Friday, December 02, 2016
The Anthropocene is alive and well, especially when seeing just how much stuff us rubes have created since this epoch has begun.
Humans have made 30 trillion tons of junk throughout modern existence. All that junk has a geological term: the technosphere, which is broken down into urban, rural, subterranean, marine, and aerial areas, Seeker reports. The goal was to quantify the scale and diversity of it all as published in a paper in The Anthropocene Review this week. The research took a lot of estimation and some hypothetical paleontology. The aerial technosphere alone, for example, holds almost one trillion tons of carbon dioxide created by human activity. But they broke it down much further than that. They called each object, like a cellphone, technofossils. Consider the cellphone: 6.8 billion phones have been made, but even those could be divided into subcategories or technospecies, like iPhone or Samsung (and then there are makes and models, too). By that example and others like it, they estimate categorizing everything would require billions of classifications. The researchers admit this is a broad stroke figure, but it’s, quite literally, a massive undertaking. They even suspect it is “bigger than the number of living species on Earth,” which is kind of a haunting thought to sit with.
Disquieting to say the least.
Thursday, December 01, 2016
BRT has channeled Network and George Orwell ad nauseam as both sources spoke truth to power in ways not even contemplated in today's frenzy over fake news and the mainline press who portend to "know" the truth based on unsubstantiated and anonymous "sources" who tell us rubes where fake news comes from and how to "combat" it when one faces it.
On Wednesday, U.S. congressional negotiators approved $160 million to combat what they deem foreign propaganda and the alleged Russian campaign to spread “fake news.” The measure is part of the National Defense Authorization Act and gives the State Department the power to identify “propaganda” and counter it.
This bipartisan stampede into an Orwellian future for the American people and the world’s population follows a shoddily sourced Washington Post article that relied on a new anonymous group (propornot) that identified some 200 Internet sites, including some of the most prominent American independent sources of news, as part of a Russian propaganda network.
Typical of this new McCarthyism, the report lacked evidence that any such network actually exists but instead targeted cases where American journalists expressed skepticism about claims from Western officialdom.
Consortiumnews.com was included on the list apparently because we have critically analyzed some of the claims and allegations regarding the crises in Syria and Ukraine, rather than simply accept the dominant Western “group thinks.”
Also on the “black list” were such quality journalism sites as Counterpunch, Truth-out, Truthdig, Naked Capitalism and ZeroHedge along with many political sites ranging across the ideological spectrum.
Yours truly checked out propornot and Robert Perry is right, no verification regarding the sites purported to be purveyors of fake news is given other then copious bloviation, which means slander becomes a viable response to environments as questionable as this.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Congressman Tom Price, Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, is more than just an armchair critic of Obamacare.
Not only would Price scrap the Obamacare insurance exchanges and the generous subsidies that make them work, he would roll back the expansion of Medicaid that has benefitted millions of poor families and return the country to a system where private insurers have little incentive to cover high-risk individuals. During the past four years, more than twenty million Americans have obtained health coverage, and the proportion of Americans without it has fallen to a historic low: 8.6 per cent. If Trump’s real goal is to return to a market-based health-insurance system, with all the inequities and gaps in coverage that such a system inevitably entails, Price’s plan presents a possible blueprint for how to get there.
It gets better.
Price will arrive at HHS with a clear blueprint for what comes next. He is the author of the Empowering Patients First Act, one of the most thorough and detailed proposals to repeal and replace Obamacare. He’s the HHS secretary you’d pick if you were dead serious about dismantling the law.
This pick would suggest that Trump is serious about dismantling Obamacare and replacing it with a market-based alternative
It would replace the law with a plan that does more to benefit the young, healthy, and rich — and disadvantages the sick, old, and poor. Price’s plan provides significantly less help to those with preexisting conditions than other Republican proposals, particularly the replacement plan offered by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).
The biggest cut to the poor in Price’s plan is the full repeal of the Medicaid expansion, a program that currently covers millions of low-income Americans, which Price replaces with, well, nothing.
Endgame. Be young, healthy & wealthy or die, the "choice" is up to you.
Because I love the country, I always hope for success of every president as yours truly's welfare, along with the rest of the populace depends, in part, on said success, something becoming rather illusionry considering the quality of president the US has had over the past 50+ years, starting with Johnson and now, president elect Trump, who is charting, thus far, a path rife with hypocrisy, ignorance and corruption to the max, To this end, let's talk swamp and how the Donald tends to deal with it regarding his selection of incoming Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin along with his take on the banksters residing on WS.
