Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The furor over Wikileaks interests me greatly as it shows, in part, how privacy has been vanquished from the face of the earth. The spying nations have done to each other vis a vis "diplomatic" operatives has been going on since the beginning of time. The only difference now is the fact tech is bringing these clandestine actions out into the open for all to see without commentary or "expert" analysis, something really needed in this age of censored news designed to keep the public uninformed on important issues like Afghanistan, Iraq or, in this case, the way countries try to spy on one another without getting caught.

Addendum: Read the Wikileaks cable content, it's important to see how our govenrment works. Pentagon Papers anyone? 

Addendum II: It appears Wikileaks.org has been blocked, again, to prevent us from viewing material that threatens the very existence of America and significant others. So much for free speech in the land of the free and home of the brave, right? The current URL is http://wikileaks.ch

Therefore there are five kinds of spies used:

Local spies, internal spies, double spies, dead spies, and living spies. 

When all five are used, and no one knows their Way, it is called the divine organization, and is the ruler's treasure. 

For local spies, we use the enemy's people.

For internal spies we use the enemy's officials.

For double spies we use the enemy's spies.

For dead spies we use agents to spread misinformation to the enemy. For living spies, we use agents to return with reports. 

Therefore, of those close to the army, none is closer than spies, no reward more generously given, and no matter in greater secrecy. 

Only the wisest ruler can use spies; - The Art of War/Chapter 13-Using Spies

“The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” – John Gilmore

Last but not least...
"This allows ordinary people to actually know and talk about what the government does. But state secrecy is anathema to a free society. Why exactly should Americans be prevented from knowing what their government is doing in their name? - Ron Paul" 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's a Start

The start point for getting away from fossil fuels is finally underway thanks, in part,  to UMASS researchers doing the deed regarding industrial chemical production and how to make them while cleaning up the environment. Combine this with photonic BECs plus in depth knowledge of how photsynthesis works and you have the beginnings of something truly disruptive regarding the creation of clean, sustainable energy at real world levels, something desperately needed if we are to survive as a viable species on planet earth.

wish i had more time to...

Had to include this very cool graph courtesy IBM Many Eyes, an awesome visualization environment anybody can use as long as one has Java on their computer. Enjoy,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trip the Light Fantastic

Trip the Light Fantastic, originally penned by John Milton in a poem titled L'Allegro, means to move lighly and dance well, an apt description of Chilled Light and the creation, for the first time, of a BEC consisting of photons, a physical construct thought to be impossible to build until now.

And yet, the Bonn researchers succeeded by using two highly reflective mirrors between which they kept bouncing a light beam back and forth. Between the reflective surfaces there were dissolved pigment molecules with which the photons collided periodically. In these collisions, the molecules 'swallowed' the photons and then 'spit' them out again. "During this process, the photons assumed the temperature of the fluid," explained Professor Weitz. "They cooled each other off to room temperature this way, and they did it without getting lost in the process."

The implications of this research staggers the imagination, especially when factored into the solar energy equation.

The technique could one day have practical applications for collecting and focusing sunlight, says Weidemüller. Whereas an ordinary lens can concentrate sunlight in solar cells on a clear day, the BEC technique has the advantage that it could also collect light scattered in all directions on a cloudy day, he explains.

Another rather interesting application centers on building X Ray lasers able to etch ever smaller and denser circuits onto  computer chips, thus creating systems of almost unimaginable power.

Another reason why science rocks - again. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just When You Thought...

Zero Hedge is a biggie with me. Smart, irreverent and really cogent about the inner workings of Wall Street and high finance, the articles posted there are spot on regarding the follies the US is plagued with regarding big banks and our money. The gem seen here depicts the Cuisinart process of how a mortgage is turned into a mortgage securitization.

To me, turning sirloin into mystery meat kind of describes the procedure here or...

Dan Edstrom is a guy who is in the right place at the right time.

