Thursday, January 20, 2022

Something completely different

When I am doing physical therapy, I often watch travel videos. There are two vegan guys who travel the world, and they were recently back in Thailand. Seeing cool buildings in the background made me want to check out Bangkok architecture, and it is incredible! A quick scroll will amaze you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

I take the Colbert Questionairt

• What is the best sandwich? 

I grew up loving Reubens, fully prepared (both grilled and baked). In 1997 (when Tiger Woods was winning his first Masters), we were in upstate New York. There was a place in Ithaca that made the best vegan Reubens, OMG. I got like five to go when we left.

And to anyone who puts tempeh on a sandwich they call a "reuben," I'll see you in Hell!

• What is the one thing that you own that you should really throw out? 

If it was up to Anne, these pants.

Anne is the least sentimental person I know. She is constantly looking to get rid of stuff. If we haven't used something in a year, it is out the door! But for years, I've worn these pants every day it is under 80 and they're just now getting good.

• What is the scariest animal?


• Apples or oranges?

Of course apples. You can spread peanut butter on them!

• Have you ever asked someone for their autograph?

Wynton Marsalis in 1985 (below). He signed the insert that came with the roll of film I was using. I kept it in my wallet for years.

Me and Wynton

• What do you think happens when we die?

Hopefully someone remembers us for a bit and doesn't judge us too harshly for our mistakes.

• What is your favorite action movie?

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

• Window or aisle?

Aisle for my knees. However, I love the view, so if I'm with Anne on a 767 or at the back of a 777 or 747, we will switch back and forth.

747, the most beautiful commercial plane.

• What is your favorite smell?

Fresh pine at the holidays. Hot sesame oil. Tater tots!

• What is your least-favorite smell?

The aftermath of a double-barreled Crohn's attack.

• Exercise: Is it worth it?

Yes, when I can. Makes everything else in life better.

As someone who has experienced significant health setbacks and problems, I have a great appreciation for having the ability to exercise, to try to get stronger and more fit every chance I get.

• Flat or sparkling? 

Sparkling (if it weren't more expensive).

• What is the most-used app on your phone?

Outlook (email). Then Balance for a guided meditation every day.

• You get one song to listen to for the rest of your life: What is it? 

Everybody Wants to Rule the World.

I thought about a longer song (e.g., The Beatles A Day in the Life) or even a classical piece (e.g., Shostakovich's 4th, 5th, or 7th), but nothing brings me happiness like Everybody....

• What number am I thinking of? 


• Describe the rest of your life in five words.

Hopefully not painful or short.
This is the very end of my life.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

My 2021 (aka, why health insurance should be a public good)

This doesn't include the ongoing dental reconstruction, which is actually the biggest expense for us. If it was up to Republicans, though, all of this would have been billed to me.

BTW, I might be wrong, but when someone had dedicated years to a mission and is in the middle of the above, maybe they don't deserve to be terminated.

Monday, January 17, 2022

For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: NSFW Commentary on the Senator Who Demeans His Memory

Alyssa’s take to the first take is spot on. But note: I didn't say it!

Video should automatically start at 58:09.

PS: Martin Luther King III: “History will remember Sen. Sinema unkindly… She's siding with the legacy of Bull Connor and George Wallace instead of the legacy of my father and all those who fought to make real our democracy.” 

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the White moderate who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, 1963

“I think the tragedy is that we have a Congress with a Senate that has a minority of misguided senators who will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from even voting.” 
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

And this one, for personal reasons:
“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

God is the biggest abortionist

"Scientists have come up with estimates for how many pregnancies are lost naturally, and they are enormous.... All told, from conception to birth, the researchers found the figures may rise to 40 to 60 percent. If a country were to declare that life begins a conception, and that fertilized eggs have the legal rights that all persons are due, it would have to treat these losses as a medical catastrophe. Worldwide, it would mean the deaths perhaps more than 100 million human beings every year, dwarfing of deaths from heart disease, cancer, and every other leading cause."

