Friday, July 31, 2009


More and more it looks likely life is everywhere in our universe.

"A recent mathematical analysis says that life as we know it is written into the laws of reality. DNA is built from a set of twenty amino acids - the first ten of those can create simple prebiotic life, and now it seems that those ten are thermodynamically destined to occur wherever they can.

For those unfamiliar with thermodynamics, it's the Big Brother of all energy equations and science itself. You can apply quantum mechanics at certain scales, and Newtonian mechanics work at the right speeds, but if Thermodynamics says something then everyone listens."

Articles about the possibility of life existing outside of earth has been discussed before in BRT but this post shows researchers tying the possibility of same to the laws of Thermodynamics thus putting forth a concept that have the gravitas needed to finally put the designer theory of reality into the realm of religion and not science. Click on the image below to get another, more technical view into this new approach to life and how it relates to our existence.

Click on Into the Cool cover to get the goods on why Thermodynamics coupled with life is such a big deal. Click here to get the BRT blurb discussing this ground breaking book along with other works that describe the intricacies of nature in elegant and profound ways.


I was a pretty good jazz musician back in the late 60's having studied at Berklee School of Music prior to being in the Army (I avoided 'Nam thank god). While there, the talk among us drummers centered around Tony Williams, the outrageous 18 year old drummer for Miles Davis' second great group (Wayne Shorter - Tenor Sax, Ron Carter - Bass, Tony Williams - Drums & Herbie Handcock - Piano) and, of course, the best jazz album of all time, Kind of Blue.

I mention this as I saw the rare 1959 video recording of Miles done just after Kind of Blue was released in 1959. In looking at this, I was struck by just how confident Davis was in playing jazz as modern today as it was done 50 years ago.

Quintessence is the operative term for a musician and record that stands with the very best art ever produced by man.

Had to add this masterpiece as well. Cannoball's solo just rocks. (The first great MD group that did Kind of Blue and Milestones included Cannonball Adderly - Alto Sax, John Colltrane - Tenor Sax, Philly Joe Jones - Drums, Paul Chambers - Bass & Bill Evans - Piano. Red Garland did the honors on Milestones.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back From Vacation

I'm back from vacationing in Canada. Beaucoup pictures of places like Niagara Falls, Elora, Toronto & Niagara on the Lake will be available for all to use on Flickr without restriction. (copyright is such a drag) :). As an aside, the vibe in CA is positive as their economy is on sound footing (Government surplus plus banks under tight government control does wonders.) without the BS as seen here in the debt ridden US. Ditto on healthcare as Canadians are, for the the most part, very happy with their single payer system, something this country just can't seem to understand as to what really needs to be done to take care of the healthcare disaster we have in this nation.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dangerous Text

"As if you needed more evidence that texting is more dangerous than swine flu, a 15-year-old girl from Staten Island walked into an open manhole while texting. She's fine, don't worry, although she did lose a shoe in the sewer."

What's even more amazing is the beaucoup $$ telcos make on texting. One wag calculated the astounding figure of $1800/megabyte on tech that rides on top of voice as a freebie. Not bad money as long as you are not a parent or an addict doing the deed while driving. (Something I witnessed during rush hour on the Merritt parkway in CT!) :)

Caveat Emptor

As an aside, why is the sewer cover make in India??!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Capital Hill Blue is a place I visit almost every day. Headed by veteran reporter Doug Thomson, this bastion of non-partisan, up front news on the under doings of Washington keeps me entertained and informed on the malfeasance of politicians no matter what their party may be. BRT normally doesn't discuss politics directly except through the lens of tech and science but a really powerful post by Thomson titled Storm Clouds Loom Over Obamaland encouraged yours truly to write a comment that struck a nerve with the really informed group of CHB responders who also question why this country is in such trouble and why nothing is being done about it.

The last sentence of Storm Clouds really hits home.

"The bottom line: Americans, Republicans and even members of Obama's own party are tired of the rhetoric. They want specifics, not rosy scenarios. They want action, not grandiose promises. The honeymoon is over. Reality has set in."

