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.


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.

how we do things here

hilltop house wallpaper

hilltop house wallpaper


Since conservatives seem bent on making America into a theocratic authoritarian state like Iran or a right-wing authoritarian state like Chile under Augusto Pinochet, it is only fair that we consider a saner alternative model,  The Secret to Finland’s Success With Schools, Moms, Kids—and Everything

Inarguably one of the world’s most generous — and successful — welfare states, the country has a lower infant mortality rate, better school scores, and a far lower poverty rate than the United States, and it’s the second-happiest country on earth (the U.S. doesn’t break the top 10). According to the OECD, Finns on average give an 8.8 score to their overall life satisfaction. Americans are at 7.5.

…”The thinking was, ‘for a country of 5 million, we don’t have many resources to waste. If people are happy, they’ll maximize their work ethic, and we can develop,'” says Andrew Nestingen, a professor who leads the Finnish studies program at the University of Washington. The theory of the welfare state was that “everyone should get a slice of the cake so that they have what they need to realize their life projects.”

The country’s unemployment and disability system was in place by 1940, and subsequent decades saw the expansion of child benefits and health insurance.

Meanwhile, thanks to the country’s strong agrarian tradition, the party that represents the rural part of Finland pushed through subsidies for stay-at-home (or stay-on-farm, in their case) mothers — thus the current smorgasbord of inexpensive child-care options.

Over time, Finland was able to create its “cake” — and give everyone a slice — in large part because its investments in human capital and education paid off. In a sense, welfare worked for Finland, and they’ve never looked back.

It is not that modeling our economy, education system and safety net on Finland will not work, it is that some people are opposed to solely on ideological grounds. Ideological in the same way that some religious adherents are very dogmatic about their beliefs. Facts, history, the best outcomes, humanitarianism – those considerations do not factor into conservative or libertarian thinking because they are contrary to their quasi religious beliefs about economics and culture.

Winter's tale, act 3, sc. 3

Old Shepherd from Shakespeare’s Winter’s tale, act 3, sc. 3. created c1803.  Besides the artistic merit this drawing is a fascinating precursor to the super hero customs of characters like Cat Woman and Spiderman. You can see the Old Shepherd’s muscle definition through his custom – in the full size version you can see he is wearing a top – the sleeve ends are visible on his wrists and his tights end at his calves. And of course, the cape.

As long as you’re a zygote, conservatives are obsessed with you. Once actual human being, it is a different story. And when they’re not making life as miserable as possible for humans, they’re busy making it miserable for animals, New Legislation Could Yield Net Loss for Animal Welfare

With not a single Democrat supporting the Farm Bill, and only 12 Republicans voting against it, the House narrowly passed its pared-down version, which excluded all Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funding (more commonly known as food stamps), by a vote of 216 to 208. The bill approved by the House includes the dangerous and overreaching King amendment, which could nullify dozens of state laws to protect animals, the environment, worker safety and food safety. Introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), it seeks to erode the progress that states have made ensuring that farm animals are treated humanely.

Republican leaders blocked consideration of a series of other animal welfare amendments relating to banning barren battery cages, cracking down on horse slaughter, and upgrading the federal law against horse soring. (Horse soring is the intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s legs or hooves, which forces the horse into an artificial, exaggerated gait, a practice often associated with Tennessee walking horses.)

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) feels strongly that being cruel to animals is the new cool American value. In the past King has been a champion of legalized dog fighting, has said that some obscure German lab has proved climate change is not occurring and had an emotional breakdown when some kids wanted to speak to him, a public official, about immigration reform. King should probably be in a nice sanitarium under psychiatric care, but no, he is collecting about $175k a year as a Congressional representative from Iowa.

modern family communication, the world tried libertarianism and it failed

all dressed up

all dressed up.

The mathematics of the modern British family revealed

The modern family keeps in touch via 1,768 texts, 520 emails and 68 hours on the phone every year, it has emerged.
Almost half of all Brits even text, email or phone their family members – when they are in the same house because they are too lazy to get up and go to talk to them in person.

…A spokesman for Toshiba, which commissioned the study said: ”As individuals, we are becoming busier than ever, but this means we aren’t always around to talk to our partner or children when we need to.

”And this means we are relying on other methods to keep in touch.

…’But it’s worrying to see so many are even communicating this way when their partner or children are in the same building or even in the next room.”

