star trek (20)

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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Bitcoin and Gaia...

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"What are the environmental impacts of cryptocurrency?" Written by Paul Kim; edited by Jasmine Suarez Mar 17, 2022, 5:21 PM EDT, Business Insider.

 Image: Ethereum, the second biggest cryptocurrency on the market, plans on changing to proof of stake mining in the future. Rachel Mendelson/Insider

 

Topics: Applied Physics, Computer Science, Cryptography, Economics, Environment, Star Trek, Thermodynamics

In what is now “old school Internet” (or web surfing for fogies), I will get a friend request from someone on Facebook/Meta who is in cryptocurrency. I quote myself in the first paragraph of what I refer to as my “public service announcement):

I am not INTERESTED in crypto. As someone who worked with cryptography as a matter of national security, holding a TS/SCI clearance, when you start your message with “let me explain to YOU how crypto works,” expect to get blocked.

Invariably, I still do, which makes me wonder if they read the PSA or think “they will be the one” to sign me. News flash, pilgrim...I now have another pertinent reason to ignore your blockchain solicitations, actually, several good reasons.

Every time we turn on a light in our homes, there is a thermal budget that we are being charged for (that's how Duke Power makes its money in North Carolina and Perdernales Electric Cooperative in Texas). Bitcoin/Blockchain (I think) caught the imagination because it seemed like a "Federation Credit" from Star Trek, where no one explains fully how a society that is "post-scarcity" somehow feels the need for some type of currency in utopia. It's kind of like magic carpets: you go with the bit for the story - warp drive, Heisenberg compensators, Federation credits. The story, and if you are thoroughly entertained after the denouement, not the physics, is what matters.

You might not be extracting anything from the planet directly, but Bitcoin mining has a massive impact on the planet’s environment.

Mining resources from our planet can take a devastating toll on the environment, both local and global. Even beyond this, using the resource could cause disastrous effects on our planet, and dependence on a single resource can wreak havoc on a country’s economy. Yet, many of these resources are needed for our daily lives -- sometimes as a luxury, sometimes as a necessity. Any responsible country or company should always take pause to consider what impact mining of any kind can have on the planet.

It turns out that these days, one type of mining might be the worst for Earth’s environment: bitcoins. Yes, the “mining” of virtual currency makes its mark on our planet. The unequal distribution of Bitcoin mining across the globe means that some countries are making a much larger dent into the planet’s climate and environment than others ... all for a “resource” that is far from necessary for our society.

Bitcoin mining uses a lot of computing power to solve the cryptographic puzzles that lie at the heart of the industry. As of today (October 30, 2023), each Bitcoin is worth over $34,000, and with the multitude of other cryptocoins out there, using computers to unlock more can be a profitable endeavor. Almost half a trillion dollars of the global economy runs on these “virtual currencies.”

Worst Kind of Mining for the Environment? It Might Be Bitcoin. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine

 

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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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Beyond Heisenberg Compensators...

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The central role of HFIP: a solvent component that solvates POM. a. 1,1,1,3,3,3-Hexafluoro-2-propanol (HFIP): an effective solvent for polyoxymethylene (POM), the clustering of HFIP enabled the decrease of σ*OH energy38. b. Images of an undivided cell before (left) and after (right) the electrolysis. c. Reaction profile of POM bulk electrolysis at 3.5 V (60 °C), 0.1 M LiClO4 in CH3CN: HFIP (26:4). Credit: Nature Communications (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-39362-z

Topics: Chemistry, Green Tech, Materials Science, Star Trek

A group of researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign demonstrated a way to use the renewable energy source of electricity to recycle a form of plastic that's growing in use but more challenging to recycle than other popular forms of plastic.

In their study recently published in Nature Communications, they share their innovative process that shows the potential for harnessing renewable energy sources in the shift toward a circular plastics economy.

"We wanted to demonstrate this concept of bringing together renewable energy and a circular plastic economy," said Yuting Zhou, a postdoctoral associate, and co-author, who worked on this groundbreaking research with two professors in chemistry at Illinois, polymer expert Jeffrey Moore and electrochemistry expert Joaquín Rodríguez-López.

The project was conceived by Moore, who had experience working with Poly(phthalaldehyde), a form of polyacetal. Polyoxymethylene (POM) is a high-performance acetal resin that is used in a variety of industries, including automobiles and electronics. A thermoplastic, it can be shaped and molded when heated and hardens upon cooling with a high degree of strength and rigidity, making it an attractive lighter alternative to metal in some applications, like mechanical gears in automobiles. It is produced by various chemical firms with slightly different formulas and names, including Delrin by DuPont.

When recycling, those highly crystalline properties of POM make it difficult to break down. It can be melted and molded again, but POM's original material properties are lost, limiting the usefulness of the recycled material.

"When the polymer was in use as a product, it was not a pure polymer. It will also have other chemicals like coloring additives and antioxidants. So, if you simply melt it and remold it, the material properties are always lost," Zhou explained.

The Illinois research team's method uses electricity, which can be drawn from renewable sources, and takes place at room temperature.

This electro-mediated process deconstructs the polymer, breaking it down into monomers—the molecules that are bonded to other identical molecules to form polymers.

A recycling study demonstrates new possibilities for a circular plastics economy powered by renewable energy, Tracy Crane, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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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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Ninety Seconds...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Challenging Utopia...

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Note: The origin of my harshness was this, ON the day we laid Tyre Nichols to rest, I was commenting on a police report of a double amputee being shot to death by the police. Trolls have to troll. After my rebuttal, I heard nothing else.

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

A common trope in science fiction is a misunderstanding, intentional, or unintentional, of evolution. Over time we get smarter, more peaceful, better, or something like that.

The definition of evolution given at the outset of this entry is very general; there are more specific ones in the literature, some of which do not fit this general characterization. Here is a sampling.

Although the work of Charles Darwin (see the entry on Darwinism) is usually the starting point for contemporary understandings of evolution, interestingly, he does not use the term in the first edition of On the Origin of Species, referring instead to "descent with modification.” In the early-mid 20th century, the "modern synthesis" gave birth to population genetics, which provided a mathematization of Darwinian evolutionary theory in light of Mendelian genetics (see also the entry on ecological genetics). This yielded a prevalent—probably the most prevalent—understanding of evolution as "any change in the frequency of alleles within a population from one generation to the next." Note, however, that this definition refers to evolution only in a micro-evolutionary context and thus doesn't reference the emergence of new species (and their new characteristics), although it is intended to underlie those macroevolutionary changes (see the entry on philosophy of macroevolution).

In a popular textbook, Douglas Futuyma gives a more expansive definition:

[biological evolution] is a change in the properties of groups of organisms over the course of generations…it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportions of different forms of a gene within a population to the alterations that led from the earliest organism to dinosaurs, bees, oaks, and humans. (2005: 2)

Source: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evolution/

For one hour of fictional products, it has to be shortened: over time, things get better.

Over time we will reach nirvana. Over time science will solve the mysteries that vex us. Over time we will learn to "live together as brothers and sisters" or perish as fools, per Dr. King. Both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gene Roddenberry were optimistic evolutionists. They could see a future where we conquered our prejudices along with the stars. We worked together across skin tones as one humanity, in peace (at least on Earth), expanding our survivability on other worlds. Particularly for King, Nichele Nichols represented our people would survive into the future, a detail sci-fi writers like H.G. Wells (an enthusiastic eugenicist) conveniently forgot, and H.P. Lovecraft was openly racist and hostile, a reality that still plagues both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. It is why African American speculative fiction writers like Octavia Butler and N.K. Jemisin is important in an era of projection, obfuscation, and, ironically, "cancel culture." Afrofuturism came from the same well as women's fiction, queer fiction, and studies centered on each genre: to be seen. Florida might as well call February Blank History Month. Frederick Douglass, a Republican, orator, and abolitionist can't be mentioned in "DeSantis-Stan."

