Friday, May 31, 2013

Interview Given by President al-Assad to Lebanese Al-Manar TV

sana | President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to al-Manar TV broadcasted on Thursday, following is the full text of the interview: 
Al-Manar: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Assalamu Alaikum. Bloodshed in Syria continues unabated. This is the only constant over which there is little disagreement between those loyal to the Syrian state and those opposed to it. However, there is no common ground over the other constants and details two years into the current crisis. At the time, a great deal was said about the imminent fall of the regime. Deadlines were set and missed; and all those bets were lost. Today, we are here in the heart of Damascus, enjoying the hospitality of a president who has become a source of consternation to many of his opponents who are still unable to understand the equations that have played havoc with their calculations and prevented his ouster from the Syrian political scene. This unpleasant and unexpected outcome for his opponents upset their schemes and plots because they didn’t take into account one self-evident question: what happens if the regime doesn’t fall? What if President Assad doesn’t leave the Syrian scene? Of course, there are no clear answers; and the result is more destruction, killing and bloodshed. Today there is talk of a critical juncture for Syria. The Syrian Army has moved from defense to attack, achieving one success after another. On a parallel level, stagnant diplomatic waters have been shaken by discussions over a Geneva 2 conference becoming a recurrent theme in the statements of all parties. There are many questions which need answers: political settlement, resorting to the military option to decide the outcome, the Israeli enemy’s direct interference with the course of events in the current crisis, the new equations on the Golan Heights, the relationship with opponents and friends. What is the Syrian leadership’s plan for a way out of a complex and dangerous crisis whose ramifications have started to spill over into neighboring countries? It is our great pleasure tonight to put these questions to H. E. President Bashar al-Assad. Assalamu Alaikum, Mr. President. 

President Assad: Assalamu Alaikum. You are most welcome in Damascus. 

Al-Manar: Mr. President, we are in the heart of the People’s Palace, two and a half years into the Syrian crisis. At the time, the bet was that the president and his regime would be overthrown within weeks. How have you managed to foil the plots of your opponents and enemies? What is the secret behind this steadfastness? 

President Assad: There are a number of factors are involved. One is the Syrian factor, which thwarted their intentions; the other factor is related to those who masterminded these scenarios and ended up defeating themselves because they do not know Syria or understand in detail the situation. They started with the calls of revolution, but a real revolution requires tangible elements; you cannot create a revolution simply by paying money. When this approach failed, they shifted to using sectarian slogans in order to create a division within our society. Even though they were able to infiltrate certain pockets in Syrian society, pockets of ignorance and lack of awareness that exist in any society, they were not able to create this sectarian division. Had they succeeded, Syria would have been divided up from the beginning. They also fell into their own trap by trying to promote the notion that this was a struggle to maintain power rather than a struggle for national sovereignty. No one would fight and martyr themselves in order to secure power for anyone else. 

Al-Manar: In the battle for the homeland, it seems that the Syrian leadership, and after two and a half years, is making progress on the battlefield. And here if I might ask you, why have you chosen to move from defense to attack? And don’t you think that you have been late in taking the decision to go on the offensive, and consequently incurred heavy losses, if we take of Al-Qseir as an example. 

President Assad: It is not a question of defense or attack. Every battle has its own tactics. From the beginning, we did not deal with each situation from a military perspective alone. We also factored in the social and political aspects as well - many Syrians were misled in the beginning and there were many friendly countries that didn’t understand the domestic dynamics. Your actions will differ according to how much consensus there is over a particular issue. There is no doubt that as events have unfolded Syrians have been able to better understand the situation and what is really at stake. This has helped the Armed Forces to better carry out their duties and achieve results. So, what is happening now is not a shift in tactic from defense to attack, but rather a shift in the balance of power in favor of the Armed Forces.

do western governments and proxies want regime change in syria because of gas?

washingtonsblog | Syria’s central role in the Arab gas pipeline is … a key to why it is now being targeted.
Just as the Taliban was scheduled for removal after they demanded too much in return for the Unocal pipeline, Syria’s Assad is being targeted because he is not a reliable “player”.

Specifically, Turkey, Israel and their ally the U.S. want an assured flow of gas through Syria, and don’t want a Syrian regime which is not unquestionably loyal to those 3 countries to stand in the way of the pipeline … or which demands too big a cut of the profits.

A deal has also been inked to run a natural gas pipeline from Iran’s giant South Pars field through Iraq and Syria (with a possible extension to Lebanon).

And a deal to run petroleum from Iraq’s Kirkuk oil field to the Syrian port of Banias has also been approved:

Turkey and Israel would be cut out of these competing pipelines.

No wonder Turkey and Israel are both launching military strikes against Syria.

On the other hand, Russia’s giant natural gas industry would be threatened if Syria’s current regime is toppled … no wonder Israel and Russia are getting into it over Syria.

And the monarchies in Qatar and Saudi Arabia would also benefit as competitors in the gas market if Syria’s regime is taken out … so they’re backing the “rebels” as well.

And the U.S. is heavily backing backed Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria. (even the New York Times reports that virtually all of the rebel fighters are Al Qaeda terrorists.)

Indeed, the U.S. has been arming the Syrian opposition since 2006.

And the U.S. is now considering imposing a no-fly zone over Syria … which was also the opening move in the wars against Iraq and Libya.

Bush launched the Iraq war under false pretenses … similarly, the war in Syria is really being launched by Obama and natural gas players in the region who want to cut Syria and Russia out of the game.

Postscript: If the corporate media were reporting more accurately on Syria than they did on Iraq, the American people would realize that there is grave doubt about who is most responsible for the violence, and who really used chemical weapons in Syria.

Not that Assad is a saint, but he poses no danger to the United States, and shouldn’t be demonized and turned into a threat to American national security man any more than Saddam Hussein.

The Iraq war will end up with a final price tag of between $5-6 trillion dollars.  We simply can’t afford to get involved in another war … especially with Russia and Iran actively aligned against us.

turkish police find chemical weapons in the possession of al nusra terrorists heading for syria...,

globalresearch | According to a report in Turkey’s state media agency Zaman, agents from the Turkish General Directorate of Security (Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü) ceased 2 kg of sarin gas in the city of Adana in the early hours of yesterday morning. The chemical weapons were in the possession of Al Nusra terrorists believed to have been heading for Syria.

