Link Roundup, April 11, 2016

From Inverse: Watching the new anti-vaxx propaganda film with true believers.

From the NY Times: A look at global coral die-off.

From NatGeo: Mapping the war in Syria.

From Fusion: A strange horror story from the Internet Age.

As we remember Merle Haggard, we should recognize that a new generation of talented country artists are emerging in the world beyond Nashville. Here’s Jason Isbell covering the old Guy Clark song, Desperadoes Waiting on a Train, for Austin City Limits.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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84 comments on “Link Roundup, April 11, 2016
  1. Griffin says:

    Interesting new report that we could virtually end extreme poverty and hunger with only 10% of global military spending.

    Imagine what would happen if we used another 10% on scientific and health research? It’s weird, we are far, far, far, faaaar more likely to die due to heart attacks, strokes, or cancer than to a terrorist attacks, yet our resource allocation and attention is disproportionatly focused on the latter rather than the former. Is our inability to understand statistics killing us?

    • 1mime says:

      Elect more women to Congress, Griffin, and I guarantee that more money will be spent on scientific and health research and less on our excessive defense budget.

      • Griffin says:

        Tell that to Sarah Palin 🙂

        I kid of course, but the main issue is that our media is incompetant. It’s geared towards sensationalism, not facts. Terrorist attacks in the West are incredibly rare but make for great headlines whereas reporting statistics on rates of death for heart disease and cancer, and covering the research of them, are arguably much more relevant to our lives but make for more “boring” news.

        Our brains adapted to be worried about the tiger behind the bushes or the rival tribe living in the cave half a mile away, not the cells in our body. Initially we were never supposed to (regularly) live as long as we do today, and now some of our adaptations that were geared for short term survival so we could live just long enough to reproduce is backfiring on those of us in develped countries where tigers/cavemen are no longer the biggest concern. Thus our misfocus. If we were aware of the real threats in our lives we would be voting out of office anyone who didn’t promise to massively invest in scientific research or health research/availablilty, instead of voting in war hawks or tax-cutting fanatics.

  2. Titanium Dragon says:

    I think the GOP vs Trump war is in full swing at this point:

    *grabs popcorn*

    • vikinghou says:

      This could easily backfire in Trump’s favor. As a Colorado native this doesn’t surprise me. I grew up on Colorado Springs and the GOP there has always been out to lunch. A particularly toxic brew of fundies and John Birch types. People who can be inspired to shoot up Planned Parenthood clinics and kill police officers in the process.

      • And on the Dem side we have the super delegates. Bernie’s plight is not unlike Trump’s, and if he keeps racking up the wins it’s going to get real interesting…

      • 1mime says:

        Sanders campaign is already real interesting…..his digital fundraising at small amounts has brought in more money than other candidates while accepting NO pac money or large donations. His message is simple, it is consistent, and it is selling. Those of you in the mega-bucks income tax bracket better hold on to your wallets, though….he’s coming for ya! Here’s an excellent analysis of Sanders campaign from Ezra Klein.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I can see both sides here. The optics are certainly bad, and if you’re of the mistaken assumption that America is a direct democracy, then sure, it seems shady.

        But it’s not, andnit never has been, and all of the weird rules (on both sides) were well known toall candidates.

        Trumps issue is that he never bothered to understand the rules, since he seems to have a 3rd grade understanding of civics.

        Which matches his 3rd grade understanding of foreign policy, as evidence by this ridiculous quote he vomited out at a rally today, where he articulated his plan to deal with Iran:

        ““We’ll sell them missiles that don’t work correctly, right? Let them sue us. Tell them to sue us. Oh, I’m sorry they don’t work. Gee, that’s too bad,” Trump said at a rally in Rochester yesterday. “We’ll take in about $12 billion for missiles and they’ll say these missiles are terrible. And I’ll say, ‘Yup, that was the purpose of it.’”

        Jesus Christ. Its like he runs a focus group consisting of 14 y/o gamers, and anything that registers as ” cool” he goes with.

        What a scathing indictment of the State of the Union that an absolute moron like this can win a plurality (at least) of votes in a major political party.

