Saturday, July 30, 2011

The 10% Solution

Well, it seems the minority rules when it comes to discovering the "tipping point for the spread of ideas". To whit:

"When the number of committed opinion holders is below 10 percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas. It would literally take the amount of time comparable to the age of the universe for this size group to reach the majority," said SCNARC Director Boleslaw Szymanski, the Claire and Roland Schmitt Distinguished Professor at Rensselaer. "Once that number grows above 10 percent, the idea spreads like flame."

Chaos rules here as it does for phase transitions whereby the "break" from one phase to another tends not to be linear but exponential. i.e. the day before a pond freezes over, 50% of the water remains ice free. Seen below is a phase transition diagram detailing how water changes from a solid to liquid and gas using pressure and temperature to make it happen.

Click here to see how phase transitions work. Pretty cool I must say.

The time has come...

This image from the New York Times says it all regarding organized religion and, as George Carlin says, "A God who always needs money". The two books reviewed, Inside Scientology and Render Unto Rome shed light on how these two make money, lots of it, based on promises NEVER kept. 

For Catholics, the litany's different but the end result's the same.

Check out George's take on religion. Hilarious, profound and profane as hell. :)

Last but not least, the LA digs of Scientology proves that the late L. Ron Hubbard was right about the financial rewards one can get by creating one's very own religion to not only enlighten man but also on enlightening one's wallet.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Fed Audit

This will be a really short post regarding the Fed, an entity BRT has written about ad nauseam as the cartel protected by government. The Bernie Sanders article regarding auditing the Fed is guaranteed to anger anyone with half a brain in seeing just how venal and corrupt this "institution" truly is.

"As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world," said Sanders. "This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you're-on-your-own individualism for everyone else."

No more will be said in this blurb save that if you want to see the GAO report detailing the transgressions, click here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

6 Part Guide to Liberate America

This is an excellent read showing how to change America's future from that of a plutocracy to that of a functioning democracy able to become the great nation it once was prior to the deregulation of finance beginning in the early '80's. Ronnie anyone?

"How to Liberate America from Wall Street Rule spells out details of a six-part policy agenda to rebuild a sensible system of community-based and accountable financial services institutions.

  1. Break up the mega-banks and implement tax and regulatory policies that favor community financial institutions, with a preference for those organized as cooperatives or as for-profits owned by nonprofit foundations.
  2. Establish state-owned partnership banks in each of the 50 states, patterned after the Bank of North Dakota. These would serve as depositories for state financial assets to use in partnership with community financial institutions to fund local farms and businesses.
  3. Restructure the Federal Reserve to function under strict standards of transparency and public scrutiny, with General Accounting Office audits and Congressional oversight. (dissolve the non profit corporation that constitutes the Fed and return the power to manage our money to the government. - BRT)
  4. Direct all new money created by the Federal Reserve to a Federal Recovery and Reconstruction Bank rather than the current practice of directing it as a subsidy to Wall Street banks. The FRRB would have a mandate to fund essential green infrastructure projects as designated by Congress.
  5. Rewrite international trade and investment rules to support national ownership, economic self-reliance, and economic self-determination.
  6. Implement appropriate regulatory and fiscal measures to secure the integrity of financial markets and the money/banking system.

Click on the image or here to read/download the report. Concise, articulate and cautiously optimistic, it's a start point on how to turn this country around before it's too late.

A Benign Addiction

My son, a cat 2 racer, has made an addict out of me regarding Le Tour de France. A sport perfect for video, the superb organization of the race simply astounds accompanied by intelligent commentary informing the viewer about the intricacies of a sport with an approach completely opposite from the brain dead musings ushered forth by US sports announcers, masters of the obvious to the extreme. Click the image below to monitor in real time who's leading this last mountainous stage.

Without a doubt, road cycling, IMHO, is the toughest sport in the world in term of pain and endurance. As an avid grade B cyclist, I know a tiny bit about both but what these riders experience, as my son tells me, goes beyond imagination.

"No bs in this sport dad. Trash talking does not happen. It's just too hard for that." - Austin

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Monarchs & GM Corn

Everthing has a cost. Slight or huge, every endeavor, whether it be man made or by nature, the energy conversion used in doing the activity extracts a cost. In terms of Genetically Modified corn, the good side is the fact the product effectively deals with the corn borer, a hard to kill pest that limits crop yields. On the bad, the pollen created inadverteltly kills Monarch caterpillars when the caterpillar accidentally ingests it while feeding on the Milkweed plant, the only source of food for the caterpillar. I show the video as the Monarch depicted is exquisite and persistent, qualities yours truly finds enchanting to say the least.

The link seen above goes to a pdf detailing the original 1999 Cornell study descussing this important issue along with subsequent findings. The impact, as of right now, is relatively small but the the larger issue of gm crops is not. It's a good paper, balanced and detailed. Worth reading without a doubt.

Blowback or The law of unforeseen consequences, in the mind of this author,  applies on every initiative on which the full effect of same cannot be predicted.

Addendum: The corn borer beetle is now starting to munch on Monsanto's cash cow, something that relates to blowback without question.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Critical Mass

It seems tech is finally reaching critical mass regarding a viable move toward a sustainable future, the political/financial fubar not withstanding, with three recent developments able to produce something truly revolutionary in the generation, storage and releasing of clean energy at real world levels that, in time, could replace the non-sustainable environment of today.

