Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ain't that the truth


Activism is easy, creating change in people’s hearts and minds takes a lot more courage and persistence than activism.

When I was 18 and 19 I was [very much an activist], blocking traffic with this parade and that protest. All I did was alienate people.

PRH


I agree. Activism is symbolic, surrogate activity; building community is more important.

Obama already running DC like Chicago


[President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff Rahm ] Emanuel gave the governor's office a list of "candidates that would be acceptable to President-elect Barack Obama" but no "quid pro quo" or "dealmaking" is suspected.

Citing "a source familiar with the investigation," Fox says that Emanuel had "multiple conversations" with Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris, who was also arrested Tuesday on federal corruption charges, about the seat and that they we're "likely recorded and in FBI possession."

HuffingtonPost


He isn't even in office yet, and we're having corruption scandals worse than anything during the Bush years.

I guess "hope" and "change" beg the question: hope for who? And change for who? Being a third world corrupt banana republic is a big change, and gives hope to all who hate us.

How does the universe organize itself?

From the comments to a post on the same topic:


-Compare differences.
-Branch on difference.
-Induce variation.
-Enact conflict that removes incompatibilities.

****

A few thoughts for your list.

a) Fermionic particles (="everyday matter") behave exclusively, thus they repel identical energy quantifications.
b) Weak nuclear force makes the primal quark generations to degenerate into electrons, protons and neutrons.
c) Fermions are like Turing machines: They have relativity (inertial mass) and increasing complexity via quantifiable energy states.
d) Bosons are signals: They only possess a group-identify, so to speak. Everything you've heard of 'virtual particles' and 'quantum fields' is just bosons being transpiring apparitions.
e) Every particle must be aware of fundamental physical constants such as the speed of light -- which has been found to be evolving. This means that they are not exactly like Turing machines, but possibly require an additional layer of algorithmics for complete explanation.

It gets even better when you think about the four fundamental interactions of the universe:

-Gravitation (global cohesion)
-Strong nuclear force (quarks bundle into complex super-structures = hadrons)
-Weak nuclear force (quark evolution)
-Electromagnetism (standard signal)

Makes sense, huh?

Also see about the Koide formula:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koide_formula
http://brannenworks.com/MASSES2.pdf


Worth thinking about, so I've left it here for all four of you to discuss in the comments.

Academic sees CORRUPT's take on school shootings


A more truthful (and therefore more useful) explanation of the Virginia Tech murders focuses not on Cho’s character but on the interaction between it and the situations he was in, not on his personal identity but on the interplay between who he was and how other people treated him.

{ snip }

In social settings, he froze. He was diagnosed at the age of 14 as having a disorder called selective mutism, the loss of ability to speak, out of fear of being laughed at. Cho found it sheer torture to speak in class.

{ snip }

From information that has so far come to light, Cho appears to have been the target of an uncommon but distinct and devastating social process called workplace mobbing. It is the impassioned ganging up of managers and/or peers against a targeted worker, the object being the target’s absolute humiliation and elimination from respectable company. It is a matter of turning a person who is different or troublesome into a nonperson, rubbing his or her nose in dirt.

{ snip }

The single main setting appears to have been Cho’s creative writing course. It was taught by Distinguished Professor Nikki Giovanni, a poet of such fame and scholarly authority that degradation by her would cut to the bone. By Giovanni’s admission, she and Cho locked horns, and the conflict between them was played out in full view of the class. Unable to understand or tolerate Cho's extreme introversion, Giovanni badgered him, asking him to remove his sunglasses, show his face, and participate in class as other students did. When he resisted, she decided he was, as she put it, a bully, an evil presence in her class. Eventually, Giovanni demanded that Cho leave the class. He refused. In a letter to her department chair, Lucinda Roy, Giovanni threatened to resign her position if Cho were not removed.

{ snip }

The other form of participation in a mob is action that forms part of one's job description. Lucinda Roy, as chair of English, had to do something in response to Giovanni's threat. Similarly, the police, mental-health professionals, and judge who dealt with Cho on December 13-14, 2005, were just "doing their jobs," fulfilling the duties for which they were being paid.

University of Waterloo


When social reality determines success in a society, the words of others are more than emotionally damaging -- they damage your prospects.

His teacher, an execrable poet, decided to make it morally acceptable to target him, and so he was mobbed.

When you step outside of social reality, as he had to, because of his social fear, you see the truths others are too busy being social to see.

That, plus a hatred for his insane and pompous teacher, could be a strong motivating force.

Either way, he showed us like Holden Caulfield the hollowness of this time -- with hollow points.

Right-to-Work states are the future: no unions, hence, actual competitiveness


Tennessee and other Southern states have recently come to depend on foreign automakers and their non-union factories. If you're from those parts, what's good for American car companies may no longer be what's good for the country -- because your economy now depends on their foreign competitors instead.

The fiercest opposition to the loan proposal -- and nearly a third of the 35 votes against ending debate on the deal -- came from Southern Republicans, and the ringleaders of the opposition all come from states with a major foreign auto presence. Not coincidentally, nearly all of those states -- except Kentucky -- are also "right-to-work" states, which means no union contracts for most of the employees at the foreign plants. The Detroit bailout fell victim to a nasty confluence of home-state economic interests and anti-union sentiment among Republicans.

Thalon


Why are they anti-union? Because unions are parasites. We have government, the media, non-profits and unions all advocating for the worker. Because they defend the worker generically, they suspend the ability to reward the good and remove the bad. This makes plants non-competitive.

Most practical people realize that Detroit is moribund until it can tame its greedy unions, or get rid of them. In the meantime, the market has come up with a more practical solution: Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota and others are thriving in the USA, with one significant difference from Detroit -- they are non-union.

As civilization decays, traditional living communities succeed


The Amish population has nearly doubled in the U.S. over the last 15 years, growing to 227,000 this year, according to estimates from Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.

The Amish emigrated from central Europe to Pennsylvania in the early 1700s. Also known as the "Plain People," the Amish believe they must live a simple, nonviolent life. Many reject electricity, indoor plumbing and cars.

Amish advocates - the Amish religion precludes them from defending themselves physically or legally - argue the Amish belief that they must live apart from the world trumps local regulations.

"The permit itself might not be so bad, but to change your lifestyle to have to get one, that's against our convictions," Borntreger said as he sat in his kitchen with his wife, Ruth.

AP


More people and groups should secede from our multicultural, monocultural, capitalist, socialist, democratic, totalitarian, confused and dying civilization.

Stick to a few principles that make sense -- because they're direct responses to reality, not responses to "responses" to reality -- and live well. Ignore the theatrical illusion that is modern society.

It will burn itself out, and leave behind a confused grey race of third world people who you can hire to chop wood, but nothing more complicated. They will however be genetically able to cite the Deerhoof discography, make their hair flip, and wear little pointy shoes to make themselves look svelte and metrosexual.

The racism drama continues


A Philadelphia judge yesterday ordered prosecutors to disclose the identities of two police undercover officers involved in an altercation last year with antiracism activists who thought the officers were skinheads attending a Ku Klux Klan rally.

The four antiracism activists - Jared Schultz, 29, and Thomas Keenan, 23, both of Frankford; Jason Robbins, 29, of West Philadelphia; and James McGovern Jr., 59, of Paulsboro - were arrested after they followed the officers, whom they believed were neo-Nazi skinheads, to a waiting SUV, kicked at the vehicle's sides and broke a rear window.

McGovern pleaded no contest to charges of criminal mischief, conspiracy and harassment and was sentenced by Neifield to three years probation, anger management therapy and $600 restitution.

Krasner and Hetznecker argued that the Klan rally itself seemed suspicious. Both police and FBI witnesses said they learned of the purported rally through a leaflet and through a demonstration permit filed with city officials. But they also said the leaflet no longer exists, and city officials said the Klan never applied for or received a permit.

Philly.com


The violent left -- and a federal bureaucracy nervous about racism -- come together in hilarious discoordination.

Antiracists, anarchists, and many green protestors seem to want to hurt people and destroy things first, and only second do they invent a reason why, so they feel justified in wrecking things.

That's the mark of a real bully -- needs a reason to beat someone up -- as opposed to someone with a plan, who just does what needs to be done without having to have the excuse of "provocation" and justification.

The psychological consequences of a narcissistic pop culture


One man showed up at a federal building, asking for release from the reality show he was sure was being made of his life.

Another was convinced his every move was secretly being filmed for a TV contest. A third believed everything — the news, his psychiatrists, the drugs they prescribed — was part of a phony, stage-set world with him as the involuntary star, like the 1998 movie The Truman Show.

Researchers have begun documenting what they dub the “Truman syndrome,” a delusion afflicting people who are convinced that their lives are secretly playing out on a reality TV show. Scientists say the disorder underscores the influence pop culture can have on mental conditions.

