Sunday, April 26, 2015

Channeling 1984

When never ending war is combined with a perpetual state of emergency, you have a nation falling apart, something we see when driving over roads filled with potholes, seeing bridges rusting out and watching manufacturing jobs being sent overseas, never to return. On the emergency end of things, USA Today has it covered.

A post-9/11 state of national emergency declared by President George W. Bush — and renewed six times by President Obama — forms the legal basis for much of the war on terror.

Tuesday, President Obama informed Congress he was extending another Bush-era emergency for another year, saying "widespread violence and atrocities" in the Democratic Republic of Congo "pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States."

Those emergencies, declared by the president by proclamation or executive order, give the president extraordinary powers — to seize property, call up the National Guard and hire and fire military officers at will.

It gets better:

In his six years in office, President Obama has declared nine emergencies, allowed one to expire and extended 22 emergencies enacted by his predecessors.emerge.

Change we can believe in, right and we haven't even talked about the secretive TPP.

People are questioning the deal big time, both on the left as well as the right and it's about time.

 To try to block fast track and the TPP, liberal groups and labor unions are not organizing only among their own but are also reaching across the spectrum to conservatives skeptical of fast track and TPP. This left-right alliance has been duly noted in recent months. What has gone underappreciated, though, is just how much the opponents of the trade deals on the left are appealing to the right very much on the right’s own terms. After years of ridiculing the Tea Party movement’s talk of Obama as an autocrat on issues such as immigration and health care, the left is now pushing those very buttons on trade, noting that fast track would give Obama vast powers and that the TPP would create a new international arbitration panel where corporations could challenge local, state, and national laws. Some left-leaning advocates are going so far as to link the trade issue to the conservative litany of Obama outrages: the IRS scrutiny of Tea Party groups, Benghazi, and the “Fast and Furious” gun-running fiasco, among others.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

What you don't tell your kid on Earth Day

A good friend turned me onto this amazingly funny site. Tech laughs for geeks like yours truly. :)

Friday, April 24, 2015

I think

Depicted above is Darwin's first depiction of the evolutionary tree, drawn and written shortly after The Voyage of the Beagle ended, the only time this extraordinary naturalist ever traveled outside of England during his long life. When looking at this, one sees just how intimate the creative process truly is as Darwin struggled to understand the profound implications of evolution and how it applied to life on earth. In essence, it was the underdiscovered country writ large, discovered by a charming and decent man who was a genius in every sense of the word. 

When reading The Voyage of the Beagle, a detailed and fascinating view of the world unfolds, written by an ever curious person wanting to know why things are the way they are. When reaching the Galapagos, the first inklings of the why started to issue forth, a notion coming to full fruition in 1859 when Darwin published The Origin of Species.

To yours truly, the word genius is often connected to IQ tests and specific abilities in a given discipline like math or music but this description seems too narrow as there are many people who possess these kinds of skills and more. To me, genius is the ability to make connections, to see relationships and be able to articulate how the relationships apply to the task at hand. Newton had this as did Jobs, Einstein, Miles and ... without question, Darwin.

To whit.

I think kind of says it all, doesn't it? :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Innovative tech, pioneered by ScanLAB combining videography, 3D laser scanning and 3D imaging, is both informative  and eerie in an interesting sort of way. Sort of like Sin City on steroids if you ask me.

MATTHEW SHAW AND William Trossell document the world with lasers.

When the duo founded ScanLab Projects in 2011, they were a pair of freshly minted architecture school graduates who’d gotten their hands on an extraordinarily expensive commercial-grade laser scanner. Today, their London-based studio is at the forefront of large-scale 3-D laser scanning, specializing in striking, ghostly reproductions of castles, museums, ice floes and more, conjured from billions of millimeter-precise dots.

ScanLab’s latest undertaking is a sprawling scan of Mail Rail, a network of abandoned tunnels once used to transport mail beneath London. Like much of the group’s work, it sits at the intersection of utility and beauty, commerce and art. On one level, it’s an unprecedentedly detailed document of a historically significant site—a laudable bit of high-tech preservation. On another, it’s a work of art in an arresting new medium, a strange offspring of photography and computer-generated imagery. Depending on your perspective, it’s either the past seen through the lens of the future, or the future seen through the lens of the past.

I. F. Stone on Earth Day

Izzy Stone is a hero of mine as he was relentless in digging out the dirt in DC. His I.F. Stone's Weekly was a must read to see how Governments lie, something that's gone on since the beginning of time but, this blurb is not about the weekly per se but rather about Earth Day and Stone's prescient comments about same.