His profession? He performs securitization audits (Reverse Engineering and Failure Analysis) for a company called DTC-Systems.

The typical audit includes numerous diagrams including the following:

Transaction Parties and Flow (similar to the chart below, but much easier to understand)

Note exchanged for a bond Foreclosure parties

Priority of Payments from the Security Instrument (Mortgage, Deed of Trust, Security Deed or Mortgage Deed)

Priority of Payments from the Pooling and Servicing Agreement

This diagram (shown above) shows that they are not following the borrowers instructions in the security instrument...

The following flow chart reverse engineers the mortgage on the Ekstrom family residence. It took Dan over one year to take it this far and it clearly demonstrates what happens when there are too many lawyers being manufactured. 

Take a look at this chart and then decide how long you think it will take for Barney Frank and Eric Holder to sort everything out. Click here to see the expanded chart again.

This Old Saw never dies :)
 Question: What do you have when you have 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean: 
Answer, A good start.

Archimboldo's The Jurist says it all regarding this writer's opinion of lawyers, an all too sizable percentage of same being bottom feeders of the first order. The infestation of lawyers in the tech industry is unprecedented as it's all about the money regarding smart phones/mobile computing, the emerging financial sweet spots of the digital universe.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gasland: The "Benign" Art of Fracking

What never ceases to amaze me is the way we support tech that pollutes our planet in ways that boggle the mind. The other thing that amazes me is the unwillingness of people to analyze any given technology to see if the benefits out way the costs before making a choice that, in this case, will impact society for decades to come. With this in mind, check out Gasland, a documentary intended to make one think, an art form all too rare in this day and age of instant gratification not being fast enough to satisfy one's insatiable craving to be entertained.

Note: Fracking, in this case, is not the preferred swear word on Battlestar Galatica but rather a process designed to extract natural gas from the bowels of the earth. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

You Fix the Budget

The NY Times O.K., You Fix the Budget is a very cool interactive tool allowing us plebes the chance to fix the budget by making cuts on virtually every part of government, a concept both alluring and challenging to say the least but there are the usual suspects not factored into the equation able to screw the pooch in ways defying the imagination. They are...

Tech: Nothing is discussed about the disruptive aspect of technology, the double exponential acceleration of same that will impact the budget at ever increasing levels as we move toward the mystical year of 2030 or the estimated start point of the singularity

Global Warming: By 2030, the full impact of GW may finally be starting to set in as chaotic systems of which GW is a part, is an environment driven by phase transitions whereby changes experienced by the system are anything but linear and cannot be predicted because of the law of initial conditions.

Fossil fuel depletion: By 2030, the cost of oil will be immense. The disruptive impact of this cannot be predicted as oil is the prime driver of today's economy. Without it, modern civilization stops, period. Coal as replacement is not viable due to low energy density and high pollution factor though we continue to burn it with little regard to the impact it's having on climate change. Solar as viable replacement is possible due to nanotech and full understanding of photosynthesis but predictions regarding this is guesstimate at best due to the inherent limits of knowledge man will always experience thanks to  quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle and chaos. Ditto for algae and other biofuel substitutes and nuclear fusion, cold or otherwise.

Financial Follies: If the current ponzi scheme system of finance continues unabated, courtesy of Wall Street and significant others, the ever increasing mountain of US debt could bankrupt the nation before 2030 even though the Fed thinks the dubious option of Quantitative Easing (the art of printing money) may get us out of this dreadful predicament by papering over the debt with currency possibly resembling that of the Weimar Republic's.

Even though these variables are not part of the app, take a shot anyway. It's better than just complaining about it, right?

Quantitative Easing Explained

Any Questions?

