Scare tactics

November 4, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

Back in the early 1960s when I was but a lad I remember my parent’s vehement objections to the government forcing the auto industry to stop using leaded gas and install catalytic converters. My parents had bought into the notion that if allowed, the economic disruption to the country would be catastrophic: gas prices would skyrocket, cars would become unaffordable, collapse would be imminent. With their meager incomes, this was something that scared the crap out of them.

As a no-nothing kid, this made no sense to me. Smog in the LA Basin was so bad it was difficult at times to see across the street and older, weaker people died from breathing it. And the lead was poisoning us. Why would my parents worry about paying more for a car when it was obvious that staying the course was detrimental to public health?

They had succumbed to a quite common technique of swaying people one way or the other. The scare tactic.

It’s hard to avoid, even if it defies common sense.

I recall a time in our industry when scare tactics were employed. First, there was the digital scare: listening to digital music was actually bad for your health and there was plenty of “evidence” to support it.

Then, there was the distortion scare where anything higher than one thousand of a percent was contaminating what you were hearing. Despite the facts.

We’re all susceptible to the scare tactic.

What’s your favorite?

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88 comments on “Scare tactics”

  1. My favourite bit of BS, with regard to home audio (listening to music at home)?…
    That I’ll destroy my hearing if I listen to music louder than 85dB for more than a
    couple of hours at a time…hilarious ‘fake news’.
    I’ve been listening to canned Rock ‘n Roll music, usually between 90-103dBs,
    for the last forty two years, sometimes for 6-8 hours at a time, & I can still literally
    hear a pin drop on the kitchen floor & pick-up (hear) auditory nuances going on
    behind my head from metres away.
    Do I really need to hear better than my mobile phone ringing on my bedside
    table while I’m in the kitchen making a coffee?

    On a broader note, & due to all of the BS that people have tried to feed me over
    the last 45 years, I don’t believe anything that I’m told until I test it out for myself
    …this modus operandi works perfectly well for me.

    1. My favorite was the y2K fiasco — that as the year 2000 arrived everything would come to a screaming halt because computers couldn’t cope with this change. Remember?

      1. I seem to remember every business taking the Y2K issue seriously and testing their computers and programs for Y2K issues. I remember retired COBOL and FORTRAN programmers being rehired to test out old programs. In the medical field, I seem to recall older equipment replaced with Y2K compliant systems.
        So perhaps preparing for Y2K problems actually did prevent a lot of problems.
        https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/Y2K-bug/

        1. Well, bottom line is that companies and countries that essentially ignored the “problem” came through unscathed and all that money thrown at y2k might have been better spent, to put it mildly.

          My own company was charged by ITS largest client, firm believers in the catastrophy ahead, to focus a lot of resources — ours and theirs –on the subject. Was there chagrin at the reality of what actually happened, after the fact? Not that I recall. This did nothing to allay my cynicism 🙂

      2. Yea. My hospital spent the ’99 staff pay raise budget on Y2K consultants to come in and certify all electronic equipment was “Y2K Compliant”. But really; lighted mirrors, extension cords? I spent New Years Eve ’99 in the Lab waiting for the pending disaster.

    2. I remember when the seat belts were going to become a mandatory item in new cars. My grandmother said that these belts would become death traps. You couldn’t get out of the car if it caught fire or you went into a lake. You would burn to death or drown. That can be true but… how many people are still alive with reduced injuries because of the seat belts? Remember all the hell that was to be unleashed because of long hair and rock-n-roll music?
      When I was in high school people were talking about pollution. Eddie Albert came to my school and told us how things would continue to get worse and we were the ones who needed to work on fixing it. He didn’t convince all of us.
      I still try to reduce my contribution to the pollution as a way to say it matters to me. I still try to repair before I replace everything I use. I like tube and vinyl sound but I have abandoned tube television.

      1. TechnoDR,
        Apt that you should mention that, as I lost both of my parents in January 1963
        in a fatal car crash because neither of them were wearing seat-belts.

  2. Not sure about scare tactics other than free trade pricing and extended warranties but certainly new advances and/or technologies that didn’t deliver the goods.

    Quadraphonic Sound
    Dolby B
    Discwasher
    DBX
    Elcaset
    Digital Time Delay
    DIVX (circuit city)
    HD DVD
    MP3
    3D TV

    1. Oops, what i meant to write was fair trade. Whatever happened to the post edit feature?

      During the early 1970s, consumer electronics retailers were subject to “fair trade” laws. These laws allowed manufacturers to require retailers to sell merchandise at the same price to avoid price competition for their products.

  3. The biggest BS in a more general sense seems to me to be the promotion of the idea that there is a constant need to upgrade, which often goes along with “more is always better”. I assume many companies make cheaper products to draw customers into spending their way up the upgrade path when there is neither need nor benefit. Did anyone mention cables? I find it a complete turn-off. Don’t think I’ve ever bought an audio product on the basis of it being an upgrade of something I already have.