Think about it, I know I have.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

All About Books & Then Some :)

A good friend of mine turned me onto this NYC gem where antique books of the highest quality are available to see and, of course, buy. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A New York State of Mind

Spring time is the best time to check out NYC IMHO. 
Diverse, noisy and grand, NYC rocks in its own particular way. Enjoy.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Definition of 'Bourse'

DEFINITION of 'Bourse'
A market organized for the purpose of buying and selling securities, commodities, options and other investments. A bourse is more commonly known as a stock exchange. The word "bourse" is based on the house, belonging to Van der Burse, where merchants would gather and trade with one another.

Historically, those interested in exchanging commodities and other investments met in common areas to discuss transactions. Over time, traders became more organized and the exchange process more codified, resulting in the development of exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Today the word "bourse" is more commonly associated with the Paris stock exchange, the Paris Bourse or Euronext Paris.

This is where it gets interesting regarding Iran, nukes and continued hegemony of the dollar.

A little detail, nobody talks about, and maybe most pundits – even honest ones – are not aware of. In 2007 Iran was about to launch the Iranian Oil Bourse (IOB) – an international hydrocarbon exchange, akin to a stock exchange, where all countries, hydrocarbon producers or not, could trade this (still) chief energy source in euros, as an alternative to the US dollar.

This, of course would have meant the demise of dollar hegemony – the liberation of the world from the dollar stranglehold. This was inadmissible for Washington. It would have meant the end of the dollar as the world’s chief reserve currency, and giving up the instrument of coercing the world into accepting Washington’s dictate, the tool that serves to dish out sanctions left and right – no way!

Hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of hydrocarbons are traded on a daily basis; huge amounts of dollars that find no justification in the US economy, but – they allow the FED to print money at will – and every new dollar is a dollar of international debt, filling the reserve coffers of nations around the world, thereby also gradually devaluing the US currency, but barely affecting the US economy.

As long as petrol and gas are traded in dollars – a ‘negotiated’ imposition on Saudi Arabia by Father Bush, friend of the House of Saud, in the early 70s under the Carter Administration, in return for military protection – and as long as the world needs hydrocarbons to fuel its industries, so long the world will need dollars, insane amounts of dollars. The so-called Quantitative Easing (QE) allowed the US to print hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars to finance wars and conflicts around the globe, and to fund the relentless Zionist-Anglo-Saxon lie and propaganda machine. No problem. It’s just debt. Debt – paradoxically carried by the very countries that the empire eventually fights and lies to; countries which hold dollars in their reserves.

Interesting don't you think, especially in light of the fact Iraq and Libya wanted to do the same thing prior to the US getting involved in the destruction of both nations.

Dialing it up

BRT has talked about quantum computers since 2008 as the potential power of such systems defy imagination. From the Matrix to the ability to create reality in finite space, the tech is disruptive to the max but there are problems. How does one easily control qubits in precise fashion, how does one get them to work in silicon and how does one control said quibits at room temperature, three conditions fiendishly difficult to attain, until now.

Unlike conventional computers that store data on transistors and hard drives, quantum computers encode data in the quantum states of microscopic objects called qubits.

The UNSW team, which is affiliated with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology, was first in the world to demonstrate single-atom spin qubits in silicon, reported in Nature in 2012 and 2013.

The team has already improved the control of these qubits to an accuracy of above 99% and established the world record for how long quantum information can be stored in the solid state, as published in Nature Nanotechnology in 2014.

It has now demonstrated a key step that had remained elusive since 1998.

"We demonstrated that a highly coherent qubit, like the spin of a single phosphorus atom in isotopically enriched silicon, can be controlled using electric fields, instead of using pulses of oscillating magnetic fields," explained UNSW's Dr Arne Laucht, post-doctoral researcher and lead author of the study.

The donor position can be triangulated from a combination of donor-gate capacitances and the spin readout criterion. This way, it is possible to locate the donor with an accuracy of 4, 2.5 and 3.5 nm in the three cartesian axis x, y and z. Credit: A. Laucht, UNSW Australia
Associate Professor Morello said the method works by distorting the shape of the electron cloud attached to the atom, using a very localized electric field.

"This distortion at the atomic level has the effect of modifying the frequency at which the electron responds.

"Therefore, we can selectively choose which qubit to operate. It's a bit like selecting which radio station we tune to, by turning a simple knob. Here, the 'knob' is the voltage applied to a small electrode placed above the atom."

Click on the graphic to see how the QC can be dialed in using atomic distortion to make it happen.
Very cool research without question. 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Ocean Worlds

Water, water everywhere, so it seems. :)

Stepping through the door

BRT has talked quite a bit about the woeful US foreign policy and the negative impact it has had on the Middle East regarding the destruction of nations, shock & awe and the rise of ISIS, thanks to the aforementioned fubar known as US foreign policy. Now, comes a breakthrough that can get us out of the quagmire we have created if the so called leaders of the US are willing to make it happen, something yours truly thinks will happen based on the following info. 

