Wednesday, April 11, 2012

let's not derail MIT from it's path to excellence!

The Tech | MIT is the finest research institution in the world, in no small part because of its unwavering commitment to recruiting, admitting, and hiring the best talent in the world, even if that talent comes from less-advantaged or atypical backgrounds. Periodically examining the mechanisms by which the Institute pursues its mission is essential, but those examinations must be grounded in both data and an understanding of the MIT ethos. Brandon Briscoe’s execrable and intellectually dishonest rant against diversity and inclusion at the Institute is neither, serving as a disheartening call to take MIT in precisely the wrong direction. By mischaracterizing MIT’s admission and hiring processes as a de facto quota system, Briscoe effects a brilliant takedown of a straw man of his own creation and manages to cast aspersions on the intellect of every MIT-affiliated woman and underrepresented minority, … all based on little more than a few sloppy citations and the courage of his own biased convictions.

Fundamentally, Briscoe draws a false dilemma between diversity and merit. Unlike wannabe peer institutions, the Institute neither kowtows to pedigree nor slavishly adheres to test scores and GPAs. Briscoe would have MIT break this tradition and emulate the admission process of second-rate institutions, namely by picking the best test scores, GPAs, and AP scores out of a hat. But what do these variables actually measure? An SAT score is a better measure of the wealth of one’s parents than eventual success in college or the labor market. And how can we honestly claim that GPA and AP classes are a fair measure of merit given the gross disparities across schools, which are more racially segregated today than they were before the Civil Rights legislation Briscoe applauds? In our broken and disparate system, the hardest-working, highest-achieving student in a terrible school wouldn’t stand a chance against a middle-of-the-road student in an exceptional school without the incorporation of context into admissions decisions. Similarly, what do we do about the application of the utterly-capable female student who is steered away from AP science classes by her counselors, teachers, and parents? Given these realities, it is clear that Briscoe’s idea of a blind meritocracy is antithetical to his simultaneous calls for fairness and equality. How would it be fair to discount the star student because he went to a bad school? How would it be equitable to ignore the potential of the young woman because societal forces told her she couldn’t be something?

Briscoe refers to discrimination as “past,” which is another egregious oversight. Silly claims of “post-racial” America notwithstanding, racial discrimination is still widespread, as is gender discrimination. We don’t have to look too hard to see evidence of bias. We know that blacks and Latinos were targeted for expensive, dangerous subprime loans during the housing boom and we know that black and Latino homeowners were targeted for foreclosure action during the bust. We know that because of the sad reality of racial segregation, black and Latino children are served by unsatisfactory schools. We know that women are penalized in the workplace for having children when men are not. We know that young girls are discouraged from pursuing careers in science and engineering. The idea that America solved all of these issues with the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Rights Movement is a fantasy largely perpetuated by those who have something to gain by race and gender discrimination.

Even at MIT, discrimination persists: Briscoe’s article proves that ipso facto. We need not rely on his words, however. The 2011 Report on the Status of Women Faculty in the Schools of Science and Engineering at MIT, for example, is both a story of amazing strides in gender equality at MIT and a sobering report of the prejudice that female faculty face even in 2011. Yet, Briscoe uses the fact that in one year the engineering school hired more women than men as evidence of systematic discrimination against men. He supports this point by noting that women are a minority of MIT graduate students and engineers nationally. The questionable nature of this argument could not be more obvious. Comparing one year of data to the summed result of decades of systematic discrimination against women would be laughable if it were not such a perfect example of the cognitive dissonance driving much of sexism.

Unfortunately, this fallacious argument is just the tip of the iceberg in Briscoe’s article, which takes an intellectually ugly turn when Briscoe reimagines President Hockfield’s decidedly uncontroversial remarks at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration as a claim that MIT is “reserving job positions for certain racial groups” and acting “necessarily at the expense of white and Asian men.” These interpretations are, of course, both false and contrary to Hockfield’s meaning, yet Briscoe practically presents the latter as a direct quotation. Briscoe follows this up with a poor man’s legal analysis of affirmative action based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, declaring that MIT is flouting Federal law. Somehow Briscoe manages to leave out all of the modern case law (cf. Grutter v. Bollinger) that directly contradicts his claims.

At one point, the article brings up the aforementioned Report on the Status of Women Faculty, cherry-picks the one quotation within reasonable Hamming distance of supporting his argument, and distorts it until it does. He makes unfounded claims about women being overrepresented on committees and brazenly quotes a woman out of context, implying that she claimed that her gender is an advantage in certain fields at MIT. This is false. Upon actually reading the report, it’s clear that the person was not speaking about her experience within MIT. As a matter of fact, the very same paragraph contains a quote from another woman who says: “[My] field is brutal and sexist. You talk to senior colleagues and they want to talk about anything but science — life, how you look.”

is MIT heading in the wrong direction with affirmative action?

The Tech | A key question brought up at the recent MIT Diversity Summit, and the MLK Jr. annual breakfast, was how can MIT balance excellence with diversity? It has been commonly noted that students and faculty alike perceive tension within the Institute between the frequent appeals for increased diversity, and the culture of hard work and meritocracy that make MIT what it is. This question received heavy emphasis in the 2010 Report on the Initiative for Faculty Race and Diversity. One of the final statements of that report was that, “While almost everyone at MIT would like the Institute to be an institution of merit and inclusion, it will be difficult to reach this ideal if race and ethnicity are ignored and presumed irrelevant.”

For the good of the Institute, I feel compelled to rephrase this — while almost everyone at MIT would like the Institute to be an institution of merit and inclusion, it will be difficult to reach this ideal if race, ethnicity, and gender continue to play such a big role in the social engineering agenda of the administration of MIT.

This agenda actively pursued across the Institute — the goals of which are to dramatically increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in the student and faculty body at MIT, and thereby to attempt to increase nationwide participation by the same in STEM fields — is well-intentioned, but eroding not only the meritocracy at MIT, but the quality of experience that these same females, minority students, and faculty experience here.

To anyone who claims that MIT’s affirmative action policies only focus on outreach recruiting but do not provide preference in admissions, faculty hiring, or positions, and therefore do not discriminate, then please explain the following: last spring, a gloating announcement was made by the interim dean of the School of Engineering stating that, for the first time ever, more women than men were hired for faculty positions that year. Compare this with the fact that in 2011 women comprised only 26 percent of the graduate student body in the MIT School of Engineering, and only 11 percent of career engineers nationally. Unless we conclude that the female student and postdoc engineering population is vastly more qualified then their male peers, which we have no reason to believe, then clearly there is more going on at MIT than just “attracting” more female faculty. The same can be said for racial and ethnic considerations.

There is more concrete evidence of the way in which affirmative action at MIT really works. At the MLK Jr. breakfast this year, President Hockfield stated, “We need to engineer a set of underlying institutional mechanisms, expectations, habits, and rhythms that make diversity and inclusion simply part of what we work on here, every day.” She then went further to point out that, as reported by MIT News, the School of Science is identifying new funds to expand its pool of URM faculty. Wait a second — last time I checked, reserving job positions for certain racial groups is blatantly against federal law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits not only intentional discrimination, but also practices that have the effect of discriminating against individuals because of their race in any aspect of employment including: hiring and firing, recruitment, and training and apprenticeship programs. Can you imagine the outrage if President Hockfield stated that the School of Science was raising funding specifically for hiring more white faculty?

MIT claims to be a fair, equitable, inclusive, and merit-based institution. Yet, when the powers that be at this institute essentially declare that, “We are doing everything we can to admit, hire, and promote more women and underrepresented minorities, necessarily at the expense of white and Asian men” — and we compare this to the definition of discrimination: “Treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of, a person based on the group, class, or category to which that person belongs rather than on individual merit,” then how is MIT not being discriminatory and hypocritical?