    1. Steven,
      My Marantz – ‘SA-12SE’ has the ability to produce better SQ than my
      Marantz – ‘CD6006’ & my Musical Fidelity -‘M6si500’ sounds streets
      better than the Onkyo – ‘A9070’ that I sold off in June.
      I’m not sure if you class my acquisition of these ‘better’ home audio
      components as an upgrade, however I can definitely hear the benefit. 😉

    2. I’d like to take the opposite position on cables with you SNTBCWS. I am not the kind of person to throw money around as a senior on a budget so when it comes to making an upgrade to my system I never jump the gun based on fads and BS.I know best when I hear musical improvements because I listen day-in-and-day-out. When I decided to purchase these XLR Interconnects it took a lot of due diligence, swapping my RCAl interconnects with XLR loaners and letting the music ‘come in’ instead of being a critical listener to determine if I heard any real, positive, musical differences that these XLR cables made of any. As with our current political situation, the Audiophile community has become tribal on many issues. I’m not going choose a camp otherwise I might as well just put on War Paint and take scalps.

      The point of writing this post isn’t to try to change minds but at this neither Will these ‘measurement only’ fools won’t be able to change mine because my hearing leads me down the road to quality sound improvement.

      There’s nothing wrong with you and I sticking to our positions and go about our lives. The real problem is the people with all the measurement gear online I think so smart about their graphs that they are displaying when they have no idea what the designer of an amplifier he’s trying to accomplish. I don’t want to mention any YouTube channels but the egos of these “Pot Stirrers” bringing in quite a few subscribers and trying to make me and other people like me feel like idiots ain’t going to happen.

      1. We agree that the best way is to listen, and whatever rocks your boat, go for it.

        I was reading an interview of Cameron Jenkins in HiFi+ yesterday. He’s a well known studio engineer, record producer, label owner and also has a hifi retail business. On cables he said:

        “Coming from the studio world, I approached the viper’s nest of cables, or rather online forums about cables, with some trepidation. However, after hearing Max Townshend’s interconnects and speaker cables, I knew I didn’t need to research further as they do exactly what I want them to do.”

        To me that’s a pretty good summary of how I see it – an online viper’s nest of scares and misinformation. I had the same experience with Max Townshend’s speaker cables and have used them for some years. Not changing them either.

        1. Our comments to each other proved fruitful to me. Happy you explained your position in more detail.

          I read this comment with a smile on my face knowing that we can each have our own opinions and enjoyments.

          1. I was installing a new wifi system a couple of weeks ago and had to buy another SFP module, so I bought one off Amazon for £13 – probably $13 in the USA. I remember Sonore advertising “System Optique Certified” SFP modules for $70 and “certified” fibre cables for $50. This is a lovely case of “certified” scaremongering to charge 3 or 4 times the price anyone sensible would pay off Amazon.

            The whole MQA thing, may it rest in peace, was a scam based on certified (they went for “authenticated”) BS.

            1. I certainly agree with you about MQA. I used it for two months along side QOBUZ and it didn’t take me more than a few days to come to the realization that there was something very strange about the sound of MQA. Sort of spooky although I may be overstating.

  4. My favourite scare story is from the early days of motoring when people believed if the vehicle moved too quickly through the air you wouldn’t be able to breathe properly, becoming another motoring statistic, before they had statistics.

    Audio wise, not a favourite because it might have been true, but the one about all CD’s delaminating after ten years, your expensive collection becoming useless and unplayable.

    There are scare stories on the news every day. It’s how the government controls the population.
    Oops, cynical and on dangerous ground 😉

  5. The SA12 is a SACD player, the CD6006 is CD only?

    In retrospect, my audio equipment changes have been driven by significant technology changes (e.g. CD to streaming), aesthetics and functionality.

    My perspective is, having decided on a something in principle, find an appropriate product and stick with it. Think of it as a long-term decision, not a step to something else, which is what the manufacturers want you to do.

    5 years ago I decided on moving from components to integrated and chose a product from what was available. I could upgrade or switch to something else, but the thought has never crossed my mind.

    1. The CD6006 can read CD, CD-R/RW, WMA & MP3.
      The SA-12SE converts everything to DSD before it converts to analogue.
      Currently all of my CDs are either Red Book or HDCD.
      Regardless, they all sound ‘better’ when played on the SA-12SE.
      And at six times the price of the CD6006 they bloody-well should.

      1. In 2009 I went from using a basic CD player to an FGPA upsampling streamer/DAC. I didn’t understand any of the technology, I was just attracted by the idea of not having CD’s littered all over the place. No scare tactics were involved.

