The anthology Halloween Party 2019 featuring my occult detective story "The Stumpvile Affair" is on sale now from Devil's Party Press and can be found on Amazon.com
|Warning signs hang in a church in Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale. Hulu | Vox|
Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights
Note: Taking a blog break as I prepare for midterms. I'll reemerge in about two weeks.
The Sons of Jacob are the conspiratorial group that devised the philosophy and social structure for a totalitarian patriarchal theocracy and orchestrated the rise of Gilead.
A founder of a local Sons of Jacob chapter tells the Boston Globe in an interview he read about the community in a Facebook group and got into it because he wanted to help "the kids" to "get them out of gangs and away from their sinful families and into a better way of [life]."
According to Offred, "'they' shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress, and the army declared a state of emergency". She adds "they blamed it on the Islamic fanatics" and that "the entire government" was "gone like that", making her wonder "how did 'they' get in". Later on "they suspended the Constitution" which they said "would be temporary". Moira suspects "they've been building up to this".
Source: The Sons of Jacob, The Handmaid's Tale Fandom Wiki
Margaret Atwood published The Handmaid's Tale in 1985. The Sons of Jacob didn't have Facebook or social media, so their emergence was from a fictionalized decline in birthrates that propelled them to act out of fear for survival. Being 1985, it would have never occurred to the writer to bring an outside force from Russia favoring the Sons of Jacob to assist them first electorally: we were in the Cold War and apparently still litigating the Civil War. The author pointed out in an interview, what seems sudden in a coup d'etat typically happens first in the background. Outside the awareness of the country, it suddenly overruns an unsuspecting public with a surprise assault.
Impeachment is not necessarily for a crime. He can be impeached for not fulfilling his presidential duties nominating candidates (preferring "acting" positions) for senate confirmation in their constitutional duty to "advise and consent" (obliterated by Moscow Mitch with respect to President Obama and Merrick Garland).
[The president] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States... Senate.gov
Now...Caligula tweets threats of civil war and witness intimidation, yet another ground for impeachment. Twenty-four hours after denying he strong-armed the Ukrainian president, did it AGAIN from the White House lawn, involving China. The fact he has a shot-in-foot trade war with them is bizarre, and the equivalent of falling on his own Sword of Damocles.
Public-opinion polling shows that Trump’s low opinion of American elections has practically become Republican Party orthodoxy. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday, Republicans have an “unprecedented” level of “concern and mistrust in the system.” Roughly 70 percent of Republican voters believe that if Hillary Clinton wins the election, it’ll be due to fraud. In both this poll and an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll, only half of Republicans say they’d accept a Clinton victory. (In the latter poll, by contrast, 82 percent of Democrats said they would accept a Trump victory.)
This suspicious Republican electorate is joined by growing ranks of conservative politicians, pundits, and intellectuals. They’re all increasingly willing to say that the existing American political system is hopelessly flawed and needs to be rolled back to the days before blacks and women could vote. On the most obvious level, this can be seen in moves by Republican governors all over America to make voting more difficult, through stringent voting ID laws, new hurdles to registration, and the curtailment of early-voting options. Equally significant has been the gutting of key provisions of the Voting Rights Act by conservative Supreme Court justices in the 2013 Shelby Country v. Holder ruling.
But these overt forms of voting suppression are merely the most visible manifestations of a larger questioning of democracy on the political right. Trump’s anti-democratic rhetoric—and the eagerness of so many good, white patriotic Americans to cheer it and believe it—is a symptom of the larger trend on the political right toward doubting the legitimacy of the American system. The question we need to be asking isn’t, “Why is Trump being such a jerk?” It’s, “Why is the American Right giving up on democracy?”
The Right Is Giving Up on Democracy, Jeet Heer, New Republic, October 24, 2016
William Barr, the nation's top cop, isn't fighting the Opioid Crisis at home, but globetrotting after debunked conspiracy theories to link Ukraine to the DNC server hack, not Russia, therefore discrediting the Mueller Report and thus, justify lifting any sanctions against them. Rudy Giuliani - America's mayor after 9/11 - is passing around said debunked conspiracy theories in Trump hotel folders with monogrammed stationary. Mike Pompeo is denying unsuccessfully testimony to the House Intelligence Committee regarding his complicity in the Ukrainian call, which he eventually admitted being on. Mike Pompeo is a graduate of West Point. Mike Pompeo is a Harvard Law graduate. He's supposedly a "Christian" with a penchant for mendacity that is only eclipsed by Orange Satan.
