Wednesday: Hili dialogue

August 2, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to a Hump Day ( “Skofdag” in Afrikaans): Wednesday, August 2, 2023, and National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. Here’s the best one according to the NYT’s survey (click to go to the Amazon site, but it looks like you can get them at Whole Paycheck):

It’s also Dinosaurs Day, National Coloring Book Day, and Roma Holocaust Memorial Day (Council of Europe, European Parliament)

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the August 2 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*We discussed Trump’s indictment yesterday afternoon, but if you want to read more, go here or here. The WaPo says the case “could take months, or even years, to be resolved.” YEARS????

There are six unnamed (yet) co-conspirators. Can you guess who they are? From the NYT

The indictment, filed by the special counsel Jack Smith in Federal District Court in Washington, accuses Mr. Trump of three conspiracies: one to defraud the United States; a second to obstruct an official government proceeding, the certification of the Electoral College vote; and a third to deprive people of a civil right, the right to have their votes counted. Mr. Trump was also charged with a fourth count of obstructing or attempting to obstruct an official proceeding.

“Each of these conspiracies — which built on the widespread mistrust the defendant was creating through pervasive and destabilizing lies about election fraud — targeted a bedrock function of the United States federal government: the nation’s process of collecting, counting and certifying the results of the presidential election,” the indictment said.

*The other day I discussed a NYT/Siena poll showing rankings of all the Republican candidates for President, with Trump way ahead of #2, Ron DeSantis, and everyone else in single digits. Now there’s a poll by the same organization showing that Biden is, right now, polling neck and neck with the odious and triply-indicted Trumpster.

Mr. Biden appears to have escaped the political danger zone he resided in last year, when nearly two-thirds of his party wanted a different nominee. Now, Democrats have broadly accepted him as their standard-bearer, even if half would prefer someone else.

Still, warning signs abound for the president: Despite his improved standing and a friendlier national environment, Mr. Biden remains broadly unpopular among a voting public that is pessimistic about the country’s future, and his approval rating is a mere 39 percent.

Perhaps most worryingly for Democrats, the poll found Mr. Biden in a neck-and-neck race with former President Donald J. Trump, who held a commanding lead among likely Republican primary voters even as he faces two criminal indictments and more potential charges on the horizon. Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump were tied at 43 percent apiece in a hypothetical rematch in 2024, according to the poll.

Mr. Biden has been buoyed by voters’ feelings of fear and distaste toward Mr. Trump. Well over a year before the election, 16 percent of those polled had unfavorable views of both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump, a segment with which Mr. Biden had a narrow lead.

. . .To borrow an old political cliché, the poll shows that Mr. Biden’s support among Democrats is a mile wide and an inch deep. About 30 percent of voters who said they planned to vote for Mr. Biden in November 2024 said they hoped Democrats would nominate someone else. Just 20 percent of Democrats said they would be enthusiastic if Mr. Biden were the party’s 2024 presidential nominee; another 51 percent said they would be satisfied but not enthusiastic.

A higher share of Democrats, 26 percent, expressed enthusiasm for the notion of Vice President Kamala Harris as the nominee in 2024.

Well, she’ll be the nominee (Biden is too nice to nominate another VP, but Harris has been a washout since she took office. Remember how she was going to fix immigation?

Mr. Biden had the backing of 64 percent of Democrats who planned to participate in their party’s primary, an indicator of soft support for an incumbent president. Thirteen percent preferred Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and 10 percent chose Marianne Williamson.

Neck and neck, and Trump’s indictments continue to increase. Why on earth would we expect his ratings to fall. Perhaps a conviction would do it?

*And yet, at the Washington Post, political columnist Henry Olsen has an op-ed saying the opposite: “Admit it, GOP. Trump’s legal woes make him an unviable candidate.” Whaaat?  Well, here’s what Olsen thinks. First, there’s the money issue:

The revelation that Donald Trump’s political action committee spent more than $40 million on legal fees in the first half of 2023 does more than cast doubt on the former president’s ability to run a competitive primary campaign. It provides yet another reason why Republican voters should reject his candidacy if he does not drop out first.

Running for president requires more than charisma and a few rallies. It requires time and money — and lots of it. Candidates must constantly be on the road stumping for votes. They also need support from the modern apparatus that places digital and television ads and identifies persuadable voters that can cast ballots for them.

This is especially true when running against an incumbent who can count on a united party for support. President Biden, along with the national Democratic Party and its state counterparts, will raise billions of dollars to crush whoever rises as his opponent. In 2020, Biden’s campaign and affiliated outside groups spent $1.6 billion while the Democratic National Committee and state and local parties spent another $1 billion. A cash-strapped candidate would not stand a chance against this onslaught.