“The question is really: Is this just a new twist on an old paranoid or grandiose delusion … or is there sort of a perfect storm of the culture we’re in, in which fame holds such high value?” said Dr. Joel Gold, a psychiatrist affiliated with New York’s Bellevue Hospital.

Proctologist's Journal


1. Encourage narcissism as a means of control.
2. Lift some up above others for either social excellence or pity factors.
3. Watch everyone else try to get a piece of that pie, unaware that with 300 million of them almost all will be losers.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Obama hides from his corrupt past -- and future


President-elect Barack Obama is refusing to answer any questions about the internal review he has ordered into Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's alleged efforts to sell his former Senate seat, saying he will do so when the examination is finished.

Obama's staff has declined to respond to even basic questions, like who is conducting the probe, how long it will take, what issues are being explored and whether they are working with federal investigators. Obama has promised transparency throughout his service and to divulge contacts his staff has had with Blagojevich's office in the coming days. But his staff has locked down on inquiries in the meantime.

The Obama transition team's refusal to talk has contributed to a maelstrom around Obama's incoming White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, a Chicago congressman likely to have been in contact with the governor, who was arrested this week in a corruption scandal.

AP


First, friendly pressure on the compliant media to cover up facts.

Then, some spin.

Finally, hold out as long as you can -- for voters to forget, reporters to move on to other stories, and for you to get as many cronies as possible into positions of power in government and media.

That's how you run a political machine. That's how they ran Chicago, and it's how they're going to run Washington, D.C.

Welcome to the third world, USA.

The essence of unions and socialism


Have you ever worked in a Union shop? I have worked in four, and all were downright ridiculous (one was at a GM factory, one a Chrysler parts supplier, one was a distribution center for the nation's largest five-and-dime at the time, the last was a pool covering manufacturer).

If you try to work hard, you get beat up or your car gets damaged, etc. If you slack off, it is ridiculously difficult to get fired. My hometown used to be vibrant and wealthy, and one by one the factories and distribution centers have packed up. EVERY single one was due to Union strikes and their typically ridiculous demands. Unions are a plague that have taken down American industry - let the free markets rule by taking away special rights for Unions (let Unions survive, but with no special government designation or protection).

reddit


Yeah, it's called "don't rise above the herd," because you can mobilize the BIGGEST number of people by promising the FEWEST requirements. This is why socialism sounds good to us: we're either thinking of how we can manipulate others by getting The Crowd on our side, or we're joining that crowd by fearing that we're incompetent, and so demanding brattily that no requirements of note be made of us.

Show up. Give it a half-ass try. Everyone can do that -- so the The Crowd supports that everyone, as each individual in the crowd tries to gain power by currying favor with the others.

And reality, always unpopular, is far away...

What of the blame does Bush deserve?


The document presents the Bush record as an unalloyed success.

It mentions none of the episodes that detractors say have marred his presidency: the collapse of the housing market and major financial services companies, the flawed intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war, the federal response to Hurricane Katrina or the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Some Idiot Blogger


That's all you've got?


  • The collapse of the housing market: was in play long before his presidency and, since it was designed to help the underprivileged, was politically untouchable.

  • The flawed intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war: probably not his concern. He wanted to hit someone back after terrorists hit the USA, and use democracy/capitalism to disrupt fundamentalist Islam just as it disrupted fundamentalist Christianity and fundamentalist Judaism.

  • The federal response to Hurricane Katrina: this wasn't his fault, either. The local government was slow in asking for help, and FEMA -- untested -- did an OK job considering the evacuees were all insane criminals.

  • The abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib/Gitmo: this one may stick, but the question is how important it is.



So why do people love to hate him?

We wanted to put our heads in the sand after 9/11. Instead, the war dragged on.

That's it. The rest are the usual callow excuses made by the usual dummies.

Reversing natural selection pisses off the capable


Ask most Americans whether they're in favor of spending taxpayer dollars to help delinquent mortgage borrowers and you're likely to get an emphatic "No!"

Taxpayers are mad - especially those who held off buying their own homes or were careful not to spend beyond their means.

"All these idiots who bought homes they couldn't really afford are going to be rewarded with loan modifications, but what about those of us who didn't make stupid decisions?" asked Jay Black

CNN


Natural selection rewards those who make sound decisions, not the biggest, not the most aggressive, etc.

When we subsidize idiots, we strengthen the idiot population and those who benefit from them -- people who care only about their own reward, and are oblivious to social consequences. Generally, we call these sociopaths unless they're wearing business suits.

Our society is heading toward a composition of sociopaths and drones; in the middle, where responsible winners used to go, now there's only excuses.

Why does Africa have a higher rate of albinism?


Across the world, around one person in 20,000 suffers from albinism. But it is much more widespread in Africa, with a rate of around one in 5,000.

The Sun


1. I thought all ethnicities were the same, so should have the same rates of albinism.

2. Why more? It doesn't sound environmental.

Postmodern warfare


"Now, you can stretch the boundaries of your interpretation, but not in an unlimited fashion, after all, it must be bound by physics, as it contains buildings and alleys. The question is: how do you interpret the alley? Do you interpret the alley as a place, like every architect and every town planner does, to walk through, or do you interpret the alley as a place forbidden to walk through? This depends only on interpretation. We interpreted the alley as a place forbidden to walk through, and the door as a place forbidden to pass through, and the window as a place forbidden to look through, because a weapon awaits us in the alley, and a booby trap awaits us behind the doors. This is because the enemy interprets space in a traditional, classical manner, and I do not want to obey this interpretation and fall into his traps. Not only do I not want to fall into his traps, I want to surprise him! This is the essence of war. I need to win. I need to emerge from an unexpected place."

"This is why that we opted for the methodology of walking through walls."

The maneuver conducted by units of the Israeli military during the attack on the city of Nablus in April 2002 was described by its commander, Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi, as “inverse geometry,” which he explained as the re-organization of the urban syntax by means of a series of micro-tactical actions. During the attack, soldiers moved within the city across hundred-meter-long “over-ground-tunnels” carved out through a dense and contiguous urban fabric. Although several thousand soldiers and hundreds of Palestinian guerrilla fighters were maneuvering simultaneously in the city, they were saturated within its fabric to the degree that most would not have been visible from an aerial perspective at any given moment. Furthermore, soldiers did not often use the streets, roads, alleys, or courtyards that constitute the syntax of the city, as well as the external doors, internal stairwells, and windows that constitute the order of buildings, but rather moved horizontally through party walls, and vertically through holes blasted in ceilings and floors. This form of movement is part of a tactics that the military refers to in metaphors it borrows from the world of aggregate animal formation as “swarming” and “infestation.”

The tactics of “walking-through-walls” involved a conception of the city as not just the site, but as the very medium of warfare – a flexible, almost liquid matter that is forever contingent and in flux.

EIPCP


Interesting.

Zimbabwe: the mess multiculturalism leaves in its wake

Colonialism, if you think about it, is a form of multiculturalism.

It leaves behind a revolutionary mindset that destroys culture in a way colonialism cannot and never attempts to do: it gets inside of that culture and perverts it, because the enemy appears so clearly to need defeating more than anything else.

What's left is reactionary and dissolves itself.


Mugabe has murdered more black Africans than even the apartheid regime in white-ruled South Africa. A liberation hero turned despot, he is Ian Smith with a black face - only many times worse.

I was shocked that liberals and leftwingers who had campaigned so honourably against apartheid were silent. They were outraged by a white racist regime killing black people, but not when the killing was being done by a black tyrant. This double standard and indifference to mass murder appalled me.

{ snip }

If Slobodan Milosevic can be indicted and put on trial, why can't Robert Mugabe?

The Times Online


My only problem with Mugabe is that he does not act in a totalitarian manner. If you want white farmers out, send them out... don't use hired thugs to try to drive them out. Be a man about it.

The writer of the piece quoted above doesn't understand the West's relationship to non-whites. They are for us ways to show we have social altruism points. We don't actually give a damn what happens to them; like Bono of U2 or Bill Gates of the Gates Foundation, we want to use our public acts of highly visible giving and empowerment of them to make ourselves look good, not to save them.

It's colonialism in reverse, except where colonialists wanted to rule over roughly autonomous states and use their resources, reverse colonialism is warfare against those who might happen to have power at all, or natural advantages. It's revenge war.

Politics is anti-science

If you're going to play the game of politics -- convincing others of what they should do, a surrogate for natural selection pressure -- you're going to end up making big symbols you must defend even when reality clashes with them.

For the traditionalists:


The Vatican hardened its opposition Friday to using embryos for stem cell research, cloning and in-vitro fertilization. But in a major new document on bioethics, it showed flexibility on some forms of gene therapy and left open questions surrounding embryo adoption.

