Doctors: COVID-19 case counts, hospitalization numbers, and death counts are “meaningless”

It has all been lies upon lies upon lies: According to an editorial written by Kristin Held, president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), the case counts, hospitalization numbers, and death counts published by government agencies across the United States are “meaningless” and “manipulated.”

From her full editorial [pdf]:

The COVID-19 case counts, hospitalization numbers, and death counts are meaningless in their current fluid form. Their malleability primarily serves those who seek to distort reality.

The morphable numbers are reported, then manipulated by federal, state, county, city, and hospital authorities and agencies. The manipulation is driven by power and money and fueled by fearmongering, panic stoking, and promise of monetary and political gain. All this is bought and paid for under the guise of trying to save the world from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read it all. She carefully documents the changes imposed by the CDC around June 14-16 that ballooned the numbers, often for entirely unjustified reasons. For example, hospitals get a lot of federal money for labeling a hospitalization from the coronavirus. The result?
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It WAS a coup attempt

In the past few days a number of news stories have confirmed, unequivocally, that the effort in the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department to spy on the Trump campaign before the election and then pin the false accusation of Russian collusion on Trump after his election were all an effort to dictate the results of the election, and then overturn it when Trump won.

It was an out-and-out coup attempt by these government officials, apparently aided and abetted by Obama when he was still president.

First we learn that the FBI agents working on the fake prosecution of former National Security were so worried their misconduct would be uncovered by the Trump administration that they bought liability insurance to protect themselves.
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Four graphs prove the utter failure of lockdowns and masks

The data is now in. Not only is the coronavirus nothing more than a very bad flu, harmless to the vast majority of the population, the bad policy imposed by almost all governments worldwide has done nothing to alleviate it, and in fact has probably helped kill people, from both the virus and their bad policy.

This conclusion is starkly illustrated in the following four graphs (source), all of which show the history of COVID-19 during the entire 2020 epidemic, now clearly ending. All four graphs are updates of graphs I’ve referenced previously, but now they take us through the epidemic’s present waning, and give us a better context of both the virus’ flu-like nature and the terrible policies imposed by governments in their panic over it.

Daily mortality from COVID-19 in the U.S.

First to the right we have the daily mortality numbers for the entire United States. The steady drop in deaths since epidemic’s second peak on August 12th is very evident. The epidemic appears to be winding down, though very slowly. Furthermore, it had an unusual summer peak that is almost never seen in such respiratory diseases. The reasons for both the slowness of the virus’s decay and its second peak will become clear as we look at the next three graphs, covering the epidemic’s peak in New York, New Jersey, and California.
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Modern fascist America: No mask, no healthcare

Right now my inclination to post or write or do anything is low. In fact, emotionally I am beginning to think there is no point living, as I do not wish to live in a nation as oppressive as America is becoming.

Today I learned unequivocally that in today’s America, you will be denied healthcare if you do not wear a mask, even if you have legitimate medical issues for not doing so. I have both asthma and heart issues, and according to numerous long-standing advisories by both doctors and government health agencies (until May of this year), wearing a mask when you have such conditions is a mistake. To quote just one such advisory from the California Department of Health,:

“Mask use may give the wearer a false sense of security, which might encourage too much physical activity and time spent outdoors. Also, wearing a mask may actually be harmful to some people with heart or lung disease because it can make the lungs work harder to breathe.” [emphasis mine]

Yet now doctors are demanding all patients, no matter their health, wear these feel-good useless muzzles, or they will deny you all treatment.

In late May I simply raised this issue with my long-standing GP, only to receive a letter from him the next day telling me he had cancelled me as a patient. Just raising the issue with him was verboten. Since then I have been trying desperately to find another GP, without success. None will see me without demanding I wear a mask. None will even consider my own health issues in the mix, at all.

Today I arrived at what I thought would be my new GP. I had called his office twice beforehand to explain my health issues and to make sure I would not have an issue when I arrived. All a waste of time. As I was signing in the office manager marched up to demand I put on the mask that she was nonchalantly fingering with her hands. When I pointed out how unsanitary that was, irrelevant of my own issues, she seemed shocked and surprised, as if she had no idea what I was talking about.

Nor was she interested in considering my own situation, or the actual law in Tucson. When I noted that the local ordinances also permit no masks if you can either socially distance (which would be easy to do in her office) or have medical issues, she said that doesn’t matter. Their office requires masks at all times, regardless. Common sense and basic medical science were irrelevant to them.

I was forced to walk out. I presently do not have a doctor to handle my medical issues. Nor do I expect to find one, unless by some miracle there is some local doctor in southern Arizona who understands the absurdity of this mask obsession, reads this post, and offers their help. Personally I have zero expectation of that.

Welcome to the new America. Obey, or you will be denied your most basic human rights of existence.

Unexplored Mars

Strange crater on the edge of Argyre Basin
Click for full image.