Things, over time, don't necessarily get better.

Are we living in [the] age of stupid? The era of the idiot? The answer, of course, is yes, with examples of monstrous moronicism everywhere – from climate deniers to the "plandemic" crowd who believe Covid-19 was cooked up in Bill Gates' basement. On the other hand, human beings have always been incredible creatures. A better question is whether we are, as a species, becoming dumber. If this is already the era of the idiot, what comes next?

An "Idiocracy," according to filmmaker Mike Judge. The Beavis and Butt-head, King of the Hill, and Silicon Valley creator's dystopian 2006 comedy (which he directed and co-wrote with Etan Cohen) arrived with its own terminology to help us prepare for the upcoming reality T.V. special that we may call The Collapse of Reality Itself.

Idiocracy: a disturbingly prophetic look at the future of America – and our era of stupidity, Mike Judge, The Guardian

To get to the "get better" part, fictional Earth and Vulcan two millennia before, had to go through, and survive their global nuclear conflicts (not an easy trick - so far, we have no models). The Vulcans discovered "o'thea": a philosophy of logic/reality-truth after massive savagery and infighting. Earthlings, after MAGA, went through a few things that aren't for the squeamish.

Leon Festnger studied an apocalyptic UFO cult in the 1950s – a precursor to the Heaven’s Gate Cult of the 1990s. They were sure the world would end and had a date. The faithful sold all their worldly goods and waited for the apocalypse, and waited, and waited. Some of the former faithful felt discouraged and left. Others felt their “vibrations” had saved the Earth from destruction. Simple Psychology defines it thus: “Cognitive dissonance (CD) refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. CD produces a feeling of discomfort, leading to an alteration in attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance, etc. “For example, when people smoke (behavior) and they know that smoking causes cancer (cognition). “Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony (or dissonance).”

"Party of Apocalypse" - Reginald L. Goodwin

Jordan Klepper turns the crazy into a shtick on the Daily Show. Crashing Trump's first campaign rally in South Carolina, he ran into a fanbase that has not only still stayed faithful to their cult leader, but they also do not accept Joe Biden as the current president. In their minds, Trump is still president, and they probably wouldn't mind if he suspended The Constitution, elections, and REMAINED president, plugging in his children and grandchildren. This rule by royalty is what Europeans left Europe for. Jordan himself is worried.

We used to have two Americas based on a social construct of race. We now have two Americas based on logic, and illogic, reality and nonreality, fact, and fiction. The purveyor of 73% of election misinformation on the planet was suspended from social media after a filmed, live insurrection on January 6, 2021, that he encouraged, where people died, excrement spread at the Capitol. But, those were "crisis actors," Black Lives Matter, or Antifa (again, which means anti-fascist, and I can't imagine anyone but a fascist having a problem with that). He has now been re-platformed by Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. Misinformation is their business model, and the bottom line is far more important than citizenship and a federal republic. The College Board, in a move of abject cowardice, dumbed down the African American AP curriculum, piloted at 60 high schools, and released stripped down nationwide because it hurt the feelings of the High Potentate of DeSantis-Stan!

This is probably what a "Collapse of Reality Itself" looks like.

And it didn't take 500 years, rabid procreation, or a nuclear holocaust to get there.

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Kindred and Us...

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Image source: Carter Matt dot com

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

Note: Apologies for the late and last 2022 blog post. My laptop has had its own mind lately.

My "Rotten Tomatoes" review:

"I've been a fan of Octavia Butler since reading my first novel by her, "Mind of My Mind," about a vampiric telepath named Doro: an immortal from Africa that devours your soul, so he can essentially be immortal at the cost of what makes you "you": your mind and soul. Butler makes us, through fiction, look at race, class, gender, and the impact of a hierarchical society whose behaviors reflect our slavery past in America. Notice that no other nation has our domestic violence problems: the Second Amendment was specifically designed for quelling slave rebellions. The fact that the first African American president was elected re-elected, and the response was a vaudevillian reality TV pretend billionaire, Kindred, could not be more timely. We need more from her, NK Jemison, and other speculative BIPOC writers. It's been a long time coming."

My wife and I watched it on Hulu, and like "The Handmaid's Tale," she was immediately hooked. She had never been a fan of science fiction, but I corrected her by saying that Margaret Atwood and Octavia Butler are speculative fiction writers:

A type of story or literature that is set in a world that is different from the one we live in or that deals with magical or imagined future events:She tells readers that she writes "speculative fiction," defined as "fiction in which impossible things happen."Her speculative fiction novel is set in the near future. Cambridge Dictionary

I'm a Trekkie, but in Kindred, the protagonist, Dana, time travels (a popular science fiction trope) to the antebellum south, where she meets two of her ancestors: a black woman and her slave owner obsessed with her. Her technology isn't going at superluminal speeds and whipping around the sun: her tech is the terror of thinking she's going to die, which pulls her back to Rufus Weylan, and Alice, his father's slave. Butler doesn't explain the mechanism of how this is done (like, do we really know how warp drive would work?), but the writing by Butler and the 21st Century adaptors of her fiction pulls you into the story. Dana is going back in time to ensure the (in this case) "grandmother paradox" favors her being born.

Terror as a tech: the United States, the John Winthrop self-professed "shining city on a hill," has been at war 93% of the time since 1776. Assaulting the indigenous inhabitants and kidnapping an uncompensated labor force from the African continent: the only way you can keep such a psychopathic system in some semblance of "functionality" is with violence. That terror pulls Dana through the corridors of time from 2016 to the 19th Century, where her interracial relationship with Kevin could not be seen as possible or desirable. Her travels aren't with Industrial Light and Magic special effects and light shows: it is raw, guttural fear, shrieks, and screams audible to her neighbors that remind you of Mrs. Kravitz and her patient husband Abner from the TV series "Bewitched," which I'm sure inspired Butler when she wrote the characters. Dana is repelled by the rigid codes that don't respect her autonomy and compelled by the need to rescue Rufus at several key epochs where he could have perished, and she would thereby cease to exist.

America prides itself on being E Pluribus Unum: out of many, one people. Yet the stratification of our society into classes, types, and colors frame our politics, our discourse, our understanding of history, our rejection of facts, and our nostalgia for a halcyon era where we were "great": sequestered on reservations, enslaved, segregated, closeted, miserable, except for the dominant culture at the top of the Great Seal Pyramid.

Selfish desires are burning like fires.

Among those who hoard the gold

As they continue to keep the people asleep

And the truth from being told

Racism and greed keep people in need

From getting what's rightfully theirs

Cheating, stealing, and double-dealing

As they exploit the people's fears

Now, Dow Jones owns the people's homes

And all the surrounding land

Buying and selling their humble dwelling

In the name of the Master Plan.

E Pluribus Unum, The Last Poets, Genius Lyrics

And this framework keeps us at each other's throats, clawing for scraps on a planet that surpassed 8 billion humans last month. Every structure of violence has within it the kernel of resource allocation: who gets WHAT. When you define yourselves at the top of the pyramid, you must convince the rest of society that this evolved or divine position is correct, "logical," and "rational." Your progeny inherit this "superiority" in perpetuity. Anyone disagreeing with you is met with violence, even unto death.

