Friday, June 22, 2018

DoD Ranks Top Threats From Synthetic Biology

npr  |  New genetic tools are making it easier and cheaper to engineer viruses and bacteria, and a report commissioned by the Department of Defense has now ranked the top threats posed by the rapidly advancing field of "synthetic biology."

One of the biggest concerns is the ability to recreate known viruses from scratch in the lab. That means a lab could make a deadly virus that is normally kept under lock and key, such as smallpox.

"Right now, recreating pretty much any virus can be done relatively easily. It requires a certain amount of expertise and resources and knowledge," says Michael Imperiale, a microbiologist at the University of Michigan who chaired the committee convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to assess the state of synthetic biology and offer advice to defense officials.

As an example of what's possible, Imperiale pointed to the recent and controversial creation of horsepox, a cousin of smallpox, in a Canadian laboratory. "These things can now be done," he said.
Another top danger listed in the report, which was released Tuesday, is making existing bacteria or viruses more dangerous. That could happen, by, say, giving them antibiotic resistance or altering them so that they produce toxins or evade vaccines.




And one scenario pondered by the experts is the creation of microbes that would produce harmful biochemicals in humans while living on the skin or in the gut. This possibility, the report notes, "is of high concern because its novelty challenges potential mitigation options." Public health officials might not even recognize that they were witnessing a biological attack if the dangerous material was delivered to victims in such an unusual way.

All in all, the committee examined about a dozen different synthetic biology technologies that could be potentially misused. For each, they considered how likely it was to be usable as a weapon, how much expertise or resources would be needed, and how well governments would be able to recognize and manage an attack.

Herpes and Alzheimer's


genomeweb |  Based on network analyses spanning transcriptomic, genomic, and proteomic features of brain viromes in aging individuals with or without late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD), a team led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine and Arizona State University has proposed potential ties between human herpesvirus (HHV) infection, amyloid precursor protein (APP) metabolism, and AD.

"This study represents a significant advancement in our understanding of the plausibility of the pathogen hypothesis of Alzheimer's," corresponding author Joel Dudley, a genetics, genomic sciences, and multi-scale biology researcher affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine and the ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center, said in a statement.

As they reported online today in Neuron, Dudley and his colleagues sequenced RNA in hundreds of postmortem brain samples, representing unaffected controls and preclinical AD cases, meaning symptom-free individuals with AD neuropathology. Their data revealed a dramatic over-representation of HHV-7 and HHV-6A strains in the preclinical AD endophenotype.

The team shored up this apparent association using data for individuals from additional cohorts of clinical AD cases and controls without AD pathology or symptoms. Network analyses based on whole-exome sequencing, liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, and immunohistochemistry data, along with mouse model experiments, suggested that this association may stem from interactions between viral abundance, transcriptional regulators, and other modulators of APP metabolism.

Studies stretching back several decades have raised the possibility that microbial infections and the immune response mounted against them might contribute to the onset or progression of neurodegenerative conditions such as AD, the authors noted. Even so, they wrote, such research has been "suggestive of a viral contribution to AD, though findings offer little insight into potential mechanisms, and a consistent association with specific viral species has not emerged."

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Supreme Warmonger Ceasara Flickerman's Crocodile Tears...,


townhall |  What's the latest? Kids in cages, separated from their moms! Oh no! That only happens to every other criminal ever. Well, every American criminal ever. Illegal alien criminals, who drag their kids through scorching deserts to break the law because their own countries are The Term That May Not Be Spoken But Trump Spoke It (which itself created a mini outrage a while ago) are, I guess, supposed to be a special kind of criminal that doesn’t get separated from his/her/xer kids upon arrest. Wait, does that sound right? Why would they be treated differently…I don’t think…STOP!

Don’t think! Get outraged! Let your feelings run free, feelings generated by pictures of kids in cages (under Obama, but shhhhhh!), by super selective Bible readings on MSNBC, and by pious Fredocons whining about how we’re better than that and oh well I never!

That’s the thing – when you’re caught in an outrage monsoon, you aren’t supposed to think. You are supposed to be infuriated, aroused, and activated, like a ravenous running zombie hungering for the virtue signaling lobe of the human brain. You are not supposed to ask questions that interrupt the narrative, like why would this particular subset of criminal get special privileges? Don’t we separate families every day when mommy (or daddy) commits a crime? Why don’t they just not come here?
Facts are the enemy when it comes to liberal policies, so they don’t want you messing with the message by bringing them up. Instead, they want you outraged, and your mind clouded with ginned-up anger, ready to do their bidding.

Someone, oh someone, please think of the children! But not about how their illegal alien parents put them in that position. Because if you start thinking too much, the truth starts to become clear. Liberals want illegal aliens in the country because they want to replace intransigent American citizens like you with pliable foreigners who won’t be so darn uppity. So, they don’t want illegal aliens to be treated like the criminals they are (because entering the country illegally is a crime) because they want to let them stay here – this is all about reinstating catch and release. So, they create a fake outrage about how these criminals are – oh no! – being treated like any other criminal so, they hope, you will demand we go back to catching and releasing them. Before the zero tolerance policy, we caught them and released them on their promise to show up at their hearing, which of course they never, ever did, thereby swelling the ranks of Replacement Americans, which liberals hope to someday amnesty (assisted by the GOP establishment saps) and turn into Democrat voters.