Sarin gas is a colourless, odorless substance which is extremely difficult to detect. The gas is banned under the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.

The EGM identified 12 members of the AL Nusra terrorist cell and also ceased fire arms and digital equipment. This is the second major official confirmation of the use of chemical weapons by
Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria after UN inspector Carla Del Ponte’s recent statement confirming the use of chemical weapons by the Western-backed terrorists in Syria.

The Turkish police are currently conducting further investigations into the operations of Al-Qaeda linked groups in Turkey.[1]

This further confirmation that the Syrian ‘rebels’ are using chemical weapons while also using Turkey as a base of terrorist operations against Syria, could cause further domestic problems for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has called the ‘chief of the terrorists’.[2]

The Syrian National Coalition abroad has persisted in accusing the Syrian government of using chemical weapons. The Syrian National Coalition Head of Media Khaled Saleh told Al Jazeera on May 26th that Turkish authorities were  certain about the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.
Saleh also claimed that he was in contact with several ‘brigades’ fighting in Syria. Perhaps, Mr. Saleh should be advised to consult the Turkish police now that one of his ‘brigades’ has been arrested in possession of chemical weapons.[3]

Thursday, May 30, 2013

the end of sykes-picot

lrb | When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, it changed the overall balance of power and destabilised every country in the region. The same thing is happening again, except that the impact of the Syrian war is likely to be less easily contained. Already the frontier dividing the western deserts of Iraq from the eastern deserts of Syria is ceasing to have any physical reality. In April, al-Qaida in Iraq embarrassed the rebels’ Western supporters by revealing that it had founded, reinforced with experienced fighters and devoted half its budget to supporting al-Nusra, militarily the most effective rebel group. When Syrian soldiers fled into Iraq in March they were ambushed by al-Qaida and 48 of them were killed before they could return to Syrian territory.

There is virtually no state in the region that hasn’t got some stake in the conflict. Jordan, though nervous of a jihadi victory in Syria, is allowing arms shipments from Saudi Arabia to reach rebels in southern Syria by road. Qatar has reportedly spent $3 billion on supporting the rebels over the last two years and has offered $50,000 to every Syrian army defector and his family. In co-ordination with the CIA it has sent seventy military flights to Turkey with arms and equipment for the insurgents. The Tunisian government says that eight hundred Tunisians are fighting on the rebel side but security sources are quoted as saying the real figure is closer to two thousand. Moaz al-Khatib, the outgoing president of the Syrian National Coalition, which supposedly represents the opposition, recently resigned, declaring as he did so that the group was controlled by outside powers – i.e. Saudi Arabia and Qatar. ‘The people inside Syria,’ he said, ‘have lost the ability to decide their own fate. I have become only a means to sign some papers while hands from different parties want to decide on behalf of the Syrians.’ He claimed that on one occasion a rebel unit failed to go to the rescue of villagers being massacred by government forces because they hadn’t received instructions from their paymasters.

Fear of widespread disorder and instability is pushing the US, Russia, Iran and others to talk of a diplomatic solution to the conflict. Some sort of peace conference may take place in Geneva over the next month, with the aim at least of stopping things getting worse. But while there is an appetite for diplomacy, nobody knows what a solution would look like. It’s hard to imagine a real agreement being reached when there are so many players with conflicting interests. Five distinct conflicts have become tangled together in Syria: a popular uprising against a dictatorship which is also a sectarian battle between Sunnis and the Alawite sect; a regional struggle between Shia and Sunni which is also a decades-old conflict between an Iranian-led grouping and Iran’s traditional enemies, notably the US and Saudi Arabia. Finally, at another level, there is a reborn Cold War confrontation: Russia and China v. the West. The conflict is full of unexpected and absurd contradictions, such as a purportedly democratic and secular Syrian opposition being funded by the absolute monarchies of the Gulf who are also fundamentalist Sunnis.

By savagely repressing demonstrations two years ago Bashar al-Assad helped turn mass protests into an insurrection which has torn Syria apart. He is probably correct in predicting that diplomacy will fail, that his opponents inside and outside Syria are too divided to agree on a peace deal. He may also be right in believing that greater foreign intervention ‘is a clear probability’. The quagmire is turning out to be even deeper and more dangerous than it was in Iraq.

syria has received its russian missiles...,

reuters | Syria has received the first shipment of a sophisticated air defense system from Russia, President Bashar al-Assad was quoted as saying, sending a signal of military strength days before an EU arms embargo on the country lapses.

Russia had promised delivery of the S-300 missile system to the Syrian government despite Western objections, saying the move would help stabilize the regional balance at a time of insurgency in Syria waged by Western-backed rebels.

Moscow is a staunch ally of Assad and it has appeared to grow more defiant since the European Union let its arms embargo on Syria expire as of June 1, opening up the possibility of the West arming the Syrian rebels.

"Syria has received the first shipment of Russian anti-aircraft S-300 rockets," Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar newspaper quoted Assad as saying in an interview due to be broadcast later on Thursday.

More of the missiles would arrive soon, he was quoted as saying.

A source close to Russia's Defense Ministry said there had been a "bank transfer" in connection with the S-300 transaction but that Russian banks were becoming increasingly nervous about dealing with Assad.

"There were some problems with payments because big Russian banks were scared of dealing with Assad, but there was a bank transfer," the source said. "There are also not big banks and banks that are not based in Moscow. Beyond the down payment there was almost certainly a second payment, maybe a third."

israel selling woof tickets about striking russian arms shipments...,

Israel defence secretary Moshe Ya'alon (left) with his US counterpart, Chuck Hagel. The EU has agreed to lift its arms embargo on Syria's rebels
guardian | Russia said on Tuesday that it would supply one of its most advanced anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian government hours after the EU ended its arms embargo on the country's rebels, raising the prospect of a rapidly escalating proxy war in the region if peace talks fail in Geneva next month.

Israel quickly issued a thinly veiled warning that it would bomb the Russian S-300s if they were deployed in Syria as such a move would bring the advanced guided missiles within range of civilian and military planes in Israeli air space.

"The shipments haven't set out yet and I hope they won't," Moshe Ya'alon, the Israeli defence minister, said. "If they do arrive in Syria, God forbid, we'll know what to do."