The Myth of Race, Robert Wald Sussman; The Emperor's New Clothes, The Race Myth, Joseph L. Graves, Jr.; Racism, Not Race, Alan M. Goodman, Joseph L. Graves, Jr., all give credible, anthropological, biological data pointing to that we are all humans sharing the same planet with 8 billion other humans. Even if we could accelerate a rocket to near-light speed, we're parsecs from anything resembling the current planet on which we've evolved. Climate change is a real dilemma we currently face that threatens our survival. Due to laws of physics and causality, time travel and warp speed have yet to materialize. We can face the future by reconciling with our past. The future is rocky and uncertain if we don't.

Despite the gaslighting, we are Kindred.

I invite you to stream the Hulu series, write a review online, and treat one another like we're related: because, ultimately, we are. This will also support getting a Season 2.

"God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth" - Acts 17:26

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Diversity or Dystopia...

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Watch: Nichelle Nichols Tells The Story Of How Martin Luther King, Jr. Dissuaded Her From Quitting ‘Star Trek’ TrekMovie.com

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

"It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence. And the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, and our earthly habitat would be transformed into an inferno that even the mind of Dante could not imagine."

-- Martin Luther King, Jr., Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, 31 March 1968, King Institute, Stanford University

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is the reason Nichelle Nicoles stayed with Star Trek after the first season. She wanted to return to her first love - theater, and Broadway.

As it turned out, Dr. King was the self-professed biggest fan, and what ensued was life-affirming for Nichelle Nichols. When speaking to NPR, she said: “He complimented me on the manner in which I’d created the character. I thanked him, and I think I said something like, ‘Dr. King, I wish I could be out there marching with you.’ He said, ‘no, no, no. No, you don’t understand… You are marching. You are reflecting what we are fighting for.'”

She continued: “I said, ‘Well, I told Gene just yesterday that I’m going to leave the show after the first year because I’ve been offered…’ — and he stopped me and said: ‘You cannot do that.’ And I was stunned. He said, ‘Don’t you understand what this man has achieved? For the first time, we are being seen the world over as we should be seen.’ He says, ‘Do you understand that this is the only show that my wife Coretta and I will allow our little children to stay up and watch?’ I was speechless.'”

How Martin Luther King convinced Nichelle Nichols not to quit 'Star Trek', Mick McStarkey, Far Out Magazine, United Kingdom (Rest in Power, Nichelle Nichols)

Star Trek is the child of Gene Roddenberry, birthed at the height of the Civil Rights movement. This time was also the period of government surveillance of those same organizations by the FBI via COINTELPRO. It was a Pollyanish vision that two centuries in the future, we would mature from our societal adolescence, our tribal factions, and mature enough to work together, across cultures and worlds. Dr. Maya Angelou said "we grew up" after the inauguration of President Obama. We hoped we had.

Gene and his scriptwriters were products of the Second World War, and the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. Hence, in creative license, they somewhat hinted, that the utopia of the 23rd Century was preceded by a self-imposed, dystopian hellscape.

World War III was the last of Earth's three world wars, lasting from approximately 2026 to 2053. The conflict involved nuclear cataclysm as well as genocide and eco-terrorism. The post-atomic horror in the aftermath persisted as late as 2079.

The war was preceded by the Second Civil War and the Eugenics Wars, all of which were sometimes regarded as parts of a single escalating conflict. It resulted in the deaths of some 30% of the Human population, at least six hundred million people, and the extinction of six hundred thousand species of animals and plants. By the end, most of the major cities had been destroyed and there were few governments left.

Star Trek Memory Alpha: World War III

If you follow the link for the Second Civil War, it refers to contemporary concerns about a certain twice-impeached Oval Office resident and his rabid followers. The inset of scenes from the January 6th insurrection was ominous and brilliant social commentary in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. The first episode was both social commentary and warning: there are no benevolent Vulcans that will show up to clean up our nuclear mess after the discovery of a superluminal warp drive. With our luck, we'd encounter Klingons or Romulans. Social commentary and hope animated Dr. King's remarks to Nichelle/Uhura.

Social commentary is what Star Trek has always tried to do. Gene Roddenberry appealed to our secular better angels, our shared experience as humans beyond color or culture.

Viktor Orban was in Dallas, Texas yesterday. He received a standing ovation for his remarks about race mixing, the LGBT, and taking over universities and the press. This is fascism. The Republicans in Dallas are true RINOs and should have worn their white sheets. It is the aftermath of their patron saint, Ayn Rand's admiration of a serial killer, William Hickman: cruelty. Only a psychopath can admire a psychopath. Reagan admired Rand. What does it say about a party that makes her words the sacred scripture of apoplectic violence?

The reason fascism seems to be spreading across the globe is the same reason terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda spread across the globe: the Internet. We are now investing more in newsfeeds, tweets, and blogs that we can read on our ineptly-named "smart phones." There have always been factions - they are encouraged by the wealthy. It's better for the rubes to fight each other than use critical thinking on who the theaves are.

“If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best-colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you.”

― Lyndon B. Johnson

People are not leaving their homes because of whims or WWII Nazi survivor George Soros (a familiar racist trope). They are leaving because of failed governments in Central America affected by US trade policies such that there is effectively no middle class. Their daughters will be the prostitutes to drug lords and their sons will be the runners and soldiers for them. They are leaving because of wars in Somalia, Chechnya, and elsewhere so-called "strongmen" punch down on weaker populations. They are leaving because of climate catastrophes that are decimating their nations with floods like those in Kentucky or fires like those in California. Colonizing the Moon or Mars is not a plan - it's a suicide mission, and we don't have any warp-capable starships or a Starfleet. We have a "pale blue dot" Carl Sagan said we live on together. In order to survive on it, we're going to have to share resources and work together.

Savvy demagogues like Orban, Putin, and the criminal who previously had the nuclear codes are using the tribal "fear of the other," the desire not to "mix races" to seize power, with no intention of relinquishing it. It allows the hoarding of resources, wealth, power, and the licensing of cruelty. Weaponizing fear of "others" is also profitable, hence Fox Propaganda and Reich Wing media promoting it. Carotin or Melanin: Every human being on the planet is from the African continent. The variations are the result of migratory patterns, the foods encountered, and the angle of incidence of the sun. We don't need to go to another planet to know that - just pay attention in high school biology, or read a science report.

If we were to colonize the Moon or Mars (hopefully without terraforming with nukes), in a hundred years, the colonists would no longer look like Earthlings: they would be Lunarians and Martians, and due to their wildly different environments, they could not come back to Earth. One of the things Star Trek probably got right: under similar conditions - a planet in the "Goldilocks" zone, with similar gravity and atmosphere, aliens on those worlds would probably develop into similar physical structures, similar skin variations.

We are being held hostage by so-called "white" men hoarding resources to themselves in the deluded notion they could survive a full-scale collapse of civilization and life on Earth. Diversity or dystopia. A beloved community or extinction.

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

“The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community. The aftermath of nonviolence is redemption. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation. The aftermath of violence is emptiness and bitterness.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Image Source: Facebook

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

“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

― Buckminster Fuller, Good Reads, Bio: Wikipedia

What do borders do, mean, and look like in different parts of the world? How are they decided? Who or what might they protect? How might they do harm? How and why might they change?

Countries protect their borders for several reasons. This is especially true in areas where two or more countries have fought over the same land. Cambodia and Thailand are countries in Southeast Asia. They have disputed the territory of the Preah Vihear Temple for more than a century.