      • MassDem says:

        Tracy, to be fair the superdelegates have been part of the Dem process since 1984. Sanders knew this when he signed on to run as a Democrat. They have never changed the outcome of the pledged delegate election; in 2008 they switched to support Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton when he won the plurality of pledged delegates (neither candidate had a clear majority of the pledged delegates by June in the 2008 Dem primary).

        Sanders is not in a similar situation to Trump–he is behind in pledged delegates, 212 less than Clinton according to 538. It’s going to be hard for Sanders to catch up unless he wins the remaining primaries by some fairly large margins.

        Right now the polls are favoring Clinton over Sanders in the delegate-rich states of NY and PA. We’ll see if that changes by the day of the election.

      • 1mime says:

        But the point that Tracy makes about how this brou ha ha will impact the supporters of both Trump and Sanders in so far as turn out. I think it will hurt Clinton more than Trump as the millennials have thoroughly drunk the koolaide. These young techno-savy Sanders fans have a blazing hot internet message board and they are not backing off. Sanders may have known how the system worked, but I don’t think he ever really thought he would get this close. Now he’s there and all of a sudden, he really, really wants to win, and though not impossible, it’s improbable due to the super delegates. That’s not going to go down easy. With Trump, there’s something different going on….an outright pitch to take previously committed Trump delegates away which were awarded as a result of a primary or caucus win. That to me is different than the democratic party method where the awarded delegates by state wins is separate from the super delegates. There are going to be lots of unhappy, bitter supporters either way.

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        Tracy: Sanders is going to lose. Super delegates don’t really matter in his case; he’s just behind by too much. He’s going to “keep racking up the wins” in the West, but he’s gonna lose New York and Maryland and probably Pennsylvania as well. You can’t win with the West alone; you have to win something else. Hillary stomped him in the South, and he didn’t even win Massachusetts. That’s his problem; he can win the peripheral states, but he can’t win most of the major population centers.

        It is all going to end with a whimper with California.

        It isn’t that Sanders won’t have come relatively close, but he’s in the same position Clinton was – actually, a worse one – back in 2008. It is going to have the same result.

        If he was young enough to run again, he’d do well in 2024, but he’s not, so he’s pretty much done. He just won’t give up because he wants to play the whole thing out and give people the chance to vote.

      • MassDem says:

        Sanders won’t lose because of superdelegates, and he won’t win because of superdelegates.

        The most committed and vocal of the Sanders supporters are angry because many of them have never cared about a political race before, and they don’t understand why their fervor is not more widely shared. I predict that if Sanders does not run as an independent, most of his supporters (including many millennials) will end up supporting Clinton because the alternative is so much worse. However, they will need time to come around to that view. Some of them will never support Clinton, especially in blue states where their vote is less critical to a Dem win.

        As impressive as Sanders campaign funding via small donations has been in the primaries, one wonders if he would continue that practice in a hotly-contested general election versus a well-funded GOP opponent. We’ll likely never know.

      • objv says:

        I still have high hopes that Hillary will be prosecuted.

        We may continue to feel the Bern. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        “I still have high hopes that Hillary will be prosecuted.”

        Ob, that is the most despicable thing I have read on this blog in over two years.

      • MassDem says:

        HeartBern is more like it. Pass the Prilosec.

      • objv says:

        Ha! MassDem

        I predict that it will be Hillary needing the Prilosec. By the time November rolls around, Hillary will be Berned out. 🙂

      • objv says:

        ?????? Mime. If someone breaks the law, don’t you feel there should be consequences?

      • 1mime says:

        You can think whatever you want, but to say something like that on this blog is not only disrespectful to all who post here, it is small and ugly.

      • objv says:

        Mime, I intend no disrespect to anyone who posts here and I am not attacking any of you. Hillary Clinton does not post comments on this blog. I have no respect for her because I believe she deserves none.

        She is corrupt. She lies. The FBI is investigating her. I think that there is enough evidence to prosecute her. If it is found that any of the other candidates broke any laws, they should be held responsible for their actions as well.

        Do not take this personally.

      • MassDem says:

        Well Objv, I hate to be the one to stomp all over your hopes and dreams of a Clinton prosecution….aww, who am I kidding? Stomp, stomp.