Mr. Obama's Dubious Detention Centers


NYTimes | The family detention centers the Obama administration has been operating in Texas and Pennsylvania have been an expedient way to handle the soaring numbers of Central Americans, many of them young children, who have arrived at the Southern border since 2014. They give a sense that Homeland Security has the border situation under control, and they supposedly send a message to other would-be refugees not to come.

But these privately run, unlicensed lockups are no place for children. Or mothers. Their existence belies President Obama’s oft-professed concern for the humane treatment of people fleeing crime and violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

And the centers stand on dubious legal ground. Last year, a district judge ruled that the administration was violating a 1997 court-ordered settlement, called the Flores agreement, that governs the treatment of underage migrants who seek asylum or enter the country illegally. The judge said the children were being held for too long, and ordered the administration to release them as quickly as possible to the care of relatives or other guardians as their cases move through the immigration courts.

The administration appealed, saying that the agreement applied only to children who had crossed the border alone, not those who were accompanied by parents or other adult relatives. On July 6, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit disagreed, upholding the district ruling that Flores covers all children, accompanied or not. But it said the administration could still detain their parents.

Which leaves things pretty much where they were — unsettled, unsatisfactory, unfit for a country that aspires (or once did, anyway) to be an example to the world in its welcome for desperate refugees. The administration hasn’t said whether it will appeal, but it’s hard to imagine that it will use the appeals court ruling to break up families — sending children to foster care, maybe, while continuing to hold their mothers behind bars. On a separate issue not addressed by the Ninth Circuit ruling, plaintiffs have accused the administration of subjecting children to miserable conditions at Border Patrol stations.

If the Obama administration took its principles to heart, it would be closing its family prisons and abandoning its emphasis on border crackdowns in favor of greater efforts to connect Central Americans with pro bono lawyers and to provide family- and community-based alternatives to detention. Much money and effort have been spent to deter and detain them, to speed them through court, to hunt down those who are later found to be deportable.

It would be far better to to score a humanitarian victory by reuniting children and families, especially since data show that Central Americans with asylum claims are far more likely to show up in court — and win their cases — when they have lawyers.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Effect Of 50 Years Of Warsocialism Abroad On Politics At Home


npr |  "To be clear, I'm not arguing that this is at all representative of Vietnam veterans — this is a tiny, tiny percentage of returning veterans," Belew says. "But it is a large and instrumental number of people within the White Power movement — and they play really important roles in changing the course of movement action."

In her new book, Bring the War Home, Belew argues that as disparate racist groups came together, the movement's goal shifted from one of "vigilante activism" to something more wide-reaching: "It's aimed at unseating the federal government. ... It's aimed at undermining infrastructure and currency to foment race war."

The Vietnam War narrative works first of all to unite people who had previously not been able to be in a room together and to have a shared sense of mission. So, for instance, Klansmen and neo-Nazis after World War II had a very difficult time aligning, because Klansmen tended to see neo-Nazis as enemies ... the people they were confronting in World War II. But after Vietnam they see common cause around their betrayal by the government and around the failed project of the Vietnam War. So that's one function.

Another function of the Vietnam War is to provide a narrative that shapes the violence itself, and this is partly material in that veterans who are trained in Vietnam War boot camps come back and create boot camps to train other White Power activists. People who didn't serve in Vietnam War combat even use U.S. Army training manuals and other kind of paramilitary infrastructure to shape White Power violence and they even choose Vietnam War issue weapons, uniforms and material and even obtain stolen military weapons to foment activism.

On the White Power movement turning on the state
The turn on the state happened in 1983. It happened at the Aryan Nations World Congress, which was a meeting of many different factions of the White Power movement and the thing that's important about this turn on the state is that it's openly anti-state for the first time in the 20th century. Prior Klan mobilizations had really been organized about maintaining the status quo or maintaining what historians would call "systemic power," which is to say, state power and all of the other kinds of power that are bound up in state power.

thenation |  The belief expressed here is that the majority of Americans are soft and insulated, ignorant of a long-running war, and that revolutionary racist terror is the only remedy for an American society suffering from a terminal cancer of liberalism and tolerance. This conviction may seem obscure and The Turner Diaries mere fiction, but as the historian Kathleen Belew demonstrates in her compelling new book, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, it has been at the core of decades of white-supremacist organizing and violence. 

Meticulously researched and powerfully argued, Belew’s book isn’t only a definitive history of white-racist violence in late-20th-century America, but also a rigorous meditation on the relationship between American militarism abroad and extremism at home, with distressing implications for the United States in 2018 and beyond. Two fundamental insights underpin the book: first, that there exists a profound relationship between America’s military violence and domestic right-wing paramilitary organizations, and, second, that the character of that relationship underwent a decisive change in the late 1970s and early ’80s.

