Monday, August 31, 2020

Tens Of Millions Of Untethered, Aimless Young Men Looking For Something To Do....,

notesfromdisgraceland  |  In the next few years, social disorder in developed countries could take new dimension as demographic imbalances continue to weaken state structures further. This could be expressed through two different modes. 1) The discontent of ethnically excluded (e.g. Western Europe’s post-colonial minority populations) spreads to absorb and articulate the sentiments of other exclusions. 2) The discontent of the permanently excluded, like African Americans, provokes a reaction of the redundant natives, the white underclass, and triggers their uprising and backlash. Civil warfare, initially misdiagnosed as increase in crime, would escalate.

The scramble for protection (which has already begun) assumes new forms, as the states cannot provide it due to lack of funding and legitimation. The state’s monopoly on violence is breached and reorganized through the expansion of private protection armies, right-wing militias, and different privatized police structures. This process had already been accomplished in the post-socialist countries about 25 years ago and is likely to serve as a blueprint for a similar transformation in the western world.

Western democratic states where these transformations take place will gradually converge towards failed states. Contours of this program are already inscribed in the appointments for high public offices by the current administration. Combined with the other side-effects of globalization and the underlying social fragmentation, these developments will lead to further criminalization of societies and polarization of distribution with escalation of corruption and dismantling of the institutions of the democratic state as a natural consequence, implying further instabilities. Organized crime will blossom and reinforce its legitimacy, while developed countries will converge closer towards criminal oligarchies or other authoritarian structures.

Trump's Most Conspicuously Racist Policy Goes Not-Seen...,

theamericanconservative  |  Since at least the inauguration, a central question of this presidency has been whether Trump could cease campaigning and learn to govern. Now, with less than 70 days until the general election, a contrary question is equally pressing: will Trump stop governing like a Republican and start campaigning again as a populist?

Gone from Trump 2020 are the effective—if crass—messages to truckers, miners, and bikers that carried Trump 2016 to victory. The overt appeals now go to“beautiful boaters” and “suburban housewives.” The emphasis on protecting entitlements and building infrastructure has given way to a payroll tax deferral and a capital gains tax cut.

The recent foray into housing policy induces particular whiplash. Republicans have long criticized President Obama’s “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) policy, under which the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) could require local governments receiving federal funding to analyze the demographic makeup of their communities and pursue policies to redress racial segregation. However laudable the goal, the policy was overly ponderous and essentially toothless, conditioning HUD funding to state and local governments on drafting lengthy reports, not reforming actual policy. Trump and his HUD Secretary, Ben Carson, had attempted to improve upon AFFH policy by tying federal funds to local policies that would reduce regulatory barriers and increase housing supply. Deregulation on behalf of families seeking affordable housing would seem to lie at the intersection of conservative and populist priorities. But last week they executed a campaign-season reversal.

In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Trump and Carson essentially renounced their own AFFH policy and instead pledged to “protect America’s suburbs,” advancing a new policy that allows states and localities to fulfill fair housing requirements by doing anything that “rationally relates” to AFFH objectives. Whereas just months ago the federal government sought affirmatively to expand housing supply, now Trump and Carson claim such efforts offer a “path to tyranny” and a “dystopian vision of building low-income housing units next to your suburban house.” Federal incentives themselves represent a “radical social-engineering project” and an attempt “to put the federal government in charge of local decisions.”

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Who Armed. Indoctrinated, And Transported This Boy Across The State Line?

the-sun |  WENDY Rittenhouse is a nurse’s assistant and the mom of Kyle Rittenhouse, the alleged suspect of the two murders in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Wendy and Kyle Rittenhouse lived in an apartment south of the Wisconsin border in Antioch, Illinois. It is unclear if she drove him to the protest. 

Wendy Rittenhouse is a single mom to Kyle, the alleged suspect responsible for the murders during the Jacob Blake protests in Kenosha, according to cops.

She works as a nurse’s assistant and lived with Kyle in a small apartment in Antioch, which is south of the Wisconsin border.

Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, allegedly shot at demonstrators who were marching to protest the Black Lives Matter shooting of Jacob Blake, according to authorities. 

A third night of protests was underway when an “unidentified young white man” was caught on video spraying rounds of bullets in point-blank range at protesters in the middle of the street. 

Twitter users began pointing fingers at Rittenhouse, who they claimed was part of a “police explorer” program with Kenosha cops.

Photos of Rittenhouse holding an AR-15 gun surfaced on Twitter, and many believe the weapon was used to harm the demonstrators. 

A picture surfacing the internet shows Wendy and Kyle with the caption "We Back the Blue," allegedly supporting the Blue Lives Matter movement.

Peggy Gurrrrlll...., That Invisible Knapsack Like Savoir Faire!!!

americanthinker |  Two weeks ago, we learned that Sandia National Laboratories, one of only three National Nuclear Security Administration research and development laboratories in the United States, was mandating that its white, male executives attend anti-white training sessions. Since then, a whistleblower has emerged, describing in detail the anti-white “critical race theory” that Sandia's management is foisting on employees at all levels, even though this racial attacks in the material manifestly violate federal law.

In mid-August, Christopher Rufo published a Twitter thread about a blatantly anti-white seminar at Sandia. To understand how wrong that seminar was, you need to know that Sandia, as a taxpayer-funded contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, must comply with federal anti-discrimination regulations. Thus, Executive Order 11246 Subpart B, sec. 202 states in relevant part:
The contractor will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. The contractor will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. 
Last I looked, white employees ticked off two boxes in the protected classes above: race and color.
Casey Peterson, an electrical engineer, has been unhappy about the direction that Sandia is taking. The seminar described in Rufo’s Twitter thread – as well as the fact that it was required only for white men – struck him as discriminatory. Moreover, Peterson believes that critical race theory is a dangerous form of anti-white discrimination premised up false facts and crackpot theories.

