MSNBC’s Hate Unleashes Twitter Storm of Racial Harmony

The interesting part about the fallout from MSNBC’s hateful Cheerios/”right-wing” dustup is that everybody wins.

MSNBC followers win because the network just said what they and their viewers know to be a rock-solid truth, regardless of anything like evidence or logic: conservatives are all racist.

So, when they tweet this in reference to the Cheerios ad featuring a bi-racial family…

… they’re just reaffirming their own and their audience’s bias, because belief in limited government and personal freedom means you automatically hate people who look different than you. (Which party had an Exalted Cyclops of the Klan as a respected elder statesmen and opposed the Civil Rights Act, and which one ended slavery?)

Cheerios wins because you just can’t buy that kind of publicity. Also, the kid’s pretty cute:

And on Twitter, conservatives have turned MSNBC’s kneejerk idiocy to their advantage with the hashtag #MyRightWingBiracialFamily. People from the right are tweeting photos of their multi-racial families using the hashtag, which started with writer Michelle Malkin (the victim of incessant racist and sexist comments from the left for years) and just snowballed.

Predictably, people came back with stupid and hateful messages, such as saying that even if a conservative white person marries a black person, the white person’s still a racist because something something Obama.

Yeah, I don’t get it either, but leftism isn’t grounded in reality in the first place. If Democratic social and economic policies are so wonderful for minorities, why don’t they work? Could it be that their patronizing, paternalistic, infantalizing character is more deeply rooted in racism than the freedom of opportunity, equality under the law, and personal responsibility offered by conservatives?

Predictably, the reaction to the hashtag was enthusiasm from the right, and hatred from the left.

After posting this pic, Cong. Tim Huelskamp was even accused of renting a black family:

See, it’s easy for a modern leftist to identify a racist without ever hearing a word from his lips, or even in the face of photographic evidence: you’re a racist if you don’t agree with the left. Going with this assumption saves an awful lot of effort that might be chewed up by the hard work of thinking for yourself and judging each person as you encounter them: like individuals.

Bumpy Road [App o the Mornin’]

Bumpy Road (iOS/Mac/PC: $3) is the sophomore effort from the creators of Kosmo Spin, and it has a delightful aesthetic, with a muted but eye-catching color palette and charming art. It’s a look that works perfectly for game about an older couple out for a Sunday drive on a corduroy road past windmills and impossibly narrow houses.

The gameplay is just as interesting as the visual element. Bumpy Road uses a novel mechanic to create a twist on the 2D platforming, move-to-the-right genre that has thrived on mobile touch devices. In this case, you don’t control the car, which moves at a steady pace, but the road itself, which is comprised of a series of little bumps. Touching the road raises it a little bit. Touch behind the car to create a hill that makes the car go faster. Touch in front of it to create a hill that slows the car down. Touch beneath it to make the car hop.

It’s as simple as that. The levels consist of multiple platforms and occasional water hazards, with minor variations for the two gameplay modes. In Evergreen Ride, you need to go as far as possible without falling into one of the water hazards. The trip is endless, with little powerups found along the way to close traps and allow you to focus on gathering items to improve your final time. There are no traps in Sunday Trip mode, so the goal is to get to a finish line as fast as possible by grabbing the accelerator powerups and avoiding the brake powerups. The result is a great little app, with a novel mechanic and engaging gameplay.

Learn Latin and Greek in 10 Easy Lessons

Well, maybe not “easy,” but at least the “10” part is right. The Language Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin has a series of language modules with some pretty exotic offerings, including Hittite, Gothic, Old English, Old Norse, Ancient Sanskrit, and more.

The lessons of more immediate interest would be Latin, Classical Greek, and New Testament Greek.

Give it a shot! It’s really not hard to get a nodding acquaintance with Latin so you can pick your way through a text. You already know a good many words.

H/t Open Culture

Fulton Sheen Audio Library [App o the Mornin’]

This is short and sweet folks, since there isn’t too much you need to know other than, “You really should probably get it.”

The Fulton Sheen Audio Library (iOS/Android: free, with in-app purchase) is–and you might have already guessed this–a library of audio by Fulton Sheen. It includes almost 300 talks from various times and places, some gathered by topic, and other by event. These aren’t just audio transcripts of his TV or radio shows, but also old LPs and tapes with extensive series on all manner of topics, including A Retreat for Everyone (15 talks), Improving Your Life (28) Love–Marriage–Children (24), St. Therese of Lisieux (11), World History (22), the massive Sheen Catechism (50), and many, many more. Some are talks given to priests, others to children, but most are aimed at the layperson.

The basic app is free and comes with a generous selection of free talks (at least one in each category). If you want the entire compilation, I think the current price is $8 as an in-app purchase. They stream rather than download, which doesn’t thrill me, but the server is stable and I’ve never had any trouble with it. The sound quality is excellent.

Sheen is an amazing teacher and one of the best Catholic evangelists of the 20th century. He has an Irishman’s skill with words which made him eminently quotable. He also had a flare for the dramatic, good looks, a perfect voice, and a command of mass media. This is terrific stuff.

Chick-fil-A Does A Good Thing

A strong piece of Christian witness: the manager and employees of a Chick-fil-A in Alabama handed out several hundred free sandwiches to drivers stranded on the road in a snow storm.

