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|Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2008 - 12:28 am: |
These Humancafe.com forums are now officially closed and archived, read only.
We are now in the winter of our discontent, to paraphrase the state of our current world. But as a new moon starts from darkness a new beginning, so does this Winter Solstice. Out goes the old, in comes the new.
(interactive -Digital Art)
Winter Solstice goddess: Life is Art.
Did we change the world in the past ten years of writing and thinking? Have our thoughts like ripples on a pond touch minds in all corners of the globe? Perhaps.
Perhaps the world was ready for change, so it changed imperceptibly while we watched. We were just there. I did not write this, you did, we did; for I was merely facilitator to your ideas. We touched on ideas of arts and philosophy: ideas of science and cosmology, personal well being in health and mind, ideas on religious beliefs and secular beliefs, ideas on government and personal freedoms, on history and the legacy of wars, and our human rights. All ideas were welcome, but as ideas rather than dogmas, as the only true way to preserve human freedom. In this I believe we touched many. What you read on these Humancafe forums was written truly by the People of Planet Earth, for the people. This is your legacy.
To all who wrote over the decade, we gave it our best shot. If there was one thing I learned, it is that "enlightenment is irreversible." The rest is up to time. Thank you for writing, and thanks to all for your kind attention and love.
A special thank you for my very dear friend Wayne for helping me set up the Humancafe and its forums, and who stood by me like a true friend during times when I needed help in fixing them. Wayne, my brother, we did good.
This forum is now closed, December 22, 1998, to December 21, 2008, archived - read only.
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|Posted on Saturday, December 27, 2008 - 12:07 pm: |
RE Sectarian violence and Apostasy # http://www.humancafe.com/discus/messages/294/294.html#POST3935
"Dialogue.., Coerced obedience.
If a designer gives the rules and regulations about a design indicating the possible results of potential actions those rules and regulations have to be understood as part of the specification of the design rather than as coercion.
This is self serving reasoning, proving your postulates with your postulates. Coercion is not defined by your 'God' but by the person being coerced, being forced against their agreement. So your axioms of, allegegedly 'God given' rules, coercion are invalid to an outside observer. You may only apply them to yourself, not anyone else. The other will tell you when they are being forced against their agreement, when they are coerced. You may not define that for them. Otherwise, if you define coercion for someone else, you are imposing your rules on them, which in itself is potentially coercive. Why only 'potentially'? Because if the other accepts your conditions, then it is agreement; but if rejected, it is coercion."
This above statement defines exactly why exists sectarian violence: people punish and kill others because they think them heretics or apostates in not believing truly.* If your faith in God is judged by others to be wrong, it takes the power of faith away from you and God, but places this power into the hands of those who judged you.
But this is wrong, and only shows the sect's bias against humanity. When this bias is punishing apostasy with death, then the religious sect is no more than a religious cult of total control: it is then no longer a religion if it threatens with death for apostasy, and should no longer be viewed as a religion for humanity; then it is a cult.
*(Death threats and executions for questioning or offending a particular belief or religion is already ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment, even against its own believers. But it becomes especially onerous and odious when this punishment is directed against persons who are not part of their belief system, e.g., ‘infidels’, as then it oversteps the boundaries of their religion into universal punishment of anyone anywhere, which is universally unacceptable and wrong, to be forcefully condemned.)
|Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2009 - 01:04 pm: |
RE http://www.humancafe.com/discus/messages/294/294.html#POST3940 War and Peace
"Let us not forget what war is. When we were attacked, the whole world was stunned. Let us not forget, that there will always be those who will wish us harm because we are the free."
The troubles begin when the aggressor calls his attack "self-defense." Attacking another is different from defending oneself, or breaking up a fight. The paradox is when the attacker believes his aggression is to either break up a fight (for peace), or in self-defense.
Coercion is valid only insofar as it is used to stop coercion. This is called self-defense. The attacker who uses force is the coercer, always the aggressor. Without paradox for either self-defense or peace, self-defense may not be claimed by the aggressor.
dead or alive illusion
|Posted on Friday, January 09, 2009 - 02:14 pm: |
How do we know we see what we see? When is reality illusion?
In the Wiki it says on Illusion: "An illusion is a distortion of the senses, revealing how the brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation." But what if the brain interprets everything that it perceives as an illusion? Is this a philosophical question, same as the question posed on the "word trick" illusion earlier?
How do we know we see what we see? One way is to verify it independently via a third order. For example, if I predict something will happen scientifically, and a second person with same data makes the same prediction, is the factual prediction when it comes true proof of the third kind that it was not an illusion but true? Think about it.
What if all of us three have the same illusion? Is the universe than nothing more than our collective illusion, like the "word trick" or "light trick" illusion mentioned earlier? This illusion may even be proved mathematically correct, and independently verified by multiple observers (Einstein's proven right again!), but though verified independently it could all still be but an illusion. The math itself could be a trick, though totally self-consistent and correct.
What if our universe is really a kind of Maya illusion, so what we think we see as objective reality is already an illusion of some cosmic dream state?
The conjoined image of three especially popular manifestations of the Hindu Divine Mother: Lakshmi (wealth/material fulfillment), Parvati (love/spiritual fulfillment), and Saraswati (learning and arts/cultural fulfillment).
What is really real? Is it ALL illusion, even what was just said? What's the point, if we are staring into a universe that is all an illusion-dream? Dead or alive, it's all the same to this universe, isn't it?
Ivan/better alive than dead
|Posted on Friday, January 09, 2009 - 08:55 pm: |
What illusion is really real?
How do we know we see what we see? One way is to verify it independently via a third order. For example, if I predict something will happen scientifically, and a second person with same data makes the same prediction, is the factual prediction when it comes true proof of the third kind that it was not an illusion but true?
What is really real? Is it ALL illusion, even what was just said? What's the point, if we are staring into a universe that is all an illusion-dream? Dead or alive, it's all the same to this universe, isn't it?
Fair question, but what if what we think of reality is really illusion, which illusions are really real? Think about that too. For example, which is more real illusion of these dualities? Which illusion is the true reality?
- Being a slave to another, or living free?
- Living in sickness, or living in good health?
- Working with a full functioning brain, or one half paralyzed?
- Being abusive, no different from being abused to either party?
- Committing murder, an illusion to the person killed?
- Taking away a mother's child, merely an illusion to the mother and child?
- Living in joy, or suffering in fear?
- Being conscious, or living in a coma?
So which of these 'illusions' are more real? And why should we care if it is ALL illusion, that reality does not matter? Does this not turn the whole universe into a Subjective world, rather than one capable of an Objective reality?
I am not of state of mind at present to argue this fully, but it seems to me that if we care, if we have a choice, if we value some things like freedom or health over things that are their opposites, like life over death; then the end product is that their MUST be a Reality that defines one 'illusion' from another, or Truth from falsehood. Only that makes any sense at all, at least to my simple mind.
I suspect the Eastern philosophy of all-Universal Reality being Illusion had its roots in a Subjective ground foundation, so Maya Illusion, therefore, is itself the illusion of what is 'real'. But that is false, because we care, we reject falsehood, and Truth has an objectivity that transcends the Subjective ground foundation. In fact, this is the difference between a 'faith based' reality and one that is scientifically based, such as followed in Western philosophy (i.e., dogma vs. truth): Because we prefer life, we prefer the truth of an Objective ground foundation, rather than one based on illusion falsehoods. Which is more real? Truth or falsehood?... Think about it... But it doesn't answer if "Einstein was right again!" is really true, or just a hackneyed cliche.
Free speech upended
|Posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - 12:09 pm: |
Once upon a time there was something called Freedom of Speech. Now in the 21st century the 57 Islamic states in the United Nations of the OIC have successfully passed a resolution to ban free speech. Once upon a time, humanity dreamed of freedom... now the future is back to the past.
UN-acceptable censorship: The United Nations tries to outlaw criticism of Islam
|Posted on Friday, January 16, 2009 - 01:02 pm: |
Our world may be a giant hologram - New Scientist, 15 January, 2009
Curious thought, but then one reads the hyperbole:
According to Craig Hogan, a physicist at the Fermilab particle physics lab in Batavia, Illinois, GEO600 has stumbled upon the fundamental limit of space-time - the point where space-time stops behaving like the smooth continuum Einstein described and instead dissolves into "grains", just as a newspaper photograph dissolves into dots as you zoom in. "It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time," says Hogan.
If this doesn't blow your socks off, then Hogan, who has just been appointed director of Fermilab's Center for Particle Astrophysics, has an even bigger shock in store: "If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram."
In the 1990s physicists Leonard Susskind and Nobel prizewinner Gerard 't Hooft suggested that the same principle might apply to the universe as a whole. Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface.
The "holographic principle" challenges our sensibilities. It seems hard to believe that you woke up, brushed your teeth and are reading this article because of something happening on the boundary of the universe. No one knows what it would mean for us if we really do live in a hologram, yet theorists have good reasons to believe that many aspects of the holographic principle are true.
Exactly how real is this latest cosmic illusion?
Hologram Artwork in MIT Museum
Put that in your Cartesian-space-time-coordinates of "Einstein's right again!" It seems the universe's super-intelligent computer is putting on a pretty good show. But then it gets really crazy:
Crucially, this provides a deep physical insight: the 3D information about a precursor star can be completely encoded in the 2D horizon of the subsequent black hole - not unlike the 3D image of an object being encoded in a 2D hologram. Susskind and 't Hooft extended the insight to the universe as a whole on the basis that the cosmos has a horizon too - the boundary from beyond which light has not had time to reach us in the 13.7-billion-year lifespan of the universe. What's more, work by several string theorists, most notably Juan Maldacena at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, has confirmed that the idea is on the right track. He showed that the physics inside a hypothetical universe with five dimensions and shaped like a Pringle is the same as the physics taking place on the four-dimensional boundary.
Throw in a few extra dimensions if the theory doesn't fit right, and voila! Forget the gravity waves... what's that?
Mixed pantheon gods
|Posted on Sunday, January 25, 2009 - 03:19 pm: |
Why not a pantheon of gods of all religions?
This is a response to "agnostic view" post on cosmology highlighting:
One can mix up any of the above gods with mega-religion gods, such as presented by Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Shiva, Mohammed, Baha-u-Allah, etc., and they come up as a similar pantheon of 'gods' for which the common people will morally act upon their belief-systems.
Taken globally, all religions are 'gods' to their own people who believe in them, so the pantheon of gods is very great indeed! Christians, Jew, Islamist, and all their sub-sects, including Hindu, Jain, Zoroastrian, animists, atheists, are all pantheists in their own way. Each religious 'god' is one more in that pantheon of world-wide religions, each claiming the right or superiority to all others. How is that different from the ancient pantheon of gods? Or how different from the cosmology pantheon, which should include dark-matter and dark-energy, or gravity-waves god? Mix it all up, it comes up the same!
|Posted on Monday, January 26, 2009 - 01:42 pm: |
Pantheism is still with us in the current belief systems of the world.
Pantheism - Yazidi image; Manichean priests, Persia; Heraclitus
Taken globally, all religions are 'gods' to their own people who believe in them, so the pantheon of gods is very great indeed! (from above)
Very good point, that taking humanity as a whole, we are still in a pantheism mode. With our prophets, saints, personality cult worships, legendary giants in history and science, gurus, humanity is still given to worshipping a pantheon of gods, both mortal and immortal, in their religious or popular beliefs.
This pantheism is also true for the sciences on a limited basis, though tempered by the requirements of hard real evidence as proof, and a system of continuous skepticism and inquiry as to the truth of what is being believed. Cosmology is a special case in science because we cannot at close hand examine and test our theories, so it is more easily given over to a quasi-dogmatic belief system as long as all the pieces of the theory fit together; especially if mathematically consistent, which in itself becomes the 'proof' of a theory. The problem with this is if an assumption or postulate is wrong, the whole body of the theory, no matter how elegant, becomes a large fiction in toto, a kind of cosmological pantheon (earlier posted). Some elements of this pantheistic belief system may be valid, and useful, but the justification for the belief system's total body of proof is per force invalid. Then, when these axioms or postulates are taken only on faith, the whole of the science becomes a belief system, usually based on the appeal of a few iconic individuals who made the original assumptions legend, and thus became accepted by the supportive masses. If the math works and is 'elegant' the theory is considered valid, though it may be false; if it is also ‘beautiful’ and elegant, it takes on an aura of being somehow divine in describing the universe; any who then disagree with this belief system may be systematically ostracized by the 'science' community, a heresy: If scientific inquiry tolerance is negated, it leads to false beliefs, and not science.
Albert Einstein supported World Pantheism; Religious Science emblem; Henry David Thoreau
So has humanity, as a whole, evolved beyond the pantheon of gods belief model? Have we really moved beyond ancient superstitions? It appears that though many believe they are in fact Deists, believing in one God, taken as a whole, the world is clearly pantheistic as a total global belief system. Largely, we have stopped persecuting people for their beliefs; though this is far from universally accepted today given the "war on terror" where fighting an intolerant and unrepentant enemy defines the 21st century. (In fact most of modern humanity has distanced itself from the religious superstitions and intolerance of the past, such as the Medieval Inquisition, or hatred of Jews, or witch hunts, religious hatreds, women degradations, the evil eye, etc., though regrettably not enough.) Those religious clerics who call for 'holy' war against non-believers are clearly out of step with modern humanity in their attacks on our human rights and freedoms of belief, of being Who we are; theirs is the clearest modern indication of pantheism gone bad, because they exhort their followers to coerce with force and violence all those who do not believe in their particular brand of pantheism. But it is all pantheistic superstition, nevertheless. The only way to break this evolutionary hold on humanity, our natural propensity to believe in a pantheon of gods, is to break this cycle of pantheism and hold only one true belief system based upon real evidential proofs that are thorough and incontestably verifiable: the Truth as scientifically derived, without the myths of magic or gods. This should be commonplace, and then humanity can finally evolve beyond its "war on terror" mode, and win this war. To get there from here, it will take a massive re-educational program world wide, where dogma-pantheism is put down, and the truth wins out.
It would be interesting to return a thousand years form now and see in which direction humanity finally evolved. Was it for universal Truth? Or did they regress back into a pantheon of new gods? What do we really believe?
Also see: Berlin mosque breaking Islamic taboos - BBC
|Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2009 - 12:41 pm: |
No Gravity Waves detected in Pioneer Anomaly in latest papers.
See Astronomy forum page: http://www.bautforum.com/astronomy/70997-nasa-baffled-unexplained-force-acting-s pace-probes-10.html#post1423727
Toth and Turyshev do exhaustive analysis of RTG heat onboard the Pioneers in paper: http://arxiv.org/pdf/0901.4597v1 . They show the axis of spin is stabilized towards Earth (not sun) so anomalous acceleration from onboard heat recoil is towards sun, not Earth. Further analysis is forthcoming, spin analysis should be considered if spin-up or spin-down is anomalous, onboard heat may cause other considerations beyond mere recoil to effect Pioneer Anomaly.
This study neither proves nor disproves a Variable G hypothesis: http://www.humancafe.com/discus/messages/6/23.html#POST300
Quantum Logic Gates
|Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2009 - 08:21 pm: |
Quantum computation as geometry
Michael Nielsen is one of the world's leading experts on quantum computing. In a recent work he notes that "finding the best quantum circuit to solve a particular problem is equivalent to finding the shortest paths between two points in a particular curved geometry. Intuitively, this problem is like an orienteer or hiker trying to find the shortest path between two points in a hilly landscape, although the space we are working in is harder to visualize. There’s some technical caveats to the result, but that’s the general gist."
This is posted here with regards to the solution of the Billiard Problem and Work with Squaring of the Circle posted on this site. This work relates to the article above and as noted has implications for the design of quantum logic gates
|Posted on Wednesday, February 04, 2009 - 12:13 pm: |
Mars density is puzzling, if...?
Per this page in NinePlanets it shows the range of densities for 11 major bodies in the solar system, where density for Earth, Venus, Mercury is over 5 grams per cubic cm, while Mars, the Moon, and other moons are below 4 g/cc. This is strange especially because the gas giants (taken as total density including their very large atmospheres) show up as very low densities, For example, Jupiter's density is 1.31 g/cc, and Saturn's is only 0.70 g/cc, which is lower than water's density (on Earth) of about 1 g/cc.
Dust storm on Mars: how can it be so dense in an atmosphere about 1% of Earth's air density?
So if Mars' density is lower than Earth's, presumably for the same reason the Moon's is lower, it's because they are smaller bodies gravitationally, so formed less dense in the early solar system. But then when one sees an image like the one below and it becomes a wonder that Mars' planet density is so much lower than Earth's, since it appears to be as rocky as our world.
Mars rover Opportunity about to plunge into Victoria crater
One possible explanation is that the ratio of density between Earth's 5.5153 g/cc and Mars' 3.934 g/cc is about 1.40. This means that as a mass to volume ratio, Earth is 1.4 times denser per volume than Mars. But observations of Mars dust storm behavior, such as above and image of Martian dust-devils, and the rocky composition of the planet, as shown in Victoria crater, would lead us to think that possibly the density of Mars is greater than what we had calculated in relation to mass and volume. Our Moon is known because we had been there. Now we had been to Mars as well, but do we really know its density as a body? The answer should be a simple "Yes" because it works out arithmetically. But it may still be wrong.
The way it could be misleading us into thinking Mars' density is only about 70% of Earth's, while it might be closer to about 90% of Earth's density or more, is if Newton's G used to calculate Mars mass is not a constant. How can this be? Only if the gravity G factor at Mars is greater than at Earth's orbit. (The variable G idea had been discussed at length on this and other forums.) For example, if Earth-G equivalent at Mars was about 1.4, then Mars density would be 100% of Earth's density (3.934 x 1.4 = 5.51), which could be true if Newton's G is not a universal constant but grows with distance from our Sun at about 1G per 1 AU. Mars is about 1.5 AU, so a G nearly 1.5 times greater makes sense, except that we have no positive proof this is so. The only anecdotal evidence is such as stated above, and it seems to make the very low density giant planets more plausible if their higher G levels out the solar system's planetary playing field. So, bottom line, very low density may appear locally as higher density 'clumping' if the molecular structure in a higher G gives them greater density than calculated. But how to measure this?
Of course, this neither proves nor disproves a variable G scenario, but offers an alternative view only.
Our Moon's density is well known, being a local body with same G as Earth. But do we really know Mars' density? Does it make sense?
|Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 01:22 pm: |
Listen to these primeval sounds in the linked image
BBC- Composer's Neanderthal recreation
Neanderthals are us?
|Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2009 - 01:03 pm: |
First draft of Neanderthal genome is unveiled (NewScientist, Feb. 12, 2009)
Early glimpses of the genome, which was sequenced by Svante Pääbo, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and colleagues, have already cast new light on the ancient human species that went extinct more than 25,000 years ago.
Previous mitochondrial analysis of Neanderthal DNA has uncovered no sign that Neanderthals and humans interbred sufficiently to leave a trace. A preliminary analysis across the new genome seems to confirm this conclusion, but more sequence data could overturn this conclusion.
A Neanderthal recovered in Spain, seemed to have the human version of gene linked to language development, Foxp2, leading some researchers to speculate that Neanderthals communicated much like humans.
The same individual probably had a gene mutation for type O blood and at least one copy of a mutation that, in modern humans, would produce fair skin and red hair - possibly an adaptation to a cold climate with little sunshine.
Distant cousins after all, once removed? Perhaps, if this study has any merit: Pintubi-1 skull, Current Anthropolgy. Perhaps Neanderthals and Denisovans had merged with modern humans, Eur-Asians, that leaves native Africans who have none of those ancestral genes, perhaps only merging now through migration with the world gene pool.
This just in, BBC science news: Neanderthals gave us disease genes - and our pale skin, hair, and type 2 diabetes?
Dogs bred from wolves helped humans take over from Neanderthal rivals in Europe 40,000 years ago
Also see: AMERICAN INDIANS, NEANDERTHALS AND DENISOVANS: INSIGHTS FROM PCA VIEWS
The last Neanderthal
|Posted on Saturday, February 14, 2009 - 12:21 pm: |
What killed off the Neanderthals? Was it climate change, or more complicated?
Principal sites showing most recent evidence of Neanderthals -BBC News
Professor Chris Stringer, of London's Natural History Museum: "For many years, people assumed that it was an overall superiority of modern humans: that modern humans were more intelligent, that they had better technology, or had more effective adaptations.
But an exceptionally cold and variable climate might have driven the disappearance of Ice Age animals upon which the Neanderthals relied for food.
In addition, climate change probably cleared Europe of its forests, creating an open environment that did not favour the Neanderthals. Had the role of our ancestors in the Neanderthal extinction been overstated?
In fact, it may have been a whole patchwork quilt of reasons why our very distant 'cousins' the Neanderthals became extinct as an early human species.
"I think what we have managed to show is, in a sense to simplify the equation, and I think we can be reasonably certain it was not the effects of abrupt catastrophic climate change and Heinrich Events were responsible. Now, that does not mean that climate was not involved at all.
"It is entirely possible that you had a combination of factors, perhaps competition from modern humans at a time of limited resources. Because climate is deteriorating at that time - we are moving into the glacial maximum. So resources are scarce, but, on the other hand, climate alone is not the most parsimonious explanation. So I think the jury is still out on the factors that may have been involved."
"It is quite sobering that at one point in the history of the planet, there were different types of us of which one - possibly by chance - survived. In other words, we might be the Neanderthals discussing this today."
It appears more complicated, as per this new study:
New findings: Scientists Identify Neanderthal Genes in Modern Human DNA (Scie-News, January 2014)
The team showed that the areas with reduced Neanderthal ancestry tend to cluster in two parts of our genomes: genes that are most active in the male germline and genes on the X chromosome. This pattern has been linked in many animals to a phenomenon known as hybrid infertility, where the offspring of a male from one subspecies and a female from another have low or no fertility.
Dr Reich explained: “this suggests that when ancient humans met and mixed with Neanderthals, the two species were at the edge of biological incompatibility.”
This male offsprings 'hybrid infertility' may be primary cause of Neanderthal extinction, along with other probable causes such as food supply competition, interspecies warfare (including possible castration of male captives), transmitted diseases and climate change. If so, the Neanderthal women's X chromosome transmitted most of the genes to modern humans, while their males' chromosome receded into extinction. All we have left is their pale skin color and straight hair in Europeans and Asians, along with some predisposition to certain diseases, like type-2 diabetes.
