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Open thread 1/19/24

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  • John A. Fleming January 19, 2024, 8:43 AM

    Is that covfefe? It looks too red.

    • ghostsniper January 19, 2024, 1:24 PM

      Cup looks small, expresso?
      I have a stainless steel double walled cup a little bigger than that that I snort Fireball with.

      When it’s cold like now (17 degrees) and there’s snow on the ground, at night, I’ve been known to cook some white oak in the firepit and sit my Fireball cup right on the edge and let it warm up.

      While writing that I was reminded of a time most of a lifetime ago, during a winter field exercise in Germany. I just got off a late night 2 hour stint on perimeter guard and was trudging back to my tent in the snow and I saw a small fir over at SSgt DeHoven’s tent. I went over there and he told me to set down on a log on the other side of the fire. He told me to give him my canteen cup and I did, and he poured it about half full with hot MD2020. I took a sip and it was very hot.

      I took my leather glove shells off and kept the green liners on and held that hot cup and took sips now and then. He was born, and lived the first 20 years of his life in Ukraine and he told me about his father and the work he did on a rural farm. He worked on the farm too. He was an american citizen now but still had a thick accent and he was getting close to his 20 in the army. He didn’t care any more and was just biding his time.

      The temp was below zero, several feet of snow on the ground, but no wind. And it was quiet. Very quiet. Snow covered forest quiet. You know what I mean. There was a clearing in the trees over head and no moon but billions of stars. Right there. Almost within touch. Our backs were frozen but our fronts were warm and that Mogen David elixir was trying to warm our innards and succeeding. Good memories come to the top when the world is boiling all around. Even hard times can make good memories. I was about 20-21 then and DeHoven was probably in his late 30’s early 40’s. I’m still here and now that I’m thinking about him I wonder if he is too. circa, about 1975-76. Wildflecken, Germany – 5km from the east german border.

  • ghostsniper January 19, 2024, 2:05 PM

    How much of this stuff is already in the US by way of that open border in the south?

    China Develops New Covid Strain With 100% Mortality In Humanised Mice: Know All About This New Virus Variant

    According to the study, carried out by the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, the virus was similar to SARS-CoV-2 and discovered in 2017 in pangolins before the COVID outbreak.

    China has recently made headlines by developing a new mutant strain of the COVID-19 virus that has shown a staggering 100 percent mortality rate in “humanized” mice. This new variant, known as GX_P2V, has raised alarm bells within the scientific community due to its potential implications for human health. While this study has been published on the preprint site bioRxiv, it is important to note that it has not undergone a rigorous peer-review process.

    The fatal virus, dubbed GX_P2V in a study published on bioRxiv, targeted the brains of mice whose genetic composition was designed to resemble that of humans. The researchers found that the mice lost significant weight within five days of infection, became lethargic, and their eyes turned white. They died just eight days after being infected, the researchers further wrote in the study.

    How Dangerous Is The Virus Variant?
    The study focused on human ACE2-transgenic mice, which are specifically engineered to possess a human receptor for the virus. These mice were intentionally infected with GX_P2V, leading to tragic consequences. The mortality rate among these mice was unprecedented, suggesting that this new variant is particularly lethal.

    After analysing the bodies of the mice, they found that the virus had infected the lungs, bones, eyes, tracheas and brains. The brain infection was so severe that it killed the animals, the researchers concluded.

    The Virus Variant Can Cause Brain Infection
    One of the study’s key findings is the potential late-stage brain infection caused by GX_P2V. While more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind this phenomenon, it highlights the severity and complexity of this new strain. A virus that can breach the blood-brain barrier and infiltrate the central nervous system poses significant challenges in terms of treatment and containment.

    The development of this mutant strain in China has raised concerns across the globe. It serves as a reminder that viruses are constantly evolving and adapting to their environment. Additionally, it presents a stark reminder of the importance of rigorous and adaptable scientific research in the face of such dangerous pathogens.

    Another COVID-Like Pandemic On Its Way?
    Mutation in viruses such as Covid-19 is not rare. As they naturally mutate over time, scientists keep a close watch on these alterations to understand their implications on health. The emergence of variants like Delta and Omicron shows how the virus can evolve and adapt. However, the current study which is conducted in China, is a deliberate manipulation to study the impact of the deadly COVID virus on the human body.

