the hand of man, money issues drain thinking

The Hand of Man

The Hand of Man, 1902, Photogravure. Photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Quite a few people were concerned about the effects of industrialization on society and the tormentor. The Industrial Revolution may have improved life for many people, but it did so at a price. One of those pivotal moments in history where the powers that could have made better, wiser decisions, but were blinded by short term profits. That is not a Luddite position, it is the we could do better point of view.

This is a very difficult, heart wrenching article to read, but worth it to see the truth behind the pork industry, Gagged by Big Corporate Agriculture. Horrific abuse. Rampant contamination. And the crime is…exposing it?

The Colonist of Good Will: On Albert Camus. Granted Camus was a humanitarian and his position on Algiers was far more responsible than supporters of French colonialism, but ….

from a collection of glass slides of fairground scenes

This image comes from a collection of glass slides of fairground scenes found in the stores at Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne. Courtesy ‘Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’. No date or place was known.

How Money Worries Can Scramble Your Thinking

“Financial constraints capture a lot of your attention,” says , a psychologist at Princeton University, who helped lead the study. “Then there’s less bandwidth left to solve problems. Your cognitive ability starts to slow down, just like a computer.”

And the effect is big. After a quick reminder about money issues, people’s performance on the puzzles drops down by at least a quarter — or approximately the same mental hit a person takes after staying up all night.

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candlelight wallpaper, remotely controlled brain experiment works, the moral deficit of conservatism

candlelight serenade wallpaper

candlelight serenade wallpaper

 

Maybe because of recent news that an NSA employee used their position and authority to stalk an ex-spouse, I’m feeling a little more cynical about this news than I should, Researcher remotely controls colleague’s body with brain

On Aug. 12, University of Washington researcher Rajesh Rao sent the finger-flicking brain signal to his colleague, Andrea Stocco, in a demonstration of human-to-human brain signaling, according to a university announcement.

…A video of the experiment released on the lab team’s website shows Rao observing a cannon-firing video game while wearing an electrical brain-signal reading cap. By imagining his right finger flicking during the game, he triggered the actual motion in Stocco, who sat in a distant lab, wearing a cap designed to send magnetic stimulation signals to his brain. In effect, Rao’s thought was transferred across the campus, via the Internet, to trigger the motion in Stocco, who described it as feeling like an involuntary twitch, according to the announcement.

The development of sophisticated electronic surveillance and the ability to store vast quantities of data was also a great advancement in our national security toolbox. Many of as realize that technology has been badly abused. So there is little reason to believe that advances in directly controlled brain technology will not be abused as well. If only our ethical standards would keep pace with technology.

Starry Night

Starry Night, 1893 by Edvard Munch. Oil on canvas. An interesting contrast with Vincent Van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night. Munch is said to have been more interested in conveying the mood of the setting, or his mood anyway, rather than emphasizing the picturesque qualities.

Pennsylvania, Rep. Tom Marino (R) Tells The Elderly ‘We Do Not Have The Money’ To Fund Meals On Wheels

At a visit to the Meals on Wheels program headquarters in Monroe and Lackawanna counties in his home state of Pennsylvania, Rep. Tom Marino (R) said that he supports the program but that he is concerned with reducing long-term debt. While calling the funding of Meals on Wheels a “no-brainer,” he still said “I can’t stand here and tell you your agency won’t be cut.”

“It’s going to take two decades — even if we start now — to try to eliminate this debt,” he said. “Folks, we do not have the money. The revenue is not there. How are you going to pay for it?”

The executive directors of the program delivered comments written on paper plates from the low-income elderly recipients of the meals asking him to help end sequestration cuts and increase the program’s funding. The local programs haven’t had to reduce meal days yet, but Linda Steier, executive director of Meals on Wheels in the area, told the Pocono Record, “It’s looming large.”

Still, those programs are among the fortunate, as many others across the country have had to reduce the number of meals they serve, freeze new enrollees, shutter community centers, and furlough staff. In fact, nearly 70 percent report having to reduce their meals. All told, initial projections were that $41 million in federal funding for the program would be cut, resulting in as many as 19 million fewer meals served.

We, the gov’mint have enough money to pay Tom $179k a year, subsidize his and his family’s health care insurance with a gold plated plan. The deficit has gone down every year since 2009. So he is lying about having some kind of deficit emergency. If you grow old in the USA you’re entitled to the dignity and respect of having enough nutritious food to survive. Tom, who obviously has no interest in representing or respecting elder Americans not only feels differently, he feels so strongly about not feeding seniors he is willing to lie and exaggerate to not feed them or respect them. Tom has an emergency deficit. A deficit of basic morality.,

space bike, wealth gives rise to a sense of entitlement and narcissistic behaviors

Spacelander Bicycle

Spacelander Bicycle. Designed by Benjamin Bowden for a 1946 exhibition of British industrial design. While this great postwar example of streamline futuristic design was a critical success at the exhibition, Bowden had a difficult time finding a manufacturer who would put it into production. By the time it found a manufacturer in the U.S. in 1960, much of the public’s taste in this kind of style had changed. Only around 500 were sold. Though now it is was of the most highly valued old bicycles on the market.

