Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Government largesse says it all in terms of just how much money the Pentagon gets from Uncle Sam with rather questionable benefits when it comes how it relates to foreign policy, especially in the middle east & Africa.
Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that perfectly sober reportage about Pentagon funding issues isn’t satire in the style of the New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz. Take, for instance, a recent report in the Washington Examiner that Army Secretary Mark Esper and other Pentagon officials are now urging Congress to release them from a September 30th deadline for fully dispersing their operation and maintenance funds (about 40% of the department’s budget). In translation, they’re telling Congress that they have more money than even they can spend in the time allotted.
From the Washington Examiner
Army Secretary Mark Esper said he has been meeting with members of Congress about relaxing a Sept. 30 deadline for using its annual operations and maintenance funds, an account that is about 40 percent of the total Pentagon budget.
“Allow me to spend O&M money for more than one fiscal year. Allow me to spend it for two fiscal years, that way I can smooth that curve out,” Esper said on Thursday. “I can make better use of the taxpayers’ dollars, I can ensure more soldiers are trained and well-trained, and I think overall we can deliver a much better product.”
A better product ...
By congressional mandate, the Pentagon needs to be ready for an audit of its finances by Sept. 30, 2017. If what’s going on at the U.S. Army is any indication — and it is — then next fall’s audit will be a shit-show of broken promises, cooked books and bizarre accounting.
The Army made headlines in mid-August 2016 when a Defense Department Inspector General report landed with a heavy thud. The 75-page report detailed all the ways the Army screwed up its accounting of the Army General Fund in 2015.
According to the report, Army bookkeepers screwed up the budget to the tune of … $6.5 trillion dollars.
Yes, war is a racket and a profitable one at that.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
When it comes to sweets, yours truly is a true junkie but at least the sweets in fruits, beets and other such bennies are not the problem like the processed crap yours truly occasionally eats because it's so addictive.
To whit ...
No matter what your source of sugar, it is made up of a combination of fructose and glucose, and you’ll find the same molecular structure. It’s worth noting that fructose and glucose are metabolized differently.
On one hand, fructose is metabolized almost exclusively in the liver. While this has some benefit (it doesn’t affect blood glucose or insulin levels), there are potential issues (such as conversion to triglycerides/fat) with consuming an excessive amount of fructose.
Glucose, on the other hand, affects blood sugar levels, of course, and along those lines, it requires insulin for its metabolism. While there is quite a bit of variation and thus some exceptions, fruits tend to be 40 to 55 percent fructose. Sucrose or table sugar is 50/50.
As mentioned above, the BIG difference is in how the sugar is packaged. While added sugars are empty calories that provide no additional nutritional value (besides energy) whatsoever, and they are most commonly found in highly processed foods. On the other hand, fruits are packaged with much more than naturally-occurring sugar, including water, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants (e.g., phytonutrients), and fiber. Fruits are nutrient-dense (the opposite of cakes and candies). Fiber is vital in that it also slows down digestion, so you don’t get the insulin spike and subsequent crash caused by candies, cakes, and similar sweets.
And we haven't even talked about cancer and sugar until now ...
We know that almost all the cells in the human body require energy, and they derive this energy from the sugars in the food we eat. Cancer cells also require sugars to grow. But their glucose intake is a lot higher than that of healthy cells, as is the rate at which they ferment that glucose into lactic acid.
This is known as the Warburg effect, and it may, scientists have hypothesised, have something to do with cancer's rapid growth rate. But it's hard to determine whether the Warburg effect is a symptom or a cause of cancer.
It's been proposed that the growth of cancer cells may be stymied by starving them of sugar, but the problem with that is there's currently no method of cutting off the supply to cancer cells while keeping it open to normal cells.
This is why the biological mechanism behind the increased glucose metabolism is important. It may hold the key to starving cancer cells while keeping healthy cells functioning. We're not there yet, but this research brings us a critical step closer.
Yes we are and it's about time, don't you think?