In love and war... We appear their descendants
Also see: DNA sheds light on Irish origins - ancestral Ukrainians and Irish mixed in Bronze Age? - BBC Science News
Clue to Neanderthal breeding barrier - BBC
Ethics & markets
|Posted on Friday, February 20, 2009 - 12:54 pm: |
You can't deregulate criminality.
Global Downturn: in graphics - BBC
What would the Chicago Boys think of Stanford, or Bernie Madoff? Or Enron?
Free market economics can only work in a highly ethical environment of mutual trust. Thieves and rogues do not make a free market work, they steal from it and drive it into ruin. Don't they teach Ethics at university anymore? Or are we back to being primitive men?
Think about it. A crime is a crime no matter what is the regulations.
|Posted on Saturday, February 21, 2009 - 12:26 pm: |
Three historical things to consider on this issue of "who's in?" Humanity forward or back? -- How will it work out?
1) Is religion compatible with constitutional law, democratic principles, and natural rights of man (woman) of the Enlightenment?
2) Is the 'Separation of Church and State', or personal beliefs and law as future values for progressive society?
3) Are six points of 'Contest 2' compatible with our First Principles of the Judeo-Christian values upon which is founded our civilization?
This is a fulcrum point in history: Either humanity progresses forward upon the civilization foundations which came from our Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian civilization, that which gave us the Enlightenment, upon which were built modern constitutional representative government, and human rights of freedom; or humanity regresses back to the ancient paradigms of slave-like submissions to potentates and strong men who rule over us as subordinate subjects with no regards for our rights as individual human beings.
Equality of humanity had been a long time in forming. Do we want to give it all up now to some ancient culture dating back to a barbarous 7th century mentality, when the master-slave paradigm ruled societies, women are held in contempt, where child slavery was common, raping and looting was religiously sanctioned, when homosexuals were called perversions and killed, when a show of joy and laughter was punished? Is this the 'morality' we want for our future generations?
Calm rational minds will let history stand where it is, with understanding and compassion for what things were, and learn from it; while emotional hysterical minds will seek to not only condemn the past but seek to rewrite it or erase it entirely. Which do we choose?
As our cities riot and burn for alleged wrongs to be righted rather than instituting change through democratic, constitutionally lawful channels, but ruled by passions of mobs, how will history play out? If our inner cities revert to ignorance and barbarity, does it gain us to raise them to a higher level of civilization? Or is it more efficacious that we abandon our standards to theirs? More civilization and a better and healthier society? Or reverting back to a gang like violence and anarchic savagery returning us on bended knee to a slave society? How will we choose?
It seems we have entered a nihilistic age where the responsibility of the individual has been negated, by the person’s environment and conditioning, by culture and circumstance, so only in a group mentality does responsibility make sense; hence the individual is absolved of responsibility, overturning centuries of civilizational norms, that personal responsibility is important. Today the criminal mind is progressively dismissed as an aberration not of the person committing crimes but of the ‘system’ or society at large. This is an important civilizational shift in progress since the last century. How will it play out? Empty the prisons, disempower the police, eliminate laws and punishment? How will it evolve, or devolve into the future? Freedom is lost from not accepting responsibility for our actions. Can civilization work with laws that safeguard the individual and individual freedom of choice if the individual is absolved of personal responsibility? Then why have constitutional government if safeguarding our natural human rights is reduced to endorsing (demographically) the power of a collective mindset where personal choice is reduced to obeying the power? These are historical, civilizational questions. How will we answer?
Watch cause and effect. This is a great moment in history.
Also see: Are we losing our sense of liberty?
When Theory more important than Truth
After the Storm
|Posted on Saturday, February 21, 2009 - 02:34 pm: |
This site has hosted some of the greatest minds in current society. On it were explored concepts of philosophy, science, math, geometry, the law, religion and faith.
During the conversations, often heated, vastly different points of view dialoged.
For the most part all supported the concept of separation of church and state, progressive Western Judeo-Christian civilization and the need to balance the competing aspects of society such as religion, science and the law.
Much was learned during these discussions and it is fitting that this postscript be added as the site goes into cold storage and a new age dawns following the economic crisis that engulfs the world.
Where we go from here will be decided by the people under the rule of law in accordance with the rules of a representative democracy.
The old system, fueled by greed and individuality has failed us. Unchecked by the governments of the West, the titans of the financial industry have driven this planet to the bring of economic collapse and devestation.
For a time we sacrificed our freedoms to CEOs in the name of greed and to get a slice of the pie for ourselves. In many cases we were sold a bill of goods.
What comes now will be different than what went before. The core beliefs of the free market system and economic engine that powered the great economic expansion have been called into question.
Like the days before the first great war of the 20th century, great changes are in progress. The old guard in the fincial industry failed us and as a result will never be trusted again.
I suspect that after the economic pain fades this lesson will linger in the minds of generations from decades to come and that thos eon Wall Street, will go down in history as the mena nd women that almost destroyed a planets economy in the name of greed.
|Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 - 12:49 pm: |
Geert Wilders on Freedom of Speech: "Our enemies should know: we will never apologize for being free men, we will never bow for the combined forces of Mecca and the left"
Today, the dearest of our many freedoms is under attack all throughout Europe. Free speech is no longer a given. What we once considered a natural element of our existence, our birth right, is now something we once again have to battle for.
As you might know, I will be prosecuted, because of my film Fitna, my remarks regarding Islam, and my view concerning what some call a ‘religion of peace’. A few years from now, I might be a criminal.
Whether or not I end up in jail is not the most pressing issue; I gave up my freedom four years ago. I am under full-time police protection ever since. The real question is: will free speech be put behind bars? And the larger question for the West is: will we leave Europe’s children the values of Rome, Athens and Jerusalem, or the values of Mecca, Teheran and Gaza?
This is what video blogger Pat Condell said in one of his latest you tube appearances. He says: “If I talked about Muslims the way their holy book talks about me, I’d be arrested for hate speech.” Now, Mr Condell is a stand-up comedian, but in the video he is dead serious and the joke is on us. Hate speech will always be used against the people defending the West – in order to please and appease Muslims. They can say whatever they want: throw gays from apartment buildings, kill the Jews, slaughter the infidel, destroy Israel, jihad against the West. Whatever their book tells them.
How low can we go in the Netherlands? About my prosecution, The Wall Street Journal noted: “this is no small victory for Islamic regimes seeking to export their censorship laws to wherever Muslims reside”. The Journal concluded that by The Netherlands accepting the free speech standards of, “Saudi-Arabia”, I stand correct in my observation that - I quote - “Muslim immigration is eroding traditional Dutch liberties”.
Now, if the Wall Street Journal has the moral clarity to see that my prosecution is the logical outcome of our disastrous, self-hating, multiculturalists immigration policies, then why can’t the European liberal establishment see the same thing? Why aren’t they getting at least a little bit scared by the latest news out of, for example, the UK. News that tells that the Muslim population in Britain is growing ten times as fast as the rest of society. Why don’t they care?
Our enemies should know: we will never apologize for being free men, we will never bow for the combined forces of Mecca and the left. And we will never surrender. We stand on the shoulders of giants. There is no stronger power than the force of free men fighting for the great cause of liberty. Because freedom is the birthright of all man.
Also see: WESTERN EUROPEAN VS. EASTERN EUROPEAN RESPONSES TO MASS, UNVETTED, MUSLIM IMMIGRATION
Ban violent talk? - Ban the Koran
|Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 - 12:19 pm: |
(interactive - video)
To Serve Man (The Twilight Zone) - Wiki
"Respectfully submitted for your perusal: a Kanamit. Height: a little over nine feet. Weight: in the neighborhood of three hundred and fifty pounds. Origin: unknown. Motives? Therein hangs the tale, for in just a moment we're going to ask you to shake hands, figuratively, with a Christopher Columbus from another galaxy and another time. This is the Twilight Zone." - (opening narration)
Sharing their advanced technology, the aliens quickly solve all of Earth's greatest woes, eradicating hunger, disease, and the need for warfare. Soon, humans are volunteering for trips to the Kanamits' home planet, which is supposedly a paradise.
All is not well, however, when a code-breaker discovers the Kanamits’ true intentions: Their book, "To Serve Man", is a cookbook, and all their gifts were simply to make humanity complacent, much like fattening pigs or cows before they are slaughtered.
Beware of 'good books' that promise to solve all your problems, they may be your last fare.
Are you being 'served'.. or 'ob-served' in your complacent submission?
|Posted on Thursday, March 12, 2009 - 02:07 pm: |
If you're old enough to remember... our days of innocence, circa 1959
Back and white TV, 5 minutes to 'boot' up
At the burger hop, 25¢ burgers
Simple days, the daily milk man
Battling the blackboard in school, "I will not..."
|Posted on Monday, March 23, 2009 - 12:26 pm: |
A History of Optics and Modern Science, by Fjordman
This is necessary reading, especially for this reason:
(interactive - Wiki)
Ibn Sahl's manuscript showing his discovery of the law of refraction
"I had heard several people, even individuals otherwise critical of Islamic culture, state that the scholar known as Alhazen in Western literature in the eleventh century did important work in optics. Yet it was an indisputable historical fact that photography, the telescope, the microscope and other optical advances happened in Europe, not elsewhere. Exactly what did Mr. Alhazen do, and why did the science of optics stagnate in the Middle East, if we assume that the region played a leading role in medieval times? ...
Hero of Alexandria did some optical work, but arguably the greatest Greek optician was Ptolemy. Claudius Ptolemaeus, or Ptolemy, was a Greek mathematician and scholar who lived in Alexandria in Roman Egypt in the second century AD. Ptolemy’s work represented the culmination of Greek scholarship in several disciplines. Most people know that his great astronomical treatise, completed around AD 150 and later known as the Almagest, was the dominant astronomical text in Europe until the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries, and even longer than that in the Middle East. It included and superseded earlier Greek astronomical works, above all those by Hipparchus from the second century BC. While geocentric (Earth-centered) Ptolemaic astronomy is widely familiar, some readers may know that he was an excellent geographer for his time as well. ...
After Ptolemy, the legacy of Greek Antiquity was passed on to medieval times, to the Middle East and to Europe. According to scholar F. R. Rosenthal: “Islamic rational scholarship, which we have mainly in mind when we speak of the greatness of Muslim civilisation, depends in its entirety on classical antiquity…in Islam as in every civilisation, what is really important is not the individual elements but the synthesis that combines them into a living organism of its own…Islamic civilisation as we know it would simply not have existed without the Greek heritage.” ..."
Read it all. This is a most important, fascinating history of Optics and the developments of modern science. Never mind Eastern influences on early science, it was the later Western influences that propelled the world into it modern future, while the old East stagnated itself in mind locked dogmas.
Jupiter & volcano plumes
|Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 12:16 pm: |
Volcanic plume spins counter-clockwise?
Very interesting discovery: Volcano plumes spin up a storm
"It is conventionally thought that a volcanic plume rises straight up and spreads out in a rough circle. But when Pinaki Chakraborty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and colleagues studied hourly satellite photos of the 1991 eruption of mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, they noticed that the margins gradually separated into five lobes. They saw similar shapes in photos of five other volcanoes.
The team's calculations show that this is caused by anticlockwise rotation in the plume, which creates a centrifugal force that throws the lobes outwards. The rotation occurs due to interactions between the updraught of the plume and horizontal wind patterns (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature07866)."
Think back to Jupiter's giant red spot, how "interactions between the updraught of the plume and horizontal wind patterns", and it somehow begins to make sense: Jupiter's Red Eye is a giant raging volcano.
Wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Red_Spot#Great_Red_Spot
(click to enlarge)
Note how it spins counterclockwise in the high winds upper atmospheric strata? This may indeed be a massive super volcano on Jupiter. However, how does the Red Spot compare with Jovian spin? From Wiki page:
The GRS rotates counterclockwise, with a period of about six Earth days or 14 Jovian days.
Something to think about... thanks.
|Posted on Monday, April 06, 2009 - 12:30 pm: |
Earthquake predicting (2006 post by Ed) - revisited - also here.
Earthquake Warning Was Removed From Internet
Giuliani, who based his forecast on concentrations of radon gas around seismically active areas, was reported to police for “spreading alarm” and was forced to remove his findings from the Internet.
(interactive- La Repubblica, more photos)
BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7985958.stm
A desperate search for survivors is on in the mountain city of L'Aquila in central Italy after a quake killed at least 91 people and injured 1,500.
Radon gas may be a clue to future earthquakes? Any way to reduce such earth motion tragedy, to save us from such natural destructions and suffering, would be a great advancement in science. It may avert much suffering in the future, if so.
More here: Italian authorities dismissed quake warning
Also see: Earthquakes in 3D by Iris
Always call 911 if you are in immediate danger and need emergency help
Home Emergency and Disaster Safety
tell us how
|Posted on Wednesday, April 08, 2009 - 01:16 pm: |
Is the world a better place?
"shaped the world for the better"?
Cairo slave market
Slavery still exists today, maybe more than ever: Shadowy figures lurking on the fringe - CNN News video
Don't think modern day slavery is extinct. Quite the opposite is true, as per this article: The Dark World of the Arab Child Slave Trade, Front Page Magazine
Also see: Slavery in America today
IT’S NOT ISIS WE NEED TO BEAT -- IT’S THE CALIPHATE
THEY LEFT ISLAM and now tour US to talk about it - BBC
Islam’s sexual enslavement of white women - in paintings
Well, that’s Africa
|Posted on Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 12:46 pm: |
Earthquake to hit Iran by end of April?
It appears to be this article's claim based on 'cloud' formations over an affected area, as described:
"Quake scientist predicts Iran will shake in late April"
(interactive -click image to earlier post by Ed)
See above earthquake predicting also.
According to Guo, the pressure that builds up in rocks before an earthquake causes electromagnetic disturbances which influence cloud formation overhead. The characteristic shapes can be seen in satellite pictures and act as an early warning signal of tectonic stresses.
Good call. April 30, 2009: Southeastern Iran just experienced 5.6 earthquake: Iran earthquake - as predicted?
|Posted on Friday, April 24, 2009 - 11:38 am: |
Predicting the next 'big one' - continued from above
Earthquake center -USGS
Are we getting closer to real time earthquake predictions?
This article seems to say we are: Detecting Earthquakes Before They Strike
Pretty cool if it can work, saves lives.
|Posted on Sunday, May 10, 2009 - 01:08 pm: |
Quantum Gravity at a Lifshitz Point by P. Horava
Wiki on E.M. Lifshitz
Another aspect of gravity which might be strongly affected by the anisotropic scaling at
short distances is cosmology. In the high-energy regime relevant at early times, the effective
speed of light in gravity models with anisotropic scaling approaches infinity, and the spacetime
manifold exhibits the preferred foliation by constant time slices. This modification of the laws
of gravity changes the notion of locality and causality in the early stages of the universe, and
can lead to new perspectives on the puzzles usually solved by inflationary scenarios.
Absolutely spellbinding paper on Lifshitz point quantum gravity theory. Read it all... if you can... and then 'renormalize' your brain.
Lifshitz Point -click for more images
Or, think of the condensed energy of the 'early' universe as "closer to the Sun", and the diffused energy of the present universe as "farther from the Sun", and the two theories merge easily into a more facile 'renormalized' theory of quantum gravity.
Your choice. For more on 'renormalization' see Wiki.
Deep space 'renormalized' gravity
|Posted on Monday, May 11, 2009 - 01:02 pm: |
Test of the Big Bang: CMB per NASA's Universe 101 page.
(interactive - click image)
CMB per "Planck: The future of probing the past" - NewScientist
This is a follow up on earlier post: http://www.humancafe.com/discus/messages/88/97.html#POST3172 , where the Boltzmann constant was applied to Earth's interior and black body temps.
"If Boltzmann's constant represents the electron, what is its macro equivalent represented by mass? So I did something, more a doodle, to figure this out. I know electron mass is m_e = 9.109E-31 kg. So dividing Boltzmann's number by this I got:
1.38E-23 J/K divided by 9.109E-31 kg = 0.1515E+8 J/K for kg. mass."
If 0.1515E+8 J/K is for kg mass, then multiply by CMB of 2.725 Kelvin, we get:
0.4128E+8 J for kg mass.
This might mean, thinking outloud, that this is the CMB energy equivalence in Boltzmann units, where in the CMB E=0.4128E+8 Joules.
What does that mean in terms of the Axiomatic Equation and G conversion for the CMB?
E = hc/(l*proton_m) = (1-g)c^2, as (kg'/kg adjusted), so that
0.4128E+8J= (6.626E-34*3E+8)/(1.32E-15*proton_m), so solving for proton mass, we get
proton_m = 3.648E-18 kg (for CMB mass at 2.725 Kelvin)
Can this now be configured into Newston's G equivalence?
G^2 = g c^2 pi^2, where Earth's g is proton-to-proton g=5.9E-39 for proton_mass = 1.67E-27 kg, so that the proton_m=3.648E-18 kg equivalent is:
5.9E-39/1.67E-27 = g'/3.648E-18, where
g' = 1.289E-29
So using this value to figure Newton's G in CMB:
G^2 = 1.289E-29(9E+16)(9.9) = 114.85E-13, or 11.485E-12
taking the square root: G = 3.389E-6 for deep space 'renormalized equivalence' gravity
Why is this significant? Because once more, it shows how (MOND) deep space gravitation Newton's 'constant' is some 5 or 6 orders of magnitude greater than found on Earth, viz. G=6.67E-11. This was also hypothesized in Mining 'deep space' gravity post, where deep space G (viz. G-deep space = 0.347E-6) was figured using the needed intergalactic G to redshift light at z. Is this another strange 'coincidence'? By this reasoning, it would appear that CMB is nothing more than the real answer to that old Olbers' Paradox, all ambient cosmic light redshifted at z.
Of course, if this is true, then the CMB temp is merely 'background' heat of the universe, deep space G is five orders of magnitude greater than here (aka 'dark matter'), cosmic light redshift is a function of deep space G (no space expansion, no 'dark energy', e.g, no Big Bang), and when Herschel-Planck's probes look deeper into deep space, they will reach far deeper than the alleged 'Big Bang' origin 13.7 billion years ago. Great times to be around.
See also: Planck constant strangeness
|Posted on Sunday, May 24, 2009 - 07:58 pm: |
Per domain stats, so far this month: 24 May, 2009:
Viewed traffic: * 2750 Unique visitors; 6980 (2.53 visits/visitor); 20954 (3 Pages/Visit); 41063 (5.88 Hits/Visit)
*excludes robots, worms, etc.
So there are people reading from around the world, we're on all major search engines:
|Network.net 5236|| Commercial.com 4623|| Germany.de 518|| Russian Federation.ru 463|| Italy.it 361|
|India.in 317|| Slovak Republic.sk 196|| Israel.il 194|| Poland.pl 188|| Romania.ro 175|
|Thailand.th 131|| United Kingdom.uk 123|| Brazil.br 108|| Ukraine.ua 103|| Pakistan.pk 101|
Even China is in the top 30 (though their net is censored), not counting all smaller samples <100 here omitted. Does this make a difference? We don't know at this time, so stay tuned. We will leave this site open for as long as possible for future readers to visit here, ideally in perpetuity.
(Forum stats for 2008)
|Posted on Saturday, June 06, 2009 - 01:06 pm: |
Life on Mars: are Blueberries on Mars a 'strange' life form? What are these 'perfect' little spheres, or spherules, made of?
(Video- Space.com - click image)
Mars Rover tracks through Martian 'blueberries'
If these Martian 'hematite' spherules are antiferromagnetic, then it may help explain why Mars' geomagnetism is turned off; it has become one giant Mars Faraday box. But there is something puzzling about that possible phenomenon, that is why would it happen on Mars but nowhere else? Venus or Mercury's lack of magnetic fields don't count because they have such minimal planetary spin; but Mars spins like Earth, so its magnetic field should be active... unless 'somebody' turned it off.
Opportunity finds billions of 'perfectly round hematite spherules' on Mars
Thinking outside the box, for sure, but those little blueberry like spherules may actually give us a clue about Mars' geomagnetic field, or lack of. This image of 'sands on Mars' shows tiny spherules gathering in cavities and blown around by the wind. Intriguing image, since it almost looks like scattering 'seeds' on what is otherwise believed to be a lifeless planet. (Mars blueberries average about 3-5 mm in size, which may be an optimal size for this kind of life, and small enough to be windborne to propagate.) But what if this is a life form we had never seen before, where it lives on oxidized iron, which it oxidizes in (mostly subterranean) water present, and... here is a real stretch of the imagination... magnetic rays are harmful to this life form. We know Earth's early proto-microbial life forms terraformed our world into a living habitat, mostly by locking CO2 into calcium carbonates and crustacean life forms in the oceans (especially primitive corals) and producing free oxygen from plant photosynthesis. These are then protected from the Sun's toxic radiation by our thick atmosphere and geomagnetic field. Could something akin to this have happened on Mars, where free oxygen was locked in by its life forms that used it to oxidize iron, with the opposite effect? It turned off the magnetic field? Also the 'perfect' round spherules is suspicious, since it does not happen of itself in inorganic matter, and may be biological in nature, where organic life has a greater tendency towards perfect round shapes than mineral formations, for example. But here, rather than seeking protection from the Sun's rays, it rather seeks protection from any magnetic field that would keep them out, and thus 'terraformed' Mars into a non-magnetic, solar rays rich bio-habitat.
It was this paragraph in Wiki article on Martian blueberries that made me think of Earth's sedimentary rock deposits:
If Earth's ocean corals and crustacean life forms gather up like so many skeletons in soil and rock formations, could these Martian blueberries likewise be the 'skeletal' remains of a hematitic life form, as a spherules fossil record? However, rather than locking in CO2 in its shell like structure, this life form locks in oxygen to produce what we see a hematite spherules. Blueberries may be Mars fossil records of life, perhaps? Or perhaps, it is still current life, though not as we know it; where here CO2 is left intact as a major component of Mars' atmosphere, but where the O2 is absorbed by its ferric 'life' forms.
