Limit Lifted, a Little

My limited De-Googlization just became a tiny bit less limited, thanks to a new bug (they consider it a feature) in the Google search app for Android.

It appears no longer possible to open search results in any web browser; instead they open in something called “custom tabs” — there’s no apparent way to turn this linkjacking behavior off.

Now, I’m using what looks like a custom tab in Chrome to replace the FUBAR Contacts app, and it works great — but I chose to do this.

What Borgle has done with its search results bug, however, is deprive me of my choice, and that’s a hostile act by a vendor against a customer (I do, in fact, pay for certain Google services).

So now when I want to search the web from my phone I’ll open Firefox, on which I’ve made Metacrawler my search default. It searches Borgle, but also Bing and Yahoo.

Ain’t It Funny How…

…it was terrible when the Taliban or ISIS tore down monuments they didn’t like, but American SJWs can tear down monuments they don’t like and the American media cheer? The same American media that loved to refer to conservatives as the American Taliban.

Well, the SJWs claim their destruction is justified on moral grounds — which I’m sure makes them totally different from the Taliban.

Totally, dude.

Obviously

Via Ed Driscoll at Instapundit, this by Christian Toto:

[Laurie] Forest’s book, The Black Witch, is the story of a girl living in a world where her race is deemed superior to other creatures (think: wolf men and selkies). She slowly learns to shed those ugly social constructs as the tale moves forward. One reviewer hailed the book as “an uncompromising condemnation of prejudice and injustice.”

But that wasn’t enough for SJW blogger Shauna Sinyard, who decided to make it her mission to defame Forest and her work with a meandering, aggrieved, 9,000-word blog post, as New York magazine reported. “It’s the most dangerous, offensive book I have ever read,” Sinyard raged, suggesting she hasn’t read very widely if that’s the case. YA Twitter, along with a few other influential authors, spread Sinyard’s rant far and wide. Forest was called a Nazi sympathizer. SJWs demanded that Harlequin Teen, the book’s publisher, do something about this hateful story.

Here’s where the story took an interesting turn: The publisher didn’t back down. Nor did Forest.

The title of Toto’s piece, the whole thing of which you must read, is “Stop Apologizing to Social Justice Warriors. It Just Feeds their Sanctimony.”

My reflex when confronted with unreasonable criticism has for years been a combination of seven letters distributed among two words. Three of the letters are F.

You know how some of the people in your childhood teach you lessons opposite to the ones they intended? Yeah. Well, I’m still grateful for the lesson.

Limited De-Googlization

As the Chromebook post from yesterday suggests, my disentanglement from Google is never going to be total, even if I wanted it to be.

For starters, the alternatives to an Android phone are the iPhone (been there, chucked that) and a Windows phone. So, Android it is.

And even though I now have my domain email back, it and all my other email addresses are going through Gmail, because the only thing Gmail lacks that I could ever want is a sort function, and I’ve lived without that for years. Gmail’s spam filter may well be the most advanced AI on the planet, and probably already controls the military, air-traffic control, and the stoplights in L.A.

If it ever decides to go Skynet on us it’ll start by letting all that spam through. We’ll be begging for the killer robots to wipe us all out.

Nor is Gmail the only service where Google leaves Microsoft and Apple in the dust. I’ve looked. I’ve tried to find a cloud-based contact manager half as good as Google’s; I’ve looked for a cloud storage option with the same capacity and live-sync capabilities that doesn’t cost more; I’ve been looking at mobile phone service options since going with Project Fi because I’m pretty sure it won’t work so well once we’ve finally gotten out of metro Atlanta for the cowboy’s promised land.

There are plenty of Google properties I dislike enough to stop using: Blogger; Google Sites; G Suite; Hangouts. Some of those I quit using before Goolag-gate, others I’ve only dumped recently and at some additional expense to myself, but I can’t really say for sure whether I wouldn’t have dumped them eventually regardless.

I think I hit Peak Boycott after the Brendan Eich affair — but Chrome proved to be one of those Google things I don’t like well enough to use unless the alternatives, such as Firefox Mobile, are substantially worse. Meanwhile I did eventually resume using Firefox on my laptop and phone.

Is there anything Google can do that would make me quit using them altogether? Well, if you’ve been reading between the lines you’ve figured out that I don’t decide what to use based on the political opinions of the corporate pukes who produce it. As long as it does what I need it to do, better and cheaper than the other guys’ stuff, I’m going to use it.

