Infection Alert

Prop... Prop...Prop...ahh...GAND...AH..CHOOOO!
The Infecterator
Like a sneeze disperses tens of thousands of droplets in a cone of contagion if the sneezer is sick, the Russian troll farms and their obedient legion of bots disperse the virus of influencer messages when opportunity tickles their sensors. 
James Clapper’s new book, calling Trump unfit for the office of President, which office - according to Clapper - he attained thanks to Russian interference… well, that was a Russian nose ticker of the first rank! 
The sneeze blasted a wave of messages attacking James Clapper, denigrating, insulting, accusatory and downright libelous messages disparaging not only the man but the whole institution of American foreign intelligence. 
Twitter tweets, Facebook howls, Reddit subs, Instagram rants and - most of all - “comments” on all the sites that still carry them, especially the right wing ones. The anti-Clapper snarls on Breitbart, Daily Caller, Washington Times, Drudge, Limbaugh, Hannity… the…

Why Do We Believe Conspiracy Theories?

A PITHY EXPLANATION Evolution Continues to Pull Us by Our Noses

 (With apologies to Iain Banks and Robert Heinlein)
The evidence is mounting that "irrational" human behavior is hard code writtten on the substrate of those big computers we call our brains. 
The willingness (nay, eagerness) to believe in conspiracy theories is an artifact from evolutionary pressures. All those millenia when there were no scientific sources of explanations for the dangerous mysteries all around, those of our predecessors who could believe "theories" were more successful at organized response to dangers (any organized response was probably better than chaotic response), thus survived in higher numbers. 
So here we are, rational and logical thought overridden by primitive credulity, in a time when science is too new for (many of) our primitive brains to fully grok.

Evolution explains EVERYTHING.

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A Glimmer of Plastic Hope

ScienceMarchesOn... ...Into a teeny hope for curing the plastic catastrophe *
It's just a glimmer, but by heavens, we need a glimmer.
    Spanish and British chemists have brewed a plastic that is "endlessly recyclable."
         It's new and needs tweaking, but it's a promising discovery that could put an
              end to the endless manufacturing of plastic that will eventually cover the planet.

Hard to believe?  Take a deep breath, remember you took chemistry in high school and look at this:

There' hope! (even if the chart is a gobble de gook to you.)

Read all about it here in Science Magazine
*pix credit

To Juarez, With Pleasures

Good DentalWork at 35% of the Price (I've been away from my blogging shack for several days. You deserve an explanation.)
I attended The University of Texas at El Paso for a year. KSET -AM was my job place. I pledged a fraternity - ΣΑΕ. My best friend Jim Lightfoot and I caroused in Juarez. A lot. On a station trade deal I got my private pilot's license. Commuting was by Vespa scooter, then MG-TD. I Eloped with my first wife.
It was quite a year.

Returning to El Paso for the first time since my departure in 1959, I came as a "senior" dental tourist to Juarez.

Two implants in Juarez costs about $4500. In Albuquerque, about $12,000.

Everything seems to be going very well after two of three visits. 

I will report after the third visit.  

*Pix credit

Two of Our Several Plagues

The Plastic Tsunami and Deadly Super Bugs ... to go along with Global Warming and Overpopulation    ... and War, Pestilence, Famine and other old line plagues
Don't get all cozy and cuddly just ignoring these lower profile challenges.
[Global warming/climate change gets most of the conversation because it's 'controversial,' and hey, we love controversy, particularly of the "Is! Is Not!" variety.]
10 million lives could be lost to superbugs  (Or many, many more in a superbug pandemic)*[Not to be all negative, there is some hope on this front.]
It's Still Pretty Much ALL NEGATIVE on the Plastics Front. Not Controversial... So not talked about as much.  But these are genuine plagues, and like the occupants of the richest castles learned in the Black Death days, there is no hiding from a real plague.  The "Superbug" plague will be fought in labs and hospitals. Big Animal Ag will have to do its part by cutting down on antibiotic use. Doctors and patients mu…

And the Arch-Villain Is...

For-Profit Health Insurance Companies
They Are a Plague on all our houses (except theirs, of course)

For many decades America has handed the vital insurance responsibility of keeping our citizens healthy and well to corporations driven by profit. It's worked great - for making corporate profit. Not so much for the citizens. Millions have no health insurance. Millions more have inadequate coverage. Our workforce is constrained and debilitated by the for-profit system. There are some responsibilities that are too important to let profit supercede their fulfillment.

The way to a fair and universal health plan for America is to DO AWAY WITH FOR-PROFIT HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES. We don't want "socialized medicine" with the government running the health biz. We don't want health care to be "free." We will all pay our fair premiums. We want every penny to be paid by the recipients of the care, just on a progressive ability-to-pay, non-profit insurance basis. The…

Bye Bye Birdies

Lord, Won't You Buy Me a Gold Plated Bird The real birds are leaving, gone by a third (Lyrics rejected by Janis Joplin)

This is an Are Birds Going The Way of the White Rhino? story.

We live in the mountains of New Mexico, and the birds are plentiful here.

 Our hummer feeders are swarmed. Our peanut platform hosts the Jays (Scrub and Stellar's) in great number. Eight seed feeders pump pounds of black oil sunflower and assorted grains into titmouse, towhee, nuthatch (pygmy and standard), wrens of many stripes, sparrows and doves and robins and hawks of many shades... I could go on and do the whole list, but you get the picture, LOTs of birds hereabouts. (The mighty ravens are my favorite, but they don't come to feeders.)

Things aren't that good in Europe these days.

Farmland Birds in France Are in Steep Decline NY Times 4.11.2018                                                           Now this is scary. Massive drop off in bird numbers, and it's mainly in the farming re…