Those uppity women…no longer controlled by fear of dinosaurs

What a charmer. This guy, Sean Parnell, is running for the Pennsylvania senate with Donald Trump’s blessing, and is facing charges of spousal abuse. His ex-wife has had two protections from abuse orders on him. He’s a thoroughly unpleasant person, as you can tell from this outburst.

The idea that a woman doesn’t need a man to be successful… the idea that a woman can live a happy and fulfilling life without a man, I think it’s all nonsense.

I am gonna say something very un-pc, I reject this study wholesale. I feel like the whole happy wife, happy life nonsense has done nothing but raise one generation of women tyrants after the next.

Maybe it is just now there is an entire generation of men that don’t want to put up with the bs of a high-maintenance, narcissistic woman.

It used to be, you know, women were attracted to your strength because you could defend them from dinosaurs.

The whole rant is just hateful and nuts, but I do confess I laughed out loud at the stupidity of that last comment.

Noooooo! Curse you, algorithm!

I made the mistake of reading this article about some minor celebrity, Demi Lovato, endorsing some weird video channel, Gaia. Look at this: it’s perfect skeptic bait.

On a Lovato-themed Gaia page for their fans, the singer’s supporters can view a free episode of a Gaia show about an “ancient space program” before signing up for a $11.99 monthly Gaia membership.

Lovato’s “handpicked favorite” shows, according to the website, include a series positing that Atlantis was real and that humanity is living in the aftermath of a battle between giants and lizard-like “reptilians.”

A representative for Lovato declined to comment on the record. Gaia didn’t respond to a request for comment.

While the claims made in the videos produced by Gaia can seem laughable, the site, which claims to have more than 750,000 members, has become a clearinghouse pushing conspiracy theories into the New Age movement. Gaia’s videos are slickly produced to look like genuine documentaries, with some featuring prominent figures in the anti-vaccine movement. The site has also been called a “hub for QAnon,” with QAnon promoters flocking to the platform after facing crackdowns from other websites.

Then I doubled my mistake. I had to look up this Gaia thing (warning: you might not want click on the link yourself, it’s cursed). It’s an overpriced subscription service for really bad fake “documentaries”. It left me wondering how these incompetent clowns get so much attention for such wacky beliefs?

I know of some of them. They’re total idiots.

But now the curse of the internet algorithm — Gaia must be pumping lots of money into their ad promotion, because now I get tons of pseudoscience ads. I can’t watch YouTube without getting wall-to-wall ads about Atlantis and the Annanuki and Bigfoot and Q. It’s annoying. In for a penny, in for a pound, so I watched a bit of this one. Don’t do it unless you’re a committed masochist!

This young man calmly asserts that he was born in Atlantis to the descendants of the Annanuki.

Now I am doomed. It’s going to be even more continuous foolishness than usual for me on the interwebs. Heed my warning!

For once, I’m siding with the engineers

I do trust the conservation of energy, and I do think evolved responses are often useful (but not always!), but most of all, I know that incompetent people can screw up badly. Recent example: leaving a loaded gun on a movie set. I’m not going to comfortably expect that somebody hung a massive object that could break my nose or worse did so correctly.

(Actually, I probably usually side with the engineers.)

I think Kareem Abdul-Jabbar might feel personally offended

Dangerous Liar

I haven’t been following this Aaron Rodgers story much at all — he’s one among so many idiots who don’t know a thing about biology or medicine, but are so arrogant that they’ll pontificate foolishly about it and end up killing people. In this case, he’s a rich, overpaid, poorly educated professional athlete, and I confess, I find it easy to dismiss him as just a big dumb jock.

And then Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rises up and demonstrates that my stereotypes are false, delivering a well-informed smackdown to the stupid football player.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has revealed several athletes who abuse their position and responsibility, not just to the public, but to other professional athletes’ livelihood.

That latest egregious abuser is Green Bay quarterback and three-time MVP Aaron Rodgers who directly and deliberately lied to fans and the public when he assured everyone he was “immunized,” knowing that word would be interpreted as his being vaccinated. He wasn’t vaccinated. And he got COVID-19. And he went maskless during in-person press conferences, which not only violated NFL rules, but put everyone else’s health at risk.

Instead of consulting immunologists, he consulted anti-vaxxer and podcast host Joe Rogan, who also contracted the virus. If he ever requires open-heart surgery will he hand the scalpel to romance writers because they know about matters of the heart? While many who came into contact with him thought he was vaccinated, Rodgers had embarked on his own regimen to boost his “natural immunity.” He failed, as any scientist could have told him—and as they have been publicly telling us for over a year. University of Michigan microbiologist Ariangela Kozik explained that achieving “natural immunity” through these homeopathic methods is a non-starter because vaccines inform our immune system what the virus looks like so the body can build its own protection.