    Not necessarily, a new mutation doesn’t necessarily mean a widespread outbreak or a significant health hazard. Scientists worldwide are keeping a vigilant eye and jointly working on strategies to battle the virus.

    In conclusion, the discovery of a mutant strain of COVID-19 in China with a 100 percent mortality rate in humanized mice is a significant development that demands attention. While the study’s findings are yet to be peer-reviewed, they serve as a stark reminder of the ongoing battle against the virus and the need for unwavering scientific research and global collaboration. As the world struggles to emerge from the grips of the pandemic, governments, scientists, and individuals must remain vigilant in their efforts to protect public health.


    • Joe Krill January 19, 2024, 3:29 PM

      This looks like it is right out of the Book of Revelation.

      They admit that they developed it-“The development of this mutant strain in China has raised concerns across the globe. It serves as a reminder that viruses are constantly evolving and adapting to their environment” and then say it is evolving. What is it?

    • Joe Krill January 19, 2024, 3:50 PM
  • ghostsniper January 19, 2024, 2:27 PM

    Cowardly pieces of shit, all. From Garland on down. I saw the videos, then, and lately. The gov’t thugs were armed to the teeth and cowered like schoolgurls.

    The shooter was an 18 yo punk and left a trail 9 miles wide. Yet there they were, the gov’t parasites, standing hundreds of feet away, nice and safe, fondling their phones.

    On top of that, these rotten bastards PREVENTED anyone else from going in and doing what they were too scared to do. What kind of a fucking man lives like that? A gov’t parasite that’s what kind.

    At the very, VERY least, all of the them should be banned from ever holding another gov’t job. ALL of them should have any and all gov’t assets removed. In every way they should bear the mark of a coward the rest of their days.

    This entire gov’t is slammed to the rafters with worse than worthless people like this.

    UVALDE, Texas (AP) — Police officials who responded to the deadly Uvalde, Texas, elementary school shooting waited far too long to confront the gunman, acted with “no urgency” in establishing a command post and communicated inaccurate information to grieving families, according to a Justice Department report released Thursday that identifies “cascading failures” in law enforcement’s handling of the massacre.

    The report, the most comprehensive federal accounting of the maligned police response to the May 24, 2022, shooting at Robb Elementary School, catalogs a sweeping array of training, communication, leadership and technology problems that federal officials say contributed to the crisis lasting far longer than necessary. All the while, the report says, terrified students inside the classrooms called 911 and agonized parents begged officers to go in.

    “Had law enforcement agencies followed generally accepted practices in active shooter situations and gone right after the shooter and stopped him, lives would have been saved and people would have survived,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday at a news conference in Uvalde after Justice Department officials briefed family members on their findings. The Uvalde victims, he said, “deserved better.”

    The families of some of the Uvalde victims have blasted police as cowards and demanded resignations. At least five officers have lost their jobs, including two Department of Public Safety officers and the on-site commander, Arredondo.

    No one has been charged with a crime.


  • SK January 19, 2024, 3:08 PM

    Beyond shameful,
    beyond sad,
    beyond outraged.
    One runs out of adjectives to describe the disappointment, frustration and anger as the country descends into chaos and becomes a place no longer recognizable or likable.
    Resist and pray.

  • ghostsniper January 19, 2024, 6:33 PM

    Screen Time

    Screen activities have been designed to capture our attention by feeding us regular doses of dopamine. Like playing an immersive video game, giving you a thrill when you level up, defeat a boss, or find a new item, screens entice you to spend more time in the virtual world.

    “Video games are governed by microscopic rules,” Bennett Foddy, who teaches game design at New York University’s Game Center, said in the book “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked” by Adam Alter, as excerpted by The Guardian.

    These micro-rules can be a “ding” sound or a white flash whenever a character moves over a particular square and are synced to the player’s actions so they feel they were the one who caused it. This micro-feedback generates a sense of reward, hooking people into continuously playing the game.

    This system may also explain why interactive screen activities may be more problematic for children than passive screen activities, like watching TV.

    Dr. Dunckley has observed that while two hours of TV is linked to signs of dysregulation in children, only 30 minutes of interactive screen activities is stimulating enough for signs to occur.

    Many video games also employ strategies used in gambling, such as loot-box rewards, where players are rewarded at random intervals throughout the game. Since players do not know when the next reward drop will come, they are further compelled to play the game—even if they are not enjoying it.