Study finds wealth gives rise to a sense of entitlement and narcissistic behaviors

According to a new study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin this month, wealth tends to increase a person’s sense of entitlement, which in turn can lead to narcissistic behaviors.

Paul Piff of the University of California at Berkeley told PsyPost “there is something about wealth that gives rise to a sense of entitlement, a sense that one deserves more good things in life than others, which in turn gives rise to an increased or inflated sense of self-importance, vanity, grandiosity, and omnipotence (narcissism).”

“Narcissism is a multi-faceted and complex construct, but that wealth is specifically associated with it suggests that as a person’s level of privilege rises, that person becomes increasingly self-focused – in a sense, becoming the center of their own world and worldview,” he explained.

“The studies in the paper measure narcissism in a whole host of ways, including measuring how likely someone is to stare at their reflection in a mirror (wealthier people do that more often). Even students who come from wealth, but have done little to create their own wealth (yet), report more entitlement. This suggests that wealth shapes an ideology of self-interest and entitlement that’s transferred culturally from one generation to the next.”

This is obviously not always the case, some people with wealth turn out to be great humanitarians. For those people the Spiderman message about great powers  being coupled with great responsibility does sink in with some people. I’ve experienced this quite a bit. There is an attitude of entitlement over the phone or in person – do you know who I am – I want what I want, I want it now and I deserve it because I am a executive VP or a wealthy lawyer or banker. Very strange behavior, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

beach walkway

beach walkway. I noticed this morning that the 6 am sunrises are gone and then along came the big yellow school buses. Summer will soon be gone.

This recent editorial is a good example of the culture of entitlement and narcissistic behavior that guides our economy, The Leveraged Buyout of America

According to legal scholar Saule Omarova, over the past five years, there has been a “quiet transformation of U.S. financial holding companies.” These financial services companies have become global merchants that seek to extract rent from any commercial or financial business activity within their reach.  They have used legal authority in Graham-Leach-Bliley to subvert the “foundational principle of separation of banking from commerce”. . . .

It seems like there is a significant macro-economic risk in having a massive entity like, say JP Morgan, both issuing credit cards and mortgages, managing municipal bond offerings, selling gasoline and electric power, running large oil tankers, trading derivatives, and owning and operating airports, in multiple countries.

A “macro” risk indeed – not just to our economy but to our democracy and our individual and national sovereignty. Giant banks are buying up our country’s infrastructure – the power and supply chains that are vital to the economy.

These assets – airports, toll roads, and ports; control power plants; and store and hoard vast quantities of commodities of all sorts – are being packaged as investment instruments, a bet on their future value, much like the collateralized debt obligations that contributed so much to the Great Recession of 2007. And their are doing it with your money, your deposits – the excess of deposits over loans – as collateral for borrowing. Once again making bets that they cannot pay, if like the housing market, values should go down.

first licensed woman pilot, highly uneven justice

Harriet Quimby in cockpit of plane

Harriet Quimby in cockpit of plane, circa 1912.

Harriet Quimby

Harriet Quimby (May 11, 1875 – July 1, 1912), this picture also around 1912. I especially like this one. Sometimes a photo will catch someone in a moment when there is just joy, no arrogance, no pretense. One of those times when they are at having one of the best moments of their life. here Qiumby is waving back to a crowd cheering here on for doing what she loved to do, fly. In 1911, she was awarded a U.S. pilot’s certificate by the Aero Club of America, becoming the first woman to gain a pilot’s license in the United States.

Measuring the cost of austerity

Let me end by quoting the conclusion of their New York Times article. “One need not be an economic ideologue — we certainly aren’t — to recognize that the price of austerity can be calculated in human lives. We are not exonerating poor policy decisions of the past or calling for universal debt forgiveness. It’s up to policy makers in America and Europe to figure out the right mix of fiscal and monetary policy. What we have found is that austerity — severe, immediate, indiscriminate cuts to social and health spending — is not only self-defeating, but fatal.”

Some might think that knowing that austerity economics is actually fatal to people, it causes illness, misery and early death would make its proponents feel some sense of shame. That would only be the case if you were dealing with people who were not at their core social-Darwinists. They see the fatalities of austerity as a feature, not a failing.

Día de Fiesta

Día de Fiesta, Mexico, 1933, by Paul Strand. Platinum print.

