Monthly Archives: April 2020

Exposing Madness

“Listen people: factories do not close even in war times, with the enemy bombers flying over them.”  Mundabor

“The left will rise, as it is always the case when misery and poverty do.  This may result in an entirely home-made World War I, with the citizen shooting themselves out of sheer panic rather than being shot at by the enemy.” Ibid

Coronavirus Apocalypse Now

By Fay Voshell, American Thinker, March 29, 2020

Mark Twain, on hearing an American had prematurely published his obituary, clarified matters by saying, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

Some things do not change.

False reports abound in a time of national and international panic.  As Dr. Deborah Birx pointed out in her recent report on the coronavirus, it turns out that British scientist Dr. Neil Ferguson’s initial model for the death rate from coronavirus was severely exaggerated.  He has since walked back his dire predictions.  His retraction comes after many governments adopted draconian measures to protect the public from his scenarios of death and destruction.

Although the good news was disappointing for true believers actively desiring a Malthusian apocalypse, the rest of those who have been in lockdown now see a ray of sunshine through their metaphorically boarded windows.

History will judge whether or not Dr. Ferguson did the equivalent of shouting “Fire!” in a global theater, but his mistake does call into question the use of similar “scientific” models as the basis of public policy. It may be legitimate to question the usefulness of predictive models based on the way Dr. Ferguson and others do science.

After all, we have seen similar “scientific” models and methods used to justify policies that proved worse than the conditions that created them.

Continue reading

Survival 101

“Many Hoosiers preserve food…Some have gas tanks and generators…They have guns and ammunition…They hunt duck, quail, and deer.”  Richard Moss

My Neighbors Hunt

By Richard Moss, American Thinker, April 22, 2020

My neighbors hunt.  They can survive in the forest, hills, lakes, and rivers, here in Indiana.  They understand the world of nature, its vicissitudes and savagery.  Appreciating its transcendent beauty and cadences, they also accept its fierce cruelties.  They do not worship nature.  They seek reconciliation with it that they may endure and protect their loved ones.  They admire the natural world, its towering majesty and microscopic complexity, but they do not hold it on a pedestal, pristine, and viewed from a distance.  Theirs’ is a realistic appraisal of nature and its vagaries, and what they require to survive.

Coming from the Bronx, I was acquainted with riding the subway or bus or navigating the busy and often treacherous streets of New York.  There I learned to survive in the city, but I knew nothing of hunting, fishing, or surviving in nature.  Coastal elites have disdain for those schooled in such things.  They assume that food, water, and other necessities and amenities just appear.  They lack awareness of the complex grids, structures, and platforms that maintain their comforts.  The sources of the electricity that powers their computers and air-conditioning.  The gasoline that fuels their cars.  They do not appreciate those who make these daily, secular miracles possible, the commonplace wonders of modern, electronic civilization.

Many Hoosiers preserve food.  Some steam or pressure can.  Or dehydrate, pickle, freeze-dry, smoke, or salt items.  Knowing how to farm, they cope with caterpillars, aphids, and cutworms and guard against hedgehogs, fungi, and lack of rain.

Some have gas tanks and generators.  They have water filters, propane stoves, purifying tablets, first-aid kits, pick-up trucks, drills, hammers, and wrenches.  They can repair a car, a machine, or a leaking pipe.  And yes, they also know how to install wifi, use computers, navigate the internet, and operate smartphones.

They have guns and ammunition.  Well trained, many are veterans, serve in the National Guard or law enforcement, and are defenders of the 2nd amendment.  They have shotguns, bolt-action rifles, AR-10s, and other semi-automatics.  They own handguns and an array of shells, including expanding home-defense rounds.  Many have night vision, tree stands, bows, arrows, camouflage, trail cameras, scents, GPS devices, and 2-way radios.  They hunt duck, quail, and deer.  Floating down a river or walking the fields, they recognize the rhythms of the animals they track and pursue, their migration and trail patterns, driven by the weather, mating seasons, and food sources.

Some love to fish.  Equipped with bait, rods, reels, nets, and spears, they cast for bluegill, catfish, and carp. Continue reading

The Art of Medicine

ThinkstockPhotos-866187336 copy

“In medicine and science, much current knowledge began with an anecdote.”  Brian Joondeph, MD

“The discovery of penicillin…based on anecdotal evidence of bacteria now growing near a spot mold.” Ibid

“There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that hydroxy works.” Ibid

Medical Advances Minus the Full Research Apparatus

Brian C. Joondeph, American Thinker, April 10, 2020

Anecdotal evidence is based on a real-life event, perhaps just a single occurrence. In medicine and science, much current knowledge began with an anecdote. A famous example occurred in 1928, when Sir Alexander Fleming happened to observe that mold developed on an accidentally contaminated staphylococcus culture plate, and that the mold prevented growth of the bacteria.

This led to the discovery of penicillin, saving countless lives, based on anecdotal evidence of bacteria not growing near a spot of mold. With World War II creating injuries, infections, and sepsis, penicillin was produced in mass, preserving lives and limbs.

Another more recent example comes from my world of retina surgery. An anti-cancer drug, Avastin, was injected into the eyes of a few patients with advanced macular degeneration. These few patients responded well, anecdotally. After this breakthrough was reported at a retina meeting, it almost immediately became the new treatment standard worldwide.

There were no prospective, randomized clinical trials, considered the gold standard, just the anecdotal observation that this off label treatment worked and saved vision. Despite being the most commonly used treatment for macular degeneration, Avastin is still not FDA approved for this indication. Continue reading