Friday, September 20, 2019

The power of lies ...

The lizard lives in a new documentary. Can't wait to see this as Cohn was truly a lizard where truth was just a notion and lies, when properly used, was his gateway to power, especially when serving as chief counsel for Tail Gunner Joe (Mcarthy) , the eminently mediocre Wisconson senator who unleashed the anti-communism hysteria back in the 1950s that blacklisted and ruined the careers of innocent people almost too numerous to count.

Luckily, Cohn's "success" in demonizing people came to an end when Joseph Welch asked the famous question of Mcarthy & company ... 

To be continued.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Killing me slowly/rev XXX

Biodiversity, you know, having enough flora and fauna to keep earth and us alive, is rather important to sustain unless one is in pursuit of money, an activity proving to be most disquieting in light of the fact 29% of all the birds in America (and Europe) have disappeared since 1969 as articulated in an NYTimes piece Birds Are Vanishing From North America

But insects are in trouble also.

And we haven't even discussed the decline of life in the oceans due to pollution, climate change and overfishing.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Asymmetrical Warfare/rev XX

War and its blood relative, terror, is now a digital play where, if one has money and access to digitally-driven tools of great accuracy and range, mayhem and death will ensue at bargain base prices. To whit, the precise attack on the Saudi oilfields using tech from North Korea, China and Iran.

On the political end, the first question to ask is, why is the US potentially getting involved in a self-inflicted wound by MBS when attacking Yemen, thus creating the Saudi version of Vietnam, something eloquently articulated by Ron Paul in a piece titled. Will Trump Take Neocon Bait and Attack Iran Over Saudi Strike?

Last but not least, the US Patriot Missles were useless against the drones and cruise missiles, something Putin alluded to when suggesting to SA that maybe buying the S-400 might be the better way to go.

It's a better deal is it not?

Plan A - Wargames 2019

Several months ago, researchers from Rutgers University, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research ran a simulation to see what a nuclear war between the US and Russia would do, and the findings were not pretty: Such a war would plunge the planet into a nuclear winter, with clouds of soot and smoke covering the planet. The study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, found that the nuclear detonations would inject about 147 million tons of soot into the atmosphere. That soot would then spread around the stratosphere, blanketing the Earth in darkness.

Not only would explosions, fires, and radiation exposure kill millions in targeted cities, but the resulting nuclear winter – which could last many years- would drastically alter the Earth’s climate. The growing season would be slashed by nearly 90 percent in some areas, and death by famine would threaten nearly all of the Earth’s 7.7 billion people.

Reassuring without question is it not and ... both countries are toast.

Last but not least, the 1984 WG original tells us not to play, right?

Friday, September 13, 2019

B&W + 2 ...

Game on ...

Channeling Saturn

D Lion et al


Harbor Stage Theatre

Peony + 1

Queen Anne's Lace 

Monday, September 09, 2019

Tilts & Spins

A quick video show spin rates and tilts of our beloved planet that should include Pluto
but does not, for now. :)

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Frequency of ...

Frequency of ... courtesy XKCD. Note, the real deal blinks according to, you guessed it, the frequency of occurrence of said event. :)

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

The underground market ...

A cubic inch of soil contains about 7 billion fungal lifeforms and 1 billion bacteria. The complex interactions of these entities, in conjunction with their plant partners, is akin to a cutthroat marketplace where ruthless supply and demand dictate how zealously guarded resources are to be used by the parties in question is readily seen by the video above and the text below. Enjoy.

Kiers surrounded some nodules on soybean plants with an almost nitrogen-free air supply, making the bacteria in those nodules useless to the plant. She found that the plant reacted by shutting off the supply of oxygen to those bacteria, drastically reducing their reproduction. It seemed the relationship between the bacteria and the soybeans, far from being a happy friendship, was an uneasy détente, with the plant imposing crippling sanctions on any bacterial partners that failed to earn their keep. 

Kiers then switched from bacteria to fungi. While bacteria might nestle into the roots of select groups of plants, fungi are without question the masters of the underground domain. Certain fungi spread through vast areas and commingle with just about every plant they encounter, even sending thready tendrils known as hyphae directly into plants’ roots. (The name for these fungi — “mycorrhizae” — literally fuses the Latin myco-, meaning “of fungi,” with the Greek rhiza, or “root.”) Indeed, the mycorrhizal world forms a sort of inversion of the vegetable one, with branching fungal networks extending downward, mirroring the branching stems and limbs of the plants reaching skyward.