Inside Job

We won't talk about the other Inside Job at this point in time but this Inside Job is an absolute must see, a film that accurately depicts just how unbelievably corrupt the US financial system is. If something is not done about the Fed and the Wall Street banks it runs, we're toast but Congress and the President are not the entities to do it given the fact they totally depend on the monies doled out by the powers at be in order to get reelected, the only thing that counts to the people who "represent" us in Washington. The system, as people already know, is broken. Can it be fixed before it's too late? No one knows, do one? - Fats Waller

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Dumb & Dumber

Dumb & Dumber, a flick I never saw but heard was very funny, is not the reason for the post, of course, but rather acts as segue into our government's often misguided forays into tech showing us that Jim Carrey's and Jeff Daniels' characters have nothing on the geniuses who spend our money in mind numbingly stupid ways.

Example 1: Note, this is a very small sample of governmental incompetence as you can well imagine.

FBI's Virtual Case File system
Final cost: $170 million
Who's responsible: FBI, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)

The FBI handles huge amounts of paperwork and evidence in the course of investigating criminal cases. The bureau's Virtual Case File program, begun in 2001, attempted to ease the tracking of cases by pulling together, in electronic form [13], as much of the casework as possible.

But after four years of development -- with $170 million spent and not a single component of the system finished -- the FBI decided to scrap the Virtual Case File [14].  

It gets better.

After years of costly delays, a long-awaited computerized system for managing the FBI's caseload remains far from completion and risks coming so late that it will be obsolete on arrival, a Justice Department report warned Wednesday.

The Sentinel system was designed as a user-friendly paperless way to manage cases that would be ready in December 2009 at a cost $425 million. It replaced an earlier $170 million computer program that was scrapped after consultants deemed it outdated and riddled with problems.

The program's funding was raised to $451 million in 2008 but the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General said the project is now $100 million over budget and nowhere near finished.


FAA's NextGen air-traffic control system
Final cost: expected to be between $15 billion and $22 billion by 2025
Who's responsible: Federal Aviation Administration, Metron Aviation, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boeing, CSSI, General Dynamics, and ITT

Would it concern you to find out that, as planes approach some of the nation's busiest airports, air traffic controllers periodically lose all radar tracking and have to switch hastily to a system involving paper, pens, and the controller's persistence of vision and memory, lest planes crash into one another during approach or takeoff?

It certainly is an issue for the FAA, which manages the air-traffic control system in the United States. And yet the agency's planned update to the air-traffic control system [16] is not expected to come online for at least two years.

Named NextGen [17], the system is, in the words of an FAA spokesman, "a portfolio of separate stand-alone products" designed to help planes fly closer together in an attempt to save on fuel costs and reduce waiting times in the air and on the ground. Each separate, stand-alone product has to be custom built, however, and the FAA is not exactly a model agency when it comes to technology integration. The whole thing is scary enough to make me think seriously about sticking to the rails, the roads, and the high seas.

And lastly...

California's decertified electronic voting machines
Final cost: unknown, probably in the millions of dollars
Who's responsible: manufacturers of noncertifiable voting machines

Okay this isn't a federal government fiasco, but it does involve the most populous state in the nation. Technology advocates claimed a huge victory in February 2008, when California's secretary of state officially decertified thousands of electronic voting machines. In one county alone (Riverside, near Los Angeles), all 3700 e-voting machines were taken offline a few days before the presidential Super Tuesday primary of that year.

The e-voting system was dogged by allegations that the machines could too easily conceal mistakes or deliberate code changes that would make valid recounts impossible, though the machines' manufacturers resisted calls from security experts [15] to solve the recount problem. But for the California counties that bought the machines, the cost remains a sore point that resurfaces every two years during primaries and elections.

No wonder CA is broke and the US is in trouble. If yours truly did work like this, I would be sued, too bad the bozos who did this work weren't.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


Kevin Kelly, a writer who's work I respect, wrote a terrific piece titled Achieving Technoliteracy in the NYTimes discussing the home education of his 8th grader prior to sending him to high school. Funny, personal and wise, his take on parenting, education and tech is right on.

