Social Media Censorship Has Lapped Itself And Become A Joke

Today I was banned from Facebook for 24 hours because I posted a meme:

“A real threat of violence”

I was blocked because my post “violated community standards” by containing “a real threat of violence”. Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in… A human being was supposedly tasked with reviewing this evaluation, saw a meme containing a joke referencing a popular movie, and decided “Yup, this is definitely a real threat of violence”.

The whole thing’s just a joke, at this point. Bigots are using Facebook groups to organize events that actually promote violence and are ignored. Antivaxxers are spreading disinformation on Facebook that literally kills people, and their posts get a warning note tagged onto them. Scam after scam after scam is being promoted via Facebook’s advertising system, and Facebook does nothing. But a quote from a movie that contains the words “I will kill you”? That’s just beyond the pale, and you need a time-out, mister!

It’s time to move on from Facebook, as a species. Can we do that?

Posted in For Facebook, Geeky, General, Personal, Uncategorized, Whimsical | Leave a comment

Covid-19: It’s time to stop ‘believing’ and work with facts


If you know me, you know I was on the “take Covid-19 seriously” train from well before the government was. I was on the “Masks work, you should wear them, I’ve spent months reading research papers and researching designs and effectiveness of cloth masks, and we’re producing effective ones with this design you can use yourself” train since well before the government was. Meanwhile, I convinced my wife to organize and run a volunteer effort at our makerspace to produce hundreds upon hundreds of masks for free distribution to at-risk people and medical personnel who could not obtain suddenly scarce industrially produced protective gear. I even convinced my employer to continue paying me while I took six weeks off to experiment with low-cost ways to build positive air pressure respirators (PAPRs) using commonly available materials, in an attempt to provide superior protection to a larger part of our population. I tell you all this as background, to help you understand that when I say I took Covid seriously, I mean that, in short, I took this shit SERIOUSLY. Unlike most internet commenters, I did my actual research…

While I cannot, of course, claim to be a medical expert, I have become somewhat adept at understanding what’s going on and where we stand as regards the Covid crisis, and where we stand is a hell of a lot better than where we were 18 months ago. I’d go so far as to say that things are looking downright favorable. If we’re not out of the woods yet, we are certainly standing just inside the treeline. Which is why I’m starting to feel concern over the political left’s nigh-religious devotion to continuing panic-level responses to this crisis.

In New York, the state first and hardest hit by the pandemic, despite a number of government missteps and conflict between state and federal plans, we have well over seventy percent of the adult population now fully vaccinated. New cases of Covid-19 have slowed to a trickle, and deaths from it have become nearly unheard-of, due to newly developed care-giving techniques. Relaxation of Covid restrictions did not produce a significant rise in cases. Elimination of restrictions did not result in a significant rise in cases. Even if the problem isn’t completely gone, it is certainly under control.

And yet, day after day, social media washes up posts by pundit after pundit claiming that things are on the brink of catastrophe, that we need to bring back harsh restrictions, etc. I see posts by progressive-leaning friends on almost a daily basis denigrating those who have begun the process of returning to normal life. They liberally (pun intended) use terms like “selfish”, “foolish”, and “going to get people killed”. As an example, the latest panic-fodder is the ‘delta’ variant. It’s apparently going to bring on the end-times.

Now, it is true that the Delta variant is apparently significantly more transmissible than the older versions, so there is certainly room for concern, but that seems to be where the validity of this response ends. I see claims that it is “even more deadly than the alpha strain”, but yet I can find no evidence from any reputable source that this is true. I see claims that “the vaccines are not effective at controlling it”, but there is clear evidence that in fact, the current vaccines are highly effective at controlling it.

So what the hell is going on? The left have been trumpeting their devotion to “the science” on this topic for nearly two years, but now that things are looking up, why have they abandoned the actual science? It makes me question whether they were actually that devoted in the first place. At the least, it makes me wonder whether what they were devoted to was ever “the science” in the first place, or if instead their devotion was to the position that their side in the culture wars had decreed.

It it time to drop our vigilance? No, of course not. There’s still a highly contagious bug out there that can hurt or kill at-risk members of society, and nearly 50% of the population still is not vaccinated against it. Obviously, we need to keep pushing. That said, we are well into recovery, and people who are vaccinated have an extremely low chance of contracting the disease, and an even lower chance of transmitting it or having serious symptoms. This is no longer a panic situation. The primary thing keeping those who are unvaccinated from getting the vaccine isn’t lack of availability or cost, it’s social resistance caused by the culture wars. PLEASE STOP FIGHTING THEM, SO THIS CAN FINALLY BE OVER!!!

Posted in Family, For Facebook, Geeky, General, Personal, Philosophical, Political, Rational, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Garbage Can Conundrum

Funny story:

17 years ago, my garbage can got run over by the garbage truck. The lid popped off, the body racked sideways, and the wheels went a bit woogley. The garbage crew must carry repair materials, because by the time I got to it, having heard the crunch, seen the horror show out the window, and gone to survey the damage, they had reattached the lid (or at least a lid, it was three inches too short and wouldn’t close all the way), and driven off. The resulting H.R. Giger-worthy abomination couldn’t be pushed straight, leaned and twisted while being moved, and let rainwater and critters in.