        1. Steven, I don’t have CD littered all over the place either.
          I have them all stacked vertically, in alpha order, in a CD
          bookcase, only 6.5 inches deep, up against a wall in my
          listening room, all neat & tidy, just like books in a bookcase
          …nothing “littered”.

          Do you have any books in a bookcase or in bookcases
          in your living room, or are your books littered all over the place?
          Or are you now exclusively only reading e-books??

          1. I was a complete disaster with CDs. I try to be better with vinyl, but there is still a stack to put away. Streaming was invented for people like me.

            I hate e-books. I read proper books and give most of them away when read. We share/gift stuff in the street via a WhatsApp group.

  6. That was an interesting leap of logic that can cloud the truth with a false dilemma by reason of disjunctive syllogism. That’s how marketing makes assertions with smoke and mirrors. I’m not impressed.

    1. I agree with you. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me. There were catalytic converters already. There was limited access to research to validate, but still, it was relatively easy to discard the manufacturer’s position.

      In addition, jumping to the distortion issue is a leap too far. I don’t understand how Paul gets there.

      I would suggest that the hysterics behind wires, elevating wires, and all sorts of contraptions without proof are more dangerous. There is no science behind this but still, many will use “voodoo” logic (to paraphrase GHWB) to convince themselves of them.

      If minimal distortion is of no value, how can “wires” be of a lot of value?

      I am missing something here.

  7. Truth is Russia and China did not attend the the climate summit and pollution is just shifted to countries that do not comply as our corporations shut down and move overseas so the world does not benefit if everyone doesn’t comply. Joe was asleep for awhile at the climate summit so I’m not sure what he learned from it.

    Funny how the super rich continue using their private jets and large caravans to get around that are fossil fuel burners. Rules for thee not for me. With rising seas I’m not sure why Obama bought a house near the ocean in Martha Vineyard where he recently threw a big mask-less party. Moreover Joe is begging our adversaries from OPEC many of whom despise us and harbor terrorists to increase oil production to ease prices at the pump. Joe can always go back to Trumps policies which he got rid of by opening up the keystone pipeline that he closed that cost us millions of jobs instead of asking foreign countries to increase production and give them more jobs.We were at least energy independent before Joe ruined that. If you need to increase production why not here where our people can have jobs? Joe approved the Russian pipeline to Germany but closed ours down.

    I am not against electric cars even though there are pros and cons to the environment. Windmills kill millions of birds and need helicopters which pollute in order to maintain them. Also mining for the materials needed for batteries is not good for the environment. Increased demand for electricity means more nuclear power plants and natural gas use that generates electricity. Still I’m for the technology but while we transfer over if that is where we are headed there is no need for higher gas prices while we wait.

    This has nothing to do with getting lead out of gas and catalytic converters. All vehicles comply with that.

    1. Our audio hobby is not exactly green friendly but I’m not willing to give that up. Back in the day the world wasn’t headed into insolvent debt either. The debt is unsustainable and systemic collapse is imminent. That’s very threatening too.

        1. Right FR,
          We’ve waited since the mid-1900s and especially since 1976 when we were warned about this coming catastrophe. How much longer can we wait? The two scientists (and now thousands of others) who made the announcement in 1976 now say it’s already too late and there are inhabitants of this planet who still want to kick the can down the road. We must make sacrifices now to save our entire planet. Now is the time, our Earth is the place.

            1. Martin These ultra wealthy people and middle-class people who believe in the American dream think they can throw this planet out likely was garbage and just move onto the next planet which is one of the stupidest things or maybe the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

              The Scandinavian countries seem to have a better handle on life. That’s why you see so many bikes in Europe for so long. My cousin just returned from that area and he spoke to many of the people on the streets. What they said to him was so true. We don’t have high expectations and therefore we’re happy. I’d love to grab all of the Billionaires money and put it to real use and not to waste but we all know that’s never going to happen. When you’ve got really stupid and evil people like Megan Markel flying around with her husband in their private jet and preaching to the people in our country about pollution we have hit rock bottom. What goes on in the world today is incredible and it’s almost impossible to reverse course.

    2. Please keep politics out of this. You’re only sharing how misguided and brainwashed you are by political propaganda.

      You are using ridiculous scare tactics.

  8. What people fear truly amazes me. For example, some fear immigration both legal and illegal coming from the south. In response they want to spend billions of dollars to build a wall on our border. These same people also fear paper masks, social distancing, vaccinations, and sometimes even washing hands. Still other people fear listening to the Bay City Rollers and the Go Go’s will melt your brain. All this proves is that some fears are rational (Yes, listening to the BCR really will melt your brain) and others aren’t (No, having you child wear a mask is child abuse)

    1. The Wall pays for itself Bret and it has entry points for legal entry that make it difficult for human traffickers and drug smugglers to get through. Saves on border labor. Can you imagine the manpower you would need to keep people in prisons without walls? Biden just built a nice big one around his home in Delaware.