Peterson did something audacious in today’s environment: He pushed back hard, creating a lengthy, detailed, factually-supported video challenging the critical race theory that forms the basis of Sandia’s undoubtedly illegally and contractually-violative race-based discrimination. Christopher Rufo picks up the story:


Why Have Police Ties To Violent Far Right Extremism Been Ignored?

guardian  |  For decades, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has routinely warned its agents that the white supremacist and far-right militant groups it investigates often have links to law enforcement. Yet the justice department has no national strategy designed to protect the communities policed by these dangerously compromised law enforcers. As our nation grapples with how to reimagine public safety in the wake of the protests following the police killing of George Floyd, it is time to confront and resolve the persistent problem of explicit racism in law enforcement.

I know about these routine warnings because I received them as a young FBI agent preparing to accept an undercover assignment against neo-Nazi groups in Los Angeles, California, in 1992. But you don’t have to take my word for it. A redacted version of a 2006 FBI intelligence assessment, White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement, alerted agents to “both strategic infiltration by organized groups and self-initiated infiltration by law enforcement personnel sympathetic to white supremacist causes”.

A leaked 2015 counter-terrorism policy guide made the case more directly, warning agents that FBI “domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers”.
If the government knew that al-Qaida or Isis had infiltrated American law enforcement agencies, it would undoubtedly initiate a nationwide effort to identify them and neutralize the threat they posed. Yet white supremacists and far-right militants have committed far more attacks and killed more people in the US over the last 10 years than any foreign terrorist movement. The FBI regards them as the most lethal domestic terror threat. The need for national action is even more critical.

In recent years, white supremacists have engaged in deadly rampages in Charleston, South Carolina, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and El Paso, Texas. More ominously, neo-Nazis obtained radiological materials to manufacture “dirty” bombs in separate cases in Maine in 2009 and Florida in 2017, which were only avoided through chance.

But in June 2019, when Congressman William Lacy Clay asked the FBI counter-terrorism chief, Michael McGarrity, whether the bureau remained concerned about white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement since the publication of its 2006 assessment, McGarrity indicated he had not read it. Asked more generally about this infiltration, McGarrity said he would be “suspect” of white supremacist police officers, but that their ideology was a first amendment–protected right.

The 2006 assessment addresses this concern, however, by summarizing supreme court precedent on the issue: “Although the First Amendment’s freedom of association provision protects an individual’s right to join white supremacist groups for the purposes of lawful activity, the government can limit the employment opportunities of group members who hold sensitive public sector jobs, including jobs within law enforcement, when their memberships would interfere with their duties.”

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Kyle Rittenhouse Perfectly Exemplifies American Not-Seeism

chicago-suntimes  |  A white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Jacob Blake Jr., a Black man, in the back, for reasons that are still unclear; a Black man whose three young children were sitting in the back seat of his SUV; a Black man who is now paralyzed from the waist down and might never walk again; and that Black man initially was chained to a hospital bed to fight for his life.

But a white teenager, Kyle Rittenhouse, could walk down a public street in that same city during a chaotic protest — in violation of a curfew — with a military style semi-automatic long gun strapped over his shoulder, and police officers didn’t stop him.

Instead, they tossed him a bottle of water and thanked him for his help.

If you haven’t been able to see the injustice that has moved thousands of people across the nation to march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, then this stark contrast of how two human beings of different races are treated by police should wake you up.

This is the problem.

And it is a problem that can’t be solved by people who are blind to their racial biases. 

Do you really think a young African American male could walk down the middle of the street during a protest march carrying a semi-automatic weapon, and police wouldn’t stop him?

So why was Rittenhouse treated like a hero?

Anthony Huber, 26, of Silver Lake, Wisconsin, and Joseph “Jojo” Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha, were killed, and Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, of West Allis, Wisconsin, was wounded.

According to news reports, protesters actually shouted to police officers riding in armored trucks that the 17-year-old Rittenhouse had shot someone.

Yet not one officer grabbed hold of him.

Not one officer used a Taser.

Not one officer drew a weapon.

When reporters asked Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth why Rittenhouse — who walked toward the police with his arms raised after the shootings — wasn’t taken into custody right then and there, Beth said he wasn’t sure but suspected the chaotic scene that included people running and screaming might have given officers “tunnel vision.”

On Friday, Daniel Miskinis, Kenosha’s police chief, told reporters, “There was nothing to suggest [Rittenhouse] was involved in any criminal behavior.”
Let that marinate for a moment.

Real Resistance Has No Political Allies Or Patrons...,

downwithtyranny |  Now for the call to change our ways: At the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century, Americans face a crossroads. For everyone who isn't either independently wealthy (like most of the donors who make up the real Republican base), or comfortably tucked into the professional managerial class (whose interests the Democratic Party seems most to serve), daily life is a both horror show now and collapsing fast to something even worse.

If there were ever a time to rise up, it's today. And rise up Americans will, I'm sure of it. With Covid deaths high (1,000 a day as I write this), incomes insecure for all but work-at-home professionals, and evictions just one or two missed paychecks away, even for the pre-Covid comfortable — with all this at the door, why would they not?

The question isn't will they rise up, but how will they revolt?

Will Americans rebel in an organized, focused way — like colonial Americans, for example, rose against British taxes, with planned resistance and coordinated action?

