deflection from guilt is the rule, orwell plus huxley the new dystopia

Clochard and Posters, Paris. c1930. Gelatin silver print. Photographer André Kertész.

 NBC Sports Host Who Shot Elephant In Face Compares His Critics To Hitler. Makris: Elephant Hunting Critics Are Practicing “Animal Racism.” When people are caught doing something grossly immoral it is generally the case that they deflect. very seldom does someone caught doing something wrong, ironically, especially when there is a huge public outcry, to admit guilt and apologize. Politicians do so occasionally, but almost always with some hedging. Makris has jumped off the deep end with a bizarre counter attack. If he thinks that all animals should be killed in equal number that would mean we should kill as many elephants as we do cows ( about 300 million cattle, bison, sheep, hogs, goats, chickens, turkeys, and ducks in the U.S. every year). African elephants are all listed as threatened species and Indian elephants are critically endangered, so keeping the kill ration equal would mean the extinction of both populations of elephants within a year. He says the elephant fed people. Who exactly? Did a starving village ask him to go out and kill an elephant to fed them because they were unable to do so themselves. One also wonders how it is a fair comparison to say that those who object to the killing of an elephant are exactly the same as Hitler, a man and system of beliefs responsible for the mass murder of six million Jews. Plus a few million other civilians and military. So this Hitler would have taken a moment to see and hear a person kill an elephant and condemned him. Possible, but for obvious reasons, seems unlikely. If the elephant was killed to fed some starving Jews, communists, intellectuals or liberals – all of whom Hitler hated, that might be in the realm of believability. Is it possible that ten of thousands of people had moral objections to what Mr. Makris did because it was yet another cruel and completely unnecessary act in a world that is not suffering from a shortage of such acts. Makris and his supporters make the argument that since there is frequent killing in the world, what is one more. One could theoretically make the argument until the last one eyed man is standing.

Probably the 1946 issue.

N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens

Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.

According to the I have Nothing to Hide So It is No Big Deal crowd on Twitter, this is just another big yawn. In George Orwell’s dytopian future the government uses various kinds of coercion and spying to keep everyone in line. While in Aldous Huxley’s dystopia the people are pacified with drugs and other form of pleasure inducement that make everyone either accepting or apathetic. It seems they were both right. The Nothing to Hides (NTHs) can watch cable, have a cold drink, order in some food, play with their smart-phone, all under the assumption by the government that they are suspects  – thus everything is fine.

* When people stop by to like a post I generally try to visit their blogs and leave a ‘like’ as well – both because i did like the post and as a kind of thanks. I have not had time to do that lately so I just wanted to thank all of you for stopping by.

new york wallpaper, brain tumor switch identified

Retro New York wallpaper

Retro New York wallpaper

 

Obamacare or The Affordable Care Act already seems like it is generally bending the cost curve of health care inflation. But one of the factors that will help is all that silly public funding for medical-science research to institutions like the UT Southwestern Medical Center, Researchers Identify a Switch Which Controls Growth of Most Aggressive Brain Tumor Cells

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified a cellular switch that potentially can be turned off and on to slow down, and eventually inhibit the growth of the most commonly diagnosed and aggressive malignant brain tumor.

Findings of their investigation show that the protein RIP1 acts as a mediator of brain tumor cell survival, either protecting or destroying cells. Researchers believe that the protein, found in most glioblastomas, can be targeted to develop a drug treatment for these highly malignant brain tumors.

Some of UT Southwestern Medical Center’s funding came through the National Institutes of Health, NASA, and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

PROFESSOR MAYER’S TOPOPHONE.

The aim of the topophone, which was invented and patented by Professor A. M. Mayer, last winter, is to enable the user to determine quickly and surely the exact direction and position of any source of sound. Our figure shows a portable style of the instrument; for use on ship-board it would probably form one of the fixtures of the pilot-house or the “bridge,” or both. In most cases arising in sailing through fogs, it would be enough for the captain or pilot to be sure of the exact direction of a fog horn, whistling buoy, or steam whistle; and for this a single aural observation suffices.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, NEW YORK, July 3, 1880.

Just One Senator Is Single-Handedly Preventing The First Gay Black Federal Judge From Being Confirmed. That senator is 2016 conservative presidential hopeful Marco Rubio (R-FL). To be fair, Marco may not understand what he’s doing, his maid still helps him tie his sneakers in the morning.

about that one world government conspiracy, human gut brewery

Canadian Pacific Railway 4-6-2, March 1960. Gelatin silver print. D. Plowden.