The Vatican's overall position stems from its belief that human life begins at conception and must be given the consequent respect and dignity from that moment on. The Vatican also holds that human life should be created through intercourse between husband and wife, not in a petri dish.

AP


For the new revolutionaries and leftists, just suggest that abilities are determined by biology and are inherently unequal among nations, classes, castes, ethnicities, races, genders and professions, and you'll get a tantrum. "But I wanna believe I could be a rocket scientist, too!"

The correct political decision is to say "yes u can haz cheezburger" and then hope someone does rogue research so you don't end up broadsided when some nation-state with fewer laws does it.

Obama yanking strings to delay corruption revelations

Uh huh:


Rahm Emanuel, a Chicago congressman who would have been a likely contact between the Obama transition office and Gov. Rod Blagojevich, has been a focus of media attention since Obama said Thursday he has asked for an internal review of contacts between his staff and Blagojevich.

Emanuel has been refusing to answer questions about whether he's the "president-elect adviser" referred to in the criminal complaint that accuses Blagojevich of putting Obama's Senate seat up for sale.

AP


Displace the southern good old boy's gentleman's club, and you get... the most vicious political machine in America, the Chicago syndicate.

They're trying to sew F.U.D. (fear, uncertainty, doubt) about the connections between Obama's crew and the Chicago posse, knowing that if they stretch this on for more than 2 weeks, most voters will forget it.

And so it begins Part MCMLXIV: Acorns

When T.S. Eliot told us the end came with a whimper and not a bang, most people missed the point: decay is slow and predictable, so that except in a few cases of extreme violence, death is an afterthought.


Up and down the East Coast, residents and naturalists alike have been scratching their heads this autumn over a simple question: Where are all the acorns?

"I had read about the collapse of the bee colonies, and it made me wonder, is something else going on here? Could this be affecting other systems?"

CNN


Systems... good thinking. When systems are disrupted, expect multiple indirect effects for every cause.

So it begins, as it begun before, as it is not limited to global warming: humanity is overextended, cannot control itself or its growth, and is wrecking nature at multiple points.

The face of censorship

Hint: it's not a government.


"Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users."

Apple banning the Murderdrome comic book does not bode well for Apple possibly handling eBooks in the future.

MCB


Future censorship will occur when, in the names of the pretenses of the population, corporations make certain kinds of information unavailable.

How to be a financial pioneer


“He’s one of the pioneers of modern Wall Street,” said James Angel, an associate business professor at Georgetown University in Washington. Madoff’s firm was among the first to automate market-making, in which a dealer continually buys and sells stock. The company was among the largest to offer “payment for order flow,” or paying to handle customer orders.

Thomas Ajamie, a securities lawyer in Houston who won a $429 million arbitration award against Paine Webber Group in 2001, speculated that Madoff “couldn’t keep the Ponzi scheme going because investors were accelerating their redemptions.”

Bernard Madoff, founder and president of a New York firm that invested funds for wealthy individuals, hedge funds and other institutions, was charged with operating what he told employees was a long-running $50 billion Ponzi scheme in what may be one of the largest frauds in history.

“It’s all just one big lie,” Madoff told his employees on Dec. 10, according to the government. The firm, Madoff allegedly said to them, is “basically, a giant Ponzi scheme.”

Madoff started his firm in 1960 with $5,000 of savings and took advantage of securities-law changes in the 1970s designed to spur competition in U.S. stock markets, according to a profile posted on the Web site Finance Tech.

Bloomberg


I've remixed this news source to show you the information in the order of its importance, more or less.

He was a pioneer who took advantage of a loophole; if not for the recession, he might have continued his Ponzi scheme; it's unclear how many of his "innovations" were also Ponzi schemes.

Stop and think: how many of our "heroes" got ahead by doing something corrupt, but bringing in enough money that they could hide it, and then go on to purchase legitimate businesses?

These people aren't heroes. They're parasites.

Why Europe's crypto-leaders love these riots

Crypto-leaders, or oligarchs, love the current riots spreading from Greece across Europe:


The unrest that has gripped Greece is spilling over into the rest of Europe, raising concerns the clashes could be a trigger for opponents of globalization, disaffected youth and others outraged by the continent's economic turmoil and soaring unemployment.

"What's happening in Greece tends to prove that the extreme left exists, contrary to doubts of some over these past few weeks," French Interior Ministry spokesman Gerard Gachet told The Associated Press.

As Europe plunges into recession, unemployment is rising, particularly among the young. Even before the crisis, European youths complained about difficulty finding well-paid jobs — even with a college degree — and many said they felt left out as the continent grew in prosperity.

In Greece, demonstrators handed out fliers Thursday listing their demands, which include the reversal of public spending cuts that have brought more layoffs, and said they were hopeful their movement would spread.

AP


Oligarchs cannot find better advocates than these uninformed protestors.

The far-left will demand more public spending; because there's no money coming in, that will create debt spending, devalue the economy and in turn the currency, and force more drastic measures.

And forced drastic measures is what oligarchs enjoy. Bring in another 10 million immigrants -- we make money off the cheap labor and the new housing. Or, let's have a war. Maybe even provoke things further, and then sell private security so you're "safe from Anarchists and Nazis."

And people fall for it, every time. So much for the idea democracy would save us ;)

What else has secondary effects?


Never mind carbon dioxide emissions. Let's talk about the vast stores of carbon hidden deep beneath our feet.

Next week, at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, scientists plan to hold a special session devoted to one potentially frightening aspect of that cycle: a strange little substance known as methane hydrate.

Methane hydrates, or clathrates, are icelike gas deposits buried under permafrost and deep below the seafloor. Some researchers fear that the hydrates are on the verge of melting en masse and belching out a cloud of methane gas that will send global temperatures skyrocketing.

Methane is the same natural gas that we burn for fuel.

As a greenhouse gas, methane is in the big leagues, some 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide.

Around 55 million years ago, Earth again shifted abruptly from snowy to steamy. Many researchers have fingered hydrates in that warming spell, too.

Salon


The more dramatic the news source, the more it must be { snip }'d to get to the real information.

The methane fear is nothing new. What's most alarming is how divisive global warming still is, with competent sources on both sides talking. What's doubly alarming is that we don't trust them because we're used to people acting in self-interest, which means that if an audience will pay $$$ to hear that global warming is/isn't the end, someone will put his or her scientific reputation to good use selling people that "truth."

I wonder what other secondaries, not just from global warming but from human growth, await us -- we certainly can't trust science to tell us until there's a market for their books, movies, grant proposals, etc.

For every ugly truth, we invent a plausible excuse


Bettie Mae Page was born April 22, 1923, in Nashville. She was the oldest girl among Roy and Edna Page's six children. Her father, an auto mechanic, "molested all three of his daughters," Page said in the interview.

"All I ever wanted was a mother who paid attention to me," Page recalled. "She didn't want girls. She thought we were trouble. When I started menstruating at 13, I thought I was dying because she never taught me anything about that."

{ snip }

But by 1948 she had divorced a violent husband and fled to New York City, where she enrolled in acting classes.

{ snip }

"I want to be remembered as the woman who changed people's perspectives concerning nudity in its natural form."

{ snip }

Page, whose later life was marked by depression, violent mood swings and several years in a state mental institution...[her] saucy photos helped usher in the sexual revolution of the 1960s...

LA Times


Revolutionaries: did they really want a revolution, or were they just acting out of control because they were nuts?

For every ugly truth -- daughter molested, ends up unable to find nice men because she's crazy and a neo-prostitute -- we invent some plausible but unsatisfying lie like that she's a "sexual revolutionary." Then, because the lie is unsatisfying, we spend our lives in neurotic denial while ever more strongly asserting the lie.

Humanity: it's impossible to forget they're a half-step removed from monkeys, isn't it?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why are we manic about murders?


An Orange County utility worker may have found what dozens of investigators and search crews have been looking for during the last five months -- the bones of missing toddler Caylee Marie Anthony.

Orlando Sentinel


Laws of the herd:

If it happened to someone, we've got to find out and beat the guy responsible -- because it could happen to you.

If someone else has something you don't have, whether a privilege or wealth, it should be distributed -- because otherwise there will be resentment, which could be extended to you.

If some idea comes up which threatens the herd, it must be destroyed -- because instability can interrupt you.

Keep the peace at all costs. Even if it's a fair fight for a good cause, it can inconvenience you.

If it looks like you need to fight, crush anyone who doesn't want to, because otherwise you'll lose some of your number and you'll have to fight harder.

If other people realize they're being manipulated, that's bad, because you'll need to manipulate them someday -- and you don't trust the idiots to figure out what's right for you.

Sugar: The Gateway Drug


Professor Bart Hoebel and his team in the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute have been studying signs of sugar addiction in rats for years. Until now, the rats under study have met two of the three elements of addiction. They have demonstrated a behavioral pattern of increased intake and then showed signs of withdrawal. His current experiments captured craving and relapse to complete the picture.

