A message from the gatekeeper

This greeted me this morning, from “Trigger Man”:

Mark, you said there are “THREE” types of people who visit your blog, and I know where I fit in here,and so do you…I just chime in from time to time, and call it the way I see it… I know my comments here, are not appreciated, But..What you have here is more than just an attack on “B.M”…There is more than just a “Gatekeeper”.. There are keepers,and then there are “KEEPERS”, And with that being said…I think it’s time the TRIGGER MAN says, “Fare-Thee-Well”

Yeah, fare thee well.

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Pseudoscience and conspiracy theories

I was just reading an introduction to a book this morning, The Pseudoscience Wars, by Michael D. Gordin. He is discussing the use of the word “pseudoscience.” I had never thought much about it, but his explanation rang true. It does not exist, he said.

There is good science, mediocre science (most) and bad science. Nothing else. The word “pseudoscience” is an epithet. It has no other purpose that to be an attack vehicle.

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My business plan: I will kill you with my smug

Just a brief note in passing to discuss two things that on the surface might seem unrelated. That is because under the surface they are unrelated. They are smugness, and business plans.

First, business plans. If you were to go to a bank seeking financing for your business, be it nail grooming or dog bathing or plumbing and heating, the bank will ask to see a written business plan. Stripped of its jargon – things like market dimensions and depth, rate of return, maximized cash flow … all real to a degree but also inside baseball talk, the simplest way to understand a business plan is to answer the question: “What’s your gimmick?”

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The radon game

If there is one ‘truism’ – something obvious and neither new or interesting – it is that the vast majority of people rely on authority figures in forming their own opinions. What else can we expect when our education system at its core (the tests) punishes students for being wrong. The SAT and ACT regimes are long lists of things to be memorized, statements by authority figures that students must regurgitate to land in a good college. It instills students with fear of being wrong even as mistakes are the best teachers around.

I long ago read a book (I should stop right there) by Edward Bernays called “Propaganda.” I would imagine at a website like this many others have read it as well. It was an interesting book in that Bernays, writing in the 1920s, came right out and said things that were known to be true among insiders, but were rarely spoken outside of the club (the men of his time who managed public opinion). I cite here a passage that appears right at the opening:

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Quiet, Please! The Latest Threat to the Big Wild

It was another long summer of smoke-filled eyes in the West. An early snow storm in the Northern Rockies ushers in a season of peace and solitude. Wildfires frighten tourists, excite the media and reacquaint homeowners who built in the forest to Mother Nature’s laws.  Hey, I get it, fires are deadly and sexy – good ratings. But after decades of kicking the environmental can down the road, at the first sign of smoke most politicians want someone else to blame for their pathetic past performances.

Three of the last four summers (2015, 2017, 2018), Glacier National Park erupted in a fury of smoke and flames. Tourists scampered away to Yellowstone, “inholder” homes were evacuated, some incinerated. But that’s not why I picked up the pen today. Let’s talk about quiet, yes quiet.  Where has our quiet gone? Continue reading “Quiet, Please! The Latest Threat to the Big Wild”