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à votre santé July 31, 2014

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The ebola death toll is up to 729 today, and there are over 1300 people infected at this point. Despite the assurances that it’s difficult to contract and can’t be transmitted through coughing or sneezing, I think I’d avoid unnecessary air travel for the next few weeks.

And stay out of the water in Florida (where a flesh-eating bacteria is on the loose again).

And maybe stay out of Florida in general, since its also the only place in the US where the chikungunya virus was contracted from native mosquitos.

Drought Relief in Colorado July 31, 2014

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You hear a lot about how California is having a terrible drought, but here in Colorado, the last year has been nothing short of wonderful:

Colorado Drought

Yep – this week, for the first time in quite a while, none of the state was in a drought condition.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t have water problems, of course. Drought conditions are very volatile, and the western states tend to be dry anyway (excluding WA and OR), so it’s easy for our water needs to outstrip water availability even when there’s no drought. But it’s good news, nonetheless.

News you probably won’t hear from the media.

About That 4% GDP Increase in 2Q14 July 31, 2014

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So the GDP dropped by 2.1% in the first quarter of this year, and then increased by 4% in the second quarter (at least on a very preliminary basis). What does that really mean?

It means that so far in 2014, we’re averaging about 2% annual growth. The CBO uses an estimate of 2.3% growth for its deficit projections, which are already very high.

Yippee.

The Sexual Assault Problem on College Campuses July 29, 2014

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This isn’t a super-thorough debunking of the “1 in 5 women” statistic, but it’ll do:

The oft-cited statistic that “one in five women is sexually assaulted by the end of her college career” has become a battle cry for those pushing for strict and severe sexual assault campus policies.

The statistic that 20 percent of all coeds will be sexually assaulted or raped before they leave college was taken from a 2007 study conducted by the Justice Department, and it paints a truly horrifying picture.

The problem is, the statistic is flimsy and unsubstantiated at best – and maliciously manipulated as a means to an end at worst.

But let’s assume that it’s true for a moment. And let’s assume that the feminist mantra that “all men are potential rapists” is also true.

So doesn’t that mean we should go back to single-sex campuses or at least single-sex dormitories? Isn’t that the logical first step one would take to stop this epidemic of sexual assault?

Seems kind of obvious that putting healthy young horndogs in close proximity with nubile coeds, combined with instructing them that premarital sex is nothing special, would naturally lead to a lot of misunderstandings (at best) and stepping over the line (or even worse). The reason we used to never set up this situation was because we didn’t think it would work out. But the women’s rights movement insisted that not permitting women to be in the same school or same dormitory constituted discrimination, to the point where The Catholic University had to go to court 3 years ago to defend reinstating same-sex dormitories.

I think feminists are responsible for a great portion of their (exaggerated) complaints.

Exploring Gender Sensitivity July 29, 2014

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From The New Yorker:
What Is a Woman?
The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism.

Seeing that article prompted the following conversation with my wife last night:

geoff: I just can’t follow all this cis/trans gender stuff. I mean, now Facebook has, like, 50 different designations for gender.

Mrs. geoff: Why does it bother you?

geoff: Well, in the old days we had just 2. Male/female. M/F. M. F.

Mrs. geoff: So?

geoff: Well now I don’t know – maybe I’m not a male anymore.

Mrs. geoff: [snorting] You’re a male.

geoff: You don’t know that. Maybe now I’m some sub-category cis-trans-winnebago guy. Maybe I have rights!

Mrs. geoff: You’re a male.

geoff: Help! I’m being repressed!

Enslaved by a Wristband July 27, 2014

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Pavlok fist

The Pavlok shocking wristband (photo from Pavlok.com).

A good friend of mine (and frequent lurker here at IB) is tethered to one of those wristband thingies that nags you into walking/exercising enough every day. It doesn’t understand injury, sickness, bad weather, travel, or any of the other real-life issues that can interrupt an exercise schedule. If you obey the wristband, you get a discount on health insurance.

It’s become a big part of his life, but he doesn’t seem to mind and I can’t say that it’s not doing him some good. But still…being monitored every second of every day for your compliance with an insurance company’s exercise mandate doesn’t smack of freedom, independence, and America to me.

