Monday, January 30, 2017

Tree of Life

Our own trunk, known as eukaryotes, includes animals, plants, fungi and protozoans. A second trunk included many familiar bacteria like Escherichia coli.

The third trunk that Woese and his colleagues identified included little-known microbes that live in extreme places like hot springs and oxygen-free wetlands. Woese and his colleagues called this third trunk Archaea.

In greater detail, this means ...

The tree of life is one of the most important organizing principles in biology1. Gene surveys suggest the existence of an enormous number of branches2, but even an approximation of the full scale of the tree has remained elusive. Recent depictions of the tree of life have focused either on the nature of deep evolutionary relationships3,​4,​5 or on the known, well-classified diversity of life with an emphasis on eukaryotes6. These approaches overlook the dramatic change in our understanding of life's diversity resulting from genomic sampling of previously unexamined environments. New methods to generate genome sequences illuminate the identity of organisms and their metabolic capacities, placing them in community and ecosystem contexts7,8. Here, we use new genomic data from over 1,000 uncultivated and little known organisms, together with published sequences, to infer a dramatically expanded version of the tree of life, with Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya included. The depiction is both a global overview and a snapshot of the diversity within each major lineage. The results reveal the dominance of bacterial diversification and underline the importance of organisms lacking isolated representatives, with substantial evolution concentrated in a major radiation of such organisms. This tree highlights major lineages currently underrepresented in biogeochemical models and identifies radiations that are probably important for future evolutionary analyses.

As a good friend of mine, versed in medical, once said, it's all computational now as we have the compute power to crunch the genome. Truer words were never said.

The War on Cash

The History of Money

Another set of B&Ws :)

South Street

CH Public House

Sonic Switch Tower Museum

Saturday, January 28, 2017

John Hurt, RIP

Another great actor died and we will miss him. John Hurt, RIP. 

His turn in V For Vendetta was stellar without question.

There is no plan

When looking at this picture, one sees a self satisfied Ryan and a worried McConnell as Trump takes control of the presidency. In the past week, the Repugs are touting the fact that Obamacare is in the crosshairs due to Trump's pledge to eliminate same with aid supplied by these two and the Republican controlled congress. The problem with this rosy scenario, from the GOP side, is the fact THEY HAVE NO PLAN. Now think about this. For 8 years they bloviated about replacing Obamacare, a weak but viable first step to change the ongoing train wreck of HC in this country but have supplied nothing of substance in place of OC, something rather astounding don't you think? Think how Patton, or Kelly Johnson or Steve Jobs, among significant other competent people, would react to this? Aside from disbelief, incompetence and blinding stupidity come to mind without question. The repugs are on the hook for this and ... remember, payback is a bitch.


Friday, January 27, 2017


Almost all B&W, Transition goes from town to woods in the mild winter of 2017, something that may presage what winters will be like from now on, thanks to Global Warming.

Alternative Facts


Very precise is it not? A discipline, when properly done, is intended to be questioned, to be accurate and above all else, to be separate, as best as possible, from politics, prejudice and above all else, religion, vital considerations not even comprehended by the Trump administration.

Leaders of several of the nation's top science organizations say they've been shunned by the Trump administration and are alarmed by signs that the administration will muzzle government researchers and reject the scientific evidence that informs such critical issues as vaccine safety and climate change.

Their comments in interviews with The Washington Post come as scientists around the country are considering a grass-roots revolt against President Trump that could include a march on Washington. The sudden eruption of activism among people typically more comfortable in a laboratory or manipulating equations was incited in part by reports that the Trump administration is restricting the ability of government employees, including scientists, to communicate with the public.

“The signals are not encouraging, and they’re alarming, and they’re causing a lot of fear in the scientific community,” said Christine McEntee, chief executive and executive director of the American Geophysical Union.

“I’ve never seen the scientific community so concerned,” said Rush Holt, chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “This goes way beyond funding. When fake news is accepted as just one of the alternate approaches, then there are serious problems to be addressed.”

Yes indeed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Aja & Then Some :)

No words needed. Kind of along the lines of So What. Perfect, nuanced and elegant. Enjoy.

Had to add another. :)

Pretzel Logic

Another kind of Pretzel Logic. :)

A Retrograde Action

The Manchurian Candidate is one way to set up a dictatorship, another is for an incoming adminstration to systemically lie and censor information while quietly undoing modernity in America in order to gain power no matter what the cost may be.

1984 looms ... if we let it.

"If you want to preserve your power indefinitely, 
you have to get the consent of the ruled" - Aldous Huxley

Winter Pix

Pampas Grass/Closeup

Rural PA

Redding @ Nite


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Minimalism writ large :)

Elegant architecture, elegant time lapse, what more could anyone want. :)

Giedi Prime+

This is not a Democratic or Republican issue, this is a survival issue.
If this stands, the road to Giedi Prime is nigh. Think about it. I know I have.