Israel says Russian anti-aircraft system not headed to Syria yet..,

reuters | An advanced anti-aircraft system destined for Syria has not left Russia yet, but Israel will know how to act if it does, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Tuesday.

Yaalon's remarks appeared to contradict Israel's air force chief, who said last week the shipment of S-300 missiles was "on its way" to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is battling a popular uprising that has turned into a civil war.

Israel is alarmed by the prospect of Russia supplying advanced weapon systems to Syria, saying such arms could end up in the hands of arch-foe Iran or the Lebanese Hezbollah group.

"I can say that the shipments are not on their way yet," Yaalon told reporters. "I hope they will not leave, and if, God forbid, they reach Syria, we will know what to do," he said, without disclosing how he came by the information.

Although Israel has not publicly taken sides in the Syrian conflict, Western and Israeli sources say it has launched air strikes inside Syria to destroy weapons it believed were destined for Hezbollah guerrillas allied to Assad.

Russia's foreign minister said on May 13 that Moscow had no new plans to sell the S-300 to Syria but left open the possibility of delivering such systems under an existing contract.

Israeli Strategic Affairs and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said the S-300 can reach deep into the Jewish state and threaten flights over its main commercial airport near Tel Aviv. He said he hoped Russia would cancel the deal.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

going medieval...,

kunstler | What's going on is as follows: America's central bank is trying to compensate for a floundering economy that will never return to its prior state. The economy is floundering because its scale and mode of operation are no longer consistent with what reality offers in the way of available resources at the right price, especially oil. So, rather than change the scale and mode of operations in this economy -- that is, do things differently -- we try to keep doing things the same by flushing more "money" into the system, as though it were a captive beast receiving nutriment.

     One problem with that is that the "money" is no longer money. That is, it's not really an effective store of value, or pricing reference. It remains for the moment a medium of exchange, but the persons exchanging it grow suspicious of what this "money" purports to represent. Does it stand for promises of future repayment? Hmmmm. Those promises are looking sketchy lately, especially since this is an economy that does not generate enough new real wealth to make the interest payments, let alone manage to pay back the principal. Is it a claim on future work? Some are afraid that the future work deliverable will be less than they expect. Whatever else it is, does it find respect in other societies where different money is used?
     These questions are making a lot of people nervous these days. Of course, a time will come when all matters concerning this particular incarnation of money will be seen as strictly ceremonial. Ben Bernanke, we will understand, was not stating facts before congress but rather singing a song, or rather chanting in a low, repetitive, tedious way in the primal manner of a frightened person trying to comfort himself with reassuring sound -- that is, prayer. You'd be surprised how well that goes over in a place like congress, which is stuffed with prayerful characters, people who exist in a religious delirium. These are not the people who are nervous, by the way. The nervous tend to be more secular, and inhabit the margins of life where unconventional thinking thrives weedlike at a remove from all the mental toxicity at the center.
     These nervous ones are looking ever more closely these days at the distant nation of Japan, where an interesting scenario is playing out: the last days of a giant industrial-technocratic economy. The story there is actually pretty simple if you peel away the quasi-metaphysical bullshit it comes wrapped in these days from astrologasters like John Mauldin and Paul Krugman, viz. Japan has no fossil fuel resources. Zip. You can't run their kind of economy without the stuff. And they can't. Japan is crapping out, as they say in Las Vegas. Tilt! Game over. As this happens, Japan issues a lot of distracting financial noise that involves evermore "creation" of their own "money," and the knock-on effects of that, but it's all just noise. Japan's only good choice is to go medieval, that is, to give up on the rather hopeless 150-year-long project of being an industrial-technocratic modern super-state, and go back to being an island of a beautiful artistic hand-made culture. I call that "going medieval," though you could quibble as to whether that's the best word for it, since I'm not talking about cathedrals or crusades.

40 staggering statistics about the u.s. economy...,

economicollapseblog | If you know someone that actually believes that the U.S. economy is in good shape, just show them the statistics in this article.  When you step back and look at the long-term trends, it is undeniable what is happening to us.  We are in the midst of a horrifying economic decline that is the result of decades of very bad decisions.  30 years ago, the U.S. national debt was about one trillion dollars.  Today, it is almost 17 trillion dollars.  40 years ago, the total amount of debt in the United States was about 2 trillion dollars.  Today, it is more than 56 trillion dollars.  At the same time that we have been running up all of this debt, our economic infrastructure and our ability to produce wealth has been absolutely gutted.  Since 2001, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities and millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas.  Our share of global GDP declined from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011.  The percentage of Americans that are self-employed is at a record low, and the percentage of Americans that are dependent on the government is at a record high.  The U.S. economy is a complete and total mess, and it is time that we faced the truth.

The following are 40 statistics about the fall of the U.S. economy that are almost too crazy to believe...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

geometric unity and the observerse

guardian | There are a lot of open questions in modern physics.

Most of the universe is missing, for example. The atoms we know about account for less than 5% of the mass of the observable universe - the rest is dark matter (around 25% of the mass of the universe) and dark energy (a whopping 70%). No one knows what either of these things actually is.

At the subatomic scale, we know there are three families of fundamental particles - called "generations" - and each one contains two quarks, a neutrino and a negatively charged particle (the lightest being the electron). But why are there three generations in the first place?

And the big one: why do the two pillars of 20th century physics, quantum mechanics and Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, not agree with each other?

Solving these problems, the last one in particular, has been the goal of many generations of scientists. A final theory of nature would have to explain all of the outstanding questions and, though many (including Albert Einstein himself) have tried, no one has come close to an answer.

At 4pm on Thursday at the University of Oxford, the latest attempt to fill the biggest holes in physics will be presented in a lecture at the prestigious Clarendon Laboratory. The man behind the ideas, Eric Weinstein, is not someone you might normally expect to be probing the very edge of theoretical physics. After a PhD in mathematical physics at Harvard University, he left academia more than two decades ago (via stints at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and is now an economist and consultant at the Natron Group, a New York hedge fund.

He may have an impressive CV, but Weinstein is in no way part of the academic physics community. He will speak in Oxford at the invitation of Marcus du Sautoy, one of the university's most famous and accomplished mathematicians who also holds Richard Dawkins's former academic position as the Simonyi professor of the public understanding of science. Weinstein and du Sautoy met as postdoctoral mathematics students at the Hebrew University in the 1990s.

