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Sounds Yucky

August 6, 2019

Unexpectedly, Ross Douthat says Trump is “deeply connected” to the recent shooting massacres, but not in the way one might expect:

… Trump participates in the general cultural miasma that generates mass shooters, and having a participant as president makes the problem worse.

The president’s bigoted rhetoric is obviously part of this. Marianne Williamson put it best, in the last Democratic debate: There really is a dark psychic force generated by Trump’s political approach, which from its birther beginnings has consistently encouraged and fed on a fevered and paranoid form of right-wing politics, and dissolved quarantines around toxic and dehumanizing ideas. …

… the connection between the president and the young men with guns extends beyond Trump’s race-baiting to encompass a more essential feature of his public self — which is not the rhetoric or ideology that he deploys, but the obvious moral vacuum, the profound spiritual black hole, that lies beneath his persona and career.

For Mike Huckabee, every problem is a godless nail and his hammer is MORE YAHWEH:

The common denominator in all of this is not the particular weapon. It’s the hate inside the heart. It’s the loss of morality. It’s that disconnecting from a God who values all people and who would never let me do that to another person, because I would be basically doing it to God and to myself, to just destroy another human life. That’s just not how we’re hardwired from the father above. That’s what I believe hurts me the most is that we’ve got a lot of our country that are utterly disconnected from any sense of identity with their Creator and with his love for them and his love for the people that they hate.

Hemant notes:

Neither of the shooters this weekend killed people in the name of Richard Dawkins. They didn’t target believers. They weren’t inspired by atheism.

Probably not, though it does seem the Dayton shooter was an atheist, for whatever that’s worth.

Neil deGrasse Tyson went on Twitter to make a point about the shootings and Neil-deGrasse-Tyson’d all over himself. He said:

In the past 48hrs, the USA horrifically lost 34 people to mass shootings.

On average, across any 48hrs, we also lose…

500 to Medical errors
300 to the Flu
250 to Suicide
200 to Car Accidents
40 to Homicide via Handgun

Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data.

This did not go over well. Michael Brice-Saddler at WaPo reports on the backlash and Tyson’s mea culpa:

“What I learned from the range of reactions is that for many people, some information —-my tweet in particular — can be true but unhelpful, especially at a time when many people are either still in shock, or trying to heal — or both.”

Tyson’s sardonic, facts-above-all personality has rubbed people the wrong way in the past — and he’s earned a reputation for gleefully pointing out the scientific flaws in movies, songs and other things people generally enjoy.

But this time around, he missed the mark in his messaging.

“I personally value knowing with precision and accuracy what reaction anything that I say (or write) will instill in my audience,” he wrote. “And I got this one wrong.”

Dana Milbank rips the perpetual “thoughts and prayers” machine:

Thoughts and prayers are always welcome, but Republicans’ reflexive response to the endless massacres has become a cruel joke, as effective as a Hallmark sympathy card. …

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (Ga.) preemptively chided those who “criticize our calls for earnest prayer.”

Actually, we criticize prayer in lieu of action.

The unhinged-manifesto-filled forum 8chan has gone dark after getting booted by its hosting service Cloudflare. It seems it tried to encamp at a service called Epik, which also hosts the white supremacist Daily Stormer. But it looks like Epik leases its server hardware from another provider called Voxility, and they said:

“As soon as we were notified of the content that Epik was hosting, we made the decision to totally ban them,” Voxility business development VP Maria Sirbu told The Verge. Sirbu said it was unlikely that Voxility would work with Epik again. “This is the second situation we’ve had with the reseller and this is not tolerable,” she said.

Also, Epik’s CEO is named Rob Monster, and I’m not even kidding. He says, “Our services fill the ever growing need for a neutral service provider that will not terminate accounts based on arbitrary reasoning or political pressure.” Rob Zombie was not sought for comment, I guess.

YouTube closes the account of a 14-year-old hatemonger called “Soph” for hate speech. BuzzFeed reports:

In the video, a 12-minute anti-gay rant titled “Pride and Prejudice,” Soph encourages her followers to “make sure to blame me in your manifestos” — a direct reference to the kind of document posted to 8chan by the Christchurch shooter who killed 51 people in March. On Saturday, the El Paso shooting suspect would also publish a manifesto to 8chan before killing 22 people.

