Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Criminalizing Homelessness Is Bad Policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corporate and Social Media Mediated Vigilante Justice Ostracism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corporate Media Enslave You To The Great Western Narrative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sunday, June 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

    Saturday, June 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    John Nash Ott Showed Us How To See A Little Further...,  |  John Ott, Sc.D. Hon., a naturalist photographer world famous for his ground breaking work on the health effects of sunlight and artificial light, died peacefully April 6 at the age of 90 in Sarasota, Florida. 

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

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

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

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

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

    Friday, June 15, 2018

    Flatlanders Squinting At The Connectome

    edge |  Because we use the word queen—the Egyptians use the word king—we have a misconception of the role of the queen in the society. The queen is usually the only reproductive in a honey bee colony. She’s specialized entirely to that reproductive role. It’s not that she’s any way directing the society; it’s more accurate to say that the behavior and activity of the queen is directed by the workers. The queen is essentially an egg-laying machine. She is fed unlimited high-protein, high-carbohydrate food by the nurse bees that tend to her. She is provided with an array of perfectly prepared cells to lay eggs in. She will lay as many eggs as she can, and the colony will raise as many of those eggs as they can in the course of the day. But the queen is not ruling the show. She only flies once in her life. She will leave the hive on a mating flight; she’ll be mated by up to twenty male bees, in the case of the honey bee, and then she stores that semen for the rest of her life. That is the role of the queen. She is the reproductive, but she is not the ruler of the colony.

    Many societies have attached this sense of royalty, and I think that as much reflects that we see the order inside the honey bee society and we assume that there must be some sort of structure that maintains that order. We see this one individual who is bigger and we anthropomorphize that that somehow must be their leader. But no, there is no way that it’s appropriate to say that the queen has any leadership role in a honey bee society.

    A honey bee queen would live these days two to three years, and it's getting shorter. It’s not that long ago that if you read the older books, they would report that queens would live up to seven years. We’re not seeing queens last that long now. It’s more common for queens to be replaced every two to three years. All the worker honey bees are female and the queen is female—it’s a matriarchal society.

    An even more recent and exciting revolution happening now is this connectomic revolution, where we’re able to map in exquisite detail the connections of a part of the brain, and soon even an entire insect brain. It’s giving us absolute answers to questions that we would have debated even just a few years ago; for example, does the insect brain work as an integrated system? And because we now have a draft of a connectome for the full insect brain, we can absolutely answer that question. That completely changes not just the questions that we’re asking, but our capacity to answer questions. There’s a whole new generation of questions that become accessible.

    When I say a connectome, what I mean is an absolute map of the neural connections in a brain. That’s not a trivial problem. It's okay at one level to, for example with a light microscope, get a sense of the structure of neurons, to reconstruct some neurons and see where they go, but knowing which neurons connect with other neurons requires another level of detail. You need electron microscopy to look at the synapses.

    The main question I’m asking myself at the moment is about the nature of the animal mind, and how minds and conscious minds evolved. The perspective I’m taking on that is to try to examine the mind's mechanisms of behavior in organisms that are far simpler than ours.

    I’ve got a particular focus on insects, specifically on the honey bee. For me, it remains a live question as to whether we can think of the honey bee as having any kind of mind, or if it's more appropriate to think of it as something more mechanistic, more robotic. I tend to lean towards thinking of the honey bee as being a conscious agent, certainly a cognitively effective agent. That’s the biggest question I’m exploring for myself.

    There’s always been an interest in animals, natural history, and animal behavior. Insects have always had this particular point of tension because they are unusually inaccessible compared to so many other animals. When we look at things like mammals and dogs, we are so drawn to empathize with them that it tends to mask so much. When we’re looking at something like an insect, they’re doing so much, but their faces are completely expressionless and their bodies are completely alien to ours. They operate on a completely different scale. You cannot empathize or emote. It’s not immediately clear what they are, whether they’re an entity or whether they’re a mechanism.

    Are Space And Time Quantized?

