existentialism (188)

Origin...

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Image source: Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures - Isabel Wilkerson, Livestream (2022)

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

"While I was at the hotel today, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white people. [Great Laughter.] While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me, I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, [applause]—that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion, I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position, the negro should be denied everything. I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave, I must necessarily want her for a wife. [Cheers and laughter.] My understanding is that I can just let her alone. I am now in my fiftieth year, and I certainly never have had a black woman for either a slave or a wife. So it seems to me quite possible for us to get along without making either slaves or wives of negroes. I will add to this that I have never seen, to my knowledge, a man, woman, or child who was in favor of producing a perfect equality, social and political, between negroes and white men. I recollect of but one distinguished instance that I ever heard of so frequently as to be entirely satisfied with its correctness—and that is the case of Judge Douglas’s old friend, Col. Richard M. Johnson. [Laughter.] I will also add to the remarks I have made (for I am not going to enter at large upon this subject) that I have never had the least apprehension that my friends or I would marry negroes if there was no law to keep them from it, [laughter] but as Judge Douglas and his friends seem to be in great apprehension that they might if there were no law to keep them from it, [roars of laughter] I give him the most solemn pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes. [Continued laughter and applause.] I will add one further word, which is this: [that] I do not understand that there is any place where an alteration of the social and political relations of the negro and the white man can be made except in the State Legislature—not in the Congress of the United States—and as I do not really apprehend the approach of any such thing myself, and as Judge Douglas seems to be in constant horror that some such danger is rapidly approaching, I propose as the best means to prevent it that the Judge be kept at home and placed in the State Legislature to fight the measure. [Uproarious laughter and applause.] I do not propose dwelling longer at this time on this subject."

Teaching History, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, 4th Debate, Part 1.

The man who would be known as "the great emancipator" could turn a phrase at an event at the time that would dwarf our current 1-1/2 hour modern performances: they were hours in duration. People brought lunches and took notes. Old Abe appeared to have been the "George Carlin" of his day. He was exploitative in his digs, not knowing at the time the same people he derided he would need fighting for him to win the war of secession.

Lincoln exploited racist tropes to make Judge Douglas - his Democratic (the conservative party then) opponent, look like a conspiratorial fool. As we look to history, we see the pedestals that our heroes occupy are made of cracked porcelain; their balance isn't steady because human bodies aren't perfectly proportioned, and they often fall from their lofty perches after scrutiny.

Despite this obvious bias Lincoln had towards "his tribe," another Douglass, Frederick Douglass, would petition him for the involvement of our ancestors on the side of the Union in the Civil War as well as make the case for the Emancipation Proclamation. Despite the many docuseries with them briefly onscreen together generally getting along, Frederick Douglass wasn't an initial fan of the 16th president:

Douglass was concerned about the unequal pay of Black soldiers, who received $3 dollars less per month than white privates. He was also incensed by the Union government’s response to the Confederate treatment of Black prisoners of war, who were being tortured, killed, and sometimes sold into slavery. He focused his anger on President Abraham Lincoln. “The slaughter of Blacks taken as captives,” wrote Douglass in his Douglass’ Monthly, “seems to affect him [Lincoln] as little as the slaughter of beeves [cows] for the use of his army.”

Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: Inside Their Complicated Relationship, History.com

So, when I hear people saying they're tired of voting for "the lesser of two evils," their naivete seems to reflect back to halcyon days that never existed, not realizing African Americans have voted that way since we were allowed to vote without interference (poll taxes, lynching, cross burnings, voter purges). As long as a caste system of complexion has existed on these shores, there has never been a conservative or liberal "great again."

The following (or a version of this) I posted on Rotten Tomatoes after seeing the movie:

"I read “Caste: The Source of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson before I saw “Origin,” directed by Ava DuVernay. I highly recommend reading the book, seeing the movie, and staying for the after-the-credits discussion by the director. It is POWERFUL and relevant to the times we all find ourselves in. Seeing the reenactment of Nazi book burning has a modern analogy in practice.

"The Caste System in America is based on skin color and the debasement of people who have no control over how they present themselves or how they are perceived. This extends easily to other groups under the boot of patriarchy.

"See it while it is available. It is a threat to patriarchal oligarchy and for the downcast, the Dalits, the under-the-boot marginalized: the relieving breath of being seen.

"I recommend this movie, seen with a group, and a discussion at a coffee shop or a restaurant afterward. You will need to decompress."

*****

A caste system, whether divinely inspired, fueled by American slave codes, black codes, Jim Crow, eugenics, or Europe, Italian and Nazi fascism, in India, Brahmins (priests and teachers), Kshatriyas (rulers, administrators, warriors), Vaishyas (artisans, merchants, tradesmen, farmers), Shudras (laborers) Dalits (Harijans or Untouchables), propped up by myth, superstition, and pseudoscience, is about resources and power, who "deserves" to have it, and who those deeming themselves deserving, deeming others as not deserving.

We can see the effects of the caste system in everything:

The global south suffered more from the pandemic than the global north.

The deleterious effects of climate change also affect the Global South more than it does the North. Our apathy for solving it lies in arrogance, caste, and xenophobia.

The Nazis plagiarized the South's black codes for the Nurenberg Laws to oppress the Jews.

It would take 500 years for African Americans to catch up to their (currently) majority neighbors. The March on Washington was on the eighth anniversary of the lynching of Emmett Till, but the essence of the assembly was a demand for reparations. We're still cashing a check returned, as Dr. King said, for "insufficient funds."

For Europeans, the outsiders are from the African continent (Akebulan), driven by conflicts supplied by European and American military-industrial complexes, STARTED by European and American business interests for one-sided extraction profits.

There's a scene in Sean Penn's "Superpower" documentary where Volodymyr Zelinzky and Vladimir Putin occupy the same stage. Putin glares at Zelinsky for contradicting him in a question-and-answer session with the press. In the obvious two-tier caste system, Russian pride cannot suffer his Ukrainian lesser upstaging him on camera. The motivation for the war, in a wounded strongman's twisted mind, might be as simple as that.

China is on Akebulan to extract the abundant resources from the continent to fuel what is arguably a communist-capitalist system. Their underdogs are Uygers, and they are treated like Dalits and Dr. Martin Luther King.

In fact, when King visited a local school for Dalit children in the southern Indian state of Kerala in 1959, the principal introduced him thus: "Young people, I would like to present to you a fellow untouchable from the United States of America." Although King was initially shocked by this introduction, he later understood the deeper connections of oppression, exclusion, and exile that African Americans in the US and Dalits in India shared. The broader Black freedom struggle has continued to inspire Dalit struggles in this region, from the formation of the Dalit Panthers in the 1970s to the recent emergence of Dalit Lives Matter groups in Nepal and India.

MLK and the Civil Rights Movement’s Global Perspective, University of Dayton blogs

In Israel-Palestine, the caste system also has only two tiers, as did its WWII analog. There will always be a "two-state solution" in Israel-Palestine because it is never meant as a problem to solve. The two-state solution is meant to sound reasonable because it IS reasonable, but part of a two-state solution would mean returning lands seized since 1948 (or at least 1967). That has another word in America: reparations. If you can do it in the Near East, the fear is the clamor to do it in the United States couldn't justifiably be resisted.

Power and resources, hoarded to the one percent of any nation's pyramid, are imbalanced, and it is a caste system that is unsustainable.

A caste system is a societal pathology, and I don't see such a society lasting long enough to build interplanetary or interstellar vessels. "Fermi's paradox" may have a grim answer.

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Bedlam, Swatting, Terrorism...

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 Image source: CSO online - Swatting

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Civilization, Climate Change, Existentialism, Fascism, Star Trek

 

Bedlam is a scene of madness, chaos, or great confusion. The term bedlam comes from the name of a hospital in London, “Saint Mary of Bethlehem,” which was devoted to treating the mentally ill in the 1400s. Over time, the pronunciation of “Bethlehem” morphed into bedlam, and the term came to be applied to any situation where pandemonium prevails. Source: Vocabulary.com

 

Swatting is a criminal act that involves making hoax phone calls to emergency services to trick them into sending a response team to a person's address. The goal is to trick the emergency services into sending a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team to a supposed emergency, such as a shooting or hostage situation. Source: Google generative AI

 

According to Dictionary.com, terrorism is the use of violence or threats to intimidate or coerce a government or civilian population. The goal of terrorism is to achieve political, social, or ideological objectives.

 

International terrorism: Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals or groups inspired by, or associated with, designated foreign terrorist organizations or nations (state-sponsored). Source: FBI.gov

 

Domestic terrorism: Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature. Source: FBI.gov

 

I grew up in an era of possibilities, of the struggle for rights by African Americans through Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Hispanic Americans through Casar Chavez, the LGBT community after the attack on Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York. The year after the assassination of three black Civil Rights leaders, we did what John F. Kennedy inspired us to do one year later, and Dr. King, the Star Trek fan who talked Nichele Nichols out of quitting the show, never lived to see.

 

But we live in now, where in the early 2000s, a younger man who wasn't on the planet tried to convince me that my Saturday morning cartoons the day before hadn't been interrupted by an important event: the Moon Landing of Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969 (Sunday). His evidence was, of course, a grainy video on YouTube. I'm certain that the conspiracy theorists are already gearing up for Artemis. "Deep fake" has probably improved the tech for denial.

 

The president who inspired the mission, John F. Kennedy, led the sad cavalcade of assassinations rash in the 1960s. The president who spoke to the astronauts was Richard Nixon, the same who ran on a "law and order" platform, scaring the bejesus out of citizens he wanted to govern because of the bedlam, the chaos, the great confusion on college campuses like Kent State and NC A&T as students protested the Vietnam conflict that nobody understood, and no one wanted, and for the words in our founding documents that stated, "all men are created equal." The president who saluted astronauts would win reelection in a landslide and lose his job due to Watergate larceny.

 

The revered founders were, of course, referencing only themselves and their progeny. They had no concept of descendants of their chattel workforce becoming lawyers, engineers, educators, scientists, astronauts, mayors of towns, governors, state representatives, congressional representatives, senators, presidents of universities that directly benefited from slavery, or President or Vice President of the United States. Some of their jurists would obfuscate this possibility and give the interpretation of The Constitution by grammatically spitballing the pious-sounding, pseudo-academic name of "originalism."