Hizmet: the Gulen Schools Movement

Townhall | The charter school movement was presented to the American people as a way to have more parental control over public school education. Charter schools are public schools financed by local taxpayers and federal grants.

Charter schools are able to hire and fire teachers, administrators and staff and avoid control by education department bureaucrats and the teachers unions. No doubt there are some good charter schools, but loose controls have allowed a very different kind of school to emerge.

Charter schools have opened up a path for foreigners to run schools at the expense of the U.S. taxpayers, without much news coverage. One of the few breakthroughs in the media was a June 7, 2011, front-page article in The New York Times, which carried over to two full inside pages, about the many charter schools run by a secretive and powerful sect from Turkey called the Gulen Movement.

Headed by a Turkish preacher named Fethullah Gulen who had already founded a network of schools in 100 other countries, this movement opened its first U.S. charter school in 1999. Gulen's schools spread rapidly after he figured out how to work our system and get the U.S. taxpayers to import and finance his recruitment of followers for his worldwide religious and social movement.

The Gulen Movement now operates the largest charter school network in the United States. It has at least 135 schools, teaching more than 45,000 students in at least 26 states, financed by millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars a year.

The principals and school board members are usually Turkish men. Hundreds of Turkish teachers (referred to as "international teachers") and administrators have been admitted to the United States, often using H-1B visas, after claiming that qualified Americans cannot be found.

In addition, the Gulen Movement has nurtured a close-knit network of businesses and organizations run by Turkish immigrants. These include the big contractors who built or renovated the schools, plus a long list of vendors selling school lunches, uniforms, after-school programs, web design, teacher training, and special education materials. Fist tap Big Don.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

asia: the growing hub of scientific research

asianscientist | The scientific global village has a new member: Asia. The shifting face of science reflects the strides made by Asian nations in recognizing R&D as a valuable industry.
  • Asia-8′s R&D expenditure is second only to the US, surpassing the EU-27
  • One-third of all scientific researchers worldwide are Asian
  • One-quarter of the world’s publications are from Asia
  • China’s scientific publishing output may overtake the US in 2013
The Asian research landscape is dynamic and burgeoning, with its researchers making significant contributions in academic publications, research & development, and high-technology manufacturing and exports.

The emerging Asia-8 economies (China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand) are currently leading this change in status quo, driving a shift from the traditional hubs of research in the US and countries in the EU-27.

Asian R&D Spending Has Risen

An important measure of an industry’s growth, Asian R&D expenditure has grown significantly with China’s spending now US$100 billion of the worldwide total of US$1.1 trillion in 2007.

In figures from the 2010 National Science Foundation Key Science and Engineering Indicators, spending by Asia-8 economies have now reached second place behind the US, surpassing those of the EU-27. Overall, R&D growth in US and Europe has plateaued, averaging 5-6 percent annually over the period 1996–2007, whereas R&D growth rates of Asian economies during the same period often exceeded 10 percent, with Chinese spending growing at 20 percent since 1999.

Reflecting an increase in private spending by domestic and foreign firms as well as public R&D spending, Asia-8 member Singapore has nearly doubled its spending between 1996 and 2007 from 1.37 to 2.61 percent of its GDP. This unprecedented growth is part of the island nation’s policy designed to raise its competitiveness through the development of a knowledge-intensive economy.

One Out Of Three Researchers Are Asian

Other signs of a shift in research can be observed by the distribution of researcher nationalities. Asia now contributes nearly one-third of the 5.8 million researchers worldwide.

The combined number of researchers of South Korea, Taiwan, China, and Singapore rose from 16 percent in 2003, to 31 percent in 2007, driven mostly by China’s rapid growth in R&D. In contrast, the number of US and EU researchers declined from 51 to 49 percent; Japan’s share dropped from 17 to 12 percent.

There has also been a surge in a new generation of researchers from Asia, with 1.5 million students in China alone currently enrolled in postgraduate programs. This number is an increase in 57 percent compared to the previous year, according to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In total, China has 31 million students in higher education institutions in 2010, an increase of 35 percent compared to 2005, and almost double compared to 2002.

Publication Output From Asia Is Increasing

Another metric – publishing output – indicates that the world’s scientific hub is slowly shifting east. Between 1995 to 2007, the growth rate in science and engineering article output from mature economies of the US (0.7 percent) and EU (1.9 percent) has plateaued, in contrast to the rapidly developing science base of Asia-8 countries (9.0 percent) and China (16.5 percent).

Although the UK and US together still account for 38 percent of publications in 2004-2008, this figure is down from 45 percent in the previous five years. This is contrasted by Asia-8, China and Japan, which now account for 22 percent of the world’s total academic publication output. Singapore’s output, though small in comparison, has tripled between 1996 and 2008, from 2620 to 8506 papers.

Together, China and Spain have now edged Australia and Switzerland out of the top ten publishers for the last five years.

chinese academy of sciences has big plans for nation's research

nature | Chemist Bai Chunli, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) talks to Nature about science in China and his vision for the prestigious institution.

What is the CAS's role in shaping science policy in China?

As the top think-tank for central government, the CAS advises on science policies and priority areas of research. In the past few decades, it has been instrumental in planning and instigating major initiatives, such as the establishment of scientific funding systems and major national research and development projects.

The CAS has also been a testing ground for reforms in policies and infrastructures. Under the Knowledge Innovation Program, for instance, reform and restructuring of the academy led to significant improvement in scientific output. And as part of Innovation 2020, the CAS will strive to boost national innovation capacity.

How will you deal with the relationship between basic research and applied science?

The CAS is committed to building a strong capacity for basic research, allowing for sufficient funding and research freedom. It will reduce the frequency of research evaluation while improving its quality; for research directly related to the public interest, evaluation will be based on national needs and socioeconomic benefits.

How will the CAS accelerate the conversion of basic research to products?

First, the CAS will strengthen its ties with the industrial sector by setting up joint research and development centres and working with industry on major national projects. We will house incubation programmes for promising business ideas.

Second, we will promote collaboration with provincial governments and set up regional research programmes. Finally, the CAS will establish incentives to encourage patents and their commercialization, and will improve its management and supporting infrastructure to better protect intellectual-property rights.

China's output of scientific papers has increased rapidly in recent years, but the impact of those papers is still relatively low. How do you propose to remedy that?

The quantity and quality of papers published by the CAS have increased significantly in the past decades — although, admittedly, the overall quality of papers in China needs to be improved. The CAS will continue to encourage its scientists to take on challenges in frontier research areas, and will support risky and long-term projects.

Meanwhile, our evaluation system, which is largely based on the number and quality of papers, will shift towards assessing the quality of innovation, its actual contribution to society and its state of development.

How do you want to cultivate the relationship between scientists in China and in the rest of the world?

The CAS will consolidate its collaborations with developed nations, and further promote cooperation with developing nations, especially China's neighbours. It will strive to set up long-term, strategic partnerships with first-rate research institutions, international science organizations and multinational research and development corporations. The CAS encourages its scientists to participate in international research projects and to take up positions in international organizations. We also warmly welcome scientists from other nations to visit and work in the academy.

There have been growing calls for reforms of the allocation and management of science funding. What is your position on that?

From a relatively low level, science in China has made significant progress in the past few decades. This is due to the efforts of the Chinese scientific community as well as government administrations.

failed states run on pig sh*t...,

bloomberg | Mexico, one of three Latin American nations that uses nuclear power, is abandoning plans to build as many as 10 new reactors and will focus on natural gas-fired electricity plants after boosting discoveries of the fuel.

The country, which found evidence of trillions of cubic feet of gas in the past year, is “changing all its decisions, amid the very abundant existence of natural-gas deposits,” Energy Minister Jordy Herrera said in a Nov. 1 interview. Mexico will seek private investment of about $10 billion during five years to expand its natural gas pipeline network, he said.

