Subscribe to Irregular Times via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to Irregular Times and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 833 other subscribers

Irregular Times Newsletters

Click here to subscribe to any or all of our six topical e-mail newsletters:
  1. Social Movement Actions,
  2. Credulity and Faith,
  3. Election News,
  4. This Week in Congress,
  5. Tech Dispatch and
  6. our latest Political Stickers and Such

I Am A Liberal. That’s Why I’m Joining The Republican Party.

Yesterday, I explained the depth of my concerns about the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. I also promised, at the end of the article to provide you with what Donald Trump never does: A specific plan for dealing with the problem.

I’m going to register to vote as a member of the Republican Party so that I can vote in the Republican presidential primary for the candidate who is in second place behind Trump.

There isn’t a single Republican presidential candidate right now that I would feel good about voting for – not even among the minor outlandish Republican candidates who have little chance of ever even getting on the ballot. However, my primary goal in the 2016 presidential election is to prevent Donald Trump from gaining the White House. Donald Trump’s bigotry and anger are so out of control, and so far outside the realm of reasonable leadership, that they pose a serious threat to the survival of our democracy. If I have to join the ranks of the Republican Party to put the breaks on his growing movement of Anglo-American nationalism, that’s what I’ll do.

donald trump angryCurrently, I’m registered as a member of the Green Party, but Jill Stein the only significant candidate, and she is campaigning much more lethargically than she did in 2012. So, my vote won’t make a big difference there.

Joining the Democrats as an insurgent against the party establishment feels like a dangerous route to take, because the Democratic Party pays just enough lip service to some of the liberal ideals that I hold that I would run the risk of being co-opted, as I fear I was when I served as a member of my state’s official Democratic Committee back in the first years of this century.

My ideals are 100 percent in reverse of what the Republican Party stands for in its platform and in its everyday campaigning. But, as I see it, that prevents me from being co-opted as a member, and enables me to stand out more dramatically.

As a member of the Republican Party, I’ll have the chance to speak to true Trumpists, and not just to complain to people who already understand that Donald Trump’s politics are dangerously close to those of the Nazi Party.

Not participating in the primary election in my state doesn’t seem like a reasonable reaction to the threatening clouds gathering under Trump’s bloated ego. The Republican Party is the place where I can make the most difference.

And now, as the first part of enacting the plan, I will do another thing that Donald Trump never does: I will admit that I could be wrong, and listen to your criticisms of the flaws in the plan. How could it be better? Should I abandon it before it’s too late? What alternative ideas do you have?

Overdue National Organization for Marriage disclosure shows deep unpopularity of anti-gay Movement

It was apparent in 2009 that almost all of the money used to oppose marriage equality in a Maine ballot initiative in Maine that year came from outside the state.  86.4% of the $1,193,323.83 raised by Stand for Marriage Maine in the 3rd Quarter of 2009 came from just four sources:

1. The Knights of Columbus
2. The National Organization for Marriage
3. Focus on the Family
4. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

For the 5 years since its huge influx of cash, the National Organization for Marriage has fought repeatedly to prevent the names of its donors to this anti-gay movement from being revealed.  Why?  The answer became clear when finally, the state of Maine compelled NOM to release the complete itemized list of donors to its effort. As you can see here in the filing, they are:

  1. Benjamin Brown of Michigan: $200
  2. Richard Kurtz of Maine: $50,000
  3. John Templeton of Pennsylvania: $300,000
  4. Terrence Caster of San Diego: $300,000
  5. Sean Fieler of New York City: $1.25 million
  6. Knights of Columbus: $140,000

That’s it from the itemized list.  Five individuals and one Catholic advocacy organization.  That’s the entirety of the anti-gay “movement” that propped up the Maine movement against gay marriage.  Only one individual who actually lived in Maine contributed to the effort; more than 90% of NOM dollars for the effort came from out of state.

This is why the National Organization for Marriage wanted to keep the list hidden.  In a deeply embarrassing fashion, it reveals how unpopular the 2009 discriminatory push against same-sex marriage really was.  NOM could find only six supporters willing to contribute significant dollars to the effort.  In contrast, the group favoring same-sex marriage equality gathered far more contributions, from actual people actually living in Maine.

