as government ownership of the means of production. Jesus never once even hinted at that concept, let alone endorsed it. Yet the definition has changed over time. When the critiques of economists such as Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, and Milton Friedman demolished any intellectual case for the original form of socialism, and reality proved them to be devastatingly right, socialists shifted to another version: central planning of the economy.

One can scour the New Testament and find nary a word from Jesus that calls for empowering politicians or bureaucrats to allocate resources, pick winners and losers, tell entrepreneurs how to run their businesses, impose minimum wages or maximum prices, compel workers to join unions, or even to raise taxes. When the Pharisees attempted to trick Jesus of Nazareth into endorsing tax evasion, he cleverly allowed others to decide what properly belongs to the State by responding, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s.”

Nonetheless, one of the charges that led to Jesus’s crucifixion was indeed tax evasion.

Changing the Definition

With the reputation of central planners in the dumpster worldwide, socialists have largely moved on to a different emphasis: the welfare state. The socialism of Bernie Sanders and his young ally Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is that of the benevolent, egalitarian nanny state where rich Peter is robbed to pay poor Paul. It’s characterized by lots of “free stuff” from the government—which of course isn’t free at all. It’s quite expensive both in terms of the bureaucratic brokerage fees and the demoralizing dependency it produces among its beneficiaries. Is this what Jesus had in mind?

Hardly. Yes, amid the holidays, it’s especially timely to think about helping the poor. It was, after all, a very important part of Jesus's message. How helping the poor is to be done, however, is mighty important.

Christians are commanded in Scripture to love, to pray, to be kind, to serve, to forgive, to be truthful, to worship the one God, to learn and grow in both spirit and character. All of those things are very personal. They require no politicians, police, bureaucrats, political parties, or programs.

“The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want,” says Jesus in Matthew 26:11 and Mark 14:7. The key words there are you can help and want to help. He didn’t say, “We’re going to make you help whether you like it or not.”

In Luke 12:13-15, Jesus is approached with a redistribution request. “Master, speak to my brother that he divideth the inheritance with me,” a man asks. Jesus replied, “Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?” Then he rebuked the petitioner for his envy.

Christianity is not about passing the buck to the government when it comes to relieving the plight of the poor. Caring for them, which means helping them overcome it, not paying them to stay poor or making them dependent upon the state, has been an essential fact in the life of a true Christian for 2,000 years. Christian charity, being voluntary and heartfelt, is utterly distinct from the compulsory, impersonal mandates of the state.

What Does Scripture Say?

But don’t take my word for it. Consider what the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

And in Jesus’s Parable of the Good Samaritan, the traveler is regarded as “good” because he personally helped the stricken man at the roadside with his own time and resources. If, instead, he had urged the helpless chap to wait for a government check to arrive, we would likely know him today as the Good-for-Nothing Samaritan.

Jesus clearly held that compassion is a wholesome value to possess, but I know of no passage in the New Testament that suggests it’s a value he’d impose by force or gunpoint—in other words, by socialist politics.

Socialists are fond of suggesting that Jesus disdained the rich, citing two particular moments: his driving of the money-changers from the Temple and his remark that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. In the first instance, Jesus was angry that God’s house was being misused. Indeed, he never drove a money-changer from a bank or a marketplace. In the second, he was warning that with great wealth, great temptations come, too.

These were admonitions against misplaced priorities, not class warfare messages.

Creating Wealth Is a Virtue—Not Redistributing It

In his Parable of the Talents, Jesus talks about a man who entrusts his wealth to three servants for a time. When the man returns, he learns that one of the servants safeguarded his share by burying it, the second put his share to work and multiplied it, and the third invested his and generated the greatest return of all. Who’s the hero in the parable? The wealth-creating third man. The first one is admonished, and his share is taken and given to the third.

That doesn’t sound very socialist, does it?

Likewise, in Jesus’s Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, the story upholds capitalist virtues, not socialist ones. When some workers complain that others were paid more, the employer rightfully defends the right of voluntary contract, private property, and, in effect, the law of supply and demand.

At Christmas time and throughout the year, Jesus would want each of us to be generous in helping the needy. But if you think he meant for politicians to do it with police power at twice the cost and half the effectiveness of private charity, you’re not reading the same New Testament I am.

News of the Times;
Today, I shocked the hell out of the postman by opening the door completely naked.

I’m not sure what surprised him most: my nudity, or the fact that I know where he lives.


Why does Karl Marx's toilet play music every time you flush it?

Because of the violins inherent in the cistern.


In what has been hailed as ‘a miracle’, one Waterford teenager has reportedly survived in his home with no connection to the internet for almost 6 whole hours.

Answering to the name ‘David Gowan’, the 16-year-old was found in a distressed state yesterday evening, walking through a Dungarvan neighbourhood holding his Samsung Galaxy above his head looking for a signal and muttering incoherently.

The emergency services were notified and David was brought to a nearby Starbucks and hooked up to their Wi-Fi immediately. It remains unclear as to how the teen was left without internet for such a long period of time, and a search has begun to find David’s parents, with fears that they may have other kids without even a single bar of coverage.

“David survived without access to any social media or video sharing sites for the better part of an afternoon,” said an amazed member of Waterford’s child protection services.

“No GIFs, no memes. It’s incredible to see him in such good condition, considering what he went through. There’s grown adults who can’t go without internet for that long, let alone teenagers. God love him like, he didn’t even see the new Matrix trailer yet”.

David was not available for interview, with rumors circulating that the poor youngster had lost the ability to speak in anything other than normal English, having not used emojis for so long.


Two atheists were lost in a desert. They had run out of supplies and were wandering aimlessly.

One morning, they encountered a Muslim. The Muslim asked, "What are your names?"

The first, figuring the Muslim would be more likely to help a fellow Muslim, lied and said, "My name is Mohammed."

The second stayed honest and said, "My name is Dave."

The Muslim gave Dave a hearty breakfast. He turned to "Mohammed" and said, "Fasting is so hard, isn't it?"


A truckload of tortoises crashed into a trainload of terrapins.

It was a turtle disaster.

Quote of the Times;
In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these. - Harvey

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Covid is a Social Construct by

Beyond all of the politics and hysteria and right-thinking, there is a real virus beneath it all. Its name is Sars-Cov-2. This virus is not to be confused with Covid-19, which is the illness that the virus causes. The distinction, like that between HIV and AIDS, is medically useful, and it invites us to make other, analogous distinctions, in service of cleaning up our thought.

Illness is as much a social matter as a biological one, and for most of us, the vastly more significant distinction is not that between virus and disease, but between the biological reality of the virus-disease, and the political and social perceptions of this virus-disease. Words help us think, and so here I propose to call the former biological virus-disease Sars2; and the latter, socio-political virus-disease, Covid.

Sars2 is only one of the players responsible for the social construction of Covid, and not even the most important one. It is best to think of Covid as a committee project, with a lot of creative talent. Politicians, epidemiologists, virologists, public health experts, computer models, public health institutes, journalists, Chinese bureaucrats, and yes, among them all, Sars2—they all get some say in constructing Covid. Sometimes Sars2 disagrees with their construct, and sometimes his fellow committee members listen to him. But sometimes he disagrees and gets overruled. He’s only one voice at the table, after all. When a Twitter blue-check or a scientist or your professor lectures you about the substance of scientific consensus, they are just delivering articles of faith about the social construct of Covid, as the committee has defined it.

When we say that something is a social construct, we don’t mean that it isn’t real. We just mean that it could be conceived of in a much different way; and that a big part of what we take for granted about the constructed thing is malleable. Clearly political and scientific authorities could have constructed a massively different version of Covid if they wanted to. If you doubt this, look at China. They have basically eradicated Covid by constructing it out of existence.

In the West, Covid has acquired a variety of features that demand constant and heavy-handed technocratic intervention. This is not the case everywhere, but in the West, where technocratic bureaucracies dominate, this is what Covid has become. The technocrats have had a huge hand in building Covid, and they have constructed the perfect nail for their hammer.

Above all, they have constructed Covid to be an intractable problem, because our bureaucracies derive much of their authority and legitimacy from permanent, intractable problems. This was not the only path. We very nearly embarked upon a quite different one. Before the permanent bureaucracy recognised that Sars2 provided fodder for another eternal project, they had taken substantial steps towards building a very different disease out of Sars2—a disease that nobody needed to worry about very much, that was not very different from other respiratory illnesses, and that would probably go away in the end, or that we could at least overlook if we didn’t think about it too carefully or test for it all that widely.