Umm. . . Trump is particularly stumping hard, and he’s not even going to participate in the first debate of GOP candidates.  I don’t think money will be his problem.  And if he doesn’t need to show up to be elected, why would he worry about this next factor?

Running for president requires more than charisma and a few rallies. It requires time and money — and lots of it. Candidates must constantly be on the road stumping for votes. They also need support from the modern apparatus that places digital and television ads and identifies persuadable voters that can cast ballots for them.

This is especially true when running against an incumbent who can count on a united party for support.

Then there’s the time factor. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that prosecutors are filing bogus charges to wound Trump politically. He might be able to beat all of those raps, either at trial or on appeal. But he would still have to manage his defense in at least two, and perhaps as many as four, major criminal cases. He has prodigious energy, especially for a 77-year-old man. But even he can’t be in five places at the same time.

I think Olsen is telling Post readers what they want to hear, not what is likely to happen. As Trump infamously said, he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and it wouldn’t hurt his election chances. I despise the man and hope with every fiber of my being that he doesn’t get re-elected, but one has to be realistic as well.

*The Wall Street Journal‘s answer to the issue of “Why America’s gun laws are in chaos” comes down to two issues: political preference, of course, but also history.

The Supreme Court last summer sought to clarify its expansive reading of the Second Amendment. Instead, it set off chaos.

The decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen decreed that gun-control laws of today must have a clear forerunner in weapons regulations around the time of the nation’s infancy, regardless of the modern public-safety rationale behind them.

The result: Hundreds of gun cases litigated in recent months have become a free-for-all, with lower courts conflicted or confounded about how and where to draw limits on gun rights.

“There’s all this picking and choosing of historical evidence. ‘This is too early. This is too late. Too small, too big,’” Judge Gerard Lynch of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said during a recent argument about a new law in New York that prohibits guns in sensitive places like parks, museums and bars. “The whole thing puzzles me.”

In that case, the right of licensed handgun owners to carry weapons into bars and theaters could hinge on 19th-century statutes that barred drunks from carrying firearms, and outlawed guns and butcher knives in social parties attended by ladies. A case decided last fall held that the federal ban on guns with obliterated serial numbers was unconstitutional because unmarked guns were perfectly legal in the 18th century.

. . . That practice watered down gun rights, the opinion said. Instead, Thomas wrote, to pass constitutional muster, gun restrictions within the scope of the Second Amendment must be deeply rooted in historical precedent. Governments defending them bear the burden of showing that their laws are similar, or at least analogous, to firearm regulations widely enforced around the time of Second Amendment’s ratification in 1791.

This is taking “originalism” way too far. And yet it’s spawned a new class of paid experts:

The case has given firearms historians new roles as key witnesses. California and other pro-gun-control states have assembled a roster of gun historians—compensating some at a rate of $500 an hour—to scavenge databases and newspaper archives for historic gun laws and render their opinion on them.

Well, you can examine the Constitution under an electron microscope, but you will find nothing there (nor anything in early history) about selling guns to people who are under protection orders for domestic abuse. It’s what the Germans call Wahnsinn. 

*Did you know that a U.S. government ban on the manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs (an energy-saving measure) started yesterday? No, you’re not violating the law if you still have them, but you won’t be able to buy them.

The rule passed by President Joe Biden’s Department of Energy in April 2022 states that light bulbs must emit a minimum of 45 lumens per watt. A lumen is a measure of brightness.

That effectively outlaws the manufacture and sale of common incandescent bulbs, the kind you screw into the vast majority of light sockets in your home. That’s because traditional incandescent bulbs provide just 15 lumens per watt, according to light bulb manufacturer Philips.

By contrast, most LED bulbs will get you 75 lumens per watt, or more.

Here’s what’s not banned:

Not all incandescent light bulbs are banned as part of the new rule, according to the Department of Energy. Here’s what manufacturers can still build and stores can continue selling:

  • Appliance lamps, including fridge and oven lights

  • Black lights

  • Bug lamps

  • Colored lamps

  • Infrared lamps

  • Left-handed thread lamps

  • Plant lights

  • Flood lights

  • Reflector lamps

  • Showcase lamps

  • Traffic signals

  • Some other specialty lights, including marine lamps and some odd-sized bulbs

And what’s next: CFL bulbs, some of which I bought to save energy!

Next on the banned list: compact fluorescent light bulbs.

In December 2022, the Department of Energy proposed a rule that would more than double the current minimum light bulb efficiency level, to over 120 lumens per watt for the most common bulbs. That would go into effect by the end of 2024 and effectively ban CFL bulbs.

*Finally an anti-“affirmative care” bill in Louisiana, presumed to be dead, has risen like Lazarus and is likely to become law in that state.

A controversial bill — that at one point had been presumed dead — banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths in Louisiana was passed by the Senate on Monday and is likely to reach the governor’s desk in the coming days.

