COVID-19 2021 Wave Mapped to 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act Votes

According to Time.com the “4th Wave” of COVID-19 infections seems to have a very particular acceleration path through specific parts of America.

Source: Time.com

The distribution of infections reminded me of maps of Americans voting for slavery in the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act.

Source: Search for “bleeding Kansas map”

I’ve written before here how 1873 Slaughterhouse cases explain resistance to wearing masks for COVID-19.

Perhaps now we see a degree of validation of this history lesson; areas historically where Americans objected to freedom (e.g. abolition 1854, vaccination 2021) are places Americans are most likely to have less freedom.

Surprise! Surprises Often Are Wrong.

Great article in Scientific American says too much of scientific research is trying to be “appealing” (e.g. wrong, yet surprising and therefore attracting attention) instead of accurate.

…surprising results are surprising because they go against what experience has led us to believe so far, which means that there’s a good chance they’re wrong.

Imagine a world that prized someone saying “nothing to see here” in their report more than “wolf, wolf, I saw a… never mind, just wanted to get you to listen to me.”

This Day in History 1933: IRC Was Founded

July 24 1933 was the day the International Rescue Committee (IRC) was founded, thanks to a call from Albert Einstein to aid people suffering under Hitler and the Nazi regime.

Although much of the world greeted the Nazi takeover with indifference or apathy, some people were alert to what was happening and the threat it represented. In July 1933, a committee of 51 prominent American intellectuals, artists, clergy, and political leaders formed a branch of the International Relief Association in New York, at the request of its chief, German-born physicist Albert Einstein. Among them were the philosopher John Dewey, the writer John Dos Passos, and the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Other prominent citizens, even including Eleanor Roosevelt, soon joined the effort.

Can Electric Cars Be Made to Smell Like Real Horses?

An incredibly expensive electric car ($500-600K) has this to say about its simulation features:

Totem claims that using gaming algorithms and internal combustion engine calibration, it can make engine torque, gear ratios, power band, engine brake, and sound and vibration sound “realistic and customizable.” Even the gear lever can be made to have a conventional shifter’s mechanical feeling. Engine sounds are customizable as well.

Yuck. This reads to me like an electric carriage can be made to smell like it’s being pulled by animals. At some point people have to give up all the horseshit and move on.

In ancient Rome, Julius Caesar banned horse-drawn carriages due to gridlock and pollution. In New York City, though, that seemed implausible — horses were just too essential for urban transportation and shipping.

Things being too essential shouldn’t mean people are allowed to do the wrong things when those things no longer are essential, right? I guess someone would have to define what is wrong with things like engine sound.

Maybe for some this is yet another moment to celebrate technology holding on to distinct obvious smell and noise pollution of horse power. I still say yuck.

To be fair many years ago I spoke with nautical engineers about making a giant empty carbon fiber box with a tiny electric trolling engine that looked just like a $500K cigar boat with jet engines. Then I would slowly float and gurgle it along the Intracoastal Waterway with big speakers that made it sound real. True story. And we never built one but obviously there’s a market.

Sharing Knowledge to Overcome Possible Future Enemies

Buried in chapter 5.2 of the famous 1945 report to the President (“Science The Endless Frontier”) by Vannevar Bush, under the heading “Security Restrictions Should Be Lifted Promptly”, is this sentence:

Our ability to overcome possible future enemies depends upon scientific advances which will proceed more rapidly with diffusion of knowledge than under a policy of continued restriction of knowledge now in our possession.

A similar sentiment is found in chapter 4.5 under the heading “Remove the Barriers”

Higher education in this country is largely for those who have the means. If those who have the means coincided entirely with those persons who have the talent we should not be squandering a part of our higher education on those undeserving of it, nor neglecting great talent among those who fail to attend college for economic reasons. There are talented individuals in every segment of the population, but with few exceptions those without the means of buying higher education go without it. Here is a tremendous waste of the greatest resource of a nation – the intelligence of its citizens.

If ability, and not the circumstance of family fortune, is made to determine who shall receive higher education in science, then we shall be assured of constantly improving quality at every level of scientific activity.

Ability instead of family fortune, diffusion of knowledge instead of restriction. America clearly was in a different, far more logical, place at the end of WWII.

Most Falsehoods “Tend to Promote Conservative Positions”

Here’s an odd paragraph from new scientific research:

Results confirm that conservatives have lower sensitivity than liberals, performing worse at distinguishing truths and falsehoods. This is partially explained by the fact that the most widely shared falsehoods tend to promote conservative positions, while corresponding truths typically favor liberals.

Way back in 2008 I wrote here about this exact problem, perhaps as a kind of foreshadowing?

The people calling themselves conservatives seem to have an amazing “hubris”. They not only stick to their guns in the face of science or even just details (like Lehman’s CEO who refused to believe his company was in trouble) but they actually become more convinced they are in the right when evidence starts to challenge them.

Prove to them the world is round and they might just try to burn you at the stake for discrediting their flatland leader.

This Day in History 1944: Virginia Hall Sets Up “The Farm” in Occupied France

Virginia Hall in 1944 on this day set up a safe house in Le Chambon sur Lignon, south central France on the farm of Maurice and Léa Lebrat. In her own words:

My life in Haute-Loire was different and difficult. I spent my time looking for fields for receptions, bicycling up and down mountains, checking drop zones, visiting various contacts, doing my wireless transmissions and then spending the nights out waiting, for the most part in vain, for the deliveries.

Hall’s heroic and successful field work to defeat Nazism is captured by a famous painting donated to the CIA in a 2006 memorial.