Or will the next rebellion devolve to the kind of battle that Jay Gould contemplated more than a century ago, a civil war where half of the suffering class attacks the other half, a chaotic free-for-all that allows the muscular security state to bootstomp in and "restore order" — all while our modern Jay Goulds (Jamie Dimon, Jeff Bezos, our hedge fund kings and queens, our CEOs of Google, Disney and Comcast), sail blindly off to their private-jet cocktail sunset, feeding on caviar and broken hearts?

Will Americans rise up effectively, with targets in mind — Medicare for All, Student Debt Forgiveness, Free Public Colleges and Universities, an actual End to Police Violence and Murder — and fight the misery descended upon them all?

Or will they rise up chaotically, their legitimate protests hijacked by Boogaloo Boys and FBI provocateurs, a faux-revolt where fascists battle anti-fascists, the former aided by violent, racist police, until the nation, getting nowhere, yearns for the security of a rapid but "managed" decline over the insecurity of a state-funded free fall to despair?

The time to decide all this is now, before the real first spark, the one that starts the American Arab Spring, is lit. If a General Strike seems frightening, consider the alternative, a five-way civil war with armed cops permanently stationed in the streets and skirmishes everywhere.

Distinguishing "Friend From Foe" In The Coming Troubles...,

oftwominds |  Class wars are the inevitable result of an economic system in which 'anything goes if you're rich enough and winners take most'. 
The traditional class war has been waged between wage-earners (who sell their labor) and their employers (owners of capital and the means of production). These classes have been assigned various names (proletariat, bourgeoisie, capitalists, etc.) but these broad class definitions don't describe all the class conflicts emerging in the modern U.S. economy.
Before we dig deeper, let's stipulate that ownership of various forms of capital still defines class: the wealthy live off unearned income skimmed from capital and everyone else lives off earned income from selling their labor. (Those without either source of income become dependents of the State).
What you own or don't own defines your class interests, but these have been fragmented into a multitude of sub-classes. Six years ago I took a stab at defining America's Nine Classes: The New Class Hierarchy (April 29, 2014), to which I would now add a tenth class, gig economy precariat, who paradoxically may own one of the means of production such as the car needed to become an Uber driver, but the precariat doesn't own the controlling means of production, which is the Uber platform. 
As a consequence, all the profits flow to the owners of the platform. Since the gig economy is not traditional hourly employment, there is no employer-provided security at all.
My taxonomy of class in America:
1. The Deep State.
2. The Oligarchs.
3. New Nobility.
4. Upper Caste.
5. State Nomenklatura.
6. The Middle Class.
7. The Working Poor.
8. State Dependents.
9. Mobile Creatives.
To which we add a new category of the working poor who lack even the minimal security of the conventional Working Poor (such as Amazon fulfillment center workers):
10. Gig economy precariat.
For the purposes of today's discussion, let's focus on the conflicts between four classes:
1. The Central State, which includes the elected government, the permanent Deep State, the Federal Reserve and and the managers/technocrats who run the State Nomenklatura.
2. The owners of Capital and political influence (The Oligarchs and New Nobility).
3. The Upper Caste, the top 10% of the private sector.
4. The lower classes of wage-earners and state dependents.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Is Q-Anon A Virus Specifically Designed For The Evangelical Mind?

technologyreview  |   The first family to quit Pastor Clark Frailey’s church during the pandemic did it by text message. It felt to Frailey like a heartbreaking and incomplete way to end a years-long relationship. When a second young couple said they were doubting his leadership a week later, Frailey decided to risk seeing them in person, despite the threat of covid-19. 

It was late May, and things were starting to reopen in Oklahoma, so Frailey and the couple met in a near-empty fast food restaurant to talk it over. 

The congregants were worried about Frailey’s intentions. At Coffee Creek, his evangelical church outside Oklahoma City, he had preached on racial justice for the past three weeks. He says the couple didn’t appreciate his most recent sermon, which urged Christians to call out and challenge racism anywhere they saw it, including in their own church. Though Frailey tries to keep Coffee Creek from feeling too traditional—he wears jeans, and the church has a modern band and uses chairs instead of pews—he considers himself a theologically conservative Southern Baptist pastor. But at one point, the couple Frailey spoke to said they believed that he was becoming a “social justice warrior.” 

Pastors and congregants disagree all the time, and Frailey doesn’t want to be the sort of Christian leader whom people feel afraid to challenge. But in that restaurant, it felt to him as if he and they had read two different sacred texts. It was as if the couple were “believing internet memes over someone they’d had a relationship with for over five years,” Frailey says. 

At one point he brought up QAnon, the conspiracy theory holding that Donald Trump is fighting a secret Satanic pedophile ring run by liberal elites. When he asked what they thought about it, the response was worryingly ambiguous. “It wasn’t like, ‘I fully believe this,’” he says. “It was like, ‘I find it interesting.’ These people are dear to me and I love them. It’s just—it felt like there was someone else in the conversation that I didn’t know who they were.”

Frailey told me about another young person who used to regularly attend his church. She was sharing conspiracy-laden misinformation on Facebook “like it’s the gospel truth,” he said, including a quote falsely attributed to Senator Kamala Harris. He saw another post from this woman promoting the wild claim that Tom Hanks and other Hollywood celebrities are eating babies. 