Criminalizing Homelessness Is Bad Policy


theconversation |  Not only do we and other legal experts find these laws to be unconstitutional, we see ample evidence that they waste tax dollars.

Cities are aggressively deploying law enforcement to target people simply for the crime of existing while having nowhere to live. In 2016 alone, Los Angeles police arrested 14,000 people experiencing homelessness for everyday activities such as sitting on sidewalks.

San Francisco is spending some US$20 million per year to enforce laws against loitering, panhandling and other common conduct against people experiencing homelessness. 

Jails and prisons make extremely expensive and ineffective homeless shelters. Non-punitive alternatives, such as permanent supportive housing and mental health or substance abuse treatment, cost less and work better, according to research one of us is doing at the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project at Seattle University Law School and many other sources.

But the greatest cost of these laws is borne by already vulnerable people who are ticketed, arrested and jailed because they are experiencing homelessness.

Fines and court fees quickly add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars. A Sacramento man, for example, found himself facing $100,000 in fines for convictions for panhandling and sleeping outside. These costs are impossible to pay, since the “crimes” were committed by dint of being unable to afford keeping a roof over his head in the first place.

And since having a criminal record makes getting jobs and housing much harder, these laws are perpetuating homelessness.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

No Man, Having Acquired Purpose, Skill, and Calm - Would Relinquish Violence


theconversation |  Are you optimistic or pessimistic about possibilities for exit from violence?
R.C: On the micro level, I am optimistic. Face-to-face, humans are not good at violence. They bluster and threaten and curse, but most small-scale violence – whether in quarrels or in protest demonstrations – ends in stalemate.

Physical damage happens when one side achieves emotional domination, confronting a weak or momentarily passive victim whom they can attack without resistance. When both sides mirror each other, maintaining a steady face and voice, replying without escalating, threats dissipate. Prospects are good that more people will learn techniques of keeping anger and fear from escalating, and thus cooling down the possibility of violence. Knowledge of the social psychology of interpersonal conflict is now spreading – in business corporations, in schools, hopefully among police and the people who encounter them. On the micro-level we may get a more peaceful everyday life.

This will not come because the world has solved the structural problems that cause the malaise and desubjectivation that Wieviorka has described. Causes for anger remain, but we can make the situational eye-of-the-needle into violence even narrower.

On the macro level, I am more pessimistic. In asymmetric war between rich states and embittered insurgents, the cat-and-mouse game continues. Rich states devise more and more electronic surveillance tools and more precise remote-controlled weaponry.

Insurgents respond with electronic hacking and hiding in the civilian population awaiting the moment to commit atrocities against other civilians; anonymous attacks and counter-measures make life more unpleasant for all of us. The politics of would-be charismatic leaders and routinising bureaucrats keeps stirring up political disputes. International crises are repetitive because they are de-escalated only after they become too costly to continue, and crises reappear because perceptions of the evil done by the enemy stirs up cries for intervention and revenge. Perhaps my macro-analysis is too pessimistic. In any case, it is a reason why I focus on micro-analysis, with its elements of optimism.

Corporate and Social Media Mediated Vigilante Justice Ostracism


Physorg |  A: The commercial realm offers an interesting perspective. Businesses can act swiftly and unilaterally, without the need for coalition building required by legislative bodies. In crisis communication, one concept we look at when determining strategy is "locus of control." If the organization itself is at fault, then it bears more responsibility for righting the perceived wrong than if the situation was caused by an external actor. And of course, there's a big spectrum in between.

Rosanne Barr's highly successful television program was canceled just a few hours after she posted a series of racist tweets. There was nothing illegal about her statements, but the network made a business decision that the continued revenue would not be worth the reputational damage that might result from appearing to support her positions, even tacitly. In this case, the locus of control for the crisis was clearly Barr herself, and the network decided to sever ties immediately to distance themselves.

Distancing is harder to accomplish when the locus of control clearly rests within the organization itself, such as when a company creates an ad campaign that many find objectionable. The cosmetics subscription box service Ipsy recently came under fire when its online ad video, intended to celebrate Pride Month, was instead seen by many as using transphobic language. The company removed the ad and apologized, but not before it had arguably worsened the situation by, allegedly, spending the first couple of days deleting negative comments and responses from trans customers. The marketplace of ideas moves very quickly these days, but consequences tend to come more swiftly when the cause is an employee or third party.

Q: Let's flip this. Can this scenario also be used as a powerful force?
A: I think the continued effects of the #MeToo movement remain an excellent example of how powerful a force this kind of response can be when it crosses over from online into offline domains, and develops capacities as well as signaling. Actress Asia Argento, one of Harvey Weinstein's accusers, made a formidable statement at this year's Cannes (Film Festival) warning that powerful people will no longer be able to get away with workplace sexual misconduct as they have in the past. And Netflix canceled the U.K. press tour for the latest season of "Arrested Development" after a cast interview with "The New York Times" went awry. Actress Jessica Walter received massive social media encouragement for describing, in tears, the verbal abuse she had suffered on set from co-star Jeffrey Tambor—who had been fired from the Amazon series "Transparent" for sexual harassment claims. Her male co-stars, on the other hand, were excoriated for minimizing her pain and rushing to the support of Tambor.