The bill, which passed in the Senate mainly along party lines, 29-10, would prohibit hormone treatments, gender-affirming surgery and puberty-blocking drugs for transgender minors in Louisiana. The measure will go back to the House, which has already overwhelmingly passed the legislation, to approve of minor amendments, including pushing back the effective date of the law to Jan. 1, 2024.

If the House concurs, the legislation would be sent to the desk of Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who opposes it. Edwards has not said whether he would veto the bill. If he does, lawmakers could convene a veto session to try to override his decision. Last session, Edwards chose not to block a law banning transgender athletes from participating in women and girls sports competitions in Louisiana, although he successfully vetoed a similar measure the year before.

. . .Opponents of the ban, argue that gender-affirming care, which is supported by every major medical organization, can be lifesaving for someone with gender dysphoria, which is distress over gender identity that doesn’t match a person’s assigned sex. Advocates for the LGBTQ+ community fear that without the care, transgender children could face especially heightened risks of stress, depression and suicidal thoughts.

“When people, especially our youth, talk about suicide, that’s not something that you take lightly,” said Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, a Democrat opposing the bill “You wait too long and you are at the funeral home.”

Proponents of the legislation argue that the proposed ban would protect children from life-altering medical procedures until they are mature enough to make such serious decisions.

I have to say that in light of the paucity of evidence about the long-term effects of puberty blockers (which are considered only for clinical trials in some European countries, and that the light doesn’t mandate any specific kind of psychotherapy, and finally because there’s no evidence that preventing young people from transitioning really does lead to suicide, I don’t find this law unseemly. Sure, lots of real transphobes and Republicans are dancing in glee, but in this case the scientific data tells me that we need to know more before we start allowing this brand of “affirmative care.”

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has become interested in AI:

Hili: Can the artificial intelligence meow?
A: This may be the last question anyone thought of asking.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy sztuczna inteligencja umie miauczeć?
Ja: To może być ostatnie pytanie, którego jeszcze nikt jej nie zadał.

And here’s an old post from this day in 2016 when I was visiting and carried Hili inside from the windowsill. Andrzej put it up on his website.

Jerry: come, I’ll carry you home.
Hili: We have had much better social care since you arrived.

In Polish:

Jerry: Chodź, zaniosę cię do domu.
Hili: Od czasu jak przyjechałeś mamy znacznie lepszą opiekę społeczną.

From Pyers:

From Divy, a famous Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson:

From Beth:


From Masih: Not only no hijab, but flipping the bird by a police car! No wonder her face is blurred out.

Ricky Gervais astounds his cat Pickle:

From Jez; this is what a tiny (and ravenous) Galapagos tortoise looks like:

From Barry, and you’d better know the answer to this one!

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a mass gassing of the Roma. 4300 killed in two days:

From the visually unimpaired Dr. Cobb. Here’s the Google translation for the first one:

A lynx crossing a river on thin ice. He hears “cracking” sounds and decides to jump.

Read what happened to the first “spy cat,” whose development cost over $10 million:

Nara is famous for its sika deer, whom are well protected by the locals.  And the deer clearly aren’t stupid!

56 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1610 – During Henry Hudson’s search for the Northwest Passage, he sails into what is now known as Hudson Bay.

    1776 – The signing of the United States Declaration of Independence took place.

    1790 – The first United States Census is conducted.

    1858 – The Government of India Act 1858 replaces Company rule in India with that of the British Raj.

    1869 – Japan’s Edo society class system is abolished as part of the Meiji Restoration reforms.

    1870 – Tower Subway, the world’s first underground tube railway, opens in London, England, United Kingdom.

    1873 – The Clay Street Hill Railroad begins operating the first cable car in San Francisco’s famous cable car system.

    1918 – The first general strike in Canadian history takes place in Vancouver.

    1932 – The positron (antiparticle of the electron) is discovered by Carl D. Anderson.

    1934 – Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler becomes Führer of Germany following the death of President Paul von Hindenburg.

    1937 – The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 is passed in America, the effect of which is to render marijuana and all its by-products illegal.

    1939 – Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard write a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging him to begin the Manhattan Project to develop a nuclear weapon.

    1943 – The Holocaust: Jewish prisoners stage a revolt at Treblinka, one of the deadliest of Nazi death camps where approximately 900,000 persons were murdered in less than 18 months.

    1989 – A massacre is carried out by an Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka killing 64 ethnic Tamil civilians.

    1990 – Iraq invades Kuwait, eventually leading to the Gulf War.

    1533 – Theodor Zwinger, Swiss physician and scholar (d. 1588).

    1754 – Pierre Charles L’Enfant, French-American architect and engineer, designed Washington, D.C. (d. 1825).