Source: OSS Society

The painting is named for one of her air drop code phrases “Les marguerites fleuriront ce soir” (The daisies bloom tonight). Depicted with Hall is Léa Lebrat’s cousin Edmund, credited with building and operating a easily-disguised hand-crank generator to power wireless signals to London.

March 1944 she sneaked into France by boat (Brittany coast) and began exfiltrating streams of intelligence as well as training three battalions with a Jedburgh Team to fight the Germans until Allied forces (following D-Day 6th of June 1944) were able to join her in August and take over in September. Again, in her own words (allegedly):

In 1943 I joined General Donovan’s Office of Strategic Services for more adventures with the French Resistance. I became proficient in Morse code and radio operation, which made me invaluable. During the day, I appeared to be a milkmaid. However, at night I directed the Resistance Forces under me in many acts of sabotage and guerilla warfare. I relayed important information from haylofts via my radio to London. I was always keeping ahead of the Gestapo, whose leaders knew of me and wanted me captured. I never gave them the opportunity, my spirit and devotion to the cause carried me on.

I said allegedly for the above quote as “made me invaluable” and “always keeping ahead” do not sound at all like Virginia’s voice, and I’ve been unable to source it as authentic.

She passed away in 1982, doing the hard work more than trying to gain recognition, and remained mostly unknown.

Senator Bob Dole in 2016 called out Hall specifically (“only civilian woman to receive the Distinguished Service Cross in World War II”) when he pushed the US Government to give a Congressional Gold Medal to OSS (awarded March 21, 2018).

Or as President Harry Truman put it, when General Donovan in September 1945 awarded her the Cross:

Miss Hall displayed rare courage, perseverance and ingenuity; her efforts contributed materially to the successful operations of the Resistance Forces in support of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in the liberation of France.

The National Archives have a copy of the “Memorandum for the President from William J. Donovan Regarding Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Award to Virginia Hall, 05/12/1945″

Further reading:

Unconventional Warfare Results that Appear to be Bad Luck

Charles I, King of England 1600-1649 on his way to execution. (Image by Ernest Crofts). Charles is said to have believed his luck ran out because his beloved black cat died, and Cromwell’s troops arrested him the next day. England still has a superstition that black cats bring good luck.

A new leak from the Kremlin alleges that America’s “bad luck” in the 2016 election was due to a Russian unconventional warfare plot.

…help secure Moscow’s strategic objectives, among them “social turmoil” in the US and a weakening of the American president’s negotiating position [by occupying the White House with] an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex”.

This topic shows up for further research as a sixth example under section “E1” (Unconventional Warfare) of Special Operations Research Topics 2022, a publication of the Joint Special Operations University:

Examples of methods might include:
• geocaching covert radar beacons to use in a global positioning system-denied environment,
• substitution of contaminated oil or hydraulic fluids into aircraft logistic chains,
• incorrect calibration of aerospace ground equipment and precision measurement equipment laboratory tools for aircraft maintenance,
• “accidental” cutting of fiber optic lines by digging in the wrong location,
• aircraft damaged in training areas unable to be used on front lines,
• creating chain of command “trust” issues via social media or other online activities.

Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binoculars are Totally 1980s Cool

The Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binoculars (or the unpronounceable ENVGB) make the world look so much like a scene from Tron I’m super excited to use them every day, er, night instead of lights.

See the difference? Source: Twitter and The Drive

Totally cool, right? They should have been called the Trusted Receptor Occurrence Night (TRON)

The Drive also posted an image that reminds me very much of US Army “video game” training simulators I played in the 1980s.

Source: The Drive

All that’s missing are the bright red tracer rounds arcing across the screen (as I’ve written about here before)…

Anyway, with this kind of improvement to low visibility clarity and seeing humans down range, vehicles attempting to avoid pedestrians should have no excuses when they crash instead.

Conservative Cancel Culture: The Curious Case of Ward Churchill

An extremely thorough and eye-opening 2011 report by the AAUP exposes how extremist conservative professors manipulated political pressure to censor American voices they disagreed with:

Regents and administration and some faculty of the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) allowed an obvious political vendetta against Ward Churchill to override their honesty, deny due process, violate their own published rules, ignore accepted standards of shared governance and academic freedom, and manipulate the investigative process to produce a predetermined, false conclusion. At few points in recent history have the political machinations to censor opinion been so brazen.

This section in particular stood out as insightful foreshadowing.

In Peoria, Churchill befriended and became roommates with another Peoria area native, Mark Clark. A year later Clark, along with Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, was killed in a raid on Hampton’s apartment, conducted by the Chicago police and the FBI, in what became a seminal event in 1960’s radicalism. While the police claimed that they fired at Clark and Hampton in self-defense, it was later determined that the victims were asleep. A grand jury found that the police fired between 82 and 99 rounds. The Panthers fired a single shot in self-defense, determined by the grand jury to have come from Clark in a reflexive death convulsion as he slept in a chair guarding the door, a shotgun in his lap. Ten years later, the Clark and Hampton families received a $1.85 million wrongful death settlement from the FBI and the City of Chicago.

Of some relevance to Churchill’s later intellectual concerns, as well as the unsparing tenor of much of his scholarship, the police were “tipped off” by an informant who had infiltrated the Black Panthers and provided details about Hampton’s apartment. This infiltration was part of a massive FBI campaign, known as COINTELPRO, to subvert the Panthers and other radical organizations. According to FBI documents released under the Freedom of Information Act in 1988, Churchill himself was recommended by agents in the FBI’s Peoria office for “neutralization.” The theme of government infiltration is one that Churchill would return to often in his scholarly explorations. The FBI informant, William O’Neal, committed suicide after admitting his role.

the poetry of information security