Joe Rogan…now there’s the type specimen of the big dumb jock. Abdul-Jabbar references that to point out that, obviously, some big jocks aren’t that dumb.

Rodgers’ ignorance regarding the science of immunology brings back to life the old stereotype of the big dumb jock. His utter lack of even the most basic knowledge and logic is shocking. In an effort to defend his lying, he stated, “This idea that it’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated, it’s just a total lie … If the vaccine is so great, then how come people are still getting covid and spreading covid and, unfortunately dying of covid?” Those two statements don’t even belong together. Statistics from many sources conclude that around 97 percent of those being hospitalized or who have died in the past several months are unvaccinated. The CDC found that the unvaccinated are 11 times more likely to die than those vaccinated. If he thinks that’s a lie, what credible evidence does he have? None.

And then — I did not know that Rodgers had been whining about “cancel culture” and the “woke mob”, but I am unsurprised. As always, though, the ones who whimper the most about being “canceled” never seem to face any real material consequences, they’re just bawling over their inanity being exposed.

Rodgers complained that the “cancel culture” was coming for him, but his own words cancel him as a liar and a bad thinker. If he had a principled objection to the vaccine, he could have chosen not to play, like Kyrie Irving, who at least is honest. What really sacked his whining stance was his refusal to wear a mask during interviews to protect others from sickness and death. That was merely his hubris and arrogance against what he called the “woke mob.” In this case, woke means compassion and responsibility toward others. He might also remember that the only reason he is able to play in front of crowds again is because all those suckers got vaccinated.

What will happen to Aaron Rodgers? Other than the brief suspension probably very little. He’s a valuable asset to a multi-billion dollar industry. The deal he signed with the Packers in 2018 is worth $134 million, plus the $9 million for commercial endorsements such as the one he has with Adidas, State Farm Insurance, and others. He has lost one endorsement: Prevea Health, a health care provider, cancelled their contract because his actions were contrary to their commitment to encourage vaccines to end the pandemic. When Rodgers signed with the company in 2019, Dr. Ashok Rai, president and CEO of Prevea, remarked at the time, “As one of the most respected athletes in the country, Aaron is truly passionate about improving the health and wellness of our communities.” That, too, turned out not to be true.

I can’t help but think of Colin Kaepernick, who was blacklisted by the NFL for passively expressing his frustration with systemic racism—a brave act meant to help his community and save lives—while multi-millionaire Rodgers will continue to play, despite lying to the fans and his teammates and putting innocent lives in danger. Time will tell whether Rodgers will be judged by the content of his character or the strength of his throwing arm.

I’m going to guess that the content of his character has just become a more valuable asset to the regressives.

Circadian rhythms are amazing

My streak continues: 5 consecutive nights in which I go to bed, fall asleep, and then at between 2:00 and 2:05 am, my eyes snap open and I’m wide awake the rest of the night, although too tired to get anything done. I’m still kind of impressed at the consistency of this effect of the drug on my system. There’s also a bout of late afternoon/early evening shakes, but that hasn’t been as precisely predictable.

So now I’m being a bad patient and stopping the medication prematurely. I’m kind of curious to see what happens tonight. Does my internal alarm stop going off altogether? Does the clock start to vary? It’s not a great experiment, because the fact that I’m currently so dang tired is a confounding variable, but I do want to see the outcome. Unfortunately, I’d rather not do further experimentation along these lines on myself, so I’m not going to play with the variables any more. Student volunteers? The cat? Nah, that would probably be fatal to me.

Round number alert!

We’re only a few hundred comments away from a nice round 2,000,000 total comments on this blog.

Of course, that number is totally fictitious because we lost over half the comments when NatGeo took over from ScienceBlogs, and then we lost a lot more when we ported over to this site from NatGeo, but hey, the round numbers are an artifact of using base 10, anyway. The current count is 111101000001010011000 in binary, which ends in a bunch of zeroes already.

It looks like PragerU will have some competition

And Lo, it shall be named the University of Austin. The usual disgruntled suspects are marching off to set up an unaccredited university that offers no degrees to Austin, Texas, as announced by a right-wing ex-college president, Panos Kanelos, on Bari Weiss’s substack. After deploring the censorious nature of the liberal university, he declares that he has moved to an office in Austin and is going to create a new university, fiat ex nihilo, from the dregs of the canceled.

But we are done waiting. We are done waiting for the legacy universities to right themselves. And so we are building anew.

I mean that quite literally.