The constant stream of images and data that our orbiters and landers are feeding down to us from Mars can sometimes give the impression that the red planet is being thoroughly explored. Today’s cool image illustrates how this impression is false, and instead shows a hint of what remains untouched on the fourth planet from the Sun, a planet with the same land area as on Earth.

The photo to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was taken by the high resolution camera of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on May 10, 2020, and shows a strange crater on the north interior edge of Argyre Basin, one of Mars’ largest basins located in the southern hemisphere. Not as deep or as large as Hellas Basin, what I call the basement of Mars, Argyre is still the second largest such basin on Mars, about 1,100 miles in diameter with its lowest elevation 17,000 feet below the surrounding southern cratered highlands. Like Hellas, it is thought to be the remains of major impact.

The point of this post is not to try to explain the geology of this crater. Located at 45 degrees south latitude, it might or might not be showing us glacial evidence. The nature of the terrain is inconclusive. To figure out the geology here would require a lot more data, and a focused interest in studying it.

Instead, this image shows us how little we know of Mars. For example, this photo was not requested by any scientist doing specific research. It was requested instead by the science team for MRO’s high resolution camera because they need to take images at regular intervals to maintain the camera’s temperature, and if no one has requested an image for a specific time period, they make their own choice, picking a spot that might be interesting without knowing sometimes what they might find. Often such “terrain sample” images are somewhat boring. Other times they reveal some surprisingly interesting geology.

The map below gives a sense of how little of the Argyre Basin has been explored by MRO’s high resolution camera.
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Trump: He kept his promises

Trump at a recent rally
He does what he says.

In my long life, I have seen many politicians come and go. The one abiding constant for them all was that you could expect them to break their promises once elected.

Until 2000 Democrats routinely spouted moderate and even conservative ideas during campaigns, only to quickly move left once elected. Some, like Bill Clinton, lied routinely on all matters, simply to please whoever he was talking to. After he left office Democrats have since been more public about their socialist and even communist ideologies, but still they have often lied whenever they found it convenient, such as Barack Obama’s support for normal marriage, until he found he could support perversion and get away with it.

Republicans have been even more dishonest. For decades they would paint themselves as the defenders of small and limited government, of freedom, of balanced budgets, only to throw all those ideas out the window once they gained control. Until 1994 they could make these claims without fear of revealing their untruthfulness, since they had not run both houses of Congress since just after World War II. They were the loyal opposition, whining from the sidelines about Democratic overreach.

After 1994 that excuse disappeared, and the result was blatant lying. Even though the Republican Congress during the latter half of Bill Clinton’s administration managed to balance the federal budget for several years, they did not do this by reducing government. No, all they did was allow inflation to catch up so that a thriving economy would cover their big budgets. No agency got trimmed. No agency got eliminated. Power and money continued to flow into Washington and into the pockets of politicians of both parties.

Under George Bush Jr. this dishonesty became even more obvious. » Read more

The alien Red Planet and the scientific method

Spiders, dunes, and strange terrain in high latitude southern Martian crater
Click for full image.

As a child growing up in the 1950s and 1960s and an avid reader of science fiction, I was constantly presented with stories about Mars and what people imagined it was like. At the time no spacecraft had as yet gotten a close look at the planet, so the theories of a desert planet, with many canals built by an alien race attempting to stave off death as the planet’s water disappeared, were still considered possible. So were theories that the changing colors across its surface seen seasonally in ground-based telescopes suggested the possibility of some form of lichen-like life that came and went with the seasons.

None of those fantasies have turned out to be true. All attempted to create an alien planet in the model of Earth, and thus were guaranteed to get it wrong. After a half century of increasingly sophisticated research, we now know a bit more about what Mars is like, and have learned that it is much stranger than we had imagined, an icy world quite possibly shaped by slowly shifting glaciers and ice sheets, creating surface features in ways so alien from what we are familiar with on Earth that even now scientists struggle to figure those processes out.

The photo above and to the right, taken on May 25, 2020 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), is a perfect example. At first glance it fits what I call a “what the heck?” image. Without knowing more, it is impossible to figure out what we see here.

The wider image below, taken by context camera on MRO, provides our first clue.
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The Democratic Party: The party of riots, looting, and stolen elections

Last week CNN anchor Don Lemon, who like everyone else at CNN for years has repeatedly signaled his blind partisan support for the Democratic Party, revealed something even more fundamental about Democrats and their supporters in the political world. The clip below shows Lemon discussing the rioting going on in cities across the U.S., and what Joe Biden should do to address this violence. Lemon is clearly acting as a Democratic Party front man, not a news reporter, as he thinks of ways to help that party win elections.

After proposing Biden give a speech on the subject, Lemon says this, “The rioting has got to stop. … It’s showing up in the polls. It’s showing up in the focus groups. It is the only thing right now that is sticking.”

In other words, the riots and looting were great, as long as they helped the Democrats in the polls. According to Lemon, who is a very typical Democratic apparatchik, only if rioting should hurt Democrats in the polls should Democrats oppose them.