Before the pandemic, Frailey knew a little bit about QAnon, but he hadn’t given such an easily debunked fringe theory much of his time. The posts he started seeing felt familiar, though: they reminded him of the “Satanic panic” of the 1980s and 1990s, when rumors of secret occult rituals tormenting children in day-care centers spread quickly among conservative religious believers who were already anxious about changes in family structures. “The pedophile stuff, the Satanic stuff, the eating babies—that’s all from the 1980s,” he says. 

That conspiracy-fueled frenzy was propelled in part by credulous mainstream news coverage, and by false accusations and even convictions of day-care owners. But evangelicals, in particular, embraced the claims, tuning in to a wave of televangelists who promised to help viewers spot secret satanic symbols and rituals in the secular world. 

If the panic was back with fresh branding as QAnon, it had a new ally in Facebook. And Frailey wasn’t sure where to turn for help. He posted in a private Facebook group for Oklahoma Baptist pastors, asking if anyone else was seeing what he was. The answer, repeatedly, was yes. 

The pastors traded links. Frailey read everything he could about QAnon. He listened to every episode of the New York Times podcast series Rabbit Hole, on “what happens when our lives move online,” and devoured a story in the Atlantic that framed QAnon as a new religion infused with the language of Christianity. To Frailey, it felt more like a cult. 

He began to look further back into the Facebook history of the young former member who had posted the fake Harris quote. In the past, he remembered, she had posted about her kids every day. In June and July, he saw, that had shifted. Instead of talking about her family, she was now promoting QAnon—and one member of the couple that had met with him in May was there in the comments, posting in solidarity. 

Suddenly he understood that his efforts to protect his congregation from covid-19 had contributed to a different sort of infection. Like thousands of other church leaders across the United States, Frailey had shut down in-person services in March to help prevent the spread of the virus. Without these gatherings, some of his churchgoers had turned instead to Facebook, podcasts, and viral memes for guidance. And QAnon, a movement with its own equivalents of scripture, prophecies, and clergy, was there waiting for them.

Masks A Dry Run For The Mark Of The Beast?

pulpitandpen |  The gist is this: Prior to the return of Christ, his followers are going to become increasingly unpopular and the world will grow increasingly wicked. It will be characterized by unruly children, self-centered vanity (food selfie, much?), homosexuality, and general ungodliness. Although all ages have had these sins to varying degrees, the generation before Christ returns will actually take pride in them.
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 3:1-7
This will be accomplished by incredible technology that allows the comings-and-goings of people to be micromanaged and they will be excluded from buying or selling things in the marketplace. This is to accomplish a “soft extermination,” basically starving out believers or forcing them to assimilate.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Revelation 13:16-17
After it’s clear from muscling non-conformists into a corner by restricting their access to the market, a global, powerful government will then begin a “hard extermination,” rounding up believers and murdering them like dogs in a persecution worse than anything the world has ever seen (including the Holocaust). 

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake…21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.Matthew 24:9,21
This will, in part, be possible by some kind of contraption – whether natural or supernatural – that will detect believing non-conformists who have refused to identify with the global grand poobah (known as the anti-christ) and it will sound an alarm, alerting people that an ‘unauthorized person’ is nearby.
15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
Revelation 13:15
You can figure out how that will be done, because it doesn’t leave much to the imagination in a period in which we’re talking about “health passportsscanning temperatures of passing crowds of people, putting everyone into a facial recognition database (even liberals in America’s cities are scared over this one and have started to ban the tech), and are micro-chipping Lassie. I’m not a prophet or the son of one, but I surmise it will be one of these things, a combination thereof, or something eerily similar. In one way or another, those little images are going to scream out and snitch, something that John was seeing in his revelation and trying to convey to us with his 1st Century vocabulary.

And when all this fails to round up believers for the gas chamber, people will snitch on each other. Even family members will turn one another in for not conforming to the government regulations.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Is Neuralink Something You'd Willingly Sign Up For?

theverge |  Elon Musk has said that his secretive neurotech firm Neuralink will demonstrate a working “device,” presumably a brain-machine interface, at 6PM ET on Friday. Musk has spoken repeatedly about his belief that BMI devices are needed to help humans keep up with AI by supplementing our brainpower, but right now, his goal is much simpler: to create an implantable device that lets people control phones or computers with their mind.

Musk initially announced the August 28th “progress update” back in July, and has now offered more details on what will be shown. He says the update will include the unveiling of a second-generation robot designed to attach the company’s technology to the brain, and a demo of neurons “firing in real-time,” though it’s not clear exactly what is meant by this. 

Even compared to Musk’s other ventures like Tesla and SpaceX, Neuralink is ambitious. The company wants to connect to the brain using flexible electrodes thinner than a human hair that it calls “threads.” Current BMI devices use stiff electrodes for this job, which can cause damage. But inserting flexible electrodes is a much more delicate and challenging task, hence the company’s focus on building a “sewing machine” like robot to do the job.


These Devices Will Be Priceless Magical Artifacts After The Great Fall.....

techcrunch |  Pleasanton-based green energy startup NDB, Inc. has reached a key milestone today with the completion of two proof of concept tests of its nano diamond battery (NDB) . One of these tests took place at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the other at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University, and both saw NDB’s battery tech manage a 40% charge, which is a big improvement over the 15% charge collection efficiency (effectively energy lossiness relative to maximum total possible charge) of standard commercial diamond.

NDB’s innovation is in creating a new, proprietary nano diamond treatment that allows for more efficient extraction of electric charge from the diamond used in the creation of the battery. Their goal is to ultimately commercialize a version of their battery that can self-charge for up to a maximum lifespan of 28,000 years, created from artificial diamond-encased carbon-14 nuclear waste.