Not only are there spherules on the surface but they are also found deeper in the Martian soil. The difference between these and ones which were found at the surface was that they had a very shiny surface, that created strong glints and glares which made them appear shiny or polished. On March 2, Opportunity mission scientists reported that they concluded a survey of the distribution of spherules in the bedrock. They found that the spherules spread out evenly and randomly inside the rocks, and not in layers.
Is this merely a flight of fancy, or could there be an alternate iron feeding life form on Mars, like nothing we know on Earth (Earth's hematite spherules mostly are not 'perfect' round spheres, and some 'concretions' locked in ancient sedimentary stone grow quite large, may be of now extinct 'bacteria colonies' origin), that thrives on direct solar radiation undiluted by a geomagnetic field, and when it dies it leaves behind those perfect little spherules? If this had been going on for millennia, then no surprise that these 'blueberries' would be found all over the planet, concentrated on some parts of it, and embedded deep within its soil and rocks; which are revealed in rocky outcrops just like fossil records of our ancient life forms on Earth. Strange idea to be sure, but it may be something to consider, that life on Mars is iron based.
There may be 'life' in them thar hills!
Eagle Crater panorama, Opportunity landing site
Also see PDF for comparison between Martian and Terran hematite spherules: MORPHOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS OF MARTIAN SPHERULES, COMPARISONS TO COLLECTED TERRESTRIAL COUNTERPARTS. -with more 'blueberries' pictures
... "of bacteria"?.. something akin to stromatolites, or cyanobacteria?
Their scattered position on the deserty grounds, both on Mars and Earth, can be simply the result of the bedrock waethering, or maybe the distribution by water during a time of waterlogging. In any case, their development in both places are bound to the previous presence of abundant water and maybe that of bacteria.
If I may pose an interesting question, off the cuff: Could these spheroidal corpuscles been once a life form on Earth in its early fossil records, say 3 billion years ago, now extinct, and now are badly weathered and deformed? Could this process still be active on Martian subterranean crevasses today, in the presence of vestigial water? ... interesting... This could be 'life on Mars.'
See short 2-mins video of water flows on Mars: Possible Water Flows on Mars seen by NASA Spacecraft
Also see: CURIOSITY Mars Rover, with incredible panorama images (interactive panorama scanning) -2013
Acid Fog Likely Dissolved Rocks on Mars by Larry O'Hanlon, Discovery News (2015)
... Or could it be an 'acid gel' made from Martian microbial activity, more active on shady sites during warm days, leaving behind accretion like structures, including those spherules? ... Just a possible alternate interpretation of same observed phenomenon, that not "acid vog" transforming chemistry, but micro-biological instead, with same effects. - IDA
The acid fog on Mars appears to have created a gel on the rock surfaces that has essentially melted the neat crystalline texture of the rocks into a sort of messy rock soup.
This just in: Could rusty-brown Akaganeite on Mars be of microbial origin?
|Posted on Tuesday, June 09, 2009 - 11:40 am: |
We were here, Inukshuk
- Video how Inukshuk is built
Photo from www.Canada-Photos.com (interactive -click image for video)
So it was a pleasant surprise to find these under Lake Huron: Stone Age hunting traps found deep in Great Lakes
During their summer hunts, Inuit families sometimes built stone piles, often in the shape of humans with outstretched arms. The Inuit call these sculptures "inukshuks." They marked good fishing sites, provided shelter from the wind, and sometimes offered a place for hunters to ambush caribou. On the wild arctic landscape they are often the only sign that humans have passed through, a symbol of the traditional Inuit way of life.
Another intriguing find was brought about by a lucky accident, says the team. While they were investigating the site with their remotely operated submarine, its trailing communications cable snagged on a stone. When taking the sub back to free the cable, the operators found that it was caught on another pile of rocks that were seemingly arranged by human hands.
The feature consists of a flat rock standing vertically on top of a pile of other stones. Meadows says it resembles an inukshuk – a type of "sculpture" used by modern-day Inuit to signal that they have been in an area.
'We were here' is our common humanity, everywhere.
|Posted on Thursday, July 16, 2009 - 11:07 am: |
Ancient Britain 'pioneers' at end of Ice Age.
Cave record of Britain's pioneers - BBC News
Interest in the site was stimulated by the discovery in 1903 of "Cheddar Man", the complete skeleton of a male individual dating to about 9,000 years ago (after calibration this comes to about 10,000 calendar years).
In the 1980s, excavations uncovered accumulations of human and animal bones and artefacts that appeared to be much older even than Cheddar Man. The discoveries caused a sensation when it was realised many human remains bore a pattern of cut marks compatible with cannibalism.
Cheddar Man was part of another wave of people into Britain
However, researchers were perplexed by the radiocarbon dating results. Although the remains seemed to represent a single occupation level in the sediments, the remains appeared to be a thousand years different in age.
"We had these apparently cannibalised human bones and artefacts and animal remains with signs of butchery. They all looked like they should be part of a consistent population pattern," said Chris Stringer, head of human origins at London's Natural History Museum.
It appears 'cannibalism' was endemic to our anicent ancestors, probably due to scarcity of food in Ice Age periods. However, this is not the only explanation, same as it may be explainable for other human cultures practicing cannibalism in more recent times. Anasazi butchery of human bones were found at Chaco Canyon, NM, for example. Mayan practise of 'blood letting rituals' also led to ritualistic cannibalism.
"There are large numbers of cut marks on them and they are almost entirely smashed. And that smashing looks remarkably like the patterns of breakage you get on the animal bones in the cave - which we have assumed to be for bone marrow extraction," co-author Roger Jacobi told BBC News.
But Dr Jacobi said this was not the only possible interpretation: "Another might be that the people were dying away from the cave," he posited.
"Other people are then making the human bones small and compact enough to bring them back to the cave where they are deposited. They cut off the flesh and smashed the long bones to make them more portable."
There may be more than we presently understand about the early Britons and other cultures, but cannibalism is now mostly universally abandoned. The post Ice Age must have been a very harsh time, so humans spread out in migrations to follow game, and each other.
Dense galaxy G
|Posted on Friday, August 07, 2009 - 11:40 am: |
High density G galaxy?
This discovery of high density, fast spin galaxy at 11 bly is puzzling to modern physics. But it is a natural phenomenon for the new emergent physics. Higher density G in lower Energy density galaxy makes sense.
Speeding Stars Baffle Scientists - AOL News
Somehow, high-mass galaxies from the young universe grow in size but not in mass – they spread out but maintain their overall heft – to become the high-mass galaxies we see today.
"It's a bit of a puzzle," van Dokkum told SPACE.com. "We think these galaxies must grow through collisions with other galaxies. The weird thing is that these mergers must lead to galaxies that are larger in size but not much more massive. We need a mechanism that grows them in size but not in mass."
So far, such a mechanism is elusive, but astronomers have some ideas. Perhaps these galaxies expand their girth by merging with many small, low-mass galaxies. Or maybe these galaxies eventually become the dense central regions of even larger galaxies.
"It could also still be that we are doing something wrong," van Dokkum said. "But I think at the moment you could say that the ball is somewhat in the court of the theorists. Hopefully they can come up with some kind of explanation that we can test further."
More galaxy mysteries
|Posted on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 - 01:49 pm: |
Something about 'Super Massive Black Holes' at galaxy centers... and Dark Matter
Ghost galaxy NGC2915 (high HI, high DM)
Here are a some space science articles that may shed light on galactic black-holes:
1) 'Missing' galaxy black-holes found: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/071025-missing-bholes.html
The newfound quasars confirm what scientists have suspected for years now: that supermassive black holes play a major role in star formation in massive galaxies. The observations suggest massive galaxies steadily build up their stars and black holes simultaneously until they get too big and the black holes suppress star formation.
2) 18 Billion solar masses galaxy found: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/080109-aas-massive-black-holes.html
More massive than the sun, astronomers suggest today at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
Even though researchers suggested black holes up to this mass might exist in quasars, this is the first direct confirmation of such a behemoth.The hefty gravity well is six times more massive than the previous record and is orbited by a smaller black hole, which allowed the measurement of the giant's mass.
3) Galactic black-holes spout polar jets of gas: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/081124-mm-black-hole-bubbles.html
The researchers focused on the supermassive black hole at the center of the elliptical galaxy M84, which is about 55 million light-years from Earth. (A light-year is the distance light will travel in a year, or about 6 trillion miles, or 10 trillion km.) They combined data collected by NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory and results from a black-hole computer simulation.
They noticed huge bubbles, or cavities, of hot plasma (ionized gas) rising up from the tips of the black hole's pair of laser-like jets. (As material falls into the gravitational clutches of a black hole, the energy can be spit out as jets of radiation and high-speed particles.) They estimate the bubbles are about 13,000 light-years across and they are launched from jets about every 10 million years.
4) What do SMBH eat to become black-hole giants? http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13932
Where did the universe's biggest black holes come from? One idea suggests the behemoths began as smaller "seed" black holes that gobbled up surrounding gas. But new computer simulations suggest these seeds were born with practically nothing around them to eat, deepening the puzzle over how the biggest black holes came to be.
Biggest super massive black holes ever, mystery deepens
Also see HC http://www.humancafe.com/discus/messages/88/475.html#POST4033 on Galactic 'Black Holes' mystery
Earliest Black Holes - Space.com
But early black holes were not expected to have this same connection. Astronomers predicted that such a connection would develop over time, as the black hole and its parent galaxy gradually reached an equilibrium.
This is simply because of the vast difference in sizes.
"The black hole grows in the center," explained Treister. "But star formation is spread across the galaxy."
For the two to equalize so quickly is surprising.
"Why this connection happens and how it happens so quickly, we don't know," Treister said.
But if they are endemic to galaxy formation, SMBH should be seen at all galaxies, except perhaps 'Dark Matter' galaxies that are not hot enough. Otherwise, when galactic stars shine, all their energy converges somewhere at its center, cancels all lambda there, and total gravity G takes over. Voila! Black Hole!
Also see: Very Early Universe SMBH - BBC: 'Monster' driving cosmic beacon
Detected by a UK telescope in Hawaii, the hole is seen as it was a mere 770 million years after the Big Bang.
...What is a puzzle is the scale of the black hole driving this quasar. It has a mass two billion times that of the Sun.
If standard theory of cosmology is to be believed, that galaxy black holes are formed from massive collapsed stars, the 'early' universe must have been hyper-active with star formation and collapse, if this super-massive black-hole is only 770 million years old after the 'birth' of the universe's Big Bang. ... It just gets crazier... So crazy it can't even be wrong.
Closing in on Early Dark Universe - Space.com
"If we assume dark matter is non-interacting, when people do simulations of the evolution of galaxies such as the Milky Way, there should be many satellite galaxies around it," Loeb said. "However, when people look at the satellite galaxy population of the Milky Way, they find much fewer than the predicted number, and the inferred distribution of dark matter inside these dwarf galaxies is very different than what is predicted for them as well. Perhaps dark matter behaves differently than expected."
Black hole binge could test general relativity - NewScientist
Einstein came out with his theory of general relativity in 1916. It describes how the effects of gravity emerge from the way space-time is shaped. …
Where relativity describes the universe at large scales, quantum describes the universe of the tiny, random particles that make up matter. Efforts to combine them lead to mathematical nonsense. "General relativity must fail at some level," says Cosimo Bambi of Fudan University in Shanghai….
Read it all.
LIGO null result
|Posted on Saturday, August 22, 2009 - 12:19 pm: |
LIGO three years later... Null result, nothing there, no gravity waves... nada.... Until now, 2016.
LIGO Hanford Observatory, searching for gravity waves
This is a follow up on this post: "Dead stars provide Einstein test", where his predicted 'gravity waves' were to be detected by LIGO. However, as the article below shows, nothing was found. But that was not a bad thing! Perhaps some newfound science will come of this effort.
Lack of Gravity Waves Puts Limits on Exotic Cosmology Theories - Space.com
This time, scientists are excited to find nothing.
In results announced today, a huge physics experiment built to detect gravitational waves has yet to find any.
Rather than be disappointed by the null findings, physicists say the results were expected, and in fact help them narrow down possibilities for what the universe was like just after it was born.
LIGO has only been running for a few years - the new results are based on measurements taken between 2005 to 2007 - and it is not yet at its highest level of sensitivity. The fact that this first period of observations did not detect gravitational waves allows researchers to rule out the possibility of waves above a certain amplitude threshold. Simply put, if there were any waves big enough for LIGO to have detected them, it would have. Since it didn't, they aren't likely to exist.
In particular, scientists are hoping to eventually find evidence for gravitational waves created by the Big Bang, the explosion thought to have begun the universe. According to theory, the Big Bang would have caused a flood of gravitational waves whose aftermath could still be seen today. This aftermath of many waves of different sizes and directions superimposed on top of each other, much like the chaotic surface of a pond after rain has fallen on it, is called the "stochastic background."
More on LIGO at Wikipedia.
But if there was no Big Bang, what's there to detect? This will go the way of SETI's search at radio wavelength signals, null results. Same with gravity if it is instantaneous, there are no 'waves' to measure. Most likely it is some sort of gravity related 'entanglement' as the communications channel of choice for ETs. But we don't have that technology yet. So... nada, nobody there. Likewise, the 'early universe' is a misnomer, no such thing if no Big Bang.
"Hello, hello... ?"
This just in: 'Ripples' from back hole detected by LIGO - BBC Science
Video showing gravity waves detected - computer simulation
Also see, dissenting view: Why Gravitational Waves are Nonsense - philosophical doubter
. . .
Addendum: 15 February, 2016.
CAVEAT: Now that GW150914 had been observed, and the size and distance extrapolated from Einstein's General Relativity equations, there should be visual confirmation of this massive gravitational waves event. At present we know (from link):
It is also estimated this binary black hole merger released more energy than all energy output from all stars in the universe, where 3 solar masses radiated out, which should be powerful enough to show up in X-ray or light, electromagnetic energy from the event. To date, though it may require time to scan space in the approximate location of GW150914, we do not have such visual or other instrumental confirmation. Until such independent observation is found, the black hole merger detected by LIGO is still, though a possible confirmation of General Relativity itself, it remains an isolated signal without backup within constraints of independent verification of what it actual was. Therefore, at this time, this event is merely 'inferred' by computer simulations per Einstein's equations, but not proven.
The signal, detected on 14 September, 2015, provides astronomers with a remarkable amount of information about the merger that caused it. From the detection, the LIGO team has extracted the masses of the two black holes that merged, 36+5-4 and 29+4-4 solar masses, as well as the mass of the final black hole formed by the merger, ~62 solar masses. The team also determined that the merger happened roughly a billion light-years away (at a redshift of z~0.1), and the direction of the signal was localized to an area of ~600 square degrees (roughly 1% of the sky).
This spectacular LIGO gravitational waves discovery could also be from other sources, a possibility that remains open until we have other confirming observations. For example, there could be competing explanations for signals found, thinking outside the box:
1) the signal could have originated deep inside Earth's interior, where a central marble size mini-black hole's fast spin powers planetary spin, and the signals registered by LIGO (7 milliseconds apart) were from a 'burp' from Earth's hyperactive active mini- black hole.
2) the event registered could have been a 'real time' event (not limited to graviton's light speed limit) from a region of space where was estimated its location; but if 'entangled' gravitationally, it could have been at any distance, so its true location remains unknown.
3) or it could be from some other source still misunderstood, and though this signal fits within the parameters of Einstein's equations, it may be an artifact of some other gravitational source that mimics those equations, as inferred.
Therefore, though LIGO's gravitational waves reading is certainly impressive, and enthusiastically received to prove Einstein was right (again), it still fails the test of independent verification. And until such confirmation is found, the readings fail as proof, as they are now understood to be, as imputed from Einstein's GR equations, so it is self refenrential. These readings could still be misunderstood, or perhaps inconclusive, and wrong.
|Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009 - 11:15 am: |
"Gravity has to be stronger than predicted by Newton." - NewScientist article
You heard it first here. Tell your friends.
Challenging Newton's description of gravity is controversial. But regardless of where the truth lies, the Milky Way's satellite galaxies have become the latest battleground between the proponents of dark matter and theories of modified gravity.
Indeed, so called 'dark matter' is just higher G ordinary (dark) matter. Variable G is all so much simpler in a simple universe.
This later NewScientist article brings up this issue again: Galaxy study hints at cracks in dark matter theories, that something is amiss re 'dark matter' in the galaxies, and perhaps our understanding of gravity is wrong.
'Coarse' sands of Mars
|Posted on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 12:39 pm: |
The 'coarse' sands of Mars?
The Mars rover Spirit had been stuck in a sand trap for four months, and scientists on Earth are trying to replicate conditions here with a sandbox and duplicate robot rover. However, there is a snag, because Mars sands are 'different' from Earth's.
Here is what is significant in the story, that the same consistency of powdery sand on Earth is more coarse than same powdery sand on Mars:
One cause for the delay is the difference between the duplicate rover's performance in the sandbox and the actual rover's driving on Mars. The test bed contains a sand cocktail that supposedly approximates the flour-like soil in which Spirit is stalled.
But engineers noticed that the test rover actually did worse driving through the simulated sand than Spirit did during its last few drives on Mars.
"The loose, fluffy soil we have here on the ground is worse than what there is on Mars," Callas told New Scientist.
Engineers are filling a second test bed at JPL with crushed aggregate, a heavier, courser material. "It gives us a second data point," Callas says. "We don't know exactly what we have on Mars, so we're trying to explore as best we can with the resources we have on the ground."
Engineers will try to recreate the terrain that Spirit is stuck in at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, where similar tests were performed in 2005 (above) to help extricate Opportunity from a sand trap (Image: NASA/JPL)
The other condition is Mars gravity being lower than Earth's, so the duplicate robot in the sandbox weighs less to simulate Mars' gravity. However, that does not obviate Mars gravity G which may be about 1.5 times greater than Earth's. Mars 'sticky sand' may be a G equivalence phenomenon, where in Earth's kilograms Mars sand weighs about 2.25 times (1.5 squared) kilograms on Earth, making soft powdery sand more like granular sand.
|Posted on Thursday, September 03, 2009 - 01:17 pm: |
It may have been Zinc sulfide and Carbon dioxide stimulated by ultra-violet light, if this hypothesis is correct:
New Origin of Life Proposed: Zinc & Zap
Mulkidjanian's "Zn world" hypothesis presents a different version of the prebiotic Earth atmosphereâ€”one in which zinc sulfide plays a major role in the development of life. In nature, zinc sulfide particles precipitate only at deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Its unique ability to store the energy of light has made it popular in many modern-day devices, from various types of television displays to glow-in-the-dark items (and zinc oxide is used in sunscreen).
Its ability to store light makes zinc sulfide an important factor in the discussion on life's origin. Mulkidjanian explains that, once illuminated by UV light, zinc sulfide can efficiently reduce carbon dioxide, just as plants do.
To test the hypothesis, Mulkidjanian and Galperin analyzed the metal content of modern cells and found "surprisingly high levels of zinc," particularly in the complexes of proteins with DNA and RNA molecules.
"We have found that proteins that are considered 'evolutionarily old' and particularly those related to handling of RNA specifically contain large amounts of zinc," Mulkidjanian says.
To store energy in zinc sulfide which process carbon dioxide in a 'photosynthesis' like manner makes sense as the original trigger to start Life, IMO. Can we still see this process somewhere on Earth, or another world, I wonder?
Furthermore, it is unlikely Earth's early atmosphere was mostly hydrogen, which is very light, given we live in a low gravity G distance from the Sun, and more likely it was mostly 'heavier' carbon dioxide, more like Venus, so this 'Zinc and zap' hypothesis makes more sense. The Sun's UV may in fact be Earth's living start, where our atmosphere was dense with carbon dioxide, later processed by living photosensitive organisms into oxygen, as in our atmospheric composition now.
|Posted on Monday, September 07, 2009 - 09:56 pm: |
'Cog Stones' are perhaps merely 'anchor stones' for ancient fishing nets?
There seems to be some controversy as to what these 'cog stones' actually represent.
Cog Stones at the Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, CA
See images at: Indian Fishing: Early Methods on the Northwest Coast By Hilary Stewart.
See pages 85-87 for examples of how these 'anchor stones' were used by Northwest coastal Indians, which may not be too different from how their southern California cousins in the Organge County area used similar stones. However, here they were mostly notched around the perimeter, hence 'cogs' around the stone, rather than enclosed in a wooden frame, but served similar purpose as anchors for their nets. That these cog stones were found mostly in Bolsa Chica tidal flats or on the Santa Ana river near Costa Mesa merely emphasizes that they served a coastal waters purpose. As tools for fishing they were valuable to their holders, so likely notched differently for personal identification, to go with the owner's nets. Did these cog stones possess shamanistic magic? Probably not any more than any other artifacts of the period, though these were even buried with their holders when they died. So yes, they held some real material and spiritual value, if so.
There are some great pix at Indian Fishing with Net, to get an idea of how they may have been used.
Here is an additional interesting write up on the history and archeology of Cogged Stones, PDF: http://www.pcas.org/Vol34N1/341Krpr.pdf
Though, admittedly, I never saw one in situ, so only know of these stones from literature and museum sources.
|Posted on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 10:14 pm: |
Can you really stand an egg on the Equinox?
Today, Sept. 22, 2009, Autumn Equinox, the answer in at least one kitchen was "Yes", my own!
Here's proof, still standing after 45 minutes:
Egg standing upright on kitchen counter, with a glass of wine.
It was a cause to celebrate, especially since this Equinox day also generated a couple of Sun spots after months of inactivity.
Space weather page showing Sun spots, click image.
Something 'gravitas' is happening on the solar plane with Earth at Equinox...
|Posted on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - 12:23 pm: |
The Good Egg Equinox, the next day.
Egg next day having coffee
Next morning the egg was still standing upright defying breakfast, but it will be taken down by lunch, for sure. Neither mini-local earthquakes, my banging around, nor change in weather had shaken its resolve; nor dislodged its mini-tripod surface bumps that blemish the egg's hard shell. Nothing is perfect, not even in science, for the upright good humble egg has lodged itself into our urban myth, that on the Equinox it can stand up, and be counted.
Uhh... a clean counter helps, no salt added. Whimsy of course.
|Posted on Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - 01:56 pm: |
Europe's future: More Technology, not more people, to solve Europe's Aging Demographics.