My comment...

"Never stop questioning." Einstein

The time to tell the truth is nigh. Obama lacks the courage to tell America happy driving days are over. Consider the electric car. Even if a 100 million of these were built in the next month, the electric grid could never supply enough energy to keep these vehicles on the road unless they were so efficient as to defy state-of-the art technology as it exists today. Obama had his chance in the first month of his administration to really make change happen. What he did instead was to hire the bozos who created the economic disaster we are now facing. We are in desparate trouble that requires the kind of change that can get one killed.

Things Obama should have done:

1. Abolish the Fed. It is a private cartel protected by government run by bankers (GS) for bankers. (An act of Congress can do the deed without a problem.)

2. No TARP money. Sweden let their banks die when they had a crisis and their economy rebounded in quick fashion. Why should we the taxpayer pick up the tab for criminal investments.

3. Let the banks die. Protect depositors, screw investors. They bet on bad investments and lost.

4. Restore Glass-Stegall.

5. Criminal indictments on the Banksters

6. Criminal indictments on the BA

7. Cut defense spending

8. Single payer healthcare, period. Insurance companies, like CC companies are tied into central banking. Any questions?

9. Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Why are we there?

Also, I am sick and tired of hearing the words young and inexperienced as a way to explain why Obama has done nothing but cave in to the banksters that run this country. That's crap! Common sense and intelligence combined with a little bit of research will tell anyone what's wrong with this country's finances. I learned how money is created in this nation and it's not rocket science.

Factoid: We are past peak oil. It will never drive the economy again. Why? The world consumes 84 million barrels of oil per day. Iraq has 116 billion proven reservers. In 12 days, the world consumes 1 billion barrels of oil. Ergo. Iraq can supply the entire world's thirst for oil for approximately 3.16 years if consumption does not increase. (12 X 96.7 = 1160 days (3.18 years) or 116 billion barrels of oil. Because oil reserves are in decline, the economy must depend on new resources to survive. Obama's current course is nonsensical because cheap energy in the quise of oil will never return to the "good old days".

If Obama's to save his administration, he has to take charge and kick ass, qualities I don't see at this point in time. We are on the brink of failure and violence as we slide into depression and despair, not a good place to be in when Global Warming is factored into the equation.

Great presidents lead. Right now, I put Obama in with Woodrow Wilson, the ineffective intellectual who abdicated this country's right to manage it's money (the Fed, 1913, The IRS, 1912), an act he considered to be the worst thing he ever did as president.

Great article BTW.

The positive comments of fellow CHB writers about this "rant" really touched me as so many people in this country truly love America and want her to succeed in the spirit of the Founding Fathers, a group of men who conceived a country founded on freedom and self reliance with respect for other nation's rights. The Founding Fathers were imperfect, as we all are, but they had the best of intentions in creating something of true value, a notion we cannot lose if we are to succeed as a nation.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

..."The Select Few"

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship make such sense. They question, do research and report the news as it should be reported, without bias, rancor or self appointed "expertise"...

"If you want to know what really matters in Washington, don't go to Capitol Hill for one of those hearings, or pay attention to those staged White House "town meetings." They're just for show. What really happens - the serious business of Washington - happens in the shadows, out of sight, off the record. Only occasionally - and usually only because someone high up stumbles - do we get a glimpse of just how pervasive the corruption has become.

Case in point: Katharine Weymouth, the publisher of The Washington Post - one of the most powerful people in DC - invited top officials from the White House, the Cabinet and Congress to her home for an intimate, off-the-record dinner to discuss health care reform with some of her reporters and editors covering the story.

But CEOs and lobbyists from the health care industry were invited, too, provided they forked over $25,000 a head - or up to a quarter of a million if they want to sponsor a whole series of these cozy get-togethers. And what is the inducement offered? Nothing less, the invitation read, than "an exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will get it done."

