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Archive for the ‘stupidity’ Category

58% of Trump voters say higher education is bad for the country.

Fifty. Eight. Percent.

And this surprises me not at all. The worship of ignorance is rampant in the United States. Experts who’ve spent their lives studying and researching a subject have their expertise dismissed with a few pithy talking points by a bleach blonde Fox news bimbo, and millions believe her. Millions willingly embrace bizarre conspiracy theories like NASA is running a child slave colony on Mars or shape-shifting reptilian people control our world. Even the notion that the world is flat has taken on new life in the modern United States.

It’s no wonder, then, that so many of these pro-ignorance people willingly embrace fake news. They are so ignorant that they lack the fundamental knowledge to tell the difference between fake news and real news. And furthermore, they’re proud of their ignorance. None of that sissy intellectual stuff for them, nosirree! And science might contradict the Bible, so it’s clearly out too!

It’s not some foreign enemy that’s going to destroy the United States. It is the cult of ignorance that dominates the nation, where everybody thinks they’re an expert after a couple of Google queries turn up a few web sites. There’s no way that a population so ignorant, so hateful of education, can maintain or sustain an advanced economy. No way. In the end, the United States is going to collapse from within, hollowed out like a rotten apple by the ignorance of the people charged with keeping it intact.

– Badtux the Educated Penguin

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Any alien invasion of Earth would fail quietly as the aliens arrived, realized that the inhabitants of Earth had already pretty much destroyed it already without their help and were so violent and stupid as to not be worth keeping as slaves, and quietly slunk away.

Call it stupidity as a survival strategy. Or not survival strategy, actually, since at current rates of carbon accumulation in the atmosphere, we’re all going to suffocate within a couple hundred years anyhow. Which is okay with our current regime. They’ll all be dead by then anyhow, amirite?

We’re like the cockroaches that infest the Sony PS4, frying ourselves because we’re too stupid to do anything else. We elect shit leaders who don’t know as much science as a 10 year old girl to oversee the process of baking ourselves like we were living in a fucking shake’n’bake oven, then yell “USA! USA!” waving fucking flags as if they were anything other than pieces of cloth useful for wiping your ass with if you take a shit, maybe.

And then we rail against monsters, when the only monsters are us.

Yeah, stupid is our only renewable resource.

– Badtux the Feelin’ Pissy Penguin

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Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority is rolling out a new slogan on its buses: “Solutions that move you.”

I think Ex-Lax does that too.

Note: This is the transit authority that around 30 years ago proposed renaming its transit system to Santa Clara Area Transit. SCAT.

Sounds like they have a scatological fixation to me…

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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Playing with numbers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, “Gross Domestic Product By State”. I downloaded the Excel file and fiddled around with the numbers there. Interesting thing is that matching this map with the 2016 election results, the red states and the blue states have roughly equivalent GDP at around $9 trillion apiece. However: 1/6th of the red states’ GDP is Texas. The same is true of the blue states and California, except there’s much fewer of them so it’s not quite so much one queen state and a buncha loser states. Interesting.

Things get more lopsided if you look at the county level. The Brookings Institute did a county-level matchup of the maps and found that the counties Hillary won accounted for around 2/3rds of the economy — around $12 trillion, with the red counties accounting for $6 trillion. I would need to see their source data to see if they’re adding right, but a brief check seems to show that their claim that every one of the top twenty major counties (as sorted by economic activity) went to Hillary other than Maricopa County (AZ) is correct.

This is… interesting. What it seems to say is that this election boiled down to an election between the 21st century and the 20th century. Those counties that have embraced the 21st century and its demands for a smart flexible workforce and thus are thriving voted for more of the same. Those counties that want their 20th century back, when a man could make a living for his family with a strong back and a narrow mind, went for Trump, who promised that they could have their 20th century back.

Of course, the 20th century is gone and isn’t coming back. Even if manufacturing comes back, today’s manufacturing is highly automated and demands far more intellectual flexibility than 20th century manufacturing required, where you just needed to be able to do one thing, and do it well, and it’s unlikely that they will be employing the people who were laid off when the toaster factory in Coushatta Louisiana shut down to move production to Thailand. Those people had little education and no skills other than being able to put peg A into slot B, over and over again, and we have robots that do that now. But hey, people have been believing false promises by politicians since long before we were born, so.

