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The loons you meet in public

by Greg Krehbiel on 5 April 2017

In the course of an ordinary day — especially if you live or commute in a crowded place — everybody accidentally bumps into other people, steps in front of them, or otherwise gets into their personal space. It just happens. Most people, when they’re aware that they’ve done it, apologize and that’s the end of it. Some people aren’t even aware that they’ve done something annoying, and most people just let it go. It’s not a big deal.

There’s a small group of people who can’t deal with these little incidents. They have a psychological condition (or emotional problem, or brain disorder, or whatever) where they take every slight or bump to be intentional.

I’m not making that up. It’s supposed to be an actual disorder. I don’t remember what it’s called.

That must be a miserable way to go through life, and I pity those people. But at the same time, the rest of us have to be aware that such people are out there. No amount of explaining or apologizing helps with these people. In fact, explaining might make it worse. These people are caught in a crippling cycle of anger. They’re constantly offended and constantly suspicious. (And no, I’m not talking about politics!)

I run into these sorts from time to time. (Pretty sure I ran into one on the train this morning.) Whether they actually have this condition, whatever it is, or whether they’re just first-rate jerks, I don’t know. As far as my involvement in their life goes, the distinction doesn’t matter.

It seems to me that some level of training about the various personality disorders people can have would be a good thing. Knowing a little about autism, or people with anger management issues, etc., should be part of everyone’s general knowledge.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-05  ::  Greg Krehbiel

You get one guess

by Greg Krehbiel on 4 April 2017

“Gay men are disappearing in Chechnya …” according to news reports.

Q: What is the majority religion in Chechnya?

7 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-04  ::  Greg Krehbiel

What we seem to know today

by Greg Krehbiel on 4 April 2017

1. We always knew Susan Rice carried a partisan hatchet and was willing to break the rules for the cause. The case against her seems to be mounting.

2. Parts of the media — specifically the NYT and Bloomberg — were sitting on information about Susan Rice to protect Obama. Gee, what a surprise. Trump is right to call them the “very dishonest media.”

3. Trump’s accusation that the Obama administration was spying on him is getting more substantiated every day.

4. The Obama administration turned intelligence into a partisan weapon. If Nixon had done this, we’d still hear the howls from the left. Let’s see if they have any integrity.

Still to come.

Q: Did the Obama admin share any of this information with the Clinton campaign?

Q: Did Obama know about this?

Q: To what extent are the intelligence chiefs complicit?

13 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-04  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Yippee. A dangerous predator isn’t extinct after all!

by Greg Krehbiel on 3 April 2017

It’s funny how our feelings about extinction change over time.

The Tasmanian Tiger might not be extinct. Which is kinda cool in a way, but the creature was hunted to the brink of extinction — and presumably for a reason. Probably something like “it’s killing our sheep.”

But most of us don’t think much about farmers and ranchers and such these days, or we don’t care much about their concerns in any event. We’ve been taught to think “extinct = bad,” but … is that really true?

There are some things that are extinct that I’m pretty glad aren’t around any more. T-Rex comes to mind, and the dire wolf. And I don’t think I would mind if mosquitoes were extinct.

I realize biodiversity is a good thing, but that doesn’t mean we have to preserve absolutely every critter that’s currently on the planet, does it?

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-03  ::  Greg Krehbiel

How close to true will Trump’s wiretapping claim get?

by Greg Krehbiel on 3 April 2017

Frustrated at the news media’s obsession with unsubstantiated allegations about collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russians, the Donald countered with his own unsubstantiated allegation — that Obama “wiretapped” Trump Tower. That was a genius move that changed the story.

But was it true?

Almost certainly not.

It’s fair to cut Trump a little slack on the word “wiretapped.” That’s a term we can take to mean “electronic surveillance” without getting caught up in particulars. At least in the context of a tweet.

We could say that “Obama” is a generic reference to “the Obama administration,” but that’s going a little far on the benefit of the doubt side of things.

Trump accused Obama of spying on him, and that will turn out to be either false or unprovable. Obama is too smart to get his hands dirty in that way.