 

We are here now, at the dawn of the second quarter of the 21st century. Nothing like September 11, 2001, was conceivable to a child in 1969 in the last year of a novel science fiction series called "Star Trek" where it seemed, 200 years into the future, we had "figured it out," we had put down the rocks of racism, sexism, silliness and decided to work together towards a common goal of survival on Earth and among the stars. Superluminal speeds and Heisenberg-defying transporters were plot devices; everyone was in on the joke.

 

Nothing like January 6, 2021, twenty years from an international terrorist assault on our shores that domestic terrorism would bring bedlam to the U.S. Capitol, medieval jousting and bludgeoning Capitol and Metro Police officers, tasing them, bear-spraying them, killing them, urinating and spreading feces, which in and of itself is a sign of mental illness Saint Mary of Bethlehem was constructed to mitigate. Then, poof! It would go away, redefined from insurrection to tourists gone bad (when no tours were scheduled during the pandemic), Antifa (ahem: anti-fascists) to finally "a beautiful day, full of love."

 

Towards the end of the second quarter of the 21st Century, we will likely see climate disruption at an irreversible, unpredictable pace. The world population will be increased to ~9.7 billion, and by 2100, ~10.4 billion. There are a few new posts in 2023, but a lot of inoperable links on the 100-year starship website (like "mailing lists" and "contact us"). From here until 2100, it doesn't give us a century to construct a generation's vessel or to solicit and train a crew for a one-way trip on the culturally narcissistic need for humans to survive their hubris expressed on this planet since the dinosaurs were too dumb to have scientists.

 

It would seem, though, even with the scientists and experts, we have allowed the know-it-alls, who know nothing, primacy because they're so loud. They demand attention to feed a narcissistic ego, blustering and ever-terrified that we will realize that they are nincompoops with no applicable skillsets. Conspiracy theories are tailor-made for people who won't read, study, or take the time to comprehend hard subjects and are rewarded lucratively for slavish devotion to bull crap. We have allowed our lizard brains to lead and the blowhard simpletons to rule us to ruin. They alone cannot fix or build a starship.

 

We are here now as the "rule of law" is being tested as it has never been before, to the point that we're being gaslit to ask if such a thing ever existed and if we can get by with WHATABOUTISM instead of democracy, tyranny instead of freedom.

 

Judges, Special Councils, Clerks, and politicians are being swatted doxxed; elected officials are receiving death threats because misinformation is being spread on social media like feces to infect the lizard portion of our brains, where fear and anger dwell, exploited for ratings, votes, and to sell products online and between archaic commercials. The only thing on the other side of bedlam is anarchy. That is a poor substitute for a federal republic that has existed for over 246 years and could easily be gone in a fortnight.

 

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.

Source: TV fanatic, "The Handmaid's Tale," by Margaret Atwood on Hulu

 

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Curated, Created Realities...

 

 

Image source: Facebook meme

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

 

What is lost in the above Facebook meme: 5:00 - 5:30 pm was typically your local news. 6:00 - 6:30 pm, before “Bewitched,” was your international news, the Walter Cronkites, Mike Wallaces, and Harry Reasoner’s time to scare the living crap out of you that the world beyond our borders, during and post-Vietnam, was still going over a cliff. Hence, there is a serial lineup of sitcom talent for an obvious purpose. We also got cut off at midnight, white noise after the anthem, and a nation avoided insomnia because no 24-hour options existed.

 

Dr. Neil Postman was a Professor of Journalism at NYU. I will recommend two books in this post: “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Showbusiness” and “How To Watch TV News.” Both are essential in an era of gaslighting and misinformation.

 

Above, you peer a lineup that existed on network television in the early 1970s and continued throughout the Reagan era. It went essentially unchanged until the early 2000s.

 

Though I enjoy watching Star Trek on streaming services, this is recent. Enterprise, like Voyager, Deep Space Nine, The Next Generation, and The Original Series were all available on standard channels and cable television. Discovery and Strange New Worlds were first launched by CBS Streaming and then bought out/transferred to Paramount Plus. Nostalgia requires a checking account.

 

Saturday morning cartoons ENDED in September 2014. I can at least see Bugs Bunny on YouTube. Occasionally, Facebook brings up Tom and Jerry, The Roadrunner, etc., on my newsfeed because the algorithms have read my desires and given me what I would most likely wish to see. In this case, nostalgia is free, but now, more than ever, I am the product.

 

“Many decisions about the form and content of news programs are made on the basis of information about the viewer (Internet history), the purpose of which is to keep the viewers watching so that they will be exposed to the commercials” (bots and propaganda).

 

Neil Postman, Steven Powers, “How to Watch TV News.”

 

ABC, CBS, and NBC are running game shows and reality shows in prime time where sitcoms, dramas, actors, and writers used to be employed. As “Amusing Ourselves to Death” puts it, the news, 24-7-365 (366 on leap years), has become our entertainment. How did this happen?

 

In 1972, Richard Milhouse Nixon won a landslide election, winning 49/50 states and 520 electoral votes to his Democratic opponent, George McGovern’s 17. “Other” received one electoral vote. Judging from the redness of the map, a lot of African Americans voted for “law and order” or did not bother to show up at the polls. The Vietnam War trudged on, and the body count approached a staggering 282,000 U.S. and allied military deaths.

 

Two years later, in 1974, Nixon resigned in disgrace after the revelations of the Watergate burglary investigation by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the subsequent investigations, and the relentless media coverage that swayed a nation from electoral route to, maybe we need to get rid of the president who emphatically stated “I am not a crook” might be a crook. In this case, presidential larceny could not be tolerated.

 

This was possible because Americans had a shared reality innocently framed by what we viewed for entertainment: as many kids in Rural Hall watched Archie Bunker and Saturday cartoons as my neighbors did in East Winston. Although we were in the throws of forced busing due to the 9-0 Supreme Court Brown vs. Board Decision in 1954 (“all-deliberate speed” came about 20 years later in North Carolina), these shows gave us a framework for conversation, jokes, laughter, and community. The above shows weren’t the bastions of diversity - only “Room 222” had a diverse cast - but a shared entertainment experience made us feel more “united” than we do now.

 

Roger Ailes was an aide in the Nixon administration. After Nixon’s ouster, Ailes wanted a news network that was friendly to conservatives and biased against liberals. According to a Rolling Stones article, he created a propaganda network and a fear factory. The fear seems to be in the workplace and projected to its audience, absorbing propaganda nightly. After his death, it still runs top-down, like Pravda, not like a news organization. Since it’s profitable, even after the Dominion lawsuit and the upcoming lawsuit with Smartmatics, the network thinks it can absorb the legal losses of billion-dollar settlements and survive. That is frightening power and reach.

 

I cannot leave their rivals out of this. CNN was the first parent cable news network that “birthed” Fox and MSNBC from “Crossfire” (Paul Begala on the left, and Tucker Carlson on the right). They all follow a framework of “what should you fear of the ‘other.’” Television networks have always competed for viewership through television shows staffed by writers who create content. Shonda Rhimes’ “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “How To Get Away With Murder” on the public airwaves are distant memories. You need a streaming subscription now. I pay for several, but it’s not normal, nor should it be seen as normal.

 

What happens when your “United States” has no framework for a shared reality?

 

The Republican frontrunner/former reality TV huckster has not debated in the primary and doesn’t need to. He probably won’t in the general election either. He presided over the deaths of 1.13 million Americans due to the botched handling of the Coronavirus that, arguably, his Republican predecessor (43) put the medical professionals in place, and his Democratic successor (44) continued and expanded. Forty-five pulled them out of China to “own the libs” and found himself and the country flatfooted to identify whether the virus came from a food market or a lab leak. The U.S. had the worst performance of Western nations, exacerbated by not promoting masks and pushing non-cures like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

 

But, the party and a sizeable amount of the nation want to give him the nuclear codes again because, heck, he's entertaining, in a perverse, psychotic sense. For example, the fictional Batman is grim, determined, disciplined, and rarely smiles in the comics. His nemesis, Joker, is a murdering psychopath, but Jack Nickelson and Heath Ledger made him "entertaining." We all watched both versions of Mayhem.

 

If you can sell soap to 1950s housewives, you can sell racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia to the rubes who can’t, or won’t, afford streaming alternatives. And sell soap.

 

You “keep the viewers watching” not with clever sitcoms and nighttime dramas like “Dallas” and “Dynasty,” but anger at the “other.” Who is “other?” The people who don’t watch your network share your curated views. One side is “woke,” the other is fascist. No one talks.

 

We’ve had decades of Civil War reenactments in city parks, and no one died. Therefore, there is no appreciation that in an actual, modern Civil War, the death toll would likely overrun the hospitals more than Sars-CoV-2 did with the alpha through delta variants. The U.S. dollar would cease to be the currency of global trade, and world order would collapse into fiefdoms, dictatorships, and warlords, which would be fine to oligarchs who separated themselves from society generations ago and only come down from Mount Olympus to influence/bribe our politicians. Homo Sapiens (Latin: “wise men”) should choose a more apropos name: Homo Stultus (“stupid men”), and fully own Idiocracy. It didn’t need 500 years.

 

Humans are storytelling creatures. We need entertainment in the form of books, poetry, well-acted plays, movies, and television shows. We also need knowledge, facts, and accurate history to make a collective assessment of where we’ve been collectively as a nation and a species and where we’re going as a nation - perfecting The Union or over a cliff. Karl Rovian “created realities” nor Neo-Nazi book bans accomplish either necessity.

 

“Infotainment” is neither news nor entertaining, and Dr. Postman’s warning about the parent of this debacle, Ted Turner’s HBO-inspired infotainment, CNN, rings from his grave:

 

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books (well?). What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.

 

“This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”

 

Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

 

(The parenthesis in both Postman quotes are my adds for emphasis, as are any bold type.)

 

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Births, Stats, Mathematics...

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Source: Brookings Institution

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

Cate Cox and Brittany Watts: Their last names rhyme, but their circumstances couldn't be more diametrically different from one another.

