Mythinformation

I have neglected TOC of late. Spring chores have kept me busy, and I’m slower at them than I used to be.

Anyway, here’s a look at some Prog mythology to keep you amused while I plant my tomatoes. (A two day project.)

From Marginal Revolution:
There is No Pink Tax

The so-called pink tax is an alleged tendency for products consumed by women to be more expensive than similar products consumed by men…

[E]conomists Sarah Moshary, Anna Tuchman and Natasha Bhatia have done a much more complete and careful study and they find that once you control for ingredients and compare like-to-like there is no pink tax. Indeed, sometimes men pay a bit more. Overall, there are no big savings from cross-buying. Women and men could save money by buying products primarily marketed to the opposite gender–like 2-in-1 shampoo+conditioner–but only by buying products that they prefer less than the products they choose to buy.

This is right up there with the great Super Bowl hoax, and the “wage gap.” All related to boomer feminism’s big fails.

From Reason:
After 53 Earth Days, Society Still Hasn’t Collapsed

Cassandra in Greek mythology was the Trojan priestess who was cursed to utter true prophecies but never to be believed. Ideological environmentalism features a cohort of reverse Cassandras: They make false prophecies that are widely believed. Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich in his 1968 classic, The Population Bomb, prophesied, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”

See also Ardnassac.

From Quillette:
Domestic Violence Is Not the Result of Patriarchy

Research consistently finds that women in heterosexual relationships tend to perpetrate violence against intimate partners at least as often as men.

Thank you, Amber Heard.

From Cafe Hayek:
More from Bernard Bailyn on the American Revolutionaries and Slavery

It’s impossible to believe that the same British government that 1619 Project apologists insist was intent on ending slavery in North America would have obstructed efforts by American colonists to end or restrict the slave trade. This fact alone – the fact that officials of the British government obstructed efforts by some of the American colonists to end or diminish the slave trade – is alone practically sufficient to destroy the main thesis of the 1619 Project.

From Cureus, an open access medical journal:
Correlation Between Mask Compliance and COVID-19 Outcomes in Europe

Conclusions
While no cause-effect conclusions could be inferred from this observational analysis, the lack of negative correlations between mask usage and COVID-19 cases and deaths suggest that the widespread use of masks at a time when an effective intervention was most needed, i.e., during the strong 2020-2021 autumn-winter peak, was not able to reduce COVID-19 transmission. Moreover, the moderate positive correlation between mask usage and deaths in Western Europe also suggests that the universal use of masks may have had harmful unintended consequences.

From Glenn Greenwald:
Homeland Security’s “Disinformation Board” is Even More Pernicious Than it Seems

Typically, any attempt to apply George Orwell’s warning novel 1984 to U.S. politics is reflexively dismissed as hyperbolic: a free and democratic country like the United States could not possibly fall prey to the dystopian repression Orwell depicts. Yet it is quite difficult to distinguish this “Disinformation Board” from Ingsoc’s Ministry of Truth. The protagonist of Orwell’s novel, Winston Smith, worked in the Ministry of Truth and described at length how its primary function was to create official versions of truth and falsity, which always adhered to the government’s needs of the moment and were subject to radical change as those interests evolved.

That the Board will be run by such a preposterous and laughable figure as Nina Jankowicz — a liberal cartoon, a caricature of a #Resistance Twitter fanatic who spent 2016 posting adolescent partisan tripe such as: “Maybe @HillaryClinton’s most important point so far: ‘A @realDonaldTrump presidency would embolden ISIS.’ #ImWithHer” — has, in some sense, made this board seem more benign and harmless. After all, how nefarious and dangerous can a board be when it is governed by a person as frivolous and banal as this, calling herself “the Mary Poppins of disinformation”?…

Far worse than Jankowicz’s fixation on censoring those with whom she disagrees — now a staple of liberal politics — is the fact that this new Disinformation Czar has herself ratified and helped spread virtually every disinformation campaign concocted by the union of the Democratic Party and corporate media over the last five years. Indeed, the only valid basis for calling her a “disinformation expert” is that she has spread disinformation with such gusto. The most notorious of those was the pre-election lie that the authentic Hunter Biden laptop was “disinformation.” She also decreed falsely that the origins of COVID were definitively proven to be zoonotic and could not have come from a lab leak, was a frequent and vocal advocate of the fraudulent Steele Dossier, and repeatedly pronounced as true all sorts of Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy theories which Robert Mueller, after conducting an intense 18-month investigation, rejected as lacking evidence to establish their truth.

Greenwald wrote this before Jankowicz floated the idea she should be empowered to edit other people’s Tweets.

Her mindlessnes is not the core issue, though. The very idea of idea of a Homeland Security Disinformation Board is a litmus test. Any person who defends the idea is a slaver.

