Friday, June 28, 2019

New property of light discovered.

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Spain and the U.S. has announced that they have discovered a new property of light -- self-torque. Their findings have been published in the journal Science.

So very cool.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

"Shut up!" explained The Guardian.

No, you morons don't understand. In order to protect Free Speech we need you to shut up!

Free speech advocates also misunderstand the motivation of those who might want to shut down a debate: they see this as a surefire mark of intolerance. But some debates should be shut down. For public dialogue to make any progress, it is important to recognise when a particular debate has been won and leave it there.

Even the most passionate free speech advocate might not wish to reopen the debate into whether women should be tried for witchcraft, or whether ethnic minorities should be allowed to go to university, or whether the Earth is flat. No-platformers are not scared – they simply think certain debates are over. You may disagree, but it does not mean they are against free speech.

Oh, and if you disagree that some debates should be shut down, you are a bigot, a boor and probably very stupid as well.

 Martha Gill is a political journalist and former lobby correspondent. She has worked as a staffer at the Economist and the New Statesman.

Where she was probably manhandled by the perverts who run the place, but lacks the fortitude to come forward about it because the #MeToo debate is officially over.

In other news, it was discovered that Martha Gill's head is completely filled with wool. A co-worker noticed a bit of yarn protruding from one ear and pulled on it. Ms. Gill exhibits no ill effects from having 400 feet of red number 5  pulled from her now empty skull, but was heard to complain there was a bit of an echo when she speaks.

The Echoing Phantom

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Most People Are Not Assholes.

If you look at TV or the movies, and increasingly fiction, the Human Race is mostly depicted as worthless assholes who don't deserve to live.

This turns out to be untrue.

If you find a wallet stuffed with bank notes, do you pocket the cash or track down the owner to return it? We can each speak for ourselves, but now a team of economists have put the unsuspecting public to the test in a mass social experiment involving 17,000 "lost" wallets in 40 countries.

Overall, 51% of those who were handed a wallet with the smaller amount of money reported it, compared with 40% of those handed an empty wallet. When the wallet contained a large sum of money, the rate of return was 72%.

72% of the people returned the -large- amount of money. This disproves the "Everybody Does It" excuse so beloved of scumbags and politicians everywhere. No, you assholes, everybody does NOT do it.

Authors and movie makers please wake the fuck up and smell the coffee.

The Phantom

Update: Welcome Instapundit! Thanks for the linkage, Sarah!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Hatred in the public sphere: why is it there?

We all know there's plenty-plenty hate out there pointed all over the place. I'm going to talk about a specific and extremely virulent hatred, that of liberals toward gun owners, because I found a great example of it: "How Guns Literally Go to Men's Heads" by Thom Hartmann, a "writing fellow" of the "Independent Media Institute." (I'd be fascinated to know where they get their money.)

Mr. Hartmann is also the author of "The Hidden History of Guns and the Second Amendment" which is one of the most breathtakingly false books about American history I've seen in a long time.

So let's see what Mr. Hartmann has to say about men, shall we?

People are asking why the shooter in Virginia Beach used a gun to settle his workplace score. The answer is probably pretty simple.

When a man has a gun, he literally holds the power of life and death in his hand. That kind of power is extraordinarily seductive.

The Virginia Beach shooter was seduced by the Power of the Gun. That's his whole take.

With a gun in his hand, a man can look around a room, a building, or a public area and specifically identify who will instantaneously die and whom he will allow to live. It's a power that traditionally has only been held by doctors, priests, police and soldiers.

I can tell you from personal experience of carrying a gun, that isn't what I was thinking when I got into a "situation" one time. I was thinking "If I have to shoot this prick, I'm going to lose my job and probably go to jail."

Also, that whole "doctors, priests, police and soldiers" list is bullshit. Every adult male in the world has the power of life and death in his own two hands from puberty onward, and he knows it. You don't need a gun to kill somebody. You can do it with your fingers. Or feet, elbows, a nice handy rock, whatever.