        In all seriousness, it’s unlikely (not impossible, but unlikely) that she will be prosecuted for mishandling of classified information. Generally, those who have been prosecuted for this in the past had exacerbating circumstances, like intentionally passing materials to a foreign agent, or throwing the stuff they took in a lake (!) to conceal their actions, etc. It all depends on whether she comes clean to the FBI, and I know we have differing opinions on the likelihood of that. Certainly it would be in her best interests to tell the truth.

        Glad to see you have ventured over to the Dem side and are feeling the Bern! Good for you! 😆

      • Creigh says:

        Objv, I got no problem with you hoping HRC gets prosecuted, or opining that she lies, or something about the FBI (They investigate a lot of things. It’s their job. They’re the Bureau of Investigation. So what?) But please be more specific. So she lied. All politicians say things they wish were true but aren’t, or that they will do but can’t, and so on. “She lies” isn’t specific enough. Are you talking about Vince Foster? Benghazi? What else did she lie about, and why is it important? We all know that Trump is lying about the size of his “hands,” but why would we care in the first place?

      • formdib says:

        “Sanders won’t lose because of superdelegates, and he won’t win because of superdelegates.

        “The most committed and vocal of the Sanders supporters are angry because many of them have never cared about a political race before, and they don’t understand why their fervor is not more widely shared.”

        This is the fairest explanation of what’s going on on the Dem side I’ve seen.

        I ‘lost’ my first election, which is to say the candidate I voted for did not win. Afterwards my mother called me and said, “So are you okay?” and I was confused and said, “Yeah, why?”

        “Because a lot of young people go out to vote the first time, or the first few times, and when they don’t get what they want they become discouraged and don’t vote again.”

        I don’t know how much her thoughts on the matter are statistically valid, but later on I learned about the Nirvana Fallacy: . Like many other cognitive biases, once you learn about it many behaviors gain a vicious sort of clarity.

        The problem for me isn’t worrying about whether Bernie supporters will or will not vote for Hillary (or other candidates). The issue that actually makes me angry at people my age and their political involvement is that they insist on keeping it at that level on the national stage and are inactive and downright ignorant of political activity on the local level. By standing down from voting in the general, they will miss relevant local votes and blame ‘the system’ for things not going their way. Their ‘well fuck you, you didn’t give me Bernie so I won’t give you my vote’ will probably cause some sort of stupid state legislation to pass that they’ll blame on corruption and not their lack of action.

        I have already tried in many cases to point this out to them. Since I turned eighteen, I’ve voted an average of twice per year on various elections local and national — including when I worked abroad on a two year contract. I don’t fuck around with voting. But my otherwise respectably intelligent and involved friends, man. I can’t get them to understand our representative democratic structure on even basic levels. It just does not get through to them that there’s more to civics than the Presidential election.

        I can’t be the only person with this experience, and I doubt it’s an issue of just ‘mah generashun.’ I’m pretty sure it starts when people are young and then cascades through their life. I know a person well into his 50s who basically didn’t get who he wanted early on in his civic life and hasn’t been involved since. He’s now getting involved because of Bernie. When Bernie loses, that may very well be the last vote he ever casts in his life.


      • 1mime says:

        That was deeply thought and expressed with great honesty, Formdib. My participation in local politics was invaluable in affecting change which directly impacted my life and that of our family….whether it was bond issues, sales tax referendums, school policies, social issue advocacy, local elections, etc. I completely agree with the importance of sustained involvement at the most elemental level as an educational experience and an exercise of one’s rights AND responsibilities to democracy. We can’t always impact direct change at a national level, but we can make a difference in our own back yards. It’s a worthy place to begin. Bravo to you for realizing this and working to help your peers understand it.

        For millennials who view this presidential election as a “one-off”, they feed the perception (and fear) that their votes are based purely on emotion with no intent for personal sustained involvement. IOW, “if” their candidate doesn’t win, they will not vote at all – and maybe not for a very long time. That would be wrong. That doesn’t denigrate the legitimacy of their concerns but it does illustrate the truth you have stated. They do not understand the process and their role in democracy. I am 72 years old, and have been in or around the political process since my days in high school. One of the most important lessons I hold is that one person can make a difference if they will educate themselves, advocate effectively, and persist. This may not always culminate in a successful outcome but it is important and meaningful to responsible personal growth and participation in the democratic process. One of the saddest things in America’s politics is that too few people feel they can influence the people, policies, and laws that impact their lives. Democracy is hard, it is important and for it to work for all people, all people must participate. I commend you for your personal commitment.

