LANGUAGE

 

           HYOID -Henry Gray  Anatomy of the Human Body

I have been fascinated by language most of my life. That, I think, is why I like to write. I hardly knew any English when I came to the US.  I sat in my 5th-grade class in silence for three months and then, like a miracle, started to talk, just like all the other kids. But math is another story. Sixty-seven years later, I still need to revert to my primary language, German, to do my multiplication tables. Why is that?
I now speak without an accent.  I have been told that if one learns a new language before age 16, there is no accent; if one learns after that age, they remain with their accent all their life.  Why is that, and why can’t my wife, or JFK, say: “Ich bin ein Berliner” without struggling with the “CH” in “Ich”? It comes out like a mucous plug gurgling in the back of the tongue instead of a cat hissing.
As an adult, I experienced another quirk of language.  In my early doctor days, I realized that I needed to learn how to look into people’s stomachs to deal with illnesses in that organ.  The gastroscope was coming into common usage, but I could not learn how to use it unless I went to Japan to learn that skill for complex medical-political reasons, which will require another essay to explain. Suffice it to say, I went to Tokyo in 1974 to learn that skill.  I was fortunate to be taught by a famous Japanese professor for several weeks.  It took me the first week to understand him.  He kept talking about the “mucous rake” in the stomach. I finally figured it out.  He was talking about a puddle of mucous in the stomach – the “mucous lake.”  The adult Japanese cannot pronounce the “L,” and substitutes an “R” for it.  That issue popped up years later when I got evicted from first-class in an Asian airliner. I had bought a first-class seat for my wife, but I stayed in steerage. When it became dark, I snuck up to first-class and took the empty seat next to her.  In the morning, the stewardess discovered me and exclaimed, “You not first-crass, you must reave!” Embarrassed, I reft!
How did a tribe of tree monkeys learn to talk anyway? I have thought about this a lot and for a long time.  I concluded that what made us talk was that we started wandering the African savannahs when we came down from the trees several million years ago. We found it easier to walk on two extremities rather than four, which we needed up in the trees to keep from falling. 3.6 million years ago, in what is now Tanzania, a group of Australopithecus afarensis walked through wet volcanic ash that then petrified. It showed a modern gate with a heel strike first, and then the toes push off at the end of the step. The feet looked much like ours. With our bipedal gait, the head had to move directly over the shoulders. Otherwise, we would be looking at the ground all the time. Once we didn’t need our upper extremities to get around, we remembered the old biblical proverb, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground.” So, we looked for activities to do with them.  It took another million years for Homo habilis, which translates to handy man, to make the first recognizable tools. A tool to cut, an ax, was probably the first thing we made with our hands. Pointy things, that could be tied to a stick could be used to hunt rabbits or other small creatures. But then we realized that larger animals had more meat on them.  To hunt them required us to work in groups because a rhinoceros took a lot of cooperation to bring down, and was quite a dangerous undertaking. Making noises and gestures was a start, but not adequate for organizing several Neanderthals to surround and kill a Mammoth.  We needed language to do that.  “You come from behind, and I will come from the side and that guy from the other side, etc.” 
We had short necks when we lived in trees, but now that we had to talk, we needed better voice boxes and more articulate tongues and lips to make all those sounds that others could understand. The voice box moved lower in the neck, and probably in Homo heidelberensis, the structure of the most crucial bone for language evolved in the neck to attach the muscles that moved the tongue, the Hyoid bone.   Try to say an “L”  without using your tongue or a “P” without your lips – you can’t.  Making the vowel sounds requires more resonant spaces like the nose and sinuses, which we also developed.
With better communication, hunting became much more successful and gave us an upgrade in our diet to more proteins. Our brains got bigger from 640cc to our current size of 1350cc. And that is why we can no longer end sentences with a preposition, notwithstanding.

                                                             CLIMATE CHANGE 2.0

It used to be called “Global Cooling” in the 1970s when we were cooling.  The prediction was that the next ice age was upon us.  We are still in the last ice age, the Pleistocene.  Two major polar ice caps still dominate the earth. There is some debate about whether we are in an interglacial period, the Holocene, or is that just warming within our last glacial period, also called the Quaternary glaciation. Regardless, real interglacials should not have any ice on the planet. 80% of the time, the earth has been free of ice, called a Greenhouse Period.”Climate Change” replaced “Global Warming,” which was not intuitive or accepted by the general population despite Al Gore and AOC. 