        1. The wall needs to be painted, Democrats are letting it rot. Also letting tax payer paid wall lie on the ground unpainted and rotting away. You misunderstood my Joe’s home wall. Just saying Joe must think walls work or he wouldn’t be getting one paid for by tax payers by the way. Joe’s a failure. His approval rating is plunging and hes taking down other Democrats with him if you did not notice the Tuesday election results around the country. I love my house walls and my doors that have locks on them. I never said the wall works 100% but it works better than no wall and helps our border agents that are overwhelmed.

          1. What do you mean by a taxpayer wall? Seems like your party won’t allow us to come up with the money to pay back the debt that the past president left us. Stop the BS Joe.

            1. Huh? Bidens wall around his home is being paid with tax payer money. As far as the debt run up by the last administration it was covid debt. Country was humming along before covid with a growing economy. Growth creates tax revenue to pay down debt. 6 to 7 trillion was run up fighting covid while tax revenues were not coming in due to an economy that was intentionally closed down except for essential businesses. I also do not understand what you mean by my party. I have no party though I am a 40 year registered Democrat. My party has been hijacked by radical leftist socialists.

        1. Didn’t you just see the 15,000 that were under that bridge who were dispersed around the country? 4000 more headed our way to the southern border. The wall needs to be completed for it too work and Joe pulled the plug on it.

          1. Don’t you think that we should back away from this conversation because it’s not appropriate to this audio discussion? Neither you or I will ever come to grips with these issues so I am signing off of the comments between us and I suggest you do the same.

            1. Sorry to hear unless I agree with you the discussion ends. Are the reply keys only for agreeing? Yes this is an audio discussion board but Paul did post something off topic here and I posted what I believe are scare tactics to me. This will be the end of our discussion as you wish.

  9. For what I see as a problem for inexperienced audiophiles with little chance to try out themselves, „scare tactics“ of others would be a too extreme term.

    What I mean is the implication of manufacturers, dealers, lobbyists or fellow audiophiles, what’s important and necessarily needed vs. what’s really important and the „fear“ to miss something important if not following the strong recommendation.

    Very valid things for the one, can be completely meaningless or in the worst case BS and wasted money for the other and his environment. To differentiate with recommendations between individual preconditions would be the most important service, manufacturers or more experienced folks can give to those less experienced.

    The meaning and effectiveness of fuses, cables, power line quality measures, hires, DSD, analog, Class A, dynamic range, speaker positioning recommendations etc. etc. is not the same for every situation.

    A general rule promising high efficiency shouldn’t be proclaimed so if its efficiency is depending on the environment. An advice is only helpful if it’s tailored towards the individuals‘ situation or if this dependency is mentioned.

  10. My favert scare tactic, is no sccare tactic at all!
    I can remember when CD’s first came out.
    I was just only 11 at the time.
    Music that was created digitally, had a vary harsh sound to me.
    Tapes and records sounded better.

  11. Isn’t fear the basis of all marketing campaigns? Fear of missing out, of not keeping up, of being judged inadequate, and so forth? Whenever I see phrases such as “this is the best ever,” “get it before supply runs out,” “we were blown away by the improvements,” “we can only keep prices this low for so long,” “change your habits before the earth freezes or fries or whatever are the consequences of your religious or mind set persuasion, etc., I smile and wonder, are we really that dumb?

  12. Lead is way worse for health than most people know. Generations including mine grew up breathing a lot of the stuff. It was only removed by listening to scientists and not letting politics and special interests corrupt the decision.

    The fossil fuel industry invested heavily in lead and fought tooth and nail to keep it in gasoline (where it still used in some aviation fuel).

    https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2017/06/01/new-evidence-that-lead-exposure-increases-crime/

  13. Scare tactics from the past:
    “If you do that, you will go blind.”
    “Unless you believe, you will go to hell.”
    “Microwaves cause cancer.”
    “In thirty years there won’t be enough food for mankind to survive.”
    “The growing government deficit will destroy this country.”
    “Communism is taking over the world.”
    “The world is running out of oil.”
    “Precious metals and land will be the only things of value.”
    “The end of the world is near…are you ready?”

    1. Don’t you believe in any of those comments? Not everything is a scare tactic. They are just statements that should scare the hell out of people. Not everyone but definitely more than a few.

      1. Stimpy, I do not. These are scare tactics that I heard in my youth and many are still used today. None of these claims have materialized or been authenticated. When I was in college a cover of Time magazine warned that over the next three decades the earth would enter an ice age. A popular best selling book entitled “The Late Great Planet Earth” predicted the world would end in the early 1980s. Scare tactics still abound.