This is largely a male problem because men commit 85.3 percent of all homicides and 97 percent of all homicides where the shooter and victim don't know each other. In the case of school and workplace shootings, the shooters are also more than 97 percent male.

As a result of this male aggression provoked in part by handling guns, in America guns are the second leading cause of death (just behind car crashes) among children between 1 and 19 years old.

Couple things here. First, extending childhood to age 19 is a way to lie with charts. They want to bring in that huge number of teenage shootings which is gang-bangers killing each other over drugs.

Second, "male aggression" as the prime motivator in gun related murder is an interesting notion. We can TEST that theory right now.

Here's Mr. Hartmann's "science" section:

This goes way beyond the joke of the Small Penis Gun Club or its Facebook site. Men, it turns out, are actually hardwired by evolution and biology to react to having power over others with a boost in testosterone and an increase in aggression.

A 2006 study published in Psychological Science by Klinesmith, Kasser and McAndrew found that men who simply handled a gun were significantly more likely to give other men a higher dose of hot sauce (a commonly used research measure of aggression) right after handling the gun than were men who handled a child's toy.

For men who feel that they've lost control of their lives, or who feel dismissed or disrespected by others, this is pure catnip.

Firing a gun, in addition to raising testosterone levels like simply handling one does, actually produces a feeling similar to intoxication. As UCLA Law professor Adam Winkler points out, shooting guns triggers higher levels of adrenaline and endorphins, producing a high like riding a roller coaster.

In this regard, guns can be thought of as a drug — an intoxicating, mind-altering, power-conferring drug that leads to aggression and, in the United States, to around 40,000 deaths a year.

That whole section and all those linked studies are obvious bullshit, and If I had the leisure I'd go over each one and show y'all why. Study design, sample, all chosen to prove the hypothesis. Which isn't science, its propaganda.

But, because I'm busy, we are going to take all that at face value. For the sake of the argument, we will assume a gun in your hand is a powerful drug that makes you want to kill people.

That would mean two things. Where guns are most common, that would be the place where the most murders happen. Right? The gun is a drug, you take the drug and you go kill somebody.  That's the thesis.

Testing time, what do we actually see out there in the world? 50% of murders happen in 2% of US counties. But it is actually worse than that, because a county is a big place. When you break it down, you find that the vast majority, by which I mean over ~75% of murders in those hot-spot counties, are restricted to a few bad neighborhoods. Many neighborhoods in the "bad" counties have zero murders.

Conversely, more than half the country has no murders at all. None. And those counties which have no murders in them, do they have men there? Yes. And do those men have guns there? Yes, usually ALL of the adult men in those counties have guns. More than one, in fact. The usual number is three, a .22 rifle, a "full power cartridge" rifle like a .3006 or .308, and a shotgun.

So much for Mr. Hartmann's theory, right?

Next question, and the point of this post, there's a whole host of Leftist organizations out there beavering away, publishing bullshit like this piece every single day. All of it can be refuted with a 30 second Google search, yet they persist. WHY BOTHER?

Well, here's why:

If a driver must carry liability insurance because his car could kill somebody, why not a gun owner? Why is it that if the Newtown or Parkland kids had been killed by a drunk or even malicious driver, their survivors would have gotten a million bucks each from Geico, but the families of kids killed with guns don't?

Required liability insurance, by the way, is the most Republican/conservative of all gun control measures; it's a "free market solution."

Just as no insurance company will cheaply write insurance for a driver with a few DWIs, so, too, would they restrict people with domestic violence charges, etc. No government involvement necessary for this one, other than the simple requirement to have the policy so long as one owns a gun.


I'm sure the insurance industry would LOVE to write mandatory policies on every gun in America.  We're talking about a market of roughly 9 million new guns a year. Roughly half the households in the USA will admit to owning a gun, a wild guess tells me another 25% won't admit it. There are more guns in the USA than there are people, by a healthy margin. And the other thing we know is that none of those guns will ever kill people. How do we know? Because all the murders are concentrated in 25 large cities, leaving the entire rest of the country essentially murder-free.