Sometimes, borders keep citizens from leaving a country. Nations like North Korea, Myanmar, and Cuba rarely allow their residents to cross their borders.

Many border disputes happen when people fight over natural resources. Natural resources are anything a person can use that comes from the natural environment. The countries of Sudan and Egypt have argued for years over a region called Hala'ib. Hala'ib is rich in the mineral manganese, a natural resource. Manganese is important for making iron and steel.

Border problems often come up when people from other regions take over an area and create borders. During the 1800s and 1900s, European countries colonized much of Africa. In other words, outsiders from Europe moved into Africa. They took control of the people there. They took the land as their own. European colonists created the borders of most African countries. However, the borders they made often did not always consider the different groups living in an area.

Excerpts from "Overview: What Are Borders?" Facing History

The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian documentary film written by University of British Columbia law professor Joel Bakan, and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The documentary examines the modern-day corporation. Bakan wrote the book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, during the filming of the documentary.

A sequel film, The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel, was released in 2020.

The documentary shows the development of the contemporary business corporation, from a legal entity that originated as a government-chartered institution meant to affect specific public functions to the rise of the modern commercial institution entitled to most of the legal rights of a person. The documentary concentrates mostly upon corporations in North America, especially in the United States. One theme is its assessment of corporations as persons, as a result of an 1886 case in the Supreme Court of the United States in which a statement by Chief Justice Morrison Waite led to corporations as "persons" having the same rights as human beings, based on the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Source: The Corporation (2003 film), Wikipedia, related: The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel

In a Google Internet search on "the mythology of race," a book that's in my library is in the upper right-hand corner of my search page: "'The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea' is a book by anthropologist Robert Wald Sussman arguing that race is not, and never has been, a valid biological category in humans." As humans migrated out of Africa, they landed in places that didn't have the direct UV light of the equatorial sun. Lack of sunlight, eating or discovering foods native to their new lands, humans like any other animal adapted, and changed appearances with respect to their environments. In Europe, they didn't require Melanin, their hair straightened in the harsh arctic winters. Over time, all they saw was "them," and as long as everyone looked the same, the only thing that spurred conflict was covetousness: property, livestock, attractive lovers, and wives. Once trinkets, bobbles, and currency replaced barter, that encouraged hoarding, and comparisons between neighbors: who has the most "stuff?" As men explored other parts of the globe and found "them" and their stuff, there had to be a justification for taking their stuff as their own, for "some" having most, and "others" having the least. We are at the tipping point in the struggle to maintain three legal fictions: borders, corporations, and racial categories.

  • You are NOT in our borders: Mecca, 'Murica, "the promised land," the European Union, Wakanda forever. We are "us," and you are "them": you do not count, you are un-people.
  • No Mitt Romney, "corporations are not people." The robber barons used a boondoggle of the 14th Amendment to confer to themselves and their progeny unlimited power. People have lifespans: corporations are practically immortal psychopaths.
  • Until we find evidence of intelligent Martians, there is only ONE race, the human race.

Ubuntu (Zulu pronunciation: [ùɓúntʼù]) is a Nguni Bantu term meaning "humanity". It is sometimes translated as "I am because we are" (also "I am because you are"), or "humanity towards others" (in Zulu, umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu). Wikipedia

The aforementioned legal fictions are stifling our development as a species, but enriching the fat pockets of toxic, pathological families that consider themselves royalty, and worthy of worship (and have personality cults to do just that). At our current juncture, world government - genuine cooperation - is laughable. The conned danger of "others" makes us reinforce our borders, erect our walls, intern refugees in Libya, violating human rights with impunity. If there are any vaccines, the so-called First World Nations will receive the jabs first. Our performance during a pandemic has been pitiful. COP26 was whiter than the Oscars due to southern hemisphere nations (i.e., brown people) didn't receive the mRNA vaccines to ARGUE [about] that northern hemisphere nations (i.e., white folks) received first. So for safety reasons, browner nations were placed in political Zoom purgatory as the climate change can is kicked down the road.

The feckless mismanagement of Chief Justice John Roberts over his five radical brethren practically sealed the fate of the former Supreme Court: irrelevance. "Stare decisis is Latin for 'to stand by things decided.' In short, it is the doctrine of precedent. Courts cite stare decisis when an issue has been previously brought to the court and a ruling has already been issued. … Horizontal stare decisis refers to a court adhering to its own precedent" Cornel Law. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, there is no such thing as precedent. Expect same-sex marriage to fall next. After that, voting rights for African Americans, then all women's rights RBG fought for. Avalanches begin with a single snowflake. On the calendar, we barrel to the future; legally we'd be pre-Brown.

Oh, and the "gang of Putin" is chomping at the bit for another government shutdown, because Saint Ronnie saying "government is the problem" started a party grift that hasn't abated in 41 years, managing to "trickle-down" zero dividends, but trickle-up tax cuts without fail. They'd rather do important things like reading Dr. Suess in the well of the Senate or having Twitter battles with Big Bird.

Fear of the Antichrist - a malevolent narcissistic psychopath in a man suit - and the bloodlust for Armageddon fuels our current lunacy. It will not be benevolent aliens, a United Federation of Planets, superluminal space drives, or Heisenberg-defying matter re-sequencers that will spur the elimination of class struggle (and money, apparently). It will be global cooperation heretofore unseen.

"I am because we are." "I am because you are."

Such a world revolves around Ubuntu. We sadly seem bereft of its precepts.

Since it begins with "u" it must be associated with utopia: "nowhere place."

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Uhura to Proctor...

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Topics: Diversity in Science, NASA, Space Exploration, Spaceflight, SpaceX, Star Trek

Dr. King revealed to Nichols that TOS was the only show that he and his wife, Coretta, allowed their little children to stay up and watch. Further, he told Nichols what the show meant to him personally and detailed the importance of her having created a character with "dignity and knowledge." Nichols took it all in and finally said, “Thank you so much, Dr. King. I’m really going to miss my co-stars.” Dr. King's smile, Nichols recalled, vanished from his face.

"He said, 'What are you talking about?'" the actress explained. "I told him. He said, 'You cannot,' and so help me, this man practically repeated verbatim what Gene said. He said, 'Don’t you see what this man is doing, who has written this? This is the future. He has established us as we should be seen. Three hundred years from now, we are here. We are marching. And this is the first step. When we see you, we see ourselves, and we see ourselves as intelligent and beautiful and proud.' He goes on and I’m looking at him and my knees are buckling. I said, 'I…, I…' And he said, 'You turn on your television and the news comes on and you see us marching and peaceful, you see the peaceful civil disobedience, and you see the dogs and see the fire hoses, and we all know they cannot destroy us because we are there in the 23rd century.'

Nichelle Nichols Remembers Dr. King, the StarTrek.com staff

Note: At this posting, she made history yesterday.

Sian Proctor is making history as the first-ever Black female spacecraft pilot. 

Proctor, a geoscientist, artist, and science communicator, has been paving the way in the space sector for decades. Now, years after being a finalist in NASA's astronaut candidate program back in 2009, she is realizing her dream of becoming an astronaut as she launches to orbit with the Inspiration4 mission tonight (Sept. 15).

While the mission itself is making history as the first all-civilian mission to launch to orbit, Proctor is accomplishing a major first herself as the first Black female spacecraft pilot. 