We conservatives reject the idea that everything has to be politicized. I believe in a government so small that no one ever needs to obsess about politics in their daily lives.

Trust me, it’s a much more pleasant existence.

To Be Fair, It IS Only 15 Months Away

🙄

There’s a Wikipedia page for next year’s Georgia gubernatorial election, and two of the declared names on the Republican side — Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp — are pretty well known to me.

Of the two, I lean toward Kemp, because I haven’t seen him acting like a tyrant the way Cagle has done at least once in the nearly 11 years he’s been the state’s #2 constitutional officer. Cagle is the first Republican lieutenant-governor since the office was created in the late 1940s.

Kemp is only the second Republican to serve as secretary of state here since Reconstruction — the first was Karen Handel, who previously sought the governorship and is now in Congress after this year’s special election.

Neither of the names shown on Wikipedia as declared for the Democrats is familiar to me, though state Rep. Stacey Abrams has the endorsement of NARAL.

What’s most interesting is the roster of declined candidates in both major parties. My Republican former congressman Lynn Westmoreland, for example; and perhaps the most formidable Democrat in Georgia right now, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who is instead seeking a third term in his current job. Perhaps he, unlike Abrams, understands how some of his non-mayoral political stances would play with the statewide electorate.

I’m just hoping by the time next year’s winner is seeking re-election I’ll be voting in another state.

The Unfalsifiable Religion of Climate Change

Climate alarmists could get some respect if they could bring themselves to admit once in a while that they’re not as sure of the “settled” science as they used to claim to be, that the data don’t necessarily all point the way they used to claim it would, and that they still have a lot to learn about how the climate works.

Actual climate scientists do include these caveats in their pronouncements, but the media can’t bring themselves to emphasize them anywhere near as boldly as they do the claims of Al Gore, Hockey Stick Mann, and the rest of the “March the Infidels to the Prison Camps” alarmist cult.

NASA has been “tweaking” the data so consistently that the truple-digit summer heat waves of my youth in Sacramento have surely been retconned into subzero blizzards by now, so that the trend line can still point toward future actual subzero blizzards being forecast as triple-digit winter heat waves and still support the CAGW Newthink.

Here’s the thing: climate changes. It is a natural process, and nothing in nature is static. While the cult wants everyone to believe that man is responsible for catastrophic changes that nature can’t possibly recover from, the truth is that the geological record has been known for over a century to demonstrate a tremendous range of natural variation. Our planet has seen subtropical conditions in the subarctic, and has at other times been a virtual snowball, with no significant liquid water to be found anywhere.

If the prescriptions of the cult could actually be implemented, and if they could actually affect the climate (the former is unlikely and the latter is impossible), they could be every bit as negatively disruptive as they claim modern industrialization has been.

But the cult churns on, and mere scientific truth shall ever fall before it.

One of the fundamental tenets of the faith has been rising sea levels. (The site in the link has had its server melted down due to a Drudge link. I found this quote at Gateway Pundit.)

NASA satellite sea level observations for the past 24 years show that – on average – sea levels have been rising 3.4 millimeters per year. That’s 0.134 inches, about the thickness of a dime and a nickel stacked together, per year.

As I said, that’s the average. But when you focus in on 2016 and 2017, you get a different picture.

Sea levels fell in 2016, and with all of this winter’s record-breaking snowfall, I wouldn’t be surprised if they decline again this year.

This is actually not the first sea-level decline observed in recent years. From merely searching “sea level falling” on Google, I found the following cultsplaining of similar findings from 2013 and 2015, respectively. The first is a real howler.

The one-and-a-half-year, 7-mm fall in sea levels was certainly a curveball. At the time, global warming skeptics used it to support arguments against climate change.

 Fasullo, who was trying to balance out the Earth’s “water budget,” sought an explanation for where that water, normally ocean bound, might have ended up.

Now he believes he has one….

 In most cases, though, water that falls on land eventually drains into the ocean. Even if a whole lot of rain fell in South America’s Amazon, for example, it could slow sea-level rise for only about a couple of months, as it slowly made its way to the sea.

So in order to make sea levels fall, the water had to be stored in a place where it didn’t reach the ocean for a long while. That place, it turns out, was Australia.

Yes. Tiny Australia has enough water storage capacity to cause the oceans to drop by a measurable amount, according to a member of the Most Holy Church of How Your Cushy Modern Standard of Living Is Destroying Everything.

The later cultsplanations at least have the advantage of trying to blame an actual geological process, but in 2015 they seem to have misplaced the decimal point on the timescale.

