Category Archives: Other

What is the plan to dial back the fear, panic and hysteria?

After year of scary Covid-19 headlines and bad forecasts (2.2 million dead in the U.S. by April/May 2020, we need 100,000 ventilators STAT!), much of the population remains in fear.

We see this in quotes on social media from people who say they have barely left their home in a year. We see it in people wearing face masks while driving their car with the windows rolled up. We see it in Letters to the Editor about the necessity to keep schools closed until there are zero cases of Covid. We see this surveys finding something like 35% of the population saying they will continue to wear a face mask even after the pandemic ends and 14% saying they will likely wear a face mask the rest of their life.

Many people remain caught in fear and hysteria due to extraordinarily poor public health communication coupled with a media focused on doom and gloom.

As vaccines roll out, as the pandemic may fade on its own, at some point life should return to normal – in spite of, and not because of the totalitarian desires of many public health experts and politicians. At some point, most people will begin to say to hell with it and get on with life (as has happened during most prior pandemics).

What is the plan to unwind this hysteria?

There is none.

15 days to flatten the curve is extended to the point that it is now “infinity”. We will never be safe and must remain locked up in our homes, wearing face masks until we die.

I witnessed the last of the scheduled “firefalls” to occur in Yosemite National Park

A long time ago, park staff would push a pile of burning embers off of Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park in an evening display of a “Fire fall” that recreated the many waterfalls but with glowing embers. The embers would be pushed over the edge when visitors on the valley floor below would all yell simultaneously, “Let the fire fall!”.

In retrospect, this was bizarre, especially inside a national park. But it had gone on since 1872.

Oddly, as a child I witnessed the last of the scheduled original fire falls as we were there late in the season.  During the following winter, the National Park Service announced it would discontinue the practice. They ran one additional one, in the middle of winter with almost no visitors present.

Since then, photographers took to catching the glow of the setting sun on Horsetail Falls which occurs when the weather and sunlight line up just right. The following news story omits all mention of the original firefall.

Source: How to see Yosemite’s firefall in 2021, Horsetail Fall | The Sacramento Bee

This is me too

I would prefer to be writing positive things about tech, energy, transportation too.

Unfortunately, I have a very low tolerance for bull shit [1]- and the pandemic response level of bull shit has been wild.

Quite a few people are frustrated by the level of illogical nonsense that has emanated from public health epidemic experts, the media and politicians and many have begun to speak out. It’s been a steady stream of inconsistent, contradictory, illogical and incoherent nonsense.

[1] By bull shit tolerance is very low. This might be because of my training – undergrad degree in computer science (and 3 courses shy of a degree in math too), a graduate degree in software engineering, and an MBA (analysis and computer modeling). Precision and logic are important and its how my brain is trained to operate. When its working … It might also be because of multiple traumatic brain injuries which caused me a host of challenges throughout life. Regardless, I do not tolerate bull shit. (If you want to know, one 5″ skull fracture, moderate TBI diagnosed years later, 5 more knock out blows – subsequent speech problems, tinnitus, six kinds of headaches including visual migraines, brain perseveration, anxiety, sleep disorders, occasional swallowing difficulties, sensitivity to light and sound – and more. Brain injuries are not fun.)

Insurrection is more common than we realize, and how to stop this madness

Insurrection

noun

an act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/insurrection?s=t

We’ve had 3 insurrections in the past 12 months. Version 1.0 was done by some in public health who thought they could suspend the Constitution (somewhere I have a quote from a public health person who actually said that). Version 2.0 was a combination of Antifa, anarchists and right wing provocateurs, and version 3.0 was extreme right pro-Trumpers on January 6th.

Insurrection seems quite common – is it stoppable? I think so but it requires a government that truly listens, bases decisions on evidence and logic, explains clearly and is transparent.

Unfortunately, seems unlikely we will see that soon.

Continue reading Insurrection is more common than we realize, and how to stop this madness

Wow: Amateur & Personal Radio Users Reminded Not to Use Radios in Crimes 

The FCC Enforcement Bureau issued today an advisory to remind licensees and operators in the Amateur and Personal Radio Services that they may not use radio equipment to commit or facilitate crimes.

Source: Amateur & Personal Radio Users Reminded Not to Use Radios in Crimes | Federal Communications Commission

Updated – see below for new information.

Issued on Sunday.

Some insurrectionists were using two-way radios to coordinate their attack on the U.S. Capitol. These radios may have been commonly available two-way radios – GMRS, business band VHF itinerant, and Amateur Radio – possibly or probably not licensed. There are tons of cheap two-way radios for sale on Amazon and EBay for example – many of which required licensed users – buy buyers may ignore that.

CNN picked up the story. but produced fiction suggesting insurrectionist, kicked off social media will some how use Amateur Radio as a replacement. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Newsweek has a better and accurate report.

The ARRL, the national association for amateur radio, issued an unusual email blast on Sunday reminding Amateur Radio operators of the services long and proud history in public service, emergency communications, education/self training, and international goodwill. And added a closing paragraph that the ARRL does not support misuse of the Amateur Radio service “for purposes inconsistent with these values and purposes”.