Cate Cox is a married suburban mother with two children. She previously lived in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, but due to her condition, she had to flee her state. A complication with her pregnancy put her life at risk and the possibility that she might not be able to conceive again if her pregnancy weren't ended expeditiously through a procedure now outlawed in Texas.

Brittany Watts, an African American woman, had a stillborn, unfortunately, in the toilet. The fetus was found in the drain, and she was charged with abuse.

Mrs. Cox eventually left Texas for the procedure, having the financial means to leave and get the healthcare that she desired.

Ms. Watts was a frightened young woman who had left the hospital twice before her miscarriage. Yet she's charged with felony abuse of a corpse in Ohio.

Abstract

The Effects of the Dobbs Decision on Fertility*

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization sparked the most profound transformation of the landscape of abortion access in 50 years. We provide the first estimates of the effects of this decision on fertility using a preregistered synthetic difference-in-differences design applied to newly released provisional natality data for the first half of 2023. The results indicate that states with abortion bans experienced an average increase in births of 2.3 percent relative to states where abortion was not restricted.

Source: The Effects of the Dobbs Decision on Fertility, IZA Institute of Labor Economics

The Dobbs Decision was a strategic salvo shot at the year 2045:

New census population projections confirm the importance of racial minorities as the primary demographic engine of the nation’s future growth, countering an aging, slow-growing, and soon-to-be-declining white population. The new statistics project that the nation will become “minority white” in 2045. During that year, whites will comprise 49.7 percent of the population in contrast to 24.6 percent for Hispanics, 13.1 percent for blacks, 7.9 percent for Asians, and 3.8 percent for multiracial populations (see Figure 1).

The shift is the result of two trends. First, between 2018 and 2060, gains will continue in the combined racial minority populations, growing by 74 percent. Second, during this time frame, the aging white population will see a modest immediate gain through 2024 and then experience a long-term decline through 2060, a consequence of more deaths than births (see Figure 2)

Source: Brookings Institution

24.6 (Hispanics) + 13.1 (African Americans) + 7.9 (Asians) + 3.8 (Multiracial) + 0.9 (Other) = 50.3%, which is apparently an existential crisis on the right because "white" supremacy is anxiously numerical.

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 to be 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 percentage of the population declined to nine percent. By making blacks a planned numerical minority, white society assured its dominance in a democratic society where the majority always wins. Source: Sample chapter

Hence, a national ban is actually what they want. Fifteen weeks will be sold as a "reasonable" compromise, and then it will be paired down to the goose egg that is the actual target. Hence, the hostility towards mixed-race couples and multiracial children from their union: they're not on the "white" team. Hence, the hostility towards the LGBTQ community and whether or not they conceive by surrogate or artificial insemination, their union does not produce enough "white" babies to maintain a numerical majority for the "white" team. Mrs. Cox and upper-middle-class suburban women like her will always have the means and the money to flee any complications and save future childbearing years. Ms. Watt will have one of two options: either flush her undesired fetus while in a state of shock down a toilet or die from complications that she cannot afford to mitigate.

The American Eugenics Movement, unfortunately, had a boost from prominent scientists who wished to rid the world of the "feebleminded" and the unfit. They did this through forced sterilization and control over who could get married (to procreate in the first place). If you've ever used the terms "well-bred" or "good breeding," those originate from eugenics, now accepted as a pseudoscience, once promoted by one of the founders of the transistor and Nobel laureate in Physics, William Schockley. Coupled with southern Jim Crow, eugenics-on-steroids in the hands of the Nazis led to the Holocaust.

Nazi authorities created the Lebensborn program to increase Germany’s population. Pregnant German women deemed “racially valuable” were encouraged to give birth to their children at Lebensborn homes. During World War II, the program became complicit in the kidnapping of foreign children with physical features considered “Aryan” by the Nazis.

Source: Lebensborn Program/U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

More Than 700,000 Ukrainian Children Taken To Russia Since Full-Scale War Started, Official Says, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty

Dramatic Population Drop in Russia, as War, COVID and Emigration Exacerbate Declining Births, Health Policy Watch

The First U.S. Congress enacted the first naturalization law that declared America to be 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 percentage of the population declined to nine percent. By making blacks a planned numerical minority, white society assured its dominance in a democratic society where the majority always wins. Source: Sample chapter

If one is desperate to maintain a majority or "goose your numbers," you might be capable of anything to achieve those ends.

Very soon in the founding of a new nation, however, White Christians began to establish their well-being by using the resources, bodies, and lives of others. Through their own "witchcraft," European Christians employed a mysterious and threatening potency that was the practice of using the other for their own gain. In [James W.] Perkinson's description, through the projects of the modern Christian empire, "a witchery" of heretofore unimaginable potency ravaged African and aboriginal cultures...For Perkinson, the witchcraft of White supremacy was conjured through racial discourse as an ideological and practical frame that he identifies as the 'quintessential witchery of modernity.'... In Perkinson's chilling words, "Whiteness, under the veneer of its 'heavenly' pallor, is a great grinding witch tooth, sucking blood and tearing flesh without apology."

Excerpts: The Sin of White Supremacy: Christianity, Racism & Religious Diversity in America," by Jeanine Hill Fletcher, CH 2: The Witchcraft of White Supremacy, 47, 48.

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The Red Road...

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

I can hear an irritated counterthrust already. The president has not driven the United States into a recession during his almost seven years in office. Unemployment stands at a respectable 4.6 percent. Well, fine. But the other side of the ledger groans with distress: a tax code that has become hideously biased in favor of the rich; a national debt that will probably have grown 70 percent by the time this president leaves Washington; a swelling cascade of mortgage defaults; a record near-$850 billion trade deficit; oil prices that are higher than they have ever been; and a dollar so weak that for an American to buy a cup of coffee in London or Paris—or even the Yukon—becomes a venture in high finance.

And it gets worse. After almost seven years of this president, the United States is less prepared than ever to face the future. We have not been educating enough engineers and scientists, people with the skills we will need to compete with China and India. We have not been investing in the kinds of basic research that made us the technological powerhouse of the late 20th century. And although the president now understands—or so he says—that we must begin to wean ourselves from oil and coal, we have become more deeply dependent on both on his watch.

Up to now, the conventional wisdom has been that Herbert Hoover, whose policies aggravated the Great Depression, is the odds-on claimant for the mantle of “worst president” regarding stewardship of the American economy. Once Franklin Roosevelt assumed office and reversed Hoover’s policies, the country began to recover. The economic effects of Bush’s presidency are more insidious than those of Hoover, harder to reverse, and likely to be longer-lasting. There is no threat of America’s being displaced from its position as the world’s richest economy. But our grandchildren will still be living with and struggling with the economic consequences of Mr. Bush.

The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Vanity Fair, December 7, 2007

I am enjoying the New York Times bestseller by former Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning. The book was sold out, so I bought the CDs to play on my car’s player as I casually drive to and from work. There are 11 CDs, and from the few I’ve listened to, she has an hour’s worth of material for each. The book is 384 pages.

I enjoy her erudite writing and observations of our current moment and crisis. Though we probably don’t agree on many things, I admire her integrity, love of her parents (particularly her dad), her family, and demonstrated fidelity to the US Constitution.

However, her dad was a part of the administration that Nobel laureate Dr. Stiglitz discusses in his Vanity Fair article. It was her dad who, instead of searching for a VP candidate, nominated himself. It was her dad who championed the disastrous war in Iraq, a country that did not attack us on September 11, 2001. He didn’t just “sex up” the intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; he lied. That license led to thousands of Iraqis killed and the fertile ground from which sprang Al-Qaeda in Iraq, followed by ISIS. That license led to pathological licentiousness to lie more than 30,000 times in a four-year presidential term. “Deficits don’t matter” leads to truth not mattering—Post hoc ergo proctor hoc.

It was her dad who said:

“You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: “We won the midterms [congressional elections]. This is our due.” A month later, in December 2002, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired.

O’Neill says Cheney told him, `Deficits don’t matter,’ Chicago Tribune, January 12, 2004

I remember reading this on my Kindle: The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill, Ron Suskind. For Liz’s dad, deficits didn’t matter. That drove the drunken stupor of tax cuts that led to the cliff we almost fell off in 2008. There was a real crisis when the Obama-Biden administration took office after the financial crash spawned by the “deficits don’t matter” philosophy.

Wall Street was, of course, bailed out over Main Street. COVID bailouts benefitted the rich. That’s why Wall Street is more than willing to do it again. Until we see some CEOs and Hedge Fund Managers frog-marched in shackles, what onus stops them?

The Dow Jones hit a record 37,000+ Thursday. Yet, we’re into how we “feel” about the economy. I don’t think it’s “feelings.”

Inflation soared across the globe last year, peaking near 11% in the eurozone and above 9% in the US.

The source of that high inflation has become a well-trodden line. Analysts have typically laid the blame on supply-chain bottlenecks created by excess demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The war also increased energy prices, leading to further rises in inflation as suppliers factored in higher transport and running costs.

While this contributed to rising prices, the report finds that company profits increased at a much faster rate than costs did, in a process often dubbed “greedflation.”

Profits for companies in some of the world’s largest economies rose by 30% between 2019 and 2022, significantly outpacing inflation, according to the group’s research of 1,350 firms across the US, the UK, Europe, Brazil, and South Africa.

The biggest perpetrators were energy companies like Shell, Exxon Mobil, and Chevron, which were able to enjoy massive profits last year as demand moved away from Russian oil and gas.

A June study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that 45% of eurozone inflation in 2022 could be attributed to domestic profits. Companies in a position to benefit most from higher commodity prices and supply-demand mismatches raised their profits by the most, the study found.

CEOs of the world’s biggest companies consistently sounded the alarm on inflation as a significant barrier to growth. Many blamed rising input costs on their own price hikes. However, lots of those CEOs appear to have instead used the panic of rising costs to pump up their balance sheet.

The biggest study of ‘greedflation’ yet looked at 1,300 corporations to find many of them were lying to you about inflation, Ryan Hogg, Yahoo Finance, December 8, 2023

In essence, gaslighting is the psychological manipulation of a person, usually over an extended period of time, that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator—the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage. Election season can create emotions spanning from immense anxiety all the way to extreme apathy. The public arguing, divisiveness, and competition for votes, including political gaslighting, can be overwhelming and exhausting.—Vernita Perkins and Leonard A. Jason, Merriam-Webster.