Rocks seem so very solid from our puny human perspective. Things are rock hard, rock solid, and are reliable as the rock itself. But from a geological perspective, rock is an elastic sheet that encompasses our planet in a thin, flexible membrane that responds to every disturbance.

Nowhere is this more evident than with isostatic rebound, a process of geological buoyancy by which the earth’s crust, having sunk beneath the weight of glaciers from a preceding ice age, bounces up as ice sheets melt and the water runs back into the sea. While this melting ice is filling the oceans, the land can rebound so quickly that it rises even faster than the climbing sea level. The result is an apparent paradox: where continental glaciers are melting and exposing the land, the local sea levels are dropping.

The last major glaciation on North America, during which the continent was compressed under billions of tons of ice, ended some 11,000 years ago, but parts of the Great Lakes region, for example, are still rebounding. This is what could be contributing to sea-level decline in the present day, not the melting of the scattered few puny glaciers climate alarmists are whining about.

In fact, by 2016 the dogma of rising sea levels actually had to be jettisoned.

Here’s another shocking discovery about global climate change: It contributes to the falling of sea levels, and not to the rising of the seas as previously thought…

“What we didn’t realise until now is that over the past decade, changes in the global water cycle more than offset the losses that occurred from groundwater pumping, causing the land to act like a sponge – at least temporarily,” the lead researcher added.

He further explained that these new findings from this study, which is set to be published on Friday in the journal Science, give scientists an idea of the connection among climate change, sea levels and water shortage.

This actually comes close to admitting that the “settled” science isn’t settled, but the greater doctrine — that Human-Caused Climate Change is Coming to Kill Us All — still needs to be advanced.

The coming plummet in sunspot activity that the world’s actual space scientists have been forecasting, could result in Sacramento actually having subzero blizzards in July, but the cult would blame it somehow on mankind. They might even find a way to say it’s a consequence of global warming, as they have been wont to do for three decades and change.

When any other set of false prophets keeps predicting the end of the world and getting it wrong, eventually, cosmopolitan and hick alike, we all laugh them off the stage. We hicks are still waiting for the cosmopolitans to catch on to a scam we never bought into in the first place.

Climate Modeling

What the cartoonist says about machine learning also perfectly illustrates what climate alarmists have done with temperature data and their models. If you back-run the models in an attempt to predict what’s happening in actual global temperature data today, they fail miserably — yet the cartoonist would have us accept the alarmists’ claims without question.

Never Meanin’ No Harm

The issue is moral hazard. But first, from the latter link, a disclaimer:

According to research by Dembe and Boden, the term dates back to the 17th century and was widely used by English insurance companies by the late 19th century. Early usage of the term carried negative connotations, implying fraud or immoral behavior (usually on the part of an insured party). Dembe and Boden point out, however, that prominent mathematicians studying decision making in the 18th century used “moral” to mean “subjective”, which may cloud the true ethical significance in the term. The concept of moral hazard was the subject of renewed study by economists in the 1960s and then did not imply immoral behavior or fraud. Economists would use this term to describe inefficiencies that can occur when risks are displaced or cannot be fully evaluated, rather than a description of the ethics or morals of the involved parties.

Boldface added. Now for the meat and potatoes, also with boldface added:

In insurance markets, moral hazard occurs when the behavior of the insured party changes in a way that raises costs for the insurer, since the insured party no longer bears the full costs of that behavior. Because individuals no longer bear the cost of medical services, they have an added incentive to ask for pricier and more elaborate medical service, which would otherwise not be necessary. In these instances, individuals have an incentive to over consume, simply because they no longer bear the full cost of medical services.

Two types of behavior can change. One type is the risky behavior itself, resulting in a before the event moral hazard. In this case, insured parties behave in a more risky manner, resulting in more negative consequences that the insurer must pay for. For example, after purchasing automobile insurance, some may tend to be less careful about locking the automobile or choose to drive more, thereby increasing the risk of theft or an accident for the insurer. After purchasing fire insurance, some may tend to be less careful about preventing fires (say, by smoking in bed or neglecting to replace the batteries in fire alarms). A further example has been identified in flood risk management where it is proposed that the possession of insurance undermines efforts to encourage people to integrate flood protection and resilience measures in properties exposed to flooding.

A second type of behavior that may change is the reaction to the negative consequences of risk, once they have occurred and once insurance is provided to cover their costs. This may be called ex post (after the event) moral hazard. In this case, insured parties do not behave in a more risky manner that results in more negative consequences, but they do ask an insurer to pay for more of the negative consequences from risk as insurance coverage increases.