Railway across Sudan --desert "railway to nowhere" -- I know it firsthand, where the slow moving train was packed inside, and I saw hundreds of young Sudanese men ride atop the slowly swaying train as we crossed the eastern Sahara on route to Wadi Halfa, the men looking for work in Egypt, or Europe (1987) - it was a hellishly hot tortuous ride, felt like 'nowhere'.
This is true for all developed nations, as much for Europe as the Americas, or Asian advanced economies, that we are all getting older. The consequence of our aging populations is that there will be less younger people to foot the bill for care of retirees, especially their health care and pensions, so an uneven economic distribution results degrading the quality of retired life, with possible negative impact on the health of our economies in the future; which itself may have damaging social consequences. The European Commission's Green Paper on Demographic Change warns that by 2030 the EU will lose 20.8 million (6.8 percent) people of productive working age. This will be true also in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, as well as in Canada and the United States. We are not replenishing our populations through normal historic birth rates, so are sliding down the slope of fewer workers to support more people as 'older workers' reach retirement age. (By some accounts in Italy there are some thirteen villages that are virtually depopulated.) And this is foreseen as a potentially serious problem for developed nations, how it will affect Europe's demographics, both culturally and economically.
The simplistic solution is to bring in more 'migrant workers', or as the EU Paper says (1.2): "ever larger migrant flows may be needed to meet the need for labour and safeguard Europe's prosperity", which is a challenge to integrate these new workers into the social fabric of their host countries. But this has proved problematic, especially if the immigrant population over time proves hostile to the dominant culture which has accepted them. The paper states further: "Given the demographic situation in Europe and its geographical environment, this immigration will also be intended to reinforce the population in general, and not only to supply manpower. This means that the admission mechanisms for third country nationals must be managed effectively and transparently, and proactive integration and equal opportunities policies must be ensured, in order to achieve a balance between the respective rights and responsibilities of migrants and host societies." In a perfect world, one where globalization allows for free flow of workers from around the globe, this idealistic solution with a well integrated migrant work force would not be an issue. But the reality of the past three or four decades shows there are population groups who had migrated to Europe who are either unable or unwilling to assimilate into the ideals of European culture. This becomes socially destabilizing, as recently shown in the Paris 'youth' riots in the banlieux, or rising tide of intra-European Jihad and its adjunct terrorism. A naive idealized melting pot of cultures as 'multiculturalism' may in fact prove detrimental to solving the demographic aging problem for Europe, and other developed economies, if this influx of migrant workers come from cultures inimical to our modern freedoms, especially if the imported culture sees these freedoms with suspicion and hostility. The change to the norms of European culture, the same culture that has been responsible for a Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment, with immense economic and social gains that had made their nations progressive and successful (as opposed to the persistently under-developed countries from which the immigrants came), is now at risk of being reverted back to a less developed era, perhaps by centuries. The end result is a destabilized Europe, which would also apply to other developed nations, and one where the very freedoms and philosophical foundations that enabled their successes, from freedom of inquiry to freedom of speech, and constitutional protections to our human rights equally; all of which are a necessity for technologically advanced societies, not to mention the arts and advanced education; would be thrown into chaotic disarray and all would suffer irreparable damage. More people may not be the right answer to aging demographics.
If European demographics are to experience violent cultural change in the coming decades, then bringing in 'more people' from less developed countries may not be the best solution, and in fact may be the wrong headed approach to the problem. A more level headed approach to the problem can be taken cue from Japan's approach, where increased robot technology replaces the aging work force. This does not of necessity apply to all developed economies equally, since some tend towards more manufacturing production while others more administrative or managerial, such as information technologies, but it is a direction worth considering in principle. The global reality is that economic and social progress followed on the heels of technological innovations, from the Industrial Revolution to modern global interdependence in finance, communications and productions termed 'globalization' as the engine for positive change in societies. This is still distributed unevenly throughout the globe, for both geographic as well as cultural reasons, so some societies remain agrarian while others modernized. But the underlying cause for advancement, even in farming productivity, has been technological capital to give greater yield output per man hour of labor. That is a fact, and all else to do with economic and social success revolves around this important point, that to better ourselves we must use better technology. We all excel differently, and some countries will find their forte in technological innovations, or medical advances, while others in robotic manufacturing or advanced farming techniques. This is part of the whole global picture, that each one will contribute wealth to the whole with what they excel in. And when societies work, this is not only possible but sustainable, that we all work together on a global scale. But where it does not work, where societies are in disarray such as seen in today's parts of Africa or Central Asia, there is a rising tide of violence against human beings' ability to function in a productive manner which results in mass scale social dysfunctions, religious wars, and debilitating mass graft and corruption undermining the public trust. This is also what the developed nations with aging demographics would import if they attempt to solve their problem through more people immigration. Technological advancements and innovation is the better solution.
Rather than add more people to the mix, and watching them mix poorly, or violently, it is far more sensible to restrict population inflows from less developed countries and export instead technological advantages the other way. So rather than import 'more workers for rich countries', Europe and the developed world should focus on better technologies. This brings forth new problems, especially with how to redistribute the wealth added by improved technologies to the population at large, both young and old, to ensure a viable economic system. Without a more enlightened distribution system social inequalities would prevail, which would then undo the gains made. How would the dividends produced by improved technologies find their way into the system, for example? Is it done through forced income redistribution, such as devised under a socialist program, or are there socially acceptable market solutions unhindered by coercive tactics (read 'bank failures' or Enron) so there is more equitable spread from the benefits of innovation. What role does government taxation play in this, or organized labor? Would a national wage insurance and retirement program, or national health care (already exist in Europe), be a way to address these needs? What will our Social Contract agreements allow in response to the new global reality of increased technological productivity, or export of productivity to less developed regions of the world? These are all 'think tank' and public policy issues, but they can and must be resolved in a productive way in this new age of universal information, or distribution of life supporting goods. Where does ecological preservation fit into this new technological age? There is precedent that it not only does fit in, but is a necessity, such as sustainable agriculture, or aquaculture. We are intelligent beings capable of finding solutions, not merely throwing more people at the problem, but by dealing with it in an intelligent focussed manner.
Japan may lead the way (interactive)
Rampant immigration to solve our aging population problems only compounds the problem in the long run. It is a short term, near sighted fix at best, a long term disaster. With better medicines and economic productivity globally, this will soon become a universal problem for the whole world, and we must begin thinking of it globally. Education and training should be at the forefront of this global aging phenomenon, especially in Europe. But this will soon be an Asian problem, and America's problem. Working longer years is only a short term solution, same as increased immigration, both unsustainable. In fact, there should be more jobs that are highly productive for younger workers, and it is their contributions, even if working fewer hours, with advanced technological change that will save the future from demographic social dysfunctions. More people is not the answer, but smarter people is. We can do it, we are intelligent enough to do it, and all it will take in addition to our collective brains is our social will to do so.
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is a demographic time bomb, as those "in need" will far outstrip those with ability to meet those needs - a demographic socio-economic disaster within a couple of decades - of wars and famines and cultural genocide. There must be a better way.
ASIMO by Honda (interactive)
Also see: Switzerland Basic Income Vote Looms
|Posted on Monday, November 02, 2009 - 12:40 pm: |
About Giordano Bruno: www.giordanobruno.info/raccolta.htm
From "The Infinite in Giordano Bruno" by Sidney Breenberg, (1950,King'sCrownPress, NY.) pp: 154-163; Bruno writes:
"Everything is one; and the knowledge of this unity is the object and term of all philosophies and all natural contemplations..."Being one and the same (infinity), it has not one being and another being..."Unity and identity, I say (is) the same being..."
These ideas are not so far removed from those of Habeas Mentem, whereby unity and inifnity are expressed in the identity of all beings within this infinite unity. Bruno further writes, (Opere Italiane) pg. 71:
" That which is the universe, in relation to the universe, is throughout all, according to the modes of its capacity (interrelationship?) in whatever relation it may be to the other particular bodies; because it is above, below, innermost, right, left, and according to all local differences; and because in the in infinite, there are all these differences, and no one of them."
So Bruno, more a man of our times than of his, was very close to creating a philosophy of interrelationship where infinites define each and every part within themselves, and thus give them identity. To read more about Habeas Mentem please refer to the HumanCafe web page listed below. "In the end, it is all one."
No people on Mars?
|Posted on Friday, February 12, 2010 - 12:47 pm: |
Desert varnish, like stromatolites, may be biological in nature, so Martian 'rock varnish' may be too.
NewScientist, Martian sheen:
It made sense to think that rock varnish had a chemical origin, since many similar-looking coatings were already known to form chemically. Silica glaze, for example, is one of the most common coatings and forms when silicic acid carried in dust and dew condenses onto rock surfaces.
Everything changed, though, when people saw the internal structure of rock varnish. Electron microscopic images taken by Randal Perry and John Adams at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1978 revealed an intricate layer-cake pattern, with black strips of manganese oxides alternating with orange layers of clay and iron (Nature, vol 276, p 489). No other rock coating combines this microlayered mixture of clays and metal oxides.
The implications here were enormous. This microstructure looked strikingly similar to that of fossil stromatolites - layered rock-like structures formed by ancient microbes as they collected sediments from seawater to build themselves a home. Though they still grow today in some isolated spots, stromatolites were one of the first life forms on Earth, dominating the fossil record from 3.5 billion years ago until about 600 million years ago.
[See Mars life? and Macro-microbial life, and Mars bio-blueberries posts on Humancafe forums.]
(interactive - NewScientist article)
Martian sheen: Life on the rocks
No people on Mars? Maybe living organisms moqui 'on the rocks'?
More on Mars' 'stromatolite' evidence of possible life: Mars site may hold 'buried life'
New 'Alexandrian' Calendar
|Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 12:07 pm: |
Posted on Monday, July 19, 2010 - 02:27 pm:
The new 'Alexandrian' Calendar
Astrolabe, British Museum, London
Ancient Egyptians are credited with having invented the 12 month calendar used today, each month of thirty days, later standardized by the Romans, with necessary adjustments on certain months, and leap years. However, this seems a rather poor design that carried all the way into modern calendars without substantial improvements, except to realign it periodically with the astronomical year. The Egyptians apparently wanted to align their months with the lunar cycle, giving it thirty days (vs. 27.3 lunar cycle), but found they fell five days short in the end, so they simply tacked them on. This is the calendar mostly used today throughout the world (with some societies such as Orthodox Judaism and Islamic societies, as well some Asian cultures, or Aztecs in the New World, having their own calendar reckonings). Most of the world lives by the modern Gregorian calendar.
Today's twelve month calendar may have also been developed to accommodate astrological, Zodiac interests, which the ancient world valued, or perhaps designed by referendum of ancient mathematicians and sages, but it can be improved upon rather simply, to give it greater consistency with modern requirements of equal time per period. This is especially true in standardizing computations for interest, rates of return, and other accounting needs; as well as having a more fair calendar for wage compensation and holiday time off from work. Such a Calendar Reform had been proposed, giving it thirteen months of twenty-eight days, four seven day weeks, which tallies to 364 days per year; only one additional day is needed each year with a 'leap day' added to make 365 days, with an additional 'Bonus day' added at leap years. This makes it more equitable in terms of time periods than the current twelve month calendar, which is chaotic. Redesigning popular holidays, however, like the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, Passover, etc., would require some compromises, since they may not align on the same dates in the reformed calendar.
So what to call the new added month? Calling it Iskander, named after the ancient name for Alexander (the Great) would seem a good choice, but I would place it midway between July-August, so to split the calendar in two (which leaves the added 13th month less disturbing for existing holy days and holidays, in either half). The leap day needed annually could be added mid year, or in Equinox month, as an extra holiday (to preserve the days of the week consistent with same days of calendar, for all months), perhaps dedicated 'Goodwill day' where people do things of goodwill for others; or volunteer services for betterment of society (such as environmental cleanup, beautifications day, or charitable work helping the needy, for example). Every four years would be the leap 'Bonus day' added, to the last month, also a holiday dedicated to hopes and good wishes for the upcoming new year. The same solstice and equinox dates remain to de-mark the four seasons, though adjusted. The same week as before, with the Sabbath days unchanged. The end result is a symmetrical calendar that retains the same days of the week every year (except for Goodwill and Bonus free days) and greatly simplifies calendar time.
This new 'Alexandrian' Calendar would make good sense for the New Millennium as a natural calendar, to better standardize time. It's about time.
Earth and Moon
|Posted on Monday, September 20, 2010 - 02:21 pm: |
Earth and Moon in orbit
Tidal forces push our moon into higher orbit, though effects will not be visibly obvious for two billion years, diminishing inverse square law effect.
No worries, our Sun may be nova by then, a bigger problem.
|Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 01:56 pm: |
A New Alexandrian, Anagramic Simplified World Language?
Geoffrey Chaucer as a pilgrim in the Canterbury Tales
A new "international" World language can be devised, if certain rules apply to make it truly universally acceptable, in the same sense a new 'Alexandrian' calendar can be universally acceptable in the new Millennium. Or in the same sense a new "cosmology" or new world "secular ethics" can be universally applicable in modern times. Taking the Tao path, it would be a language that flows with the least resistance in terms of word-ease 'phonology', grammatical-logic, and poetic-beauty. This last is obviously a totally 'subjective' idea, but on a world scale, words have 'poetic appeal' and find their way into world vocabularies on their own. So without forcing a world language on the globe, there can be a natural evolution towards a universal "international" language, which in modern times of communications and travel, can evolve rather rapidly of its own impetus. This has already happened to some degree with world acceptance of English as a global language, though not officially declared as such, as more and more students around the world opt for learning English as a second language.
But there is one more issue that may help identify vocabulary, which we know is always changeable over time, as evolutionary in any language: the issue of "anagram" ease. This would mean that the largest vocabulary lending itself to introspective "anagrams", of words that communicate subconsciously to the hearers and readers of the language. For example: CAT -> ACT, or ONE -> NEO -> EON, or EARTH -> HEART, etc. So both phonetically and literally, the words lend themselves easily to some subconscious-anagram identity in the user's mind, even if not aware of this. English, at least to those of us who use it, lends itself easily to such anagram inversions, though it may also be true of other languages as well. Grammar is logical, based on Latin grammar, and word phonology seems acceptable to the world, as it is gaining in popularity in business transactions, media communications, science and technology, world-wide-web popular usage, travel and tourism, etc. But that does not mean English cannot evolve further into a "better" universal language, same as it originally evolved from Old English pre-Medieval times to Chaucer's Middle-English; its Pict-Anglo-Saxon-Germanic-Celtic-Roman-Norse roots to later Greco-Franco-Latin influences; to become the language of common usage we know today: Modern-English.
Let’s take an example: English “honey” is French “miel.” Searching for anagrams of honey, none show. But anagrams of miel are “mile, lime, Emil,” so some show up, though one is a name. By the Alexandrian language model, miel could be an added vocabulary word for honey, so both would coexist for a time, but if the anagram method succeeds their should be a gradual replacement where “miel” would become the dominant word, while “honey” would become an anachronism in the new universal language.
So language evolutions are natural elements of any language, and can be influenced consciously on a global scale with modern communications and technologies to better reflect and accommodate modern needs for a universal international language. Like words we all know, radio, doctor, computer, weekend, or apple-strudel, they become international words. Same sense as a new "Alexandrian" calendar can standardize marking time with better exactitude for modern needs, so could a new "Alexandrian" logical-poetic-phonetic language of new-Modern-English become a new-World-Language, borrowing freely from all world lingua franca in its future evolution as truly a universal class language.
It seems we're half way there already... except for the spelling! Viz. "ghoti" => fish. Perhaps Chaucer should have studied spelling from Dante?
Also see: The hidden words
|Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 08:59 pm: |
Working while you sleep… ZZZzzzzz…
Here are some links to the 'magic' of solving problems while we sleep:
- Art school in Trastevere, Rome. Sleeping beauty, working
I know for a fact this works, as many of my ideas came to me upon waking up, though some came as epiphanies while my mind was on something totally unrelated, or stranger still up at 30,000 feet flying over the planet and just staring out the window. The human mind is a wondrous thing, often most surprising what we discover.
'Working sleep' may be an important component of the earlier referenced Third, Universal Reason.
While You Sleep, Your Brain Keeps Working
John Cleese on how to put your mind to work, creative time -video (4 mins)
40 Facts about Sleep you Probably Didn't Know…
... So take a nap, and go to work.
Can dreaming be a rebalancing?
Lying to protect...
|Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 - 02:38 pm: |
Lying to protect...
Lies distort reality
There are times we are forced to lie to someone. Most often it is lying to protect the innocent from aggression. Of course we will lie to the enemy, it is fighting aggression with deception, a totally natural defense mechanism. We will also lie to protect our privacy, quite naturally, as it is to fend off unwanted approach. But lying to another for any other reason, it becomes problematic, and will often have unintended results which will do more harm than any good hoped. The most hurtful is lying to someone you love, in order to protect their feelings. The fall out is very damaging repercussions for both parties, for a twisted reality sets in for both. To the one being lied to, it is especially hurtful.
Within certain cultures, lying is permitted. For example, within the Arab culture there is a tendency for a man to lie to one's wife, almost a religion sanctioned duty, to not hurt her feelings. According to Cleric Sheik Mahmoud Al-Masri, in their scriptures it is said: "Prophet Muhammad said: "You are allowed to lie to your wife, but only about matters of the heart."" Such lying is then woven into the fabric of society, so lying "to protect" becomes a natural part of the culture, and now it works both ways, husbands lying to wives and wives lying to husbands, in order to 'fix' things in matters of the heart. But this kind of lying is not restricted to any culture. All around the Mediterranean there are cultures where bending truth, or 'creative' lying as a matter of principle, is not condemned if it is done right, even admired. Considering the Arab conquests extended from North Africa to Spain to Italy, to Greece and all of former Byzantium (click #2), lying to either make peace between parties, or to protect their feelings, may be ingrained into the fabric of the region. This is notoriously decried by some women, that their men will lie to them 'in matters of the heart', about having lovers, about money matters, about romantic feelings, etc. But in today's gender liberated world, women do the same thing. Lying is a modern two way street. But what happens when one lies to protect the feelings of another?
How easy is to lie to someone you love, to protect them? The truth about deception is that it is relatively easy for humans to lie, almost instinctive. It is also a natural human tendency to lie in order to avoid confrontation. If a lie will protect oneself from a fight, it is understandable. However, there is conflict between when the truth is hurtful and is avoided, or denied, in order to protect oneself (the 'right to privacy' issue), while at the same time this self-protection is damaging to the one being lied to, in order to protect them from the hurtful truth. The person lied to is thrown into confusion, especially if this is someone who deeply cares for you. Do you risk believing them, or do you confront them with evidence of the lie? So the liar, in order to protect oneself from confrontation is no longer 'protecting' the other, but instead is hurting them by either withholding the truth, or plain lying about it, so making the other the fool. This is especially a dilemma for when husband and wife are confronted with a lie. If you care deeply for your life partner, do you lie to them in order to protect yourself, and your partner, from the unhappy consequences of the lie? Or do you eventually face the truth, because the end result of lying to the other is unhappiness and deep hurt? This is a no-win situation, because once the lie is installed, neither party benefits. Contrary to the cleric's claim above, that in 'matters of the heart' it is okay to lie, lying on any level (except to protect the innocent from enemy aggression), there is no cultural justification for lying; it is inherently wrong. Further, the lie injects a poison into their relationship, so the natural loving trust they enjoyed is now darkened with suspicion and contempt.
There is a bigger issue at stake here, when it comes to lying in order to protect the feelings of another, especially if this is someone you deeply care for. Love is very much a matter of trust, but once that trust is violated the person's sense of reality is thrown into chaos. It is said that 95% of lies will never be discovered, so the odds vastly favor the liar. Except, the truth is still more powerful, because it is reality. So the universal order of things puts the odds in reverse, where the virtue of truth once it is discovered makes a 95% chance that the reality of it will correct damage of the lie. On a spiritual plane, lies hurt psychically in ways we do not understand, because truth is being violated deep down inside, for both the liar and the one lied to. The victim may know they are being lied to, but does not have the information with which to confront the lie; while the liar knows in their heart they are lying, and now must continue the lie in order to protect themselves from the guilt they feel inside; the liar is 'boxed in' by the lies, so pathologies set in. There is psychic hurt all around, though the liar may choose to ignore it. But it hurts both of them. Once the lie takes root in their souls, the natural love they felt starts to slip away, where even to touch the other physically becomes uncomfortable, so a coldness settles into their relationship. This coldness is happening at a universal plane, where the reality of their love for one another is thrown into jeopardy, and slowly the love turns cold. This is a much bigger issue than cultural differences of opinion on whether or not it is okay to lie to your spouse, since it now enters deep into their respective psyches, and all reality responds on levels we still cannot understand. So where lying was ostensibly to 'protect' the other from hurt, the end result is a much deeper hurt than we sought to avoid. Do not be a victim, by empowering lies. The reality of it is that lying, at any level except to protect the innocent from aggression, is deeply hurtful and damaging to human beings. Lying to 'protect' the other from hurt is terribly wrong. It should be shunned, replaced with true sincerity and respect for the other human being, to preserve their trust. We deserve no less.
It is not the thing being lied about that is so hurtful, as the lie itself. Whatever happened can be forgiven, and when people truly love one another, it usually is. Give it time. Forgiveness is the greatest test of love, but the perpetuation of the lie is an eternal hell for both of them. Lying hurts. Does one forgive a lie? Like in "love the sinner, not the sin", if the lie comes from weakness, then "yes". Though it hurts, we must forgive the lie.
Also see: 'Sherlock Holmes' and the nude model (fiction, short story)
World illusion as Bullshit
|Posted on Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 10:04 am: |
World of Illusion, when a liar's answer is in fact "bullshit".
As philosopher Harry Frankfurt puts it:
"The fact about himself that the bullshitter hides … is that the truth-values of his statements are of no central interest to him; what we are not to understand is that his intention is neither to report the truth nor to conceal it … "
In his essay On Bullshit, (originally written in 1986, and published as a monograph in 2005), philosopher Harry Frankfurt of Princeton University characterizes bullshit as a form of falsehood distinct from lying. The liar, Frankfurt holds, knows and cares about the truth, but deliberately sets out to mislead instead of telling the truth. The "bullshitter", on the other hand, does not care about the truth… A quote from Philosophy Now, on moral philosopher Harry Frankfurt's book:
Frankfurt makes an important distinction between lying and bullshitting. Both the liar and the bullshitter try to get away with something. But ‘lying’ is perceived to be a conscious act of deception, whereas ‘bullshitting’ is unconnected to a concern for truth. Frankfurt regards this ‘indifference to how things really are’, as the essence of bullshit. Furthermore, a lie is necessarily false, but bullshit is not – bullshit may happen to be correct or incorrect. The crux of the matter is that bullshitters hide their lack of commitment to truth. Since bullshitters ignore truth instead of acknowledging and subverting it, bullshit is a greater enemy of truth than lies.