Canadian Pacific Railway 4-6-2, March 1960. Gelatin silver print. D. Plowden. Part of that smoke is condensation from the cold, the other part  is coal ash, so only partly romantic nostalgia for the past.

If you grew up in the southern U.S. you grew up with ramblings about One World Govmint and the United Nations. That conspiracy theory is bone-headed in many ways, but one of the worse aspects is that it distracts from the reality that the people who believe it really are owned and help to perpetuate being owned, Exposing the Financial Core of the Transnational Capitalist Class

… people on the boards of directors of the top ten asset management firms and the top ten most centralized corporations in the world … [they find that] … there is a total of thirteen firms, which collectively have 161 directors on their boards … [and] … this group of 161 individuals represents the financial core of the world’s transnational capitalist class. They collectively manage $23.91 trillion in funds and operate in nearly every country in the world. They are the center of the financial capital that powers the global economic system. Western governments and international policy bodies work in the interests of this financial core to protect the free flow of capital investment anywhere in the world.

The writing is a little more breathless than I’d like. It is simply a matter of fact that a few people push the western economies the way they want. They wanted austerity – and they largely got it. many countries are having what Paul Krugman called a dead-cat bounce (a policy of simply shutting down half the economy for a year or two, then letting it start up again, is a smashing success)– the economies were is such bad shape that they had to inch above bottom eventually. Sure local legislators still pass laws that are propelled by local interests, but they are generally not that big an influence on the world economy. Though even locally conservative organizations like ALEC have had a big impact on the lives of average workers and their families.

North Star House

North Star House stairway, 1960. Architecture in the 20th Century. Volume III.

 

And dash of science, Auto-Brewery Syndrome: Apparently, You Can Make Beer In Your Gut

So the team searched the man’s belongings for liquor and then isolated him in a hospital room for 24 hours. Throughout the day, he ate carbohydrate-rich foods, and the doctors periodically checked his blood for alcohol. At one point, it rose 0.12 percent.

Eventually, McCarthy and Cordell pinpointed the culprit: an overabundance of brewer’s yeast in his gut.

That’s right, folks. According to Cordell and McCarthy, the man’s intestinal tract was acting like his own internal brewery.

Ordinarily the bacteria in your gut would kill most of the yeast, so this man may have some kind of medical condition that suppresses his gut bacteria.

treating the commons like brats gone wild

Head of a Young Girl, c1740s - 1750s. Oil on canvas. By Francois Boucher

Head of a Young Girl, c1740s – 1750s. Oil on canvas. By Francois Boucher

 The Travesty of the Anti-Commons

In his 1968 essay “The tragedy of the commons,” Garrett Hardin argued that unrestricted access to resources held in common, and, likewise, unrestricted ability to dump waste, inexorably leads to the destruction of the commons. At the time, he may not have suspected that the term would become a formidable propaganda weapon in the hands of those who would do exactly what he was arguing against—used to sing the virtues of unrestrained self-interest while destroying the ecosystems on which we, along with all life, depend for our survival.

Later on Hardin said that perhaps he should have called it “The Tragedy of the Unregulated Commons,” because in his article he presented another concept—that of negative commons, now better known as externalities, of which air and water pollution are prime examples. Since the Earth’s atmosphere and the oceans are rather difficult to privatize, this poses a general moral challenge to society. If everyone concerns themselves only with their own interests (taking while the taking is good, not expending effort on collective efforts since they are a waste of one’s precious time, and so on) one cannot avoid the tragedy of the commons.

The full essay is at the link. I must not be a complete cynic yet since I am a little surprised that we’re still having this debate in the U.S. and Europe, and increasingly in Asia. Even those who do not have children remember being a child. We had to have some limits on our behavior because it could be damaging to people and property, and endangered ourselves. Sure strictly speaking our adult caregivers were taking away freedom, but they did so for obviously good reason. The same code of behavior applies writ large to coal companies, oil companies and manufacturers. Given complete freedom or the license to run wild, they will, and have done, even with regulation, considerable damage and wasted tremendous amounts of resources. Such behavior is beyond irresponsible it borders on nihilism. They seem to operate on the assumption that either there is no future to worry about, or screw future generations. Conservatives and libertarians who think this way – and there are millions who do – can make many claims about their behavior, be moral is not one of them.

blue hyacinth wallpaper, the brain prion from hell, no right to be obnoxious

blue hyacinth wallpaper

blue hyacinth wallpaper

Prions are kinds of proteins. Organic compounds that we ordinarily think of as harmless. After all they’re not bacteria or fungi. Not so with the prions that cause Mad Cow disease or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. N.H. patients possibly exposed to fatal brain disease

Eight patients at a New Hampshire hospital may have been exposed to a rare, fatal brain disease from surgery equipment that was used on a patient who likely had the incurable disease, state health officials said Wednesday.

