civilization (60)

Megalomania...

You’re going to have to pay me… One Billion Dollars! … Sorry, One Hundred Billion Dollars! Photo: Warner Bros; Getty Images, Jonathan Chait, NY Mag, March 8, 2018

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Diversity in Science, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights, Women in Science

Megalomania: a mania for great or grandiose performance; a delusional mental illness that is marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: a personality disorder characterized especially by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, persistent need for admiration, lack of empathy for others, excessive pride in achievements, and snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes 

Useful Idiot: a naive or credulous person who can be manipulated or exploited to advance a cause or political agenda. E.g., It is one task of the KGB [in 1982] to apply its skills of secrecy and deception to projecting the Soviet party's influence. This it does through contacts with legal Communist Parties abroad, with groups sympathetic to Soviet goals, with do-gooders of the type that Lenin once described as "useful idiots" ….

—The Wall Street Journal, all the above from Merriam-Webster.com

Are we suffering from mass psychosis? Does it explain January 6, 2021, and the insanity that has descended from it? Was a substantial fraction of our nation led astray by a megalomaniacal, narcissistic useful idiot?

"A flood of negative emotions" is the business model of a lot of news outlets on the right. Determined to regain the audience lost after the Dominion settlement, Jesse Watters succeeds Tucker Carlson at the 8:00 hour, launching into a racist diatribe against the 44th president because they have to get their viewers back to repocket the $787.5 million dollars they had to pay out. Jesse, the "stable genius," forgot that Hawaii is our 50th state, but that occurred almost immediately after November 4, 2008.

When I was a senior in high school, 150 businesses owned everything we saw in print, on television, and heard on AM or FM radio. Now, with the expansion of the Internet, that ratio reduced EXPONENTIALLY to six corporations. With the expansion of the Internet, propaganda can be projected without a filter. Hitler deftly used radio to reach his masses, our current demagogue used Twitter until he was kicked off, and he was so devoted to this avenue he had to generate a knockoff to continue the conversation with his cult. Megalomaniacs never had it so good.

"Dr. Evil" was the antagonist in the Bond derivative "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" and its natural sequel, "The Spy Who Shagged Me." It's the type of flippant character that makes "team normal" think that no one could possibly be that over-the-top. Then, the year 2016 said, "Hold my beer."

Menticide: a systematic and intentional undermining of a person's conscious mind: BRAINWASHING - Merrian-Webster.com

Ms. Senko’s groundbreaking film examines the rise of right-wing media through the lens of her father, whose immersion in its daily propaganda had radicalized him. His new fanaticism rocked the very foundation of their family. She discovered that this phenomenon was occurring with alarming frequency in living rooms across America. The film reveals the consequences that this radicalized media is having on people, families, America, and the world.

The Brainwashing of My Dad (2015)

Rush Limbaugh, of stogies, four traditional marriages (I guess he needed practice?), bombast and blatant racism (I guess why Clarence Thomas liked him?), was the Grand Pooh-Bah/Grand Dragon of an echo chamber that still persists long after his transition. Under the attack of menticide, 24/7 fearmongering on "the border," "CRT," "DEI," "Immigrants," "LGBT," "People of Color," and "Women with bodily autonomy" are the substitutes for "young bucks," "welfare queens," and "Barack the Magic Negro." Rush and his Zombie clones are ginning up fear on a regular basis, hacking everyone's reptilian brain stem made into mountains of gold and an unstable society. There must always be enemies for those who fear change and shadows.

At its core, this is about resources. Resources are subdivided by hierarchies so that certain universities that are "elite" (and beneficiaries of enslaved peoples) are picked first for employment after graduation. Most academic positions at universities seek the same graduates from the same elite PWI schools. Once the dust settles, universities will resegregate, and sadly will Fortune 500 businesses. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion only mattered as slogans to avoid lawsuits post-George Floyd. With the end of Affirmative Action, what holds them accountable if, like campuses, the diversity among the workforce declines? Who would care?

Hierarchies have allowed societies from Egypt to England to rank and rate their populations into the worthy and the unworthy, the Brahmin and the Dalits, and the haves and the have-nots. "Occult" typically refers to magic, but it means hidden, and hiding knowledge is what gives a group self-designated as rulers of the rest their edge. "Conserving" the status quo allows for the continued acquisition of wealth beyond avarice and passing it on to their progeny. That means ignoring inequities, and climate crises, particularly heat waves in Texas's case since most of the workers affected happen to be BIPOC. The "Supreme Court" repealed Roe vs. Wade, Affirmative Action yesterday. What was left untouched: athletic programs, legacy enrollments, the children of employees, and millionaire gifts by benefactors like Fred Trump, that got his stupid son into Penn, and Jared Kushner, who, by his grades, couldn't have gotten into Harvard without daddy-the-jailbird's help. Roe and Affirmative Action were both decided by the Warren Court, an Eisenhower appointee. The Roberts "Court," appointed by "W," who lost the popular vote in 2000, and his Republican successor, who appointed three justices, losing the popular vote in BOTH elections, is determined to repeal the 20th Century and is coming for the 21st in LGBT rights. I use quotes in that the Roberts junta is neither supreme in the practice of law nor a court of jurisprudence. It is the extension of libertarian billionaires, the mythology propagandists of "reverse discrimination," and thus fascistic.

Ayn Rand, for the moment, has won. Welcome to 1953.

This paradigm of looking back to "great again" is unsustainable. We cannot solve income disparities going back to the fifties. No new technical designs will come from the back of the bus. The LGBT will not be returning to the closet to make closeted, cisgender couples feel comfortable in their camouflage bigotry, nor has a single-banned drag show stopped a single gun massacre in America. Women will not be returning to the kitchen and the state of barefoot and pregnant because that idyllic "Leave it to Beaver" Levittown never existed, except in "master-planned communities." Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson's dissent is poetry.

We're not going back.

We have to figure out climate change, sustainability, and feeding eight billion souls that are growing at an exponential pace that will take us to nine billion in 2037 and ten billion in 2057. I won't be here, but my granddaughter will be. A lot of grandchildren will be. Hoping for starships is like wishing on magic lanterns.

There is no functional analog in nature to a billionaire. Insects run their colonies via pheromones, and the most significant member of the colony is the Queen: males are drones and sperm donors. Patriarchy is a human construct.

The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) nevertheless estimates that annual investments of $39 billion to $50 billion would be required to achieve a world without hunger by 2030. Source: Brookings Institution.

But they won't. The core of their Hoarding Disorder is maintaining the inequity that puts them at the apex of society's pyramid; they've mistaken a designed system as "natural," making them apex predators. Only the second part is correct.

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”

— Nelson Mandela

I'm revamping the SAT program, which ended during the pandemic, for as long as it lasts, with an online component. We'll also discuss strategies to apply to the colleges and universities they desire. The youth are relevant to our shared future and survival.

On a dysfunctional planet, billionaire status is irrelevant.

“Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won; you earn it and win it in every generation.”

— Coretta Scott King

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

― Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

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Critical, or Magical...

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Topics: Civilization, Climate Change, Existentialism, Science Fiction, Star Trek

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.

Source: The Foundation for Critical Thinking

Magical thinking is the belief that one’s ideas, thoughts, actions, words, or use of symbols can influence the course of events in the material world. Magical thinking presumes a causal link between one’s inner, personal experience and the external physical world. Examples include beliefs that the movement of the Sun, Moon, and wind or the occurrence of rain can be influenced by one’s thoughts or by the manipulation of some type of symbolic representation of these physical phenomena.

Source: Britannica Online

Testifying before Congress, Carl Sagan called out the mainstream media of his day as to why there was (and still is) a daily horoscope, but not even a weekly science column. When the Nobel Prizes come out - I try to post them all: science categories, Economics, Literature, and Peace - you're likely going to see more here than you will on traditional media. It is still now rare, as it was during Carl's crusade for science literacy. I can remember when "A&E" and "TLC" were the acronyms for Arts & Entertainment and The Learning Channel, not the homes of Duck Dynasty, or Honey Boo-Boo. Sagan would be woefully disappointed.

Which is more likely a problem that can be tackled and solved: climate change or warp drive? Granted, I'm a Trekkie from TOS days, The Animated Series (TAS), TNG, DS9, VOY, Enterprise, Discovery, Lower Decks, and Strange New Worlds. As much as I enjoy the storytelling, similar to Ali Baba, or Aladdin, I'm not interested in the physics of flying carpets, because that is a plot device, like inertia dampeners or Heisenberg compensators. Yes, there's a lot of theoretical research on warp field mechanics since the 1994 paper by Miguel Alcubierre. At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, the efforts will likely yield something close to 0.1 - 0.25c, which is pretty fast, leagues beyond our current rocket speeds. The reason Trek did a LOT of time travel is, superluminal speeds would permit it, and eventually the Grandfather Paradox: A begets B, B begets C, but if C travels back in time, and kills A, did C ever make the trip if he never existed (see: Causality)?

We will probably "boldly go" to the Asteroid Belt, Mars, and the moons of Jupiter or Saturn. With eight billion souls and climbing, we have a lot of physics problems to solve on Gaia.

However, exploration of our solar system cannot happen if, beyond sense, we allow the planet's temperatures to continue to climb.

A.1 Human activities, principally through emissions of greenhouse gases, have unequivocally caused global warming, with the global surface temperature reaching 1.1°C above 1850-1900 in 2011-2020. Global greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase, with unequal historical and ongoing contributions arising from unsustainable energy use, land use and land-use change, lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production across regions, between and within countries, and among individuals (high confidence). {2.1, Figure 2.1, Figure 2.2}

A.1.1 Global surface temperature was 1.09°C [0.95 to 1.20] °C5 higher in 2011-2020 than 1850-19006, with larger increases over land (1.59 [1.34 to 1.83] °C) than over the ocean (0.88 [0.68 to 1.01] °C). Global surface temperature in the first two decades of the 21st century (2001-2020) was 0.99 [0.84 to 1.10] °C higher than 1850-1900. Global surface temperature has increased faster since 1970 than in any other 50-year period over at least the last 2000 years (high confidence). {2.1.1, Figure 2.1}

A.1.2 The likely range of total human-caused global surface temperature increase from 1850-1900 to 2010-20197 is 0.8°C to 1.3°C, with a best estimate of 1.07°C. Over this period, it is likely that well-mixed greenhouse gases (GHGs) contributed a warming of 1.0°C to 2.0°C8, and other human drivers (principally aerosols) contributed a cooling of 0.0°C to 0.8°C, natural drivers changed global surface temperature by –0.1°C to +0.1°C, and internal variability changed it by –0.2°C to +0.2°C. {2.1.1, Figure 2.1}

There's more: AR6 Synthesis Report - Climate Change 2023 | Summary for Policymakers

Our science focus should be here on Terra Firma and the pursuit of continuing human civilization. Without it, civilization, sustainability, and space travel is impossible.

Critical thinking will help us all survive. We will have to cooperate, make lasting changes, reduce income inequality; eliminate global poverty, remediate houseless citizens, and proceed forward, changing the very structure of our civilization, what we focus on as important and esteem as admirable. Billionaires are not superheroes, and beyond fantasy roles, have no function or analog in nature.

Magical thinking, believing that the climate crisis does not exist, hoarding resources while refusing to pay taxes in one's home country and hiding it in shelters overseas from yours, whistling past the climate graveyard, won't.

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Unsustainable...

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From the Twilight Zone season 3, episode 8, "It's a Good Life." Billy Mumy plays an evil little boy who terrorizes his neighborhood with his magical powers for any slight.

Here, he turned a man into a jack-in-the-box.

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Existentialism, Fascism

Jesse Pinkman: You don't want a criminal lawyer… you want a "criminal" lawyer,

Jesse Pinkman: What, dude, wouldn't take a bribe? [That] dude in there? Saul Goodman. we're talking about?

Walter White: Yeah. "Morally outraged," he said. Threatened to call the police.

Jesse Pinkman: Wait, and Badger is gonna spill?

Walter White: Like the Exxon Valdez.

Jesse Pinkman: So, what do we do about it?

Aaron Paul: Jesse Pinkman on "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul," IMDB.

From the 2019 documentary, Where's My Roy Cohn,: "Roy Cohn personified the dark arts of American politics, turning empty vessels into dangerous demagogues - from Joseph McCarthy to his final project, Donald J. Trump." IMDB

In order to understand the mind of Donald Trump, one must acquaint themselves with the life and legacy of his mentor, Roy Cohn. He’s the notorious lawyer who tampered with evidence in order to ensure that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sent to the electric chair, despite the fact that their shared status as dangerous Russian spies is still hotly debated. Cohn coaxed what was later alleged as a false testimony from Ethel’s brother, David Greenglass, that affirmed her complicity in the eyes of the court. Has enough evidence subsequently come to light connecting her with Julius’ role as a recruiter of Russian spies, and have the nuclear secrets reportedly stolen by Julius been found to be of much value?

Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, Matt Fagerholm, Roger Ebert

David Frum said it succinctly: "The President is a Crook," in this case, the former president tried to, and is still trying to foment an insurrection because he ran and lost in 2020. Then, and now, we have the choice between the man, the presidency, and the rule of law.

The Constitution is essentially a property document. Despite the genius we proffer to the founding fathers, they were humans in the eighteenth century. The citizens they were writing to were wealthy property owners like themselves, many of them attaining that wealth through the ownership and trade of human chattel. Their women didn't have the right to vote until the suffrage movement produced the 19th Amendment, throwing the black women who worked on suffrage "under the bus." My mother and sister didn't get the full right of citizenship until the 1965 Voting Rights Act. I was three years old.

The United States Constitution is a remarkable document written by men steeped in education but fallible. No document nor dogma can anticipate changes in the world and society. Barack Hussein Obama would have shocked them. They would have guffawed at a presidential candidacy of a Hillary Clinton.

Unless you've been on Mars or hiding under a rock, the twice-impeached president has now been twice indicted for criminal activity. After losing to E. Jean Carrol in a case accusing him of sexual assault, he doubled down on a CNN Town Hall, calling her a "whack job," and she and her lawyer rightly sued again. The backlash and poor ratings afterward probably contributed to the firing of CNN's former CEO, Chris Licht.

After getting his first indictment for paying off an adult film star and playboy centerfold, affairs he covered up while his third wife was pregnant with his fifth child, he strutted like a peacock. After being indicted for stealing classified information, he held a rally at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where arguably, one of his espionage crimes was recorded on tape.

What. is. WRONG. With. HIM? For that matter, what is wrong with our fellow citizens?

Mary Trump wrote "Too Much And Never Enough" about her malignant narcissist uncle. In chapter 3, titled "The Great I Am," he was sent to military school in Newburg, New York, after getting aggressive with his mother and bullying issues at the age of thirteen.

"Finally, by 1959, Donald's misbehavior—fighting, bullying, arguing with teachers—had gone too far," Mary Trump writes.

Fred Trump was on the board of trustees for the Kew-Forest prep school that Donald Trump was attending.

"Fred didn't mind Donald's acting out, but it had become intrusive and time-consuming for him," Mary Trump wrote. "When one of his fellow board members at Kew-Forest recommended sending Donald to New York Military Academy to rein him in, Fred went along with it."

In the book, Mary Trump wrote that Trump's mother, Mary Anne Trump, "didn't fight for her son to stay home ... a failure Donald couldn't help but notice."

"Over Donald's objections, he was enrolled at NYMA," she writes. "The other kids in the family referred to NYMA as a 'reform school'—it wasn't prestigious like St. Paul's, which (older brother) Freddy had attended."

"Nobody sent their sons to NYMA for a better education, and Donald understood it rightly as a punishment," Mary Trump wrote.

Trump Sent to 'Reform School' As Teen for Bullying, Niece's Book Says, Elizabeth Crisp, Newsweek

What are the symptoms of spoiled brat syndrome?

The syndrome is characterized by "excessive, self-centered, and immature behavior". It includes a lack of consideration for other people, recurrent temper tantrums, an inability to handle the delay of gratification, demands for having one's own way, obstructiveness, and manipulation to get their way. Wikipedia

Professor William T. Kelley at the Wharton School of Business, let's just say, didn't think highly of the 45th president's intellect (see Mystery 2). His fellow Wharton students spent their weekends in study groups. Young Trump went back to New York on weekends, tutored likely by criminals that Roy Cohn represented, inspired to create a fantasy world from the Godfather trilogy popular in his youth. John Gotti was the original "Teflon Don" until he, like Al Capone, was eventually caught. He practically struts like Marlon Brando.

"It's not theirs. It's mine!" He is indicted on 37 counts, 31 for espionage. He is a criminal, but in a certain sense, he is the epoch of the spoiled brat grown-up physically. The indictment happened a day before his 77th birthday. He had issues getting lawyers in Florida, aided by his reputation of stiffing anyone who works for him and his childish stubbornness not to follow counsel: silence is golden, but he can't shut up.

On the calendar, he's a late-stage septuagenarian. Emotionally, he is a child. He is Billy Mumy with the magical power to manipulate an entire constituency that the GOP didn't know they had. His wand is explicit bigotry and cruelty; his power is to give those who will follow him over the abyss cover and approval to be their worst selves. No one liked Mumy's character portrayal, and other than fellow sociopaths, no one [really] likes him.

A political party following the machinations of an impulsive being is not sustainable. 2024 will mark 20 years since the GOP won both the electoral college and the popular vote. That can lead a party to desperation. And desperation leads to demagogues and violence.

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Fascism and Laziness...

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Source: Washington Monthly, "The 12 Early Warning Signs of Fascism," Martin Longman, January 31, 2017

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

But beyond him being (obviously) a genocidal maniac, there's an aspect to Hitler's rule that kind of gets missed in our standard view of him. Even if popular culture has long enjoyed turning him into an object of mockery, we still tend to believe that the Nazi machine was ruthlessly efficient and that the great dictator spent most of his time…well, dictating things.

So it's worth remembering that Hitler was actually an incompetent, lazy egomaniac, and his government was an absolute clown show.

In fact, this may even have helped his rise to power, as he was consistently underestimated by the German elite. Before he became chancellor, many of his opponents had dismissed him as a joke for his crude speeches and tacky rallies. Even after elections had made the Nazis the largest party in the Reichstag, people still kept thinking that Hitler was an easy mark, a blustering idiot who could easily be controlled by smart people.

Why did the elites of Germany so consistently underestimate Hitler? Possibly because they weren't actually wrong in their assessment of his competency—they just failed to realize that this wasn't enough to stand in the way of his ambition. As it turns out, Hitler was bad at running a government. As his press chief Otto Dietrich wrote in his memoir The Hitler I Knew, "In the twelve years of his rule in Germany, Hitler produced the biggest confusion in government that has ever existed in a civilized state."

His government was constantly in chaos, with officials having no idea what he wanted them to do, and nobody was entirely clear who was actually in charge of what. He procrastinated wildly when asked to make difficult decisions and would often end up relying on gut feeling, leaving even close allies in the dark about his plans. His "unreliability had those who worked with him pulling out their hair," as his confidant Ernst Hanfstaengl later wrote in his memoir Zwischen Weißem und Braunem Haus. This meant that rather than carrying out the duties of state, they spent most of their time in-fighting and back-stabbing each other in an attempt to either win his approval or avoid his attention altogether, depending on what mood he was in that day.

Hitler Was Incompetent and Lazy—and His Nazi Government Was an Absolute Clown Show | Newsweek Opinion, Tom Phillips

Axios has obtained leaked private schedules of President Donald Trump showing how he’s spent his time over the past three months. According to the leaked schedules, our president has spent 60% of his “working” hours since the midterms in unstructured “Executive Time.”

Executive Time is supposed to consist of time in the Oval Office, but Trump wakes before 6 a.m. and doesn’t leave the residence for five hours. He spends that time, according to Axios, “watching TV, reading the papers, and responding to what he sees and reads by phoning aides, members of Congress, friends, administration officials, and informal advisers.” And, we can safely assume, tweeting like a madman.

Then, usually around 11:00 or 11:30 a.m., the president finally gets off his ass and actually does some work, attending an intelligence briefing with his chief of staff. The idea for Executive Time, which during the three months the leaked schedules totaled 297 hours, came from former chief of staff John Kelly because of Trump’s disdain for regular schedules.

Trump Could Be Our Laziest President Ever, According to Leaked Schedules, Peter Wade, Rolling Stone

Democracies require informed citizens. "Democracies did not originate with the founding of the United States. The term 'democracy' comes from two Greek words: "demos" (the people) and "kratia" (power or authority). So, of course, DEMOCRACY is a form of government that gives power to the people. But how, when, and to which people? The answer to those questions changes through history." See: https://www.ushistory.org/gov/1c.asp

Fascism has a self-built mythology of efficiency that generations of psychopaths have used gaslighting by pamphlet to the Internet to convince rubes and middle-of-the-road citizens that they're "stable geniuses." News flash: They're not.

Fascism as a term didn't come into vogue until Benito Mussolini in Italy. Prior to that, Jim Crow, black codes, and the Confederate South were all the foundations Mussolini based his philosophies on. Nazi Germany based its treatment of the Jews on Jim Crow, American black codes, and the Eugenics movement (which they put on steroids).

Fascism is the parent "ism" of every one of the "isms" that's used to classify, objectify, demoralize, and categorize humans into this unmoveable hierarchy where the fascists/psychopaths have put themselves on the top: 1. They think they deserve it because of some "magical formula" that's varied from "it's God's will" and evolution, post-Darwin, post-Nietzche. The formula is fungible so long as the outcome is the same. 2. The inherent "inferiority" of anyone else who isn't a fascist/psychopath. 3. Anyone with a three-pound functional brain that can read history and reason for themselves is "woke." America had black people. India, under the Caste system, had Dalets: the pariahs, the untouchables. Nazy Germany had Jews. Russia has Ukraine, which at this moment is destroying all of its delusions of superiority.

Fascism puts everything in the lap of the "dear leader." Thus the responsibility for the government running efficiently, or running like a crap show, is the. "dear leader's." That way, when everything GOES to crap, it's the leader's fault, not the citizens. Since he is the source of "truth," they await to hear, by pronouncement, tweet, or "truth social."

“The past was alterable. The past had never been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” George Orwell, "1984"

German citizens, post-1945, claimed to "not know" anything about the atrocities. As Dumbo Gambino appears to be careening toward federal indictments, what will be the excuse in a post-MAGA world (if we ever get to a post-MAGA world)?

But since all you have to do to have a democracy is, well, inform your citizens, how would governments distract them?

The IBM Simon was manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric, which integrated features from its own wireless personal digital assistant (PDA) and cellular radio technologies. It featured a liquid-crystal display (LCD) and PC Card support. The Simon was commercially unsuccessful, particularly due to its bulky form factor and limited battery life, using NiCad batteries rather than the nickel–metal hydride batteries commonly used in mobile phones in the 1990s or lithium-ion batteries used in modern smartphones.

The term "smartphone" was not coined until a year after the introduction of the Simon, appearing in print as early as 1995, describing AT&T's PhoneWriter Communicator. The term "smartphone" was first used by Ericsson in 1997 to describe a new device concept, the GS88.

Source: Wikipedia/Smartphone

Abstract

The use of smartphones has been increasing worldwide. Usage of these devices has been associated with addiction and adverse emotional states. This study employs a mixed methods approach to study these relationships in an Australian sample. The study comprised 164 participants aged between 18–70 who completed the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale, the Smartphone Addiction Scale, and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale. Seven participants were also interviewed, providing answers of a qualitative nature. Smartphone addiction significantly predicted higher levels of smartphone usage. Additionally, smartphone addiction and distractibility also significantly predicted higher levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. Qualitative results identified themes such as convenience, time of the day, and activities in relation to smartphone usage as well as short‐and long‐term effects of this usage. Findings indicated that both distraction and addiction have an influence on the use of smartphones and that increased usage has detrimental consequences for emotional health. Themes such as dependence and temptation, and interferences appear congruent and consistent with the results of the scales used.

Smartphone distraction‐addiction: Examining the relationship between psychosocial variables and patterns of use | Humberto Oraison, Olivia Nash‐Dolby, Bruce Wilson &Ridhi Malhotra, Australian Journal of Psychology, Taylor & Francis Online, 2020

Smartphone addiction, sometimes colloquially known as “nomophobia” (fear of being without a mobile phone), is often fueled by an internet overuse problem or internet addiction disorder. After all, it's rarely the phone or tablet itself that creates the compulsion, but rather the games, apps, and online worlds it connects us to. Health Guide

Democracy requires informed citizens. Fascism requires couch potatoes.

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Grim Reaper...

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This map predicts how air pollution with fine particles will be in the future - according to Ulas Im's computer simulation. The blue-colored areas show where the pollution is worst. Green is a little better, and yellow means almost no pollution. Credit: Journal for Environmental Research

Topics: Civilization, Environment, Existentialism

For many years now, we have known that air pollution is bad for our health. For example, American researchers have found that you have a 20% higher risk of dying prematurely if you live next to a big road.

In recent years, many countries—especially Western countries—have spent time and effort to come up with solutions to reduce air pollution. Particle filters and phasing out the use of the most polluting energy sources have helped. In Denmark, emissions of fine particles have been reduced by 48% since 1990.

