URLs du Jour

2020-04-27

  • In our "Lord, How Long Can This Go On?" department: my Google News Alert for "Live Free or Die" brought me 13 news items yesterday, and six today. And most of them are mutations of this LTE from Leonhard Goeller, published in the (Tucson) Arizona Daily Star:

    The people who protest public health-related orders use the phrase "Live Free or Die." They should consider using the phrase "Live Free AND Die," as it is more appropriate in the contest of a killer virus. Unfortunately, the impression given by the protesters is that THEY that should be "free" and its [sic] OK if OTHERS do the dying.

    What's a bigger number: (a) protesters bearing LFOD signs; or (b) anti-protesters deriding them? I'm thinking (b). Or maybe it just seems that way.


  • And James Lileks made me laugh out loud with this: A new e-mail scam? Or just Ping-Pong?

    But are we becoming paranoid about all kinds of hygiene because of the Covidien Lamentations? The city of Minneapolis, for example, is putting up signs telling people that the walk buttons at the crosswalks have been disabled because they might spread the novel coronavirus, or even the less-dreaded short-story coronavirus.

    I am going to steal that "short-story coronavirus" bit. So I can pretend to be as funny as Mr. Lileks.


  • I did not laugh out loud at this City Journal story: FDA Blocks Apple Watch Blood-Oxygen Feature That Would Help Millions.

    Millions of Americans own an Apple Watch, which commands roughly a 50 percent share of the smartwatch market. Among its many features, the Apple Watch can take your pulse. It also contains hardware to measure your blood-oxygen levels, and it has been doing so since the watch was released—but the hardware is not operable by the watch’s wearer, who thus cannot obtain the results. Under current FDA regulation, the function is disabled. It’s another example of how federal regulation of the production and distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical devices in the United States is less focused on stopping viruses and other diseases than on blocking private-sector innovators from developing solutions that may not work or might have harmful side effects.

    Thanks, FDA! For protecting us from finding out our own blood oxygen level using a device we might already own! What would we do without you?


  • The "official" title of the Kevin D. Williamson [NRPlus] article is Americans Split on Supporting, Protesting Quarantine Orders. But the headline reads "Ratfink America vs. You’re Not the Boss of Me! America".

    Ratfink America mostly lives in the urban metros, mostly has a progressive-secular cultural orientation, and mostly votes Democratic. Did you see that Harvard Magazine essay about Elizabeth Bartholet of Harvard Law, who argued that we should prohibit homeschooling because it makes it harder for authorities to keep an eye on the domestic lives of unruly proles? That’s pure Ratfink America. Michael Bloomberg shoving his vain little snout into your soda? Ratfink America. The people who call CPS on mothers who smoke in front of their children? Ratfink Americans, one and all.

    And the people who leave eleven-month-old babies locked up in the Nissan all night while they’re gambling in a New Jersey casino?

    They’re the other kind.

    You’re Not the Boss of Me! America is, in its raw and concentrated form, The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. It’s Ammon Bundy and David Koresh. But it’s also Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson, Civil Disobedience, and the Declaration of Independence. In the coronavirus context, it is Pentecostals in Florida and Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn defying social-distancing mandates.

    I not that worried about my neighbors calling the cops on me. Mrs. Salad, on the other hand… well, I'm trying to keep her happy.


  • At The Hill, Jonathan Turley notes asymmetry in the coverage of presidential candidate wackiness: Joe Biden fuels election conspiracy theory while the media keeps quiet.

    If there are two words that have been the mantra in the media during the last three years with President Trump, they would be “conspiracy theory.” That label is a wonderful device to attack political opponents. It not only suggests something is objectively untrue but that the person responsible for it is unhinged and unreliable. When Republican members of Congress had suggested that the coronavirus might have come from a research lab in Wuhan, for instance, it was widely denounced as a conspiracy theory, even though some intelligence officials believe the theory is credible.

    It is a term that is almost exclusively reserved in the media for Trump and his supporters. That was evident this week when the ultimate conspiracy theory was declared by the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, who warned that he was certain Trump plans to delay the election this fall. It is a conspiracy theory utterly without factual or constitutional support, yet his warning was deemed a “prediction” by Politico in a recent article. It has been peddled by various Democratic officials and commentators for months and is all the rage on the internet, even though it should be sold as a set including a tin foil hat and an electromagnetic ghost detector.

    Democrats believe their conspiracy theorizing is of the respectable sort.


  • And Wired has news you can use, if you're a wannabe astronaut: How Space Travel Tries to Kill You and Make You Ugly.

    The eyes are particularly vulnerable to all this unnatural sloshing of fluids. More than two-thirds of astronauts report having deteriorated eyesight after spending several months in orbit. The fluid pressure flattens the back of the eyeballs, inflames optic nerves, and damages fragile blood vessels. NASA astronaut John Phillips was among the first to report the problem. Gazing out the window, he thought Earth looked blurrier and blurrier with each passing month. NASA tested his sight upon his return and found that his vision had deteriorated from 20 / 20 to 20 / 100 after six months in orbit. The implication is that a crew to Mars needs to pack eye-glasses with various prescriptions to help with each phase of their gradual, inevitable, and permanent vision loss. NASA considers the vision issue to be an astronaut’s top immediate-term health risk.

    That's just one thing. There are many more. Heinlein never told us about this.


Last Modified 2020-04-28 7:22 AM EDT

Midway

[3.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

A perfectly fine war movie, the kind they say they don't make any more. No deep lessons, no complex characters, no unexpected twists, no revisionist dark threads revealing inner American corruption, … Think The Longest Day with better special effects. You'd swear they really did blow up all those ships, planes, and people.

It's the story of the early history of the war against Japan. Starting in 1937, when Navy guy Edwin Layton is winding up his peacetime tour of Japan, trading cautious diplomatese with Admiral Yamamoto. Then Pearl Harbor, Marshall Islands, the Doolittle raid, Coral Sea, and (finally) the Battle of Midway.

It's star-studded, and (if I'm reading the credits correctly) considerably financed by Chinese studios. There's a lot of unrealistic dialog that serves mainly to set up historical context. (E.g., Layton: "Pearl Harbor is the greatest intelligence failure in American history." The response could be "Duh!". But isn't.)