I’ve been thinking about these statistics for a couple of days. I should probably find them troubling, but I cannot find a good reason yet. Unless the family is truly dysfunctional, what difference does it make how they communicate. That study will probably show up shortly. Way back, say twelve years ago, before the explosion of texting and smart-phones, dysfunctional families – or where either the parents or the children were having some personal issues, they would either just not talk or when they did there was tension or outright hostility. Maybe because of hectic lives, or personal communication problems, some of these same families are at least trying to maintain a some kind of meaningful presence in each others lives.

The Empire Typewriter

The Empire Typewriter. According to this site The Empire or Wellington began production in 1892, in  Montreal , Canada.

If they ever reboot the Indiana Jones franchise this might be a good true story to use for inspiration, Andean Atlantis: Race, Science and the Nazi Occult in Bolivia.

Have you noticed all the countries in the world yearning to become libertarian states? No? The reason is that there are none. And there are none because humanity already experimented with libertarianism, We Already Tried Libertarianism – It Was Called Feudalism

For liberals, basic rights are fundamental, in the sense that they can’t be compromised or traded against other, non-basic rights. They are also inalienable; I can’t contractually transfer away or otherwise give up my basic rights. To the extent that I enter contracts that do this, I have an option of exit that restores those rights.

This is different from property rights in specific things. Picture yourself as a person with a basic right to association, who also owns a wooden stick. You can sell your stick, or break it, or set it on fire. Your rights over the stick are alienable – you don’t have the stick anymore once you’ve done those things. Your rights to the stick are also not fundamental. Given justification, the public could regulate its use (say if it were a big stick turned into a bridge, it may need to meet safety requirements), in a way that the liberal state couldn’t regulate freedom of association.

When libertarians say they are for basic rights, what they are really saying is that they are for treating what liberals consider basic rights as property rights. Basic rights receive no more, or less, protection than other property rights. You can easily give them up or bargain them away, and thus alienate yourself from them. (Meanwhile, all property rights are entirely fundamental – they can never be regulated.)

How is that possible? Let’s cut to the chase: Nozick argues you can sell yourself into slavery, a condition under which all basic liberties are extinguished. (“[Would] a free system… allow him to sell himself into slavery[?] I believe that it would.” ASU 331) The minimal libertarian state would be forced to acknowledge and enforce contracts that permanently alienate basic liberties, even if the person in question later wanted out, although the liberal state would not at any point acknowledge such a contract.

If the recession were so bad that millions of people started selling themselves into slavery, or entering contracts that required lifelong feudal oaths to employers and foregoing basic rights, in order to survive, this would raise no important liberty questions for the libertarian minimal state. If this new feudal order were set in such a way that it persisted across generations, again, no problem. As Freeman notes, “what is fundamentally important for libertarians is maintaining a system of historically generated property rights…no attention is given to maintaining the basic rights, liberties, and powers that (according to liberals) are needed to institutionally define a person’s freedom, independence, and status as an equal citizen.”

Government. Which brings us to feudalism. Feudalism, for Freeman, means “the elements of political authority are powers that are held personally by individuals, not by enduring political institutions… subjects’ political obligations and allegiances are voluntary and personal: They arise out of private contractual obligations and are owed to particular persons.”

What is the libertarian government? For Nozick, the minimal state is basically a protection racket (“protection services”) with a certain kind of returns to scale over an area and, after some mental cartwheels, a justification in forcing holdouts in their area to follow their rules.

As such, it is a network of private contracts, arising solely from protection and arbitration services, where political power also remains in private hands and privately exercised. The protection of rights is based on people’s ability to pay, bound through private authority and bilateral, individual contracts. “Protection and enforcement of people’s rights is treated as an economic good to be provided by the market,” (ASU 26) with governments as a for-profit corporate entities.

What doesn’t this have? There is no impartial, public power. There’s no legislative capacity that is answerable to the people in a non-market form. There’s no democracy and universal franchise with equal rights of participation. Political power isn’t to be acted on in a representative capacity toward public benefit, but instead toward private ends. Which is to say, it takes the features we associate with public, liberal government power and replaces them with feudal, private governance.