More details follow…

Continue reading Wow: Amateur & Personal Radio Users Reminded Not to Use Radios in Crimes 

“World leaders react to ‘disgraceful’ mob attack on U.S. Capitol”

What happened today was disgusting: World leaders react to ‘disgraceful’ mob attack on U.S. Capitol – oregonlive.com

This was insurrection and sedition and should be prosecuted as such.

And:

Members of the pro-Trump mob that broke into the U.S. Capitol building Wednesday broke into the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi while there.”

Trump released a video on Twitter calling the election a landslide, stolen election and a fraud and saying he won, overwhelmingly. As disgusting a statement as one can make in the midst of insurrection.

Trump has also said he will never concede. UPDATE: TWITTER HAS DELETED THE ABOVE VIDEO CLIP. As did Youtube. However, a copy has been reposted by the Associated Press. He called the election “fraudulent” and claimed he won in a landslide.

The National Association of Manufacturers called upon Vice President Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment procedure to remove the President from office.

January 6, 2021 3:37pm 

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement in response to large groups of armed Trump adherents who have violently stormed the U.S. Capitol building as members of Congress meet to count the electoral votes:

“Armed violent protestors who support the baseless claim by outgoing president Trump that he somehow won an election that he overwhelmingly lost have stormed the U.S. Capitol today, attacking police officers and first responders, because Trump refused to accept defeat in a free and fair election. Throughout this whole disgusting episode, Trump has been cheered on by members of his own party, adding fuel to the distrust that has enflamed violent anger. This is not law and order. This is chaos. It is mob rule. It is dangerous. This is sedition and should be treated as such. The outgoing president incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favor of anarchy. Anyone indulging conspiracy theories to raise campaign dollars is complicit. Vice President Pence, who was evacuated from the Capitol, should seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy.

“This is not the vision of America that manufacturers believe in and work so hard to defend. Across America today, millions of manufacturing workers are helping our nation fight the deadly pandemic that has already taken hundreds of thousands of lives. We are trying to rebuild an economy and save and rebuild lives. But none of that will matter if our leaders refuse to fend off this attack on America and our democracy—because our very system of government, which underpins our very way of life, will crumble.”

Some note that Trump appears to have incited insurrection against the U.S. government, which would be an impeachable offense and are calling upon the House to invoke articles of impeachment to send to the Senate immediately.

Update: Wall Street Journal Editorial Board calls for Trump to resign.

What is next: The United Nations to Deploy Peacekeeping Forces to America?

And Good Question – I am so old I remember 9/11/2001 and then this happens when a mere group of thugs take over the U.S. Capitol:

This certainly appears to have been done by Trump supporters; But Trump enthusiasts say it was infiltrated by Antifa. Others will surely blame Russia. Everyone will spin this in every possible direction. Regardless, this was mishandled by all parties involved.

Update: This insurrection occurred in Oregon today as well and is reported to have also occurred in Kansas and Georgia.

In the US Capitol, Trump’s supporters did indeed fly a Confederate flag.

Update: This insurrection was likely a Covid-19 mass spreader event for many obvious reasons.

Trump’s Past Tweets

I had muted Trump so that I did not see his tweets when shared by people I follow on Twitter. I do that for lots of politicians as I have a very negative view of all politicians (with good reasons).

Today, I reviewed some of his recent tweets and his apparent desire to inspire insurrection. These tweets are kind of scary in retrospect. This certainly looks like attempts to promote insurrection.

Certainly, Trump was correct – today was an Historic Day. Perhaps not as he thought it would be however.

All out war: We need a massive vaccination program

Considering the economic and life costs as our elected and unelected public health leaders twiddle their thumbs, this is spot on:

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney on Friday urged the U.S. government to immediately enlist veterinarians, combat medics and others in an all-out national campaign to administer coronavirus vaccinations and slow a surging rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.

Source: Romney urges sweeping vaccine plan as U.S. surpasses 20 million COVID-19 cases | Reuters

We should be scaling up a massive, nationwide program capable of delivering millions of doses every day, 7 days per week.

We’ve got well over 320 million people in the country, and many vaccines require 2-doses. That’s over 600 million shots (including children eventually) – preferably done as soon as vaccines are available in quantity. If necessary, more money should be spent to develop even more manufacturing capability. (The world needs to vaccinate up to 8 billion people and at this rate, it will take years to reach that.)

In the US we need to inoculate 3-4 million people every day, 7 days per week.

Unfortunately, everywhere I look, the people who told us this was a life or death emergency do not, by their actions, act like it is an emergency.

