merriam webster

Thumbnut Thursday: Biden Vaccine Mandate

Posted on

Upside Dow Turtle Brownstone Image
Photo Credit: Brownstone Institute

Yep. New heading. What is a thumbnut? From Merriam-Webster:

Wing Nut

What is a good definition of wing nut? From the Urban Dictionary:

A [piece] of metal that can be easily turned with the fingers used to anchor screws into wood or other material…[OR]

From Wikipedia: [A] pejorative American political term referring to a person who holds extreme, and often, irrational, political views.

President Biden has decided to go hard on the virus. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Sadly for him, those tiny little pathogens don’t pay taxes, don’t vote, don’t have Social Security numbers, can’t be drafted and don’t answer phone calls from poll takers, which is to say that he, and his agencies, cannot really control them. That must be frustrating, poor man. Instead his plan is to control what he can control: people and, most immediately, federal workers and the employees of large regulated companies. For him, the key to crushing the virus is the vaccine. Not enough people are obeying his demand for near-universal vaccination.

In a maniacal move of wild desperation, or as an excuse to try out the most extreme powers of his office, he is using every weapon that he believes he has to assure compliance with his dream of injecting as many arms as possible. Only then will we crush the virus, all thanks to his leadership…all the complaints about “freedom” be damned…and never mind that the realization of his dream did not work in Israel or the UK.

What are the immediate problems here? At least five:

[1] The Biden mandate pretends that the only immunity is injected, not natural […] even though all science for at least a year…actually, you can say centuries…contradicts that. Indeed, we’ve known about natural immunity since 400 B.C when Thucydides first wrote of the great Athens plague that revealed that “they knew the course of the disease and were themselves free from apprehension.” Biden’s mandate could affect 80 million people but, far more than that have likely been exposed and gained robust immunity regardless of vaccination status.

[2] This natural immunity is long-lasting, and broad, and we’ve known that since last year when the first studies revealed it. You can say that the addition of a vaccine provides even more but, it’s new, and untested, relative to most drugs approved by regulators. [Many] people are concerned about possible side effects of this vaccine, that was approved much faster than any drug in my lifetime, and there is not one living human being in a position to say with certainty that these skeptics are wrong.

[3] The mandate presumes that everyone is equally susceptible to severe outcomes from getting exposed to the virus, which we’ve known is not true since at least February 2020. In this entire 18-month fiasco, we’ve not seen any serious high-level communication about the huge range of demographic gradients in infection based on both age and overall health. This ignorance is a consequence of poor public-health messaging and is grossly irresponsible. The aggregated mandate from the Biden administration ignores this completely, as did the models that suggested lock-downs in the event of a virus from the Spring of 2020.

[4] Biden seems still of the belief that vaccines stop infection (he claimed this many times) and spread but, we know with certainty that this is not the case. [Even] the CDC admits it. The best guess at this point is that it can help in preventing hospitalization and death but, this experiment is still in its early stages. [The] relationship between cause and effect in human affairs is not as easy as throwing around two data sets and saying one caused the other. Most cases in the developed world, now, are occurring among the vaccinated…and we all know this because we have vaccinated friends who got Covid anyway. Some have died. We are not idiots, contrary to what the Biden administration believes, [nor] do any of us have all the knowledge and answers. [It] is precisely because science is uncertain that the decisions surrounding it need to be decentralized, depoliticized and open to correction rather than being imposed by top-down mandates.

[5] Biden’s order flies in the face of basic human freedoms and rights. There is no other way to put it. [It] is this fact that is the most prescient for the multitudes who are, right now, seething in anger that one man, who happens to hold power, can make health decisions for the whole population regardless of their perfectly rational judgements. When the needle filled with liquid is forced into the arms of people who either have natural immunities or do not fear exposure to the pathogen, it gets personal. [People] get really mad, especially after they are still forced into masks and denied other essential rights.