The story has a positive ending.  When the National Organization for Marriage couldn’t convince its literal handful of donors to bankroll a continuing effort to stifle marriage equality in Maine, Mainers came out to the polls in 2012 and voted to legalize same-sex marriage.  As of the date of the publication of this article, the state of Maine has not yet been hit by a hurricane or crumbled into the ocean as a result.

Donald Trump And Adolf Hitler

I was originally going to write this article about just one specific topic: Donald Trump’s attempts to censor journalist Jorge Ramos. However, once I started to write, I began to see a disturbing larger picture.

The more I learn about Donald Trump, the more he reminds me of Adolf Hitler.

I know, that sounds like a rash thing to say, but take a moment to consider Trump’s behavior.

Let’s start with the Ramos incident yesterday. At a press conference yesterday, Jorge Ramos from Univision was recognized and began to ask a question about Trump’s promise to deport millions of people from the United States if he is elected President. Trump didn’t like the question, and so interrupted Ramos and signaled for a security guard to evict the reporter from the room.

“He didn’t like my question and when he didn’t like my question then he motioned so the one security guard would come where I was and then threw me out of the press conference,” said Ramos in an interview afterwards. “As journalists, we have to denounce… the dangerous words and extreme behavior of Donald Trump.”

Extreme behavior, indeed. Presidential candidates don’t have a history of forcefully ejecting reporters from press conferences. Jorge Ramos wasn’t threatening Donald Trump with anything other than a request for information. In Trump’s world, just asking for an explanation is intolerable. Trump is a bully who uses his power to silence others.

It’s going too far to say that just any old powerful bully is like Adolf Hitler, of course.

So, let’s consider the content of the question Jorge Ramos attempted to ask. Donald Trump doesn’t want to limit the eviction of Latinos to just one journalist. He’s got a plan to deport millions of children with American citizenship, just because of the Latino heritage of their parents. “They have to go. We either have a country, or we don’t have a country,” Trump says.

Of course, we do have a country. Our country is defined by its Constitution. Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution makes the standard of citizenship in the United States very clear: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” If you’re born here, you’re a citizen. Donald Trump wants to take that constitutional right away from Latino citizens of the United States.

There are superficial similarities between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler. Trump’s use of wild, angry gesticulations and shouting at the podium to whip up audiences of his supporters is straight out of Hitler’s playbook.

Donald Trump As Adolf HitlerThe anger of Donald Trump is infectious too, in a frightening way. Hitler could never have risen to power without his brownshirts, gangs of Nazis who went out and delivered intimidation and violence on the streets. Donald Trump has among his followers those who would become his own version of the brownshirts, including a man in Boston who brutally attacked an Hispanic man, and justified the violence by saying “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.” When Trump heard about the attack, he told reporters, “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”

Passion among his followers has led some people to begin shouting “White Power” at Trump campaign events.

This kind of violent nationalism, the idea that a country can be made great by abusing people of a certain ethnicity, is classic Hitler. Just as Hitler targeted the Jews, Trump has selected Latinos as an ethnic minority as a scapegoat responsible for every problem in the United States. Trump says he can’t even talk about other policies until a gigantic wall is built along the southern border of the US to keep Latinos out.

Just as Adolf Hitler’s followers used an elaborate system of conspiracy theories to accuse Jews of doing everything from hoarding wealth to drinking the blood of German children, Donald Trump’s followers are spreading their own hateful mythology to justify Trump’s extreme plans to deprive Latino Americans of their rights.

Prime among these is the belief that illegal border crossings from Mexico are an increasing problem, when, in fact, for the last eight years, border crossings have been in decline. There is no crisis of illegal immigration.

Yet, Trump supporters spread wild stories about immigrants from Latin America flooding across the border, and then being coddled by border patrol agents who have been allowed to grow too soft. Just yesterday, a Trump supporter from among our own readers tried to convince us that when people who cross the border illegally are deported, they are sent back to their countries of origin aboard cushy luxury airplanes, all paid for by American taxpayers. It’s not true. There is no evidence that any such thing is taking place.