Factoids ...

But what really distinguishes the fungal world is its diversity and complexity. A spoonful of soil contains more microbial individuals than there are humans on Earth. “It’s the most species-dense habitat we have,” said Edith Hammer, a soil ecologist at Lund University in Sweden. A single plant might be swapping molecules with dozens of fungi — each of which might in turn be canoodling with an equal number of plants. It’s a promiscuous party down there.

The underground market ... indeed.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Unicron ... lives!! :)

Unicron, the Transformer of transformers is alive and well as seen by this clip changing his evil eminence from sphere to character. Enjoy. :)

Introducing the first ever Transformers HASLAB project: Transformers War For Cybertron Unicron.

The Lord of Chaos. The Planet Eater. The Chaos Bringer. Unicron stands alone as the most menacing figure in Transformers lore, capable of devouring entire worlds and civilizations. He debuted in the 1986 film Transformers: The Movie and his insatiable appetite nearly brought the entire universe to its knees.

But his legacy transcends both space and time.

“I have summoned you here for a purpose.” - Unicron

Transformers fans may be mere humans, inhabiting a miniscule planet hardly worth consuming, but they are some of the most passionate fans out there. That’s why HASLAB, the Hasbro Pulse crowdsourcing platform, is the place to awaken such a massive project.

“Then it pleases me to be the first.” - Unicron

My son and I enjoy the original, especially when finding out it was Orsen Well's last professional act as the voice of Unicron. :)

Seems the 2020 version will be somewhat different as seen by this clip.

Methinks my son and I will check this out for old times sake. :)

Beyond pitch-black

Carbon nanotubes rule as they are virtually indestructible, possessing unique characteristics that promise to change how man does business on planet earth. When placed vertically on a substrate, said nanotubes create the ultimate black, reflecting just a tiny bit of light, thus resulting in a visual look akin to a black hole, an effect readily seen by the BMW above and a telescope assembly shown below, ready to be equipped with lenses as needs warrant, both of which are coated with Vantablack, the first commercially available carbon nanotube-based material being used for any application requiring the kind of absolute blackness that only this tech can provide.

Beyond pitch-black indeed.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

UNIX @ 50

ArsTechinica hits a home run describing the circuitous way UNIX came to be by brilliant guys working in a loose environment that allowed them to be smart and creative in ways that truly boggle the mind. :)

It gets better.

Scrounging for hardware ...

Sidenote, yours truly actually had one of these ... :)

Back in the day where America did things, amazing things like building UNIX, the OS that connects the world was the norm, not the exception, something that needs to be changed now without question.

Endnote, my gator was named Albert who also came in a box. Said predator started at 10 inches, grew to almost 3 feet before mercifully dying of natural causes. Hamburger, hot dogs plus any leftovers of the meat variety were on the menu for this incredibly intense animal. :)

2020 redux???

Could this fubar happen again? ... Absolutely given just how ignorant and passive people truly are regarding Agent Orange and the well oiled political machine striving to put him back in the White House for four more years after the upcoming election follies of 2020 have finally been put to rest.

Early evening, August, Cincinnati. The Queen City’s many bridges are sealed off, its sky is dirty with helicopters, and seemingly every cop for 100 miles is patrolling Pete Rose Way along the Ohio River. A crowd of 20,000 or more stands in punishing heat, waiting to enter U.S. Bank Arena. The evil rumor buzzing down the line of MAGA hats is that not everyone will get in to see Donald Trump.

“Can we just get in for a minute?” complains a boy of about 10 to his mother. There are a lot of kids here.

Donald Trump doesn’t visit Middle America. He descends upon it. His rallies are awesome spectacles. Gawkers come down from the hills. If NASA traveled the country holding showings of the first captured alien life-form, the turnout would be similar. The pope driving monster trucks might get this much attention.

Beyond Meat - Is now prime time :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Ah ... Just Nuke It

Ah ... Just Nuke It, a notion the Donald floated to various agencies regarding the use of nukes to off hurricanes before they hit land has actually been around for over 60 years.

Well, why not ...

It gets better as Trump suggested this "wonderful" idea more than once.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The new land rush ...

