Monday, November 30, 2020

Long Division

      I read an interesting piece by an interesting and well-qualified pundit this morning.  Oh, there's plenty to squint at in it; the writer's fond of sweeping generalizations and he's a bit hand-wavy.  I didn't agree with everything he had to say, but it was worth reading and I thought to link to it.

     Then I thought again.  The writer's a well-known never-Trump Republican/neocon and the article's on the op-ed page of the New York Times, which makes it just about certain that a good many of my readers wouldn't even consider it.

     It's frustrating.  You can't fact-check an article you haven't read.  While a good many people won't even bother to fact-check the ones they do read, the possibility at least exists.

     We have elevated opinion over fact, and unquestioning acceptance over healthy skepticism.  For many people these days, what "fact-checking" they will do consists of a search for confirmation of their presently-held notions instead of looking for evidence both pro and con.

      Fiction displaces reality. A friend at a social media site asked people, "Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available?"  Many people responded, "Yes!" or "Of course."  A substantial plurality said they'd wait and see how it worked and what side-effects emerged.  And then a few....  Well, a few people said, "Oh hell no," adding, "especially if they inject tracking chips with it, or make me carry a card saying I'd had it."

     I pointed out to one of them there's no "tracking chip" small enough to inject with a vaccination needle.  (The one the vet puts in your cat or dog is larger than a gain of rice, and the reader's got to be in very close proximity).  Plus, churning out millions of new chips -- and keeping track of who got which number -- is a huge job, especially for an medical infrastructure already bracing to add a massive vaccination effort to their ongoing work of dealing with the pandemic.*  It's just not physically possible.

     He was undaunted.  "If they can tell what kind of gunpowder was used in a shooting, just from the residue, anything's possible!"  Point?  Nope.  They can't tell -- other than in TV crime fiction.

     "Two movies, one screen?"  Ha!  We're not even at the same cinemaplex.  And it's way more than two films.

     Buy your own tickets -- but read the fine print; read all the reviews, not just the ones you agree with.
* Kids, those overworked doctors and nurses begging you to mask up in public, keep your hands washed and maximize physical distance while minimizing contact with people not of your immediate household so you can stay out of the hospital and not add to their workload are not making it up.  267,000 dead Americans so far and over 90,000 in the hospital as I write, which you'd think would be compelling evidence.


Mike V said...

TV Cops shows are maybe 5% real, 45% crap, and 50% drama.

Stuartl said...

I sometimes think that the'micro chip injection' theory shows how little most people know about modern technology. Things like mobile phones are almost like magic to many people so they think anything is possible.