Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hugo Black & The Right to Know

Hugo Black, associate justice on the Supreme Court, was a judge who got it, particularly when it came to the role of the press and why having competition in the fourth estate was vital to the proper maintenance of democracy, something under attack as giant multinational corporations do the merger game in order to attain even more power at the expense of a viable press, a process essential if a democracy is to survive. 

As seen below, 6 corporations own 90+% of all news and media organizations.

As George Carlin famously said, "You have no choice". Food for thought, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Recursive to the Max :)

The Mandelbrot Set is digital recursion to the max as seen by this very cool video showing why this is true. Chaos rules and, when you get a chance, read about how Mandelbrot discovered fractals, thus opening up, in conjunction with Lorenz and the Butterfly Effect, the amazing science of chaos and how it applies to the real world. :)

The Butterfly Effect


Seeing a video like this knocks me out. Namibia, barrel waves and intensity. 
Nature never disappoints. :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mid Summer

Mid Summer, the best time in CT to see how nature works at small scale, something that never disappoints though the only butterflies seen to date is a tough old codger able to survive numerous attacks by denizens of the avian world and another who hugs the ground whenever possible. :) Enjoy

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zeno's Paradox :)

Writing is hard because there's no filter. It's from brain to device/paper etc, etc., so making one's thoughts comprehensible enough for another person to understand is difficult at best. It's similar to a high-wire act without the net, something requiring courage, or foolishness to do, a notion that probably describes yours truly when writing "wonderful" missives for all to read on good old BRT. :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Evolution - writ large :)

Birds of Paradise are simply astounding as you will see in both these videos. 
The long version is seen below. Enjoy.

Web Electric

The web as public utility is, to BRT, the best way to save net neutrality. The web connect, provided by a public utility, i.e.your "friendly" electric company, could be the way to make it happen, something that terrifies the Comcasts of the world to no end.

Needless to say, this is an elegant solution to maintaining NN from the tech perspective but the gotcha in all of this guessed it, DC.

"Well do ya?" - Dirty Harry

Friday, July 18, 2014

Barcelona a Go Go :)

Both my wife and son have been to Barcelona and both were absolutely taken by the city. This amazing time lapse by Rob Whitworth gives a glimpse of just how amazing Barcelona truly is. :)

Eminent Domain

Fracking, the tech BRT truly loves, has overrun PA, thanks to government collusion, greed and now, the increasing abuse of eminent domain on the part of Sunoco Logistics Partners, the largest fracking entity in the state.

“This is my house, it’s my safe zone; nobody’s going to bother me,” he says. “It was worth it for the peace of mind.”

But in late 2012, someone bothered the Coxes. A representative of oil and gas transporter Sunoco Logistics Partners — a “landsman” sent by the company to scout and buy access to their property — came to their front door and told them that Sunoco was going to dig a pipeline under their woods.

“And I went: ‘No you’re not,’” Cox says.

I kind of thought, ‘If we resist enough, they’re going to go away.’ But they didn’t.
Ronald Cox Pennsylvania homeowner

After he refused, a lawyer for Sunoco sent a letter that said the company had the power of eminent domain, including the right to survey their property and condemn it to build their pipeline. Sunoco hired a realty company to appraise the land, valuing the 23 acres at $352,000 and estimating the damage of constructing a pipeline at $2,700.

Representatives offered the Coxes $6,000. They said it was better to sign an agreement immediately, since the company would gain the right to the property anyway.

“I kind of thought, ‘If we resist enough, they’re going to go away.’ But they didn’t,” Cox says.

The Coxes didn’t know it then, but their dream home lay in the path of a metastasizing controversy that involves not only Sunoco’s bid for eminent domain but an attempt by the company to circumvent local zoning laws, all aimed at swiftly completing a sprawling, multi-year project to exploit a boom in the byproducts of the Marcellus Shale.

Read the article to see how people are starting to fight back against a company trying to game the system with cooperation of politicos like Tom Corbett, a leading advocate of fracking and PA's sitting govenor. Interesting to say the least.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Honest Gil

Honest Gill rules. Just like Bulworth, he tells the truth with humor and style. Honest Gil is a creation of Represent Us, a site dedicated to getting $$ out of politics with KY as the target state. :)

Sounds like a good idea to me.