Mexico, Latin America’s second-largest economy, is boosting estimated gas reserves after Petroleos Mexicanos discovered new deposits in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico and shale gas in the border state of Coahuila. The country was considering nuclear power as part of plans to boost capacity by almost three-quarters to 86 gigawatts within 15 years, from about 50 gigawatts, and now prefers gas for cost reasons, he said.

“This is a very good decision by the Mexican government,” said James Williams, an economist at WTRG Economics, an energy research firm in London, Arkansas. With a power generation project based on gas “you can build multiple plants at a much lower cost and much faster pace than a nuclear facility.”

Nations around the world are also reconsidering plans for increasing their reliance on nuclear power after the March 11 earthquake in Japan that wrecked the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, causing a loss of cooling, the meltdown of three reactors and the worst atomic disaster since the leak at Chernobyl in 1986.

Monday, April 09, 2012

bearing in mind that chernobyl caused the collapse of the soviet union...,

akiomatsumura | Japan’s former Ambassador to Switzerland, Mr. Mitsuhei Murata, was invited to speak at the Public Hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 22, 2012, on the Fukushima nuclear power plants accident. Before the Committee, Ambassador Murata strongly stated that if the crippled building of reactor unit 4—with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground—collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4. In both cases the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel; dangerously, they are open to the air. This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced. He stressed that the responsibility of Japan to the rest of the world is immeasurable. Such a catastrophe would affect us all for centuries. Ambassador Murata informed us that the total numbers of the spent fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi site excluding the rods in the pressure vessel is 11,421 (396+615+566+1,535+994+940+6375).

I asked top spent-fuel pools expert Mr. Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy, for an explanation of the potential impact of the 11,421 rods.

I received an astounding response from Mr. Alvarez [updated 4/5/12]:
In recent times, more information about the spent fuel situation at the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site has become known. It is my understanding that of the 1,532 spent fuel assemblies in reactor No. 304 assemblies are fresh and unirradiated. This then leaves 1,231 irradiated spent fuel rods in pool No. 4, which contain roughly 37 million curies (~1.4E+18 Becquerel) of long-lived radioactivity. The No. 4 pool is about 100 feet above ground, is structurally damaged and is exposed to the open elements. If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident.

The infrastructure to safely remove this material was destroyed as it was at the other three reactors. Spent reactor fuel cannot be simply lifted into the air by a crane as if it were routine cargo. In order to prevent severe radiation exposures, fires and possible explosions, it must be transferred at all times in water and heavily shielded structures into dry casks.. As this has never been done before, the removal of the spent fuel from the pools at the damaged Fukushima-Dai-Ichi reactors will require a major and time-consuming re-construction effort and will be charting in unknown waters. Despite the enormous destruction cased at the Da–Ichi site, dry casks holding a smaller amount of spent fuel appear to be unscathed.

Based on U.S. Energy Department data, assuming a total of 11,138 spent fuel assemblies are being stored at the Dai-Ichi site, nearly all, which is in pools. They contain roughly 336 million curies (~1.2 E+19 Bq) of long-lived radioactivity. About 134 million curies is Cesium-137 — roughly 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released at the Chernobyl accident as estimated by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP). The total spent reactor fuel inventory at the Fukushima-Daichi site contains nearly half of the total amount of Cs-137 estimated by the NCRP to have been released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, Chernobyl, and world-wide reprocessing plants (~270 million curies or ~9.9 E+18 Becquerel).

It is important for the public to understand that reactors that have been operating for decades, such as those at the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site have generated some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet.
Many of our readers might find it difficult to appreciate the actual meaning of the figure, yet we can grasp what 85 times more Cesium-137 than the Chernobyl would mean. It would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival. Fist tap Dale.

keep it moving, keep it moving, nothing to see here...,

Smithsonian | Recent research supports the conclusions of a controversial environmental study released 40 years ago: The world is on track for disaster. So says Australian physicist Graham Turner, who revisited perhaps the most groundbreaking academic work of the 1970s,The Limits to Growth.

Written by MIT researchers for an international think tank, the Club of Rome, the study used computers to model several possible future scenarios. The business-as-usual scenario estimated that if human beings continued to consume more than nature was capable of providing, global economic collapse and precipitous population decline could occur by 2030.

However, the study also noted that unlimited economic growth was possible, if governments forged policies and invested in technologies to regulate the expansion of humanity’s ecological footprint. Prominent economists disagreed with the report’s methodology and conclusions. Yale’s Henry Wallich opposed active intervention, declaring that limiting economic growth too soon would be “consigning billions to permanent poverty.”

Turner compared real-world data from 1970 to 2000 with the business-as-usual scenario. He found the predictions nearly matched the facts. “There is a very clear warning bell being rung here,” he says. “We are not on a sustainable trajectory.”

Sunday, April 08, 2012

a universe of self-replicating code

kurzweilai |What we’re missing now, on another level, is not just biology, but cosmology. People treat the digital universe as some sort of metaphor, just a cute word for all these products. The universe of Apple, the universe of Google, the universe of Facebook, that these collectively constitute the digital universe, and we can only see it in human terms and what does this do for us?

We’re missing a tremendous opportunity. We’re asleep at the switch because it’s not a metaphor. In 1945 we actually did create a new universe. This is a universe of numbers with a life of their own, that we only see in terms of what those numbers can do for us. Can they record this interview? Can they play our music? Can they order our books on Amazon? If you cross the mirror in the other direction, there really is a universe of self-reproducing digital code. When I last checked, it was growing by five trillion bits per second. And that’s not just a metaphor for something else. It actually is. It’s a physical reality.

[GEORGE DYSON:] When I started looking at the beginnings of the modern digital universe — at the origin of this two-dimensional address matrix — I became interested in the question of what had been done with it at the beginning. Of course, one of the things was the work on the hydrogen bomb.

Another thing that surprised and delighted me was to find that a Norwegian-Italian mathematical biologist and viral geneticist, Nils Aall Barricelli, had tried to come to Princeton in 1951, as soon as he heard this machine was being built. He had trouble getting a visa, so he finally shows up in early 1953 when the machine is running, and immediately begins these experiments, to see if he could inoculate this two-dimensional matrix with random strings of one-dimensional numbers that can self-replicate and cross-breed, and do all the things that we know that code does in biology, and see what happens.

And he observed. He was an observational biologist. He saw all sorts of behavior that he read all sorts of biological implications into. He was way too far ahead of the time, so no one paid attention and this was forgotten.

We now live in a world where everything he dreamed of really did happen. And, for some reason, von Neumann never publicized Barricelli’s work. I don’t know if there was a personal rivalry or what happened, but von Neumann died, and his papers on self-reproducing automata were published posthumously [edited by Arthur W. Burks] and there was no mention of Barricelli. Part of it was this fear that it really would provoke the public. They called computers “electronic brains” at that time. It was scary enough that we might be building machines that would think. But the idea of producing artificial life was even more Frankenstein-like. I think that’s one reason we never heard about that.

Just as we later worried about recombinant DNA, what if these things escaped? What would they do to the world? Could this be the end of the world as we know it if these self-replicating numerical creatures got loose?

But, we now live in a world where they did get loose — a world increasingly run by self-replicating strings of code. Everything we love and use today is, in a lot of ways, self-reproducing exactly as Turing, von Neumann, and Barricelli prescribed. It’s a very symbiotic relationship: the same way life found a way to use the self-replicating qualities of these polynucleotide molecules to the great benefit of life as a whole, there’s no reason life won’t use the self-replicating abilities of digital code, and that’s what’s happening. If you look at what people like Craig Venter and the thousand less-known companies are doing, we’re doing exactly that, from the bottom up.

What’s, in a way, missing in today’s world is more biology of the Internet. More people like Nils Barricelli to go out and look at what’s going on, not from a business or what’s legal point of view, but just to observe what’s going on.

