You can’t hide your lying eyes

Well, this is awkward. It seems artificial intelligence software can correctly identify a human’s gender by analysing a retina scan.

But, but, but, “transwomen are women”?

It’s almost as if there is a fundamental biological binary reality within every cell in our bodies.

Bill’s Opinion

The autogynaphilliacs are going to have to get another medical procedure in their journey now; not just the “top” and “bottom” surgery, but they’re going to have to find a new pair of eyes, too.

And if not, why not? Surely if retina transplants are possible, someone who is truly born “in the wrong body” would wish to go that extra step to correct Mother Nature’s fuck up?

Lutruwita, a rose by any other name?

The Australian Aboriginal tradition is an oral one, handing stories down over generations. Current scientific opinion suggests this has been unbroken for perhaps 50 to 60 thousand years.

That’s an amazing and globally unique situation; literally everywhere else has been invaded and the local population replaced at least once in that time period, or the geography was discovered much later in in the human timeline. The Maoris only arrived in New Zealand around the lifetime of Scotland’s Robert the Bruce, for example. That’s potentially a 58,703 year difference for two landmasses only a fortnight’s sail away.

The problem with oral tradition is the same as one we all recognise from the school yard game we used to call, in the olden days before the Thought Police, Chinese Whispers; the message changes radically over the generations of telling.

Over a landmass the size of Australia and a timeline measured in thousands of years, that means anyone who claims there’s a name for this or a cultural reason for that, are likely cherry-picking or unintentionally selecting the very last one. That’s probably fair enough; perhaps few people currently living in Scunthorpe, England pause to wonder or have any utility in knowing what the town was called prior to the Viking invasion of 865AD either.

In Australia in 2022 however, such nuance doesn’t conform to The Narrative, so we end up with articles such as this, challenging us to hit up Wikipedia every fifth word (I joke; Wikipedia has drunk the KoolAid too).

TL:DR, a 200 year old doll, discovered in Matlock, Derbyshire, has links to an Aboriginal girl for whom there are some written records. The article concludes she had a tragic life. More on this later.

Perhaps the first thing that might leap out at you in the article is the traditional name for the island of Tasmania which, let’s be honest, you wouldn’t have answered correctly if it came up in last night’s pub trivia quiz. The SBS article, however, uses Lutruwita first and puts Tasmania in parenthesis last as if it were the minority vernacular. You know, I know, they know, nobody outside of a government-funded department ever uses this name for Tasmania.

Do you know something else? It’s highly unlikely anyone ever described the island of Tasmania by this name before the perfidious English arrived either. I propose this hypothesis for two reasons:

  1. The chances any human ever reaslised Tasmania was an island prior to Captain Cook arriving trends very close to zero; any tribal member straying past their ancestral grounds risked death or worse. Maybe knowledge could be stitched together to form a view of all points of the compass, but really there’d be no practical use in passing that knowledge down, so I bet it didn’t.
  2. The official bodies tasked with agreeing the correct new/old/dual names for places in Tasmania are verrrry silent on how they came up with Lutruwita. They’ve got reasons and history for specific place names, creeks and hills. The entire island, not so much. Example one, two, three

Once one realises the article is being a little loose with the truth, there are narrative clues everywhere. The heavy use of parentheses is a big flag telling you that you’re uneducated and need to get onboard with The Narrative.

For example, an historic job title, Protector of Aborigines has the parenthesis explainer; (using the offensive misnomer). Did you get the memo that Aboriginal is acceptable but Aborigine is offensive? The woke dictionary, Merriam-Webster hasn’t yet either, but they’ll probably get round to it once they’ve finished redefining “woman”.

There’s more pushing of The Narrative in the article too. I’m reticent to pick on the individuals named in the article but there’s unasked questions we might have been offered answers to, to suage our suspicions of narrative cherry-picking.