    1834 – Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, French sculptor, designed the Statue of Liberty (d. 1904).

    1870 – Marianne Weber, German sociologist and suffragist (d. 1954).

    1892 – Jack L. Warner, Canadian-born American production manager and producer, co-founded Warner Bros. (d. 1978).

    1894 – Bertha Lutz, Brazilian feminist and scientist (d.1976).

    1902 – Mina Rees, American mathematician (d.1997).

    1921 – Alan Whicker, Egyptian-English journalist (d. 2013).

    1923 – Shimon Peres, Polish-Israeli lawyer and politician, 9th President of Israel (d. 2016).

    1924 – James Baldwin, American novelist, poet, and critic (d. 1987).

    1932 – Peter O’Toole, British-Irish actor and producer (d. 2013).

    1939 – Wes Craven, American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2015).

    1942 – Isabel Allende, Chilean-American novelist, essayist, essayist.

    1943 – Rose Tremain, English novelist and short story writer.

    1944 – Jim Capaldi, English drummer and singer-songwriter (d. 2005).

    1948 – Andy Fairweather Low, Welsh singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer.

    1950 – Ted Turner, British guitarist.

    1951 – Andrew Gold, American singer-songwriter and producer (d. 2011).

    1951 – Steve Hillage, English singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1951 – Joe Lynn Turner, American singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    And I am not frightened of dying
    Any time will do, I don’t mind:

    1788 – Thomas Gainsborough, English painter (b. 1727).

    1799 – Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier, French inventor, co-invented the hot air balloon (b. 1745).

    1834 – Harriet Arbuthnot, English diarist (b. 1793).

    1876 – “Wild Bill” Hickok, American sheriff (b. 1837).

    1921 – Enrico Caruso, Italian tenor and actor (b. 1873).

    1922 – Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-Canadian engineer, invented the telephone (b. 1847).

    1976 – Fritz Lang, Austrian-American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1890).

    1986 – Roy Cohn, American lawyer and politician (b. 1927).

    1988 – Raymond Carver, American short story writer and poet (b. 1938).

    1997 – William S. Burroughs, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1914).

    1997 – Fela Kuti, Nigerian singer-songwriter and activist (b. 1938).

      1. “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” Mark Twain.
        But I do fear old age, it is not for sissies. Haemorrhoids and varices, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis (fractures at falls and impacted vertebra) and simply squeaky joints and simple stiffness, deafness and macular degeneration, hypertension, hypercholestrolemia, heart and kidney insufficiency, ED and vaginal dryness, anorgasmia and shortness of breath (COPD), diabetes, depression and dementia (destroying the wisdom you built up, cerebral atrophy). Dry eyes, ectropion and entropion, fragile skin, thrombosis or diffuse hemorrhages. Not to mention cancers, shingles or losing teeth, loss of smell, loss of strength, just to name but a few. And poverty in many cases.
        The ruins of that once dashing young adult. Most definitely not for sissies.
        Note, some of these conditions can be managed or corrected quite easily (eg. cataract surgery for cataract blindness, or haemorrhoidectomy for haemorrhoids), but it is the deluge of conditions that makes old age such an ordeal. I think the (sadly) late evolutionary biologist George Williams worked out why that is.

        1. Exactly! It is not being dead which is frightening, but the way to get there. It can be horrible beyond all imagination, and that is what I fear.
          I fervently hope that when that time comes round for me, that voluntary or assisted self-death will be legal in my country.

    1. This aging hippie must say that he is happy to have survived long enough to see the recreational use of marijuana legalized in his home state (Illinois) a well as in many other states.

      1. And we have among the highest prices and market consolidation in the country. Wouldn’t expect anything differently from Illinois, of course.

  2. Enjoy your incandescent light bulbs while they last. The Biden Administration is coming for your portable generators, your stoves, and your washers and dryers next. Why is the left’s model always deprivation? Maybe that’s part of the reason that Joe Biden is hovering around a 40% approval rating.

    1. What do you feed your horse and when did you replace your buggy axle last? Does your Sony Walkman need new batteries? How fast can you dial your rotary phone? Oh, I forgot, about that party line.

        1. Clearly the objection is to the government mandate not the technology. Horses and buggies disappeared because better ways of getting around were developed not because the goverment outlawed buggy axles.

          I understand that you folks are just tickling Dr Brydon because I can’t see how you could miss his point.

    2. Why would anyone enjoy an incandescent light bulb. I changed all ours to the new energy efficient ones years ago and I can’t remember why I had it change one or burned a light shade by having a hot bulb touch the shade. Plus my energy bill has gone down. Plus the pay off time for the extra expense of the LED lights is about three months.

