June 15th, 2016

#5237: Take it with a grain of salt.

The government has a new standard for salt in diets which is probably dangerous. I don't watch my salt intake. I don't watch my fat intake. I try to watch my carb intake. Carbohydrates--sugars, especially--are bad for you.

Salt, however, is an electrolyte, and you need that. As long as you're not eating it by the spoonful, it's fine.

I notice, however, this:
...[E]vidence indicates people on low sodium diets place themselves at risk. The government disregarded peer-reviewed research showing that low-salt diets can lead to insulin resistance, congestive heart failure, cardiovascular events,...
Here's the thing: generally, when someone is put on a low-salt diet, it's done because he's fat and hypertensive. What else does the government say to do when you're fat and hypertensive?

Cut out fat. Eat more carbs. Which increases insulin resistance and leads to further obesity and a bunch of other bad stuff.

I know that I'm still suffering from the effects of years' worth of drinking sugar water all the damned time. But I've noticed that the incidence of my episodes of hypoglycemia has gradually become lessened since I made the switch to diet-only (and now I can't drink anything but "unleaded" as "regular" makes me feel crappy).

And it occurs to me: what difference does it make to the government how much salt people eat? Why is our government even expressing an opinion on all this, much less promulgating standards?

Starz has a series set in New York in 1901 at the Knickerbocker hospital. The Knick does what all TV series do: it looks at life in another time through the lens of modern progressive sensibility, which is why they had to have a black doctor in the show. (Because raciss, of course.) And naturally one of the first season plot threads was about a nun who performed abortions. (Of course she was a nun.)

So one of the plot threads this season is about eugenics. And naturally Racist Doctor is for it and Black Doctor (who trained in Europe don't you know! so he's extra-smart!) denounces it as "pseudoscience".

No one would have made that argument in 1901.

The recognition that humans have genes and heredity which could be selected for was (and is) a logical extension of genetic science. Humans can be bred like any living thing to select for desired traits and to cull undesirable ones. There is no question that this is the case.

What is at issue here is the ethics and the morals of doing so. Ethically and morally, it's wrong to treat people like livestock.

...but they can't show extra-smart-trained-in-Europe Black Doctor falling back on outdated concepts like morality and ethics, because extra-smart-trained-in-Europe means science! and no religion needed. (And the show's entire depiction of religion is standard Hollywood, of course; no further explanation is required.)

But human eugenics was taken very seriously in the early 20th century, so much so that American progressives like Margaret Sanger were forming organizations to promote it. Planned Parenthood wasn't just about abortions; it was also about culling undesirables from the gene pool, like negroes and mental defectives. Margaret Sanger was a huge racist by any reasonable standard; she promoted abortion as a way to diminish the black population.

In The Knick we have a scene where Black Doctor tries to get Racist Doctor fired for doing vasectomies on about fifty adolescents judged to be mentally deficient, and he's dismayed when head surgeon John Thackery tells him that Racist Doctor didn't break the law and didn't perform the vasectomies at the Knick, so there was nothing he could do about it.

In fact, the only thing--the only thing!--that got in the way of the eugenics movement was Hitler. If Hitler hadn't been a devotee of eugenics we'd still have that nastiness to contend with--but as a progressive socialist in the early 20th century of course Hitler was a proponent of eugenics. And the Holocaust happened in part because the Jews had undesirable genes that had to be culled from the gene pool.

Like most of what came out of the progressive movement of the early 20th century, it's about time we had a good, hard look at what the role of government should be in monitoring our daily lives. We don't need the FDA to tell us how much and of what to eat; we only need the FDA to ensure that the ibuprofen tablets you get at the grocery store contain 100 mg of ibuprofen and nothing toxic (melamine or what-have-you). We don't need the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions and publish position papers on global warming; we only need it to make sure people aren't dumping toxic waste in the water supply. We don't need the FCC to monitor content of media; we just need it to make sure that no one tromps all over someone else's broadcast.

Government is too big, too bloated. Government needs the diet, not us.

#5238: This is why I don't want to live in Florida.

Gators, and you're not allowed to shoot them.

Look: alligators are predators, and they're reptiles, so they think nothing of taking a human being whenever they can. Do you know why wolves are so scarce in America? They didn't used to be; before this land was settled there were wolves all over the place. But wolves will take humans when they can, because they're predators. So we shot a hell of a lot of wolves, until there weren't very many at all.

I won't live in Florida unless I'm allowed to shoot gators.

* * *

And then, more about the self-hating gay muslim terror attack.

First off, Karl Denninger, emphasis removed as always
In short any claim that cops wish to level about being "heros" and "first responders" went right out the window in Orlando and for me, anyway, it will never return. The police in this case, including SWAT and all the other agencies, literally prevented the triage and transport of injured and dying people from the scene to a trauma center right down the street by refusing to engage the shooter for three hours after their first arrival on-scene.
The thing is, the police are not required to save your life if you're endangered. That's necessary because otherwise it'd be a huge liability nightmare. But it also means that you're on your own!