This battery doesn’t generate any carbon emissions in operation, and only requires access to open air to work. And while they’re technically batteries, because they contain a charge which will eventually be expended, they provide their own charge for much longer than the lifetime of any specific device or individual user, making them effectively a charge-free solution.

NDB ultimately hopes to turn their battery into a viable source of power for just about anything that consumes it — including aircraft, EVs, trains and more, all the way down to smartphones, wearables and tiny industrial sensors. The company is currently now at work creating a prototype of its first commercial battery in order to make that available sometime later this year.

It has also just signed its first beta customers, who will actually be receiving and making use of those first prototypes. While it hasn’t named them specifically, it did say that one is “a leader in nuclear fuel cycle products and services,” and the other is “a leading global aerospace, defense and security manufacturing company.” Obviously, this kind of tech has appeal in just about every sector, but defense and power concerns are likely among the deepest-pocketed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Who Believes The Lava Tubes In Question Haven't Already Been Extensively Prospected?

CNN | The study published this month in the journal Earth-Science Reviews.

The lava tubes beneath the surface of the moon have also remained largely intact due to low gravity. Any collapsed lava tubes on the moon are likely due to asteroid impacts, the researchers said. And those skylights could actually provide access to the tubes. 
These lava tubes could help shelter astronauts, as well as provide new information about the moon and Mars. 
"The existence of stable huge voids below the Moon subsurface, potentially accessible through skylights, could change the paradigm on how we approach planetary exploration in terms of mission design, planetary human outposts and scientific research," said Pozzobon and Franceso Sauro, study author and professor in the department of biological, geological and environmental sciences at the University of Bologna. 
"Accessing these caves and (analyzing) this type of subsurface environment will present new technological challenges but also could provide unexpected scientific discoveries."
For astronauts exploring the harsh environments and fluctuating temperatures of the moon and Mars, the lava tubes could provide natural shelter from radiation, impacts by micrometeorites and unstable temperatures.  

Micrometeorites pose a danger not only to astronauts, but the habitats and life support equipment they'll need on the moon and Mars. The caves could be used to live in and store equipment. 
It's even possible that the tubes could provide access to water ice reservoirs, the researchers said.
"But the challenges in order to access these caves and sustain human activity are nonetheless massive," the researchers said.

About These Lava Tubes....,

Forbes |  Lava tubes on the moon and Mars may be large enough to fit city center-sized groups of astronauts living on these other worlds, a new study finds.

Lava tubes are an underground tunnel that happens due to the flow of molten rock during a volcanic explosion. We get lava tubes on Earth as well, but the ones on the moon and Mars are likely much larger — allowing huge communities of people to work, live and explore on other worlds.

A typical tube on Earth will be roughly 30 feet to 100 feet (10 to 30 meters) in diameter. But one on Mars could be the height of the Empire State Building, with a diameter 10 times that of Earth. If that sounds big, consider the moon, where its even lower gravity produces a tube up to 1000 times larger than Earth’s — much taller than the massive Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai.

It’s an exciting find because these small, cramped spaces on Earth would instead open up into vast caverns of space on other worlds. Rather than imagining future astronauts working shoulder to shoulder all the time, these space explorers could easily stroll through otherworldly boulevards, all sheltered from deadly outside radiation (and in the case of Mars, fierce dust storms).

 "These [lava tubes] represent ideal gateways or windows for subsurface exploration,” said study lead author Francesco Sauro in a statement. While we’ve known about these lava tubes for a while, the new study shows just how large they are — able to contain the same space as the city center of Padua, Italy in at least one case, Sauro said.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Wolfram's Approach DOES Deserve Better Than The Reception It's Gotten

scientificamerican  |  Most scientists would readily tell you that their discipline is—and always has been—a collaborative, communal process. Nobody can revolutionize a scientific field without first getting the critical appraisal and eventual validation of their peers. Today this requirement is performed through peer review—a process Wolfram’s critics say he has circumvented with his announcement. “Certainly there’s no reason that Wolfram and his colleagues should be able to bypass formal peer review,” Mack says. “And they definitely have a much better chance of getting useful feedback from the physics community if they publish their results in a format we actually have the tools to deal with.”

Mack is not alone in her concerns. “It’s hard to expect physicists to comb through hundreds of pages of a new theory out of the blue, with no buildup in the form of papers, seminars and conference presentations,” says Sean Carroll, a physicist at Caltech. “Personally, I feel it would be more effective to write short papers addressing specific problems with this kind of approach rather than proclaiming a breakthrough without much vetting.”

So why did Wolfram announce his ideas this way? Why not go the traditional route? “I don't really believe in anonymous peer review,” he says. “I think it’s corrupt. It’s all a giant story of somewhat corrupt gaming, I would say. I think it’s sort of inevitable that happens with these very large systems. It’s a pity.”

So what are Wolfram’s goals? He says he wants the attention and feedback of the physics community. But his unconventional approach—soliciting public comments on an exceedingly long paper—almost ensures it shall remain obscure. Wolfram says he wants physicists’ respect. The ones consulted for this story said gaining it would require him to recognize and engage with the prior work of others in the scientific community.

And when provided with some of the responses from other physicists regarding his work, Wolfram is singularly unenthused. “I’m disappointed by the naivete of the questions that you’re communicating,” he grumbles. “I deserve better.”

Is It Computation All The Way Down?

edge |  We're now in this situation where people just assume that science can compute everything, that if we have all the right input data and we have the right models, science will figure it out. If we learn that our universe is fundamentally computational, that throws us right into the idea that computation is a paradigm you have to care about. The big transition was from using equations to describe how everything works to using programs and computation to describe how things work. And that's a transition that has happened after 300 years of equations. The transition time to using programs has been remarkably quick, a decade or two. One area that was a holdout, despite the transition of many fields of science into the computational models direction, was fundamental physics.