    • vikinghou says:

      The e-mail issue is most likely already baked in the cake with respect to Hillary’s chances for election. Even if she’s exonerated by the FBI, the people who are upset about this probably wouldn’t vote for her in any case.

    • vikinghou says:

      Both parties are dealing with situations where the number of delegates awarded during in a particular state do not correspond proportionally to the popular vote (if any). I know it’s probably kosher according to the “rules” but, to many voters who haven’t followed politics until recently, it seems unfair. What’s the point of conducting “elections” when, in the end, the result may be meaningless? Look at how much money has been spent by candidates and their PACs to achieve results that the parties’ leadership may ultimately reject. What’s the point?

      • 1mime says:

        Exactly, Viking. The parties have “rigged” the outcome so that popular vote has no value other than to market the candidates. And, this is my view, and I do pay attention and have for a very long time. It is unsurprising, therefore, that political “newbies” are so unhappy with the process. After all, those of us who recall what happened in 2000, when the conservative dominated SCOTUS “called” the election (by stopping the soon to be completed within deadline recount and not allowing those results to become public). That will forever rankle within my sense of constitutional morality for a horrific abuse of the process.

        I said it in a recent post and I am coming to believe it to my core: let the people vote and let that vote outcome stand. The parties can exist for valid and important reasons, but the process is broken. As long as the parties control the process, the people of America will be disenfranchised for the highest position in the nation.

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        On the Democratic side, it is certainly proportional to the popular vote in that state (or the caucus results). States which have more Democrats in congress get more representation, but that makes sense – there are more Democrats in those states, and their policy issues have much better chances of getting passed nationally.

        The superdelegates are weird but, frankly, not a big deal – yeah, they COULD throw an election, but are they going to? No. They’re politicians. The only time they’d really do anything would be to reject a Trump without the ridiculous shenanigans that the Republicans are going through right now.

        And frankly, I think the Republican party shenanigans have frankly terrible optics.

  3. As a man whose career is defined by digital mapping, I find the map links fascinating. They essentially represent a crowd-sourced tactical view of the situation on the ground. My brother has spent his career in naval special warfare, much of that in command positions (SEAL Team 1 in Al Anbar, NSWU-10 over N. Africa, etc.) and in command support roles (JSOC and NAVSPECWARCOM). Needless to say, digital maps play a prominent role in his work, too. Whenever I have a chance to examine the maps he works with, I’m struck by concentration on tribal boundaries, and the uncertainties in tracking the dispositions of non-U.S.-affiliated actors. The linked maps are not dissimilar; I wonder if NAVSPECWARCOM tracks them…

    • tuttabellamia says:

      This is a bit off topic, since this is not about mapping in realtime, but . . . there’s something cool about looking at a paper travel map. It makes all the locations, including the location where I happen to be at that moment, somehow more tangible than looking at a map on a computer screen.

      Looking at the computer screen, I just feel like a person situated in front of a screen. Looking at a paper map, I feel like a person physically situated in East Texas, or wherever I happen to be at the time.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Looking at a paper map, I feel that I am physically situated in that location, like an actual participant, whereas, looking at a map on the screen, I feel like a mere observer.

      • 1mime says:

        It’s a matter of personal technology comfort, Tutta. When we moved to TX sixteen years ago from a small town (no freeways, loops, toll roads, etc), it was rather daunting. I was interested in seeing things that meant I had to maneuver not only these new roadway gizmos, but a zillion cars flying by well over the speed limit, visual distractions galore. I got a regional map of Houston (I didn’t even have a garman device) and using highlighter, marked my entire route then wrote out the major directions. (I didn’t even do mapquest then…when you drive by the “corner store” process, who needs mapquest? And, I did my first trip solo, fool that I was.

        I still don’t have garman, still consult paper maps, but have become a mapquest/google maps savant (-; I was determined to not be shut out. I still don’t enjoy driving in traffic and still look at maps rather than listen to Mdme Siri, and I’m not terribly adventurous, but, I can get where I want to as long as I plan my route. I’ve even learned the value of knowing north from south and east/west! I was so proud of myself even though our kids thought I was a doofus.