The Catastrophe of Canada | Rex Murphy and Jordan B Peterson

This is an important conversation.

What is happening in Canada is dreadful, not least because should Justin Trudeau remain in power it will show Canadians are not who they thought they were, do not have the institutions they thought they did, and are uninterested in recovering either their culture or representative democracy.

Is there some flaw in the British parliamentary system that has been exposed by the pandemic and changes wrought by social media? I wonder because, while serious authoritarian overreach can be alleged in most neoliberal democracies, Australia and New Zealand seem more up front about it than most. This most certainly includes the United States.

An hour. If you need an incentive to watch the whole thing, Here is a 5 minute summary. What goes before explores why it’s true.

Seventy seven

The Other Club was first published February 19, 2005 on Google’s Blogspot.I have included a first day post below. It celebrated a display of American valor and courage that had taken place 60 years earlier.

In 2005 “valor and courage” would have been a nearly universal opinion. The memory would have invoked reverence and gratitude. Seventeen years later, I wonder…

As the post went up, Myspace was the largest social networking site in the world. The first ever Tweet was 13 months in the future. Facebook would not open to the general public for almost 18 months. YouTube had come online 4 days earlier. Ask Jeeves was still a thing. Google Maps had just been launched on February 8. Pandora was to be launched on August 25. Tumblr was 2 years in the future.

Surveillance capitalism was just booting up.

If you wanted to be notified of a new post at any given blog, you would subscribe to its RSS feed. If it supported one. To find other sites you might find interesting, you depended on blogrolls and word of mouth.

Content wasn’t targeted at you based on deep learning analysis of every search you conducted, every website you visited, every cell tower you passed, the content of your emails, every person you “followed”, every purchase you made, every app you used, or a comprehensive summary of the computer make and model, browser, OS, graphics processor, IP and MAC addresses… etc., you used while volunteering that information.

It was more likely than not you didn’t “google it” in 2005. Google processed a bit less than 37% of searches then. Ranked 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively; Yahoo, MSN, and AOL handled 54%.

Now Google attracts more than 90% of internet queries. Reading more than Twitter’s 140 280 characters before concretizing your righteous outrage has become passé. Facebook has gobbled up the open discussion space by strategically monetizing polarization.

Add TikTok, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc. etc., and you get a cultural petri dish where narcissistic moral-superiority contests flourish, and “mean girls” of both sexes actually make a living by practicing their sociopathy.

Signaling virtuous victimhood as indicators of Dark Triad personalities, from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, is a look into who powers the victimhood industrial complex.

“We show that individuals with Dark Triad traits-Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy-more frequently signal virtuous victimhood, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic variables that are commonly associated with victimization in Western societies.”

A popular way to monetize victimhood is complaining about cultural appropriation. Hoop earrings, for example. As if persons of ‘Latinx’ persuasion invented hoop earrings. And, in their cultural purity, refuse to use anything invented by, say, a dead white British male. Like vaccination.

An environmental impact study would find “the better angels of our nature” an endangered species in a shrinking habitat. Gossip, maliciousness, and reputation savaging, you see, scale and can be monetized. And it works just as well if you can appropriate victimhood.

Well, this turned into more of a rant than a ‘happy anniversary to me.’ Enough.

TOC documents some bits of the last 17 years. Of topical interest, there are 109 posts tagged ‘canada’ as I write. The first is from February 25, 2005. I just tagged it. There are certainly more. Blogspot didn’t have tagging for a long time and I have only partially updated them. Now I’ll have to complete ‘Canada.’

I have made TOC’s ~2,900 posts into a ~2,100 page PDF. About 1.1 million words. Electronically signed copies can be made available. ;)

I think I managed to meet the level of Theodore Sturgeon’s adage: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.” ;)

Anyaway, here’s that first day post I mentioned above. Blogspot didn’t provide for images then, so I’m adding what I would have used.

Original inks have rotted and are replaced from web.archive.org.Saturday, February 19, 2005

Flags of our Fathers
John Bradley, Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon and Mike Strank are the Navy corpsman and Marines who, on 23-February-1945, raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi. It’s a famous picture.

Still, Suribachi’s island wasn’t declared secure until 26-March, and it was 7-April before American fighter planes took off from the refurbished runway so many had died to secure.

Describing the Americans who fought this battle, Admiral Nimitz uttered the words that appear on the Arlington Cemetery monument to that flag raising: “Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue”.

Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal said that “the raising of that flag on Suribachi means there will be a Marine Corps for the next 500 years.”

Thank you Marines. Semper Fi. 440 years to go; though I expect you’ve extended that a bit in the interim.

Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the death-struggle for Iwo Jima, in which over 2,000 Marines died in the first 18 hours of fighting.