There are two opposing opinions. #1 Man-made CO2 is warming the planet, and if we do not do something soon, we shall perish.  It may already be too late.  #2 The Climate is constantly changing and has been for millions of years.  We may be contributing to this, but the warming and cooling cycles are caused by numerous factors: the sun’s heat output, the earth’s axis wobble and orbital eccentricity (Milankovitch cycles), and greenhouse gases of which water vapor is the most powerful. Additionally, Ocean currents, among others, also affect the earth’s temperature. The “Warmers,” True Believers, and Activists hang on one factor, greenhouse gases, of which CO2 is in their mantra the most important. In contrast, the “Skeptics” and Deniers claim a multiplicity of factors that cause climate. I kind of like the title “Skeptics” because it connotes individuals who are not sheeple. The term “Deniers” is a pejorative derived from the “Holocaust Deniers,” a rather backward group denying the obvious. 
Climate science is a new field of study, perhaps 30-40 years old. Physics, geology, meteorology, atmospheric chemistry, oceanography, carbon cycling, astronomy, soil science, and many others deal with climatology. Believe it or not, many of those touch on biology and the study of human physiology. More significantly, I am by nature, a skeptic. In my over 50 years of dealing with a branch of science, I have found that most things are not simple. I have a hard time buying into the single causation of anything.
The other major obstacle to my accepting the single theory of Global Warming is the various attempts at deception that have been uncovered on their side, not the least of which is the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), a branch of the United Nations. They are a closed and underhanded group.  If you don’t believe in their mantra, you are ousted.  It was formed by 195 countries that each appoint members.  Not only scientists, but also environmentalists, activists, and politicians appointed by each country have input into their reports.  This creates an incestuous unanimity as they see anyone who disagrees with them as not a valid climate scientist which many of them are not either. In one report they produced, they stated, “Most of the observed increase in global average temperature is very likely due to observed increase in human-caused greenhouse gas concentration.”
Papers that are not along party lines are not reviewed. In fact, getting a paper that does not agree with the man-made causality of increased global temperature will likely not even be accepted by most journals, much less getting any government grants. The media usually does not report on the skeptic’s point of view or on the frauds that have been perpetrated.  The most infamous of which is the “Hockey Stick” temperature rise that depicts a recent rapidly rising global temperature, leaving out the Medieval Warming and the “Little Ice Age.”  The e-mails that originated from the English University of East Anglia appeared to show efforts to hide or alter data to falsely show Global Warming, with a reluctance to share data. Was the second batch of e-mails recently released also taken out of context? Or the claims that the Polar-bears are dying off, a very debatable point of view, and the data from tree rings of Bristlecone Pines that produce misleading data regarding Global Warming, which was more likely related to changes in precipitation and/or in life-giving  CO2 (which CO2 is known to do). I am aware of all the arguments: taken out of context, some of the warming was only in the northern hemisphere, cherry-picking words like “use tricks to hide temperature decline” is difficult to interpret in any other way, but refusing to share data, which they unquestionably did, is very suspicious. It is not how scientists should behave. Joseph Goebbels, Propaganda Minister of the 3rd Reich, hit it on the head, “People will eventually believe you if you keep repeating the same lie.”
There have been several warming periods without the evil CO2  factor. The Minoan Warming may have helped create the Greek civilization about 3500 years ago, then the Roman Warming about 2000 years ago when all Alpine glaciers melted and allowed Hannibal, with his elephants, to cross them. Also, the Medieval Warming was about 1000 years ago when the Vikings really discovered America and settled Greenland (which was indeed green) long before 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue. All correlate with human achievements, likely because it was warmer. It was warmer than in our current anomaly in all three previous climate anomalies, while CO2  hovered dangerously below 200ppm. At 150ppm, all plant life starts to die. Hothouse farmers like to keep their CO2 levels between 1000 to 1300ppm. And no one has yet died in those hothouses. What if we have it all wrong and the cause and effect are reversed. It gets warm, and because it gets warm COppm rises. There are other causes for the earth’s temperature to go up. The sun’s temperature output is not constant. The earth gets closer to the sun because of axis tilt and orbital eccentricity. At times there is more heat than others.  The last three warming anomalies did not have CO2 associated with them. In fact, our current climate anomaly starting in 1850 at the end of the “Little Ice Age” goes against the theory.

Most graphs show the beginning of rising temperatures before the Industrial Age started.  Then in 1940, a surprising drop in temperature lasting to 1975 happened despite CO2rising another 30ppm (17% of the total). It actually brought fears of a new ice age, another contradictory episode in the CO2 saga.

Another flaw in the theory of fossil fuel causation of the COstory is that almost half of the CO2   rise was before the Industrial Age prior to 1850 from 180ppm to 280ppm. Where did that CO2   come from? It could have been from vulcanos, but even Krakatoa in 1883 barely moved the needle, and it is unlikely that life forms made that much  CO2. If you have ever noticed, cold beer has a lot of “fizz,” but warm beer doesn’t. That is because more CO is dissolved in a cold fluid than in a warm liquid. The end of the “LIA” marked the beginning of a new warming period for various reasons; of course, the ocean water was also warming. When it got warmer, it released CO2, and as you can see in the graph above, COstarted to rise before the first Model-T rolled off Ford’s production line. That happened in 1908. There is a lot of CO2 stored in the oceans.  There is a significant risk that despite decreasing our fossil fuel use, the global temperature may still rise, just like it did in all the other warming periods of the past despite low CO2. We got a slight hint of that with the recent Covid CO2  dip but still a continued rise in temperature. The argument that temperature rise precedes CO2 rise, as it did in 1850, is awkward. As as far as I know, cause precedes effect pretty much every time, even if it happened in the 19th Century.
There is a vast body of scientists who do not join the 97% consensus that Al Gore talks about. I need to hear more from the 3% that don’t agree. This would not be the first time in history that the minority report is right. There are trillions of dollars at stake. In 2009 a group of 31,000 scientists (I presume some of the three percenters) led by Fred Singer*, an Austrian physicist and student of a long list of renowned scientists, including his Ph.D. adviser, Professor John Wheeler, collaborator of Niels Bohr, the father of quantum mechanics, signed a document that made the statement, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the earth’s climate.” You must admit 31,000 signatures would make you think twice about anything if you were a thinking person. And you would think CNN would have made mention of such a startling statement. Even Roger Revelle, Al Gore’s “beloved mentor” changed his mind on Global Warming which prompted Gore to call him “an old fool.”
I am also disturbed by the latest activist attack that the newest cause of Global Warming is Capitalism. Who knew that the Capitalists were fueling Global Warming? China must have turned Capitalist when I was not looking. They are, after all, the most significant contributors to greenhouse gases.




