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Younger Generations in West Losing Touch with Physical Reality: 2

May 12, 2021 21 comments

In the previous post of this series, I wrote about how the West (but especially its younger generations) have lost touch with physical reality. In that post, I made the point that people below a certain age are unusually eager to believe in technological progress, even though we live in an era where major technological progress hasn’t occurred in every single major area for at least two decades. And that is not an exaggeration, since even widely touted areas of progress such as technology behind highly-integrated smartphones have been around for over two decades. The only thing which has really changed about them is they cost less (largely due to manufacturing being outsourced to Asia) and there have been some incremental improvements in their performance. Curiously enough, these improvements have not really improved the speed of response or general usability of smartphones for a full decade.

People today are even more eager to believe in the promise of technological progress than they were in the 1950s-1990s, when the last wave of such progress occurred. That is why, for example, people want to believe that SpaceX will magically and totally revolutionize the space launch industry, electric cars will magically displace ICE-powered cars or why they believe that silly valley startups will magically revolutionize ‘insert random utility or industry’. You might have noticed that I kept using the word ‘magically’ in previous sentence, and yes.. it was not accidental. These people are displaying magical thinking of the sort seen among true believers in religions and cults. So what is the difference between magical and rational thinking?

Here is an example: what would you you use to treat.. say.. a upper respiratory infection most likely caused by some bacteria? Most of you might immediately say- antibiotics! OK, but which ones? Also why would you not use certain antibiotics? The thing is.. the few species of bacteria most commonly associated with community acquired upper-respiratory infections are sensitive to most available antibiotics. In other words, you could use a third-generation cephalsporin as Cefpodoxime, Cefdinir or Cefuroxime- and it would work very well. But you can almost always get away with using older ones such as Cephalexin, Amoxicillin / Clavulanic acid, Cefprozil or Azithromycin. But what is the connection of this apparent aside to the topic of magical thinking? Well.. because in past two decades many ideology driven doctors have started pushing the dangerous idea that we should not treat sore throats which look very likely to be caused by bacteria (at least partially) with antibiotics.

So why is this an example of magical thinking? See.. while many cases of sore throat are caused by viruses, there is often some secondary bacterial involvement. To make matters worse, the clinical presentation caused by Group A streptococci (most problematic bacterial species for sore throats) is often not typical. To put it bluntly, even if 90% of patients get little to no benefit from taking a antibiotic for sore throats, it will have a disproportionately large therapeutic effect for the minority who would otherwise get much worse or even end up in the hospital. Given that most commonly used antibiotics are extremely safe, it does not make sense to hold them back since the risk of harm from not giving them is thousands of times higher than the risk of prescribing them. This is also why you would user older and more well-known antibiotics than newer ones, even if the later are slightly better than older ones for this condition. But what does this have to do with topic of this post?

One of the key features of people losing touch with reality is that they become unable (or unwilling) to see the bigger picture. So let us talk about some ivy-league morons first came up with the dumb idea that treating sore throats with antibiotics was a bad idea. It all began when metrics-driven styles of management wanted doctors to find quick solutions for combating antibiotic resistance. See.. the biggest real contributors to antibiotic resistance is the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in industrial meat farming and hospitals full of very old and sick patients. However doing anything about these two main causes of antibiotic resistance requires a fundamental rethink of how we do those things. It is much easier to pretend that treating community acquired upper-respiratory infections is a major cause of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Trying to solve the wrong and insignificant problem is another feature of magical thinking.

Now you know why corporations (and mostly white liberals without any useful skills) push bullshit ideologies such as “Critical Race Theory”, “Wokeness”, “Equity not Equality” and a whole lot of nice-sounding bullshit which does nothing to address the underlying causes of problems they purport to solve. But why so so many in younger generation go along with that bullshit. Well.. some do it to avoid confrontation while others for maintaining their relative social position. However, too many wholly or partially believe this bullshit. Yes, I am making the case that a significant minority to slight majority in younger generation actually believe in all that bullshit! But how can I make such a statement- where is the evidence? OK.. tell me how charlatans such as Robin DiAngelo, Ibram X. Kendi and many others manage to sell so many books. Is anybody putting a gun to the heads of those who buy their books and regurgitate the trash contained within those books?