Weinstein has been working on his ideas to unify physics for more than two decades, but he only shared them two years ago with du Sautoy, who since then has been keenly studying the mathematics. "I get so many letters and emails to me explaining big theories of the universe and I don't take them all so seriously," says du Sautoy. "Eric's been telling me the story of his ideas and what I immediately found appealing about them was the naturalness of them. You don't have to put in extraneous things. There's a beauty about it that gives you a feeling that there's a truth about it."

Monday, May 27, 2013

Rossi won't tell you his secrets, but John lets you in on his - so help him get the glass!

kickstarter | Some people have asked me "What's the deal with casting glass?" Why can't I use just regular glass, like bottle glass and cast with that? Why can't I just pick up bottles from the side of the road, and use them for free? Short answer is, bottle glass, or sheet glass, or old window glass, doesn't cast very well, or not all. 

Longer answer is, some companies have spent their entire existence developing casting glass to a high level of quality. There are only a handful of them out there. One such company (and in fact, if I'm not mistaken, the American pioneer in fusing and casting glass) is Bullseye Glass in Portland, Oregon.
That's who I want to get my glass from.
Now wait, you say, are you shilling for Bullseye here? No. I LIKE their glass. I get consistent results with their glass. I like what the glass does when I cast it.
I've been using their glass since 1996. I've used assorted scraps of glass that span decades, and yet, when cast together, are almost indistinguishable in their properties. That, to me, signifies a level of quality control that I can appreciate.
There is a special chemical formulation that can make the glass soften at a lower temperature and flow more readily into detailed crevices and textures and forms. Better still, because different colored glasses are composed of different chemicals, getting different colors to cast together and not explode to smithereens when they come out of the kiln, is, quite frankly, close to magic. And to do this consistently, over decades of manufacture, has made me a loyal fan.
I like the fact that they have gone through all the headaches of formulating their glass and therefore my casting process has that many less headache inducing moments to deal with when I cast something. And, not surprisingly, the expense in buying it is a lot more than picking up roadside bottles.

are the shambling yeast monkeys REALLY inching up the kardashev scale?

arvix | An experimental investigation of possible anomalous heat production in a special type of reactor tube named E-Cat HT is carried out. The reactor tube is charged with a small amount of hydrogen loaded nickel powder plus some additives. The reaction is primarily initiated by heat from resistor coils inside the reactor tube. Measurement of the produced heat was performed with high-resolution thermal imaging cameras, recording data every second from the hot reactor tube. The measurements of electrical power input were performed with a large bandwidth three-phase power analyzer. Data were collected in two experimental runs lasting 96 and 116 hours, respectively. An anomalous heat production was indicated in both experiments. The 116-hour experiment also included a calibration of the experimental set-up without the active charge present in the E-Cat HT. In this case, no extra heat was generated beyond the expected heat from the electric input. Computed volumetric and gravimetric energy densities were found to be far above those of any known chemical source. Even by the most conservative assumptions as to the errors in the measurements, the result is still one order of magnitude greater than conventional energy sources. Fist tap Dale.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

the programmer's stone...,

When people become focused on the part of a shared problem that they are dealing with, and shift their attention from avoiding blame to achieving success, jelled teams can form. Because the problem has its own deep structure, the whole team grows an authentic structure by mirroring the problem that does not need to be imposed arbitrarily by management. Effectiveness increases, and innovative products are designed and built at lightning speed. Turning the focus on avoiding blame inside out so that it becomes achieving success removes the system boundaries between workers and that turns everything else inside out:
buildfreedom | This project began as a bit of practical industrial psychology, and ended up unfolding into an understanding of how most people in most human societies have a consistently distorted view of everything. Not everyone is caught in the confusion, and as the picture emerged, an alternative model of relationships between observable phenomena that seems to be experienced by creative programmers in software engineering, star diagnosticians in medicine, great physicists and mathematicians, so-called ADHD children, people who "Know Quality" in industry, poets, painters, sculptors and mystics became describable - but only in its own terms. The alternative picture is wholly rational, but not reductionistic. Best of all, it is scientifically grounded and experimentally testable. If the experiments fail we can junk it. If they work, we've learned something important. 

By watching creative software engineers I learned how to teach the necessary state of mind to people who thought they couldn't do it. Then the similarity between creative engineers and children diagnosed as ADHD led to a remarkable idea. Important features of our culture put most people into a state where their brain chemistry is out of balance by age six, and this actually turns part of their awareness off. Get a whole society in this state, and they create a powerful logical blindspot that stops anyone seeing what is happening. The two effects protect each other and cause an awful lot of trouble. 

I tested the blindspot idea by applying it to some profound mysteries in current physics, and answers came rolling out! The sums remain the same, but the underlying assumptions are different. This is all about awareness, so I applied the new physical model to the question of what consciousness is, and got an answer quite different to anything suggested to date. Bundle it all up, and I got a concrete picture of how the physical processes in the universe - including consciousness - fit together, and how they look from our point of view.
Then things got very Indiana Jones. I discovered that mystical or religious records from several traditions all contain unambiguous discussion of the same logical and physical concepts. It seems that many other people have seen this picture at different times and places. Since they couldn't directly communicate the picture to others because of the brain chemistry and logic problems defined here, they all contributed to creating a situation where it could be communicated. These people thought big. They used their understanding of the situation to make adjustments and create work oriented cultures that study science! Humanity would still be stuck in a social and cognitive tornado, but it would be gathering clues like crazy and eventually the penny would have to drop. Some of the parts of the solution are more obvious than others although one needs the big picture to tell the difference between payloads, transport mechanisms and side-effects. 

The new physical model describes concrete processes that up until now have only been identified vaguely and intuitively by a minority of individuals with healthy brain chemistry but confused by their very language. This scientific treatment of spiritual experience resolves the disagreement between the two mindsets in the same way that an atom bomb would seem impossible unless one knew about fission and e = mc2, but with the physical theory one knows that the bomb can be built with uranium but not peanut butter. 

By the time the papers were written, a review of the Programers' Stone transcripts had appeared on Slashdot. This led to the creation of the progstone mailing list at eGroups, and the support that has built this website. Here is the Irregular Activities page, and here is the News page at Melloworld. 

