Saturday, January 27, 2018
One start point to understanding fake news is by Facebook's newsfeed as anonymous writers could, in the past, post virtually anything and, because FB has 2 billion users, this crap would get around to various parties all over the world within a blink of an eye. With luck, this nonsense involving Facebook will change but what people often forget about is the fact FN has been around for a long, long time. Think Yellow Journalism, William Randolph Hearst and the Sinking of the Maine as US examples of same writ large.
Frederic Remington, an artist hired by Hearst to provide illustrations to accompany a series of articles on the Cuban Revolution, soon became bored with seemingly peaceful Cuba and wired Hearst in January 1897:
"Everything is quiet. There is no trouble. There will be no war. I wish to return." To which Hearst's alleged reply was: "Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war." 
How to spot it.
In closing ...
Critical Thinking anyone? G.C., RIP.
Friday, January 26, 2018
Thursday, January 25, 2018
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Saturday, January 20, 2018
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Ancient, weird and deadly to other spiders, the Pelican Spider from Madagascar, is a true wonder in every way possible.
The unusual appearance of Archaeid spiders, like most traits selected for in the course of Darwinian evolution, has a very practical purpose: it makes spider-vs.-spider hunting, the specialty of the pelican spider, considerably easier. Most spiders aren’t picky eaters—they’ll feed on whatever they manage to catch in their webs. If that means a little cannibalism now and then, so be it. Archaeids, for their part, eat nothing but spiders (though they try to avoid making meals of their own species). Flies aren’t even on the menu.
Having stalked or lured out a target spider, an Archaeid will strike swiftly, thrusting its two chelicerae downward to impale the prey, then holding it at a safe distance (out of range of venom or web attacks) until dead. Archaeids are by no means the only spider-killer spiders out there—the “pirate spiders” of the widespread Mimetidae family, for instance, are well known for tugging on the webs of other spiders to coax them down, then feasting on them. The bizarre “pelican” morphology of Archaeidae is what sets them apart.
Tiny but deadly, they are the size of a grain of rice.
How they hunt.
Pelican spiders are active hunters, the paper said. Rather than spinning their own webs, they prefer to stalk the trails of silk left behind by other spiders scuttling around their leafy habitats. At night, pelican spiders follow these silky bread crumbs, moving slowly and often upside down through the leaves. While the spider's back six legs do the walking, their front two legs sweep through the air, feeling for prey. After finally reaching the edge of another spider's web, pelican spiders can wait for hours for the right time to strike (earning them the moniker "assassin spiders").
Then, they strike with deadly efficiency. The spiders swing their chelicerae away from their bodies in a rapid, 90-degree arc tojab the pincers into their prey. Thanks to the spider's long necks and pincers, they keep their prey held harmlessly at arm's length while deadly venom pumps through the predators' chelicerae and into their victims.
Intense without question. :)
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Monday, January 08, 2018
Juno strikes again, this time with a fly into the Great Red Spot of Jupiter.
Data collected by NASA's Juno spacecraft during its first pass over Jupiter's Great Red Spot in July 2017 indicate that this iconic feature penetrates well below the clouds. Other revelations from the mission include that Jupiter has two previously uncharted radiation zones. The findings were announced Monday at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans.
"One of the most basic questions about Jupiter's Great Red Spot is: how deep are the roots?" said Scott Bolton, Juno's principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "Juno data indicate that the solar system's most famous storm is almost one-and-a-half Earths wide, and has roots that penetrate about 200 miles (300 kilometers) into the planet's atmosphere."
See Jupiter’s southern hemisphere in beautiful detail in this new image taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft. The color-enhanced view captures one of the white ovals in the “String of Pearls,” one of eight massive rotating storms at 40 degrees south latitude on the gas giant planet.
The image was taken on Oct. 24, 2017 at 11:11 a.m. PDT (2:11 p.m. EDT), as Juno performed its ninth close flyby of Jupiter. At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was 20,577 miles (33,115 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the planet at a latitude of minus 52.96 degrees. The spatial scale in this image is 13.86 miles/pixel (22.3 kilometers/pixel).
NASA’s Juno spacecraft was a little more than one Earth diameter from Jupiter when it captured this mind-bending, color-enhanced view of the planet’s tumultuous atmosphere.