The invitation reminds the CEO's and lobbyists that they will be buying access to "those powerful few in business and policy making who are forwarding, legislating and reporting on the issues …

"Spirited? Yes. Confrontational? No." The invitation promises this private, intimate and off-the-record dinner is an extension "of The Washington Post brand of journalistic inquiry into the issues, a unique opportunity for stakeholders to hear and be heard."

Let that sink in. In this case, the "stakeholders" in health care reform do not include the rabble - the folks across the country who actually need quality health care but can't afford it. If any of them showed up at the kitchen door on the night of this little soiree, the bouncer would drop kick them beyond the Beltway."

Upton Sinclair would be proud.


After reading Watching Whales Watching Us, I feel more strongly then ever that intelligence equal to ours (if not greater) resides in the sea.

"As Beto spoke, I thought of another bit of interspecies cooperation involving humpbacks that I recently read about. A female humpback was spotted in December 2005 east of the Farallon Islands, just off the coast of San Francisco. She was entangled in a web of crab-trap lines, hundreds of yards of nylon rope that had become wrapped around her mouth, torso and tail, the weight of the traps causing her to struggle to stay afloat. A rescue team arrived within a few hours and decided that the only way to save her was to dive in and cut her loose.

For an hour they cut at the lines and rope with curved knives, all the while trying to steer clear of a tail they knew could kill them with one swipe. When the whale was finally freed, the divers said, she swam around them for a time in what appeared to be joyous circles. She then came back and visited with each one of them, nudging them all gently, as if in thanks. The divers said it was the most beautiful experience they ever had. As for the diver who cut free the rope that was entangled in the whale’s mouth, her huge eye was following him the entire time, and he said that he will never be the same."

Maybe it's time for mankind to recognize this fact and stop hunting and harming (via sonar, pollution, over fishing etc., etc.) these magnificent creatures before it's too late.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Gaming the Market

Just found a very informative and entertaining $$ site called Gaming the Market. Check out Tiny Tim's latest misadventure titled Geithner's Silent Crisis. You won't be disappointed. Another juicy tidbit shows how sleazy companies avoid paying taxes while scuba diving in paradise, AKA the Cayman Islands.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Web Gems

Just when you think the entire world is going to hell, something comes along to restore a bit of faith in the underlying creativity of man in spite of the madness that surrounds us. To whit, the MIT Senseable City Lab presents a new approach of how to deal with tech and urban reality in ways both logical and visionary in application.

"The real-time city is now real! The increasing deployment of sensors and hand-held electronics in recent years is allowing a new approach to the study of the built environment. The way we describe and understand cities is being radically transformed - alongside the tools we use to design them and impact on their physical structure."

When dealing with organic form and architecture, Paulo Guerreiro, a brilliant young designer from Portugal, uses fractals to create innovative structures designed to work with nature, not fight it. His blog, (Gen)erative Scapes, delves into design with nuanced precision combined with insatiable curiosity. Not a bad place to visit to be sure.

LinkLast but not least is Visual Complexity, a site dedicated to showing how the world works by presenting visualizations that inform in ways not possible prior to imaging and computation. BRT did a piece on VC before but a repeat entry is a must because of the new goodies populating this amazing resource.

The Devil Made Me Do It - Again :)

Wally the intrepid.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Actual News May be Coming

I can't believe it. We may actually get a news source that's for real, unbound by government, banking or corporate interests. One can only hope...

"Roughly half of that philanthropic support has gone to support investigative journalism, and more than $56 million went to three nonprofit organizations: the Center for Investigative Reporting, begun in 1977, the Center for Public Integrity, founded in 1989, and ProPublica, which started in 2008. But more broadly, and in direct response to the commercial news media meltdown, something historically stunning has been occurring – nonprofit investigative reporting centers are proliferating throughout the nation, a new entrepreneurialism brought about largely by the diaspora of working journalists simply searching for a hospitable milieu in which to do their important work.

Increasingly, the most ambitious reporting projects will emanate from the public realm, not from private, commercial outlets. And if present trends continue, which appears likely, by 2010 the amount of nonprofit journalism funding annually supporting “public service journalism” via these centers may rival and possibly even exceed what America’s newspapers spent on investigative reporting “I-teams” in the apogee of print journalism. And that is a historically significant, tectonic shift in the working dynamics of investigative reporting in the United States."

