Ignorance Is Bliss

Google News has a “fact check” section, a Snopes-like feature aimed at debunking disinformation circulating in less-reputable segments of American media (cough Fox News cough). This morning, three out of four fact check links address Covid vaccine lies in wide circulation:

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Evidence, I guess, that the right’s balls-to-the-wall propaganda war against science, specifically Covid prevention and mitigation, is gaining ground. Not one of the stories fact-checked in those links is even remotely true: there never was a German autopsy report showing Covid vaccines as likely causes of sudden deaths; Covid vaccines are not responsible for excess deaths in the United States; anti-vaxxers won’t get someone else’s Covid vaccine from a blood transfusion. It’s made-up shit, all of it. Everything about the war against Covid masking and vaccination is based on lies.

Lies that take up so much space in the news and on social media, repeated over and over. Even when the lies are repeated for the purpose of showing the truth, like the debunked examples on Google News today, what sticks in the mind are the lies themselves.

Which is probably what’s going on in Florida, where a Republican governor is trying to legislate lies into existence to please the MAGA mouth-breathers he thinks will make him president in 2024:

Florida Gov. DeSantis Requests Grand Jury probe of COVID-19 Vaccines (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

SARASOTA, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday he plans to petition the state’s Supreme Court to convene a grand jury to investigate “any and all wrongdoing” related to COVID-19 vaccines.

DeSantis made the announcement following a roundtable with Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and a panel of scientists and physicians who expressed skepticism about the vaccines, the companies that manufacture them, and CDC recommendations saying everyone who’s eligible should receive the shots.

This is what we get when we give equal time to lies. Isaac Asimov said it best:

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

Speaking of mouth-breathing ignorance, I ordered a protective case for Donna’s new iPhone from Amazon yesterday morning. It arrived at our door by dinnertime — oh brave new world, that has such wonders in it — but it came in a plain box with no instructions, and I couldn’t figure out how to open the case in order to put the phone inside.

I hate being frustrated. I hate it when something isn’t right. I hate it when I try to do something for someone and fail.

I woke up this morning determined to send the damned thing back and order something simpler. Sitting down at the desktop to do it, I discovered the instructions for opening the case embedded in the product description on Amazon. Following the step by step instructions, I popped the case open, inserted Donna’s phone, and popped it back together. Voilà. Done. Perfecto. Husband of the Year.

IMG_5302Is this a new thing, though, scrimping on printed instructions? These two miniature phone books excepted, never consulted yet still in my dresser drawer for some reason, I no longer sweat losing printed manuals for cameras, digital watches, and clock radios, knowing they’re easily findable on the web. Someone will have uploaded a PDF of the factory manual, or made a YouTube video explaining how to set time zones and leap years. Still, tossing printed instructions should be my call, not the manufacturer’s, am I right?

By the way, I ordered a case for my new iPhone as well, even though mine is a 14 Pro and won’t ship until sometime in January, and then only if labor unrest and Covid take a break at the Foxconn factory in China. At least I now know how to stick my phone in it if it ever comes!

Given Pima Air & Space Museum’s deliberate dismantling of a once-great volunteer docent program, of which I was a proud part, I’m no longer a huge fan, but continue to visit occasionally to see what’s new. I’m excited to see the latest arrival, NASA’s recently-retired Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) aircraft, a highly-modified Boeing 747SP.

It arrived at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson yesterday and will soon be towed across Valencia Road onto the museum grounds. I expect it’ll be in the restoration yard, unaccessible to the public but still in view, for some time before being put on display. PASM promises that when it does go on display the public will be allowed inside the aircraft, but given the museum’s track record with other such promises (notably that the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital DC-10 would be open to visitors), that’ll probably come down to it being open just one or two days a year — the problem being the executive director’s aversion to volunteers, who’ll be needed in numbers to monitor and assist visitors on the rare days they’re allowed inside.

The photos, L to R: NASA SOFIA in flight (NASA: Jim Ross); interior looking aft toward the 8.2-foot diameter reflecting telescope (Boneyard Safari).

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Oh, the museum finally picked up a Lockheed F-117 stealth fighter, also currently in restoration. Stand by for a fresh PASM Photoblog!

