humans and sharks share immune-system feature, early colors of autumn wallpaper, linkage

Humans and Sharks Share Immune-System Feature

A central element of the immune system has remained constant through more than 400 million years of evolution, according to new research at National Jewish Health. In the September 29, 2011, online version of the journal Immunity, the researchers report that T-cell receptors from mice continue to function even when pieces of shark, frog and trout receptors are substituted in. The function of the chimeric receptors depends on a few crucial amino acids, found also in humans, that help the T-cell receptor bind to MHC molecules presenting antigens.

“These findings prove a hypothesis first proposed 40 years ago,” said senior author Laurent Gapin, PhD, associate professor of immunology in the Integrated Deparemtn of Immunology at National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado Denver. “Even though mammals, amphibians and cartilaginous fish last shared a common ancestor more than 400 million years ago, they continue to share an element of their T-cell receptors, indicating that the T cell-MHC interaction arose early in the evolution of the immune system, and is central to its function.”


T-cells and their operation is a highly conserved trait. They are the forward defense and relatively adaptive first defense against malignant invaders. The T-cell receptor identifies pathogens that pose a threat to the system. The receptor only has to intercept one pathogen to direct the response of the immune system to start to attack all such invaders.Their function is not perfect, animals still succumb to disease – the article puts it like this “They recognize antigens only when they are held by MHC molecules on the surfaces of other cells, much as a hotdog bun (MHC molecule) holds a hotdog (antigen)”. Yet they function so well that tinkering with them would mean nature ( evolution) would have to come up with the antigen fighting qualities of a universal gear. It terms of energy expenditure why create several kinds of improvisations on that gear when it does work so well. Unfortunately while that gear may evolve some new functions over time, it may never catch up with the rate at which new pathogens evolve.

This discovery might also contribute to research on further understanding organ transplant rejection since T-cells can see the new organ as hostile to the host.

fall color mix

early colors of autumn wallpaper

Anti-Obama sign in Uptown neighborhood draws controversy. Just the usual wacky stuff from a conservative-libertarian. Some of the neighbors don’t like them, while some could care less. Digby defends the wacko’s right to free speech-expression. Even jerks have a right to free speech. She does note that the signs do have a racist/anti-Semitic tint to them as you can see in the sign below. If the guy is not a Glenn beck fan it is an awfully big coincidence that he and beck are on exactly the same page – “Puppet master”: Beck’s attacks on Soros are steeped in anti-Semitic stereotypes and here – Media Matters Revisits Right-Wing Media Prophesies That Obama Is The Antichrist. I agree with Digby completely on the guy’s rights. That doesn’t mean he and liked minded sheeple should not be held to account on facts and accuracy of their claims. His and Beck’s are so far out that having a nice civil chat would be about as productive as talking to a cinder-block wall.

Anyone writing a book about overrated academia should be sure to include Victor Davis Hanson. One of the laziest “thinkers” in America who rightly belongs where he is, on wing-nut welfare at the Hoover Institute – The eternal wretchedness of Victor Davis Hanson. Hanson sounds smarter than Matt Drudge, but he is no less a race baiter.

Afghanistan: Rare Earth Elements could Beat the Taliban [Slide Show]

Vast deposits of rare-earth and critical minerals found in Afghanistan by U.S. geologists under military cover could solve world shortages and get the country off opium and Taliban control


I saw a PBS documentary on the Taliban a few years ago ( I’d provide a link if I could find one). They are a nightmare. Their human rights abuses include murder, torture and maiming of women. In their spare time they have destroyed priceless centuries old antiquities because they believe them to be heretical. Many if not most Afghans hate the Taliban. probably too late now but it might have been for the best if BushCo had established a Free Afghanistan 10 years ago and left the Taliban to grow their opium and kill each other in their own little corner of the country.

The Wallflowers – 6th Avenue Heartache


overpaid CEOs, calm down- have some serotonin, poverty builds charactercter

‘Econophysics’ points way to fair salaries in free market

 “In reality, the self-correcting free market mechanisms have broken down for CEOs and other top executives in the market, but they seem to be working fine for the remaining 95 percent of employees.”