How else can you explain how “Critical Race Theory” based programs and ideas has been adopted so enthusiastically by HR departments in addition to schools and universities across the country? Do you really think that all these people are getting their marching orders from a few people at top? Have you ever considered the possibility that many of its enthusiastic promoters actually believe in that bullshit? Since we are almost at a thousand words, I will stop this post here. In next part I will show you how this form of magical thinking is behind many contemporary movements such as modern anti-natalism, environmentalism, “green energy”, “recycle everything” and other related bullshit ideas- or how magical thinking behind support for Bernie Sanders during 2016 and 2020 presidential primaries. Here is a hint- it has nothing to do with his support for socialism.

What do you think? Comments?

Younger Generations in West Losing Touch with Physical Reality: 1

April 23, 2021 21 comments

Regular readers of my blog know that I have written numerous post in past couple of years about how various factions, institutions and entire countries in west seem to have lost touch with physical and material reality. What makes this progressive loss touch with of reality in west especially interesting is that most of people outside its borders haven’t lost touch with reality- and this says a lot about the rapidly and terminally declining influence of western countries. Which brings me to the next and inevitable question- will this loss of touch with reality continue to its inevitable conclusion or will it stabilize and perhaps even reverse itself. While anything is possible on a long enough time-span, it appears unlikely that any significant deviation from current path of self-abasement will occur in near future.

But why am I so pessimistic about the ability of younger generations in west to correct the loss of their touch with physical reality in near future? Well.. there are many reasons for my skepticism and here are some examples of why I think that they might be (in many cases) even more detached from reality than previous generations. Of course, I also recognize that sooner or later a significant minority of this generation will almost certainly go against the current trend of pretending that physical reality does not exist or matter. However, I don’t think that their numbers or influence will be sufficient, barring some violent revolution, to affect the current course of events. Here are a few examples of why I maintain that belief..

Some of you might have wondered about why so many, especially in younger age groups, seem to believe that widespread use of electric and truly self-driving automobiles is inevitable in near future. If you ever go to message boards of sites frequented by autistic programmer-types such as ycombinator, slashdot, arstechnica etc, you will see tons of people who firmly believe that widespread adoption of electric cars and truly self-driving automobiles are around the corner. Fun fact- these people were saying the same things a decade ago. So why didn’t things change to any worthwhile extent over that decade? Some of you might say that the share price of Tesla suggests that I am wrong. Well.. what percentage of automobiles sold today are electric or truly self-driving? And do you really think that this state of affairs will change over next two decades- if ever?

To understand what I am talking about, let me ask you a simple question- why does a new technology replace an older one? Why were steam engines the dominant mode of traction for trains (all over the world) until after WW2 and why was the switch to electric and diesel so quick after 1950? Why did turbojets and turbofans rapidly become the main power-plant of airliners after the early-1960s? Why did the adoption of personal computers explode after mid-1980s? Why did smartphones displace older types of cellphones so quickly after 2008? Conversely, why do we still use Ibuprofen and Naproxen to treat inflammation and fever- even though they are over 50 years old? Why does the toilet look and work almost identically to one from almost 100 years ago? Or why does your refrigerator function and even look very similar to one from over 50 years ago?

It all comes down to a simple question- Does the “new” technology work significantly better than “older” technology and cost about the same or less. Steam engines were dominant until after WW2 because they were relatively inexpensive to build, reliable, easy to fix and had amazing torque. Diesel locomotives became competitive with steam in terms of cost and reliability once the diesel-electric transmission was refined by late-1940s. Once that occurred, replacing steam with diesel locomotives became a no-brainer as they had good horsepower, decent torque and required much less maintenance. Similarly, using electric locomotives on main routes became far more viable once an increase in widespread electrification of many countries occurred in aftermath of WW2.