"Same as it ever was" - Talking Heads

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Earthquakes "R" Us

The new earthquake center of the world is...Oklahoma!

Any questions as to why fracking is bad tech to the max, particularly if done near any operation requiring stable ground like nuclear reactors, hospitals or other endeavors like driving, living in a house or working in a high rise, etc., ect., ect., that cannot handle the kind of damage said tech has done to Oklahoma, a state that never experienced earthquakes of any magnitude prior to 2009. As for California, fracking plays a role in generating earthquakes as per Oklahoma as seen by On Shaky Ground, a report depicting the additional "benefits" brought forth by the one trick pony known as fracking.

Bon Appetit

 One of my favorite sites, Why Evolution is True, posted this gem as a paean to the World Cup. :)


Everything is connected, nothing happens in isolation as seen through the lens of quantum theory, a universal condition that readily applies to the plight of the honey bee and what is being done to this wonderful insect through a synergistic set of atrocities. 

In reading Our Bees, Ourselves, one readily sees commonality with the honey bee problem with our own in terns of  our continued existence on this planet as we are doing the same thing to earth as to the bee. In addition to poison, we plunder the seas, pollute the environment and push the resource overshoot ever closer to June, the point of no return in terms of earth being able to sustain us as our population grows ever larger while earth's resources diminish ever faster. 

Our survival depends on conservation, bio diversity and the complete transition to sustainables while, at the same time, finally abandoning the notion of unlimited growth based on the false premise that earth's treasures are infinite while in fact, they are anything but.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Creativity Is...

Fast Company posted a blurb titled Secrets from the brains of 13 creative geniuses. The gist of the piece includes the following:
To get a better take on creativity, the masterwork by Arthur Koestler titled The Act of Creation comes to mind, a book quoted numerous times in BRT as Koestler gets to the heart of the creative process in a fashion unmatched, IMHO, by any other writer brave enough to take on a subject as vast as this.

What's even more amazing about Koestler is the fact he was largely self taught in genetics, which forms the second part of Act. Amazingly prescient regarding how life works at the molecular level, it's somewhat akin to Alan Turing's take on Chaos back in the early 50s. 

As for yours truly dealing with creativity...
  • Teaching oneself is incredibly rewarding.
  • The arts/science equation are hand and glove glories without limitation.
  • Persistence, in the face of skepticism and rejection, are conditions known all too well to this writer of BRT but one preservers because all creative people do, without reservation, because to bring anything new and of value to the world is scary, fun and hard to do even if's a joke of the most salacious kind. :)
  • Crappy work is an old friend of mine that I try to eliminate as best as possible. Hopefully none of that nonsense appears in BRT but, as Fat Waller said, No one knows, do one? :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

False Alarm :)

Yours truly thought this was one of the Tetrad of lunar eclipses coming this way in 2014/15 but I was wrong. The atmosphere played tricks while shooting the full moon on a hot, mosquito laden July 12th. The pix below was taken on the 11th. Less mosquitoes but much sharper image due to the clearer atmosphere allowing luna to reflect her glory without restriction. Oh well, Sept 15th looms. :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014


A very good friend of mine and I did a video on 12/12/12 taping the Guinness world record for carolers going door to door to 14 houses to raise money for a family in Stamford, CT. Not only was it for a good cause, it also was the absolute best in having fun and sharing something special with a lot of people in CT. Enjoy. It was one of the best things Doug & I have ever done for good old CT. :)

In closing, it's a great honor to be included in the 12/12/12 One Day on Earth project. Maybe we can do another in 2014/15. One never knows, do one?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Lawrence Lessig, a lawyer who gets it, creative commons, has founded , a "SuperPac to end all SuperPacs", an entity designed to "Take our Democracy Back", something BRT has talked about on numerous occasions. Pacs are a turn off to yours truly without question but Lessig's is different. Check it out, it's worth a look.