At my previous job before graduate school, one of my coworkers was lamenting about the "birth rate decline of white people" right outside of my office. He had three children, the guy nodding next to him had FIVE and the next two gents two and three children respectively. For the record: I have two sons, a daughter-in-law; a granddaughter (not then). I clearly was outnumbered. White supremacy is if nothing, anxiously numerical.
I closed the door to my office. It wasn't worth a reply.
The Sons of Jacob are fictional, but the fear of "white genocide" is quite real and first retweeted by the Manchurian Candidate now at Pennsylvania Avenue.
The prospect of civil war was first opined by evangelical (evil-gelical) pastor Robert Jeffress, again retweeted by an addled, Internet addicted and disturbed mind. Franklin Graham can't recall a SINGLE lie told by the "father of lies." He made #Antichrist trend on Twitter after his self-apotheosis as "the chosen one." I guess such a figure needs anti-Christian followers in his flock, as neither remotely reminds me of Christ.
White Americans own a lot of guns, brought on by "fear of the other": demographically, evangelicals became numerical minorities in 2017. Some openly discuss the aspect of a modern civil war. One of my friends from undergraduate at NC A&T, said so. Working as a GS engineer for the US Navy, they openly discussed a race war with the only African American engineer in the division and the rounds of ammunition they purchased for the "Turner Diaries"-inspired bloodbath. My wife heard similar sentiments from her coworkers at her employment where she is also the only African American.
The impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were successful in their respective House of Representatives only. Nixon seeing the biblical "handwriting on the wall," resigned before removal. Even with the mounting evidence, and if impeachment is successful for the first time in our history: If his removal is recommended by Moscow Mitch's senate, their constituent's collective pathology may be worth tearing our republic to bits over. I shudder over that apocalyptic scenario.
I'm not sure their blindness lets them see it: fascist sons of bitches erecting this bullshit mountain will not "make America great again," turn back the clock on climate change; make coal or petroleum clean, bring back factory and farm jobs, de-globalize the world economy, make women barefoot and perpetually pregnant, put black, brown and anyone other-than-white-people on the back of the bus, LGBT back in the closet or inaugurate a Dominionism-inspired Republic of Gilead.
In fiction, Moira suspected "they've been building up to this".
They are building us up to something...
|Source: Internet Movie Database|
Topics: Biology, Climate Change, Existentialism, Philosophy, Politics
Though the movie poster is an attempt at dark humor, I do agree with the science. We're in a time of our history where science is being suborned to political and economic considerations, when we need it literally for survival.
From a biological perspective, there is no such thing as devolution. All changes in the gene frequencies of populations--and quite often in the traits those genes influence--are by definition evolutionary changes. The notion that humans might regress or "devolve" presumes that there is a preferred hierarchy of structure and function--say, that legs with feet are better than legs with hooves or that breathing with lungs is better than breathing with gills. But for the organisms possessing those structures, each is a useful adaptation.
Chief among these misconceptions is that species evolve or change because they need to change to adapt to shifting environmental demands; biologists refer to this fallacy as teleology. In fact, more than 99 percent of all species that ever lived are extinct, so clearly there is no requirement that species always adapt successfully. As the fossil record demonstrates, extinction is a perfectly natural--and indeed quite common--response to changing environmental conditions. When species do evolve, it is not out of need but rather because their populations contain organisms with variants of traits that offer a reproductive advantage in a changing environment.
Is the human race evolving or devolving? July 20, 1998, Scientific American
|Chinese revolutionary poster promoting the study of science in 1980. Credit: Pictures From History/akg-images|
Topics: Education, Existentialism, Politics, Science, Research
The opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing featured ancient China’s four great inventions: the compass, printing press, paper and gunpowder. The lesson on display, as taught in classrooms across the country that today publishes the most research papers, is that Chinese innovation in science and technology changed the world.
Yet less than a hundred years before, the Chinese philosopher Feng Youlan wrote the provocative essay ‘Why China Has No Science’1. The scholar — trained at Columbia University in New York City — argued that from antiquity, the nation’s philosophical traditions and unique understanding of the human relationship to nature had prevented the spirit of scientific inquiry from taking root. Feng, like many others at the time and since, urged that science was the only salvation for a nation in precipitous decline.
Placing the efforts to change the perceived lack of science in the context of China’s turbulent modern history is key to understanding how the nation arrived at its current superpower state. The red thread that runs through China’s past 150 years is its unwavering belief in science as the path to wealth and power. The entangled relationship between research and nationalism in China has obscured how this belief grew from a combination of foreign influence and Chinese adaptation 2,3. Particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, the Chinese government tried to focus on home-grown science, and succeeded in areas such as agriculture and medicine. But in the longer view, the periods of greatest advancement were those when China opened to outside influence.