Evidence isn’t needed for these conspiracy theories, because they feel right to Trump followers, just as wild tales of bloodthirsty Jews felt right to pro-Nazi Germans. Donald Trump encourages these untrue stories, and even lashes out against people for marrying Mexican citizens, as if U.S. citizenship is polluted by Latino genetics.

Comparing a political leader to Adolf Hitler is an extreme thing to do, and it shouldn’t be done lightly. However, when a political leader uses tactics and ideology akin to that of the Nazis as tools for gaining more power, it’s our responsibility to speak out about what’s going on.

To be fair, Donald Trump is not calling for the mass killing of Latinos. On the other hand, Adolf Hitler didn’t begin his political career by calling for the mass killing of Jews. Violent extremist nationalism doesn’t begin with giant book burnings. It begins with the kinds of tactics that Donald Trump is using to gain support from angry Republican voters.

These tactics are something that Trump should be familiar with, given reports from Trump’s ex-wife that he kept a book of Hitler’s speeches on a bedside table.

It has been said by many people that we don’t really need to worry about Donald Trump, because he’s just a clown whose political support can’t be sustained. People said the same kind of things about Adolf Hitler in the beginning.

I don’t want to look back, years from now, and have to admit to myself that I didn’t speak out against Donald Trump’s hateful extremism early enough. I believe that the American people can take effective action to nip Trump’s anglo-American nationalist campaign in the bud, before it can do lasting harm.

To that end, I have a plan… More on that tomorrow.

Africa Doubter Challenges the World: Show Me a Single Marvel of Africa. What Can You Show Him?

“Where are these marvels? ONE.”

“GIVE me ONE astonishing marvel produced by Africans, Somalians, Ethiopians, Kenyans..whatever (IQ is about the same on AVERAGE). Is that difficult to answer? I guess so. Because if it was not….you would had already providing a list of marvels!!”

So challenges Frank, who believes that Africans “perform very poorly in EVERY place you find them” and that “I have researched African achievements..there is none. Unless you consider achievements murder, rape, Aids, corruption, tribal warfare, slavery (yes!!)…

Frank has agreed to this standard I laid out for a challenge:

“To counter your claim that Africans are lowlifes in ‘every’ circumstance, all that has to be shown is one positive performance by an African. They abound.”

Frank’s explicitly agreed-to standard for a marvel of Africa is relatively low — at the standard of a Nobel Laureate in science or above.

Help me satisfy Frank’s challenge.  In the comments section to this post, please name (and post a link to a source documenting) African achievements.

All we need is ONE marvel of Africa in order for Frank to lose the challenge.  At this point, a reasonable person would admit he is wrong, apologize, and change his mind.  I invite you to observe Frank’s actual behavior and compare it to this reasonable standard.

But of course, there is far more than ONE marvel of Africa, and let’s not simply respond to a naysayer.  Let’s celebrate what’s good.  Let’s document the marvels of Africa.  Please share them in the comments section below.

 

Donald Trump Says Jeb Bush “Speaks Mexican”. So What?

donald trump speak mexican“Jeb Bush is crazy, who cares that he speaks Mexican, this is America, English !!”

This is what Donald Trump said about Jeb Bush last night.

Normally, I don’t like to defend Jeb Bush, whose right wing, pro-corporate policies I object highly to. However, in this case, I think it’s important that we understand the context of Trump’s attack on Bush.

Anyone with a solid high school education understands Donald Trump’s mistake in saying that Jeb Bush speaks Mexican. Bush speaks Spanish.

When Trump says that Bush speaks Mexican, he demonstrates his cultural ignorance. Trump was born into money, and was kept in a cocoon from a young age until he was allowed to burst out into the world, fully uninformed.

The United States shouldn’t be led by a person with this kind of ignorance, but simple ignorance isn’t the main problem with what Trump said. The cultural context is.

Jeb Bush became Governor of Florida instead of Governor of Texas because of a systematic anti-Latino bigotry. His wife is from Mexico, and endured such a huge torrent of racist remarks while living in Texas that they fled the state for someplace less hateful toward Hispanics.