Some interesting notions on using statistical analysis plus physics and economics to find out how CEO salaries are probably not in proportion to the value they add to a company. This researcher might want to step back and reassess how he is assigning worth and contributions at the other 95 percent level. Responsibilities, knowledge, duties and contributions to success of a company very widely below that easily defined CEO level. It has just been my observation that at some companies they could do away with most of the executive management since mid-level managers are actually more responsible for the day-to-day workings of the company and many executive ‘ideas” come from the middle.

Nat King Cole “Autumn Leaves”

Brain needs serotonin to restrain aggression

The scans showed that in all volunteers, the connectivity between the amygdalas and the prefrontal cortex was reduced when they viewed angry faces (Biological Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.07.033). The effect was strongest in those with violent tendencies, as identified in a questionnaire. “It’s as if the intervening voice of reason was lost,” says Luca Passamonti, head of the team at Italy’s Neuroimaging Research Unit in Catanzaro.


While one can take serotonin supplements some people have had adverse reactions. A healthier route to boosting serotonin levels is to increase certain foods in your diet: turkey, chicken or fish in combination with vegetables, nuts, milk, beans, peas, avocados or bananas. Omega-3 supplements are also said to help. I ‘m assuming the last option would be one course of action for vegetarians.

Jascha Heifetz playing Beethoven’s Violin Romance No. 2 in F Major (Op. 50)

Terrible Ten in Congress or ten people who watch A Christmas Carol every year and believe Scrooge is the hero.

According to the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey released on September 22, for too many people in Kentucky’s 5th District, 2010 was not a good year: nearly 27 percent of the district’s more than 175,000 people lived in poverty, including 34 percent of children and more than one in four women. Nearly 20 percent of the district’s constituents had no health insurance.

You might think that the good news for residents of the 5th is that their congressman, Republican Hal Rogers, has enormous power and influence over Congress’s spending decisions as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

You’d be wrong.

The widespread pain of his constituents didn’t stop Rogers from voting to cut food stamps and healthcare for those same women and kids. It didn’t stop him from voting for the “cut, cap and balance” proposal that would have cost this dangerously weak economy another 700,000 jobs. Nor did it stop him from voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite the fact that the only positive sign on the insurance front is the declining rate of uninsured young adults ages 18–24, now that they can stay on their parents’ plan thanks to healthcare reform.

Rogers did manage to cast a “yes” vote for new tax cuts for millionaires though.

For his callousness to the suffering of his own constituents, and voting in direct opposition to their needs, Rogers was named to “The Terrible Ten” in Congress by Half in Ten, a national campaign to reduce poverty by 50 percent over the next ten years.

I’ll do the comments these stories usually get: These people are just lazy and enjoy being poor and hungry.

There are plenty of great jobs out there, some people just don’t like to work.

Why work when the gov’mint will feed, house and cloth you. These poor people live better than I do.

The problem, starting with that statist Abraham Lincoln, is too many people expect the government to fix their lives and make it perfect.

This is all nature’s natural course. Some people are just naturally producers and others leeches.

God sees who is really virtuous and gives them a comfortable life. Those people are poor because God is punishing them for being lazy, shiftless and immoral.


use’em or lose’em, windy prairie wallpaper, will the real jesus please stand

A day late, but not forgotten. Yesterday was the anniversary of the Bill of Rights

During the debates on the adoption of the Constitution, its opponents repeatedly charged that the Constitution as drafted would open the way to tyranny by the central government. Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the Revolution. They demanded a “bill of rights” that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Several state conventions in their formal ratification of the Constitution asked for such amendments; others ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered.

On September 25, 1789, the First Congress of the United States therefore proposed to the state legislatures 12 amendments to the Constitution that met arguments most frequently advanced against it. The first two proposed amendments, which concerned the number of constituents for each Representative and the compensation of Congressmen, were not ratified. Articles 3 to 12, however, ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures, constitute the first 10 amendments of the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights.