The short text sections on this page are summaries of the ideas explored within each paper. All the papers themselves are hyperlinked to the underlined, bold section titles. At the end of each summary, there is a link to the full collection of additional materials, links and references for that paper. The project started by collecting practical teaching materials, and continued in that style. Here is an index of funny bits.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

grassroots coopetition vs. stacked-deck competition

dream&hustle | What is being described as MOOC and MOOLOs is how the hacker/technology community been working together since some were phreaking dial tones to get free long distant calls (l0pht crew back at MIT early 1990s). The goal was not a master teacher a subservient student but providing information that can be tested, validated and distributed by those that receive the information and spread the knowledge throughout the network.

This is why I predicted that as much as people want to crack jokes about University of Phoenix, that institution may be the most disruptive force to the American education system as the "alumni" are learning to start talking to each other about knowledge and doing research and share that information with each other. They are also capable of distributing information as this was their discipline to learn. What traditional school in America has that kind of capability?!

Look at Africa and how their GDP is growing rapidly, especially in the technology sector - technologists including me and my people are training and sharing information with entrepreneurs in Africa who want to learn, who ask questions and we show them how to do it. Not only the people in Africa do it, they show each other and all of the top minds I know in the world is in Africa spreading education in the similar fashion and we are watching that information manifest itself throughout Africa. China is the same way with their investment - showing Africans how to run manufacturing instead of just "working them" like the Western countries would do. That instructional information is being spread rapidly through east, west, south and parts of central Africa.

Among my crew, I stated before on my blog - we all have an innovation center in our abode and we can collaboratively share information, validation information and package and disseminate information worldwide. As we share information, we identify who take the information and run with it and like Professor Xavier, we hunt them down as we found out who are the real change agents doing something that we can target with more information and instruction to teach others.

So yes, we are here in America forcing kids to be "superman" and know everything and have to take a test on that knowledge. How are our kids going to compete with "my kids" who we are providing instructions on how to create and operate a natural fruit stand in Nicaragua to running a "Sears" showroom/mail order catalog store in the Philippines? Our kids are sharing that information and that is the disruptive force that will manifest itself when American kids start turning 14 and realize the rest of the world is collaborative while the American kids have to still prepare for standardized testing.

creating a STEM-based innovation lab in your crib...,

dream&hustle | Being an African-American tech entrepreneur, it should be apparent I have a creative space to develop technology and economic empower solutions for brothas and sistas. But I want to be honest where I don’t have a “creative space” I have a full-blown innovation lab that is just is good and in some cases better than the innovation labs ran at large corporations. Me and my crew all have innovation labs setup in our spots and we can create and exchange knowledge and demonstrate proof of concepts.

A lot of cats just like to talk some ish about technology and trying to get you to think they all that. But they mad at me and the 30 Rotten Dissidents because we got real stuff to show and tell and can’t figure it out. The reason they don’t understand is because almost all African-Americans I talk to in this technology game do not have an innovation lab setup at their crib. They got a computer workspace or some ish like that, but they do not have a full blown innovation lab designed to create a startup culture.

There are two things that made me write this article – actually there is three reasons. The first reason is I was listening to this old head clown talking about starting up a Black think tank group. That’s where Black people get in a room and broadcast their egos, beat their chest like a gorilla, testing each other and don’t accomplish ish but either defending their personal ego or bruising their personal ego and have grudges. I told that old head clown we don’t do “think tanks” anymore in the 21st century; we have innovation labs to make ish happen and show tried and proven theories. Yeah, he looked real stupid after that.

The second thing was my kid – he actually like my innovation lab and it was not built for him but built for me to hustle hard and prove out concepts before taking to market. My innovation lab is setup with video conference to talk to experts and peers all over the world on technology, has a YouTube studio setup and has the mobile technology showcase with NFC and augmented reality and QR shopping poster examples, the point of sale project as well as the arduino microprocessor to run interactive light displays. It also has a collaborative setup to jot down ideas and capture information. But I realize that my son does not have this – all he probably have is like other Americans is a room to play video games and not be innovative.

The third reason kind of goes back to the first two – African-Americans need innovation labs in their household to prepare their kids for the 21st century as well as become creative entreprenuers in the 21st century and step our damn game up. Screw a home office – that’s some dotcom era McMansion crap, you want to create a true innovation lab that let you create real solutions like we been doing here at Dream and Hustle and why we way above the other cats out there in this game. Take your game room or home office and convert it into an innovation laboratory to start collaborating and creating solutions for you, your people and your community and your future

First Principle - Always Bet on Black - Redux

No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized.

--Booker T. Washington

Having been invited to discuss solutions, I aim to summarize some of the experiences that have given rise to what I call an "open source business model". I should be able to accomplish this in three installments. (originally posted 12/20/07 - reposted 10/13/10 - one'mo gin today)
1. The power of cultural production.

2. The power of open source culture.

3. The power of creative collaboration.

So a few years ago, I'm experimenting with Content Management Systems (CMS) (the database driven backend to interactive websites) in the context of an image sharing technology. I read an article in the Kansas City Star about a comics creator in Kansas City Kansas who was experimenting with CD-Romics, or comics on compact disc. So I call this brother Anthony Jappa

Comics are extremely visual, the cover art is a major selling draw, and all-in-all comics would make perfect grist for the image sharing mill. Furthermore, I used to have a serious love jones for comic books. Long story short, though our initial collaboration did not yield a successful business model we've been friends and collaborators ever since. (digitizing covers for collectors proved excessively labor intensive, we couldn't get folks to do the work themselves, and eBay was already in full effect) And our continuing collaboration has produced a proven and successful methodology for infecting young minds with the urge to create, collaborate, and commercialize. I keep the original development site we constructed as a memento of our original scope and objectives - because where we've gone is so much beyond what this effort set out to achieve.

Back to the matter at hand. Brother Jappa is a true master in the field of creative cultural production. Largely self-taught, he has reached the stage in his career where he writes books and creates animated shorts. He earns his living doing what he loves to do. He is also one of the greatest natural teachers I have ever had the privilege of meeting. He can teach you not only the discipline, but can teach you everything there is to know about comics creation as a cultural production business, as well. It's in the latter domain that he has taught me a helluva lot about its history, its power, and changes in the nature of the thing that have resulted from monopolistic control of comics creation, publication, and distribution. The latter is the business reality against which he's had to contend for over a dozen years.