Donald Trump has built his political campaign upon this same fervent bigotry, making people from Latin America scapegoats for every challenge the USA has to deal with. Trump has made this anti-Latino prejudice the main plank in his strategy for defeating Jeb Bush in the Republican primary. In July, Trump tweeted that, “#JebBush has to like the illegal Mexicans because of his wife”.

To refuse to acknowledge that the language most Mexican people speak is Spanish is to to refuse to acknowledge a long history of brutal colonial control of Mexico by the Spanish Empire. It isn’t just ignorance of the moment. It’s an ill-informed systematic cultural distortion.

That distortion doesn’t just affect Mexico and its people. It warps political culture here in the United States as well, as reflected by the English Only demand at the end of Donald Trump’s message last night. When Donald Trump demands that Americans speak only one language, he prioritizes ethnic hatred above freedom. There is no freedom of speech in a country that tells people that they aren’t allowed to use words from languages other than the one approved of by political elites. Besides, there are huge parts of the United States where Spanish has been spoken for a much longer period of time than English, or any other European language.

It would be one thing if Donald Trump simply slipped in his language, and accidentally failed to correctly identify the language Mexican people speak as Spanish. That’s not what happened last night. Donald Trump didn’t just write his tweet about Jeb Bush speaking Mexican. That tweet was almost immediately criticized on Twitter, and Trump campaign staff have seen the tweet. Nonetheless, the Trump campaign hasn’t taken the bigoted tweet down and apologized for it. In classic Trump fashion, Trump is proudly keeping his hatred and ignorance on full central display.

Sadly, it’s Donald Trump’s distinctively unapologetic bigotry that is winning him the support of so many Republican voters. It’s just 7:25 AM, and Trump made his angry, ignorant tweet at 11:00 PM last night, but already, there are thousands of Trump’s supporters retweeting and favoriting his message that Jeb Bush speaks Mexican and that Americans should only be allowed to speak English.

Donald Trump Throws A Fit About Mild Stock Market Decline, While Ignoring Sharp Cuts Suffered By Workers

The Dow Jones investment index lost 3.57 percent of its value today. It certainly wasn’t a good day for investors, but it wasn’t a disaster. A person with a valuation of $300,000 worth of stocks listed on the Dow might would have something like a valuation of $290,000 worth of stocks now – pretty much the same as what they started with. The difference for real people, rather than investment corporations, is theoretical except for people who just so happen to be selling their investments. The difference in asking price could easily be gained back in a week, or even a day. It happens all the time.

donald trump panicsReality TV personality and presidential candidate Donald Trump has had no hesitation in declaring this mild fluctuation in stock value to be a disaster of epic proportions. Trump has issued a panicky twit, warning, “Markets are crashing – all caused by poor planning and allowing China and Asia to dictate the agenda. This could get very messy! Vote Trump.”

Are markets crashing? Does a 3.57 percent decline count as a crash?

Compare this minor loss to what workers go through when corporations lay them off from their jobs.

Consider the workers at the HealthPlus offices in Saginaw and Troy over in Michigan. They’re having their entire workplaces shut down by corporate executives after years of inept private sector leadership. These workers are having their income decline by 100 percent overnight.

That’s what an economic crash looks like.

How about the people at four supermarkets closed by Rayleys in California? All the people working at those stores are out of work. Their income is completely lost – 100%.

Those people are experiencing a crash.

Over in Jay, Maine, in spite of the conservative governor’s assurances that he would increase jobs, 300 millworkers are being laid off. Corporate America has no solutions for them. In just one day, they’ll suffer a hundred percent economic nosedive.

The millworkers’ economy is crashing.

HP, which Carly Fiorina left in disarray, is still suffering aftershocks of her failed leadership. More than 55,000 people at that company are losing 100 percent of their income. They aren’t suffering a 3.57 percent decline in income. One day, their income will be there. The next day, all of it will be gone – 100 percent.

That’s a crash.

The supermarket corporation A&P is laying off 4,600 workers on Long Island. 100 percent of their income will be lost.

Crash.

