Our town has scaled back its Memorial Day observances in light of the precautions being taken to help prevent any spreading of the Wuhan virus. There will be wreath-laying and a prayer at our town’s WWI and WWII Memorial in our village center and at the War Memorial in the nearby cemetery. But there will be no parade, no speeches, no marching band. It will be a smaller and more sober remembrance than those in the past...and perhaps more poignant.
During my travels around town yesterday (with my guest co-pilot, Mike), I noticed a number of contradictory things regarding the unofficial start of summer.
When I first ventured out, making my every-other weekly trip to the dump, traffic was surprisingly light. At that time of the morning – 10 a.m. - there is usually a surge in traffic as folks head out to take care of their shopping and other errands. It’s like a switch is thrown and everyone so inclined hops into their cars/trucks/SUVs to take care of those errands. But not yesterday. Traffic was surprisingly light for that time of the morning. In fact, it was almost non-existent.
After the trip to the dump, my co-pilot and I traveled around the town as I showed him some small number of various highlights – one of the lakeside parks, the town docks, one of our local eateries which had set up a tent for outdoors dining, one of our “old-fashioned” general stores, our DPW (he likes that kind of stuff), one of our farm stands, as well as some of the more scenic views of the lake and mountains.
By noon, traffic had gone from minimal to looking more like rush hour in a big city – heavy traffic, bumper-to-bumper on one of the state roads running through our town, lots of motorcycles, lots of SUVs and trucks hauling boat trailers, many of those also stuffed with all kinds of gear and luggage for the long weekend...or for the whole summer as folks were also opening their summer cottages and camps. It pretty much remained that way until later in the afternoon, then dropped off to more normal traffic levels.
A resident living near the town docks reported traffic at the boat ramps had been insane during late Friday afternoon, sending us a couple of photos showing the traffic jam at the ramps. Both this and the traffic seen on Saturday may be indicative of pent up demand and the feeling of freedom now that summer is here, even unofficially.
As Lord John Maynard Keynes once said, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?”
It seems that people, including scientists, are hesitant to publicly change their minds when facts change or new facts override old ‘facts’. It seems a lot of that doesn’t always come from their reluctance to actually change their minds so much as their fear of losing face or the public losing their faith in them.
Science always changes as new discoveries are made that add to or override old knowledge that changes our perceptions about our lives, our world, or our universe.
As Albert Einstein once said on the matter, “It doesn’t matter if 10,000 scientists agree with me. All it takes is one to prove me wrong.” He understood that if the facts of what he believed changed, then his beliefs were in error and that he would need to change his beliefs to match the facts. To do anything else was dishonest.
Maybe it’s time for all of the self-proclaimed ‘scientists’ out there to take it to heart...particularly practitioners of Political Science masquerading as actual scientists.
In line with the above, there’s this from Scientific American, a once worthy science journal now reduced to being politically correct rather than scientifically correct: Researchers identify a major risk factor for pernicious effects of misinformation.
While this article dates back to 2018, it is no less accurate for being two years old.
“Fake news” is Donald Trump’s favorite catchphrase. Since the 2016 election, it has appeared in hundreds of tweets by the President, decrying everything from accusations of sexual assault against him to the Russian collusion investigation to reports that he watches up to eight hours of television a day. Trump may just use “fake news” as a rhetorical device to discredit stories he doesn’t like, but there is evidence that real fake news is a serious problem. As one alarming example, an analysis by the internet media company Buzzfeed revealed that during the final three months of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the 20 most popular false election stories generated around 1.3 million more Facebook engagements—shares, reactions, and comments—than did the 20 most popular legitimate stories. The most popular fake story was “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump for President.”We see it every day on Facebook, in comments posted about a news story or blog post, and on the actual news outlets like the DNC-MSM. I have seen it when someone makes the long-debunked claim that Blue states pay more in federal taxes than Red states and that Red states receive more in federal funds than Blue states. I have responded to that claim, using information readily available from Federal Government websites that show how the numbers are being manipulated. Larger states with the correlating larger populations always pay more in federal taxes than smaller states. That’s a no-brainer. But when you look at the numbers based upon per capita taxes paid, the numbers shift showing that Red states tend to send more money to Washington DC than Blue states. The same is true if federal funds sent to the individual states is broken down by category, things like Welfare, Medicaid, SNAP, Medicare, Social Security, highway funds, law enforcement grants, federal wages (for federal employees), military wages/operating funds/procurement/etc., and so on. It then takes on an entirely different picture.
Fake news can distort people’s beliefs even after being debunked. For example, repeated over and over, a story such as the one about the Pope endorsing Trump can create a glow around a political candidate that persists long after the story is exposed as fake. A 2017 study published in the journal Intelligence suggests that some people may have an especially difficult time rejecting misinformation. Asked to rate a fictitious person on a range of character traits, people who scored low on a test of cognitive ability continued to be influenced by damaging information about the person even after they were explicitly told the information was false. The study is significant because it identifies what may be a major risk factor for vulnerability to fake news.
Even when sent links to state/federal government websites proving where the money comes from and where it goes, the Progressive Left will continue to insist they are right and that the facts don’t matter. They can’t help themselves if for no other reason that it doesn’t meet with their closely held beliefs. Therefore, they choose to ignore the facts and continue to spread their debunked misinformation. This is but one small example. Others abound...on both sides of the political aisle.
I watched as ABC News showed the failure of two dams in Michigan due to heavy rains, the commentary telling us that at least one of the dams hadn’t been in compliance with state law and that regulators would be investigating the dam failure, keeping that non-compliance in mind during the investigation.
The problem? The dam owner had wanted to lower the level of the lake waters behind the dam because of concerns for its reliability, but the state refused permission to do so because they were more concerned for the fate of endangered fresh water mussels. The dam failed under the heavy rains and the mussels were just as imperiled, if not more so, than if the dam owner had been allowed to lower the lake level as it had requested.
Such is the short-sightedness of government bureaucracies.
And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the summerfolk are evident in great numbers, everyone is trying to get their boats into the water at the same time, and the summer restaurants are doing a lot of business.