"I'm really grateful to be here and to have this opportunity," Proctor said Sept. 14 during a news conference with reporters. "There have been three Black female astronauts that have made it to space, and knowing that I'm going to be the fourth means that I have this opportunity to not only accomplish my dream but also inspire the next generation of women of color and girls of color and really get them to think about reaching for the stars and what that means."

Sian Proctor makes history with SpaceX's Inspiration4 as first-ever Black female spacecraft pilot, Chelsea Gohd, Space.com

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Biggie's Starship...

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Topics: Materials Science, Nanotechnology, Space Exploration, Spaceflight, Star Trek

China is investigating how to build ultra-large spacecraft that are up to 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) long. But how feasible is the idea, and what would be the use of such a massive spacecraft?

The project is part of a wider call for research proposals from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, a funding agency managed by the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology. A research outline posted on the foundation’s website described such enormous spaceships as “major strategic aerospace equipment for the future use of space resources, exploration of the mysteries of the universe, and long-term living in orbit.”

The foundation wants scientists to conduct research into new, lightweight design methods that could limit the amount of construction material that has to be lofted into orbit, and new techniques for safely assembling such massive structures in space. If funded, the feasibility study would run for five years and have a budget of 15 million yuan ($2.3 million).

The project might sound like science fiction, but former NASA chief technologist Mason Peck said the idea isn’t entirely off the wall, and the challenge is more a question of engineering than fundamental science.

“I think it’s entirely feasible,” Peck, now a professor of aerospace engineering at Cornell University, told Live Science. “I would describe the problems here not as insurmountable impediments, but rather problems of scale.”

By far the biggest challenge would be the price tag, noted Peck, due to the huge cost of launching objects and materials into space. The International Space Station (ISS), which is only 361 feet (110 meters) wide at its widest point according to NASA, cost roughly $100 billion to build, Peck said, so constructing something 10 times larger would strain even the most generous national space budget.

China Wants to Build a Mega Spaceship That’s Nearly a Mile Long, Edd Gent, Scientific American

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Timeline source: Key Media Solutions: "The Reverse Evolution of Social Media Platforms"

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Fascism, Human Rights, Politics, Star Trek

 

What happens when media and politics become forms of entertainment? As our world begins to look more and more like Orwell’s 1984, Neil’s Postman’s essential guide to the modern media is more relevant than ever.

“It’s unlikely that Trump has ever read Amusing Ourselves to Death, but his ascent would not have surprised Postman.” –CNN

 

Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell phones to DVDs—it has taken on even greater significance. Amusing Ourselves to Death is a prophetic look at what happens when politics, journalism, education, and even religion become subject to the demands of entertainment. It is also a blueprint for regaining control of our media so that they can serve our highest goals.

 

“A brilliant, powerful, and important book. This is an indictment that Postman has laid down and, so far as I can see, an irrefutable one.” –Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

 

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Showbusiness, Neil Postman, Penguin Random House

The "corrosive effects of television" Dr. Postman's polemic critiqued was [ironically], CNN, launched June 1, 1980, on a television executive's "big idea."

 

Movies like the Rocky Horror Picture Show and Star Wars became cult classics because as long as customers were buying tickets and popcorn, theater owners would play the show for months, and in the case of the two mentioned, each over a year. Ted Turner's "big idea" was inspired by the creation of HBO: Home Box Office. It was the single, and only cable entertainment that expanded Hollywood's earning power, as measured by Nielsen ratings. It was unique as most television stations ended their day's programming at midnight, and so did HBO, initially. Mission creep extended their air time to twenty-four hours. "Saturday Night Live" -- essentially, an improv show was crafted for night owls, as it tiptoed past that demarcation point, by design. Ted would develop a 24-hour news service of "infotainment." The Nielsen altar gods needed satisfaction and a gimmick.

 

I always thought infotainment was coined by actor, and filmmaker Mario Van Peeples, but its origin was as a pejorative: "soft" news, versus hard, serious news. At a joint conference in the UK for media academicians, the infotainers put on comedy skits from 1980 - 1990 in their gatherings. The madness became a method as it's obviously been copied on either of the cable news outlets that cloned themselves on Ted Turner's model. We evolved from a nation that went from President Richard Nixon winning forty-nine out of fifty states, thereby becoming the first Republican to sweep the south with his "Law and Order" shtick post-Kent State and the violence at the Democratic National Convention, to the reality that he would be impeached in the House, and likely convicted in the Senate by members of his party due to the Watergate break-ins. It was the sober digestion of information from ABC, CBS, NBC -- noncable, pre-infotainment outlets, by an "informed citizenry" regarding the culpability of a criminal president, a president that many had voted for.

Star Trek: Enterprise premiered on September 26, 2001. Due to its unfortunate timing fifteen days after 9/11, and theme of a hopeful future, as well as the former CBS president Les Moonves' stated aversion to science fiction, ended after four seasons. His helm at CBS imploded with a sex scandal thanks to #MeToo movement accountability.

"24": I've only seen two episodes, and my casual observation is Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer reasonably kept audiences on edge. The show entered the national zeitgeist in 2001: In a post-Vietnam, post-9/11 world, we needed some heroes, Tom Clancy novels were the water cooler conversation rage, Sly Stallone in Rocky version 17, or Rambo; Arnold Schwarzenegger in just about anything: we were itching for some ass to kick. Dennis Haysbert introduced the idea of an African American president before Barack Obama appeared on the scene, then all of a sudden, it wasn't a good idea beyond fantasy and Nielsen ratings. The show ran from 2001 - 2010. Liz Cheney is lionized for upholding The Constitution since the January 6, 2021 insurrection, but her dad fantasized he was a character on 24, Jack Bauer maybe, or Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy novels. In our discernment between reality and fantasy, we were collectively "jacked." The intersection between information and entertainment might have impacted her dad's decisions that led to launching a 20-year war in Afghanistan, prior to which the Taliban offered Osama Bin Laden (but war makes more money than justice); lying about, or "sexing up" intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, destabilizing that nation birthing ISIS, and the atrocities at Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo. Lawmakers on both sides profit mightily from world instability, not world peace. But we live in reality, not a cartoon.

What South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is doing, what Texas Governor Greg Abbot is doing, what Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is doing, what Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson was doing, the lamentations of Alabama Governor Kay Ivey-post her lifting mask orders and encouraging "common sense," is the multigenerational poisoning of "whiteness," where, in a self-fictitious story, every move you make works out; every conclusion is Pollyannaish with white picket fences: the "good guys" (you) always "win" at the end of a bloodless cartoon, roll credits. This alternative, fact-free non-reality isn't five-dimensional chess: it's a societal dissociative disorder. It's the aftermath of centuries of lying to one's selves and preferring the lie over the truth. Pollyannaish vision is why after 20 years and trillions of dollars, we're shocked that our efforts in Afghanistan, or Iraq didn't work, that "when they stand up, we'll stand down" was always an empty slogan. Not facing the realities of a deadly pandemic, and its to-be-announced future Greek letter variants because of "free dumb" is figuratively, and literally a "no-brainer."

Apocalypse: It's a great title to a movie, story, supervillain, or blog post. It literally means "to uncover," or "to reveal." Biblical tradition translates and assigns it to the entire last book of the sacred text. Barbara Rossing tried to reclaim the negative interpretation of doom-and-gloom from evangelicals in her 2005 book "The Rapture Exposed." She saw this interpretation as dangerous, and lending to the United States engaging in risky international actions that could lead to Mutually Assured Destruction, or totally ignore climate change as a problem that will be solved only by the Second Coming. Fatalism like this led to our actions in Afghanistan, and Iraq. Pollyannaish viewpoints like this "kick the can down the road" to the next presidential administration, trillions of dollars wasted on corruption in Kabul that could have been invested in roads, education; universal healthcare in the US. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is an example of the peril of someone in power taking our continued existence for granted, and that "their side" will be the ones to survive. Not many former Secretaries of State have ever been called "doomsday clowns."