Jupiter completely fills the image, with only a hint of the terminator (where daylight fades to night) in the upper right corner, and no visible limb (the curved edge of the planet).
Science never disappoints.
Sunday, January 07, 2018
Back in the day, yours truly learned there were three states of matter, Solid, Liquid and Gas. That's it and ... inevitably, H2O was the model of showing this fact to be true due to the ease in which these states can be expressed by this unique compound known as water. In 2018, the notion of states has entered the quantum realm big time as described in a Quanta Magazine article titled Physicists Aim to Classify All Possible Phases of Matter.
In the last three decades, condensed matter physicists have discovered a wonderland of exotic new phases of matter: emergent, collective states of interacting particles that are nothing like the solids, liquids and gases of common experience.
The phases, some realized in the lab and others identified as theoretical possibilities, arise when matter is chilled almost to absolute-zero temperature, hundreds of degrees below the point at which water freezes into ice. In these frigid conditions, particles can interact in ways that cause them to shed all traces of their original identities. Experiments in the 1980s revealed that in some situations electrons split en masse into fractions of particles that make braidable trails through space-time; in other cases, they collectively whip up massless versions of themselves. A lattice of spinning atoms becomes a fluid of swirling loops or branching strings; crystals that began as insulators start conducting electricity over their surfaces. One phase that shocked experts when recognized as a mathematical possibility in 2011 features strange, particle-like “fractons” that lock together in fractal patterns
Classifying said phases is now akin to the periodic table classifying elements.
Stone Soup indeed. :)
Saturday, January 06, 2018
“The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous." - George Orwell
Sound familiar? Well it should as the US has been conducting never ending war, beginning with Vietnam, since 1961. The number of wars won - Grenada & the first Iraq war, the rest, stalemates at best.
Some facts from Brown's Watson Institute Cost of War website.
to the conflict
in the US and abroad
The P&L of this folly, a total loss and we haven't even included the cost of Homeland Security, the loss of civil rights in this country, the ongoing immigration nightmare of Europe, caused by this insane initiative, or the 5.6 trillion spent that could have been used to rebuild our slowly crumbling nation. Words cannot describe just how America has been victimised by a bankrupt policy that is slowly killing our country one person at a time.
Thursday, January 04, 2018
2500 blurbs, not bad, not bad at all IMHO as the notion of writing this many articles simply was not even imagined when BRT was founded on the insistence of a good friend, Marty H', who actually thought I might have something of worth to say to the world back in 2007. Now let's think about this, anyone of us rubes, connected to the web, can say things of value at literally no cost, save for hardware linked to the web. To yours truly, astounding says it all in light of just how immense and complex the internet truly is.
With this notwithstanding, where are we as a species on planet earth in early 2018 with so much going on, both good and bad. Well for starters ...
- Back in 2007, AI was taking off, in one way, by ascertaining credit worthiness when one applied for a credit card.
- The smart phone, revolutionized by Apple, made the scene, thus transforming how the world communicated on a most personal level.
- The web went prime time in NY minute.
- The woeful era of "W" was coming to an end with a black president coming into view.
- The tech titans were admired almost to a fault without the spectre of fake news circa 2018.
- Amazon was starting to become the major online resource to buy stuff.
- Web 2.0 was the next big thing with emphasis on video, graphics and social media.
- Twitter, as short blurb machine, came online.
- The slow death of print started gathering speed.
- Writing. as art form. started to atrophy due to, in large part, texting, the voluntary approach to Newspeak given to just how limited texting truly is on, you guessed it, the smartphone.
- Conversation, as art form, to the young, starts to atrophy due to, yet again, texting on the smartphone.
- The iPad goes live in 2007.
- They Live, the prescient SF film of the 80's, becomes reality due to the obsession us rubes have with the smartphone.
- News become no news with pundits gossiping on air about one story for one hour as this saves money by not having reporters on site actually reporting the news.
- News is now Network writ large.
- Tech is everywhere with people obsessing over the smartphone more than ever.
- Global warming is finally accepted as fact.
- Facts are disdained by the uneducated as facts are hard to understand, ditto science.
- News is dumbed down due to the statement above.
- News is dedicated to selling ads and holding onto the demographic watching the news in question. i.e. Fox, MSNBC, CNBC, ect, ect, ect.
- Robots become real.
- Drones become real.
- AI becomes real.