        1. I try to differentiate between a science article that never came true and a crazy person who predicts that the world is coming to an end on a certain date and when that doesn’t happen he predicts another date and another date and another date. Global warming is upon us and I hope you don’t dispute that. We are in big trouble and I’ll just stick to that scare tactic Joseph. Best regards

          1. Maybe we can lower the rhetoric a bit?

            I do hope for all our sakes we can all agree on the climate threat that looms. It is not something anyone needs to “believe” in, it is simply fact.

            What to do about it and the level of urgency can be debated all day long and I am sure it will be. But please, let us not try and suggest the heating of the planet by manmade sources and the resulting problems are not real.

            That’s simply not aaceptable in the same way it’s not acceptable to yell “fire” in a crowded theater when there is none.

            1. Paul, what about yelling “fire” and then rushing into the supposedly burning, crowded room? Sounds nuts, doesn’t it? Kind of like yelling that fossil fuels are destroying the planet and then flying off to a climate summit in so many private jets that the local runways run out of landing capacity. When the doomsayers start acting as though they believe what they preach and don’t really have an alternative agenda, I’ll take the issue seriously. Until then, I’ll keep an open, but skeptical mind.
              Is the planet warming? Yes, a little, and has been for a long time. How much of the warming is due to man made activity? Maybe some, but hard to measure. What should we do about it? Start by lowering the rhetoric and guilt trips and then adjust individual behaviors according to one’s personal beliefs, which may mean giving up private jets and 1200 watt tube amps. But, above all, be consistent.

              1. This deserves push back. It doesn’t matter whether “doomsayers” (a scare word) are hypocritical or not. Ridiculously asserting scientists have an “alternate agenda” (without any evidence) is also a scare tactic. Anyone’s behavior or decision to fly doesn’t impact whether thousands of scientists are correct in their analysis of climate warming. Even if Al Gore has a large house (does that scare anyone?), it doesn’t affect whether the science is sound. The climate doesn’t care either.

                Regarding how much the planet is warming and its causes, that has been absolutely established within a very small amount of uncertainty. Exxon scientists in 1982 accurately predicted the warming their company’s products (along with other fossil fuel burning) would cause by 2020. Might want to scroll through this:
                https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/

                Unless you are an expert, you’re not keeping an “open mind” when you disagree with them. You are just wrong.

  14. Time for me to cool down my rhetoric. It seems that every day at least one person goes off topic Which makes me very angry and I always wind up apologizing which I should. I wish we could just stay on topic. Perhaps the topics are too broad lately. Easy to go off on tangents when that starts to happen.

  15. Hi Paul! “What’s your favorite” certainly opened up a rats nest. Be careful what you wish for.
    The most recent disturbing scare tactic is the misinformation and disinformation about the Covid 19 vaccine. Please talk with your trusted health care professional to get the real story. Your life and your loved ones life may depend on it.

    1. Thanks. I appreciate your concern. Fully vaccinated with my 3d Phizer dose and happy as hell about it. I hope folks get right about it. As I have said before, few of us would hesitate to trust our medical experts iof we needed an operation or had a round of cancer. But throw a bunch of scare tactics from people who for whatever reasons of their own feel threatened then we don’t know who to believe.

      My best advice is to look at the results. Simply compare hospitalization rates of countries more or less vaccinated. The US is sadly one of the lowest with one of the highest hospitalization rates. The virus doesn’t care about our politics.

      Last year I was diagnosed with severe prostate cancer. The highest level possible. I didn’t hesitate to find the best surgeon I could and took care of it immediately. I didn’t look online for opinions I simply trusted the medical experts and it saved my life.

      1. Paul, thanks for sharing that. You are among friends and we care very much about your health and vitality. Many of your readers are in a similar age group, with increasing vulnerability to all kinds of health issues. I just failed my FIT specimen analysis and now must drink the awful liquid and undergo a colonoscopy. I am actually glad I failed, because I have not had a colonoscopy in over 15 years and that is something my doctor has been trying to get me to do for the past five years. Until now I have done the FIT test each year, with negative results until the last one. I have been reading that statistically, failing the FIT test means there is a 75% chance of having one or more polyps, but fortunately only 4% chance of having cancer. In any event, early discovery and treatment is critical to a successful outcome. Following your example, I will put all my fear of doctors aside and trust them on this.

        I got my Moderna booster shot the very morning after it was approved by CDC. Instead of just a half dose, I insisted on a full dose like the Pfizer folks get. I figured the arm would be just as sore for two days, and I would be better protected.

      2. Sorry to hear that, Paul. Great you took care of it immediately!! My father-in-law waited too late…God Rest his Soul!

        My diagnosis came 7 years ago…never hesitated, had the Prostate radical surgery and have been doing Great since!!!

  16. We get scare tactics from all sides…. Its not one sided.

    The only solution == Truth will set you free.

    Dumb ass people can be swayed and herded from left, or from the right. The media and politicians can be cattle herders..

    Truth finds balance and provides you with depth and clear imaging. You can see where they are coming from.

