Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

🎵 Oh Google, you’ve sucked us in again: The Blob Opera
🍪 The math for efficient cookie cutting
🎭 Now this is just weird: hyper real masks
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 A 1000-year-old cross buried in a Scottish field
🚁 Harvesting Christmas trees. But with a helicopter
🐖 FDA approves genetically modified pigs
🛰️ A satellite can now peer right into rooms
🗽 New Yorkers are traveling interstate to avoid restaurant ban
🚗 Stay off the sidewalk: Volvo wants to make its cars safer for pedestrians🌺 The world’s ugliest flower
⏱️ Interesting graphs showing how much time we spend with others
🏴‍☠️ Here’s the crazy story of a treasure hunter, who ripped off his investors but went to prison rather than tell where the loot is hidden

Go back to the shadow

Just when you think it’s safe to take your eye off the hellish monster that is the Sexual Revolution, its fiery tentacles latch, Balrog-style, onto the nearest convenient object. News came this week that the character of Peter Quill from Guardians of the Galaxy, will be bisexual in a new Marvel comic. It’s a ‘no’ from me.

While the war for our children wages on, LGBTQ activists have suggested that puberty blockers should be given to every kid, until they decide what “gender” they wish to be. But in better news from the frontline, a landmark case out of the UK has been won by Kiera Bell. Bell is a 23 year-old woman who was prescribed cross-sex hormones when she was 16 and wanting to be a boy.

She regrets transitioning and says the clinic “should have challenged me more.” The drugs were prescribed after three one-hour sessions at a mental health clinic. The UK High Court ruled that puberty-blocking drugs are no longer allowed to be prescribed to under-16s without a court order. It’s a small victory, but we’ll take it.

The Karen who stole Christmas

You could be forgiven for thinking the insanity that has been unleashed this year would start to fade, as December draws to a close. Surely, the famous Spirit of Christmas, well-documented by Hollywood for bringing people together, would help us all put aside our differences and enjoy the season.

Alas, this is 2020 and Christmas lights are racist. Covering your house with festive decorations no longer brings delight, but is rather a “reminder of divisions that continue to run through our society” and is biased against those who “don’t celebrate Christmas or who can’t afford to put up lights of their own.”

Then again, there was that time in 1647 where the Protestant government of the kingdoms of England canceled Christmas. As the Reformation rolled through Europe, Presbyterian authorities closed down the Church of England and had King Charles shut up in Hampton Palace. Although Oliver Cromwell is often credited as being the original Scrooge who ruined all the Christmas fun, Puritan disapproval of celebrating the season began long before he was on the scene.

Alright, stop. COVID time

Yes, we’re still talking about the pandemic. A great episode of Lockdown TV has genomics expert David Engelthaler, speaking about mutations of the coronavirus, and details the way the Virus 2.0 moved through Europe and the USA differently than the early outbreaks in Asia. Engelthaler says he is doubtful that large scale lockdowns are helpful and says the effects of closing down has been “devastating in a way that we haven’t even properly appropriately characterized yet.”

Dr. Engelthaler says that human agency is overemphasized in the fight against the pandemic. “Different strains that are acting differently in different parts of the world, lead to different outcomes, at least in some part because of that virus, not just based off of public policies in response, no matter what you do.” He says many deaths would have been avoided if the focus had been on protecting the most vulnerable people rather than on “trying to prevent any spread of this virus, which is pretty much uncontainable.”

Why don’t people trust the Pfizer vaccine? Because sometimes the rumors are true. The Australian government has halted trials of a vaccine as some participants tested falsely for HIV.

China syndrome

Although China has not really been out of the spotlight this year, there have been good reasons to keep watching the Communist state. The revelation that Rep. Eric Salwell (D-Cal) had a relationship with a Chinese spy shows China’s ambition for gathering intelligence

The US government has placed sanctions on 14 Chinese officials who were responsible for disqualifying elected legislators in Hong Kong

Meanwhile, NBC has reported that the CCP has been running tests to create a Captain America-style super soldier. However, experts are not as concerned about the potential advantage on the battlefield as they are about the consequences of tinkering with the human genome.

And to a near neighbor…. Amnesty claims that big tech companies are helping to stifle anti-government speech in Vietnam.

Babies Lives Matter

There’s no doubt that one of the most vile weapons in the devil’s arsenal is “population control.” Some of the worst regimes throughout history have used sterilization, abortion, and infanticide to reduce the amount of people they don’t like, sometimes undercover, sometimes not. Today the war on undesirables goes on under the language of “bodily autonomy” and a woman’s “right to choose.”