But despite this progress, [even] more people will die prematurely from particulate air pollution in the future, according to model calculations performed by Ulas Im, Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University, in collaboration with NASA.

The study is published in the journal Environmental Research.

[Together], Im and NASA have developed a global model for air pollution that includes climate change, particle emission reduction measures, and changes in population composition. The model depicts a bleak future, especially for the countries in Asia.

"Even if they reduce air pollution significantly in Asia, the mortality rate will still be high. This is because their populations are aging. And you become more vulnerable to pollution with age," Ulas Im says.

Extremely complicated calculations

Ulas Im from Aarhus University and NASA have come together in this project because both institutions have unique technology that—if combined—offers entirely new possibilities and perspectives.

The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York has one of the most advanced climate models in the world, and Aarhus University has one of the best computer models for how air pollution affects human health.

By creating a hybrid of the two models and running the new model through Aarhus University's supercomputer, Ulas Im and his partners from NASA could create three scenarios for how air pollution will affect human health in the future.

"We fed the model with three different scenarios: one in which most of the world continues to regulate and try to limit air pollution; one in which we do even more than we do today; and finally, one in which we do less," he says.

But even in the most optimistic of the three scenarios, the result turned out to be bleak, especially for Asia.

"Although China has done much to reduce air pollution in recent decades, air pollution will have a dire impact in the future, even if they step up their efforts. This is because of their aging population. A greater share of the population will simply be more vulnerable," he says.

A Danish researcher and NASA predict how many people will die from air pollution in the future, Jeppe Kyhne Knudsen, Aarhus University, Phys.org.

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Threat Assessment...

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Domestic Violent Extremists Will Be Harder to Combat Than Homegrown Jihadists, The Rand Blog

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

Source: https://www.dhs.gov/ntas/advisory/national-terrorism-advisory-system-bulletin-may-24-2023

Summary of Terrorism-Related Threat to the United States

The United States remains in a heightened threat environment. Lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and personal grievances continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat to the Homeland. Both domestic violent extremists (DVEs) and those associated with foreign terrorist organizations continue to attempt to motivate supporters to conduct attacks in the Homeland, including through violent extremist messaging and online calls for violence. In the coming months, factors that could mobilize individuals to commit violence include their perceptions of the 2024 general election cycle and legislative or judicial decisions pertaining to sociopolitical issues. Likely targets of potential violence include US critical infrastructure, faith-based institutions, individuals or events associated with the LGBTQIA+ community, schools, racial and ethnic minorities, and government facilities and personnel, including law enforcement.

Duration

Issued: May 24, 2023, at 2:00 PM ET

Expires: November 24, 2023, at 2:00 PM ET

Roads, bridges, mall outlets, power stations; churches, mosques, synagogues, temples; drag shows, pride parades, nightclubs; K-12, community colleges and universities; every BIPOC, even those like the gunman in Allen, Texas, who was Hispanic and sympathized with white supremacist propaganda enough to kill; the Post Office, Police Departments, the FBI; and where you and I work.

A Big Lie about an election that was lost, not RIGGED, has put a target on all of our backs. Our so-called representatives only offer "thoughts and prayers" after every gun massacre, but will not propose legislation, will not even propose liability insurance, like the kind we have on cars, for the small percentage of us that insists on collecting arsenals. It's as if they WANT this "American carnage" to usher in something darker, like Kristallnacht, like fascism. America was a refuge for Stephen Miller's grandfather and Albert Einstein during the Nazi pogroms. Will Canada be a refuge for American Christian nationalist pogroms?

Here are some thoughts I've been mulling for a while, and I would like to forward them now:

One: Fascism doesn't stop with your favorite "out-group."

I have African American friends in my community that use the Bible to legitimize their bigotry toward LGBTQ+ people. My own epiphany happened during a diversity class in the 1990s when the professor asked one of the attendees a question: "Mr. _______, do you CARE where Mr. ______'s spermatozoa are deposited tonight?"

The second Mr. ______ is me, to whom the blunt and salacious question was directed. The technique was to make the first man think: are you overconcerned with his sexual practices? My oldest son was 11, and my youngest son was 1 at the time. Continuing the thought experiment: Does it matter to your heterosexual relationship? If it does, either you or your wife is closeted. James Baldwin was a close friend of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lorraine Hansberry, author of "A Raisin in the Sun," was a closeted lesbian due to the times. Pauli Murray was also a closeted lesbian, lawyer, and civil rights activist. Bayard Rustin, a gay man, was one of Dr. King's closest advisors and the chief organizer of the March on Washington in August 1963. See SPLC: Learning for Justice.

Two: Everyone needs a "green book" plan.

My mother graduated from a school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for "Practical Nursing," similar to an Associate's Degree now. She. and my father used a green book, a guide to let them know on long trips where to get gas, where to stop to eat, where to go to the bathroom, and where to sleep. In the 1950s, they NEEDED this to get from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to Philly and BACK. It worked because otherwise, I would not be typing this blog. Our risk is not due to a preponderance of Melanin only. It is all public places now.

Do you speak another language? Is your passport current or expired? Part of our "green book" may be in formulating an exit plan. When all "hell is breaking loose," it's a little late.

Three: The State owning women's bodies is fascism.

The Nazi regime encouraged the birth of children deemed “racially valuable” in order to increase Germany’s “Aryan” population. This campaign closely reflected the regime’s racial ideology and theories of eugenics. The Lebensborn program was designed by the SS to increase Germany’s declining birthrate. It was originally intended to provide pregnant “Aryan” women with financial assistance, adoption services, and a series of private maternity homes where they could give birth. By the end of World War II, Lebensborn became involved in the Nazi regime’s systematic kidnapping of thousands of “biologically valuable” foreign children to be raised in German homes. Source: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

In Russia, they are kidnapping Ukrainian children and spiriting them to Moscow. In America, six anti-Christian Mullahs overturned 50 years of precedent to induce forced births because of a demographic that is itself a chimera: if so-called "white" people had its origin in the Bacon's Rebellion of 1681, codified in the first Census of 1790, counting "free whites, all other free persons, and slaves," The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, In barring their immigration to the United States for ten years, all categories of humans in the United States are the product of government fiat to justify hierarchy for the purpose of theft from the masses. Dr. Alan Goodman said, "Race is the power of an illusion." For the Christian nationalists: "And He has made from one BLOOD every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings," Acts 17:26. Therefore, you cannot be "replaced" if you never really existed beyond being a variation of humans. This was the first Big Lie.

Four: Vote early; don't show bumper stickers, flags, or paraphernalia.

In Austin, Texas, during the 2008 elections, a neighbor was such an Obama fan he paid $5,000 for him and his wife to shake the future president's hand. He had as large a banner touting Obama-Biden on his front lawn as our neighbor (nearer me) did for the 2004 election with Bush-Cheney. The Obama-Biden sign was vandalized with the n-word and swastikas; nothing happened to Bush-Cheney (there's a double entendre in there). Ahem: This happened in the waning days of the "compassionate conservatism" era, the gateway drug before Christian nationalism.

It's obvious the incident was instructive to me. I give to the party I see upholding The Constitution, but I don't sport the "swag." Some might derisively call what I'm suggesting "respectability politics." I have called it survival for my many trips around the sun, here billions of years before my birth, and will be here billions more after my death.

I appreciate the Department of Homeland Security's warning, but I've been aware of this extremism since before one of the political parties nominated and elected a demagogue.

I have been on this Earth for sixty-one years. As a black man, I have never felt "free."

Read more…

Gaming Apocalypse...

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Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Dark Side, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come.

This is NOT an eschatology blog. The second verse is a common cudgel to the LGBT community, bellowed from the pulpits of soon-discovered closeted pastors. Several laws are passed to ban drag shows, as in North Carolina, but not a peep about gun massacres. Guns with muzzle velocities of 1,006 meters per second, or 3,300 feet per second, eviscerate human flesh to unrecognizability. There were two mass shootings back-to-back in San Antonio, Texas. Merriam-Webster list ominously 66 synonyms for "perilous," some of which are: dangerous, serious, treacherous, unhealthy, grievous: and fatal.

Culture wars are NOT designed to solve anything. They are designed to concern, enrage, and engage the reptilian part of the brain that leaps at every shadow and requires long rifles to go into Starbucks, libraries, or drag shows because of "freedom." Banning books, drag shows, and "woke" are solutions in search of nonexistent problems.

What does a Constitutional Crisis look like? Yesterday, in the Orwellian committee, Jim Jordan ostensibly "leads," is government-paid gaslighting. The whistleblowers brought before the sham committee lost their security clearances, each for a cause. One refused to arrest a January 6th terrorist because he "didn't agree that he should be arrested." Getting fired for cause in at-will states used to be a very Republican viewpoint. The current Congress majority in the House is not Republican.

As Representative Stacey Plaskett, the lawyer Jim Jordan pretends to be pointed out, he and the committee are the 45th president's defense lawyers. His last one quit after dim bulb blurted out in the Cable, Not News fascist rally, “I took the documents; I’m allowed to,” oblivious to the fact every statement, every tweet, every "truth" on his knockoff website is a documented confession. Meanwhile, Jim Jordan screamed like a banshee when Representative Daniel Goldman, another lawyer Jim Jordan is not, read him the House rules on whistleblowers. Jim has a Juris Doctorate but never took the bar. It shows. He would have to study instead of ranting and Spitballing.

What does a Constitutional Crisis look like? Seventy-two percent of Americans feel birth control should be [a] legal right women in this nation should have. Seventy-one percent want gun laws to be stricter. In both cases, a majority of citizens want something that the bureaucracy of government hems up in red tape where it dies in committee.

What does a Constitutional Crisis look like? Christiane Amanpour, in a commencement address to Columbia, blasted her employer's decision in a proper British accent to platform a psychopathic fascist in prime time, as she said, respectfully disagreeing with clueless, paste-eating CEO Chris Licht. She showed more backbone than Anderson Cooper chastising his dwindling audience, and Jack Tapper, trying to make the Durham report more than a flaccid "bombshell" to suck up to the Sith overlords of the Cable, Not News network. I've eliminated the app from my phone and blocked the CNN Politics alerts on my iPhone. I see no more reason to watch it than I saw to abuse myself on Fox with Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Meghan Kelly, Tucker Carlson, and soon Sean Hannity violated the third rule for Mogwai every night, instead of midnight, at 8:00 pm. When Amanpour is CEO, and CNN returns to being "the most trusted name in news," maybe I'll return. Neil Postman was a prophet.

We have a Supreme Court that is neither. Trust in our institutions is at an all-time low as John Roberts "whistles past the graveyard" of our federal republic, allowing the extremist more extreme than HIM to steamroll him from an intolerable 15-week ban to torching Stare decisis. When a small minority of gun owners holds the country in an ongoing hostage crisis, when women lose a right that's been with them for two generations, when the highest court in the land might as well wear jerseys with logos from the billionaire who pay for their vacation junkets, we don't have to keep asking what a Constitutional Crisis looks like. The crisis is staring us in the face as we look away from it.

If the current administration doesn't win in 2024, the party that comes to power might shred what is left of The Constitution and declare it too "woke" for display, to follow, or study. At that point, we devolve from lawyers to Bronze Age Scribes. At that point: we've devolved from a republic to sovereignty and fascism. King George, in the end, would have won.

No need to study the LSAT or pass the bar: just Spitball.

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come.

Synonyms of perilous: dangerous, serious, treacherous, unhealthy, grievous: fatal.

Read more…

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Fractals are a never-ending pattern that you can zoom in on, and the image doesn’t change. Fractals can occur in two dimensions, like frost on a window, or in three dimensions, like tree limbs. A recent discovery from Purdue University researchers has established that superconducting images, seen above in red and blue, are actually fractals that fill a three-dimensional space and are disorder driven rather than driven by quantum fluctuations as expected. Frost and tree images by Adobe. Superconducting image (center) from "Critical nematic correlations throughout the superconducting doping range in Bi2-xPbzSr2-yLayCuO6+x" in Nature Communications. Credit: Nature Communications (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-38249-3

Topics: Applied Physics, Civilization, Computer Modeling, Condensed Matter Physics, Materials Science, Solid-State Physics, Superconductors

Meeting the world's energy demands is reaching a critical point. Powering the technological age has caused issues globally. It is increasingly important to create superconductors that can operate at ambient pressure and temperature. This would go a long way toward solving the energy crisis.

Advancements with superconductivity hinge on advances in quantum materials. When electrons inside quantum materials undergo a phase transition, the electrons can form intricate patterns, such as fractals. A fractal is a never-ending pattern. When zooming in on a fractal, the image looks the same. Commonly seen fractals can be a tree or frost on a windowpane in winter. Fractals can form in two dimensions, like the frost on a window, or in three-dimensional space, like the limbs of a tree.