Opportunity. Liberals believe that positions should be open for all with talent, and that public power should be utilized to ensure disadvantaged groups have access to opportunities. Libertarianism believes that private, feudal systems of exclusion, hierarchy, and domination are perfectly fine, or at least that there is no legitimate public purpose in checking these private relationships. As mentioned above, private property rights are fundamental and cannot be balanced against other concerns like opportunity. Nozick is clear on this (“No one has a right to something whose realization requires certain uses of things and activities that other people have right and entitlements over.” ASU 238).

Procuring rights and passing those rights on, based on property is also specious in terms of inalienable basic rights since in many cases how that property was procured is up for debate. Was it gained under completely fair circumstances, was it truly earned – and in whose opinion. Much of U.S. foreign policy post WW II has been about protecting the financial interests of corporations. Workers did OK with this for a while, but for the last forty years wages have not kept pace with their productivity, yet we’ve had the massive accumulation of wealth by the top 1%. The average worker has no chance of catching up with the rent seekers.

picasso’s dance of the veils, aimless cruelty is not the road to justice, twiggy

Dance of the Veils by Pablo Picasso

Dance of the Veils by Pablo Picasso. 1907. Oil on canvas. A profound way of saying I can see who you are as much as I cannot see.

Who Would Kill a Monk Seal?

But the seals’ appearance has not been universally appreciated. The animals have been met by many islanders with a convoluted mix of resentment and spite. This fury has led to what the government is calling a string of “suspicious deaths.” But spend a little time in Hawaii, and you come to recognize these deaths for what they are — something loaded and forbidding. A word that came to my mind was “assassination.”

The most recent wave of Hawaiian-monk-seal murders began on the island of Molokai in November 2011. An 8-year-old male seal was found slain on a secluded beach. A month later, the body of a female, not yet 2 years old, turned up in the same area. Then, in early January, a third victim was found on Kauai. The government tries to keep the details of such killings secret, though it is known that some monk seals have been beaten to death and some have been shot. (In 2009, on Kauai, a man was charged with shooting a female seal twice with a .22; one round lodged in the fetus she was carrying.) In the incident on Kauai last January, the killer was said to have left a “suspicious object” lodged in the animal’s head.

Killing an endangered species in Hawaii is both a state and federal offense.

There is a long read with a lot of back story. One element is the resentment of some locals against protected species and public land like the marine sanctuary, combined with some native resentment against the history of white or mainland interference into native life and tradition. I can sympathize with some of that, but I cannot see how killing such beautiful innocent creatures solves their problems or garners public sympathy for their political complaints.

The British actress and model Twiggy, models a shirt dress amidst posters of her previous work, 1967.

The British actress and model Twiggy, models a shirt dress amidst posters of her previous work, 1967. This picture combines two of my favorite aspects to modern era photography , say from the 1920s to the present. It looks retro and very modern at the same time. And Twiggy, or Lesley Lawson is also wonderful. She still acts, models, write books and is generally her own thriving business concern.

frosty morning sparrow wallpaper, physics of spidey webs and thor’s hammer

frosty morning sparow wallpaper

frosty morning sparrow wallpaper



These sound like issues that would be argued about on The Big Bang Theory, but this one is an actual research paper by a group of physics students, Physics students say Spiderman’s webbing would be strong enough to stop a moving train. One of the images was was playing around with in Photoshop yesterday had some leaves with frozen ice crystals. Though when you looked closer you could also see a spider web thread stretched from one leaf to another. To be able to make fabric or cable that strong, that could also stand up to freezing weather, from organic materials would be an amazing accomplishment. The link is to the abstract and once you get there you can download the pdf of the paper if you like. While this news release is the response of a physicist to something astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said on Twitter, Thor’s Hammer Is Not That Heavy (But It Is Scientifically Interesting)

“The critical mistake Tyson makes is thinking that Mjolnir was forged of the core of a dying star, when it was actually forged in the core of a dying star,” says Suveen Mathaudhu, a program manager in the materials science division of the U.S. Army Research Office, adjunct materials science professor at NC State and die-hard comics enthusiast. “It’s well documented that the hammer is made out of ‘Uru,’ a fictional metal from Thor’s native realm of Asgard.”

And Mathaudhu can cite documentary sources to back him up. For example, Marvel – which publishes the Thor comics – issued a “Thor’s Hammer” trading card in 1991 that states Mjolnir is made of Uru and weighs precisely 42.3 pounds. That’s lighter than a herd of 300 billion mice, much less a herd of 300 billion elephants. But it raises a different science question.