    Forbes |  Throughout the history of science, one of the prime goals of making sense of the Universe has been to discover what's fundamental. Many of the things we observe and interact with in the modern, macroscopic world are composed of, and can be derived from, smaller particles and the underlying laws that govern them. The idea that everything is made of elements dates back thousands of years, and has taken us from alchemy to chemistry to atoms to subatomic particles to the Standard Model, including the radical concept of a quantum Universe.

    But even though there's very good evidence that all of the fundamental entities in the Universe are quantum at some level, that doesn't mean that everything is both discrete and quantized. So long as we still don't fully understand gravity at a quantum level, space and time might still be continuous at a fundamental level. Here's what we know so far.

    Quantum mechanics is the idea that, if you go down to a small enough scale, everything that contains energy, whether it's massive (like an electron) or massless (like a photon), can be broken down into individual quanta. You can think of these quanta as energy packets, which sometimes behave as particles and other times behave as waves, depending on what they interact with.

    Everything in nature obeys the laws of quantum physics, and our "classical" laws that apply to larger, more macroscopic systems can always (at least in theory) be derived, or emerge, from the more fundamental quantum rules. But not everything is necessarily discrete, or capable of being divided into a localized region space.

    The energy level differences in Lutetium-177. Note how there are only specific, discrete energy levels that are acceptable. While the energy levels are discrete, the positions of the electrons are not.

    If you have a conducting band of metal, for example, and ask "where is this electron that occupies the band," there's no discreteness there. The electron can be anywhere, continuously, within the band. A free photon can have any wavelength and energy; no discreteness there. Just because something is quantized, or fundamentally quantum in nature, doesn't mean everything about it must be discrete.

    The idea that space (or space and time, since they're inextricably linked by Einstein's theories of relativity) could be quantized goes way back to Heisenberg himself. Famous for the Uncertainty Principle, which fundamentally limits how precisely we can measure certain pairs of quantities (like position and momentum), Heisenberg realized that certain quantities diverged, or went to infinity, when you tried to calculate them in quantum field theory.

    Thursday, June 14, 2018

    Time and its Structure (Chronotopology)

    intuition |  MISHLOVE: I should mention here, since you've used the term, that chronotopology is the name of the discipline which you founded, which is the study of the structure of time. 

    MUSES: Do you want me to comment on that? 

    MISHLOVE: Yes, please. 

    MUSES: In a way, yes, but in a way I didn't found it. I was thinking cybernetics, for instance, was started formally by Norbert Weiner, but it began with the toilet tank that controlled itself. When I was talking with Weiner at Ravello, he happily agreed with this. 

    MISHLOVE: The toilet tank. 

    MUSES: He says, "Oh yes." The self-shutting-off toilet tank is the first cybernetic advance of mankind. 

    MISHLOVE: Oh. And I suppose chronotopology has an illustrious beginning like this also. 

    MUSES: Well, better than the toilet tank, actually. It has a better beginning than cybernetics. 

    MISHLOVE: In effect, does it go back to the study of the ancient astrologers? 

    MUSES: Well, it goes back to the study of almost all traditional cultures. The word astronomia, even the word mathematicus, meant someone who studied the stars, and in Kepler's sense they calculated the positions to know the qualities of time. But that's an independent hypothesis. The hypothesis of chronotopology is whether you have pointers of any kind -- ionospheric disturbances, planetary orbits, or whatnot -- independently of those pointers, time itself has a flux, has a wave motion, the object being to surf on time. 

    MISHLOVE: Now, when you talk about the wave motion of time, I'm getting real interested and excited, because in quantum physics there's this notion that the underlying basis for the physical universe are these waves, even probability waves -- nonphysical, nonmaterial waves -- sort of underlying everything. 

    MUSES: Very, very astute, because these waves are standing waves. Actually the wave-particle so-called paradox isn't that bad, when you consider that a particle is a wave packet, a packet of standing waves. That's why an electron can go through a plate and leave wavelike things. Actually our bodies are like fountains. The fountain has a shape only because it's being renewed every minute, and our bodies are being renewed. So we are standing waves; we're no exception. 

