Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for October 24th, 2020

Why do Republicans hate people who need healthcare?

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Note the names listed in the video. These are the people who want to take healthcare away from millions of Americans, and who have worked hard to do that.

Written by Leisureguy

24 October 2020 at 4:53 pm

If you need some maintenance wrt mental well being, go for it

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At various times I have gone to a therapist for assistance with emotional/mental issues. I don’t think it’s any more a big deal than getting a new clutch on your car or a transmission overhaul, and the goal is the same: to make things go better. And in my experience it has indeed been helpful, especially if you’ve done some thinking about what’s bothering you and have some goals in mind — and recognize those might not be the goals best for you.

(See, for example, Ordinary People, when the boy Conrad (Timothy Hutton) goes to see Dr. Berger (Judd Hirsch) for emotional issues following his brother’s death in a boating accident. In the hallway, Conrad knocks on the office door, but a door farther along the hall opens and Dr. Berger sticks his head out and invites Conrad in. Conrad was knocking at the wrong door, as he is when he tells Dr. Berger that he wants to get his emotions more tightly controlled — but see the movie.

At any rate, an occasional checkup with someone who knows about such things and has practice is fixing them is a good idea when things seem not to be running so well, whether it’s your car or yourself. COVID has been here for 9+ months now….and the uncertainty around the election and winter are both looming. All of this is especially hard for people with depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders, and people who are grieving for family and friends who have been lost to the pandemic. NAMI, The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a 24-hour helpline in the US: 800-950-6264. Would you share this info?

Written by Leisureguy

24 October 2020 at 2:49 pm

The Tragedy of the “Tragedy of the Commons”

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Matto Mildenberger posted in the Scientific American blog a little over a year ago:

Fifty years ago, University of California professor Garrett Hardin penned an influential essay in the journal Science. Hardin saw all humans as selfish herders: we worry that our neighbors’ cattle will graze the best grass. So, we send more of our cows out to consume that grass first. We take it first, before someone else steals our share. This creates a vicious cycle of environmental degradation that Hardin described as the “tragedy of the commons.”

It’s hard to overstate Hardin’s impact on modern environmentalism. His views are taught across ecology, economics, political science and environmental studies. His essay remains an academic blockbuster, with almost 40,000 citations. It still gets republished in prominent environmental anthologies.

But here are some inconvenient truths: Hardin was a racist, eugenicist, nativist and Islamophobe. He is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a known white nationalist. His writings and political activism helped inspire the anti-immigrant hatred spilling across America today.

And he promoted an idea he called “lifeboat ethics”: since global resources are finite, Hardin believed the rich should throw poor people overboard to keep their boat above water.

To create a just and vibrant climate future, we need to instead cast Hardin and his flawed metaphor overboard.

People who revisit Hardin’s original essay are in for a surprise. Its six pages are filled with fear-mongering. Subheadings proclaim that “freedom to breed is intolerable.” It opines at length about the benefits if “children of improvident parents starve to death.” A few paragraphs later Hardin writes: “If we love the truth we must openly deny the validity of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” And on and on. Hardin practically calls for a fascist state to snuff out unwanted gene pools.

Or build a wall to keep immigrants out. Hardin was a virulent nativist whose ideas inspired some of today’s ugliest anti-immigrant sentiment. He believed that only racially homogenous societies could survive. He was also involved with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a hate group that now cheers President Trump’s racist policies. Today, American neo-Nazis cite Hardin’s theories to justify racial violence.

These were not mere words on paper. Hardin lobbied Congress against sending food aid to poor nations, because he believed their populations were threatening Earth’s “carrying capacity.”

Of course, plenty of flawed people have left behind noble ideas. That Hardin’s tragedy was advanced as part of a white nationalist project should not automatically condemn its merits.

But the facts are not on Hardin’s side. For one, he got the history of the commons wrong. As Susan Cox pointed out, early pastures were well regulated by local institutions. They were not free-for-all grazing sites where people took and took at the expense of everyone else.

Many global commons have been similarly sustained through community institutions. This striking finding was the life’s work of Elinor Ostrom, who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics (technically called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel). Using the tools of science—rather than the tools of hatred—Ostrom showed the diversity of institutions humans have created to manage our shared environment.

Of course, humans can deplete finite resources. This often happens when we lack appropriate institutions to manage them. But let’s not credit Hardin for that common insight. Hardin wasn’t making an informed scientific case. Instead, he was using concerns about environmental scarcity to justify racial discrimination.

We must reject his pernicious ideas on both scientific and moral grounds. Environmental sustainability cannot exist without environmental justice. Are we really prepared to follow Hardin and say there are only so many lead pipes we can replace? Only so many bodies that should be protected from cancer-causing pollutants? Only so many children whose futures matter?