{ snip }

Lab animals, in Hoebel's experiments, that were denied sugar for a prolonged period after learning to binge worked harder to get it when it was reintroduced to them. They consumed more sugar than they ever had before, suggesting craving and relapse behavior. Their motivation for sugar had grown. "In this case, abstinence makes the heart grow fonder," Hoebel said.

The rats drank more alcohol than normal after their sugar supply was cut off, showing that the bingeing behavior had forged changes in brain function. These functions served as "gateways" to other paths of destructive behavior, such as increased alcohol intake. And, after receiving a dose of amphetamine normally so minimal it has no effect, they became significantly hyperactive. The increased sensitivity to the psychostimulant is a long-lasting brain effect that can be a component of addiction, Hoebel said.

{ snip }

Hoebel has shown that rats eating large amounts of sugar when hungry, a phenomenon he describes as sugar-bingeing, undergo neurochemical changes in the brain that appear to mimic those produced by substances of abuse, including cocaine, morphine and nicotine. Sugar induces behavioral changes, too.

{ snip }

Hoebel and his team also have found that a chemical known as dopamine is released in a region of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens when hungry rats drink a sugar solution.

Some poncy college


Not surprising.

The recent additions to our intake -- sugar, wheat, corn, nicotine -- are substances our species has not yet had time to test against itself through natural selection. We're in the process of testing ourselves, and weeding out the ones who cannot survive it -- or get addicted to it.

Interesting to see that this makes the news, considering how much sugar is in all of our food. Modern society offers us many, many areas where we could say, "It's all wrong and we need to completely redesign it." Coincidentally, that would also make the process interesting again.

Hmm.

You dramatic, useless city people


It should probably come as no surprise that the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression would inspire a little fuzz. Conspicuous spending is out, after all. And maintaining a stripper-worthy wax job ain't cheap.

"It's back to shaving in the shower for me," says Catlin, a brand manager for a Los Angeles fashion label.

"It's a fortune to keep a trim bush," bemoans Meredith, a healthcare marketing executive.

{ snip }

It does seem that George Taylor's famous hemline theory -- that the length of women's skirts rise and fall with economic times -- can be applied to bikini lines as well.

{ snip }

And, as April Barton points out, "'Racing stripes' are not safe and secure. And security is what's important right now. It's nice to have a little something to come home to. It's time to get back to basics."

Thalon


So you idiots paid people to remove your pubic hair?

That level of personal drama -- beyond hygiene, using yourself as a canvas to try to be hip and pander to others -- suggests terminal neurosis.

Maybe spend your weekly $50 pubic waxing fee on a hollowpoint for your own forehead instead.

If you look critically at modern dating, you may have revelations


But in my generation going Dutch in a restaurant is one of the most noticeable achievements of the women's movement - and when we stayed in I seemed always to be the one buying wine and nibbles. In other words - women still get treated like dirt, only now we have to pay for it.

{ snip }

As my guilt began to rise about what I was doing to this woman and her marriage, I tried to remind myself that without infidelity, literature and opera would be dull and dreary. There would have been no siege of Troy for Homer to chronicle in the Iliad. No Anna Karenina. No Emma Bovary.

{ snip }

About six months after I left my first MMM, I saw him on the street with his wife. She didn't resemble a harridan at all. She looked fragile and gentle and seemed so eager to please him.

A shuddering swoop of anguish made my knees give way. Shame welled up in my chest at what I had done.

Even all these years later when I think of her, remorse as heavy as a winter coat presses down on me.

And when I think of him, something cracks open in me and fury wells up out of the dark hidden places in my heart. That's when I regret having been a mistress most of all.

The Daily Mail


Modern life is about making the external fill the internal void. So convenience becomes prized over accuracy, until you're able to loosen the bonds the external has on you, and ask yourself how you want to be defined.

And in this case, you see how you leave a trail of heartbreak in the name of "liberation," and still have to pay for dinner.

News station covers up Obama-Blagojevich meeting


December 10: It suggested that a meeting was scheduled later that day between President Elect Obama and Illinois Governor Blagojevich. KHQA has no knowledge that any meeting ever took place.

November 5: Obama met with Governor Rod Blagojevich earlier this week to discuss it.

NewsBusters and BizzyBlog


Quick, we've been caught! Call in all favors we can to hide the evidence kthxbye


In a news conference in Chicago to introduce his choice as secretary of health and human services in the new administration, Obama reiterated that he has never spoken to Blagojevich about the appointment of a replacement to serve out the remainder of Obama's Senate term.

WP


The Most Corrupt Candidate in History, elected because he resembles a Hollywood archetype, is now spinning off scandals faster than he can distract us.

Hope. Change. Cake. Free money. Eternal life.

Promises are cheap; reality is hard and, as we like to say here, the truth is "difficult" and so always unpopular, where lies are always "pleasant" and so very popular.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why are college degrees less valuable?

The more people you let through any conduit to success, the less each will be worth.

When women started working, doubling the work force, salaries effectively declined with the value of currency.

Now that we're handing just about anyone a college degree, having a college degree isn't a big deal anymore -- and so it doesn't translate to salary.


There is no magic point at which a genuine college-level education becomes an option, but anything below an IQ of 110 is problematic. If you want to do well, you should have an IQ of 115 or higher. Put another way, it makes sense for only about 15% of the population, 25% if one stretches it, to get a college education. And yet more than 45% of recent high school graduates enroll in four-year colleges. Adjust that percentage to account for high-school dropouts, and more than 40% of all persons in their late teens are trying to go to a four-year college--enough people to absorb everyone down through an IQ of 104.

WSJ


There's no point going to a college that someone with an IQ of 104 can pass -- it's high school II (if even that; more like High School 1.5).

Now that 40% of the population goes to college, instead of 15%, a college degree is that much less valuable, and employers are noting this.

But we all had to be egalitarian and cram everybody through college that we could, because it's the "right thing to do," even though it meant dumbing college work down and devaluing the college degree.

Good thinking.

We repeat the 1980s, this time with a liberal administration


The most fitting comparison is with Leonid Brezhnev - another long-serving Soviet leader who clocked up 18 years in power, until his death in 1982. Brezhnev began brightly enough, with the Soviet Union at the height of its prestige. But his epoch eventually became synonymous with stagnation and economic decline - a bit like the Putin one. After eight years of rapid and increasing prosperity, Putin's Russia is floundering amid the global economic crisis.

During the Brezhnev era there was deep conflict with the western alliance over the US's plans to site Pershing missiles in western Europe. Under Putin we have the row over US rockets in Europe - this time the Pentagon's plans to site missile defence interceptors and radar bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. The Kremlin vehemently objects to the shield; it has poisoned US-Russian relations.

Then there is the invasion by Russia of one of its neighbours. Back in 1979, it was Afghanistan - when Russian tanks rolled across the dusty Hindu Kush to prop up a struggling communist regime. (Officially, Moscow said its intervention was necessary because of US encroachment in Afghanistan.) Fast forward three decades to Russia's summer 2008 invasion of Georgia when Russian tanks were rolling once again - this time along the Caucasus mountain valley towards US-leaning Tbilisi.

{ snip }

"I think Russian political life and Russian public life has been very Sovietised recently, Stalinised even. We have got politics completely closed from public view. Nobody really understands what is going on," Kiselyov says. "People inside the Kremlin, even at ministerial level, don't understand how decisions are taken at the upper level, at the highest level. That's very Soviet. It's completely non-transparent."

{ snip }

"The Soviet Union had global ambitions. It believed in socialism and social justice. Now the main ideological idea is nationalism and anti-Americanism. There are no positive ideas any more, only negative ones," Kryshtanovskaya says. She adds: "At the same time Russia is becoming increasingly isolationist."

The Guardian


The West had them beat; then the Americans elected Clinton, and the pressure that Reagan applied fell off, and so when the Soviets fell, nothing to ensure future stability was done.

Now we have Change McHope in the white house, and he's going to do the same thing, ensuring that an unstable, third-world Russia continues to threaten Europe and the United States.

Good thinking, American voters.

Recycling no longer profitable, shutting down


In West Virginia, an official of Kanawha County, which includes Charleston, the state capital, has called on residents to stockpile their own plastic and metals, which the county mostly stopped taking on Friday. In eastern Pennsylvania, the small town of Frackville recently suspended its recycling program when it became cheaper to dump than to recycle. In Montana, a recycler near Yellowstone National Park no longer takes anything but cardboard.

There are no signs yet of a nationwide abandonment of recycling programs. But industry executives say that after years of growth, the whole system is facing an abrupt slowdown.

NYT


Gosh, maybe the free markets are like drug addiction: you always need more and you never think of tomorrow.