Life's Edge, Carl Zimmer

Friday, January 14, 2022

Starved for Attention

A friend notes this organization spends its time (and budget that vastly exceeds One Step's) thinking about how to feed people after a nuclear war. Meantime, at least a quarter million children starved to death in East Africa last year. Maybe they should have gotten nuked first.

"Sorry to actually be a real person."

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Emotionally Manipulative

I know the Lincoln Project exists to play right to my biases, but this strikes me as really powerful. Yes, I know I'm not the audience who needs to be moved.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Recurring Dream

I keep having a dream where I plead to Joe Manchin to stop undermining President Biden's efforts. I explain to him that if Biden's approval with Dems was back up, he would be at 50%, and the midterms might not be a bloodbath. But Manchin's continued "death by a thousand cuts" is killing Dem enthusiasm and setting us up for total gridlock after November.


He is not the most evil man (any R), but perhaps the most evil Dem, other than Sinema.

Monday, January 10, 2022

"Uninhabitable," except ... not

As a follow-up to this: Dinosaurs were baking in the heat. During the Cretaceous Thermal Maximum, the global temperature might have been about 15°C hotter than it is now.

Hattip to Matthew Barnett.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Meta-Post on Climate Change

My posts regarding climate change (CC) are making one or more of these points:

1. It is wrong and counter-productive to talk about CC making the earth "uninhabitable."

2. It is wrong to not be dealing with adaptation and mitigation if you take CC seriously.

3. It is especially wrong to ignore all the suffering now by claiming things in the future are more important.

I have been told on Facebook that these points are "trivial."  😁

Friday, January 7, 2022

Some people really don't seem to understand consciousness

I read a recent post asserting that an exact duplicate of you would be you. 

I'm always bewildered by claims like this. It makes me think that the person doesn't actually have a subjective inner life, that their thoughts and "feelings" are not anything other than computations. 

If I was exactly duplicated, Anne wouldn't know which one of us was the person she went to bed with last night. But I would still be experiencing my pains and desires not differently than I was before I was duplicated. I would still be able to be killed, and it would still be murder, even though there would still be a Matt running One Step, taking care of money, and chasing after Anne. 

This is why the Star Trek transporter is crazy to me. Every time someone is transported, their consciousness ends. That is, they die, and a duplicate of them takes over, even though the duplicate feels a continuity of consciousness.

STNG's Second Chances makes this case clearly. Riker is duplicated in a transporter mishap. Two exact copies are created. Which one is the person who went to be beamed up? It can't be both - their brains are creating separate consciousnesses. It can't be one of them, as they're both the same. It is clearly neither - the original person is dead.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Alex Samuels: "How White Supremacy Played A Role In The Riots"


Last year, shortly after the crowds dispersed and the dust settled, there seemed to be at least one conclusion that scholars and researchers could agree on: White supremacy played a large role in the Capitol attack.

As FiveThirtyEight contributor Hakeem Jefferson wrote around then, it’s not a coincidence that the rioters were predominately white supporters of Trump. It was also no mistake that rioters employed a bevy of white nationalists symbols — like a hangman’s nooseneo-Nazi apparel and the Confederate flag. Indeed, it seems like those protesting the certification of Biden’s victory longed for a return to the days of perceived superiority and white dominance that they enjoyed under Trump.

The assault on the Capitol was in many ways a culmination of what the rioters saw as a threat facing the nation: the election of Biden and Kamala Harris, the first Black, Asian and female vice president. What’s more, that election was largely decided by voters of color who turned out in historically Republican or competitive states, like Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania.

A number of researchers have written about the potential consequences that can occur when white Americans believe there’s a threat to their dominant position in the social hierarchy. And it’s possible we haven’t seen the end of this; the first significant release of 2020 census data shows that the nation is diversifying faster than predicted, which could push white Americans to take more violent measures over the next few years. But what makes these potential threats even more dire is that, between the Jan. 6 insurrection and now, GOP voters have supported political violence or have expressed a willingness to condone violence.

