atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#2157: Haiti is still a mess six months later

Where are the miracles? We demand miracles right now!

This article seems to take the tone of "Haiti is not perfect six months after a major disaster and it's all because the NGOs are keeping all the donated money to themselves."

Of course it has nothing to do with the fact that Haiti was a dirt poor hellhole before the earthquake and lacked the basic infrastructure needed to move aid in quickly even before Port au Prince was hammered into ruin.

* * *

The Obama administration wants businesses to like it again. Problem is, their anti-business bias is showing.

More specifically, I think the Obama administration wants businesses to donate money to Democrats; the classic pattern of campaign contributions is starting to change because a lot of business leaders are starting to realize that even if they did go to the right schools the people in charge are not doing anything to help business.
Nearly every economic report suggests that corporate America, flush with cash and generating strong profits, is waiting to unleash a wave of hiring if only they have confidence there will be no double-dip recession and that consumers will have money to spend.

*

In a Thursday interview, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel argued that rather than recoiling against Obama, business leaders should be grateful for his support on at least a half-dozen counts: his advocacy of greater international trade and education reform open markets despite union skepticism; his rejection of calls from some quarters to nationalize banks during the financial meltdown; the rescue of the automobile industry; the fact that the overhaul of health care preserved the private delivery system; the fact that billions in the stimulus package benefited business with lucrative new contracts, and that financial regulation reform will take away the uncertainty that existed with a broken, pre-crash regulatory apparatus.
But none of that is good for business. In fact, despite the desperate attempt at spinning these things as good for business, everyone knows every last single point made in that last paragraph is something which is, at its core, anti-business. Everything Obama has done has been pro-government, pro-union, and anti-business.

Businesses have not started hiring because they're afraid of all the taxes which are about to be "unleashed", not because they lack confidence in the economy. They see record deficits, the seizure of 1/6th of the economy, the jackbooted nationalization of GM, the Democrat discussion of setting a value-added tax, and the de facto tax increases which come from the Democrats' allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. Even if the total money supply increases, there's going to be less money available in the consumer economy next year, and any CEO worth his limo knows it. (WTF if a hack blogger like me knows it....)

And the CEOs know that 15% of the world's shipping capacity is doing nothing, that 28% of the US' total manufacturing is sitting idle, that 17% of the employable adults in the country are broke and disgusted because there aren't any freaking jobs, all while the US government spent $161 billion dollars in the month of June alone; and all of this against the backdrop of the worst recession since the 1930s and disastrously high US public debt.

You can't hire in that environment and stay solvent. Businesses are not going to screw themselves solely because it would help Obama, and the sooner the administration figures that out, the better it'll be for everyone.

* * *

This story about an AIDS breakthrough leaves me with mixed feelings. On the surface, it looks like good news: they've found something that kills 90% of HIV!

...they isolated antibodies which are found in the blood of people who have been infected with HIV, so this does not look like it'll be much of a cure.

Look: when you get infected with something, your body produces antibodies to fight the infection. The symptoms of the common cold, for example, are almost entirely due to your body's primary defenses fighting off the infection while your immune system figures out how to make the right antibodies to neutralize the virus. Coughing, sneezing, the mucous, the fever, aches and pains--all of that is your body fighting off the cold virus. Without that, the virus would simply run rampant and kill you in fairly short order.

Once your body knows how to make the antibodies, it starts making them, and the symptoms go away. Soon there are few active virii of that strain left.

With HIV, though, things are a bit different. There may or may not be flu-like symptoms when you're initially infected. But the body soon figures out how to make antibodies; the problem with HIV is that the virus hides in T-cells (a type of immune cell) which makes it something like a Trojan Horse: the body produces T-cells, which means it also produces more HIV. The virus itself doesn't do much of anything for a long time; but eventually the immune system is so compromised that it fails, and that's when you get the characteristic disease complex of opportunistic infections (primarily fungal) that is typical of AIDS.

So finding the antibodies that kill 90% of HIV in human subjects is about like finding out that the flat tire on your car is held on with lug nuts; you now know what tool you need to remove the tire but you've still got a flat and the car hasn't even been jacked up yet.

They expected there would be antibodies like this, which is why they built their machinery and did the experiment in the first place. Simply finding the antibodies provides no new information; they have to figure out how the antibodies attach to the virus, how they are made, and how they can be modified to attach to all strains of HIV before this discovery will amount to a hill of beans. This is only the first step and doesn't deserve to be called a "breakthrough".

* * *

Journalism fail. Saying that a sheriff was arrested on "child pron charges" is sensationalist when he was in fact arrested for "sexual indecency with a child and allowing a minor to view pornographic material".

The alleged crime was, in fact, showing pr0n to some 12-year-old girls.

* * *

THE Arthur Laffer explains what ought to be patently obvious to anyone (I'm looking at YOU, Ms. Pelosi) (though I really honestly wish I weren't) who has half a brain: unemployment compensation is not economic stimulus.

* * *

The language used in this Missorah.com post is NSFW but "Shittypundit" is dead-on with what he's saying in his post.

* * *

So the proton may be smaller than we thought. An Arse Technica post which is about real hard science, not AGW hand-waving and fakery.