    That was simple… So was the wheel.

  17. When I was a young tyke and was misbehaving (which back then, was likely a small nearly silent micro-snivel because I couldn’t have the chocolate fudge Pop-Tarts) in the grocery store – my mother would bend down to my level, get close, real close – we’re talkin that lovely coffee & cigarette breath close – and with teeth glued tightly together would loudly whisper:
    “If you don’t BEHAVE, I’m gonna PULL YOUR PANTS DOWN & SPANK YOU RIGHT HERE IN THE STORE!!!”
    Now THAT was a scare tactic and we BELIVED it and IT WORKED. I was silent for the rest of the shop and there were NO Pop-Tarts!
    Side note – I was also later informed that as a baby, my mother & grandmother would enter the regularly grocery store (Edmonton), plunk me down in my carrier on the shelf below the front windows by the doors and then pick me up on the way out. Oh, the sixties! Can you imagine if someone did that now? . It’s a wonder I didn’t turn out to be a Walmart greeter.
    You know what, I’m gonna go out right now and get me some gall-dang chocolate fudge POP-TARTS!
    And a box of Capt’n CRUNCH!!!!!

  18. I am very conflicted about what I am going to say. So start I will talk about my biggest childhood scare and then about two current topics on which I am conflicted.

    I am old enough that when I went to grade school there were signs in the school that directed people to the basement of the school in case of a thermonuclear missile attack. As a retired Ph.D. physicist I can say with complete certainty that if St. Louis ( where I grew up ) had been struck by a thermonuclear missile being in the basement or huddling under a desk would have done about as much good as taking Vitamin C does for protecting you from the coronavirus.

    IMO, the US government is engaging in two cases of scare tactics. What I am so conflicted about is that as a man of science I fully support one of them and wish that the government would stop the other one and tell people the full truth and not just some of the truth.

    The one that I support is the campaign to get everyone vaccinated against the coronavirus. Everyone should be frightened of the coronavirus. All of the data ( which I have reviewed ) makes it clear that the only way we will ever be free of the virus is to get everyone vaccinated. I support any action that is currently being used to get more people vaccinated.

    I am sure that what I am about to say next will upset some of you. My Ph.D. thesis was peripherally related to what is believed to be the one of the major causes of climate change. That is the cycle changes in the tilt of the Earth’s axis of rotation. There is data from ice cores taken in Greenland and Siberia that clearly show that the Earth has been going through the same 100K year cycle of climate change for at least the last 800K years. The changes in temperature ( which range from ice age to the current high point in global temperature ) and CO2 content follow the same pattern every 100K years. It is not clear that man’s production of CO2 will impact the cycle and more research is required. It may be that people want to error on the side of caution, but people should be given all of the facts before we invest massive resources into curtailing CO2 and methane production in what may be a futile attempt to alter a natural cycle that has gone on for at least 800K years.

    1. Tony, thanks for your thoughts above. Regarding climate change, you mention the “major” cause of climate change is the cycle. Can you provide any legitimate references which point to that cycle and more importantly, any references or proving/disproving the recent (last 100 yrs) generation of CO2 which is said to be a contributor to the rapid changes in weather patterns and temperature increases. I am open to looking at this in an unbiased way. It sounds like what you are saying is that our more recent efforts to minimize CO2 emissions may not make much of a difference. Any references you provide will be very much appreciated. Thanks very much

  19. Snake oil and measurements are scare tactics that I started ignoring a long while ago. If you hear a difference, there most likely is a difference. If you can measure it, great. If you cannot measure it, you are probably measuring the wrong thing. This is a hobby, brings joy and if I change a cable or put something under my preamp and hear a difference, I’m not waiting for someone to tell me that it’s expectation bias, I’ll just enjoy the sound.

  20. A friend of mine came down with COVID-19, his wife and daughter also, they are all vaccinated,so how effective is this vaccine. The only thing I can say is they didn’t seem to get quite as sick as a few other people I know.

    1. You are right, the purpose of the vaccine that we have today is to help you fight off a covid infection without getting really sick ( and of course not dying ). They are working on a possible nasal applied vaccine that would actual prevent you from getting infected. That would be really great, but it is not here yet. The vaccine we have today was more effective at stopping infection on the early variants of the coronavirus, but once the delta variant hit the vaccine has not been as effective at stopping infection, but it is effective at fighting off the infection. There is also discussion of creating a vaccine based on the delta variant. Also keep in mind that if you are vaccinated you can probably withstand a slight exposure to the delta variant without getting infected, however, if someone who you live with gets infected the chances of spread is much higher.

  21. Immunity not only works for foreign delegates.

    Those who mostly succumb to the virus in a bad way are listed on a chart of comorbidities.

    Its bad with those who have compromised immunity to begin with…

    But… we are not supposed to know that.