This fact is far more important than Lemon’s obvious partisan bias. In this one clip he demonstrates, with the nodding approval of his fellow CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, that the political leadership of the Democratic Party and their lapdogs in the press care only about polls and winning, and will tolerate anything — riots, lynchings, looting, murder, oppression — if it will get them re-elected and in power.
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A nation of control freaks

Americans have not simply in the past six months become trapped in terror and fear over a relatively low-level virus, they have compounded that fear with a strong and ever-growing desire to tell everyone else what to do.

The conservative internet has been pushing the term “Karen” to apply to any busybody who wishes out of outrage to wield petty power over everyone around them. I find that term too vague. A much more apropos term would be to call them what they are: control freaks.

And sadly, there now are a lot of them, many of which are downright insane in their demands and willingness to commit violence to impose their will.

Want to hold a small wedding in Hawaii near the beach, with maybe no more than ten people attending? Nope, you can’t, because someone will arrive to harass you rudely and demand you be arrested. The Democratic state government there has declared the beaches closed, public weddings illegal, and private enterprise under strict control, all over a virus that appears only mildly more dangerous than the flu.

Want to sing in church and you live in California? Nope, you can’t, because Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor of that state has declared such singing and chanting dangerous. It will spread the Wuhan flu! (He doesn’t have a problem with leftist Antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters chanting “Death to America” slogans however. Leftist protesters are immune from the virus.)

It isn’t just the rules imposed over COVID-19 however. » Read more

COVID-19 is simply not life-threatening


The fading and not very threatening COVID-19 epidemic
in California. Note how masks appear to increase the
disease’s spread. Note also how this doesn’t seem to
change the death toll significantly. Go here for more details.

In the past few days there have been a flurry of new reports proving once again that the panic over the Wuhan virus was completely unnecessary, that the disease was exactly what the initial data suggested, a variation on the flu that would be, like the flu, harmless to the healthy and young while dangerous to the elderly sick.

And like the flu, the Wuhan virus required no extreme measures. All we had to do was protect those elderly sick, and let everyone else continue living their lives normally.

First we have the revelation this weekend, from the CDC no less, that the number of people who died only from COVID-19, with no other health issues, was only about 6% of the total deaths assigned to the disease, or only about 9,700 people total, an infinitesimal percentage of the total population.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website disclosed the shockingly small number of people who died from only the Wuhan coronavirus, with no other cause of death mentioned. Hold on to your hat because here it is: out of the 161,392 deaths in the CDC data, just six percent, about 9,700 deaths, were attributed to the coronavirus alone. According to the CDC, the other 94 percent had an average of 2.6 additional conditions or causes of deaths, such as heart disease, diabetes, and sepsis. [emphasis mine]

Let that sink in. The Wuhan virus killed you only if you had an average of slightly less than three serious chronic health conditions. And generally you had to be elderly, with the average age of death 78 years old. Otherwise, just like the flu you might have been sick for a few days, but you would have recovered and been able to go on with your life as normal. This data once again demonstrates that the masks, the shut downs, and the economic disaster were all unnecessary.

Then on Friday we had another research paper, one of a long continuing string of papers, finding once again that COVID-19 is of no threat to young children at all, that they not only don’t get sick from it they also don’t infect anyone else.
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What really happened this past weekend in American rocketry

SpaceX's first Starship prototype
SpaceX’s first Starship mock-up,
January 2019

Three days ago it appeared that the past weekend would see four private Americans companies attempt to launch six different times with five different rockets from four different spaceports, all in less than two days.

Not surprisingly, things didn’t happen as planned. Of the six launches, three were rescheduled because of poor weather. First, bad weather in Kodiak, Alaska forced the new startup Astra to cancel its first attempt to complete an orbital flight with its Rocket 3.0, rescheduling to no earlier than September 10th.

Then, in Boca Chica, Texas, SpaceX twice tried on August 30th to launch its sixth Starship prototype on a 500 meter hop, both times scrubbing because of high winds. They are going to wait a few days before trying again.

Finally, in Florida SpaceX scrubbed its first Falcon 9 launch on August 30th for the same reason, rescheduling it for tomorrow, September 1st.

A fourth cancelled launch, by ULA using its Delta 4 Heavy rocket, occurred when the rocket did an automatic launch abort three seconds before liftoff. The company has not yet rescheduled as they try to figure out what caused the problem.

Two launches however did get off this weekend. both on August 30th. First the weather at Cape Canaveral cleared enough by evening for SpaceX to successfully launch a Falcon 9 rocket, putting an Argentinian satellite into orbit. Next that same evening Rocket Lab returned to flight after a July failure with the launch of its Electron rocket from New Zealand.