Dr. Erica Carlson, a 150th Anniversary Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Purdue University, led a team that developed theoretical techniques for characterizing the fractal shapes that these electrons make in order to uncover the underlying physics driving the patterns.

Carlson, a theoretical physicist, has evaluated high-resolution images of the locations of electrons in the superconductor Bi2-xPbzSr2-yLayCuO6+x (BSCO) and determined that these images are indeed fractal and discovered that they extend into the full three-dimensional space occupied by the material, like a tree filling space.

What was once thought of as random dispersions within the fractal images are purposeful and, shockingly, not due to an underlying quantum phase transition as expected but due to a disorder-driven phase transition.

Carlson led a collaborative team of researchers across multiple institutions and published their findings, titled "Critical nematic correlations throughout the superconducting doping range in Bi2-xPbzSr2-yLayCuO6+x," in Nature Communications.

The team includes Purdue scientists and partner institutions. From Purdue, the team includes Carlson, Dr. Forrest Simmons, a recent Ph.D. student, and former Ph.D. students Dr. Shuo Liu and Dr. Benjamin Phillabaum. The Purdue team completed their work within the Purdue Quantum Science and Engineering Institute (PQSEI). The team from partner institutions includes Dr. Jennifer Hoffman, Dr. Can-Li Song, Dr. Elizabeth Main of Harvard University, Dr. Karin Dahmen of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Dr. Eric Hudson of Pennsylvania State University.

Researchers discover superconductive images are actually 3D and disorder-driven fractals, Cheryl Pierce, Purdue University, Phys.org.

Read more…

The Illusion of Perfection...

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Source - Jati: The Caste System in India, Asia Society

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, COVID-19, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

“In America, this battle to wipe out whole ethnic groups was fought not by armies with guns nor by hate sects at the margins. Rather, this pernicious white-gloved war was prosecuted by esteemed professors, elite universities, wealthy industrialists, and government officials colluding in a racist, pseudoscientific movement called eugenics. The purpose: create a superior Nordic race.

“To perpetuate the campaign, widespread academic fraud combined with almost unlimited corporate philanthropy to establish the biological rationales for persecution. Employing a hazy amalgam of guesswork, gossip, falsified information, and polysyllabic academic arrogance, the eugenics movement slowly constructed a national bureaucratic and judicial infrastructure to cleanse America of “the unfit.” Specious intelligence tests, colloquially known as IQ tests, were invented to justify the incarceration of a group labeled “the feebleminded.” Often the so-called feebleminded were just shy, too good-natured to be taken seriously, or [simply] spoke the wrong language or were the wrong color. Mandatory sterilization laws were enacted in some twenty-seven states to prevent targeted individuals from reproducing more of their kind. Marriage prohibition laws proliferated throughout the country to stop race mixing. Collusive litigation was taken to the U.S. Supreme Court, which sanctified eugenics and its tactics.”

War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race,” Edwin Black, page xv, Introduction (paperback edition)

I purposely did not watch the coronation of now King Charles and his former mistress Camilla. Many tuned in for the “Pomp and Circumstance” of the ceremony. As a descendant of kidnapped Africans, thus far, uncompensated in the form of reparations, it was antithetical for me to celebrate the origins of the global slave trade that displaced so many for the enrichment of so few.

It was also interesting to see how they managed the public relations fiasco of Harry and Meghan, the former Duke and Duchess of Winsor. Giving their estate to Jeffrey Epstein, associated with Prince Andrew, both virtue-signaled to the intolerant in the United Kingdom and pedophiles that “happy ever after” was always a facade of mind and propaganda.

The illusion of perfection is pursued first by setting up a hierarchy, a societal pyramid that, at its apogee, are the humans who, by political fiat and outright brutality, have set themselves apart from the rabble as the elite, the wealthy, the one-percent: the closest things to gods in the flesh the rabble can think of.

In India, the illusion takes the form of the Caste System:

At the apogee are the Brahmin, the Priest, the closest to the gods; therefore, the closest things to gods the people below the apogee have ever seen.

Below that is the warrior caste, Kyshatriyia. In a human body analogy, the Brahmin is its head, and Kyshatriyia is its arms.

Vaisya is the merchants and landowners – the torso.

Commoners, peasants, and servants are called Sudra – the feet.

Beneath the feet are the outcasts, the untouchables, the unredeemable called Dalets. Their lot is the clean the streets and latrines.

Within the caste system or Jati, individuals cannot raise themselves in the societal pecking order. Still, the entire GROUP can by emulating another group above it (no explanation given at the link as to who, or what judges an entire group rising from mediocrity in the pecking order).

Isabelle Wilkenson based her book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” first on the Indian System, then compared it to the German System during WWII, and finally to the American System that seems self-reinforcing by inertia, almost perpetual.

The illusion of perfection debases the lives of the Indigenous: the Aborigines in Australia and the First Nation Peoples in North, Central, and South America. Continents populated with peoples who have a culture, languages spoken and written, historical records, and civilizations are raized out of existence because if they don’t worship the same as Europeans if they don’t speak like Europeans, if they don’t particularly look like Europeans, they are irrelevant, they are unpersons, Aborigines, African Americans, Dalets. In this case, “black lives don’t matter” because they never did.

As I type this, the illusion of perfection has visited an outlet mall outside of Dallas, Texas, in Allen, where I have close relatives. We now have more gun massacres than we have days in the year, and the only way it will improve is if it suddenly stops tomorrow. Newsflash: It won’t. The illusion of perfection can only be reinforced by violence. Showing facts, history, and scientific data invites backlash and a brutally efficient gaslighting operation through Secretary Clinton’s “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

The illusion of perfection punches down at the weak (fill in the blank for any outgroup you might know or belong to) because it always has. It’s “easy” to punch down on immigrants because the “gang of eight” proposed the only solution before Marco Rubio ran for president. It’s “easy” to lambast the LGBT community because the “solution” they won’t vocalize would sound a lot like German concentration camps or the hanging wall in “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. If the "horse is out of the barn," then the original door was opened by the Brown vs. Board of Education 9-0 decision by the Supreme Court (1954), the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Richard and Mildred Loving vs. Virginia, 1967, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, Roe vs. Wade, 1973 (repealed in 2023), Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015: if you repeal one part of the 20th and the early part of the 21st Century, you must using the darkest, cynical logic, repeal it all.

In the illusion of perfection, Dr. Edwin Black focuses on eugenics, but isn’t eugenics a form of secular religiosity? Both have an elite, the chosen, the pure: the elect who deserve, and the "others" who are damned. As he pointed out, whole universities and academic tomes devoted themselves to reinforcing what amounted to a lie. Still, like any broadcast on Fox Propaganda, it was a lie that a large swath of people wanted to believe.

The illusion of perfection has the same septuagenarian running against the same (now) octogenarian who repaired the damage post-COVID the septuagenarian caused. The octogenarian is trailing the septuagenarian because the octogenarian – four years senior to the septuagenarian, isn’t “entertaining” (or racist). I guess they never saw the White House Correspondence Dinner the septuagenarian avoided due to a lack of a sense of deprecating humor and an easily bruised ego (the octogenarian killed it, by the way). The octogenarian was VP to the first and only African American president, and his VP is the descendant of an African American father and an Indian mother. I'm glad he's not racist.

In a Washington Post article about the latest sacrifice to American Moloch, the congressional representative for the mall ended with this vapid statement because the gun lobby and NRA made him memorize the script like an automaton:

“Rep. Keith Self (R), who represents the Allen area in Congress, said on CNN that people who were calling for gun control, rather than just thoughts and prayers, ‘don’t believe in an almighty God … who is absolutely in control of our lives.’

“’[People] want to make this political, but prayers are important,’ he said.”

Allen, Texas

© May 7, 2023, the Griot Poet

“Thoughts and prayers” means

I refuse to legislate

While the gun lobby pays!

I have a sneaking suspicion that Representative Keith Self(ish) doesn’t believe in any other almighty God in his particular religion other than Mammon.

Read more…

Dark Frequencies...

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Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism

Dystopia

© April 12, 2023, the Griot Poet

Gun massacres are so

Frequent now, George Orwell’s

Prophecy banal.

Lamentation

© April 12, 2023, the Griot Poet

Gun massacres are so

Frequent now that Orwell weeps:

[Nightmares] actual.

 

*****

 

The graph is part of an exercise that I do after every shooting. If you’ve got a stock app on your smartphone, it’s easy to track. There is an uptick in any stock that trades with gun manufacturers. It was simple to blame it on the fear of gun control that never materializes, despite the massacres’ gruesomeness or the victims’ innocence. It turns out that terrorizing citizens is public policy. When you get beyond the reflexive “thoughts and prayers,” what do you have left other than the obvious? Terrorized citizens can’t think clearly, don’t read leisurely fiction or historical record, or absorb civics or critical thinking. Voltaire warned about tyranny, but the threat of assassination seems to be as tyrannical as the Kremlin. Putin has eleven time zones, terrified by everybody dropped from a window, every dissident imprisoned in a gulag, or every ex-pat poisoned in another country. America is dangerous to our health inside and outside our homes (see: Breonna Taylor). Where do we go in public that cannot become a crime scene?

It turns out that my “Stop the Bleeding” kit arrived after Easter instead of before, delayed by the likely deluge of other orders from my active shooter class and others around the nation that decided the 55th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King was a GREAT day to do a class! A taser I ordered for my wife came in from Amazon on the same day.

After Tennessee, on April 11, 2023, America had another mass shooting in Louisville, Kentucky. The governor of that state lost two friends, and a third at the time was in critical condition. Five people were killed, and about nine were injured.

April 13, 2023, a 35-year-old English teacher was killed by a lone gunman in the drive-through of a Dunkin Donuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her eleven-year-old son was unharmed in the backseat, but he saw his mother executed for no reason. His psyche, regarding harm, is another matter. Mother’s Day is next month, and I don’t think the cliché “thoughts and prayers” will cut it.

I now carry pepper spray on my keychain. I have a telescoping baton that makes a metallic “shooshing” sound, a hopeful shock to an assailant. In addition to pepper spray and a taser, I plan to give my wife my 9mm pistol (hopefully without the same glitches as Sig Sauer pistols, shooting when not hitting the trigger) and a purse that will double as a holster: if threatened, she’ll have to shoot through it. We didn’t leave Afghanistan: we brought the war home.

 

*****

 

Jonny Quest” is one of the many cartoons I’ve taken to collecting on DVD. I bought a DVD player that looks like a laptop but only has the drive, screen, controls, and remote. Jonny Quest was about the adventures of Jonny, his friend from Calcutta, Haji, his dog, who looked like a pug mutt, “Race” Bannon (that’s how his name was listed). And Dr. Benton Quest, who had as much of an impact as “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” and “Marlin Perkins’ ‘Wild Kingdom.’” The STEM focus of the latter is self-evident. Dr. Benton Quest was a biologist on one Saturday, a physicist on the next Saturday, a Chemist, or an Electrical Engineer on any given Saturday where the situation needed him to be! There were car chases, a Cyclops, spider legged robot spy, dog fights with a Nazi, and LOTS of guns! Dr. Quest was the epitome of a nanotechnologist*, years after Dr. Richard Feynman’s lecture “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” circa 1959 and years before Dr. Norio Taniguchi coined it at a conference in Japan in 1974. Thankfully, neither Jonny nor Haji were involved in gunplay.

“Jonny Quest” is utter fantasy, a cartoon. All of us kids were in on the “gag.” Only the “evil-doers” died, never us “good guys.”

I feel like we’re going to war every day instead of work.

What kind of country or cartoon is this?

 

*****

 

*My “elevator pitch” definition:

Nanotechnology regards biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics, all of the major STEM disciplines at the nanoscale. Nano means “billionth,” or 10-9 meters. Nanoscience is the theoretical observation of nanoscale phenomena. Nanoengineering is exploiting that phenomenon towards a practical (engineering) end, as in manufacturing something that can be purchased or consumed. Before I entered the field, Dr. Quest was probably the first nanotechnologist I had ever seen and didn’t recognize because the definition wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is now.

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Innocence...

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Topics: African Americans, Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Diversity in Science, Environment, Existentialism, Fascism, Global Warming, Human Rights

Trauma at 55

© April 3, 2023, the Griot Poet

 

Graduation day.

No child smiling because we

Lost Martin Thursday.