- Crispr becomes real.
- GMOs are everywhere, ditto franken chicken, beef and pork.
- We are under surveillance 24/7'
- Our civil rights have been trampled upon thanks to "W" and Obama.
- The Arctic is unraveling.
- The oceans are acidifying.
- The Gulf Stream gyre is slowing down thanks to the loss of Albedo, thus causing the Arctic to become a heat sink.
- The Antarctic is melting as is Greenland.
- Resource depletion and environmental degradation is a given.
- There are too many of us on planet earth.
- Overshoot is moving toward June by 3 days a year. We need 1.5 earths to keep us going.
- People are trying to save species but the outlook looks grim.
- Earth doesn't need us.
- Fake news is now starting to be written by AI.
- Imaging and audio software, thanks, in part to Adobe, can now create artificial and modified entities that cannot be discerned from the real thing. Think an artificial Trump, god forbid, or any other person in public view.
- Cinemagraphic video is everywhere.
- China is now a superpower.
- Trump and company look backward not forward as sustainable tech begins to take control.
- Infrastructure is essential for a country to be viable, a notion Trump and the Deep State seem not to understand.
- George Carlin was right, the real owners of the country don't want people capable of critical thinking.
- The US is in decline, thanks to inept politicians, bought and paid for by the deep state who depends on never ending war to keep the money coming in.
- Everything has a cost, there "ain't" no such thing as a free lunch due to the two laws of thermodynamics.
- Sustainable tech becomes real.
- Russia is coming back while America is losing it.
- Trump threads a needle with the Electoral College and becomes president.
- The US has no vision.
- AI will replace many white collar jobs in the months and years ahead.
- As per Bill Joy, The Future doesn't need us.
- Never ending war is a prime part of US foreign policy as the nation no longer has a vision of itself in 2018.
- Amazing things are happening in tech and science as we speak but one must look for it to see why this is true.
- The web is now privatized, thanks to the mendacious stupidity of the FCC's Ajit Pai, the bought and paid for puppet of Verizon but the fight to turn the Net into a utility is not over yet thanks to the overwhelming majority of Americans who want the net left alone.
- Obama was right, the existential threat we face, if Trump doesn't start a nuclear war, is Global Warming.
- Governance is at risk due to the incompetence of all three branches. The cabinet also thanks to Trump loading it up with fools and mendacious entities who shall not be named.
- The repugs don't know how to govern, the dems don't know how to think.
- A third party is definitely needed without question.
- Dollars are now bits while Bitcoin is the tulip craze of 2018.
- Last but not least, we will survive but it won't be easy.
Wednesday, January 03, 2018
Tuesday, January 02, 2018
Monday, January 01, 2018
Chris Hedges, Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan are people I respect as all have a deep understanding of governance and how it applies to society that rings true without question. With that as a given, BRT has talked at length about the vision this once great nation had back in the day, exemplified by JFK who galvanized America by stating My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country., a far different vision of what we see today, a country owned by the corporations and a body politic, incompetent and corrupt in ways that stagger the imagination.
Imagine yourself in early 2019. The Democrats, despite never articulating a political vision other than not being Donald Trump and refusing to roll back Republican legislation such as the 2017 tax bill, have regained the House of Representatives by a slim majority. They vote articles of impeachment. The Senate Republicans, pressured by many within their own party to abandon Trump because of his ineptitude, increasingly erratic behavior and corruption, call on the president to resign. Trump refuses. He uses the megaphone of his office to incite violence by his small, fanatic base. The military, whose deployment as a domestic police force is authorized by Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, is called into the streets to quell unrest. The United States, by the time the violence is snuffed out, is a de facto military dictatorship.
That such a scenario is plausible to public figures such as Ralph Nader is a sign of the deep decay of democratic institutions. The two major political parties lack a coherent vision. They are subservient to corporate power. They have abandoned the common good. They have turned politics into burlesque. They have rendered the citizenry impotent. The press, especially the electronic press, has transformed news into a grotesque reality show filled with trivia, gossip and conjecture. The elites in both parties, along with the rich and corporations, profit from a naked kleptocracy. Everything is for sale, from public lands to public education. And the juggernaut of corporate power impoverishes the people as it willfully destroys the facade of the hollowed-out democratic state.
Thanks Sam for turning me onto this amazing piece.