As Frankfurt describes it, such nonsensical rhetoric is unconcerned with truth and so, unlike a lie, has license to be panoramic, unconcerned with context.
The user is endeavoring to bluff, and the desire for effect is paramount. Whereas lying is austere and rigorous because it must triangulate against truth, nonsense loses, and loosens, the grasp on reality. Therefore, lying is the tool of choice of the weak, as it gives them power they do not otherwise possess. The weaker one feels, the more empowering it feels to lie. But it is an illusory power, one that feeds self-deluding doubt. Denying the power of truth, only weakness remains. Lying is the last weapon of the weak.
So when confronting a LIAR, your question should NOT be 'is this true?' NOR 'is this false?' BUT - 'is this BULLSHIT?'
Therefore, the Bullshitter is always evasive, will never answer a direct question, does not even lie about it, but just talks fabrications of evasive, panoramic nonsense, talking around the subject, with little respect for the truth of what is being talked about. A classic bullshit retort is: "What question? That is not even a question." Then the answer is simply "Bullshit".
Why universe mathematical
|Posted on Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 09:21 am: |
Why Universe is mathematical?
The universe exhibits a mathematical foundation, so its fundamental laws govern its activities with surprising precision, and why the language of modern science is mathematical in principle. Going back to the ancient Greeks there was the idea that geometric forms have universal applications in describing reality, which can be expressed with mathematical equations. Perhaps first defined by Galileo, along with Francis Bacon, the effective founders of modern scientific inquiry, measurements and observations can be given mathematical expression to describe real phenomena, itself a revolutionary idea. This idea was further developed by Isaac Newton with his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica to write equations to define with precision and applicability forces of nature, such as gravity, motion and optics, including calculus. Kepler and others further applied the methodology to astronomical observations and had since been carried over into many scientific disciplines, i.e., Maxwell's electromagnetism, Quantum physics, the Standard Model, Einstein's General Relativity, astronomy, statistical analysis, etc. The language of Science had now become firmly mathematical. But why so?
The answer may lie in the basic idea the Universe is totally interrelational, that a simple geometric relationship defines every part of a whole in terms of the interrelated interconnections that compose that whole. Everything is where and what is everything else, so if taken to infinity, it can not be anything else; everything is as the 'pressure' of everything else, geometrically determined, has over time allowed it to be. Though the mathematics describing this "interrelationship" may still be lacking, perhaps nearly impossible due to its complexity, the system defines how every part of the whole is given definition in terms of the whole, to infinity. At bottom, this is a mathematical idea, one which can describe any interconnected system in reality, and one that describes it in elemental terms of its mathematical 'definition' from everything else in toto. If so, then the Universe is inherently mathematical, right down to the Quantum level, and up to infinite cosmological dimensions. Because of its inherent complexity, we default to statistical understanding of it, though the universe defined it in 'real time' constantly and infinitely. But this concept carries over into how universal laws can be modeled algorithmically, and what makes such laws of nature mathematically predictable. Once we discover mathematical expressions for physical laws, they describe with great numerical precision natural reality.
Where this precision fails, perhaps, is where the mathematical expression is incomplete. If the math is faulty, the chosen axioms false, then the expected results will disappoint. This is especially true of large complex systems like forecasting weather or the economy. We simply cannot write equations with total certainty, so we default to statistical analysis, where only an approximation can result. The precision is still there, only we cannot define it exactly. But the Universe can! In its interrelated totality, it already does at every instant in time.
This leads to another phenomenon of mathematics, where our reliance on its real applicability runs up against its incompleteness. It may be totally logical in how constructed but, as Goedel's incompleteness theorem shows, it may not cover every possibility within itself, and thus nor within reality. So if the universal reality is seen only through mathematical expression, something may be missed as to what that reality actually is. Same as ideal geometric forms fail to match reality, so would their perfect mathematical expressions. The universe is too messy, too complex. Mathematics may be exact, but in the real world existence is full of interrelated variables in systems impossible to calculate; the best we can do is achieve statistical significance. Therefore, mathematics cannot be totally relied upon to describe all natural phenomena, and it is disingenuous to think it can. Mathematics in physics is basically reductionist, rather than foundational, in how it describes natural reality. But it can be their surprisingly good numerical representation. Best case, we only have a good approximation, predictable to a degree, but the Universe already worked it out totally mathematically, and exactly.
In all, mathematics cannot be expected to totally define natural reality, as it is too complex. But it can distill principles which can be expressed in algorithms to give us a relatively good idea on how works the Universe. That is the beauty and elegance of mathematics! And if so, then the Universe is simple.
Isola Tiberina, Rome
See also: The Three Forms of Reason
Zero times Infinity equals One
Math is a language easy to understand
Did Aliens build the Great Pyramid? - the math
When things cancel out
Form of Beauty
|Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 01:46 pm: |
The Form of Beauty
(interactive - short video)
Luis Ricardo Falero reclining nude
There is something universal in humanity's love of beauty. We are all cosmic beings, both in our personal desires for beauty and in our sexuality. The same beauty exists in nature and the wilderness, where we wrote earlier:
There is something in us shared by all, that beautiful things both human and natural create a harmony in us, so we find it beautiful. It is the same for human sexuality, that we find it beautiful. Sex is an intensely personal thing, where we share the body, and our yearning, with the warmth of another human being in a totally intimate contact, of touching and kissing, where the closeness of one comes into deep contact with the being of another, intertwined in the act of love. This sexual contact is a beautiful thing to us, no matter the sex, nor gender, when mutually consentual, as love can be as intimate for opposite as well as same sex intimacy. We are all human beings capable of sexual love. This beauty of love is both in the body as well as the mind, both spiritual and sensual, as a font of intense emotional pleasure because we are intimately human.
The wilderness, life, beauty, is our connection with something deep inside ourselves.
We access such human beauty both in our subjective mind, what we intuitively know to be beautiful, and in our universal mind, what nature's harmony creates its beauty. These are the Living Fountains in a simple universe open to all of us, if we choose to see it. We then wrote:
Through the ages beauty had been personified as our social consciousness, our soul to soul connection. It is all part of our universal life of a totally interrelated, emergent universe. Life is beautiful, infinitely so, because this is Who we are.
Creating beauty: Not all art is beautiful, sometimes it needs to tell an ugly story. But when focussed on beauty, or beautiful prose or music, it brings out a spiritual feeling that transcends the ordinary, and communicates that same feeling to its recipients. Perhaps that is what defines "beauty" in the first place, that it connects us somewhere deep within ourselves into that 'emergent' Mind of the universe, so it moves us, and others admire the work. When a sculptor brings life to form, or a painter sees with the soul, we see it and we 'know' it instantly. It is beautiful.
Adam and Eve, after the fall
23 Dimensions of Being
Beauty knows no religious boundaries
Who wrote William Shakespeare?
|Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2014 - 02:27 am: |
Was William Shakespeare in truh “Anonymous”? - Who wrote 'Shakespeare'?
William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon
Actors imitate life. But what about writers? There had been brewing for nearly four centuries as to who actually wrote the Shakespearean plays. Could they really have been penned by the son of an illiterate glove maker and wool merchant, rudimentarily educated at the grammar school of his small agricultural town, a London stage actor who had never traveled abroad? In The Enigma of William Shakespeare, it says: "All of Shakespeare's belongings were carefully listed on is three-page will, without any mention of books or manuscripts. Were they left to Susanna, his elder daughter? If so, they would surely have been distributed among her descendants. Intrigued by this mystery, an 18th-century cleric checked all the private libraries within an 80-kilometer radius of Stratford-upon-Avon without discovering a single volume that had belonged to Shakespeare." Indeed, where are his works, his sonnets and poetry, and his monumental creations for the stage? In fact, most plays were published after his death (1616), after 1623, but originals were never found. Nor did Shakespeare leave any books of any kind.
We know from William Shakespeare biography he was baptized 26 April, 1564 at Holy Trinity Church of his home town, Stratford-upon-Avon, but nothing is known of the date of his birth, as records were not kept then. He was educated at the local grammar school, so he could read and write, perhaps learned some classics. After marriage to Anne Hathaway from another small village, and three children (1583-1585), Shakespeare seems to have dropped out of view for a few years before resurfacing as a horse attendant for some of London's theaters. In 1592 there is then evidence he earned a living as an actor and playwright in London, and later became a successful business man. Within five years, it is said 15 of the 37 plays written were published (1597), and by this time he was able to purchase the second largest house in Stratford, a remarkable feat for the son of a simple leather merchant. By 1600 his writing theme seemed to have changed from comedies (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It), to more historical inspired stories (Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Macbeth), so he had evolved as a playwright, now very far removed from his simple grammar school education of his home town. He died April 1616, though the burial took place on the 5th, the date of death is on the 23rd by tradition, but it is in fact unrecorded, so unknown. So mystery shrouded his last days as they had his beginnings, and in his will to his daughter Susanna, which instead of voluminous written works he had created, merely consisted of "All the Rest of my Goods, Chattels, Leases, Plate, Jewels & Household stuff whatsoever after my debts and Legacies paid & my funeral expenses discarded" as listed in his Will; his wife Anne only got his second-best bed. Could this be the same William Shakespeare who wrote all those erudite works left the English speaking world, and the whole world in translation, for generations to marvel at his eloquently brilliant mind, one at home in the subtle mannerisms of court life, with intimate knowledge of the Classics, history (Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Henry V, Hamlet), foreign lands (Merchant of Venice, Two Gentlemen of Verona), and the tragedies of their times (Anthony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear); and we be not left wondering who exactly was the playwright who on his Last Will and Testament barely signed his name (William) Shakspeare? That a writer's signature varies, or appears illegible, is hardly a case against him. Or was it perhaps not him at all, but that another 'Shakespeare' was the true playwright?
There are doubts that 'Shakspere' wrote Shake-Speare: no letters written by him were ever found. The same question was made in the recent film Anonymous (2011), which though a work of fiction, raises doubt of Shakespeare's authenticity as the author of his famous plays. In the story, the authorship is credited to Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, who took great pains to conceal his identity, and instead the plays' authorship was assumed, with the help of poet and playwright Ben Jonson, by a stage actor, William Shakespeare. Upon further scrutiny this in fact does not hold up, as this computer analysis repudiates alleged authorship: Was the Earl of Oxford the True Shakespeare? Oxford had too many mismatches to conclude he could have been the real author behind Shakespeare's plays, as did Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe; Sir Walter Raleigh came in closest in matching, but this does not conclude his anonymous authorship; William Stanley was not mentioned. In fact, there are many contenders offered, perhaps hinting at a colossal coverup of the true identity of some of the greatest literature the world had ever known. But there is one theory that sort of makes sense, on some elementary level, that the works of the London actor turned business man, who is globally knows as the playwright William Shakespeare, not the man, may be a composite figure, hidden behind the veils of that Elizabethan era notion, where gentlemen of aristocracy were deemed inappropriate to write vulgar stage plays to amuse the masses, as it was beneath their dignity, unworthy of their station in life. But like all forbidden things, therein lies the greater attraction, that to write, however secretly, lends prestige and humility to the author. Prestige because it is only in the privileged circles of those who know, and should know, that the truth circulates; while humility, not to crave attraction, but the opposite, to hide from view, so the general public does not know. That is, in some reverse snobbery for the select, the ultimate achievement of genius, that its authors remains anonymous. And if nothing else, Shakespeare's plays are true works of genius.
Let us indulge in some speculation, that the works known to us as the plays and sonnets of 'William Shakespeare' are the product of collusion by two, and perhaps three, authors who had sworn to remain 'anonymous' as was the privilege of their rank. By contrast to our modern age, where anyone can seek popular adulation, from presidents to Rock Stars, that there is no shame is seeking such stardom, the Elizabethan age, especially amongst the aristocracy, saw such public attention to be considered vulgar (though stage acting was all the rage). But if the works are spread between fellow collaborators who are initiates into the secrecy, then their labors gain value for their valor rather than their populous appeal. That there would be applause from the audience is assumed, if the works are good. So based on this supposition, who could have worked with whom, to produce works for the stage of the highest caliber possible, unimpeded by social gossip or convention? They would have had to be gentlemen in the truest sense of the word, well bred and educated, and they would have known each other. They were writing not for public acclaim but for literary legacy, to be remembered 'anonymously' forever, because of their great work. That is pride of the highest order, and swashbucklers like Sir Walter Raleigh would not likely be accepted; these members would have held high office, not chasing El Dorado, and been keenly aware of the responsibility of their office. But it is also a pride that had to be kept private, or else in their age, their positions, they would have garnered scorn. So who could they be?
These are people who William Shakespeare would have liked to know, and perhaps because of his association with London theater, he may have known some. But they are not likely to have accepted him into their inner circle, he being a commoner of limited education and means, so if he knew them, they made no case of it; he was never mentioned. In fact, when Shakespeare died, no one made news of it, nor was his funeral attended, which is odd for so great a talent if it were him. So the first person struck from the list is Mister Shakspear himself. Sir Walter Raleigh as mentioned was too much the adventurer, more suited for later centuries to open up the Americas, or the Arctic. A likely prominent literary figure of the age was John Milton, author of Paradise Lost and the Areopagitica (1664), but he was too late, born 1608, died 1674, so likely was not there. Furthermore, his writing was verbose, whereas Shakespearean plays are economical, full of wit. Of the four primary candidates often mentioned, Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, Robert de Vere, and William Stanley, two had associations with London theater. These two were William Stanley (1561-1642), 6th Earl of Derby, who sometimes signed his name "Will" or W.S., and Edward de Vere (1550-1604), 17th Earl of Oxford, who sponsored and patronized companies of actors, and also was a poet and playwright; Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) does not fit the profile, and Francis Bacon (1561-1626), who could be a candidate. Mentioned also were secret societies, like the Rosicrucians, or Freemasons, or myriad other candidates; but this is dismissed off hand, as it is an unnecessary red herring. But Ben Jonson (1572-1637), the poet and playwright, knew Shakespeare, had cast him in his first play (Every Man in his Humour), though he may not have known the others, except casually at the theater. So the process of elimination casts out Milton, Raleigh, Marlowe, and Jonson. This leaves three names: Edward deVere, William Stanley, and Francis Bacon. If there were others, they remain lost to history; except perhaps _5th_Earl_of_Rutland, Roger Manners (came later -1576, died early -age 36). But these show promise, at least superficially, that they may have been collaborators. Let us look as some positive and negative aspects to this hypothesis.
There are two criteria that may further reduce the candidates of real authorship of Shakespearean plays, besides education and aristocratic breeding: travels abroad and friendship with the theater, or each other. Milton traveled abroad, both to France and Italy, so he appears a likely choice, except he came too late, after Shakespeare plays had already made the stage. Both Edward de Vere and Francis Bacon had traveled abroad (unlike William Shakspear), and both had been to France and Italy. The 17th Earl of Oxford, De Vere traveled abroad in 1575 with Queen Elizabeth's letters of introduction to foreign monarchs; Francis Bacon had traveled to Italy, places like Rome, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Pisa, Verona, and Padua, so he knew of those lands, including France, Paris, Poitiers, Tours. However, _6th_Earl_of_Derby,William Stanley also traveled to Italy and France, and Egypt, as well as Damascus, so there is that connection. Remembering Derby also had a theater connection puts him in a better light; Francis Bacon wrote plays for the court. So these three are coming together on this issue of travel, especially the Italian connection prominent in Shakespeare's plays. Othello, for example, starts in Venice but moves to a military encampment in Cyprus; Anthony and Cleopatra is set in Rome and Alexandria, Egypt. If one's travels set the stage, then both William Stanley and Francis Bacon have the travel history; De Vere's travels were mainly Italy and France, but not Africa, which could weaken the 'Oxfordian' argument. But the question remains: did they know each other?
There is evidence that Edward de Vere and Francis Bacon knew each other; both were members of the Elizabethan court, and both were brought up at the William Cecil's mansion on the Strand after Queen Elizabeth appointed Cecil as Master of Wards (1558), the queen's chief minister. It is noteworthy that William Stanley married Elizabeth de Vere (1595), daughter of Edward de Vere and Anne Cecil. So they all knew each other, rather intimately. Also noteworthy was that Elizabeth de Vere was reputed to have had an affair with Sir Walter Raleigh, the adventurer. If so, this was a triumvirate that had turned into a family affair. All these names seem intimately interconnected in life, so why not on paper? Especially, if there is a social prime directive in Elizabethan society that gentlemen do no write vulgar stage plays, under penalty of censorship (later argued against by John Milton), or treason, and there is this strong passion for theater, then why not write furtively, secretly, and make the world your stage? Travels abroad, court intrigue, suppressed passions, put it all on paper, and watch the people laugh, or cry. That must have been the reason why William Shakspear was not William Shakespeare. The evidence, though not hard evidence but circumstantial, points to a triumvirate of writers comparing notes, drawing on shared experiences, and tongue in cheek, like a writing team writing sit coms, writing about the vagaries of the world they knew. William Shakspear of Stratford-upon-Avon did not have the depth to do this, nor the travels, nor the education; but these three did. And they had fun doing it. On the negative side, the controversy of who wrote Shakespeare had attracted quacks and pseudo intellectuals who perpetrate 'conspiracy' theories and only add to popular mythology. (Another negative often mentioned, was Shakespeare's last play, believed written about 1610-1611, titled The Tempest, written after De Vere died (1604), and is believed to be patterned after the wreck of Sea-Venture off Bermuda (1609); however, the play is set in the Mediterranean, with the Duke of Milan and King of Naples, so remote from Bermuda in the Atlantic; and the other two could have written it.) And what of the afore mentioned computer analysis, that Earl of Oxford, or Francis Bacon, had too many mismatches? Could the computer misread? Except for the Oxfordian and Baconian proposals, the rest can be dismissed as geomancers.
Oxford, Bacon, Derby, and Marlowe (clockwise from top left, Shakespeare centre) have each been proposed as the true author
But that leaves the question: whose hand wrote it down? It can be argued that since Gentlemen did not write plays, nor associated openly with Elizabethan theater deemed beneath their station, the ‘Shakespearean’ plays were actually all ‘anonymous’ and written by different hands mimicking a common style. “William Shakespeare” was merely a default pen name. Until hard evidence shows up, and these three, Edward de Vere, Francis Bacon, and William Stanley are only 'persons of interest', we cannot know who penned the Shakespearean plays, nor sonnets. Perhaps all three shared manuscripts? (The other group was a theater crowd: William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and possibly Christopher Marlowe, as these were younger, more involved in writing plays or performing on stage.) Though the mystery deepens, and haltingly unravels, the question of authorship is still an unknown. Who wrote? Did William Shakspear of Stratford write it? Unless he was hugely self-educated, it is highly unlikely (the killing blow is he had no books, no manuscripts, not even letters). Did Sir Walter Raleigh participate? Probably not, his adventurous spirit might have been a risk. Was Ben Jonson in on it? Not likely either. So who was William Shakespeare? At this time, unless it was all three of them, we still cannot know.
Also see: Did Shakespeare really write his plays? - BBC
This just in: Marlowe wrote some of Shakespeare's plays?
Japan future now
|Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 03:03 pm: |
In Japan the Future is Now.
Humanoid (robots) hotel staff at Japanese hotel
Nippon-koku (Japan) dates back as an inhabited island some 30,000 years, and had formed a viable state by the 3rd century BC, as mentioned in ancient Chinese texts. It is also believed that Japanese writing started then, as the first written records date back. By the 8th century it had consolidated into a powerful state, also about that time when Buddhism was introduced from China and Korea. But the people's character was molded by a new indigenous people, the Ayoyi who mixed with the earlier Ainu and Yamato inhabitants, who developed their distinctive culture in pottery, arts, rice farming, metalurgy, and literature, such as The Tale of Genji. Japan's unique character as a nation developed further, both culturally and politically, during the feudal Shogun period, until contact with the West had influenced their future into a modern industrial state by the 19th century. As Empire, Japan's influence extended over Eastern Asia and the Pacific until the Second World War, when Japan was defeated. Theirs is the only country to experience the devastating power of nuclear bombs used against their homeland, when their world changed dramatically.
Modern Japan is exemplary as a nation of people capable of laudable achievements. In their culture is politeness to a fault; their industrial and technological achievements are legend; and their intellectual and artistic achievements are to be envied. There is a natural beauty in Japan, a pursuit of excellence in its fine culture, perhaps an influence of its Buddhism or reflects the nature of a people, that lends itself both sophisticated and finely delicate. Their blossom festivals relish in nature, their art brushes on Zen. Theirs is a human culture to be admired and loved.
Japanese robot models
Japan today is what the future looks like, that it could be a model for the whole world. Its culture places high value on education; on a per capita basis economic productivity is high. One of the more impressive achievements of Japanese technology is its robotics. (The top image shows prospective robot hotel concierge 'who' can speak multiple languages and read characteristic body language.) Imagine a world where menial labor is liberated from the people, economic productivity is enhanced by robotic technology, and where the national distribution of income is based not only on labor but on their collective productivity. That's what the future looks like, and Japan may be the first nation to achieve this. In Japan, the future is now.
Also see: Where is technology taking the economy?
More technology, not more people
How will Europe manage massive migrations?
|Posted on Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 01:51 pm: |
How will Europe manage its massive influx of refugees?
Can Europe manage its massive influx of refugees, already surpassing 50 million since WW II, what may be the largest human migration in history? Will they all stay? Can Europe manage them?