 

April is National Poetry Month. This photo of five-year-old me inspired my haiku about my kindergarten graduation. It should have been a happy day with parents in the audience.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on Thursday, April 4, 1968. Our graduation was scheduled for Friday at Bethlehem Community Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

All thirty-six students were blissfully unaware of the political earthquake that this was or that it had occurred. As we all aged, we probably learned of the death threats and the near assassination by a deranged woman at a book signing. We were unaware of the "Missiles of October" in 1962, barely scratching the planet's surface or taking our first steps before potential Armageddon. Medgar Evers was assassinated in Mississippi in June of 1963, and President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November of the same year in Dallas when we were a little over a year old. Brother Malcolm was assassinated in February 1965 when we were almost three. I don't recall the University of Texas. Clock Tower shooting in 1966, but we were four then. My classmates, like me, probably heard a program on the local radio station, WAAA-AM, on Sundays from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, "Martin Luther King Speaks." At that time, the caveat was that he spoke, addressing his audience directly over AM, the complete analog of today's social media. What are now tapes or YouTube videos for later generations: it was him, alive, breathing, and speaking. Martin, then Robert F. Kennedy, June 6, the president's brother running for president, fell that year.

I recall my mother kissing me profusely, promising to be there for the graduation, and saying "I love you" repeatedly. I had no doubts about that.

I also remember my father's eyes: red with bloodshot, dried tears on his cheeks. To that point in my brief existence, the thought of him crying was alien, foreign.

The kindergarten teachers sat us down. We assumed to prepare us for the costumes we would wear – white shorts, shirts, and bow ties for the boys, and skirts for the girls.

"Children, Dr. Martin Luther King was shot yesterday and died."

Stunned silence.

I am on the front row, the photo's first student on the left. The eighth student on that row is a girl who I recall having a crush on: she has her right knee pointing towards her left leg. She would break the silence before our ceremony with an ear-piercing screech, repetitive, inconsolable grief beyond her years, perhaps mimicked from a funeral. We all knew what "died" meant. In some form or fashion, by five, you have lost beloved pets or relatives that you never thought would leave the Earth.

The seed from her grief cascaded through the graduates like a malignant vine. The time was 9:00. We cried for two hours, during which someone with a pickup truck, a rebel flag flying, drove through the parking lot, yelling over and over so our young ears and teachers could hear him, "Martin Luther Coon's dead! Yahoo! The South will rise again!"

I lay on the linoleum, palm heels in my eye sockets, wailing my [own] notes. The teachers were crying with us, trying to console themselves and us, allowing us our grief. We went down for a nap at 11:00. Perhaps our teachers did too.

We went out for a brief recess, probably to clear the fog from our brains, but as I recall, we moved like zombies, with no one on the seesaw, children sitting, staring numbly on the swings, and no action on the monkey bars. Then we went in and got dressed.

Our parents would be there at 1:30 pm. I have described why not a single child graduating in the photo was smiling. Staring at my unsmiling, well, forced smiling parents, I remember this poignant thought post-grief beyond my brief years:

 

"We're not kids anymore!"

We would all start first grade in the fall without him.

I hugged my big sister tightly that evening, a student activist in the Civil Rights Movement attending Winston-Salem State University, because I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, what "died" meant.

*****

Devolution

(Post-Cold War and 9/11)

© April 4, 2023, the Griot Poet

 

I did duck-and-hide

Drills, kids as cold warriors:

Now, active shooter.

 

My employer hosted an Active Shooter/Stop the Bleeding training at my facility on probably the most insensitive date they could pick on the calendar: the 55th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King. As the first haiku eludes, time does not heal trauma. For the first half, both instructors had experience in law enforcement and the military. The second set of three instructors from a local trauma center featured a combat medic, who taught us through a cadaver dummy to stuff gauze from a "stop the bleeding kit" (there is a website to order directly).

I participated in the class vigorously to fight the "sugar crash" from the doughnuts offered.

We saw a lot of videos, one featuring the shooter in the Naval Shipyards gun massacre. The other was the bodycam video from the recent incident in Tennessee at a Christian School where three adults in their early sixties (around my same age) and three nine-year-old children were sacrificed on the altar of American Moloch. The original intent of particularly white evangelical Christian schools was to protect the "innocence" of their children from sitting next to someone like me. Somehow "thoughts and prayers" for a Christian school, no doubt inspired by Brown vs. Board of Education being actualized in the South, seemed oxymoronic.

"Duck-and-hide," or more accurately, duck-and-cover, where drills were part of civilian preparedness in the event World War Three spontaneously broke out. They gave us manuals we should read (I still have mine). The teachers and manual said that getting under the desk was the best way to survive the nuclear fallout if you were not the center of the blast radius. Preconscious and curious, my parents had bought the complete volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Internet of its day. Foreshadowing my eventual STEM majors in Engineering Physics, Microelectronics, and Nanoengineering, I read the "Nu" volume on nuclear weapons. I sadly concluded after my research that the drills were government-sanctioned gaslighting, a word I now use. The word I used then is a two-syllable word with the popular abbreviation "B.S." Plutonium 239, the ore of choice for thermonuclear weapons, has a half-life of 24,100 years, meaning that it would be half as radioactive in about 24 millennia. This drill wasn't to save lives but to reduce panicked stampeding that, I admit, would help no one. The official nuclear doctrine of deterrence is M.A.D.: mutually assured destruction. We'll see if Russia in Ukraine remembers this at all.

The United States has been in some war 93% of the time from 1775 (before its existence) to 2018. This factum is according to Smithsonian Magazine. The article's caveat is how to interpret "war": declared congressionally, unilaterally by the executive, or (in my opinion) upon one's citizens.

I will attend my precocious granddaughter's fourth birthday party this National Poetry Month. She is one year younger than my five-year-old image. After getting her a "Dr. McStuffin's Medical Kit" for Christmas, she immediately assigned herself as her grandparents' doctor. She even does televisits when we chat on Google Hangout.

Yet she grows up in a world of the continuous threat of Armageddon. Add to that designed scarcity, economic Disaster Capitalism cum neoliberalism, rising global temperatures, and active shooter training when she starts kindergarten in the fall, minus the "stop the bleeding kits," even with her Dr. McStuffin credentials. Because of the malaise of government and gun lobbyists, we've reduced her citizenry to becoming a combat medic in the future, whether she wants to or not.

I bought a "stop the bleeding" kit. It should be here before Easter.

"We're not kids anymore!"

None of us are.

 

 

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Zombie CFCs...

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Researchers detected a surprising rise in levels of chlorofluorocarbons between 2010 and 2020 using a monitoring network that includes the Jungfraujoch research station in Switzerland. Credit: Shutterstock

 Topics: Chemistry, Civilization, Climate Change, Environment, Global Warming

From my resume: "I eliminated ozone-depleting materials using Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and Taguchi Methods of Quality Engineering - using an L16 Orthogonal Array - in the Poly Silicon etch substituting out CFCs in manufacturing processes." How I did it: I substituted our CFC with Sulfur Hexafluoride and Nitrogen (SF6/N2). On the negative photoresist product, the CFC over-etch was 50 seconds. For the positive photoresist, CFC had a 25-second process. I was able to reduce each product line to two seconds, increasing throughput, and the process increased die yields. It is possible to balance the positive impact of product improvement and the environment. I did it in the 90s, so the following report is disappointing.

*****

The Montreal Protocol, which banned most uses of ozone-destroying chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and called for their global phase-out by 2010, has been a great success story: Earth’s ozone layer is projected to recover by the 2060s.

So atmospheric chemists were surprised to see a troubling signal in recent data. They found that the levels of five CFCs rose rapidly in the atmosphere from 2010 to 2020. Their results are published today in Nature Geoscience1.

“This shouldn’t be happening,” says Martin Vollmer, an atmospheric chemist at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology in Dübendorf, who helped to analyze data from an international network of CFC monitors. “We expect the opposite trend. We expect them to slowly go down.”

At current levels, these CFCs do not pose much threat to the ozone layer’s healing, said Luke Western, a chemist at the University of Bristol, UK, at an online press conference on 30 March. CFCs, once used as refrigerants and aerosols, can persist in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Given that they are potent greenhouse gases, eliminating emissions of these CFCs will also have a positive impact on Earth’s climate. The collective annual warming effect of these five chemicals on the planet is equivalent to the emissions produced by a small country like Switzerland.

It’s highly likely that manufacturing plants are accidentally releasing three of the chemicals — CFC-113a, CFC-114a, and CFC-115 — while producing replacements for CFCs. When CFCs were phased out, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were brought in as substitutes. But CFCs can crop up as unintended by-products during HFC manufacture. This accidental production is discouraged by the Montreal Protocol but not prohibited by it.

‘This shouldn’t be happening: levels of banned CFCs rising, Katherine Bourzac, Nature

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Functional Fascism...

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Ron DeSantis previously said he wouldn’t get involved in Donald Trump’s indictment “in any way.” | John Bazemore/AP Photo, Gary Fineout, Politico

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Democracy, Existentialism, Fascism

NEW YORK — The share of Americans who identify as white and Christian has dropped below 50 percent, a transformation fueled by immigration and by growing numbers of people who reject organized religion altogether, according to a new survey released Wednesday.

Christians overall remain a large majority in the U.S., at nearly 70 percent of Americans. However, white Christians, once predominant in the country’s religious life, now comprise only 43 percent of the population, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, or PRRI, a polling organization based in Washington. Four decades ago, about eight in 10 Americans were white Christians

The change has occurred across the spectrum of Christian traditions in the U.S., including sharp drops in membership in predominantly white mainline Protestant denominations such as Presbyterians and Lutherans; an increasing Latino presence in the Roman Catholic Church as some non-Hispanic white Catholics leave; and shrinking ranks of white evangelicals, who until recently had been viewed as immune to decline.

White Christians are now a minority of the U.S. population, survey says, Rachel Zoll, Associated Press

It was the first panic and the first indication that white evangelicism focused on earthly political concerns more than heavenly meditations. Eighty-one percent of them voted for the vagina-grabber after the Access Hollywood tape. It was soon after this he, or as Michael Cohen's indictment called him, "individual one," directed his then-attorney to pay hush money to Karen McDougal, a Playboy Centerfold, and Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, coordinated with then editor of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, which is the most apropos last name I've seen to be the editor of a supermarket rag. He was called before the Manhattan Grand Jury before they voted on indictment.

Impeachment is a form of federal indictment, but the twice-impeached former president beat the rap in a stacked Senate jury. Then, when he didn't win re-election, a point he was cognizant of, he ordered a mob to Capitol Hill to seize power, an insurrection for the first time since the Civil War, a breach of the Capitol for the first time since the war of 1812. For his new presidential campaign, he upped the ante from Reagan's "states rights" speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, by staging his first rally in Waco, Texas, the sight of the standoff between the government and the Branch Davidian Cult. It's talented bigotry to invoke George Soros and call an African American District Attorney an "animal. If dog-whistling, it's best in a gross sense to hit one target with two epithets.

"Individual One" started his first presidential campaign taking birtherism in the gutter with him and raising it from the swill like an anointed Phoenix, with 3,500 lawsuits against him, including Trump University (which he said he would "never settle" until he did). Part of his narcissistic "charm" is he never seems to pay for any crime he commits, no matter how outlandish it might have been, even insurrection. It might explain his follower's attraction to him: he's a reverse Robin Hood; he steals from the poor suckers and gives to himself. They all think they're in on the gag, but in true conman fashion, marks usually are not.

Earlier this week, three children and three adults were gunned down by a former transgender student at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee. I have fond memories of variety shows like "The Old Oprey" and "Hee-Haw," based on a soundstage there. Governor Bill Lee asked for prayers. He has written anti-LGBT laws, restricted abortion rights, banned drag shows, banned books, and expanded permit-less carry; without the need for safety training or practice. Tennessee paused further expansion of freedom for guns; contraction of civil liberties in lieu of "thoughts and prayers." Congressman Andy Ogles also sent "thoughts and prayers," yet posed with his family in a 2021 Christmas photo armed to the teeth with assault weapons. Now that the indictment that was supposed to happen last Tuesday happened yesterday, the former president continued to threaten "death and destruction" simultaneously, or soon after that, a photo of him with a baseball bat next to Alvin Bragg's head like Robert De Niro as Al Capone in the movie, "The Untouchables."

"If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck!"

At the same time, his likely challenger in the GOP primary breezed through a clone of his Soros-African-American Attorney bigotry and said that he would not assist in his extradition if he refused to leave Florida for his arraignment.

That is collusion by an officer of the court, and a governor, to break the rule of law.

During the January 6 Hearings, many of the insurrectionists in Congress ignored subpoenas sent to them by the committee. Now that Jim Jordan has actual Judiciary Committee power, he's proven that he got a law degree but didn't pass the bar. Good luck enforcing your subpoenas.