    3. Perhaps worth noting that this is an implementation of a component of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act – signed into law by one George W. Bush. While this was postponed by Trump it is now in place. These bulbs were expensive once upon a time but I picked up a six pack for $9 on Saturday. Have changed very few bulbs in the last decade and have not burned my fingers on a bulb in a long time.

    4. Yes, DrBrydon, Biden’s jackbooted eco-friendly henchmen are going to storm your house and forcibly confiscate your washer, dryer, and stove any minute now! Be afraid. Be very afraid!!! /s

      1. Don’t forget your guns…Obama didn’t take them like “they” said he would, but I’m sure that’s Biden’s end-game!

    5. It’s been so long, I can’t remember when I last bought an incandescent light bulb — ten years, maybe fifteen, I don’t think it has been as long as twenty. Why would I want an inefficient product that needs to be replaced within a year, when alternatives will last ten years. Come to think about it, I’m not sure stores in my area even sell incandescent light bulbs. I doubt if the ban on manufacturing will have much of an effect on anything. Except to give MAGA mag….s something to complain about and demonstrate their idiocy.

    6. I think the grief and personal attacks you are getting on your comment are unwarranted.
      LED bulbs are taking over the market because they tend to be a less expensive and better product. Not just cheaper to run, but the fact that they produce much less heat is often a great advantage.
      The downside, in my experience, is that although the LEDs themselves last almost forever, the internal power supply is nowhere near as durable, especially when it contains garbage capacitors.

      There are also a lot of cars that interpret an LED bulb in place of an incandescent one as a fault. So, you need to wire resistors with the bulb to fool the CPU. Of course, some specialty bulbs do not have LED replacements. Some of those specialty bulbs might not be included in the ban, but when the firms that make them shut down because most of their products are banned, they will start to become unobtainable.

      And yes, the progressives seem very preoccupied with the idea of banning non-electric appliances and vehicles, although the grid is more fragile than ever, and the arguments behind the bans seem to rely on bad science.
      In the 1950s, shortly after we had general electrification in our area, my grandmother, along with lots of other people, had a new all electric kitchen put in. It was great when the power was on. The problem is that in the mountains, the power is often out.

      It does seem like they want to ban their way to utopia, as well getting more than a little enjoyment in forcing people that they do not like to bend to their will.

  3. Regardless of whether a trial actually takes place as a result of Trump’s indictment yesterday, the indictment symbolizes the extreme partisanship of the nation and a real possibility of social and political collapse. The nation has not faced a crisis since the late 1850s through the outbreak of the Civil War. Imagine an informed citizen contemplating the state of the nation in early 1860. She knows that the slavery issue has roiled the political waters since the nation’s found; it has intensified in the past few years with the Dred Scott decision and John Brown’s raid. Threats of southern secession have grown as the South perceives itself as losing the political power on the national level it has retained since the Constitution went into effect. It is unknown as to the politician the anti-slavery Republican Party will nominate and how the ultimate nominee will react to the crisis. If that person wins the general election in November 1860, as seems likely, how will the South react? Speculation runs rampant, characterized by a fear that the nation may not hold together.

    Although the details of the 1860 crisis differ greatly from that of today, there is an important commonalty: an overwhelming sense of anxiety and uncertainty regarding the future of the American Republic and democracy as well as extreme hatred for political opponents. We know how the 1860 crisis ended; we have no idea how the current one will end. Compromise proved impossible in 1861; it seems impossible in 2023. The differences of 1860, intractable to peaceful resolution, resulted in extreme violence. Could violence be the result of the 2024 election and, if so what form would it take? Could we see the end of democracy? We have no answers to these questions – only speculation as everyone plays pundit. All we can say for sure that in 1861 political disintegration degenerated into violence and that the same thing could happen today before long. Nor can we say that when this crisis passes, as all do, that the nation will experience “a new birth of freedom.”

    1. According to the time-honored principle of “plan for the worst, hope for the best,” let us plan for the end of democracy in 2024. How do we do so?

      1. Move to another country? Impossible for most, not practical for those with the means.

        Turn your home into a fortress, become a “survivalist” and horde guns, ammo, food and water? Many have done this and those that do I doubt care for democracy in the first place.

        I guess I don’t even know what it means “the end of American democracy.” All I know is that it is amorphous, and sounds really bad unless your the one ending it. Maybe that’s the attitude of the Trump cultists. “They’ll” be destroying democracy, so it’s all good! Somehow, after the dust settles, “they’ll” be in charge and woe to any who cross them. *Shiver*

        1. Mark, I understand “the end of American democracy” to mean that elections and the rule of law don’t matter and that therefore might makes right.

    2. Should our nation perdure, yesterday’s indictment in US v. Trump will go down as one of the landmark cases in US history, alongside the likes of Marbury v. Madison, Dred Scott v. Sandford, and Brown v. Board of Education.

