So confused–I can no longer tell the difference between colds, hayfever, and even covid

I’ve been telling people I never get colds or flu, and all I get is sinusitis. Looks like I was wrong.

The last time I was truly sick was when I got chicken pox, at the tender age of 22. A quick calculation says that was around 1993/4. That’s what I’ve been telling people; the reason being it’s the last time I remember being notably sick. I remember I was a student, I was looking for textbooks along with my brother in some technical book shop (I’ve long since forgotten the name), and I had one or two little yellow bumps on my back that I hadn’t paid attention to. The fever hit like something I’ve never felt since, except maybe for that time I drank 3 shots of Stroh Rum very quickly and it all hit me at once later. Bam! You are now not OK. The rest of that day was a fucking fever dream.

That was the last time I truly felt sick. In the years since, I get the occasional runny nose, aching head, and then blocked nose with dry cough because of a tickle in my throat. Incidentally, that’s exactly what a bad sinus attack feels like. And for me, covid is the same but with the addition of a bad headache and lame legs on day one of showing symptoms. Then after that it’s not notably different from any other cold or flu. I’ve never had a chest cold, and I don’t get a fever any more, or so it would seem.

So apparently I’ve been accidentally lying when telling people I don’t get colds or flu. I do, but they’re hardly an issue because I haven’t had anything but mild symptoms in nearly 30 years. I wonder why that is? There’s one person I would ask (that one who had chicken pox at the same time I did), if he has similar experience, but he’s not talking to me so… It shall remain a mystery. Feel free, my two or three frequent commenters, to let me know if your experiences are similar.

In the meantime… I must conclude that we are all very different. Trust in science and get vaccinated if you aren’t already. Get a booster if you are vaccinated but have had the new covid variant. It can never do harm to take precautions and be safe, despite what our vaccine “hesitant” friends may say. Even if you’re like me and don’t get sick, there are immunocompromised people everywhere, and we need to take the right precautions for their sakes.

[Urgh. My son is throwing up as I write this. He was feeling fine the whole weekend, but complaining of a headache this morning. It seems his immune system still has some growing up to do. I feel bad for him though… When kiddo gets like this, he can’t even get anything down. Not even meds for nausea.]

Just a follow up on my recovery from covid

Nothing much to write…

I’m seeing a lot of articles repeating that symptoms of the omicron variant have been mostly mild; all of them adding the caveat that it’s too soon to tell for sure.

I tested positive on Monday past, and it’s now Friday… the only symptom remaining a bit of phlegm. I don’t even have a sore throat… just a bit of mucus. And the tiredness, but then I’m a lazy fuck so it’s hard to tell how much of it is actual tiredness and how much is just lazy me keen to lay down and do nothing.

Ironically I’m doing a bit of work after hours… I don’t have a choice though… it’s a financial system and I happen to be the best positioned developer to fix certain kinds of problems, which can be costly to my employer. I know… that’s vague… but these are not details I can disclose.

The point is, I’m fine. I’ve a feeling this omicron variant of covid is not too big a deal, and if it does take over as the main variant, maybe this virus is going to mutate into something even less harmful over time. Maybe the worst is behind us and this pandemic is on the way out. Reports also seem to indicate that this variant spreads faster than previous ones, but then, that could just be a perception. Given that the symptoms are mostly mild, it’s possible that people don’t test for covid, thinking as I did that it was just a cold. This would logically lead to cases being underreported and the prevalence of the disease appearing to increase unusually hastily (when we finally do test and pay attention to the numbers).

The trendy fear mongering about COVID is so unnecessary

Last Friday, after going to the doctor, while I got my meds at the local Dischem pharmacy, I noted the visible fear in some of the people there. Paranoia that there may be people around them with COVID. It’s slightly ironic thinking of this now, because little did I know, I was one of the infected.

I went to the doc for two reasons…

  1. My six months were up so I needed a new prescription for my hypertension and anti-depression medication.
  2. I had a slight cold. Bit of a weird one… headache and my legs were lame, snotty throat completely masked by my usual Sinutab sinus, Linctagon C, Corenza C, And ACC 200 cocktail.