And that’s why costs rise, since insurers have to recoup their increased costs by increasing premiums, which inevitably extends to all insured. Insurers also have lawyers that can pressure care providers to conduct additional tests that the providers don’t consider necessary, to rule out other, potentially less expensive treatments.

You end up paying not only for the treatments that are undertaken, but also in part for treatments that are not. Even if you don’t do any of these “moral hazard” behaviors, others do — and if enough others do, you may find yourself on the business end of a perverse incentive to do them too.

Soon You’ll Bill Insurance for Your Gas and Electricity

As if it weren’t bad enough we’re billing insurance for routine doctor visits and prescription drugs, today I saw TV ads for Car Shield and Home Warranty of America.

These outfits offer to cover minor auto and home repairs, respectively, not covered by actual auto or homeowners’ insurance. It’s not only a bad deal for the customers, who inevitably end up paying more for the coverage than they would pay out of pocket for whatever repairs they may actually need, but as the evolution of medical coverage has played out, it will be a bad deal for everyone else as the rise of third-party payer programs for these kinds of repairs makes costs go up.

And when costs go up, more and more people will buy these kinds of policies, and the momentum for higher costs will increase.

And then? Single-payer.

You think I sound like a crank.

You should know better than that.

Internet Anonymity

I’ve been saying for years now that the power of internet anonymity is vastly overrated by many of those who depend on it. The only thing standing between online trolls and exposure is the question of how motivated someone needs to be to hunt them down.

You’ve undoubtedly heard or read about this:

What a public service CNN has done, identifying the dangerous man behind a silly GIF posted to Reddit! Days of investigation in the making, CNN ascertained the name of a guy who likely lives in his mother’s basement while posting to a sub-Reddit devoted to Trump.

Read the whole thing.

CNN even went so far as to retain jurisdiction over the defendant, should he ever re-offend:

CNN is not publishing ‘HanA**holeSolo’s’ name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.

CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.

In yesterday’s Morning Jolt, Jim Geraghty checks in:

Deep down, a lot of obnoxious online trolls don’t want their comments and behavior associated with their real identity. They know it’s wrong, and it violates their own conception of who they are, and how they want other people to see them. If you’re doing something that would cause you that much personal and professional ruination if it were ever exposed . . . eh, maybe you shouldn’t do it?

Nothing to disagree with there, but…

There are all kinds of things about CNN’s action here that makes the hair stand up on my neck. For one, it’s a clear case of “punching down.” As Bethany Mandel, author of the first linked excerpt above, noted (in case you didn’t read the whole thing, as I instructed),

CNN took it upon themselves to not question the world’s most powerful man about this, but to dig into the private life of the private citizen who had created the GIF.

There are surely people in this polarized political landscape that are cheering a multinational media company for raining global vitriol on an internet troll who … made fun of it. Which leads me to another thing that bothers me here: while the trolls who infested my first blog 12 to 15 years ago undertook to harass me, hijack my comment threads, and drive me off the web, this guy … made a joke at CNN’s expense.

If I went after everybody in the world who’d ever made a joke at my expense, I would have been in prison since I was … well, probably 13 or 14, since by then the state would have decided to try me as an adult.

As I said at the top of this post, motivation is key. CNN wasn’t motivated to investigate this guy because of his other material — they only found that because they dumpster-dived him for the Trump tweet.

I’ve seen claims that HanA**holeSolo’s animated GIF wasn’t even the same one Trump tweeted. I haven’t looked into that myself but if true it only adds to CNN’s ignominy. It’s bad enough you go after some schmuck who made an animated GIF that a President you hate retweeted — but to wind up nabbing the wrong suspect?

It just goes to show:

“The Most Trusted Name In News” is sorta like “The Most Trusted Used Car Lot In Shreveport”

— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) June 27, 2017

If You Don’t Want It in Your Own Neighborhood, Just Say So

An L.A. smoke shop cashier takes the passive-aggressive route to oppose changing the name of a street in his (her?) own neighborhood.

“Changing the name here won’t change anything because it’s already a black neighborhood[.] Why not take it to Beverly Hills? Why not change Rodeo Drive to Obama Drive? Because it’s a white neighborhood? You’re changing the street, you’re spending the money, might as well change it there.”

I wonder how this person would feel about having a street in a black neighborhood named for George W. Bush?