The patients underwent brain surgery at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester between May and August and have been notified of their potential exposure, the officials said during a news conference.

The equipment, rented from Minneapolis-based Medtronic, may also have been used on five patients in unnamed other states before health officials realized the instruments were possibly contaminated with tissue from the initial patient. That person had undergone surgery in May, but only last month was it discovered that the patient had symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Standard methods for sterilizing surgical equipment before every operation do not protect against the rare disease, specialists said.

And they’re understating the case when they say the standard methods for cleaning surgical instruments do not kill all the prions. using these steaming hot high pressure autoclaves, the usual sterilizing detergents do not kill them all. A researcher at National Institutes of Health said that some of them can even survive incineration. These specific prions are rare and the people who are mentioned in the article are not positively going to be infected. Though if anyone is, there is no cure.

Saducismus triumphatus

Saducismus triumphatus: or, Full and plain evidence concerning witches and apparitions. In two parts. The first treating of their possiblity. The second of their real existence. By Joseph Glanvil 1636-1680., late Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty, and fellow of the Royal Society. The second edition. With two authentick, but wonderful stories of certain Swedish witches; done into English by Anth. Horneck D.D. 1682. Of course they have proof and it must be true since this an old book written by a chaplain. 

Fiona Apple and Dave Chappelle: Are Artists Obligated to Appease Disrespectful Audiences?

Last week, Fiona Apple performed at a Louis Vuitton-sponsored show in Tokyo, one that paid tribute to women like Kate Moss, Sofia Coppola, and Catherine Deneuve (the event was called “Timeless Muses”). As you may expect at this type of event, people were chatty and less interested in the music being performed onstage for their entertainment. Annoyed with the noise coming from the crowd, Apple allegedly cursed at the audience stormed off stage following her set. Her behavior, of course, was labeled as “a meltdown,” and the seemingly unstable Apple — whose public acknowledgement of mental illness has never particularly worked in her favor — was yet again portrayed as a loon.

Apple’s performance at the Louis Vuitton show took place the same day that news broke online of comedian Dave Chappelle’s disastrous stand-up set at Funny or Die’s The Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival in Hartford, Connecticut. In response to visibly and audibly drunk audience members who yelled to the stage to get his attention, Chappelle responded in a way that probably isn’t too surprising: he told them to shut up. When the audience booed and continued to heckle him, he sat on stage until his time was up. Obviously, the media reported that he, too, had a meltdown.

I’m not buying the argument that since someone bought a ticket they are entitled to any kind of obnoxious behavior. Other people paid for their tickets as well. Most of these artists understand that there is going to be some chatter during their performance; one of the reason the amplifiers at concerts are so loud. But purposely disrupting them is not. No one bought the right, along with that ticket to put on their own little show. The performers have every right to be upset, and being upset is no more a meltdown than when the rowdy members of the crowd were upset when they were harassed at work or school. I think this tendency to describe female performers this way is mostly the gossip press, whose sole purpose in life is to get some rise out of people one way or the other. They don’t care as long as readers are agitated for and against what they wrote.

the day after labor day

Alma Sewing

Alma Sewing, 1935. Oil on canvas. By Francis Criss. Criss, along with Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth were part of the Precisionists movement. Viewers will have already noticed the clean graceful lines gives the painting an almost 3D appearance.

Protecting the Promise of Labor Day: Five Ways Workers are Under Attack

In 1897, President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a federal holiday, reacting to pressure from unions following the contentious Pullman Strike.