– Badtux the Economics Penguin

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So I was discussing things with a seemingly rational guy on Facebook, and he kept popping up conspiracy theories like, Saddam really *did* have weapons of mass destruction, but it was covered up by a Democratic conspiracy. At which point I’m WTF, dude, President Bush’s very own weapons inspection team found nothing except a few mouldy old barrels and shells forgotten buried in the desert, garbage left over from the first Gulf War. And then he started spewing a bunch of links at me from the right wing crazy echo chamber plus a few links from more mainstream sites that said, duh, exactly what I’d said, but according to him they were proof, proof I say, that Democrats had covered up Saddam’s WMD and now ISIS had them (even though the few mainstream links he pointed at had ISIS getting chemical weapons from Assad’s stores, but, he said, Assad had gotten his chemical weapons from Saddam! Uhm, no, Assad and Saddam were *NOT* friends, sheesh).

At which point I realized that his willingness to believe conspiracy theories far outweighed any rational thought, and bowed out of the conversation, leaving him to echo things to himself.

People ask me why I don’t believe bizarre conspiracy X. Well,

  1. There’s no evidence for most of them, just wild speculation and handwaving. “Because it’s all been covered up by the Democrats!” Wait. We’re talking about the same Democrats who can’t even secure their very own email server? They’re supposed to be able to keep secret these vast conspiracies? For realz?
  2. Where there’s supposedly “evidence”, usually it’s single-sourced. A single journalist stated that “unnamed official sources” told her these things confidentially. All other “evidence” ends up going back to this one single journalist (hi, Judith Miller!). Uhm, a single point is not data. A single point is noise. If it isn’t validated by other outlets, it’s worthless.
  3. Where there’s multiple sources, the sources are often all part of a single echo chamber. Fox News, World Nut Daily, Breitbart, and Infowars might all report they validated with their own “confidential sources” that so-and-so is true, but I want to see it validated by people outside that echo chamber. What does the BBC think? What does the CBC (Canada) think? What about ABC/NBC/etc.? ABC (Australia)? I want to see sources from outside that echo chamber too!
  4. And then there are the conspiracies that violate basic laws of physics, like chemtrails. If a conspiracy requires fundamental scientific laws to be overthrown, then it’s bullshit.
  5. If it’s a vast conspiracy that people in the know aren’t blabbering about, it’s bullshit. There’s no such thing as a secret conspiracy. I mean, look. We know that the NSA has black boxes inside AT&T’s voice network. We know this because a) people saw NSA spooks install these black boxes and they blabbered about it, and b) the Snowden papers gave us details on how it all worked. This is a conspiracy, of sorts, but it’s a real world one — one that couldn’t remain secret because too many people knew about it. This is what a *real* conspiracy looks like — it looks like a lot of people who are in a position to know muttering about how they’re being required to do some shady shit. Contrast with, say, the conspiracy to demolish the WTC twin towers with explosives. Who placed these explosives? Why did nobody mutter about how they were required to admit these people to the towers before 9/11? It had to have required a crew of dozens, working with custodians in multiple buildings to gain access to the central core, why haven’t we heard anything from a single one of these people? That kind of absolute silence would require a lot of dead people. Just sayin’.
  6. And finally, if it’s a vast conspiracy that requires people who hate each other to conspire with each other, like requiring a Republican President to cooperate with a Democratic conspiracy… it’s just plain bullshit. Are you telling me that President Bush wouldn’t have held a huge press conference in front of those oozing billyuns and billyuns of Saddam’s WMD if they had in fact existed? He was the motherfucking President of the United States of America, for cryin’ out loud. All he would have had to do was send all the news people notice that he was holding a huge press conference on the outskirts of Baghdad that was going to show them gigatons, gigatons I say, of WMD, and media would have been *begging* to cover it. Because that would have been News with a motherfucking capital *N*, bitches. Yet that idiot in my first paragraph was willing to believe that President Bush would have conspired with Democrats to cover up Saddam’s WMD. Or that Saddam, who hated Assad, would have conspired with Assad to smuggle his WMD into Syria. WTF, people? When your conspiracy requires people who hate each other’s guts to conspire with each other, it’s fucking FAIL all the way to first base!