So, only two of six launches lifted off. While some of today’s fear-mongers and fans of misfortune would call this a sign of failure, it is nothing of the sort. If anything, it illustrates the slow maturing of American rocketry, from a technology that once only rarely could launch to one that now has the potential to dominate the world with multiple companies competing aggressively in an open free market, assuming of course that our increasingly fascist society doesn’t decide to shut it down.
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It is the PARTY of Biden that must lose big in November

Modern Fifth Avenue in New York
Today’s bankrupt New York,
a typical Democrat-run city

With the upcoming November presidential election, only two months away, the major focus continues to be on Trump and Biden. Who should win? Who is better? Do we want four more years of Trump or another four years of a Obama-type rule?

My readers will know immediately where I stand. Biden would be major disaster for the country, especially because it appears he is declining both physically and mentally and seems owned by the most radical leftist elements of his Democratic Party.

This essay, however, is a call for voters to not just vote for Trump. It is a desperate call for voters from both parties and from all ethnic, religious, and racial cohorts to vote for Republicans in every election and at every level of government. Biden is only the figurehead. It is the body of the now very corrupt, anti-American, and radical Democratic Party that must be killed, thoroughly and at all levels, including the House, the Senate, and in every state, city, and local council election.

The riots and looting and the almost willing endorsement and support given to those riots and looting by local Democratic mayors and councils and state governors demonstrates their incompetence to hold office. For the United States to survive as a nation ruled by law that also supports the freedom of its citizens, voters must reject them, unequivocally.
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COVID-19: The epidemic is ending, why do government restrictions remain?

This essay is going to include a number of graphs [data source], showing the daily numbers related to the Wuhan virus since the beginning of the epidemic. All show that the epidemic is truly tapering off or ending, regardless of where you live. All also strongly suggest that the lock downs, restrictions, mask mandates, and the many other odious rules that were imposed initially for just a few weeks to prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed but have remained in force now for many months should immediately be cancelled or removed.

And yet, these restrictions remain, in one form or another, with some rules (such as the mandate to wear masks) being expanded, sometimes to the point of idiocy. That they remain proves again that those lock downs, restrictions, mask mandates and other rules had little to do with the disease. Instead their goal was to impose new authoritarian rules on the citizenry, meant to establish new precedents of power and control for the petty dictators who wish to rule us like servants.

Daily mortality of COVID-19 across the entire United States

The first graph to the right shows the daily deaths across the entire United States. As you can see, after reaching a peak in late April, the disease began fading with the coming of warmer weather, as these seasonal flu-like diseases always do. Then, beginning in early July we saw a slow new rise that peaked in early August and has since begun tapering off.

The second peak is puzzling for a seasonal disease, but we might be able to explain it by thinking about the consequences of the lock downs. Normally a seasonal disease hits, and than fades. Normally however there are no lock downs and restrictions, which means the virus has a chance to quickly spread throughout the population, reach herd immunity, and then die.

This time however we decided to slow the disease’s spread, which means that at some point, when those restrictions were eased (not removed) we were guaranteed to see a new uptick. This is what has happened, though the uptick as should be expected is relatively small, nowhere near as severe as the initial peak.

In fact, to understand the true impact of this virus it is essential to recognize several very important components of these death numbers. First, these numbers are likely exaggerated, by at least 25%. Hospitals get more money if they claim a death came from COVID-19, so they have a strong incentive to assign the cause of death to COVID-19, even when it was only a minor factor. There is ample evidence this has been happening.

These extra benefits have also meant that COVID-19 has cured the flu! This year will see the fewest flu deaths ever, now estimated to be only 6,605 total, an absurdly low number compared to every other year, ever. In other words, of the 168,000 or so deaths assigned to the Wuhan flu a large percentage, maybe as much as half, might actually be cases that would have died (or did die) from the flu.

All told, these numbers tell us that the total deaths this year are simply not much higher than in past years, that they have either been overstated or assigned incorrectly to COVID-19. A hard look instead suggests actually that this year’s epidemic was essentially nothing more than a somewhat worse flu season, painful, but hardly justifying the panic that we’ve seen.

Second, the disease’s mortality continues to be confined almost entirely with the aged sick, with 80% of all COVID-19 deaths occurring in people over 65. Like the flu, the Wuhan flu carries practically no threat for the young and the healthy. If anything, the sooner they can all get infected, the sooner the epidemic will end, actually producing the fewest deaths because the healthy population will choke it off before it can reach the vulnerable parts of the population.

Unfortunately, we did not let this happen, and the consequences for the older population is tragic, as shown by the next two graphs.
» Read more

Dying Democratic Cities

Saks Fifth Avenue, summer 2020
Saks Fifth Avenue in 2020 NYC.

Want to move to one of America’s big urban cities? Ever imagine having a penthouse apartment close to or even in downtown so that you could walk to the theater? Well, the options are endless, and the cost is plummeting. It’s a buyer’s market! Just take a look:

None of these trends are new. American cities have been generally suffering since the end of World War II, though for the past few decades they have seen a partial renewal that did not bring them back to the halcyon days of the past but at least made them look vibrant and alive.