  4. “When people, especially our youth, talk about suicide, that’s not something that you take lightly,” said Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, a Democrat opposing the bill “You wait too long and you are at the funeral home.”

    There’s (thankfully) no reliable evidence of increased suicides amongst this group of young people if they don’t receive medication or surgery, and also none that having the surgery decreases suicidal ideation. Indeed, Chloe Cole in her recent evidence to Congress stated that her doctor persuaded her parents to agree to her double mastectomy by playing the suicide card even though she had had no such thoughts BEFORE she had the surgery. She has SINCE, though.

    1. I had similar thoughts. Given that current medical technology is not even remotely close to being able to really change a human from one sex to another, and that maintaining the changes that are possible often requires ongoing treatment, and given that sterility and lack of normal function is very common, it seems very plausible to me that people that attempt to transition could be more likely to experience suicidal ideation after treatments compared to before. Once it becomes apparent that the procedures and treatments are largely irreversible and that they have not lived up to what they’d hoped for? That seems to me a very plausible progression. Imagining myself on such a journey, that would be a devastating realization.

    2. I think the Senator is taking the danger of talking about suicide too lightly. It’s one thing to say something general about needing to support mental health funding in order to prevent suicide. But this is a matter of announcing that, if certain teenagers aren’t provided with the medical means to change their appearance, it’s both reasonable and expected that they’ll kill themselves — so we have to give it to them.

      If kids weren’t thinking about suicide before, they likely would be now. Suicide is well-known to be subject to suggestion and social contagion. I realize this legislator is one of many, but he’s not helping.

  5. Incandescent light bulbs vanished from the shops here in the U.K. a few years back, and yet society didn’t collapse. I don’t think you can get CFLs either these days. White LED bulbs are the thing now. They are far more efficient than incandescent bulbs, and even beat CFLs for efficiency and longevity.

    1. Yes, I thought incandescent had gone the way of stick shift transmissions and desk top computers. How many light bulbs are in a house? Mine seems to be endless and those old light bulbs are all gone. The new ones cost more but they last a lot longer.

          1. Six on the floor these days, Ken. And that’s in the few regular normal cars where you could (in 2012) still get manual transmissions. Not talking about exotics. My 2000 plain vanilla Civic has five. They’re fun to drive and only a few thieves know how to get them moving.

            1. Manual transmission as thief deterrent. *ponder* Nice! I actually passed my 1st driver’s license exam in a manual Mercedes 240d, iirc 1980. A bonus gift to my father who at the time was driving a “ladybug orange” VW bug. That Mercedes was the first diesel engine I encountered…a smelly, burping car, that, but fun to drive! The instructor told me, “you know I have to grade you harder if you drive manually.” I knew that, but at the time, I just loved driving manual cars (and motorcycles) and passed without a hitch.

        1. I went to a local garage to get an emissions test done on my car. It was required for registration. A man walked up, sat in the car, looked down, jumped out, and told me that he would be back in a second. He did not come back. Instead, an oldish chap came over and drove it to the roller. After about ten minutes, I heard a car starting and then stalling. I guessed it was mine and, after listening to several failed attempts to get it going, I ran over. It was the younger chap trying to drive a stick. I took over.

          I’m teaching a friend of mine to drive a stick. It’s going well so far.

  6. LED lights don’t last as much longer as you might expect from their higher purchase cost and while they do take less electricity to run, it is not clear that they are cheaper over their service life. Light bulbs aren’t a major expense; most people just regard LEDs as another minorly irritating green tax. The colour temperature is something you get used to but the annoying 60 Hz flicker is not, especially in cheaper self-contained task lights. Oddly, my battery-powered bike lights flicker, too, an application in which LEDs are brilliant, I must say, and replaced incandescent bulbs almost instantly in all but a few niches.

    The replacements of horse and buggy, Walkmans, and rotary phones did not require government edict. Their replacements offered better service at greater value. Not so for LEDs. Decades after LEDs were invented, incandescent bulbs are apparently still competitive with them in the United States and so had to be banned to get people to stop buying them.

    You and I both know why LEDs are being mandated and it’s not because consumers are too stupid to see how much better they are.

    1. The LED light pay for themselves in months and I can’t remember the last time I changed them.
      Some of the best things government has done is to give industry a challenge and have them meet and exceed it. They did that with the LED light.

      1. Have they met the challenge? I’m still living off my old light bulbs because the light from the last “new” ones I tried was hideous. Maybe they’ve improved, but on a road trip this summer I’ve saw plenty of harsh lighting in motel rooms.

        I’ll believe the government is genuinely concerned about energy when I see consideration of a Manhattan-project push for nuclear power.