Political gaslighting has one objective: to undermine the truth, or more accurately, to undermine objective truth.

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” Winston Smith, in “1984” by George Orwell. Under torture, O’Brien makes Winston say he sees five fingers when O’Brien is holding up four. The Party was the arbiter of truth, and “truth” was whatever the Party or O’Brien said it was.

“There are FOUR lights!” Jean Luc Picard shouted defiantly under torture by Gul Madred in Star Trek: The Next Generation: “Chain of Command, part II.”

There are strategies to combat gaslighting. Despair can be debilitating and a self-fulfilling prophecy if the worst possible outcome that you can think of happens.

The best strategy I know to combat despair is to work on a campaign that you’re passionate about. In 2012, it didn’t look like Barack Obama and Joe Biden would get re-elected against Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan (former Speaker of the House - remember him?). My wife and I volunteered to call from the campaign office of Sean Patrick Maloney, who we had never heard of. He won and became our Congressman as long as we lived in New York. He sadly lost his seat when congressional districts were redrawn, so he was competing for the same votes as another Democrat.

The best weapon against gaslighting is truth.

Liz Cheney is telling the truth and bringing receipts—truth matters.

She quotes her dad on the second CD, who admonished her to “save the republic, daughter,” missing the irony his “deficits don’t matter” rhetoric spawned what we’re all living through.

Take heart. Tell the truth. Truth matters in the face of lies. Grind it out next year and vote.

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Power and Resources...

 

 

 

French economist Thomas Piketty compares the US economy to Europe in the Gilded Age. Oregon Live, 2014

 

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

 

Thomas Piketty wrote "Capital in the 21st Century" in 2013 centered on the wealth inequality we can see all around us. I can see more house-less citizens on the streets of North Carolina and Texas (on a recent visit) than I can remember from my youth because back then, we didn't have 8 billion inhabitants on the planet. There is a documentary of the same title on Amazon Prime video. The premise is ominous, and it bears witness to the stress that our world system is undergoing.

 

Dr. Piketty suggests that the rise of fascism around the world is because of income inequality. The climate crisis only exacerbates the supply chain, as thousand-year weather events are now more frequent than we would like.

 

Fascism is on the rise globally, but it is for lazy people. Propping up a so-called "strongman" gives a fall guy: if he (usually a "he") is right, he gets all the praise. If he's wrong, there can be one of two reactions: a coup (a coup, political, physical, or both is usually how they came to power in the first place), or a flaccid, impotent collective powerless shrug by the populace. So-called "strongmen" (an ever-oxymoron) are preferred when there is uncertainty, supplies are scarce, and people are fleeing wars, biblical tsunamis, and isolated by pandemics. When people are afraid, they are ripe for conmen and charlatans who will "fix" what is wrong and reflect back to halcyon days that never existed.

 

Democracy requires a shared reality, upon which sides debate and come to a consensus for the betterment of the electorate. Consensus means that you and your side won't get your "laundry list" after laying out your arguments, at least in that particular debate. It requires compromise and logic to be successful. It also helps that you are sane.

 

Whether you set your government framework on capitalism, communism, republicanism, or socialism, the divine right of kings, each has a hierarchy decided long ago of those who deserve the wealth and riches, and those pariahs at the base of the pyramid that do not.

 

Russian aggression in Ukraine, Hamas attacks in Israel; and Somali refugees in Europe are all because we are on the same volume of a planet that existed 43 years ago when we were only 4.4 billion people, and the American military after Vietnam was licking its wounds, reframing around an "all-volunteer force." The Soviet Union still existed as an existential boogie-man. Now, that remnant interferes in democratic elections worldwide, because the notion of participation in a stable world order is anathema to a kleptocracy.

 

Modern-day robber barons are no different than their ancestors, who met untimely ends in the French Revolution. Since we fought a Revolutionary War to depart the authoritarian crown of King George, the word sounds adventurous, avant-garde; "cool." Revolutions are bloody, and they aren't always for noble reasons.

 

"We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity. Our movement is Christian." Adolph Hitler, 1928, Snopes

 

The current status quo is unsustainable. We can't keep siphoning up ("trickledown" is gaslighting) tax breaks to American oligarchs and tax shelters in America and Europe for Russian oligarchs. It is thermodynamically impossible to "consume our way to utopia," and colonizing Mars is a pipedream by Elmo Musk, whose plan to terraform the Red Planet is impractical, impossible, unworkable, and dangerous. I'm not against space exploration. Far from it. Seeing the runaway Greenhouse Gas Emissions on Venus informed our models on Earth. Mars at one time probably had an atmosphere, water, and life about four billion years ago. The point is, the planet doesn't have either now, and the closest planet to terraform is right under our feet, without a requirement of VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing), rockets, or superluminal star drives. It merely requires something we should have learned to do in kindergarten: sharing resources with one another for the "common good" of continuance.

 

Cooperation is survival. Hoarding is death.

 

“Last year, I had a life-changing experience at 90 years old. I went to space, after decades of playing an iconic science-fiction character who was exploring the universe. I thought I would experience a deep connection with the immensity around us, a deep call for endless exploration.

 

"I was absolutely wrong. The strongest feeling, that dominated everything else by far, was the deepest grief that I had ever experienced.

 

"I understood, in the clearest possible way, that we were living on a tiny oasis of life, surrounded by an immensity of death. I didn’t see infinite possibilities of worlds to explore, adventures to have, or living creatures to connect with. I saw the deepest darkness I could have ever imagined, contrasting so starkly with the welcoming warmth of our nurturing home planet.

 

"This was an immensely powerful awakening for me. It filled me with sadness. I realized that we had spent decades, if not centuries, being obsessed with looking away, with looking outside. I did my share in popularizing the idea that space was the final frontier. But I had to get to space to understand that Earth is and will stay our only home. And that we have been ravaging it, relentlessly, making it uninhabitable."
-- William Shatner, actor

 

Credit goes to the respective owners.
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Oxymoron...

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The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists shifted the Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds to midnight at a news conference in January 2023. From left, Siegfried Hecker, Daniel Holz, Sharon Squassoni, Mary Robinson and Elbegdorj Tsakhia (Photo credit: Patrick Semansky).

Topics: Astrobiology, Civilization, Existentialism, Science Fiction, SETI, Space Exploration

A few weeks ago, I posted “Wine of Consciousness” on Friday without commentary. There were many directions I could have taken. I did want to see how readers would react. As I postulated, the viewership was limited. There were many directions that I COULD have taken the post. Still, I decided every iteration was getting a little too “pop science” for my taste, and that can quickly cross over into pseudo without critical thinking.

Avi Loeb is popularly known for his hypothesis that Oumuamua (“scout” in Polynesian) wasn’t a meteor or comet but a possible extraterrestrial probe sent by an intelligence with a similar understanding of physics and the limitations of intergalactic travel: without something like 99% the speed of light (warp velocity is still the providence of science fiction), such journeys are not possible within the normal span of lifetimes. Dr. Loeb is a theoretical physicist in the Department of Astronomy at Harvard.

I’m from the generation that grew up hearing about “UFOs” (unidentified flying objects), “flying saucers,” and “little green men.” Green succumbed to gray, grey, or “the grays/greys” (E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial), and now we’re discussing UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena).

Another theoretical physicist has tackled the challenge by publishing another book: “UFOs: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena: Observations, Explanations, and Speculations (Paperback)” in what appears to be a lucrative cottage industry.

When someone asks me if I believe there is life elsewhere in the universe, I will say yes. Amoeba is life, bacteria is life, viruses: the jury is still out on whether or not they are alive in the biological sense.

I have often wondered if intelligence is its own Entropy: that the very systems any sentient species would create for itself in governing resources, governments, commerce, and space exploration would be its undoing, which might answer The Fermi Paradox.

The hope of extraterrestrials existing and interacting with Earth mortals might be a cultural wish: a hope that despite our alarming tendency to screw things up, we either might survive our boundless hubris, or SOMEONE will save us from our stupidity, Deus ex machina, or benevolent Vulcans.

Homo Sapiens is Latin for “wise men.”

Homo Stultus (“stupid men”) seems more apropos.

Is a More Advanced Civilization an Oxymoron? Avi Loeb, Medium

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Everything, Everywhere, All at Once...

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The Flood by Antonio Marziale Carracci

Topics: Civilization, Climate Change, Energy, Environment, Existentialism, Global Warming

Another week, another catastrophic, record-setting, history-making flood, this time in Kentucky.

Preliminary assessments indicate rainfall in Graves County last week likely set a new record for most precipitation in a 24-hour period, with 11.28 inches of rain. This would make it yet another “1,000-year” flood event, which had, according to historical projections, less than a 0.1 percent chance of occurring in any given year. One of the towns that experienced flash flooding was Mayfield, a community still rebuilding from a 2021 tornado that killed 57 people.

This was just one of the 11 flash flood emergencies in as many days in the United States, according to Weather Channel meteorologist Heather Zons. These events have claimed multiple lives: 2-year-old Mattie Shiels, 9-month-old brother, Conrad, and their mother, Katie Seley drowned after getting swept away by flash flooding in Pennsylvania, during an event that killed at least four others. In New York earlier this month, 43-year-old Pamela Nugent was swept away trying to evacuate a flooded area; 63-year-old Stephen Davoll drowned in his home in Vermont.

Other catastrophic, deadly flooding events have occurred almost simultaneously around the globe. Just this weekend, 10 inches of rain fell on parts of Nova Scotia, Canada, which is about as much as the region experiences over a period of three months. Four people, including two children, are still missing.

Everything, everywhere, all at once: The great floods of 2023, Jessica McKenzie, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July 27, 2023

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The Wine of Consciousness...

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Credit: Fanatic Studio/Gary Waters/Getty Images

Topics: Education, Existentialism, Philosophy, Physics

Physicists and philosophers recently met to debate a theory of consciousness called panpsychism.