And then there are those slippery slopes, which appear to be very slippery indeed. Are you ready for wristbands that shock you when you don’t exercise?

A wristband, called the ‘Pavlok’, is a new wearable device that would give “shocking” reminders in order to motivate people to workout and stay healthy.

Maneesh Sethi, the creator of the device, said that the device would have features to incentivize working out including a small zap for when people miss a workout, the ABC News reported.

So how long until these are mandatory?

Meandering Thoughts on President Obama and Foreign Policy July 26, 2014

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The closing of our embassy in Libya is a little unnerving, particularly when Libya was supposed to be such an awesome example of the President’s genius in “leading from behind.”

So I was just curious: Is there a trouble spot in the world that isn’t in trouble right now? Maybe Cuba*? Otherwise, it’s a perfect storm of unrest and violence. Middle East, Africa, Asia ==> all typified by instability and movement by the big players.

I don’t recall a time when things have been this bad in so many places. Seems like someone might start reevaluating their foreign policy. And their slashing of our military forces.

The problem with the administration’s approach to foreign policy is the same as its approach to the economy. Most people set goals, formulate and execute the plan, and adjust/adapt until the goal has been reached.

The President sort of goes through the first two stages, but then blames his predecessor, his opposition, or the world when he doesn’t reach his goal. This is the mindset of the social activist rather than the manager or businessman. The manager/businessman knows that at the end of the day, only your results matter, so you’ve got to keep pushing and striving and recalculating and maneuvering until you get where you need to be.

The social activist, on the other hand, laments that the world should be more just, so that her plans will work.

And that pretty much sums up this presidency.

*Cuba’s not a problem today, but tomorrow? Looks like Russia’s reopening an electronic surveillance post there, and China’s sniffing around.

From the TMI Files July 25, 2014

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Terrorists are bad enough, but grotesquely unhygienic terrorists? Yeesh.

The notorious underwear bomber’s plot in 2009 to blow up a plane on Christmas Day failed because the explosives became ‘degraded’ after he wore the same pair of underpants for two weeks, according to a U.S. official.

The head of the Transportation Security Administration said this week the bomb failed to detonate because of how long Abdulmutallab had been wearing his underwear.

John Pistole told the Aspen Security Forum: ‘The bomber had had the device with him for over two weeks.’

Mr Pistole was then asked whether the bomb had become ‘damp’, to which he replied: ‘Let’s say it was degraded.’

Gack. The passengers sitting next to this guy are probably almost wishing it had blown up.

Obama Gets a Second One Right? July 25, 2014

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What has happened to our President and State Department? All of a sudden they’re giving gifts that reflect class and thought!

The President and his family sent the newborn Prince George a stunning hand-made rocking horse as well a blanket made from the finest alpaca wool to celebrate his birth last year.

Sporting a saddle embossed with the presidential seal, the wooden rocking horse came with a polo mallet with a head made from the branch of an oak tree that once stood on the south lawn of the White House.

article-0-1FEF306500000578-262_634x460

No stupid American film library, or something grabbed from the White House gift shop, or an iPod filled with Obama oratory – a gift that reflects consideration and forethought. Well done, whoever took over gift selection.

Can We Have Our Soda and Fast Food Back? July 25, 2014

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Scientists just found that over half the world is infested with a never-before-discovered virus:

…over 50 per cent of people are host to the crAssphage virus, which infects one of the most common types of gut bacteria, Bacteroidetes.

This phylum of bacteria is thought to be connected with obesity, diabetes and other gut-related diseases…

Obesity, eh? Curse you, crAssphage!!

In For a Penny, In For a Pound July 25, 2014

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Or something like that:

An Alabama man has filed a lawsuit accusing doctors of mistakenly amputating his penis during a routine circumcision, according to reports by AL.com.

According to the lawsuit, Johnny Lee Banks Jr. underwent the surgery last month. He was expecting a circumcision, but claims his penis was gone when he awoke from the anesthesia.

That’s some pretty aggressive circumcision.

Sending Helicopter Parents Into a Tailspin July 23, 2014

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Another handy parenting tip on raising your children with skills that will serve them through life. In this case, alligator wrasslin':

Father Teaches 5-Year-Old Son How to Wrestle Alligators.

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