Donald Trump doesn’t have anything to say about these economic crashes, because they happen to the little people, the working people of America. When we crash, Donald Trump views it as a natural part of the economic system. He even encourages companies to fire people. It’s his catch phrase: “You’re fired!”

However, when the wealthy investor class suffers a 3.57 percent decline, Donald Trump runs around waving his hands in the air, throwing a hissy fit, screeching and calling it a messy crash.

If you’re one of those millionaires who has a fortune invested in stocks, go ahead and vote for Donald Trump for President. He’s got your back.

If you’re one of the working people of America, you’ve got no reason to vote for Donald Trump. When your economy crashes, he just shrugs, and calls it “optimization”.

A New Religious Icon For Pier One

As I saw this statue of an elephant sitting in the meditating posture of the Buddha, for sale in a Pier One store, I thought:

When are we going to see Pier One sell a giraffe nailed to a crucifix? Why don’t we see that yet? Why shouldn’t we?

Meditating elephant statue

A New Low in Race-Based Immigrant Bashing: “Proving” Somalis Have Lower IQs Without Measuring Somalis’ IQ

Since I moved to Maine six years ago, I’ve heard a fair number of people tell the story that Somali immigrants have turned Lewiston into the most crime-ridden city in Maine. Two years ago, I decided to stop listening to stories and start looking at actual crime statistics.  The truth is that the city of Lewiston is far from the most crime-ridden city in Maine; it ranks right in the middle of other cities in Maine, with about half above and half below.  Looking further into misconceptions about Somalis in Lewiston, I shared federal crime statistics indicating that actually, the period before Somali immigrants began settling in Lewiston is characterized by a much higher crime rate (in both property crime and violent crime) than the period after Somali immigrants started settling in Lewiston.  The drop in crime rates in Lewiston has occurred while more Somali immigrants have moved to Lewiston, and while other Maine cities without Somali immigrants have seen their crime rates go far, far up.

But there’s just no convincing some people.  About a week ago, a visitor named Matthew shared this comment:

“I acknowledge and appreciate that these Somali’s probably had very difficult lives back in their homeland. But as a citizen of the United States and a resident of Maine, I find myself asking what benefit are we getting from allowing these folks immigrate here? How are they making our country and state a better place? I’m all for immigration, and bringing the best and brightest minds to the US so our nation can prosper. But these people aren’t the best and the brightest, they aren’t the next Steve Jobs, they are destitute folks who come here and immediately get caught in a cycle of generational Welfare. They criticize our cultural values, they accuse the majority population of racism, and they preach a religion that in certain respects is brutal and medieval. They bring down the average IQ of our population (not a pretty fact, but true), and they burden our schools and business with increased language requirements and cultural sensitivity training.”

I asked, in return,

“Matthew,

“Do you have documentation that Somali immigrants in Lewiston:

* are not the best?
* are not the brightest?
* do not have among them the next Steve Jobs?
* are, having come to Lewiston beginning in 2000, caught in a cycle of intergenerational welfare?
* criticize American values?
* accuse the majority of racism?
* have a lower than average IQ than others?

“I agree with you when you say “let’s look at the bottom line.” The bottom line is that you’ve made these specific claims about Somali immigrants to Lewiston. Do you have specific documentation to support these specific claims? If not, please retract them.”

Matthew’s response after that point centered on the claim that Somalis are a low IQ variety of human being:

“Thousands of IQ studies have been conducted worldwide, and as anyone who follows the psychometric literature knows, Africa and many other third world regions score very poorly. Somalia’s average scores are in the 59-71 range, which means that the average individual from that nation is in the mildly retarded classification. (1)

(1) http://memolition.com/2014/02/27/who-are-the-smartest-people-on-earth-world-map-of-average-iq-scores/

Let’s look at that link.  Go ahead.  Click it.  You’ll see a highly infographicky map with nice production values.  But the website isn’t the source of these “thousands of IQ studies” about “Somalia’s average scores in the 59-71 range.”  No, the website refers to a book of “research” by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen.  You can read statistical extracts from their book, IQ and the Wealth of Nations, right here.  I found a full copy of the book myself.  I read it.