While I’m not a Dodd-Frank fan, it’s not because it was too harsh, but because it didn’t really do much of anything. It was the typical neoliberal bait and switch, designed to look tough for public consumption, while merely making tweaks around the edges of a financial system that requires systemic, paradigm level change.
Trump’s support of repealing Dodd-Frank tells you all you need to know. A Trump Presidency will see Wall Street felons who should be in prison, running as wild and free as ever.
He will be the same thing to distressed working class whites that Obama was to the black community. A fake messiah and a shyster.
It gets better.
Critics have raised many questions about Mnuchin’s financial dealings, from a lawsuit over pocketing profits in the Bernie Madoff case to his suspiciously quiet exit from the Hollywood production company Relativity Media just before it took huge losses and filed for bankruptcy. Just his association with “vampire squid” Goldman Sachs has motivated some anger. But another part of Mnuchin’s history is more relevant: his chairmanship of OneWest Bank, a major cog in America’s relentless foreclosure machine.
Even among the many bad actors in the national foreclosure crisis, OneWest stood out. It routinely jumped to foreclosure rather than pursue options to keep borrowers in their homes; used fabricated and “robo-signed” documents to secure the evictions; and had a particular talent for dispossessing the homes of senior citizens and people of color.
Read both pieces in their entiriety to see why Trump is the real life version of Elmer Gantry to the max.
Glass-Steagall anyone? not a chance, not a chance in hell.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Monday, November 28, 2016
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Being alone is a good thing for yours truly as it gives this rube a chance to think, create (hopefully) and be at "relative" peace while not bothering friends and family about hangups and complaints that tend to ruin the unfortunates listening to such rants. Using this blurb as precursor, a very interesting piece from Big Think bears this notion out without question.
In a just-published study about how our ancestral needs impact our modern feelings, researchers uncovered something that will surprise few among the highly intelligent. While most people are happier when they’re surrounded by friends, smart people are happier when they’re not.
The researchers, Norman P. Li and Satoshi Kanazawa, of the Singapore Management University, Singapore and the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, respectively, were investigating the “savannah theory” of happiness.
The savannah theory — also called the “evolutionary legacy hypothesis” and the “mismatch hypothesis” — posits that we react to circumstances as our ancestors would, having evolved psychologically based on our ancestors’ needs in the days when humankind lived on the savannah.
The data they analyzed supports the assumption that good friendships — and a few good ones is better than lots of weaker ones — do significantly increase life satisfaction for most people.
In highly intelligent people, though, the finding is reversed: Smart people feel happier alone than when others, even good friends, are around. A “healthy” social life actually leaves highly intelligent people with less life satisfaction. Is it because their desires are more aspirational and goal-oriented, and other people are annoyingly distracting?
However, just in case this makes too much sense, the study also found that spending more time socializing with friends is actually an indicator of higher intelligence! This baffling contradiction is counter-intuitive, at least. Unless these smart people are not so much social as they are masochistic.
Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle rules. :)
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
The Endgame for Cassini is nigh, a fact bumming yours truly big time given just how wonderful the Cassini mission has been with even more stellar science to come without question.
There is a Twitter-bot that randomly tweets out “NOOOOOOOO Cassini can’t be ending!” (with varying amounts of “O’s”). @CassiniNooo represents the collective sigh of sadness and consternation felt by those of us who can’t believe the the historic and extensive Cassini mission will be over in just a matter of months.
And next week is the beginning of the end for Cassini.
This graphic illustrates the Cassini spacecraft’s trajectory, or flight path, during the final two phases of its mission. The view is toward Saturn as seen from Earth. The 20 ring-grazing orbits are shown in gray; the 22 grand finale orbits are shown in blue. The final partial orbit is colored orange. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
BRT will put up a few prize pix from Cassini when the time comes to say goodbye.
VR without AR is an non starter.
This week, we came one step closer to finding out just what that device is as the company applied for a design patent at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for “Virtual or augmented reality headsets having adjustable interpupillary distance.” (Interpupillary distance is the distance between a person’s pupils, and it is important in order for AR/VR headsets to send correctly positioned imagery to each eye.) The patent also showed a device that looks sleeker than previous versions.
Last Saturday, Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz tweeted: “We just achieved a number of major product dev milestones.” Whether those milestones are included in the patent dated October 18 or are altogether new developments, Magic Leap obviously has something in the works that is impressive enough to entice tech giants like Google, Qualcomm, and China’s Alibaba group to invest a total of $793.5 million dollars in the project.
We live in interesting times. - Robert E.
Another ML clip. Factoid, Light Field science is part of the equation here.