James Madison was largely responsible for the text of the Bill of Rights. he was persuaded by Thomas Jefferson, who was inially against such a Bill, as was Madison is his stint as a Federalist. It was all a little complicated with some fearing that even a Constitution rather than a lose conferracy of states would create too much centralized power. Jefferson and Madison came to realize that if we were to have a Constitution and the ensuing centralized authority the least that should be done is spell out protections against unrestrained government authority. One should see these concerns within the context of what they feared. The britsh had taken steps toward spelling out rights with the Coronation Charter of King Henry I and the Magna Carta (1215). Yet those steps did not prevent the centralization of tremendous power in the king. They thought a Constitution and Bill of Rights would be mere pledges or good intentions, rather than law that would be enforced. The Supreme Court of 1803 brought those fears to an end as they asserted the right to find all laws, state or federal Constitutional. While we obviously have problems with fidelity to the Bill of Rights ( the worse aspects of the Patriot Act for example and draconian drug laws) it is difficult to imagine a United States today without a Bill of Rights. Though among many ironies of having such a Bill is that the ACLU, whose sole mission is to protect those rights, is often accused of being traitorous by conservatives.

windy prairie wallpaper

What is self and the strange adventures of  Dr Milton Rokeach – Diary by Jenny Diski

In 1959, Dr Milton Rokeach, a social psychologist, received a research grant to bring together three psychotic, institutionalised patients at Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan, in order to make a two and a half year study of them. Rokeach specialised in belief systems: how it is that people develop and keep (or change) their beliefs according to their needs and the requirements of the social world they inhabit. A matter of the inside coming to terms with the outside in order to rub along well enough to get through a life. As a rule people look for positive authority or referents to back up their essential beliefs about themselves in relation to the world: the priest, imam, Delia Smith, the politburo, gang leader, Milton Friedman, your mother, my favourite novelist. It works well enough, and when it does, we call ourselves and others like us sane. When it goes awry, when people lose and/or reject all positive referents in the real world for the self inside, we call them delusional, psychotic, mad. In order to count as sane, you don’t necessarily have to conform to the norms of the world, but you do have to be nonconformist in a generally acceptable way.

I tend to think that to appraoch self-acutalization one has to grasp the reality of self. To become too distant from that concept is to become incoherent. Mentally one would juust be a hamster caught on their exercise wheel. Maybe coherenency is an overrated part of that concept if your mind is agile enough to keep up with challenges to the delusions.

They all agreed with Rokeach that there could only be one Jesus Christ. Joseph was the first to take up the contradiction. ‘He says he’s the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. I can’t get it. I know who I am. I’m God, Christ, the Holy Ghost, and if I wasn’t, by gosh, I wouldn’t lay claim to anything of the sort … I know this is an insane house and you have to be very careful.’ Very quickly he decided that the other two were insane, the proof being that they were in a mental hospital, weren’t they? Therefore Clyde and Leon were merely to be ‘laughed off’. Clyde concluded that the other two were ‘rerises’, lower beings, and anyway dead. He took, perhaps, the most godlike tone: ‘I am him. See? Now understand that!’ Leon, who became adept at ducking and diving in order to maintain his position without causing the social disruption they all found threatening, explained that the other two were ‘hollowed-out instrumental gods’. When Rokeach pushed Leon to say that Joseph wasn’t God, he replied:

‘He’s an instrumental god, now please don’t try to antagonise him. [To Joseph] My salute to you, sir, is as many times as you are a hollowed-out instrumental god … My belief is my belief and I don’t want your belief, and I’m just stating what I believe.’

‘I know who I am,’ Joseph said.

‘I don’t want to take it away from you,’ Leon said. ‘You can have it. I don’t want it.’

Leon’s standard response to any claim from the others that went against his delusions was ‘That’s your belief, sir,’ and then to change the subject.

