News avoidance lurches right along. Mix of nooz and think pieces today.
New software (so far W*nd*ws only) aims to help activists detect and foil government surveillance. Get it here. Can’t say how effective it’s going to be, but it’s endorsed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Amnesty International, and other big-timers in the field. (H/T MJR)
Along the same lines, Let’s Encrypt aims to bring SSL/TSL to the masses by taking the difficulties and mysteries out of those pesky web site certificates. (Remember: Encryption is subversive! Or so our masters claim. Which is, of course, all the more reason to do it.)
If you were talented enough to play in the NFL, would you quit to become a farmer? Jason Brown did.
Holleee freakin’ cr*p! The shooter who did this was lucky he didn’t (in the famous words of Ralphie’s mother) “put his eye out.” His (or her) eye. Or face. Or hands. Or parts of the guys standing next to him at the range. Just looking at that photo is mind boggling.
Which dietary supplement claims are backed by evidence and which aren’t? Interesting chart. But also not the be-all and end-all of truth. Much is still unknown.
Local cranberry growers who lost their contract with Ocean Spray landed 20 pounds of their harvest on furrydoc the other day. What do you do with 20 pounds of cranberries? Furrydoc shared the bounty and instructions for drying.
I took a couple of pounds and they’re in the drier now, some unsweetened and some drizzled with honey.
I’m not so big on cranberries, but I do like the dried ones in salads and trail mixes. Good to have a few locally grown superfoods among the preps, too.
Knitting today. Not only for the soul but this time, the body, too. Ready to start cabling.
Just as soon as I find those wandering third needles.
I was surprised and gratified the other day to realize quite a few guys hereabouts had knitted or crocheted. I am at this moment wearing fingerless gloves (aka arm warmers or better yet gauntlets) I made with wool gifted to me by one of those knitting guys.
(Pattern for that particular glove here. Many others here.)
Finally, some things not so mundane
Saturday, December 13. Washington gun owners rally: We Will Not Comply with I-594. Over 6,000 already signed up.
Emory Hospital, which has successfully treated four U.S. Ebola sufferers, shares its learnings and its protocols. (Tip o’ hat to PT)
Obamacare and the part-time workforce. I know this isn’t a good thing for people who want full-time work or for people who prefer honesty and small government. But in the long run, one of the best things that could happen to health insurance is to break its artificial link to employers. Maybe O’care will eventually do that.
GOA alert to gun owners about our status as “domestic terrorists.” Nothing new or surprising; just lays a lot out in one place.
Yes, the “greatest orator of his generation” has truly lost his mojo. (Never did understand where that “greatest orator” thing came from, anyhow. Just because the man speaks English better than “Mumbler” Bush? But then, some border collies have a better grasp of language than both Bush presidents.)
Just in case you ever wanted to become a crooked psychic/fortune-teller/medium … or in case you’d like to explain to a gullible relative how not to be so easily conned, here’s how cold reading is done.
I don’t intend to make this the all-Ebola all-the-time blog because I do think the fear is overblown (for everyone except medical personal). But here’s some plain common sense for avoiding exposure to infectious disease. And for those who really feel the need for hardcore protection (and have the money and time to go for it), here’s that, too.
And hey, if you’re really going to buy moonsuits and the kind of respirators (scroll down that page) needed for real Ebola protection, please don’t forget to use my Amazon links. Those could generate some very nice commissions — unfortunately for anyone who really needs such gear.
Not confirmed yet. But if true this could be a sweet lesson for those meddling “Moms” who believe in trying to get every open carrier SWATted. Will keep an eye on this. I’ve searched a couple of times today and found no further information.
As a health-care outsider, but one who cares about preps, I wouldn’t necessarily expect a hospital in the midlands to be ready specifically for Ebola. But with all the talk these many years of potential biowar attacks and pandemics, I’d certainly expect more and better preps at any hospital than the slapdash, make-it-up-as-you-go, and dangerously half*ssed measures the anonymous nurses describe.
Of course, they are anonymous, and on the face of it, it’s hard to know whether their statement represents a grudge-holding exaggeration or genuine outrage and terror from people whose lives have been put at risk. And people who watched others’ lives be endangered.
But now that a second Dallas nurse has been diagnosed, the bland assurances of hospital management and the accusation from federal officials that the first nurse’s infection must have been all her own fault ring even more false.
We also know that this second nurse, while self-monitoring for the disease, flew twice on commercial airlines — including one flight the day before she reported to the hospital with a fever. We can hope that the latest assurances — that she was asymptomatic at the time, that the disease can’t be spread by someone showing no symptoms, and that the planes have now been cleaned according to (I roll eyes as I say this) CDC guidelines — are all more reliable than past assurances have been.