Nothing that happened in the interview crossed into the realm of illegality, and Netflix operates on a subscription model that shields it from the risks of advertising-driven network television. And yet, even they took some steps to limit their exposure on this issue.

These incidents both happened months after the most recent wave of the movement began last October. That suggests this is not an ephemeral phenomenon that can be dismissed as mere online outrage, but a lasting shift in our collective consciousness and expectations, even without any kind of formal organization.

What's changing is who has power, and who is willing to use it. We just need to try to thoughtfully adapt our structures and systems alongside these changes, to reduce the risk of institutionalizing hasty decisions.

Corporate Media Enslave You To The Great Western Narrative


commondreams |  In fact, the Great Western Narrative has been developed and refined over centuries to preserve a tiny elite’s privileges and expand its power. The role of journalists like me was to keep feeding these illusions to readers so they would remain fearful, passive and deferential to this elite. It is not that journalists lie – or at least, not most of them – it is that they are as deeply wedded to the Great Western Narrative as everyone else.

Once one is prepared to step through the door, to discard the old script, the new narrative takes its hold because it is so helpful. It actually explains the world, and human behaviour, as it is experienced everywhere. It has genuine predictive power. And most importantly, it reveals a truth understood by all figures of spiritual and intellectual enlightenment throughout human history: that human beings are equally human, whether they are Americans, Europeans, Israelis, Palestinians, Syrians, Russians, Venezuelans, or Iranians, whether they are North or South Koreans.

The term “human” is not meant simply as a description of us as a species, or a biological entity. It also describes who we are, what drives us, what makes us cry, what makes us laugh, what makes us angry, what elicits compassion. And the truth is that we are all essentially the same. The same things upset us, the same things amuse us. The same things inspire us, the same things outrage us. We want dignity, freedom, safety for us and our loved ones, and appreciate beauty and truth. We fear oppression, injustice, insecurity.

Hierarchies of virtue
The Great Western Narrative tells us something entirely different. It divides the world into a hierarchy of “peoples”, with different, even conflicting, virtues and vices. Some humans – westerners – are more rational, more caring, more sensitive, more fully human. And other humans – the rest – are more primitive, more emotional, more violent. In this system of classification, we are the Good Guys and they are the Bad Guys; we are Order, they are Chaos. They need a firm hand from us to control them and stop them doing too much damage to themselves and to our civilised part of the world.

The Great Western Narrative isn’t really new. It is simply a reformulation for a different era of the “white man’s burden”.

The reason the Great Western Narrative persists is because it is useful – to those in power. Humans may be essentially the same in our natures and in our drives, but we are very definitely divided by power and its modern corollary, wealth. A tiny number have it, and the vast majority do not. The Great Western Narrative is there to perpetuate power by legitimising it, by making its unbalanced and unjust distribution seem natural and immutable.
Once kings told us they had blue blood and a divine right. Today, we need a different kind of narrative, but one designed to achieve the same end. Just as kings and barons once owned everything, now a tiny corporate elite rule the world. They have to justify that to themselves and to us.

The king and the barons had their courtiers, the clergy and a wider circle of hanger-ons who most of the time benefited enough from the system not to disrupt it. The role of the clergy in particular was to sanction the gross imbalance of power, to argue that it was God’s will. Today, the media function like the clergy of old. God may be dead, as Nietzsche observed, but the corporate media has taken his place. In the unquestioned premises of every article, we are told who should rule and who should be ruled, who are the Good Guys and who the Bad.

To make this system more palatable, more democratic, to make us believe that there is equality of opportunity and that wealth trickles down, the western elite has had to allow a large domestic middle class to emerge, like the courtiers of old. The spoils from the rape and pillage of distant societies are shared sparingly with this class. Their consciences are rarely pricked because the corporate media’s function is to ensure they know little about the rest of the world and care even less, believing those foreigners to be less deserving, less human.

Nothing more than statistics
If western readers, for example, understood that a Palestinian is no different from an Israeli – apart from in opportunities and income – then they might feel sympathy for a grieving Palestinian family just as they do for an Israeli one. But the Great Western Narrative is there precisely to ensure readers won’t feel the same about the two cases. That is why Palestinian deaths are invariably reported as nothing more than statistics – because Palestinians die in large numbers, like cattle in an abbatoir. Israelis, by contrast, die much more rarely and their deaths are recorded individually. They are dignified with names, life stories and pictures.