Maybe, just maybe Diski is a little relativistic in her conclusion. That is small change compared to the entire article. Fascinating look at three very bright people with tenuous connections to reality, yet they could call on some intelligent or imaginative set of standards by which they could judge themselves. They may have been highly delusional, but maybe less insane than your neighbors.

Stone Temple Pilots – Vasoline (Video)

solyandra in context, two wallpapers, using proteins to switch off cancer

The Solyndra Scandal in Context – Republicans pursued clean energy loans, too—and good for them!

As I predicted, Solyndra’s bankruptcy is serving as the new Climategate — it’s giving conservative politicians who once felt the need to grope for some sort of muddled centrist-sounding position (e.g.,”the science is uncertain,” or “all of the above”) the pretense they need to transition to full-on oppositionalism.

We see this now as Republicans decry clean energy loan guarantees that they were begging for a few years ago. I had some fun with Mitch McConnell a few days ago, and ThinkProgress has a great post nailing Daryl Issa — who even now is investigating Solyndra — for pleading with DOE’s Steven Chu to fast track a loan guarantee to Aptera Motors, an electric car manufacturer.

Conservatives simply have no sense of shame. If they have to lie and blow-up another ant hill into a full-blown scandal they will. If, as is usually the case, they end up looking like moronic hypocrites than so be it. They’re like a vicious gossip who is not concerned with the truth as much as they are about how much damage they can cause once the sound bite becomes part of the public echo.

fall leaves

pile of autumn leaves wallpaper

Protein ‘Switches’ Could Turn Cancer Cells into Tiny Chemotherapy Factories

Johns Hopkins researchers have devised a protein “switch” that instructs cancer cells to produce their own anti-cancer medication. In lab tests, the researchers showed that these switches, working from inside the cells, can activate a powerful cell-killing drug when the device detects a marker linked to cancer. The goal, the scientists said, is to deploy a new type of weapon that causes cancer cells to self-destruct while sparing healthy tissue.

The concept of either genetic or cell switches being turned on and off to fight cancer is not new – I studied the concept when I was in school. The new angle here seems to be using a protein switch. Likely most people know that many of us carry around oncogenes and that other genes can be triggered by environmental factors to become cancerous. So scientists know that cancer can be switched on. How do you create a mechanism which is so specific that it will switch cancer cells off without shutting down essential life processes. The Johns Hopkins protein makes the cell produce its own chemotherapy drug which does just target cancer cells. Thus far it has been in lab animals. No human trials have started.

manet’s poppies wallpaper

Twenty-five of the 100 highest paid U.S. CEOs earned more last year than their companies paid in federal income tax, a pay study by a Washington think tank said on Wednesday. Yet according to conservatives and libertarians they are not creating jobs because their companies have to pay taxes occasionally and profits are difficult because of all those pesky regulations.

What Does Rupert Murdoch Want With America’s Schools?

While Murdoch’s arrival to the education business is being cheered by Jeb Bush and other conservatives, the idea of the parent company of News of the World and Fox getting into the school biz hasn’t gone over well with the education establishment. Murdoch’s new venture has stirred controversy in New York, where this summer the state sought to enter into a $27 million contract with Wireless Generation to track student performance. Given Klein’s hiring, the deal prompted an outcry by teachers’ unions and other critics who saw the public school system becoming just another example of revolving-door politics and crony capitalism. (“They chose us because we’re good,” and not due to any connection to Klein, says Wireless Generation’s spokeswoman, Joan Lebow.)

In early August, New York teachers’ unions demanded the state rescind its plans to contract with Wireless Generation. “It is especially troubling that Wireless Generation will be tasked with creating a centralized database for personal student information even as its parent company, News Corporation, stands accused of engaging in illegal news-gathering tactics,” representatives from the state and New York City teachers’ unions wrote.