Cops aren't legally obligated to do anything if someone is actively shooting. You call cops "officer" because that's shorthand for officer of the courts. Their job--their only job!--is to arrest and detain people who break the law. End of list. The rest of it about "to serve and protect" is just high-minded propaganda meant to make you think they're there to help. They aren't. They're only there to arrest people who break the law. They're not required to endanger their own lives for the sake of the civilians.

Once you understand that, any outrage you may feel about the police leaving victims there to die makes no sense at all. It's not their job to rescue people; their job is to arrest the guy who's breaking the law, if possible. They're allowed to use lethal force to subdue him if necessary. If a civilian gets injured or killed while they're doing that, jurisprudence puts the onus for that on the criminal, not the cop.

This is the problem with gun control advocates who insist people don't need guns because we have police. The police don't have to do anything. And, in fact, when it comes to a mass shooting like this one, the police don't do anything; either the shooter runs out of ammunition, or else he commits suicide.

If the party line is true--if there was only one shooter, which some eyewitness accounts contradict--then one other person with a gun could have stopped him cold, and we wouldn't have such a huge body count. (If there was another shooter, or two, or four, then no.)

And Francis Porretto has it exactly right:
If peaceable Muslims won’t restrain and discipline violence-inclined Muslims, it will be done for them, possibly by wholesale slaughter.
Contra George Bush, islam is not the "religion of peace". If they will not voluntarily join the rest of us in the 21st century, they'll be forced to once the rest of the world gets sick of their shit. And that will happen; if you look at the history of the world you see the pattern time and again. Sooner or later, the repeated insults from this or that group ends up in a massacre.

Like this.
A further thought on all this: “Love Wins!” ONLY when it’s used as a club against decent people living in a contemporary, tolerant society whose inhabitants by and large don’t think it’s worth it to draw sharp, hard lines around weaklings and fools, who are willing to let them win rather than waste time fighting real wars over nebulous bullshit. In the Real World, amongst the Bad People, not so much. Here, most of us are willing to respond to the Brat Left’s Tantrum Of The Week by shrugging and saying, “To heck with it, let the whiny little snowflakes have their way. It ain’t worth killing them over.”

Until one day, it IS. That day comes when the rest of us realize that weakness, cowardice, and foolishness are getting the rest of us killed along with the fools. Then, watch out. On that day, if it comes, you might REALLY have something to cry about. Which is another thing your mama should have told you about.
You really need to pay attention in History class, kids.

* * *

So, Saturday evening my father-in-law gave me a weather radio.

Mrs. Fungus thought--some time ago--that we ought to have one, because we get inclement weather that can be life-threatening (the occasional tornado). I demurred, citing the fact that we live less than a quarter mile from a warning siren which will wake the frickin' dead whenever it goes off, and we have better things on which to spend our money.

But Dad gave me one, so now I've got it set up. I come into the computer room this morning to find its "advisory" light blinking, and had no idea how the hell to shut it off. The display was scrolling something about a test, but no matter what I did it kept scrolling that message and the light kept blinking. Eventually it stopped.

Gonna have to read the firkin' manual for this one. I hate user interfaces which are not intuitively obvious. But "free", and in all probability it's just the nature of the beast, anyway.

* * *

A few days ago I saw a farmer out disking a field, and I said to myself, "Well, that's a harrowing experience!" And that reminded me of a blast from the past.

In Princess Mononoke there's a scene near the beginning of the movie when Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a skirmish. Soldiers are attacking a village for some reason or another, and seeing Ashitaka--an able-bodied man, mounted, with a bow--they move to kill him. There's a lot of them and only one of him and things look really, really bad for Ashitaka.

Then, Ashitaka--touched by a demon and exiled from his village because of the curse--shoots arrows at a couple of them. One is decapitated; the other has his hands shot off. By an arrow. This scene was, in part, meant to show what the demonic curse was doing to Ashitaka: it made him superhuman, gave him great power--but it was going to kill him if he didn't find a cure for it.

Now, here's the thing: when you're an ordinary person and you haven't seen the movie before and you don't know what's going to happen, there's a lot of tension in that scene. Here's one guy, by himself, and there's an entire friggin' army on the other side. The army decides he's going to die, and he's only got a bow and arrow to defend himself against pikes and arrows and swords. So you're watching this scene and getting all tense, because it's suspenseful...and then Ashitaka fights back with such unlikely and overwhelming force that the viewer experiences a sudden release of tension: this situation isn't as bad as I thought it would be. And the viewer is startled by what he sees: arrows do not decapitate people. So the viewer laughs. This is what people do when confronted with a tense situation which is suddenly de-escalated.

I laughed at that scene. I laughed for the reasons I outlined above, and because he shot that guy's head off with an arrow? REALLY?

But in the American otaku scene, at the time Princess Mononoke was in theaters, some special snowflakes couldn't stand the notion that people were laughing at it. It was a pretty big deal to some of these knuckleheads, and it was a sign that Americans Just Don't Understand Because They're Hicks.

One idiot in particular wrote to Animerica that she'd had a "harrowing" experience watching the movie. Was she harassed by thugs or almost raped or threatened by a gun? No, some people laughed at Princess Mononoke. The horror!


What a bunch of dweebs.