It’s a salutary lesson as we brace for the challenges of the next 150 years, including climate change, resource depletion and space exploration. These require a broad engagement with the world.
1. Feng, Y.-l. Int. J. Ethics 32, 237–263 (1922).
2. Meng, Y. East Asian Sci. Technol. Med. 16, 13–52 (1999).
3. Huters, T. Bringing the World Home: Appropriating the West in Late Qing and Early Republican China (Univ. Hawaii Press, 2005).
China: How science made a superpower, Shellen Wu, Nature
|Anti-evolution books on sale during the Scopes "Monkey Trial" in 1925. Credit: Getty Images|
Topics: Biology, Civics, Climate Change, Education, Science, Research
History.com: Scopes Monkey Trial
Nearly a quarter of a million science teachers are hard at work in public schools in the United States, helping to ensure that today’s students are equipped with the theoretical knowledge and the practical know-how they will need to flourish in tomorrow’s world. Ideally, they are doing so with the support of the lawmakers in their state’s legislatures. But in 2019 a handful of legislators scattered across the country introduced more than a dozen bills that threaten the integrity of science education.
It was a mixed batch, to be sure. In Indiana, Montana and South Carolina, the bills sought to require the misrepresentation of supposedly controversial topics in the science classroom, while in North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota, their counterparts were content simply to allow it. Meanwhile, bills in Connecticut, Florida and Iowa aimed beyond the classroom, targeting supposedly controversial topics in the state science standards and (in the case of Florida) instructional materials.
Despite their variance, the bills shared a common goal: undermining the teaching of evolution or climate change. Sometimes it is clear: the one in Indiana would have allowed local school districts to require the teaching of a supposed alternative to evolution, while the Montana bill would have required the state’s public schools to present climate change denial. Sometimes it is cloaked in vague high-sounding language about objectivity and balance, requiring a careful analysis of the motives of the sponsors and supporters.
Either way, though, such bills would frustrate the purpose of public science education. Students deserve to learn about scientific topics in accordance with the understanding of the scientific community. With the level of acceptance of evolution among biomedical scientists at 99 percent, and the level of acceptance of climate change among climate scientists not far behind at 97 percent, it is a disservice to students to misrepresent these theoretically and practically important topics as scientifically controversial.
Science Education Is Under Legislative Attack, Glen Branch, Scientific American
|Fossil of trilobite that evolved following the mid-Ordovician ice age. | Birger Schmitz|
Topics: Asteroids, Astronomy, Biology, Planetary Science
Tyche: Modern Greek: [ˈti.çi] "luck"; Roman equivalent: Fortuna) was the presiding tutelary deity who governed the fortune and prosperity of a city, its destiny. In Classical Greek mythology, she is the daughter of Aphrodite and Zeus or Hermes. Source: Wikipedia
Dust from the breakup of a 150-kilometer- (93 mile) diameter asteroid may have caused — or at least intensified — an ice age half a billion years ago, providing the impetus for a sweeping array of aquatic animal adaptations that shaped today's spectacularly diverse ocean ecosystems, according to a new study published in the September 20 issue of Science Advances.
The authors uncovered extraterrestrial material in sediments that correlate the timing of asteroid breakup with a major dip in sea level frequently attributed to the onset of the Mid-Ordovician ice age. Their findings suggest that asteroid dust may have settled in Earth's atmosphere, shading the planet from the sun's radiation and cooling global temperatures.
While extraterrestrial dust only accounts for about one percent of the modern atmosphere and does not impact the climate, large quantities of dust lingering for several hundred thousand years or more would be expected to cause global cooling.
"This is the first time anyone has shown that asteroid breakups and asteroid dust can lead to ice ages," said Birger Schmitz, a professor of geology at Lund University in Sweden and the first author of the study. "This is also the first time since the discovery of the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs that an important event in the history of life has been tied to an astronomical event."
Asteroid Dust May Have Triggered Ice Age and Sea Life Explosion
Shannon Kelleher, American Association for the Advancement of Science
An Underground of several potential heroes are recruited by an ex-government agent and a lost time traveler from the future to stop a 200-year-old billionaire from correcting the one failure in his richly successful life. If the mega-billionaire is indeed victorious, then the world as we know it will be changed.
The Saga is Complete. We need diverse superheroes. Start Here.
|Source: Book vs. Flick: Stephen King's IT, Sara Century|
Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights
"I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
Source: 5 U.S. Code § 3331.Oath of office, Cornell Law School
"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44
This is a man without a country and really, a party without a country.
