Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
1. Race. Some good news and some very good news on Race this week, both from somewhat unexpected perspective. First, the news via Breitbart that 34% of white college applicants have faked their race, effectively lying on their college applications by claiming to be a racial minority. The college applicants were 16 and older. 81% of them said they lied to improve their chances of being selected by the colleges. 50% of them did so in pursuit of financial aid. White males were three times more likely to do this than women. The rate these claims are made vary with age, decreasing with age. For instance, while 41% of 16–24-year-olds admit to faking minority status while applying for college, only 13% of 54-year-olds and older do. Nearly half of those participating identified as Native Americans, with Latinos, blacks and Asian / Pacific Islanders far down the list. Twice as many men claimed Native American heritage as women. Only one in four women claimed to be Latino. Interestingly enough, more women than men claimed to be black. The Native American claim works in two ways. First, there is an incredible number of people with some bit of Native American blood in their bloodline. Second, it works because it works with the colleges. A full 77% of those surveyed claimed that they were accepted based on their minority status (the Ghost of Ward Churchill and Lizzy Warden continues to haunt academia). 85% of those surveyed believe their falsified claims helped with their admittance. This is an example of the notion that if you make a big deal about selecting people based on skin color, favoring one (or several) skin color(s) over white and yellow, the kids will pay attention, learn, and apply their newfound knowledge to their best advantage. And why shouldn’t they? After all, they have learned the lessons the Powers that Be most desperately want them to learn. Here’s where it all gets funny. One Ibram X Kendi, author of one of the “seminal” texts used in the CRT reading list was shocked, simply shocked, at the notion that whites would benefit pretending to be minority. He posted a tweet (below) that made the point. The tweet was quickly deleted following his realization that it undermined completely his very reason for being. Kendi is a humanities prof at Boston University and is making millions of dollars grifting with the notion that being white gives such a privilege in life that the entire structure of American society must be upended so that it doesn’t do that anymore. Kendi’s tweet was complaining about whites pretending to be minority undermined his entire life work, his publications, all his speeches, talks, and studied prattling on in various public forums. It only took a little while before he retracted. Here’s the logic: If white privilege is such a powerful thing, why are white students pretending to be minorities on applications? Why is it successful? Final point comes courtesy of Scott Adams, who adopts the LGBTQWTF worldview that you can simply identify as something, anything, you can do it whenever and wherever you want. Better yet, nobody can question you. And if you are in charge of identifying as this or that, you can change your mind at any time without any question. Adams currently and proudly identifies as black. Good times.
2. NSBA. Appears the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to Attorney General Garland was a contrived political action, coordinated with O’Bamaoids in the WH. E-mails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon revealed that the NSBA letter was sent to the Xiden WH weeks before it was sent to Garland. The coordination proceeded for several weeks without the knowledge of the rest of the NSBA Board. Just to demonstrate that the fix was in, the Xiden WH tapped the president of the NSBA to serve on a federal board that tracks student progress. Appears the work he did for the WH labeling parents as domestic terrorists was well appreciated and rewarded. For his part, Attorney General Merrick Garland did his best “I’m confused” routing in front of hostile congressional committees last week, claiming he didn’t know what he was signing when he sicced the FIB on outraged parents at school board meetings. Garland attempted to make the case that he made his decision simply based on what the NSBA wrote in their letter, which didn’t satisfy the congress critters either. Following the hearings, a number of state school board organizations quit NSBA claiming they weren’t notified of the letter or asked their opinion of it. By week’s end, the NSBA had disavowed the contents of the letter, though somehow never managed to request (In)Justice call of the dogs. And as previously mentioned, the NSBA President had his WH appointment. All in all, a job well done.
3. Baldwin. So much to write about Alec Baldwin’s shoot on a move set a couple weeks ago. So much to find out. As with all things Hollywood, facts are dribbling out like blood from a turnip on this one. Baldwin was apparently working with a single action revolver, an Italian copy of a Colt weapon. Single action is a bit funky, as the only thing a trigger does it drop the hammer. If you want to fire multiple times, you have to fan the trigger with your other hand, something that is a bit difficult to learn and easy to screw up. Clint Eastwood figured out how to do this in several of his movies. Apparently, Baldwin practiced with a weapon the props crew had out on the set doing target practice with and there was at least one live round in the chamber. This may end up with a manslaughter charge filed by the local sheriff, so there are a lot of tight lips these days. For whatever it is worth, here are the basic rules of frearms safety courtesy Col Jeff Cooper:
- All guns are always loaded. Even when they aren’t treat them as if they are.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target
- Identify your target, and what is behind it.