Friday, April 06, 2012

the real reason elites intend to legalize some drugs?

dailybell | The US has jailed tens of millions in the past decade over drug infractions. But now we seem to be seeing some re-thinking ... First Pat Robertson writes about legalizing marijuana and then CNN's Fareed Zakaria writes about it as well. And that's not all.

A random search of Google shows that a bill to legalize medical marijuana is moving forward in the Tennessee House and that the Rhode Island Senate is discussing legalization as well. In Yakima, Washington, a former Seattle police chief and a former state senator will hold a public forum on the legalization of marijuana.

Now, in this article excerpted above, we think that the purpose of this theme, if that's what it is, is beginning to emerge. Australian foreign minister Bob Carr may have given the game away by referring to, "A bit of modest decriminalisation, de facto decriminalisation at the edges, simply freeing up police to be doing the things they ought to be doing... "

What Carr is saying is that the "authorities" are stretched. The system, he is indicating, has other priorities that are not being addressed because of the "war on drugs."

What might those priorities be? We can only speculate, but as the Western world tends to move in lockstep when it comes to such things (given that nation-states are pretty much an illusion at this point), we would tend to think that a decision has been made to point the resources of Leviathan at the emergent freedom movement that is roiling the Western world.

We've long predicted this moment, of course, writing over and over that the Internet is a kind of Gutenberg Press and that the same sort of society-transforming trends are taking place now as did back then.

Then, from what we can tell, the elites started a number of wars, including a so-called Peasant War that lasted about 30 years. War is a great way to control the masses because all the rules of civil society can be thrown out based on "security considerations." That's what is happening today, as then.

There are many other parallels between the circumstances surrounding the Gutenberg Press and today's Internet. We've often mentioned them in these pages. Copyright was invented in Britain after the advent of the press in order to slow the transmission of information – and now today, again, copyright is being used, this time as a weapon against the Internet.

The elites are neither imaginative nor facile. They tend to select repetitious stratagems from a sparse and brutal tool kit. They are not disappointing now. Brutality is increasingly the order of the day. Wars, depression, torture and general intimidation via Draconian laws and regulation are the order of the day.

People are perpetually and increasingly astonished at what's going on. Just the other day, CNN leftist Rachel Maddow appeared on-air with a rant against the Supreme Court for determining one could be strip-searched at the discretion of US law enforcement no matter the reason.

Maddow laid the blame on a "conservative" Supreme Court but, in fact, the stale right-left paradigm has no relevance to what's going on. The emergent fascist state throughout the West has all the hallmarks of a deliberate policy.

Of course, Maddow would have to admit that there are dynastic families based out of the City of London that want to run the world and are willing to create a kind of generalized Western Third Reich to do so.

The power elite that wants to rule the world has been destabilizing the US for several centuries – really ever since it came together as a libertarian republic. It took the Civil War to really set in motion the trends that have blossomed today, including a massive military-industrial complex, an intel-industrial complex and a penal-industrial complex.

Australia has all the signal hallmarks of an emergent fascist state including a feverish green lobby, incandescently dishonest politics, an emergent carbon tax, etc. But we have to think that the "stick" of this decriminalization is aimed at the US.

The emergent authoritarian TSA has just ordered 400 million hollow-point bullets and the US is building a trans-national spy facility out in Utah at a cost of billions. The elites have always hated and feared US exceptionalism and its general republican orientation.

Under former President George W. Bush, the US also built numerous detention facilities across the US, giving the contract to Dick Cheney's Halliburton. While there is a large intimidation/propaganda factor to all of this, the elites are probably dead serious about a transfer of resources away from petty drug matters in order to focus on social unrest, "domestic security" and "the war on terror."

Does the real reason for the War on Drugs stand revealed? Was it really intended simply to build a kind of trans-national gulag that can now be employed for the security purposes of the elite? Did people really waste away their lives in prison simply to provide a pretext for the construction of a blossoming Security State?

Conclusion: Having created and staffed this monstrosity, are the top elites now prepared to put it to "better" use. Think about the "great debates" of prohibition that have raged for the past century, the billions of words and books and white papers that have been written. Was it really nothing but an excuse? And if so, how they must have laughed ...

have elites decided to legalize some drugs in the u.s.?

dailybell | Of course, at the Daily Bell we've written regularly about the US penitentiary-industrial complex. And we're not surprised that incarceration began to soar in the 1960s. This is part and parcel of what we consider to be directed history.

This is history that is organized and driven by a power elite that controls the world's central banks and is trying to create global government. This elite, especially what would seem to be its top dynastic families, apparently rule behind the scenes via what has been described as mercantilism.

These elites pass laws that benefit their interests at the expense of others. It benefits the elites in at least two ways to make drugs illegal. For one thing, the elites don't like to use their own money to pursue their goals. They use money generated via fiat central banking.

They also generate huge cash profits from the illegal smuggling that the West's top Intel agencies, including the CIA, are apparently involved in. This black cash funds black ops and increasingly private militias and policing.

It benefits the elites to have a large prison population in the US because doing so fractures families and creates societal dysfunction. The elites have seen the United States as a distinct threat to world government because of its republican culture and quasi-libertarian-mindset of millions of citizens.

The elites use dominant social themes to achieve their mercantilist aims. These memes are intended to scare Western middle classes into giving up power and wealth to internationalist facilities. One of these memes has been the "drug war" and the necessity to put drug addicts in jail to protect society. But now this meme seems to be coming under attack.

The people involved, like Robertson, may mean well but with addition of the CNN editorial (above) and various legislative moves, it would seem that something may be stirring. The mainstream media is controlled by the same elites that control central banking, in our view, and thus when something appears in aggregate on the mainstream media we tend to believe it is being presented for a purpose.

It is hard to say why the elites have decided to soften the rhetoric on the drug war at this time. One speculation would be that reducing drug usage penalties or eliminating them tends to blur the increasingly authoritarian line that Western governments are taking as regards "austerity" and other Draconian measures.

Or perhaps the inevitable sociopolitical debate over drugs will simply distract attention from other more important moves the elites are making to impose global government.

Conclusion: With many such themes, we are not entirely sure of their significance to begin with – or even if they constitute a real elite promotion. We are not sure what this seeming change in direction as regards the drug war means, either. Maybe viewers and feedbackers will have a better sense. As for us, we'll be watching.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

looking forward to it...,

parasitic gerontocracy..,

Esquire | Twenty-five years ago young Americans had a chance.

In 1984, American breadwinners who were sixty-five and over made ten times as much as those under thirty-five. The year Obama took office, older Americans made almost forty-seven times as much as the younger generation.

This bleeding up of the national wealth is no accounting glitch, no anomalous negative bounce from the recent unemployment and mortgage crises, but rather the predictable outcome of thirty years of economic and social policy that has been rigged to serve the comfort and largesse of the old at the expense of the young.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, human potential has been consistently growing, generating greater material wealth, more education, wider opportunities — a vast and glorious liberation of human potential. In all that time, everyone, even followers of the most corrupt or most evil of ideologies, believed they were working for a better tomorrow. Not now. The angel of progress has suddenly vanished from the scene. Or rather, the angel of progress has been sent away.

Nobody ever talks about generational conflict. Who wants to bring up that the old are eating the young at the dinner table? How are you going to mention that to your boss? If you're a politician, how are you going to tell your donors? Even the Occupy Wall Street crowd, while rejecting the modes and rhetoric and institutional support of Boomer progressives, shied away from articulating the fundamental distinction that fills their spaces with crowds: young against old.

The gerontocracy begins at the top. The 111th Congress was the oldest since the end of the Second World War, and the average age of its members has been rising steadily since 1981. The graying of Congress has obvious political ramifications, although generalizations can be deceiving. The Republican representatives tend to be younger than the Democrats, but that doesn't mean they represent the interests of the young. The youngest senators are Tea Party members, Mike Lee from Utah and Marco Rubio from Florida (both forty). Here's Rubio: "Americans chose a free-enterprise system designed to provide a quality of opportunity, not compel a quality of results. And that is why this is the only place in the world where you can open up a business in the spare bedroom of your home." He is speaking to people who own homes that have empty spare bedrooms. He will not or cannot understand that the spare bedrooms of America are filling up with returning adult children, like the estimated 85 percent of college graduates who returned to their childhood beds in 2010, toting along $25,250 of debt.