3 thoughts on “Ignorance Is Bliss

  • Vaccine phobia is a brilliant bit of agitprop from Vlad’s boys to trump to great stupid middle America. Trump doing Putin’s bidding is responsible for at least 100k American deaths and many times that number of illnesses. Expensive for us too. Russian subversion, propaganda, agitation is often brilliant, much better performing than the rest of their corrupt military industrial complex; the last functioning organ of a dying state is the secret police. And, the vast majority of antivaxxers chose it, knowing the same things that you and I know. Deciding, sure its no big deal, like the flu. Whereas inoculations kill you. Or something. Remember when in the military they gave you vaccine shots and then everybody died? Because that never happened. Choosing willful stupidity, believing a clown circus like Fox, or trump can kill the stupid under the right conditions. Sad about the collateral sickness and deaths of us normals but that can’t be helped when the lies are omnipresent. So many are weak minded after decades of educational decay and Fox subversion and lies. OTOH the mass deaths of Republican voters probably kept the US a sort of democracy, at least for now. So the deluded did not die in vain. You need to think about it in darwinian terms as improving the species. And marvel at the power propaganda has over us poor humans. The shots were available and free. They could have chosen to live but they didn’t. Killed by poor thinking.
    I read today that neti-pot or squeeze bottle nasal saline rinsing is powerful in repelling covid and other disease germs that spread through respiration. I’ve been using the squeeze bottle salt sinus rinse for years for chronic sinusitis but I’m planning to use it more frequently hereafter.
    The last Sacramento air museum visit I made only the EC-121 Constellation was open for visiting the flight deck and cabin. That was impressive. My mother flew in a Connie once in the late ’50s. That museum seems to have lots of experienced veteran docent volunteers.
    Tod recently posted…New Blue OLP Blues BassMy Profile

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHzO0wCspEU

    At 3:21 they discuss the Thiland study, in their 20’s, 314 people, prospective study done carefully, Pfiizer, no females developed myocarditis but 202 of the subjects were male,
    and out of 202, 7 developed some level of myocarditis, 4 out of the 7 were sub clinical,
    but 3 presented with actual symptoms and one went to the ICU because of the symptoms and was treated with no death. but the point is, for a young individual make in the 20’s
    the odds, 3 out of 202, of symptomatic myocarditis and one ICU case, this is NOT one trivial. And there is really NO excuse for vaccination of children or people who have been already infected and have a full immune system response. This flies in the face of CDC and other government coercion over-riding individual choice and ordinary good medicine. This is strictly out of bounds government medical tyranny. This is a small but careful study and the full details are in the article, but lots more studies, much larger, are in the works, and there is really some reflection on the wisdom of such a heavy hand in the face of such limited knowledge. If it turns out the vaccination does more to actually prevent serious disease than it does to limit the ability of an infected person to become s spreader, then there is even less reason for such medical and legal heavy handedness. This is amplified by the suspicion that there was political reasons to spread the general sense of panic around the election of 2020, and true or not, the confidence of a very large proportion of the country was crushed, and it will be very hard to restore it now. As the more complete studies come out, it will be retrospectively more clear of all these steps were wise or not. I understand that there are hypothetical situations where draconian measures might be warranted, but we better not push that panic button on the general population (children for example and previously infected people) without very good reason, and if retrospectively speaking if it is discovered that mistakes were made, in good faith or not, some sincere apology is necessary to restore the confidence so the next cry wolf will not be ridiculed. I know there are different cases but the watchword should be (ASK the public, not iron hand coercion ) because we are playing with general confidence that this is not a political football trying to gin up a panic for advantage by some group of people or other. Seeking a free society has cost a lot of deaths throughout the years, on a battle field or in implementation of public health policy. I personally will not trust panic tinged government warnings and requirements to implement emergency use authorization, and there are many people much more cynical than I am. If a stiff necked government and CDC refusal to concede that this was NOT an ordinary flu vaccine situation with novel vaccine types that skipped the usual safeguards, and mistakes were made, the whole public health credibility will be damaged beyond repair for a long time.
    Many many more large studies are being done now in other countries mostly, and the truth will come out. In China, the government was faced with riots over heavy handed implementation of social distancing … so severe that the Chinese government backed off the program. in this country, the government is not so responsive to street demonstrations and police might not relent so soon. This attitude in the government, the demand for unquestioned obedience, may have extreme consequences as a trigger with unforeseeable consequences.

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