So the checkup was for my meds, something I had to do at some point, and the other reason was a doctor’s note to stay off work. He did mention I could go for a covid test if I still didn’t feel OK by Monday. Then, on Sunday my son felt ill. I’d mentioned to HR at work that I might go for a covid test on Monday, but then I almost went… Josh asked me to stay with him, and after I messaged work to say I would not be in, HR suggested I get a test as recommended by my doctor. So I reluctantly went for a test, thinking I’d test negative. But I’m positive.

I’m fine, by the way. Very slightly light-headed and still a bit of a snotty throat but that’s because I’ve stopped taking the cold meds. I may take more tonight but was concerned about taking too much.

My point is… I’m vaccinated. I didn’t get it badly. No shortness of breath. No fever. No loss of taste. My son lost his sense of taste before he showed symptoms, and had a headache for two whole days, then painful ear ache that kept him from sleeping for a whole night, but by now he’s fine too. No idea if the vaccine protected me or how much, but I’m going to repeat what I’ve written before: Trust in science. Vaccines work. Although I do still have mild symptoms, this was barely a cold for me but I get to miss out on the year end function at work and that makes it worthwhile.

Seriously, being afraid like the people I saw at Dischem is so unnecessary. Panic doesn’t help anybody. At this point, let’s treat covid like it is inevitable. Rather get it vaccinated than unvaccinated because from what I’ve heard, all serious hospital cases are the unvaccinated.

Now where are all my anti-vax buddies? Party at my place tonight and you get to leave me in your wills.

People are stupid–volume 667. Reverse image search is your friend.

Normally I’d post this kind of meme analysis on Facebook… I have a much wider audience there and that’s where this came from, but what with my current 30 day ban, I can’t do that. If I remember, I’ll link to this post on there when I’m paroled from Facebook jail.

People are sharing this bullshit credulously:

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Make no mistake, UK prime minister Boris Johnson is a twat, but that’s not Ghislaine Maxwell. The innuendo here is baseless. That’s his ex wife. No need for further analysis. Think before you share shit credulously.

Also just by the way… You Q-Anon folks are idiots.

Edit: The text around the original share is even worse. It’s this shit, and this is why I do not hesitate to call anyone passing it on credulously an idiot. I don’t know if it will stay up, but the original post is here.

DAY 1 MONDAY … NOVEMBER 29TH, 2021
Ghislaine Maxwell , daughter of Robert Maxwell a Mossad Agent, eventually became the partner of Jeffrey Epstein. Both walk on water in the upper stratosphere of Elite Social Circles using Jeffrey’s private island as lure for getaway. I suppose everybody that’s anybody earns an invite to travel by Lolitta Express to a carefully planned layout which featured an Egyptian style Temple at it’s apex, the hilltop. The religion is Satanism. The currrency is children. Leaked video from camera’s set on numerous levels underneath the Temple make certain the Island’s decor was more than simply a favorite motif. Pedophilia & flesh & blood sacrifice of innocence, seem a rite of passage to insider world power, and a means of control simultaneously. ….. A bit of trivia – – – Question: ‘Who else owns a private island a few miles away from Epstein’s Island’ ???? … Answer : Joe Biden

Mind you, ‘idiot’ is a somewhat generous label here.

New COVID variant… Much ado about… something?

Excuse me but this constant fear mongering is getting out of hand.

Most people I know, including myself, are vaccinated. I haven’t heard of anyone I know, or even a friend of a friend… getting COVID-19 in almost a year. But now there are all kinds of articles trending about the terrible new variant. A friend in the UK is musing on Facebook about how terrible things are here in South Africa, which kind of misses the point… Buddy, if the new variant is here, it is already there too. You can assume that, and the same for the USA. What isn’t clear is if the new variant really mutated here, or if our local scientists, keen for a pat on the back, were too quick to announce their discovery of the variant. Like… “Well done, SA scientists. You are very scientifical. Now we will block flights to/from your country” and they kick us all up the arse.

Am I being hypocritical? “Trust the scientific consensus”, I always say, but… I do not trust the articles trending on Facebook. I do not trust knee-jerk reactions to what looks very much like fear mongering. Trust science when it comes from scientists. Unfortunately scientists don’t write a lot of articles. They do publish papers, but those things are not easy to read. Right now, I’m not seeing anything from the sources I trust. What this means is that there is a lot of nonsense out there on the web, and it’s hard to know what to take seriously.

So… I don’t know. My gut feeling is this is mostly fear mongering, and those of us who are vaccinated should be fine. Just be safe, I guess. Until we have anything more solid, the best info I can find on this new variant is this article from the BBC.