David Frum, former George W. Bush speechwriter, had the guts to acknowledge that the Tea Party's combination of expensive entitlement programs and tax cuts is something entirely different from a traditional political program: "This isn't conservatism: It's a going-out-of-business sale for the Baby Boom generation." The economic motive is growing ever more naked, and has nothing to do with any principle that could be articulated by Goldwater or Reagan, or indeed with any principle at all. The political imperative is to preserve the economic cloak of unreality that the Boomers have wrapped themselves in.

Democrats may not be actively hostile to the interests of young voters, but they are too scared and weak to speak up for them. So when the Boomers and swing voters scream for fiscal discipline and the hard decisions have to be made, youth is collateral damage. Medicare and Social Security were mostly untouched in Obama's 2012 budget. But to show he was really serious about belt tightening, relatively cheap programs that help young people like the Adolescent Family Life Program and the Career Pathways Innovation Fund were killed.

His intentions may be good — he may want to increase support for AmeriCorps — but the program shrunk last year. Three quarters of the applicants were turned away. He resisted Republican efforts to slash Pell grants by $845 per student, but then made other changes to the program that will save the government — or cost students, depending on your perspective — a projected $100 billion over ten years.

The youth vote still supports Obama, but in a chastened, conditional way. In hindsight, Obama's 2008 campaign looks like an indulgent fantasy in which the major conflicts in life simply don't exist. There may be no white America and no black America, no blue-state America and no red-state America, but one thing is clear: There is a young America and there is an old America, and they don't form a community of interest. One takes from the other. The federal government spends $480 billion on Medicare and $68 billion on education. Prescription drugs: $62 billion. Head Start: $8 billion. Across the board, the money flows not to helping the young grow up, but helping the old die comfortably. According to a 2009 Brookings Institution study, "The United States spends 2.4 times as much on the elderly as on children, measured on a per capita basis, with the ratio rising to 7 to 1 if looking just at the federal budget."

The biggest boondoggle of all is Social Security. The management of entitlement programs, already weighted heavily in favor of the older population, has a very specific terminal point that coincides neatly with the Boomers' deaths. The 2011 report by the Social Security trustees estimates that, under its current administration, the fund will run out in 2036, so there's just enough to get the oldest Boomers to age ninety. Fist tap Arnach.

the war against youth...,

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

a guide for anonymous and secure internet usage

pastebin | This is a guide with which even a total noob can get high class security for his system and complete anonymity online. But its not only for noobs, it contains a lot of tips most people will find pretty helpful. It is explained so detailed even the biggest noobs can do it^^ :

=== The Ultimate Guide for Anonymous and Secure Internet Usage v1.0.1 ===

Table of Contents:

1. Obtaining Tor Browser
2. Using and Testing Tor Browser for the first time
3. Securing Your Hard Drive
4. Setting up TrueCrypt, Encrypted Hidden Volumes
5. Testing TrueCrypt Volumes
6. Securing your Hard Disk
7. Temporarily Securing Your Disk, Shredding Free Space
8. Installing VirtualBox
9. Installing a Firewall
10. Firewall Configuration
11. Installing Ubuntu
12. Ubuntu Initial Setup
13. Installing Guest Additions
14. Installing IRC (Optional)
15. Installing Torchat (Optional)
16. Creating TOR-Only Internet Environment
17. General Daily Usage

By the time you are finished reading and implementing this guide, you will be able to securely and anonymously browse any website and to do so anonymously. No one not even your ISP or a government agent will be able to see what you are doing online. If privacy and anonymity is important to you, then you owe it to yourself to follow the instructions that are presented here.

In order to prepare this guide for you, I have used a computer that is running Windows Vista. This guide will work equally well for other versions of Windows. If you use a different operating system, you may need to have someone fluent in
that operating system guide you through this process. However, most parts of the process are easily duplicated in other operating systems.

I have written this guide to be as newbie friendly as possible. Every step is fully detailed and explained. I have tried to keep instructions explicit as possible. This way, so long as you patiently follow each step, you will be just fine. In this guide from time to time you will be instructed to go to certain URLs to download files. You do NOT need TOR to get these files, and using TOR (while possible) will make these downloads very slow. This guide may appear overwhelming. Every single step is explained thoroughly and it is just a matter of following along until you are done. Once you are finished, you will have a very secure setup and it will be well worth the effort.

Even though the guide appears huge, this whole process should take at the most a few hours. You can finish it in phases over the course of several days. Fist tap Arnach.

stellar wind

local popo tracking cellphones without warrants...,

WaPo | Local police departments across the country are tracking cellphones without a warrant, according to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU surveyed about 200 state and local law enforcement agencies across the country and found that only a handful of them said they obtained “warrants based on probable cause” before tracking cellphones. Most other agencies had laxer standards for tracking cellphones. In Lincoln, Neb., for instance, local police can obtain the GPS location of cellphone users “without demonstrating probable cause,” the group said in a statement.

As a result, the ACLU concludes that there are “unclear or inconsistent legal standards from town to town that frequently fall short of probable cause,” questioning whether the practice is constitutional.

In correspondence with the ACLU, the D.C. police acknowledged using cellphone data, including location information, but declined to release the legal standards it uses for obtaining cellphone location records, saying such matters were “law enforcement sensitive” and thus should not be made publicly available.

Fritz Mulhauser, staff attorney for the ACLU’s local branch for the District of Columbia, says the local police offered a few more details about their cellphone tracking policy after being pressed by a local council member. “Chief Lanier on February 24 acknowledged in a letter before the agency annual performance oversight hearing that MPD had sought 684 cell location records in the 20 months before that date,” said Mulhauser, noting that the ACLU's original query yielded “little information.”

Congress is considering a bipartisan bill that would require police to obtain a warrant to track cellphones or GPS devices, as well as banning phone companies from sharing such data without their customers’ consent. “The lack of legal clarity surrounding the use of electronically obtained location data, also known as geolocation information, means that there are no clear rules for how this data can be used, accessed or sold by law enforcement, commercial entities or private citizens,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a news release last June when he introduced the bill.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


FT | When I recently discovered Twitter, I went from contemptuous to addicted in about three days. But one thing still puzzles me about the world’s 10th most popular website: the notion that it’s a revolutionary medium. The failed Moldovan rebellion of 2009 was probably the first to be dubbed the “Twitter revolution”, but since then, Twitter has been credited with launching the Iranian uprising, Arab spring and London riots. Now it has supposedly prompted the African Union to hunt for the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, after an anti-Kony propaganda film spread through social media and was watched more than 100 million times. I confidently predict that the next revolution anywhere on earth will be dubbed “the Twitter revolution”.

Non-tweeting readers may have formed the impression that the Twittersphere is devoted to summoning people to demonstrations in grey repressive capitals. In fact, “trending” items are usually celebrity deaths, goals in football matches or anything to do with the teenaged singer Justin Bieber. And what’s true of Twitter appears true of computers in general. They are antirevolutionary devices. The global addiction to computers is helping keep the world quiet and peaceful.

Every now and then, of course, social media do contribute to change. The Facebook page “We are all Khaled Said”, named after a young Egyptian who died in police custody, helped galvanise protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square last year. And bad activists use YouTube and Twitter too. “On the web one can proselytise for the jihad all day and night with friends from around the world,” writes Jytte Klausen, an expert on terrorism at Brandeis University, and colleagues.

