Recent History of the US Education System

Scene 1: Los Angeles, Pho, dinner with a science teacher friend
“Our Education System is designed to create the next Einstein. It doesn’t work and needs to change.”

I balked at this initially, cause knee jerk reactions are human, and I need to play the part, but he was right. Looking back at all my public and private school science and maths classes, that is exactly what was going on. Turns out, we damned near lost The Space Race to those pesky Commie Russians back before either of us were born. So the US revamped the public education system to help fill these knowledge gaps. This later became known more formally as STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. And, in true American fashion, it’s Math, singular, and not Maths, plural.

Scene 0: Time travel, the line of demarcation, and the effects of politics
Science has never been apolitical. Not fucking once. And now, we’ve introduced a line of demarcation into this quagmire of fuckery. If you received your science education after the line of demarcation, then you understand science. If you received your science education before the line of demarcation, then you believe in science. The same effects hold true in the other branches of STEM. Guess which group is more likely to hold positions of power, like elected officials or Supreme Court Justices?

Scene -1: Religion and how it has perverted fucking everything
I always want to start this out with, “Fuck religion,” but let’s try something a bit nicer. In the beginning, humans didn’t have the ability to read or write, and speech as we know it today didn’t exist. Our skill set grew and grew our capabilities. Prior to written language, we lost the vast majority of our history. We saved some history through oral tradition – stories, songs, etc. And since that oral tradition also served as the primitive basis for, “How Things Work,” (aka, SCIENCE! but.. terrible), and intermingled with “I’m scared of death; hold me, Sky Daddy!”, Religion became the primary and de facto Science™ without even a 101 level understanding.

I’ve boiled the above to a single paragraph for simplicity’s sake, but most religion boils down to really shitty science, really shitty laws, and really shitty deities. Writing things down didn’t improve the quality of ANY of these religious aspects. In fact, it exacerbated all of the bad shit.

Science is a relatively new invention, and Religion indoctrinates “MY religion or death/eternal damnation” at an age prior to any reasonable critical thinking skills, so most people get Religion prior to Science.

Scene 2: Recent Timelines
My grandparents’ generation would taste urine to diagnose diabetes because the body would pass excess sugar in the urine. The urine would taste sweeter. Now we can take a drop of blood, put it on an absorbent paper, and perform science. You do/do not have diabetes. Congrats.

My parents generation hid under desks in school because Cold War Go Boom. Thankfully, the Big Red Boom turned into Economic Boom, they got to watch Human Balloons go bouncy bouncy on a giant fire pogo stick to the big cheese in the sky, and the reaped the benefits and overextended, well, everything, including nature, just like they overextended to the 2008 Housing Market crash.

I’m Gen X, so the vast majority of people think I’m a Millennial because they’re fucking idiots, can’t do math, and can’t/won’t fucking think. Yes, I killed Applebees. Before I was old enough to drive, I was old enough to be a manager and decide to cut costs and quality and switch to microwavable servings. All my fault. I’m one of the oldest Gen X. Gee, math is hard!

I’m also, finally, old enough to run for President and other government offices. And twenty+ years ago I was old enough to see how fucking stupid our politicians are. That part hasn’t changed.

Scene 3: Today, Tomorrow, and the Future Beyond
Somewhere out there is a balance between career politicians, Supreme Court Justices with life-long appointments, and some sort of on-going education system designed to give Decision Makers both a broad and in depth understanding beyond the current two minute slideshow, “summary.” I’d say vote them out, but, ya know, gerrymandering, and the Supreme Court’s aversion to Maths (plural, I will fight you on this) pretty much nuked that from orbit, which, oddly enough, is something those pesky Communist Russians never did. Huh.

Currently, the vast majority of politicians stem from an age and/or religious dogma that values religion over science. Our everyday language is indicative of that. People seem to think you “believe” in Science (Deity TBD) or science issues (Climate Change). You don’t. You understand science and the Scientific Method and what the evidence indicates. You believe in religion and whatever Sky Daddy you want.

TLDR?
(1) Religion fucked up everything. Religious people are in positions of power. And these people fucked up good and proper.
(2) The education system is designed to produce scientists because we needed yesterday, need them today, and will need them moving forward. By and large, the vast majority of people who go through the US Education System will not grow up to be scientists. But if we get even one Great Scientist, it will have succeeded admirably.
(3) The people in (1) are not the people in (2).