That changed very quickly. By March, western Covid committees had begun building a very different disease. One of its most important features, is its omnipresence and invisibility.

Covid Is A Hidden, Lurking Menace

Central to our image of Covid is its appearance out of nowhere. A wet market deep in China, or some bio-lab—official discourse is agnostic. The earliest images to reach the West depicted apparently healthy Chinese people suddenly collapsing in convulsions, as if struck by God. Efforts to quarantine the earliest Covid patients in Europe totally failed, as the disease turned out to be circulating broadly among the population first in Lombardy, then in northern Europe, and finally in the United States. This early impression of Covid as omnipresent and invisible remains with us to this day. It is not enough to stay home if you are sick. Healthy people, who never develop symptoms of Covid, nevertheless spread the disease. Aerosolised transmission is the subject of much discussion; Covid menaces through the air. Interestingly, the aerosol aspect only took off after establishment scientists decided that transmission via surfaces was at best infrequent. Yet the menace of contaminated surfaces has persisted in our consciousness, alongside the contaminated air, and the contaminated healthy people, and the visibly contaminated sick.

In the ancient world, it was held that certain life-forms, such as fish, were generated spontaneously by the environment. If you kept a barrel of water around long enough, theory held you’d soon find little minnows swimming around in it. This is, functionally, how we behave with Covid. Two healthy people conversing in an unventilated room will probably yield Covid in one of them. In fact Covid can arise from any instance of social proximity. People fear objects that many others have touched. People fear friends or relatives who are perceived to socialise or travel too much.

Now, Covid does not lurk absolutely everywhere. It favours above all those spaces subject to the direct control of government bureaucracies. Schools, therefore, are especially feared. Public transit is considered another terrifying locus of infection. Covid is especially pervasive in hospitals; a lot of people avoid them now at all costs. In the first wave, it was common to close parks and playgrounds, even though we know the risk of transmission outdoors is minimal. Bureaucrats control public parks.

As you move away from bureaucratic oversight, the threat of Covid recedes. Bars and clubs, in most countries subject to substantial regulation but essentially private enterprises, are a kind of middle ground: Dangerous certainly, and the subject of much moral expostulation, but not quite the unmitigated danger of schools. Things like restaurants and chamber music concerts at private venues take a further step away from bureaucratic oversight, and Covid recedes accordingly. Private offices are managed by bureaucrats hardly at all, so we don't read that much about infection at work. The exception is government bureaucrats themselves, who hear a lot about how dangerous it is for them to go to the office. That space furthest removed from bureaucratic supervision, the home, is a safe haven from Covid, although it is the one place you’re most likely to contract Sars2.

The presence of Covid, which is invisible and potentially everywhere, can only be ascertained via special tests. While you can give yourself an antigen test at home, the results are far less authoritative than antigen tests administered by authorised agents of the bureaucracy, and these in turn are still less significant than PCR tests, administered by medical professions and processed in a lab.

Mere symptoms do not mean you are infected; you could have something else. On the other hand, perfect health does not mean you are Covid-free. I don’t think enough people have recognised how bizarre this situation is. Consider all those people these past months who have recovered from a respiratory illness, with fever and cough, without ever being tested. When they suggest that perhaps they had Covid, it is routine to doubt them. Certainly nobody would exempt them from vaccines on that basis. Compare them to all the people who have no symptoms at all, but test positive, and are widely considered to have a disease. The voluminous and eager literature on the asymptomatics is extremely telling. They are 20% of all cases, or 80%; they are responsible for 2% of infections, or 40%. They are tallied in the statistics, undifferentiated from the truly ill.

Central to the definition of Covid, is that mass testing programs be the only means of defining the extent of the disease, assessing the success of the technocratic response, and the virtue of the compliant population. Covid is not like other communicable diseases, which are diagnosed mostly in private, according to likely symptoms.

Covid as a hidden, lurking menace has had by far the worst consequences for children. Sars2, everybody knows, is not a danger to them. The virus himself has been very clear about this and it has not been possible for the disease bureaucrats to overrule him. It is easy to imagine a parallel universe, one where we are relieved at the near-total safety of our children in the face of this disease, one where we spare them the effects of public health interventions, because they are not at risk.

That is not our world. Government bureaucracies are heavily involved in the lives of children, particularly through schools. Thus public health authorities and, most unnaturally, many women, have come to fear children as a vector of infection. Some people even believe children are the main drivers of the pandemic. Covid lurks, a deadly silent threat, inside them, wherever they gather to play, wherever they gather in school. Classrooms and childcare centres have become places of intense microbial hysteria, silly simulacra of hospitals, with odd Plexiglas barriers, hand sanitiser around every corner, and constant, constant testing. In this world Covid creates its own reality vortex. You find infections where you swab the most. Every time schools are opened, intense surveillance uncovers a new flood of cases, which cements the image of children as dangerous and contaminated, a mortal threat to their grandparents.

If you say to a person of orthodox political alignments that this is a bizarre approach to any disease, to surround precisely those people at least risk with so many precautions, harmful in themselves; and at the same time to leave those most at-risk to their own devices with vague advice to self-isolate, they will say a great many things to you. One of the first things they say will be this: Covid is a totally new virus. It poses an unknown and wholly unprecedented threat to our society. There are no low-risk populations, and there is no way way to protect the vulnerable from this pervasive invisible pathogen. All we can do is disrupt hidden transmission among the invulnerable carriers.

Covid Is A Novel, Extra-Natural Disease

As with the hidden menace, the foundations for this aspect of Covid were laid early on. In the beginning Covid was held to be a zoonotic virus, brought upon humans by exotic Chinese dietary practices. Now many admit that it is likely a laboratory invention, unleashed with some sinister purpose or by accident. However that may be, Covid is totally new to humans; it is unlike any disease we have ever faced before. It is beyond nature and we have no natural defences against it. In the discourse surrounding Covid there has always been the tendency to push this extra-natural facet to the extremes, nearly to the supernatural. The early paranoia about surfaces comes to mind yet again, with those old stories of mail-room employees picking up Covid from packages sent from far-off, plague-ridden lands. Covid can perfuse the air for hours after a fateful cough. There is no general unified Covid with a limited set of properties. Attempts to fix its characteristics dissolve in a pool of contradictory evidence. Note the widely differing characteristics of Covid in neighbouring, broadly similar countries. The better part of this variation arises from different national medical bureaucracies, which have lent Covid different properties according to their capacities and proclivities. But of course the variation is not understood in that way; it is rather put down to some magical aspect of the virus itself. Extranatural virions do one thing in Sweden, and another thing in Germany, and another thing in Italy.

Because Covid is an extra-natural disease, our natural immune systems are not up to fighting it. This is why the prospect of Covid reinfection has been a matter of obsession from the very beginning. The first rumours of reinfection arose in China, where reinfected were said to suffer devastating symptoms, such as heart attacks. Similar cases were never observed in the West and so everyone stopped talking about that. Later on, South Korean health officials began reporting various cases of reinfection, but then it emerged that this was an artefact of the manic Korean testing regime. Recovering Covid patients issued multiple tests may come up negative one day and positive the next, as their body sheds the virus. Though they had been proven wrong twice, reinfection theories persisted. Minor victory came when some serological studies failed to find antibodies in some confirmed Covid patients. Later they had the holy grail, namely several confirmed genuine reinfections.

You could say, perhaps, that the reinfectionists on the Covid committee forced a compromise with Sars2 on this point. Reinfection aligns neatly with established doctrine about the inadequacy of our natural defences. Only broad-scale social and political countermeasures have any chance of success against Covid. Think of it as a substitute, artificial, social immune system: Lockdowns, curfews, quarantines, travel bans, mass testing, masks, school closures, personal distance, interior ventilation, hand sanitiser, contact tracing apps, home office, and more. This is what a society of immune-compromised people looks like. Just as our bodily immune response is responsible for many of the symptoms we associate with illness, so too is the social immune response responsible for the majority of negative effects from Covid. We have made our whole society sick, in a vain effort to keep some people healthy.