"But the computer was only one tool of many. Technology helped us learn, but it was not the medium of learning. It was summoned when needed. Technology is strange that way. Education, at least in the K-12 range, is more about child rearing than knowledge acquisition. And since child rearing is primarily about forming character, instilling values and cultivating habits, it may be the last area to be directly augmented by technology.

Even so, as technology floods the rest of our lives, one of the chief habits a student needs to acquire is technological literacy — and we made sure it was part of our curriculum. By technological literacy, I mean the latest in a series of proficiencies children should accumulate in school. Students begin with mastering the alphabet and numbers, then transition into critical thinking, logic and absorption of the scientific method. Technological literacy is something different: proficiency with the larger system of our invented world."

The recommendations he lists to become technically literate should be on the to do list of everyone in the world as tech is a 24/7 pervasive entity that impacts every aspect of our lives.
Works for me.

Happy Birthday

BRT has written often about the Fed being a cartel protected by government, a fact most Americans are totally unaware of as yours truly was until 2008, the year I became fascinated with how finance functioned as a system in the US. Previously, I thought finance a dry and musty enterprise governed by "safe" banks and administered by the Fed, a government agency dedicated to maintaining the health of the dollar, a notion proven to be wrong based on research done on the net driven by one's innate curiosity to learn about something that, prior to '08, was totally uncharted territory.

Picture a party of the nation's greatest bankers stealing out of New York on a private railroad car under cover of darkness, stealthily riding hundred of miles South, embarking on a mysterious launch, sneaking onto an island deserted by all but a few servants, living there a full week under such rigid secrecy that the names of not one of them was once mentioned, lest the servants learn the identity and disclose to the world this strangest, most secret expedition in the history of American finance. I am not romancing; I am giving to the world, for the first time, the real story of how the famous Aldrich currency report, the foundation of our new currency system, was written... The utmost secrecy was enjoined upon all. The public must not glean a hint of what was to be done. Senator Aldrich notified each one to go quietly into a private car of which the railroad had received orders to draw up on an unfrequented platform. Off the party set. New York's ubiquitous reporters had been foiled... Nelson (Aldrich) had confided to Henry, Frank, Paul and Piatt that he was to keep them locked up at Jekyll Island, out of the rest of the world, until they had evolved and compiled a scientific currency system for the United States, the real birth of the present Federal Reserve System, the plan done on Jekyll Island in the conference with Paul, Frank and Henry... Warburg is the link that binds the Aldrich system and the present system together. He more than any one man has made the system possible as a working reality. - Bertie Charles Forbes

Fittingly, current money players celebrated the creation of the Fed on Nov 5, 2010, 100 years to the day the plan to institute the Reserve through legislation was initiated in order to wrest control of the country's finances from the Constitution to a private entity, something that became a fate accompli when Woodrow Wilson signed into law, with great reluctance, the creation of the US Federal Reserve in 1913.  See the conference agenda here.

"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men." -Woodrow Wilson, after signing the Federal Reserve into existence.

Other presidents had reservations about central banks as well.

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."

Thomas Jefferson, (Attributed)
3rd president of US (1743 - 1826)


"When asked what his greatest accomplishment had been during his two terms as President, Andrew Jackson replied "I killed the Bank."   He was talking about the "Second Bank of the United States", which was our country's second central bank."

Makes one think doesn't it?

Addendum: Click here to get a concise history of the Fed and Government. For starters, The Fed, along with the CIA and significant others, is a private corporation (non profit) registered in Delaware.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Event Horizon

A black hole is a region of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape, a situation somewhat akin to what the US is experiencing as it approaches the end of "happy motoring" days without a chance in hell of ever returning to them again.

To whit.

Global warming is fact, not fiction. To ignore it is folly yet we continue to do so while burning fossil fuels at ever increasing rates because gw is occurring, at this point in time, "in gradual fashion", a condition that will inevitably change when it reaches critical mass, thus invoking a phase transition akin to how ice freezes over a pond, i.e. The day before the pond freezes over, 50% of the pond remains ice free.