* Many of you have read Al Gore’s books, but I’ll bet that none of you have read an actual climate scientist, Fred Singer’s book, “Hot Talk, Cold Science” ©2021

 

The Hand of God

Recently, I have a renewed inspiration to sculpt again, something that I have been doing off and on since I was in high school. I never had any formal training in sculpting and believe it is just a DNA thing passed down from my Father and Grandfather.
I finished a piece that just came back from the foundry. I would like to share it with you.  I call it the Hand of God. The idea of it comes from a sculptor I have long admired, Auguste Rodin, the undisputed Father of Modern Sculpture.  He sculpted over a 100 years ago in Paris, France.  This piece is not a copy of his work by the same name. Frankly, without any intended malice or envy, I think my Hand of God is better! (So how come I am not rich, famous, or undisputed anything?) But certain aspects are taken from Rodin.  The size is larger than life, which is what Rodin started doing after he was accused of using his hand and making a plaster cast of it.  I did use his idea and the name, The Hand of God, for my sculpting, and I did use my hand but as a model, not a plaster cast, and it is, as Auguste recommends, larger than life-size.  Rodin’s sculpting had what looks like the hand is holding an embracing couple, while mine holds the globe of the world, a bit of reflective difference in Rodin and my Weltanschauung (world view.) I recently learned from Legalzoom that one could copyright works of art, so I did just that. If you copy it, I hope to collect a small fortune from you for copyright infringement. I seem to be on a sculpting kick and have several other projects in the works, all based on the hand motif. Hands are one of the real challenges that many artists often avoid because of the complexities and technical difficulties of making it look like a human hand. I hope to have a small exhibit at the Santa Paula Museum of Art in the near future, and you can judge for yourself.


Auguste Rodin   The Hand of God  

Rodin Museum, Paris, France

Gösta Iwasiuk

Gösta Iwasiuk  Hand of God, Santa Paula, California

 

 

 


 

 [GI1]

ORGANIC FARMING 2.0

Continuing on the theme of Organic Farming, there are a few more things you should know about it. As you already know, Organic Farming does not allow synthetic compounds to be used (with some notable exceptions). Radiated foods are not allowed either, and GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are also off-limits. Almost all man-made pesticides and herbicides are shunned, along with nanomaterials, defined as particles that are in the nanoscale 1nm to 100nm in any dimension. A nanometer is 1×10-9 meter or one billionth of a meter. Nano foods are also unwelcome in the organic food industry. Hormones and antibiotics, with some exceptions, are forbidden. Some of the prohibitions are reasonable. The majority of forbidden foods are based on superstition and arbitrary rules that are not grounded in science. I will go over these ones by one and explain my logic for finding these rules mostly preposterous. Although following an organically grown diet is not harmful to individuals, in aggregate, there are societal and ecological damaging policies and practices generated by Organic Farming, such as failing to use the best products to stimulate production, thus diminishing the yield of the land. Avoiding appropriate insect control to the detriment of large segments of the population causes suffering and death, such as the elimination of DDT, which has caused a resurgence of Malaria with 300,000,000 cases a year, and about 1,000,000 deaths yearly, mostly in Africa. Avoiding appropriate medications to treat sick animals to satisfy superstition is also cruel.

Synthetic Compounds:

The idea that man-made is bad and natural is good is an idea that stems from the German Romantic Era.  When I was in primary school in Austria, I got a good taste of that social movement. I had to memorize the poetry of  Johann Wolfgang Göthe and Heinrich Heine, who were the literary giants of German Romanticism, and listen to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, and Richard Wagner, the composers epitomizing that era.  It was an attempt at modifying the strict science of Gregor Mendel, Joseph Lister, Ludwig Boltzmann, Max Plank, Erwin Schrodinger, and Albert Einstein, who were obsessed with mathematical accuracy and dominated by the “scientific method.” It was an effort to remake science to be more compatible with humanity’s need for spiritualism.  Part of that effort was to emphasize nature and spiritual values.  Man-made was the lesser, nature was the better.  From that flowed the idea that man-made fertilizer was inferior to the natural product. Guano (bat manure) was to be preferred over the man-made product created through the Haber-Bosh process invented in 1909, making ammonia (NH3) from the atmosphere. You must admit it takes quite a bit of salesmanship to sell bat shit over a product created out of thin air. From that bit of flimflam came the claim that all the other substances that were “synthetic” were bad compared to natural, which was good. That concept is totally bogus! There is bad and good on both sides—arsenic – bad, Polio vaccine – good, or UV rays – bad, Cadbury Chocolate – good.  We could go on for many pages listing man-made vs. natural. Suffice it to say. It is not the origin but the individual attributes of the product that define if it is good or bad for humanity. Ammonia from the air is just as good as Ammonia from guano. Synthetic fertilizers support food production for 9 billion people, for God’s Sake! It is a miracle! Rejecting synthetic fertilizer is on par with rejecting jet travel, cancer treatment, or the light bulb, not the brightest bulbs in the world!