    This strategy came from the works of psychologist Burrhus Frederic Skinner. Skinner put pigeons in a box with a button, rewarding them with food whenever they pressed it. He found that the pigeons rewarded irregularly were more compelled to press the button than those rewarded with every button press.

    This compulsion also exists in humans.

    Read the rest here:

    I wrote this almost 4 years ago:

    Box of Colors by Ghostsniper
    by VANDERLEUN on JULY 20, 2018

    They live entirely inside their tiny box of colors – they have become one of the colors. The “organic them” exists only when it must, like feeding time and such, the rest of the time they are an avatar that is changed at will. Quite flexible when you are just so many pixels. The electrons creating synapses in their brains are in perfect synchronicity with the electrons flying thither and yon in their box of colors, they are one. Or, maybe they both are an extension of the other. Perhaps it is the other way around. The small box of colors is the owner and the ”organic they” is used only to connect the box to other boxes, using electrons mind you. Someday the boxes of colors may learn to connect themselves. Then the organic robots they own will no longer be necessary.

    You’ll be driving in your driverless car through the ville, looking at your box of colors in your hand and you’ll look up and see an organic laying along the street, seemingly dead. And you won’t mind, cause you’ve been warned this will happen. As you glide past that corpse you swipe the red color on your box and through the magic of 33′ Bluetooth the essence of that corpse’s avatar will show on the screen and suddenly you will be liked, like all the other organics that drove by just like you. You are like number 31,076. Endorphins fill you with mechanical pride and worth. You are a good person, they told you so! Then you see another organic corpse, and another, and another. As far as the eye can see there will be decomposing organic hulls lying everywhere and collection agencies will be on patrol picking up all the boxes of colors for recycling.

    The likes are coming fast now, an app update makes it possible to swipe without actually swiping, you just have to think you’re swiping and ta-daaa, you’ve swiped. You’re now up to 99,156 and climbing. You drive on but you don’t see the light pole step off the sidewalk into your path. It did it so smoothly no one but a non-user would have seen it. Your vehicle is demolished and your airbag cast you in another direction and there you lay, broken, and your box of colors lies over there.

    A car glides by, much like yours, and the driver of this driverless car swipes the red avatar and you chalk up another number on their screen, and they drive on…

  • ghostsniper January 20, 2024, 3:58 AM

    Maybe this time it’ll stick.

    Alec Baldwin faces new indictment in ‘Rust’ movie set shooting
    Prosecutors charged Alec Baldwin again with involuntary manslaughter after he was indicted by a grand jury Friday in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust” in 2021, according to documents obtained by Fox News Digital.

    Hutchins was shot and killed on the “Rust” set during the rehearsal of a scene after a gun Baldwin was holding discharged. Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter, negligent use of a firearm, or, in the alternative, involuntary manslaughter without due caution or circumspection.

    “We look forward to our day in court,” Baldwin’s lawyers, Alex Spiro and Luke Nikas, told Fox News Digital Friday.

    Fox News Digital has reached out to prosecutors for further comment.

    “Our clients have always sought the truth about what happened on the day that Halyna Hutchins was tragically shot and killed on October 21, 2021,” the Hutchins family lawyer, Gloria Allred, told Fox News Digital. “They continue to seek the truth in our civil lawsuit for them and they also would like there to be accountability in the criminal justice system.”

    “The grand jury has decided that there is sufficient evidence to indict Alec Baldwin on the charge of involuntary manslaughter,” the statement continued. “We are looking forward to the criminal trial which will determine if he should be convicted for the untimely death of Halyna, who was the daughter of our clients Olga Solovey and Anatolii Androsovych, the sister of Svetlana Zemko, and the co-worker of our client, Mamie Mitchell.”

    Baldwin’s wife Hilaria was spotted exiting their New York City apartment alone hours after the new indictment was announced.

    Baldwin was originally charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter Jan. 31, and the charges were later dropped in April.

    At the time, the prosecution claimed “new facts” had been revealed that require further investigation. In their motion to dismiss, the special prosecutors noted the inquiry and forensic analysis required could be completed before the start of Baldwin’s scheduled preliminary hearing.

    Special prosecutors revealed they would ask a grand jury to decide if Baldwin should face criminal charges for a second time in October, nearly two years after Hutchins’ death.