Mr. Hartmann is spreading lies and hatred for money.

I'm glad we cleared that up.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Worth repeating: 50% of crime happens in 2% of America (and Canada!)

Here's the situation:

Data from 2014, the most recent year that a county level breakdown is available, shows us that 54% of counties (containing 11% of the population) had zero murders. 69% of counties had no more than one murder, and held about 20% of the population. These counties account for only 4% of all murders in the country.
The worst 1% of counties have 19% of the population and 37% of the murders. The worst 5% of counties contain 47% of the population and account for 68% of murders. The study shows more than half of all murders occurred in just 2% of counties nationwide.

Note that 2% of counties is OVERSTATING the land area involved here.

In Chicago, the story is almost identical- with admittedly higher numbers. In the first four months of 2017, 222 murders took place in the heavily gun-controlled windy city. Lott writes, "But 23 of the 77 neighborhoods in the city have zero murders, and most of the 40 neighborhoods have only one murder. Twelve of the neighborhoods have 10 or more murders."

Yes. When you look at Cook County, you see 222 murders in four months and you think "holy shit Mabel, its open warfare!" But then you look at a Chicago crime map and see that there is a thin scatter of red dots across the map, with a few forest fires of red dots. There are a few streets where somebody gets killed pretty much every night, and the rest of the place is quiet.

Now lets talk about gun control.

When the reality is that ALL the murders take place on a few streets in Chicago, and the State of Illinois is talking about banning AR-15 rifles to "save lives", what does that mean?

The first thing it means is that either the State of Illinois can't do anything about the murders on those streets, or they don't care. Outside third option, they arranged it and they like it that way.

Hanlon's Razor says "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." Going by that, we will assume that the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago are so profoundly fucked that they can't arrest a bunch of murderers and throw their sorry asses in jail.

This leads us to the second thing: gun control is what they are doing instead of fixing the problem.

Its genius, really. You have a problem you can't solve, so you blame it on a visible minority and you make their lives hell instead of doing something constructive. Kind of like what Hitler did with the Jews, but slower.

Canada, four wounded by gunfire at the Toronto Raptors victory celebration. City of Toronto doesn't know what to do about that. They know why it happened, for sure. There's a lot of assholes wandering loose who should be in jail. That's why. But the City of Toronto as a body is unwilling (or unable) to do what it would take to get those assholes in jail where they belong.

Enter the Federal Liberal Party. They propose to outright ban ownership of the AR-15 rifle, and make it harder for farmers and hunters to keep their rifles. Because they think they can sell the public a fairy tale one more time. Its an election year, and telling the people of Toronto how evil and bad those rednecked farmers are out there with their assault weapons and their pickup trucks is a lot easier than building a new jail and filling it with career criminals. And besides, those farmers are never ever going to vote Liberal anyway, so fuck 'em.

That's what's going on.

Update: Welcome Instapundit! Thanks for the linkage, Sarah Hoyt!
Upperdate: Welcome Northeast Shooters blog! 

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Reviews: from the merely ridiculous to the Fully Woke (tm)

Reviews and awards have become an issue in our increasingly divided society. For probably 30 years I've used bad review scores as a guide to which movie I should go and see. Likewise I've used the Academy Awards for film and the Hugo/Nebula Awards to science fiction as "do not watch/do not read" list. Lately things have gotten worse, with "award winning" being code for "avoid at all costs."

There has been some uproar around one particular review this week, so I thought I'd have a look and see just how bad it was.

I give you
The title shows us what we're in for:

'The Secret Life of Pets 2' Film Review: Cartoon Offers Outdated Messages About Marriage, Manliness"

Because a cartoon about cute puppies for children is an appropriate vehicle for messaging about marriage and manhood.


Come for the adorable puppies, stay for the toxic masculinity and antediluvian notions regarding love and family.