Radiated Food:
It was Albert Einstein that introduced us to the concept that in the world of quantum mechanics very small particles can be a particle or a wave at the same time. Light travels as a wave 93,000,000 million miles away but hits the earth as a particle to make electricity in the Photoelectric Effect, for which Einstein won the 1905 Nobel Prize for physics. There are different types of waves. They can be ionizing or non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation has enough energy to knock off electrons from an atom. Non-ionizing radiation does not have that power but still can harm you.  UV radiation can burn your skin. Microwaves can even kill. I knew a woman, a former patient, who, in her youth, put her baby in the microwave for just a few seconds to stop it from crying. She did beat the murder charge by claiming ignorance – pretty ignorant! Once you get out of the sun or turn off the microwave, these particles no longer hit you and cannot hurt you.  The same is true for ά, β, γ, x, or neutron rays. Radiation does not stick around; once it passes through anything, it is gone, just like when you step out of sun rays.  Food is radiated to kill bacteria and makes it safe to eat. It sterilizes the food, and it does not make it radioactive. It has been used for 30 years. Being afraid of radiated food is like being afraid of your microwave oven, just don’t get in it.  It demonstrates your ignorance of what radiation is.  To avoid radiated food is another thing that lets you join the ranks of the IQ challenged.


GMO:
You may not realize it, but you have been eating GMO foods all your life.  If you are reading this, you are likely still alive!  Ten thousand years ago, various grasses that grew wild around the Sea of Galilee were harvested, and the seeds ground into flour. Emmer (Triticum dicoccum) and Einkorn (T. monococcum) were the best of them and eventually were planted by ancient man. These early kinds of wheat had four chromosomes.  In 1970 Norman Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize for saving millions from starvation.  He created a breed of wheat with 42 chromosomes (Frankenwheat). Regardless of how you do it, if you get from 4 genes to 42 genes you have “genetically” modified that plant! That wheat was more disease resistant, shorter, and therefore better to withstand storms, and had six times the yield of the older wheat. It is almost impossible to get the old wheat with just the original four chromosomes anymore.  We all are eating GMO wheat. Many of the sugars, soybeans, sugar beets, corn, squash, seedless watermelon, apples, potatoes, papayas, and farmed salmon are GMO. Surprisingly we have not grown horns or a tail. We should watch the GMO food consumers very closely for signs of genetic changes, such as growing a third eye in the middle of their forehead.

Pesticides:
My German background reminds me of the origin of the word “Pest.” It is the plague, the black death, that killed half of Europe. “Cide” is Latin for to kill. DDT is perhaps the archvillain of pesticides. Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring was the cause of the demise of DDT. Malaria killed millions of people, mainly in Africa. By eliminating the “Kryptonite” to mosquitos, Malaria made a comeback, and  WHO reversed their 30-year ban on DDT. The attitude of Organic Farming of zero tolerance to synthetic pesticides is entirely hypocritical. Just one example, Nicotine, is an approved “natural” compound allowed in Organic Farming, but it is nevertheless highly toxic to man, something we all know. Without pesticides, we have insurmountable deaths and the destruction of crops. We must use Aristotle’s answer, the golden mean – not too much and not too little. Organic Farming does not recognize both sides of the coin!

Hormones and Antibiotics:
Hormones are fairly harmless. Thyroid, growth hormone, oxytocin, steroids, and insulin are all essential if there is a deficit, but harm the individual if there is an excess.  I cannot quite understand the Organics’ abhorrence of hormones.  If used in moderation and appropriately, they are mostly of benefit, even life-saving.  If they cause harm, it is in the individual and causes no harm to the public. 
Antibiotics, on the other hand, can cause harm.  I see no justification for avoiding antibiotics to cure bacterial diseases in animals. In fact, withholding antibiotics if an infection is present is cruelty to animals and should not be allowed. Antibiotics used as prevention are, however, not appropriate. If no disease exists, treating with antibiotics encourages resistance to antibiotics and generates a strain that is not susceptible to antibiotics which can become dangerous to all animal and human life.

Nano foods:
I left nanoparticles for last as I know little about them and thus have no authoritative opinions. My gut reaction is that digestion reduces most of what we eat to nano-size particles, and thus, our ancestors and we have been absorbing molecule-sized particles for millions of years. The research so far shows very little risk to nanotechnology, and thus another non-starter for Organic Farming concerns. It is likely more related to what the substance is than what size the particle is. Nanoparticles of silver can cause argyria, the turning of skin grey/blue with no other known ill effects. I have had dinner with people of Indian descent (people of India) of the upper 1%, and they served gold foil.  I doubt that you would consume gold to the extent that you would get aurodermobia (a word I created). It might require a remake of the James Bond movie, Gold Finger.
Organic Farming is mostly junk science based on irrational and false assumptions. You should not waste your time or money on it, except maybe you should not eat nanoparticles of gold, silver, nor use Nicotine in any form

                                         ORGANIC FARMING

unsplash.com/@jentheodore

Lord Northbourne coined the words “Organic Farming” in his book Look to the Land in 1939. It uses the ideals of the Austrian Rudolf Steiner, philosopher, reformer, and self-proclaimed clairvoyant, to combine science and spiritual thought into a new approach to life, religion, and agriculture, embracing the natural science of the mind and spirit of humanity.  This all sounds a bit weird, and it is. Steiner was a student of a school of scientists that combined spirit and culture with fringe science that he called Geisteswissenschaft (spiritual science), a more magical approach to earthly tangible things like growing food.  