America's Internal Third World vs. Those Fleeing America's External Third Worlds


theconservativetreehouse |  We must look into the way-back machine. To that end we previously presented the entirety of:


    • A March 2014 Final Report from the National Center For Border Security – HERE
    • A June 2014 (Declassified) Intelligence Report on UAC’s and Central America – HERE
    • A June 2014 Congressional Research Report analyzing the prior four years of Central American UAC’s (Unaccompanied Alien Children) – HERE
    • A July 2014 internal White House and Dept. Of Homeland Security communique outlining the UAC crisis. – HERE
    • A January 2014 DHS and HHS Summary of UAC directives to include Contract Needs – HERE
    April 2009 – After a Mid-East trip to Egypt to deliver his Cairo speech, President Barack Obama travels to South America for the “Summit of the Americas“. The summit included thirty-four South American countries. Obama wanted to promote his point that relations in North and South America can be heavily improved, especially after age old ideals on immigration and commerce are dropped. Hugo Chavez warmly embraced Obama and provided a gift, a book titled “The Open Veins of Latin America“. (link)
  •   December 2009 – November 2010 – 100% of all political effort was leveraged to create and institute the ACA or ObamaCare. All media oxygen is focused on ObamaCare 24/7.

    November 2010 – President Obama is “shellacked” in Mid-Term elections. Loses control of the House of Representatives to Republicans. Biggest electoral defeat since 1918.

    January 2011 – Emphasis, and political strategy changes. “Comprehensive Immigration Reform“, ie. “amnesty” becomes the mainstay approach toward retention of political power. Throughout a contentious Republican primary season, to assist their ideological traveler, the U.S. media kept the issue on the front burner.

    May 2011 – President Obama travels to the Rio Grande sector of the border to push for his immigration platform (ie. Amnesty). He proclaims the border is safe and secure and famously attacks his opposition for wanting an “alligator moat”.

    November 2012 – Election year campaign(s). Using wedge issues like “War on Women”, and “Immigration / Amnesty”, candidate Obama promises to push congress for “amnesty”, under the guise of “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”, if elected. President Obama wins reelection.

    December 2012 – Immediately following reelection President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order creating the “Deferred Action Program“, or DACA. Allowing millions of illegal aliens to avoid deportation. (link)

    According to their own documents and research, this Deferred Action Program is what the Central American communities are using as the reason for attempted immigration. In both the border control study and the DHS intelligence report the DACA program is mentioned by the people apprehended at the border in 2013 and 2014.
  • Monday, June 18, 2018

    Po'Folk Bring Discussions and Protests - Neoliberals Bring Snipers and Precision Mass Killings


    Counterpunch |  I was stunned the other day to see an opinion piece by Stephen Kinzer in The Boston Globe in which he was portraying the violent anti-government protests in Nicaragua as some kind of revolutionary insurrection.  What is surprising about Kinzer’s position is that he is the individual who wrote the wonderfulbook, All The Shah’s Men– one of the essential readings about the CIA-backed coup against Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran in 1953.

    What is happening in Nicaragua right now looks a lot like what happened in Iran during this coup, and yet, Kinzer somehow does not see this.  In this way, Kinzer typifies the utter confusion of so many in this country — including those who should know better, such as many self-described leftists — about what is happening in Nicaragua and in Latin America generally.

    Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Hemisphere, was so before the Sandinistas took power in 1979, and was still so when they took power again in 2006.  When the Sandinistas took power the first time, they inherited an economy wrecked and pillaged by Somoza, a country still left in shambles by the 1972 earthquake because Somoza siphoned off the aid money for himself instead of rebuilding, and a country further destroyed by Somoza who aerially bombed neighborhoods in Managua to cling to power.  When the Sandinistas took power the second time, they inherited a country still struggling to recover from a decade of the brutal Contra war and by the accompanying economic embargo.

    Meanwhile, the Sandinistas never even attempted to rid Nicaragua of the leading elements of the ancien régime (as Cuba did after its 1959 Revolution) with which they now must contend.  This of course has made governing much more difficult and more radical reforms even more so.  But if the Sandinistas had moved against these elements, such as the bourgeoisie and the Church, then they would be criticized even more than they are now for being repressive and anti-democratic.

    And yet, there are some who argue that, somehow, the Sandinistas have failed by not building socialism in one country upon such a weak foundation, in a country with few natural resources and in the face of hostility from a much more powerful enemy in the United States.  Never mind that such critics generally believe that socialism in one country is unachievable even in good conditions.  In short, the Sandinistas are criticized for not achieving the impossible.



    Quiet As It's Kept, Musical Chairs Ain't No Joke...,


    nakedcapitalism |  And yet… and yet… what’s most troubling is not what’s changed but what hasn’t, which includes what poverty feels like in the body, the psyche, and the soul. In the body, it mostly results in the development of chronic or untreated ailments in a world in which nutrition is poor and, even if available, unbalanced. Asthma is one example that can be found now, as then, in nearly every family living in poor rural areas and inner cities such as the one in which I grew up.

    In the psyche, poverty begets fear, anxiety, tension, and worry, constant worry. In the soul, poverty, which feels like the loss of you know not what, is always there like a cold fist to remind you that tomorrow will be the same as today. Such effects are not outgrown like a child’s dress but linger for a lifetime in a country where the severest kinds of poverty are again on the rise (and was just scathingly denounced by the U.N.’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights), where each tax bill, each favor to the 1%, passes a kind of life sentence on the poor. And that is the definition of hopelessness.

