The social justice of fitness, according to Apple

We got a free Apple Fitness+ subscription with our nearly $40,000/year family health insurance policy (the cheapest that we could find for a small LLC that covers Cleveland Clinic, Mayo, and U. Miami; see Shopping for health insurance on healthcare.gov).

We can celebrate Black History Month as we walk (with a Black Lab, ideally? Or do all Labs matter?). And Apple reminds us that drag performance is not just for storytime at the local public library. (Also note that the “drag performer” whose job is to be an imposter pretending to be female talks about “managing imposter syndrome”. Is it a “syndrome” if you get paid to do it? Does Tom Cruise have “imposter syndrome” because he is merely a pilot but pretended to be a Navy fighter pilot in two paid performances?)

Speaking of social justice, here is a Maskachusetts Congresswoman talking about the unconscionable corporate greed of Walgreens layered on top of a video of a Walgreens being looted by noble Americans.

Full post, including comments

Covidcrats’ war on poor children, quantified

The New York Times has a story on how the coronapanic shutdowns set American K-12 students back (which is the same as killing them, by COVID standards, since people with less education tend to live shorter lives and any shortening of a life can be considered a “COVID death”). Of course, the headline is about the “surprising rebound” (every action taken by a Covidcrat was actually beneficial when viewed in the proper light).

The article has a side note that the recovery in reading ability has been weaker and then proceeds to present charts only on math test scores, where the “rebound” has been stronger. Your kids’ rebound energy may vary, depending on family wealth (like life expectancy, correlated with education). The poor kids were destroyed:

So the poor kids are now likely to have both intensified poverty and intensified ignorance as factors in shortening their lives (plus the Biden-era flood of migrants, who are correlated with unemployment and incarceration for the low-skilled native-born).

The NYT journalists and editors don’t mention what happened in the one state where school closure was limited by the governor to about 3 months: Florida. Digging into their cited data source, characterized as a “national study” and with analysis “led by researchers at Stanford and Harvard”, it appears that Florida was ignored by the academic worthies (maybe anti-Science DeSantis suppressed data?).

Sweden recently showed a decline in PISA scores, suggesting that keeping schools open is just as bad for kids as closing them.

Full post, including comments

Vaccines so good you should do everything that you did before vaccines became available

January 30, 2024 memo from my mom’s retirement community “wellness coordinator”:

I am sorry to report that we are seeing an increase in the number of Covid cases here at [the home for elderly Democrats in Bethesda, Maryland]. Over the last 3 days we have 11 new cases.
I ask that you try to distance at meals as much as possible, even avoiding larger table settings. I am recommending that Residents/Guests wear a mask in the hallways and other common areas. I see many residents not wearing masks throughout the community, I cannot make anyone take these precautions, but I highly recommend them:
Resume Social Distancing
Wash hands often
Wear masks in common area
The clinic continues to do Rapid Covid testing. If you think you have been exposed or develop symptoms such as headache, nasal or chest congestion, sore throat, or body aches please come and get tested.

Everyone in the building is a Democrat (they all made money via the expansion of the federal government, either as government workers, lobbyists, contractors to the government, lawyers specializing in navigating regulations, etc.) so they’ve all had the maximum number of COVID-19 shots and boosters (not to mention one or two previous cases of COVID-19). In this highly vaccinated and boosted community, what are they told to do? Everything that they were told to do in 2020, before vaccines or boosters were available!

Separately, Taylor Swift’s latest boyfriend wants you to get injected with high-quality Pfizer products:

Full post, including comments

Microsoft keyboards back from the dead

For those of us whose hands and brains are accustomed to the Microsoft Sculpt ergonomic keyboard, which was discontinued in 2023, it looks as though there is hope. Microsoft has apparently made a deal with Incase, an established computer accessory company, to revive the Microsoft keyboard line (presumably coming out of the same factory in China).

If only Google would do this with Picasa! Open source it so that someone else can take care of the former customers.

The Microsoft product page is still live:

An Amazon seller has a used one for $369:

I paid $111 for this in March 2021. Adjusted for Bidenflation at the official rate, that’s supposedly about $130 today.

Full post, including comments

Two men kiss (front page news for the New York Times)

January 28, 2024, front page of the New York Times:

And the link to the full story if you feel that you need to know more.

An window into what’s on the minds of progressives! (But how is it consistent with their love for the Islamic Resistance Movement (“Hamas”) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad? Neither of those groups is renowned for celebrating the 2SLGBTQQIA+ lifestyle.)

Full post, including comments

Gerald Ford’s foreign policy challenges and the Houthi situation

An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford covers a few mostly forgotten foreign policy challenges that Gerald Ford faced.

The Fall of Saigon in April 1975 was depressing, but people didn’t blame Ford for it.

One that lifted his reputation was a debacle by body count standard: the Mayaguez incident (May 1975). The Khmer Rouge seized a merchant vessel and its crew. The U.S. military rescue operation resulted in as many deaths among our soldiers as the number of crew members rescued. The American public was nonetheless happy to accept this as a victory and it boosted Ford’s approval rating substantially.