The German Romantic movement, created and expanded by the German poet, Johan Wolfgang Göthe, resisted pure mechanical science, which relies on physical knowledge, analysis, and classification.  Göthe felt that science had become obsessed with accumulating data, thus shriveling the interplay between humanity and nature that Göthe championed in his scientific work, Metamorphosis of Plants.

It is this philosophy that inspired Steiner to look at plants from a spiritual point of view.  After all, we “are what we eat!” From that, it follows that if we eat the right things, we will improve ourselves. Conversely, if we eat the wrong things, we shall deteriorate.  

Now for the magic. Steiner surmised that all those things that are man-made, i.e., synthetic are bad and do not conform to the normal nature of things, especially things we internalize, such as food. He was also enchanted with the ancient origins, what Göthe called the Urpflanze (the archetypical plant). How did Steiner know that man-made was bad and what nature created was good? And how did ancient improve on modern? He guessed. But did he guess right? Arsenic and strychnine are natural products too, but certainly not good for humans.

Nitrogen is a crucial element for the growth of plants. Despite its abundance, usable nitrogen was difficult to come by.  The tanning industry of the 1800s would pay people to bring their urine to them for the manufacture of pliable, hairless, and soft leather.  They did pay well, and the poor all sold their urine in a pot.  The term, “He is so poor, he doesn’t have a pot to piss in,” comes from that era. Nitrogen is the most plentiful element of air, but most plants have no mechanisms to get nitrogen out of the air. Bat feces (Guano) was a valuable product that you can still buy at your local garden supply as fertilizer for your tomatoes. It has NH3 (ammonia)and, as you might guess, a lot more. Guano was also the source of  Sodium Nitrate (Chilean saltpeter) from which explosives could be manufactured. In 1909 Fritz Haber, a German Jew, invented the process of how to make ammonia from the air, and the Guano market crashed. The synthetic fertilizer was born, and with it, the source of all the explosives for World War I.

NH3 is made by a process called the Haber-Bosch process, which earned those two the Nobel Prize in 1918 for Haber and 1930 for Bosch. Currently, the yearly world production of related compounds used for fertilizer is 150 million tons which is absolutely essential to feed the 9 billion people of the world. Those sources are strictly forbidden for Organic Farming because they are “man-made.” The active ingredient, NH3 made from air, is of course, the same as in guano.  How exactly manure from bats, birds, cows, or even humans that contains ammonia is better than extracting nitrogen from the atmosphere, making the same compound NH3 is not known. Rudolf Steiner must have used some of his clairvoyant skills to elucidate this fact. It nevertheless remains hidden in the mysticism of Organic Farming, harkening back to the spiritual science of Johan Wolfgang Göthe.  Silly me, here I thought air was cleaner than shit. 

Organic Farming lent itself to much interpretation, variation, and even fraud. The USDA stepped in and created standards in the 1990s. To date, no evidence exists that consuming organically grown plants or animals is healthier, has more nutrition, or is safer than regular grown agricultural products. The USDA created a list of allowed substances approved for Organic Farming that included synthetics you would not believe, like ethylene, a synthesized hydrocarbon sourced from petrochemicals, but also many compounds that you would not think they would allow, such as ethanol, copper hydroxide, chlorine dioxide, chlorhexidine, iodine, and oxytocin (the love hormone being involved with maternal behavior, sex, and mammalian milk production). They certainly did not include growth hormone, which is forbidden! And, under no circumstances can synthetic products made from nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium be used, but synthetic chemicals derived from sulfates, carbonates, oxides, or silicates of zinc, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalt are given magical dispensations. I wonder if the Organic Farming establishment has someone like the Pope that makes all these infallible decisions “ex-cathedra” as to what is and is not allowed and what criteria he or she uses to decide.

Today science applies only to the physical world, not to spiritism. If it is measurable, it is science. If it can’t be measured, it is religion. It appears Organic Farming is more of a religion than an agricultural enterprise. I conclude that Steiner did not know what he was talking about, and the whole of Organic Farming is a fabricated belief system, with nothing that scientists would call science. It requires an unswerving trust, loyalty, (and more money) to something for which you have no proof and no confirmation of its validity, sort of like the picture above.

A THREAT TO OUR EXISTENCE

History has shown us indubitably that vaccination is the best weapon we have against most infectious diseases: measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, influenza, tetanus, hepatitis, pertussis, chickenpox, diphtheria, meningitis, and more to the point, Covid -19.  The argument that “I am healthy, exercise every day, and eat right,” is not valid as that does not provide even a shred of protection for any infection, especially not Covid-19.  The argument that having had Covid-19 should exempt you from vaccination is also flawed.  Firstly there is very little data on immunity after infection. Fully one-third of people who had Covid-19 generated no antibody response. The immunity from the disease is variable and not as reliable as vaccine immunity. Another study out of Israel gives reason to have more doubts about the quality of that immunity. The breakthrough events, defined as getting infected again after either having had the disease or getting vaccinated, occur at twice the rate in natural immunity as in vaccine acquired immunity. This suggests that even though an individual has had the disease, immunization is still required, in opposition to the opinion of what one US Senator says.