Fin.

Mono U Stasis

I’ve been tinkering around with this pile of fun.

Download

So far, Commandeer is good for opposing Planeswalkers, Counterspell wars, and drawing three cards off my opponent’s Ancestral Recall. Chain is hit or miss. Sometimes it wins you the game, sometimes they bounce your lock piece. Daze is hilarious. Making them play around it means you can often board at least some out in game two. Submerge is great. Activate in response to a fetch land and shuffle away a Goyf/DRS. Archmage steals DRS.

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Adding white gives us Teferi (CMC 3) and Teferi (CMC 5), Swords to Plowshares. Supreme Judgment keeps coming up on my wishlist, too, so there’s that. No Back to Basics means we can run Tundras and Library, and Heliod, if we want it, allows us to recur Seal of Cleansing.

What started as a joke

Yorion Hogaak Mill, the monstrosity

I don’t know why. I promised Twitter if I got to 246 cards, I’d add Battle of Wits, and I did, so I did.

At this point, I might as well just run every decent Dredge card to date.

I’ve gone 0-10 in two leagues, and I think it’s hilarious.

Editor’s note (read: *me*): Urm, erm, um. I’m not a graphics person. So apologies for the absolutely shittastic mod. Let me know if you want a .txt or .dek. I’ll add it to the list.

Also, I crashed MTGO SO HARD.

Black Lives Matter.

Throughout the recent, turbulent past, I’ve strived to keep FTS apolitical. That time has ended.

On Thursday, May 25th, 2020, Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for at least seven minutes. Reports differ, some as many as nine minutes. At this time, there are three different videos of the incident. You can view the videos at your discretion here at CNN. The second video shows four officers involved. Two autopsy reports arrived at different results.

In short, the State of Minnesota, Hennepin County has formally charged former officer Derek Chauvin with both Murder in the Third Degree and Manslaughter in the Second Degree.

Court Case Lookup: Case Number 27-CR-20-12646

At this time, the State has not charged the other three officers.
Edit: Tou Thao has been fired. Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng were also involved.

In less than one week and in the midst of COVID-19, over two hundred and fifty cities have held protests here in the states. New Zealand, Netherlands, Germany, and the UK have joined in solidarity. This article delves into the not-even-close to exhaustive list of events that have lead up to this week.

In less than one week, I’ve watched police officers shoot at unarmed civilians and media journalists, some as close as point-blank. These weapons are labeled as, “non-lethal,” but that is a misnomer. Let us be absolutely clear. A blank can kill. A rubber bullet can kill. A bean bag can kill. A smoke grenade can kill.

Keep this in mind when you view the images below.

My friend sent me this image of Mennonites joining the protest. Please let me know who to credit.

We have a President who is actively stoking the fires [1, 2]. We have officers who surround the home of a killer instead of doing their job and arresting him.

We have police using vehicles to attack civilians [1, 2, 3].
We have police using pepper spray and tear gas to attack civilians [1, 2, 3].
We have police attacking and arresting journalists [1, 2, 3, list of 19?? more].
We have civilians attacking civilians [1, 2], both arrested & charged with swiftness.
The Verge has a list of incidents here.
We have cops taking down the American Flag to replace it with a flag of their own [1].
We have concerns of agent provocateurs [1, 2, 3].
We have concerns of cop agent provocateurs [1, 2].
We have looting [1].
We even have police using tear gas on themselves… [1]
We have community members cleaning up after the riots [1].
We have civilians providing safe refuge for protesters [1].
And we have civilians protecting officers [1].

For comparison…
This is how police handled the COVID-19 protesters one month ago [1].
This is how police handled the riot after the football game [1, 2].

This list is by no means exhaustive.

Source

TL;DR?
Our Police have doubled-down and arrested, attacked, and harmed countless civilians instead of arresting four of their own.

Last updated: June 2nd, 2020.

Lutri

I played a terrible Zirda deck tonight. I’ll summarize: I only won vs the Bye. Lurrus > Zirda. Full stop.

If I was going to play a non-Lurrus deck, I would run this Lutri combo deck. It’s a 60 card singleton with a Lurrus main. Because Lurrus is that good. It also needs a Tendrils maindeck, and probably a Vampiric Tutor.