That sure would be weird, if nature repeated similar patterns in different circumstances. Yep. Hmm.

Maybe we need values that trump profit. But that would require us to cooperate, or at least share a culture in common. Hmm.

And the consequences of immigration are...

Displacement: of your population, economy and leadership.


"I have two degrees but I am a waitress. There is no opportunity for young people here any more but I don't think this is confined to Greece. The economic situation leaves a lot of young people across Europe feeling bleak and hopeless."

The Guardian


What these idiots are really rioting about -- brave anarchists! -- is money.

They're impoverished.

They blame the free markets. This is true, to a degree: the free market allowed importation of thousands of guest workers who, by taking up the lower cost jobs, encouraged competition for all jobs with livable salaries.

This has happened across Europe and it's why people are discontent.

Unfortunately, The People everywhere are dumb as bricks, and vote in liars who promise them "free money" through social welfare, etc. Where does that money come from? No one knows.

So the cycle continues.

Is globalization pro-diversity or anti-diversity?


There are about 6,900 languages spoken in the world (blam!). Just four percent of these languages are spoken by 96 percent of the world’s population (boom!).

{ snip }

The author of the chapter on endangered languages tells us that 90 percent of the languages currently spoken will probably disappear by the end of this century. Scholars who record native speakers and compile dictionaries should be supported in their efforts: we ought to have as full a record as possible of the wonderful diversity in human history.

But probably the best we can do for dying tongues (and cultures) is, hospice-style, to make the transition to a wider, more cosmopolitan world as painless and humane as possible.

NYT


Human growth is killing species. Accept it.

Human growth requires globalization, and is killing culture, language and heritage. Accept it.

We're all being bred into one grey race with no organic culture, customs, values, language or heritage. Accept it.

The new mall has come to town and replaced the forest. Accept it.

Television has replaced values, politeness, and individuality with a pop culture of trying to be more hip than the other guy. Accept it.

Idiots win elections, jerks get ahead at the job, liars and salesmen take over culture, and the people who get all the attention are those who cannot take care of themselves. Accept it.

We're trading a diverse world of natural species and human uniqueness for one of uniform mass culture, institutions, industry and sound bytes politics. ...accept it?

At some point, enough is enough: either we gain control of ourselves as a species, or we're going to become generic, and then even our technology and morality will not stop our devolution into apes.

Accept it.

How protecting parasites screws the good


A 14-member military jury on Thursday found Martinez, 41, not guilty on two counts of premeditated murder in the deaths of Capt. Phillip Esposito, 30, of Suffern and 1st Lt. Louis Allen, 34, of Milford, Pa.

{ snip }

Prosecutors had said that Martinez planted a claymore mine in Esposito's window and a set of grenades to simulate a mortar attack because he was afraid Esposito would have him removed from his job managing the unit's supply room. Esposito believed that Martinez was selling Army printers and other equipment to Iraqis on the black market, and equipment worth more than $984,000 was found to be missing from the unit's property books after the two officers' deaths.

The black marketing charges were not admissible in the murder trial under rules established during pretrial hearings, and potentially incriminating statements that Martinez made to arresting officers also were disallowed. A military judge refused requests by the prosecution to treat the killings as having been committed during a time of war.

{ snip }

Both families said the judges who oversaw the case made many concessions to the defense to ensure that a conviction was not overturned on appeal. That tied the prosecutions hands to such an extent that it wasn't able to present the most effective case.

A husband and wife who said during jury selection that they were against the death penalty were allowed on the panel, family members said. Another panel member who said he didn't trust the military's Criminal Investigation Division because he had been unjustly accused in another crime also was admitted to the jury.

LOHUD


So... two men doing the right thing get killed, and because we want to avoid infringing on rights -- because we're all afraid for our own -- we let a millionaire thief and killer go free.

Brilliant.

Keep failing, multiculturalism


It began when a parent was upset her child was told to sing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." The parent is concerned the words "Christmas" and "Santa" hold religious meaning.

The mother tried to have a Hanukkah song added to the holiday show, similar to other schools in the area, but was denied that request.

WECT


There's no one rule that will please everyone unless we go radically institutional: ban religion, ban holidays, ban physical appearance and ban heritage.

The Taint of Corruption, Finally Noticed

To avoid being called a racist or cynic, please shout "Hope!" and "Change!" at this blog entry while you read it. Thank you.


And indeed, there are enough connections between the worlds of Blagojevich and Obama that the whole thing has the potential to grow beyond a colorful Chicago tale of corruption to entangle members of the Presidential transition team, to test Obama's carefully cultivated reformist image and to distract the President-elect just as he is preparing to take office.

{ snip }

The Obama Senate seat scheme is only one of the allegations lodged against the two-term governor, whose administration has been under investigation for alleged "pay to play" patronage practices for years. The complaint claims Blagoevich tried to extort the owners of the Tribune company to fire editors at the Chicago Tribune, and to withhold $8 million of state funds to a children's hospital in hopes of extracting a $50,000 campaign contribution from one of its executives. Blagojevich, who came into office in 2002 with promises to clean up the state's culture of graft, made no comment Tuesday during a bail hearing where he was released on his own recognizance.

{ snip }

The transition team will also, undoubtedly, try to distance Obama from a man whom he helped first elect back in 2002 and supported for reelection in 2006, as well as from a brand of corrupt Chicago politics that John McCain tried unsuccessfully to link him to during the presidential campaign.

{ snip }

In a separate conversation the same day, he suggests that Obama and his associates "can get Warren Buffett and others to put $10, $12 or $15 million into the organization," and then suggests he could retire from the governorship to go over to the organization.

Time


Well, come on now. Connect the goddamned dots.

Obama rose in a corrupt political town by playing their game. He took favors and gave favors. He remained popular, and had the money to buy these people, even to buy loyalty from Blagojevich.

Then he had the most funds ever of any political candidate, even adjusted for inflation.

He has important backers, and that kind of money does not come from the common man. It comes from large corporations and rich oligarchs, including Hollywood masterminds who want to preserve and expand their empires.

The masses of distracted, neurotic, clueless and ineffective people, whipped into a frenzy of anger at the Bush presidency, did exactly as the oligarchs expected they would: they voted for anything but Bush, preferably someone who didn't even look remotely like him.

Hope and Change, dummies. Things are not what they promise to be, and you just elected the most corrupt political candidate in American history. Good thinking!

Anarchists are jerks pt II


Meanwhile the lawyer for the two police officers arrested over the death of Alexandros Grigoropoulos said a ballistics report showed the 15-year-old was killed by a ricochet rather than a direct shot, according to news wire reports. A coroner's report shows the boy was shot in the chest.

{ snip }

Police say the shooting happened in a restive Athens neighborhood after six young protesters pelted a patrol car with stones. Grigoropoulos, was killed as he tried to throw a fuel-filled bomb at the officers, they said.

{ snip }

The leader of the left-wing opposition party SYRIZA has called for protesters to topple the government, but Karamanlis ruled out early elections.

CNN


Throwing rocks at Israeli tanks, Greek police cars or Russian sentries will get you killed. A thrown rock can kill them, and they know that if they don't respond, the attacks will get worse.

So what these anarchists did was to provoke violence against themselves.

This kind of passive aggression -- the defensive offense of self-identified weaklings -- allows them to both start the violence and claim to be victims, so that their mainstream leftist party can get ahead.

No society should tolerate this stupidity.

Anarchists are basically brats who want the advantages of society without the obligations. Sure, we all don't want unnecessary authority over us (that's hopefully not the news to anyone). But deciding that all authority is bad, we want to riot and... well, keep those grocery stores and air conditioning and free food coming, please!

Anarchy is a philosophy for people who have given up on making sense of the world and want to destroy. It attracts bratty teenagers who have a chance to be big shots for ten minutes and go for it, then get winged by police as they try to throw firebombs at them. That gives all of them a chance to moan together.

In the West, our societies are awash in fatalistic people like anarchists. They can't figure out a solution because they are so afraid for themselves, they insist on drastic "rights" for everyone. But that leads to social failure. So they lash out in futility and anger.

The result is that the working class, the people they claim to be defending, face a worse life and greater political instability and, while the leftist part gets ahead, it's as corrupt as the other parties, and so nothing changes. But at least it was an excuse to feel really alive and righteously angry for a few minutes.

Anarchists are jerks and cowards. We should not tolerate these fatalistic parasites.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Humanity can't control itself even when it agrees there's a problem

Why it can't control itself:

It would require either cooperation, or agreement to suppress those doing indirectly destructive things.

Since we each fear for ourselves, we pick rules that do not allow us to stop anyone doing anything indirectly destructive.

As a result, we cannot control ourselves, and will get for our pains either ecocide and planetary instability, or dictators so authoritarian that Hitler and Stalin will be forgotten as amateurs.