        I so wish that Texas had light rail. I would be a happy lady. I’m hangin’ in there for one of those “driverless” gizmos….if I live so long.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        My mom had an excellent sense of direction. You could take her into the Astrodome, blindfold her, spin her around a few times, and she would know which direction she was facing.

        When outdoors, she would use the sun as her main guide.

      • 1mime says:

        Blindfold me, spin me around a few times and you’d have to pick me up off the floor, Tutta!

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, you would know exactly which direction you were facing . . . DOWN.

      • Ladies, in my (largely) misspent youth I worked as a field geologist for a mining outfit in Nevada. I’d work 10 on and 4 off, living out of the back of a 4-wheel drive Suburban, usually tens of miles from the nearest paved road. I jokingly tell my friends the longest I’ve ever been lost is three days, and in my defense, I didn’t even know I *was* lost for the first 2 1/2 days…

        All of my navigation in those days was off paper US Geological Survey quadrangle maps, triangulating my location with Brunton compass azimuth shots off nearby peaks. My geological maps were created as mylar sheet overlays on the quad maps, drawn in with a wax pencil, and then carefully re-drafted onto vellum using India ink Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pens on those occasions when I made it back into the head office in Elko. LOL – those were the days. I can do all that stuff on my iPhone now.

        The young folks in my class at UH have generally never done anything other than GPS navigation and mapping; only that small percentage with military experience have any real notion of traditional field navigation techniques. Many of them have never seen a USGS benchmark, let alone actively sought one out for mapping purposes. The recreational sport of orienteering has be largely replaced by geocaching. Kinda sad, really. Nothing cements your connection to the Earth like actually navigating across it. It makes me wonder what would happen if a solar flare ever took out our satellite umbrella. We’d have a whole nation of folks wandering about aimlessly. (Then again, some might argue we’ve already achieved *that* state of affairs. ;-))

      • 1mime says:

        And, of course, all those folks wandering about *aimlessly* are Democrats (-:

      • Indeed. And the ones who both aimless *and* p.o.ed are the Trumpkins. 😉

      • vikinghou says:


        We have something in common. When I was a freshman at the Colorado School of Mines we all had to learn how to navigate with maps and compasses. Lots of memories traipsing around in fields south of Golden, fields that I’m sure now have been consumed by suburbia. Another vivid memory back then was that, when I started my freshman year I was using a slide rule. By the spring nearly everyone had a HP-35 calculator. They cost $400—a big chunk of change for a student in those days.

      • Viking, yep, still have my K&E slide rule on my desk in its green leather case. It came to me from my Dad, so it’s kinda precious to me. I have a round slide rule that blew my son’s mind (along with my timing light, which he thought was a ray gun) when he was a tot.

        Tex, you may enjoy this book, “Longitude,” by Dava Sobel (1995)

        1mime, I’ve been following the satellite archeology stories in Archaeology magazine ( for several years now – super neato cool! 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Being a neophyte in this area, this is pretty special to me, and the future is incredibly encouraging for exciting new applications of this technology and unknown future technology..

      • objv says:

        I’ve got no sense of direction, so I’ve always loved poring over maps. Technology has only made things more interesting. I’ve gone so far as to check on my kids driving home from college using their phones’ family locator app. (Yes, I am one if those ridiculously overprotective parents . . . Darn, they missed that turn.)

        During the last few years, I’ve been both high tech and no tech. I’ll make campsite reservations online and will check google maps first to pick a campsite that has a good location and some shade. My husband and I will drive to the vicinity of the campsite or hiking trail using our Garmin, but once we arrive at our destination, we’re on our own. By that time our phones usually have no signal. We’ll look for a sign to find a trailhead and try to follow whatever trail there is. Sometimes, there will be a cairn; occasionally a small sign when there’s a split in the path.

        Despite all the GPS gadgets that are available, there is something so satisfying about doing without technology for awhile.

      • objv says:

        Good book, Tracy. I never knew that longitude had been such an issue.

        Galileo’s Daughter was another book by Dava Sobel that I thoroughly enjoyed.