More than 400 years ago, Galileo showed that many everyday phenomena—such as a ball rolling down an incline or a chandelier gently swinging from a church ceiling—obey precise mathematical laws. For this insight, he is often hailed as the founder of modern science. But, Galileo recognized that not everything was amenable to a quantitative approach. Such things as colors, tastes, and smells “are no more than mere names,” Galileo declared, for “they reside only in consciousness.” These qualities aren’t really out there in the world, he asserted, but exist only in the minds of creatures that perceive them. “Hence, if the living creature were removed,” he wrote, “all these qualities would be wiped away and annihilated.”

Since Galileo’s time, the physical sciences have leaped forward, explaining the workings of the tiniest quarks to the largest galaxy clusters. But explaining things that reside “only in consciousness”—the red of a sunset, say, or the bitter taste of a lemon—has proven far more difficult. Neuroscientists have identified a number of neural correlates of consciousness—brain states associated with specific mental states—but have not explained how matter forms minds in the first place. As philosopher Colin McGinn put it in a 1989 paper, “Somehow, we feel, the water of the physical brain is turned into the wine of consciousness.” Philosopher David Chalmers famously dubbed this quandary the “hard problem” of consciousness.*

Scholars recently gathered to debate the problem at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., during a two-day workshop focused on an idea known as panpsychism. The concept proposes that consciousness is a fundamental aspect of reality, like mass or electrical charge. The idea goes back to antiquity—Plato took it seriously—and has had some prominent supporters over the years, including psychologist William James and philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell. Lately, it is seeing renewed interest, especially following the 2019 publication of philosopher Philip Goff’s book Galileo’s Error, which argues forcefully for the idea.

Is Consciousness Part of the Fabric of the Universe? Dan Falk, Scientific American

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Pattern Recognition...

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"Last Battlefield," 47 years later, StarTrek.com, January 10, 2016

 

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

https://www.amazon.com/Deadline-Other-Controversial-SF-Classics/dp/1615083863/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2OG3SHB3ZGSZB&keywords=deadline+cleve&qid=1696985555&sprefix=deadline+cleve+cartmill%2Caps%2C116&sr=8-1

 

The Cleve Cartmill affair, source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadline_(science_fiction_story)

 

I admit I had heard of this before, but I didn't know the government gave it his name. It figures because Cleve was clever (see what I did there?) amid the Second World War and the secret Manhattan Project, led by Robert J. Oppenheimer and now a popular movie from Christopher Nolan. Cleve honestly thought the story was crap, but I can see why the FBI got so excited. Fiction writers are storytellers, and storytellers recognize patterns in human nature and the logical outcomes of scientific research. Instead of the devices that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki ("Little Boy" and "Fat Man"), we very well could have had Philip K. Dick's predicted "Heisenberg Device" ("The Man in the High Castle," 1962, also a fascinating alternative history series on Amazon Prime).

 

I found a fascinating Internet archive photocopy of the magazine. I can smell the pages of it: https://archive.org/details/astoundingsciencefiction1944marchdeadlineatombombstory/page/n1/mode/2up?view=theater.

 

The Amazon description (even though they don't have a copy in print):

 

WHY DID THE FBI WANT "DEADLINE" CENSORED? Hugo and Nebula Award winner Robert Silverberg says, "Deadline's publication caus[ed] the FBI to investigate Cartmill, Astounding Science Fiction, John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and L. Sprague de Camp." Author Cleve Cartmill, editor John W. Campbell, publishers Street & Smith, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and L. Sprague de Camp were only some of those who came under government investigation after security officials learned of the contents of what was to become science fiction's most controversial brainchild? Why? You will discover the startling answers in Jean Marie Stine's amazing introduction to this first-ever collection of Golden Age author Cartmill's work. Included in this mammoth volume are four complete novellas: The Too-close to Reality for the Government, "Deadline," the noirish outer space mystery, "Some Day We'll Find You," the intellectual thriller of an attempted revolution against a future theocracy; "With Flaming Swords," and the thought-provoking story of a man whose desire to be a normal, patriotic citizen inadvertently lead to his society's "Overthrow." But, be warned: Cartmill questioned authority and traditional explanations and told his stories to inspire readers to see and question the shortcomings of their society. So, if you are completely comfortable with your government, society, and life and never want to doubt what you're told, put down this book immediately and do not read any further. Cleve Cartmill (1908-1964) was a reporter, radio operator and inventor. He is most famous for "Deadline," the Murchison And Co., Space Salvagers series, and his short novels for the legendary Unknown magazine. This book's editor, Jean Marie Stine, is a well-known science fiction author and anthologist. During the late 1960s, she served as a personal assistant to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and in the 1970s, she wrote the classic The Prisoner: A Day in the Life, based on Patrick McGoohan's cult television series.

 

*****

 

One of my favorite and most powerful Trek episodes I saw as a youth was "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." Recall the 60s weren't just "make love, not war": there was a lot of both. Vietnam overseas, protests of the war, and Civil Rights/Voting Rights marches at home. Suspicions that any deviance from the John Birch Society's authoritarian "norm" was judged subversive; communists, therefore, were necessarily purged and crushed from existence. Judging from the airing date, its first showing came nine months after the sad assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

 

It also aired during the climate of the Cold War, a period many seemingly LONG to get back to (that madness), where the nuclear "plan" was called MAD: mutually assured destruction. We still possess that insane power, essentially holding humanity hostage, guns to our heads.

 

Gene Roddenberry put an interracial, international crew together: Nyota Uhura (literally: "Freedom Star" in Kiswahili); Hikaru Sulu (for the Sulu sea, meant to represent all of Asia, but of fictional Japanese origin); Pavel Andreievich Chekov (a RUSKIE for crying out loud!). In this fictional treatment, Bele and Lokai "stood their ground" until the end. As I've commented before, Roddenberry developed his own eschatology, y. Yet, it is positive and relevant that we might survive our own hubris, essentially stemming from old tribal conflicts and current contemporary displays of breathtaking stupidity and arrogance.

 

This episode was a stark warning of the inevitable consequences of NOT...

 

Source: Wikipedia

 

"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is the fifteenth episode of the third season of the original science fiction television show Star Trek. It was first broadcast on January 10, 1969, and repeated on August 12, 1969. It was written by Oliver Crawford, based on a story by Gene L. Coon (writing under his pen name "Lee Cronin") and directed by Jud Taylor. The script evolved from an outline by Barry Trivers for a possible first-season episode called "A Portrait in Black and White." The script was accepted for the third season following budget cuts. The episode guest-stars Lou Antonio and Frank Gorshin, best known for his role as The Riddler in the Batman live-action television series. Contrary to popular rumors and articles, Gorshin was not Emmy nominated for this role.

 

In this episode, the Enterprise picks up two survivors of a war-torn planet who are still committed to destroying each other aboard the ship.

 

Once the Ariannus mission is completed, Bele takes control of the Enterprise again, but this time, he deactivates the auto-destruct in the process and sends the ship to Cheron. Once there, the two aliens find the planet's population completely wiped out by a global war fueled by insane racial hatred. Lokai and Bele stare silently at the destruction on the monitor and realize they are the only ones left of their race (or, as they see it, their "races").

Instead of calling a truce, the two beings begin to blame each other for the destruction of the planet, and a brawl ensues. As the two aliens fight, their innate powers radiate, cloaking them with an energy aura that threatens to damage the ship. With no other choice, Kirk sadly allows the two aliens to chase each other down to their obliterated world to decide their own fates, consumed by their now self-perpetuating mutual hate. Forlorn, Lt. Uhura asks if their hate is all they ever had. Kirk ruefully says no...but it is all they have left.

 

Let That Be Your Last Battlefield: Script

 

Bele and Lokai. Black on one side and white on the other. Mirror images of each other. Cain and Abel. Brahman and Dalit. German and Jewish. Catholic and Protestant. Hutu and Tutsi. Ukrainian and Russian. Ishmael and Isaac, imago alterius. Of the same genome and lands, on the same PLANET, yet hating one another for the most superficial, if you want to call it this, "reasoning." Which was the more excellent sacrifice? Who is the Abrahamic son of blessing? Though I invoke Biblical struggles, the current crisis started almost with the birth of the modern nation of Israel and the displacement of Palestinians after the Second World War. Vox gives a nice primer on the history. All conflict boils down to a struggle over resources: oil, minerals, rare earth, jewels, water, holy ground, and the faux hierarchies the few use to justify the grand theft of resources from the many.

Let's be clear: Hamas is a terrorist organization, as the Russian Federation is a terrorist state. Both are not invested in world order (a "Boogie Man" term) because disorder is their only superpower. A coalition between Israel and Saudi Arabia is as disastrous to Hamas as Ukraine is on the border of Russia: they are, ironically, the "threat of a good example" (Noam Chomsky). How do you justify the destruction of a nation when two monotheistic governments cooperate? How do you justify a dictatorship when there is a democracy on your border, that Russians have relatives there, and many have intermarried? "Superpower" is a documentary filmed by the actor Sean Penn at the beginning of the conflict. If you saw Putin's expression the one time he and Volodymyr Zelinsky were on stage together, and Zelinsky defied Putin's version of events, I don't need to study Russian to see when a dictator is incensed. These wars are personal. He and Hamas are Bele.

 

A planet or a nation in the Near East. The pattern is recognizable, as is its conclusion.

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

 

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."

 

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

"The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence."


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., BrainyQuote.com

 

Tao produces one
One produces two
Two produce three
Three produce myriad things
Myriad things, backed by yin and embracing yang
Achieve harmony by integrating their energy
What the people dislike
Are alone, bereft, and unworthy
But the rulers call themselves these terms

 

So, with all things
Appear to take loss but benefit
Or receive benefits but lose
What the ancients taught
I will also teach
The violent one cannot have a natural death
I will use this as the principle of all teachings

 

(Tao te Ching verse 42, translation by Derek Lin, 2006)

 

 

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Peace...

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Topics: Existentialism, Nobel Laureate, Nobel Peace Prize

Press release. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Fri. 6 Oct 2023. < https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/2023/press-release/ >

Narges Mohammadi is a woman, a human rights advocate, and a freedom fighter. Her brave struggle for freedom of expression and the right to independence has come with tremendous personal costs. Altogether, the regime in Iran has arrested her 13 times, convicted her five times, and sentenced her to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes.