In the next 36 days Marines had a casualty every 2 minutes. 6,821 Americans and over 20,000 Japanese died. Of 353 Medals of Honor awarded during WWII, 27 were given for heroism on Iwo Jima; 13 posthumously.

And this was not the end of the Pacific war. In fact, it was just the first battle on Japanese soil.

My appreciation of this battle, and my gratitude to those who fought it, grew immensely when I read a book given to me by a former Marine. That book is Flags of our Fathers, by James Bradley.

Bradley discovered that his father, a Navy corpsman who survived the battle of Iwo Jima, had not only been awarded a Navy Cross for his efforts there, but was one of the men in the famous picture of the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi. He discovered this only after his father had died, as he sorted through his father’s papers.

Danielle Girdano is another person belatedly aware of her father’s contribution on Iwo Jima.

18 year old private first class Daniel Girdano, 4th Marine Division, 24th Regiment, 1st Battalion A Company, first saw Iwo Jima’s beaches on 19-February-1945. His daughter learned what really happened there almost by accident. She bought a vial of Iwo Jima ash for her father as a Christmas present in 2003, and he could not speak of his experiences still. “He saw this vial of ash, and this man who I’ve known my entire life as the Rock of Gibraltar, broke down,” she said.
https://web.archive.org/web/20051111155604/http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/trib/westmoreland/s_303180.html

What she learned from her small gift resulted in the Legend of Heroes Memorial. A monument in glass, metal and wood; it has the faces of 10 Iwo Jima vets engraved on it. Her father is one of them. It is beginning a 49 state tour this weekend.

It is inscribed, “Boys became men, men became heroes, heroes became legends.”

I am cowed by the modesty, even self-effacement, of men like Bradley’s and Girdano’s fathers; though it is typical of those WWII vets who saw soul-wrenching combat. Part of it is certainly the modesty becoming of a different era, but I think most of it arises from the pain their experiences brought. (Note to John Kerry – your eagerness, sustained for 30 years, to capitalize on your experiences of “atrocities” in Viet Nam is one of the reasons you were not credible.)

I recommend Flags of our Fathers, but for a brief tour you should read Arthur Herman’s piece at:
https://web.archive.org/web/20060207155223/http://opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110006317

Herman also invokes contemporary issues via a perspective on the doubt and debate surrounding WWII strategies that most of us now think of as uncontroversial.
# posted by Hershblogger @ 2/19/2005 06:46:00 PM

A Republic, if you can keep it

Embed from Getty Images
Things you won’t see this Independence Day: Fireworks at Mount Rushmore.

Ostensibly, because of a fire hazard caused by the Mountain Pine Beetle.

But mostly it’s about envirostatism and identity politics.

Now, I don’t know how serious the beetle problem actually is, but I do know the Feds have been working on it since 2010, there were fireworks last year without incident, and Governor Kristi Noem believes they are safe. But Progressives don’t like Noem, and won’t waste a chance to reinforce the Native American land rights they use to block oil pipelines.

Many domestic concerns – the threat of inflation, teaching Critical Race Theory in government schools, burgeoning corporatist censorship, soaring crime, the transgender attack on women, and abandonment of oil independence push fireworks in South Dakota well down the list.

Then again, just last year, inflation, CRT, state directed private censorship, crime rates, high school track events where men compete with women, and oil independence were not so high up the list.

The fireworks ban is a small player in the “fundamental transformation” of the United States. It’s not about trees killed by pine beetles raising fire risk. It’s a psy-op vandalizing our regard for Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Old Glory, free markets, and individualism. It is just one more identitarian attack.

There are many bonuses for the Progressives. It reverses a Trump decision last year to allow the fireworks, and sticks it to South Dakota tourism – a state which had the temerity to elect a Republican Governor. So it checks the orange-man-bad box. It checks the race box since the pine beetles are on Indian land. Which means it checks the colonialist box. It draws support from envirostatists, who are well organized in SD to oppose oil pipelines. So it checks the climate change box. It checks the corporatist censorship box repeatedly: Where have you seen a guy who looks like the guy at the beginning of this video? SD ACLU files First Amendment lawsuit against KXL protest bill

Last time he was on national television we saw him beating a drum in Nick Sandmann’s face. Then lying about it; lies which sent the MSM into paroxysms of screaming “racist!” at Sandmann and calling him “punchable.”

It was made clear on video that Phillips was lying about the facts. A Year Ago, the Media Mangled the Covington Catholic Story. What Happened Next Was Even Worse.

And since he’s a face of “the movement,” it’s worth looking at his past behavior to evaluate his immediate allies as well as credulous fellow travelers like MSNBC, CNN, and the WaPo engaging in outrage-mongering, propagandist clickbait. Which was Phillips’ purpose. Still is.