Over the next century, unions fought to win all sorts of benefits for Americans, ranging from widespread employer-sponsored health care to reduced workdays. But this Labor Day, many of these hard-fought benefits are under attack:

Pensions: Thanks to federal reforms and labor activism, private sector pension plans proliferated in the twentieth century. In March of 1949, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that companies had to bargain with their unions over pensions. Walter Reuther – the famous United Auto Workers (UAW) leader who also addressed the 1963 March On Washington – demanded that Ford Motor Company offer retirement security in the form of pensions, and led his workers in a strike in order to win it. By September 1949, Ford agreed to a $100-a-month pension – a decision that had huge ramifications for pro-pension activism nationwide.

Today, pensions across the country are under attack. In 1979, 38 percent of workers in the private sector had access to a defined benefit plan. By 2010, only 15 percent had access to such a plan. Meanwhile in the public sector, both state and local governments continue to cut pensions even while handing out massive tax giveaways to corporations.

The Right To Organize: One right unions gave America is the ability to collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, hours and working conditions. In the 1950s more than a third of Americans belonged to unions; in 1952, there were 470 strikes involving 2.7 million workers. The recent wave of anti-union laws and aggressive anti-labor tactics by businesses has meant that far fewer Americans have been able to join a union. By the end of 2012 only 11.3 percent of Americans were unionized. Today, right-wing politicians have signed laws aimed at undermining collective bargaining in both the public and private sectors.

Income Equality: As unionization peaked in the middle of the last century, so did income equality. Incomes became “dramatically more equal in the 1940s” and “remained roughly stable through the postwar economic booms of the 1950s and 1960s.” But as researchers at the Center for American Progress found, as union membership decreased, the middle class’s share of national income shrunk at a similar rate.

Access To Health Care: “The rise of unions in the 1930s and 1940s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans, as labor unions banded workers together to negotiate for health coverage plans from employers. In 1942, “the U.S. set up a National War Labor Board. It had the power to set a cap on all wage increases. But it let employers circumvent the cap by offering ‘fringe benefits’ – notably, health insurance.” By 1950, “half of all companies with fewer than 250 workers and two-thirds of all companies with more than 250 workers offered health insurance of one kind or another.” Today, corporations are cutting health benefits and fighting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which unions helped pass.

Fair Hours: In the late nineteenth century, unions started to call for an eight-hour workday, and on May Day in 1886, over 300,000 Americans went on strike for a shorter work day. Within decades, railroad workers won an eight-hour workday, and by the 1950s, most other workers had 40-hour weeks as well. Before this burst of labor activism, the average workweek for Americans was much longer — in 1870 it was 61 hours.

In the post-WWII era, the average American worker worked less hours than even a French worker, but the trend reversed itself in the 1980s and the last few decades have seen Americans working more for less. During the same time, productivity decoupled itself from wages, meaning Americans were working more hours while not necessarily reaping the benefits – likely another outcome of declining unionization.

While these attacks on workers and their rights have been incredibly damaging, there is reason for optimism. Last year’s massive Chicago teachers’ strike won a number of benefits for both teachers and students. As Allison Kilkenny documented, for the first time in modern American history, labor strikes are becoming a widespread tool for workers in the fast food industry – with strikes in dozens of cities this past week. As workers continue to organize to beat back attacks on American labor rights, they can turn to those workers in the fast-food industry for inspiration. “I know I’m risking my job, but it’s my right to fight for my deserve,” said Julio Wilson, a Little Caesars worker in Raleigh, North Carolina, who dreams of the day his $9-an-hour wage will be large enough to care for both himself and his daughter.

snowy central park wallpaper

snowy central park wallpaper

snowy central park wallpaper

A microbe in the gut of a stick insect could help scientists to unravel the puzzle of antibiotic resistance

Professor Tony Maxwell, head of biological chemistry, said: “We have discovered the microbe in the stick insect’s gut is resistant to toxins and infections it could never have been exposed to.

“This indicates that there is a general mechanism at work.

Perfectly designed humans learning from an organism the size of a pen dot.

Palma

Palma – a city plan map, 1593. By Pasquale Cicogna and Georg Braun.

The details at the link are well explained, if a little complicated, but this is the end result, Health Insurance “Coverage Gap” Coming to a Red State Near You

The resulting Republican body count is staggering. Thanks to the GOP’s rejection of Medicaid expansion, 1.3 million people in Texas, 1 million in Florida, 534,000 in Georgia and 267,000 in Missouri will be ensnared in the coverage gap.

A combination of people who are seniors, or poor or elderly and poor. Conservatives would either respond with a cheer at the prospect of their deaths or tell them to get a job in the fast food industry.