If nothing else bundling up education with the machinations of the corporate world will get young Americans used to the idea that they are just clogs in corporate culture and privacy is a quaint relic of the past.

elizabeth warren reminds us the social contract is broken, landscape wallpaper, yea definitely make your own juice

‘The underlying social contract’

This clip of Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail in Massachusetts is making the rounds today, and for good reason. First-time candidates don’t usually articulate a progressive economic message quite this well. (via Thers)

For those who can’t watch clips online, Warren, after explaining some of the reasons for the nation’s deep fiscal hole, pointed to a more sensible approach to economic policy in general. “I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever,’” she said. “No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.

“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

There is more to the issue of class warfare than arguments about quantitive aspects of the economy such as wage disparity, workers having as much rights as their employer,  health care and retirement plans. There is an underlying physiological issue. Let’s call it the John Galt Complex. many on the Right ( libertarian or conservative) have it. There are even chain e-mails about the lone entrepreneur who worked 28 hour days, lived off baloney sandwiches and slept on the office couch for years to get their business going. Having gotten the business going by climbing these Galtian hurdles they deserve workers who will work for less than a living wage, pay no taxes on that business and not be subject to any regulations no matter how much they waste and damage the commons. There is a deep lack of humility. Sure those people, and there are very few, that create mutli-billion dollar companies deserve credit, but they will always owe individuals who helped them and society for making their success possible.It is a popular misconception that taking the risks involved in starting a large company is ten times more difficult than taking a job – say laying cable, teaching elementary school or programming a web site. Committing to a job and becoming extremely competent requires commitment. It means you can’t float in and out of professions ( not a positive on resumes if done too often). Committing to a job and doing it well takes as much courage as being what we call being an entrepreneur. It is a different type of challenge, but the courage and risks involved are about the same – imagine committing to working for an automaker for twenty years, that is your adult skill set, and they automate your job. It time to down grade the idolatry of entrepreneurship to simple respect. The same simple respect we would have for someone who worked as a city water works technician for thirty years or a cop, or an accountant who kept a near flawless set of books or the guy who makes a lousy eight-fifty an hour to empty your grandfathers bed-pan three times a day. Robert Reich notes that this type of social contract where we acknowledge and value everyone’s contribution is not pie in the sky philosophical musings, it actually works,

The Great Prosperity

During three decades from 1947 to 1977, the nation implemented what might be called a basic bargain with American workers. Employers paid them enough to buy what they produced. Mass production and mass consumption proved perfect complements. Almost everyone who wanted a job could find one with good wages, or at least wages that were trending upward.

During these three decades everyone’s wages grew — not just those at or near the top.

Government enforced the basic bargain in several ways. It used Keynesian policy to achieve nearly full employment. It gave ordinary workers more bargaining power. It provided social insurance. And it expanded public investment. Consequently, the portion of total income that went to the middle class grew while the portion going to the top declined. But this was no zero-sum game. As the economy grew almost everyone came out ahead, including those at the top.

The pay of workers in the bottom fifth grew 116 percent over these years — faster than the pay of those in the top fifth (which rose 99 percent), and in the top 5 percent (86 percent).

Productivity also grew quickly. Labor productivity — average output per hour worked — doubled. So did median incomes. Expressed in 2007 dollars, the typical family’s income rose from about $25,000 to $55,000. The basic bargain was cinched.

The middle class had the means to buy, and their buying created new jobs. As the economy grew, the national debt shrank as a percentage of it.

A large segment of the American public – with message reinforcement from the right-wing media now believes in some fantasy-land version of the economy where some people who do very little work, have not had a real idea there entire lives ( they pay for or steal other people’s ideas)  should be treated like feudal lords and the rest of the population their peasants.

meadow landscape, sunset

jumping deer stream wallpaper

The 6 Most Horrifying Lies The Food Industry is Feeding You. I am not sure that finding out food manufacturers put wood cellulose in your bread and cereal products is horrifying as much as disappointing. It has no nutritional value, but does add fiber to your diet. What’s odd is that if processed food makers used whole grains they would not need to do that. processed orange juice is something to avoid – produce labeling standards need to be revisited. It is amazing what processors get away with claiming. Buy some oranges and a juicer. Juicers are not that expensive. As usual the info about processed ground meat is horrifying or sickening or some adjective in that ball park. Though its like hotdogs, people don’t seem to care about it having assorted pig organs and parts, they just like the way it tastes. So some ammonia in their hamburger is just the price one pays for an addiction to fat.