Herd immunity is acquired by a population when there is no more of a reservoir for the virus to infect, and therefore the virus cannot multiply and cannot mutate. The risk of mutation is a major reason to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent the next, possibly more lethal virus that may or may not be susceptible to the vaccines. That level of immunity is said to be a minimum of 80%.  Current worldwide immunity is at 35%, not even halfway there. 
There are many reasons why worldwide immunity is so low. The poor nations do not have the infrastructure and funds. The wealthy nations have pushback from the people that are anti-vaxxers for a variety of reasons: lack of education, fear, religious objection, genuine medical contraindication to the vaccine, and just plain stubborn ignorance.
There are efforts to get the poorer nations to meet their needs through private and public actions. Vaccine hesitancy is another major obstacle.  China, through mandates that only an autocratic government is able to muster, has reached the goal of herd immunity and is beginning to relax its mandated programs. It is now focusing on segments of the population that need more attention, such as those that were missed in the first round or need a booster. 

To date, there are 21 countries that are in the process of various levels of mandates from rigorous, such as no vaccination no job, or the unvaccinated are simply shut out of their economy, including denial of hospital admission, to more lenient attitudes such as a vaccine passport or frequent testing.  That list should give you a hint as to the conviction all these nations have of the need and urgency to do this! These countries all, by and large, are democracies and have public health agencies that have found it necessary, despite all the effort to do this on a voluntary basis, to implement methods that require a more aggressive demand for compliance:
Australia                 Indonesia               Russia          
Britain                     Italy                       Saudi Arabia
Canada                   Kazakhstan          Sri Lanka
Costa Rica              Lebanon               Switzerland
Fiji                           Malta                    Turkey
France                    Micronesia            Turkmenistan
Hungary                 Netherlands          United States

It has become obvious that mandates will be necessary for most countries to achieve the herd immunity we need. I realize that this will bring much resistance and even potential violence. But this has been necessary for past situations, even in our Democracy. A threat to our existence is a powerful motivator. When we are threatened by annihilation from another country, for example, we will arm ourselves and shoot (to kill) the enemy. This is not the first time we have done this! People that refuse to participate (known as draft dodgers) are put in jail. When existence is at stake (and 700,000 deaths are getting very close to the level of an existential threat), we have in the past restricted civil rights, even imprisoned innocent people, with no due process whom we judged to be a threat. 

To demonstrate what fear of a perceived threat can do, if you have not done so, I would suggest you visit Manzanar in central California, one of the prison camps for Americans of Japanese descent during WWII (120,000)– two-thirds of whom were born and raised in the United States of America!

THE CASE AGAINST BUYING AN ELECTRIC CAR

There are things in the future that we can predict. We know with certainty that fifty years from now the sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening, and we can even tell the exact minute for each day when that will happen. We know that if two balls of unequal weight are dropped from the Tower of Pisa they both will hit the ground in 3.3 seconds, and we have known this for 432, years ever since Galileo did that experiment. There are many things we know with reasonable certainty, baring a thermonuclear wipeout of mankind. What we will not know is what the weather will be tomorrow or what the global temperature will be in 30 years.  Weather systems follow a non-linear chaos pattern. IT IS NOT PREDICTABLE! Will there be global warming or the opposite is not known, and the crystal ball and the future predicting computers are myths.  At the moment, the globe is warming.

Annual mean temperature of the northern hemisphere per the Japan Meteorological Agency compared to ppm CO2

The warming trend started at the end of the “Little Ice Age” in 1850. Ironically the tauted cause of this warming, CO2 rise, did not start until 1890, a 40-year lag. Logic tells us that the cause is supposed to precede effect. By some magic, the warming started before the CO2 rise. Warming continued until the 1940s, which then took another pause even though CO2 paradoxically kept going up. In fact, there was “Global Cooling,” another black eye for CO2
Warming then resumed along with continued CO2 rise. There was another difficult to explain the pause in the temperature rise from 1998 to 2012 when  CO2 failed to perform as advertised. The climatologists had the explanation all precalculated on their fail-proof future predicting computers. It was the La Niña, who knew?  This is one more time that CO2 has failed us. It has not been this cold on earth in the last 250 million years. There have been five major and 12 minor glaciations, of which a number of them have CO2 levels of 3000ppm and higher. Where was global warming when you needed it?
Correlation and causation are two different things. Just because B follows A does not mean A caused B. Besides, CO2 has been all over the place regardless of what global temperatures were. The bottom line is that AOC is not the “go-to person” to tell us what global temperatures will be in 8 years or 100 years. She does not know!
There is an increasing number of climate scientists who are not so sure anymore. All you need to do is look at Amazon’s increasing list of books being published, questioning the general wisdom and joining the “deniers” who point out that science needs more study and more time. Even one of the founders of Greenpeace has had second thoughts. Read his book, “Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout.” Perhaps you won’t need that Tesla after all.
Another aspect of this is cost.  As of today, one kWh (Kilowatt hour) costs $0.31. A Volt battery holds 16 kWh. It will get you 25 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in. That is 16 x $0.31= $4.96 divided by 25 miles = 0.1984.  It costs you 20 cents to drive one mile in a Volt. Today’s average gasoline cost for regular is $3.19 per gallon. In a comparable car that gets 32 miles to the gallon, that would be 10 cents a mile. This does not even include the relative costs of an electric car vs. a standard gasoline car. A Volt costs $45,000 compared to a similar-sized gasoline-powered Honda at $20,000. Not only does it cost double for fuel and at least double for the car.  I know that AOC had a lot of environmental training tending Bar in the Bronx, but are you willing to pay double for political correctness based on a theory that still has a lot of inconsistencies, is based on computer predictions of the future, and has nowhere near 97% agreement?
Think about this for a moment. CO2 is plant food that is making our earth greener, increasing agricultural yields of everything from corn and wheat to carrots, plus extending the growing season. Extreme cold causes 5,400,000 deaths on earth every year vs. 311,000 for heat. It is cold we need to fear more than warmth. We are in an interglacial period that has already lasted 11,500 years. The usual time for an interglacial period is 10,000 years. We may be at the brink of another glaciation, and all that CO2 is keeping us warm. “It is tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”– Yogi Berra