The last few months however have seen a perfect storm of circumstances that have led to a major crash, destroying all the gains made in the recent past.
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Catastrophes on Mars and Earth

Big rock break in Kasei Valles
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on May 13, 2020, and shows what appears to be a giant block that at some point was attached to the cliff, and then broke off and fell away to the north. Subsequent erosion over the later eons widened the break until it now looks like a canyon.

Sounds great, but the event that separated this big piece of mountain, almost a mile across, from its cliffside was possibly even more catastrophic. And it might not have involved a sudden break and fall, but something more spectacular, and also still impossible based on everything we know about Mars.

Uncovering what really happened at this spot on Mars will not only help us understand the geological history of the Red Planet, it could also amazingly enough help illustrate the cultural shifts going on right now on Earth, and how to shift them in a more rational and sane direction.

This image is located near the outlet of Kasei Valles, one of the larger valleys draining downward from the Tharsis Bulge where Mars’ giant volcanoes are located. The overview map below shows us what Kasei Valles looks like in this area.
» Read more

It ain’t the national elections in November that matter

The Declaration of Independence

Much analysis and punditry is on-going in both the conservative and liberal press on whether Trump or Biden will win the presidential election come November. Similarly, those same pundits spend much ink considering the fate of the House and Senate. Will the Republicans retake the House? Will the Democrats retake the Senate?

All important. The fate of our country hangs in the balance, and based on the irrational behavior of the Congressional Democrats these past four years, giving them control of both houses of Congress will not bode well for the nation, especially if the increasingly mentally-incapacitated Joe Biden wins the presidency. Since the 2016 election the Democrats and Washington administrative state have foisted on us a fake Russian collusion investigation and a fake impeachment trial against Trump. They clearly wish to do more. If they win both houses and Trump wins the presidency I predict that within six months they will move to remove him from office, using another set of fake charges but really instigated by their blind hatred of Trump and their refusal to accept defeat in an election.

Even, so these national elections are not the most important elections coming in November. What really will tell the tale for the future is how the elections at the local and state levels play out. For you see, it is those governments by their very actions that give us a peek into the future. What they do will percolate upward with time.

Let us do a quick survey of some of the worst local governments to get an idea who really should be thrown out of office.
» Read more

Thank you for your support!

Readers

My July fund-raiser for Behind the Black is now over. The support from my readers was unprecedented, making this July campaign the best ever, twice over. What a marvelous way to celebrate the website’s tenth anniversary!

Thank you! The number of donations in July, and continuing now at the beginning of August, is too many for me to thank you all personally. Please forgive me by accepting my thank you here, in public, on the website.

If you did not donate or subscribe in July and still wish to, note that the tip jar (below or in the column to the right) remains available year round.

The hateful violent Antifa/Black Lives Matter rioters

The new civility: Watch the numerous videos at this link of masked Antifa/Black Lives Matter rioters in Portland as they attack and abuse an old woman using a walker, who simply wants to protect a police precinct building from being vandalized and burnt to the ground.

Remember these facts about what you watch:

1. Democrat Jerry Nadler (D-New York) claims these hateful rioters are “a myth.” Nadler is also typical of most Democratic politicians, who have for the past four years, since Trump was elected, treated these Antifa rioters (now joined by the Marxist, white-hating BLM crowd) as the SS wing of the Democratic Party. While they will sometimes disavow their violence, they do nothing to stop it, since it instills fear and submission among their opponents.

2. Watch and listen. These rioters epitomize hate in every way, in their dress, in their behavior, in their irrational violence, in their bigotry (assuming all who disagree with them are evil). And we are somehow supposed to let them do as they wish, because of the First Amendment?

3. Speaking of the First Amendment, since when did free speech morph into allowing a mob to rampantly loot, burn, and destroy whatever they want? Since when did it include the right to attack cars and even threaten to kill people?

4. Note how our politicians, mostly Democrats but helped by numerous weasel Republicans, have now normalized the wearing of masks, based not on any science but on irrational fear. We have now all been forced to adopt the garb of these hateful thugs. It is as if some mustached national leader required us all to wear armbands carrying the symbol of his political movement, with the threat of arrest if we dare to dissent.

Other than these minor details, everything these Portland “protesters” are doing is wonderful and perfect and must be defended blindly, forever. And don’t dare say otherwise, or you will be doxed and they will come to your home to accost your family and your children.

Masks, social distancing, and mass hysteria

This past weekend Diane and I went hiking, as we try to do at least once a week. With the gyms closed by our petty dictator governor, Republican Doug Ducey, we need to find a way to get out and exercise, both for our sanity and to strengthen our immune systems, since outdoor exercise is probably the most effective way to prevent yourself from getting sick from any respiratory illness.

As we were hiking along a single male hiker, probably in his mid- to late- twenties, approached us from the other direction. When he saw me in the lead, he immediately cringed off to the side of the trail in what seemed literal terror, holding a bandana to his face.

I looked at him in irritation. “You don’t need the mask, we don’t have cooties and we won’t make you sick.”