    Americans who barely made it through the recent recession now find themselves in conditions (in supposed good times) that seem to be worsening. In poor neighborhoods and rural areas, even when people listen to the pundits of cable TV chatter on about economic inequality, the words bleed together, because without the means to make real change, the present is forever. At best, such discussions feel like a teardrop in an ocean of words. Among professionals, pundits, and academics barely hidden contempt for those defined as lower or working class often tinges such discussions.

    If media talk shows were ever to invite the real experts on, those who actually live in neighborhoods of need, so they could tell us what their daily lives are actually like, perhaps impoverishment would be understood more concretely and provoke action. It’s often said that poverty’s always been with us and so is here to stay. However, there have been better safety nets in the relatively recent American past. President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society of the 1960s, though failing in many ways, still succeeded in lifting people out of impoverished lives. Union jobs paid fairly decent wages before they began to be undermined during the years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Better wages and union jobs aided people in finding better places to live.

    During the past few decades, however, with huge sums being poured into this country’s never-ending wars, unions weakening or collapsing, wages being pushed down, and workers losing jobs, then homes, so much of that safety net is gone. If Donald Trump and his crew of millionaires and billionaires continue with their evisceration of the rest of the safety net, then food stamps, welfare aid directed at children’s health, and women’s reproductive rights, among other things, will disappear as well. Add to that the utter disregard the Trump administration has shown for people of color and its special mean-spiritedness toward immigrants, whether Mexican or Muslim — and for growing numbers of non-millionaires and non-billionaires the future is already starting to look like the worst, not the best, of times.

    It seems that those who foster ideologies that deny decent lives to millions believe that people will take it forever. History, however, suggests another possibility and in it perhaps lies some consolation. Namely, that when misery reaches its nadir, it seeks change. Enough is enough was the implicit cry that helped form unions, spur the civil rights movement, launch the migrant grape boycotts, and inspire the drive for women’s liberation.

    In the meantime, the poor remain missing in action in our American world, but not in my mind. Not in me.

    Nothing Changes Until Some Rich Fat Heads Go Up On Poles...,


    truthdig |  The most egregious crackdown on the Poor People’s Campaign’s actions, however, occurred last week in Washington, D.C., where nine people of faith, including a co-chair of the campaign, the Rev. Liz Theoharis, were arrested while praying on the steps of the Supreme Court.
    The group was protesting to draw attention to the court’s Husted v. Randolph Institute decision, which upholds what some call voter suppression, one of the main targets of the Poor People’s Campaign.

    The nine were held in shackles for 27 hours, their religious garments were taken away and they were ordered to surrender their passports and stay away from the Supreme Court building. In addition, they will be required to check in weekly under a pretrial service program. It is not yet known if they will be tried by a jury.

    Saturday, June 23, thousands of people from across the country are expected to flood Washington, D.C. “But [that’s] not the end of the Poor People’s Campaign,” the Rev. William Barber, a co-chair, told me in North Carolina during an action last month. “June 23 is the launch of the movement.”

    The “fight phase” has just begun. But how will the campaign survive against powerful forces trying to crush it? That depends on whether the public finds enough value in the campaign’s message to create change.

    After Anthony Bourdain taped one of the episodes of his “Parts Unknown” television program in Gaza, he won an award from the Muslim Public Affairs Council. In his acceptance speech, Bourdain said, “The world has visited many terrible things on the Palestinian people, none more shameful than robbing them of their basic humanity. People are not statistics.”

    This rings true for what the Poor People’s Campaign is attempting. It has the statistics and facts—hundreds of them—on its website (i.e., 13.8 million U.S. households cannot afford water; over 48 million Americans have no or inadequate health care; more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die due to poverty-related issues each year).

    But the Poor People’s Campaign is much more than statistics and facts. In a way, it is implementing what Bourdain was so masterful at: stripping away the theoretical by revealing the stories behind the statistics, the faces behind the facts, and, by turns, connecting us all.

    America’s system of intentional inequality is, in essence, assisted suicide. But how many will jump into the maelstrom to help those who are not famous?

    Sunday, June 17, 2018

    Musean Hypernumbers


    archive.is |  Musean hypernumbers are an algebraic concept envisioned by Charles A. Musès (1919–2000) to form a complete, integrated, connected, and natural number system.[1][2][3][4][5] Musès sketched certain fundamental types of hypernumbers and arranged them in ten "levels", each with its own associated arithmetic and geometry.
    Mostly criticized for lack of mathematical rigor and unclear defining relations, Musean hypernumbers are often perceived as an unfounded mathematical speculation. This impression was not helped by Musès' outspoken confidence in applicability to fields far beyond what one might expect from a number system, including consciousness, religion, and metaphysics.
    The term "M-algebra" was used by Musès for investigation into a subset of his hypernumber concept (the 16 dimensional conic sedenions and certain subalgebras thereof), which is at times confused with the Musean hypernumber level concept itself. The current article separates this well-understood "M-algebra" from the remaining controversial hypernumbers, and lists certain applications envisioned by the inventor.