The cream of the UK climate science community sat in stunned silence as Anderson pointed out that carbon emissions since 2000 have risen much faster than anyone thought possible, driven mainly by the coal-fuelled economic boom in the developing world. So much extra pollution is being pumped out, he said, that most of the climate targets debated by politicians and campaigners are fanciful at best, and "dangerously misguided" at worst.

In the jargon used to count the steady accumulation of carbon dioxide in the Earth's thin layer of atmosphere, he said it was "improbable" that levels could now be restricted to 650 parts per million (ppm).

The CO2 level is currently over 380ppm, up from 280ppm at the time of the industrial revolution, and it rises by more than 2ppm each year. The government's official position is that the world should aim to cap this rise at 450ppm.

The science is fuzzy, but experts say that could offer an even-money chance of limiting the eventual temperature rise above pre-industrial times to 2C, which the EU defines as dangerous. (We have had 0.7C of that already and an estimated extra 0.5C is guaranteed because of emissions to date.)

The Guardian


If a person stops being able to understand reality, we call them psychotic and throw them in mental wards.

If a person stops caring about the effects of their actions in reality, we call them sociopathic and throw them in jail.

Q: If a species stops caring about the effects of denying reality, what do we call them?

A: An evolutionary dead end.

More on British Decline Into Third World Through Bad Breeding


A survey has revealed young British women are more promiscuous than their male counterparts and more likely to be unfaithful.

The study of 2000 women in the UK, commissioned by More magazine, found that by the age of 21, women have had an average of nine sexual partners - two more than their male partner.

It also found a quarter of young women have slept with more than 10 partners in the first five years since losing their virginity, compared with 20 per cent of young men.

More magazine editor Lisa Smosarski said: "Our results show today's twenty-something women are taking control of their sex lives and getting what they want in bed."

AUN


Getting what they want... like shopping... super-size me. But getting the right thing they need? Well, that's another story, and Lisa Smosarski isn't paid to tell you about that. Mental stability is not a good product.

As noted here before, the British are ushering themselves into oblivion through disintegration as the world watches. They have now taken over from the Americans on the race to the bottom, and hopefully, will provide a grotesque spectacle -- so the rest of us know what to avoid.

In the meantime, the 20% of English society that does all the hard work -- creates things, keeps people in line, lives morally and honorably and well -- were not interviewed for this survey, and would not have agreed to it, since they already know that the media is a show to keep the proles in line and reflects only the most defective values.

How (Some) Inbreeding Prevents Destructive Genetic Diversity

Too much diversity = chaos, just like too much similarity = collapse.

One side of the political spectrum warns of one, the other of the other, and they don't agree on what's in the middle: the target of healthy breeding.


Inbreeding experiments involving sib mating in mice and Drosophila subobscura10, and successive bottlenecks in house flies11 have yielded some evidence consistent with the purging hypothesis. Here, we report results of an experiment demonstrating a prolonged time-course of recovery of mean fitness under self-fertilization of a naturally outcrossing plant, and also compare our results with expectations derived by computer calculations. Our results show that the genetic load present in an outcrossing population can be explained only with a high mutation rate to partially recessive deleterious alleles, and that inbreeding purges the population of mutant alleles.

Harvard


And if we need to determine how much inbreeding is bad/good for humans:


In 2002, the anthropologist John H. Moore estimated that a population of 150–180 would allow normal reproduction for 60 to 80 generations — equivalent to 2000 years.

A much smaller initial population of as little as two female humans should be viable as long as human embryos are available from Earth. Use of a sperm bank from Earth also allows a smaller starting base with negligible inbreeding.

Researchers in conservation biology have tended to adopt the "50/500" rule of thumb initially advanced by Franklin and Soule. This rule says a short-term effective population size (Ne) of 50 is needed to prevent an unacceptable rate of inbreeding, while a long‐term Ne of 500 is required to maintain overall genetic variability. The Ne = 50 prescription corresponds to an inbreeding rate of 1% per generation, approximately half the maximum rate tolerated by domestic animal breeders. The Ne = 500 value attempts to balance the rate of gain in genetic variation due to mutation with the rate of loss due to genetic drift.

Wikipedia


So 200 individuals breeding together produces no risk of inbreeding in the negative sense.

I guess "fear of inbreeding" can be checked off the list of objections to monoculturalism.

Remember the Holodomor


This year marks the 75th anniversary of one of the most horrific chapters in the history of the Soviet Union: the great famine the Ukrainians call Holodomor, "murder by starvation." This catastrophe, which killed an estimated 6 to 10 million people in 1932-33, was largely the product of deliberate Soviet policies.

Ukraine--which, with Canada and a few other countries, observed Holodomor Remembrance Day on November 23--seeks international recognition for a Ukrainian "genocide."

The partial opening of Soviet archives soon confirmed the extent to which Stalin and his henchmen knowingly used hunger to punish resistance and beat the peasantry into submission. Among the finds was a direct order by Stalin to cordon off starving villages and intercept peasants trying to flee in search of food.

Weekly Standard


Oh yes, this one needs debating -- because we have a surplus of evidence that the Ukrainians engaged in mass killing, and a total paucity of evidence the Russians did.

Wait, the positions are reversed. Oh I see.

The Hyper-Inflated Ego (Or: The Social Ego)


One of the biggest problems with modern man is the hyper-inflated ego. Everybody thinks that they're important and their opinion counts. Nobody can allow their precious little ego to be damaged, so they have to construct illusions around reality that tell them that they are perfect but society and everyone else is keeping them down.

Bob


I'd argue as a corollary, since I disagree 0% with the above:

The "ego" in this case is the social ego, or how we project ourselves into social situations. The justification comes from this; society extends to us an inherent "prove to me I should help you," since there's no order or context to our roles.

500 years ago, if you were a peasant, you could expect certain things and not others. If you were a monk, a different set. A noble, a different set. A knight, a different set. And so on.

Now, we're all "equal," which means we have to justify ourselves. Need something? First, you must prove you are worthy. "I'm a good guy, see, I believe in the equality of everyone, but I'm different for the following reasons: I'm the only guy you know with both reggae and Russian opera on his iPod, I have a pet duck that obeys commands in German, my parents were Nigerian and Danish, and my penis curves slightly to the right as if ironic."

This is why our society is hopelessly focused on the external: we have given up on proving ourselves and fulfilling roles that contribute to an order, and instead are fighting it out man-to-man for hipness, coolness, ability to pander, and how "interesting" and "unique" and "ironic" we are.

Quantum orders in daily life


Von Frisch had watched bees dancing on the vertical face of the honeycomb, analyzed the choreographic syntax, and articulated a vocabulary. When a bee finds a source of food, he realized, it returns to the hive and communicates the distance and direction of the food to the other worker bees, called recruits. On the honeycomb which Von Frisch referred to as the dance floor, the bee performs a "waggle dance," which in outline looks something like a coffee bean--two rounded arcs bisected by a central line.

To convey the direction of a food source, the bee varies the angle the waggling run makes with an imaginary line running straight up and down. One of Von Frisch's most amazing discoveries involves this angle. If you draw a line connecting the beehive and the food source, and another line connecting the hive and the spot on the horizon just beneath the sun, the angle formed by the two lines is the same as the angle of the waggling run to the imaginary vertical line. The bees, it appears, are able to triangulate as well as a civil engineer.

"The shape or geometry of the dance changes as the distance to the food source changes," Shipman explains. Move a pollen source closer to the hive and the coffee-bean shape of the waggle dance splits down the middle. "The dancer will perform two alternating waggling runs symmetric about, but diverging from, the center line. The closer the food source is to the hive, the greater the divergence between the two waggling runs."

When you draw a circle, you are in effect making a two-dimensional outline of a three-dimensional sphere. As it turns out, if you make a two-dimensional outline of the six-dimensional flag manifold, you wind up with a hexagon. The bee's honeycomb, of course, is also made up of hexagons, but that is purely coincidental. However, Shipman soon discovered a more explicit connection. She found a group of objects in the flag manifold that, when projected onto a two-dimensional hexagon, formed curves that reminded her of the bee's recruitment dance. The more she explored the flag manifold, the more curves she found that precisely matched the ones in the recruitment dance. "I wasn't looking for a connection between bees and the flag manifold," she says. "I was just doing my research. The curves were nothing special in themselves, except that the dance patterns kept emerging." Delving more deeply into the flag manifold, Shipman dredged up a variable, which she called alpha, that allowed her to reproduce the entire bee dance in all its parts and variations. Alpha determines the shape of the curves in the 6-D flag manifold, which means it also controls how those curves look when they are projected onto the 2-D hexagon. Infinitely large values of alpha produce a single line that cuts the hexagon in half. Large' values of alpha produce two lines very close together. Decrease alpha and the lines splay out, joined at one end like a V. Continue to decrease alpha further and the lines form a wider and wider V until, at a certain value, they each hit a vertex of the hexagon. Then the curves change suddenly and dramatically. "When alpha reaches a critical value," explains Shipman, "the projected curves become straight line segments lying along opposing faces of the hexagon."