But we have learned that Trump and/or his associates were “swept up” in surveillance of the Russians, and we’ve learned that somebody in the Obama administration “unmasked” those names and leaked that information to the press — both of which may be crimes. We don’t know how senior that person was.

The story is getting more damning by the week, but the media continues to soft pedal it and to continue to characterize Trump’s original accusation as “baseless.”

It’s not baseless. The accusation is not completely true — at least not yet — but it’s also not “baseless.” There is something to this story.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-04-03  ::  Greg Krehbiel

What can we really know about hacking by professional intelligence operations?

by Greg Krehbiel on 31 March 2017

A lot of people have opinions on whether Russia hacked the DNC, or colluded with the Trump campaign, or whether one of our 17 intelligence agencies (nobody seems able to name all 17) spied on Trump or his associates.

But honestly — what can any of us know about this?

Forensic investigators are allegedly able to detect where a hack came from. But who says the hacker can’t spoof that? It seems obvious that they might be able to, and new documents allege that they can and do.

For most of us, this stuff is magic that happens behind the curtain and we have no practical knowledge of what hackers can or can’t do.

How do we know it wasn’t the CIA that hacked the DNC and made it look like the Russians? They hacked the Senate, for heaven’s sake. We have no particular reason to trust them, and they seem to have immunity from prosecution. (When was the last time a government hacker was sent to jail?)

Consider this. You’re in charge of the CIA hacking program. How stupid would you have to be not to make sure all your hacks look like they’re coming from somewhere else?

I’m certainly not claiming the CIA hacked the DNC. It might have been the Russians, or the Chinese, or the Iranians, or some kid in Alaska, or one of those other 16 intelligence agencies nobody can name.

“Experts” tell us it’s the Russians. Sure. Sure.

So then there’s an “investigation,” which is a joke because Congress created the surveillance state we live in, and they don’t want the full extent of government spying disclosed any more than the spies do.

That results in testimony from the people in charge — lawyers, not the people who actually know what’s going on — and we know for sure they’re twisting the facts and guarding their words and doing their absolute best not to tell us what’s really happening. Secrecy and misdirection and stealth is their profession. And we know for sure they’ve lied to us in the past.

Given all this, who are we trusting to ferret out the truth? That’s the funniest part of it. It’s two of most despised and distrusted professions in the country: journalists and Congressmen.

This is farce of the first order.

We’re supposed to believe what they say? On a subject they have no clue about? When really smart people are trying their best to deceive them?

I misspoke before. The funniest part isn’t that journalists and Congressmen are doing the investigations. The funniest part is that any of us take this nonsense seriously, or think we know what’s actually going on.

8 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-03-31  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Free on Kindle for the next five days

by Greg Krehbiel on 31 March 2017

Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap

When it comes to love, sex, dating and marriage, the world has gone crazy. The modern view is both stupid and destructive, but it’s rarely questioned. It’s thrown in our faces from every angle and has so infiltrated our culture that we don’t even recognize it. We just breathe it in with the air. Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap asks young men to stop and think about it for a while, and presents a completely different view of how the sexes should relate. It defends traditional sexual morality in a very non-traditional way. And if nothing else, it’s a fun read.

Get Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap now.

Merlin’s Last Days

Born of a mysterious and powerful woman from an ancient line of pagan rulers, Merrell Anthony believes it’s his destiny to put Arthur Pendragon on the emperor’s throne in Rome and set the world on a more secure path. Being born in 1965 must not get in his way. When Marianne Gallagher storms into Merrell’s life at a small college town in Pennsylvania, she exhibits hints of the same gift that allows Merrell to project his mind into the body of a 6th century druid as Merlin the Mage. As Merrill and Marianne carry on an illicit love affair, tensions grow from their contradictory views on the future of the Pendragon — and the proper path for all humanity. (Note: this book is not suitable for children.)

Get Merlin’s Last Days now

The Hidden Village

This exciting urban fantasy is set in and around Washington, D.C. Geof Franklin gets the late-night call every parent fears. His son’s car has been involved in a serious accident and Alek has gone missing. As Geof looks for clues to his son’s whereabouts, he uncovers two mysterious “worlds within worlds” right in the middle of the city. Hidden Village, a fun and engaging computer game, turns out to be the doorway to a system of dangerous clans. The clansmen are people with very rare abilities and personal characteristics who live their own secretive lives, by their own rules, and think nothing of breaking the law or the people who get in their way.