If we can firmly establish this fundamental theory of physics, we know it's computation all the way down. Once we know it's computation all the way down, we're forced to think about it computationally. One of the consequences of thinking about things computationally is this phenomenon of computational irreducibility. You can't get around it. That means we have always had the point of view that science will eventually figure out everything, but computational irreducibility says that can't work. It says that even if we know the rules for the system, it may be the case that we can't work out what that system will do any more efficiently than basically just running the system and seeing what happens, just doing the experiment so to speak. We can't have a predictive theoretical science of what's going to happen.

The question that I'm asking myself is how does the universe work? What is the lowest level machine code for how our universe works? The big surprise to me is that over the last six months or so, I think we've figured out a path to be able to answer that question.

There's a lot of detail about how what we figured out about the path to that question relates to what's already known in physics. Once we know this is the low-level machine code for the universe, what can we then ask ourselves about why we have this universe and not another? Can we ask questions like why does this universe exist? Why does any universe exist? Some of those are questions that people asked a couple thousand years ago.

Lots of Greek philosophers had their theories for how the universe fundamentally works. We've gotten many layers of physics and mathematics sophistication since then, but what I'm doing goes back to these core questions of how things fundamentally work underneath. For us, it's this simple structure that involves elements and relations that build into hypergraphs that evolve in certain ways, and then these hypergraphs build into multiway graphs and multiway causal graphs. From pieces of the way those work, we see what relativity is, what quantum mechanics is, and so on.

One of the questions that comes about when you imagine that you might hold in your hand a rule that will generate our whole universe, how do you then think about that? What's the way of understanding what's going on? One of the most obvious questions is why did we get this universe and not another? In particular, if the rule that we find is a comparatively simple rule, how did we get this simple-rule universe?

Monday, August 24, 2020

How Do You Know When Obama Is Lying?

Counterpunch  |  the former constitutional law professor Obama knows damn well that the President of the United States is NOT “elected by all the people.” Thanks to the openly undemocratic Electoral College system, the winner of the national presidential popular vote has failed to win five U.S. presidential elections so far, including the last one.

And to what “democracy” is Obama referring? The United States is a corporate and financial oligarchy. This is an open secret understood very well (in private) by the onetime record corporate fundraiser Obama. Even some conservative elites like the veteran federal jurist and economist Richard Posner concede this basic reality.  As the distinguished liberal political scientists Benjamin Page (Northwestern) and Marin Gilens (Princeton) showed in their expertly researched book Democracy in America? (written and researched during the highly instructive years of Obama’s Citigroup presidency):
“the best evidence indicates that the wishes of ordinary Americans actually have had little or no impact on the making of federal government policy.  Wealthy individuals and organized interest groups – especially business corporations – have had much more political clout.  When they are taken into account, it becomes apparent that the general public has been virtually powerlessThe will of majorities is often thwarted by the affluent and the well-organized, who block popular policy proposals and enact special favors for themselves…Majorities of Americans favor…programs to help provide jobs, increase wages, help the unemployed, provide universal medical insurance, ensure decent retirement pensions, and pay for such programs with progressive taxes.  Most Americans also want to cut ‘corporate welfare.’ Yet the wealthy, business groups, and structural gridlock have mostly blocked such new policies [and programs] (emphasis added).”
By Gilens and Pages’ findings, based on exhaustive inquiry into hundreds of bills and policies enacted and blocked since the 1980s, the basic same rule – concentrated wealth wins, the populace loses – holds regardless of which major party or party configuration holds or distributes nominal power in in Washington.

The “hope” and “change” Obama administration, loaded with agents of high finance, was a case in point. It gave Americans a blunt object lesson on who really owns and runs the country, helping thereby to spark the Occupy Wall Street rebellion, which Obama’s Department of Homeland Security helped crush (along with hundreds of Democratic city governments from coast to coast).

Seven in the ten Americans currently support Medicare for All – a desperately needed policy that the current pretend-progressive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden suggests he would veto if it came to his desk as president!

Barack And Michelle Obama's Martha's Vineyard Estate

thelist  |  Barack and Michelle Obama's beautiful Martha's Vineyard estate seems to be ripped from the pages of a storybook.

Martha's Vineyard, a picturesque Massachusetts island, has been a vacation favorite for many Presidents and first families, from the Kennedys to the Clintons. Lately, however, the Obamas have been amongst the island's most regular presidential visitors — spending time than ever on the island since President Obama's time in office. And while visiting the island may be thoroughly enjoyable, the former first family decided to plant roots and buy a stunning mansion on the island.

As reported by People, in December 2019, the Obamas spent a cool $11.75 million to buy their 6,892-square-foot home dream home, which sits on a stunning 29 private acres. While almost $12 million may sound like a high price to pay for a vacation home, this luxurious Martha's Vineyard estate is well worth the hefty price tag. Here's a look inside Barack and Michelle Obama's beautiful Martha's Vineyard estate.

Barack and Michelle Obama's Martha's Vineyard estate is certainly dreamy.

Martha's Vineyard is known for beautiful homes and stunning beaches. So, it's no wonder why the Obamas wanted to spring for a home-away-from-home on the island — and they didn't skimp, either. The mansion they chose, located on Edgartown Great Pond, is enormous. The home boasts almost 7,000 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms, a private pool, and multiple living rooms, according to the estate's real estate listing. And with 29 private acres of manicured lawns, greenery, and beach, this estate has a little bit of everything.