  22. “I do hope for all our sakes we can all agree on the climate threat that looms. It is not something anyone needs to “believe” in, it is simply fact.”

    I’m sorry to say, Paul, but this is a case of arrogance and false certainty. You are not a climate scientist, yet you have decided what is “fact” and what is not. Your clear implication is that anybody who disagrees with you either is an inadvertent moron or a conscious science denier.

    I have no opinion on the global warming controversy, as it does not interest me.

    But if Tony Plachy, a scientist with experience bearing on this field, is skeptical of your “fact,” then so am I.

    As always, my best advice to you is that nothing good comes from mixing audio and politics.

    With warmest regards,

    Ron

    1. With all due respect, Ron, fact and truth aren’t something debatable. There are stories around them that are debatable, agreed. And we can argue all day long about whether or not the Earth is round or flat, but still….

      I apologize if I come across as arrogant or dismissive of those that don’t see the same thing. That’s not kind nor is it my intent. Tony is a bright guy. A scientist. I am not a scientist. Indeed. But that doesn’t really enter into the picture when there is an issue that is not an opinion but rather a simple fact.

      Our civilization is pumping 50 billion tons of C02 into the atmosphere per year, year after year. That’s a simple fact. Over the last 800,000 years we’ve been at below half of the ppm we are currently at and, at our present rate of emissions, we should reach a level of C02 not seen in 35 million years (the last time Antarctica was ice free).

      I don’t need to be a scientist to understand or relate those facts to you and others. And this has nothing to do with politics, something I did promise the group to stay away from. These are just facts.

      What Tony is referring to, I assume, is the debate over what those facts mean. I believe Tony is thinking of the Milankovitch cycle, which is where the Earth’s wobble takes us in and out of ice ages over time. Very true and we see the records of it clearly. In any case, I am not here to debate what it means. We can all have a story about that, whatever makes us happy or scared or concerned. What we cannot ignore are the facts. The truth of what is happening.

      Lastly, I will share a recent post of a friend of mine about truth and facts.

      _____________

      Truth is elusive, but it isn’t evasive

      There is almost certainly life on other planets in the universe.

      And, by definition, there are flying things that are difficult to identify.

      But it doesn’t follow that unidentified flying things are spaceships with aliens in them.

      There are definitely conspiracies all around us.

      And, by definition, organizations often do things that are difficult to explain.

      But that doesn’t mean that all of those actions are the result of a conspiracy.

      The modern era of UFO-ology began in 1947. UFO as in aliens in ships, not in the obvious statement that some objects we encounter aren’t identified yet. In the seventy years since the aliens come on the scene, our ability to take photographs has become significantly more widespread and the quality of those photos and videos is incomparable to what we used to have.

      And yet the pictures of UFOs haven’t improved.

      People who used to see things in broad daylight in their backyards suddenly stopped seeing them as soon as they got an iPhone.

      One way to tell that you’re dealing with a story instead of falsifiable science is that the story changes when evidence is brought to the table. (Falsifiable means that it can be proven false. “I’m thinking of a unicorn” is not falsifiable, because I can change my story if I need to.)

      That’s because we’re humans, and humans embrace stories. There are countless good reasons to believe in the possibility of UFOs and other conspiracies. But evidence that holds up to scrutiny and Occam’s razor isn’t one of them.

      If we’re not prepared to change our minds in the face of a test that demonstrates the opposite, then we’re embracing a story.

      Crop circles and Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster are useful stories. But they’re also busy evading our ability to find them. If someone gives a new excuse every time there’s better data about medicine or other useful technology, it’s a clue that we’re hearing a story, not a scientific debate.

      Truth is hard to find. Truth is difficult to understand when it arrives. But truth doesn’t work to evade us. It usually stays still until we find it.

      1. Nice reply, Paul. Here’s an interesting graphical representation of our planet’s warming over the last 22,000 years. The next time someone says “the climate is always changing,” or “what about such and such warming that occurred many millennia ago?” they could be pointed to this graphic.

        It doesn’t matter that some other factor caused warming in the planet’s past. We weren’t around then, but we are now and have only ourselves to blame and to extract us from our predicament. We have the knowledge and tools to fix this if only we cared as much about this as we do the nuances in our audio toys.

        https://xkcd.com/1732/

      2. Dear Paul,

        Thank you very much for your detailed and thoughtful reply. I agree with you that “fact” and “truth” are not debatable. That is the easy part. But that just begs the hard question: what is a “fact” and what is the “truth”? I submit to you that this follow-on question is much more of a morass than you are suggesting.

        I would consider it to be a “fact” and to be the “truth” that inhaling cigarette smoke over a long period of time is bad for one’s lungs. I think this view is extremely widely held; I am not sure if anyone would disagree with it; and I think there is virtually, if not literally, no controversy about this statement. I think we can agree that this is a “fact” and the “truth.”