“I don’t want to make you sick,” he said as I passed him.

“What makes me sick,” I responded as I continued past him down the trail, “is the irrational terror and fear I see in everyone’s eyes, over something that really is not much more different than the flu.”

I will admit to have become somewhat of a cranky grump these days when I see everyone wearing masks. And I feel this way because of the utter mindlessness of mask-wearing. This healthy young hiker, who almost certainly was not contagious in any way with any illness, including COVID-19, was only within four feet of me for about one second. Even if he had COVID-19 and was infectious to me and tried to pant in my face as I went by it would have been almost impossible for him to infect me. We were just not in close enough contact for long enough.

Moreover, he stood there holding the bandana to his mouth and nose, with his hand. That its exactly the wrong thing to do if you want to protect yourself, as your hands are the most likely transmission point for infection, and by pressing his bandana against his face with his hand he risked placing that infection at the very place he breathed.

He might have reduced my chances of getting infected by an infinitesimal amount, but he increased his own risk substantially.

Mask-wearing is just plain irrational, and for intelligent Americans to go along with this silliness is beyond shameful, especially because in almost every jurisdiction, even those that mandate mask use, you can opt out by simply stating you have medical reasons for not wearing a mask, and are not required under HIPPA regulations to even show documentation proving that statement in any way. It must be accepted on its face, without question.

Let’s review the absurdity of this situation, and maybe remind people why it is foolish.
» Read more

Sunspot update: Hints of the next maximum

It’s time for another monthly sunspot update! NOAA yesterday updated its monthly graph for tracking the Sun’s monthly sunspot activity, and as I do every month, I am posting it below with additional anotations by me to show the past and new solar cycle predictions.

July 2020 sunspot activity

The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community for both the previous and upcoming solar maximums. The green curves show the community’s two original predictions from April 2007 for the previous maximum, with half the scientists predicting a very strong maximum and half predicting a weak one. The blue curve is their revised May 2009 prediction. The red curve is the new prediction, first posted by NOAA in April 2020.

July continued the trend from June, with a slight uptick in activity. The SILSO graph below for July illustrates this.
» Read more

Midnight repost: The real meaning of the Apollo 8 Earthrise image

Tonight’s midnight repost essay, written to celebrate the 50th anniversary in December 2018 of the Apollo 8 mission to the Moon, I think is a fitting finale to my month-long retrospective of past essays from Behind the Black. Unlike many others, which document the culture decline of our once great country, this essay looks hopefully to the grand future of the human race, once we have escaped this prison of Earth and begin to explore and settle the wider universe.

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The real meaning of the Apollo 8 Earthrise image

Earthrise, as seen by a space-farer

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the moment when the three astronauts on Apollo 8 witnessed their first Earthrise while in orbit around the Moon, and Bill Anders snapped the picture of that Earthrise that has been been called “the most influential environmental picture ever taken.”

The last few days have seen numerous articles celebrating this iconic image. While all have captured in varying degrees the significance and influence of that picture on human society on Earth, all have failed to depict this image as Bill Anders, the photographer, took it. He did not frame the shot, in his mind, with the horizon on the bottom of the frame, as it has been depicted repeatedly in practically every article about this image, since the day it was published back in 1968.

Instead, Anders saw himself as an spaceman in a capsule orbiting the waist of the Moon. He also saw the Earth as merely another space object, now appearing from behind the waist of that Moon. As a result, he framed the shot with the horizon to the right, with the Earth moving from right to left as it moved out from behind the Moon, as shown on the right.

His perspective was that of a spacefarer, an explorer of the universe that sees the planets around him as objects within that universe in which he floats.
» Read more

Midnight repost: A scientist’s ten commandments

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: The post below, from September 27, 2010, reports on one of the simplest but most profound scientific papers I have ever read. Its advice is doubly needed today, especially commandment #3.

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A scientist’s ten commandments

Published today on the astro-ph website, this preprint by Ignacio Ferrín of the Center for Fundamental Physics at the University of the Andes, Merida, Venezuala, is probably the shortest paper I have ever seen. I think that Dr. Ferrin will forgive me if I reprint it here in its entirety:

1. Go to your laboratory or your instrument without any pre-conceived ideas. Just register what you saw faithfully.

2. Report promptly and scientifically. Check your numbers twice before submitting.

3. Forget about predictions. They are maybe wrong.

4. Do not try to conform or find agreement with others. You may be the first to be observing a new phenomenon and you may risk missing credit for the discovery.

5. Criticism must be scientific, respectful, constructive, positive, and unbiased. Otherwise it must be done privately.

6. If you want to be respected, respect others first. Do not use insulting or humiliating words when referring to others. It is not in accord with scientific ethics.

7. Do not cheat. Cheating in science is silly. When others repeat your experiment or observation, they will find that you were wrong.

8. If you do not know or have made a mistake, admit it immediately. You may say, “I do not know but I will find out.” or “I will correct it immediately.” No scientist knows the answer to everything. By admitting it you are being honest about your knowledge and your abilities.