All Americans, Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, LGBTQ Americans, Women, immigrants are being affected by the anti-democratic efforts of Republican legislatures to either pick the voters they want to be counted or if elections don't quite go their way, THROW out the results! Dr. King referred to that as "interposition, and nullification." The reason Democrats pass symbolic bills in the House named for John Lewis, or the "For the People Act" is because they KNOW they will die in the Senate. The filibuster has been adjusted, carved out, flipped, manipulated for less than our ability to call ourselves a federal republic than for billionaire Oligarchs' tax cuts. Both parties are invested in the "status quo." It is ghoulish. It needs to change, our leadership needs to change, or our continuance as a country, as a human species, is in serious question.

I hope this post is a revelation, and with its act of uncovering and facing reality, we take different actions. I'm sure that was the whole intent of Dr. Neil Postman's warnings of simply cable; before social media proliferated; before phone apps were invented, before our news outlets consolidated, and morphed into self-deluding echo chambers kowtowing to Nielsen ratings, before politicians became craven liars in stark evidence of insurrection, and would rather rule over a smoldering ruin of feces than serve in an actual democracy. Our nation and the world deserve better.

Our nation and the world get better when "we the people" demand better.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale": Don't let the bastards grind you down. Demonstrate. Protest. Vote.

 

 

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Gene Centennial...

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Image source: The Roddenberry Foundation link below

Topics: Planetary Science, Space Exploration, Spaceflight, Star Trek

NASA is helping the legacy of inspiration, hope, and diversity fostered by the creator of Star Trek to live long and prosper. The agency will observe the late Gene Roddenberry’s 100th birthday with a special program called, Celebrating Gene Roddenberry: Star Trek's Bridge and NASA – a panel discussion airing on NASA Television, the agency’s website, the NASA App, and NASA social media at 2 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 19.

The program includes introductory remarks by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson followed by a panel discussion moderated by Rod Roddenberry, son of Gene Roddenberry. Special guest George Takei, a Star Trek actor, and activist will participate in the question-and-answer session.

Coinciding with the program, NASA will broadcast into space a 1976 recording of Gene Roddenberry's remarks on diversity and inclusion through the agency’s Deep Space Network of radio antennas. NASA also is inviting people on social media to join in celebrating Roddenberry’s 100th birthday on Thursday by posting a Vulcan salute selfie with the hashtag #Roddenberry100.

The Roddenberry Foundation Centennial Celebration

NASA

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A Voyage In Her Lifetime...

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Image Source: Link in the article text

 

Topics: International Space Station, Interstellar, NASA, Space Exploration, Spaceflight, Star Trek

 

Light Sails were first mentioned in the year 1610 in a letter by astronomer Johannes Kepler to his friend, Galileo Galilei. “With ships or sails built for heavenly winds, some will venture into that great vastness.” In his character of Benjamin Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Avery Brooks used his Starfleet engineering prowess deciphering ancient text to recreate an ancient Bajoran solar sail in the episode "Explorers." The possibilities have vacillated between science and fiction ever since.

 

I've enjoyed reading the speculation by Avi Loeb, Chair of Harvard University's Department of Astronomy on the Oumuamua object in Extraterrestrial. I've also enjoyed the healthy counter debate, as that's how ideas in science are refined before they become laws, doctrine, or accepted universal theorems.

 

On the "billionaire space race": Eli Musk started it with his SpaceX rocket system. It would be nice in current geopolitical tensions not to rely so much on Russian Soyuz capsules to get to the ISS. Brian Branson and Jeff Bezos have probably opened up space tourism, but in the foreseeable near-future and exorbitant price tag, it will probably be a dalliance of the wealthy. Desktop computers used to cost between $2,000 - 3,000, cell phones irradiating Gordon Gekko's skull in the movie "Wall Street" used to be the size of Canada. Even the fictional Zefram Cochrane needed a financier, Micah Brack, to get Warp One going. Whether that leads to a utopia of limitless energy, the end to poverty, money, life extension, and eliminating inequality is yet to be seen.

 

The article title, Breakthrough Starshot: A voyage to the stars within our lifetimes, Astronomy Magazine, takes into account the bane of our spacefaring existence: mass, quite literally a "drag," and cannot be compensated for by technobabble "inertia dampeners" or artificial gravity. We are currently accelerating at 9.8 meters per square second to the Earth's center, but we're used to it after living here a while. Twenty percent of the speed of light would get a nano solar sail craft propelled by a high-energy laser to Alpha Centauri in twenty years but would turn human passengers (if any were that small) into DNA goo against the bulkhead. Starshot launching in 2060 means my granddaughter will be forty-one, her parents might be grandparents, and I would have to be a spry ninety-eight to witness it. "Our lifetimes" must be humankind, that is if we haven't overextended our resources to make the endeavor fruitless. From the end of the article:

 

But as award-winning Cosmos writer and producer Ann Druyan, a member of the Breakthrough Starshot advisory board, said during a 2016 press conference announcing the initiative: “Science thinks in timescales of billions of years. And yet, we live in a society that only thinks in terms of, generally, the balance sheet of the next quarter or the next election. … So, this kind of thinking that looks at a horizon that’s 35 years away — possibly 20, possibly 50 — is exactly what’s called for now, because it’s this kind of multigenerational enterprise that nets us such great results.”

 

Godspeed, "Little Bit."

 

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Five Stages...

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Image source: Link below

Topics: Astrophysics, Cosmology, Einstein, General Relativity, Star Trek

Note: One of the things you find out about sophomore, or junior year in physics is faster-than-light travel violates causality: the arrow of time points forward, not in "loop-de-loop." Thus, we can suspend belief as every version of Trek did time travel episodes, because superluminal speeds would allow grandfather paradoxes, so why not?

As a lifelong Trekkie, it pains me to critique genuine attempts at warp field mechanics. Just note the five stages of grief I have traveled often as I read such articles: "denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance" (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and David Kessler), but based on the post that will appear in the morning, a little diversion might be a good thing.

For Erik Lentz, it all started with Star Trek. Every few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Jean-Luc Picard would raise his hand and order, “Warp one, engage!” Then stars became dashes, and light-years flashed by at impossible speed. And Lentz, still in elementary school, wondered whether warp drive might also work in real life.

“At some point, I realized that the technology didn’t exist,” Lentz says. He studied physics at the University of Washington, wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on dark matter, and generally became far too busy to be concerned with science fiction. But then, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Lentz found himself alone in Göttingen, Germany, where he was doing postdoctoral work. He suddenly had plenty of free time on his hands—and childhood fancies in his head.

Lentz read everything he could find on warp drives in the scientific literature, which was not very much. Then he began to think about it for himself. After a few weeks, something occurred to him that everyone else seemed to have overlooked. Lentz put his idea on paper and discussed it with more experienced colleagues. A year later it was published in a physics journal.

It quickly became clear that Lentz was not the only person dreaming about warp drives. Media outlets all over the world picked up the story, and a dozen journalists asked for interviews. A discussion on the online forum Reddit attracted 2,700 comments and 33,000 likes. One Internet user wrote, “Anyone else feels like they were born 300 years too soon?”

Star Trek’s Warp Drive Leads to New Physics, Robert Gast, Scientific American

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Reality-Truth...