mom, apple pie and booze

an american ritual – How many liquor ads will you read today and how many commercials, Yet A Drug Arrest Every 19 Seconds, Says Latest US Data  – “More than 1.6 million people were arrested for drug offenses in the US last year, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report 2010, and more than half of them were for marijuana.”

Ann Coulter, as Troy Davis was awaiting execution, got on Twitter and wrote: “HOLD THE PICKLE, HOLD THE LETTUCE. FRYING KILLERS WON’T UPSET US,” as she hawked her column titled, “Cop Killer Is Media’s Latest Baby Seal,”  – I would definitely put cop killers on my list of scumbags, but what was the hurry. Is there some use by date on state executions – hey we must do this today because tomorrow he becomes immortal. As usual Coulter does no research – more at the link. One of the luxuries of being a millionaire lazy know nothing mouth breather.

The Verve Pipe – The Freshmen (better than average sound quality).

Listening to this for the 100+ time I was thinking this video would be a good way to start a high school classroom discussion about responsibility and adulthood.

nanotubes as good as copper, beautiful pool wallpaper, government funding and the technology revolution

Nanotube Cables Hit a Milestone: As Good as Copper

Researchers achieve a goal they’ve been after since the 1980s—the advance could make cars and airplanes lighter, and renewable energy more practical.

[  ]…Years of tinkering in the lab to find the right assembly techniques and ingredients have enabled researchers led by Rice materials science professors Pulickel Ajayan and Enrique Barrera to finally make carbon nanotube cables as good as copper cables. The group’s nano cables boast a combination of properties that’s so far unprecedented. They’re mechanically strong, yet flexible enough to be knotted or woven together into long lengths of wire. They carry about 100,000 amps of current per square centimeter of material, about the same amount as copper wires, but weigh one-sixth as much. They outperform copper on a metric called current density, which means they should be able to carry more electricity over longer distances without losing energy to heat—a problem with today’s electrical grid, and with computer chips. And because they’re made of carbon, not metal, they don’t corrode.


This might be one way that auto and truck makers can meet future mileage standards – the weight of wires within the vehicle and components such as the alternator would be lower.  The new Airbus A380 contains 530 km (330 mi) of wiring and a 747-400 has 171 miles (274 km) of wiring and 5 miles (8 km) of tubing. Boeing is mentioned in the article as one of the backers of this research at Rice University along with Chevron and the U.S. Department of Energy. A statist or socialist or Marxist collaboration of sorts. Hopefully conservatives and libertarians will refuse to use any products made from this developing technology so they can say they had the courage of their pure free market convictions. Socialists should avoid it as well since free market actors were involved.

aqua and rust

beautiful pool wallpaper

The following is from this book ( which you can read on-line at the link and is available for sale at $49.00) – Funding a Revolution: Government Support for Computing Research (1999), Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB)

Federal research funding has helped build the technology base on which the computing industry has grown. A number of important computer-related products trace their technological roots to federally sponsored research programs. Early mainframe computers were given a significant boost from federally funded computing systems of the 1950s, such as the U.S. Air Force’s Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) project. Although a command-and-control system designed to warn of attacks by Soviet bombers, SAGE pioneered developments in real-time digital computing and core memory (among other advances) that rapidly spread throughout the fledgling computer industry. Time-shared minicomputers, which dominated the market in the 1970s and early 1980s, exploited time-sharing research conducted in the 1960s under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s)1 Project MAC and earlier work sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on the Compatible Time-Sharing System at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (see Chapter 4). The Internet, which came of age in the early 1990s, was derived from DARPA’s ARPANET program of the early 1970s, which created a packet-switching system to link research centers across the country, as well as from subsequent programs managed by NSF to expand and improve its NSFNET (see Chapter 7). Federal funding for relational databases helped move that technology out of corporate laboratories to become the basis of a multibillion-dollar U.S. database industry. The graphical user interface, which became commonplace on personal computers in the 1990s, incorporates research conducted at SRI International under a DARPA contract some 30 years earlier (Chapter 4).