Artist Janice Ross, for example, claims affinity with Mithina because their lives were similar. How were their lives similar? Well, Mithina was taken from her family for reasons unstated, “adopted” and used as slave labour, then sent to an orphanage and died at 18 in mysterious circumstances. Whereas Janice was adopted, again, for reasons unstated and, frankly, sounds like she’s alive and well in her 50s.

The inference we’re being asked to make for Janice is that she was part of The Stolen Generations, a government policy to remove mixed race children from Aboriginal mothers and integrate them into the white community.

It’s a bit before my time, but I’m going to take a guess that the reasons children were taken in to care over those Stolen Generations years were not all the same.

They probably ranged radically between a bizarre version of white supremacy that can somehow reconcile bringing mixed race kids into the “white” gene pool, through to obvious safety cases where the child needed to be moved out of harm’s way to prevent a tragedy. We’re not told Janice’s specific circumstances.

It seems most likely that either scenario was motivated by altruistic feelings, albeit neither passing the 2022 morality test. It seems unlikely anyone in history ever thought, “We hate this race of people so much for who they are racially, we’re going to adopt some of their kids and let them marry ours”, regardless of the morality of the “adoption” process followed. Historically, racist invaders tended to, I dunno, murder every last one of the enemy instead.

The SBS article doesn’t tell us why Janice was adopted nor how loving or abusive her adoptive family were. This seems like important and relevant information to the claim of affinity with the child, but also to simply square the obvious inference being made towards a known modern cultural issue.

Both claimant and journalist knew the context when they spoke/wrote. Why not resolve the hanging questions? Probably for the same reason the keyboard keys ( and ) were given such a heavy workout in writing the article.

Bill’s Opinion

Surprisingly, Bill Maher has a quote to perfectly explain this absence of journalistic professionalism by Sarah Maunder:

Being woke is like a magic moral time machine where you judge everybody against what you imagine you would have done in 1066: And you always win.

Bob’s yer uncle

Waleed Ally smuggled a thought bubble past the subbies:

Forget a president – here’s another idea.

It’s not all bad news though; the opening sentence probably resulted in an almond chai decaf latte being spat out in a chi chi Mosman café this morning; So, republicanism is now a minority position in Australia.

Put Peter Fitzsimons’ therapist on danger money, baby.

He then proceeds to state the bleedin’ obvious for several hundred repetitive and tautologous words, which he helpfully summarised early on in the piece, to save bored readers time:

…..a huge number found something appealing in it, even when the public relations were terrible. That’s true even with the absurdity of Australia having a foreign head of state, determined by hereditary rules.

Yes Waleed, people are irrational about the Monarchy. Also, the prospect of “President Rudd” or “First Lady Lisa Wilkinson” probably scares the living daylights out of them.

His answer though? You’re going to love it, it’s a doozy:

What if, instead of a monarch or a president, we had an Australian Elder? That is, a recognised Indigenous elder, appointed as our head of state for life.

Genius.

Can anyone see any potential problems with this? Beuller? Bruce Pascoe? Anyone?

Also, appointed by whom?

God?

Surely not The King?

Also, slightly controversial question; if we could poll the 24 million Australians, how many would be able to name even one recognised Indigenous elder?

Not a famous sports star or TV presenter, but “elder”, with all the inferred gravitas that noun contains.

We could even call our Elder “Uncle” or “Aunty”. And when our Aunty dies, deep rituals of mourning would already exist, ready for us to embrace as a nation.

He’s “thinking past the sale” here, we haven’t been able to think of an example anyone’s heard of yet.

Also, a teensy-weensy task of a communication exercise is required to let the rest of the world know that Australia will now be using “Uncle” in a different context to the two globally accepted norms of (1) parental sibling, or (2) “friend of Mum’s who often comes over when Dad is out”.

This though, is the ultimate in race-baiting projection:

Obviously, this office is racially closed. But so is the monarchy, which is always going to be white…

Which is another way of saying Prince George will be prevented from marrying anyone outside his race if he should wish to do so.