    MISHLOVE: This deep structure of matter, where we can say what we really are in our bodies is not where we appear to be -- you're saying the same thing is true of time. It's not quite what it appears to be. 

    MUSES: No, we're a part of this wave structure, and matter and energy all occur in waves, and time is the master control. I will give you an illustration of that. If you'll take a moment of time, this moment cuts through the entire physical universe as we're talking. It holds all of space in itself. But one point of space doesn't hold all of time. In other words, time is much bigger than space. 

    MISHLOVE: That thought sort of made me gasp a second -- all of physical space in each now moment -- 

    MUSES: Is contained in a point of time, which is a moment. And of course, a line of time is then an occurrence, and a wave of time is a recurrence. And then if you get out from the circle of time, which Nietzsche saw, the eternal recurrence -- if you break that, as we know we do, we develop, and then we're on a helix, because we come around but it's a little different each time. 

    MISHLOVE: Well, now you're beginning to introduce the notion of symbols -- point, line, wave, helix, and so on. 

    MUSES: Yes, the dimensions of time. 

    MISHLOVE: One of the interesting points that you seem to make in your book is that symbols themselves -- words, pictures -- point to the deeper structure of things, including the deeper structure of time. 

    MUSES: Yes. Symbols I would regard as pointers to their meanings, like revolving doors. There are some people, however, who have spent their whole lives walking in the revolving door and never getting out of it. 

    Time and its Structure (Chronotopology)
    Foreword by Charles A. Muses to "Communication, Organization, And Science" by Jerome Rothstein - 1958 

    Your Genetic Presence Through Time

    counterpunch |  The propagation through time of your personal genetic presence within the genetic sea of humanity can be visualized as a wave that arises out of the pre-conscious past before your birth, moves through the streaming present of your conscious life, and dissipates into the post-conscious future after your death.

    You are a pre-conscious genetic concentration drawn out of the genetic diffusion of your ancestors. If you have children who survive you then your conscious life is the time of increase of your genetic presence within the living population. Since your progeny are unlikely to reproduce exponentially, as viruses and bacteria do, your post-conscious genetic presence is only a diffusion to insignificance within the genetic sea of humanity.

    During your conscious life, you develop a historical awareness of your pre-conscious past, with a personal interest that fades with receding generations. Also during your conscious life, you can develop a projective concern about your post-conscious future, with a personal interest that fades with succeeding generations and with increasing predictive uncertainty.

    Your conscious present is the sum of: your immediate conscious awareness, your reflections on your prior conscious life, your historical awareness of your pre-conscious past, and your concerns about your post-conscious future.

    Your time of conscious present becomes increasingly remote in the historical awareness of your succeeding generations.

    Your loneliness in old age is just your sensed awareness of your genetic diffusion into the living population of your conscious present and post-conscious future.

    Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism

    BostonReview  |  In 1907, in the waning days of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Austria saw its first elections held under universal male suffrage. For some this was progress, but others felt threatened by the extension of the franchise and the mass demonstrations that had brought it about.

    The conservative economist Ludwig von Mises was among the latter. “Unchallenged,” he wrote, “the Social Democrats assumed the ‘right to the street.’” The elections and protests implied a frightening new kind of politics, in which the state’s authority came not from above but from below. When a later round of mass protests was violently suppressed—with dozens of union members killed—Mises was greatly relieved: “Friday’s putsch has cleansed the atmosphere like a thunderstorm.”

    In the early twentieth century, there were many people who saw popular sovereignty as a problem to be solved. In a world where dynastic rule had been swept offstage, formal democracy might be unavoidable; and elections served an important role in channeling the demands that might otherwise be expressed through “the right to the street.” But the idea that the people, acting through their political representatives, were the highest authority and entitled to rewrite law, property rights, and contracts in the public interest—this was unacceptable. One way or another, government by the people had to be reined in.