How bad is this variant? Unclear. But if you think it only applies to “backwards” South Africa, you’re missing the point.

Facebook scammers–they’re not the sharpest crayons in the shed

They’re also not the brightest tools in the box.

Hey, at least I can still have some fun in messenger while on a 30 day Facebook ban, huh? Seriously though, I’ve always been told that scammers deliberately target stupid people… but I’m not so sure. I’m convinced that the scammers themselves aren’t the smartest. So it’s a case of idiots scamming other idiots. If these guys get you into sending them money, you probably deserve to be scammed. Case in point, this fool was very obviously using a stolen Facebook profile of a dead guy, and it was easy to spot.

Here’s how the conversation went before “she” blocked me…

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Ta-dah!

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Maybe one day I’ll stick around for the whole conversation, until the point when they ask me for money… This one didn’t even get to ask me where I’m from, to which the usual answer is, “I come from a far away planet called Krypton”. But I did get to have some fun with them.

A blog-post about nothing in particular

I’m bored. And tired. Tired and bored; and bored and tired. And sick and tired. But mostly bored, so I’m writing about whatever is on my mind and won’t stick to one subject here.

Fuck Kyle Rittenhouse

I’ve been following the Kyle Rittenhouse case. In case you don’t know, 17 year old white boy Kyle took an assault rifle to a protest in a different state to his own in the US, during the protests for the death of George Floyd, and there, he shot three people. Then, he claimed self defence, and was found not guilty of all charges.

I find it really difficult to take their verdict seriously, and, much like my disbelief in all religions without reading their religious texts… No, I don’t need to have witnessed the court proceedings. I don’t need to know the details to be able to come to a reasonable conclusion. Here’s why… He was there. Right smack bang in the middle of the protests, right when many alt-right white supremacist militias had been known to be causing trouble, 17 year old Kyle was there, in a crowd he obviously regarded not only as the enemy, but as a racist, he would have seen them as inferior… as not even human. The fact that he was there openly with a gun is all I need to know. In my mind, the case should have been about figuring out his intent. Was he there to taunt protesters into attacking him so that he could “defend” himself, or was he really so stupid that he thought his mere presence with a weapon would intimidate people? If it’s the former, he’s guilty of murder; if the latter, manslaughter. Judging by his defence, it looks very much like the former. Either way he is guilty. Everything else is political spin.

And somehow, the takes I’ve seen on Facebook are divided almost exclusively by the political views of the people who write them. Almost, with one disturbing difference. It’s easier to express this as a bulleted list…

  • Progressives: This was a travesty of justice. He went there to hunt people.
  • Conservatives: Justice was served. Those who disagree are politically motivated.
  • Some (white) progressives: Looking at the facts (that came up in court), claim that other progressives “don’t know the details” and they agree with the conservatives.

Both the second and third groups are suddenly experts on self defence. The second group also accept some strange smear campaign against the victims. The other main difference between the two points of view is that those saying he got away with murder express empathy for the victims, and a justifiable concern that this will lead to a precedent where armed men can freely intimidate/murder protesters without consequences, while those who say justice has been served spend much time making personal attacks against the other side.

I have no stake in this argument… although, full disclosure, I lean pretty hard to the left. But the thing is, for me the logical side is to go against the side that engages in personal attacks against their opponents and smear campaigns against the deceased. Emotionally, I’m on the side of the protesters, of BLM, and the victims (of Rittenhouse). And by common sense, I am of course opposed to the emotionally immature guy who took a gun to a protest, to “protect property”. How do I put this? Someone needs to go and defend themselves against Rittenhouse. Permanently. I’m over here in South Africa and I feel threatened.

I have one question? Would all these sudden experts in self defence like to spend some time on other cases? There are many. Women incarcerated for murdering their sexual abusers; graves of black children killed by police for holding guns they didn’t even have, who died without even a chance to defend themselves; and lastly there are other well publicized cases where people were murdered by police in their own homes. If you can seriously see this as self defence and ignore all those other cases, you are just flat out wrong. There is no debate here. I refuse to engage with anyone on Rittenhouse’s side, and although I originally intended to post screenshots of their memes and statuses, I decided against it. Their point of view doesn’t deserve any platform. Fuck them.