    “After extensive investigation over the past several months, additional facts have come to light that we believe show Mr. Baldwin has criminal culpability in the death of Halyna Hutchins and the shooting of Joel Souza,” special prosecutors Kari Morrissey and Jason Lewis said in a statement last month.

    “We believe the appropriate course of action is to permit a panel of New Mexico citizens to determine from here whether Mr. Baldwin should be held over for criminal trial.”

    Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger of the gun Oct. 21, 2021.

    “The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger,” Baldwin told George Stephanopoulos in an interview shortly after the fatal shooting.

    “No, no, no, no, I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger. Never.”

    However, the FBI conducted an accidental discharge test and determined the gun used in the fatal shooting of Hutchins “could not be made to fire without a pull of the trigger,” ABC News reported.

    During the legal back-and-forth, new footage — obtained by NBC News — emerged showing Baldwin firing a prop gun on the film set.

    Baldwin can be heard telling crew members to move out of the path of the gun in the video, obtained and published Nov. 16 by NBC News. The footage was reportedly taken some time before Hutchins was fatally shot Oct. 21, 2021.

    “Now wait a second. I’m going to shoot right,” Baldwin said. “Do you mind going to the other side of the camera? I don’t want to shoot toward you.”

    At another point, Baldwin seems concerned for the safety of whoever is behind the camera, saying, “I don’t know why you’re going up hills and all this other – you’re going to break your f—ing neck.” Later in the clip, a woman can be heard saying, “Everyone doesn’t need to be right here in the path of the gun. Could you please move?”


  • ghostsniper January 20, 2024, 12:42 PM

    Spoiled Brats, by Robert Gore

    Some things are simpler than they appear. During the past few years, countless words have been spilled that ask and try to answer the seemingly complex question: What in the hell is wrong with these people? How do we get Russiagate, COVID hysteria, killer vaccines, vaccine mandates, George Floyd riots, rigged elections, the January 6 travesty, Biden, the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, open borders, runaway debt, suffocating regulations and taxes, elite pedophilia, war in Ukraine, war in the Middle East, Trump’s show trials, woke, DEI, and a plagiarist puff-ball promoted to president of a once prestigious Ivy League institution?

    The simple answer is that the West is being run by and for the benefit of spoiled brats. There are two essential features of spoiled bratdom. Brats receive something for nothing or less than nothing, and they bear no consequences for their mistakes and their evils. Rear your kids on those tenets, and you’ll have spoiled brats in no time. Government is many people’s ultimate parent, but government of the spoiled brats, by the spoiled brats, for the spoiled brats cannot long endure.

    Are spoiled brats psychopaths? Sociopaths? Narcissists? Neurotics? Some other category of psychological pathology? Does it matter? All one really needs to know is that their morality comes down to a single demand: Gimme! Their worldview is self-referential; it’s always about them. They want what you produce. They want to order you around. They want authority without competence. They want respect they haven’t earned for virtue they’ve only signaled. They want science to conform. They want food, alcohol, drugs, and transient amusements. They want multiple genders. They want sex with children. They want whatever random desire flashes through their solipsistically random brains—now! And when confronted with their own evil, they want forgiveness without apology or penance, absolution without regret or reform. Gimme!

    Pampered presidential progeny Hunter Biden is the symbol of our age. He’s an unholy trinity of indulgence, decadence, and corruption, excused by him and Biden toadies as the unfortunate outcome of this, that, or some other thing that profoundly warped his fragile little psyche. Russians made up that trove of damaging materials. When it turned out that they didn’t, Republicans came after poor Hunter to hurt his father, poor Joe. Spoiled brats have a murderous (sometimes literal) hatred of anyone who calls them to account and an unlimited capacity for self-pity.

    February 3 and December 23 should be spoiled brat national holidays. Those where the days, respectively, in the unfortunate year 1913 when the income tax amendment, the 16th, was ratified and the Federal Reserve Act was passed. Since 1913, the government has had first claim on production and the central bank can manufacture fake money. It was only a matter of time before the majority of Americans—hard working, productive, and morally upright—would be undermined by the brats who slithered to Washington.

    Government of, by, and for the spoiled brats was institutionalized in the reign of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Rob Peter to pay spoiled brats and you’ll always get the spoiled brat vote. Roosevelt won four elections and is revered for his “fundamental transformation” of America.