From which we are to understand that this movie has fallen far short of Full Woke (tm) and the author is very disappointed.

Milking human's collective affection for our furry and feathered pals, the original "The Secret Life of Pets" imposed the "Toy Story" formula on animals living in New York City in order to show us what they do when we are not looking.

He doesn't have a problem with the first movie in the franchise. (I should interject that I haven't seen Pets 1 or 2, but I did see Toy Story 2 and I found it to be CREEPY AS HELL. The toys are -people-? Oh, dude. That's fucked up.) But let us continue.

"The Secret Life of Pets 2," on the other hand, for which both Renaud and Lynch reprise their roles, effectively acts as an animated ode to heteronormativity, toxic masculinity and patriarchal worldviews, passed off as harmless plot points to entertain young audiences.

That's simply fascinating. Say on, O sage.

 "Pets 2's" descent into the bowels of what reads as conservative messaging begins as Katie (voiced by Ellie Kemper), Max's owner, randomly meets a young man, quickly marries and has a child.

Okay, so "girl meets boy, they get married and have a little family" is now bad conservative messaging. Got it. Uh, why is it bad?

In this fictional universe, that's clearly the only natural progression of events in a woman's life. That trope is later reinforced through the pet characters.

Oh, I get it. Getting married to a member of the opposite sex and breeding is a trope, and we're supposed to be presented with the whole QUILTBAG of pervy third-sigma from normal sex options instead. In a kid's cartoon. Okay then. Onward to complaining about the female characters!

To achieve this, she partners with dismissive cat Chloe (Lake Bell), but in no way can "Pets 2" possibly pass the Bechdel test.
So we do have some non-male-oriented scenes between two female characters, yay! But they don't pass the hallowed Bechdel Test, so boo! Because that's what's important in a kid's movie, the Bechdel Test. For fuck sakes. But let us move on...

In case it wasn't obvious, "Pets 2" makes no attempt at diversifying the notion of what a family is today. No same-sex couples are in sight as pet owners, much less as parents. Nothing that deviates from the default straight married couple is even hinted at.

Oh, the horror.

But now we get to what really got under Carlos Aguilar's saddle, the toxic masculinity part! (I know you were waiting for this ~:)

 Making matters worse, Harrison Ford is cast as Rooster, a hyper-masculine shepherd dog brazenly teaching Max how to toughen up.

That sounds terrible!

Rooster is the embodiment of phrases like "Men don't cry," and " Rub some dirt on it." This alpha dog rejects vulnerability by preaching about how sissified city dogs are. The character is disturbing in his unapologetic validation of behavior society as a whole is trying to eradicate. He equates courage with arrogance and other outdated perceptions of manliness.

Yes, apparently society as a whole is trying to eradicate cowboys who suck it up and work through the pain to get the job done, whatever job it may be. But why do we care that a cartoon dog character is a leathery old cowboy?

Defenders may argue it's absurd to attribute such weight to an animated feature, but on the contrary, this is the content to which we should be paying the most attention. Family-friendly releases have the power to communicate nuggets of knowledge to young viewers, and when the information transmitted is this regressive, it's worth raising the alarm.

Yep. There you go. It makes it harder to groom little boys into drag queens when they've seen legendary hard ass Rooster the dog git 'er dun in the cartoons on Saturday morning. They see that old cowboy, and feel the echo in their hearts. They see the mom and the dad taking care of the little baby on the screen, and they start wondering where their dad is. They begin to question if poor little Heather is getting ripped off because she only has two mommies.

Bottom line, Carlos Aguilar's complaint is that the normal nuclear family and the normal Western adult male have been presented in a positive light in a film for children. He is angry that the little tiny segment of society waaaaay out at the skinny edge of the bell curve, that 3% of humanity, has not been given center stage. Its fucking up his propaganda campaign, is why he's angry.

And that, my friends, is why awards and reviews should be used backwards. This review is different from most only in its boldness, not in its aim. Carlos Aguilar actually says what he wants, the rest try to hide it while they worm away at us. The more the critics like Carlos Aguilar hate a movie, the more likely it is to be fun.