Continue Reading…

Word Wednesday: Abacot

Posted on

Devil's Dictionary Image
Screen Capture
Ambrose Bierce
The Devil’s Dictionary

Generations of reference books once included this term, including the first edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, dated 1771 […]

James Murray, the famous editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, found that the original word was bycoket, which was indeed a form of headgear, a cap or headdress with a peak both in front and behind, whose name he thought derived from an Old French term for a small castle crowning a hill. He declared abacot to be a ghost word and wrote in an article in [T]he Athenaeum in February 1882:

“There is not, never was, such a word.”

His entry for abacot in the first edition of the OED read in its entirity [sic] “a spurious word found in many dictionaries, originating in a misprint of bycoket.” In the bycoket entry, he told the story:

Through a remarkable series of blunders and ignorant reproductions of error, this word appears in modern dictionaries as abacot. In Hall’s Chronicles a bicocket appears to have been misprinted abococket, which was copied by Grafton, altered by Holinshed to abococke, and finally “improved” by Abraham Fleming to abacot (perhaps through an intermediate abacoc) […]

One may instead argue that since the word has — albeit rarely — been used, then it exists and ought to be treated as such. There is, after all, no shortage of words that have been grossly altered through popular error. The revision of its entry in the Oxford English Dictionary in December 2011 takes this view […]

Michael Quinion
Weird Words (Abacot)
World Wide Words
April 15, 2006 (Updated: June 23, 2012)

You want to know what an abacot/bycoket is? Think Robin Hood. ~Vic

Theodolite Thursday: Dolphins Learn Unusual Hunting Behavior

Posted on Updated on

Yes…another new heading. From Merriam-Webster:

[A] surveyor’s instrument for measuring horizontal and […] vertical angles

This is the instrument of land surveyors. In my case, I will survey other things. ~Vic

Dolphins Unsplash Image
Photo Credit: Courtnie Tosana on Unsplash

In the crystal clear waters of Shark Bay in Western Australia, scientists have noticed bottlenose dolphins engaging in an unusual behavior. They guide fish into the empty shells of giant snails, bring the shells to the surface and, then, shake them vigorously to dislodge the prey into their open mouths like a person polishing off a bag of popcorn. That extra effort, known as shelling, gets them a guaranteed meal.

Because the dolphins […] use the shells as a trap, this is the second known case of these marine mammals using tools. The first was reported in [1984] when researchers found that bottlenose dolphins wear marine sponges like protective gloves over their beaks to forage for fish on the sea floor. Now, researchers have shown that the dolphins of Shark Bay learn shelling from their friends. It’s the first time social learning involving a tool has been discovered in these mammals and a rare example of such learning in the animal kingdom.

Dolphins Unsplash Image Two
Photo Credit: Red Charlie on Unsplash

Though scientists noticed the shelling behavior more than 10 years ago, it became more frequent following an unusual marine heat wave (PDF) off Western Australia in 2011. The high temperatures roiled Shark Bay’s ecosystem and many gastropods, including sea snails, are believed to have died. “We think the dolphins took advantage of this die-off,” says Sonja Wild, a behavioral ecologist at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior. “The next season,” she says, “there was an incredible increase in shelling”, which made it possible for her to tease out how young adult dolphins learn to do it.

Wild says shelling starts among the adults [but], the more time a young dolphin spends around an accomplished sheller […], “the more likely it is to learn” the technique and pass it on to others later. Still, because dolphin calves spend more than 30,000 hours with their mothers, it’s possible that some learned the trick from their moms, [states] Janet Mann, a dolphin expert at Georgetown University. It’s considered more cognitively demanding to learn a skill like shelling from an unrelated individual because both learner and demonstrator must be socially tolerant, especially while hunting.

Virginia Morell
Science Magazine
June 25, 2020

Word Wednesday: Obstinate

Posted on Updated on

Merriam Webster Image
Website Screen Capture

And, yes, another new post heading. I’m stretching things out to keep from being stale or too strict on myself. With Word Wednesday, all are welcome to play along and use the word in a sentence in comments…if you are so inclined. ~Vic

“Evelyn’s two year old daughter, Karen, was being obstinate by refusing to eat her carrots.”