Narges Mohammadi is still in prison.

Announcement

“Zan – Zendegi – Azadi”
“Woman – Life – Freedom”

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2023 to Narges Mohammadi for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all. Her brave struggle has come with tremendous personal costs. Altogether, the regime has arrested her 13 times, convicted her five times, and sentenced her to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes. Ms Mohammadi is still in prison as I speak.

In September 2022, a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Jina Amini, was killed while in the custody of the Iranian morality police. Her killing triggered the largest political demonstrations against Iran’s theocratic regime since it came to power in 1979. Under the slogan “Woman – Life – Freedom”, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took part in peaceful protests against the authorities’ brutality and oppression of women. The regime cracked down hard on the protests: more than 500 demonstrators were killed. Thousands were injured, including many who were blinded by rubber bullets fired by the police. At least 20,000 people were arrested and held in regime custody.

The motto adopted by the demonstrators – “Woman – Life – Freedom” – suitably expresses the dedication and work of Narges Mohammadi.

Woman. She fights for women against systematic discrimination and oppression.

Life. She supports women’s struggle for the right to live full and dignified lives. This struggle across Iran has been met with persecution, imprisonment, torture, and even death.

Freedom. She fights for freedom of expression and the right to independence and against rules requiring women to remain out of sight and to cover their bodies. The freedom demands expressed by demonstrators apply not only to women but to the entire population.

In the 1990s, as a young physics student, Narges Mohammadi was already distinguishing herself as an advocate for equality and women’s rights. After concluding her studies, she worked as an engineer as well as a columnist in various reform-minded newspapers. In 2003 she became involved with the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Tehran, an organization founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. In 2011, Ms. Mohammadi was arrested for the first time and sentenced to many years of imprisonment for her efforts to assist incarcerated activists and their families.

Two years later, after her release on bail, Ms Mohammadi immersed herself in a campaign against the use of the death penalty. Iran has long been among the countries that execute the highest proportion of their inhabitants annually. Just since January 2022, more than 860 prisoners have been punished by death in Iran.

Her activism against the death penalty led to the re-arrest of Ms Mohammadi in 2015 and to a sentence of additional years behind walls. Upon her return to prison, she began opposing the regime’s systematic use of torture and sexualized violence against political prisoners, especially women, that is practiced in Iranian prisons.

Last year’s wave of protests became known to the political prisoners held inside the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. Once again, Ms Mohammadi assumed leadership. From prison, she expressed support for the demonstrators and organized solidarity actions among her fellow inmates. The prison authorities responded by imposing even stricter conditions. Ms Mohammadi was prohibited from receiving calls and visitors. She nevertheless managed to smuggle out an article that the New York Times published on the one-year anniversary of Mahsa Jina Amini’s killing. The message was: “The more of us they lock up, the stronger we become.” From captivity, Ms Mohammadi has helped to ensure that the protests have not ebbed out.

Narges Mohammadi is a woman, a human rights advocate, and a freedom fighter. In awarding her this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honor her courageous fight for human rights, freedom, and democracy in Iran. This year’s Peace Prize also recognizes the hundreds of thousands of people who, in the preceding year, have demonstrated against the theocratic regime’s policies of discrimination and oppression targeting women. Only by embracing equal rights for all can the world achieve the fraternity between nations that Alfred Nobel sought to promote. The award to Narges Mohammadi follows a long tradition in which the Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the Peace Prize to those working to advance social justice, human rights, and democracy. These are important preconditions for lasting peace.

Oslo, 6 October 2023

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A Cult of Ignorance...

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Asimov image: https://karsh.org/isaac-asimov/

 

Sagan image: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0755981/

 

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

 

Note: The Nobel Prize will be awarded starting Monday in Physiology, then Physics (my admitted favorite), Chemistry, Literature, Peace, and Economics the following Monday. Thus, the concentration of the postings will be Nobel as they post. I will be “nerding out.”

 

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding [its way] through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

 

Isaac Asimov

 

This is an often-used quote for memes from a longer essay by Isaac Asimov, who was at the time a professor of biochemistry at Boston University and the author of 212 books of science and science fiction (an interesting “side hustle”). I provided the link above and below, highlighted with his name. Dr. Asimov had much to say about the state of affairs as he saw it during my freshman year at North Carolina A&T State University in 1980. It was also the year the New York Times reported more black males in college than in the prison industrial complex. It was an election year and the year for the inaugural of 24-hour news media in Ted Turner’s Cable News Network (CNN), which birthed copycats Fox and MSNBC in 1996. It’s hard to imagine that before Ted’s innovation, television wasn’t a profit-making enterprise as much as a public service. Pundits didn’t wear their party affiliations on their sleeves or give “opinions” on the “news.” Mostly, they did not lie to their audiences to goose ratings either.

 

Asimov’s poignant observation of the phrase “Don’t trust anyone over 30” had to morph to “Don’t trust the experts” since Neverland never existed. The Second Law of Thermodynamics (the “arrow of time”) does, and did, meaning that those who gave that warning eventually would be untrustworthy after the “big 3-0.” Therefore, “Don’t trust the experts” became the foundation for railing against elites, which means anyone who goes to a library, pursues an education up to a terminal degree, or reads a book.

 

Experts created the Internet. Experts like “Hidden Figures” Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan enabled the United States to get to the Moon (there would be no “SpaceX” without them). Experts like Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett were one of many who helped to create the mRNA technology for the vaccines used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

But “Don’t trust the experts,” a vapid slogan or talking point if there ever was one.

 

Sloganeering in the Cambridge Dictionary has a succinct and to-the-point definition: “trying to persuade people by repeating phrases instead of explaining your ideas.” It means the absence of an argument. Thus, there is a deliberate absence and avoidance of thinking or outlining to formulate a cogent framework, relying on volume and repetition so that others will begin following your “lead” from the sheer exhaustion of gaslighting.

 

*****

 

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

 

*****

 

Dr. Sagan published these words in 1995. Both authors’ works are still available years after their deaths.

 

Celebrating ignorance invariably leads to a cult of ignorance.

 

It is a cult of ignorance when expertise is assailed as bullying.

 

It is a cult of ignorance when your side can’t admit to losing the Civil War or a presidential election.

 

It is a cult of ignorance when Dr. Fauci, Senator Romney, the FBI, the CDC, elected officials, and VOLUNTEER election workers must shell out dollars to protect their families from raving lunatics who believe every conspiracy tall tale printed, uttered, tweeted, or truth-ed.

 

Source material: Cult of Ignorance

 

Climate scientists are experts, yet they cannot be believed if the stupefying mantra is to be obeyed. The war against experts has always baffled me. No couple during Braxton Hicks contractions wants an Appalachian folk medicine doctor like Granny from the “Beverly Hillbillies” applying moonshine and a hacksaw or Norm, the mailman from the sitcom “Cheers” to start spitballing and wing it through the full delivery.

 

But, “it’s the weather,” following the “Don’t trust the experts” mantra, despite new Hurricane Katrinas repeated since 2005 across the globe, fire seasons in California and Canada, and women never having complications from ectopic pregnancies, high blood pressure, depression, stillbirths that need intervention by what is now illegal in most neo-confederate states (“conservative” they are not) because of the “sanctity of life” until the children are old enough to be lead-sprayed by psychopaths. Because in terms of climate, some wish to induce the apocalypse, and because in terms of bodily autonomy, the stork brings all babies alive and well as requested to cisgender parents, and no “others.”

 

*****

 

I contend that the slogan “America’s right to know” is [a] meaningless one when we have an ignorant population and that the function of a free press is virtually zero when hardly anyone can read.

 

What shall we do about it?

 

We might begin by asking ourselves whether ignorance is so wonderful after all and whether it makes sense to denounce “elitism.”

 

I believe that every human being with a physically normal brain can learn a great deal and be surprisingly intellectual. I believe that what we badly need is [a] social approval of learning and social rewards for learning.

 

We can all be members of the intellectual elite, and then, will a phrase like “America’s right to know” and, indeed, any true concept of democracy have any meaning.

 

Isaac Asimov

 

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Cloth Diapers...

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

 

This essay is derived from a creative work of the same title, posted on my poetry blog Monday.

 

Happy birthday, mom. I miss you.

 

Sixty years ago, you were thirty-eight years old. I was one year, one month, and one day old. I was apparently potty-trained, which I didn't know until my big sister told me after I bragged that my granddaughter, your great-granddaughter, was potty-trained at two.

 

"We had cloth diapers back then. No one was playing with you, Reggie."

 

I took this to mean the task of changing cloth diapers, flushing the load, and WASHING them was probably unpleasant. It also subtly suggests that disposable diapers stifle our development.

 

Twenty-two years ago this past Monday, a Saudi Sheik, Osama Bin Ladin, trained by the CIA when he was in the Mujahadeen, fighting a proxy war with Russia in Afghanistan, convinced 19 hijackers, 15 from his nation, to plunge top-filled planes into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon: Flight 93 was supposed to hit the Capitol, except for the passengers who decided to intervene, "let's roll." 3,000+ people died. The nation was terrorized.

 

On your birthday, four little black girls were murdered for the crime of singing in a choir, or, correction, PRACTICING to sing in a choir for a performance. It happened on your thirty-eighth birthday. It was a Sunday.

 

Monday, you and Pop had to go to work like it was "normal." Violence has been normal for African Americans since the 13th Amendment ended enslavement (EXCEPT as a punishment for a crime: "wiggle room" that has been abused), the 14th gave us birthright citizenship, and the 15th gave at least our men, the right to vote. That was immediately thwarted in the aftermath of the antebellum South by naming the number of coins/marbles/soap bubbles in a bottle, poll taxes, tests to recite The Constitution (when civics knowledge for the average citizen - then, and now - would likely fail miserably).

 

You both had to drop me off at the sitter and hope to see me alive again and pretend, like every black person at the time, that this was "normal."

 

"Two medical professionals, Dr. Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Dr. Carol W. Greider,
Shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine with Dr. Jack W. Szostak in 2009 "for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase."

 

"The long, thread-like DNA molecules that carry our genes are packed into chromosomes, the telomeres being the caps on their ends. Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak discovered that a unique DNA sequence in the telomeres protects the chromosomes from degradation. Carol Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn identified telomerase, the enzyme that makes telomere DNA. These discoveries explained how the ends of the chromosomes are protected by the telomeres and that they are built by telomerase.