9. Do not appropriate or ignore other people’s work or results. Always give credit to others, however small their contribution may have been. Do not do unto others what you would not like to be done unto you.

10. Do not stray from scientific ethics.

It seems that some scientists in the climate field (Phil Jones of East Anglia University and Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University are two that come to mind immediately) would benefit by reading and following these rules.

Perseverance’s planned journey in Jezero Crater

Jezero Crater delta
Jezero Crater delta

If all goes right, on February 18, 2021 the rover Perseverance will gently settle down onto the floor of Jezero Crater on Mars. The image to the right is probably the most reproduced of this site, as it shows the spectacular delta that some scientists believe might be hardened mud that had once flowed like liquid or lava from the break in the rim to the west.

They hope to put Perseverance down to the southeast of that delta, as shown in the overview map below.
» Read more

Midnight repost: American Kristallnacht

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Though this essay was only first posted less than two months ago, it bears repeating, over and over and over again, whenever power-hungry thugs use violence to achieve their ends.

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American Kristallnacht

It might have been an accident, or maybe it was because of the events of the past three months, but earlier this year I decided to finally read William Shirer’s masterpiece, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Previously I had only read the first few chapters in order to learn something about Hitler’s background. Now it was time to read the whole book.

I am only halfway through it but no matter. Every page has sent terror through my soul, as it appears to not be a history of the 1930s foolishness and madness that allowed a megalomaniac to become the leader of a powerful nation, intent on conquering the world while committing genocide against millions, but a news report of modern America.

What we have seen for the past three months — accelerated to madness with riots this week — has been nothing more than a return to the Nazi tactics of the 1930s, with the only difference being that the targets have not been just Jews, but all private businesses as well as anyone who dares to oppose their wanton destruction. In fact, the use of rocks to break windows and loot businesses and attack and even kill their owners this week was so reminiscent of Kristallnacht that I find it more than horrifying. From the link:
» Read more

Glacier country on Mars

Glacial flow in Protonilus Mensae
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photo to the right, rotated, cropped, and reduced to post here, was taken on May 24, 2020 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and provides a wonderful example of the kind of evidence of buried glaciers found extensively in the mid-latitudes of Mars.

This particular region, called Protonilus Mensae, is a region of chaos terrain at the transition zone between the southern cratered highlands and the northern lowland plains. I have featured a number of cool images in Protonilus, all of which show some form of buried glacial flow, now inactive.

The last cool image above was one that the MRO science team had picked to illustrate how to spot a glacier on Mars.

In this particular image are several obvious glacier features. First, we can see a series of moraines at the foot of each glacier in the photo, each moraine indicating the farthest extent of the glacier when it was active and growing. It also appears that there are two major layers of buried ice, the younger-smaller layer near the image’s bottom and sitting on top of a larger more extensive glacier flow sheet. This suggests that there was more ice in the past here, and with each succeeding ice age the glaciers grew less extensive.

Second, at the edges of the flows can be seen parallel ridges, suggestive also of repeated flows, each pushing to the side a new layer of debris.

Third, the interior of the glacier has parallel fractures in many places, similar to what is seen on Earth glaciers.

Protonilus Mensae, as well as the neighboring chaos regions Deuteronilus to the west and Nilosyrtis to the east, could very well be called Mars’ glacier country. Do a search on Behind the Black for all three regions and you will come up with numerous images showing glacial features.

Below is an overview of Protonilus, the red box showing the location of this image. Also highlighted by number are the locations of the three features previously posted and listed above.
» Read more

Midnight repost: A society run by mob rule

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Why have the concepts of free speech and tolerance declined in the United States? Tonight’s midnight repost essay, from November 25, 2019, tries to answer that question.

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A society run by mob rule

In the past week several ugly events have illustrated forcefully how mob rule now dictates who can or cannot speak freely in America. Worse, these events show that we are no longer a civilized social order run by reason. Instead, we have become a culture where whoever can throw the loudest tantrum dictates policy.

First we have the horrible events last week at the State University of New York-Binghamton.

To understand how disgusting and despicable the first story above is, it is necessary for you to watch the video below. Pay special attention to the taller girl in the fur-lined parka who at about four minutes keeps looking at the camera-person (whom I think is also a girl) and aggressively and repeatedly asking, “Why are you shaking so? Why are you shaking so?” The reason is obvious. The girl filming is one the conservative students, and she is justifiably frightened. The taller girl, hostile and irrationally angry because a conservative dared to advocate opinions she doesn’t like, is clearly being physically threatening. As are all of her leftist compatriots.

The response of the college administration to this atrocious behavior was even more vile, essentially endorsing the actions of the mob:
» Read more

COVID-19: Bad policy rules!

U.S. daily COVID-19 deaths through July 28

Though it appears in the past two weeks that we are presently experiencing in the U.S. a small uptick in COVID-19 deaths, as shown by the graph to the right [source], overall the data suggests that the disease is on the wan. Since its peak in late April the daily death toll has steadily dropped, even as the number of detected infections has skyrocketed. Many more people are getting the disease, but many fewer are dying from it.