Post covid impacts on travel

  • For domestic travel, families will likely continue to do so via cars and RVs. RV sales exploded in 2020 – particularly as people with little or no prior tent camping experience decided to travel and buy or rent an RV. Unfortunately, many newbies lack campground etiquette and are the ones who pull in, power up the generator and watch movies until late at night. Related: Locally, sales of cross country ski gear this winter exploded to the point that many retailers are out of stock. Earlier, local retailers would running short on some bikes.
  • For domestic travel to campgrounds, it will be necessary to reserve campsites months in advance – especially for national parks and popular state parks. Limited or no service BLM and USFS campsites will likely have greater availability, depending on where you live.
  • For those flying, a “Vaccine passport” may be, perhaps likely, required for many destinations by sometime in 2H 2021. Related: I expect many businesses to go down this path – while the U.S. government cannot mandate “immunity passports”, private businesses and organizations can. Concerns over “liability” and the desire for “Covid safe theater” will lead to this starting at some venues by spring of 2021.
  • “Covid tests” likely required for many destinations through 2021. This requirement may remain in effect longer than necessary as governments are slow to loosen restrictions. Can be expensive too – adding up to US $100 to $150 per destination per visitor.
  • Due to uncertainty around vaccine rollouts, both domestically and internationally, some experts recommend not resuming most travel until 2022, not 2021.
  • Airfares will go to premium pricing as demand returns. But that is at least a year out. Some think airlines – due to difficulties in predicting demand – may consistently over book flights. It is sort of the flip side of their eliminating change fees to encourage people to book flights now.
  • International travel will likely have extra hurdles in place for some time – depending on destination. As of December 2020, there are only 1.8 billion doses (some vaccines are 2-doses) in the manufacturing pipeline, globally for 2021 – and that’s not even 1.8 billion people, but doses. The planet has almost 8 billion people. Until vaccinations are available to all – which could be out through 2023, restrictions will remain in place for various destinations.
  • The youth oriented, low cost, travel in a backpack and stay in a youth hostel (just watch Youtube travel videos) might be impacted for some time. Something about staying in communal hostels won’t work for a while yet. Second, low cost airfares might go away for some time as demand ramps up – global airline losses are about US $157 billion this year. Still, many young people have seemingly inexhaustible resources to travel internationally with little concern about saving for the future that may never come – and might just keep doing that.

Nature Conservancy: “California: Let’s Stop Making Wildfire History”

Some of the factors that shape the frequency and severity of wildfire in California, like drought, record high temperatures and strong winds are beyond our control and in many cases, exacerbated by a changing climate. Other factors, such as how we manage our fire-adapted conifer forests, where we build homes and how we prepare and protect our communities are within our control.

Source: The Nature Conservancy – California: Let’s Stop Making Wildfire History

Media and social media have been quick to blame California’s fires (including recent years and the present) on climate change. Social media instapundits proclaim that “only if we had done X on climate change” this would not have happened. Or if “Politician X was not in office” we would have solved climate change and this would have prevented the fires.

But that makes no sense – what could have been done on climate change, last year, or five years ago or ten years ago or even 20 years ago that would have effected forest fires this year? If we magically ended all fossil fuel usage 20 years ago, the forest fire risk this year would have been exactly the same.

While dealing with climate is an issue, it would have done nothing vis a vis current fires. Nor will spending trillions on climate change in the next 10 or 20 years resolve California’s fire problems – since spending trillions diverts enormous sums to climate change, it  diverts money away from measures that would reduce California fire risk now.

We need to  control what we can control – now. And that is what this Nature Conservancy report says.

Update: More here on how building codes evolved to create safer structures in earthquake prone areas, whereas we have not evolved building codes to make safer fire proof structures in fire prone areas. Fire is a natural part of the California ecosystem – and now, millions of people are living within areas that are dependent on fire.

Continue reading Nature Conservancy: “California: Let’s Stop Making Wildfire History”

When was the last time the media hyped a “drone sighting”? I can’t even remember.

Reports to the FAA of “drone sightings”, used by Congress and the FAA to drive forth draconian remote identification and mandated national surveillance networks using drones, with the goal of pricing drone flying out of the public’s reach – were based on bad data and media hysterics, much of which was false reporting.

  • Remember the Aeromexico flight in late 2018 that had a collapsed nose cone? The media blamed that on a drone. Six months later the official investigation found it was due to a maintenance defect on the nose cone.
  • Remember the Gatwick Airport fiasco? The only confirmed drone sightings were of the fleet of surveillance drones operated by the Sussex Police over the airport.
  • Remember the temporary Newark Airport closure due to a “drone sighting”? That drone report was from 20 miles away from the airport and may not have even been a drone at all.

Take a look at this – drone sightings have magically disappeared: Drone Sightings: The Actual Non-Hyped Numbers Analyzed (Graphs, Trends, etc.)

After awhile, when the FAA isn’t stealing Youtube content, they seem to have been busy making up fake drone reports to justify a remote ID proposal that mandates all drones be connected to the Internet cloud, in real time, and used as part of a massive national surveillance program, collecting imagery and telemetry and potentially sending it to China. Brilliant. Not like any drones would so something like that.

The FAA’s primary goal is to make hobby flying of radio control model aircraft so expensive and cumbersome as to eliminate it entirely. The reason is to clear the low altitude airspace for AmazonGoogleUPS delivery drones. The FAA asserts that it and it alone owns the airspace in your front and backyards from the ground up. Literally, the airspace below your head when you stand outside is controlled by the FAA and they intend to use it for corporate delivery and surveillance networks. (See my comments to see how that works.)