Obama Destroyed Black American Wealth While

peoplespolicyproject |  The People’s Policy Project is proud to release its first formal paper. Co-authored by Ryan Cooper and Matt Bruenig and designed by Jon White, it uses data from the Survey of Consumer Finances to track the evolution of African-American wealth during the Obama presidency, and how that wealth was affected by housing policy choices made by the administration.

The paper finds that while President Obama had wide discretion and appropriated funds to relieve homeowners caught in the economic crisis, the policy design his administration chose for his housing program was a disaster. Instead of helping homeowners, at every turn the administration was obsessed with protecting the financial system — and so homeowners were left to drown.

As a result, the percentage of black homeowners who were underwater on their mortgage exploded 20-fold from 2007 to 2013.

Most middle-class wealth is housing wealth. Obama’s failure meant that while the top 10 percent of white households saw large increases in wealth due to the bank bailout restoring stock market values, almost everyone else in the country suffered serious losses.

For the rest of the paper, click here.

Media Coverage Jacobin: How Obama Destroyed Black Wealth
The Dig: The Destruction of Black Wealth with Ryan Cooper
Newsweek: Racism in Boston: African-Americans Have a Median Net Worth of $8, New Report Shows
Splinter News: How the Obama Administration Failed Black Homeowners

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Spanish Doctor Wanders Completely Off The Panicdemic Reservation...,

Interviewer: Doctor, you know the situation very well. You’ve worked since the beginning of the pandemic with patients affected by the coronavirus. You are actually at the Escorial Hospital, here in Madrid. Tell us, what is the situation like, exactly? It’s worrying, is it not?  Can you tell us about the total saturation level? Are there hospitals that are beginning to increase the number of beds? Can you confirm any of this?

Doctor: Ah, no, I don’t believe so. I don’t know which hospitals you are talking about. It’s true we are seeing an increase in the number of admissions. But until last week there were none. Yesterday we had three. Three people, and over one hundred beds, you understand? So no, I don’t believe we are close to saturation levels. What’s more, the most crowded hospital, The 12th of October…

Interviewer: So The 12th of October is the hospital that cancelled all surgical interventions from its planning schedule and postponed less-urgent external consultations.

Doctor: Okay, yes. Yesterday, independent authorities published that there were 75 admissions – seventy five admitted in a hospital with 1,300 beds.

Interviewer: That’s right. And 540 infected!

Doctor: Are those sick or just positive cases? Because the data can deceive and confuse us. In the health centres, we administer only PCR tests, so we will find many positives. Furthermore, we are now hospitalizing people tested in their vehicles. We classify these positive PCR tests as Covid-19, even though they are only people that have been tested in their cars. So we are creating confusion by announcing, “Covid-19 cases are increasing!” when in fact, it is not true. There is an increase, but not for patients who have a pathology  of Covid-19.  A pathology of Covid-19 is what we saw in the spring when our hospitals were indeed crowded. But at present, we see an increase in cases that are the simple result of an increase in PCR testing. And having a positive PCR test does not necessarily mean that we are sick.

Interviewer: Tell us, in your hospital, for example, what are you doing? Are you preparing for September or October? Have the health staff returned?

Doctor: Why would they return? they are on vacation like all our elected officials and government personnel. There is no emergency. We are on alert, yes, but not in an emergency.

Interviewer: Are there replacements? Replacement doctors or nurses?

Doctor: I have no idea what was planned. As for the rest, the decision to suspend consultations or surgeries affects the supply in the blood banks and personnel. However, we haven’t yet seen the number of sick patients that we received in the spring.

Friday, August 21, 2020

The Democrats Obviously Don't Want To Win....,

theautomaticearth |  No, no matter how much I read and watch, I can’t shake the idea (less so as I go along, actually) that the Democrats don’t really, honestly, want to win the 2020 presidential election. Obviously, there are many in the party who do, and voters too, but not the ones pushing the levers and pulling the strings. Those, whoever they may be, that are picking candidates, setting policy, maintaining media contacts, doctoring spins.

Because is there anyone among you who has ever seen a worse candidate than Joe Biden? I’m not just talking about his dementia and gaffes, but you’d be very hard-pressed to find anyone who can use Biden and enthusiasm -let alone inspiration, or even better: exhilaration- in one sentence that doesn’t include the word “no”. And isn’t that the #1 requirement for a candidate?

They ostensibly went with Kamala Harris to provide some of that, if we may believe the press. She’ll whip up the voters into wild bouts of inspiring enthusiasm! Only, Kamala bowed out of the primaries even before 2020 started, after spending $40 million -part of which is still not paid off- because she was stuck at 2% support and couldn’t generate … any enthusiasm.

What you got is a really old man who couldn’t get a toddler excited about ice cream, and a token black woman who nobody even in her own party likes. Mix those ingredients into a convention that attracts just half the viewers of the 2016 one and generates the excitement level of an infomercial for kitchen appliances, and is it any wonder I doubt that the “behind the curtain party” is in this to win?
As for the political program, the agenda, there is really only one item on it: Donald Trump. And no matter how many millions of times it may be repeated in speeches and news articles, NOT being something is in the end NOT a positive message. You’re supposed to win on your own merit, not someone else’s perceived lack of merit. Newsflash: “MOST BIDEN SUPPORTERS SAY THEIR VOTE IS AGAINST TRUMP RATHER THAN FOR BIDEN – WSJ/NBC News poll”.