His innovative flirtation with CD-Romics was a preliminary effort to use technology to get around some of those distribution control barriers. When I met him, I was vaguely aware that the comics game had changed substantially since I was a kid, but I had no idea concerning the specific nature of the changes that had taken place. See, I was a hardcore comic book collector when I was boy. Back in the day, a dollar would get you 4 comics and an afternoon of mind expanding escape. Moreover, you could buy comics in any convenience store, many grocery stores, almost all pharmacies, they were everywhere newstands were to be found. Comics were not only the cheapest and best entertainment available to me - they became the core of my very first business, as well. By the age of 12, I had become a collector/dealer of comics. By the time I was 20, my collection was extensive enough that I was able to pay for my first two years of college tuition and expenses through the sale of much of that collection.

As anybody who has shared this addiction knows, comics are no longer ubiquitous and a dollar won't come anywhere near buying you even a single comic book. Jappa explained to me how the Marvel/DC/Diamond publication distribution monopolies had fundamentally altered the landscape of comic book availability and further, how the dominant business practices in the industry have made it exceedingly difficult for independant comics creators to break-in in any meaningful way into this field of cultural production and entertainment. For his business to succeed - and there's no question that his work is worldclass - Jappa's had to hustle and grind like a madman. Getting breaks here and there with dealers, working the convention circuit, and doing everything he can to figure out alternative pathways by which he can achieve mass distribution and proliferation of his work product.

Because my active interest in comics had fallen off after I sold the bulk of my collection, it had been years since I had paid comics any heed at all. However, I had noticed that comics were by no means as available as they once had been. Everything that Jappa taught me about the comic publication and distribution industry was a smaller scale instantiation of what Norman Kelley had written a few years earlier about the music industry.

Today, a great deal of public attention is misdirected toward issues of content in popular cultural production. Content is merely a symptom, it is not the root cause of the present malaise in popular cultural production. Control of production and distribution is the cause of the current malaise. There are worlds upon worlds of original, wholesome, uplifting, enlightening, and entertaining cultural production that never get published or put into widespread distribution. Folks lose their minds debating high/low distinctions of culture and anybody with an opinion is qualified to enter the fray. However, real practitioners and specialists in the business know that most of the actual barriers to the market reduce to business and interpersonal nuts and bolts. These include issues like;

• how artists are recruited,
• how contracts are structured for maximums profits for record firms,
• how much firms spend on the production of an artist's work,
• whether artists make their living solely by selling units or doing performances (a situation similar to that of blues musicians),
• how musicians lose the copyright to their music,
• the lack of royalty payments, and
• the Big Six publication and distribution monopoly

On a smaller scale, the comics industry is identical.

Very likely, there never will be a substitute for the paper comic that is the equivalent of the CD-ROM substitute for vinyl record albums, and the rapid and destabilizing emergence of mp3's as a substitute for CD-ROMS. But you never know. Brother Jappa has twelve years invested in the game and he's still hustling, grinding, and inovating in order to make that breakthrough. I'm going to support him with technology any and every way I know how to do.

Back to the matter at hand, the power of cultural production - one of the other fundamentals I learned from Jappa is the universality of the basic storyboard as the basis for all complex narrative storytelling. If you look into the basement of any movie that has ever been made, what you'll find that comics is the creative and preproduction grist for that creative mill. i.e., storyboards that lay out the visual as well as narrative flow that will be converted to the screen. Same goes for complex games and video games. The comics creation discipline is a fundamental prerequisite to any complex narrative cultural production that takes place in our society. It is a lynchpin of complex cultural production.

Readers of the assault know full well the power of images to manipulate and control the subliminal consciousness. As a singular historian and master of this game, Jappa has taught me a great deal about the intent and use of images across the history of comics - on both conscious and subconscious levels - to convey specific messages to the audience these comics are created to address.

Comics creation is an immensely powerful and fundamental narrative discipline that is imperative for us to master and control. There are no barriers to entry on the creation side, and we're Working overtime to figure out methods for short-circuiting and overcoming the market barriers posed by the dominant distribution monopoly. Technology is key to overcoming those barriers. The last really powerful aspect of this game is that both boys and girls enjoy and gravitate toward various aspects of the creative work involved with it. Children love to create, they love to do cultural production work, and they love to learn all the ins-and-outs of the technique involved with doing it well. It's a carrot with which draw children into an oasis of creation, collaboration, disciplined development of technique and invite him to meet and discuss ways in which we might collaborate.and last but not least the potential commercial rewards of harnessing their imaginations and plying their creative workproducts in the marketplace.

Matter of fact, it's the initial sugarcoating I've found effective for drawing children into routine use and increasing familiarity with open source technologies. We make a concerted effort to use only open source software in our digital production efforts. I'll explain this more fully in the next installment. It's important because not only do we want our kids to be creative producers and ply the workproduct of their imaginations in the market, we also want them to be creative technologists capable of directly controlling and modifying the tools used to do the fun stuff.

Work with open source tools and technologies conduces to exposure to the wide world of open source culture, as well - and that's a culture that is fundamentally all about surmounting control and distribution barriers. Our solutions will emerge from those small, dedicated crews that learn how to surmount current control and distribution barriers and collaborate with likeminded others to proliferate that knowhow far and wide...,

observational learning...,

wikipedia | Observational learning is the learning that occurs through observing the behavior of other people. Albert Bandura, who is best known for the classic Bobo doll experiment, discovered this basic form of learning in 1986. Bandura stressed the importance of observational learning because it allowed children especially, to acquire new responses through observing others' behavior. This form of learning does not need reinforcement to occur; instead, a model is required. A social model can be a parent, sibling, friend, or teacher, but particularly in childhood a model is someone of authority or higher status. A social model is significantly important in observational learning because it allows one to cognitively process behavior, encode what is observed, and store it in memory for later imitation. While the model may not be intentionally trying to instill any particular behavior, many behaviors that one observes, remembers and imitates are actions that models display. A child may learn to swear, smack, smoke, and deem other inappropriate behavior acceptable through poor modeling. Bandura claims that children continually learn desirable and undesirable behavior through observational learning. Observational learning suggests that an individual's environment, cognition, and behavior all integrate and ultimately determine how one functions.[1] Through observational learning, behaviors of an individual can spread across a culture through a process known as diffusion chain, which basically occurs when an individual first learns a behavior by observing another individual and that individual serves as a model through whom other individuals will learn the behavior and so on so forth.[2]