And she does not believe the manifold's presence both in the mathematics of quarks and in the dance of honeybees is a coincidence. Rather she suspects that the bees are somehow sensitive to what's going on in the quantum world of quarks, that quantum mechanics is as important to their perception of the world as sight, sound, and smell.

"Ultimately magnetism is described by quantum fields," she says. "I think the physics of the bees' bodies, their physiology, must be constructed such that they're sensitive to quantum fields--that is, the bee perceives these fields through quantum mechanical interactions between the fields and the atoms in the membranes of certain cells."

Discover


There may be more to the world than there appears to be. Sensitivity to quantum fields is a leap; being aware of a quantum order, and using it to compress normal mathematics, not at all. It reminds me of human transcendence: the idea that by understanding patterns in our reality, you can achieve divinity, without having to go to some Other World.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Anarchists are jerks


A police statement about the teenage boy's death said the incident started when six young protesters pelted a police patrol car with stones. The teen was shot as he tried to throw a petrol bomb at the officers, police said.

{ snip }

Police said 34 civilians and 16 police officers were injured Monday in rioting that spread into new municipalities, including Trikala, Larissam and Veria.

{ snip }

Demonstrators Monday barricaded streets in Athens and Thessaloniki and hurled gasoline bombs as they battled with police.

CNN


Funny, if I were throwing firebombs at cops, I'd expect to get shot. Molotov cocktails kill.

Options are Relative

Think about it this way: if you have an option to do something, it becomes more likely you'll do it, because it's probably easier/more absolute in one way or another.


It's estimated 27 percent of all food is thrown out, which works out to a pound of food every day for every American.

{ snip }

"One little blemish on their food and Americans who can afford to do so, throw out that apple," Berg said.

{ snip }

A recent study found roughly 30 million tons of food is wasted each year.

WCBS


Supermarkets and restaurants are guaranteed to be wasteful because portion sizes are averaged and not adapted to the customer. Would you really serve a little old lady the same size steak as you'd hand to a linebacker? To be "fair" you would, even if it meant throwing out food.

Another giant loss is food that is badly prepared. I have seen many public events where the sub-par catering basically went into the trash.

The idiots in the article want you to waste less food so they can give it to the homeless, who are 98% criminal and insane, but "waste not, want not" is a better motto. Besides, in the case of most food, something died for that meal -- so it is a sacred thing, if you think about it clearly.

Closing the Minority Gap

From the We Have One, Too! Department:


With the Census Bureau projecting minorities will one day be the majority, some Republicans believe they have a branding problem. As if things couldn't get any worse for the GOP, the Pew Research Center claims White voters are more likely to identify with the Democratic Party. The numbers of White voters calling themselves Republicans have been dropping for the past four years. And there are some Republicans who believe the party needs its own Barack Obama, a political star who can transcend race and party lines.

What few people know is that when Obama first took to the national stage in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, there was another African-American man who was already climbing the political ladder of success within the Republican Party. In fact, former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael S. Steele gave the counterpoint to Obama's speech that year. Now, he's vying for chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, which would make him the most recognized Black conservative in the nation.

Essence


Their figures on white voters are wrong, I think, but will have to research that later.

Mr. Steele sounds like a qualified, cautious, intelligent man.

However --

How much more could we pander?

"We have a black guy, too!"

There's no better way to admit you're out of idea than to imitate the other guy, and badly. They got there first. Pick a new game plan.

If nothing else, I think Republicans should sit out the presidency and allow liberals for once to inherit their own disasters. Sure, that means our next Republican president will be in 2020. But that will be better than stepping in to inherit a mess.

Republicans also need to find solutions for the following:


  • They have no media support. Fox News doesn't count.

  • They are divided between the highly religious and the moderately religious, with some secularites in there for good measure.

  • They cannot explain why The Conservative Way is better except by falling back on fear, patriotism, etc. Hard facts and reason time, gentlemen.

  • They have not shown how they are independent from wealthy Hollywood and industry donors. That would liberate them greatly.

  • The intelligentsia -- often useless but widely listened to -- hate them and their accusations have not been answered.

Obama: Can't Stop Lying, or Quit Smoking


Liberals are growing increasingly nervous – and some just flat-out angry – that President-elect Barack Obama seems to be stiffing them on Cabinet jobs and policy choices.

Obama has reversed pledges to immediately repeal tax cuts for the wealthy and take on Big Oil. He’s hedged his call for a quick drawdown in Iraq. And he’s stocking his White House with anything but stalwarts of the left.

Now some are shedding a reluctance to puncture the liberal euphoria at being rid of President George W. Bush to say, in effect, that the new boss looks like the old boss.

{ snip }

This isn’t the first liberal letdown over Obama, who promptly angered the left after winning the Democratic primary by announcing he backed a compromise that would allow warrantless wiretapping on U.S. soil to continue.

Politico


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: democracy sucks. Maybe 1% of the population has the focus and interest to make meaningful political decisions.

Everyone else just acts emotionally. "We hate George Bush, so we'll elect the anti-Bush, and that'll send a message."

But Obama is a politician, which means his goal isn't to have pure liberal dogma. It's to get elected and stay popular, however he has to. He's not Che Guevara -- more like Paris Hilton.

And now the delusional disaffected underachievers and arrested development cases are learning again about the difference between promises/appearance and reality/effects. Luckily for our leaders, they'll forget in two weeks when they move on to something else.


Noting that the White House was a no-smoking zone, Brokaw asked Obama, "Have you stopped smoking?"

"I have," Obama replied, smiling broadly. "What I said was that there are times where I have fallen off the wagon."

"Wait a minute," Brokaw interjected, "that means you haven't stopped."

"Fair enough," Obama said. "What I would say is that I have done a terrific job under the circumstances of making myself much healthier. You will not see any violations of these rules in the White House."

Obama was often observed on the presidential campaign trail chewing Nicorette gum, which helps ease the craving for nicotine. He has tried several times to quit.

Yahoo


This guy is a joke. He's completely evasive.

HAVE YOU QUIT SMOKING (YES/NO) ?

...and then you get vacillation about the definition of "smoking."

Priceless.

Is our society neurotic?


I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life (Jung, [1961] 1989:140).

[Contemporary man] is blind to the fact that, with all his rationality and efficiency, he is possessed by "powers" that are beyond his control. His gods and demons have not disappeared at all; they have merely got new names. They keep him on the run with restlessness, vague apprehensions, psychological complications, an insatiable need for pills, alcohol, tobacco, food – and, above all, a large array of neuroses. (Jung, 1964:82).

Jung saw collective neuroses in politics... "Our world is, so to speak, dissociated like a neurotic" (Jung, 1964:85).

The People's Encyclopedia of "Facts" Preferred to Reality


I thought these quotations really summed it all up: our new myths don't explain our world, specifically not the question of "what should I do with my life that is meaningful" -- the answer you'll get will be some variation on the intellectually lazy, insincere "whatever you want to do, man."

In my experience, people enjoy life best when they're bonded to reality and other people by doing things that help the others that they esteem. Family, friends, people who rise above the rest... social natural selection. Societies that force us to be nice to each other just make us surly and hateful, and idiots proliferate.

The Voyeur Culture


John Watson, associate professor of journalism at American University in Washington, said, "We like being frightened without being in actual peril."

One needs look no further than the existence of horror flicks to see the phenomenon in action, he said, and the fact that mug shots are of real people make them more appealing than werewolves and masked men with chainsaws.

"These are pictures of monsters who actually exist, and we can look at them from the safety of wherever we are, and they disappear when we close the book," said Watson, an expert on journalism ethics.

Celebrity mug shots have a different allure in that they feed off human schadenfreude; they allow us to say, "Well, this starlet isn't so rich and glamorous now, is she?"

CNN


Armchair surfers, rejoice!
Out there, darkness rests,
And unspeakable evil;
But here, it is warm,
And all is entertainment:
Reality so far away,
The sofa, so close.

Obama is a US Citizen


Allegations raised on the Internet say the birth certificate, showing that Obama was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961, is a fake.

But state officials in Hawaii say they checked health department records and have determined there's no doubt Obama was born in Hawaii.

The nonpartisan Web site Factcheck.org examined the original document and said it does have a raised seal and the usual evidence of a genuine document.

In addition, Factcheck.org reproduced an announcement of Obama's birth, including his parents' address in Honolulu, that was published in the Honolulu Advertiser on Aug. 13, 1961.

