fury of the french at antwerp, poltical scandals and shameless hypocrisy

Fury of the French in Antwerp

Fury of the French in Antwerp by Ferdinand de Braekeleer. Oil on canvas. Belgium, Between 1827 and 1846. I’m not an expert on Antwerp history, but I am fairly certain this is a depiction of one night in the Belgian Revolution. Many in North America should be able to relate to this frustration by an early liberal movement for freedom to worship as one wished, and freedom of the press, among other issues. The Netherlands are still a stellar world examples of liberalism to this day.

Double standards. That might be part of what is fueling the foaming at the mouth hysteria of the radical Right over two non-scandals, the current IRS screw-ups (IRS Audited Democratic Groups Under Bush, No Outrage from Conservatives) and the tragedy of Benghazi. Though since conservatives have an infamously low regard for ethics and genuineness, their shrill cries are mostly theater. A public display feigned outrage more in need of smelling salts and cold compresses than yet more expensive congressional kabuki. Why Obama Is Not Nixon

In order to stoke the conspiracy theories, Republican congressional aides leaked false versions of the interagency emails and ABC ran with them without checking. Republicans focused the controversy on Hillary Clinton rather than David Petraeus, the CIA director at the time, though Petraeus also agreed to the talking points and was responsible for hiring the local defenders who melted away at the first shot, and the misinformed intelligence on what happened that night was a failure by the CIA. (But Petraeus was most unlikely to run for president in 2016.) That the US presence in Benghazi was essentially a CIA operation was kept quiet. The inability to adequately protect our foreign missions has been a bipartisan failure and Congress’s stinginess with funds for the protection of our assets in foreign countries also bears some responsibility. In any case, the Republicans might be well advised to tread carefully on the matter of ignored warnings. So far, the George W. Bush administration has got by amazingly with their obvious failure to act on indications months before September 11, 2001, that a major terrorist plot was in the works.

Not just Bush, but the arrogance and incompetence of the conservative mindset was responsible for one of the biggest national security failures in our history. Then told a pack of lies connecting Iraq to 9-11, are now engaged in a deranged campaign to turn a tragedy, that they are also partly responsible for, into a scandal. The shamelessness of conservative hypocrisy alone is blinding. Maybe instead of Obama’s preschool initiative we have a national educational initiative to educate the conservative movement on ethics.

Science humor, Cells must use their brakes moderately for effective speed control

All living cells have a regulatory system similar to what can be found in today’s smartphones. Just like our phones process a large amount of information that we feed them, cells continuously process information about their outer and inner environment. Inside the cells, information is sent and processed via a large network of interactions between signalling molecules.

In electronic circuits it is common with negative feedback, inhibiting functions, to make signals clearer and to reduce noise that can obscure important information. Cells also use this technique for reducing unwanted noise. Almost half of all signalling molecules that regulate which genes should be on or off, regulate their own genetic expression through biochemical reactions acting as inhibitors.

“If the number of signalling molecules is more than necessary, they shut down their own production for a short while, to later resume it. The difference between feedback in electronic systems and biological systems is that biological systems are much more imprecise and slow”, explains Andreas Grönlund, lead author, currently active at Umeå University.

Together with professors Per Lötstedt and Johan Elf, both at Uppsala University, he has used new data and mathematical models to calculate how long the molecules must remain in their binding sites to make the feedback exactly strong enough to reduce noise as much as possible.

I have always been amazed at the billions of reactions the body carries out without conscience input from the thinking part of the brain. If life seems complicated now – work, family, bills, plans, relationships – imagine having to think through every biochemical reaction required to stay alive.