Get The Hidden Village now

The Intruder

Jeremy Mitchell is a refugee from a separatist, anti-technology community who is a fish out of water in the high-tech society of the 21st century. He recklessly plunges himself into his new environment and finds himself caught in a confusing web of technology and intrigue. Powerful forces try to make him a pawn in a contest between rival intelligence organizations, but he doesn’t play along with their game and makes his own rules. His loyalties are tested by a budding love affair with a young college student, who, along with her computer geek girlfriend, are unintentionally pulled into the conflict.

Get The Intruder now

Pipe Dreams

Pipe Dreams is an urban fantasy / psychological thriller set in and around Washington, D.C. When John Matthews starts smoking his grandfather’s pipe he starts to see visions of his dead wife, Jillian. Is he going insane, or has he discovered a dark family secret?

This urban fantasy delves into a little bit of magic, but there are no werewolves or vampires.

Get Pipe Dreams now

Pipe Dreams is one of the five stories included in The Five Lives of John and Jillian, which is also free for a few days (but not the whole five).

If you download any of these books, or have in the past, I would greatly appreciate a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-03-31  ::  Greg Krehbiel

When virtue (or at least prudence) becomes thought crime

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 March 2017

Some liberals are upset …. Well, of course they are. But to finish the thought, they’re upset that Mike Pence takes practical measures to avoid near occasions of sin.

See Liberals Attack Mike Pence for Being Faithful to His Wife.

He takes a very strict stand on his behavior around other women.

In 2002, Mike Pence told The Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side.

Okay. Sounds like a prudent thing for a politician to do. But to some on the left, this is the same thing as Sharia law.

Some people are unable to make proper moral distinctions.

12 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-03-30  ::  Greg Krehbiel

A law of nature?

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 March 2017

1 comment  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-03-30  ::  Greg Krehbiel

I’m not even a TV doctor, but …

by Greg Krehbiel on 30 March 2017

… here’s my prediction about where medicine is heading.

In the past, doctors looked for generalized ailments and generalized solutions. E.g., here is disease A, and the treatment for disease A is drug #1.

I have a strong feeling that is misguided because people are simply too different from one another.

As a very simple example, talk to your friends about how they use pain medications. You’ll find that different drugs work for different people on different things. E.g., Bob will use aspirin for headaches and ibuprofen for muscle pains, while Sue will use acetaminophen for both. (Acetaminophen makes me sneeze.)

I’ve heard that redheads have very different reactions to pain medications than most other people.

I suspect this is why many drugs fail in their trials. It’s not that the drug is bad. It might be exactly the right thing for a certain sub-population (redheads, just for example), but doesn’t work for the general population, so it fails in clinical trials.

This over-generalization re: diseases and treatments is probably a consequence of sensitivity on race. Imagine the outcry if a drug company tested a new vaccine only on blacks, for example. Even if the science was right, they wouldn’t dare do it.

The point here is not that race defines the appropriate sub-populations for different treatments. I doubt that it does. The point is simply that we’ve been a little brainwashed into this idea that we’re all the same, when we’re manifestly not.

As a trite example, my dentist recently told me that people of German heritage are often missing a few of their back teeth. Not that they lost them — they just never had them.

The human family is homogeneous in many ways (e.g., we can all breed with one another), but there are differences too. Once we get over our obsession with race, we’ll start to catalog the many ways that people are different, and diseases and treatments and therapies and whatnot will be customized to the individual.

That’s already begun on some things. The story is that the docs helped Jimmy Carter with a cure customized to him. I think a narrower, more specific approach is going to become the norm.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-03-30  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2017-03-30 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The intolerant right
2017-03-24 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The big fail
2017-03-24 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The anniversary of the bombing of Serbia
2017-03-24 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
How Russia benefits from all these leaks
2017-03-23 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Why we don’t trust the media