Thursday, February 22, 2018
War is a big time money maker as seen by the AFP graphic using SIPRI data delineating the biggest arms dealers in the world. It's no wonder the deep states in every industrialized country peddle arms because weapon sales make a lot of money for a very few entities while the cost for selling of said arms is death, chaos and the destruction of nations. (Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Yemen among significant others)
Smedley Butler is right. War is a Racket, a profitable one at that.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Redundancy, interconnectedness and feedback loops are just some of the reasons why biodiversity is key to life on earth, something that's beginning to unravel thanks to habitat loss, resource depletion, environmental degradation and GW, the "grand" quartet leading man into the anthropocene, the era that's rapidly moving us toward the 6th great dying if we stay the course no matter what the cost may be.
Human expansion, destruction of natural habitats, pollution, and climate change have all led to biodiversity levels that are considered below the “safe” threshold for global ecosystems. And the consequences of biodiversity loss aren’t just about the extinction of certain charismatic species.
A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that less biodiversity in an area increases the risk of a domino effect of extinctions, where one species’ disappearance can cause other species to follow suit.
The research, conducted by ecologists at the University of Exeter, shows that losing a species in an area is dangerous in that it makes the surrounding ecological community simpler, and therefore less robust to change.
It makes sense: the fewer species that exist in an area, the fewer that are available to “fill the gap” left by other extinctions. Other species in the ecosystem will have fewer alternatives to turn to. For example, if there are fewer insects left overall across a region, the bats and amphibians that eat them will feel the loss of just one species much more severely.
As an aside, 1965 marks the beginning of the Anthropocene. To whit ...
Anthropogenic activity is now recognised as having profoundly and permanently altered the Earth system, suggesting we have entered a human-dominated geological epoch, the ‘Anthropocene’. To formally define the onset of the Anthropocene, a synchronous global signature within geological-forming materials is required. Here we report a series of precisely-dated tree-ring records from Campbell Island (Southern Ocean) that capture peak atmospheric radiocarbon (14C) resulting from Northern Hemisphere-dominated thermonuclear bomb tests during the 1950s and 1960s. The only alien tree on the island, a Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), allows us to seasonally-resolve Southern Hemisphere atmospheric 14C, demonstrating the ‘bomb peak’ in this remote and pristine location occurred in the last-quarter of 1965 (October-December), coincident with the broader changes associated with the post-World War II ‘Great Acceleration’ in industrial capacity and consumption. Our findings provide a precisely-resolved potential Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) or ‘golden spike’, marking the onset of the Anthropocene Epoch.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
We are but a speck in our rather ordinary galaxy, just one of a billion galaxies in our part of the multiverse. Something to think about don't you think?
As part of an engineering test, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft captured this image of the Earth and Moon using its NavCam1 imager on January 17 from a distance of 39.5 million miles (63.6 million km). When the camera acquired the image, the spacecraft was moving away from home at a speed of 19,000 miles per hour (8.5 kilometers per second).
We know so little but assume so much but we do know what the word assume means, right?
Friday, February 16, 2018
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Monday, February 12, 2018
Visual Capitalist strikes yet again with this excellent graphic detailing the loss of freedom all over the world with the US as a prime leader in this most disquieting move by governments, in conjunction with corporations and the military, to control our lives 24/7. Brave New World and 1984 come to mind when viewing this graphic as you have to keep the populace ignorant and entertained while quietly putting the enforcement mechanisms in place in order to maintain control over us rubes 24/7. Click here for an in depth analysis of the loss of freedom on planet earth.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.
George Orwell - 1984
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
Tuesday, February 06, 2018
Sunday, February 04, 2018
a rough approximation of π (3.1415...) and a very rough approximation of e (2.71828..) when doing quick estimates & the number of non-collinear points needed to determine a plane and a circle.
Additionally, 3 is the first odd prime number and the second smallest prime & the 4th Fibonacci number. Last but not least, 3 is a biggie in religion. Enjoy :)