But that shouldn't matter for the goals of today's republican right. The Growth and Opportunity Project (the 2012 GOP Autopsy) called for the party to expand its base beyond white evangelicals, rural dwellers, conspiracy theorists, weirdos, fascists, racists, misogynists, and insurrectionists with irritable bowel syndrome. It called for them to expand to women, minorities, immigrants, the LGBT, and young people. It rightly predicted the diversification of America and assumed that a functional political party would absorb the study's wisdom.

The party and its avatar in 2016, 2020, and apparently, 2024 rejected it.

If Governor DeSantis, like Jim Jordan et al., ignores the New York indictment and “will not assist in the extradition,” it's not very far from that the "rule of law" becomes meaningless.

Past that Rubicon is the rule of the mob boss, warlord, or one man as king. There would be no civics, civil rights, or civil liberties, just lords and serfs, the next logical step of income inequality. Dictators never give up power, so elections, if held, would become meaningless "public spectacles" like they were in Saddam Hussein's Iraq and are in Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation. It simply takes the slow-boiling frog destruction of the rule of law. After that, fascism becomes actionable and functional.

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness..."

Carl Sagan, "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark"

And the world, like old Europe, will become soaked in the blood of our fellow humans. Warlords have a tendency not to get along.

If the world is like Europe in its violence before the world order after the Second World War, where could we run after the Third?

June: We have to run.

Luke: What?

June: We waited last time. We waited too long, and we didn't see how much they hated us. I lost you, and then we lost Hannah.

Luke: Are we just gonna forget about her now?

June: We will never ever forget about her, but we cannot help her if we are dead. It's changing, Luke. This country is changing.

Luke: No, Canada's not Gilead.

June: America wasn't Gilead until it was, and then it was too fuckin' late. Luke, we have to go. We have to run. Now.

Season Five of "The Handmaid's Tale" finale on Hulu, TV Fanatic

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By Another Name...

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Space race: Inside ego-fueled competition of Bezos, Musk, and Branson, Michael Kaplan, New York Post

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these ostensible “debts,” prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries, and farm plantations. Thousands of other African Americans were simply seized by southern landowners and compelled into years of involuntary servitude. Government officials leased falsely imprisoned blacks to small-town entrepreneurs, provincial farmers, and dozens of corporations—including U.S. Steel—looking for cheap and abundant labor. Armies of “free” black men labored without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold and were forced through beatings and physical torture to do the bidding of white masters for decades after the official abolition of American slavery.

The neo-slavery system exploited legal loopholes and federal policies that discouraged the prosecution of whites for continuing to hold black workers against their wills. As it poured millions of dollars into southern government treasuries, the new slavery also became a key instrument in the terrorization of African Americans seeking full participation in the U.S. political system.

Based on a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Slavery by AnotherName unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude. It also reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the modern companies that profited most from neo-slavery, and the system’s final demise in the 1940s, partly due to fears of enemy propaganda about American racial abuse at the beginning of World War II.

Slavery by Another Name is a moving, sobering account of a little-known crime against African Americans and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

—from the book jacket and Pulitzer dot org

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, Douglas A. Blackmon, Penguin Random House

Ta-Nehisi Coates penned "The Case for Reparations" for The Atlantic in June of 2014. The country was in the lame-duck of the second term of a political miracle: Barack Hussein Obama carried the popular vote and the electoral college TWICE, despite a blowhard asking for his birth certificate, despite a blowhard asking for his grades at Harvard, then commissioning his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen to threaten his high schools and colleges mob-style if they dared release any of his grades from his "great brainwork." One would think that he had something to hide.

We crossed the Rubicon of 8 billion souls on Terra Firma last November, and we're showing the signs of strain: Candida auris is spreading in healthcare and nursing facilities alarming the CDC: it could easily become more dangerous to the general population. climate change is exacerbating weather patterns, thus affecting food supplies. The thawing permafrost is wakening Paleolithic viruses that haven't seen the light of day (or 8 billion vectors) in several millennia. The brunt of the crisis is being felt by the countries - so-called third world - without enough industry that would create the problem. This is destabilizing governments and fostering authoritarian nationalism, nativism, and xenophobia. The US President and Canadian Prime Minister reached an agreement to reject asylum seekers at their respective borders. As we whistle through graveyards, Waiting for Godot and Deas Ex Machina to resolve our issues. Where are these fellow humans supposed to go, other than open earth in whistled graveyards voluntarily? It is eerie, sadistic eugenics in slow motion.

The estimated cost to pay reparations is ~$14 Trillion dollars. The cost would be from the government, not individual "white" taxpayers. We can literally print money out of thin air when we want to do something, proposing austerity measures for things that used to be referred to as the "common good."

Broken down in the documentary, The Big Payback, the estimated bill due (as Dr. King said) for uncompensated labor that built the United States is $14 Trillion Dollars. $14 Trillion Dollars is about $350,000 per African American.

The government keeps from paying what's owed us by stirring divisions: Black Lives Matter are "black identity extremists," but the Klan, Neo Nazis, Boogaloo Boys, Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers are NOT to date classified as domestic terrorists.

Reparations would also include levying taxes on the extremely wealthy, who got rich off of Reagan lowering their taxes to 28%. He had to raise taxes periodically when the math and reality came crashing down in the form of a recession. It's why endless tax cuts as a solution have always been a bureaucratic form of magical thinking.

"Trickledown" was always a boondoggle and maintained by always having an "other" to blame for the nation's problems. Before Trump, who is about as subtle as a farting rhinoceros, Reagan's "wink and nod" genteel racism was a form of soft fascism in our faces. The function of fascist hierarchies has always been to separate the Earth's resources from those deemed "undesirable" to those deemed "desirable," "genius," and "blessed" by a deity. India had the Dalets, the base of their hierarchy, and Germany prior to and in WWII had Jews, Gypsies, artists, intellectuals, homosexuals, or as "woke is the new n-word," anything fascists then and now didn't like about modernity. Rinsed, lathered, and repeated, it, along with enslavement, is the oldest grift in the world and probably predates prostitution.

Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is a 2020 historical and narrative nonfiction work about the nature of inequality in the United States, India, and Nazi Germany. Wilkerson is a writer and former journalist best known for her work in the New York Times, for which she received a Pulitzer Prize. She achieved further acclaim with her 2010 work, The Warmth of Other Suns. Wilkerson has also taught journalism at many colleges and universities, including Princeton and Emory.

Caste describes the United States from the arrival of the first enslaved people in 1619 to the current Covid-19 pandemic to explain the nature and consequences of inequality. In the book’s first part, Wilkerson notes that many people were shaken and surprised by the results of the 2016 presidential election. Still, the outcome was really the result of long-buried issues, and she, therefore, calls for a deep dive into the structures of American life. She argues that the key to understanding America is its caste system, a commitment to structures that assign some lives more valuable than others; in the United States, it is based on skin color.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Super Symmetry Summary

It would depend on whether we value people or the toys of billionaires: golf courses consuming copious amounts of water to maintain; mansions, yachts, yachts for helicopters, and penis rockets.

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By Comparison...

 

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Is Facebook Turning You Into a Troglodyte? Zachary Shtogren, Big Think

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

Framework (noun): (a) a basic conceptional structure (as of ideas), (b) a skeletal, openwork, or structural frame, FRAME OF REFERENCE (Merriam-Webster); ACADEMIC: The theoretical framework is the structure that can hold or support a theory of a research study. The theoretical framework introduces and describes the theory, which explains why the research problem under study exists. https://library.sacredheart.edu/c.php?g=29803&p=185919

"In this present crisis, [the] government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Ronald W. Reagan, 40th President of the United States' inaugural address.

Those who refer to themselves as moderate republicans or "never Trumpers" conveniently forget that Reagan started his campaign spitting on the graves of Cheney, Goodman, and Schwerner at the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi. "States rights" was always code for the right to own human beings for uncompensated, unending labor. Reagan said it specifically to pull in Southern Dixiecrats, the "wink and nod," genteel, "aw, shucks" brand of feel-good racism with enough plausible denial for black conservatives that wanted on the train. The three Civil Rights workers were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, who STILL, along with Incels, Neo-Nazis, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and QAnon, are NOT designated domestic terrorist organizations - the FBI reserves that for Black Lives Matter and similar groups who put their bodies on the line for justice and typically don't carry AR15s, or AK47s.

The framework for "government is the problem" was the Lewis Powel memo. "Powell recommended a propaganda effort staffed with scholars and speakers, a propaganda effort to which American business should devote “10 percent of its total advertising budget,'” including an effort to review and critique textbooks, especially in economics, political science, and sociology." (Senator Sheldon Whitehouse) Obviously, Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, Ronald Reagan, and the entire Reich Wing ecosystem echo chamber read the memo. It elevated Powell to Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, which, every day since Taney and the Dred Scott decision, is becoming its own oxymoron.

So it stands to reason if "government is the problem," you CANNOT let the government be the solution. Every elected republican has one mission when getting to office: sabotage and cutting taxes for their wealthy benefactors. To perform this insurgency, you have to construct an ecosystem that echoes the same message and reinforces itself like a mantra at a MAGA monastery, musing on anger versus meditating on enlightenment. The fact that their favorite platform is now a proven liar is irrelevant: they haven't been told yet, so it's Troglodyte Nirvana. When you seize power, you must keep the Trogs angry even if you control all levels of government. You must keep the opposition - the "Democrat Party" (emphasis on "rat"), turning the adjective into a noun, using poor grammar as pejorative - on the defensive. It also helps that when you're in power, you're particularly bad at governing. "Government is the problem": solutions are hard to come by, especially when it calls for concession and compromise, meaning giving a little to get a little and trying again later. "Owning the libs" and trending on Twitter is more fun than thinking. The goal is to wear us down, to make us give up on pursuing common interests, and to become complacent. The opposite of activism is apathy, and the vacuum abhorred by nature is filled with the first wad of filth to walk through.

Eventually, an echo chamber disciple descends from his bizarro Olympus, personified on a grifting, golden escalator, the embodiment or incarnation of Archie Bunker with a wallet.

In Timothy Snyder's book, "The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America," his erudite analysis of Vladimir Putin gets into the man's history, fears, and motivations. Ukraine's "existing" is a threat to his power. Before the bombing, it was modern. It had functional nuclear power plants (with the noted exception of Chornobyl). Ukraine was the antithesis of Russia's thesis of leadership by the reincarnation of Lenin and Stalin. It's why the Russians have to interfere with democratic elections. If you're trying to hold onto power until your last breath, it's a good idea to sabotage democratic elections across the globe. When his people demand elections, demand representation, demand better for themselves, Putin can point to the "failures" of democratic systems, leaving out the part in his Orwellian Pravda news services that he is orchestrating the chaos he allows his 11-time zone subjects - they are not "citizens" - to see. People spontaneously falling out of windows, getting shot or poisoned, and being imprisoned for multiple years in gulags also bolsters his dark reign. The Russian people see where the wealth is: in Putin's palaces and with his oligarchs. "Why don't they protest in the streets?" Russians have no First Amendment Rights, and there, the Second Amendment is only for Putin's hired thugs. Where republicans in America are a criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party, the Kremlin is a kleptocracy masquerading as a state.

People under such conditions, according to dystopian fiction author, Margaret Atwood, either become activists (which puts their lives in danger), collaborators, or complacent, keeping their heads down because they feel they have no power to change their conditions.

"In this present crisis, [the] government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Ronald W. Reagan, 40th President of the United States' inaugural address.

Putin can point to the "failures" of democratic systems, leaving out the part in his Orwellian Pravda news services that he is orchestrating the chaos he allows his 11-time zone subjects - they are not "citizens" - to see.

Dominion voting systems are suing Fox Propaganda for $1.6 billion, and SmartMatics is suing for $2.7 billion. No one who watches American Pravda is the wiser because "truth is bad for business."

And voila! You have a utopia for fascists and a dystopia for their subjects, who are either collaborators or exhausted. You have to enamor them to fascism, by comparison.

"For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

"The tyranny of the many would be when one body takes over the rights of others and then exercises its power to change the laws in its favor." Voltaire

Republicans and Putin are trying to defeat democracy by exhausting citizens and subjects. We can regulate women's bodily autonomy, but not climate change or Wall Street. We can pull books from shelves, but not qualified immunity from bad police officers. We can threaten drag shows (a voluntary activity) but not make schools safe: a collapsible, laughable fold-out gun shelter in Alabama must have cost the district a small fortune that could have been remedied with background checks and red flag laws. “Woke” is their new n-word without saying the n-word for everything in modernity they do not like. Everything is, as Carl Sagan said in 1996, a “celebration of ignorance.”

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…

“The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.