The body’s immune system can overreact to the point that it poses a greater danger than the infection itself. In a related way, our social response to Sars2 has entered an inflammatory phase, a spiral of disease hysteria demanding mass testing and contact tracing leading to the discovery of more cases causing more stringent anti-Covid social measures that just make our nations and our societies vastly sicker and more dysfunctional than we were before. Remember that this all started with "two weeks to crush the curve," and consider how far we have come, and how far we might go still. It goes without saying that all these negative effects are taken as further proof of the unusual threat that Covid poses.

Beyond the extra-natural social defences, we have placed all of our hopes in an extra-natural vaccine. Here the discourse devolves into awkward contradiction. To begin with, vaccines, while indeed extra-natural, merely stimulate natural immunity. If we may hope for a vaccine, it is unclear why we cannot let some of our natural immune systems join the fight. What is more, despite unprecedented mass testing programs and enormous scientific interest and the bias of our perspective, Covid reinfection is not yet a pervasive phenomenon. Those with natural immunity are well protected indeed. From the very beginning, the developers of extra-natural vaccines have been warning for a long time that their products will provide only partial protection against Sars2. Yet their products were marketed, until recently, as more protective than infection, and to this moment, even as the vaccines fail, politicians everywhere insist that mass vaccination is the only answer.

Fundamental to this paradox, is the axiom that extra-natural Covid poses an unknowable yet grave risk to everyone. Reinfection is only the beginning of it. All those people who have recovered without lingering effects may well develop brain lesions next year. The health of their internal organs has yet to be confirmed and there are dark suppositions that no few harbour hidden heart or liver or kidney damage. A lot of people might never smell again. Many recover only to relapse several weeks later, and perhaps again several weeks after that. There is now an enormous body of literature about Long Covid, a chronic syndrome marked by every symptom you could imagine: Ongoing fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, joint pain, cartilage degeneration, insomnia, depression—on and on.

Before you get into the weeds of the journal literature on Long Covid or permanent organ damage from Sars2, consider this: Officially, the virus has infected over 220 million people across the world. That is a great river, wide and deep, for our Covid committee to trawl for stories of unusual complications, debilitating symptoms and incomplete convalescences, from now until forever. The question is not, what odd horrible things lurk in that river; but how many of them there are, relative to the ordinary pedestrian things. What are you most likely to find? Long Covid and relapsed Covid and heart attack Covid? Or low-grade grade fever Covid, mild-cough Covid, over-in-five-days-without-a-second-thought Covid? I think we can all answer that question for ourselves. That we let the rare and the unusual dominate our construction of Covid, rather than the mild and the pedestrian, is partly down to publication bias. The banal almost never makes it into print; the strange and unusual invariably find an audience.

But that is not the only reason we must constantly hear about the grave unknown risks of this extra-natural disease. There are others too, and the biggest is simply this: The bureaucracies responsible for constructing Covid have decided that infections must be minimised above all else. That is the Sisyphean task they have set themselves. As the costs of their containment measures increase and society gets sicker, they must tell ever grimmer stories about why it is unacceptable for anyone, ever, to contract Sars2.

Covid Is Universal

Covid is the great sin of globalism, and globalism has brought it everywhere. Not even Antarctica remains Covid-free. Covid can infect animals as well as humans, and the prospect of reinfection has been leveraged to dispel the idea that anyone might become immune from Covid. In this way, the disease applies always and everywhere to everyone. (The opposite and far better-documented phenomenon, that a lot of people who have never had Sars2 have some partial immunity—presumably from prior non-Sars2 coronavirus infections—is contrary to Universal Covid and so it is excluded from official Covid doctrine.)

Because Covid is everywhere, and everybody is subject to it, containment policies must also be general, and vaccination policies must be too. For the disease bureaucrats, Universal Covid is a central doctrine, eagerly defended. The myth of Universal Covid is reinforced by the infection statistics we hear about every day. The only thing that ever makes headlines is how many positive tests there were today, as opposed to yesterday or last week; and which regions have the most infections right now. Since the Lombardy outbreak, everybody grasps that Sars2 infections have a regional particularism about them, but this is never presented as a challenge to Covid’s universality. Regional “hot-spots” are universally applicable examples of what will happen to your region, too, if Covid is not suppressed there and everywhere. Positive swabs might also be broken down into age cohorts, and these function much the same way. If your region has many new cases, but nobody really seems to be sick or dying, this is because the pandemic is currently concentrated among young people. Old people are next, if everybody does not comply with suppression measures. The effect is to make grim statistics a problem, even in the total absence of anybody actually suffering or dying.

Beyond these crude numbers, you don’t know anything about all those positive tests or the processes that generated them at all. It is very hard to figure out, for example, how many of them represent people who tested positive last week, and now have submitted a second test to see if they’ve cleared the virus and can leave their apartment again. Crucial for the interpretation of any such statistics, is to know how many of them emerge from contact-tracing operations, from the kinds of routine tests administered to people like doctors, teachers, and school children; and how many of them reflect actual patients seeking medical treatment. Equally central, if you want to make sense of these numbers, is how many of these people are actually sick, which is another question that many testing regimes leave wholly or mostly unanswered.

Western nations instituted mass testing programs, a universal solution to Universal Covid, after the example of South Korea. In the early days, it was thought that the Koreans had avoided a serious outbreak, without locking down, by testing and tracing everybody. So now we’re doing that too. The theory was that the technocrats would find the positives, shut them away, and allow the rest of us to go about our lives. In practice, it has been pretty much the opposite. Mass testing and tracing, far from replacing mass containment, merely provide the data to justify its enforcement. It is the same with vaccines, now that many regimes are struggling to vaccinate their way out of lockdowns. All that testing and tracing ought to make vaccines less important. Are they not identifying and quarantining the sick? Alas, you can never test and trace your way out of the Universal Covid we have constructed. That would only work for a Local Covid or an Endemic Covid, which we have not built—a Covid that afflicts certain people and not others. So the contact tracers do their thing, but the statistics that their activities generate are used to assess the state of the Covid outbreak for absolutely everybody and general, universal solutions are deployed in response to them. More lockdowns, more vaccines.

The German government is highly federalised, even more so than the United States. Much of the governing actually happens at the level of individual federal states, or Bundesländer. Each of the states could, in theory, manage its own response, according to local circumstances and sensibilities. You’d think this would be an advantage, because the instance of Sars2 infections varies vastly across Germany, and people in different states have different opinions about how to deal with it. If different states had gone their different ways, we would now have very direct insight into the effectiveness of competing containment policies. Of course, nobody in government sees it that way. Instead, Angela Merkel has spent every minute fighting against a federal approach and demanding a unified response. Newspapers have deplored our traditional federalism.

A final expression of Universal Covid lies in the universal mathematical formulae that were once widely held to predict its future progress. In March 2020, the population of the entire world received instruction in the basics of exponential functions. It was thought, as the first wave advanced, that Covid could be plotted on a graph, with time as the x axis and new cases as the y axis. Wherever Covid was spreading, this exercise yielded a curve sloping upwards to the right. Predicting the future course of Covid became a simple matter of plotting that same exponential function into future x-axis time. A lot of commentators, including many scientists, portrayed the resulting projections as mathematical certainties. This was important because raw infection numbers differed everywhere: Lombardy had the worst statistics, and so it was in the lead. Behind it were France and Spain, where Lombardy had been the previous week. Further back was Germany, which needed still three or four more weeks to reach a catastrophe of Lombardic scale. But the math assured all of us that the same thing would happen everywhere, eventually. I will confess that I found all of this powerfully convincing at the time. The flat edifice of Universal Covid seemed to brook no contradictions. But typing it all out now, it is easy to see how foolish it was. Covid did not work the same everywhere, and the curves themselves were never forever and always exponential. Germany never caught up to Lombardy. It never even came close.

Those graphs have receded from our conceptions of Covid. That is not only because they were wrong, but because they ended up drawing attention to how much all of the national outbreaks differed from each other. They were a direct shot across the bow of Universal Covid, and in April and May you could read very long essays by deeply mystified people, pondering how this was possible and what was going on. Many of the authors behind these think pieces were presumably familiar with things like seasonal flu epidemics, which in Europe often differ drastically across regions, even though a similar mixture of flu viruses are typically implicated every season. Influenza, however, isn’t constructed to be a universal affliction, so its various impacts have never bothered anybody.

Covid is a Vice of the Young and the Healthy Against the Old and the Sick

We come to the fourth obtrusive feature of our socially-constructed Covid. By nautical miles, it is the most egregious and appalling one of all, and so I regret that I have the least to say about it. Stupid cruelty does not admit of much analysis.