The economic impact of federally funded research in computing is evident in the many companies that have successfully commercialized technologies developed under federal contracts. Examples include Sun Microsystems, Inc., Silicon Graphics, Inc., Informix Corporation, Digital Equipment Corporation, and Netscape Communications Corporation. Established companies, such as International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (AT&T), also commercialized technologies developed with federal sponsorship, such as core memories and time-sharing operating systems. Clearly, federally sponsored research was only one element in the success of these companies. Private firms had to dedicate tremendous resources to bring these technologies successfully to market, investing in their research and development, establishing manufacturing capacity, and setting up marketing and distribution channels. But new technology created the seed for continued innovation.

In the past two days I’ve read a couple of internet posters claiming the government has had nothing to do with the development of computing or the internet. As cited above the government has frequently been the driver behind basic research and the finished technology. Sometimes private players have developed or commercialized the technology, while at other times they have taken the whole package and tweaked it for the commercial consumer market. It has been a partnership between government, universities and private enterprise. Sorry for another excerpt but they say it so well,

4-The Organization of Federal Support: A Historical Review

Rather than a single, overarching framework of support, federal funding for research in computing has been managed by a set of agencies and offices that carry the legacies of the historical periods in which they were created. Crises such as World War II, Korea, Sputnik, Vietnam, the oil shocks, and concerns over national competitiveness have all instigated new modes of government support. Los Alamos National Laboratory, for example, a leader in supercomputing, was created by the Manhattan Project and became part of the Department of Energy. The Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation emerged in the wake of World War II to continue the successful contributions of wartime science. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are products of the Cold War, created in response to the launch of Sputnik to regain the nation’s technological leadership. The National Bureau of Standards, an older agency, was transformed into the National Institute of Standards and Technology in response to recent concerns about national competitiveness. Each organization’s style, mission, and importance have changed over time; yet each organization profoundly reflects the process of its development, and the overall landscape is the result of numerous layers of history.

Understanding these layers is crucial for discussing the role of the federal government in computing research. This chapter briefly sets out a history of the federal government’s programmatic involvement in computing research since 1945, distinguishing the various layers in the historical eras in which they were first formed.

[  ]…1945-1960: Era of Government Computers

In late 1945, just a few weeks after atomic bombs ended World War II and thrust the world into the nuclear age, digital electronic computers began to whir. The ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), built at the University of Pennsylvania and funded by the Army Ballistic Research Laboratory, was America’s first such machine.

Dr. J.W. Mauchly with the electronic computing machine known as the ENIAC. February 2, 1946


One aspect of developing technologies and research mentioned in this book and seldom mentioned elsewhere is the role of educating the inventors and innovators that created the technology – regardless of whether they worked directly for government, universities in partnership with government or a government plus private enterprise endeavor. I’m not a Bill Gates fan but he put in pretty well in a talk on basic research funding in medicine,

Bill Gates said at a mHealth summit in Washington “Capitalism has another systemic problem in that the needs of the poorest will not be prioritized the way they would if you put a more human-values-driven system in. Now, of course we have government that comes in and does its best to take, you know, the beauties of capitalism, which work for so many things and is so fantastic and whenever it can be used, it is better than government.”

“Government comes in for things that the market doesn’t work well on. So, for example, the lack of funding at the basic research level, the U.S. is exemplary in putting $30 billion through the NIH; putting money through other science programs. Now, you know, I’m sure probably the people here want it to be even more but at least that gets done and then that gets coupled with the drug companies who take that and try to turn it into products. The Gates Foundation tries to take the diseases of the poorest and fulfill that role that the market driven signals aren’t going to.”