    • texan5142 says:

      Just looked up mapping on Wiki thanks to your post Tracy, Cartography came up, never gave it much thought, fascinating.

    • 1mime says:

      Tracy and Viking, I hope you both have been watching the NOVA series where they are using computers and satelites to do all sorts of interesting things: locate early Viking (uh hum) long houses which are now covered with layers of sediment; assist architects and preservationists in using holographic imaging to identify fragile structural points in centuries old cathedrals; and more. It’s a great series and a terrific collaborative effort that spans time and miles as the specialists who are involved are often in different countries and some in different hemispheres.

    • JK74 says:

      Tracy, glad you mentioned orienteering; you beat me to it. As a committed orienteer, I’d say there’s no better way to gain an appreciation for a good map than participating in the sport (unless one uses them professionally, I guess). I’d also say that (here in Australia, anyway), I don’t think it’s being replaced by geocaching; they’re very different, e.g. one is about racing, the other discovering.

      • That’s cool, JK. There’s not nearly as much interest in orienteering stateside as there was in my youth; I’m glad to hear it’s still going strong in your part of the world.

      • duncancairncross says:

        I remember shooting the sun to calculate the location of our observatory on my Astronomy class at uni – not an easy task in January in Glasgow!

        I would add one thing to all of this talk about navigation – my experience is that you only get really badly lost when you know exactly where you are going – but you are wrong!

    • MassDem says:

      My husband is very proud that he can navigate his boat using only a compass, a chart, and a tide table. He’s all set if he ever loses his GPS! He can also navigate on land unless he’s in a car; then I get to be the navigator. I don’t mind using the GPS while driving, but he hates it. I like looking at paper maps for planning a trip; GPS for when I’m actually behind the wheel.

    • 1mime says:

      Boy, you have that right, Tex! Paxton is so full of &%*! If this weren’t TX, I wouldn’t believe he is still being allowed to serve as AG. Shame on Paxton for not stepping down at least while his TX court’s guilty charge is being appealed; shame on Abbott for not asking him to; shame on Texans for electing him. He is an embarrassment – “another” embarrassment, to be exact.

  4. 1mime says:

    Totally off topic, but I hope some of you got to attend this year’s Art Car Parade, downtown Houston. It is a super event, with classic cars, the creatively absurd, the works of mechanical wonder, and costumes adorning those who come out to simply enjoy the day. Food booths and porta-potties dot the parade route, along with the inveterate parade goers who come with chairs, tent covers, you name it! If you don’t live in the region, try to plan a trip to TX just for this event. It’s nice to see that another dimension of TX.

  5. 1mime says:

    The last two articles listed – mapping the Syrian conflict/migration and the inadvertent problems from commercial mapping – show how the good that can come from use of the internet and the unintended consequences that can sometimes arise. Good contrast. Satellite mapping combined with technology offers amazing benefits – peaceful (mapping of oceans for offshore exploration), wartime – targeted warfare, and environmental – showing in graphic detail the loss of our icecaps and encroachment of our oceans due to rising sea levels. The possibilities are boundless.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Even though this is a strictly geographical example, we can extrapolate from the story of the family who lives in the center of the US. The main caveat I get from the story is the danger of generalization, and how people need to think twice before attacking or harassing someone assumed to represent an entire group.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Actually, people need to think twice before attacking or harassing anyone, for any reason. I am totally opposed to the practice, whether online or off.

  6. 1mime says:

    Vaxx deniers – I’ve seen them described as the extremists of the liberal party, but, do they really “fit” a political nomenclature, or, are they simply strange people…….Regardless, they are not people I’d want to hang with….or live near by. Parents who withhold medical treatment for their children that was life-saving, parents who refused to have their children innoculated….threaten other children. Where does all this stop?

    Question here for the scientists in the crowd: is there a legal right to demand that children who attend public schools receive inoculations on diseases such as polio, etc? At what point does a parent’s right cross over into the “public right” for safety?

    • vikinghou says:

      Here’s an article that pertains to your question. A mandatory vaccination law was passed in California after the Disneyland measles outbreak. Children who wish to attend California public schools must undergo vaccination. There have been a few attempts to overturn the law. So far they have been unsuccessful.

