Sunday, April 30, 2017

Eye Candy/Rev III

Skyglow - Eye Candy to the Max. :)

Yet another gem.  Wish CT had this kind of clarity.

Feedback Loops

Feedback loops, the amplifier of all things related to climate change, is the inconvenient reality "geniuses" like Trump and Pruitt continue to deny at our peril. On numerous occasions, BRT has talked about the feedback loop of the loss of albedo in the arctic as one prime example of same. Now comes a study showing how recursion in Earth's soils is amping GW in ways astounding researchers all over the world.

Any questions?

The Warm Fuzzies :)

The warm fuzzies apply here. Thanks Jill for turning me onto this gem.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017


The US is  43rd on the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders while Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark & the Netherlands occupy the top 5 spots. Interesting don't you think?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

This Design has "legs". :)

This design has "legs". :) But it's only the beginning. Once cheap and really powerful batteries become available, this Lilium will have plenty of competitors without question.

Example II. Not as slick but it flies without question.

508 Million Years ago & counting :)

508 million years ago, this guy ruled the seas.

The family tree  of said predator or just another way to kill time on the net. :)

Shooting the Gap

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Stop Making Sense

Jonathan Demme's first masterpiece. R.I.P. Copyright rears it's ugly head thanks to Sonny Bono but at least separate songs can be shown in spite of this doofus corrupting the valid 30 year copyright law created by the Founding Fathers. Stellar without question.

Yet another time killer :)

The size of things from the planck scale to whatever ... is a great time killer for sure. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Robert M. Pirsig

Robert Pirsig is a biggie with yours truly as he melded zen with diligence, something artists do all the time as one must work hard learning one's craft with due diligence and concentration and then let go and not think when doing said craft. This wonderful connect is beautifully expressed not only in Persig's work but also with Bill Evan's wonderful linear notes on Kind Of Blue.

Robert M. Pirsig...

And my favorite ...


Monday, April 24, 2017

Early Spring

Even though winter was almost a non-event in CT, early spring still works its magic, albeit very early, thanks to climate change. Enjoy.

Funnies yet again :)

Two losers

Ignore science at your peril.

Free Speech applies to everyone.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

That's Us/Rev II

Earth yet again.

Texture Mapping to the Max :)

Yours truly loves maps, the older the better but ... they are all inaccurate save for the AuthaGraph World Map

You probably don’t realize it, but virtually every world map you’ve ever seen is wrong. And while the new AuthaGraph World Map may look strange, it is in fact the most accurate map you’ve ever seen.

The world maps we’re all used to operate off of the Mercator projection, a cartographic technique developed by Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569. This imperfect technique gave us a map that was “right side up,” orderly, and useful for ship navigation — but also one that distorted both the size of many landmasses and the distances between them.

To correct these distortions, Tokyo-based architect and artist Hajime Narukawa created the AuthaGraph map over the course of several years using a complex process that essentially amounts to taking the globe (more accurate than any Mercator map) and flattening it out:

How he did it, texture mapping to the max.

It gets better.

Thanks Chuck, I needed that. :)

He was in the room

Like Tom Paine and the Founding Fathers,  Harry Huxley was in the room, the room that ushered in the digital age as he worked with Alan Turing on hardware, helped to design the Eniac computer and built the first personal computer in 1954 called the G-15.

It gets better.

You can't make  this up and ... he was a genius without question.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Help not needed here

BRT has written copiously about AI, the open ended tech that promises to change everything in ways that cannot be predicted, is now coming for your job whether you like it or not.

In reading this, consider what is going to happen to healthcare, the most inefficient system in America save for the Pentagon where 
  1. An office visit to a doc to deal with the flu costing $150 is replaced by purchasing a set of $2.00 labs on a chip, via Amazon, to be used at home, as needs warrant.
  2. Said chip, with connects to the web and Dr. Watson, delivers blood sample data to Watson for realtime analysis.
  3. Dr. Watson, after analyzing the sample, tells the patient what's wrong, prescribes, if necessary, the drug to deal with the condition in question and sets up a time for another visit as needs warrant. Price for said service, $1.00.
  4. “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.” - Peter Drucker .
Yours truly knows a few GPs and they fear AI big time. The ortho guys, dentists or specialists dealing with serious illness like cancer, heart or diabetes, not so much though the push toward patient stem cell in situ organ regeneration is starting to encroach upon those areas as well.

Lawyers are also in the crosshairs as well as many other jobs that are, as per The Economist, routine in nature.

Tech, like research and money, never sleeps. - Robert E.