Elections mean nothing as wall street and corporations run government via campaign financing.

"Jobs offshoring, which began on a large scale with the collapse of the Soviet Union, has merged the Democrats and Republicans into one party with two names. The Soviet collapse changed attitudes in socialist India and communist China and opened those countries, with their large excess supplies of labor, to Western capital. 

Pushed by Wall Street and Wal-Mart, American manufacturers moved production for US markets offshore to boost profits and shareholder earnings by utilizing cheap labor. The decline of the US manufacturing work force reduced the political power of unions and the ability of unions to finance the Democratic Party. The end result was to make the Democrats dependent on the same sources of financing as Republicans."

Peak Oil  or the end of cheap energy, along with wall street malfeasance and government collusion, created the depression we now face. Getting into renewables and away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible is a prerequisite if we are to remain a viable species on planet earth.

End of Privacy: Thanks to Database Nation and the net, we have no privacy. Tit for tat or having the same surveillance equipment monitoring the people monitoring us is essential if we are to have a democratic society.

Erosion of Civil Rights: Thanks to the Supremes, Congress and the Presidency, habeas corpus is but a dream in certain "undefined" circumstances. A chilling notion to be sure.

The government's right to print money has not existed since the institution of The Fed in 1913, a cartel protected by government or the prime driver of US booms and busts for nearly 100 years.

Tech is accelerating at double exponential rates because of the web with the end result being the start point of The Singularity a hypothetical event occurring when technological progress becomes so rapid that it makes the future after the singularity qualitatively different and harder to predict."  Estimated time frame: 2030-2035. Society is not ready for this. - ed

The middle class has little money and the disparity of wealth in the US between the top 1% vs the remaining 99% is the highest it's been since 1939. Because of this, the so-called recovery from the "great recession" remains a myth as our system of finance is predicated on borrowing. If there is no borrowing, there is no money.  

When this in mind (excluding tech, science, creativity et al), people now realize the US political/financial  system is broken and must be fixed if this nation is to survive. The question to ask now is: Can we change it without resorting to violence? Only time will tell.

Event Horizon - The defining feature of a black hole is the appearance of an event horizon—a boundary in spacetime through which matter and light can only pass inward towards the mass of the black hole.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bubble Magic & Then Some

The Nytimes posted a really interesting article about biology and economic bubbles titled Microscopic Microeconomics whereby researchers conducted a sophisticated experiment using real data to see how the brain reacts to economic bubbles.

Montague’s experiments go like this: A subject is given $100 and some basic information about the stock market. After choosing how much money to invest, the player watches as his investments either rise or fall in value. The game continues for 20 rounds, and the subject gets to keep the money. One interesting twist is that instead of using random simulations of the market, Montague relies on real data from past markets, so people unwittingly “play” the Dow of 1929, the S&P 500 of 1987 and the Nasdaq of 1999. While the subjects are making their investment decisions, Montague measures the activity of neurons in the brain.

At first, Montague’s data confirmed the obvious: our brains crave reward. He watched as a cluster of dopamine neurons acted like greedy information processors, firing rapidly as the subjects tried to maximize their profits during the early phases of the bubble. When share prices kept going up, these brain cells poured dopamine into the caudate nucleus, which increased the subjects’ excitement and led them to pour more money into the market. The bubble was building.

But then Montague discovered something strange. As the market continued to rise, these same neurons significantly reduced their rate of firing. “It’s as if the cells were getting anxious,” Montague says. “They knew something wasn’t right.” And then, just before the bubble burst, these neurons typically stopped firing altogether. In many respects, these dopamine neurons seem to be acting like an internal thermostat, shutting off when the market starts to overheat. Unfortunately, the rest of the brain is too captivated by the profits to care: instead of heeding the warning, the brain obeys the urges of so-called higher regions, like the prefrontal cortex, which are busy coming up with all sorts of reasons that the market will never decline. In other words, our primal emotions are acting rationally, while those rational circuits are contributing to the mass irrationality.