    "M-algebra" and "hypernumber levels"[edit]

    Musès was convinced that the basic laws of arithmetic on the reals are in direct correspondence with a concept where numbers could be arranged in "levels", where fewer arithmetical laws would be applicable with increasing level number.[3] However, this concept was not developed much further beyond the initial idea, and defining relations for most of these levels have not been constructed.
    Higher-dimensional numbers built on the first three levels were called "M-algebra"[6][7] by Musès if they yielded a distributive multiplication, unit element, and multiplicative norm. It contains kinds of octonions and historical quaternions (except A. MacFarlane's hyperbolic quaternions) as subalgebras. A proof of completeness of M-algebra has not been provided.

    Conic sedenions / "16 dimensional M-algebra"[edit]

    The term "M-algebra" (after C. Musès[6]) refers to number systems that are vector spaces over the reals, whose bases consist in roots of −1 or +1, and which possess a multiplicative modulus. While the idea of such numbers was far from new and contains many known isomorphic number systems (like e.g. split-complex numbers or tessarines), certain results from 16 dimensional (conic) sedenions were a novelty. Musès demonstrated the existence of a logarithm and real powers in number systems built to non-real roots of +1.
     

    Saturday, June 16, 2018

    Even Given Eyes To See, We Know Nothing About What We're Looking At...,



    cheniere  |  In the light of other past researches, we were very much attracted when we first saw his typescript last year, by the author's perceptive treatment of the operational‑theoretic significance of measurement, in relation to the broader question of the meaning of negative entropy. Several years ago 1 we had constructed a pilot model of an electro‑mechanical machine we described as the Critical Probability Sequence Calculator, designed and based on considerations stemming from the mathematical principles of a definite discipline which we later2 called chronotopology: the topological (not excluding quantitative relations) and most generalized analysis of the temporal process, of all time series ‑ the science of time so to speak. To use a popular word in a semi‑popular sense, the CPSC was a 'time‑machine,' as its input data consist solely of known past times, and its output solely of most probable future times. That is, like the Hamiltonian analysis of action in this respect, its operation was concerned only with more general quantities connected with the structure of the temporal process itself, rather than with the nature of the particular events or occurrences involved or in question, although it can tell us many useful things about those events. However, as an analogue computer, it was built simply to demonstrate visibly the operation of interdependences already much more exactly stated as chronotopological relationships.


    That situations themselves should have general laws of temporal structure, quite apart from their particular contents, is a conclusion that must be meaningful to the working scientist; for it is but a special example of the truth of scientific abstraction, and a particularly understandable one in the light of the modern theory of games, which is a discipline that borders on chronotopology.

    One of the bridges from ordinary physics to chronotopology is the bridge on which Rothstein's excellent analyses also lie: the generalized conception of entropy. And in some of what follows we will summarize what we wrote in 1951 in the paper previously referred to, and in other places. We will dispense with any unnecessary apologies for the endeavor to make the discussion essentially understandable to the intelligent layman.

    Modern studies in communication theory (and communications are perhaps the heart of our present civilization) involve time series in a manner basic to their assumptions. A great deal of 20th century interest is centering on the more and more exact use and measurement of time intervals. Ours might be epitomized as the Century of Time‑for only since the 1900's has so much depended on split‑second timing and the accurate measurement of that timi ng in fields ranging from electronics engineering to fast‑lens photography.

    Another reflection of the importance of time in our era is the emphasis on high speeds, i.e. minimum time intervals for action, and thus more effected in less time. Since power can be measured by energy‑release per time‑unit, the century of time becomes, and so it has proved, the Century of Power. To the responsible thinker such an equation is fraught with profound and significant consequences for both science and humanity. Great amounts of energy delivered in minimal times demand

    a) extreme accuracy of knowledge and knowledgeapplication concerning production of the phenomena,

    b) full understanding of the nature and genesis of the phenomena involved; since at such speeds and at such amplitudes of energy a practically irrevocable, quite easily disturbing set of consequences is assured. That we have mastered (a) more than (b) deserves at least this parenthetical mention. And yet there is a far‑reaching connection between the two, whereby any more profound knowledge will inevitably lead in turn to a sounder basis for actions stemming from that knowledge.

    No longer is it enough simply to take time for granted and merely apportion and program it in a rather naively arbitrary fashion. Time must be analyzed, and its nature probed for whatever it may reveal in the way of determinable sequences of critical probabilities. The analysis of time per se is due to become, in approximate language, quite probably a necessity for us as a principal mode of attack by our science on its own possible shortcomings. For with our present comparatively careening pace of technical advance and action, safety factors, emergent from a thorough study and knowledge of the nature of this critical quantity 'time,' are by that very nature most enabled to be the source of what is so obviously lacking in our knowledge on so many advanced levels: adequate means of controlling consequences and hence direction of advance.

    Chronotopology (deriving from Chronos + topos + logia) is the study of the intra‑connectivity of time (including the inter‑connectivity of time points and intervals), the nature or structure of time, 0 if you will; how it is contrived in its various ways of formation and how those structures function, in operation and interrelation.

