The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022


In a commentary in the Canadian National Post, Kelly McPharland comments on the aftermath of the shocking authoritarian tactics employed by leftist Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, as he reacted to truckers who wanted vaccine mandates dropped so they could pursue cross border travel. She writes:

Leadership ... has failed on so many fronts in so many instances. Experts who lack expertise, appointees who aren’t up to the job, talking heads who can’t keep their story straight or their advice consistent. A governing class seemingly dedicated more to division and disparagement than pragmatism or co-operation. In sum it’s produced an anger that is palpable and not anywhere like the placid and polite Canadian profile. For a long time now Canada has been neither peaceable, orderly or well governed. 

An identical paragraph could be written about the United States. In fact, McPharland's description sounds as if it was written about the first year of the Biden presidency.

In the aftermath of the hysteria, stupidity, dishonesty, ineffectiveness, unnecessary spending, lock downs, school closures, idiotic mandates, and gleeful authoritarian governance that both the U.S. and Canada have experienced for the past two years, there should be a time of accounting.

There won't be.


Sunday, February 13, 2022

A Simple Problem

Here's a simple problem, made more interesting by the claim (I can't verify it) that it's typical of the kind of problem given to grade school children in China:

I wonder how many children in the USA can solve this? In fact, one wonders how many high school students or even college students have the chops to craft a solution. 

Let me go one step further—I wonder what percentage of K-12 teachers combined with college professors in anything but STEM curricula can solve this problem?

We hear a lot of talk about the need for an emphasis on STEM so that our country can remain competitive into the 21 century, but I suspect that the results of my rhetorical survey would be discouraging.



Since we really don't know how tall the cat or the turtle is at a glance, we can determine the height of the table by eliminating the need to know the height of the animals. So ... let X be the height of the Table, T be the height of the Turtle, and C be the height of the Cat.

From the illustration:

X + T - C = 130

X + C - T = 170 

Add the equations together (C and T cancel out) and solve for X,

2X = 300

X = 150 -- the height of the table.


Yeah, I know ... does anyone really need to know this stuff? 

I get it, but EVERYONE should be able to think critically and logically, to solve problems of all kinds with real—not magical—solutions. That's what STEM education gives anyone who receives it. And because a significant percentage of US citizens don't receive it or reject it when it's offered, we get much of the idiocy we've encountered over the past 2 years. 

Saying that you "follow the science" is a whole lot different than thinking critically, understanding basic statistics, and solving problems with real—not magical—solutions.


Monday, February 07, 2022


Incredibly, there are still hundreds of thousands (millions?) of blue-pilled people who are figuratively hiding in their basements due to COVID-19, double masking, demanding that small children wear masks in school and even smaller children get vaccinated. They are suggesting that those who refuse (for whatever reason) to get vaccinated should be brought up on criminal charges and that the lunatic policies mandated in blue states by blue politicians and bureaucrats—now proven both ineffective and in many cases, catastrophically damaging to lives and liveihoods—be continued and even expanded until "no cases remain."

It's true that the levels of unnecessary and irrational hysteria evidenced during 2020 and 2021 have abated—and that's a very good thing. But far too many American citizens remain effective hysterics, goaded by a malevolent media to remain in fear.

There's really no point in trying the reason someone out of a position they never reasoned themselves into in the first place, but it's still worth trying. Given that, John Tierney discusses a recent NIH and CDC study that tracked 1 million vaccinated adults over the past year, "including the period when the Delta variant was surging, and classified victims of Covid according to risk factors such as being over 65, being immunosuppressed, or suffering from diabetes or chronic diseases of the heart, kidney, lungs, liver or brain." 

Here's his summary: 

The researchers report that none of the healthy people under 65 had a severe case of Covid that required treatment in an intensive-care unit. Not a single one of these nearly 700,000 people died, and the risk was miniscule for most older people, too. Among vaccinated people over 65 without an underlying medical condition, only one person died. In all, there were 36 deaths, mostly among a small minority of older people with a multitude of comorbidities: the 3 percent of the sample that had at least four risk factors. Among everyone else, a group that included elderly people with one or two chronic conditions, there were just eight deaths among more than 1.2 million people, so their risk of dying was about 1 in 150,000.

Those are roughly the same odds that in the course of a year you will die in a fire, or that you’ll perish by falling down stairs. Going anywhere near automobiles is a bigger risk: you’re three times more likely during a given year to be killed while riding in a car, and also three times more likely to be a pedestrian casualty. The 150,000-to-1 odds of a Covid death are even longer than the odds over your lifetime of dying in an earthquake or being killed by lightning.

... Of course, the threat of Covid is greater for unvaccinated adults, but why should their personal decision to take that risk arouse so much angst among those who are safely vaccinated? The original argument for vaccine mandates—that they were necessary to stop the spread—is obsolete, now that it’s clear that vaccination doesn’t prevent reinfection and transmission.

... Nor is there any justification for mandating masks or vaccines for schoolchildren. Even if masks were effective—and the weight of evidence shows that they do little or no good—it would make no sense to require them in classrooms where the risk is so low to everyone (including the vaccinated teachers). Some children with serious health problems could benefit from being vaccinated, but for others the vaccine offers virtually no benefit while risking rare and unforeseen side effects. By analyzing the rates of death and infection in 2020, before the arrival of vaccines, Cathrine Axfors and John Ioannidis of Stanford calculate that the risk of death for children and adolescents who were infected with the virus was 0.001 percent—one in 100,000. The risk today is lower still thanks to better treatments. 

Hmmm.  150,000 to 1. Seems to me that blue-pilled hysterics need a quick lesson in statistics, followed by an even quicker tutorial in risk analysis. Then again, that requires the ability to reason ... and that appears to be a rather significant challenge for the COVID catastrophists who remain.


In an op-ed in the New York Times, Danish government adviser Michael Bang Petersen writes:

At some point, it will be time to lift restrictions and lower the guards… It won’t be because this position was always correct, but because the circumstances have changed. That’s why strong leadership is so critical for ending the pandemic. As the need for restrictions lessens, it’s up to public health and political leaders to explain why restrictions are being lifted, just as they had to explain why they were being imposed in the first place. Authorities must tell the public why they are placing more responsibility on individuals and, ideally, address the concerns of those who may not be ready, as well as those who remain at higher risk, like the immune compromised. 

BTW, Denmark is lifting all COVID related mandates and restrictions this week. 

Responding to Petersen's comment, Richard Fernandez writes: 

But try telling that to political mediocrities whom epidemic circumstances transformed, literally overnight, from mere presidents and prime ministers to potentates with real or imagined absolute powers over millions. For some, an end to the pandemic signals the closing of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to remake the world. As the Socialist Equality Party (Canada) writes: “The so-called Freedom Convoy [Truckers in Canada who are protesting vaccine mandates] is a far-right rabble… spearheaded by fascist activists who have assaulted homeless people and workers trying to enforce anti-COVID measures and brought guns and other weaponry into downtown Ottawa.”

Like far too many on the hard-left, the Socialist Equality Party (Canada) lies about the nature any protest that doesn't conform to its liking, but that's beside the point. It appears that the Left's petty tyrants recognize two things: (1) the unabridged power that COVID has conferred on them is enticing, and (2) they fear an accounting that is likely to come once their massively damaging and ineffective mandates are examined in the calm after the storm.