In reading this, one sees something profound about fleeting instances of intuition and how we often ignore it at our peril. For instance, when driving on country roads, I sense when cars are coming around a blind corner without fail. The subtle, quick moment of fear or certitude regarding this feeling I never ignore as it's too important, thus preventing yours truly from crashing into somebody on a regular basis. No doubt most people in my town, at least, experience this same flash of intuition because they didn't, the level of accidents in said environs would soar to unheard heights but adherence to heeding these fleeting flashes of intuition on other matters seem not to apply, much to my detriment, due to distractions generated by my mind in the same way to those experienced by Montague's subjects.

 With this in mind, pardon the pun, it seems synchronicity may play an imporatnt role in how the brain interprets intuition due to the fact synchronicity appears to relate to quantum mechanics in deep fashion  as both synchronicity and quantum mechanics question the notion of cause and effect in ways that cannot be ignored.

In his book Synchronicity (1952), Jung tells the following story as an example of a synchronistic event: "A young woman I was treating had, at a critical moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was telling me this dream, I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a flying insect knocking against the window-pane from the outside. I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to a golden scarab one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), which, contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt the urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment. I must admit that nothing like it ever happened to me before or since." [12]

As a thought experiment, look at this example of Thomas Young's elegant experiment regarding light to see why reality is stranger then one can imagine. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Hawking's Quest

For years, I have waited for Stephen Hawking to get the Noble prize in physics based on his theory predicting "that black holes are not totally black, but emit a steady stream of radiation." a notion that cannot be proven experimentally given the fact "no-one has been able to detect a black-hole signal because it would be so faint compared with the universe's background radiation."

Using analogues to show how Hawking Radiation would work has become a boomlet in research as it appears Hawking is right but proof must be in hand in order for justice to be served. "Because Hawking radiation is currently impossible to observe for real black holes, physicists have recently been looking to black hole analogues in the lab that can mimic the behaviour of their astrophysical counterparts. One type of analogue employs lasers to simulate an event horizon, because intense light can alter a medium's refractive index, which governs light propagation speed. In simple terms, shining a powerful laser through glass creates a refractive index peak: any other photons in front this peak can travel forward, while those behind and trying to travel forward are slowed to a halt – they are trapped, as in a real black hole."

Other experiments using different tech corroborates Hawking's theory in spades. "There is a mathematical analogy between the propagation of fields in a general relativistic space-time and long (shallow water) surface waves on moving water. Hawking argued that black holes emit thermal radiation via a quantum spontaneous emission. Similar arguments predict the same effect near wave horizons in fluid flow. By placing a streamlined obstacle into an open channel flow we create a region of high velocity over the obstacle that can include wave horizons."

In english, the Cnadian researchers created a white hole using water as the medium to show how the event horizon would work as a barrier forever separating the inside from the outside of the white hole save for the tunneling effect subatomic particles exhibit in certain circumstances based on quantum mechanics. Interesting enough, an outrageously cool article from Wired shows how we can create a white hole in the kitchen sink intuitively showing how these exotic things work.

Circular Hydraulic Jump

As per the Canadian researchers findings regarding white holes, this research further substantiates the fact Hawking's notions are correct, Black Holes are not totally black.

It's time for Hawking to get the prize, don't you think?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Heavy Metal

For years, researchers have tried to control the flow of electrons through metal with the same degree of precision as that of silicon because electrons move through metal at much greater speed, thus having the potential of creating blindingly fast systems at reasonable cost, something not considered to be doable until now.

"This is a fundamental change in the way you could produce electronic products, at high speed on a huge scale at very low cost, even less than with conventional methods," Keszler said. "It's a basic way to eliminate the current speed limitations of electrons that have to move through materials."

I Sing the Body Electric - Walt Whitman