To whit:
  1. Cheap film solar is now possible thanks to advances in the manufacturing of solar cells able to be integrated into a form factor  able to be used in a endless number of ways. 
  2. Cheap artificial photosynthesis being developed by organizations like Jcap and universities like MIT promise to harness the power of solar by creating and storing the clean fuel (oxygen/hydrogen) generated by said tech, able to be used at any time of the day and...
  3. The ultimate cheap battery using water and graphene as storage device with characteristics promising to change how we store and distribute energy...   A combination of two ordinary materials – graphite and water – could produce energy storage systems that perform on par with lithium ion batteries, but recharge in a matter of seconds and have an almost indefinite lifespan.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Cloud beckons

No doubt, the cloud is now Prime Time, particularly when the Autodesk //Lab environment offers a plethora of cool (& free) tools to solve complex real world problems using the compute power of the cloud to do the job. Check this bad boy out, you will not be disappointed. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A July Morning

A sunny July morning is magical if one looks at the little things that make summer special. A very short clip showing why nature never disappoints.  

When doing this, I thought the players in this video have been doing this kind of work for nearly 140 million years, a timeframe approximately 250 times longer then the existence of us homo sapiens, something to consider as we continue to to pollute the home on which all life depends.

Sex as we know it...

The Red Queen responds: "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place"

This quote drives the Red Queen Hypothesis whereby coevolution in the form of parasites versus their pray may have brought about sex...

It seems we may have parasites to thank for the existence of sex as we know it. Indiana University biologists have found that, although sexual reproduction between two individuals is costly from an evolutionary perspective, it is favored over self-fertilization in the presence of coevolving parasites. Sex allows parents to produce offspring that are more resistant to the parasites, while self-fertilization dooms populations to extinction at the hands of their biological enemies.

The July 8 report in Science, "Running with the Red Queen: Host-Parasite Coevolution Selects for Biparental Sex," affirms the Red Queen hypothesis, an evolutionary theory who's name comes from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland text: "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." The idea is that sexual reproduction via cross-fertilization keeps host populations one evolutionary step ahead of the parasites, which are coevolving to infect them. It is within this coevolutionary context that both hosts and parasites are running (evolving) as fast as they can just to stay in the same place.

"But I don't want to go among mad people," said Alice. "Oh, you can't help that," said the cat. "We're all mad here." - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Before Man

In the excellent New Scientist article, Vital giants: Why living seas need whales, researcher Steve Nicol eloquently explains why man must change current strategies in managing the ocean's resources before it's too late.

"They do so in at least three ways. The first is simply by mixing up ocean waters, which can return some nutrients to the waters above the thermocline. 

The second way in which animals can boost ocean productivity is by nutrient scavenging - feeding at depth and bringing nutrients back to the sunlit zone. Sperm whales, for instance, feed on squid and fish at great depths, and defecate at the surface. Models suggest that this recycling of deep material may well be significant for essential elements such as iron.

The third way in which animals may boost ocean productivity is by recycling nutrients within the sunlit zone. 

Whales produce buoyant plumes of faecal material that functions as liquid manure. Recent measurements of the iron content of the faeces of baleen whales by my team show that concentrations in whale faeces are at least 10 million times the background level in seawater. 

When factored in with the finding of animal populations in Korea's DMZ being much greater then when man was around makes one wonder what the world was like before us, when life operated at levels unable to be comprehended today, where original temperate forests routinely had trees 150' and higher as the norm and vast herds of buffalo and flocks of Morning Doves, among numerous other herding species, roamed the earth in numbers too vast to even contemplate.

"The de facto wildlife preserve encompasses 390 square miles of diverse terrain virtually untouched by human development for 55 years. Now, as this accidental Eden faces major development pressures, a growing contingent is pushing for its establishment as a transboundary nature park – which could also be a step toward peace between the two Koreas.

“This strip of land contains almost every type of ecosystem you can imagine,” says Alan Weisman, author of “The World Without Us.” “It has inadvertently become one of the most important wildlife conservation sites in the world.”

Makes one think doesn't it?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Future of Money... with caveats

As per's informative article concerning mobile payment, PayPal may be right regarding the possible demise of the wallet in terms of how we pay for our stuff by 2014 if the article rings true regarding tech, smart-phones and the inevitable fact dollars are now bits able to be decimated to all parties equipped with the right hardware and connects to the web. Caveat: With digital currency, anonymity is but a fiction unlike the physical entity of cash.

PayPal seems to think so. The payments giant boldly predicts that the wallet will be dead by 2015. It’s putting its money where its mouth is: It recently acquired mobile payments provider Zong for $240 million.

PayPal isn’t the only one getting into the game though. Google recently launched Google Wallet, the search giant’s mobile payment system, and Visa recently made a strategic investment in Square, the mobile payments platform now worth more than $1.4 billion.

When reading this article, one player not mentioned is bitcoin, the possible disrupter of all things financial due to the fact there is no trusted 3rd party and it's already working on the net, able to be accessed on all platforms without problems using the free BC plugin. With bitcoin in play, the future of money gets really interesting if you know what I mean. To see BRTs take on BC, click here.

Note: Bitcoin took a quasi hacking hit but it will survive as the tech itself is sound.
"A taste for truth at any cost is a passion which spares nothing." - Albert Camus

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


For years, BRT has stated that when efficient solar can be put into a cheap and elegant form factor able to be applied in endless ways, (roofs, windows etc., etc.) the tech will finally take off. Well, it seems the form factor issue has finally been resolved.

When combined with artificial photosynthesis being developed by MIT, Cal Tech and numerous others, the path to a viable sustainable future becomes possible.

Tech finds a way.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Questions, Questions :)

Any questions? :)  Happy 4th everyone.

Glimpses into a garden

The symbiotic relationship of insects to flowers cannot be overstated. This short clip is but a brief snapshot of this most fascinating world. Enjoy