      2. Another subtle advantage of LEDs is that because they run cooler (85% cooler for the same light), they impose less demand on A/C in summer (duh.) But they are also better in cold wintry places like Canada. For every 10 kWh of heat that doesn’t come out of your interior lamps, the furnace burns 1 more cubic metre of gas. (That’s just comparing the calorific heat and assumes 100% efficiency in the furnace. But light bulbs aren’t necessarily deployed to heat the house efficiently either, so call it even.)

        In Ontario, electricity costs 6 times as much as natural gas for equivalent heat: $1.25 for 10 kWh vs 20 cents or less for a cubic metre in normal times, prices CDN include transmission, carbon taxes, and VAT but not fixed charges. Even though gas at least doubled in price this past winter, it is (and will be) still far cheaper than using light bulbs or any other pure resistive heater to heat a Canadian house.

        Granted this effect is small. I used 15 cubic metres of gas each day in Jan-Feb, and about 18 kWh of electricity, during a mild winter in a mild part of the country. Ten kWh is about half a day of electricity; most of that was not light bulbs. But as long as gas is cheaper than electricity, it will make sense to use LED lamps in all seasons in all climates provided the acquisition cost is competitive. The more expensive electricity is, the stronger the case for switching. But if gas becomes as expensive as electricity, or if electric resistive heat is someday mandated, there is no cost advantage to LEDs during the heating season in a cold climate.

        Note that if a country’s electricity is very low in CO2 emissions but heating is mostly with gas or oil (or coal!) it is actually better from a climate perspective to mandate interior incandescent light bulbs so that their waste heat reduces the consumption of fossil heating fuel in winter. In northern summers when days are long, electric residential light is overwhelmed by air conditioning and refrigeration. This was actually modeled for Québec (2007) where most space heating was gas from faraway Alberta but nearly all electricity was (and is) hydroelectric. In that scenario, LED lamps increased CO2 emissions in the winter heating season.

    2. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen LED lighting that noticeably flickers. Not even my Amazon bargain battery-powered bike lights flicker noticeably. The closest thing to it that I notice these days is that LED lighting that I have on dimmer switches on the high voltage side will dim when something else applies a heavy load on the electrical system. Like a microwave starting up, or a large electric motor starting up. It’s not the LED’s themselves that cause the problem, it’s how the type of LED power supplies that are dimmable on the high voltage side work that causes it. Power supplies that are only dimmable on the low voltage side work differently and aren’t susceptible to the same problem. But I’d rather have all the lighting controls on the high power side rather than have separate low voltage controls, like a battery powered remote. Or worse, a corded control box of some sort. It’s only momentary and I don’t mind it.

      1. Another idea I would throw in to the led lighting is the led light fixture. If you have an old conventional fixture that goes bad, needs replacing, you can buy led fixtures for just a small amount more and put those in. The fixture comes with the little led lights already in it so you do not need to buy any bulbs. I have put a couple in over the years and they seem to last forever. They put out more light and you just forget about them.

        1. I put one of those in my garage just recently. Our garage has just one ceiling mounted light fixture, one of those old ceramic single socket fixtures. I’d long since put an LED replacement bulb in it, but a few weeks ago looking through the clearance rack at Home Depot I found an LED fixture designed to simply screw into a standard socket like a light bulb, and it puts out 15,000 lumens.

          For reference, a typical 100 watt incandescent bulb puts out about 1,600 lumens. The LEDs are arranged on several different adjustable panels that allow you to direct the light as you wish. I can finally see in my garage.

  7. Off the top of my head, CFLs contain mercury or mercury derivatives. Indeed, for some applications, they might be fine, so I do not attack that.

    However, imagine breaking one on a carpet. Imagine if kids are using that carpet. Imagine vacuuming up a mercury dust with kids around. Imagine buying a whole new damn carpet. Imagine a landlord or property manager installing them without tenant knowledge, etc.

    Don’t ask me how I thought of that.

    Banning products to favor only LEDs for some general applications – not sure what to make of that. FWIW I’m using LEDs if they work well for the application.

  8. That beautiful juvenile tortoise is not a Galapagos species. I’d guess it’s a radiated tortoise, from Madagascar.

    1. I think that it’s an Indian Star Tortoise. The yellow bands are narrow.
      Definitely not a Galapagos tortoise, though.

  9. A vignette from S central Pennsylvania, where an old pal decamps for the summer. Recall that central PA is described as Alabama, bracketed by Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. He’s somewhat of a Luddite in that he doesn’t have internet at the place, and gets his Washington Post as hardcopy at the local store. The store there only gets three copies these days, since unsold copies are no longer credited – the store’s on the hook for them. His pleas to at least order one more copy go unheeded, and so he has to get there by 7:00 to get a paper, usually the last one remaining.