Culture and environment also play a role in whether observational learning will be the dominant learning style in a person or community. In some cultures, children are expected to actively participate in their communities and are therefore exposed to different trades and roles on a daily basis.[3] This exposure allows children to observe and learn the different skills and practices that are valued in their communities.[4] In communities where children's primary mode of learning is through observation, the children are rarely separated from adult activities. This incorporation into the adult world at an early age allows children to use observational learning skills in multiple spheres of life. Culturally, they learn that their participation and contributions are valued in their communities. This teaches children that it is their duty as members of the community to observe contributions being made in order to gradually become involved and participate further in the community.[5]


wikipedia | Coopetition or Co-opetition (sometimes spelled "coopertition" or "co-opertition") is a neologism coined to describe cooperative competition. Coopetition is a portmanteau of cooperation and competition.

Basic principles of co-opetitive structures have been described in game theory, a scientific field that received more attention with the book Theory of Games and Economic Behavior in 1944 and the works of John Forbes Nash on non-cooperative games. It is also applied in the fields of political science and economics and even universally [works of V. Frank Asaro, J.D.: Universal Co-opetition,2011, and The Tortoise Shell Code, novel, 2012].

Coopetition occurs when companies interact with partial congruence of interests. They cooperate with each other to reach a higher value creation if compared to the value created without interaction, and struggle to achieve competitive advantage.

Often coopetition takes place when companies that are in the same market work together in the exploration of knowledge and research of new products, at the same time that they compete for market-share of their products and in the exploitation of the knowledge created. In this case, the interactions occur simultaneously and in different levels in the value chain. This is the case of the arrangement between PSA Peugeot Citroën and Toyota to share components for a new city car - simultaneously sold as the Peugeot 107, the Toyota Aygo, and the Citroën C1, where companies save money on shared costs while remaining fiercely competitive in other areas. Several advantages can be foreseen, as cost reductions, resources complementarity and technological transfer. Some difficulties also exist, as distribution of control, equity in risk, complementary needs and trust. Not only two companies can interact within a coopetitive environment, but several partnerships among competitors are possible.

Friday, May 24, 2013

psychiatry and drug companies as bad as teachers and the academy....,

sciencemag | The new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is being released this month amid great controversy, with many in the field questioning whether psychiatry’s main diagnostic guide needs an overhaul, or to be completely abandoned. Some argue that it’s time to start from scratch and create a new system for diagnosing mental illness based on biological data. Others say that the manual turns too many aspects of normal life, such as grief, into medical conditions and that it’s time to look more closely at the social dimensions of psychiatric disorders, such as our relationships with friends and family.

MOOC - Maximizing Outreach to Outsider Communities?

emory | When Coursera first began partnering with top universities to bring MOOCs (massive open online courses) to a worldwide audience, the enrollment numbers created a shockwave.

Suddenly, tens of thousands of students were signing up to take a single online class, recalls Kimbi Hagen, one of Emory's early pioneers in the free, not-for-credit online experiment.

Now that Hagen, who is assistant professor in the department of behavioral sciences and health education at Rollins School of Public Health and assistant director of Emory's Center for AIDS Research, has just completed teaching one of Emory's first three MOOCs through Coursera, she realizes those enrollment numbers don't tell the whole story.

Of the 18,600 students from 174 countries who initially enrolled in her nine-week Coursera class on AIDS, some 10,601 actively participated, keeping up with online discussion forums, essays and quizzes. Untold numbers also signed up to simply audit the course material.

But through the personal stories that began filtering back, Hagen realized that her course had a far greater reach than she expected.

The class drew a range of participants, from health professionals and educators to college students and the curious.

One student, who had adopted four HIV-positive children, took the course to "learn to be the best parent and support person possible." A high school teacher, alarmed at the number of HIV-positive students at her school, sought "the right information" to share with sexually active adolescents. Another never had the courage to reveal his HIV-positive status to family and co-workers before taking the class.

All told, it was a vibrant, engaged community eager to discuss what they were learning, through online forums and beyond.

"There were many situations where people were gathering to watch (the online course), be it a village in Nigeria or an athletic team here in the U.S.," Hagen recalls.

In fact, it wasn't unusual to hear about efforts to gather an entire village, Peace Corps team or hospital staff to share and discuss her video, says Hagen, who jokes that MOOC could just as easily stand for "Maximizing Outreach to Outsider Communities."

Hagen recalls a Muslim student living in an Islamic country (she prefers to protect the location) who "would watch the videos and go from village to village to share with other women what she'd learned."

Going into the Coursera experiment, Hagen had no idea of its full potential. But observing students embrace the topic and become educators themselves, dispersing their knowledge to others -- for a teacher, she says, it doesn't get much better.

"This is easily one of the most significant things I've ever done in my entire life," Hagen says.

"And it's absolutely what the Rollins School of Public Health exists to do, what public health is really all about." 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

MOOC's still about Delivery of Instruction rather than Student Learning - why MOOLOS are coming....,

Talk is about MOOC's - it will shift to MOOLOS...,

hakesedstuff | ABSTRACT: Joshua Kim in his Inside Higher Ed report “ ‘Laptop U’ Misses the Real Story” at correctly pointed out two problems in Nathan Heller’s otherwise exemplary New Yorker article “Laptop U” at (paraphrasing):

1. “The online and blended education world, really the higher ed world where most of us spend our days, fails to make any appearance.”

2. “If in fact the real story is the rise of blended and online learning, then [that story] will go completely untold if MOOCs are the sole focus.”