The Net rules! :)


No economics talk here. No rants about the fed, security or on why we are being screwed because our future, as envisioned by James Lovelock, presents a far darker scenario then these aforementioned "trivial" events facing the world today.

"The small window of short-term hope he left open in Revenge is closed in this year’s Vanishing. In its place is a long-term hope that humanity in some form will survive the present century, though barely. The result is a dark and contrarian work that seeks to demolish the terms of the climate debate while mocking our response to the crisis at the personal, national, and species level.

Lovelock has not arrived at his views lightly. They are the product of years spent carefully considering the known science through the revolutionary and frequently misunderstood lens he began developing 40 years ago while working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasedena. Gaia Theory holds that Earth possesses a sophisticated planetary intelligence that responds to levels of heat from the sun in such a way as to maintain a climate homeostasis supportive of life. In four decades of research and experiment, the most famous being the
“Daisyworld” model, Lovelock has overcome the once-widespread skepticism of his peers to officially move Gaia from a Hypothesis to a Theory."

Everything has a cost, there is no free lunch, period.
As proof, read the Laws of Thermodynamics to see why.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

.gov Enters Primetime

A good first step to government transparency regarding the 70 billion spent it spends on IT has arrived in the guise of

"Vivek Kundra, the federal chief information officer, on Tuesday announced a new Web site designed to track more than $70 billion in government information technology spending, showing all contracts held by major firms within every agency."

Data Gov, another government site beginning to shed light on datasets ranging from National Science Foundation content to the US Patent Office went live last week. Quite a change from the BA I must say. :)

Now if this tech transparency was applied to Wall Street, the benefits accrued for the US goes beyond description.

Game Changer, Chapter II

We all know what this is. We are now finding out this is shrinking faster than thought possible thanks to the unique properties of ice and the fact the carbon footprint of fossil fuels has pushed the levels of CO2 past the 350 parts per million benchmark long believed to be the point of no return regarding global warming and the impact it will have on our civilization.

Time to either learn to swim or change how we do business on Planet Earth to lessen the enormous change that's coming. The choice is ours to make. The question is, do we have the smarts and guts to do so before it's too late.

"Even if all emissions stopped today, sea level would continue to rise. "The current rate of rise would continue for centuries if temperatures are constant, and that would add about 30 centimetres per century to global sea level," says Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. "If we burn all fossil fuels, we are likely to end up with many metres of sea level rise in the long run, very likely more than 10 metres in my view."

This might sound dramatic, but we know sea level has swung from 120 metres lower than today during ice ages to more than 70 metres higher during hot periods. There is no doubt at all that if the planet warms, the sea will rise. The key questions are, by how much and how soon?"

Under the Wire

"Credit card companies are raising interest rates and fees seven months before new rules go into effect that will limit their ability to do so, much to the irritation of Congress and consumer advocates.

Chase, for instance, will raise the minimum payment required of some of its customers from 2 percent to 5 percent of the statement balance starting in August. Chase and Discover have increased the maximum fee charged for transferring a balance to the card to 5 percent of the amount, up from 3 and 4 percent, respectively. Bank of America last month raised the transaction fee for balance transfers and cash advances from 3 to 4 percent. Card issuers including Bank of America and Citi also continue to cut limits and hike up rates, which they have been doing with more frequency since January.

"This is a common practice and will continue to be common, because issuers can do these things for really no reason until February," said John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for, which tracks the industry. "It's what I call the Credit Card Trifecta -- lower limits, higher rates, higher minimum payments."

It's not just the top card issuers making changes. Atlanta-based InfiBank, for example, will raise the minimum annual percentage rate it charges nearly all of its customers in September "in order to more effectively manage the profitability of our credit card account portfolio in a very challenging economic environment," said spokesman Kevin C. Langin."

Another reason why Kucinich & Paul are right.