THE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

We have become a very polarized country.  The level of hostility is much higher than it was 50 years ago. Still, 40% of the eligible population has not been vaccinated, when we know that the disease is being kept alive, reproducing, and mutating in the unvaccinated.  This was not an issue during the Polio epidemic.  Everyone was eager to get vaccinated. Now there is distrust, fear, and issues such as personal freedom and constitutional rights getting into the mix, despite what Dr. Fauci says about science.

Just like the global warming issue, being pressured into poorly thought-out wrong choices is not wise.  Much of the population is not convinced, despite what Al Gore says, about the 97% consensus regarding global warming. Voter ID is another subject of disagreement. I, too, have my own ideas on those subjects that do not necessarily agree with the majority, but I do see the problem. 

I, like all humans, have a good dose of confirmation bias in my heart and soul.  That is, I read and accept that with which I agree and ignore that with which I don’t.  Part of the problem is that we are further apart philosophically now than we were in the past (aka the “good old days”!)  Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy were not all that far apart politically. It was easier to compromise when the distance you needed to walk to meet halfway was closer.  The distances have become longer, and meeting halfway seems to be an insurmountable task. What can we do to overcome our differences? That is one of those questions that seems to have no answers. But I do think we could make fewer thinking errors. 

In my job of the last half-century, General Surgery, I have seen my share of disagreements.  In that job, a mistake can do some serious damage. Mistakes are often related to several factors that come to mind, which I will enumerate.
1. Ignorance – not knowing all the facts, all the data, and all that should be known. To correct that study, reading, thinking, and looking at all the data go a long way to correct that flaw.
2. Confirmation Bias – just looking at your opinion, your assessment, your biases is not enough.  A broader outlook is needed to avoid an error. This takes wisdom and courage.
3. Stubbornness – we all like to be right, but we all make errors and are not always right. Do not defend your point of view just because it is your point of view. You must have solid evidence and reliable knowledge to stick to your side of the story.
4. Moral Superiority – This is a dangerous emotion.  Once you consider yourself morally superior, you discount your opponent as inferior or stupid. Your argument becomes flawed by your own nitwittedness.  This I have often observed when a younger physician points out a mistake to an older “more experienced physician.” Experience can be overrated.
5. Lack of Respect and Civility – Any disagreement needs discussion that is respectful and avoids ad hominem attacks. Aristotle pointed out that finding flaws with an opponent because of how he looks or acts is not a legitimate part of the argument.  Stick to the facts! I see this flawed thinking often on social media.
6. Truth is Essential – You need to be rooted in what is correct. Untruth will come back to haunt you!
7. Logic – Also essential because it is easy to fall into the trap not seen by you. Just because something has not been proven to be false does not mean it is not true. The slippery slope may or may not happen. Circular arguments are exactly that, circular. The tu quoque fallacy tries to divert blame. Just because Joe jumped off the cliff does not mean you should! This is similar to the Bandwagon Fallacy. If 97% think one way, this should ring alarm bells in your head. Be careful when someone trots out the straw man or the red herring fallacy instead of the real argument. Post hoc ergo proper hoc (this happened because of that) is another deception used in many arguments. Focusing on two extreme options when more possibilities exist creates a false dilemma, another trap into which not to fall.
8. Misinterpretation – carelessness, misunderstanding, and plain stupidity have led to some colossal errors in thinking.
We all could do better if we tried harder to understand each other’s points of view, find the whole truth, and not make illogical stupid choices.

OUR COSTLIEST WAR

BOONEOAKLEY ADD CAMPAIGN TO INCREASE BUSINESS

The Civil War cost 618,000 US lives. That up to now has been the “Costliest War” we have had. World War II cost 402,399 US lives. Covid -19 has cost 700,285 US lives up to 10/1/2021, and it is not over.   We are in a War with the greatest mortality of any War we have ever fought and are still fighting.  It has become painfully obvious that the only real weapon is vaccination. 
Rand Paul’s idea of immunity from having the disease isn’t working out so well. The reason being that immunity from the disease has two problems. 1. It still has not affected nearly enough (the required 80%) of the population which is needed for “herd immunity” and 2. The strength and durability of disease immunity is not known. It might even be weaker and not last as long, according to many researchers’ opinions. Monoclonal antibody treatment is also not the best way to fight this scourge. Monoclonals are administered after the horse is out of the barn i.e., when the person is already infected, spewing their poison on others. Biden, believe it or not, has also limited the shipment of Monoclonals to those States who have the higher Covid infection rates.