 

Bradley Manning Headed To Prison, While Those Who Authorized Torture Go Free. Good point. One of videos that Manning leaked showed two children wounded in van by the military. Manning is punished for letting the public see a war crime, but those who commuted the crime were never prosecuted.

Interesting, Brilliant Red Sprite Lightning Caught on Film

forest greens wallpaper, light and space, holier than thou rushrush

forest greens wallpaper

forest greens wallpaper

 

Meteor Pieces Hammered Into Iron Jewelry In Egypt 5,000 Years Ago. Ancient craftsmen would make rolls of the metal extracted from meteorites, than take small pieces and roll them into a shape that could be strung on a necklace.

Light and Space

Light and Space, 1946 by Carlotta M. Corpron. Silver gelatin print.

 7 Idiotic and Dangerous Statements From Right-Wing Nut-Jobs Just Last Week

4. Rush Limbaugh bullies listeners into choosing between God and science.

One mark of a borderline personality, we’re told, is seeing the word in black-and-white terms — either/or — no nuance allowed. An armchair diagnosis of Rush Limbaugh suggests that syndrome may apply to him. Another diagnosis: intellectual (using the word loosely) bullying.

And so it was this week when Limbaugh made it plain to his listeners that they could not simultaneously believe in God and in climate change science. Take your pick, he said, ‘cause you can’t have both. His comments were occasioned by Secretary of State John Kerry having the audacity to say in a speech to the Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives that climate change was “a challenge to our responsibilities as the guardians — safe guarders of God’s creation.”

Here’s how Limbaugh put listeners between a rock and hard place:

“See, in my humble opinion, folks, if you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming … You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something that he can’t create.”

Black or white. See? Simple.

There seem to be some Christians who disagree, ” Christians for Environmental Stewardship is dedicated to reaching the Evangelical and Conservative Christian churches with a scriptural message of environmental stewardship. We measure our stewardship by healthy ecosystems and sustainable, responsible consumption. We are calling on all Christians to search the scriptures to better understand the heart of God in relation to His creation. The Bible says that God expects, even demands, that we be stewards of His creation. Scripture is undisputable. God created the different species of plants and animals, blessed them, protected them and made a covenant with them.

Every time we, as humans, drive a species to extinction, we are stating that what God created, we can destroy. There is no scripture to support that view. Every time a species goes extinct, we are defaulting on the account that God has called us to manage. We are at the crossroads, able to choose to save or to destroy. It is our choice. The Bible is clear that creation expresses Gods wisdom and power. Christians are called to be stewards, to nurture, to protect, to preserve His creation. ” I’m not in agreement with some of the details of their thinking either, but at least they seem to get the big picture, humans must take care of the earth. There is no escape plan, no other planet to fly to – in the near future, should we continue pushing this one to the point of being uninhabitable. Limbaugh is on marriage number four, avoided being drafted to serve in the military during the Vietnam era by claiming his anal cyst was too painful, has been a drug addict, made his maid doctor shop for him to maintain his drug supply, vacations in $5,000 a day hotels in London whee he drinks French champagne, buys his illegal in the U.S. Cuban cigars, has called women every derogatory epitaph under the sun,  and leads a generally decadent lifestyle. Now he is the expert, the last word, the go-to guy on what constitutes being a good Christian. And some Christians leaders wonder why the U.S. is becoming a more and more secular country.

language and shaping perception, smart conservative cranks are still cranks

jean seberg in Breathless

jean seberg in Breathless

Does Language Shape What We See?

by Virginia Hughes

At this very moment, your eyes and brain are performing an astounding series of coordinated operations.

Light rays from the screen are hitting your retina, the sheet of light-sensitive cells that lines the back wall of each of your eyes. Those cells, in turn, are converting light into electrical pulses that can be decoded by your brain.

The electrical messages travel down the optic nerve to your thalamus, a relay center for sensory information in the middle of the brain, and from the thalamus to the visual cortex at the back of your head. In the visual cortex, the message jumps from one layer of tissue to the next, allowing you to determine the shape and color and movement of the thing in your visual field.

Just that piece of information would seem to imply that processing what we see is kind of modular. All this things are taken in a stream and the brain puts the pieces together in workman-like fashion.  Yet evidence suggest that other input plays a role, either simultaneously or is called on as more visual information is processed. memory may help recognize a visual field faster or may invoke perceptions based on emotions associated with memory so you see a blue box, but your friend sees a blue box and is sad or happy. Perhaps smell – one of the strongest senses for invoking memory affects sight. Worth a read with lots of information for a short article.