The Iranian framework agreement is an astonishingly good deal, and has the potential to become a historic game-changer. As Robert Parry astutely observed, its about much more than sheaving the threat that Iran will get the bomb:

The April 2 framework agreement with Iran represents more than just a diplomatic deal to prevent nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. It marks a crossroad that offers a possible path for the American Republic to regain its footing and turn away from endless war.

The saliency of that observation lies in the fact that there is virtually nothing in the substance of the deal for the War Party to attack. So what they are doing is desperately hurtling the Iranian axis-of-evil narrative at the agreement, claiming that the regime is so untrustworthy, diabolical and existentially dangerous that no product of mere diplomacy is valid. The Iranians are by axiom hell-bent on evil and no mere “scrap of paper” will stop them.

But therein dwells the game-changing opportunity. To defeat the deal, the War Party will have to defend its three-decade long campaign of exaggerations, distortions and bellicose animosity toward the Iranian state. But that is impossible because the axis-of-evil narrative was never remotely true. Indeed, if the truth be told the War Party has never been required to defend its spurious propaganda thanks in large part to a lazy, gullible mainstream press that has been as negligent on the Iranian evil meme as they were on Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction.

The zeitgeist awaits, do we have the wisdom to grasp it and change how things are done in the Middle East? Only time will tell.

Monday, April 06, 2015

2.125 :)

Yours truly, as my loyal readers know, is fascinated by chaos and how it applies to better understanding of how reality actually works. From the butterfly effect to fractals, the impact this set of disciplines has had on man's viewpoint on nature never ceases to amaze as this branch of science tangentially connects to all aspects of existence including that of the seemingly simple sandpile.

Conway's Game of Life - Complexity out of simplicity writ large

Without question, doing any exploration into chaos is akin to going down the rabbit hole as the paths this science takes in showing how nature works literally has no boundaries, something addictive to say the least. Seen below is the amazing nature of the sandpile seen from the digital perspective, :)

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Reset ...


Yours truly is an avid cyclist who is acutely aware of how dangerous the sport can be, especially when it comes to numbnuts behind the wheel who remain forever oblivious to us rubes doing the environmentally cool thing of pedaling down the road. This danger is amped in the dark when seeing said cyclist becomes dangerville, until now. Thanks Chuck for turning me on to this. 

Addendum: Wear a mirror and helmet whenever doing the deed. Both have saved my ass many times without question. :)

Friday, April 03, 2015

The Betting Pool

Way back in 2008, BRT talked about the survivability rate of civilizations in a blurb titled Zero-Sum regarding, in that case, the issue of water, the one indispensable for life as we know it, a resource becoming ever more depleted and polluted as we move further into the 21st century.

In 2011, Something to Consider discussed the 21st century version of the Great Dying being perpetrated by us rubes as we speak.

Now, researchers are delving further into this vital issue vis a vis the now accepted notion of the Anthropocene, the epoch of man and how, in effect, we have become nature.

In their paper, which appears in the journal Anthropocene, Frank and co-author Woodruff Sullivan call for creation of a new research program to answer questions about humanity’s future in the broadest astronomical context. The authors explain: “The point is to see that our current situation may, in some sense, be natural or at least a natural and generic consequence of certain evolutionary pathways.”

To frame these questions, Frank and Sullivan begin with the famous Drake equation, a straightforward formula used to estimate the number of intelligent societies in the universe. In their treatment of the equation, the authors concentrate on the average lifetime of a Species with Energy-Intensive Technology (SWEIT). Frank and Sullivan calculate that even if the chances of forming such a “high tech” species are 1 in a 1,000 trillion, there will still have been 1,000 occurrences of a history like own on planets across the “local” region of the Cosmos.

“That’s enough to start thinking about statistics,” says Frank, “like what is the average lifetime of a species that starts harvesting energy efficiently and uses it to develop high technology.”

“If they use energy to produce work, they’re generating entropy. There’s no way around that, whether their human-looking Star Trek creatures with antenna on their foreheads, or they’re nothing more than single-cell organisms with collective mega-intelligence. And that entropy will almost certainly have strong feedback effects on their planet’s habitability, as we are already beginning to see here on Earth.”

Seen below is a chart showing the relationship of stability vs. instability as driven by population, energy and environmental degradation/GW (Planetary Forcing).

The betting pool for our civilization becoming sustainable from the BRT perspective, razor thin.
For some strange reason, this may apply to others just as well.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Winter's End

Winter's finally ending in NE as this video shows. Nothing spectacular as there's still snow on the ground and, as CT denizens know, the real action starts in May, not April by a long shot. Enjoy.