    Mises’ writings from a century ago often sound as if they belong in speeches by modern European conservatives such as German Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble. The welfare state is unaffordable, Mises says; workers’ excessive wage demands have rendered them unemployable, governments’ uncontrolled spending will be punished by financial markets, and “English and German workers may have to descend to the lowly standard of life of the Hindus and the coolies to compete with them.” 

    Quinn Slobodian argues that the similarities between Mises then and Schäuble today are not a coincidence. They are products of a coherent body of thought: neoliberalism, or the Geneva school. His book, Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism, is a history of the “genealogy of thought that linked the neoliberal world economic imaginary from the 1920s to the 1990s.”

    The book puts to rest the idea that “neoliberal” lacks a clear referent. As Slobodian meticulously documents, the term has been used since the 1920s by a distinct group of thinkers and policymakers who are unified both by a shared political vision and a web of personal and professional links.
    How much did the Geneva school actually shape political outcomes, as opposed to reflecting them? 

    John Maynard Keynes famously (and a bit self-servingly) claimed that, “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist . . . some academic scribbler of a few years back.” Not everyone will share this view, but by highlighting a series of seven “moments”—three before World War II and four after—Slobodian definitively establishes the existence of neoliberalism as a coherent intellectual project—one that, at the very least, has been well represented in the circles of power.

    Elites Have No Skin In The Game

    mises  |  To review Skin in the Game is a risky undertaking. The author has little use for book reviewers who, he tells us, “are bad middlemen. … Book reviews are judged according to how plausible and well-written they are; never in how they map the book (unless of course the author makes them responsible for misrepresentations).”

    The risk is very much worth undertaking, though, because Skin in the Game is an excellent book, filled with insights. These insights stress a central antithesis. Irresponsible people, with what C.D. Broad called “clever silly” intellectuals prominent among them, defend reckless policies that impose risks on others but not on themselves. They have no “skin in the game,” and in this to Taleb lies their chief defect.

    Interventionist foreign policy suffers from this defect. “A collection of people classified as interventionistas … who promoted the Iraq invasion of 2003, as well as the removal of the Libyan leader in 2011, are advocating the imposition of additional such regime change on another batch of countries, which includes Syria, because it has a ‘dictator’. So we tried that thing called regime change in Iraq, and failed miserably. … But we satisfied the objective of ‘removing a dictator.’ By the same reasoning, a doctor would inject a patient with ‘moderate’ cancer cells to improve his cholesterol numbers, and proudly claim victory after the patient is dead, particularly if the postmortem showed remarkable cholesterol readings.”

    But what has this to do with risk? The fallacy of the interventionists, Taleb tells us, is that they disregard the chance that their schemes will fail to work as planned. A key theme of Taleb’s work is that uncertain outcomes mandate caution.

    “And when a blowup happens, they invoke uncertainty, something called a Black Swan (a high-impact unexpected event), … not realizing that one should not mess with a system if the results are fraught with uncertainty, or, more generally, should avoid engaging in an action with a big downside if one has no idea of the outcomes.”

    The same mistaken conception of risk affects economic policy. “For instance, bank blowups came in 2008 because of the accumulation of hidden and asymmetric risks in the system: bankers, master risk transferors, could make steady money from a certain class of concealed explosive risks, use academic risk models that don’t work except on paper … then invoke uncertainty after a blowup … and keep past income — what I have called the Bob Rubin trade.”

    Instead of relying on mathematical models, economists should realize that the free market works. Why use misguided theory to interfere with success in practice? “Under the right market structure, a collection of idiots produces a well-functioning market. … Friedrich Hayek has been, once again, vindicated. Yet one of the most cited ideas in history, that of the invisible hand, appears to be the least integrated into the modern psyche.”

    Upsetting a complex system like the free market, can have disastrous consequences. Given this truth, libertarianism is the indicated course of action. “We libertarians share a minimal set of beliefs, the central one being to substitute the rule of law for the rule of authority. Without necessarily realizing it, libertarians believe in complex systems.”