Gates and CEOs and top executives from Bank of America, Lockheed Martin, and Kleiner Perkins test went in Washington in September of this year to argue for more funding in sustainable energy technology from the government. Conservatives and right-wing libertarians argue this is inefficient or just wrong for pure ideological reasons. Some of these big corporations say they cannot afford lots of basic research because it does not pay off fast enough. They need to show profits quickly otherwise investors are turned off by low profit margins.

The Eels – Novocaine For The Soul

youth poverty on the rise, english valley wallpaper, drink til you drop but no pot

One might not agree with Eliot Spitzer’s policy recommendations – starting a modern era works program like the New Deal WPA, but the statistics on youth poverty are daunting – Young, Poor, and Desperate. The poverty crisis is devastating young Americans. Here’s what Congress can do about it.

Median family income fell 2.3 percent between 2009 and 2010—to $49,445—but more significantly, is down 7.1 percent from its peak in 1999. The percentage of the population in poverty —15.1 percent—is the highest since 1993, and the total number—46.2 million—is an all-time high. We have given back a generation of economic progress.

But it gets much worse. Below this topline data is evidence of a more insidious picture of poverty and joblessness among the young and among African-Americans. Income for households headed by someone under 24 fell an astounding 15.3 percent between 2007 and 2010. The poverty rate among those under 18 is 22 percent. For those 18 to 24 it is 21.9 percent, and for blacks under the age of 18 it is a staggering 39.1 percent.


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Mitch McConnell Doesn’t Have ‘Any Particular Reaction’ To Tea Party Audience Cheering For Death

Rather than take a moment to condemn GOP debate audiences that cheered for executions and to leave a man to die, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he didn’t have “any particular reaction.” When host David Gregory asked McConnell on Meet The Press if the cheers troubled him as a Republican, McConnell deferred, saying there would be lots of debates and audience reactions during the campaign.


Young, old, black, white, male or female drop dead in the street from lack of health insurance Republicans are suddenly the party of a weird brand of equal opportunity. If you’re gunned down by a Muslim radical, trillions must be spent to correct a horrible injustice. So conservatives are not so much pro-life or care much about injustice, it’s that their moral compass is based on a coin toss.

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American Idiocy: Binge Drinking A-OK, Zero Tolerance on Pot

In the firmament of celebrated Americana, there is Mom, apple pie, football and beer—but there most certainly is not marijuana. As it relates to drugs, this bizarre culture has us implicitly accepting that people will inevitably use mind-altering substances. But through our statutes, we allow law-abiding citizens to use only one recreational substance—alcohol—that just happens to be way more hazardous than pot.

Such idiocy is the product of many variables. There’s been interest-group maneuvering and temperance-movement hypocrisy. There’s been hippie-hating rage and reefer-madness paranoia. And, most invisibly, there’s been college.

[  ]…Alcohol “is the cause or primary factor in [a majority] of suicides, unintentional deaths, physical injuries, distressed personal relationships, legal problems, sexual assault, property damage and academic failure,” admitted Donald Misch, CU’s assistant vice chancellor for health and wellness, in 2010. Yet Misch refrained from an abstinence message, imploring students to “drink responsibly.”


In our list of iconic Americana I would list beer before mom or apple pie. I’ve seen store clerks frequently threatened and once even shot at for refusing to sell beer to someone without an ID. Americans grow up feeling entitled to their beer. Weekends are celebrated with getting drunk. Liquor is the stuff that provides the social lubricant for everything from watching sports to celebrating the birth of Jesus. Eat half a pot-brownie and you’re an anti-American hippie who secretly reads Marx and is tearing apart of fabric of American society. Not always but liquor tends to make people more aggressive, some violent, while pot makes people ( generally) more relaxed and less combative. That might be part of why some people do not want pot to be socially acceptable – they want an American culture that is aggressive, not one that mellows out, laughs at silly jokes and eats too many Cheese Doodles.