Launched May 1, the first-round goal was to raise $1 million from ordinary Americans in one month. Nearly 13,000 individuals contributed more than $1 million in 13 days. That was matched, dollar-for-dollar, by a small group of millionaires — Democrat, Republican and Libertarian. With $2 Million in the bank, the results startled the critics. Cable news and the blogosphere crackled with excitement – even if mixed with some “wait-and-see” skepticism about the next turn.

The second MayDay campaign began on June 1. That’s when Lessig and his small army of volunteers launched the next round with the goal to raise $5 million by July 4. That too would be matched, dollar-for-dollar. Supporters with name recognition, like Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak and Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, aired You Tube videos urging every day citizens to pledge donations in any amount. Results did occur but modestly against a bar set so high. The numbers increased gradually approaching $3 Million, but June was winding down. Time was running out.

That’s when the full effect of this political earthquake became apparent. A crowd-funding phenomenon kicked in, networked through the Internet and social media. Where 13,000 people contributed and won pledges from others in May, these numbers grew to more than 50,000 by the first days of July. With the days turning into hours, the tallies began to mount. 

The MayDay PAC raised $1 Million in 13 days during the month of May. In Round Two, more than $1 Million was raised on one day alone -- July 4th. On that day, the MayDay PAC reached its goal of $5 Million. 

Now with $12 Million, the PAC will seek to win five congressional races in 2014 as a test. The bar will then again be raised with bigger goals aimed at fundamental campaign reform in 2016. MayDay, a volunteer effort without lobbyists or consultants, seeks to make “government by the people” a national reality. The Washington establishment and Big Money people are on alert. Watch for the next tremor.

Interesting to say the least.

The right to know

Seen above is organic corn, courtesy Mother Earth News; delicious, no additives, no GMO, something you can enjoy without issuer. Now, compare this with Monsanto's.

Click here for the complete report.

Question, don't we have the right to know what's in our food? Monsanto and significant others don't, something most disquieting don't you think?

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Disruptive @ 16

Seems a 16 year old has done something truly disruptive, Nicholas Rubin has built a web app tallying up monies our so called "representatives" take in order to stay in power. Nicholas' plug in works with Safari, Chrome and Firefox on Mac, Linux and Windows. Get it to become informed, our democracy needs this to the max.

This is how it works.

Open source rules!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The art of camouflage :)

Nightjars are mysterious, they nest on the ground, have tiny feet and catch prey with their mouth. Seldom seen, they make their presence known through eerie calls starting at dusk and lasting throughout the night. Their camouflage is something else, as seen by this pix and another seen below.

Factoid: Owls are nighjar relatives. :)

The rise of digital

3D CG is everywhere in film, especially in blockbusters like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, where motion capture and composting has become simply astounding in terms of just how seamless this tech has become with live action, something totally different from Tron, the first film that implemented serious 3D back in the day.  This featurette, depicting how special effects are used in Dawn, is most illuminating. To read more, go to Red Shark for detailed info on the process. 

As for reality, the number of apes vs the number of humans, with weapons, on planet earth, please.

Seen below is the original Tron Trailer, circa 1982. Enjoy. :)

Sunday, July 06, 2014

The Public's Trust

The Big 4

BRT has written often about surveillance as my loyal readers know as this is a topic both fascinating and scary, particularly after revelations about just how pervasive it truly is courtesy Edward Snowden.  What's interesting about this has also been the relative lack of analysis regarding how surveillance impacts the economy. something that has been rectified in an excellent piece from Washington's Blog titled 4 Ways that Mass Surveillance Destroys the Economy.

To whit:
  1. Creativity - A Prime Drive of Prosperity - Requires Privacy
  2. The Free Flow of Information Requires Privacy
  3. Mass Surveillance Hurts Productivity
  4. Trust and the Rule of Law – Two Main determinants of Prosperity – Are Undermined By Surveillance
While reading this, a BRT post titled Panopticon comes to mind. Chilling to say the least. Seen below is the full realization of The Theory of Surveillance: The PANOPTICON the masterwork of  Jeremy Bentham, Utilitarian philosopher and theorist of British legal reform.