That's Us

The Earth & the Moon, courtesy Cassini, the little probe that can. :)

Carl Sagan would be proud.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A man who got it right

Here's a quote from a guy who got it right regarding war, racketeering and why this country needs to take a real hard look at itself regarding its place in the world and in terms of its relationship with the MIC.

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

If the country actually did this, the entire way America deals with the world and with itself would change overnight, for the better.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Critical Thiking 101

The Well Informed. 

I can see clearly now.

Getting the facts straight

Fly the Friendly Skies

Ready, Fire, Aim/Rev II

Well, it's seems this Ready, Fire, Aim administration has lived up to it's reputation regarding the Sarin gas attack it says was perpetrated by Assad against his people based on intel questionable at best as described in a 9 page report by Theodore Postol, MIT Emeritus Prof, stating that a four-page report released by the Trump administration yesterday intended to blame the recent chemical attack in Syria on the Syrian government “does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack

This issue of false intel has been a prime driver that got us into Nam, into Iraq and nearly got us into yet another quagmire with the purported Syrian Sarin gas attack in 2013 as gaming intel for political gain has gone on since the beginning of time.

It gets better.

Where Was CIA’s Pompeo on Syria?

There is a dark mystery behind the White House-released photo showing President Trump and more than a dozen advisers meeting at his estate in Mar-a-Lago after his decision to strike Syria with Tomahawk missiles: Where are CIA Director Mike Pompeo and other top intelligence officials? Robert Parry

The photograph released by the White House of President Trump meeting with his advisers at his estate in Mar-a-Lago on April 6, 2017, regarding his decision to launch missile strikes against Syria.

Something wicked this way comes - Ray Bradbury

Had to add this bon bon.

Read the piece accompanying this pix. A good read for sure.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

H2 ... & then some :)

Hydrogen, the most plentiful element in the universe, has now been found on Enceladus, which means there's a real shot that life, as we know it, might exist on that tiny world orbiting Saturn, the most beautiful planet in the solar system.

At Saturn, Energy for Life

The paper from researchers with the Cassini mission, published in the journal Science, indicates hydrogen gas, which could potentially provide a chemical energy source for life, is pouring into the subsurface ocean of Enceladus from hydrothermal activity on the seafloor.

Life as we know it requires three primary ingredients: liquid water; a source of energy for metabolism; and the right chemical ingredients, primarily carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. With this finding, Cassini has shown that Enceladus – a small, icy moon a billion miles farther from the sun than Earth – has nearly all of these ingredients for habitability. Cassini has not yet shown phosphorus and sulfur are present in the ocean, but scientists suspect them to be, since the rocky core of Enceladus is thought to be chemically similar to meteorites that contain the two elements.

A Quiet Trepidation

A few years ago, yours truly was invited to Watson's coming out party whereby IBM's AI was now open for business. It was impressive without question in terms of how Watson was being used and how it going to be used in the months and years ahead as seen by the demos driven by the software. The highlight of the presentation was a talk by one of the lead programmers discussing the state of the environment as of that day, which started off with the fact the "app" was 11 times smarter then the iteration that won Jeopardy in overwhelming fashion. The last statement that gives one pause was this. "We don't know how it works."

BRT has discussed the implications of this open ended tech many times as this genie is something that extends beyond anything else man has ever created as the tech is just that, open ended where its acceleration of intelligence is becoming exponential and mysterious as the creators of AI are now discovering with quiet trepidation.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Off the rails

Stephen Cohen makes a lot of sense in terms of how close we are to war with Russia based on a foreign policy that has gone off the rails. This is potentially an existential event, IMHO.

By firing off five dozen Tomahawk missiles at a military airfield, our "America First" president may have plunged us into another Middle East war that his countrymen do not want to fight.

Thus far Bashar Assad seems unintimidated. Brushing off the strikes, he has defiantly gone back to bombing the rebels from the same Shayrat air base that the U.S. missiles hit.

Trump "will not stop here," warned U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley on Sunday. "If he needs to do more, he will."

If Trump fails to back up Haley's threat, the hawks now cheering him on will begin deriding him as "Donald Obama."

But if he throbs to the war drums of John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio and orders Syria's air force destroyed, we could be at war not only with ISIS and al-Qaida, but with Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. - Patrick Buchanan

JFK, we need you now.


I would note that those who say that the Russian air defense systems did not work don’t know what they are talking about.  Not only did Russia sign an agreement with the US not to interfere with US flight operations, the Russian air defenses in Syria are NOT tasked with the protection of the Syrian Air Space.  That is a task for the Syrian air defenses.  The Russians air defenses in Syria are only here to protect Russian personnel and equipment.  This is why the Russians never targeted Israeli warplanes.  And this is hardly surprising as the Russian task force in Syria never had the mission to shut down the Syrian air space or, even less so, to start a war with the USA or Israel.