Sars2 is no threat to the young, we said that already. What is more, disease bureaucracies have not been able to convince the young that they, personally, should worry about Sars2. The only way to enforce the one-size-fits-all measures that Universal Covid demands, is via an ugly moral blackmail.

What began as an appeal in early days to the conscience of the youth, to consider the health of their grandparents, has become an all-out war on everything that young, healthy and fit people do. Here is insight into the withered souls of many scientists and bureaucrats, who see in the casual joy, effortless strength and unthinking beauty of our youth a great indictment of themselves. Many of them have long disliked young people and what they get up to, and now they have been given the power to vent their spleens about it.

The social life of young people irks them most of all. Parties are scorned. Contact tracers routinely identify private celebrations as outbreak epicentres, and from the press reports, you’d think whole districts are rising up in rage against the kids who dared to gather in somebody’s friend’s garage. German police spent a lot of time the past few springs citing teenagers who, after weeks of isolation, dared to get a few beers with friends in the park. It was truly strange to behold: Patrol cars sporting loudspeakers driving slowly along footpaths, between the trees, past benches, reciting the corona distancing rules.

It’s safe to complain about parties, because some people stupidly assume they aren’t essential, or that they’re irresponsible or excessive. But behind the scenes, these ageing meddlers were busy attacking everything else. They have closed gyms for months. When they allowed them to reopen, the conditions were so onerous and counterproductive that it was hard to doubt malicious intent. A whole cloud of official opprobrium descended upon every sort of recreational travel, and remains there. Early disease clusters were traced to skiers, and a batch of young people who’d had the misfortune to visit Ischgl at the wrong time were handed responsibility for several national outbreaks. (Chinese travellers, responsible for the entire European pandemic, remained beyond criticism, even as Italy and Germany had a brief spat over who introduced the virus to whom.) In Bavaria, open-air playgrounds were closed for weeks and weeks, longer than hair salons, in case you thought any of this was about the risk of infection.

When anonymous bureaucrats of this sort are given their way, secure in the knowledge that nobody will hold them accountable for their egregious decisions, and that every mild critique of their policies will be suppressed, they spiral into extremism. In the midst of the lockdown, they began to complain that people were shopping for groceries too frequently and spending too much time in supermarkets. After mask requirements were issued for public transit and indoor spaces, newspapers ran very strange articles lecturing their readers about proper mask procedures. Readers were told never to put on a mask until they’d thoroughly washed and sanitised their hands. Then they were told never to touch the mask again at all. Should they touch it the mask would become hopelessly contaminated, and their hands too, so they'd need to sterilise them all over again and start over with a new mask. Runners and walkers were still allowed outside, for purposes of exercise, and this made the disease bureaucrats very nervous indeed. Pundits complained that parks were too full. Schoolmarms posing as experts began telling runners that their heavy breathing was a danger to everyone within three or four metres of them.

Covid the socially constructed virus-disease exploits the health and beauty of youth to reach the old, but this is not how Sars2 actually works. Sars2 prefers to do most of its killing in institutional settings. It is at base a disease of healthcare institutions, like MERS and SARS; it thrives in nursing homes and in hospital wings. This in Spring 2020 it was ironically the most alarmist regions, those that had imposed the strictest lockdowns nominally for the safety of the elderly, which ended up killing more elderly than anybody else, due to over-hospitalisation, criminal mistreatment of many Sars2 patients and poor, paranoid management of elderly cases.

Undeniably, Sars2—like many other viruses—exploits the social activity of humans. Until now, the Covid bureaucrats have responded with rolling seasonal embargoes on all human social activity that is not mediated by electronics. People who violate these restrictions are behaving irresponsibly and endangering all of society. Consider how much this stance differs from their approach to other viruses. Were gay men, at any point, ever exhorted to abstain from anal sex in the interests of defeating HIV? Was the gay community ever blamed for the AIDS epidemic and scolded by public health bureaucrats for worsening statistics? Were gay bars and bath houses ever targeted for closure or curfews or—imagine!—contact tracing, to flatten the curve? No, they weren’t; and if any of that had happened, we’d be reading to this day what a grave injustice all of it was. HIV is undeniably much harder on those it infects than Sars2, and I submit that, in the hierarchy of human needs, quotidian social interaction ranks well above anal sex.

Some Deconstruction

The question of how we ended up with this miserable social construction of Covid, and not with some other more manageable social construction of Covid, is well worth pondering. The most obvious answer is simply this: Our disease bureaucrats, a bunch of socially promoted charlatans and degree connoisseurs who play scientists on television, got spooked by Sars2. They had a lot of credentials but no real ideas, and so they borrowed their public health response from China.

Before January 2020, lockdowns were totally foreign to the public health establishment. None of our governments or epidemiologists or disease-control agencies had ever before contemplated containing a pandemic by placing everybody under house arrest and freezing the better part of economic and social life. Lockdowns as a measure against Covid are, top to bottom, an invention not of a fabled “scientific consensus,” but of anonymous authoritarian Chinese bureaucrats whose motives and intent are largely opaque to us. Italian disease bureaucrats copied this measure from the Chinese bureaucrats, the rest of our disease bureaucrats copied from the Italians, and since then they have all continued the senseless copying of containment policies among themselves down to this very moment. If you are an incompetent pseudo-intellectual devoid of ideas, following others is your only option; and if you can get everyone else to follow in the same way, you might even escape blame.

Covid, the socially constructed virus-disease, was fashioned in the midst of the lockdowns, to justify them. This scary construct also works well as a justification for coercive, universal vaccination programs, and so it continues to be propagated. It is a monument to the cognitive dissonance of our intelligentsia, who lobbied hard for a catastrophic policy on the strength of dire predictions that, save in a few much publicised cases, were never realised. Almost everything that has become “scientific consensus” about Covid is a retroactive justification of our failed and plainly foolish containment measures: Covid lurks everywhere, and it is invisible, so we must hide from it in our homes. Covid is a totally novel disease, full of indeterminate properties and unknowable risks, so nobody can be exposed. Covid endangers everyone, and so everyone must stay inside. Even if young people are all but invulnerable to Covid, they too must lock down, to save the old. And of course, for all of these reasons, absolutely everyone must be vaccinated—however dangerous the vaccines, however low-risk the person.

That is the simplest, most straightforward answer to the question of how we got this Covid, and not some other Covid. It is equivalent to the wet-market theory of the origins of Sars2. We got Covid from the stupidity and incompetence of our elites, desperate to justify the economic destruction they wrought via their plagiarised containment measures. Relatedly, in the wet-market theory of Sars2, the virus found its way to humans via the unhygienic dietary practices of the Chinese, and was spread everywhere by the unrelenting globalism of our short-sighted elites.

But just as the vastly more plausible theory of Sars2 is that it represents the product of gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, so too there is another, much more compelling way of thinking about the deepest origins of our Covid construct. Cast your mind back to January, as the Chinese implemented their own lockdown of Hubei. Consider those bizarre videos that appeared on social media, showing Covid patients convulsing in streets, collapsing on stairs—succumbing, or so it seemed, to instant viral death. Some of this footage recalled scenes from Hollywood films, particularly Contagion. At the time, the framing was this: The Chinese were keeping a tight lid on the Wuhan outbreak, but here and there the magic of social media could defeat the evil communist censors and provide some glimpse of what was really going on. Clips of Chinese news coverage circulated, where the screen briefly flashed mortality figures orders of magnitude higher than the official numbers. This was the journalists trying to alert the rest of the world, or it was grim reality crying out from the ground, or something. All kinds of strange news items, about mass mobile account cancellations in China and industrial-scale cremation in Wuhan, were put about to show that the Chinese were dying in the millions. Everyone in the world watched blurry video of some Chinese guys welding a door shut. Online news outfits declared that the Chinese were literally sealing people in their apartments. That’s how bad Covid was. In the weeks before conditions deteriorated in Lombardy, a whole host of social media accounts began advocating lockdowns as a western containment measure. It has now emerged that many of these were operated by people in China.

