When compliance becomes a synonym for open-mindedness…

This study is mostly unsurprising, except for the absence of an effect of political ideology. People who don’t comply with COVID health measures tend to be close-minded, or maybe people who are already conspiracy theorists, ready to twist the evidence to fit their preconceptions, are more likely to reject health recommendations. I don’t know which way the arrow of causality goes.

Closed-minded individuals were less likely to adhere to COVID-19 preventive behaviors, such as physical distancing, according to new research that examined data collected from 17 countries. The study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, provides evidence that analytic thinking styles were more important than political ideology in predicting behaviors during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study was multinational and involved over 12,000 participants, which was good, but also relied on self-assessment (everyone claims to be open-minded!) modulated by a questionnaire to drill down into actual attitudes.

The researchers found open-mindedness was a substantially stronger predictor of adherence to COVID-19 preventive behaviors than political orientation. Those who agreed with statements such as “If I do not know much about some topic, I don’t mind being taught about it, even if I know about other topics” were more likely to report avoiding physical contact with others, maintaining physical hygiene, and supporting COVID-19 restrictive mitigation policies. In contrast, those who agreed with statements such as “I think that paying attention to people who disagree with me is a waste of time” were less likely to adhere to COVID-19 preventive behaviors.

On the other hand, we have to balance open-mindedness and credulity. I’d say I’m fairly open-minded (unreliable self-assessment again), but is compliance a good aspect of open-mindedness? I’d also like to say I’m usually going to follow CDC recommendations…except that now the CDC is being political and ideological.

In late February, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unveiled a new Covid-19 monitoring system based on what they call “Community Levels.” By downplaying the importance of Sars-CoV-2 transmission, the new system instantly turned what was a pandemic map still red from Omicron transmission to green – creating the false impression that the pandemic is over.

Released four days before the State of the Union, the new CDC measures and the narrative they created let President Biden claim victory over the virus via sleight of hand: a switch from standard reporting of community transmissions to measures of risk based largely on contentious hospital-based metrics. The previous guidelines called anything over 50 cases per 100,000 people “substantial or high.” Now, they say 200 cases per 100,000 is “low” as long as hospitalizations are also low.

The resulting shift from a red map to a green one reflected no real reduction in transmission risk. It was a resort to rhetoric: an effort to craft a success story that would explain away hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths and the continued threat the virus poses.

The CDC has been captured by capitalism. The US government is also not following the science.

Some claim that the White House and the CDC are “following the science” and doing the best they can in these times. But if the goal is to prevent infection and suffering, the updated recommendations do not align with science or equity. It’s more accurate to say they’re following the money. They’ve put the desires of corporate America above the needs of our people, and especially our most vulnerable.

Am I close-minded if I don’t comply, in this case?

Is there any hope for the police?

Maybe, maybe not. It’s good to see someone breaking the “thin blue line” in defense of ordinary decency, though. In this case, a burly police sergeant is bellowing at a man who is arrested, in handcuffs, and in a police car — most ironically, he’s angry that the man “disrespected” one of his fellow officers. Then one of those officers pulls the rager away, which prompts him to then grab her by the throat, an excellent example of disrespecting a police officer.

The woman cop is being praised by her department, and the bad cop has been suspended. That’s the kind of incremental change we need.


Russian troops are retreating from the area around Kiev, and leaving behind the wreckage of war. The recently liberated town of Bucha is an example: dead civilians left in the streets, some bound up and shot. The survivors have horror stories about the brutal occupation. There are mass graves. The Russians have abandoned any pretense of civilized behavior.

At least there are also signs that the Russian invasion cost the invaders heavily, too.

Creepy ghouls

Lauren Handy is the Director of Activism for a group called Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising. She’s a fanatic. She is currently under investigation for federal civil rights offenses after blocking access to a reproductive health center, a terribly common tactic used by anti-choicers — it’s nice to see that in some places these people are being prosecuted. As part of the investigation, Handy’s home was raided, where an unpleasant surprise was uncovered.

DC Police discovered five fetuses at the home of an anti-abortion activist in Capitol Hill on Wednesday, the department has confirmed to WUSA9.

Officers responded shortly after noon to a home on the 400 block of 6th Street SE to investigate a tip about potential bio-hazard material in the residence. Once inside, they located the fetuses. The remains were collected by the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The home was occupied by Lauren Handy, an anti-abortion activist who was indicted along with nine others Wednesday by a federal grand jury. Handy is accused of felony conspiracy against rights for a blockade inside a D.C. abortion clinic in October 2020.

WUSA9’s camera was outside as DC Police homicide and forensic services detectives took evidence out in red biohazard bags and coolers from the rowhouse’s basement.

Two questions: where did they get the fetuses, and why? They were either rifling through the organic waste at a hospital or clinic, or they had an insider who was stealing such material. Both are illegal, and are going to lead to more people getting fired.

But why? These activists rely entirely on shock tactics to trigger disgust in citizens…but everything that is a product of surgical procedures in hospitals is going to be repulsive to ordinary people. Cancer surgery is going to produce blood and bits of excised material that no one in their right mind is going to want on display in their home, and likewise for any necessary health procedure.

You know what’s grosser than flaunting surgical byproducts in public? Being a sensationalistic professional liar who wants to make women suffer.

Friday Cephalopod: Half a billion years of making me happy

Maybe it doesn’t look like much, and maybe it’s tiny at only 1.5cm long, but this is a 522 million year old cephalopod shell, found in Newfoundland.

To be fair, the investigators are cautious, only tentatively calling it a cephalopod…but it’s an oval shell with a siphuncle. None of the squishy bits are preserved, unfortunately, but it’s enough to suggest that this is a cephalopod, especially since it’s at about the right time period predicted.

One sad thing about it is that we still feel a need to issue a disclaimer when commenting on it.

“Cephalopods are really different from other mollusks,” Vecchione said. Still, “we do know that they’re mollusks, they’re not from outer space like some people have said.”

Yeah, those assholes from the Panspermia Mafia, Wickramasinghe etc., have really tainted the public perception of cephalopods.