Saturday, March 28, 2020

Proven Right.

I remember something that happened during my second year in the Chemical Technician's program at Mohawk College.

It was in the Organic Chemistry course. We were doing a routine lab experiment when I noticed the teacher had made a huge mistake with one crucial equation. It was off by an order of magnitude or more. (I'm going back to 1983 here. Finer details are entirely lost to me.)

The first thing I did was to consult a couple of nearby classmates, and they agreed with me. Funny too. They were a couple of total pot-heads. They smoked pot like cigarettes, every day.

They completed the entire two-year program stoned. Also funny, I think they were among the twelve or so of us who graduated from an original class of about forty-three.

Yet they knew there was something wrong with the formula. Take that, Tucker Carlson!

When I asked them what they did after their discovery they told me they just fudged a few numbers and handed in their lab reports. Then they went outside to smoke a joint. I was puzzled by that behaviour.

I wasn't going to do that. That's just not me. And it's not because I am endowed with any saintly gift of holiness. I just like to know what is up, and what is down. I wanted to get to the bottom of it. So I took my paperwork up to the teacher and told her what I was thinking. Of course, at first she told me I was mistaken, followed by me saying "yes, but."

We ended up kicking it back and forth for perhaps a half an hour.

Never once, not even for a micro-second, did I entertain the notion that because we had a serious disagreement it meant she had an impure motive. Nor did she give any indication that she was thinking that either. That half-hour debate has to be the most congenial debate I have ever experienced. We even wrote notes and diagrams for each other.

In the end, it turned out to be one of the very few times in my life that I was right about something.

I thought that what happened next was kind of funny, even though I hadn't planned it, nor did I expect it.

Within seconds of the conclusion of our debate an angry look came across her face. She rushed over to the other side of her lab bench to where the completed lab reports were stacked and pulled one of them out.

I recall noticing that they had received a high mark for their submission. Realizing that their report had been falsified, she crossed out the original mark and gave them a zero.

She might have been wrong that one time, but she certainly wasn't stupid.

It was the report the two pot-heads had submitted.

In my humble opinion, that is how science should be done. It's too bad it has become politicized. That alone may be our undoing. The priority of science should be the impersonal pursuit of truth, AND NOTHING ELSE.

I've probably told this story a hundred times already and, no doubt, some are getting sick of hearing it. My memory ain't so good any more. Sorry about that.

They will leave you drifting in the shallows
or drowning in the oceans of history


"The bigger the government gets, the smaller the people get." -- Mark Steyn


Oh, and one more thing.

Thinking about the countless, non-organic chemistry debates I have had with people over the last four decades, where I would paint a scary scenario, and they would respond with that familiar, listen-to-this-nutbar facial expression, while saying "that will never happen here!"

Well, it's happening now. And it gives me no pleasure to have been proven right on that, either.

Now I am seeing dead people.

The order also means that funerals “would be permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time.”

And by the way, even though no one knows how BIG the numbers might get, the numbers in the report ain't that scary.

If it were customary to report the hourly statistics of flu-related deaths in any given year, the effect would probably be just as dramatic.

Of car accidents.

Or overdoses.

Heart attacks.

CO2 emissions. (joke)(not really)(include reports of calving glaciers.)

Or suicides.

The media has more power than the politicians.

Ontario government bans gatherings of 5 or more people in bid to stop coronavirus spread

In a way, it's deliciously ironic because these guys probably have no real insight into the real problems. The images in the background suggest as much.

But in an almost "Typing Monkeys" sense, they strike a real chord.

Oh wait!

What's this?

Oh! It's one of my old videos.

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