The U.S. gave the green light to Indonesian President Suharto to invade East Timor in December 1975, a former Portuguese colony, so long as the Muslim takeover of the Christian territory was done quickly. At least 100,000 Christians were killed, mostly via starvation, out of a total population of about 600,000. After decades of occupation and war, East Timor became a country in 2002. It’s fair to say, therefore, that Gerald Ford had a far larger impact on the Catholics of East Timor than he did on Americans.

Palestinians killed our ambassador to Lebanon, Francis E. Meloy Jr., in June 1976, and left his bullet-riddled body at a garbage dump. Having gone nuts with aggression in response to the kidnapping of the Mayaguez crew, none of whom were harmed, we didn’t retaliate.

The Mayaguez response included “Ford ordered the Air Force to sink any Cambodian boats moving between Koh Tang and the mainland” (Wikipedia). It’s unclear why we aren’t doing that with the Houthis. They’ve attacked U.S. warships as well as merchant ships. Why do we allow them any use of the ocean? We recently lost two Navy SEALs who were trying to board a ship:

This wouldn’t have happened under Ford’s orders because the ship would have been sunk by a plane or shell without being boarded.

Ford put a lot of effort into negotiating with the Soviet Union, but ended up with nothing to show for it. Ford and Henry Kissinger (later a Theranos board member… for three years!) spent a lot of time trying to take away from Israel territory won in the Yom Kippur War (a surprise attack by Egypt and Syria that, like October 7 for the Gazans, began well). Ultimately, Jimmy Carter could take credit for the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt (1979) and the SALT II agreement with the Soviets (1979; repudiated by the U.S. Senate after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan).

The book is a good reminder that we’re not the boss of the rest of the world and nobody listens to us unless we present a credible threat of carpet bombing with B-52s.

Full post, including comments

ChatGPT for editing images

We have two Bertazzoni-brand wall ovens. One is a microwave that purportedly also works as a thermal oven, but is wildly inaccurate for temperature. The other is a big convection oven that is even worse for temperature control (if you set 350 you might get 310 or 400).

I’m trying to figure out if I can live my domestic dream of a GE Advantium microwave that can also broil via a halogen light and a wall oven that can inject steam into the cavity for roasting turkey without drying it out, a feature that we had on a KitchenAid range back in Maskachusetts. GE and its brother/sister/binary-resister brands Cafe and Monogram don’t make any full-height ovens with a steam feature. LG and Samsung are the reasonably-priced brands that do make full-size ovens with a steam kicker and they don’t offer Advantium. So I am trying to do a photo montage of the disparate brands to see which ones clash the least.

The LG oven photo comes with a huge red badge on it. I asked ChatGPT 4 to remove it:

I’d like you to edit this photo to remove the red badge at lower right and fill in the pixels to be symmetric:

Maybe readers will want to weigh in on this important decoration issue! Here are Monogram, Cafe (no logo!), and GE versions of the same 240V 30″ Advantium wall oven:

Here is the Samsung steam-capable oven:

(The LG is above.) Here’s another version of the LG:

The “Signature Kitchen Suite” product appears to be exactly the same oven internally, but costs about $2,000 more, maybe due to heavier and fancier faceplate and door, a three-year warranty, a dedicated service organization for the elite/stupid. etc.

I’m thinking that the Monogram+Samsung and Monogram+Signature are least likely to cause a visitor to the house to ask “What happened?” or “Who hurt your kitchen?”

Full post, including comments

Gerald Ford and the Swine flu panic of 1976

An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford reminds us of the 1976 panic regarding a respiratory virus: a strain of influenza called “swine flu”. This was the genesis of the modern muscular CDC. Congress appropriated $500 million in pre-Carter/pre-Biden dollars. The CDC said that every American should get vaccinated (Republican Ford publicly accepted the sacrament; Democrat Jimmy Carter refused it). The vaccine was rushed to the market, greatly enriching four pharma companies who also were indemnified from any liability. This indemnification turned out to be useful. The vaccine was at least 10X more likely to cause Guillain-Barré Syndrome (paralysis) than it was to protect the injected person from death due to influenza (contemporary CDC page on the subject).

Abram Saperstein, who changed his name to Albert Sabin, was recruited to sell the idea of universal vaccination. Sabin was famous at the time for having created the oral polio vaccine. After a few months, however, Sabin concluded that the rushed-to-market swine flu vaccine was more likely to harm than help and that a 1918-style epidemic was unlikely.

Speaking of Jimmy Carter, the book notes that his campaign promises were similar to Javier “Chainsaw” Milei’s in Argentina. Candidate Carter promised to reduce the number of federal agencies from 1,900 to 200, for example. What did President Carter deliver? A brand new Cabinet-level Department of Education that kicked off decades of tuition inflation at American colleges and universities via subsidized student loans and grants.