It gets better.

Because congress is scientifically and technologically inept as well as technologically inefficient in moving and properly analyzing data through said chamber before having to vote on ALL major regulations as complex as these, the end result  will be ...

In effect, we are going back to the 19th century where the devil takes the hindmost and the middle class gets screwed. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Uncertainty Principle

The Uncertainty Principle, as conceptualized by Werner Heisenberg, states that one cannot know both the position and momentum of a subatomic particle simultaneously. It's impossible due to quantum mechanics but this is not about the esteemed W. Heisenberg and his principle but rather about the Donald, who became president by threading the needle of the Electoral College in miraculous fashion to deny Hillary Clinton the job even though she won the popular vote by nearly 3 million.

What lies ahead for America evokes the Uncertainty Principle in ways that truly boggle the mind.

Donald Trump won the Republican nomination because more people voted for him than voted for anyone else. Donald Trump won the presidential election because enough people voted for him in enough states to hit the tripwire on one of the oldest booby traps in American politics. And it worked precisely as it was meant to work, although it produced exactly the opposite of the result it was meant to produce.

I have no idea what to expect now, except the results likely will range from the marginally unpleasant to the completely catastrophic. The list of possible horribles is well-known by now. If the president-elect does what he's said he will do, 20 million Americans will lose their health insurance. The Ryan budget will sail through both houses of Congress and the president will sign it without reading it. At the very best, federal regulations meant to protect the public from everything from financial swindles to poisoned water to bad tuna fish will be handed to people opposed to the very existence of those regulations. It will be James Watt and Elaine Chao multiplied by 10. The lessons learned from the war in Iraq and from the recession of 2008 will be swiftly unlearned and forgotten. The elite political media will adjust. And I will not mention the future of the Supreme Court, because that's too self-evidently awful for words. - Charles P. Pierce

In Pierce's excellent analysis is a quote by the esteemed Dr. Gonzo regarding Nixon but is all the more relevant seeing the apoplectic state America finds herself in as we lurch further into 2017.

This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it—that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes... understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose... Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President? - Hunter Thompson

Sound familiar but his take on Hillary is just as prescient as seen in a BRT piece tiled Hunter Thompson was Right. Check it out. The Gonzo man rates two 10s on this election from hell.

A Random Walk

A short clip showing random walks through nighttime Bethel, CT, nighttime Redding, CT and St. Mary's by the Sea @ dusk. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

Yet Another Stunner

If you look real close, you will see, in outline, a wave in the making by Saturn's tiny moon Daphnis.
Stellar without question.

The wavemaker moon, Daphnis, is featured in this view, taken as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made one of its ring-grazing passes over the outer edges of Saturn's rings on Jan. 16, 2017. This is the closest view of the small moon obtained yet.

Daphnis (5 miles or 8 kilometers across) orbits within the 42-kilometer (26-mile) wide Keeler Gap. Cassini's viewing angle causes the gap to appear narrower than it actually is, due to foreshorteneing.

 The little moon's gravity raises waves in the edges of the gap in both the horizontal and vertical directions. Cassini was able to observe the vertical structures in 2009, around the time of Saturn's equinox (see Rippling Shadows).

Cassini, the little engine that could. :)

The New Normal

Planetary creation was cut and dried, as seen in the top panel, before exoplanets were discovered. Now, confusion reigns as nature never disappoints in throwing curveballs at us rubes.

When astronomers discovered the first exoplanet around a normal star 2 decades ago, there was joy—and bewilderment. The planet, 51 Pegasi b, was half as massive as Jupiter, but its 4-day orbit was impossibly close to the star, far smaller than the 88-day orbit of Mercury. Theorists who study planet formation could see no way for a planet that big to grow in such tight confines around a newborn star. It could have been a freak, but soon, more “hot Jupiters” turned up in planet searches, and they were joined by other oddities: planets in elongated and highly tilted orbits, even planets orbiting their stars “backward”—counter to the star’s rotation. 

The planet hunt accelerated with the launch of NASA’s Kepler spacecraft in 2009, and the 2500 worlds it has discovered added statistical heft to the study of exoplanets—and yet more confusion. Kepler found that the most common type of planet in the galaxy is something between the size of Earth and Neptune—a “super-Earth,” which has no parallel in our solar system and was thought to be almost impossible to make. Now, ground-based telescopes are gathering light directly from exoplanets, rather than detecting their presence indirectly as Kepler does, and they, too, are turning up anomalies. They have found giant planets several times the mass of Jupiter, orbiting their star at more than twice the distance Neptune is from the sun—another region where theorists thought it was impossible to grow large planets. Other planetary systems looked nothing like our orderly solar system, challenging the well-worn theories that had been developed to explain it. 