"If the telomeres are shortened, cells age. Conversely, if telomerase activity is high, telomere length is maintained, and cellular senescence is delayed."

Source: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2009/

 

Telomeres are shorter for African Americans, a byproduct of 400 years of racial terrorism.

 

We were, and are, terrorized for being human, for wanting what's in The Constitution, for exercising our birthright citizenship. They want to take that away, too., for undocumented immigrants, then probably selective brown people who won't vote for them. The Growth and Opportunity Project said they should reach out to African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, the LGBT, Women, and Youth to expand the party. They instead engage in "culture wars" that are silly, like fighting the banning of gas stoves (there isn't one), the replacement of incandescent lights with more climate-friendly fluorescent or LED lights, and somehow, it's outrageous to suggest limiting beer consumption (no one did).

 

I'm tired, momma.

 

September 11, 2001, Pop had been dead for two years. The boys were in fourth grade and college. They had questions. I had no answers, and I wanted to talk to Pop, but I couldn't. Now I can't talk to you.

 

As Americans finally experienced, on September 11, 2001, the psychological effects of the horrific fear of not knowing what calamity would end your existence.

 

Living in fear of being killed for the "sin" of being alive shortens your telomeres.

 

As my big sister observed:
This country needs more cloth diapers for our development.

 

Happy Heavenly birthday, momma. I miss you. Love, "Stink."

 

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60 Years Ago Tomorrow...

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Source: March on Washington, History dot com editors

 

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

 

Sixty years ago tomorrow, two dear friends turned a year old, and ten years old. Sixty years ago tomorrow, I was a year, and 12 days old. The March on Washington happened on the eighth anniversary of the terrorism and slaying of Emmett Till, August 28, 1955, the actual date of original march August 28, 1963, this coming Monday. The demonstrators asked for a form of reparations that would come in the Civil Rights Bill in 1964 the next year, the Voting Rights Bill in 1965, and the Fair Housing Act in 1968. Dr. King, in a recording before the march opined that "we were coming to get our check." There were celebrities like Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Marlon Brando, and future politicos (on opposite sides now) Nancy Pelosi, and Mitch McConnell. The march was a sea of "diversity, equity (sought) and inclusion (goaled for)" in that there were African Americans, white Americans, Jews, women and other minority groups on the Washington Mall. It was the "future and the hope" Gene Roddenberry and Lucille Ball launched Star Trek from. In two hundred years, we will have to get something right about living together.

 

At the original march, there were very few, if any, women allowed on the platform, John Lewis and Dr. King being the most famously remembered, as the Civil Rights Movement had a notable flaw: it was misogynist to its core. A lot of work behind the scenes, the arrests, the enduring of fire hoses was done by women like my big sister, heretofore unacknowledged. The hierarchy the then young people were marching against was a justification for those who "had," and those who "had not," but that did not let women at Langston's table yet. This stratification is a competition for resources, and those who have had the resources are never eager to part with or share them, even if it insures species survival. It makes "trickledown" a gaslighting myth, as any distribution, regardless of speed, is anathema to the system.

 

Tomorrow, there will be a commemorative march populated by the "least of these": African Americans, Asians, Hispanic/Latinos, LGBTQ, Women: all whose constitutional rights as citizens and EXISTENCE as humanity has been challenged since August 28, 1963. There has been a sustained assault by the ones who have benefited the most from the hierarchy that established Levittown's that are more economically segregated (de facto) than de jure (by law). No one has to burn crosses on your front lawn if you can't afford to live there. All of the aforementioned groups have seen the Voting Rights Act gutted, Roe vs. Wade eliminated, bodily autonomy and privacy of what we as citizens do at home in our bedrooms, down to contraception itself for the same reason: the hoarding of resources by those who consider themselves "worthy" so long as they have pariahs' necks to stamp.

 

The world population in 1963 was estimated at 3,195,779,247.

 

The world population in 2023 is estimated at 8,045,311,447.

 

Source: https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/WLD/world/population

 

Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980. Millennials from 1981 to 1996. Generation Z from 1996 (overlap) to 2012, and my granddaughter is "Generation Alpha" from 2013 to 2025. Source: https://caregiversofamerica.com/2022-generation-names-explained/

 

The globe hasn't gotten bigger, and Zephram Cochrane hasn't cracked the warp drive code (note: in the fictional Trek universe, he isn't born until the 2030s).

 

The world population is projected to reach 8.5 billion in 2030, and to increase further to 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion by 2100. As with any type of projection, there is a degree of uncertainty surrounding these latest population projections. United Nations

 *****

Broadly defined, ecofascism is any environmentalism that advocates or accepts violence and does so in a way that reinforces existing systems of inequality or targets certain people while leaving others untouched. It is basically environmentalism that suggests that certain people are naturally and exclusively entitled to control and enjoy environmental resources. Some types of people, in other words, are “native species” and others are “invasive.”

 

The term itself is still very much up for debate but gathering currency largely due to high-profile individuals who have explicitly identified themselves as ecofascist. An example includes the man who murdered 51 People in a Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque in 2019. The El Paso, Texas, shooter, also in 2019, did not refer to himself as an ecofascist, but he plagiarized the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto, including many of its bogus arguments about race, nation, and environment. More recently, as you mentioned, another young man drove several hours to Buffalo, New York, where he targeted Black grocery shoppers.

 

A common ecofascist argument, then, links national environment to population, contending that certain (often specifically nonwhite) populations, within the US or beyond it, are the primary cause of climate change and other environmental issues.

 

A Darker Shade of Green: Understanding Ecofascism, September 7, 2022 | Elaina Hancock - UConn Communications

 

I would also call this "eco-eugenics."

 

Environment. Levittown. Wealth. Population. All determined by a sick, psychopathy. Divided like a pie on the table of the depraved, in this case, the pariah Lazarus, and his kin get no crumbs from the Koinonia table. When you found a nation on the land grab and murder of its indigenous inhabitants, from Columbus to "Manifest Destiny," when you cultivate and build your wealth on the backs of kidnapped enslaved people from the continent that BIRTHED humanity, the only way you can maintain such a system that would make Alfred Hitchcock BLUSH is through the application of unmerciful violence. "Christian nation" and "United States" become a form of delusion and self-gaslighting. You might have to ban a few books to keep up the façade. Burning them would be too obvious.

 

I don't know what the world will be in 200 years, just like I don't know if a Zephram Cochrane will ever exist, but I hope for my "little one's" sake in six decades, it is still here, balanced on indigenous sensibilities with the environment, more egalitarian, and less authoritarian, the inequity quelled and every stomach filled, including hers, sixty years from now. She will be a little older than me, hopefully in a better world that I helped form.

 

2083: 10,427,226,400, Source: World Population Projections

 

"When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money." Cree Tribal Prophesy

 

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Until the Next July...

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This map shows global temperature anomalies for July 2023 according to the GISTEMP analysis by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Temperature anomalies reflect how July 2023 compared to the average July temperature from 1951-1980. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Topics: Civilization, Climate Change, Existentialism, Global Warming, NASA

Editor's Note: This release has been updated to add additional graphics and captions and to spell out the words degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius.

According to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, July 2023 was hotter than any other month in the global temperature record.

“Since day one, President Biden has treated the climate crisis as the existential threat of our time,” said Ali Zaidi, White House National Climate Advisor. Against the backdrop of record-high temperatures, wildfires, and floods, NASA’s analysis puts into context the urgency of President Biden’s unprecedented climate leadership. From securing the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest climate investment in history, to invoking the Defense Production Act to supercharge domestic clean energy manufacturing, to strengthening climate resilience in communities nationwide, President Biden is delivering on the most ambitious climate agenda in history.”

Overall, July 2023 was 0.43 degrees Fahrenheit (F) (0.24 degrees Celsius (C)) warmer than any other July in NASA’s record, and it was 2.1 F (1.18 C) warmer than the average July between 1951 and 1980. The primary focus of the GISS analysis is long-term temperature changes over many decades and centuries, and a fixed base period yields anomalies that are consistent over time. Temperature "normals" are defined by several decades or more - typically 30 years.

NASA Clocks July 2023 as Hottest Month on Record Ever Since 1880

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Cartoon Network...

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Mick Fleetwood's Maui Restaurant destroyed in Maui fire. Allison Rapp, Ultimate Classic Rock

Topics: Battery, Chemistry, Civics, Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Existentialism

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The Herculoids were a Hanna-Barbara cartoon that only ran for two seasons, from 1967 to 1969. From ages five to seven, I didn't demand much from my Saturday morning viewing pleasure: good guys, bad guys, action, good guys pummel bad guys, in this case, casting them off the planet. We landed on the Moon in their last year of air (it's a shame that history is now controversial). Dr. King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated In Medias Res. My understanding of Physics and STEM came much later.

Zandor, Tara, and Domo were the human protagonists defending planet "Amzot" (the writers threw spaghetti at the wall on this name). In a tepid reboot, they called it Quasar, a little more astrophysical but nonetheless kooky. They had a laser ray dragon (Zot), a rock ape (Igo), and a ten-legged rhino/triceratops hybrid that shot energy rocks from his snout (Tondro, the Terrific, because, yeah). Gloop and Gleep were human-sized, protoplasmic creatures called "the formless, fearless wonders," with eyes, and Gleep, was somehow the "son" of Gloop, without genitalia or gender (go with the bit?). The humans also shot energy rocks from slingshots at the foes too dumb to leave Zandor and his jungle planet alone. If the rocks were made of Lithium, they shouldn't have lasted too long: one of its properties is its volatility in oxygenated atmospheres.

In 1967, I would have been five years old and not too demanding of my visual entertainment on Saturday Morning Cartoons, as this old form pastime was called.

Taking a few courses in Physics drives a probing question and observation:

 

Where were the flocks of laser ray dragons, the congress of rock apes, the herds of rhino/triceratops hybrids, and what marshy bog did the "formless, fearless wonders" ascend from? It seemed Zot, Igo, Tondro, Gloop, and Gleep were the only ones of their kind.