In my opinion, two other problems are that “Laptop U”:

3. Fails to emphasize the fact that MOOCs, like most Higher Ed institutions, concentrate on DELIVERY OF INSTRUCTION rather than STUDENT LEARNING to the detriment of their effectiveness - - see “From Teaching to Learning: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education” [Barr and Tagg (1995)] at

4. Ignores the failure of MOOC providers to gauge the effectiveness of their courses by pre-to-postcourse measurement of student learning gains utilizing “Concept Inventories” As I pointed out “Is Higher Education Running AMOOC?” [Hake (2013) at, such assessment would probably demonstrate that MOOCs are actually MOORFAPs (Massive Open Online Repetitions of FAiled Pedagogy). There would then be some incentive to transform MOOCs into MOOLOs (Massive Open Online Learning Opportunities).

though he swears by only four, this is the notion I believe umbra is on about...,

wikipedia | A concept inventory is a criterion-referenced test designed to evaluate whether a student has an accurate working knowledge of a specific set of concepts. To ensure interpretability, it is common to have multiple items that address a single idea. Typically, concept inventories are organized as multiple-choice tests in order to ensure that they are scored in a reproducible manner, a feature that also facilitates administration in large classes. Unlike a typical, teacher-made multiple-choice test, questions and response choices on concept inventories are the subject of extensive research. The aims of the research include ascertaining (a) the range of what individuals think a particular question is asking and (b) the most common responses to the questions. Concept inventories are evaluated to ensure test reliability and validity. In its final form, each question includes one correct answer and several distractors. The distractors are incorrect answers that are usually (but not always) based on students' commonly held misconceptions.[1]

Ideally, a score on a criterion-referenced test reflects the amount of content knowledge a student has mastered. Criterion-referenced tests differ from norm-referenced tests in that (in theory) the former is not used to compare an individual's score to the scores of the group. Ordinarily, the purpose of a criterion-referenced test is to ascertain whether a student mastered a predetermined amount of content knowledge; upon obtaining a test score that is at or above a cutoff score, the student can move on to study a body of content knowledge that follows next in a learning sequence. In general, item difficulty values ranging between 30% and 70% are best able to provide information about student understanding.

Distractors are often based on ideas commonly held by students, as determined by years of research on misconceptions. Test developers often research student misconceptions by examining students' responses to open-ended essay questions and conducting "think-aloud" interviews with students. The distractors chosen by students help researchers understand student thinking and give instructors insights into students' prior knowledge (and, sometimes, firmly held beliefs). This foundation in research underlies instrument construction and design, and plays a role in helping educators obtain clues about students' ideas, scientific misconceptions, and didaskalogenic, that is, teacher-induced confusions and conceptual lacunae that interfere with learning.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

eusociality, mooc intelligence sorting, geolocation and climate change....,

livescience | Earlier this month, a group of policy and legal experts from around the world met at an event co-hosted by the Centre for Spatial Law and Policy and Harvard University's Center for Geographic Analysis to examine the challenges related to our ever-evolving location-enabled society. It was a truly fascinating event with eye-opening presentations on smart transportation systems, tweet-mapping and Google Glass.

As experts openly debated the good and bad of the current Wild West era of geospatial technologies, it became clear that its current and sometimes lawless advancement is influencing trends in more traditional, related areas, such as Earth observations and environmental information.

Consider the following: Last week, Climate Central posted a report that found that "Six months after [Superstorm] Sandy, data from the eight hardest hit states shows that 11 billion gallons of untreated and partially treated sewage flowed into rivers, bays, canals, and in some cases city streets, largely as a result of record storm-surge flooding that swamped the region's major sewage treatment facilities." About the same time, Space Daily published a story on how development banks are using Earth observations to better monitor and track projects and investment globally. The BBC and NPR, in turn, reported that digitized Nimbus 1 satellite data from 1964 clarified the extent of ice cover in the Antarctic at that time, confirming the theory that sea ice is shrinking.

Those very different stories have much in common. They all illustrate the importance of geospatial technologies in better identifying, understanding and managing changing environmental conditions.
But, as we look at the changing planet and try to determine how best to respond or adapt to its uncertainty, we can be certain that:
  • People want and need environmental information like never before;
  • Demand coupled with new technologies and resources will enable access and application of that data and information like never before; and
  • With personal, economic, and national security interests driving the use of that information, new policy and legal issues will arise like never before.
Some of those issues are the changing roles of the public and private sector, calls for more open data and information policies, and the demand for environmental information.

deficit in nation's aquifers accelerating...,

usgs | A new U.S. Geological Survey study documents that the Nation's aquifers are being drawn down at an accelerating rate.
Groundwater Depletion in the United States (1900-2008) comprehensively evaluates long-term cumulative depletion volumes in 40 separate aquifers (distinct underground water storage areas) in the United States, bringing together reliable information from previous references and from new analyses.

"Groundwater is one of the Nation's most important natural resources. It provides drinking water in both rural and urban communities. It supports irrigation and industry, sustains the flow of streams and rivers, and maintains ecosystems," said Suzette Kimball, acting USGS Director. "Because groundwater systems typically respond slowly to human actions, a long-term perspective is vital to manage this valuable resource in sustainable ways."

To outline the scale of groundwater depletion across the country, here are two startling facts drawn from the study's wealth of statistics. First, from 1900 to 2008, the Nation's aquifers, the natural stocks of water found under the land, decreased (were depleted) by more than twice the volume of water found in Lake Erie. Second, groundwater depletion in the U.S. in the years 2000-2008 can explain more than 2 percent of the observed global sea-level rise during that period.  

Since 1950, the use of groundwater resources for agricultural, industrial, and municipal purposes has greatly expanded in the United States. When groundwater is withdrawn from subsurface storage faster than it is recharged by precipitation or other water sources, the result is groundwater depletion. The depletion of groundwater has many negative consequences, including land subsidence, reduced well yields, and diminished spring and stream flows.

While the rate of groundwater depletion across the country has increased markedly since about 1950, the maximum rates have occurred during the most recent period of the study (2000–2008), when the depletion rate averaged almost 25 cubic kilometers per year. For comparison, 9.2 cubic kilometers per year is the historical average calculated over the 1900–2008 timespan of the study.

One of the best known and most investigated aquifers in the U.S. is the High Plains (or Ogallala) aquifer. It underlies more than 170,000 square miles of the Nation's midsection and represents the principal source of water for irrigation and drinking in this major agricultural area. Substantial pumping of the High Plains aquifer for irrigation since the 1940s has resulted in large water-table declines that exceed 160 feet in places.

The study shows that, since 2000, depletion of the High Plains aquifer appears to be continuing at a high rate. The depletion during the last 8 years of record (2001–2008, inclusive) is about 32 percent of the cumulative depletion in this aquifer during the entire 20th century. The annual rate of depletion during this recent period averaged about 10.2 cubic kilometers, roughly 2 percent of the volume of water in Lake Erie. Fist tap Dale.