Scenario-play that through for a moment; let’s say in 2035, he’s been publicly dating an intelligent, beautiful, famous Nigerian heiress for a couple of years. Does anyone actually think he’s not going to be able to marry her? Or, that when it’s his turn to take the throne, there will be a law passed preventing the couple becoming King and Queen?

Waleed has the superpower of being able to see future racism from over decade away. That’s impressive.

Ultimately, as Waleed concludes:

It’s rough, and not fully thought through, I admit.

No shit, Sherlock?

(Uncle) Bill’s Opinon

Let replace an illogical tradition that’s evolved over a thousand years in to one the majority of people agree works well enough for them, with a newly invented illogical tradition and hope everything will go ok.

Alternatively, let’s focus our time and resources to crack on with doing something useful like inventing practical fusion energy generation or high speed mass transit or somethin’.

Cor baby that’s really free

Man assaulted in the street and subsequently arrested after shouting, “Andrew, you’re a sick old man” at Prince Andrew.

The report is silent on what happened to his attackers.

That’s probably ok though, shouting at someone at their mother’s funeral is beyond the pale and should have the full force of the law applied as a consequence.

Similarly, it’s right that this woman, arrested for holding a sign saying, “Abolish the Monarchy”, should face the legal consequences.

What about this one, then?

Man required to give details to police after holding a blank piece of paper at the Queen’s coffin procession.

Are we happy with these police interventions?

Which one was the overreach of the state, in your view, and why?

Bill’s Opinion

The slippery slope fallacy may be a logical mistake, but one can slide a long way before the descent is halted.

All three of these examples are unacceptable restrictions of freedom of speech and expression.

In the UK, the legal standard restricting free speech used to be “grossly offensive” – repeatedly posting pornographic images to somebody, for example.

Now, the standard has not only been reduced to merely offensive, but there doesn’t need to be an identified victim of the offensiveness either.

From nearly 21 years ago:

……why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this
chamber – a democratically elected government. Their leaders are
self-appointed. They hate our freedoms – our freedom of religion, our freedom of
speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

I’m not convinced.

It’s all relative

….as they say in Tasmania.

Some data points for your amusement:

NSW is going to switch to weekly reporting for the Covid numbers. Because we’re living with Covid now, pandemic over, etc.

Mary Ward is “health reporter”, apparently.

Not a particularly curious health reporter, though.

If she was just a little interested, she might look back at some ancient history. Remember, something something, those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Today’s statistics that we are so sanguine about that we can switch to weekly summaries for;

21 dead with/of Covid yesterday. Tragic, but not many really, in the scheme of things. I’m sure you, like all of us, are glad we’re over the dark days of the pandemic when people were just dropping all around us.

Oh, here’s something interesting I found in a history book, from nearly a year ago:

We were shitting the bed because five people died in a day with/of Covid. Screenshot below in case it gets memoryholed:

Bill’s Opinion

Shall we just play “let’s pretend” that the last couple of years didn’t happen or that it was all justified?

Yes, let’s do that.

O Lord, help me to be pure

but not yet.

Saint Augustine

Many years ago, I was on a plane about to depart the airport in Lagos (the one in Nigeria, not Portugal).

Sharing the row of seats with me was my colleague, Ricky (not his real name) and an elderly Nigerian woman to whom I’d yet to be introduced.

Some background to Ricky; he was also Nigerian, living and working in London. In his spare time he was a lay preacher at a (very) large Christian church in a converted warehouse in North London.

He didn’t miss an opportunity to remind you of this fact. Think about the most annoying vegan you’ve ever met, then stick a copy of The New Testament in their hand.

Prior to take off, I introduced myself to the old lady and politely asked where she was headed.

Geneva

Oh lovely, do you have family there?

No, I have a serious medical condition and my family have saved up to pay for me to be treated by the worlds best surgeon for that condition”

At which point, spying an opportunity to talk about his favourite subject, Ricky usurped the conversation:

“I’m a pastor, I am qualified in prayer and the laying of hands. Would you like to pray with me for a cure?”