In "Sarko: The Arkman," Sarko kidnaps Domo, Igo, and Tondro for his "collection" on another planet. Zandor rides Zot with Gloop to ANOTHER PLANET without the need of a spaceship, escape velocity, pressurized spacesuits, protection from radiation, or the friction of reentry to Sarko's world. Even if the planet was in the same orbital plane as Amzot, it didn't appear to take him long, and he wasn't bruised by a single meteor during the trip nor tanned from radiation burns (or dead). Gleep clones five copies of himself to protect Tara then turns up in a scene making himself a pillow on Sarko's world to catch Domo. Zot flew escort to Sarko's ship on the way back to Amzot again, with no loss of life. Did you follow all that?

Five-year-olds don't need Physics lessons, just a simple plot, a lot of action, and taking care of "evil-doers" before you play outside after Saturday cartoons.

It's magical thinking, but not a way to run human society.

 

"The human understanding is no dry light but receives an infusion from the will and affections; whence proceed sciences which may be called 'sciences as one would.' For what a man had rather were true, he more readily believes. Therefore, he rejects difficult things from impatience of research; sober things because they narrow hope; the deeper things of nature, from superstition; the light of experience, from arrogance and pride; things not commonly believed, out of the deference to the opinion of the vulgar. Numberless, in short, are the ways, and sometimes imperceptible, in which the affections color and infect the understanding."

Sir Francis Bacon, NOVUM ORGANON (1620)

 

Maui is a dystopian hellscape. It is now the deadliest wildfire in American history: until the next one. Reuters reports the cause of the fire is unknown, but 85% of all wildfires are caused by humans, as is the anthropogenic climate disruption that helped light the match. Hurricane Dora energized the spread, fanning the flames across the island that was experiencing a drought. Part of Maui's problem is prior to the predictions of climate scientists coming true in recent real-time, Maui never had to prepare for drought conditions or massive wildfires. Did I mention the island chain is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean?

Maui was the Capitol of the old kingdom of Hawaii before colonization. It was a tourist attraction and the seat of culture. Maui is the place where the Hula dance and the Samoan language were reconstituted and practiced. A 150-year-old banyan tree burned in the flames. It will survive IF the roots survived the savage flames.

 

"Some 271 structures were destroyed or damaged, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser said, citing official reports from the U.S. Civil Air Patrol and Maui Fire Department." Reuters

 

There is a throughline from Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Hurricane Dora in Maui. That throughline is climate change, gestated into the climate crisis, birthed into climate catastrophe. In eighteen years, we have shuffled, obfuscated, and kicked the can down the road right into our children's and grandchildren's future. We have allowed political operators and lobbyists for the fossil fuels industry to quote their "science as one would": "It's summer." "There is no climate change." "It's a (fill in the blank) hoax." "How can there be global warming if New York is blanketed in snow?"

The tobacco and fossil fuels industry used the same researchers and same lawyers to sway public opinion and sell their products. It is a myopic concentration on quarterly profits, not looking at the damage to the planet beneath them going forward. If Adam Smith's capitalism is our "salvation," there should be market-based solutions to ensure a functional civilization as corporations pursue profits and bought and paid-for politicians pursue policies that sustain both commerce and civilization.

Otherwise, their vulgar opinions have not offered solutions nor modeled societal collapse.

The Guardian reported from the National Academy of Science that more than 50% of life is in the soil beneath us. Life on Earth may survive our own hubris. It likely won't be intelligent or anything resembling human civilization.

Cartoon Network Physics is only good for five-year-olds on Saturday morning cartoons. There are no laser dragons, rock apes, rhino/triceratops-hybrids, and energy rocks to deploy to our rescue. It fails humanity in the long term. "Sciences as one would" has led us to this precipice. "Sciences as one acknowledges" will lead us away from it.

Note: The blog will resume Monday - Friday postings on August 21st (traveling for work).

 

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Trinity and Consequences...

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(Credit: DoruqpashA/Shutterstock)

Topics: Education, Existentialism, History, Medicine, Nuclear Power

21st-century weather models show how radioactive fallout from atmospheric nuclear tests spread more widely than thought across the US

The Trinity Nuclear Test on 16 July 1945 is a key incident in the blockbuster Oppenheimer movie and in the history of humankind. Many scientists think it marks the beginning of the Anthropocene, a new geological era characterized by humanity’s influence on the Earth. That’s because Trinity’s radioactive fallout will forever appear in the geological record, creating a unique signature of human activity that can be precisely dated.

But there’s a problem. In 1945, radioactive monitoring techniques were in their infancy, so there are few direct measurements of fallout beyond the test site. What’s more, weather patterns were also less well understood, so the spread of fallout could not be easily determined.

As a result, nobody really knows how widely Trinity’s fallout spread across the U.S. or, indeed, how the fallout dispersed from other atmospheric nuclear tests on the U.S. mainland.

Nuclear Mystery

Today, that changes thanks to the work of Sébastien Philippe at Princeton University and colleagues. This team used a state-of-the-art weather simulation for the 5 days after each nuclear test to simulate how the fallout would have dispersed.

The result is the highest resolution estimate ever made of the spread of radioactive fallout across the U.S. It marks the start of the Anthropocene with extraordinary precision, and it throws up some significant surprises. Some parts of the U.S. are known to have received high levels of fallout, and the new work is consistent with this. But the research also reveals some parts of the US that received significant fallout without anybody realizing it.

The findings “provide an opportunity for re-evaluating the public health and environmental implications from atmospheric nuclear testing,” said Philippe and co.

Between 1945 and 1962, the U.S. conducted 94 atmospheric nuclear tests that generated yields of up to 74 kilotons of TNT. (Seven other tests were damp squibs.) 93 of these tests took place in Nevada, but the first, the Trinity test in the Oppenheimer film, took place in New Mexico.

How The Trinity Nuclear Test Spread Radioactive Fallout Across America, the Physics arXiv Blog, Discover Magazine

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Change, Crisis, Catastrophe...

 

Topics: Civilization, Climate Change, Democracy, Existentialism, Global Warming

In my post on Friday, two weeks ago, I compared the Earth to a plastic or glass bottle in a microwave. Of course, YouTube has an example of someone not taking Thermodynamics seriously. After a LONG two minutes and some change, the explosion is a sad but apt metaphor for the climate change that we have allowed to become a crisis, barreling forward into a full-blown catastrophe. It’s dystopian what’s going on. A short list:

In Italy, they’re discussing “underground climate change” as the summer is so hot it melted the insulation on their power grid underground. They’re also evacuating for wildfires.

If you fall on the pavement in Phoenix, Arizona, you’re taken to the burn unit, as asphalt in Arizona has been measured at 180-degree temperatures. Well, it's below boiling.

Off the coast of climate change-denying Florida, the ocean temperatures are 101.4 degrees Fahrenheit, balmy for a jacuzzi but catastrophic for coral that acts as a natural barrier to hurricanes and “us,” as it is in our food chain. Their death is the bellwether of coming food shortages, which of course, usually precipitates armed conflicts, either internal or international.

At the behest of a classmate from NC A&T, my wife and I attended her family reunion in Fayetteville, NC, a week and weekend before my family reunion in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The similarities I recall were striking (they’ll make sense as to how this relates to our current situation):

Good food! African American Family Reunions are legendary for spreading food, including fried chicken, baked beans, homemade macaroni and cheese, and potato salad.

Fellowship. I saw cousins I hadn’t seen in years. I did a “paint and sip” party, where I hadn’t painted ANYTHING in decades. It was a cathartic activity led by a therapy artist for people suffering from mental health crises like PTSD.

The purpose of the business meeting, in my friend’s and my family’s case, was the discussion where to have the NEXT family reunion. For my family, 2025 will be in California (Columbia, SC as a backup), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 2027, and Greensboro, NC, in 2029.

In each case, planning for the NEXT family reunions assumes we have a functional planet to plan and experience them on.

Mathematics is said to be applied philosophy, physics applied mathematics, and engineering applied physics.

In America, policy is applied physics coupled with political realities.

Currently, in certain democracies, we have parties that concede to the reality of climate change and those obliged to the Fossil Fuels Industry, which is likely the most destructive industry, only second to military contractors.

Fossil Fuels has known about the effects of their product since the late seventies when I was in high school. They hired the same lawyers who obfuscated the effects of cigarette smoking, enabled by spineless politicians who themselves, like drug dealers, weren’t smokers. The body count rivals the holocaust.

That body count was in the millions of humans volunteering to pollute their bodies. The coming body count will number in the hundreds of millions of climate refugees fleeing from coastal cities and the house-less dying from heat exhaustion.

The hoarding of wealth does not consume me, which is the basis of our current crisis: industries and individuals who are too selfish to think beyond the current business quarter and the next quarter. That’s the span of their attention, and the only thing that will spark their attention is if any action they take is profitable and they can avoid paying taxes that help the rest of humanity they’re a part of.

What is happening astonishes climate scientists. This dystopian hellscape was to occur in the year 2050: a twenty-seven-year acceleration.

Part of planning family reunions is the notion that there is a future and a hope to have children and add to the legacy of families.

Millennials and GEN Z are starting out living longer with their parents than previous generations, not purchasing their first home, not attending worship services, delaying or opting to NOT have children because they’re bereft of a future, or hope, stolen from them by a generation in its twilight, that doesn’t care about the wanton destruction they leave in the wake of their grandchildren due to mental depravity and greed.

“People with hoarding disorder have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions due to a perceived need to save the items. Attempts to part with possessions create considerable distress and lead to decisions to save them. The resulting clutter disrupts the ability to use living spaces (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).”

Source: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/hoarding-disorder/what-is-hoarding-disorder#:~:text=People%20with%20hoarding%20disorder%20have,to%20decisions%20to%20save%20them.

If you’re not used to sharing, you’re likely to use phrases like “socialism” and “communism” (or woke) when the fact is, you don’t care about anyone or anything other than yourself. This self-absorption will only buy them a few weeks at best after a full societal collapse. At that point, “billionaire” and “millionaire” are irrelevant titles with no places to spend.

Part of planning family reunions is the notion that there is a future and a hope to have children and add to the legacy of families.

Because of the avarice of evil men (mostly), I’m starting to have my doubts.

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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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