It is time for all the States to wake up to the reality that vaccination mandates are the only way we are going to beat this disease. The states that are most tardy in this War are Idaho with 41.9% positive Covid tests, Iowa with 39.8% positive, and Florida who has shamefully refused to share their new case data.  
It is unfortunate that the effort to vaccinate the entire population has become a failure.  To date, only 54% of the population is vaccinated. We are the 57th ranked country in the world, a dismal showing for the richest country in the world.
Civil liberties are a cherished part of our heritage, but during War and crisis, these too have been suspended. The most famous of these suspensions was the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798 that nullified First Amendment protection of free speech and freedom of the press. It became a crime to criticize the government.  This happened again on May 16, 1918. “Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall cause or attempt to cause…attempt to incite, insubordination, refusal of duty…shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.” The Palmer Raids of 1919 to 1921 rounded up 10,000 people who were suspected of sedition without warrants or evidence. This was also the justification for imprisoning 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II in concentration camps. And again after 9/11 with the Patriot Act of 10/26/2001 to provide appropriate tools to intercept and deter terrorism which eroded barriers to search and seizure as well as increased surreptitious electronic surveillance.  These are not the proudest moments of our Democracy, but were brought about, in part, by the stubbornness and insubordination of a segment of society, as we are seeing now with the “Vaccine Retarded.”
Despite what all the Constitutionalists say the government has the right and the power to suspend part or all of the Bill of Rights when circumstances risk our existence.
This is not what we want. It is uncivilized and barbaric! BUT when necessary to save ourselves, it has been done and done with the full approval of our government and full support of the Constitution.
We are at such a juncture, given that this has been our Costliest War to date. If we cannot control this pandemic in civilized ways, sedition will be brought out of the closet and dusted off once more! Sedition includes things like civil disobedience, refusing to submit or obey the orders of recognized authorities responsible for a situation (such as a pandemic), and the like. We do not want the government to restrict our civil rights, but we are responsible for controlling this pandemic. Not that China is a great model and beacon of freedom, but they controlled their Delta spike in one month. Believe me, they brought out some classic brutal methods. It is those of us that understand science and realize that freedom (in the words of Ronald Reagan) “is never more than one generation away from extinction,” that have to do all we can to promote vaccination before all the Chinese methods need to be implemented. Trust me, if survival is at stake, those methods will be implemented as they have been before.

WHO SAID JESUS DID NOT GET THE VACCINE?

I have been writing books and essays for 16 years. I write about current events, historical events, and anything that interests me. All the ten books that I have written are available on Amazon.  Amazon has this system of allowing readers to comment on the books and rate the book on a five-star scale.  I have gotten five stars, occasionally four and once in a while just three, but my first one-star review was on my most recent book, Covid-19, a collection of 28 essays over the course of the last year and a half on the various facets of this monumental human tragedy. 

I want to comment on my one-star review because it is such a clear example of the line of the logic of the anti-vaxxers. I suggest you read it yourself.  Go to Amazon.com, select Books, and type in my name, iwasiuk. Go to the book cover Covid-19 in the Kindle block and click on the one-star that will get you to the comment section. The reason to read the entire comment is to follow the thought process of many anti-vaxxers.  It will make it quite clear to you that logic is not an option.   Mark Twain’s comments regarding such logic is not very kind, but I leave it to you to read those for yourself.

Evangelicals will frequently bring up similar arguments that vaccination was not used in the Bible and Jesus never got vaccinated.  They forget that Jesus also never drove a car or flew in an airplane. That is because modernity was bestowed on man by God as a blessing.  I would be more than surprised if God would need a vaccine. Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, expressed the opinion that Jesus would have supported taking the vaccine based on the parable of The Good Samaritan and further felt that the vaccine was a blessing sent by God, like the many other vaccines, such as for polio, smallpox, measles, and the flu. If anyone has thought through the Evangelical mindset, it certainly would be Franklin Graham. Pope Francis stated that getting vaccinated is “An Act of Love… a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for  each other, especially the most vulnerable.” The LDS faith is strongly supportive of the vaccine to limit the spread of Covid-19 and assure the faithful that the vaccines are safe and effective, and to prove it, all the church elders got their vaccine. The Jewish tradition obligates its members to be vaccinated. The Torah (which is the first five books of the Old Testament) commands to guard yourself and your soul to protect yourself and those around you.

One of my favorite jokes is the one about the man who refused help during an epic rainstorm.  People came to his house and urged him to leave the house as it was going to be inundated with water, and he would drown.  The man refused. “I believe in the power of the Lord, and I have prayed to him!”  The water rose, and soon the man had to go to the second floor of the house. A boat came by, and the people urged him to step in the boat and save himself. Again he invoked the name of the Lord. “He will save me!” he said. Now he was on the roof when a helicopter lowered a rope ladder. But the man would not climb it.  Soon he drowned. At the pearly gates, Saint Peter met him.  The man was angry. “I trusted in the Lord to save me, yet I drowned!” Saint Peter said, “We sent people, then a boat, and finally a helicopter. You refused all the help! What else are we to do?” Sort of reminiscent of the anti-vaxxers. “God helps those that help themselves!”
Jesus getting the vaccine conjured up in my mind a vision that is demonstrated above.  My father was an artist, mostly working with oil.  I wrote a book with a collection of all of his paintings that I could find to photograph of his life’s work, also available on Amazon, Vladimir’s Visions.  I took one of his paintings called Supper at Emmaus that depicts the realization of the Disciples of the resurrection of Jesus and photoshopped it.  My father is no longer with us, but I am sure he will laugh at the joke, using his painting to demonstrate a point that it is impossible to convince the un-convincables.