Mostly, though, computers produce quietism. Despite Occupy Wall Street, a striking fact of the great recession in developed countries has been the passivity of young people.

flunking the test...,

ajr | Fareed Zakaria is worried about the state of American education. To hear the CNN host and commentator tell it, the nation's schools are broken and must be "fixed" to "restore the American dream." In fact, that was the title of Zakaria's primetime special in January, "Restoring the American Dream: Fixing Education." Zakaria spen t an hour thumbing through a catalog of perceived educational woes: high dropout rates, mediocre scores by American students on international tests, inadequate time spent in classrooms, unmotivated teachers and their obstructionist labor unions. "Part of the reason we're in this crisis is that we have slacked off and allowed our education system to get rigid and sclerotic," he declared.

This is odd. By many important measures – high school completion rates, college graduation, overall performance on standardized tests – America's educational attainment has never been higher. Moreover, when it comes to education, sweeping generalizations ("rigid and sclerotic") are more dangerous than usual. How could they not be? With nearly 100,000 public schools, 55 million elementary and secondary students and 2.5 million public school teachers currently at work in large, small, urban, suburban and rural districts, education may be the single most complex endeavor in America.

Zakaria's take, however, may be a perfect distillation of much of what's wrong with mainstream media coverage of education. The prevailing narrative – and let's be wary of our own sweeping generalizations here – is that the nation's educational system is in crisis, that schools are "failing," that teachers aren't up to the job and that America's economic competitiveness is threatened as a result. Just plug the phrase "failing schools" into Nexis and you'll get 544 hits in newspapers and wire stories for just one month, January 2012. Some of this reflects the institutionalization of the phrase under the No Child Left Behind Act, the landmark 2001 law that ties federal education funds to school performance on standardized tests (schools are deemed "failing" under various criteria of the law). But much of it reflects the general notion that American education, per Zakaria, is in steep decline. Only 20 years ago, the phrase was hardly uttered: "Failing schools" appeared just 13 times in mainstream news accounts in January of 1992, according to Nexis. (Neither Zakaria nor CNN would comment for this story.)

because 93% of tenured faculty are functionally, technology illiterate....,

"We use the Internet — E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to communicate with colleagues, friends, and family. When I was in Iraq with the Marine Corps, we used e-mail (secured with encryption and stuff, but e-mail nonetheless) to communicate the commanding officer's order that a combat mission should be carried out. My third grade daughter produces her own YouTube videos, and can create public servers for her games with virtual private network technology. Yet here I am trusting a third grade girl to deliver memos to me about her educational requirements in an age in which I can't remember the last time I used paper. Teachers could have distribution lists of the parents. The kids' homework is printed. Therefore, it must have started as a computer file (I hope they're not still using mimeograph machines). Teachers could e-mail a summary of what's going on, and attach the homework files along with other notices about field trips or conferences that parents should be aware of. Teachers could have an easy way to post all these files to the Internet on blogs. With RSS, parents could subscribe to receive everything that teachers put online. If teachers want to add to the blog their own personal comments about how the school year is going, then all the parents would see that also, and perhaps have the opportunity to comment on the blog. It seems to me that with the right processes, the cost and additional workload would be insignificant. For example, instead of developing a syllabus in MS Word, use Wordpress. Have schools simply not paid attention to the past decade of technology, or is there a reason that these things aren't in place?"

It seems odd that primary schools in at least the U.S. don't use technology to communicate with students much. My younger sister went to a private school that made reasonable use of Blackboard, but that seems to be the exception. Fist tap Dale.
slashdot |

Monday, April 02, 2012

spread your cheeks and lift your sack...,

NYTimes | The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court’s conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs but also public health and information about gang affiliations.

About 13 million people are admitted each year to the nation’s jails, Justice Kennedy wrote.

Under Monday’s ruling, he wrote, "every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed."

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the four dissenters, said strip-searches were “a serious affront to human dignity and to individual privacy” and should be used only when there was good reason to do so.

The decision endorses a more recent trend, from appeals courts in Atlanta, San Francisco and Philadelphia, in allowing searches no matter how minor the charge. Some potential examples cited by dissenting judges in the lower courts and by Justice Breyer on Monday included violating a leash law, driving without a license and failing to pay child support.

The Supreme Court case arose from the arrest of Albert W. Florence in New Jersey in 2005. Mr. Florence was in the passenger seat of his BMW when a state trooper pulled his wife, April, over for speeding. A records search revealed an outstanding warrant based on an unpaid fine. (The information was wrong; the fine had been paid.)

Mr. Florence was held for a week in jails in two counties, and he was strip-searched twice. There is some dispute about the details but general agreement that he was made to stand naked in front of a guard who required him to move intimate parts of his body. The guards did not touch him.

“Turn around,” Mr. Florence, in an interview last year, recalled being told by jail officials. “Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks.”

“I consider myself a man’s man,” said Mr. Florence, a finance executive for a car dealership. “Six-three. Big guy. It was humiliating. It made me feel less than a man.”

The federal courts of appeal were divided over whether blanket policies requiring jailhouse strip-searches of people arrested for minor offenses violate the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches. At least seven had ruled that such searches were proper only if there was a reasonable suspicion that the arrested person had weapons or contraband.

inside an elite psychopath fermentation system...,

RollingStone | Long before Andrew Lohse became a pariah at Dartmouth College, he was just another scarily accomplished teenager with lofty ambitions. Five feet 10 with large blue eyes and the kind of sweet-faced demeanor that always earned him a pass, he grew up in the not-quite-rural, not-quite-suburban, decidedly middle-class town of Branchburg, New Jersey, and attended a public school where he made mostly A's, scored 2190 on his SATs and compiled an exhaustive list of extracurricular activities that included varsity lacrosse, model U.N. (he was president), National Honor Society, band, orchestra, Spanish club, debate and – on weekends – a special pre-college program at the Manhattan School of Music, where he received a degree in jazz bass. He also wrote songs; gigged semiprofessionally at restaurants throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut; played drums for a rock band; chased, and conquered, numerous girls; and by his high school graduation, in 2008, had reached the pinnacle of adolescent cool by dating "this really hot skanky cheerleader," as he puts it.

That fall, he enrolled at Dartmouth, where he had wanted to go for as long as he could remember. His late grandfather, Austin Lohse, had played football and lacrosse for Big Green, and both Andrew and his older brother, Jon, a Dartmouth junior, idolized him as the embodiment of the high-achieving, hard-drinking, fraternal ethos of the Dartmouth Man, or what Lohse calls a "true bro." A Dartmouth Man is a specific type of creature, and when I ask Lohse what constitutes true bro-ness, he provides an idealized portrait of white-male privilege: "good-looking, preppy, charismatic, excellent at cocktail parties, masculine, intelligent, wealthy (or soon to become so), a little bit rough around the edges" – not, in other words, a "douchey, superpolished Yalie."

A true bro, Lohse adds, can also drink inhuman amounts of beer, vomit profusely and keep on going, and perform a number of other hard-partying feats – Dartmouth provided the real-life inspiration for Animal House – that most people, including virtually all of Lohse's high school friends, would find astounding. This, like the high salaries that Dartmouth graduates command – the sixth-highest in the country, according to the most recent estimates – is a point of pride. "We win," is how one of Lohse's former buddies puts it.

On January 25th, Andrew Lohse took a major detour from the winning streak he'd been on for most of his life when, breaking with the Dartmouth code of omertà, he detailed some of the choicest bits of his college experience in an op-ed for the student paper The Dartmouth. "I was a member of a fraternity that asked pledges, in order to become a brother, to: swim in a kiddie pool of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen and rotten food products; eat omelets made of vomit; chug cups of vinegar, which in one case caused a pledge to vomit blood; drink beer poured down fellow pledges' ass cracks... among other abuses," he wrote. He accused Dartmouth's storied Greek system – 17 fraternities, 11 sororities and three coed houses, to which roughly half of the student body belongs – of perpetuating a culture of "pervasive hazing, substance abuse and sexual assault," as well as an "intoxicating nihilism" that dominates campus social life. "One of the things I've learned at Dartmouth – one thing that sets a psychological precedent for many Dartmouth men – is that good people can do awful things to one another for absolutely no reason," he said. "Fraternity life is at the core of the college's human and cultural dysfunctions." Lohse concluded by recommending that Dartmouth overhaul its Greek system, and perhaps get rid of fraternities entirely.