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Leonard Nimoy as Spock from "Amok Time," TOS, first aired September 15, 1967

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Human Rights, Politics, Star Trek

 

I've been finishing up the semester. I passed my preliminary exam. Now I'm working on refining my research question for my dissertation proposal, due late spring. I usually take a break from blogging around the holidays, and as my Dean put it, dissertations proposals are "a bear." So don't be surprised if I take a blog break for LONG stretches.

 

o'thia
Literally defined as "reality-truth" in Vulcan religion/philosophy, methods of emotional self-control, and teachings of pacifism. The term o'thia is also known simply as logic. Note: there is an error on the wiki - cthia, versus o'thia. See TOS novel: Spock's World, by Diane Duane. See beta wiki: https://memory-beta.fandom.com/wiki/Vulcan_language

 

As I type this, the FDA meeting on the Pfizer version of the coronavirus vaccine has concluded. They have taken the first steps towards approving the vaccine for distribution in America. The first woman in the world to receive it was a 90-year-old grandmother in Bristol. As she gave her arm and consent, many even in the UK expressed misplaced skepticism, expressing their version of European "anti-vax" sentiments. African Americans are still feeling the sting of the Tuskegee Experiment, decades later, and don't trust anything the current administration might have produced after waves of destructive behavior, destroying what was marginal "norms," but the pandemic has shown and is showing, we were not "normal," and we still aren't. The majority of WASP-C (White, Anglo Saxon Protestant Cisgender) countries are scarfing up vaccine supplies because they have the WEALTH to do so. We are still behaving carnally, like warring tribes over the next hill. The pandemic has revealed our world is imbalanced by racism and income inequality. A lot of the epidemics and pandemics stem from people trying their best to survive under circumstances they did not design for themselves. You can't complain about anyone eating a bat any more than you can about someone eating chitterlings and high-salt hog products when the scraps were literally all African Americans had to eat. See Umar Haque's article: "How Covid Proves the World is Even More Racist Than You Think." Start getting used to the term "vaccine nationalism." It's short-sighted: you can't do any international travel for business, or pleasure if developing countries - where we get a lot of precious metals - are still in lockdown.

 

Star Trek is modern mythology, born during the turbulent 1960s when there were the struggle for civil rights, women's rights, LGBT rights (Stonewall), civil unrest, assassinations, and the Cold War with the Soviet Union, "duck-and-cover" drills being as part of the school curriculum as masks are now. Gene Roddenberry envisioned a world in the far future, with fantastic technologies and cooperation among humanity that from September 8, 1966, to June 3, 1969, he obviously hadn't see demonstrated. In many ways, we're trying to "live up" to the optimistic (some would say Pollyannaish) vision today.

 

Star Trek inspired many P.E.E.R.s (People Excluded due to Ethnicity and Race, see David Asai, 2020 here, and here) into STEM, Dr. Ronald E. McNair, for example, and myself.

 

Spock particularly inspired me. He wasn't just Vulcan: he was biracial, not just of two cultures, but two worlds. From the canon, he seemed to experience xenophobia and insults from other "pure" Vulcans, as well as snarky humans like Dr. Leonard McCoy. Seeing myself in the outsider, "the other" in Science Officer Spock wasn't even a little stretch. Empathy for his fellow Vulcan's and some human's racism during the turbulent 1960s was easy.

 

o'thia

 

We are a country in the aftermath of being gaslighted by a man his clinical psychologist niece says is so delusional, he can gaslight himself. We are a country in the aftermath of four-hundred years of gaslighting between "superior" and "inferior." "Reality-truth" is anathema to him and his cult following, primed by forty-years of AM talk radio and four-hundred years of generational brainwashing. The Fairness Doctrine wasn't repealed by Reagan, but it was abandoned in 1987 during his administration's lame-duck years. It affected radio broadcast licenses, so you can say this probably led to Rush Limbaugh and right-wing talk radio. Fox News is television, thus unrestrained by whether we had a fairness doctrine when they arrived in 1996 or not. The Texas AG and seventeen other AG's - all WASP-C males (White, Anglo Saxon Protestant-Cisgender) have filed a frivolous lawsuit to overturn the 2020 election results because the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People Of Color, and P.E.E.R.s among them) have no votes that they deem credible unless they vote for republicans.

 

[Chief Justice Roger B.] Taney -- a staunch supporter of slavery and intent on protecting southerners from northern aggression -- wrote in the Court's majority opinion that, because Scott was black, he was not a citizen and therefore had no right to sue. The framers of the Constitution, he wrote, believed that blacks "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it." PBS - Dred Scott case: the Supreme Court decision, 1857

 

Dr. Mary Trump is the author of "Too Much, and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man." She's apparently working on a follow-up book on the country's collective trauma due to her uncle's incompetence, and more likely, his many undiagnosed mental disorders. Also, as I listened to her View interview, she wants to talk about how we as a nation - not the BIPOC, or P.E.E.R.s - have collectively ignored our past and never reckoned with the slaughter of Native First Nation Peoples, the kidnap, rape, and slaughter-at-will of the African Diaspora, to the point the current dwindling majority can't see me any more than Taney did my ancestor, Dred Scott: we have no rights they are bound to respect, and our vote is by definition "fraudulent," unless we vote for them as "masters."

 

"Reality-truth" - o'thia - saved the mythical Vulcans from self-annihilation.

 

We might want a steady diet of o'thia if we want to survive as a species.

 

"Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We can not. We must not. We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other. Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe." Chadwick Boseman as King T'Challa in the movie Black Panther, Rest In Power.

 

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Footsies with Armageddon...

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

Iran's most senior nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated near the capital Tehran, the country's defense ministry has confirmed.

Fakhrizadeh died in hospital after an attack in Absard, in Damavand county.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has condemned the killing "as an act of state terror".

Western intelligence agencies believe Fakhrizadeh was behind a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program.

"If Iran ever chose to weaponize (enrichment), Fakhrizadeh would be known as the father of the Iranian bomb," one Western diplomat told Reuters news agency in 2014.

Iran insists its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.

But news of the killing comes amid fresh concern about the increased amount of enriched uranium that the country is producing. Enriched uranium is a vital component for both civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran's top nuclear scientist, assassinated near Tehran, BBC News

Yes, just like something out of Marvel's Captain America. According to reports by U.S. intelligence, China has conducted human testing on members of the People's Liberation Army with the ambitious goal of developing soldiers with enhanced biological capabilities.

Though it may sound like something out of science fiction, emerging technologies capable of augmenting the human body paired with the rapidly evolving world of genome-editing could arguably spawn the dawn of super-humans.

Concepts like artificial intelligence symbiosis, bionic body parts, and self-regenerating limbs are not too far off into the future.

Though the idea of getting your hands on some highly coveted Marvel-Esque superpowers sounds exciting, there are some real-world fears and ethical questions that need to be asked. Should we if we can?

China is Creating Biologically Enhanced Super Soldiers, Says US Spy Chief, Donovan Alexander, Interesting Engineering

Act Two
McCoy is conducting a medical analysis on the unidentified man at sickbay on the Enterprise. McCoy is amazed at the physical and recuperative power of the man.

In sickbay, Kirk arrives to speak to the man. McCoy notes his superior bodily strength and efficiency of his lungs, hinting at his Augment origin. McCoy estimates that the man could lift both he and Kirk with one arm. He tells Kirk that it would be interesting to see if the man's brain matches his body.