So why don’t I believe bizarre conspiracy X? Well, because, for one or more of the reasons above, it’s fucking bullshit, that’s why. ‘Nuff said.

– Badtux the Grumpily Rude Penguin

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This has been a banner week for censorship of mainstream news and opinions by Facebook’s 20-something neckbeards. First, Facebook censored the iconic photo of “Napalm Girl” both in its original article (where a reporter was ruminating on the price of war) and in the newspaper article that was covering the censorship of the original article. Because the 20-something neckbeards running the dungeons of Facebook never studied any history in school — why should they, how much money can history make you anyhow? — thus did not realize that they were censoring history, they just saw a photo of a naked girl.

Then they compounded this censorship by censoring an article about 9/11 by Navy veteran Jim Wright. Jim was tip of the spear in Iraq in 2003, helping secure the oil facilities from Saddam’s minions. He has an opinion — one that is an informed opinion of a veteran intelligence officer who has been there, done that, seen things he can’t talk about, and it isn’t one that’s very polite towards the people who trot out the dead bodies from 9/11 as justification for anything and everything, every year ripping the scabs off of open wounds for political advantage of people who are, frankly, scum. First the offended tighty righties tried to hack his account. Then they all hit the “I’m offended!” button on Facebook’s UI. And again, the 20-something neckbeards running the dungeons of Facebook, for whom 9/11 is something that happened when they were 10 years old, censored this opinion that clearly was offensive since all these righties were being offended about it.

It is, of course, Facebook’s right to delete anything on their platform that they don’t want. It’s their property, after all. Still, I think the core problem is that Facebook doesn’t know what it wants to be. Originally Facebook was a place for college kids to hook up with members of the opposite sex. Then it became a place for friends to share pictures of their kids and kitties. Now there are Serious People attempting to use Facebook as a general way of communicating with the general public. This is especially troublesome when said Serious People are, in fact, journalists covering stories of critical importance, like the Norwegian reporter and newspaper above. But the censorship of ordinary Serious Writers like Jim who are attempting to talk about Serious Things is troublesome too, because it means that Serious People can’t rely on the platform in order to converse with their readership.

Thing is, Facebook doesn’t know what to do when faced with Serious People trying to talk about Serious Things. They act like they’re still the old Facebook that is just a place for friends to share pictures of their kids and kitties and what they ate for dinner and where anything serious should be censored so as to not offend people who just want to see cat pictures and what their friends had for dinner. But then, they *don’t* want to go back to being that site, they desire to have Serious People writing about Serious Things on their site, because that cat picture site had only 1/10th the readership of the current site where Serious People have Facebook pages that people flock to Facebook to read. Sooner or later they have to reconcile those two desires, or it will get reconciled for them as people desert them to flock to other social media sites that aren’t so schizophrenic.

Meanwhile: WordPress has never censored any of my posts — and believe me, you look in my archives, you’ll see posts that would get me perma-banned from Facebook. Blogger (Google) never censored any of my posts when I was on that platform — ditto. What this says is Serious People should not use Facebook for anything other than pictures of their kids and kitties and dinner entre’s shared with only their personal friends.

You will be seeing more posts from me here in the future. Facebook has been getting the bulk of them — but if Facebook wants to be about cat pictures and details of what I ate for lunch, well, that’s that. Their platform. Their loss. So it goes.

– Badtux the Censorship-smellin’ Penguin

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So, the Libertarian Party held their National Convention today to coronate Republican Gary Johnson as their Presidential candidate, and Republican William Weld as their Vice-Presidential candidate. Thus cementing the status of the Libertarian Party as being Republicans who like to smoke weed.

It was a dignified affair, as exemplified by this photo:

libertarian

Yes. That is a nearly-naked man (he’s wearing thong underwear). On stage. In front of the entire Libertarian National Convention. Uhm, yeah, he stripped on stage, you can watch the video at that link (warning, you may need eye bleach!).

But really, what more can we expect of a party that claims that, for example, we don’t need traffic lights because they’re Big Government infringement upon our liberties? Yeah, I can just see Libertarian intersection in action….

libertarian-intersection

It’s a comedy party floating a massive joke as its platform, and what better for a comedy party than a comedy routine at its national convention, in the end?

– Badtux the Easily Amused Penguin

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