Fool me eight times, shame on me

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Today a friend posted a link to an article titled Studies Prove Without Doubt That Unvaccinated Children Are Healthier Than Their Vaccinated Peers1 to his Facebook stream. Just two days ago I said I was done listening to anything about vaccines, but I ended the post with:

If you have a study or actual data of some kind to cite, do it.

You're just wrong just isn't right

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

I’ve just read the thoughtful opinion piece No, It’s Not Your Opinion. You’re Just Wrong by Jef Rouner at the Houston Press. I don’t find much to disagree with in the text of the article, but there is a subtext I find troubling. While Mr Rouner and I are in agreement that asserting something as one’s own opinion should not used as a shield against logic or facts, I’m troubled by the implication that anyone has a monopoly on the truth. Even if Mr Rouner never intended that to be part of his message, it has been added and/or amplified by many people who have reposted the article on social media.

Much of this conflict may come from imprecise language, or at least different assumptions about the usage of particular words. My current thoughts on usage:

Why I'm not listening about vaccines

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

I don’t claim to know the truth about vaccines. I am not a scientist, or a doctor, or a researcher of any kind. So far the available numbers overwhelmingly indicate that they do a lot of good. Would we be better off if we brought back polio? Do I even need to write it out? No.

Yet it keeps on coming up, even among people I’d otherwise thought of as intelligent. I’m getting tired of following up on these conversations, because the conversations themselves are simply tiresome. There’s never new information presented, and anyone who does not immediately accept the claims is dismissed as a stooge or a shill for whatever conspiracy there may be.

Gulosity

Greed, gluttony. Chambers says it’s archaic.

Another word found in Go Set a Watchman. It usually says good things about a novel when I have to look up multiple words in one sitting. Not always; sometimes it seems like the obscure words don’t add value. I have mixed feelings about the use of gulosity here. If I were asked to edit this I might not insist it get replaced but I’d want to have a conversation about why it was important. Perhaps it’s archaic, but remained in use in the South for some time? Or perhaps there is a nuance of usage I’m missing.

Anthropophagous

Literally, cannibalistic. «Cannibalize» might mean to take mechanical parts from a device in order to repair others, the way that «scavenge» describes the use of backpressure to reclaim unspent fuel in a four-stroke internal combustion motor. Anthropophagous, anthropophagy, anthropophaginian, anthropophagite, and anthropophagi all seem only used to describe humans eating the flesh of other humans.

Found in Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. I don’t want to go in to the context here, but I was almost sorry I looked this one up.

Blockbuster burnout, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the subtitles

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

I remember enjoying the Mad Max movies from the 80s,1 though truth to tell I don’t remember actually caring about them very much. I don’t think I ever saw the Thunderdome one, which I’m not bothering to even look up the actual title of.

Still, post-apocalyptic desert, guns, and explosions, and Charlize Theron all add up to a movie that was made for me. Yesterday the new rebooted Mad Max film arrived in theaters and it’s all over my social media and RSS feeds. Most of the reviews are favorable, surprising me with words like «brilliant». Is it possible that this sci-fi action flick has transcended genre and come in to life as an amazing film?

I just failed civics

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

In a recent Facebook conversation I bemoaned the fact that most United States residents cannot name even one of their State’s senators, and less than a third can name two.1 That got me thinking about whether my own knowledge of our political landscape is any good. So I gave myself a simple test: to write a list of all fifty states, and identify the junior and senior senators from as many states as I could.

I didn’t do very well. If you want to try it yourself, you should probably stop reading now, because I’m going to start naming names soon and that will prime your memory.

First embarrassing fact: I could only name forty-nine states without looking at a map.2

You can't punish the… oh, right. Actually, you can.

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

@TheDemocrats1 are trying to discredit Rand Paul by tweeting a picture of him next to what appears to be an out-of-context quote: «You can’t punish rich people.»

«You can't punish rich people.»

The troubling aspects to this are almost too many to count. But I’ll give it a try.

First, it looks like the Democratic Party now openly considers having wealth a crime. Otherwise, «punishment» wouldn’t be warranted, and defending the rich from being punished wouldn’t itself be any kind of indictment of character.

I blame Microsoft

Bronze Coast Alameda , CA

All right, it’s only sort of Microsoft’s fault. But right now you really ought to be reading a great article about how the Portage County, Indiana Sheriff’s Office is a disgrace to the law enforcement profession, and how the District Attorney for that same county ought to be fired without delay. The article was researched and footnoted. I had timelines and even a link to confirm that 3 April 2015 was a state holiday in Indiana.1

It was literally all gone in a single keystroke. There was no backup, no undo, no cache: no way of retrieving the time and energy spent in the now-vain pursuit of providing the slice of brilliant editorial journalism Monochromatic Outlook readers have come not to expect.

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