    Nothing stokes spoiled brat self-satisfaction quite like putting a moral sheen on their abominations. Roosevelt fundamentally transformed receiving stolen property; theft now secured “freedom from want” for all Americans, except for one small detail. For the government to give it has to take . . . from someone. Those someones were Americans whose freedom from want and theft were not secured. Oh well, details are for the little people and contradictions are the bugaboo of logically consistent humbugs, a minuscule constituency that no politician represents.

    Non-spoiled brats were plagued by New Deal idiocy but survived it, won World War II, and retooled the powerhouse American economy. Spoiled brats had their fundamental transformation. “Entitled” captures the ethos. The politically favored are entitled to largess, status, and power bestowed by the government. America is entitled to a confederated global empire and its rules-based order, the rules of which are whatever it deems expedient.

    Anyone who’s had to deal with spoiled children knows that only one word can begin to reverse their dismal progression: “No.” That may be the most beautiful word in the English language. It conveys the essential truth that both reality and the rights of others take precedence over the noxious demands of the spoiled.

    Americans rarely heard “no” after World War II, and when they did, they ignored it. They would arrange the world as they saw fit. At home, a “nation as rich as the United States can afford _______________” (fill in the blank) became a favorite political tag line.

    It was never going to last. The world resents the American gimme and is pushing back, hard. Since 2000, when Putin became president, he has told anyone who would listen that a NATO presence on Russia’s doorstep in Ukraine would be intolerable. The spoiled never hear anything they don’t want to hear. After a U.S.-sponsored coup, Ukrainian war on rebellious, Russia-friendly oblasts in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine’s abrogation of two Minsk accords ostensibly meant to stop that conflict, and NATO’s refusal to negotiate with Russia concerning its security concerns, the Russians began a Special Military Operation in February 2022.

    Sanctions have become the U.S.’s hold-our-breath-until-we-turn-blue tactic in international affairs. Russia has worked around U.S. sanctions, and the U.S. has turned bluer and bluer. The U.S. government has said “gimme” on $300 billion in dollar-denominated Russian deposits and is considering using that money to fund its dead-in-the-water proxy war in Ukraine. It takes a special kind of stupid not to appreciate that trading your pretend money for real goods and services, and having that pretend money recycled back into your very real debt, is an inordinate privilege with which a country should never tamper. Stealing Russia’s dollar deposits is considered tampering with the reserve currency.

    Non-Western governments representing most of the world’s population have allied in a coalition of “No” against the U.S., its gimmes, its debt, and its dollar. The Europeans are the U.S.’s “yes” coalition in Ukraine. They’ve been rewarded with a costly losing war, the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, and the substitution of expensive American gas for cheap Russian gas. A few of the less supine are backing away from the U.S.-Israel horror show in Gaza.

    The West is a jackals’ congress of the heavily indebted. Spoiled brats never worry about who pays for their gimmes. The money comes from somewhere, provided by someone. In Western bratocracies, the somewhere is the credit markets and the tax take, and the someones are the dwindling ranks of producers and creditors. As the former contemplate ever-rising tax burdens, their willingness to indulge the spoiled brats is evaporating. As the latter contemplate debt mounting by the trillions, they’re edging away from lending at anything but penalty rates.

    Turns out that even nations as rich as the United States can’t afford all the gimmes. Reality is saying “no.” Something’s going to give, prompting a collapse and tantrum for the ages. Brats will wail, but nobody will care. People will have more important things to worry about, like their own survival.

    This week is the annual Davos conclave of brats. Their gimme is to rule the world. As they fake-smile, air kiss, pose, sip pricey libations, dine on delicacies, satisfy their depraved sexual propensities, and propound their pieties, do they realize that more and more of the world is less and less willing to grant their demands, that even Western citizens are taking to the streets, that they’ll never rebuild trust? Have any of them sent to know for whom the bell tolls? It tolls for them.

    They won’t listen until it’s far too late.


    • DT January 20, 2024, 3:59 PM

      The fan is already turning; it’s an election (maybe) year and the excrement is starting to fly. I’m guessing they’ll meet this summer/fall before the (maybe) election. What the brats need is a good (physical) whippin’.
      But I don’t believe they’ll get it – us’ens are in the line of fire.