Those of us in the north are looking at the couple of inches of snow that paralyzed the south and wondering, “What the heck is wrong with you people?,” but it’s no joke down there. They’re not accustomed to or prepared for this weather, and people are spending hours and hours stuck in cars on the road and sleeping in schools and offices overnight as the region grinds to a standstill.

One Chick-fil-A owner was trapped as well, so he walked the mile to his store and then brought food back to others:

“We cooked several hundred sandwiches and stood out on both sides of 280 and handed out the sandwiches to anyone we could get to – as long as we had food to give out.”

The staffers braved the falling snow and ice and Chick-fil-A refused to take a single penny for their sandwiches.

The meal was a gift – no strings attached.

So why did they give away their food?

This company is based on taking care of people and loving people before you’re worried about money or profit,” Pitts says. “We were just trying to follow the model that we’ve all worked under for so long and the model that we’ve come to love. There was really nothing else we could have done but try to help people any way we could.”

The Chick-fil-A also allowed anyone who wanted to sleep on a bench or a booth.

I have Chick-fil-A on my Facebook feed, and every post they make is barraged by gay “marriage” zealots braying at the company for their alleged “hate” because the owners oppose same sex unions and run their stores in keeping with their Christian principles. (For example, all stores are closed on Sunday.) Feeding the hungry for free: that’s an interesting definition of “hate,” isn’t it?

God bless these folks. This is how it’s done.

When Archaeology and Epidemiology Meet

The past is always present. A group of scientists has managed to extract DNA from the teeth of two people who died during the Justinian Plague in the 6th century, and tests have confirmed that the same pathogen was at the root of the Black Plague of the 14th century, with mutations that are still alive today. The strain that caused the Justinian Plague died out, but a different strain emerged 800 years later to cause the Black Death.

A 1400-year-old tooth containing plague DNA

By some estimates, the Justinian Plague led to the deaths of almost half of all human life on the planet. The Black Plague claimed an estimated 50 million lives.

And mutations of Yersinia Pestis can still be a problem:

“We know the bacterium Y. pestis has jumped from rodents into humans throughout history and rodent reservoirs of plague still exist today in many parts of the world. If the Justinian plague could erupt in the human population, cause a massive pandemic, and then die out, it suggest it could happen again. Fortunately we now have antibiotics that could be used to effectively treat plague, which lessens the chances of another large scale human pandemic” says Dave Wagner, an associate professor in the Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics at Northern Arizona University.

The samples used in the latest research were taken from two victims of the Justinian plague, buried in a gravesite in a small cemetery in the German town of Aschheim. Scientists believe the victims died in the latter stages of the epidemic when it had reached southern Bavaria, likely sometime between 541 and 543.The skeletal remains yielded important clues and raised more questions.

Researchers now believe the Justinian Y. pestis strain originated in Asia, not in Africa as originally thought. But they could not establish a ‘molecular clock’ so its evolutionary time-scale remains elusive. This suggests that earlier epidemics, such as the Plague of Athens (430 BC) and the Antonine Plague (165 -180 AD), could also be separate, independent emergences of related Y. pestis strains into humans.

“The tick of the plague bacteria molecular clock is highly erratic. Determining why is an important goal for future research” says Edward Holmes, an NHMRC Australia Fellow at the University of Sydney.

Our response to modern infectious diseases is a direct outcome of lessons learned from ancestral pandemics, say the researchers.

“This study raises intriguing questions about why a pathogen that was both so successful and so deadly died out. One testable possibility is that human populations evolved to become less susceptible,” says Holmes.

Tetrobot [App o the Mornin’]

Tetrobot and Co. (<PC/Mac: $12, Android/iOS: forthcoming) is a sequel to Blocks That Matter, a puzzler featuring a high-tech drilling robot called Tetrobot. (You can download a free computer demo of Blocks That Matter at swingswingsubmarine.com, or buy the whole game for $5.)

The sequel (confusingly) focuses not on Tetrobot but Psychobot, a helpful little flying robot tasked with repairing Tetrobot.

The Psychobot functions a bit differently, absorbing blocks and spitting them out to solve puzzles. Its job is to float through the inside of a machine removing obstacles and getting things running again. Psychobot is not too clever, however, and needs help finding his way in order to trigger an electric fence, flick a switch to open a gate, or throw a block to remove a hazard. 

The game shows a 2D cross section of the environment, featuring boxes, switches, levers, tunnels, electrical fields, and other odds and ends. The levels are more sizable than your typical 2D puzzler, requiring the gamer to trigger multiple events on various screens. This adds greatly to the complexity level for perfect, 3-star completion of each level. It’s possible to “complete” a level quite quickly, but doing so with a perfect score can be a real mind-scrambler.

The real challenge comes from manipulating blocks with different properties. Some are sticky, some float, some grasp, some fall, and so on. By stacking and throwing blocks, you trigger events that lock/unlock/alter the environment. As the game goes on, you’ll find yourself shot through water, transported across the map, flying through goop, and dealing with other events and distractions.

It’s all buoyed by a charming animation for the little robot and endlessly clever level design. As puzzlers go, it’s more complex than most, but allows simple ways through for people satisfied with only collecting one or two stars. You, of course, will not be so satisfied, so expect a solid challenge.

Content: No concerns. Rated: E