The eugenicist beginnings of the abortion industry’s founding are not hard to discover. Margaret Sanger once said that her goal was to eradicate the “negro population.” A conversation between Jennifer Roeback Morse of the Ruth Institute and black Pentecostal pastor Walter Hoye addresses what he says is the “most difficult conversation” to have in the African American church.

Pastor Hoye says abortion is the subject of many “parking lot conversations” but he says that black pastors are reluctant to broach the topic with their congregations. It is hard to get your heart around, but Hoye says that in an average black church, pastors may be preaching to congregations who are entirely post-abortive. Lord, have mercy.

Pastor Hoye, who has been jailed for speaking to women outside abortion clinics in California, is passionately pro-life. He relays how seeing his tiny preemie son changed his mind about abortion and he has worked hard since to highlight the damage done by abortion in black communities. Like Walter Williams, Hoye is passionate about restoring black families and equipping black men to be fathers.

Big data

Crypto currencies have had a boom year and everyone wants in on the action. Vice has reported that Maduro’s socialist government in Venezuela is mining Bitcoin to generate cash.

It turns out that crypto currency is also revealing a whole new method of tax evasion.

Speaking of clandestine activities…

The Hustle laid out the story on a Russia-based hack of SolarWinds, which reportedly breached US government agencies. And just when you thought you’d found a safe way to send messages, an Israeli spy-tech firm claims it can break into Signal.

Family fragility

Economics professor and academic Walter Williams, had some similar thoughts in the final post he wrote before his recent death. He suggests that solutions to problems facing black Americans need to come from within their own communities. He asks his fellow blacks “to stop being ‘useful tools’ for the leftist, hate-America agenda. Many black problems are exacerbated by guilt-ridden white people. Often, they accept behavior and standards from black people that they would not begin to accept from white people.”

Unsurprising to anyone who’s been following along, Williams makes no apologies blaming a lot of the strife afflicting black communities on the breakdown of families. He writes:

The out-of-wedlock birth rate among Blacks in 1940 was about 11%. Today, it is 75%. Black female-headed households were just 18% of households in 1950, as opposed to about 68% today. In fact, from 1890 to 1940, the Black marriage rate was slightly higher than that of whites. Even during slavery, when marriage was forbidden, most Black children lived in biological two-parent families. 

In New York City, in 1925, 85% of Black households were two-parent households. A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia shows that three-quarters of Black families were two-parent households. There’s little protest against the horrible and dangerous conditions under which many poor and law-abiding Black people must live. It is not uncommon for 50 Black people to be shot over a weekend in Chicago— not by policemen, but by other Black people.”

Dirty deeds

The world’s largest receptacle for pornography, PornHub has come under scrutiny this week after losing the support of Mastercard, Visa and Discover. The credit card companies pressured the site to remove clips that portrayed child pornography or rape. That was about 10 million videos. However, almost 3 million remain.

While the removal of this content was enough to satisfy some child advocacy and women’s groups, Mad Christians know the terrible damage inflicted on families and society by this trade. The little-known company behind PornHub makes massive profits off its content, which is all user-generated, and yet it has not faced the same heat that sites like Facebook have over regulation. Wonder why that is?

You’re racist but it’s not your fault

For those who have slogged through the bestselling woke book, White Fragility,  Coleman Hughes’ piece for City Journal probably rings true. Hughes has been an outspoken critic of the book, which has become something of a sacred text for the “anti-racist” cause. Hughes outlines some of the inherent problems with author Robin D’Angelo’s arguments.

White Fragility casts racism as a condition inherent to white people— they are born into it and are helpless against it. Hughes observes that D’Angelo “spends considerable time telling white people that they’re racist, but with a crucial twist— it’s not their fault.” The logic goes that because racism is systemic, running through every aspect of our culture, white people aren’t to blame for their racism. Now, that’s quite a pickle.

Hughes goes on to quibble with D’Angelo on a second point. In trying to chastise white people to be less racist, D’Angelo ends up portraying black people as childish:

“Holding back tears to spare others’ emotions is not something that adults do around their equals; it’s what parents do around children. Indeed, D’Angelo’s picture of the ideal relationship between whites and blacks bears a disturbing resemblance to the relationship between an exasperated parent and a spoiled child: the one constantly practicing emotional self-control, the other triggered by the smallest things and helplessly expressing every emotion as soon as it comes. These are the roles she expects—even encourages—whites and blacks to play. That people can call this anti-racist with a straight face shows how far language has strayed from reality.” Too true.