Saturday, July 05, 2014


Question, why don't we have free access to our medical records along the lines of this graphic, something we take for granted when getting a receipt describing what we purchased when buying a computer, a car or even groceries at the local supermarket. Makes one think, doesn't it, in terms of just how bad our healthcare system truly is because our medical records are ours, we bought them legitimately but, in most cases, the receipt for services rendered is missing in action. so what gives, why do we tolerate this nonsense? We don't when buying said computer or car or anything else requiring a receipt so why do we accept this lack of service when it comes to our medical records, the most important data we must have in order to continue living on planet earth with any degree of success. Makes no sense to me as to why, does this to you?  

End of rant.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Thursday, July 03, 2014

The Great Game - ME Edition

T. E. Lawrence was prescient in warning about the great powers and their true intent regarding the Middle East after WW 1.  

So, in hindsight, Mission Accomplished applies... and...

T. E Lawrence

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

With Bells & Whistles :)

Bells & whistles and awesome tech from Cassini-Hygens. enjoy. :)

Addendum - Had to add another.

The Estates of the Realm

A quick summary of the corporate owned SC is in order as seen by the New Republic. Concise, accurate and devastating, it's an article that should be read by every American concerned with what is happening to the 1st Amendment of the Constitution.

The Roberts Court is leading a free speech revolution of its own, but this time for the benefit of corporations and the wealthy.

This revolution is unfolding across a wide range of First Amendment provisions and doctrines, from Citizens United v. FEC, which protects political speech by corporations to Sorrell v. IMS, which makes it easier for corporations to challenge laws that regulate commercial speech. Today’s bitterly divided rulings in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn continue this trend by turning the First Amendment’s protection for the free exercise of religion and freedom of association into a sword to free corporations and other powerful interests from government regulation. More than the Court’s earlier First Amendment revolution, this series of deeply divided rulings resembles the aggressive, divisive, and now overturned rulings of the Lochner era, named after the infamous 1905 case Lochner v. New York, one of a number of cases in which the Supreme Court of the early twentieth century that struck down laws designed to prevent the exploitation of workers. During this era, the Supreme Court repeatedly expanded the constitutional rights of corporations and other businesses while dismissively treating the government’s interest in economic regulation. Today, we are seeing a revival of Lochner in the name of protecting free speech and free exercise of religion.    

Estates of the Realm - The Clergy, The Nobles, The Commoners.

The Age of Unreason

A firestorm is coming, unleashed by the supremes, first with Citizens United and McCutcheon, now with Greece NY and Hobby Lobby. Class war and the triumph of religion over science is  a recipe for disaster, enabled by a feckless court who values personal beliefs over the national interest. The Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when establishing separation of church and state as a key component of the Constitution because of two reasons, one, sound governance as a government based on secular law can be applied to everyone without issue, something that has worked for America for well over 220+ years prior to the Roberts court, and two, reduce complexity as there are many religions other then christianity and when a government is skewed to one, belivers of these different faiths will resent and resist said government with ever mounting anger (Middle East anyone?), something Alito and company just don't seem to realize when pulling the trigger on Hobby Lobby.

Your's truly agrees with the excellent analysis by the Daily Beast regarding Hobby Lobby in terms of religion trumping science and the notion of the ruling becoming  a Pyrrhic victory  
because of the multiplicity of religions and the firestorm that is coming due to the supremes incredible stupidity when dealing with an issue as dangerous as this one truly is.

Well, under Hobby Lobby’s imaginative causal nexus, they morally responsible for it.  Thus photographers, bakers, hotel owners, restaurateurs, and retailers of any kind can object to “facilitating” gay weddings, or interracial ones, or interfaith ones.  Maybe Hobby Lobby can ban gays from their registry.

Moreover, with an increasingly multi-religious America, subsequent claims may not be as beloved to conservatives as this one.  May pious Muslims ban immodestly dressed women, or all women for that matter, from their company’s stores?  May they refuse to hire women as employees?

Or, as Justice Ginsberg noted, how about corporations owned by people who are religiously barred from blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses), antidepressants (Scientologists), and vaccinations (Christian Scientists)?  On its face, Hobby Lobby says it’s not about those cases.  But its logic certainly applies: if I believe that vaccinations are morally wrong, my company should not have to provide coverage for them.

The Firestorm begins