  • ghostsniper January 20, 2024, 1:16 PM
  • ghostsniper January 20, 2024, 2:43 PM

    Probably the greatest wasted resource in the country is the almost unlimited learning capacity of young kids. They are learning sponges on steroids. Most parents today teach their kids the basics of being a beginning human being then at age 5 they go on permanent vacation and turn the kids entire learning experience over to the pathetic and damaging public system for the next 12 years.

    Such a waste.

    I found out in real time that when a kid learns the joy and value of the music language he won’t be attracted to the tribal call of the “(c)rap” noise. We started our only kid on piano lessons at age eight and then a year later on guitar. Both my wife and I play all keys and we have several on hand at all times over the past 40 years we’ve been together. I play a variety of stringed instruments as well as brass instruments. My wife plays several woodwind instruments, and we both dabble with a variety of percussion devices.

    By watching my wife and I enjoy our instruments it piqued our son to try them. Some he liked, some he didn’t. From single digits up through his teens we let him try out many different musical instruments and put no limits on the amount of time he wanted to spend with them. Nor did we force him in any direction. We gave him the tools then stepped out of the picture and let him find his path.

    Our sons first keyboard, when he was taking piano lessons, was a $35 Casio unit at age 8. By the time he was 16 he was buying and trading keyboards and amps and accessories from Trent Reznor, whom he still stays in contact with more than 20 years later.

    His first guitar was my oldest guitar, a Harmony Marquis and I put nylon strings on it for him. Within 6 months he restrung it with steel strings and about a year later I gave him my custom Gibson SG electric and a small Peavey amp I wasn’t doing anything with. When he moved out of our house at age 20 he gave the Harmony back to me but kept the SG. 24 year later I still have the Harmony and play it almost daily and it is still in mint condition and now, 40 years old. He still has the SG and it is about 32 years old.

    And it wasn’t just music stuff. My wife and I are artistic in many ways and everything that interested us we let our son try too. Some he liked, some he didn’t. The point is exposure. Then let the kid decide. In 1991, after being involved with computers for about 8 years, I started building my own. Our son was using our “family” IBM 286 for the past couple years and I hooked him up with a home correspondence course to get up to speed. It was a year long course and he finished it in 3 months, then he built his first computer, a 486DX4 100. I don’t build computers any more but he still does.

    And sports. We got him involved with all the main sports and he also took Tae Kwon Do for about 5 years. Just about everything we let him get his hands and brain onto he sucked it in with a big milkshake straw. Oh yeah, we homeschooled him to.

    Point is, most kids today are being stifled by ignorant, or, lazy parents, and a criminal educational system. I don’t know when this downward spiral started but from what I remember the public school system was still functioning on a decent level up through the 1960’s. It may have been in decline by then but that decline was very slow. In the 70’s it picked up speed and now 50 years later there is little to no proper learning going on it the schools. Just indoctrination to the criminal, communist agenda. This is apparent through the strata of people today.

    Anyway, take a look at this young man. I don’t know his age, maybe 9, 10? He didn’t learn to do this in the “system” and the skill he demonstrates comes from long term interest and effort. His parents are not ignorant or lazy.


  • ghostsniper January 21, 2024, 1:15 PM

    I watched this, and while many commenters said it was embarrassing, being ex-military I can see their point and get past it. I found it disgusting. That some how things have gotten this far.

    Imagine Washington or Jefferson sitting there listening to this stuff.

    Either or both would most likely pull their pistols and kill the irredeemable animals.

    The more you learn about the public school system the harder it is to justify it’s existence for anything other than a place for lazy parents to store their kids.


  • ghostsniper January 21, 2024, 1:16 PM

    Is anyone surprised by this?

    A groundbreaking study shows kids learn better on paper, not screens. Now what?
    John R MacArthur
    For ‘deeper reading’ among children aged 10-12, paper trumps screens. What does it mean when schools are going digital?

    The nationwide collapse in reading scores among American youth has lately captured the attention – if not the concern – of headline writers, educators and government bureaucrats.

    The Department of Education’s most recent survey, released in June, was certainly sensational: it found that text comprehension skills of 13-year-olds had declined an average of four points since the Covid-affected school year of 2019-2020, and more alarmingly that the average drop was seven points compared with the 2012 figure. The results for the worst-performing students fell below the reading skill level recorded in 1971, when the first national study was conducted.