This did not go over well. At a college where two-thirds of the upperclassmen are members of Greek houses, fraternities essentially control the social life on campus. To criticize Dartmouth's frats, which date back more than 150 years, is tantamount to criticizing Dartmouth itself, the smallest and most insular school in the Ivy League. Nestled on a picturesque campus in tiny Hanover, New Hampshire, the college has produced a long list of celebrated alumni – among them two Treasury secretaries (Timothy Geithner, '83, and Henry Paulson Jr., '68), a Labor secretary (Robert Reich, '68) and a hefty sampling of the one percent (including the CEOs of GE, eBay and Freddie Mac, and the former chairman of the Carlyle Group). Many of these titans of industry are products of the fraternity culture: Billionaire hedge-fund manager Stephen Mandel, who chairs Dartmouth's board of trustees, was a brother in Psi Upsilon, the oldest fraternity on campus. Jeffery Immelt, the CEO of GE, was a Phi Delt, as were a number of other prominent trustees, among them Morgan Stanley senior adviser R. Bradford Evans, billionaire oilman Trevor Rees-Jones and venture capitalist William W. Helman IV. Hank Paulson belonged to Lohse's fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, or SAE.

In response to Lohse's op-ed, the Dartmouth community let loose a torrent of vitriol against him on The Dartmouth's website. Lohse, it was decided, was "disgruntled" and a "criminal." His "blanket and bitter portrayal of the Greek system" was not only false, complained one alumnus, "but offensive to tens of thousands of Dartmouth alumni who cherished the memories of their fraternities." Another alumnus put it this way in a mock letter to a human-resources manager: "Dear Hiring Manager, do yourself a favor: Don't hire Andrew Lohse... He will bring disgrace to your institution, just as he did when he embarrassed Dartmouth and SAE." The consensus, as another alum put it: "If you don't want to be initiated, don't pledge."

Though two of Lohse's SAE brothers have confirmed his allegations are generally on the mark, the fraternity has turned on Lohse, portraying him as a calculating fabulist who bought into the Greek system wholeheartedly and then turned against it out of sheer vindictiveness. In a letter to Rolling Stone, SAE's lawyer, Harvey Silverglate, labeled some of Lohse's most extreme allegations "demonstrably untrue" and compared Lohse to the stripper who falsely accused a number of Duke lacrosse players of raping her in 2006. "Lohse is... a seemingly unstable individual," Silverglate wrote, "with a very poor reputation for truth-telling and a very big axe to grind."

almost a psychopath...,

HBR | Psychopaths are the subject of endless fascination. We tend to apply that term loosely to people who engage in bad acts, ranging from pathological lying and repeated deception to major fraud and serial killing. Psychopaths rival pedophiles in the panoply of those we despise and fear. Given this fascination with psychopathy, and the public's current negative view of Wall Street (see Greg Smith's op-ed column in The New York Times about his resignation from Goldman Sachs), it is no surprise that Twitter, the blogosphere, and traditional media have been buzzing about "The Financial Psychopath Next Door," an article in CFA Magazine by Sherree DeCovny (subscription required).

The headline-grabbing factoid in the article was an estimate that 10% of people in the financial services industry are psychopaths. And that's a conservative estimate, according to Christopher Bayer, a Wall Street psychotherapist cited by DeCovny.

DeCovny describes "financial psychopaths" as individuals who seek thrills, lack empathy, don't care about what others think, are charming and intelligent, and are skilled at lying and manipulation. Citing Richard Peterson, managing partner of MarketPsych (a firm that provides psychological and behavioral finance training for the industry), DeCovny notes that these are some of the traits that also predict success on Wall Street.

To understand the implications of all this, it helps to define psychopathy. It is a psychological condition based on well-established diagnostic criteria. These include glibness and superficial charm, conning and manipulative behavior, lack of remorse and empathy, refusal to take responsibility for one's behavior, and others.

Determining whether a person is a psychopath is generally done using a test like the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), developed by Robert Hare and his colleagues. People who are "normal" invariably score a few points on such scales. True psychopaths score in the top 25%.

Using formal diagnostic criteria, researchers have estimated that about 1% of Americans — about 3 million people — are psychopaths. Based on statistics alone, there are some true psychopaths on Wall Street, as there are in all walks of life. The odds increase further when we consider the competitive advantage that some of the characteristics of psychopathy, including willingness to take risks, can provide in the field.

Psychopathy is mistakenly regarded as an all or nothing affair: you either are a psychopath or you aren't. If that were the case, saying that 10% of people on Wall Street are psychopaths could actually be somewhat comforting, since it implies that the remaining 90% are not and so shouldn't cause us any concern.

That yes-or-no approach dangerously ignores the fact that psychopathic behavior exists on a continuum. A great deal of damage can be done by individuals who fall in between folks who are "normal" and true psychopaths. These are individuals who would never be diagnosed as a psychopath, but whose behavior to varying degrees can be just as deceptive, dangerous, and remorseless as that of a full-blown psychopath. These individuals are sub-clinical psychopaths, what my colleague James Silver and I refer to as "almost psychopaths" in our upcoming book, Almost a Psychopath.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

anthroposophic medicine: heptahedron and the sentient earth?

anthromed | I have something to tell you that is no small thing. I wish to introduce you to someone—someone who you will want to know, and know completely.

Before we start, consider this. In the Tsunami in 2004, animals did not drown. People drowned, but animals had made their way uphill before the waves crashed. They didn’t outrun the waves at the last minute, they were already on safe ground. How do you think they knew?

I think mother nature told them to move, and they heard and took her advice. That sounds juvenile, doesn’t it, like a fairy-tale of a theory. Well, prepare to reconsider. Because right now, I can present to your skeptical mind, evidence that the earth is a sentient being who will share information with us. When listened to, she can guide us through the otherwise impossible.

I can imagine you are thinking, here we go. Eco-gobbledy goop. I will restate it thus: we now have remarkable evidence that the earth contains within it an energy field that is exactly the same shape and energetic pattern as our own human core identity—the mature human consciousness which includes intuition and compassion and conscience—all of which resides in the subtle body at the heart.

The human core identity—heart-centered identity—is formed by the subtle energies in the shape that is the Chestahedron, the seven-sided form. That same shape also forms the sacred geometry template for the whole planet.

To witness the evidence, we must again follow the path of the intrepid investigator, Frank Chester, who continues to explore the essence and ramifications of the seven-sided form after first being inspired by a Rudolf Steiner drawing, a decade ago. Once again a prompt came from Steiner. This is the picture of that drawing:

Fig 1. Steiner’s drawing showing “sort of” tetrahedron and naming
locations of contact on globe.

This drawing was made by Steiner on a chalkboard during his lecture, The Forming of the Earth and the Moon: Causes of Volcanism (Sept. 18, 1924), about the subtle geometry of the earth, in which he said the earth contains a sort of tetrahedron, and the points of contact (written in yellow) are the South Pole, Japan, Mid-America and Caucasus.

Pondering this, Chester found his opening. The Chestahedron is “a sort” of tetrahedron, and he had to find out if it was a fit for the slightly vague mental image of the geometry of the earth’s structure given through clairvoyance by Steiner. Chester found a clear globe showing the continents of the earth and fashioned a Chestahedron of right scale to put inside: see how it matches up—it just fits. The points of contact match the places Steiner named. Mid-America turns out to be Kansas.

Fig 2. Chestahedron in globe
does indeed match Steiner’s points of contact.

The plot thickens when we look at seismology imaging done by a team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. Synchronistically, Scientific American printed this cover story about new ways to investigate the nature of Earth’s core.