Couplet on Water and Flowers

Couplet on Water and Flowers, 1972, by Feng Kanghou  (Chinese, 1901–1983). I liked this just as a work of visual art. The signs and the basic contrast between white and black. Though it does have a literal meaning. Kanghou’s interpretation of a couplet from Hong Yingming’s (fl. 1596)

However rapidly water flows, it is always tranquil in itself.
Though their petals fall from time to time, flowers remain restful at heart.
If we could deal with daily affairs and people with this attitude, there would be no inner disturbances.
How carefree our bodies and minds would be!

There is some evidence – though not conclusive, that people who read books tend to be more moral.  Generally the more education someone has the less likely they are to be street criminals – though Wall Street bankers would suggest that there are clear exceptions for some criminal behavior. And women across all demographics commit fewer crimes than men.  Intelligence is frequently linked to better behavior, though a Arthur Conan Doyle knew, geniuses can be criminals. Reagan appointee  Adm. John Poindexter is said to be a genius, yet was neck deep in the Iran-Contra scandal. Still, it is unsettling that someone with a Ph.D. is a crank, Oregon’s GOP Chair Wants to Sprinkle Nuclear Waste From Airplanes

After months of in-fighting, the beleaguered Oregon Republican Party elected a new chairman last weekend. His name is Art Robinson, and he wants to sprinkle radioactive waste from airplanes to build up our resistance to degenerative illnesses. Robinson, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress against progressive Rep. Peter DeFazio in 2010 and 2012, took over after the previous chair resigned in advance of a recall campaign over her alleged financial mismanagement.

Robinson, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry, has marketed himself for the last three decades as an expert on everything from nuclear fallout to AIDS to climate science in the pages of a monthly newsletter, Access to Energy, which he published from his compound in the small town of Cave Junction.

…On nuclear waste: “All we need do with nuclear waste is dilute it to a low radiation level and sprinkle it over the ocean—or even over America after hormesis is better understood and verified with respect to more diseases.” And: “If we could use it to enhance our own drinking water here in Oregon, where background radiation is low, it would hormetically enhance our resistance to degenerative diseases. Alas, this would be against the law.”

I minored in chemistry. A common, though admittedly not hilarious joke is that if chemists were really smart they would have majored in physics. Hormesis is a real phenomenon, many vaccinations are indirectly based on that theory. It means stimulation by the use of a low concentration of a toxin. There is no, and I mean no evidence that exposure to low levels of atomic radiation increases human resistance to radiation poisoning. He also believes that AIDS was a government invention cooked up to experiment with various kinds of “social engineering, especially in the public schools.” And he reminds of Nobel prize winner William Shockley in his views on race, On diversity: The white-male imbalance at his alma mater, Cal Tech, Robinson argued, was due to the fact that “its applicants are weighted toward those who seek severe, difficult, total-immersion training in science—an experience few women and blacks desire.”

columbia river vintage, hollywood cops forget citizen rights, telling your brain to remember

Cape Horn, Columbia River, Oregon

Cape Horn, Columbia River, Oregon, print about 1881 – 1883.  Albumen silver print. Photographer, Carleton Watkins 1829 – 1916.

Watch: Cops Detain Man For Taking Pictures of Police from 90 Feet Away

Shawn Nee, a documentary photographer, was detained in Hollywood in June. Nee was out on the job doing regular street photography when police officers showed up 90 feet away to intervene in a domestic dispute. Nee decided to photograph the officers while they were doing their job. That meant trouble for him.

Nee was so far away the police got in their car to go over to him because they did not feel like walking that far. A police department spokesperson said, “when it interferes with the job of police then it becomes a problem. At that point, you no longer have that freedom to go ahead and take your pictures.” So goodness forbid that you’re crunching down on some corn flakes 10 yards away from an arrest. The officers will claim you’re getting on their nerves and tase you.

Reading by Lamplight

Reading by Lamplight, 1858. Etching and drypoint; black ink on fine ivory oriental laid paper. James McNeill Whistler 1834–1903. So much of Whistler’s work is nicely dressed upper middle-class of the time, that it may distract some art fans from appreciating his technique.

Remembering to Remember Supported by Two Distinct Brain Processes

You plan on shopping for groceries later and you tell yourself that you have to remember to take the grocery bags with you when you leave the house. Lo and behold, you reach the check-out counter and you realize you’ve forgotten the bags.

Remembering to remember — whether it’s grocery bags, appointments, or taking medications — is essential to our everyday lives. New research sheds light on two distinct brain processes that underlie this type of memory, known as prospective memory.

In order to remember something a part of your brain has to keep telling your brain to watch for clues that what you are supposed to remember is required at the time you need to do something. It somewhat boils down to attention. If you let your mind wander, you’re less likely to remember. That seems simplistic but how many times have we really needed to do something, be somewhere and forgotten. Importance alone is not sufficient to make your brain recall what it needs to do.