4. Destruction. One of the descriptions of the free market is an engine of creative destruction. New stuff rises up and destroys previous stuff, whether it is systems, processes, innovations or products. Governments tend to do things to limit this process. So do agreements between businesses to protect and defend what they have built from the new guys, new systems, new products, etc. Adam Smith pointed this out 250 years ago in the Wealth of Nations. Generally, the freer the marketplace it, the better this process operates. What we have today here in the US is a moderately free market with attempted monopoly control of information by Big Tech, and fascist levels of regulation by governments. Worse, governments are actively working to destroy the ability of new companies to compete in the free market. So, our creative destruction becomes destructive destruction. As we approach Dec 8, where every single company that does business with Uncle Sugar harshly jettisons some segment of their employees for refusal to get the jab, I wonder what will happen to those people? What will they do next? I predict a couple things. First, nobody who loses a job due to failure to vax will be a friend of any democrat in the foreseeable future. It might last generations. Think Hatfields and McCoys which went on for 30 years. Pissed off American have long, long memories. Second, most of these people are free thinkers at some level, and that generally means creative people, newly motivated to take their former employers down. Third, they will be motivated. What direction that motivation takes remains to be seen. The outcome of this wanton destruction may end up being much the same as an actual war, when the economy blasts off following the end of bloodshed. The creative piece may end up being much larger and more powerful following the destructive destruction we are experiencing today. Somehow, I don’t think it will go well for the libs, democrats, media, unions or any of their other fellow travelers.
5. Profit. Who knew that democrats viewed homelessness as a profit center? I never did, never conceived it until running across an article last week in Lawrence Person’s Battleswarm Blog. He quotes a writer who calls himself (herself?) Peachy Keenan who describes how homelessness is a major profit center for democrats. The perspective comes out of LA, which voted $1.2 billion to “address homelessness” in 2019. Not unexpectedly, the total number of homeless in LA increased from 40,000 to 70,000. I am reminded of the quote from Princess Bride where the Inigo Montoya tells another character “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” In this case, the voters thought “address homelessness” meant fewer homeless rather than nearly doubling their numbers. For his part, Cali Governor Newsome pledged $4.8 billion to address and confront homelessness in Cali, now over 150,000 strong. During his recall, he upped the ante to a whopping $12 billion. In LA, Skid Row has been allowed to grow over 40 years. And grow it has, now covering dozens of blocks downtown. The Usual Suspects in LA are furiously attempting to turn it into a racial issue, ignoring all the white homeless. The blog refers to what is going on as the “Homeless industrial complex,” which exists today to take public money, usually law enforcement dollars in blue cities, and funnel it directly into the pockets of leftist activists. Today, every single new or changed welfare state program is born as a racket, designed to funnel taxpayer dollars into the pockets of leftist, democrat activists. We are funding the left-wing political machine via good intentions. And that funding invariably makes the problem supposedly being addressed worse.
6. Science. One of the “shut up, he explained” arguments out of the political left these days is that we must follow the science, putting the government funded public employees in charge of our lives. This echoes the claims of the old Soviets who used to pride themselves on setting up a science-based political system. Sadly, in their case, the science only made it easier to kill people, spreading the brutality far and wide. The other argument we get is that the science is settled, particularly when it comes to discussion about climate change, and who or what is causing this. So, in the spirit of science being settled, let’s look at a few settled scientific issues that are not all that settled anymore.
- First up is the Miller-Urey experiment. This was run in 1953 as an attempt to simulate early atmospheric and ocean conditions on earth. They filled a vessel with water, hydrogen gas, methane gas, ammonia gas, then heated it and zapped it with electric discharge for a week. They were trying to see if they could form organic compounds, precursor to life. The electric discharge simulated lightning. The experiment was successful and embraced as a way to create organic compounds for nearly 70 years. The problem is that as the decades went by, we found more places with organic compounds, really cold places without lightning – comets, outer moons, Kuiper Belt objects, Pluto, etc. None of them had the conditions the experiment started with. A recent recreation of the experiment discovered that the reason the organic compounds were formed was because the glass of the flask they were using acted as a catalyst for the reaction. Flasks coated with Teflon, which doesn’t react, did not yield the same products. In one way, the experiment recreated early conditions better (lots of volcanic ash, essentially frothed glass present) than the original one did. Settled science? Hardly.
- Second example comes from Sandia Labs, which used citric acid, a generally harmless, food grade solvent, as a way to separate rare earth metals from coal ash, waste residue from burning coal. Coal ash has long been an environmentalist target because nobody had a use for it and there is a lot of it. Sandia’s new process uses water, CO2 and food grade citric acid. They have filed for a patent. Now our waste from burning coal becomes a source for rare earth metals. Nobody saw this coming. This is similar to the use of petroleum byproducts for the petrochemical and plastics industries. And it uses something we can eat as a catalyst.
- Final story comes via IEEE Spectrum which discusses advances in battery technology, in this case, solid state batteries. Battery technology is something that is getting a lot of attention these days, particularly from the electric vehicle afficionados. While I like to strap on a large caliber gasoline, diesel or turbine as much as anyone, the end to these devices might be on the horizon. Battery technology has been increasing significantly in recent years with improvements in capacity, charge times, size and safety. Those of us who use tools have been seeing a lot of significant improvements in battery powered hand and lawn tools in recent years. Another place to see it is in laptop, tablet, smart phone and similar devices. And that curve appears to be on the verge of going asymptotic while the change accelerates.
More later –