Seeing this, Chester made his way to Pasadena to compare notes with Jeroen Ritsema, part of the team collecting seismic tomography data.

Fig 3. Seismology map produced at CIT.
Dark lines added by Frank

This map produced by seismology imaging uses blue colorings to represent cool areas, red the warmest, and yellow in between. Frank Chester asked Mr. Ritsema “What do these patterns mean?” Mr. Ritsema shrugged and told Chester that they had no idea of the meanings behind this data. With that, Mr. Chester compared his data points and the map produced by Mr. Ritsema. These tracings, superimposed where the Chestahedron would fit inside the earth according to Steiner's contact points, are added by Frank Chester. Consider the many correspondences that are there.

Next piece of evidence: it turns out that tornado alley, so named because that area suffers the highest incidence of twisters,(map provided by the National Severe Storms Laboratory), is a tracing of the point of contact where two of these global lines meet, forming the edges of the Chestahedron form.

Fig 4. National Severe Storms Laboratory map of tornado alley.
g 5. Four tornados forming a line.

Until now, no one has given any meaningful theory as to why tornadoes reliably take a turn to the northeast, as it were, at the edge of Kansas and Nebraska. Tornadoes have been seen forming a line. The unseen force that organized this arrangement of four tornadoes in a line comes from the edge of the Chestahedron, which formative power follows. The organizing power that puts them in a line is not atmospheric in origin (coming from the weather), it is geo-spheric (coming from the earth).

As described in Part One of this article, the subtle template underlying the formation of the heart is a three-dimensional shape that is formed by spinning the angular seven-sided Chestahedron. That spinning traces a ring, shown below in the picture that looks like an inverted bell. That same ring is visible as the walls of the left ventricle of the heart, shown in cross section. It turns out that a matching ring is also visible on the surface of the Earth.

Fig 6. Spinning Chestahedron creates two concentric rings of set proportions.
Fig 7. Cross section of heart shows ring of matching proportions.
Fig 8. Predominance of Aurora Borealis falls within ring of matching proportions.

Photographic evidence from satellites have shown that the Aurora Borealis displays light within the confines of a similar ring, showing up anywhere within the ring but not crossing into the center part. The circle immediately surrounding the North Pole stays dark, and the Northern Lights flare up most boldly all around.But look at the Aurora Australis over Antarctica. The light streams across, in the center area too.

Fig 9. Aurora Astralis
streams across South Pole,
istinct from North Pole
pattern of Aurora Borealis.

Fig 10. Placing concentric cones
of the angle of a spinning

Chestahedron inside the globe
shows the reason for the
between light displays at North and South Pole

There is an explanation, using the seven-sided form, as to why the Southern Lights show up differently than the Northern. Mr. Chester demonstrates with a set of cones, modeled by extending the northern circles down towards the south at the angle proscribed by the spinning Chestahedron, such that the inner cone ends at a point at the bottom, and the outer cone ends at a circle the same size at the South Pole as seen in this photo.

At the South Pole, there is no inner ring created by the formative forces, aligned with the spinning seven-sided shape. There is just open space at the South Pole, apparently where energy can stream with the same fervor and flow across the center.

This is the Planet I want you to meet.

She has halos.

This is a NASA image spacecraft photo. The light is not enhanced. These are the polar auroras: Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis. These visible halos and their shapes, together with the seismology maps, provide measurable proof that the Chestahedron shape is governing the subtle energies of the earth planet, just as they do the human heart.

anthroposophic medicine: heptahedron and the human heart?

anthromed |I am one who has been peripherally aware of the term, sacred geometry, but couldn't quite figure what to make of it. So what, I thought, if this form fits into that one in a mathematical way. So what? And I was dubious about spiritual meanings, seemingly arbitrarily assigned to geometric forms. I had put the notion of sacred geometry over there, (out there), not really relevant at this moment.

Well, after learning about Frank Chester's take on a particular geometric form, the heptahedron (a seven-sided form), my attitude isn't "so what?" anymore. Now, its "so . . . wonderful!"

Frank Chester is an educator and sculptor who took it upon himself to investigate the seven-sided form. His line of inquiry started with pondering this motif, one of seven seals that Rudolf Steiner designed.

Mr. Chester wanted to take this two-dimensional seven-sided image and make it three-dimensional. He thought about what it would be as a platonic form. Not satisfied by the existing models for what a seven- sided form would look like, he tinkered with clay and string and straws and wire and paper and bubbles and whatever models he could make, until he discovered a shape more simple and elegant than any presented before. The implications of his discovery of this heptahedron affect notions in mathematics, geology, architecture, medicine, and more; much more than is touched upon by this article.

This shape has seven sides: each side has exactly the same surface area. There are four equal triangles and three equal four-sided shapes that look like kites. In the picture (below left) of his cardboard model, you see one of the triangles, and two of the kite-shaped sides. Mr. Chester has found that he can draw all the surfaces of this shape, flattened, by using two sizes of circles; the arc tracings on the sides of this model show the remnants of that drawing process. The relationship between the size of the two circles is the Golden Mean, a ratio that artists and scientists have found governs many natural items such as the proportions of a leaf or of the human body.

Here is another model (above, right) of the heptahedron, which he has named the “chestahedron,” showing edges only. Mr. Chester did all kinds of things with his model to discover wherever it might lead him. He was curious about the sacred geometry relationships; in particular, how platonic forms fit inside each other. He found that the heptahedron fits inside a cube with its axis at 36 degrees.

The angle of 36 degrees was noteworthy to Mr. Chester because he remembered that the human heart sits at that particular angle inside of a person's chest. Various theories have been presented as to why the heart sits at this angle—but none very satisfactorily. Does it have to do with the earth's tilt? Since the earth's tilt is only about 23 degrees, not so likely.

One of the things he did was to dip the edges-only model into soapy liquid and then blow air into it through a straw to make a bubble, a process which rounds all the lines and surfaces, making the shape organic. Frank Chester compared his rounded seven-sided shape with a drawing he found on the web of the left and right ventricles of the heart. The right ventricle fits around the left ventricle.

Mr. Chester had the idea of putting his rounded seven-sided shape on its axis into a vortex generator, a tank of spinning water. If he put the shape in straight down, the original vortex is undisturbed. But when he puts the shape in at the angle of 36 degrees and keeps it spinning with an electric drill, the shape of the first swirl of water is changed. It forms a sort of pocket on the side. Mr. Chester made a model of what he saw in that interaction, cut a cross section of that model, and sure enough, it looks just like a dissection of the human heart.

Inspired by a drawing made by Rudolf Steiner, Frank Chester has followed the path of curiosity and experimentation until it led to a 3-D demonstration of the formative forces at work, creating the asymmetrical shape of flesh that is the human heart. The manifest implication is that the formative forces that actually build the flesh of the heart are engaged as swirl, contained in shape and direction by the geometric form.

The heart is not a pump. Instead the heart is a streaming device, and in the left ventricle, the spin of fluid is captured and twirled back on itself. In this way, the heart acts as a brake. The prime reason for this braking is balance. The heart is a balancing organ.

The idea that the heart is a pump has dominated medicine for centuries. Yet at the apex of the left ventricle of the heart, the bottom point, the tissue is paper thin, not strong enough to enclose fluid under pressure. With the vortex model for understanding the motion of blood within the heart, one can see how this part of the heart never receives dangerous pressure, which it would, if the heart were indeed a pump. Other researchers have been able to show with cameras that the blood courses through the blood vessels of the human embryo, before the heart is even formed. Something else is moving the blood. This is another reason Frank Chester believes that the heart is not a pump.

He has found that the heart is a streaming organ that is itself formed by a reversing, swirling stream. The blood enters the left ventricle in a clockwise spiral. By the time it moves out of the left ventricle, it is spinning in a counterclockwise motion. It reverses direction inside of the left chamber.