Oh yes, I’d like that very much”.

There then followed five tediously long minutes of Performative Christianity with several references to scripture and a grand finale with the claim, through faith, Ricky had cured the old lady of the, presumably, terminal cancer or whatever it was she was going to have removed.

“Oh, thank you so much”, responded the old dear.

No walhala”, Ricky modestly replied in the vernacular.

Curious, I enquired whether she believed she was now cured.

Oh yes

“What, fully cured?”

Yes, I believe in the power of prayer

“Well, the plane doors haven’t closed, there’s still time to leave the plane and save your family a lot of money in medical bills”

No, I think I’ll still go and see the surgeon”

Bill’s Opinion

I’m constantly reminded of this memory whenever I see people, presumably already with the benefit of four shots of a vaccine that prevents them catching and being made sick from Covid, walking around in public wearing non-surgical grade masks.

Now Jesus he came in a vision
And offered you redemption from sin
I’m not sayin’ that I don’t believe you
But are you sure that it really was him
I’ve been told that it could’ve been blue cheese
Or the meal that we ate down the road

I’m a young man at odds with the Bible
But I don’t pretend faith never works
When we’re down on our knees
Prayin’ at the bus stop

Hallelujah

Could G K Chesterton please report to the office?

…and bring fence repair tools.

There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

For example, lengthy clinical trials before rolling out new medicines, sometimes lasting 7 years. That kind of “fence”.

Why do we bring this up? Well, the UK Government just quietly changed its policy regarding mRNA vaccines and pregnant or breastfeeding women (aka “pregnant people” and “chestfeeders”, in the vernacular).

Specifically:

Ok, well that’s a bit of a minor change with no negative implications, isn’t it. because previously, there was a significant amount or urging going on. In fact, there were urges everywhere, no corner of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was spared the urge.

Northern Ireland was urged:

England was urged:

Wales was urged:

I couldn’t find the Scotch urge, but it’s probably covered by this catch all:

And this urging:

Don’t forget, they were being urged and put on the priory list:

Let’s not forget, if you weren’t already scared shitless, pregnant people and chestfeeders who definitely had no comorbities could die with of Covid:

Finally, here’s the BBC (mission statement: “to act in the public interest, serving all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain“) telling you it’s perfectly safe for the aforementioned pregnant and breastfeeding people to take the vaccine.

Fully vaxxed? Fully tested, natch.

Bill’s Opinion

I sincerely hope you and nobody you hold dear suffered any negative consequences as a result of taking a brand new medicine during pregnancy before the clinical trials had completed.

Someone must certainly have though, else why has this policy been changed now?

How many miscarriages and how many and how severe birth defects are we talking about, I wonder?

The shoes keep dropping.

How many shoes will drop?

Let’s count them, shall we?

Transitory inflation.

Not so much.

Vaccines stop the spread?

Not so much.

Scientific evidence supported the lockdown approach.

Not so much.

The human lives saved were worth the cost of lockdown.

Not so much.

Shutting down schools and teaching online is a good substitute for classroom learning.

Not so much.

Bill’s Opinion

What are the next shoes to drop, do we think?

How about:

There were no existing therapeutic treatments we could have used.

The vaccines are perfectly safe, especially for your children.

Lockdown legislation was legal/constitutional.

Bourgeois chutzpah

Level: Jedi Knight

Written by Daniella White, who is also the author of this Numberwang from January, where she misses asking any questions about denominators or the relationship between numbers of Covid tests and positive cases but simply reports government statistics as if they actually meant anything useful.

So, Daniella is clearly one of the intended targets of this article.

People’s poor understanding of statistics resulted in misinformation and “fake news” spreading throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers say, as a study calls for changes to how mathematics is taught in schools.

Schools? Yes, those things we shut down for months at a time.

Australian Catholic University Professor of Mathematics Education Vincent Geiger, who co-authored the research, said more needed to be done to teach students how to critically interpret statistics like those published during the pandemic.

