We Oppose Bicycles on Wilderness Trails With One Exception

The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill that would allow bicycles in designated wilderness areas. And that’s pitting groups that have typically been allies against one another.

The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill that would allow bicycles on wilderness trails. From KPCC radiio

This is a terrible idea.  We oppose it, with one exception.  We fully support allowing bicycles on the Pacific Crest Trail north of Mt. Whitney (technically Crabtree Meadow).  If you’re interested, HalfMile has downloadable maps of the entire trail and a ton of other useful information.

Your humble correspondent confesses to spending many weeks hiking in federally designated wilderness areas in his youth.  That includes six memorable days on the Pacific Crest Trail.  (I haven’t been to the Ventana Wilderness in Big Sur for decades.  That was once a marvelous adventure.  But fires and mudslides may have altered the landscape.)

Andre Burney Falls
Andre Burney Falls (click for larger image)

Let bicycles go onto the Pacific Crest Trail.  That will both keep them happy (briefly) and further the cause of this blog.


California May Legalize Jaywalking and Support Our Cause


A bill being considered in the California legislature would make it legal for pedestrians to enter a crosswalk when the “Don’t Walk” signal is flashing.  Currently doing that is jaywalking. California may legalize jaywalking and support our cause.

No further comment needed.  We support this proposal.  For more information, click here.

Climate Science Communicator Supports Our Cause

Climate Nuremberg Testimonials

Over at the Climate Nuremberg blog (run by a blogger with the nom-de-death of Brad P. Keyes), they have wished death on much of their audience.  The motto of this site is “When what you really need is some sort of Climate Nuremberg.”  Mind you, Brad is a self-described “science communicator” whatever that means.  My guess, however, is that he’s quite a few notches below Carl Zimmer, for example.

This caught our attention:

Communication Dilemmas #1: Wishing Death on People Without Losing Them

Part of being a science communicator is hoping a natural disaster kills as many members of the audience as possible, as soon as possible, with as much media exposure as possible. As a communicator myself, I’d like nothing better than for thousands of middle-class white people to die in an extreme weather event—preferably one with global warming’s fingerprints on it—live on cable news. Tomorrow.

The hardest thing about communicating the deadliness of the climate problem is that it isn’t killing anyone. And just between us, let’s be honest: the average member of the public is a bit (how can I put it politely?) of a moron. It’s all well and good for the science to tell us global warming is more dangerous than Nazism, but Joe Q. Flyover doesn’t understand science. He wants evidence.

So we’ve probably reached the limits of what science communication can achieve. At this point only nature herself can close the consensus gap—or the fear gap.

Cognitive scientist C. R. R. Kampen thinks the annihilation of a city of 150,000 people might just provide the teaching moment we need …

Amen, brother!  The sooner we rid this planet of the pestilence called the human race, the better off everyone will be.  Especially the cockroaches and crows.

Brad doesn’t want to give his real last name because then we could actually verify his credentials.  Far easier to call for the deaths of thousands behind the shield of anonymity.  FYI his Twitter handle is @BradPKeyes.


Why We Hate Modern Cars

Saturday, March 1, we were driving from San Jose to Los Gatos.  (California for you lame-o’s).  The driving conditions were not good.  The pavement was wet, there was low barometric pressure, and many of the drivers did not drive on weekdays. This is why we hate modern cars.

When what appeared to my right?  A snazzy new BMW, probably at least a 7 series (look it up).  The driver was weaving in and out of lanes, cutting people off, and generally driving like an idiot.  My lovely wife (who is a much better driver than me) actually screamed a bit at the antics of this moron.

But, in this case, there was instant karma.  I made a wrong turn exiting the freeway and we drove past the scene pictured below.  Yes, that is her car.  She managed to take out a utility pole.  But she was on her cell phone as we drove by.  The @#$%^& air bag and breakaway utility pole had left her undamaged.

Darwin loses again

If this isn’t an argument against air bags, shoulder belts, and crumple zones, I don’t know what is.  We need more Darwin, not less.

The Other Day I Caught a Cold

The other day I caught a cold.  Then my wife caught it from me.  We now believe this was actually a case of the flu.  Which is a surprise because every year I get a flu shot sometime in October.  As I did in 2012.  Our household relies on this so no one gets the flu.  My wife mainly works from home and doesn’t get the exposure I get from my students (many of whom have kids).

I won’t go into the symptoms that indicate flu rather than a cold because this website is offensive enough already.  But after a quick look around the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), I have a pretty good idea what’s going on.  This appears to be a beta test of the U.S. government’s solution to the financial problems facing Social Security and Medicare (and Obamacare as it is currently written).

The pullquote below is a long quotation from the CDC’s website.  Let me summarize the relevant parts.  For people older than 65 (which includes me, but not my wife),  Incidentally, VE stands for vaccine effectiveness.

  • “…the VE against flu A and B viruses ranged from 27% in people 65 and older…”
  • “…VE against flu A (H3N2) viruses in people 65 and older was significantly lower than in other age groups.
  • “Overall, VE estimates suggest that the 2012-2013 flu vaccine has moderate effectiveness for most people against the flu viruses spreading in the United States, similar to previously published reports. The one exception to this was the VE among people 65 and older against flu A (H3N2) viruses, which was lower. The single point estimate for VE in this age group was 9% (95% CI: -84% to 55%). Note that because the confidence interval crossed zero for the 65 and older age group, this estimate is not statistically significant, and therefore, the results should be interpreted with caution.”

Got that?  The government is trying to kill us old folks.  Their first attempt was the distribution of “free” cheese to those 65 and older.  Unfortunately (for the government, not for us elderly), Big Pharma invented the statin drugs which are keeping us alive longer than the government prediction.  So here we have a second try: a flu vaccine that just happens to not work very well against old folks.  Gotta hand it to the folks in Washington, D.C.  This is almost better than trying to use a poisoned cigar to assassinate Fidel Castro.

What are CDC’s current estimates of flu vaccine effectiveness this season?

… Overall, the VE estimate for protecting against having to go to the doctor because of flu illness was 56% for all age groups (95% confidence interval: 47% to 63%). … This VE estimate means that getting a flu vaccine this season reduced the vaccinated population’s risk of having to go to the doctor because of the flu by more than half. However, VE can vary across age groups and across different flu viruses, so CDC further analyzed the VE estimates to adjust for these factors. When broken down by different age groups, the VE against flu A and B viruses ranged from 27% in people 65 and older to 64% in children (aged 6 months to 17 years old). …

… The one exception to [the overall VE] was the VE among people 65 and older against flu A (H3N2) viruses, which was lower. The single point estimate for VE in this age group was 9% (95% CI: -84% to 55%). …. Overall, this estimate means that vaccine effectiveness was lower than expected in this age group against flu A (H3N2) viruses. …