Ann Duryan and Carl Sagan, “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.”

So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men. Voltaire

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Four Days...

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Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images

Topics: Civilization, COVID-19, Democracy, Economics, Education, Existentialism

Working four days instead of five—with the same pay—leads to improved well-being among employees without damaging the company’s productivity. That’s the recently reported result of a four-day workweek test that ran for six months, from June to December 2022 and involved a total of 61 U.K. companies with a combined workforce of about 2,900 employees.

During the COVID pandemic, many workers experienced increased stress and even burnout, a state of exhaustion that can make it difficult to meet work goals. “It’s a very huge issue,” says independent organizational psychologist and consultant Michael Leiter, who was not involved in the new report. “You see it, particularly in health care, where I do much of my work. It’s making it much more difficult to hold on to talented people.” He explains that stress in the workplace makes it difficult for companies in health care and many other fields to recruit new hires and keep existing employees. But greater awareness of burnout and related issues can have a positive effect, Leiter adds. “People are demanding more changes in how the work is organized,” he says.

That demand is what led the independent research organization Autonomy, in conjunction with the advocacy groups 4 Day Week Global and 4 Day Week Campaign and researchers at the University of Cambridge, Boston College, and other institutions, to publish a report on what happens when companies reduce the number of days in a workweek. According to surveys of participants, 71 percent of respondents reported lower levels of burnout, and 39 percent reported being less stressed than when they began the test. Companies experienced 65 percent fewer sick and personal days. And the number of resignations dropped by more than half compared with an earlier six-month period. Despite employees logging fewer work hours, companies’ revenues barely changed during the test period. In fact, they actually increased slightly, by 1.4 percent on average.

A Four-Day Workweek Reduces Stress without Hurting Productivity, Jan Dönges, Sophie Bushwick, Scientific American

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Ninety Seconds...

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Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Topics: Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Existentialism, Octavia Butler, Star Trek

Life imitates art far more than art imitates life—Oscar Wilde, “The Decay of Lying”

This year, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is moving the hands of the Doomsday Clock forward, largely (though not exclusively) because of the mounting dangers of the war in Ukraine. The Clock now stands at 90 seconds to midnight—the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been.

The war in Ukraine may enter a second horrifying year, with both sides convinced they can win. Ukraine’s sovereignty and broader European security arrangements that have largely been held since the end of World War II are at stake. Also, Russia’s war on Ukraine has raised profound questions about how states interact, eroding norms of international conduct that underpin successful responses to a variety of global risks.

And worst of all, Russia’s thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalation of the conflict—by accident, intention, or miscalculation—is a terrible risk. The possibility that the conflict could spin out of anyone’s control remains high.

A time of unprecedented danger: It is 90 seconds to midnight. Editor, John Mecklin, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The above is a publication from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, trying to warn us away from the precipice since mankind opened the proverbial nuclear Pandora's box.

It's easy to assume that Earth's history in Star Trek is the same as the real world before Vulcans made First Contact with humanity in 2063, but there are numerous unique divergences. Star Trek: The Original Series established that a devastating global conflict called the Eugenics Wars gripped the Earth in the 1990s, which was followed by World War III in the 21st century. TOS and Star Trek: Enterprise episodes touched upon aspects of World War III, which led to 600 million deaths and the capitals of every major country on Earth destroyed. Star Trek: First Contact showed the aftermath of World War III as the human race was still picking up the pieces a decade after the war ended. Further, the Star Trek: Discovery season 2 episode "New Eden" revealed that the Red Angel (Sonja Sohn) transported a group of World War III survivors to a planet in the Beta Quadrant.

After Captain Pike realized that Kiley 279 reverse-engineered Starfleet's warp technology to build a warp bomb to use against each other in their civil war, he broke General Order One and used Earth's World War III history as a cautionary parable in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' premiere. In perhaps the most significant download of information about past wars in Star Trek, Pike revealed that the United States of America actually had a second Civil War at some point in the late 20th century, which erupted over freedoms and rights. The second Civil War was soon followed by the Eugenics Wars in the 1990s when genetic engineering created Augments who became global warlords, chief among them Khan Noonien-Singh (Ricardo Montalbán). After the Augments were defeated, there was a period of peace, as seen in Star Trek: Picard season 2, before World War III erupted in 2026 and lasted for thirty years.

Pike further revealed that World War III was a nuclear holocaust that resulted in the death of 30% of the Earth's population. In addition, 600 million lifeforms were lost on the planet, which consists of untold flora and fauna. In order to preserve nature that would be lost on a planet irradiated by nuclear weapons, scientists launched seedpods into space that eventually grew in orbit. Amazingly, when the human race became a spacefaring society, Starfleet built Starbase One around the seed pods, which explains the domed forests surrounding the space station. Thankfully, Pike's Earth history lesson had the desired effect on Kiley 279's leadership and population. The Enterprise's Captain brokered peace on Kiley 279 so that they didn't repeat the Terran homeworld's tragic mistakes.

Strange New Worlds Solves Star Trek’s World War III Mystery. John Orquiola, Screen Rant

The above is fiction. 30% of the Earth's population is 2.4 billion souls wiped out, in addition to the disease, death, and wholesale dystopia that would be the planet post-civilization.

Caveat: It doesn't appear that Zephram Cochrane has been born yet. There are no Vulcans to Deus ex Machina [rescue] us from ourselves. We're on our own to survive or become extinct in societal suicide like Octavia Butler's "smooth dinosaurs."

We need the stars… We need purpose! We need the image of Destiny to take root among the stars and give us of ourselves as a purposeful, growing species. We need to become the adult species that Destiny can help us become! If we're to be anything other than smooth dinosaurs who evolve, specialize, and die, we need the stars…. When we have no difficult, long-term purpose to strive toward, we fight each other. We destroy ourselves. We have these chaotic, apocalyptic periods of murderous craziness.

"Octavia Butler." AZQuotes.com. Wind and Fly LTD, 2023. 02 March 2023. https://www.azquotes.com/quote/998876

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Intersectionality and 53%...

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Image Source: U.S. Population Projections: 2005-2050, Jeffrey S. Passel, and D’Vera Cohn, Pew Research, February 11, 2008

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Existentialism

Excerpt from “Black Labor, White Wealth: The Search for Power and Economic Justice,” (August 1, 1994) Claude Anderson, Ed. D., Chapter 2: Power and Black Progress:

Chapter 2, page 33, subsection titled:

Numerical Population Power

In a democratic society, the numerical majority wins, rules, and decides. The theoretical rights of a minority may or may not be respected, especially if they are a planned minority. Numerical population power is the power that comes to those groups that acquire power through their sheer size. The black population peaked in the 1750s when slaves and free blacks accounted for approximately 33 percent of the total population. The high numerical strength of blacks caused fear and concern among whites. They feared the loss of their own numerical power. Word of black Haitians’ successful slave revolt in the 1790s had spread across America and reportedly ignited several slave revolts in Southern states.

The First U.S. Congress enacted the first naturalization law that declared America a nation for "whites only." The naturalization act and other income incentives attracted a mass influx of legal and illegal European ethnicities, followed by Asian and Hispanic immigrants a century later. The immigration quota for blacks remained zero until their total population percentage declined to nine percent. By making blacks a planned numerical minority, white society assured dominance in a democratic society where the majority always wins. Source: Sample chapter

*****

If current trends continue, the demographic profile of the United States will change dramatically by the middle of this century, according to new population projections developed by the Pew Research Center.1

The nation's population will rise to 438 million in 2050, from 296 million in 2005, and 82% of the growth during this period will be due to immigrants arriving from 2005 to 2050 and their descendants. (Figure 1)

Of the 117 million people added to the population during this period due to the effect of new immigration, 67 million will be the immigrants themselves, 47 million will be their children, and 3 million will be their grandchildren.

The Center’s projections indicate that nearly one in five Americans (19%) will be foreign-born in 2050, well above the 2005 level of 12% and surpassing the historical peaks for immigrants as a share of the U.S. population—14.8% in 1890 and 14.7% in 1910. (Figure 2)

By 2050, the nation’s racial and ethnic mix will look different than it does now. Non-Hispanic whites, who made up 67% of the population in 2005, will be 47% in 2050. Hispanics will rise from 14% of the population in 2005 to 29% in 2050. Blacks were 13% of the population in 2005 and will be roughly the same proportion in 2050. Asians, who were 5% of the population in 2005, will be 9% in 2050.

If you do the math: the BIPOC in these statistics adds up to ~51 to 53%, a clear majority.

What is intersectionality?

The concept of intersectionality describes how systems of inequality based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, class, and other forms of discrimination “intersect” to create unique dynamics and effects. For example, when a Muslim woman wearing the Hijab is being discriminated against, it would be impossible to dissociate her female* from her Muslim identity and to isolate the dimension(s) causing her discrimination.

Source: Center for Intersectional Justice: What is intersectionality?

“Race,” as we have been conditioned to understand it, is a social construct. Yet, every employment application asks me to choose a category that best describes me: I chose Black/African American because that is my culture. I am a human being, a terrestrial inhabitant born on planet Earth. We fill out the Census because it is our “civic duty” and our habit, born of ignorance and not questioning why things are the WAY they are.

So racial capitalism was basically built based on the idea that capitalism itself is not distinct from racism. The way we think of racism is that racism is a by-product of capitalism. That is, capitalism emerges, and racism is a way to divide workers. It’s a way to extract greater value from enslaved people, Indigenous people, etc. But Cedric argued that the grounds of the civilization in which capitalism emerges are already based on racial hierarchy. If you think of race as assigning meaning to whole groups of people, ideologically convincing others that some people are inferior to others, that some people are designed as beasts of burden, then what you end up getting is a system of extraction that allows for a kind of super-exploitation of Black and brown people. And racial capitalism also relies on an ideology or racial regime. The racial regime convinces a lot of white people, who may get the crumbs of this extraction through slavery, through Jim Crow, convince them to support or shore up a regime that seems to benefit whiteness based on white supremacy but where their own share of the spoils is actually pretty minuscule. Slam poet Saul Williams commenting on the Intercept Podcast: The Rebellion Against Racial Capitalism. Facebook

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The Census is crafted from the same crucible. Every ten years, we count the number of citizens, or residents, in the nation. We craft, actually, gerrymander districts based on these demographic numbers. The absurdity is evident not too far from me: my Alma Mater, North Carolina A&T State University, the largest Historically Black College and University in the nation, was split in two to dilute the impact of student voting and participation in the franchise. That was thankfully remedied, and students are voting in record numbers. It is thus important which party controls the White House (I think it should be called the Presidential Mansion) during the ten-year cycle. We’re looking at the next election in 2024. What will be of paramount importance is which party gets to draw congressional districts after the election of 2028.

Fifty years of precedent were repealed in jettisoning Roe vs. Wade: why? Perhaps it is that “for the last 70 years, fertility rates have decreased worldwide, with a total 50% decline. Reasons include women’s empowerment in education and the workforce, lower child mortality, and the increased cost of raising children. Lower fertility rates, coupled with increased life expectancies worldwide, create an aging population, putting pressure on healthcare systems globally.” (World Economic Forum) Comparing national birthrates in 2020:

NationBirthrates
Niger6.7
Nigeria5.2
Senegal4.5
Ghana3.8
Pakistan3.4
World2.4
Mexico2.1
The U.S.1.8
South Korea1.1

Source: World Economic Forum: Ageing and Longevity, June 17, 2022

It makes sense, in a macabre, sociopathic, psychopathic “logic.” If your birthrates are falling, you open the floodgates to all births by repealing abortion rights; the health and career aspirations of women be damned. Similarly, for the LGBTQ community, the right to marry "who you love" contradicts the desires of capitalism: replacement workers, which can be done through surrogate parenthood. Still, these are Neanderthal minds crafting our society. The closet was valuable to them because you could, in sham marriages, procreate in public and copulate in secret. Dr. Claude Anderson stated in "Black Labor, White Wealth" that enslaved Africans and their descendants were a "planned numerical minority." "White" is a fungible concept: as numbers declined in America, Czechs, Italians, Jews, and Russians were added to the "white" column and instructed how to address the designated pariah "others." This façade would inevitably crash on the weight of its own hubris.

"Race" is a social and political construct. Suppose you happened to have won the "sperm lottery" and were born in "Leave it to Beaver Villes" with a prepondering lack of Melanin (and lack of empathy for those possessing it). In that case, you're likely comfortable with the status quo as it is; reducing inequality doesn't interest you in the slightest; therefore: you want to "conserve" what you know and are comfortable with it. And if you can't gerrymander, voter suppress, or intimidate "others" into their diminished places, January 6, 2021, showed us conclusively that their last ditch, "in case of democracy, break glass" last move, they will resort to deadly violence to uphold a chimera. 40,000+ video security footage given to the CIA reject at Fox Propaganda ensures the next coup will have a roadmap to once-secret places. The Capitol is the scene of past and future crimes.