Sophisticated propaganda and disinformation campaigns involve more than Russians buying Facebook ads. One tactic, is to take the idea you want to plant, cut it up into a bunch of different pieces, and release these to the world via various proxies and intermediaries. These little bits and piece might take the form of accidental leaks or hacked data or surreptitious photos or whatever. People gather these pieces and put them together, find that they all contribute to the same, ominous picture, and believe that they have discovered a hidden truth. This gives the lie an organic, authentic feel. It becomes a personal thesis and nobody realises that they have been led down the garden path. All of that early nonsense from China has entirely this feel about it. None of it was true, nobody really knows where it came from, but it all supported the same false hysteria.

So a deeper, more conspiratorial but also more plausible answer to the origins of our socially constructed disease, might be this: Covid is the ideological construct our disease bureaucrats used to justify their failed lockdowns; but at root, this construct was probably not of their making. They merely recycled the selfsame propaganda by which shadowy actors had sold them on lockdowns in the first place. It looks like some people very much wanted western governments to implement lockdowns. This led to a remarkable realignment of opinion, whereby the elite leftist establishment, which had sought to minimise the virus as much as possible, totally reversed their position by early March 2020 and began advocating a maximal approach. The Covid that we have now is all downstream from that, and there is no changing it.

How things started, of course, is no indication of how they will end. The optimistic scenario was that the vaccine roll-out in Spring 2021 would defeat Sars2 and that all of this would go away. That was never very plausible, and as it now becomes clear to everyone that the vaccines do not work very well, optimism is no longer on the menu. Perhaps it never was. Covid has given a lot of terrible, petty, mediocre people a great deal of power, and they won’t be willing to give that up, ever, however often they fail.

The most likely scenario, the one which is already playing out, is that Covid devolves into an eternal nuisance after the pattern of climate change, but more intrusive. The vaccines have come, but mass testing and various containment policies remain in place. There will be some attempt to maintain regular boosters, first for the elderly, then for everyone. But this path is one of diminishing returns. Each new round of injections will inspire less compliance, and will also prove less effective.

Over the next several years, most countries will probably fight their disease bureaucrats towards some minimally acceptable long-term compromise. Home office will be normalised. The media hysteria will never totally fade. Full lockdowns, contrary to the interests of many industries, will probably be phased out in the coming years, but in the meantime we will see increasingly inhumane restrictions on the unvaccinated. Other obnoxious interventions will likely return every year in time for Christmas, a holiday that will be increasingly celebrated with a few close relatives, in private. The campaigns against shaking hands, standing too close, or having too many people over for dinner will probably not end for a long time. Contact tracers will come to be loathed as much as city parking enforcers. In the longer run, Covid policy will probably be redirected towards pharmaceutical boondoggles and hygiene legislation that creates markets for a new world of garbage consumer products. The vaccines are probably an early preview of all of the false hope, graft and absurdity the coming world of market solutions will bring. Should Sars2 become especially rare, then other seasonal respiratory illnesses, like the flu, will likely be pressed into service. In many countries, it is likely that a whole generation of kids will grow up wearing crayola-branded dinosaur masks in school.

Still more pessimistic scenarios are possible, but they would probably resolve themselves sooner or later. It is hard to see how any western democracy could endure the economic destruction of biannual lockdowns, or other similarly drastic interventions, for many more years, without destabilising itself politically.

Campaigns to impose regular boosters on entire populations will stir up more and more opposition to mandatory vaccination regimes and, if the gods are merciful, make repression of the unvaccinated increasingly unworkable. We must also remember that the disease bureaucrats are not omnipotent. They have seized power, at first on temporary terms, from other political players, who will sooner or later try to get it back. Intemperate Covid policies have also inspired a wide array of opposition throughout academia and government, even if you don’t always see it. Now that the vaccines have failed and there is no obvious end, it is likely these people will begin to form opposition movements from within bureaucratic ranks. In some countries they might even win, and in the breakdown of international consensus there will be some small hope.

News of the Times;
To the powers that be:

if you do decide to switch everyone to a four-day work week, I would easily adapt to the phrased, "Thank God it's Thursday!"


A Muslim wife complains to her husband that all the romance had gone out of their marriage.

Remember when you used to carry me up to bed?", she asked.

"Yes," he replied, but to be fair, you were only nine at the time!



McDonald's is adding a donut to its fall menu. My theory is that you were starting to order too many salads.

Astronomers now say they believe that Saturn has a slushy core and rings that wiggle. Of course, they say the same thing about me.

Don't listen to people who are telling you what to do. Of course, if you don't because you're listening to this advice, you're doing exactly that. Never mind.

I don't mean to sound like I'm bragging, but I can actually lift up to 1 TB.

The buttons on my jeans are starting to social distance from each other.

Golf is a really relaxing way to get frustrated and super disappointed in yourself.

It's called Almond Milk because nobody can say Nut Juice with a straight face.

The average person frowns five times a day. Stick around for today's show and we'll easily make you above average!

A new study says drinking too much coffee can actually shrink your brain, whatever that means.


The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used?

Well, because that's the way they built them in England, and English engineers designed the first US railroads.

Why did the English build them like that?

Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the wagon tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

So, why did 'they' use that gauge then?

Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that same wheel spacing.
Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?

Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break more often on some of the old, long distance roads in England . You see, that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?

Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (including England ) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since.
And what about the ruts in the roads?

Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match or run the risk of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome , they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Bureaucracies live forever.

So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process and wonder 'What horse's ass came up with this?', you may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses. (Two horses' asses.)

Now, the twist to the story:

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah . The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature, of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system, was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass. And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important? Ancient horse's asses control almost everything.


Two mothers are having a conversation about their children.

"How do you get your Pauly up so early on school mornings?" asks one of them.

"Oh, that's easy," replies the other. "I just throw the cat on his bed."

"Why does that wake him up?"

"He sleeps with the dog."

Quote of the Times;
“I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.” – Reagan

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Air Force software is so bad the guy in charge of it all is about to quit by David Roza

If you’ve ever struggled with a government computer still running on Windows 2000, know that you’re not alone. In fact, the military’s cybersecurity infrastructure and software development enterprise is in such a bad state that the Air Force’s first-ever Chief Software Officer will soon resign because it isn’t worth fighting the entire bureaucracy of the Department of Defense just to get some basic information technology issues fixed.

“We are running in circles trying to fix transport/connectivity, cloud, endpoints, and various basic IT capabilities that are seen as trivial for any organization outside of the U.S. Government,” wrote Nicolas Chaillan in a LinkedIn post announcing his resignation on Thursday. “At this point, I am just tired of continuously chasing support and money to do my job. My office still has no billet and no funding, this year and the next.”

For those who might be thinking “what do I care about software? Let the nerds figure that one out,” hear this: many experts believe that future conflicts will be won and lost based on our ability to develop new software.

“Success in tomorrow’s conflicts will largely depend on how warfighters are able to harness and adapt everything from mission systems on aircraft to sensor packages, networks, and decision aides,” retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula and Heather Penney who are respectively the dean and senior resident fellow for The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, in a July policy paper on network and software development.

“To prevail in a dynamic and contested battlespace, warfighters must be able to reprogram and reconfigure their weapon systems, sensors and networks,” they wrote. “Yet the Air Force continues to develop, update, and manage software and architectures in a highly centralized and stove-piped fashion.”

Apparently the old Air Force recruiting slogan, “It’s not science fiction, it’s what we do every day,” does not apply to the branch’s bureaucracy, which Deptula and Penney argued is stuck in a bygone era.

“The bureaucracy of Department of Defense funding categories also prevents software tools from being fielded and employed,” they wrote, which means warfighters are always a step behind their changing battlespace. “This is a recipe for failure given tomorrow’s challenges. To put it bluntly, software and networks shouldn’t be governed by industrial age processes.”

It was that kind of bureaucracy that also made Chaillan’s three years on the job a Sysphean task just to get simple projects done, at least according to his LinkedIn post.

“I’m tired of hearing the right words without action, and I called on leadership to ‘walk the walk,’” Chaillan wrote. “That includes funding, staffing and prioritizing IT basic issues for the Department. A lack of response and alignment is certainly a contributor to my accelerated exit.”

There are several specific experiences that impressed on Chaillan how little military leadership actually cares about cybersecurity and software development. One of those is DevSecOps, which is short for development, security and operations. DevSecOps is a process by which software developers keep security central to every step of software development, rather than tacking it on at the end of the development cycle, according to IBM.