Europe has become a magnet for peoples fleeing war torn regions, as well as politically and economically dysfunctional countries. Its economic relative well being offering jobs, and a generous public assistance program to help new arrivals get started, has gone viral amongst the poor and disaffected, so they abandon home and country, friends and family, to start a new life. This is no idle decision, and with the desperation shown in crossing dangerous waters and deserts, exploitation by human traffickers, and not universally welcome on arrival, still they come, from Africa, the Middle East, Asia. Many are healthy men and women who survive the arduous journey, but also families with children, many die. By the time they arrive, same as Central and South Americans to the United States, or boat refugees to Australia, they are already degraded physically, mentally beaten, and desperate, hoping to make a new start. How will they adjust to their new land, its people and culture, what for many will be a totally alien way of life? That is an important question: will they assimilate?
European demographics tell part of the story. As its population is aging, there will not be enough economic activity by younger workers to fill the coffers of their retirement public trusts; they will run out of money. This is also true in Japan, or Russia, and eventually China. But asylum seekers are not going there, nor are they sought. The same for the wealthy Arab Gulf countries who are loath to take in refugees. Neither is South America a magnet, rather they flock to Europe. Will the new arrivals find productive work to fill the aging demographics gap? Germany and Sweden seem to think so, so they are made welcome there. France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark are less welcoming, as they already feel the demographic burden of refugees' influx. Hungary, Serbia, Greece, Poland, and others have voiced their disapproval of mass migrations to their countries, despite world criticism (Slovakia takes only Christian refugees). China and Russia remain silent upon the issue. Turkey and Lebanon also received large numbers, so they feel the pressure politically and economically. How will the demographics play out in future decades? Will Europe turn xenophobic like Japan or Korea? Will their economies prosper and fill the aging demographics gap? Or will they flounder?
Looking back, though on a smaller scale, at the Palestinian refugees to Lebanon, the influx after the 1948 Israel war by Arab states, and subsequent migrations, does not pose a hopeful picture. From under a hundred thousands arrivals, their population has grown to over five million. Yet they still live in poverty and feel disenfranchised there. The Lebanese wars were largely between Muslims and Christians, so a socially and politically destabilization occurred after the mass migrations. Will Europe face something similar in their future, when the millions of refugees arriving now will count in the tens of millions, or hundred millions, in the future? Will they assimilate, and enhance European culture (why they chose Europe), or will the dismal Lebanese experience play out again? These are serious questions Europe must address now, or the consequences may be dire.
It is in European culture, as well as American and the Anglo world, to give humanitarian aid to people in distress, with charity a fundamental principle to help where one can. This is not a universally accepted principle, as many countries hostile to mass immigration have shown. Saudi Arabia is not taking in any, nor are the Arab states, nor Iran, nor most of Asia (exception is Cambodia); while North and sub-Sahara Africa has a net exodus. So such charitable aid and goodwill towards refugees falls squarely on the shoulders of the West. First arrivals may be made welcome, but what of the next wave, and the next? How will their children relate to the cultures of the West? The gratitude felt by their parents may not be automatically transferred to their offsprings. Will they find comfort in the West's secular values, the equality of gender, equality before the law, liberal values in personal behavior and dress, the arts and music, freedom of expression and other human rights? Is this not what made Europe successful, where the countries whose peoples are fleeing are not? These are important issues Europe must face as the immigrants stay and raise their families there. Who will their descendants be? Europeans or, like in Lebanon, disaffected and impoverished latter generations 'refugees'? And if the latter, can European culture survive?
European demographics will be key. Not all refugees will stay, but of those who do, assimilation into Europe's culture will be of prime importance. It should be a Prime Directive, that refugees learn the language, the laws of the nation where settled, that they accept the values, both secular and religious, of their European neighbors, and that they live honorable lives. Criminals have no place in civilized society and must be expelled; those who attack police and other citizens add nothing to European culture, nor should they be allowed to preach hatred. Most immigrants will adjust to their new world, but it takes only a small minority to destabilize it and foment social unrest. If the culture of the new arrivals conflicts with European values, it can be expected misunderstanding and dissatisfaction leading to unrest. Will such unrest lead to a Lebanon type civil war, but on a much grander scale? It is not a forecast but a caution, that these things must be considered having had such massive influx of people who come from troubled parts of the world. How will they adjust to Europe, and how will indigenous Europeans adjust to them? How will future European demographics look? No doubt, Europe will be enriched by importing different ideas, agreeable cultural habits, new cuisines; but it can also be impoverished if these come at a price of contempt and destruction of those cultural values that made Europe what it is today. In effect, will the Christian-based culture of charity of a now largely secular Europe be overwhelmed by demands of peoples for whom charity was not a cultural directive, nor in their history? As many have fled the Sunni-Shiite divisional wars (Syrian civil wars now), will their divisive wars be imported? Something similar happened in the 1975 War in Lebanon, also religious warfare. Could it replay in Europe on a much larger scale? Mass expulsions are a messy process, oftentimes violent. These are important things to consider into the future as the numbers of non-European migrants escalate. How will Europe be changed, for better or worse?
Refugee Rape Gangs
Assimilation is key. For the demographics of a future Europe to work, assimilation into its culture by newly arrived refugee immigrants, and their children, is an a priori requirement, starting upon arrival. They arrived pitiful, of their own free will, and were received on humanitarian grounds; these conditions are the reality on the ground. To be accepted into their new reality with agreement socially, they must adhere to a basic education of what it means to be European, so they can assimilate. The first act of assimilation is language, education of the children, that followed by understanding the laws of the land. Second comes cultural norms, mutual courtesy to not give offense reciprocally, and a knowledge of historical context of what is Europe today, especially its democratic rule of law with its evolution of protecting universal Human Rights. Third, there must be clarity on where the arrivals' religions conflict with culture and the norms of the people, and where grievances can be addressed publicly both ways. Which ideology will Islamic youth embrace in the future, the violent Koranic verses such as Sura 9:5, 9:29 etc., or a peaceful coexistence with European liberal values? These questions will be important as assimilation progresses with future generations, important for Europe for both cultures to have time to adjust. Europe will change, its demographics will change, and hopefully with these changes their socio-economic future, and cultural future, will peacefully change for the better. But these issues must be addressed publicly now, or they may prove painfully and fatally too late.
Also see: Europe's Aging Demographics
Islamic State group: The full story
A point of view - FPM: Why they wear 'burkhinis'
Pope Francis speech to Congress
|Posted on Friday, September 25, 2015 - 01:41 pm: |
In the name of the Son...
(interactive -text of speech to US Congress)
Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome, gave a strong speech before the US Congress, to which the congressmen and women responded with a long, standing ovation. It was an inspiring speech that highlighted the problems of the world today, and our need for compassionate response to the suffering of people. As he said in part:
Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
As our world's Vicar of Christ, the Pope has a duty to humanity to present Christian ideals in a spirit of the teachings of the Gospels. At center of these teachings are the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whose primary message that we 'love one another' is also central to Francis' speech before Congress in mentioning the Golden Rule. His position as Pope of the Catholic Church makes him the inheritor to the mantle of Peter, the Rock on whose Jesus' church is built. In this spirit, it is also his Earthly duty to honor great men and women, and saints, who have advanced the cause of humanity, in the Spirit of Christ. This he did, in part:
A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to "dream" of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.
But there was a name missing in his speech to Congress, the name of the one person in whom is embodied the full gravity of his office, as Vicar of Christ, the man who he is obliged to serve with all his soul and heart. But the Pope's speech never mentions Him.
Francis is hugely popular and justly much loved, and it can be understood his speech to a secular political body in a country guided by principles of 'separation of church and state', so his was mainly a political speech. But Jesus had asked Peter on the Appian Way near Rome, "Quo Vadis?" To which Peter responded by entering Rome, where he was martyred. As a successor to Peter, Pope Francis also has an obligation to all Christianity, as well as all humanity. He ended his speech with "God bless America". This was fitting to bless the land of freedom, one based on Christian values. But it cannot be ignored that in his speech he never mentioned Jesus Christ. There should be no shame, nor offense given, to at least once utter His name. Quo Vadis?
Also see: Dear Holy Father - a dissenting view
SPEAKING TRUTH TO THE POPE; SPEAKING TRUTH TO MUSLIMS - A Polish Catholic wrestles with her pontiff - by Danusha V. Goska
Papa Francesco addresses the UN General Assembly - a message to all humanity
Golden Rule revisited
How will EU manage Brexit?
|Posted on Saturday, June 25, 2016 - 11:32 am: |
How will Brexit result affect France, Germany and the rest of Europe?
Brits living abroad (interactive)
“Whatever the result, it shows the EU is decaying, that there are cracks everywhere,” Ms Le Pen said, describing Brussels as “totalitarian” and requesting to unwind it to go back to a “Europe of the nations”.
Can the EU Bureaucracy in Brussels handle the rift caused by massive immigration, jihadist refugees, national security, conservative calls for EU referendums in Netherlands, France, Italy, and the general disaffection with the autocratic structure of EU? Brexit may put EU more at risk than it knows, affecting not only Brits living abroad, but the economies of other Europeans as well. How will Europe handle its massive immigration, and how will Brussels respond to referendums demanding greater national autonomy?
This is how democracy works. Whether they voted with reason, or emotion for freedom, it was a 'wake up' for Brussels.
Also see, another opinion: THE EU-PROGRESSIVE PARADIGM IS FALLING APART
Are we losing 'liberty'?
|Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 02:47 pm: |
Are we losing our sense of 'liberty'?
Ideas of human liberty developed in the 17th century's Age of Reason led to the American revolution's Declaration of Independence, where our inalienable right to "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" was transformed into a democratic constitutional governance securing our right to self government and basic human rights. This was an ideal, however imperfectly implemented, that guided our civilization for the past two centuries, culminating in the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which exemplified our modern era's definition of personal freedom from tyranny. This freedom included protection from religious oppression, why we have a 'separation of church and state' in our Bill of Rights, as well as political oppression from dictatorial government. But something has been lost in the modern fight for freedom, that the original love of liberty has become subsumed to an 'appeal for power' to protect us from those who would take our freedoms, our natural human rights, away from us.
We may be on the cusp of the passing of an age, where the burning desire for freedom may be dampened by the fear pervading our world. Especially in the young whose lives had not yet matured to the hardships of life, where having been taken care of by family, or in more modern times by governmental programs, there may not yet have evolved a strong sense of liberty. When liberty is not lost, it is not missed. And except for students of history, those who understand how our guaranteed freedoms were fought for and gained, even with a World War, most people today may not be well versed in what loss of freedoms we may face. Once freedom is lost, it is bitterly missed. Who will fight to regain it? The young? Usually, yes, but the current generations seem ill equipped to do so.
We live in a pampered age. When loss of benefits, economic, social or personal loss threaten, we do not appear to rise up to right them individually, appealing to self reliance, but rather appeal to government. We expect we will be taken care of, our independence assured, and economic well being a right. But that is not the way of the world for free men and women; that is the way of a kept people, a people who had surrendered their liberty for their well being. The inevitable path is one of greater government dependence and reliance on offered state welfare, what is offered to a complacent population who have social and economic expectations. When this economic or social stability is threatened, the demand is not for more liberty to redirect their human affairs as individuals, where each man and woman finds their own path; but for more government to direct them from above. At times, when issues of social contract are involved, representative government is the right way; but when loss of freedom is involved, it is not. Then, when freedom is slipping, we regain our power with personal initiative, and less government, not more.
[Addendum: In terms of economics, the difference between capitalism and socialism is that the market exchange based economy of Capitalism is based on satisfying economic demand, with the government role primarily to protect from abuses; while Socialism is a government policy mandated economy where laws, taxation, and punishments are used to either encourage or discourage economic activities. One works best unfettered, though guided by agreed upon social contract laws and policies; the other thrives in a vast bureaucratic machinery dictating policy to the polity. One is inherently democratic, while the other is inherently dictatorial. History shows market based economies deliver wealth and popular well being in a freedom environment; while socialist economies do poorly, and while they promote equality they may be politically oppressive. One promotes liberty, the other not.]
Obviously these are generalities, perhaps general tendencies shared by certain groups within a larger population. People still feel the need for self reliance and self determination, relying on their own strengths and abilities to right their lives. We just witnessed Brexit, Britain's referendum to exit the autocratic European Union in favor of greater national identity and self rule. But even there, the vote was largely split between young and old: older Brits tended to vote for independence from EU, while younger tended to vote for remaining. This is statistically significant, which may signal the growing trend among the young, that perhaps independence and cooperative individualism are less important than general well being, such as belonging to EU would deliver, theoretically. Whether or not that is the case, the older generation was willing to 'stiff upper lip' it, given all the dire consequences predicted by the media and elite; the younger voters less so, so were more easily swayed. Is this the pattern we can expect for the future, especially a future racked by uncertainty on the global scale, from ISIS to global warming, to gun control. Will 'fear' cause the next generations to pull back, seek comfort in greater government powers; or will they stand up to the threats with courage, the pundits of fear be damned? Will future generations vote for freedom? For Peace? We don't know, so it is an open question.
Are modern values of liberty in danger of being lost? When security has higher social priority than freedom, then freedom is lost. It happened before. In Ancient Rome, republican ideals which brought Roman stability and power gave way to dependence on imperial largess for its citizens. The will to fight and do social service was relinquished to being taken care of, entertained and fed by the state. When coastal towns of the Mediterranean were attacked by Saracens, sacking and taking slaves, the population retreated to fortified hill towns, such as dot coastal Italy. They forsook their freedom of movement for the safety of the walls. Today the threat is once again to protect society from external and internal terrorism, an attack on our civilization largely inspired by a Medieval social philosophy, such as believed in Sharia*, which is inimical to our modern freedoms. Freedom works, repression does not. Which will the future choose? To fight for liberty, or to seek greater protection from the threat through less human rights? These are serious considerations for the future of civilization. Regression happened before, where it took over a millennium to regain what was lost, in the arts, in sciences, and in equality of personal freedoms. Once the will to serve society with our ability, and to fight to preserve our freedoms, are relinquished to the safety and security of government, then our will to liberty is diminished, perhaps irreversibly. When that happens, our freedoms lost, it will be a long battle to regain them, as autocratic or theocratic powers are not wont to give them back to the people. Freedom is lost from not accepting responsibility for one’s actions. Then it is lost.
*(In its strictest definition, sharia is considered in Islam as the infallible law of God, though it is a legal form of social jurisprudence, not itself a religious belief such as protected by the American First Amendment.)
Also see: Cooperative Individualism
Three historical things to consider - Humanity forward or back?
Presumed innocence and the rights of the individual
How free is ‘free speech’?
|Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 02:19 pm: |
Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple Computer, who introduced "think different" in their advertising, had said in a PBS documentary interview:
When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your job is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is - everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.
'Think different' in fact is an early American trait. The Founding Fathers of the nation were 'think different' visionaries who thought their vision of a secular nation, not answering to the King but based upon Enlightenment principles formalized in a democratic Constitutional government, would make a better nation. They were right, and the American experience had shone a light of liberty on the world. It may not be perfect, and there is always a danger 'think different' spawns a Hitler rather than a Jefferson. But if proposed with a good idea, good results follow.
Presently, we are offered a choice in our next US Presidency, where the people have rallied around a 'think different' candidate, just endorsed by the Republican Party. This is not an endorsement of Donald Trump, who may or may not be the next President, but it is indicative of a nation which is hankering for a 'think different' time in the nation, that the old ways and philosophies are failing, that we are posed with threats never before envisioned. It will take a 'think different' mentality to bring about national success on all fronts, from economics to world threats. And the people are ready for it, even if most of the elite in academia and politics are not. There is risk in 'think different', but this American nation was built on that risk. Pioneers risked their lives to settle the West, immigrants risked their comfort for a dangerous passage to a new world, seeking better opportunities for themselves and their children than they had in the old. The old world was not 'think different', where traditions and privilege prevailed; the new world had ideals that challenged those old traditions and power. Now new immigrants are flocking to our borders, and we must 'think different' how to include them in our American experience in a positive manner, so they too can realize their dreams. It is because they 'think different' that they chose to be here.
It will take 'think different' on many venues to bring progress into the world. We are faced with climate change, with economic stagnation, with planetary species extinctions, with deforestation and food shortages. These challenged seem at times mutually exclusive, so the old order will not solve them. But a 'think different' mindset can find solutions. Even in science, the stalling General Relativity train is running down for the future, as it is irreconcilable with other physics, especially the Standard Model. Will it take a 'think different' physics breakthrough to get the science back to steam? Probably, if we really wish as a species to travel in space. It is doable, but not with the physics known today. We will need to 'think different'.
Apple has become the most successful company in the world. The American nation has led the world in concepts of Liberty and rule of law, of equality and personal freedoms. Will they continue on track for the future? Yes, if we face the risks with intelligence to 'think different'. We always have, and we must again.
Erosion of our moral values
|Posted on Friday, October 07, 2016 - 03:11 am: |
Erosions of our moral values leads to societal decline.
It probably happened in the '60s in the US, likely the '70s in Europe, and then in the world, where traditional moral values were questioned, and abandoned. Youthful rebellion challenged the norms of society defining right from wrong, with commensurate disrespect for parental authority, contempt for history and nation. This spilled over into how educators taught children, students demonstrated against academic strictures, and contempt for social authority, government, police, the Vietnam war. It was also manifest in how we dressed, adopting blue jeans and sweatshirts for jackets and tie, reversing styles of formal wear to casual wear. Our music changed from melodious classical chords to accompanied wild drumming, driving us into musical frenzy. In many ways it was liberating to free ourselves of societal restrictions, but in other ways it came at a cost.
The biggest cost was to our moral values. 'Free love' usurped sexual reserve, where our freedom to explore sexuality overturned centuries of what was deemed proper behavior between the sexes. Out of wedlock pregnancies are no longer thought fallen, single parenting a now accepted norm; same for homosexual relations, once frowned upon and now socially acceptable. Where dress was once reserved with little sexual overtones, now exposure of women's bodies is widely embraced. These are not evidence of a newly fallen nature, but an exhibit of our truer nature; we like our bodies and sexuality, and they are no longer suppressed in their beauty. But it happened quickly, a change that occurred over the past few decades. Our sense or moral order and propriety has shifted from restraint to full view. It is evident in our media, advertising and on screen, that a woman's body is celebrated, as well as exploited for commercial gain. Have we gone too far? Is there a middle ground that is morally superior to one of total sexual liberation? Teen pregnancy statistics would indicate there is. Can the pendulum swing the other way, to find that middle ground, where our sexuality is celebrated but within norms less damaging to us, less exploited? Explicit sex in media demeans a woman's dignity and leaves nothing to dream about. Would it not be better to leave sexual imagery implicit, less desperate, to stir yearnings of imagination? Where is the beauty and human dignity? It was our Baby Boom generation that changed the rules in the game of sexual morality, and it may be in our latter years that we will again have to change them. Perhaps we had gone too far?
The other, more important social cost is that our moral values, our social moorings on which we interact as human beings may have gone adrift. We are no longer sure what represents 'right or wrong'. Our crime statistics, especially aggravated assault, rape, and homicide are grievously high, more in some societies, or sectors of society, than in others. What went wrong here, that we had become a frighteningly murderous society; that we fear walking in the park at night, that we stay home out of fear, and that our children are not safe in their playgrounds? The numbers began rising simultaneously with our greater moral freedoms, where somewhere in the past five decades we began to lock our doors out of fear of robbery or assault, not just in poor neighborhoods, but everywhere. In my living memory it was not always like this; there are still places where society functions and children are protected, where it is safe. What changed? The answer falls back on our moral values changing. The former guidance of religion and church had been diluted in these past decades to where they are largely forgotten, or ignored. Where the sense of family and human dignity are still valued morally, where there is bond of community, the statistics are brighter, but where such values have disappeared, the statistics are grim. In our time society has drifted lower, where we now live in fear of one another. Can this be changed? Perhaps we cannot reverse the clock on religious traditional guidance, but we can address the issues of social morality in how they should be taught in schools, and popular media? That the dignity and sanctity of each human being regardless of sex or social class is the most important element of a well functioning and just society, and that we respect one another equally, resolve our arguments reasonably without violence, and have compassion for the other. These are bedrock values that when forgotten, we get what we have today, a society afraid of itself, of its social predators, and frozen in its incapacity to right itself.
[Addendum: We are neither good nor bad. Those are moralistic judgments subjective to the conditions observed by the recipient of others’ actions. Our species survival was predicated on cooperation rather than predation on others. That such predation exists, wars, criminal gangs, assault and rape, sexual slavery, are the holes in the theory of inherent human cooperation, that we had survived the past million years. This is why such social predations must be controlled if society is not to devolve into a neo-barbarism. The Left has taken responsibility away from the individual, thinking we are inherently ‘bad’, that we need paternalistic managing, hence why our societies are tending towards devolution, as witnessed where their socialist policies dominate. Look at the inner cities abandoned by ‘self-responsible’ individuals, and the results are self evident.]
The fault of having reached this low point, which can still go lower, in our social reality, especially in our large cities, is that our media and academic responsibilities have embraced our weak social moorings as if they were the new normal. Where is the reason in this, where the critical analysis of why our societies have lost reason, drifted to this low? Are we so overwhelmed with fear that we cannot face the truth of our moral decay? Now it gets more frightening as waves of desperate immigrants grope for our shores, and then get disappointed upon reaching them that is not the golden paradise they envisioned; by the second or third generation their bitterness manifests in social rejection, contempt for our freedoms, and renewed violence, the same violence their parents fled. This is a cycle both intranationally and internationally, where our moral values are further assaulted into a self pitying hate, and sense of failure. We do not feel good about ourselves when we see so much death in the news, in war reporting of children and civilians killed, in overloaded sinking refugee boats, they all offend our senses of what is right and just, which these casualties are not. As our moral values drift lower, and we cannot right our own ship, the distressing problems of the world will capsize us further, and our world civilization built up over so many centuries with all its marvels and achievements will flounder.
It all works together. Drugs, alcohol abuse, prostitution, violence; somewhere, sometime, ill-made choices led to personal decline. Whether malevolent hackers trying to bring down the electric grid, or explicit sex online abusing children, or an acrimonious presidential debate debased to ad hominem attacks, they are all from the same source: We have lost our sense of reason, so are imbalanced in our moral moorings. If we cannot rebalance how to address from a very young age what is socially acceptable behavior and what is not, with dignity of the individual regardless of origin, or sex, to rebuild our moral and social values from infancy, then we will remain imbalanced morally until we sink socially. This is a decline that started about a half century ago, but it can accelerate rapidly to where what is witnessed in the most troubled parts of Africa or the Middle East today can come home to us. It took centuries to build a civilization founded on strong principles of human respect and fairness, where a word given is held true, where a handshake is a bond, where corruption has no footing; but much of that is gone, debased to interminable legal wrangling over fine points of the law to get advantage for our egotistic interests. This is a dead end, and all it will succeed in doing is bringing us all down. Once moral fiber is lost, integrity replaced with acrimony, it is a matter of time; we lose our liberties, and suffer our just rewards.
