Friday, October 28, 2016

Have a Very Scary Halloween

“Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,
Voices whisper in the trees, Tonight is Halloween!”  

Dexter Kozen

Friday, October 21, 2016

Manichean Worldview

This is an encore post from 2010. It has always been one of my personal favorites and the time seems right to consider dualism again.

Manichean (man-i-KEE-uhn)
1. pertaining to a strongly dualistic worldview.
2. An adherent of the dualistic religious system of Manes, a combination of gnostic Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and various other elements, with a basic doctrine of a conflict between light and dark.

I am by nature opposed to dualism. I don't believe in light versus dark or good versus evil. Yet, many of the world's great religions are founded on such beliefs, not to mention many more secular philosophies, dozens of national constitutions and nearly all wars.

On one hand I believe any thoughtful person will concede that nearly nothing can be framed in a purely good versus evil dichotomy. Even in the darkest of evils and the brightest of perfections there are elements of the other. But more importantly the human minds that are observing these clashes of opposites almost never agree on which side is light or evil or dark or good. Grey is the color of the day, all day, every day, until the final day.

Standing on the far side of the battlefield we invariably find other humans who feel as strongly about their position in the light of good and truth and right as those on our side. Yes, yes I know you want to bring up Hitler and the Nazis right about now. I concede there are historical aberrations to contradict any position. However....

As fairly evolved sentient beings we are or should be capable of using our ability to perceive subtle nuances to inform our worldview. We should be able to discount the jingoistic speeches of political leaders and make measured judgments about our side (light) and the other side (dark), because there are equally intelligent, evolved individuals on the other side who would reverse those dark & light flags.

Part of the problem is one position cannot grow to be better, more light or inherently correct unless the opposing philosophy becomes more dark, more evil and inherently wrong. Such dramatic opposition leads to conflict, battle and war. Where does it all end? I would suggest the more productive question is to ask: Where did it all begin?

Conflict usually begins when there exists one or more dualistic views. If you strongly believe your position to be right, then others must be wrong. Wrong equals opposition to your position, which is by self-definition -- right. I encourage examining where your beliefs are dualistic or oppositional to another and then perhaps -- listening to the other. Start small. Begin with a minor disagreement. Leave terrorism, abortion and whaling for later.

Ever wonder why the dominate color of this blog is grey.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Today's Numbers Revised

Stats as of 10:00 AM EDT or roughly midday worldwide.

 7,457,225,765 Current World Population  
    112,692,552 Births this year    
          168,774 Births today

47,192,694 Deaths this year     
       70,768 Deaths today

65,500,282 Net population growth this year
       98,354 Net population growth today

98,236,763,533 Emails sent today (half day)
        1,972,457 Blog posts written today
 2,119,928,993 Google searches so far today

169,981,107 Energy used today (MWh), of which:
137,839,640 - from non-renewable sources (MWh)
32,352,232 - from renewable sources (MWh)

for more minute-to-second stats

Friday, October 07, 2016

Vaccines - Did You Know?

Ever looked closely at an issue even though you were absolutely sure of your position? 

As a practice, I do this a couple of times a year, despite having to look at some fairly bizarre, conspiracy websites. My most recent exploration was into the vaccination controversy. Having no children, nor grandchildren, I do not have a close personal stake in the argument. But I would tend to go with the science. However, my last investigation was into GMO crops and I found the science wanting on that topic. So . . .

Just a couple of troubling facts. The Center for Disease Control recommends 25 vaccinations for infants between birth and eighteen months of age. Some of these are multiple cocktails (measles, mumps, rubella), so the even the number 25 is misleading.

My immediate question was: Do we have good clinical evidence of what interactions these chemicals may have inside of tiny little bodies. The answer I was able to locate after much searching was -- No!

There isn't sufficient data because so many of the vaccinations have been added in the past few years and the "patients" are still children.

Should I mention the schedule from 18 months to 18 years includes another 13 additional vaccinations plus an annual flu shot. Another 30 doses of widely divergent cocktails.

And as most adults know, our physicians push influenza, pertussis, shingles and a few other vaccinations at us because we are over 50 or 60 years of age.

Now, I am not an anti-vaxxer, by any stretch, but I am concerned that science is racing ahead of good clinical data. Ever wondered why you see so many attorney ads on television for dangerous/lethal reactions to drugs already approved by the FDA as safe and effective?

Just food for thought. Constructive debate only takes place in a free and open environment.


Math Follow-Up: There are some questions about how to total up the vaccinations. Should it be the number of pokes a child receives or perhaps how many diseases are being vaccinated for. Some shots are multiple cocktails. Or perhaps how many individual vaccination components are injected. Here are the numbers as I have discerned them.

Number of times a needle is stuck into a child's body (0-18 months): 25
Number of different cocktail combinations dispensed: 11
Number of diseases being vaccinated against: 42