IMPORTANT NOTE! For the reading comprehension impaired: if you are in some form of non-standard relationship, this is not about -you-. Really, I don't care what you get up to. It is none of my business what other people do in a free country. Just don't get any on my lawn, or expect me to do it your way, and we're good.

The Phantom

Update: Secret Life of Pets 2 beats XMen Dark Phoenix at the box office. So everybody agrees that little Carlos is a dumbass.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Just how dangerous are synthetic canabinoids?

This dangerous.

THE "zombie" man who died after setting himself on fire outside the White House was "hallucinating after taking Spice laced with Angel Dust".

Police sources are said to have confirmed that Arnav Gupta, 33, had taken the drug K2 which had been laced with PCP.


An unnamed eyewitness said: "Like a torch, his whole body was on fire.

"He was just walking like a zombie or something. Just straight, he wasn't running and screaming or anything. He was walking straight. Then they put the extinguisher on him and put his [fire] out and that's it."

He later died in hospital from burns covering 85% of his body, according to the article.

K2, also known as "Spice" is a -synthetic- cannabinoid. Meaning that it attaches to cannabinoid receptors in the human body like THC does, but it is not THC and doesn't come from the cannabis plant. They mix it up in a test tube like paint.

Watching the video (I recommend against it, because you can't un-see shit) you'll see the man standing and moving as if he doesn't feel the fire burning him. He just stands there. On fire.

That level of dissociation from the five senses is not a good thing, for a lot of reasons. It isn't good for the person taking the drug, because I very much doubt they'll ever be right again afterwards. It ain't going to wear off, my friends. We're talking brain damage so severe the victims won't be able to tie their own shoe laces or wipe their own butts.

It isn't good for anyone else either, because now we have brain-fried zombies that don't feel pain wandering around looking for more drugs. Most hand-to-hand combat techniques work by inflicting pain. These guys don't feel pain. The guy who set himself on fire didn't feel it. You could have cut off one of his limbs and he wouldn't have felt that either.

K2/Spice is one of 80+ synthetic cannabinoids currently making the rounds in the black market. K2 is not even the worst one. It is apparently pretty easy to make, as plenty of these back-yard chemists are cranking it out.

Therefore, my advice to one and all: if you or your kid wants some weed for whatever reason, get it from the legal source.

Smoking cannabis to get high is probably not good for you long term, and it is certainly a huge waste of time, but at least it won't destroy your kid's brain and the rest of his/her life with the first puff. There's plenty of very determined stoners out there that have been smoking a ton of weed since the friggin' 1960s, and they can still tie their own shoelaces.

The Advising Phantom

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Lesbians join white males under the bus.

Welcome, ladies. Mind the axles.

On the very first day of Pride Month, British police accosted a group of lesbians protesting against transgender activism, asking if they were a "hate group." The lesbian group Get the L Out made a stir last year at the London Pride parade by marching with a sign reading, "Transactivism Erases Lesbians." On Saturday, the group protested transgender activism again in the northern city of Bradford, with signs reading, "Lesbian = Female HomoSEXual."

Regulars at the Soapbox will recall my penchant for saying that Leftists actually hate gays and lesbians. They basically use them as props.

Dear gays and lesbians: what do you think politicians do with a prop that isn't propping anymore? They ditch it. They throw it under the bus.

Remember five years ago all those soft-voiced, soft-handed "allies" that swore up and down they were there to support the Sisterhood forever? They were lying. They hate your guts. They'll find a way to throw you in jail, just like the 1950s.

2019 hate crime in progress. The sound is my eyes rolling.
Remember all those horrible conservatives from five years ago who told you it was a free country, and they didn't care what you did as long as you didn't get any on their front lawn? We haven't changed. We're the closest thing you've got to allies now.

Told ya.

Update: Welcome Instapundit! Thanks for the linkage, Sarah Hoyt!