TOS: Space Seed, Memory Alpha

In July, we were estimated losing a person a minute to COVID-19. We may now lose the equivalent of a 9/11 per day by Christmas. Bah, humbug!

In the constitutional "peaceful transfer of power," you would think the current occupant of the Oval Office would be laser-focused on the pandemic. He would have his agencies coordinating with the incoming administration to ensure its success, and minimize the loss of life due to a virus that spreads exponentially. You would think his Oath of Office would come to mind, the whole "protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign, and domestic." That the safety of the nation and its citizens would be his highest priority.

Dude, you don't know our current occupant. He's playing president like he played a billionaire. He's never been either one.

No action on the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist, no condemnation of the act, or sanctions on an ally that approved this action, nor officially logging our disapproval.

China is on the verge of fielding "Captain China" supermen on a future battlefield we may find our soldiers dying on. They're already on the verge of technological supremacy without augments. Their fascination with Nazi lawyer Carl Schmitt is disturbing.

Of course, his priorities are arguing an election that he clearly lost.

 

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that China's economic and military transformation, under the current Communist regime, has the potential to seriously threaten the future security of Canada and the West. The paper first looks at the economic reforms that have radically changed the Chinese economy. Then, the paper presents the significant changes that have taken place concerning military strategy, equipment modernization, and power projection capability. The strategic view and policies of Canada and the US are discussed in light of these changes and other recent incidents. The paper then presents the argument that there are three potential problem areas in which China could possibly threaten the West. The paper concludes by noting that China is a Communist country that is dissatisfied with its status in the world and that the West must not be naive to its intentions and ambitions.

When China awakes, it will shake the world - Napoleon Bonaparte

Once China becomes strong enough to stand alone, it might discard us. A little later it might even turn against us if its perception of its interests requires it - Henry Kissinger

China: the Emerging Superpower
by/par Major H.A. Hynes

The economic conditions before the first and second world wars were similarly dire, and related to each other. The gist of each causing massive losses of life (inclusive of the 1918 pandemic) was arrogance and greed.

We live in a cartoon. We think our actions are recoverable and survivable. We think there's a "Season Two" to stupidity. We think that minerals we've given agency over our lives, spewed as the guts of stars parsecs away are valuable enough to hoard, steal, and kill over.

We elect caricatures of gangsters to high office: sociopaths with Twitter followers that are equally psychotic. We're at the Entropy of our political experiment. Chaos is kind of unrecoverable without benevolent aliens and fictional warp signatures.

He's running a con. He's ALWAYS running a con. The con started with Reagan: "government is the problem" is as catchy and myopic a slogan as "defund the police." What does either one mean? I don't think officers should show up to a mental health crisis with guns blazing: that usually doesn't turn out too well. Was there a libertarian rocketeer that had a cost-effective method of getting to the moon? Was there some unknown genius living in his mom's basement that had a better solution than ARPANET (that became the Internet)? I'm as against bad, racist cops as anyone, but if my home is broken into, I EXPECT a government structure capable enough that when my glass break goes off, SOMEONE that my taxes pay for their salaries comes a-running, whether they like me personally, or not!

He's making far more money in small-dollar donations by losing the election, whining about it was "rigged," and putting out 46-minute bullshit infomercials to morons than winning it. As a malignant narcissist, he could care LESS who his rhetoric influences to commit violence, whether they're Republicans, Independents, or Democrats. He's probably as surprised as the 80 million who voted for the sane candidate that there are 74 million that would consciously and deliberately vote for him!

He's running a grift reality show, while we all sit on a powder keg for forty-six days.

As he witnessed the first detonation of a nuclear weapon on July 16, 1945, a piece of Hindu scripture ran through the mind of Robert Oppenheimer: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. It is, perhaps, the most well-known line from the Bhagavad-Gita, but also the most misunderstood.

In Hinduism, which has a non-linear concept of time, the great god is not only involved in the creation, but also the dissolution. In verse thirty-two, Krishna speaks the line brought to global attention by Oppenheimer. "The quotation 'Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds', is literally the world-destroying time,” explains Thompson, adding that Oppenheimer’s Sanskrit teacher chose to translate “world-destroying time” as “death”, a common interpretation. Its meaning is simple: irrespective of what Arjuna does, everything is in the hands of the divine.

"Arjuna is a soldier, he has a duty to fight. Krishna, not Arjuna will determine who lives and who dies and Arjuna should neither mourn nor rejoice over what fate has in store, but should be sublimely unattached to such results,” says Thompson. “And ultimately the most important thing is he should be devoted to Krishna. His faith will save Arjuna's soul." But Oppenheimer, seemingly, was never able to achieve this peace. "In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humour, no overstatements can quite extinguish," he said two years after the Trinity explosion, "the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.”

'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds'. The story of Oppenheimer's infamous quote, James Temperton, Wired

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One Small Step...

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Topics: Moonbase, NASA, Space Exploration, Spaceflight, Star Trek

Cultural references: Neil Armstrong's quote: "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," and the title of a Star Trek Voyager episode, season 6, episode 8.

On August 4, 1972, the sun unleashed an incandescent whip of energy from its surface and flung it toward the planets. It was accompanied by a seething cloud of plasma called a coronal mass ejection, which traversed the nearly 150 million kilometers between sun and Earth in just more than half a day—still the fastest-known arrival time for such outbursts—to briefly bathe our planet in a cosmic fire.

Earth’s shielding magnetosphere crumpled and shrunk by two thirds, sending powerful geomagnetic currents rippling through the planet. Dazzling displays of “northern lights” stretched down to Spain, and overloaded power lines strained as far south as Texas. Off the southern coast of Haiphong, North Vietnam, the seas churned as the celestial disturbance prematurely detonated some two dozen U.S. Navy sea mines. The geomagnetic storm is one of the most violent solar events in recorded history, certainly the most violent of the space age.

The astronauts of Apollo 16 had been home about three months from their lunar foray, and those of Apollo 17 were still preparing for their December launch. The fact that the solar outburst happened between the penultimate and final crewed moon missions was simply a matter of chance. If the members of either crew had been in space during the solar storm, especially if they had been traversing the portion of the “cislunar” region between Earth and the moon that lies outside the magnetosphere, they would have been exposed to a potentially deadly dose of radiation.

We got lucky in 1972. And in terms of space-based hazards, that luck has largely held throughout humanity’s off-world excursions. To date, the only humans to actually die in space were the three cosmonauts of Soyuz 11, who asphyxiated because of faulty hardware as their spacecraft began its descent to Earth. Yet despite what most estimates would seem to consider a near-sterling safety record, today the prospect of venturing back beyond low-Earth orbit somehow seems more daunting—more dangerous—than it did when the Apollo program ended. Equipped with more knowledge than ever about the environs beyond our home, we now seem more reluctant to leave it. Maybe we know too much.

Can a Moon Base be Safe for Astronauts? Rebecca Boyle, Scientific American

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The Talented Tenth: Season One

The Talented Tenth: Season One

Historical Bureau of Investigation Agents Tad Jones and Kim Davis research history with The Time Telescope in order to reconnect with their history due to the Great Cataclysm. They discover unknown Historical Heroes such as Sybil Ludington, Squanto and Crispus Attucks and more. But what happens when they are TRAPPED in the past. Will they ever return to the 23rd Century? History and Science meet at The Time Telescope. This is the Season One of a comic book series that combines Star Trek with Doctor Who. This has a great educational value. Everyone has heroes that look like them. Now you can see them for yourselves.

https://indyplanet.com/the-time-telescope-season-one

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