I did not have time to test a Red Prison / Hate Bear deck. Ash Zealot, Pyroclasm, and Grove/Fire Combo seem well positioned. Four Trinisphere and four Chalice makes Red Prison, and we only get one of each. Yidaro is better poised for Legacy until we get better lock pieces. Maybe a Red/White variant with Thalias can help shore the weaknesses. Good hate in both colors. Mardu gives Bob. Jund gives Wrenn. The format will settle down soon enough.

There is an upside to Lurrus. I haven’t lost to Mentor since.

Standstill – UR

Here is where I am currently at:

Version 1, 2020-04-20

I’ve opted to splash Red for 4x Yidaro, Wandering Monster, 3x Lightning Bolt, and Sideboard singletons of Pyroblast and By Force. I’m running more Bolts than Pyroblasts because of Lurrus, even though it weakens my matchups against Oko and other blue Planeswalkers. The card is that good.

I went 3-2, but was overall pleased. Ian’s Storm deck blew through my counterspells, and I couldn’t find a red source to Bolt Lurrus and stabilize. Dredge is a terrible matchup.

Yidaro was consistently less than stellar. Definitely has potential, but not a good fit in this deck. Nimble Obstructionist would have been a better fit, especially for the mirror. Or maindeck Mindbreak Traps.

Chains introduced me to Hall of Heliod’s Generosity. Both Standstill and Shark Typhoon are enchantments. Serenity, Seals, Detention Sphere, Porphyry Nodes, and Ghostly Prison are all enchantments.

I definitely want to test the UW version, but for now, I’m going to remove the Yidaros. Typhoon eliminates the need manlands, and improves the manabase. Running more basics helps the Shops matchup.

Version 2, 2020-04-20

I have no idea what to do about Dredge. Thoughts welcome.

Download Version 1, Version 2

Expensify & Assistance for those on SNAP

From: David Barrett <[redacted]>
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 12:38 AM
To: [redacted]
Subject: Expensify.org/hunger to reimburse families in need during COVID-19 crisis

These are unprecedented times, and it’s inspiring to see communities rising to the challenge. However, not everyone has the resources to “shelter in place” especially the millions of people in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Living paycheck to paycheck is hard when millions of businesses around the nation are closing down indefinitely, and hourly workers (including those dependent upon tips) are the hardest hit. In particular, families with kids whose primary meals happen at school are especially vulnerable when those schools shut down.

With this in mind, Expensify.org is going to temporarily redirect all of its charitable funds to Expensify.org/hunger. With its ability to reimburse volunteers directly in real-time, Expensify.org is uniquely positioned to help families in need immediately. Until today, this fund was focused on paying off kids’ “lunch debts” , but with schools closed around the nation, that isn’t the top priority. Instead, we’re devoting everything to a new program: matching SNAP grocery purchases up to $50 per family. It works like this:

  1. Purchase food as normal with your SNAP card
  2. Download Expensify on iOS or Android, for free
  3. Join the Expensify.org/hunger policy
  4. SmartScan the receipt, which will tell us how much you paid and show that it was paid for with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card
  5. Submit it to volunteer@expensify.org
  6. Set up your bank account to receive the funds
  7. So long as we have funds available, we will reimburse up to $50 per family (one time), the very next day.

To be clear, we can’t commit to reimbursing every single person in need — we have no idea how many people will do this, and unfortunately, we don’t have unlimited funds. We also don’t know how long this crisis will last and how far our brand new charity’s resources will stretch. But we’re going to do what we can with the funds donated on behalf of Expensify Cardholders via the Karma Points feature, as well as by the extremely generous donors who have signed up for our Corporate and Personal Karma programs.

This is a truly global crisis, and it is only beginning. We all need to work together to weather the storm, and on behalf of Expensify.org’s many generous members, we’re eager to help.

-david

President of Expensify.org

PS: While you may not personally be on SNAP, please forward this along to anyone based in the US (where the SNAP program operates) you know that may need food assistance — or to any other groups or organizations who might be able to spread the word that help is available. Helping our local communities is what Expensify.org is all about!

Sent by: Expensify, Inc. – 548 Market St #61434 – San Francisco, CA 94103