However, this might be changing.  Now the Russians have withdrawn from their agreement with the USA and, even more importantly, have have declared that the Syrians urgently need more advanced air defense capabilities.  Currently the Syrians operate very few advanced Russian air defense systems, most of their gear is old.

It gets better

Most people think that crimes against humanity or genocide must be the ultimate crime under international law.  They are wrong.  The ultimate crime is aggression.  This is the conclusion of the Nuremberg Trial on this topic:

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

Any questions as to why this is a rather dangerous situation?

Saturday, April 08, 2017

War Porn

War Porn or how unpopular presidents become popular through the use of military to shore up bad PR
is seen by the attack on Syria without an investigation to find out who actually committed the atrocity of gassing innocent civilians. This ploy of using war to attain popularity has been used since the beginning of time, a fact disquieting to say the least.

Smedley Darlington Butler

Friday, April 07, 2017

Gerrymandering - The long running scourge of America

The word "gerrymander" was coined in 1812 after Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry signed into law a salamander-shaped district.

BRT has railed against gerrymandering since the beginning of time as this corrupt practice enables political trolls to remain in power FOREVER by manipulating the configuration of voting districts by the party in power every time the census rolls around every 10 years but there's hope, thanks to tech and smart people who know how to use said tech to finally end this long running scourge in America.

The problem is that there is no such thing as a perfect map — every map will have some partisan effect. So how much is too much? In 2004, in a ruling that rejected nearly every available test for partisan gerrymandering, the Supreme Court called this an “unanswerable question.” Meanwhile, as the court wrestles with this issue, maps are growing increasingly biased, many experts say.

Even so, the current moment is perhaps the most auspicious one in decades for reining in partisan gerrymandering. New quantitative approaches — measures of how biased a map is, and algorithms that can create millions of alternative maps — could help set a concrete standard for how much gerrymandering is too much.

Last November, some of these new approaches helped convince a United States district court to invalidate the Wisconsin state assembly district map — the first time in more than 30 years that any federal court has struck down a map for being unconstitutionally partisan. That case is now bound for the Supreme Court.

“Will the Supreme Court say, ‘Here is a fairness standard that we’re willing to stand by?’” Cho said. “If it does, that’s a big statement by the court.”

So far, political and social scientists and lawyers have been leading the charge to bring quantitative measures of gerrymandering into the legal realm. But mathematicians may soon enter the fray. A workshop being held this summer at Tufts University on the “Geometry of Redistricting” will, among other things, train mathematicians to serve as expert witnesses in gerrymandering cases. The workshop has drawn more than 1,000 applicants.

“We have just been floored at the response that we’ve gotten,” said Moon Duchin, a mathematician at Tufts who is one of the workshop’s organizers.

This is how it's done.
It's about time, don't you think?

Reminiscences & Other Lies

The Mark Twain Library's wonderful Reminiscences & Other Lies video is a must see as Gavin Wilson is astounding in showing just how relevant Twain continues to be in 2017. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Dining Out

Dining on each other was not uncommon, something yours truly did not know about until now.

Next time you eat Chinese, for example, you might discuss how, during the Yuan dynasty, royalty and upper-class citizens did so, too. So frequently did high society dine on fellow citizens that the various methods of preparing human flesh — including baking, roasting, broiling, smoke-drying and sun-drying — filled 13 pages of one book Schutt consulted. (Children were considered the tastiest, followed by women and last, men.) In fact, so-called epicurean cannibalism — that is, eating your fellow men/women/children because they taste good and not just because there’s nothing else in the house — was still widespread in China into the late 1960s during the Cultural Revolution.

“Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History” is full of such surprising news. Early in its pages we learn that almost everybody does it: not just in China, or the Donner party, or the New Guinea highlanders whose practice of eating the brains of dead relatives spread the deadly neurological disease kuru (though there’s plenty on these examples, too, in the book). Europeans, we read, “routinely consumed human blood, bones, skin, guts and body parts” for hundreds of years. Cannibalism, in fact, is not that unusual. It happens not only when people are starving or overcrowded. And it’s not restricted to humans.

It gets better.
Here’s some food for thought. How many calories would you get from consuming one whole human body? More than 125,000, according to a new study on human cannibalism that will either make you queasy or have you reaching for some fava beans and a nice chianti.

I knew about spiders, frogs, Komodo Dragons and some birds but didn't realize the natural world is an equal opportunity enabler of cannibalism as well. 

Sounds logical to me as long as I am not on the menu. :)