AP


Americans spent years talking about how tolerant they were, not like those nasty Russians, and letting in everyone they could.

Now they're suddenly feeling like these people aren't citizens?

The nation-state always fails in this way: the only participation required is to accept some political dogma and live in a place, so there's no unity, and soon every group sees every other group as being in power.

The only remaining question is: as the USA breaks up, who's going to enforce Pax Romana especially as Eurasian third-world republics rise again with violence on their minds?

ECPR conference on far-right radicalism


Finally, the call for papers for the ECPR’s 5th conference (at Potsdam, September 10-12 2009) is out. Our section on the Radical Right will consist of the following nine panels:

* The Radical Right in Central and Eastern Europe
* The Internationalisation of the Radical Right
* Will Fascism return?
* On the Borderline Between Protest and Violence: Political Movements of the New Radical Right
* Consequences of the surge of anti-immigration parties
* The Radical Right in Western Europe
* Inside the Radical Right: An Internalist Perspective
* Party-based Euroscepticism in Western and Eastern Europe
* Neighbourhood Effects Revisited: the Visualisation of Immigrants and Radical Right-Wing Voting

Each panel can have up to five paper givers, so the section offers us a chance to bring together cutting edge research on the Populist/Extreme/Radical Right from various subfields (parties, voters, rational choice, normative theory - you name it). Please submit your abstract via the the electronic submission system to the appropriate panel(s).

ECPR


It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

It will either be psychological fluff explaining away the problem, or reveal an insight into Europe's crumbling identity as the root of its leadership problems.

Smart people both respect and fear life itself


Compared with staunch liberals, people with strongly conservative views were three times more fearful after factoring out the effects of gender, age, income and education, which can all affect political attitudes.

Kevin B. Smith, a professor of political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a study author, said conservatives were more vigilant to environmental threats, and he speculated that this innate tendency led them to support policies that protect the social order.

{ snip }

The study is the latest to challenge the long-standing dogma that upbringing and environmental factors determine political attitudes. Recent studies have found that identical twins – who share the same genetic inheritance – think alike on political issues more often than nonidentical siblings.

L.A. Times


They don't offer up the obvious: liberals are people who are biologically designed to follow orders, not make them.

To be aware of life is to respect it and fear it, especially environmental threats. Conservatives know this. Liberals don't -- and it takes centuries to see the damage they do.

Studies suggest liberals and conservatives are similar in intelligence, but different in temperment. My suggestion here is that conservatives are practical leaders, and liberals are socializers -- people who specialize in pleasing others because their ancestors were predominantly writers, marketers, salespeople, merchants, laborers or religious workers.

Government Can't Fix Bad Behavior


The change from just 15 years earlier, when most Americans saw alcohol as the root of the problem and voted to ban it, was dramatic. Prohibition's failure to create an Alcohol Free Society sank in quickly. Booze flowed as readily as before, but now it was illicit, filling criminal coffers at taxpayer expense.

Some opponents of prohibition pointed to Al Capone and increasing crime, violence and corruption. Others were troubled by the labeling of tens of millions of Americans as criminals, overflowing prisons, and the consequent broadening of disrespect for the law. Americans were disquieted by dangerous expansions of federal police powers, encroachments on individual liberties, increasing government expenditure devoted to enforcing the prohibition laws, and the billions in forgone tax revenues. And still others were disturbed by the specter of so many citizens blinded, paralyzed and killed by poisonous moonshine and industrial alcohol.

Supporters of prohibition blamed the consumers, and some went so far as to argue that those who violated the laws deserved whatever ills befell them. But by 1933, most Americans blamed prohibition itself.

WSJ


Culture can fix these problems by making it clear that they are problems.

But in a pluralistic society? Any culture is there as a hangover, not a foundation.

Instead of opting for stronger culture, most people opt for what is convenient, which is having institutions enforce a drug policy.

Institutions have one goal -- perpetuate themselves -- so they grow stronger and the citizen has to deal with literal insanity in the name of the War on Some Drugs.

I think it makes sense to legalize drugs, at least in certain areas, and to remove all welfare and treatment programs. Let nature sort out who lives and who dies, and let government weaken by not presiding over either process.

Birth Control Makes Women Pick Bad Biological Mates


Recent research suggests that the contraceptive pill—which prevents women from ovulating by fooling their body into believing it is pregnant—could affect which types of men women desire.

Hidden in a man’s smell are clues about his major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes, which play an important role in immune system surveillance. Studies suggest that females prefer the scent of males whose MHC genes differ from their own, a preference that has probably evolved because it helps offspring survive: couples with different MHC genes are less likely to be related to each other than couples with similar genes are, and their children are born with more varied MHC profiles and thus more robust immune systems.

A study published in August in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, however, suggests that women on the pill undergo a shift in preference toward men who share similar MHC genes.

Scientific American


It makes sense that if you radically alter a hormonal cycle, you'll get some kind of behavioral norming. In this case, it results in bad evolutionary choices, and could explain the spawn of pill-oriented generations, like Generation Y.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Brilliance in a Nutshell


But he said the experience reminded him of advice his father once gave him.

"Never trust anybody," Burton said.

Newspaper in the pretense capital of the World


Or maybe: be careful who you trust. Most people are stupid inconsiderate jerks who will take what you have in an instant and not care what happens to you. Why? Because they think of no one but themselves.

Isn't it obvious what humanity's disease is? The leap from individualism to sociopathic selfishness is small, and seems encouraged by our society in its current form.

How Feminism Enslaved Women


All this fear around sex made for great tension in boy-girl relationships. On the other hand, I never for a minute gave up the difficult search for a mate. I was brought up to believe, and still believe, that who you marry is the most important choice you make in life. Does that make me anti-feminist? I don't think so, because I believe it's as true for men as it is for women. You can't be happy if you're married to the wrong person.

Being older and already married, I could only watch with bemusement as feminism went through its florid evolutionary stages in the Seventies - the 'all men are rapists' phase, the Andrea Dworkin compulsory boiler suit phase, the bra-burning, picketing Miss World phase, the sitting-in-a-circle-inspecting-your-vagina-in-a-mirror phase. But I was very aware in the Eighties of the 'having it all' phase when women were supposed to 'juggle' career and motherhood. I was aware of it because I was actually doing it at the time but I never thought juggling babies was a good idea. What it actually involved was permanent exhaustion and permanent guilt.

The problem for young women is, as it always has been, an economic one - that just when they need to be pushing ahead with their careers and earning decent money is also when they need to be having babies. It worries me that so many young women now choose to defer the babies, thinking they can somehow magic them up by IVF when they are in their forties. Often they can't, so they have no children to console them when their much-vaunted careers end in redundancy. In an ideal society, I believe, couples would have children young, preferably in their early twenties, when they're energetic and flexible enough to live on little money, and then start the serious career-building in their thirties when the children are at school.

The Guardian


You have two options for authority: cooperation, or control.

If you pick cooperation, you must discipline yourself and be effective, and have community standards to which you conform.

If you choose control, your society has no standards but also has an ever-escalating series of laws and taboos to keep people away from dangerous actions.

Cooperation has positive goals. Control has no goals, but directs its energy in negative ways -- preventing the bad.

Feminism is a control dogma. It crusades against the bad, under the guise that it's outdated, without thinking that it exists for a reason other than oppression. Nevermind -- let's judge marriage by its worst examples, and instead of dealing with those bad behaviors, throw out marriage as a whole.

Now women pay the price. Salaries are halved and more careers made redundant; too many people are working. Marriages are mansluts and slags coming together and not trusting each other. Kids occur late, are precious snowflakes growing up in a Nanny State, and yet don't trust their parents.

Good thinking. But it was an unpopular truth to say feminism was full of lies, because it called itself Empowerment and "freedom."

Rats in a cage


Everyone I know is scared. Workers' fear has generalized to their workplace and everything associated with work and money. We are caught in a spiral in which we are so scared of losing our jobs, or our savings, that fear overtakes our brains. And while fear is a deep-seated and adaptive evolutionary drive for self-preservation, it makes it impossible to concentrate on anything but saving our skin by getting out of the box intact.

Ultimately, no good can come from this type of decision-making. Fear prompts retreat. It is the antipode to progress. Just when we need new ideas most, everyone is seized up in fear, trying to prevent losing what we have left.

IHT


When a crowd panics, the fear of one person becomes a cascade, and the lowest common denominator isn't far behind.

Getting out of a recession -- this one was brought on by the Clinton-era inflation of our money using internet bucks, and then the stupid policies designed to help minorities get houses which put a big OK on dodgy loans -- is simple: keep the economy running, meaning keep producing value and pumping money into it to get the cycle started again.

Worst thing to do: seize up, and/or sell off your devalued stuff, but that's what 90% of the glorified chimpanzees we call humans are doing. LOL