It all started in the Sixty's, though the seeds of moral degradation go back much further to previous times, when all social norms were questioned. Did the American Prohibition have its intended results? Did the First World War set the stage for a safer world today? Were Communist-Marxist ideals models for today's morality? These are all in the play, and historians will scrupulously analyze the interconnections. But we today live the reality of those earlier choices, and it is our responsibility to make new choices, based upon solid moral ground, what will be the reality of the future. Are we entering a Millennial social decline, as our populations grow contentious and the world warms? Or can we catch it in time to prevent a civilizational slide. Billions of human lives are at stake. Whether we live in a world of positive feedback, where human beings can grow and flourish in all manners, the arts, the sciences, health and well being; or we succumb to negative feedbacks, always responding to attacks, to religious fanatics' terrorism, to crime and sexual abuse, to an increasingly unsafe world; these will be determined by the moral strengths of our choices. We have entered a new millennium on a weak footing, our ship lists badly. It is therefore time to raise ourselves up with awareness, critically analyze ourselves with reason, and go forward fully conscious of our human dignity's potential for greatness and beauty. Are we ready for this? Let's make it so.
Passing of an Age
The Power of Freedom
Are we losing our sense of liberty?
Universal Freedom’s counterintuitive Slavery
Politeness and courtesy
|Posted on Friday, October 14, 2016 - 12:57 pm: |
Politeness and common courtesy.
Common courtesy starts with the Golden Rule, where you 'do not do unto others as you would not have done unto you'. This is a universal. And it ends with a simple politeness of "thank you". In all the world humanity shares this in common, that we can be courteous and thankful as easily as we can smile. Yet for some, this simple natural act is immensely difficult.
Courtesy is deference, to let the other enjoy their passage undisturbed by our presence, reciprocally. Such courtesy when done consciously is what allows harmony in our inter-personal interactions. It can be as simple as holding open a door, or stopping our vehicle to let pedestrians cross, or saying "excuse me" when others obstruct us. Courtesy is we let the other pass without feeling slighted, without them feeling they've been 'bested' somehow. There is no competition involved. When people line up in a cue, or wait patiently for their turn as opposed to rushing forth in a mob, these are elements of common courtesy. We are all capable of it, though at times we forget, that behaving courteously is common respect for one another.
Politeness is a higher order of courtesy. It is when we make a person feel comfortable with our awareness of the other. It is to listen to the other without interruption, to be mindful of what is being said. A polite person is sensitive to the needs of another, provided they are truthful, in ways that acknowledges and validates them. We do not place ourselves first in competition, but courteously align ourselves with their needs and interests, a natural form of equality; and if we disagree with them, we do it with grace. Polite conversation flows smoothly without acrimony, rather it enhances the experience of productive and pleasant exchange. How much of this is experienced in the real world, where we are supportive rather than antagonistic? Politeness is beyond mere Etiquette, what is considered appropriate social behavior, but a genuine acknowledgement of another person. So when we walk into a room of people, we acknowledge them together, each as if personally. To say "please" or "thank you", they are genuinely felt, so the recipient shares that feeling. Not merely ritualistic manners, but in a 'Golden Rule' mindfulness, one that genuinely defines a reciprocal politeness.
All this can be taught to children from an early age, so as adults they will have it imprinted on their social consciousness. In some societies this is virtually automatic, where a young person will stand to offer a seat to a pregnant woman or elderly person; in other societies, especially in the modern world, this may be absent. Why? Should it not be universal to relate to another person's needs, if it is in our power to ameliorate them? Alas, it is not always so, and our selfish needs, sometimes unconsciously, dominate over those of others. Is this not a lack in the 'selfish individualism' of modern society? Cooperative individualism, to act responsibly toward others, would favor common courtesy and politeness, a better way, and it should be universally taught to all ages.
We live in a modern age that seems enamored with itself. Competition dominates good manners and 'winning' seems more valued than cooperation. This is to our loss, because society suffers in the end, where acrimony becomes more prevalent than mindful behavior; and the Golden Rule is forgotten. Travel the world (I had visited every continent save Antarctica), and you could be surprised how courteously polite people can be, anywhere. Then there are those who are ungracious, antagonistic, and arrogantly demeaning to others. The contrast is shocking. But it is our choice, and nothing is lost if we favor the prior. In fact, all benefit in a spirit of goodwill. In societies where people are courteous and polite are a far richer place than where they are fighting each other. Such a simple thing, yet so profoundly valuable. Stop coercions with courtesy and kindness, and the world becomes a powerfully compassionate one, a more just and joyful place, universally. "Please" and "thank you", or "may I?" or "After you", if wrong "I'm sorry"... Or a handshake, a bow, standing for a lady, acknowledging another, opening a door, asking rather than assuming , courteous formalisms; all these open another universe for us, one forgotten for some, unknown for others. In a culture of courtesy and politeness, we all win.
|Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 09:17 pm: |
The ugly side of Multi-cultural society.
America is a multi-cultural nation by definition. It is a nation of immigrants from pre-historic times. The first Americans were people from Siberia crossing over the land bridge during the past Ice Age, whose descendants are known today as Native Americans. They may have been preceded by other immigrants who had followed the ice from Asia and Europe. Later came the Vikings, but for their own reasons chose not to stay, probably due to attack by natives. With Columbus' discovery of the 'New World' came a whole wave of European immigrants, Spaniards, Dutch, French, and English who came with the idea of settling colonies. By the18th century the American English colonies had settled sufficiently to form their own government in protest to the Crown's policies. They formed a new nation based on principles of European Enlightenment, incorporating philosophies of individual liberty and constitutional government rather than privilege and royalty to, however imperfectly, protect the rights of individuals with justice and equality before the law. This became the United States of America, the nation we have today. This is now our nation made up of immigrants and their descendants from around the world, northern and southern and eastern Europeans, Asians and Indians, Polynesians, Africans, Semitic peoples, Native Americans, and mixed race and ethnicity descendants of them all. This is who we are, we who became the greatest nation on Earth.
None of this was easy. As is common to all human history, the nation was forged with war, with blood and sacrifice. But at bottom was always the American ideal that we are one people fused together by a common interest. We wanted to make liberty work, to give our children the opportunity to grow and prosper in freedom, to pursue our dreams with equal opportunity. This did not guarantee equal results in this quest, as we are all different in our abilities and drive, but we could at least be free from unequal class privilege to pursue those dreams. This is what freedom means, that we are protected equally by law from unfair practices, whether institutional or cultural, so that we can thrive as a multi-cultural society unique in the history of the world. And though at times we faltered, it worked. Yet, this success has lead to new problems, as the world falters and nations fail. Religious and political fanaticism leading to more strife, ugly wars driving desperate people to seek their right to live free. Their pitiful flock, sometimes desperately, came to those nations who had created well functioning societies. They came in human waves, some legally, often illegally, at their own peril, to where the ideals of Enlightenment proved Freedom works: that free human beings are better and more productive than those still unfree. From failed states, drought and famine ridden regions, destroyed war zones, economic and political oppression, and criminal violence, they came to the Free World, to America and Europe, where was possible a better life.
This is the reality we have today, something unimagined a half century ago. I remember when we recently visited my old neighborhood in _Brooklyn,East New York, how it changed. When in my early teens, we were a mixed neighborhood of Poles and Russians, Irish and Italians, Jews and Puerto Ricans, Afro-American and Caribbean Blacks. We all played as friends, playing stick ball in the streets. It was a long walk to my old school, JHS 149, as was the Sutter Avenue train station; I remember my algebra teacher, Mrs. Levinson.* But things were changing, White Americans were moving to the suburbs, and the 'hood became more pronounced Black and Hispanic. Friends became fewer and those with whom I played became less friendly, even some hostile to the remaining 'White minority'. Having come from another country, France, we were struggling immigrants. My parents were Eastern war refugees, but never harbored racism, accepting all people. Now there was fear, of walking at night, of being randomly targeted. By the time my companion and I visited here, this part of New York could have been Africa or Port-Au-Prince. My companion who never betrayed racism, was against it and a confirmed liberal progressive, was frightened and urged me to drive out of there, fast. Where did her fear come from? Did she envision a brick thrown through our windshield? I was more at home, and we did have a wonderful time at a Caribbean restaurant, with friendly people there, the food delicious. We were the only Whites. What had changed? Our multi-cultural world changed. Eventually we too moved away.
This is the side of America's multi-culturalism that is puzzling. Why did some parts of our society become unsafe, with gangs and drugs, violent crimes and fear dominating our public consciousness? Similar fear and social unrest has entered European cities as well. News of ax murderers on German trains, sexual molestations of women, or random muggings, whether in Oslo or Paris or New York, has changed our perception of the multi-cultural societies we now live in. Besides the changed ethnic mix, where now South Asians are moving in, the only real difference I saw in my old neighborhood was that tenements were missing, replaced by new housing, and a bigger police station. Some years after we moved away the area had suffered race riots, so buildings burned down. Change when immigrants arrive is inevitable, some good and some bad. When the Irish and Italians first came in the early part of the last century, crowded in tenements, then society too experienced instabilities. But they had no social support except the church, so things were different. People had to work, or suffered hunger. Today welfare and social services allows for a social class with more leisure, so they may not have the same drive for economic success. And then there are still ethnic and racial discrimination hurdles to be overcome. A multi-cultural world is all doable if both sides come together to make it work.
Chef Tony and I, at the Fusion ENY
We are all enriched as a culture when we come together, choosing and sharing the best of each other. But all suffer if the cost of our multi-cultural society is high crime and contentious distrust. We must come together as one people, as one culture, the American culture, if our nation of immigrants is to succeed in the future. Otherwise freedom is lost, and the principles on which our nation was founded, protecting our civil liberties and human rights, our Americanism, will flounder. Do we want to be one American people, or do we want to live in a police state? Immigrants and refugees must assimilate, if we are to have a future as a nation. But if they fail to assimilate into a common culture, what does it mean? We have to deal with it realistically, without division of ethnicity and race, nor religion, or we as a nation will fail the new arrivals. In the end, we are all immigrants.
These are not issues in mono-cultural nations like Japan or Iceland, or even 'multi-cultural' Singapore, or Saudi Arabia, where their crime rates are very low. Also their educational standards are very high. For European nations taking in multitudes of immigrants and refugees, same as in our American experience, there must be a coming together as one people, a mono-culture of many cultures if we are to survive as free societies. We must have an American cultures, or French or German, or Swede or British, or Dane and Dutch, and Italian and Spanish cultures, to overcome the ugly side of multiculturalism, the fear and suspicions, suffering terrorist attacks. We must come together in the spirit of a mono-culture free of crime, of distrust and corruption, free of discrimination to have equal opportunities, and a future of human liberties that made our nations great; this rather than equal entitlements, making us all poorer. The ugly side of multi-culturalism is that we lose our cultures, and liberties, so rather than free states of successful societies, we succumb to self-destructive failing states, renewed mass migrations, and social misery. To overcome the ugliness witnessed is to be one people, with equal opportunity, with high educational standards, to build a truly great society without fear of ethnicity or race: "One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Or as Barack Obama reminds us in his book, The Audacity of Hope (pg.87):
"With thirteen far-flung states and a diverse population of three or four million, an Athenian model of democracy was out of the question, the direct democracy of the New England town meeting unmanageable. A republican form of government, in which the people elected representatives, seemed more promising, but even the most optimistic republican had assumed that such a system could work only for a geographically compact and homogeneous political community -- a community in which a common culture, a common faith, and a well-developed set of civic virtues on the part of each and every citizen limited contention and strife." (Italics mine)
This was how we started. And that is what makes America great.
*(Some notable people from my old 'hood, including Brownsville: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownsville,_Brooklyn#Notable_people )
America is great, again
|Posted on Saturday, July 01, 2017 - 12:09 pm: |
America is great, again.
Fourth of July
Think of all the great things America brought the world. Since its founding with the Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776, America brought the world a form of governance that is democratically self adjustable, as defined by the US Constitution, as a government by the people and for the people. Loyalty to kings of nations had been replaced with constitutional rule of law, presumed innocence, trial by jury of peers, human equality before the law, equal rights for all regardless of race or gender, the right to privacy and the right to remain silent, freedom of thought and expression, separation of religion and state, and protection of our natural human rights, what defines our liberty, before the law. But this is a nation that also brought us conservation of wilderness parks, environmental awareness, free universal education, free public libraries, technological advancements in communications and transportation, a world class film and entertainment industry, world class sports, Nobel Prize winners; also social security retirement and social welfare for all who are in need, food production feeding the world, compassionate charitable giving, disaster relief worldwide, public funding for scientific research, a lauded planetary and space exploration program, best disciplined and honorable military, protection of shipping and travel in international waters, world wide weather and global positioning satellite systems, the world wide internet, and a legal system where our rights to ownership and enterprise, our social trust, is protected by law. However there is still lacking progress, Pax Americana world peace failures, substandard universal health care, too costly higher education, tragic national homelessness, carbon pollution and excessive plastic waste, gross inequalities in income, our failings of the Native Peoples, unhealthy overweight nation, drugs and violence, and endemic crime in our inner cities. We are not perfect. We hope to strive for better, and though our democracy may appear overly contentious at times, our national debates divisive and acrimonious, we have the potential under our self adjusting form of governance to address these grievances, to right the wrongs. We have proven in these past 241 years as a nation that we can move forward and empower individuals with the ability to reach for their best, giving each person regardless of age or gender or race the right to manifest their lives as they wish, of their own free will. Not all things work out, the failures and disappointments are many, but when our excellence does shine, our nation is better and stronger for it.
Lest we forget, it was America that showed the world economic development is not some zero-sum game of imperialism, where the rich gain at the expense of the poor. Rather, in a market based enterprise driven economy, it is productivity and value-added that adds wealth and well being to an economy, something seriously lacking in alternative redistributive, collectivist economies. This is why we were successful, while their economies floundered.
There is still much to do, and if we have the will and freedom to do it, America is great again. So when you look up to the night sky on this Fourth of July at the brilliant, loud fireworks display overhead, think of all the great things that makes America. Hear our national anthem in our hearts, think of all we have achieved in the gifts of science, medicine, architecture, discovery, and all the great music and arts and literature created by our nation of freedom loving people, a nation of immigrants of all origins. Universal freedom is America's legacy to the World. That legacy is the beauty, the love and the pride, and the dream of our great American nation.
Happy Birthday America!
Also see: Are we losing our sense of ‘liberty’?
Homeless in America
|Posted on Friday, July 07, 2017 - 01:08 pm: |
Homeless in America - a personal observation.
Homelessness (Wiki, click image)
The homeless are our internal 'refugees', those unable to secure permanent housing, stable employment, and who have no other family or social support. Often they were a paycheck away from such dire existence, their numbers ranging in the thousands per community or city and county, without visible means of reversing their tragic situation. They are refugees within their own society, some mentally unable to manage their lives in productive ways, so they end up on the street. The common definition, per Wiki:
People who are homeless are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure and adequate housing. The legal definition of homeless varies from country to country, or among different jurisdictions in the same country or region. The term homeless may also include people whose primary night-time residence is in a homeless shelter, a domestic violence shelter, long-term residence in a motel, a vehicle, squatting, cardboard boxes, a tent city, tarpaulins, shanty town structures made of discarded building materials or other ad hoc housing situations.
The homeless are forgotten souls who have fallen out of the system, who have been abandoned by society, and who occupy public spaces, bus stations, parks, public libraries, under bridges, by railroad tracks, squatting abandoned buildings, often too visible, but at times also unseen. They are the tragic side of our progressive societies, largely shunned for their unkempt and unsanitary, malodorous conditions, some seen begging, others raving to themselves. In short, the homeless are where we as a collective community have failed, because though they are with us, they are not integrated into our world, they are not of us.
There are ad hoc solutions, scattered in response to where the homeless populations are more concentrated, yet with no centralized system to address their plight. With recent increases in numbers, often unemployable, some mentally ill, or physically ill, or fallen into dependence on drugs or alcohol, some physically handicapped, or just too poor, their presence has become more visible, more troublesome to our sense of right and decency. This is not how society in a modern progressive world should be. The homeless have always been with us, skid row, shanty towns, but largely contained. Now, from economic reasons, rising unemployment, too expensive housing, and deinstitutionalized mental health and social aid programs, they have become endemic. They are the new reality. Where can it go from here? What can be done to alleviate this pitiful state of humanity?
It is time for serious soul searching national dialogue to address this social issue before the numbers become unmanageable, already over a million nationwide. Over time private and charity services aiding homelessness will be getting overwhelmed. Soup kitchens and warm meals-on-wheels can only go so far, and as the homeless population grows, they will not be enough. We need to address this unhappy social condition with national programs, akin to an earlier 'war on poverty', because homelessness is poverty by definition. What is now a splintered collection of social services addressing the homeless, services they may not be able to access, needs to be coordinated and consolidated into a unified front addressing the issue.
Defining homelessness is only a start.
In 2009, at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Conference of European Statisticians (CES), held in Geneva, Switzerland, the Group of Experts on Population and Housing Censuses defined homelessness as:
In its Recommendations for the Censuses of Population and Housing, the CES identifies homeless people under two broad groups:
(a) Primary homelessness (or rooflessness). This category includes persons living in the streets without a shelter that would fall within the scope of living quarters;
(b) Secondary homelessness. This category may include persons with no place of usual residence who move frequently between various types of accommodations (including dwellings, shelters, and institutions for the homeless or other living quarters). This category includes persons living in private dwellings but reporting 'no usual address' on their census form.
Definition of transients living rough is a beginning but not solution. Counting them with census does not alleviate their numbers. We need a more robust, concerted approach to solving growing homelessness in America.
First consideration is to alleviate hunger. It is our social imperative that food be distributed by whatever means possible so no one goes hungry. To a large degree this is being addressed with food donations by supermarkets, usually foodstuff about to reach expiration, and restaurants which are left with excess. Soup kitchens gather this food and prepare it for meals, a program that should be both encouraged and expanded. The second order is to make habitable shelters available to all in need. This is a social imperative whose burden is all society's, a social dividend that must be reinvested, since it is our socio-economic productivity distribution failures, as undistributed social dividends of economic activity, that leaves so many transients fallen through the system. Why should some be billionaires while others live in their cars? In short, to right these inequalities, food and shelter are public goods which, if natural economic functions fail to right, falls into the public domain. Our social contract as a nation, our national social imperative, should be that no one is left homeless or hungry. If these needs cannot be met adequately through private aid and charity, or economic market activity, then it is the burden of government that these needs be met.
For example, if there were coordinated government programs working in consolidated manner with private and charity agencies, to create safe and hygienic habitats for the homeless, it could stimulate a whole new industry to meet their needs. Recycling shipping containers, or discarded and donated building materials, can be made into basic housing; or setting aside private and public lands to set up these shelters in community fashion with water, electricity, and sewage as basic services, they could serve as focal points of care for homeless families, at least until they can salvage their lives back into the world as economically functioning citizens. There should be no stigma attached to these habitat communities, where the homeless' basic needs are met. In fact they should be encouraged as interactive communities, residents supporting one another. These habitat communities should be designed as transit points offering shelter while offering training, as well as food and clothing, including basic medical care by volunteer doctors and aids, until the families can regain their feet in the world. Single homeless men, who are the greater majority of homeless, should have separate habitat centers from where families reside, especially concerning vulnerable members, their children and women, to protect them from possible abuse. Those mentally ill, or on substance abuse, will need their own facilities as well, as their needs are different and more complex. But our social imperative applies to all equally, that they be fed and sheltered, without coercing them to accept these services, with the expectation they do not return to the streets. There will always be a small minority who prefer living rough, and as long they are not public nuisance, they should be encouraged to join habitat communities, though they may not accept, as an alternative.
If these habitat communities are to be successful, there will also be the need to meet the residents' sense of self esteem and spiritual self worth. Classes could be offered to teach self help, personal hygiene, and useful skills, such that could reintegrate them back into society. Without coercion, but offered on a voluntary basis, members of habitat communities could also be allowed to join work details for the public good as a way to give back to the community, with some token spending money per diem. It would surprise how receptive many residents will be to this, as has been shown in Europe where unregistered immigrants were eager to help out, clearing brush, picking litter from public places and roadways, doing semiskilled jobs of repair; they were proud to help out and be noticed. It was their way to give back. The same can apply to our American experience without stigma or legal objections to their work. People want to feel useful with work. Why not give them the opportunity to do so?
To meet their spiritual needs, why not let missions set up meeting tents to teach their message? These could be non-denominational, just teaching a spirituality of goodness, the Golden Rule and love thy neighbor, without proselytizing. The mind and soul needs nourishment as much as the body, so if we hope to break the cycle of extreme poverty and homelessness, we need to break their damaged self worth of hopelessness. Spiritual guidance, even simple secular understanding of the value of each person, is already a start on the road to social and economic recovery. Human beings respond positively to such a simple teaching. Why not offer it for them without precondition or expectation? Let them rediscover their spirit, their beauty and humanness.
There will always be difficulties with where to place these coordinated habitat communities. They cannot be located too far from transportation and other services, not to be relegated to wild spaces far from human contact, or they become unwelcome and undesirable internment camps. Rather, like Gypsy camps in Europe, they could be on town and city peripheries, with bus or tram access to the centers where the residents can seek help and employment, and schools for the children. To avoid the 'not in my backyard' syndrome, homeless habitat communities should be discreet in their locations, such as abandoned industrial or public open space properties, especially if they can be integrated into communities without offending them with unsightly run down structures or trash. We must respect the residents of host communities without 'in your face' arrogance to help the needy, if this is to work. Diversity, especially social diversity, can be a benefit if all agree to help, and be helped, with respect to the wishes of one another. Then we all win.