Personal health anecdote: Following the example of Jimmy Carter, the greatest president in our nation’s history, I ignored CVS’s constant reminders of flu vaccine availability. In early January, embedded in Boston with the nation’s smartest and most assiduous mask and vaccine Karens, I got a truly horrible cough/flu. I cursed myself for ignoring CDC advice. After limping home on JetBlue (I actually wore a mask in hopes of protecting fellow passengers!) I went to a German-trained physician here in Palm Beach County and tested negative for both COVID and influenza.

Related:

  • “The Effect of Influenza Vaccination for the Elderly on Hospitalization and Mortality” (Anderson, et al. 2020; Annals of Internal Medicine): “Turning 65 [the age at which people in the UK become eligible for flu vaccines from the NHS] was associated with a statistically and clinically significant increase in rate of seasonal influenza vaccination. However, no evidence indicated that vaccination reduced hospitalizations or mortality among elderly persons” (in other words, the flu shot might help some people avoid a brief illness, but it doesn’t reduce the chance of being killed by the flu)
  • “Carter’s Flu‐Shot Plan For the Ill and Elderly Termed Short of Goal” (NYT, 1979): [the CDC director] also defended the program against criticism by Dr. Albert B. Sabin, who developed the oral vaccine for polio. Dr. Sabin, who is associated with the Medical University of South Carolina, said that he did not believe that the influenza vaccine would help many people because new virus strains kept cropping up. and required changes in immunization formulas. He said that vaccines containing major new strains became available only after the new strains already had their major impact.
Full post, including comments

Who has an Apple Vision Pro VR headset coming?

Today is the day, supposedly, for Apple to begin delivering its $3500-4150 version of the $500 Meta Quest 3. Have any of you ordered one? Tried one? Figured out what could be done with a device that becomes a 1 lb. stone around your head after two hours of battery are exhausted?

As with everything else from Silicon Valley, it is important to be young and Black to be an effective user:

But what if you’re not young and Black? What would you say that you do here?

Based on a quick search, it doesn’t seem as though the obvious “take a walk through every famous art museum” app is available, either for Meta’s or Apple’s headset. On the more mature Meta product, it seems as though shooter games are popular. But who is going to invest in developing great games when there are only 20 million Quest headsets out there and many have been collecting dust on shelves? A non-VR game can be sold to almost anyone on the planet (Xbox, PlayStation, PC). The problem is yet worse for the Apple VR world. Apple is planning/hoping to sell just 400,000 headsets in the first year. A $20 game that gets 10 percent market share will yield just $800,000 in revenue for a developer.

I was wrong about Tesla’s prospects for success and wrong about Bitcoin, so I’m probably wrong about the Vision Pro. But what will it actually be used for?

Full post, including comments

Vivek Ramaswamy unaware of the family court sector of the U.S. economy

A tweet from Vivek:

Here’s an idea to bridge the divide on abortion: codify sexual responsibility for men into the law. If a woman carries a child to term, she can automatically make the man fully $$ responsible both for herself and for the child, if confirmed by paternity test. Should be an idea that both parties can agree on.

Elon Musk responded with “Yes”. You’d think that he would already be aware of the U.S. system; see “Elon Musk Battles To Keep Custody Case In Texas Where Child Support Is Capped At $2,760 Per Month For 3 Kids, Despite Being The Richest Man In The World”:

Elon Musk is in the midst of a custody battle with Grimes, and things are getting as complicated as a SpaceX mission.

According to reports from Business Insider, Musk initially filed in Texas, accusing Grimes of moving to California to avoid the Lone Star State’s child support cap of $2,760 per month for three kids.

Grimes fired back with a countersuit in California, seeking physical custody. Musk reportedly had custody of their 3-year-old son X Æ A-Xii against Grimes’ wishes. The different child support limits in California, where there’s no cap, could mean a hefty sum for Musk, currently the richest person in the world.

Given that family court profits are a huge sector of the U.S. economy and Vivek was claiming to be qualified to run the whole thing, I find it fascinating that Vivek is unfamiliar with the current system in which having sex with an already-married specialist physician can yield a spending power equivalent to what an American who goes through medical school and residency to work as a primary care doc can enjoy (profitability depends heavily on the state in which the plaintiff resides/sues). Some lawyers who specialize in this area refer to child support as “woman support” since the typical plaintiff identifies as female, the money is paid to the adult plaintiff, and there is no requirement that a successful plaintiff spend any of the family court profits on the child.

Hunter Biden was reported to be paying $20,000 per month to Lunden Roberts (Daily Mail), thus giving her an after-tax spending power in excess of a primary care doc’s (the $240,000 per year was tax-free). Why wouldn’t someone in politics such as Vivek have followed the Biden family and thus learned that sex in the U.S. can pay better than most jobs?

Of course, it isn’t just Vivek. Twitter shows over 5,000 replies to the post. Most of them seem to be from people unaware that it is already possible to get a court-ordered paternity test and then 18-23 years of cashflow (depending on the state).

How can this blind spot be explained?

Related:

Full post, including comments