You may find it hard to believe what I found — but then again, perhaps you won’t be so surprised after all.

Here’s the snippet in the table in which “Somali IQ” is supposedly reported:

Somalia, an IQ of 68? What nonsense!

There it is — according to the authors of that book, Somalia has an IQ of 68.  It’s an odd assertion to begin with, because after all nations don’t have IQs.  Individual people do.  This is a classic ecological fallacy.  But it’s worse than that.  You may find yourself asking what that little asterisk next to the 68 is for.  Is it a multiplication symbol?  No.  The asterisk leads to a notice on another page that in the case of an asterisk, they didn’t actually collect any results of any IQ tests at all.  Not a single person from Somalia had their IQ score measured for the book, or for any study used by the authors of the book.  There are literally zero points of data to support an “IQ Score” of 68 for Somalia.

So where does the oddly precise “68” come from?  Look to the right.  Do you see the text “Ethiopia 63, Kenya 72”?  If you read the “methodology” section of the book, you’ll find out that when the authors had no observations at all for a country, that didn’t stop them.  They just declared the IQ of that country to be the average IQ of the studies of the often very few people subjected to psychometric tests in adjacent countries.  Somalia is next to Yemen, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.  Djibouti and Yemen aren’t counted, because the authors don’t have access to any data for those nations.  So they:

  • took average IQ scores from the studies they dredged up in Ethiopia and Kenya,
  • then assumed that the scores in Ethiopia and Kenya were representative,
  • then assumed that “Somalia’s IQ score” was an average of Ethiopia and Kenya’s, but not Djibouti’s and Yemen’s, “IQ scores”
  • all the while mistakenly forgetting countries don’t take IQ tests.

The authors literally just looked at Ethiopia’s “score” and Kenya’s “score” and picked a number in the middle and proclaimed that Somalia has an IQ score of 68.  That’s their “methodology.”

It gets worse.  What are Ethiopia’s “score” and Kenya’s “score” based on?  As is typical for the studies used in the authors’ book, small numbers of scores derived from tests of odd and unrepresentative sets of people.

Let’s start with “Ethiopia’s IQ.” If you look up the notes for yourself and follow the citations, you’ll find out that the Lynn and Vanhanen didn’t find any measurements of anyone’s IQ in Ethiopia, either.  The best they managed was to gather 250 IQ scores from 14-to-15-year-old Ethiopian Jewish immigrants to Israel, living in Israel.  The source was a 1991 study by Shlomo Kaniel and Shraga Fisherman’s, “Level of performance and distribution of errors in the Progressive Matrices test: A comparison of Ethiopian immigrant and native Israeli adolescents” in the International Journal of Psychology.  These youths had been moved to Israel only one year before and in their lives in Ethiopia had been especially deprived, even compared to their fellow countrymen and women:

“In Ethiopia, Jews generally lived in small villages of 50-60 families, remote from urban centers…. Participation in formal elementary school was impeded by the long distances between home and school, travelled on foot. High school education necessitated either a move to the city, at great expense, or prohibitively difficult travel. Consequently, few Ethiopian Jews were able to receive formal education….  Prior to their exodus, most had never seen electricity, a telephone, or any technological instruments. In Israel, they must adjust to climatic differences, life in urban centers, a new language…” (p. 26)

But Lynn and Vanhanen take this astoundingly unusual small group of young, uprooted, uneducated youths not even living in Ethiopia, discover that their “IQ scores” are unsurprisingly low, and adopt that average score as the “Ethiopia’s IQ.”

What about the estimate for “Kenya’s IQ?”  In a 2010 paper published in the journal Learning and Individual Differences, Jelte M. Wicherts , Conor V. Dolan, Jerry S. Carlson and Han L.J. van der Maa revealed that Lynn had excluded a sample from his estimate for Kenya because the IQ in the sample was too high.

Biasing the scores from one country, importing scores for another country from a wildly unrepresentative group, and using both to charm up a completely fictitious average score for a third nation, Somalia.  That’s the basis for Matthew’s decision to reject Somali immigrants to Lewiston.  It’s wrong factually.  And because it’s wrong factually, it’s wrong morally.