As I write this, I am sitting in my new office (boxes still waiting to be unpacked) in balmy Austin, Texas, where I moved three months ago from my previous post as president of St. John’s College in Annapolis.

I am not alone.

Our project began with a small gathering of those concerned about the state of higher education—Niall Ferguson, Bari Weiss, Heather Heying, Joe Lonsdale, Arthur Brooks, and I—and we have since been joined by many others, including the brave professors mentioned above, Kathleen Stock, Dorian Abbot and Peter Boghossian.

We count among our numbers university presidents: Robert Zimmer, Larry Summers, John Nunes, and Gordon Gee, and leading academics, such as Steven Pinker, Deirdre McCloskey, Leon Kass, Jonathan Haidt, Glenn Loury, Joshua Katz, Vickie Sullivan, Geoffrey Stone, Bill McClay, and Tyler Cowen.

We are also joined by journalists, artists, philanthropists, researchers, and public intellectuals, including Lex Fridman, Andrew Sullivan, Rob Henderson, Caitlin Flanagan, David Mamet, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sohrab Ahmari, Stacy Hock, Jonathan Rauch, and Nadine Strossen.

What a rogues gallery. It’s going to differ from PragerU, though, in being more than a YouTube channel — Kanelos is committed to creating a physical campus, with buildings and all that stuff, somewhere near Austin. Why Austin, you might ask? His answer:

If it’s good enough for Elon Musk and Joe Rogan, it’s good enough for us.

He forgot to mention that other equally esteemed scholar and fellow Austinite, Alex Jones.

He has appointed faculty! They include Ayaan Hirsi Ali (how far she has fallen), Kathleen Stock, the transphobic philosopher, and Peter Boghossian, the asshole philosopher. That’s it, so far. The curriculum isn’t going to have much breadth, I guess. Although, to be fair, they don’t even have a curriculum, yet, except perhaps to be the rubbish bin that attracts incompetent ideologues. They also have an ambitious goal of having a fully functional four-year undergraduate program in place by 2024. Ha ha.

Don’t you worry about the University of Austin, though! What they lack in academic rigor and actual scholarly talent, they make up for with the usual far-right super-grifting abilities. They say they are in the process of securing $250 million, which means some asshole billionaires somewhere are lined up to throw money at this poisonous shitpile.

Oh. We do know who is funding this grift: Joe Lonsdale, tech bro venture capitalist and pal to Peter Thiel.


What would Hippocrates say?

Here’s an interesting ethical dilemma for you. Doctors in Greece (it’s not at all clear how many doctors are doing this) have a way of dealing with anti-vaxxers.

Mass fake vaccinations have been taking place in dozens of vaccination centers throughout Greece, media reported on Sunday. The bribe fee for doctors and nurses is apparently 400 euros. the fee is paid is by those who do not want to receive the vaccines against Covid-19 but want to gain access to several activities or simply avoid the twice per week Rapid tests for professional and other reasons.

But then a hilarious thing happened: Doctors pocketed the bribe but administered real vaccine and not “water” in order to avoid getting into trouble should the fake vaccination come out, according to a report by Mega TV.

On the one hand, this is just wrong. Doctors are bound to respect the wishes of their patients, and pocketing the 400 euros compounds the wrongness. Of course, it would also be unethical in this case to do as the patient desires.

On the other hand, this is great from a societal point of view. I want to say “keep it up!”…that is, until I meet a doctor who does the reverse, and out of misplaced, wacky ideas decides to give me a homeopathic dose of a vaccine.

I’m in hell

These drugs, man…sure, they are reducing inflammation and pain. But they’ve got little clocks built in to them, and the alarm goes off every night at 2am, man, and my brain starts racing. The gears are stripped, though, and everything is spinning and smoking and screeching and I think there’s a wobble, man, like some night my transmission is going to blow and my dorsal and median raphe are going to catch fire and my locus coeruleus is going to go sproing out my ears and my ventral tegmentum is going to snap its supports and end up dangling in my oil pan, or maybe dragging in the road throwing sparks as I careen wildly along some dark highway to an end I’ll be too stoned to appreciate.

This is not good, man, if the last few days are any guide, I’m now going to lie in a half-conscious state for a few hours with my ears ringing, flirting in and out of brief bouts of exhausted sleep until at 5am my normal, healthy, well-trained brain circuitry starts screaming at my cortex that it’s DAYTIME, THE SUN IS RISING, THE BIRDS ARE MAKING NOISE, THE CAT WANTS TO BE FED, I DON’T CARE HOW TIRED YOU ARE, IT’S TIME TO GET UP.

Two more days of these little white pills. Then I’m telling my dealer never again, just pith me now and get it all over with, man. I don’t think prednisone and I get along well at all.