Not just students. Also every media outlet that ever published a percentage without an accompanying denominator, or a case fatality rate without comparing it to the ‘flu and the caveat we don’t test for ‘flu.

“Mathematics and statistics were used in the media like almost never before over COVID-19,” Geiger said.

Yes, we can all agree with that statement., unfortunately.

“What does flattening the curve actually mean?

Yes, we wrote about how the conversation quietly changed about that here, turns out it means whatever we want it to mean and we’ll stop using it as our strategy without telling anyone.

He said schools also needed to do more to help students scrutinise whether sources were credible, and the media should provide links to original sources of statistics and information quoted in articles.

Agreed. It kind of infers the churnalists understand numbers though. Big assumption, there.

Geiger said unless key skills were addressed at school, there was a real danger that students would grow up to be adults at risk of accepting “fake news”.

You see that tall mast disappearing over the horizon? That’s the ship that’s sailed already.

One example was misinterpretation of vaccine effectiveness data. While raw data might show a higher raw number of deaths and infections among the vaccinated population when most people have been vaccinated, the rate of infection and death in unvaccinated people is still higher.

“The numbers may appear simple, but they’re not, they’re what we would call composite variables,” she said.

Oh, I feel this might be a topic to which there will be many unhappy returns this year…..

Bennett said people should defer to the experts in the field to explain data and not necessarily attempt to draw conclusions from statistics for themselves.

Really? Do they have some computer models? They’re always very persuasive and worked out really well for us.

Bill’s Opinion

The fucking chutzpah and irony of a journalist writing an article bemoaning a lack of numeracy and critical thinking.

Anyone who, after the last two and half years, ever again finds themselves reading a data point in a newspaper without assuming it’s 180 degrees incorrect, should consider wearing a sign or some kind of symbol to let the rest of us know to avoid them.

Oh, they do already. It’s called a face mask.

Chocolate rations increased to 20 grams!

You may have remembered the ration was 30 grams previously, but you would be incorrect.

The CDC have quietly and tacitly admitted a few facts that are in direct contradiction to their previous statements.

No! Say it ain’t so, Bill!

It also brings the recommendations for unvaccinated people in line with people who are fully vaccinated – an acknowledgment of the high levels of population immunity in the U.S., due to vaccination, past COVID-19 infections or both. “Based on the latest … data, it’s around 95% of the population,” Massetti said, “And so it really makes the most sense to not differentiate,” since many people have some protection against severe disease.

There’s a few things going on there. Firstly, it infers a prior infection is as good as the vaccines to provide future immunity. Here’s Fauci saying exactly the opposite just last year.

It also infers “herd immunity” from the dual source of vaccine and prior infection is a valid concept when fighting this virus. Some of us are old enough to remember when Fauci said that was not possible back in, erm, April this year.

Anyone with access to an internet search engine would also find him giving varying figures between 60 to 95% vaccination levels to achieve this apparently simultaneously possible and impossible thing.

So there we have it; Covid is not a problem for you dirty unvaxxed. We’re good then, right? All’s well with the world?

Well no, not really.

You see, we’ve got a few questions we’d like answered. Here’s a few to get started:

1. Are we supposed to forget how many times the authorities made unchallenged new laws discriminating against a swath of citizens based on these medicines which were are now told are not required?

2. Do the people who lost their jobs for not accepting these pointless medicines get to work again and receive compensation for lost earnings?

3. Do the vaccine injured (we don’t need to argue how many – there must have been at least one) receive compensation in a timely manner and without going through a “the process is the punishment” Kafka-esque process to receive it?

4. How are we supposed to live together after this? After people like this fucking authoritarian unscientific cunt wrote such absolute fucking horse shit?

Bill’s Opinion

We see you. We know who you were.

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

We’ll forgive you but we can never forget.

There are many people who have been shaken from a complacency about their fellow humans, a state to which they will never return. When we meet you, we will always wonder which side you were on, and depending on the conclusion, will interact with you with much caution in future.