    It is simple though revealing, and it is practically important to the development of our subject, to appreciate that seconds, minutes, days, years, centuries, et al., are not time, but merely the measures of time; that they are no more time than rulers are what they measure. Of the nature and structure of time itself investigations have been all but silent. As with many problems lying at the foundations of our thought and procedures, it has been taken for granted and thereby neglected ‑ as for centuries before the advent mathematical logic were the foundations of arithmetic. The "but" in the above phrase "investigations have been all but silent” conveys an indirect point. As science has advanced, time has had to be used increasingly as a paramimplicitly (as in the phase spaces of statistical mechanics) or explicitly.

    Birkhoff's improved enunciation of the ergodic problem 3 actually was one of a characteristic set of modern efforts to associate a structure with time in a formulated manner. Aside from theoretical interest, those efforts have obtained a wide justification in practice and in terms of the greater analytic power they conferred. They lead directly to chronotopological conceptions as their ideational destination and basis.

    The discovery of the exact formal congruence of a portion of the theory of probability (that for stochastic processes) with a portion of the theory of general dynamics is another significant outcome of those efforts. Such a congr        uence constitutes more or less suggestion that probability theory has been undergoing, ever since its first practical use as the theory of probable errors by astronomy, a gradual metamorphosis into the actual study of governing time‑forces and their configurations, into chronotopology. And the strangely privileged character of the time parameter in quantum mechanics is well known – another fact pointing in the same direction.

    Now Birkhoff's basic limit theorem may be analyzed as a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics, since all possible states of change of a given system will become exhausted with increase of entropy 4 as time proceeds. It is to the credit of W.. S. Franklin to have been the first  specifically to point out 5 that the second law of thermodynamics "relates to the inevitable forward movement which we call time"; not clock‑time, however, but time more clearly exhibiting its nature, and measured by what Eddington has termed an entropy‑clock 6. When we combine this fact with the definition of increase of entropy established by Boltzmann, Maxwell, and Gibbs as progression from less to more probable states, we can arrive at a basic theorem in chronotopology:

    T1, The movement of time is an integrated movement toward regions of ever‑increasing probability.

    Corollary: It is thus a selective movement in a sense to be determined by a more accurate understanding of probability, and in what 'probability' actually consists in any given situation.

    This theorem, supported by modern thermodynamic theory, indicates that it would no longer be correct for the Kantian purely subjective view of time entirely to dominate modern scientific thinking, as it has thus far tended to do since Mach. Rather, a truer balance of viewpoint is indicated whereby time, though subjectively effective too, nevertheless possesses definite structural and functional characteristics which can be formulated quantitatively. We shall eventually see that time may be defined as the ultimate causal pattern of all energy‑release and that this release is of an oscillatory nature. To put it more popularly, there are time waves.

    John Nash Ott Showed Us How To See A Little Further...,


    whale.to  |  John Ott, Sc.D. Hon., a naturalist photographer world famous for his ground breaking work on the health effects of sunlight and artificial light, died peacefully April 6 at the age of 90 in Sarasota, Florida. 

    He pioneered the use of rare-earth phosphors in fluorescent tubes to create the effects of natural sunlight indoors that is often referred to as full spectrum light. He also identified that the artificial light and cathode-ray-tube radiation, produced from fluorescent tubes and television sets, created plant mutations and unnatural forms of plant development with the potential corresponding effects in humans. 

    His wonderful dual legacy to us is the understanding that sunlight is a holistic and essential nutrient to a healthy life and that artificial light, produced by conventional bulbs and fluorescent tubes, is not healthy. He showed that artificial light can be converted to full spectrum to simulate sunlight for indoor use. 

    John Ott's passion for photography in studying motion and life led to his involvement with time-lapse photography. He was hired by Walt Disney to film the famous time-lapse plant growth sequences used in Disney Studios' The Secrets Of Life, Nature's Half Acre, the pumpkin-to-coach sequence in the movie Cinderella and other nature films. It was during this period that he identified the biological effects of artificial light on plants and animals and the need for natural light in their growth. Over the next 40 years he continued his groundbreaking research into the effects that natural light, brought indoors, could have on plants, animals and now people. He conducted research on the effects natural sunlight had on the learning and behavior of children, the increased generation of Vitamin D, the production of melatonin/seratonin when light enters the eyes and the light deprivation syndrome now widely known as "Seasonal Affective Disorder" or SAD. He advocated the continual need for sunlight in our lives and to replace standard indoor lighting with a better full spectrum sunlight variety. 

    Dr. Ott received an Honorary Doctorate of Science Degree from Loyola University of Chicago. He was the founder of John Ott Pictures and John Ott Laboratories. He authored many books and articles and gave literally thousands of lectures at conferences, scientific symposiums and to the general public over the years, including lectures to the Cancer Control Society. 

    His widely read books include Health And Light: The Effects Of Natural And Artificial Light On Man And Other Living Things; Light, Radiation And You: How To Stay Healthy and My Ivory Cellar: The Story Of Time Lapse Photography. The Cancer Control Society compiled an extensive collection of articles on John Ott's work in their special edition of the Cancer Control Journal titled Let There Be Light.