Everything is still officially fine, of course. All that’s needed are a few billion more dollars of tax funding and the CDC, and National Institutes of Health will — really, truly this time — have Ebola well in hand. And really, truly, they won’t blow any of those billions focusing on obesity, guns, or any other politically driven (non) “epidemic.”
I still think it’s way too early to panic — and of course panic won’t be productive even if/when it is time. I would never expect Ebola to get as out-of-control here as it has in West Africa, even with a fair degree of stupid involved. Not even remotely.
But if what we’ve seen represents the general level of preparedness and precaution that health-crats and hospitals practice, then it may indeed be time to worry, and to examine our own preps with infectious disease in mind.
More later on that.
Another potential vector I’d include in my worries involves those thousands of soldiers (slowly) being sent into the “hot zone.” We’re assured that they’ll never, ever, ever have any contact with Ebola sufferers. But they’re also mostly young men and women. Many are likely inclined to be risk takers. And do you believe for one moment that those who are sending them have made any better preps than the officials at the CDC or that Dallas hospital?
These people will return to the U.S. and disburse — possibly to a military base or a neighborhood near you.
No, I am not saying it’s time to duct tape ourselves inside those airless “safe” rooms the fedgov was so (potentially fatally) advocating a few years back.
Just stating the obvious: that the people who are supposed to be in charge of infectious-disease containment appear to be as clueless as the people in charge of … well, everything else that’s run or regulated by government. And — also obvious — that concern for the welfare of individuals or so-far Ebola-free communities is simply not on the radar of “officials.” So it had better be on our own radar.
Furrydoc asked in comments the other day, “Where’s the CDC?” (in fighting Ebola in the U.S.) Rhetorical question, of course. She knows quite well where the CDC is: giving bland assurances to the media about being just right up there on top of Ebola while primarily occupying itself with profitable and political mission creep. These days it’s focused on “epidemics” such as obesity and “gun violence.”
Ron Fournier, at the National Journal says the scariest thing about Ebola isn’t the disease but our growing lack of trust in government and other institutions.
Even with Ebola having turned up in the U.S., I’m with those who resolutely say don’t panic.
Okay, so some guy who knew he’d been exposed to Ebola decided to get on a plane to the U.S. and he probably won’t be the last. That’s bad, though unsurprising. (If you thought you might come down with a deadly disease, where would you rather be?)
And hospital personnel who knew he’d been in Liberia sent him away to expose more people. Because of “poor communication” or “a computer glitch” or some other bureaucratic buck-passing. (And this just after the staff did Ebola training!) That’s bad and slightly more surprising.
And Our Glorious Leader was proven wrong faster than you could say “hope and change.” That’s … um, not surprising at all.
But as some of you folks have already pointed out, we’re dealing with an illness that’s not spread through casual contact and isn’t contagious until symptoms show. And so far Obama and bureaucrats haven’t managed to reduce the U.S. medical system to African levels. That’s good. So … caution, preparedness, but no panic.
One Faithful Reader and sometime contributor to the blog says he’s more concerned about how to handle friends and relatives who might panic if the virus gets loose here. He writes:
Several times this week I’ve seen breathless warnings to get my preps in order because Ebola. Meh. It’s not that I don’t think Ebola is a threat. I’m prepped. It’s not a goal, but how I live my life.
Could I live through a 3-week quarantine? Yep.
Do I need more fuel, food, toilet paper, ammo, cash, bread whatever? Always, but I’m OK.
Do I expect JBTs or zombie hordes trying to batter down my doors? No more than every day. We’re long past the point where they need an excuse.
What will I do when my free-loading brother-in-law pulls into the driveway?
Drink a half a cup of maple syrup, then vomit all over him and enjoy watching him scream like a little girl and run away.
This is mostly, wildly, bogus — just a pseudointellectual way to say, “Libertarians are wrong.” The writing style is also thick as a brick. But that said, it’s one of those things worth reading. If you’ve got the time and patience for it.
Finally some thanks are in order. I didn’t mean to bleg when I wrote about the latest roof troubles. Yeah, that was a shock and a blow (and not only to the structure). But it’s also … well, life in old houses. After what you guys already did, I’m not asking a thing.
But yesterday, in came two $50 donations. So big thanks, MK and SH, for lifting my mood — and helping lift that wacky roof.
Um … I’m really not sure why various news media keep presenting this as amusing. I know socks often go mysteriously missing. But 43 (and a half!) … you’d think the family would have wondered. (Tip o’ hat to S.C.)