Chaillan wrote that he was very proud of his team creating the DoD Enterprise DevSecOps Initiative, which began spreading the holy word of DevSecOps to the backwards cyber-heathens dwelling in the Pentagon. But even that process is often like pulling teeth, Chaillan wrote.

“[Our leaders] have repeatedly refused to mandate DevSecOps, not even for new starts in custom software development!” he said. “There is absolutely no valid reason not to use and mandate DevSecOps in 2021 for custom software. It is borderline criminal not to do so. It is effectively guaranteeing a tremendous waste of taxpayer money and creates massive cybersecurity threats but also prevents us from delivering capabilities at the pace of relevance, putting lives at risk[.]”

The same problem applies to implementing Zero Trust systems. Those are software security steps like when Gmail or Facebook texts you a verification code just to make sure you’re not a hacker. You’d think national security secrets would have a better layer of security than my company’s Mailchimp account, but apparently not, according to Chaillan.

“[W]e hear the leadership talk about Zero Trust implementations without our teams receiving a dime of funding to make it happen,” he wrote. Nowadays, DoD is willing to put more money where its mouth is in terms of Zero Trust, but it’s not using any of the early work Chaillan and his team did on the subject last year, he said.

“Why waste more taxpayer money playing catch up?” the software officer wrote. “The ‘not invented here’ syndrome is powerful in DoD and our leadership is not willing to stop it.”

The ‘not invented here’ problem refers to a widespread habit of different military agencies, or even different tribes within an agency, doing their own version of the same project without sharing information or best practices. This is even a problem between different fighter jet programs in the Air Force, wrote Deptula and Penney in their analysis.

“Although the F-22 and F-35 are the only two 5th generation fighters in the Air Force inventory, they cannot share information with each other machine-to-machine,” because they use incompatible datalinks that were developed 10 years apart, they wrote. “Today, the F-22 and F-35 fleet still cannot exchange information without the aid of an externally hosted gateway, one which is still in the experimentation and demonstration phase.”

Chaillan had to deal with that sort of thing all the time at his soon-to-be old job.
“We are the largest software organization on the planet, and we have almost no shared repositories and little to no collaboration across DoD services,” he said, pointing out that there are 100,000 software developers in the department. “We need diversity of options if there are tangible benefits to duplicating work. Not because of silos created purposefully to allow senior officials to satisfy their thirst for power.”

The stove-piping is especially frustrating when DoD leaders talk a big game about sweeping programs like Joint All-Domain Command and Control and the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System. Both of those projects are meant to give commanders more options and intelligence faster than ever by connecting ‘sensors and shooters’ closer than ever. That could be a great development, especially after the last Chief of Staff of the Air Force, retired Gen. David Goldfein, said that access to data is the “future of warfare.”

The thing is, the military can’t implement these sweeping programs when everyone is off in their own corners. Chaillan addressed the problem head-on at a recent Air Force Association luncheon.

“Right now JADC2 has probably zero chance of success, period, full stop,” Chaillan said, according to Air Force Magazine. “Because it’s effectively not a thing. It’s a bunch of services doing their own things … with different names and different concepts, often reinventing the same wheel.”

It also doesn’t help that DoD doesn’t seem to want to put up the money for bringing JADC2 up to speed, according to Chaillan.

“After a massive undertaking and development of a scope of work, based on demands from our warfighters and [combatant commanders], I had just started the work and built-up excitement with teams and our mission partners, when I was told by the Joint Staff that there was no FY22 funding to support the [minimum viable product] after all,” he wrote.

“After all the talk and continued assertions that this was critical work, DOD could not even find $20M to build tremendously beneficial warfighter capabilities,” he added. “A rounding error for the Department.”

Chaillan’s last day is planned for Oct. 2, according to FCW. Still, it wasn’t all grim during his tenure as chief software officer. Throughout his LinkedIn post, he pointed out that he and his team accomplished some amazing things. Despite the tough resistance, they created “the largest DevSecOps engagement in the world, within the most complex organization in the world,” he said. They also engaged private industry and startups into doing business with the DoD, and they created the first large-scale implementation of Zero Trust in the U.S. government.

With the Air Force in particular, Chaillan’s team also brought in new systems for rapidly updating the software on jets and space systems, a capability which he described as “game-changing.”

So as “challenging and infuriating” as this job could be, it was also “the most rewarding” and the “most impactful for our children’s future,” Chaillan said.

“We demonstrated that a small group of people can turn the largest ship in the world through grit, wit and hard work,” he wrote. “If the Department of Defense can do this, so can any U.S. organization!”

News of the Times;
Life hack...

You can turn your ordinary sofa into a sofa bed simply by forgetting your wife’s birthday.


Granddad didn't mind if people came 'round while he was working.

Lovely man, shit anesthesiologist.


I was sitting in a Chinese restaurant last night and it suddenly went dark. The waiter came over and said: "You all need to start clapping!"

"What a weirdo," I thought.

Anyway we all started to clap and the lights came on!

I said: "How did that happen?"

He replied: "Old Chinese proverb, many hands make light work."



Another new survey says that retirement may actually be bad for the brain. With every passing day, I'm getting more and more ready to take that risk.

Lil Nas X, who once worked at a Taco Bell in the Atlanta area, is now the fast-food chain's, "Chief Impact Officer." You know, when I think of the impact of eating at Taco Bell - he can have the job!

Another new study out on coffee-this one saying that our morning brew could actually help reduce your risk of death from a stroke or heart disease. OK, can we just stop the research there? I'm good.

Deep down inside, where I heard that Abba was planning a comeback, my first thought was, "Oh please, oh please, oh please... tour with Elvis Costello.

Britney Spears' dad says he's getting ready to step down as her legal guardian. Which, to me, must mean that she's just about out of money.

The first "Murder Hornet" of 2021 has been spotted in Washington State. OK, OK, "Alleged Murder Hornet."

It was found attacking a wasp nest which, to me, means they're not all bad.

The state Agriculture Department is offering to show you how to make your own Murder Hornet Trap. I would suggest, if you're considering a new hobby, to stick with something like knitting or coin collecting.

Singer Tony Bennett says he's going to stop touring now that he's 95 years old. Quitter.

A Honus Wagner baseball card from the early 1900s sold at auction this week for $6.6 million. Time once again to bring up that "throwing out the card collection" to mom again.


Apparently to start a zoo you need at least two pandas, a grizzly, and three polars.

It's the bear minimum.

Quote of the Times;
He whose life has a why can bear almost any how. - Nietzsche

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
The Insect Apocalypse That Never Was by Jon Entine

For the past four years, journalists and environmental bloggers have been churning out alarming stories that insects are vanishing, in the United States and globally. Limited available evidence lends credence to reasonable concerns, not least because insects are crucial components of many ecosystems. But the issue has often been framed in catastrophic terms, with predictions of a near-inevitable and imminent ecological collapse that would break ecosystems, destroy harvests, and trigger widespread starvation. Most of the proposed solutions would require a dramatic retooling of many aspects of modern life, from urbanization to agriculture.

Considering the disruptive economic and social trade-offs being demanded by some of those promoting the crisis hypothesis, it’s prudent to separate genuine threats from agenda-driven hyperbole. Are insect declines really threatening to precipitate a catastrophic ecological crisis? And, given the available data, what should a responsible society be doing?

Roots of the crisis narrative

The recent hyper-focus on insects can be traced back to a 2017 study conducted by an obscure German entomological society, which claimed that flying insects in German nature reserves had decreased by 76 percent over just 26 years. The study, co-authored by 12 scientists, lit a fire in advocacy circles and became the sixth-most-discussed scientific paper of that year. It remains popular today.

Headlines swept the world predicting imminent “ecological Armageddon,” a chilling turn of phrase provided by Dave Goulson, a professor at the University of Sussex and one of the paper’s co-authors. Goulson was a relatively unknown English biology professor at the time, but rapidly became the public face of the crisis narrative. Although these claims were received with immediate and widespread skepticism in the entomology community, journalists seized on the “end of world” narrative and energetically amplified it. “The Insect Apocalypse Is Here,” announced the New York Times Magazine in November 2018.

The lengthy feature, written by Brooke Jarvis, was filled with speculation about the imminent “complete” disappearance of insects, and freely employed language such as “chaos,” “collapse,” “ecological dark age,” and “Armageddon.” Compounding this looming catastrophe, our most despised pests—from cockroaches to house flies—would largely be spared, booming out of control as beneficial insects vanished.