Intersectionality is another word for cooperation. We will have to cooperate to address the challenges of climate change, to take the mythology out of it, "it's THOSE people, not US," to solve the problem together. It's not Ron DeSantis-Stan at risk of higher water levels due to climate change: it is an American state, American citizens, and, as illustrated in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina, American climate refugees and, sadly, casualties.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech on April 4, 1967, "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence." He condemned the Vietnam War, which would result in over 50,000 American casualties, as immoral and unjust. He was assassinated, supposedly by James Earl Ray, on April 4, 1968.

Dr. King was in Memphis, Tennessee, for the rights of Sanitation Workers, carrying signs stating the obvious, "I am a man," that wasn't at the time (and since the public execution of Tyre Nichols feet from where King was assassinated) being respected. It was an extension, or arm of the Poor People's Campaign, an effort to unify the poor in urban cities and Appalachia, in other words: intersectionality.

So, it's not a fear of Black History/CRT, or drag queen story hour (if you don't support it, don't go), Hispanic Heritage Month, Queer History Month, Women's History Month: it's the Venn Diagram that intersects each of these groups under a common foe that is determined to maintain that status quo by closing polling booths, voter purging, voter suppression. Book bans discourage intersectionality through ignorance, such that each can build coalitions to the point they could become the 53% voting majority in a majoritarian nation.

South African Apartheid existed as "white" Afrikaans declined to a numerical minority.

America might try something like this for 47%, and the continuously psychopathic 1% would like to maintain.

There is another formula:

99% = 46% + 53%, which is > 1%.

The old world had castles, kings, queens, dukes, and duchesses, with serfs willing to subjugate themselves to a monied elite because of "divine will," not sociopathy.

The new world has mansions, billionaires, hedge fund managers, and corporations, with a bewildered herd willing to subjugate themselves to a monied elite because the propaganda they pump them says they are "blessed," not kleptomaniacs.

Intersectionality = cooperation = survival. Authoritarian autocracy does not.

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Nanowires and Climate Change...

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Image Credit: Down to the wire (IMAGE), Yale University

Topics: Biotechnology, Civilization, Climate Change, Nanotechnology

Accelerated climate change is a major and acute threat to life on Earth. Rising temperatures are caused by atmospheric methane, which is 30 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat. Microbes are responsible for generating half of this methane. Elevated temperatures are also accelerating microbial growth and thus producing more greenhouse gases than can be used by plants, thus weakening the earth’s ability to function as a carbon sink and further raising the global temperature.

A potential solution to this vicious circle could be another kind of microbes that eats up to 80% of methane flux from ocean sediments that protect the Earth. How microbes serve as both the biggest producers and consumers of methane has remained a mystery because they are very difficult to study in the laboratory. In Nature Microbiology, surprising wire-like properties of a protein highly similar to the protein used by methane-eating microbes are reported by the Yale team led by Yangqi Gu and Nikhil Malvankar of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Microbial Sciences Institute.

The team had previously shown that this protein nanowire shows the highest conductivity known to date,  allowing the generation of the highest electric power by any bacteria. But to date, no one has discovered how bacteria make them and why they show such extremely high conductivity.

An ultra-stable protein nanowire made by bacteria provides clues to combating climate change, Yale University.

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Silicon Gaslighting...

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Image source: Black Planet dot com

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

Note: I had my bridge removed by a periodontist. That's not as trivial as I thought it would be, recalling me pulling my baby teeth at the age of six. My pain management regimen consisted of 600 mg of Motrin and 500 mg of Tylenol four times a day for two days, plus lots of rest. I guess losing a tooth at six is remarkably different than losing one at sixty. For the sake of public safety, I opted to telework as much as I could that week. I will have posts for Tuesday - Friday next week, taking President's Day off.

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Sematech was a consortium of semiconductor industry giants on Ben White Boulevard in Austin, Texas. The taxpayers paid their land expenses through a ten-year tax abatement. Sematech promised Austin jobs. So in the spirit of fairness, Austin obviously wanted Sematech to start paying their taxes, and repaying the homeowners who footed the bill for a decade.

May 9th, 2007

Sematech leaving Austin for Albany

Abstract:

International Sematech will move its headquarters from Austin, Texas, to Albany, N.Y., state officials said May 9.

New York will spend $300 million to provide the buildings and infrastructure required to accommodate the headquarters of Sematech, a consortium of microchip manufacturers and semiconductor research operations, said Alain Kaloyeros, the chief administrative officer of the state University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, located at Albany NanoTech.

The money will go to the University at Albany, which now hosts Sematech's existing research operation. The deal is still being finalized, although Sematech will begin moving some personnel to Albany in July, Kaloyeros said.

Source:

phoenix.bizjournals.com

http://www.nanotech-now.com/news.cgi?story_id=22519

*****

I worked for Applied Materials at the IBM research facility in Fishkill, New York, from 2011 to 2017 and, ironically, with Albany Nanotech/Sematech on many occasions since my company had equipment installed there. I often passed the photo in Fishkill of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, taken in 2005 with Governor George Pataki and IBM executives. IBM promised jobs. The company needed ten years of tax abatements to grow, and they promised job nirvana. The ten-year clock was UP in 2015. Fishkill wanted their money. IBM wanted another decade-long tax abatement. There was an obvious impasse. Something had to give.

(Reuters) - IBM Corp IBM.N said it would hive off its loss-making semiconductor unit to contract-chipmaker Globalfoundries Inc to focus on cloud computing and big data analytics.

IBM will pay Globalfoundries $1.5 billion in cash over the next three years to take the chip operations off its hands, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

IBM took a related pre-tax charge of $4.7 billion in its third quarter. It also reported a 4 percent drop in revenue on Monday, hurt by weak sales in its software and services businesses.

IBM’s shares fell 8 percent to $167 in premarket trading.

IBM to pay Globalfoundries $1.5 billion to take chip unit. Abhirup Roy, Reuters, October 20, 2014

If $1.5 billion dollars paid is saving, what in Heaven's name did they OWE Fishkill, NY?

So, color me not exactly nonplussed when I read this article on CNN:

CNN Business — When Microsoft President Brad Smith announced in February 2021 that the tech giant had purchased a 90-acre plot of land in Atlanta’s westside, he laid out a bold vision: The company, he said, would invest in the community and put it “on the path toward becoming one of Microsoft’s largest hubs” in the United States.

The announcement, which was met with enthusiastic coverage in local media, promised the construction of affordable housing, programs to help public school children develop digital skills, support for historically Black colleges and universities, new funding for local nonprofits, and affordable broadband for more people in Atlanta.

“Our biggest question today is not what Atlanta can do to support Microsoft,” Smith wrote. “It’s what Microsoft can do to support Atlanta.”

Two years later, Microsoft announced a series of cost-cutting efforts, including eliminating 10,000 jobs, making changes to its hardware portfolio, and consolidating leases. As part of those moves, Microsoft put the development of its Atlanta campus on pause this month, a spokesperson confirmed to CNN.

The decision to pause plans feels like a “broken promise” that caught many residents of the predominately Black neighborhood where Microsoft planned to build the campus off-guard, according to Jasmine Hope, a local resident and chair of her neighborhood planning unit.

‘Broken promises.’ Tech industry’s real estate pullback leaves communities reeling. Catherine Thorbecke, CNN Business, February 14, 2023

*****

In the book and 2003 documentary, "The Corporation" by Professor Joel Bakan, he looked at the legal fiat during the Robber Baron era using the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which conferred birthright citizenship for formerly enslaved peoples to corporations, hence making them legal "persons."

So, Dr. Bakan asked the question, "what kind of person would this entity be?"

The chilling and provocative answer: the closest person to a corporation would be a psychopath.

The Corporation likewise forces viewers to ponder key philosophical questions about the role of science and entrepreneurship and who should own knowledge and life. Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends, introduces the complexities of intellectual property by outlining the history of patenting knowledge and life forms. Here, the film pushes our sensibilities of entrepreneurship and patenting. Patenting is intended to encourage innovation by ensuring that the innovator profits from the discoveries. But indiscriminate patenting can lead to “biopiracy,” –– a recently-coined term for the activities of corporations, universities, and governments that patent the medicinal or therapeutic properties of plants or animals used in traditional and indigenous medicines. The film also discusses the ethics of genetically-modified foods, which dramatically increase food production and change farming practices. For example, “terminator technology” in rice prevents farmers from saving and re-sowing seeds because the seeds have been genetically modified to produce only one crop. Perhaps most disturbing, the film raises the specter of corporations’ owning the entire human genetic code, as well as that of all other species on the planet.

In summary, The Corporation contends that today’s ubiquitous corporations are designed to behave like psychopaths—a provocative premise likely to polarize viewers and invite debate. The film has insights for people on all points of the political spectrum. It is useful for managers who struggle with issues of ethics and corporate social responsibility and for trainers, instructors, and researchers in the fields of strategy, ethics, governance, labor-management relations, and sustainable development.

The Corporation - The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power: Movie Review

About 1.2% of U.S. adult men and 0.3% to 0.7% of U.S. adult women are considered to have clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits. Those numbers rise exponentially in prison, where 15% to 25% of inmates show these characteristics (Burton, B., & Saleh, F. M., Psychiatric Times, Vol. 37, No. 10, 2020). That said, psychopathy spans socioeconomic status, race, gender, and culture, and those who score high on psychopathy scales range from high-functioning executives to prison inmates to people whose psychopathic symptoms may reflect difficult life circumstances more than anything else.

One effort to coordinate thinking in the field is Patrick’s “triarchic model,” which posits three separable trait constructs underlying psychopathic symptoms: “disinhibition,” which includes tendencies toward impulsiveness, irresponsibility, difficulty regulating one’s emotions and behavior, and mistrust of others; “meanness,” which involves deficits in empathy, contempt toward and inability to bond with others, and predatory exploitativeness; and “boldness,” which includes dominance, social assurance, emotional resilience, and adventurousness. Each of these traits has unique developmental features and neurobiological correlates. Patrick developed the Triarchic Psychopathy Measure to assess these trait constructs (Development and Psychopathology, Vol. 21, No. 3, 2009Journal of Personality, Vol. 83, No. 6, 2015).

A broader view of psychopathy. Tori DeAngelis, the American Psychological Association

Wafer fabs are complex places in need of specific technical STEM backgrounds. Local colleges and universities can tailor curriculums so that their graduates "fit the mold" of what XYZ employer is looking for. There are often collaborative research efforts between academia and industry that are encouraged and pursued.

Not all of the jobs are technical. If you have a cafeteria on-site, you need to staff it. Janitorial services are needed for the offices and bathrooms. You need painters, masonry workers, plumbers, and electricians.

All, from the cook to the engineer, are subject to layoffs at the whims of management and shareholders who never met them or care how such a move impacts their families. It is a string of broken promises and shattered dreams.

It's a tax dodge. It's grifting. It's Silicon gaslighting.

So, let me get this straight:

The tobacco industry paid lobbyists to promote the false narrative that smoking wasn’t as bad for your health as the Surgeon General reported. Mike Pence (not a smoker) endorsed in an OpEd that resurfaced after helming the disastrous response to the Coronavirus pandemic (and he wants to run for president, presumably getting the votes from the same people who wanted to kill him on January 6, 2021). Smokers like my father were gaslighted, and paid for this lie with their lungs and lives.

The fossil fuels industry paid those same lobbyists to do their magic, promoting the false narrative that climate change wasn’t as dire as they were already aware of in the late 1970s. Instead of information we could have acted on, we were gaslighted.

A lot of American oligarchs: Bezos (Washington Post), Bloomberg (Bloomberg News), Murdoch (Wall Street Journal, Fox Propaganda), Musk (Twitter), Trump (Twitter knockoff, the Orwellian “Truth Social”), and Zuckerberg (Facebook) are heavily involved in controlling the narrative of what we believe and know as reality. The previous “off the dome” isn’t even an exhaustive list. AT&T, CBS, Comcast, Disney, Newscorp, and Viacom are the six corporations that own 90% of all the media that we consume: radio, television, print, and the Internet. Thirty-eight years ago, it was fifty. We believe what we're fed: "corporate citizens" is a term the corporations lob at us through various forms of media. We believe also from the media that billionaires/oligarchs are "blessed," "geniuses," "highly favored," not tax dodging criminals because that's what their media tell us to believe.

If corporations "are people," are the organizations clinically psychopaths?

Are their minions in lobbying firms and congress merely servile sociopaths?

But this isn’t gaslighting?

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