      One of the reasons vaccinations are performed is to develop “herd immunity.” When a critical portion of a community is immunized against a contagious disease, most members of the community are protected against that disease because there is little opportunity for an outbreak. Even those who are not eligible for certain vaccines—such as infants, pregnant women, or immunocompromised individuals—get some protection because the spread of contagious disease is contained.

      IMHO, anti vaxxers are essentially and selfishly relying on herd immunity to protect their children. But as soon as a critical mass of unvaccinated kids occurs in a community, an outbreak can occur. This is unfair to the people mentioned above who cannot receive vaccines and poses a threat.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Viking, good point. It’s easy to make an opposing, potentially risky individual decision when the safety net of the majority is taken for granted. And it’s so easy to take the safety net for granted, since it’s just “there,” almost invisible.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      As Viking says, yes because of herd immunity.

      Basically those that are vaccinated act as buffers for those that cannot be (infants, immunocompromised etc)

      Here’s a nifty infographic about it:

      BTW, herd immunity generally requires a minimum threshold of overall vaxx rates, which I believe are something like 85%.

    • 1mime says:

      Congress refused the President’s request for $1.9B in emergency response funds to proactively begin to research and develop tests and treatments for the Zika virus which is expected to hit the mainland this summer. The Republicans refused insisting that the administration transfer unspent funding allocated for the Ebola virus instead, despite the fact that these funds are designed for a five-year effort to eradicate Ebola in the areas where it is still active.

      In order to get started even minimally, the President has authorized a shift of $589million in Ebola funding to the Zika project. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell noted: “There were 672 confirmed cases of Zika infections in the United States, including 64 pregnant women. She said there was one confirmed case of Zika-related microcephaly in Hawaii.”

      Critically important is the small amount of lead time available to do the research before the virus migrates north this summer in greater numbers.

      Is it just me or is this playing with fire? Short Ebola which is still ongoing to front Zika which is active and about to get much more so on the mainland?

      Vaccination, anyone? Ask our anti-vaax Congress.

      • Of course, we ought to do both, and probably would, if anybody in D.C. had any sense left at all.

        The Ebola eradication effort is particularly troubling, because there seem to be signs that some strains are getting better at not killing the host in a matter of hours. That’s scary.

        And speaking of really interesting uses of digital mapping, check out this 2015 Esri International User Conference keynote presentation by Bruce Aylward of the WHO:

      • 1mime says:

        Let the GOPlifer record reflect the fact that: Tracy T and 1MIME agreed. Lordy, lordy!

      • Pestilence, War, Famine, Death. Don’t mess with ’em.

        We spend a lot of time worrying about things that don’t really matter, 1mime. A degree or two over a couple of centuries? A couple of feet of sea level rise over the same time period? Who cares? The Dutch figured out how to deal with that noise about 500 BC.

        A disease with 90% mortality that *persists* in the population, for which there is no effective treatment? That’s something to get your panties in a knot about. If you look at what hammers human civilization over the course of history, it’s cold, disease and drought, in roughly that order. Cold/drought leads to Famine. Pestilence speaks for itself. War is a product of the former two. We *know* what eats our lunch as a species, and those are the things we ought to worry about.

      • 1mime says:

        Yes, maybe you should send that comment to your members of Congress.

      • formdib says:

        “Pestilence, War, Famine, Death. Don’t mess with ’em.”

        Okay. Agreed.

        “We spend a lot of time worrying about things that don’t really matter, 1mime. A degree or two over a couple of centuries? A couple of feet of sea level rise over the same time period? Who cares? The Dutch figured out how to deal with that noise about 500 BC.”

        Ocean acidification = famine. It destroys marine life we depend on as food sources, as well as the ecology that supports that marine life. The same influences that cause ocean acidification are the influences behind global temperature increases and rising sea levels.

        So I’m wondering where your distinction lies here between taking things seriously and things that don’t really matter. What’s your thoughts about ocean acidification and how to resolve that issue?

      • 1mime says:

        Are you directing your question at 1MIME or at Tracy, formdib?

      • formdib says:

        Tracy, sorry. His were the quotes I selected from.

  7. tuttabellamia says:

    I just skimmed the story about the people being harassed simply for being situated at the center of the US, and it reminded me of a segment I heard yesterday on BBC Radio about how the average or the mean is used to determine major calculations, and how everything that is not average is technically considered an abnormality. That also brought to my mind the practice of statistics, and what is “typical.”