As one very wise researchers says,

If the past is anything to go by, modelers will have to keep on their toes. “Nature is smarter than our theories,” Rafikov says.

Nolan Ryan anyone?

On Solitude

Blank on Blank,  a newly found treasure with wonderfully penned animation and interesting interviews with people such as Hunter Thompson, Meryl Streep and this gem, Francis Ford Coppola on Solitude, is eminently worthwhile to check out. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Endangered Data

Seen above is a picture of an incredibly valuable resource, the EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions website that objectively monitors the output of CO2 and other GH gases produced by 9 different types of facilities (Power Plants, Petroleum & Natural Gas Systems, Refineries, Chemicals, Other, Minerals, Metals and Pulp & Paper) in scientific fashion, something that may go away under the aegis of the Trump administration. 

To whit.

Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past.
George Orwell - 1984

Addendum: Here's the link to the original dataset of

Automation ...


Whether he went on with the diary, or whether he did not go on with it, made no difference. The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed— would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper— the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.

A presage of things to come? Could be now that the outgoing Obama administration deemed it necessary for the NSA to share our data with other intel agencies whether we like it or not.

To whit.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is on the verge of permitting the National Security Agency to share more of the private communications it intercepts with other American intelligence agencies without first applying any privacy protections to them, according to officials familiar with the deliberations.

The change would relax longstanding restrictions on access to the contents of the phone calls and email the security agency vacuums up around the world, including bulk collection of satellite transmissions, communications between foreigners as they cross network switches in the United States, and messages acquired overseas or provided by allies.

It gets better.

The recent USA Freedom Act permits the NSA to ask the FISA court for a search warrant for any person — named or unnamed — based on the standard of “governmental need.” One FISA court-issued warrant I saw authorized the surveillance of all 115 million domestic customers of Verizon. The governmental need standard is no standard at all, as the government will always claim that what it wants, it needs.

Question, what actually constitutes government need? Interesting thought don't you think?

Sherlock vs. Org :)

The perfect retort

Monday, January 16, 2017

Superbugs "R" Us

This pink variant on slime is not referring to Ghostbusters II but rather is of Klebsiella pneumoniae (a) bacteria ... commonly found in the human gastrointestinal tract, and are often the cause of hospital acquired, or nosocomial infections involving the urinary and pulmonary systems. Photo by CDC that can become a superbug, resistant to all antibiotics, if given a chance, something that happened to a woman who died in Reno after visiting India where she was treated for a broken bone.

Public health officials from Nevada are reporting on a case of a woman who died in Reno in September from an incurable infection. 

Testing showed the superbug that had spread throughout her system could fend off 26 different antibiotics.

“It was tested against everything that’s available in the United States … and was not effective,” said Dr. Alexander Kallen, a medical officer in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of health care quality promotion.

This is where it gets scary. Click - Evolution in Real Time to see BRT's take on superbugs.

Antibiotics are failing us on a catastrophic scale. Once a magic bullet against infectious diseases, they’ve grown increasingly impotent as bacteria have evolved resistance. An estimated 700,000 people die each year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and within a few decades, that toll may rise to several million.

We live in interesting times.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


47%, no, not Mitt's Romney's gaffe in 2012 but rather the percentage of people predicted to be out of work 25 years hence, thanks to robotics, AI and nanotech. To whit ...

It gets better ...

BRT talk about this transition regarding medical back in 2013 ago in a piece titled Heathcare, Days of Future Past. Not a bad guesstimate I must say.

By Moonlight

By Moonlight, a set of pix taken on two cold but beautiful nights. :)
The Wolf Moon rules. 

Billionaire Univerity

The Donald writ Large

Friday, January 13, 2017


The Foldscope, a $1.00 microscope that's changing science and medical all over the world as we speak is akin to the amazing whirlygig/paperfuge approach for doing blood analysis on the cheap.

Creativity, like money, never sleeps. - Robert E. :)

DeepMind dreams

A pix by yours truly.

A pix by DeepMind

DeepMind's take on wildlife. 

This is where it gets kinda weird. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

High Beams

Combining LEDs with lasers to illuminate the road is a really good idea as the precision in terms of how light can be intelligently applied is pretty astounding given what Audi has done with headlights and how they can be transformed into something very cool while being safe, something the US Government seems not to understand in any way, shape or fashion.

The Utopia of Rules strikes yet again.

Looks pretty cool without question.

Addendum: Mercedes Benz is doing some cool stuff with high beams as well.