    Unsurprisingly, the blame for this dismal news has been assigned by politicians to the easiest, more obvious targets – Covid-19 and the resultant lockdown. Remote learning was bad for students, according to Biden administration officials, so the pandemic must be the chief villain. Conservatives don’t disagree, but they prefer to blame the teachers’ unions for encouraging their members to teach remotely – for them a greater villain than Covid is the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, a powerful Democrat who lobbied successfully to prolong school shutdowns.

    Neither the bureaucrats nor the critics of the teachers’ union are wrong, of course. Common sense tells us that a child alone in her bedroom, staring at the image of a teacher on a computer screen (with a smartphone close at hand but hidden from the teacher’s view), is not fully focused on learning.

    But while everyone bemoans the lockdown, there’s been curiously little discussion in this debate about the physical object most children use to read, which, starting long before the arrival of Covid, has increasingly been an illuminated screen displaying pixelated type instead of a printed or photocopied text. What if the principal culprit behind the fall of middle-school literacy is neither a virus, nor a union leader, nor “remote learning”?

    Until recently there has been no scientific answer to this urgent question, but a soon-to-be published, groundbreaking study from neuroscientists at Columbia University’s Teachers College has come down decisively on the matter: for “deeper reading” there is a clear advantage to reading a text on paper, rather than on a screen, where “shallow reading was observed”.

    Using a sample of 59 children aged 10 to 12, a team led by Dr Karen Froud asked its subjects to read original texts in both formats while wearing hair nets filled with electrodes that permitted the researchers to analyze variations in the children’s brain responses. Performed in a laboratory at Teachers College with strict controls, the study – which has not yet been peer reviewed – used an entirely new method of word association in which the children “performed single-word semantic judgment tasks” after reading the passages.

    Vital to the usefulness of the study was the age of the participants – a three-year period that is “critical in reading development” – since fourth grade is when a crucial shift occurs from what another researcher describes as “learning to read” to “reading to learn”.

    Froud and her team are cautious in their conclusions and reluctant to make hard recommendations for classroom protocol and curriculum. Nevertheless, the researchers state: “We do think that these study outcomes warrant adding our voices … in suggesting that we should not yet throw away printed books, since we were able to observe in our participant sample an advantage for depth of processing when reading from print.”

    I would go even further than Froud in delineating what’s at stake. For more than a decade, social scientists, including the Norwegian scholar Anne Mangen, have been reporting on the superiority of reading comprehension and retention on paper. As Froud’s team says in its article: “Reading both expository and complex texts from paper seems to be consistently associated with deeper comprehension and learning” across the full range of social scientific literature.

    But the work of Mangen and others hasn’t influenced local school boards, such as Houston’s, which keep throwing out printed books and closing libraries in favor of digital teaching programs and Google Chromebooks. Drunk on the magical realism and exaggerated promises of the “digital revolution”, school districts around the country are eagerly converting to computerized test-taking and screen-reading programs at the precise moment when rigorous scientific research is showing that the old-fashioned paper method is better for teaching children how to read.

    Indeed, for the tech boosters, Covid really wasn’t all bad for public-school education: “As much as the pandemic was an awful time period,” says Todd Winch, the Levittown, Long Island, school superintendent, “one silver lining was it pushed us forward to quickly add tech supports.” Newsday enthusiastically reports: “Island schools are going all-in on high tech, with teachers saying they are using computer programs such as Google Classroom, I-Ready, and Canvas to deliver tests and assignments and to grade papers.”

    Terrific, especially for Google, which was slated to sell 600 Chromebooks to the Jericho school district, and which since 2020 has sold nearly $14bn worth of the cheap laptops to K-12 schools and universities.

    If only Winch and his colleagues had attended the Teachers College symposium that presented the Froud study last September. The star panelist was the nation’s leading expert on reading and the brain, John Gabrieli, an MIT neuroscientist who is skeptical about the promises of big tech and its salesmen: “I am impressed how educational technology has had no effect on scale, on reading outcomes, on reading difficulties, on equity issues,” he told the New York audience.

    “How is it that none of it has lifted, on any scale, reading? … It’s like people just say, ‘Here is a product. If you can get it into a thousand classrooms, we’ll make a bunch of money.’ And that’s OK; that’s our system. We just have to evaluate which technology is helping people, and then promote that technology over the marketing of technology that has made no difference on behalf of students … It’s all been product and not purpose.”

    I’ll only take issue with the notion that it’s “OK” to rob kids of their full intellectual potential in the service of sales – before they even get started understanding what it means to think, let alone read.