Edit: I am amazed though…more like aghast at what I’m seeing online. People posting things like, “Rittenhouse found not guilty. Thank goodness sanity has prevailed”, and claiming that anyone who disagrees is “politically motivated”. Um, no. Sanity has not prevailed. You have it backwards, you racist trash. (The colour of his victims doesn’t matter either. They were BLM allies.) These people are unable to see past their own bias and the irony is palpable. If I go into someone’s house, and threaten them – then they try to fight me off, I can’t kill them and claim self defence. Likewise Rittenhouse did not belong where he was, and we should take anything claimed by his defence with a generous pinch of salt. Also if this protest was such a dangerous place to be, how come Rittenhouse was the only one to shoot anybody?

I don’t know the source of this, but it sums things up nicely.

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Wow. OK, after that, I feel bad to write about anything else, but this post was meant to be a general one… not about anything in particular.

Diablo 2 > Diablo 3

It is though. They released Diablo 2 Resurrected back towards the end of September, and I bought it at the start of October. I’ve been playing it almost every day, and even though the main change is simply the graphics, which are amazing by the way, the game itself, even though it may be a 20 year old game engine, is far superior to Diablo 3. The only thing I miss is Diablo 3’s bottomless potion system. My amazon spends far too much time time trekking back to town to buy potions. But otherwise, the game is way better, way more engaging, and more fun. Of course it lacks end game content like rifts, but I have never finished Hell difficulty so that doesn’t matter yet.

My level 77 sorceress is stuck. I can’t even get past some low level zombies on the very first level of Hell difficulty, as they are completely immune to my main attack, and almost completely immune to my backup skill – such that they instantly kill my mercenary and then have me running around in circles like an idiot, barely able to hurt them. But I can get a tiny bit of XP doing Baal runs in nightmare difficulty, enough to slowly level up and try to make my backup attack better, but it’s painful. Thus I made a new character, an amazon, and gift her some awesome bows and things found by my sorceress. My amazon, who uses an amazing skill (strafe) shooting 10 arrows at a time, wipes out everything. She will probably always be OP since her attack combines physical as well as all elemental attacks, so she’s a lot more fun to play… apart from constantly having to buy new mana potions.

I hope they do a good job on Diablo 4, making it similar to Diablo 2, while taking some of the good bits out of Diablo 3…  either a pet (that can go to town like the Torchlight games), or a bottomless potion system with cooldown delay. But those are practically the only good parts of Diablo 3, other than rifts for end game content, which will in any case be unnecessary if the game world is big enough.

People are stupid, volume 666 – introducing Equivocation

Guess who’s banned on Facebook again? I won’t get into why… Since I can’t comment on there, I might as well share here…

Raul doesn’t get it. Do you?

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Sorry… it’s two images because it didn’t fit vertically on my screen and would have looked shitty if I zoomed out.

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First of all, his statement was made to an atheist with a page that parodies the Christian god, and it acknowledged that we created gods. We created the concept of gods. If you want that to count as an acknowledgment of existence (of gods), you’re equivocating.

So what is Equivocation?

Equivocation is a kind of logical fallacy I haven’t mentioned here before. And by the way, although I’ve been writing about these kinds of bad arguments and logical fallacies for several years now, they’re still relatively new to me. That’s the thing… I’m 50 years old now and have only known about these things for around a decade – it’s just that they fascinate me to the extent that I wrote about them the first time I encountered them.

Equivocation as used in an argument is when we use words ambiguously – the same words can have different meanings in different parts of an argument. It’s almost like a pun, but without the humour, and you’re not supposed to notice it being done. You’re just supposed to “lose” the argument.

In the example given here, Raul claims that James’ witty comment acknowledges the existence of “God”. The key word here is “existence”. In truth he acknowledged (or more like claims, but it’s a fair claim) that man created gods, and thus claims that gods “exist” as a concept created by us. That’s not the same as saying that gods exist as actual deities, which is what Raul implies.

And yet, this apparently clever twisting of the meaning of a word was not even intentional. That’s what fascinates me about logical fallacies. They’re common. Some of them are quite complex. Twisting the meaning of a word like that, at least when done deliberately as a pun, is considered clever. When it’s wit… irony… even sarcasm, we tend to look up to those kinds of statements. And yet when it happens in an argument, it often happens by accident; we either don’t notice it, or like me here… judge it and look down on it.