As I said, there’s just no convincing some people.  When I pointed out that there were actually no observations of IQ in Somalia to back up Matthew’s claim, did Matthew change his mind.  No.  Instead, he simply refused to confront that fact.

Frankly, my hope in writing this isn’t for Matthew.  My hope is that someone else reading this, someone whose mind isn’t quite so committed to a falsehood, will be willing to let that falsehood go.

100% Natural Food, Patent Pending

I know that it may be a controversial position, but I believe that sometimes, it’s better for a product to be allowed to die, rather than have to suffer through attempts to revive it through advertising. Such is the case with the stuff from the Space Nutrients Station.

I call it “stuff” because I’m not sure what else to call a “patent pending formula to make your meals 100% complete and natural”. How can something be natural and be created through technology that’s patented?

natural space food patent pending

Does the Space Nutrients Station call its bottled of powdered dreck natural because it’s made out of natural ingredients? If so, that’s not an accurate description, because the workers at the Space Nutrients Station pour a highly processed vitamin and mineral mix into every bottle of their stuff. If the natural ingredients in their stuff are so good, how come Space Nutrients Station has to add a bunch of non-naturally produced nutritional content just to bring it up to snuff?

The Space Nutrients Station pitches their “natural” product by encouraging me to “Stop Cooking. Eat like Astronauts.” Sorry, but no. My parents took me to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum when I was a kid, and got me all excited about eating ice cream just like an astronaut. I thought nothing could be better than the combination of astronauts and ice cream, until I ate the ice cream. It was not rich, it was not creamy, and it was not very tasty… and there I was, still not in outer space.

Space Nutrients Station’s stuff looks like a product designed for people with eating disorders, not a natural product for people trying to get healthy in a complete way. People have been cooking food for over a hundred thousand years – and it brings out more of the nutrition in what we eat. It’s not natural to drink every meal out of a plastic bottle, while pretending to be a person blasted up into outer space, sitting in a tube all day, every day.

It’s not appealing, either. Please, will somebody just let the Space Nutrient System life support systems run out of energy?

When Will I Be Invited To Scribble On The Glass?

I have been a working adult for more than 20 years, and I’ve attended meetings at far more than my fair share of corporate headquarters, but to this day, I have never been invited to one of those meetings where people get to stand in front of glass and draw charts while people photograph them.

I guess I’m just not innovative enough, darn it.

corporate people writing on glass cliche

Any Other Windows 10 Horror Stories Out There?

Two weeks ago, I “upgraded” from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, drawn by the promise of…

a) talking to a computer like Jean-Luc Picard, and

b) relief from the slow, pointless Start screen.

For two weeks, I tried to make Windows 10 work.  I enjoyed calling out “Hey, Cortana” for about fifteen minutes, and a return to the Start menu was very nice.  I noticed right away that my typing, pointing and clicking around the screen suffered from lag, even though my drivers were up to date and I had a computer (Intel i7, 8 Gigs RAM) that should be able to handle the new operating system.  I hoped that updates to Windows 10 would fix these problems, but my computer just got slower and slower.  Checks of the Task Manager showed that as time passed, Windows 10 system processes kept taking up more and more and more of my computer’s memory and CPU cycles.  By this morning, even when my computer was fully updated and freshly restarted and I had no programs running, Windows 10 was churning through … what?  I still have no idea.  The processes gobbling up CPU cycles under the heading  have utterly nondescript names.  But by the end, my computer was so strained under Windows 10 that I could barely open a word processor.  I was burning my fingers when I typed on the keyboard, my laptop innards were so darned hot.

Moving to Windows 10 wasn’t an upgrade for me.  It was a downgrade.

After an hour with Windows tech support (ending with the phrase “we aren’t really tech support”), I clicked the magic “Go Back to Windows 8.1” button (under Start -> Settings -> Update & Security).  After about 45 minutes, I had my old computer back.  My old, capable, fast, multitasking, non-laggy, non-burning, working computer.  What a relief.

Have you “upgraded” to Windows 10?  If so, what kind of experience have you had?