    When the headline was recently about Hunter Biden, there were no copies left at 7, but today when the headline was Trump Indicted, there were still two copies at 9:30. He later went back for the last one, just to have a pristine copy to save, also giving him a chance to cut up parts of the first copy to send to his sister in FL who was in DC on Jan 6.

    Also, why does it say POLICE in English on an Iranian police car? (Not questioning the authenticity of the photo.)

  10. Zoology News:
    “The blue whale may no longer be the largest animal ever:
    The 37-million-year-old fossil bones were so large, experts thought they were boulders. They may have come from the heaviest animal that ever lived.
    The blue whale has long held the title of largest animal of all time, an ocean giant reaching more than 100 feet in length and weighing more than 200 tons. But now, paleontologists have uncovered an immense cetacean that was shorter but possibly even heavier, a species that swam along the coast of ancient Peru more than 37 million years ago.
    Named Perucetus colossus by University of Pisa paleontologist Giovanii Bianucci and colleagues, the prehistoric whale may have weighed more than 300 tons. The roughly 60-foot-long whale was described today in the journal Nature.…”


  11. I’m definitely concerned that Trump may be getting stronger—in part because Biden continues weakening from his already-weak state. Two factors may help do Biden in and put the orange guy back into the presidency. The first is Hunter Biden. The Republican machine is going to do a lot of damage to (Joe) Biden thanks to his son. The second is the other candidates—particularly Robert Kennedy Jr.—who will draw voters from Biden. (The Republicans will unite around their chosen candidate.) And I’m leaving to one side the other weak points, including inflation (which is improving but which will still be weaponized by the Republicans), the border (nice job on the border, Kamala Harris), and potential decline in Biden’s health status. Even if it’s Trump vs. Biden, Trump *can* win. All people need to do is vote for him of vote for the not-Joe candidate. Scary prospect.

    Yes, LED lights are great. The LEDs themselves can last for a hundred years. The problem is the power supply that all LEDs have (yes, even the ones that look like regular screw-in light bulbs). The power supplies contain electrolytic capacitors, which are quite susceptible to damage by heat. I’ve had a number of LED lights fail because of power supply failure. The newest ones seem to be more reliable, which is good, but an LED light is much more complex than a short tungsten wire in an evacuated bulb.

  12. LEDs are great technology, but the government should not ban products that people still want to buy. Superior technology will eventually win out without the government forcing the issue.

    Edicts like this show a total lack of sympathy for how many people live. It is really a “let them eat cake” mentality.

    Robbins’ store, 3115 Vaughn Blvd., is in a predominantly lower-income neighborhood where residents live on a tight budget. He usually sees his customers reach for incandescent bulbs rather than LED because of the lower cost.

    “Most of these residents’ priority is getting through the day,” Robbins said.

  13. LED’s work just fine in refrigerators, they come in colors, and they come in floods, so I don’t know why three of those categories are there.

  14. The Louisiana bill is a good legislative effort to protect adolescents from medical harm. On this partisan question there ought to be bipartisan consensus.
    HLS 23RS-362

    As reported, it prohibits the prescription of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and the performance of sex reassignment surgery to any person under 18 except for the purpose of treating actual medical conditions such as intersex or diseases that require such treatment (such as trauma, cancer, infection, etc.) The bill is carefully written to apply only to gender reassignment as we understand it. It also references the harm caused from using these treatments to induce a minor to live inconsistent with his/her sexual orientation. (This is huge. It shows that the legislature understands that one motive of gender reassignment is, in effect, anti-gay conversion therapy. You can say gay in Louisiana.) I don’t see any minefields for doctors trying to respond to the legitimate medical needs of patients with or without gender dysphoria. Even attempts to repair botched or regretted transitions are explicitly permitted.

    It lays out the opinion of the legislature that the evidence for the value and safety of these drugs and operations in minors is unproven, including for mental health, and concerning for harm. It also dictates the standard of care shall be that these treatments cannot be provided to minors. Both these provisions are important because it is in these two domains that the courts and legislatures are traditionally deferential to prevailing expert professional opinion. However it is very clear that these instruments of the state may and must step in to protect the public if professional standards aren’t working. This language in the preamble shows the lawmakers are willing to repair what is really a breach of trust in medical self-regulation.

    Two important things the bill does not say:
    1) There is no aspersion cast on gender dysphoria or transgender theory as a whole as being deviant, undesirable, misguided, or undeserving of medical care. This will help defend against legal challenges arising from a claim that the Constitution bestows a right to protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
    2) No form of talking therapy is required or prohibited and no goals of psychotherapy are mandated. A therapist prohibited from prescribing hormones is still free to work out with the client how to manage gender dysphoria and other mental health conditions without risking being accused of transphobic conversion therapy.

    I hope Gov. Bel Edwards will sign it. There is nothing not to like.

Leave a Reply