    It’s interesting to see how the family in the article is the focus of so much scrutiny and harassment simply for being geographically at the center.

    It’s good to see how being average or in the center could be misleading and even dangerous.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Here’s the link to the BBC Radio segment, called THE STORY OF AVERAGE:

      • 1mime says:

        Hi, Tutta! Been missing you….great program.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Thanks, Mime, The program is rather simplistic; it’s for the general, “average” (!) listener, but it really hits the mark. 🙂

        By the way, sometime during the past few weeks I finally turned 50, and for some reason I am absolutely delighted and tickled by the idea. I can’t help grinning every time I think about it. I am finally a grownup!

      • 1mime says:

        Happy Birthday, Tutta! Becoming one-half a century old does indeed qualify you as an adult!
        I hope you found a special way to commemorate the event.

        BTW, most of the truly humble, great people in history have been “average”, if you ask them. They have simply done magnificent things with their life.

        Here’s to all the “average” people who do great things to make life better for others!

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I had always felt that, because I don’t have kids, I was not truly an adult — I was still my mother’s child. Somehow, turning 50 has changed that mindset for me.

        Turning 50 was never about having a big bash. It was about graduating to a new mindset and attitude.

      • vikinghou says:

        Turning 50 didn’t bother me. On the other hand, turning 60 initially had a negative psychological effect. But then a friend told me that 60 is the new 40, so I cheered up.

        Being eligible for senior citizen discounts is a plus. But I have to admit that, when I first went to a theatre box office to buy a discounted ticket, I was a little miffed that the attendant didn’t even ask me for my ID. It was OK to be a senior citizen, but I didn’t think I so obviously LOOKED like one! Gad!

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Viking, I think it’s funny how the term has changed over the years — old folks, the elderly, the aged, senior citizens, and now just “seniors,” which makes them sound like they’re in high school, very cool and hip.

      • objv says:

        Happy belated birthday, young lady! What did you end up doing to celebrate?

      • MassDem says:

        Happy birthday Tutta! I hope you had a great day!

  8. Rob Ambrose says:

    Remember that woman who freaked out at Rick Scott? Yeah, well his super PAC somehow thought it would playbwell to attack her directly (she refused to recite the pledge of allegiance?! *gasp*)

    It also includes the GOP staple of calling anybody upset about policies as “wanting free stuff”.

    Don’t get me wrong, I thought she was being rude for her outburst, but this makes Scott look incredibly petty and, frankly, makes me think that maybe she struck a nerve.

    I would have dismissed her ranting much more quickly BEFORE this video came out.

    • 1mime says:

      The Weekly Sift touched upon one of my deep concerns about Republican obstruction: they are grinding our justice process into the ground.

      “The last time the Senate confirmed a judge was in mid-February, and that was only because McConnell postponed a package of judicial nominees from 2015 into the new year. There are 15 judicial nominees ready for a confirmation vote right now, but only one of those votes has been scheduled. Another 32 are waiting on the Judiciary Committee, which hasn’t held a hearing for a nominee since January. Federal courts, meanwhile, are at 79 vacancies and climbing.”

      Contrast the Republican inaction during O’s administration with Democrats action during W’s administration: “…Republicans have only confirmed 16 judicial nominees since becoming the Senate majority in January 2015. At this same point in President George W. Bush’s eighth year, when Democrats controlled the Senate, 40 judicial nominees had been confirmed.”

      And, this doesn’t even touch upon the SCOTUS situation. This is down court. And, this is dangerous. The idea, of course, is to delay appointments in the lower courts until Republicans can do the choosing, setting up a de facto approval process all the way up to SCOTUS, if need be, for those issues, policies, laws that Republicans can’t get through the legislative process.

      It’s sickening. It’s un-democratic. It’s dangerous.

  9. vikinghou says:

    The NYT article concerning coral reefs does not mention another serious threat to the reefs’ heallth—ocean acidification. Ocean pH will fall as the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere rises.

    As the pH of the ocean falls, the capacity of corals to build skeletons diminishes, which in turn decreases their capacity to create habitat for the Reef’s marine life.

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