What the data now tells us is that our leaders failed us in their response to the virus, in every way possible that can be imagined. Such incompetence and bad judgment should result in wholesale firings in every county, city, and state government that imposed lock downs come the November elections. No one should be immune in these local governments.

(Note: The two spikes on the graph of daily deaths on May 7 and June 25 are because New York and New Jersey suddenly added a whole slew of new deaths, under suspicious circumstances.)

The failed lock down policies

» Read more

Midnight repost: “They’re coming for you next.”

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Tonight’s midnight repost, written in July 2018, illustrates the danger to each and every one of us because of the rise and dominance of intolerance in the United States.

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“They’re coming for you next.”

This week we had a number of really ugly examples of the hate the left has for anyone who might dare express an opinion that might suggest even the slightest support for President Donald Trump.

But then, how is this week different from any other week since Trump was elected president in 2016?

The top example however is how Judge Jeanine Pirro was treated when she appeared on the The View. I have embedded the video below. You must force yourself to watch. It is painful and ugly, but the hate and very clear close-mindedness of those who disagreed with her, especially from Whoopie Goldberg, illustrates well the terrible state we are in.


» Read more

Midnight repost: “If you have wrongthink, you will not be allowed.”

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Tonight’s repost, from April 6, 2018, provides more cultural evidence that America’s culture no longer celebrates freedom of thought and tolerance.

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“If you have wrongthink, you will not be allowed.”

The fascist, intolerant, and oppressive nature of today’s leftist culture has now gotten so bad that The Atlantic, a liberal publication long considered a reasonable intellectual voice from the left, can no longer tolerate for more than two weeks the hiring of a conservative, even though that conservative, Kevin Williamson, was also a vehement opponent of Donald Trump.

The quote that forms the title of this essay however comes not from the above Williamson story, but from a cogent essay by Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist about that intolerant leftist culture. As he says,

This story [Williamson’s firing] is a predictable continuation of the left’s ownership not just of media but indeed of all institutions. It is depressing. It is predictable. And it is where we are as a country now. It is not confined to the realm of ideas. Eich, Damore, Williamson and others are subject to blacklists and HR reports and firing in every arena of industry and culture. If you have wrongthink, you will not be allowed for long to make your living within any space the left has determined they own – first the academy, then the media, then corporate America, and now the public square. You will bake the cake, you will use the proper pronoun, and you will never say that what Planned Parenthood does is murder for hire, and should be punished as such under the law.

As Domenech notes, Williamson’s firing is only one example of a legion of similar stories. There is the fascist intolerance of modern academia for example. Or we can talk about the hateful scapegoating of innocent NRA members, blaming them for a murderer’s violence merely because they wish to defend their Constitutional rights as specifically outlined in the Bill of Rights.

Or maybe we should mention the hate and violence committed against children and students, merely because they either wear a “Make America Great Again” t-shirt or carry signs supporting Trump.

I wish these were only isolated examples. They are not. For most of the second half of last year I was able to post weekly updates listing anywhere from six to several dozen new stories describing this hateful leftist culture. Here are just a few more that I gathered in mid-March but found too depressing to report at the time:
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Midnight repost: Buy dumb!

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: The failures of modern technology (shaped sadly by a lot of government regulation) often illustrates well the coming dark age. Tonight’s repost from September 15, 2019 gives one good example, and what you can do to counter this trend.

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Buy dumb!

The dumb washing machine we hunted for and got
The used “dumb” machine we
paid $285 for that actually
cleans our clothes.

The smart washing machine we threw out
The “smart” machine that we
paid $923 for and sold for $40.

Two years ago our old Kenmore Series 80 washing machine broke down. The repair guy said it would be so expensive to fix that he recommended it was time to buy something new.

So off we went to Sears, where we ended up buying one of today’s modern “smart” machines for a mere $923. As the LG website proudly exclaims,

A Smarter Way to Wash: 6Motion™ Technology uses up to 6 different wash motions to provide a smart cleaning experience that is gentle on clothes and maximizes washing performance.

The problem was the machine never got any of our clothes clean. It also refused to provide enough water. The way it worked was to sense the weight of the clothes you put inside, and determine the needed amount based on this. Routinely, it wasn’t enough, so Diane did web searches to discover numerous owners faking out the machine’s brains by pouring several buckets of water on top of the clothes before turning on the machine, making them weigh more.

The machine also did not have an agitator, the new in-thing among washing machine manufacturers two years ago, probably forced on them by new federal regulations. And though the tub itself did shake, it did it so gently that the clothes hardly moved.

There were also other issues with the machine’s smart technology that frustrated Diane. The machine was boss, and would not allow for any flexibility to its predetermined wash and rinse cycles, even when they made no sense.

Last week Diane had had enough. » Read more

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