Jarvis’s conclusion? The world is facing a loss of biodiversity, what she called the “sixth extinction.” And it will get worse; the insect declines are the canary in the ecological mine. Goulson was the essay’s featured scientist and Jarvis poignantly described him choking up as he shared his devastating prognosis: “‘If we lose insects, life on earth will…’ He trailed off, pausing for what felt like a long time.”

The tsunami of crisis articles certainly served as a wake-up call. But to what? A number of studies suggest that insect populations are declining in some areas of the world (but not in others) or that certain kinds of insects (taxa) may be in decline in those regions (even as others are increasing). But Armageddon? Such catastrophic framing and the policy implications that follow are significant.

Perhaps the inflammatory rhetoric, which continues today, is justified. But what if it isn’t? Entomologists and insect ecologists all over the world do need more support and funding to fully evaluate concerns. But many scientists believe that what should be an evidence-driven evaluation has become an ideological litmus test for the environmental media and advocacy-focused scientists.

What are the facts?

The Times essay might read like a clear and convincing polemic, but it fell flat with the science community, which spent much of the next four years trying to calm the consequent hysteria. Manu Saunders is a prominent entomologist, and recipient of the Office of Environment & Heritage/Ecological Society of Australia Award for Outstanding Science Outreach. In 2019, she and her colleagues Jasmine Janes and James O’Hanlon outlined the science-based perspective in a paper for BioScience, where they examined the headline-grabbing apocalypse studies that had appeared to date. They summarized their conclusions in a post for Ecology Is Not a Dirty Word, a highly respected blog that Saunders oversees:

[F]ocusing on a hyped global apocalypse narrative distracts us from the more important insect conservation issues that we can tackle right now. Promoting this narrative as fact also sends the wrong message about how science works, and could have huge impacts on public understanding of science. … And, frankly, it’s just depressing.

Of one of the major studies used to promote the apocalypse narrative (Sánchez-Bayo), Saunders noted an appallingly selective and apparently willful misrepresentation and manipulation of the data:

From a scientific perspective, there is so much wrong with the paper, it really shouldn’t have been published in its current form: the biased search method, the cherry-picked studies, the absence of any real quantitative data to back up the bizarre 40 percent extinction rate that appears in the abstract (we don’t even have population data for 40 percent of the world’s insect species), and the errors in the reference list. And it was presented as a “comprehensive review” and a “meta-analysis,” even though it is neither.

Reflecting broad concerns among ecologists, Saunders also worried about the failure of prominent news organizations like the New York Times to treat alarmist claims with proper skepticism, and argued that ideological group-think had captured the media on this issue:

Most journalists I spoke to have been great, and really understand the importance of getting the facts straight. But a few seemed confused when they realized I wasn’t agreeing with the apocalyptic narrative—”other scientists are confirming this, so why aren’t you?”

Roots of the crisis narrative

The global insect crisis narrative was originally focused on alarming reports of a surge in honeybee mortality that began to appear in 2006. The die-offs, concentrated mostly along the west coast of the US, were dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder. CCD is an enigmatic condition that causes bees to vanish without a clear explanation. At the time, many environmental activists declared that this was an early sign of a bee-apocalypse, for which they blamed insecticides—a conclusion widely circulated by the media.

Then as now, the mainstream entomology community (and even a special task force established by President Obama’s Department of Agriculture) tried to push back against the crisis narrative. Incidents similar to CCD (previously known as “disappearing disease”) had occurred in the 1800s and 1900s, long before synthetic pesticides were invented, and this iteration of CCD had largely ended by the early 2010s. Nevertheless, the media crisis persisted for years, cresting in a 2013 Time cover story, which proclaimed: “A World Without Bees: The Price We’ll Pay If We Don’t Figure Out What’s Killing the Honeybee.” By then, the crisis had already passed; honeybee populations had begun to stabilize, and by 2015, they hit a 20-year high in the US. This trend held globally: honeybee populations have increased 30 percent worldwide since 2000.

By 2018, almost every major news organization—from the Washington Post (“Believe It or Not, the Bees Are Doing Just Fine”) to Slate (“The Bees Are Alright”) and including many environmental publications such as Grist (“Why the Bee Crisis Isn’t as Bad as You Think”)—was sheepishly acknowledging that there never was an imminent worldwide honeybee catastrophe. The New York Times was one of the few news outlets that conspicuously failed to reconsider its crisis narrative.

How healthy are honeybees? As the Genetic Literacy Project has previously reported, dire predictions of an impending extinction rest on studies that suffer from flawed methodologies and are based on fragmentary and mostly regional data. While honeybees face health challenges, that’s in part because they are “pack animals” trucked around from one region to another to pollinate crops. Their ongoing health problems are primarily linked to the spread of disease-carrying Varroa mites.

The health of wild bees, meanwhile, is notoriously hard to evaluate. But the most comprehensive recent study, released in May, found few of 250 bumblebee species from around the world were in peril, challenging the apocalypse narrative. “If you look at all the species, on average, there is no decline,” concludes ecologist Laura Melissa Guzman at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

Even the hardline Sierra Club was forced (briefly) to perform an about-face on its bee extinction hyperbole. In 2016 (well after other news organizations had revised their crisis narrative), the group’s “save the bees” fundraising campaign mailer was still dominated by media-hyped hysteria:

Bees had a devastating year. 44 percent of colonies killed … and Bayer and Syngenta are still flooding your land with bee-killing toxic “neonic” pesticides—now among the most widely used crop sprays in the country.

Challenged by the GLP as mainstream environmentalists turned against the bee apocalypse narrative, Sierra Club, with no mea culpa or even an explanation, suddenly reversed itself in 2018, posting a very different message on its blog:

Honeybees are at no risk of dying off. While diseases, parasites and other threats are certainly real problems for beekeepers, the total number of managed honeybees worldwide has risen 45 percent over the last half century.

Even as “beepocalypse” fear-mongering faded in the science community, many environmental groups, often citing Goulson (an ardent early promoter of the false honeybee-catastrophe narrative), gish-galloped claims that wild bees, then birds, and now all of the insect world face extinction. Within months of the Sierra Club’s reversal on honeybees, the once-venerable environmental group was touting Goulson’s broader insect Armageddon claims in its fundraising literature, again accusing “pesticides” of being the culprit.

Those exaggerations have been challenged repeatedly by high-quality papers and real-world evidence. But while claims of pending “-pocalypses” have occasionally been walked back by the media, rarely is it with the same gusto that they headlined each successive “Armageddon.”

Are pesticides the problem?

In August, Dave Goulson will be featured in a documentary that he wrote and narrated entitled Insect-O-Cide. As described by the London Post: “The central theme of the film is that human beings are on the verge of extinction due to the rapid decline in the insect populations.” The film will be released the month before the publication of Goulson’s latest book, Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse. “The main cause of this decrease in insect populations,” he claims, “is the indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides.”

Dave Goulson has a controversial reputation in the science community. As the GLP has previously reported, he is an admitted scientist-for-hire, who has produced research with a promised, predetermined conclusion for activist organizations. His views—which date back a decade now and are apparently impervious to new evidence—have not changed; he vehemently attacks the use of advanced technology in farming, including genetic engineering and targeted synthetic chemicals, and has specifically targeted the class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids while ignoring the ecological impact of organic pesticides. As he told the Guardian when his controversial 2017 study was published, “[The insect deaths could be caused by] exposure to chemical pesticides,” even though the study sampled populations from nature reserves and its purpose wasn’t to detect causes of declines.

The Goulson et al. conclusion was prominently amplified in 2019 by a meta-analysis of insect population trends around the world co-authored by Francisco Sánchez-Bayo (I’ve previously discussed the study in depth here). In an interview with the Guardian, Sánchez-Bayo went so far as to claim that insects will have disappeared from Earth within a century:

The 2.5 percent rate of annual loss over the last 25–30 years is “shocking,” Sánchez-Bayo told the Guardian: “It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none.” One of the biggest impacts of insect loss is on the many birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish that eat insects. “If this food source is taken away, all these animals starve to death.”

That’s a frightening scenario, which Sánchez-Bayo argued was caused by “industrial-scale, intensive agriculture.” But that conclusion was not supported by the evidence in his paper and was criticized by the entomology community. While some of the studies included in the meta-analysis were related to agriculture, and some speculated that pesticides were responsible for declines, that was his personal opinion, offered without data, yet cited by many reporters as the study’s main take-away.