Turbojets and then Turbofans became dominant power-plant of large airliners as it was much easier to build and maintain such engines with power outputs high enough to propel airliners capable of carrying over 100 people. This is also why turboprops are nowadays restricted to smaller airliners (cost-effective) or military transports (slower but rugged). Also, there are mechanical reasons why piston aeroengines making over 4,000 hp (or equivalent thrust) were never built in any significant numbers. Similarly personal computers boomed after mid-1980s once they became relatively affordable and able to do useful things such as help compose documents, spreadsheets or play games. Similarly smartphones displaced older types of cellphones after 2008, because they opened up entire categories of new possibilities for what users could do with a handheld device.

Did you notice a pattern? If not, let me spell it out for you- Newer technologies displace older ones when they can do stuff better or cheaper or, ideally, both. This is why, for example, LCD/LED TVs replaced CRTs so quickly after 2005. Or why power plants using natural gas exploded in popularity compared to coal-powered ones in past two decades. Hint: it was the cost of building, maintenance and fuel, and not lower CO2 emissions, which made natural gas the fuel of choice for generating electricity in north america within past two decades. That is also why coal-powered power plants will maintain their dominant position in countries such as China, India and many others without ready and reliable access to natural gas. This is also why we use older drugs such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen over more newer drugs or why toilets and refrigerators haven’t changed much in over 50 years.

But what does any of this have to do with the loss of touch with physical reality exhibited by, what appears to be a majority of, younger generations in west? Well.. because almost nobody is asking questions such as what are the theoretical and practical limits to rechargeable battery technology, where they are going to get all that lithium for so many batteries or rare-earth elements for modern brushless electric motors. Very few of them seem to be concerned by issues such as the problems inherent in removing automobile wrecks containing damaged lithium batteries off the road or the logistics chain problems involved in building, maintaining and repairing electric cars on the same scale as ICE-powered ones.

Even fewer seem to understand the problems caused by such decisions to the entire chain of crude oil refining which is necessary for supplying starting chemicals for everything from plastics and agricultural chemicals to drugs and specialty chemicals for a gazillion different industrial processes. And best of luck trying to run military vehicles, airplanes and container ships on lithium batteries. To put it bluntly, trying to stop production and use of of ICE-powered cars is a suicide move for any country larger than a city-state or micro-country. And here is what makes this even more interesting.. a majority of younger generations in China, India, Russia, Japan etc have a far better appreciation of these issues than their equivalents in the west. This is not to imply that China or India will ignore electric-powered automobiles. In fact, they will likely adopt them at decent percentages in future for specialized uses.

It is just that no large country outside west will replace ICE-powered automobiles until an option which is cheaper and more rugged/dependable than internal-combustion engines come along. Sure.. they may give lip-service to that idea and sign non-enforceable agreements, but when push comes to shove they are going to keep building ever more internal combustion engine-powered automobiles. However for some “odd” reason, a lot of supposedly “educated” young people in west don’t seem to understand this reality. Even more curiously, they think that the demographically decrepit and technologically stagnant west has any leverage over anything beyond small third-world countries. This belief is even laughable as the ability and infrastructure to make stuff on a large scale has already shifted to countries such as China.

In the next parts of this series. I hope to tackle issues such as the reasons behind younger generation refraining from having kids, acting “woke” and going along with other stupid “intellectual” fads, believing in inevitable major technological breakthroughs which will revolutionize lifestyles when none have occurred for almost 50 years and believing in laughably stupid bullshit such as the viability of peaceful but real political change.

what do you think?

COVID-19 Shows that Liberals are More Stupid than Conservatives: 1

August 3, 2021 15 comments

Here is another one of those posts which I would have never imagined writing a decade ago. To be clear, I never saw liberals as smarter than conservatives- it is just that they seemed to be better at concealing their stupidity. But times change and from 2015 onward, it became painfully obvious that liberals had given up trying to hide their lack of capacity for independent and rational thought. Some think that this might be a generational thing, with younger ones being less mentally endowed than their predecessors. While this could be a factor, I believe that a series of events within past few years (Brexit in 2015, Trump win in 2016, COVID-19 in early 2020 etc) tore away the covers hiding liberal stupidity and exposed it for all to see.