The conventional measurement of the proton's diameter is 1.752 femtometers. That's:

0.000000000000001752 meters, or 0.0000000001752 millimeters, or god damn it, that's small!

But the new measurement suggests the proton's diameter may actually be 1.682 femtometers, which is:

0.000000000000001682 meters, or 0.0000000001682 millimeters, or god damn it, that's even smaller! 4% smaller, to be exact; and if it's true, then it may mean that the current theories of particle physics need to be updated with this new information.

4% is bigger than the margin of error in the prior measurement, which means the new measurement is not merely a more precise measurement of the prior value.

There are other things to consider, though. Using a particle with 200 times the mass of an electron to measure the radius of the proton may have some previously unknown effect on the proton radius, for reasons we have yet to discover. It might be that the radius of a proton changes when it's orbited by a muon rather than an electron.

Considering that the accepted model of quantum chromodynamics is three quarks firing gluons at each other, there is no reason the diameter of a proton has to be fixed, is there? It must have a certain maximum diameter, beyond which the particle has been "smashed" and new particles form; but it might have a certain minimum diameter which is considerably less than the radius given by the former electron-based measurement of proton diameter.

I think this possibility is a lot more interesting, and anyone who looks into it may discover something really new and exciting. And then again, I could be wrong.

* * *

When I first saw him in the 1980s, Gallagher was one of those comedians who was really funny the first time I saw him--especially with the "Sledge-o-matic" stuff--but the second time I saw him (on a different show; I never saw him live) he was considerably less funny: I was listening to the stuff I couldn't hear before because I were laughing too hard, and I realized that the other stuff was all typical mean-spirited liberal hate disguised as humor. Liberals thought it was a scream, you know, because it was all about Reagan and Bush and conservatives and Iran-Contra and Oliver North and--

But what can he do in 2010 America? When the Establishment is liberal? Can he still do Bush jokes when Bush left office 18 months ago? Is he able to call on Reagan 22 years after Reagan left office? Does anyone even remember Oliver North's role in Iran-Contra, or do they now revile him solely because he's on Fox?

The guy writing the article sneers at the audience he sat with when he talks about "the discomfort of sitting in a room full of rabid, frothing conservative dickwads" so he clearly doesn't understand Gallagher's schtick is to do precisely what he was doing that night: rip the everloving shit out of whoever's in power, in detail, in a mean-spirited and nasty fashion. He hates it because Gallagher was goring his oxen and he was learning that Gallagher isn't funny because his humor is nothing but mean-spirited hatred wearing a silly hat.
Gallagher is upset about a lot of things. Young people with their sagging pants (in faintly coded racist terms, he explains that this is why the jails are overcrowded—because "their" baggy pants make it too hard for "them" to run from the cops). Tattoos: "That ink goes through to your soul—if you read your Bible, your body is a sacred temple, YOU DIPSHIT." People naming their girl-children Sam and Toni instead of acceptable names like Evelyn and Betty: "Just give her some little lesbian tendencies!" Guantánamo Bay: "We weren't even allowed to torture all the way. We had to half-torture—that's nothin' compared to what Saddam and his two sons OOFAY and GOOFAY did." Lesbians: "There's two types—the ugly ones and the pretty ones." (Um, like all people?) Obama again: "If Obama was really black, he'd act like a black guy and get a white wife." Michael Vick: "Poor Michael Vick." Women's lib: "These women told you they wanna be equal—they DON'T." Trans people: "People like Cher's daughter—figure that out. She wants a penis, but she has a big belly. If you can't see your dick, you don't get one." The Rice Krispies elves: "All three of those guys are gay. Look at 'em!" The Mexicans: "Look around—see any Mexicans? Nope. They'll be here later for the cleanup." The French: "They ruin our language with their faggy words."
Every one of those examples shows the liberal bias of the guy writing the article; nearly every quote is aimed at something liberals like or think "hip", and the ones that aren't support something liberals don't like.

(By the way: you wouldn't care to provide a little context for what Gallagher said about Michael Vick other than "Poor Michael Vick"?)

I'll give Gallagher this much: his comment about Gitmo was right; what happened at Gitmo was indeed nothing compared with the kind of torture which happened in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. And at that, it follows the theme of goring the Establishment's oxen because the accepted template for Gitmo was that unconscionable tortures happened there, like it was Dachau or something, rather than aggressive and sometimes unpleasant interrogation which nonetheless did no lasting damage to the prisoners of war we kept there.

I stopped thinking Gallagher was funny a long time ago and I'd wager his new material wouldn't change my mind, but it's nice to see that he's at least consistent about how he writes his material: look at who's in power, and rip them a new one. It's nice to see he's still refusing to be politically correct.

That's what the writer of the article--himself a "rabid, frothing liberal dickwad" objected to; Gallagher was making fun of the "wrong" people. If Gallagher had instead done an entire evening of jokes about Bush and Cheney and Sarah Palin and rethugnican nazi assholes, this guy would have loved it to pieces and would have written an article talking about how great a comedian Gallagher still is, even 20 years after his heyday.

* * *

I slept all day today. I went to bed after 5 AM this morning. But I got up at 6 PM, had dinner/breakfast, and then went out and cut the grass, so it's not a total loss.
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