Even Trump recognizes the reality of global warming by suggesting to buy Greenland, a region containing vast resources being slowly revealed by the melting of ice as we speak.

President Donald Trump’s much-mocked desire to buy Greenland, which was rebuffed by the Danish government to his great displeasure, might be the closest he has come to acknowledging the gravity of global warming—though hardly the sort of acknowledgment one might hope for. According to the Wall Street Journal article that first broke the news about Greenland, Trump’s interest was piqued when advisers spoke of the island’s “abundant resources and geopolitical importance.” The reason those resources—including reserves of coal and uranium—are available for exploitation is because of Greenland’s rapidly melting ice sheet. Its geopolitical importance has been greatly increased by the melting of Arctic Ocean ice, which has made new shipping routes accessible and opened up a new theater of strategic competition for the United States, Canada, Russia, the Nordic countries and, increasingly, China.

Trump probably doesn’t realize it, but he’s not the first president in recent years to look at the coming impact of climate change and decide to buy land. And with dislocated populations and scarcer resources looming on the horizon, he might not be the last.

He won't be as nothing is being done as we move toward climate disruption of the most pernicious kind.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Fake News/rev XX

Fake news is everywhere. From Fox News to CNN, spin is part of the vocabulary of the news channels to 1, sell ads to the specific viewer demographic in question and 2, to shape public opinion as the real owners, so eloquently articulated by the late great George Carlin, don't want critical thinkers capable of understanding just what the hell is going on in a world spinning increasingly out of control. With that being said, more fake news is being generated by AI because 1, it's CHEAPER and 2, AI is getting better at it.

AI vs AI

AI can be used to spread fake news, write fake reviews and to create a pretend mob of social media users aimed at bombarding comments sections with specific agendas.

However, according to MIT researchers, it can now also be used to spot fake artificially-generated text — apparently, it takes one to know one.

But there's hope.

Though the technology for misinformation is advancing at a worryingly fast pace, the same broad toolset can thankfully be used to catch this type of misinformation. Fake news, deepfakes and twitter bots might have their days numbered by the very technology that helped create them.

Harvard University and MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab researchers recently developed a new tool that spots text that has been generated by AI.

The tool called the Giant Language Model Test Room (GLTR), takes advantage of the fact that AI text generators use fairly predictable statistical patterns in text.

While these patterns might not be easy to spot for your average reader, it seems that an algorithm can do a pretty good job at it. The AI tool, essentially, can tell if the text is too predictable to have been written by a human.

Factoid:  6 corporations own 90% of all US media.

The mind's eye ...

How we see is a mystery given how the eye captures and transfers visual data to the visual cortex via a tiny nerve channel, something akin to using a straw to drain water from an Olympic size swimming pool.

To whit.

This is the great mystery of human vision: Vivid pictures of the world appear before our mind’s eye, yet the brain’s visual system receives very little information from the world itself. Much of what we “see” we conjure in our heads.

“A lot of the things you think you see you’re actually making up,” said Lai-Sang Young, a mathematician at New York University. “You don’t actually see them.”

The mystery deepens ...

There are some things we know for sure about vision.

The eye acts as a lens. It receives light from the outside world and projects a scale replica of our visual field onto the retina, which sits in the back of the eye. The retina is connected to the visual cortex, the part of the brain in the back of the head.

However, there’s very little connectivity between the retina and the visual cortex. For a visual area roughly one-quarter the size of a full moon, there are only about 10 nerve cells connecting the retina to the visual cortex. These cells make up the LGN, or lateral geniculate nucleus, the only pathway through which visual information travels from the outside world into the brain.

Not only are LGN cells scarce — they can’t do much either. LGN cells send a pulse to the visual cortex when they detect a change from dark to light, or vice versa, in their tiny section of the visual field. And that’s all. The lighted world bombards the retina with data, but all the brain has to go on is the meager signaling of a tiny collection of LGN cells. To see the world based on so little information is like trying to reconstruct Moby-Dick from notes on a napkin.

“You may think of the brain as taking a photograph of what you see in your visual field,” Young said. “But the brain doesn’t take a picture, the retina does, and the information passed from the retina to the visual cortex is sparse.”

The visual cortex has a mind of its own. - Robert Shapley

The mind's eye indeed.