Some of you might have read a few of my more recent posts where I talk about how younger generations in west have lost with physical reality as have the elites. And while this dangerous loss of touch with reality is most easily visible in these two groups, they are far from being the only ones affected. You can see the loss of touch with reality in supposedly “educated” and “credentialed” people religiously belief in man-made climate change or not challenging claims that “zero carbon”, “renewable” energy and electric cars will magically replace existent energy and transportation infrastructure. The defining characteristic of western societies in past two decades has been widespread magical thinking and the desire to believe in outrageous claims.

With that out of the way, let us now focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic has shown liberals to be more stupid than conservatives- if that is even possible.

1] In my opinion, one of the most bizarre belief widespread among liberals is that immunity acquired after recovery from COVID-19 is somehow non-existent or requires additional vaccination. With the exception of viral diseases that are almost inevitably fatal (rabies) or due to certain chronic retroviruses (HIV), post-infection immunity is always superior to that acquired after vaccination. While getting there might be expensive for diseases with high mortality such as smallpox (now eradicated) or yellow fever- immunity after infection is an undeniable fact, and also the basis for vaccination. So why would COVID-19 be any different from other human or even animal coronaviruses? Is there something magical about vaccines that make them better than post-infection immunity?

2] And this magical liberal thinking keeps getting worse.. Let us talk about face-masks, again. While there is some evidence and a rationale for why specialized and properly fitted masks such as N95 could block infection for a few hours, the same cannot be said about cloth or surgical facemasks. Tell me something.. has any properly done study before 2020 shown that cloth or surgical facemasks prevent influenza, let alone a truly airborne virus such as COVID-19? So why are liberals pretending that ineffectual and ugly rags work? Why do they keep saying “follow the science” when there is none to support that claim? Are normal facemasks any more effective against COVID-19 than medieval talismans were against the plague?

3] Then there is the issue of risk (or lack thereof) for COVID-19 in children. Every available bit of evidence we have thus far suggests that the infection causes either no symptoms or very mild ones in children or anybody under 30. The risk of death due to COVID-19 in children who are not morbidly obese or seriously ill from other chronic diseases is less than 1 in 100k cases and likely less than 1 in a million. Even factoring in all the sick and morbidly obese children gives us death rate of close to 1 in 50k cases. Also, multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) aka Kawasaki’s disease, which can be treated very easily, occurs almost exclusively in a very few obese black or Hispanic children. Children are also far less likely to transmit COVID-19 than adults. So what is the point of masking children or trying to vaccinate them?

4] Liberals also hold on to their delusional belief that COVID-19 carries a very high risk of hospitalization, even though only 20% of people (at most) in the oldest age group require it. Yes.. even the vast majority of those over 80 (especially those not living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities) do not require even simple hospitalization- let alone ending up in the ICU. In those under 50, the risk of any hospitalization is less than 1 in 100- probably closer to 1 in 200 or 300 once you factor in all the missed asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic cases. ICU use for those under 50 is somewhat age dependent but is still less than 1 in a few hundred at the upper end. For kids and those under 30, it is less than 1 in 1k.

The majority of hospitalization and ICU usage occurs for those in their 60s and 70s and even in those age groups it is 1-3%, with most of those ending up in ICU being very frail, seriously obese or with multiple comorbidities. My point is that even in the age groups who are most likely to require simple hospitalization or ICU, the actual rates of usage are pretty low. Hospitalization rates become an issue only for the 80+ AND institutionalized or those who are 70+ AND have serious cormorbidities. This does not mean that an occasional and unlucky 20-something wont end up in the ICU, but the relative risk for that outcome is really low.

The real question- why are liberals pretending otherwise over 16 months after this pandemic began in the west? Didn’t they learn anything from everything they have seen? Can’t they analyse simple data? Do they have any concept of relative risk? Are they capable of any independent critical thinking? In the next part, I intend to talk about vaccination, difference between PCR-diagnosed “infection” and a real infection, Ivermectin, the role of western internet monopolies and much more.

What do you think? Comments?