Homeless family in 19th century Germany
I had never been homeless, so for me these are observations at a distance. What do the homeless feel in their soul? I once long ago tried panhandling for bus fare, and it came surprisingly easy, but not something I would court. Do homeless feel the same, that living rough may be doable though undesirable? I know of a youngish homeless man who reads books on church steps, then pulls up cardboard under his sleeping bag for the night. He even looks like a bearded monk, though I never saw him talk to anyone. Another woman reads poetry, and another was a retired school teacher now surrounded by all her bagged belongings. What goes through their minds? What got them there? These are all people, and whatever troubles landed them on the street, it does not detract from their humanness.
Society can heal itself of its ills, of which homelessness is but one, when we learn to value the worth of each individual, no matter how desperate they may be, and give those in need a helping hand and renewed self esteem. But not to be abused, either institutionally or subjectively by recipients of this aid, if we are to preserve the social trust and imperative of helping those who fell out of the system. Such abuse merely exacerbates the problem. Therefore, gangs or criminal cartels who take advantage of these unfortunates in habitat communities, selling drugs or running sex slavery prostitution, must be severely policed against, both within the habitat community and without. The community must be one of goodwill and mutual respect if these issues of homelessness are to be addressed without violence and criminality. Same as the worldwide refugees problem, the homeless condition must be viewed as temporary aberrations for the people who find themselves there. With concerted effort and intelligent good will, these conditions of humanity can be ameliorated to bring them back into a healthy social environment. And in time, we may even see the need for these self aid communities fade away, their chronic homelessness relieved, and hopefully ultimately disappear.
Also see: Where is technology taking the economy?
Why America Can’t Solve Homelessness
Taxing capital is a bad idea
|Posted on Saturday, March 17, 2018 - 03:33 pm: |
How to distribute the Techno-bots Automation dividend in an equitable society.
The automation dilemma
When technology robotics take over most of our jobs in the future (see BBC article linked above), and most labor is reduced to maintaining technology, with line and office workers displaced by robots, how do we distribute the techno-value-added dividend in future society? There will always be labor work in maintaining systems, or education not taken over by artificial intelligence (AI), as well as management and research, or government and police, but what of the millions of workers who can no longer find employment? They had been displaced by increasingly sophisticated machines, are no longer wage earners, and unable to pay their bills, or buy products and services to sustain life. How can they cope? This hypothetical economic future will continue to produce value-added dividends to the economy, but if we are unable to afford the goods, unable to earn a wage, how will the market exchange system continue to function if we cannot afford it with our ‘earned income’? Are we then forced into a socialist envisioned ‘income distribution’ if our economy is to survive its technological success? This is a problem that has already surfaced with increased automation, and one that will become more severe in the future. It can be projected without exaggeration that such a techno-bots economy will eventually choke on its success. Will society be able to cope?
We have already faced this technology, mass production dilemma for over two centuries, since the Industrial Revolution. Small artisans, agriculture workers, had been displaced by large scale machine manufacturing and large scale mechanized farming, so their livelihoods had been lost. Hundreds of thousands migrated to new manufacturing centers and cities, seeking reemployment in the newly mechanized or service economy. It had its social costs and demographic dislocations, but the system adjusted itself to the new reality. Those who could got retraining, took newly created factory jobs, found opportunities in business or servicing, and those who floundered found some relief in religious or social charities. The rich got richer, while the poor labored. But goods became more affordable from this mechanization, and wage earners were more able to afford them. Capital increased, investments grew to mega proportions, allowing large scale plant and infrastructure improvements, such as the railroads spanning continents, and dividends were reaped from these investments. It was not a straight arrow of progress, there were reversals, many ventures failed, investments were lost in market crashes and bankruptcies, but over all it brought us to the successful economic progress we have today. The siren songs of mass government takeovers of private capital and industries proved wrong, as there was no need for wholesale takeover of the market economy, with massive income redistribution for the poor, except on a limited basis such as we have today. Marxism overreached itself, and failed. Where people cannot cope, the government steps in to help, but that is still a limited economic function. But what if the population of those who could not cope, increasingly from loss of jobs to technology and robotics? What if their numbers skyrocket, while the mega-rich get richer? Is such blatant social inequality sustainable? Or is society headed for a mega crash, with revolts of the dispossessed and labor disenfranchised? Can we cope then, if the labor force shrinks to the point where purchasing power dwindles, pension systems get severely underfunded, and government tax revenue shrinks to finding itself unable to service society, or its burgeoning debts? Therein lies the dilemma of too successful robotic techno-automation. Society could ‘progress’ itself out of a job.
Except in war torn countries, we no longer have massive famines common in past centuries. The socio-economic progressing from automation and technical knowhow seems to have largely raised society out of abject poverty, despite burgeoning population growth. This progress includes much of the underdeveloped world, sustained with world aid and filtering technologies, cell phones, refrigerators, medicines, and multiple crops. We had been agile at readapting our world’s well being in a post industrial, technological revolution, so there is precedence for hope. We likely will find ways to readapt to the techno-bots (AI) automation revolution faced today. But one qualifier that may go absent in this latest round of automation may be ‘jobs’. Farming out manufacturing to China, or the developing world, has sustained us thus far, but there too automation will eventually take its toll. Goods produced cheaply by low cost labor are more affordable, and keep inflation in check, but they are of no help if the purchasing power of labor, anywhere on the planet, is reduced to negligible levels. Then, even if the goods produced via automation are cheaper than through actual human labor, who will buy them? This is getting to the crux of the problem with advanced AI techno-bots automation, that though the economic value added is immense, there is no commensurate increase in incomes to offset it, so it goes unconsumed. And if this reaches a critical level, the resulting economic contraction may go into an uncontrollable tailspin, which would collapse the technology automation production. Then you have a crisis of mega proportions, the kind that results in finance and banking failure, transportation and grid infrastructure collapse, communications shut down, and massive social unrest, crime, failed governance, strong man gang formations, and essentially social collapse. If the ‘unearned’ income from techno-bots automation is not distributed in some equitable manner to all members of society, and labor’s earned income falls below a certain threshold, this is the grim reality we may be forced to face.
Therefore, what is the solution to this future socio-economic dilemma? Do we politicize it ala Marxist-socialism, with severe income redistribution? Do we incorporate all members of society into share ownership of capital production, so everyone enjoys the dividends from the value-added corporate profitability? Or is there a middle path to empowering future income with the benefits of techno-bot productivity, regardless of employment, or corporate share ownership? These are interesting considerations, because neither public ownership of productivity by government, nor income redistribution through taxation of wealth and income, whether from wages or dividends and profits, is likely to fill the gap once employment reaches its bottom threshold from extreme automation. Such draconian redistribution often results in waste and poor resource management. Nor will there be enough corporate dividends to take up the slack, nor enough income taxation to offset the inflationary pressures of deficit spending by governments, which puts an unfair burden on future generations who will suffer from this income meltdown syndrome. If so, then the income gap from AI-techno-bots value added must be funded by some new means to avert social collapse. Now that we have identified the problem, let us look at some possible solutions.
Firstly, there is precedent for ‘money’ creation to offset productivity growth. In the United States this is the function of Federal Reserve Bank’s monetary policy, a policy promoted by late economist Milton Friedman. The basic idea is that the ‘real’ economy, its output and market pricing mechanism, was best served by keeping money supply in step with its growth in economic output, hence productivity. This is done through Federal open market operation which yield the amount of money will be circulated in the economy, hopefully without triggering inflation. A parallel approach to techno-bot automation output would be served by a similar monetary ‘wage allowance’ within the economy to reflect those automation productivity gains. So in this scenario, rather than an auxiliary ad hoc income redistribution policy to redirect wages to tech-bot unemployed workers, the Federal Reserve policy would be called upon to create an Techno-bot automation reserve fund directly proportional to its value added economic output. Mind, this is hypothetical for the extreme case that techno-bot automation creates a vast pool of the unemployable, but it can be used as a blueprint model for ‘unearned wages’ to fuel economic activity without forcing inflation, or its inevitable subsequent crash.
Secondly, the question is of how these reserve funds are to be redistributed equitably to the population without generating ill will and wasteful economic dislocations. In short, how can the draconian measures of raw income distribution, heavy taxation on corporate productivity and labor wages, confiscatory taxes on the rich, and a gordian knot of tax laws inviting noncompliance, be mitigated so that such a system not only benefits economic activity, but is agreeable to people and democratically endorsed? The answer may be illusively simple:
Tax individuals’ wages and corporate profits only sufficiently to cover the cost of government operations, but leave the remainder techno-bot automation surplus to the market system to pay the difference. At first glance this seems outrageous, but it can work if we structure it to work. Keeping in mind that the surplus funds created by the Federal open market operations are to be earmarked for the productivity gains from techno-bot automation, those funds that need to be redistributed equitably in society, the methodology of empowering a market exchange system should follow naturally. The question is how?
One method for these conditions to be met would be to create a techno-bot surplus market place. We already have something like it as precedence, the insurance exchange market place, where companies contribute into an insurance pool to pay for those who may be uninsurable. A similar exchange pool can be formed to distribute the techno-bot automation dividend to those who are unemployed, as well as the general public. The funding of this Public Trust exchange pool would be created through Federal monetary policy with contributions from businesses and corporations who engage techno-bots automation in their industries, with contributions calculated from their ‘value added’ gained from such automation, applied against their profits. If the automation is unprofitable, their contribution would be negligible, whereby it may be more sensible to fire the robots and hire people for the job; but if profitable their prorated contributions are deposited into the Fund. The amounts are then divided into shares of the Public Trust, which become tradable instruments in the market place. The goal of these Public Trust shares exchange is to redirect funds to gain tax benefits for the enterprises buying these shares. These tax credits then are a substitute for corporate and business taxes, which are then offset with Federal monetary operations funding the Public Trust, funds to be maintained within the parameters of ‘value added’ automation, below the inflation threshold. These are the funds that are then drawn upon by the general public for their consumption, equitably.
The concept of a Public Trust exchange is to encourage enterprises who gain economically from tech-bots automation, using an exchange for buying tax credits, similar marketplace to Emissions trading, to their advantage in order to better serve themselves in promoting automation in their business, manufacturing, and distribution activities. The aim is to encourage productivity while at the same time releasing their value added from these activities to the general public. This exchange process engages the marketplace to be more efficient in where resources are allocated to better serve the economy at large. This is in contrast to a direct taxation and income redistribution scheme, such as had been policy, minimizing as much as possible resources being consumed by the general public without commensurate investments that keep the economy healthy. Without investments, the economy will consume itself, which is wasteful and in the end ruinous. Instead, the public draws on these Public Funds ‘after’ funds had been redirected by enterprise choices to best benefit their industries, and keep economic activity productive. The market exchange for these Public Trust shares prices and guides where future industry activities are most profitable, hence most productive. If the system of Federal monetary policy, regardless of public debt created, is kept within monetary growth below the inflationary threshold, funding the Public Trust within stable currency levels, then all gain, both individual consumers and business enterprise activities.
The Automation (AI) Public Trust is essentially where productive ‘robots’ are turned into ‘wage’ earners for the public good. It is harnessed entirely to the economic productivity by AI-technology value-added to aggregate activity, so it recycles ‘unearned’ wages back into the economy in a market directed, efficient and equitable way, thus ensuring public spending power without the otherwise inflationary tendencies of income redistribution. In short, the Automation Public Trust only reflects the techno-bots productivity value added of the economy, and is monetized (by the Federal Reserve) to ensure future economic activity. How the general public then draws on these funds is a matter of political consideration, as drawn up by socially agreed upon social contract. The government’s central bank, Federal Reserve, merely determines the size of this Fund, its shares traded on the marketplace, and moneys distributed by social contract, viz., Congress, to all for the public good. The added spinoff is that the economy will not depend on more people to fund future pension and debt repayment, but more technology instead, which could be a significant shift in economic policy of the future.
The Automation Public Trust can be distributed in various ways. It can be in the form of individual tax refunds, or in a Federal debit card (EBT card), or set up as various socially desirable trust funds, viz., college funds, small business startup funds, retirement funds, etc., and of course unemployment and universal health funds. The general idea is that the public have easy access and total liberty on how they choose to use these funds in the marketplace, with resulting economic activity socially reflecting those choices. In time, such funds will grow with technology, their value added exponentially by automated-AI robotics productivity, where the goods offered by the economy will be as accessible and affordable to all as are now plastic utensils and paper napkins at food courts. In effect, in some very distant future the effects of redistribution of automation will make most goods virtually free to society, when netted out in the marketplace: What goes into the Fund comes out with multiplied value-added paying for what goes in. Then the ultimate spinoff will be that in some distant future we will have the foundations of a truly universal ‘cashless’ society, liberating humanity to new achievements and explorations never dreamed today.
Also see: In a Mechanism of Exchange
In Japan the future is now
Has Progressivism become too narrow? - Lost Coast Review op ed
|Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 05:28 pm: |
Artificial Intelligence, Doctors and Politicians.
Artificial intelligence must be 'for common good' - BBC
Imagine a nearly perfect future world where artificial intelligence (AI) has liberated humanity from drudgery chores of work, and nearly everyone is endowed with leisure of their wish paid for by a universal Public Trust fund powered by AI, where life is fun and easy. Now, the term “artificial intelligence” may in fact be a misnomer. The more correct term is “assistance intelligence”, where robotics are programed to learn from information its sensors encounter, and that acquired knowledge is used by machines to execute decisions in its designed operations. For example, the Roomba vacuum cleaner can ‘learn’ its way around the living room as it sucks up debris and dust particles, so it appears to be doing its function with ‘assisted intelligence’, but it’s still a non-thinking machine in the sense of live intelligence. It is merely reformatting its information, which could be as large as its memory allows. But though it appears intelligent, and does a good job, its limits are the program and memory capabilities built in. It is not alive with intelligence. Nevertheless, it does have the ability, as does any productive machine, to assist us in its task with its ‘intelligence’ so it is assisted intelligence. In a rather sophisticated way it can think, so make decisions on what needs cleaning (where it had not been on the floor), and thus execute its programmed task. This assisted intelligence (ai) can be hugely beneficial in liberating us from drudgery, like vacuuming the house, so the future can be more free of human labor, for fun and benefit.
Within the matrix of this ‘ai’ scenario, many things in the future, as we have already seen, can be outsourced to intelligent machines. This could be anything from peeling potatoes to managing industrial operations, making such functions optimally more efficient than human labor. Now extend that intelligence assistance learning ability to the macro scale of human decisions, and we can imagine it applied across all sectors of human actions, from economics to political to health. Your doctor knows your history and latest lab analysis results, and is able to recommend a course of action to better your health. Why not a learning assisted intelligence do the same, or assisting on the operating table? We already see something like ‘ai’ in stock market trading, where machines execute decisions to buy and sell in nano seconds; or in self driving cars, where the ‘ai’ on board learns and executes driving decisions faster than a human behind the wheel. Dozens of possible scenarios are analyzed in split seconds, and action executed. Is this not a win-win all around? It would appear the only limitation to this super-fast ‘ai’ is the speed of light! But is that it? Have we reached a milestone where artificial-assisted intelligence is so expansively sophisticated that it can even manage human affairs? Why not ‘ai’ managed Central Bank monetary policy, for example? Or risk-management insurance premiums? Input, changing market conditions; output, optimum returns and efficiency. Theoretically, this is already doable. So more than labor saving devices, assisted intelligence manages those devices, and us.
Taking this scenario one step further, why not use it in government? There is nothing in the Constitution to prevent it. Parliamentary procedures can be easily learned by ‘ai’, as could voting on issues. So could debating and speech writing. Just input the salient points and issues, and the learning assisted-intelligence does the rest, writ with wit and brevity. Initially, these ‘ai’ machines are there to lighten the workload of committees and subcommittees, but they can ultimately be raised to national and international policy issues, even replace presidential cabinet functions. Imagine the President sitting at the head of table in the Oval Office discoursing policy with a number of assisted-intelligence machines before him. Would that work? Or why not replace politicians altogether, and have learned machines vote on issues? With optimum efficiency and knowledge, would they all vote the same way? Interesting question! Perhaps they would dicker instead, and try to pull one over on the other to reach their aimed goals. Why not super-smart machines learn to feign and deceive? If they are that smart, they could override any ethics programmed into them and learn to lie, just like real people in politics! Promise them what they want to hear, and then do what they must, for optimum efficiency!
It would take another level of super-sophistication for ‘ai’ to reach beyond the obvious and find the ethical wisdom of decision making, that in the long run truth is more powerful. Can they come to that conclusion of their own, or will they default to what appears more expedient, lying if need be? Remember these assisted-Intelligence machines are not human, nor are their decisions consequential to them in the way our decisions are consequential to us. In the bigger picture, they are only playing a good hand to win, while we must live with the outcome. So will it be to our benefit, or will their actions and decisions prove damaging? These are questions humans can ask. But can they? There is a limit to how many interconnected ideas can be generated within programs of artificial intelligence, both in size and speed. No machine has access to infinte memory, nor infinite interconnections, so the limit is entirely within the circuitry that form its brain. Unlike living things that are interconnected to an infinite universe, machines are circumscribed by their program’s construction. Is it possible to create an infinity calculating machine with near instant bio-feedback, to make it ‘alive’ like our universe? Probably not, but it can have a vast reservoir of memory, perhaps by tapping into the worldwide net. But once so much knowledge is packed into the ‘ai’ brain, can it use it? Or will it default to what happens when we call an AI assisted call center and the ‘representative’ fails to understand our query, so simply responds with “goodbye”.
In fact, this may be the single most obstacle to becoming too reliant on assisted-intelligence in managing human affairs: they can fail. With increased intelligence sophistication, machines can be made to fail less often, but in the end when overpowered with decisions, where conflicting decisions trip over themselves, or logically cancel out, machines have no recourse but shut down and reboot. This is always the default, that when presented with insupportable conditions, they cannot take a risk, so they freeze. Humans, and animals, usually will leap on instinct (remember they are infinitely connected) so they will take that risk, because they are alive. Of course if wrong, that decision may kill them, but while living their interconnected infinity totality is what powers them, so unless they lose consciousness or go catatonic, they will act. Artificial assisted-intelligence cannot do that; they merely shut down. In some cases, that sudden loss of decisiveness can be dangerous, as recent self driving car fatalities have shown. Where machine default to when unexpected or incomprehensible difficulties arise is to ‘do nothing’, then the limits of ‘ai’ had been reached. They do not have an infinite reserve to draw on as do living things, which is the power of freedom, so they cannot leap on instinct. That is a living consciousness option not given to machines. So no matter how intelligent AI may appear, it never had self consciousness because its universe is locked within the limits of its computational abilities, which are far sub-infinite than is found in living things. The infinite interconnections are simply not there, so they cannot risk the irrational, they freeze up and are unable to take that risk.
Now, why is that important? It is imperative for human affairs activity to not encounter this sub-infinite limitation, or it fails in delivering full capability in how we manage our lives. For example, imagine political decisions made by machines that ‘think’ they gave optimum decisions, and then direct us to obey those decisions in policies. The results may be we would be relegated to obeying policies that constrict our freedoms in ways we had never agreed upon. The machines ‘agreed’ but we had not! Therefore, we are being constrained by sub-infinite constraints, which would over time prove oppressive. It may work well in deciding monetary policy or insurance premiums, but other than ‘assist-intelligence’ it cannot really help us in life defining decisions, such as our health and welfare. The human factor must be there if humans are involved, or the results are by default sub-par, and possibly dangerous to us. They may be optimum in a machine sense, but sub-infinite in a human sense, so sub-par for us. Therefore, no matter how smart and quick is our assisted-intelligence, it can never substitute human action, no matter how sub-optimum we appear, in final decisions regarding human well being. That, including all our faults, is still our human imperative domain.
So there really is no danger of our AI machines taking over our world, nor replacing our doctors and politicians, because these are human domain conditions that no assisted-intelligence machine can replace. Aiding human activities in all levels lend themselves well to ‘ai’ machines, in engineering, education, programming, manufacturing, delivery and distribution, trading, analysis and cataloguing, reading law, etc., all these are well served as ‘assists’ to the human designed activities involved. But they are not directives on us and ours, merely intelligent assistants to our activities. It would be an error in our thinking that these could be extended to include directing human activities at any level, whether a doctor or psychiatrist directing our health, or our government making policies and laws (remember Habeas Mentem); for there the limit stops and AI is never useful beyond doing ‘ai’ to help in their activities and chores, but not policy. Perhaps ‘ai’ could write better speeches, more informed and believable, even more humorous, than we mere mortals can do, which would be fun. Can AI write Shakespeare? But to default to AI for actual decisions made on behalf of human beings runs into the machine’s default settings, that they will freeze into inaction when pressed too hard, they fail the infinity test, so they cannot ‘jump’. And that jump is an act of human consciousness only we can do, because we are infinitely connected beings, while machines are not. Even the supra-mind of the worldwide internet is sub-infinity unconscious, though a mega repository of human knowledge; it is still not big enough to think itself aware. Only self aware beings, human or animal, can make the leap of logic that may appear irrational but renders them consciously aware of themselves and their life. Can a machine learn selfless courage? Well, maybe when it can learn to write Shakespeare... “Hast thou or word, or wit, or impudence That yet can do thee office?” But not yet, until they be intelligently irrational. Good doctors and politicians need not fret... But maybe, just maybe...
|Posted on Thursday, March 04, 2021 - 02:49 pm: |
Could rusty-brown Akaganeite on Mars be of microbial origin?
The reddish-brown iron Akaganeite mineral had been found on Mars through orbital spectroscopy. It is an iron oxide mineral (56% iron, 33% oxygen, with traces of chlorine, nitrogen, and nickel) first discovered deep in a Japanese mine, but also present in Earth’s regolith surface, as well in Moon rocks and meteorites. Could this anhydrous oxidized mineral be produced on Mars by bacterial activity? Earlier we had speculated that Martian blueberry spherules might be bacterially stimulated concretions. In addition, the recently arrived Martian space-probe Perseverance (2021) rover seeking signs of past life in the Jezero crater, it may be exploring these formations as well. Perhaps this is reaching, since we don’t know if Mars Akaganeite can have a bacterial origin (Exiguobacterium?), but it might be a candidate in our research on Mars as a tell tale sign of life activity, which might explain where the planet got its reddish hue. It might also explain why Mars is oxygen poor, if it had been locked up in Akaganeite’s chemical composition.