Isn’t that fascinating? It is to me.

And yes, if someone uses equivocation in an argument deliberately, that would be clever. But I don’t think Raul did it on purpose. It is ironic though, isn’t it? Despite thinking we are logical, when we argue, we come up with nonsense like this all the time… Bad arguments that are so bad, they’re kind of clever by accident.

Friendly reminder: We are ALL affected by the Dunning Kruger effect. (Vaccines work)

Briefly, in case you didn’t get it from the title, this is a post about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and our confidence in them. Most of us (correctly) trust these vaccines, but some people, having fallen victim to their own overconfidence in knowledge they do not possess (but think they do), do not trust the vaccines. I’d like to remind you how the Dunning Kruger effect works and affects us all.

I’m writing this while on leave for a week. I’m mostly playing Diablo 2 Resurrected, which was recently released with enhanced modern graphics. I did go for my second vaccine jab on Tuesday though, and like most people, I experienced zero side effects. (All I got was a slightly sore shoulder that’s already completely healed two days later.) I’m writing this because I’m amazed that people are choosing not to trust science. [Full disclosure – I was directly exposed to COVID-19 in December 2020 at a work function, where I stayed indoors for a while and assisted someone who had it but didn’t know. Unfortunately I only found out months later. So in theory I may have been infected already but was asymptomatic. I guess I’ll never know.]

Let’s start with the simple definition of the Dunning Kruger effect as per Wikipedia:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a hypothetical cognitive bias stating that people with low ability at a task overestimate their own ability, and that people with high ability at a task underestimate their own ability.

Notice that it refers to everybody. That’s important. We all have limits to our own area or areas of expertise. As a software developer, I know quite a bit about software development – bot not so much (zero) about vaccines. So why do I say you must trust them? Simple: I recognize my own lack of knowledge about this subject, and thus I defer to experts. The best I can do is go with the broadly held scientific consensus. As it happens, I do a little more than that, and read widely about certain subjects, including science based medicine. But it remains an interest of mine, not something I am an expert on. I would never give you medical advice other than to go to relevant experts, and in general, trust in science, including vaccines. It’s as simple as that.

You defer to the relevant experts when you don’t know something. You do not refer to a bunch of idiots on YouTube who parrot widely debunked anti-science nonsense. That’s not how it works.

The Dunning Kruger effect also notes that when we are experts on a subject, we doubt ourselves. Since we doubt ourselves, we double check with other experts to make sure we’re right. That’s what clever people do. Doubling down and telling everybody about a subject we know fuck all about, and should not be talking about, is not what clever people do. That’s what stupid people do. Anti-vax is a position borne of ignorance. Don’t be stupid. Trust science.

Recently I tried to get through to an anti-vaxxer on Facebook, I tried for several days, until he unfriended me for “spreading vaccine misinformation” and “facilitating genocide”. I kid you not. But before he unfriended me, he shared an interesting (OK, I lie. It’s not interesting) rambling and mostly incoherent video on YouTube, which revealed the gist of his position… a conspiracy theory where his opposition to vaccines is really because he opposes “blind trust in authority”.

Here’s the thing: Nobody says you must blindly trust authority. Nobody. Trust the science. Trust the broadly held scientific consensus. Trust the experts – the same ones that multiple governments are relying on in the middle of a pandemic. It’s the obvious, correct, sensible position.

OK, I’m sorry… I’m not doing this to shame him. I’m not going to embed his video, but since it is public, here’s a link to it. I think it shows quite clearly what I mean. It’s rambling and barely coherent. It’s like the poor dude is talking off the top of his had about something he knows nothing about. It’s sad, but don’t forget, people like him are not only a danger to themselves… It’s easy to dismiss them and suggest “Darwin” takes care of them. The real danger they pose is to slow down or stop herd immunity, and I don’t mean the term as used by science deniers a while back… I mean real herd immunity that comes when most of us are immune and the disease is eradicated. Herd immunity is necessary to protect those whose immune systems are so compromised, they really can’t take the vaccine for valid medical reasons. I work with one such person – a guy in his early twenties with a heart condition. He was recently off work for a while because of an enlarged valve in his heart and he is in genuine danger from anti-vaxxers. Him and many others for valid medical reasons. They are the ones whose lives are placed in danger by these overconfident YouTube buffoons.