This is particularly important when we deal with climate change. Despite what Hardin might have said, the climate crisis is not a tragedy of the commons. The culprit is not our individual impulses to consume fossil fuels to the ruin of all. And the solution is not to let small islands in Chesapeake Bay or whole countries in the Pacific sink into the past, without a seat on our planetary lifeboat.

Instead, rejecting Hardin’s diagnosis requires us to name the true culprit for the climate crisis we now face. Thirty years ago, a different future was available. Gradual climate policies could have slowly steered our economy towards gently declining carbon pollution levels. The costs to most Americans would have been imperceptible.

But that future was stolen from us. It was stolen by powerful, carbon-polluting interests who blocked policy reforms at every turn to preserve their short-term profits. They locked each of us into an economy where fossil fuel consumption continues to be a necessity, not a choice.

This is what makes attacks on individual behavior so counterproductive. Yes, it’s great to drive an electric vehicle (if you can afford it) and purchase solar panels (if powerful utilities in your state haven’t conspired to make renewable energy more expensive). But the point is that interest groups have structured the choices available to us today. Individuals don’t have the agency to steer our economic ship from the passenger deck.

As Harvard historian Naomi Oreskes reminds us, “[abolitionists] wore clothes made of cotton picked by slaves. But that did not make them hypocrites … it just meant that they were also part of the slave economy, and they knew it. That is why they acted to change the system, not just their clothes.” . . .

Continue reading. There’s more.

Written by Leisureguy

24 October 2020 at 10:59 am

Intriguing correlation vis-à-vis wearing a mask v. knowing someone infected with Covid-19

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The above is from an article the Washington Post. Interesting pattern, eh? It could be coincidence, but I don’t think so. The article, by Christopher Ingraham, begins:

Despite the clear opposition to masks within the Trump White House and among its allies, Americans of all political stripes overwhelmingly support their use as a public health measure and say they wear them whenever they’re in public.

 

Still, there are significant differences in mask-use rates at the state level. And data from Carnegie Mellon’s CovidCast, an academic project tracking real-time coronavirus statistics, yields a particularly vivid illustration of how mask usage influences the prevalence of covid-19 symptoms in a given area. Take a look. [see chart above – LG]

For all 50 states plus D.C., this chart plots the percentage of state residents who say they wear a mask in public all or most of the time (on the horizontal axis) and the percentage who say they know someone in their community with virus symptoms (on the vertical axis). If you’re curious about the exact numbers for your state, there’s a table at the bottom of this article.

Take Wyoming and South Dakota, for instance, in the upper left-hand corner of the chart. Roughly 60 to 70 percent of state residents report frequent mask use, as shown on the bottom axis, which puts them at the bottom for mask rates. They also have some of the highest levels of observed covid-19 symptoms, approaching 40 and 50 percent.

Now, note what happens as you move across the chart. States farther to the right have higher rates of mask use. And as mask use increases, the frequency of observed covid-19 symptoms decreases: More masks, less covid-19.

This relationship is called a correlation, and it’s a strikingly tight one. Often in these types of plots you have to squint really hard to suss out such a relationship, and researchers occasionally go to comical lengths to divine the presence of a correlation where none really exists.

But there’s no need for that here. There’s a simple statistical measure of correlation intensity called “R-squared,” which goes from zero (absolutely no relationship between the two variables) to 1 (the variables move perfectly in tandem). The R-squared of CovidCast’s mask and symptom data is 0.73, meaning that you can predict about 73 percent of the variability in state-level covid-19 symptom prevalence simply by knowing how often people wear their masks.

One other observation to note is that almost without exception, the states with the highest rates of mask-wearing were won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. In other words, more Democrats, more masking — a vivid reflection of how partisanship has been a factor in much of the response to the pandemic. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

24 October 2020 at 9:32 am

Polo, Rose, and Mamba

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The handle on Mr Pomp, the brush is the photo, is called a polo handle for reasons unclear to me, and the base is more a flare than the flange of the WWBT brushes. It’s quite a comfortable handle, and this brush is very nice. The knot is not dense (but also by no means fluffy) and has good resilience. And I do like the handle design.

At the right is another example — a Simpson Polo 10 in Best Badger. I do like the handle, and if you’re ever getting a new brush, it’s a handle worth considering.

I did the more thoughtful lathering I’m trying: thickly loading the damp brush, using only enough water to fill the brush with soap, brushing that over the stubble, and then gingerly adding small amounts of water, working in each addition well and considering the result before deciding whether more water is needed. I believe that as a result my lathers have improved, and of course the additional time spent in lathering is all to the good so far as prepping the stubble is concerned.

JabonMan’s Rosa Bourbon Eufros shaving soap has a wonderful fragrance — very rose — and made a terrific lather (using the method described and with the benefit of soft water).

The Mamba is for me a fine razor, and I throughly enjoyed the three efficient passes. A splash of D.R. Harris Pink After Shave, also a rose fragrance, and the weekend begins

Written by Leisureguy

24 October 2020 at 9:21 am

Posted in Shaving

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