In addition, polls find that a majority of Republicans don’t hold Trump accountable for the insurrection. According to a Quinnipiac survey from this past October, 56 percent of Republicans said Trump held no responsibility whatsoever for the attacks. Twenty-one percent said the former president didn’t bear much responsibility. Altogether, 66 percent of Republicans polled said they didn’t view the storming of the Capitol as an attack on the government.

Part of this dismissal makes sense, though, considering the right has tried to make martyrs out of those involved in political violence. This past November, for example, Kyle Rittenhouse was aquitted for killing two men during anti-racism protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the verdict was largely read as a GOP victory — even by mainstream members of the right. Meanwhile, in Congress, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican with ties to white nationalistsfaced little opposition from his colleagues after he tweeted an animated video of himself stabbing Biden and killing progressive New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Moreover, Republicans have pushed back against the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. As a result, it’s not likely that this trend of extremism and support for white supremacy among the GOP will dissipate anytime soon.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

"I just think veggie chicken is really good"

From this thread on KFC to launch plant-based fried chicken made with Beyond Meat nationwide:

The Boca spicy chicken patties (they have regular as well) are amazing....

So damn good, like nobody reading this comment will understand how good they are unless they try them because it just isn't believable when you're hearing about it.

They're so much better than they have any business being. I didn't believe it either, until my niece basically cornered me and made me try one, and I've been hooked since.

I have no real commitment to vegetarianism, I just think veggie chicken is really good. I'm to the point where I prefer it.

See also this review by a non-vegan.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022


This entire post by Matt Yglesias (who often seems contrarian for contrarianism's sake) is worth reading. But I found comments particularly useful (starting with a quote from the main article):

"Biden’s climate plan was denounced by a broad spectrum of environmental organizations on the left for allowing a role for both point-of-source carbon capture and direct air capture of CO2. In late October, Friends of the Earth was part of a coalition of 350 groups that put out a statement denouncing the concept of “net-zero” emissions. This is part of a larger campaign they run against “false climate solutions” including nuclear power, which remains one of the world’s most important sources of zero-carbon electricity. "

This is because such organizations aren't really about climate change or improving the environment. They see it as a wedge issue to insert unpopular ideas such as eco-asceticism or anticapitalism. According to many people like them, the real problem is capitalism and we need to upend our economic system in favor of *handwave*....

I absolutely agree! I fear that there has been some sort of mission merging within various left-leaning causes, including this example of climate change and anticapitalism. To some extent, I believe this is due to increasing political polarization and belief sorting. There’s now a basket of linked beliefs in each political group and there’s strong pressure to accept all of these beliefs in order to be a member of that group. To dissent on a single belief is to attract ingroup attacks from one's compatriots.

I find the merging and climate and anticapitalism beliefs to be particularly dangerous for our long term prospects of combating climate change. Capitalism is simply the dominant socioeconomic order around the globe for all production of any significance. All plausible solutions to climate change will involve capitalist production and profit. E.g., production of solar cells, wind turbines, batteries, and transmission infrastructure. Many investors, entrepreneurs, and executives will collectively make massive wealth gains as we hopefully accelerate the transition to clean energy. We might even see Elon Musk becoming a trillionaire should Tesla play a larger role in these solutions.

Yet there are many climate activists that would find such profiteering on climate solutions ghastly. I fear such activists could even become an impediment to climate change progress as they increasingly attack the firms and individuals producing climate change solutions. While there are certainly good-faith critiques of the current capitalistic order and wealth inequality, those concerns should ideally be separated from climate change. We can tackle capitalism reforms/regulations and redistributive tax policies in separate discussions that address the general problem without linking those issues to climate change.

Unfortunately it wouldn’t surprise me to see these issues increasingly linked in the future. You can see this with the proposed supplement tax credit for EVs produced by union labor. Additional linking in future legislation could greatly impede progress of addressing climate change. Yet for many supposed climate change activists this would be acceptable, possibly even preferable, to an alternative where capitalists profit off accelerated progress of addressing climate change.