This bit from the Guardian on Monday sums it up nicely, and it veers into late night comedy territory while doing it (what more can one ask for?):

The Democratic national convention begins on Monday with a star-studded lineup and heavy emphasis on unity aimed at presenting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the US’s best hope for healing a deeply divided nation[..]
The Dems have a hard enough time uniting their own party, let alone the nation. And there’s not a Trump supporter who would move into their camp – other than the odd washed up GOP politician.

The Removal Of Liberty Requires Consent

off-guardian |  A “case” is anyone who tests positive for Sars-Cov-2, using the notoriously unreliable PCR tests which produce huge numbers of false positives.

Even supposing the positive test is real, the vast majority of “cases” are asymptomatic. Between false positives, unreliable tests and asymptomatic infection, a “case” count for sars-cov-2 is borderline meaningless.

Let’s say there are symptoms AND a positive test, and assume they’re not just a false positive who has a cold or the flu. Well, even the vast majority of the “symptomatic cases” will only ever be mildly ill. In fact of the 6 million active cases in the world, only 1% are considered severely ill. The majority of them will survive.

The CDC estimates the infection fatality ratio of Sars-Cov-2 to be about 0.26%. A number perfectly in line with severe flu seasons. Virtually every country in Europe is now reporting average, or even below average, mortality.

Broadly speaking, the vast majority of the world is, and will likely remain, absolutely fine.
But things aren’t going back to normal, are they? In fact, they are getting worse. The governments have got their foot in the door, and they have no intention of moving it.

Masks are now mandatory in the UK, and Australia, and New Zealand, and Germany and France. And many others. The Democrat’s nominee for President, Joe Biden, has said they should be mandatory in the US as well.

Every day there are more and more articles discussing the need for mandatory vaccination, or something even worse.

And everywhere the language is changing. “The New Normal” was about beating Covid19, but now it’s about “covid19 and future pandemics”, or the “other colossal challenges facing humanity”….which can mean literally anything they want it to mean.

All this is based on the ever-increasing number of cases, without any reference to the fact deaths are falling.

Collapse Is Silent But Its Signs Are All Around...,

theinsideview |  We can define civilizational collapse as a process wherein most recognizable large-scale institutions of a society vanish, coupled with a drop in material wealth, a drop in the complexity of material artifacts and social forms, a reduction in travel distance and physical safety of the inhabitants, and a mass reduction in knowledge.

Loss of knowledge is especially damaging, since it accelerates the other aspects of collapse and ensures that they will be long-lasting. Nearly all of the written evidence we have of societal decline comes from elites. Historically, literacy was restricted to the traditional elite class of a society, as they were the only ones with any use for reading and writing. This accounts for the total disappearance of writing after the Late Bronze Age collapse, since Bronze Age societies had a very small literate class. 
The result was a wholesale loss of civilizational knowledge. When writing reappeared in the eastern Mediterranean centuries later, it was based on the new Phoenician alphabet, rather than the old hieroglyphic system that gave birth to the cuneiform of the Assyrians or the Linear B of the Minoans. Such losses of knowledge are a constant throughout human history: as with FOGBANK, or as with the state of New Jersey recently scrambling to find a COBOL programmer with the ability to overhaul their legacy information systems.

Despite how difficult it can be to gather historical data, it’s still a far better way to understand societal collapse than purely theoretical models. Rather than picking and choosing our preferred explanations of collapse beforehand, we should first recognize that there are simply too many causal variables to control for. The best we can hope for is rigorous cross-comparison with the historical record, using sets of natural experiments between past societies. A broad historical literature of collapse does exist, especially on the Late Bronze Age collapse and the fall of the Roman Empire. But the scholars that pose these questions often have particular—and popular—answers in mind as to what causes collapse: environmental fragility, moral decline, an overloading of systemic complexity, and so on. 

The morality play is written first, the facts are found second, and this often results in a shoddy final product of a theory. Thus, the relevance of history for investigating our own society’s potential collapse is also obvious: without comparing the present to other civilizations, we can’t say much of anything useful about it.

It is hard to come to a consensus on historical cause and effect. In geology, we didn’t build another planet to discover the Earth’s plate tectonics, but rather dug among the rocks on which we found ourselves. In our macro-study of history and civilizations, we too must rely on in-depth exploration of historical examples.

That exploration is still itself theory-driven. Good historians and theoreticians explicitly acknowledge the theses they work with, so I will do the same. My theory of history is great founder theory: I propose that social technologies do not evolve out of mass action, but rather are devised by a tiny subset of institutional designers. Looking at history, we see that new organizations and social forms often arise within a single generation, showing jumps in social complexity far too rapid to be explained away by collective action or evolution. This would be the equivalent of expecting a tornado tearing through a junkyard to assemble a Boeing 747 or a Tesla Cybertruck.

Designing complex objects through collective action, or perhaps through an intermittent individual strategy similar to the open software approach, is tempting. However, unowned commons tend to be raided, and individual visions tend to differ massively. It often takes an exceptional individual with exceptional vision to create a new social or material technology. It’s hard to remember nowadays that the smartphone once had to be devised as a combination of the cell phone, the tablet, and the camera, and did not merely emerge out of mass market sentiments. It took a single individual, Steve Jobs, to see that while a combination of the car, the airplane, and the submarine would produce an inferior version of all three, the opposite case would be true in the creation of the smartphone. And then that individual had to implement the vision.

WHO Put The Hit On Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico?

Eyes on Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico who has just announced a Covid Inquiry that will investigate the vaccine, excess deaths, the EU...