  • Casey Klahn January 21, 2024, 2:59 PM

    Good cup of coffee! Tastes like victory!

    The NG have been at the border in their current profile for whatever many weeks – maybe a few months now? However, in the past 10 days or so, they have disregarding, disobeying, and countermanding the BP, and the White House. This is what victory looks like. The feds have not been able to do anything more than shittalk the guard and Texas, and the present situation, where the TX NG is denying crossings and arresting illegals, is a stark comparison to the permissive profile of the Biden federal government.

    We. Win. For now, anyway. How will the Feds reverse the situation at Eagle Pass, TX? Short of very nasty legal action against Gov. Abbott, I am not able to picture Biden’s famous F-16s of Tyranny swooping in to alter the situation back to: cartels, drugs, illegals, Chinamen, Fentanyl, unaccompanied children, militias of non-Americans, cartel lawyers, Muslims, the kitchen sink…all crossing en masse. It’s very bad look for the federal government, and if you were ignoring it before, that’s going to be awfully hard to do going into the presidential election.

    Now other states are sending national guard reinforcements to Texas. You can call it what you like, but when the history books are written, it won’t be much of a leap to write that what the NG in Texas was doing was among the first actions of the civil war that started in 2024-25.

    FJB. Sideways. With an armored division.

    • Casey Klahn January 21, 2024, 3:46 PM

      Watch for the Biden Gang to absorb the border good news and claim it for themselves. An AI hologram of GEN Austin will appear claiming to have ordered and supervised the whole TX operation.

      In other funny predictions, The Babylon Bee did a vid of election year predictions, and one had it that Trump would landslide with 120 million votes, and the day after that, Biden would “find” 125 million mail in votes FTW.

    • DT January 21, 2024, 4:00 PM

      FJB seems to have forgotten places where we’ve “gone to war” since WWII. The US had the F16s and other fun toys; the other places we “won” (declare victory and get the hell out … or just get the hell out … Vietnam? Afghanistan?) had determination.

      Of course, attacking the American people in America will be much easier than the other places our boys (ours?) have been forced to play games.

      I support Texas – FJB. I prefer a barbed wire enema (or methods suggested by Braveheart) but your suggestion works. And let’s not forget … too many to name but let’s start with the entire FJB administration, H, Schumer, Pelosi, and most certainly Barry and her husband Mike (we all know who wears the pants in that family).

      But I don’t think “we” will win – at least not within my lifetime (and probably yours, GS, Anne’s – we’re probably all of an age). The evil runs too deep and wide; the bloodbath coming will be focused on us. FJB WILL use whatever toys he has against us; the question remains: will US soldiers (if any Americans remain) shoot their own people? We know the cops will. Hence the removal of the unvaxxed and replacement with the compliant and illegals into the military and police forces. Texas as you suggest may be the bellwether.

      I’ve been wrong before; I hope so this time. But you know as well as I that those currently in office will no way voluntarily give up their positions. Those sick phuques will have to be “removed”.

      Damn. Good 556 ammo is running around $1.50 a round. $45 per magazine. #00 runs more than that … vs the value of my life, eh?

      Just comes to me. Is the kerfuffle in Israel just a means to create ammo shortages and drive up prices here? Seems like something “our” government would do.

      Seems I’m a bit perturbed today. But I’ve been reading the news.

      • ghostsniper January 21, 2024, 5:35 PM

        Here ya go, 62gr, brass, 40 cents a round.
        Ammoseek.com is your friend.
        Oh yeah, reduced shipping costs too.
        I haven’t purchased from these folks, Dunkin Tactical, but I would if I was in the market.
        Ammoseek vets their referrals.
        I have purchased many times from their ref’s.
        Last summer I got a deal thru them for 10,000 rds of 5.56 steel.
        Fired good, went back the next week and got another 10k.

        Durkin Tactical
        6 PMC X-TAC | 5.56 x 45mm Nato | 62 Grain | Green Tip | FMJ-BT | 20 Round Ammo – $1.99 processing fee added to all orders PMC 5.56x45mm NATO 62 1m46s 1 brass $7.99 20 40.0¢


  • ghostsniper January 21, 2024, 6:09 PM

    A Tribute To Columbia
    You’ve seen this.
    I’ve seen it many times with my own eyeballs, from 150 miles away.


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