Using the dimensions and weight on Marvel’s trading card, Mathaudhu estimates that the density of Mjolnir is about 2.13 grams (g) per cubic centimeter (cc). That makes it even lighter than aluminum, which has a density of 2.71 g/cc. So what could possibly be that light and strong?

Mathaudhu has a theory.

“Perhaps Uru is the ‘holy grail’ of high-pressure physics: a form of metallic hydrogen,” Mathaudhu says. “Some predictions of the density of metallic hydrogen fall into this range, it requires extreme conditions to form, and could be a tremendous energy source. It’s thought to be present at the core of planets, such as Jupiter, and at the core of suns – which are stars, after all.”

While Tyson made a mistake in calculating the weight of Thor’s hammer, he succeeded in drawing attention to the sciences of astrophysics and materials science – which is a good thing.

Sheldon would probably claim he already knew that.

I wasn’t going to make this whole post a nerd fest, but since I’ve already started, Mars May Be Habitable Today, Scientists Say. It seems that Mars, Antarctica and Chile’s Atacama Desert share some extreme climate qualities. In the two earthly ones, despite from extreme conditions there are microbes that survive with only the tiniest amounts of water. Since mars seems to have some moisture on occasion in some places, similar microbes may live there as well. 


golden retriever wallpaper, how gun makers make children into future customers

winter golden retriever wallpaper

This is a interesting look at how gun manufacturers are marketing guns and gun culture to children in the same way that cigarette makers were marketing to or creating future smokers by association with candy cigarettes; and everyone probably remembers the child appealing cartoon advertisements featuring Joe Camel, Shooters: How Video Games Fund Arms Manufacturers

The marketing of imitation adult products to children in the hope they will blossom into customers of the genuine article is widespread. The video game presents further opportunities for manufacturers to target young people. Toyota and Nissan work with racing game developers to show off their vehicles as pristinely desirable. Nike and Adidas position their logo on virtual boots. Gibson licenses plastic versions of its guitars in the hope players will progress from the coloured buttons of the peripheral to the nickel-wound strings of a Les Paul.

[ ]…The video game industry has been drawn into the conversation by parties on both sides. In December 2012 Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, delivered a speech in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy. He accused games companies of being the seeders of school shooting nightmares, calling out “a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people”. Then, in January 2013, representatives from Electronic Arts and Activision – the publishers behind the Call of Duty and Medal of Honor series – were called into a conference with Biden to discuss the relationship between games and real-life violence.

Whether causal links between the two exist is a question for the researchers. Their work will continue with renewed vigour in the coming months, potentially supported by funding from Congress at President Obama’s behest. But there’s another question, one hidden in plain sight, concerning the link between games and guns: how do real life weapons make their way into video games?

There is little evidence that simply owning a gun pushes people to kill, little evidence that video games, movies kill people. So it was amazing that the NRA states emphatically that guns do not kill people but violent movies and video games do. There are studies that show the more guns there are in an area or home the more gun violence there is – when guns are handy, people who are enraged and have some control issues are more likely to reach for them. There is also some evidence that violent video games can make children(under 16) more aggressive and generally agitated ( thus the warning labels on video games that many parents ignore). One fairly clear case of cause and effect in all of this is that of advertising on children. A lot of people do not think advertising works. The multi-billion dollar advertising industry probably disagrees. They can makes children future consumers of sniper rifles, cigarettes, Skittles and and whatever else they can get in front of children via traditional media or video games.

ye old lion door knob. if some people want to live in past, the least we could do is bring back the best of the past, like lion door knobs.

A protein from a class known as sirtuins which has previously been linked to aging, could help “reverse” aging process. The findings thus far only apply to mice, so I wouldn’t cancel the life insurance policy yet. Though the findings do indicate a possible therapeutic route for treating neurodegenerative diseases.

If States and the Feds Cut Corporate Taxes Does Is That Good For the State and Jobs? NO! How States Lose $600 Million On A Worthless Corporate Tax Break

Wonderful historical and cultural essay, THE VERTICAL POETRY OF SITTING BULL

“White Man, you think to be better than a Red Man, Black Man and Yellow Man. But your skin is the color of worms, and soft like the belly of a blind mole.” Verses written with the Indian technique of smoke signals by the Sioux Chief Sitting Bull in Ohio, 1849.  (from the book “The Burning Soul”)