        Let me say at the outset that I know nothing about the global warming issue. I have not looked into it myself. I have never thought about the issue until today. I frankly have had no interest in it. I have no dog in this hunt.

        Is there essentially no disagreement about your statement that “[o]ur civilization is pumping 50 billion tons of C02 into the atmosphere per year, year after year”? I have no independent knowledge of this subject. I have no idea if you are correct or if you are wrong. I am certain your heart is in the right place, and that you believe you are correct. But there is no way for me, who is not a climate scientist or a geologist and who knows nothing about this subject, to know whether this is a fact and a true statement or not.

        Is it the case that there is essentially no controversy about the accuracy of this statement? Does this statement fall into the category of virtually incontestable statements like my cigarette smoking is bad for the lungs example above?

        If your answer is “yes,” then I accept your statement as a “fact.” I accept it not only as your personal truth, but as the truth. But if your statement is not as free from controversy as my smoking example, then I cannot deem your statement to be a fact – and neither should you. It may still be your opinion, your belief, but it does not rise to the certainty of a “fact.” It might be the “truth,” or it might not be.

        Even if your statement about CO2 is a fact, it does not tell me anything about the change in the temperature of planet Earth. There is a giant gulf of emptiness and mere speculation between your statement about CO2 and your conclusion that the CO2 emissions are raising the temperature of the planet. I have no idea if one follows from the other. All I know is that your fact does not, without a lot more, prove your conclusion.

        Lastly I wish I could endorse your friend’s recent post. I know you sent it to me in the hope that it would enable us to reach common ground and reconcile our views; something we could both agree to.

        Unfortunately I cannot endorse the post. I find it to be plagued by faulty logic and a fatal lack of introspection. I think his/her post is an example of something that may sound right superficially, but falls apart immediately upon scrutiny.

        “Truth is elusive, but it isn’t evasive” sounds fancy and intellectual. But I think that it has no plain meaning.

        “But it doesn’t follow that unidentified flying things are spaceships with aliens in them.” I agree that “unidentified”means only “unidentified.” “Unidentified”doesn’t mean little green aliens; we do not know who or what is flying the vehicles or from where they originated or who made them.

        “And yet the pictures of UFOs haven’t improved.” First, this partially contradicts the earlier statement that unidentified flying things exist. Second, it’s an unsubstantiated assertion, which I think is demonstrably false.

        We now have lengthy and detailed FLIR videos of unidentified flying things. We have eyewitness reports by professional military pilots and trained military observers. We have corroboration of the sightings of unidentified flying things simultaneously from airborne pilots and multiple shipborne sensory and imaging systems. To say that the evidence of unidentified flying things is no better than it was in 1947 ignores all of these revelations.

        Then your friend goes on to list a number of things he/she obviously personally considers to be conspiracy theories and nonsense, but I highly doubt he is an expert on the research of crop circles, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster. So here he/she is merely regurgitating his/her personal opinions about three topics of which he/she apparently has no actual knowledge or expertise simply because he/she believes without investigation that he/she knows the answers to each of them. And you want us to learn from this friend of yours how to separate truth from falsity with analytical rigor? Why, exactly, are we supposed to take your friend’s mere personal, un-evidenced opinions as “facts” and “truth”?

        It is amusing that he/she mentioned crop circles, because a lifelong friend of mine is probably the world’s leading academic expert on crop circles and the attributes thereof. I have no idea why, and my friend has no idea why, but my friend has discovered and documented that crop circles have some unexplained disruptive effect on small electrical devices in the field of the circles.

        So is your friend’s view that crop circles are nonsense the “truth”? Is it a “fact” that crop circles are nothing but a conspiracy theory? What is your friend’s basis for his/her view that he/she is stating a “fact” and the “truth” regarding crop circles? Or, again, should we take your friend’s mere opinions as “facts” simply because he/she says so?

        Thank you, again, for your reply. I am grateful for this dialogue!

        Have a great weekend!

        With warmest regards,

        Ron

      1. Thanks Paul, I was happy to see that my memory served correctly on the release date of cat converters (1975) according to the wikipedia link you sent along.

        I bought a brand new Old Cutlass in 1974, it was the last year for REAL dual exhausts from the engine back. Same motor and model for 1975 was back to single exhaust and use of the first cats on GM cars and for the 350 CID v8 and other engines. Power was also brought way down, and rear gear ratios were VERY high. Not the best years for American cars, sadly.

        We’ve come a long way!, just look at that future release ZO6 Corvette and it’s highest horsepower engine in a production car with NO turbo or super charger involved. Impressive!!

        Sorry I went off the rails and onto an automotive ‘track’, but I will say, I had a couple of neighbors over to hear the audio system recently. After SIX hours of sampling all kinds of music, I was offered the opportunity to drive their Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor (Long Range) this weekend !! Can’t wait (O:

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