If you want to gather to watch a National fireworks show, you are left with the White House. Where the beetles are of the Scarabaeinae subfamily and where you can’t criticize China or the click-bait artists will deem you racist.

So, celebrate the Founding of The United States of America, in the fashion you choose, as free citizens of the Republic. We can keep it.

Setting the revanchist table

Were BLM to apply its revisionist purges to the Democrats’ pseudo-history, they would be forced to abandon the Party:
Democrats: The Missing Years

That those Democrat sins are long past is an untenable objection for the statue topplers, 1619 Project acolytes, POC supremacists, and Democrat mayors in the plantation cities.

In any case, sins are still being committed.
Joe Biden: The New George Wallace

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day be day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right…

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past…

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

– George Orwell

Vade retro me, XX XX!

Get thee behind me, 20 20!

Yes, I know 2020 is actually MMXX in Roman numerals. But XX XX is 20 20 – how we pronounce the year. And you can’t use XXXX. That would be 40. As would XL. Go figure.

Wonder how to pronounce Roman numerals? I make 20 20 to be “Vīgintī vīgintī.” And 2020 renders as “Duo milia vīgintī.” 40 is “quadrāgintā.” Which grants XXXX and XL equality of outcome.

The Roman mathematical system has its disadvantages. Which you might expect when the numbers themselves are often math problems.

Multiplication alone would destroy the possibility of particle physics. And consider the width of the columns in your Excel spreadsheet, where 1944 would be rendered MDCCCCXXXXIIII. Some sources give MCMXLIV as an alternative, but this is disputed.

The lack of a decimal point, much less the annotation for fractions, would pretty much preclude precision replication of parts. Which makes you think the tolerances on a ballista precluded mass production. This probably did create good paying jobs in windlass carving.

The Roman mathematical system has advantages only in comparison to innumeracy.

The best contemporary advantage I can come up with is that House of Representative staffers preparing budget spreadsheets would suffer enough to maybe balance it. OTOH, like carving windlasses, they’d probably just hire more staff.

For peons, the only thing I can up with is that your ‘12345’ password would be ‘MMMMMMMMMMMMCCCXLV’ – harder to hack. But you wouldn’t be able to remember that password. Which is why you picked a joke password in the first place. And further complicating this whole password thing is that some experts (I don’t know why I think of Dr. Fauci) claim MDCCCCXXXXIIII is the same number as MCMXLIV.

Would you call this system base 10? It is putatively, but it fails some important tests.

Of the first 10 ‘digits’ the Romans had three unique single characters – I, V and X – 1, 5 and 10. Unique single characters that only show up later (L, C, D, and M) bring the total to 7. And they don’t participate in the first 10.

We use 10 unique single characters that represent the numbers in base 10, and they are the first 10 numbers. In binary (base 2) we have 2 unique characters. We have octal with 8. Etc..

For bases after 10 we do emulate the Romans. For example, base 16 (hexadecimal) uses letters. The number of unique single characters is preserved. 16 unique characters – 0 through 9 plus A through F, where A is decimal 11 and F is decimal 15.

But back to 2020.

While the numeric allusion fails, XXXX does get us to an Australian beer brand, 2 Dos Equis, porn videos, and a large clothing size. All of which seem appropriate for this year of working from home; as Aeron potatoes begin drinking at breakfast, watch porn with impunity, commit it on Zoom (I’m not looking at you Toobin*), and grow into their new 4XL T-shirts – the dress code for Zoom meetings. I haven’t checked, but I’d bet trousers have hit a sales slump.

I favor XX XX for the Latin equivalent of 2020. It insistently puts the ‘X’ in Latinx. It is congruent with 20 20 vision, 20 20 hindsight, double vision, and double counting. Respectively; what our public health martinets lack for every aspect of human existence save flawed computer simulacra, what our politicians cannot apply even as evidence of their failed policies becomes overwhelming, a symptom of poor blood oxygenation, and our recent election.

XXXX is an exceedingly rare genetic condition (Tetrasomy X). It is not to be confused with XX XX – which we’ll call double female – a gender classification yet to be appended to LGBTQWERTY. The combatants in the 2020 TERF wars who follow the science of genetics rather than the vagaries of “gender” could use a term for the transition from female to male and back. Women who have been men, after all, are women.

Finally, XX XX reminds me of those ‘Xs’ cartoonists employ on closed eyes to indicate a corpse. An ‘XX,’ then, suggests the cause of death is subject to more subtle interpretation than we might normally expect: “This person was found with an axe buried in their skull, but we found traces of CCP virus RNA on the axe handle. Count it as COVID.”

Oh, well, Happy MMXXI. The century turns 21.

Given how maturely it’s been acting of late, I think we need to hide the beer.

*I think we can discount any claims of some new penis recognition login technology.