Benjamin Radford does a deep dive into false child abduction reports on social media, and notes how they often target racial minorities, writing, “it’s important to recognize the harm that false reports can do to innocent people, and especially people of color.”

Plus, Ben—who literally wrote the book on chupacabras—is compelled to explain that the concept of the chupacabra did, in fact, first emerge in 1995, even though it sounds cooler to conspiracy theorists that reports go back to the 70s. They don’t.

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators urges the Trump administration not to block refugees from entering the country, and plays the religious freedom card:

America has an obvious interest in demonstrating and promoting freedom of religion to the world, including accepting refugees who flee persecution because of their faith. In fact, the administration acknowledges the partnership between refugee admission and protection of inherent human rights in both the 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom and the 2018 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

North Carolina becomes the southern state to ban the public finding of “gay-conversion” therapy for minors. Gov. Roy Cooper said:

Conversion therapy has been shown to pose serious health risks, and we should be protecting all of our children, including those who identify as LGBTQ, instead of subjecting them to a dangerous practice.

The Times of India has a crap piece up explaining how homeopathy can treat diabetes, which is the height of ironic stupidity when you remember that homeopathy is just pills made of sugar. And Sinclair Broadcasting has this piece up that seems like it was written by a 5-year-old about how naturopathy and real medicine are equally valid, and you just want to give up. Or tweet, I guess.

I am straight-up terrified of this book, What Does It Feel Like to Die? by Jennie Dear. Harriet Hall has a short review, which I dunno if I’m gonna read.

At SciMoms, Point of Inquiry co-host Kavin Senapathy looks at the question of beneficial bacteria that we might or might not be missing out on if we eat non-organic apples (good lord this stuff is exhausting), and concludes there’s not enough data to get worked up about this:

…we SciMoms hereby endorse offering kids a variety of fruits and vegetables—and, let’s be real, getting them to actually eat them is easier said than done—with whatever mix of conventionally-grown and organic produce works for your family’s preferences and budget. … We’ll shelve worrying about fruit microbiomes until there’s more science, and also pass on eating apple cores, which, frankly, sounds yucky anyway.

Israel’s space program is clearly trying to make Star Trek: Discovery a reality, not by, like, founding Starfleet, but by sending tardigrades to the Moon. The previous sentence only makes sense if you watch the show, but Israel did spill tardigrades on the Moon. That’s a true thing.

Stonehenge may have been built with help from greased pigs. Wait, no, grease from the pigs. Like from bacon. Wait. Stonehenge is made from bacon. There, that makes sense.

Quote of the Day

Maxim interviews astronaut Terry Virts:

Did you ever get distracted up there? Like, Holy crap, I’m in space!

It was a problem. Like for me I had to massively, actively train my brain to focus on what you’re doing because it’s so beautiful. I mean I think a lot of folks struggle with that; you have to like fly the space shuttle and don’t look out the window cause it’s too spectacular. …

How mind-boggled are you that the Flat Earth Theory is even a movement?

We were flying around the earth and there are all these comments coming in, and I asked my social media manager to tweet this out. She didn’t. I said, ‘It’s so funny, so great to see all these Flat Earth comments coming in from all around the globe.’ Let’s make that into a quote for your article.

Deal. A friend of mine who’s the son of an astronaut told me his dad would get super pissed at Flat Earthers, because obviously they risked their lives on these missions.

I know, but the problem is most of them are just looking for Twitter followers. I mean, Archimedes figured this out 2,000 years ago. If the earth was flat when I launched eastbound, I’d still be going eastbound. Thankfully it’s not flat and I came around and landed. Yannick and I just flew around the world. It is frustrating. We’re wasting time.

There’s like this societal issue with science, like some people don’t believe science and there’s this conspiracy theory, distrust, and that’s not healthy if we want to solve things like energy and pollution and cancer — and hopefully use our future Apollo programs to solve these important problems. We got to have like a basic starting point of we all believe in science. No, not believe in science, that’s the wrong word. Know science. It’s not a belief.

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.

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