So I called the city about a replacement, since they require a certain special kind of can. One afternoon, entirely free of charge, a new can just showed up randomly on my sidewalk while I was at work. At this point I had two garbage cans. This seemed like a good thing, since I figured that in a town that won’t take naked bags, having a second can for emergencies (even a woogley one) wasn’t a bad thing. Thus, for nearly two decades, we have had two garbage cans.

Last week, we had a crazy windstorm on garbage day. Both our garbage and recycling cans had to be located and returned several times. Apparently, at some point during the workday, our “new” can also got run over. When I found it, one of its wheels had fallen off and one side of the lid’s hinges had been sheared nearly through, such that when you open or close it, the edges slip past each other, which causes the lid to warp and bounce back if you try to do it with any speed other than glacial.

So this week, I called the city about a replacement. On garbage day, the garbage crew emptied the can, then took out some hardware and reattached the wheel, and drove off. I was kinda ticked. This did not solve my problem! I had a long day of meetings, so I put it out of my mind. Later, my wife called to me “Hey, we got a new can!”. I thought she was being sarcastic. However, it turned out that during the day, some garbage ninja had stealthily delivered a new can, setting it right next to the can “repaired” by the garbage crew earlier.

I’ve learned two things from these experiences. First, our city’s garbage crews carry spare parts and tools to repair garbage cans, which I never would have expected. Second, our city has garbage-can ninjas who sneak up on you to randomly deliver garbage cans.

Now, some of you may have already twigged to a small gap in this system: There seems to be no mechanism for removing the old cans! We now have three garbage cans, two of which are barely usable.

It occurs to me that there may be no good way to “throw out” a garbage can. Thinking of this from the perspective of a garbage crew: If I saw a garbage can in front of your house, even an empty, battered one, I’d say, ‘Yup, that’s a garbage can.’ and move on. If I saw a garbage can with ‘Garbage’ scrawled upon it, I’d say, ‘Well duh!’ and move on. If I saw a garbage can labeled, ‘This can is garbage.’ I’d say ‘Well yes, that’s what they are all for!’ and move on. If I saw a can with a sticky-note on it that said ‘Please throw out this can!’ I’d assume that it was a note from one member of a household to another reminding them of their chores and move on.

Apparently, we are doomed to accumulate garbage cans endlessly until we die. Then, perhaps the only thing we can do is ask to be laid in state upon a massive bier built of all our accumulated woogley garbage cans and set fire to as the sun sets, so as to prevent our burden from being visited upon our children.

On the upside, the smell alone will make our funerals more memorable!

Posted in Family, For Facebook, Geeky, General, Personal, Uncategorized, Whimsical | Leave a comment

Covid-19: Government Lies Kill (but not how you think)

A few days ago, the White House announced that “social distancing and masking will be essential even after vaccination”. This has predictably caused a significant amount of public consternation, and given new life to conspiracy theories around social control etc…

Conspiracists love lies

To an extent, it is probably not a bad policy to continue to demand social distancing and masks. It is very likely that there will still be some avenues for transmission after vaccination, and that, since you can’t tell who is vaccinated by looking at them, some percentage of the unvaccinated would blithely ignore mask mandates were there to be exceptions made for the vaccinated. But here’s the thing? Why not just say that?!?!?

This is government treating people like cretins again, and I’m quite sure it will produce similar results and get people killed.

When this all started, the CDC/NIH decided that they had to manipulate the public into not buying the N95 masks needed by medical personnel, instead of just saying what they meant, so they told the public “masks don’t work”. Since even a cretin is able to twig to the ridiculousness of saying that masks are only effective if you have a certain kind of job, this sowed a *lot* of mistrust and conspiracy bullshit we’re still fighting, especially after their complete 180 a couple of months later insisting that masks were vital: “Were they lying then, or are they lying now?”.

Then we had Dr Fauci himself insisting for months that we’d reach herd immunity at around 60% vaccination/other immunity, but then as soon as vaccines were in sight inching the estimate up over months to around 85%. Then, in a recent interview, he publicly admitted that he “knew the public wasn’t ready to hear” the real numbers, so he consciously lied about them to manipulate their expectations. So again, doctor: “Were you lying then, or are you lying now?”

In the public’s mind the follow-up to this is: “What else are they lying about?”

So in my opinion, this is another example where a proclamation is being made likely for a good reason, but the reason is being withheld from, or at least glossed-over to, the public. It will lead to resistance and suspicion, and feed the conspiracy theorists further. As previously, this resistance will cause more death.

tl;dr – The government is once again subverting their own goals by treating the public like idiots, and it’s going to get people killed…

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Meditations on a Candidate

Given the debate to be held this evening, I would like to express a short but timely consideration of the candidate I will be opposing this year in the elections. He possesses the following inexcusable qualities:

  • He is very old, and has made numerous public statements that force me to question his mental competence.
  • His track record in office is one indicative of deep racism and disrespect for civil liberties.
  • His political career has included numerous actions that increased and extended our nation’s shameful overseas wars.
  • His running mate has a similar track record.
  • He has numerous accusations of sexual assault on record against him.
  • Even when he makes statements of policy that I might generally agree with, his use of weaselly language and history of saying one thing while doing another make me deeply suspicious of his sincerity.

I suspect, at this point, that you at least think you know who I will be voting against. If the number of people in that guess is less than two, however, you haven’t been paying attention…

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment
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