As Manu Saunders noted in American Scientist, the Sánchez-Bayo study was beset by numerous major methodological errors. The authors only included studies that specifically mentioned the phrase “insect declines,” thus biasing the results, as some reports of stable or rising populations were excluded from the analysis. While Sánchez-Bayo was claiming that “almost half of the [world’s insect] species are rapidly declining,” the data documented declines for about 2,900 species, a tiny fraction (less than one-10th of one percent) of the insect species on Earth. About 900,000 species of insects have been identified globally, but studies of Latin American forest canopies have suggested there may be upwards of 30 million insect species.

Sánchez-Bayo et al. also claimed that their research was based on a “worldwide” assessment, but nearly all of the data were drawn from the US and Europe. There could be as many as 200,000 insect species in Australia alone, but data from that country focused solely on managed honeybees. Data from Asia (excluding Japan) only included managed beehives and there were no studies from Central Africa and almost none from South America, a global insect population epicenter.

Excluding data from some of the most ecologically diverse regions on the planet, along with studies on increasing or stable insect populations, biases the study so severely that its results cannot be used to draw any conclusions on changes in insect populations worldwide.

What do mainstream insect experts conclude?

The silver lining around the cloud of gloomy advocacy-focused studies and reporting is that entomologists are doing a deeper dive into the reasons behind the global declines. Goulson’s upcoming media blitz notwithstanding, the most thorough studies to date on insects in North America challenge the catastrophe narrative (although you may not have heard about them as they have been almost ignored by the media), and even offers some reassuring news.

A 2020 study from German researchers led by Dr. Roel van Klink represented the largest and most definitive study on global insect populations at the time of its publication. Their meta-analysis of 166 studies found that insects are declining much (three- to six-fold) less rapidly than previously reported, and freshwater insects are actually increasing. Other major findings included:

• The only correlation with insect declines was habitat, specifically urbanization.
• Cropland was correlated with insect abundance.
• Insect declines in North America ended by the year 2000.

While comprehensive, the report wasn’t flawless. The primary issue, shared with Sánchez-Bayo, was that nearly all data came from Europe and North America. There were only a few studies from South America and Africa, and none from South Asia, making it impossible to declare whether insects are declining or increasing in those regions.

While threats to certain species do exist in particular locations, that doesn’t support claims that we face a global insect population collapse.

North American insect populations are stable

The deficiencies of these studies encouraged a team of 12 researchers led by Matthew Moran at Hendrix College in Arkansas to examine the situation in North America. As the authors noted, “much evidence for what has been dubbed the ‘insect apocalypse’ comes from Europe, where humans have intensively managed landscapes for centuries and human population densities are particularly high.” They wondered if examining the extensive data collected on the geographically and ecologically diverse North American continent would yield the same or a different conclusion.

The Moran study, published last August, specifically examined four to 36 years of data on arthropods (insects and other invertebrates) collected from US Long-Term Ecological Research sites located in ecoregions throughout the country. The authors found that: “There is no evidence of precipitous and widespread insect abundance declines in North America akin to those reported from some sites in Europe.”

The data show that while some taxa declined, others increased, and the vast majority had stable numbers. The overall trend, they concluded, is “generally indistinguishable from zero.” Nor could the authors attribute population changes to any specific cause, including insecticides. The study compared the data on insect populations to “human footprint index data” which includes factors such as pesticides, light pollution, and urbanization. In a press release announcing the study headlined “Insect Apocalypse May Not be Happening in the US,” University of Georgia postdoctoral researcher Matthew Crossley stated, “No matter what factor we looked at, nothing could explain the trends in a satisfactory way.”
With headlines relentlessly heralding impending doom for insects, the results left the authors “perplexed.” As Mann later wrote:

At first, we thought we were missing something. We tried comparing different taxonomic groups, such as beetles and butterflies, and different types of feeding, such as herbivores and carnivores. We tried comparing urban, agricultural and relatively undisturbed areas. We tried comparing different habitats and different periods of time.

But the answer remained the same: no change. We had to conclude that at the sites we examined, there were no signs of an insect apocalypse and, in reality, no broad declines at all.

The discrepancies between van Klink et al. and Moran et al. on North American trends can be attributed to a few variables, researchers say.

• Four of five sites included by Moran but not by van Klink showed increased abundances, counterbalancing decreases found at sites included in both studies.
• Van Klink’s method of measuring abundance gives inordinate weight to “a relatively small number of numerically dominant species.”
• Coverage of the data is greatest only in the last few decades, a period where van Klink found a reduction of the trends seen in earlier decades.

The robustness of the Moran study data suggests the insect population story is much more complicated—and less dire—than many headlines suggest. If a thorough examination of the data on one continent can lead to such a dramatically different and more hopeful conclusion, broad trends in the vast, highly diverse, and relatively unstudied continents of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Australia cannot be characterized through extrapolation with any assurance.

Challenging Moran’s data

The Moran paper received some pushback from scientists who said that it suffered from inconsistent sampling methods and modeling errors (and in some cases, differences of opinion). The authors welcomed the dialogue and responded to the critiques in April.

Ellen Welti noted that Moran et al. had failed to correct for sampling issues. In response, the authors re-curated the metadata to maintain per-sample arthropod numbers and used several different approaches to repeat the analyses of abundance and biodiversity trends per site. They found that, while there was broad variation between taxa and sites, there wasn’t an overall pattern of increasing or decreasing populations.

Welti also pointed out that there was a coding error in the original study that removed several time trends from one of the sites, and three of the datasets inappropriately included experimental plots. But even after correcting for the coding error and excluding the experimental plots, the overall results did not change. Marion Desquilbet raised technical concerns over which data should have been included. They were relatively minor issues, but Moran et al. repeated their analysis, and the patterns remained the same.

Even after the re-evaluation, accounting for potential differences in sampling over time, and excluding potentially problematic time series, the Moran study results remained largely unchallenged. There simply isn’t any evidence of broad insect declines across North America. Based on the only extensive evidence available, insect populations on the whole and in the US (which Goulson and other crisis promoters have portrayed as the epicenter of the impending global ecological meltdown) are stable.

A cycle of bias?

The overall paucity of data provides an opening for alarmists to speculate, and Goulson and others have taken advantage of that. But why are the data so fragmentary? Moran attributed the lack of corroborating studies supporting the consensus view that insect populations are mostly stable to what he calls “publication bias … more dramatic results are more publishable. Reviewers and journals are more likely to be interested in species that are disappearing than in species that show no change over time,” he wrote in the Washington Post.

It’s a reinforcing feedback loop, with journalists playing a key role in this misinformation cycle. Scientific publications are more likely to publish reports of declining species. Then, when researchers search for data, “declines are what they find.” The media often seize on incomplete or even biased conclusions to build a compelling narrative—an insect apocalypse or insectageddon or zombie-like resurrections of debunked reports of birdpocalypses and beepocalypses.

The result is that enormously complex issues are often portrayed in cartoonish terms. Conventional farmers are invariably cast as the “black hats” who dare to use advanced tools of biotechnology and targeted synthetic chemicals. They are harshly contrasted with crusading “white hat” scientists and advocacy journalists cast as partners with the Earth and Nature. Independent scientists are increasingly frustrated. As professors Saunders, James, and O’Hanlon have written, there are consequences to simplistic frames:

We disagree with the catastrophic decline narrative, not the concept of population declines or that individual studies have shown declines in some places. Declines are probably happening elsewhere too, but we have no data to prove it. Yet other insects are not declining, and some are increasing in population size or range distribution. New species are being named every year, most of which we still know nothing about.

Presenting the global decline narrative as consensus or fact is simply misrepresentation of science. By continuing to promote the narrative, we may suffer from confirmation bias, potentially encouraging scientists to look for evidence of declines in their data where there may be none.

It is perhaps too much to hope that journalists would have learned their lesson after chasing so many “verge of extinction” tales over the past 15 years that proved to be false. That’s why more independent studies like Moran et al. are needed to break the cycle of bias.

And maybe a little restraint from pack journalists. Keep that in mind over the next few months when Goulson launches his “insect Armageddon” documentary and book tour media blitz. “Let’s move on from the decline narrative,” Manu Saunders and her colleagues plead. “We need less hype and more evidence-based action on the priorities we can address right now.”

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