He is a man without a country because he has nothing beyond his wallet he truly believes in. He wasn't a liberal the sixty-five years he was a member of the Democratic Party; he's by far not a conservative in the Republican Party whose racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia he has driven nakedly to its logical conclusion of fascism. He obviously had the building blocks to exploit. Pathological lying is one of his many visible mental disorders. He would rather run a hustle than study, as true education would be an admittance he doesn't know everything, and his narcissistic personality disorder simply won't allow anything but his self-deluded, deified perfection, and enablers willingly reflecting back the adulation that has no bottom.
His soul and wallet are equally owned by Vladimir Putin because Russian oligarchs were the only ones that would loan him any money when he burned his bridges with any legitimate American banking institution after SIX bankruptcies - it takes special talent to lose money in gambling casinos. He is evidence of what it looks like when one man who metaphorically and quite literally "gains the world," and sells his soul (if he ever had one).
The hearing yesterday shows just how far the former party of Lincoln and Reagan has fallen from the ideal of whatever conservatism - envisioned by William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater was supposed to mean.
The whistle blower charge has been declassified. The agent has also been threatened with the only constitutional punishment for treason by Orange Caligula in a breathtaking display of projection. The current constitutional crisis we find ourselves in may either prove our democratic ideals, or damn them to disorganized tribalism. I am literally praying for our continuance as a nation.
The idea of a Director of National Intelligence dates back to the 1950s, but was instituted specifically after the attacks on 9/11. It's main purpose is to coordinate the myriad agencies - the same seventeen that conclusively pointed to Russian interference in 2016 - that weren't talking to each other before the attacks. It is supposed to be a senate confirmed position; there have been two confirmed and two acting directors.
Acting DNI Joseph Maguire is senate confirmed - for the counter-terrorism task force, per his previous skill sets as a Navy Seal. We currently have a dysfunctional, dystopian system of "acting" positions, due to the record turnover of government workforce (currently at 78%, a record in less than four years) and the lack of desire by those sane to work for someone clearly unstable.
The Reality Of What They Are
Formatted reality shows are essentially game shows, because there is a specific structure, set rules, and a clear winner. What makes them exciting to watch is the fact that they are often clever dramatic social experiments. To truly connect with an audience and have entertainment value in a show, the idea needs to be as fun to watch as it is to participate in.
Docuseries reality shows allow us to witness life unfold for a person, family, business, or group set within a lifestyle and circumstance that creates entertaining and compelling content. The reason viewers tune in is because we have an insatiable appetite for witnessing and being entertained by the human experience.
Source: TV Writer's Vault
This formulaic reality show will not work for very much longer. It's not even fun to watch.
We were attacked on 9/11. We were attacked during the 2016 presidential elections. We are open for slaughter and attack by those same forces, and we've been damned lucky another 9/11-style attack hasn't happened, or that the current kleptocracy hasn't spurred or allowed one to happen! That will unify nothing except our devolution into chaos. It's easy if the United States became a failed state, for the world currency to switch from the dollar to the Chinese Yuan without a blink. They could relocate the UN and Wall Street to Europe. We could in a fortnight become a byword and a historical footnote.
He is a man who has never had a country like any lover or wife he's not unwilling to cheat on.
My concern is as a people, WE have a country instead of a badlands of anarchy.
|Source: Modeling Carbon Nanotube FET Physics in COMSOL Multiphysics®|
Topics: Applied Physics, Carbon Nanotubes, Field Effect Transistors, Nanotechnology
Silicon field-effect transistors (FETs) were developed in the late 1950s as a scaled-down, energy-efficient substitute for bipolar junction transistors. They paved the way for the high-density integrated circuits that today underlie most electronics (see the article by Alan Fowler, Physics Today, October 1993, page 59). With their lower gate voltages, carbon nanotube FETs could surpass silicon FET energy efficiency by nearly a factor of 10. In 2013 Subhasish Mitra, Max Shulaker (then at Stanford University), and coworkers made the first CNFET microprocessor; it comprised 178 transistors and could run a single operation.
Variability caused by the production process has made moving beyond that proof-of-concept computer challenging. Gage Hills, Christian Lau, and coworkers in Shulaker’s group at MIT have now overcome that hurdle with a protocol for wafer-scale CNFET microprocessor production. Their technique is also compatible with existing CMOS infrastructure, which lowers the bar for future commercial implementation.
To remove carbon nanotube aggregates—a common contaminant from CNT deposition on silicon wafers—the researchers spin-coated a layer of adhesive polymer over the device and then removed the aggregates using ultrasonic vibrations. In previous attempts, sonication damaged the nonaggregated CNTs. Using the photoresist binds them to the wafer, which preserves their function while removing more than 99% of the aggregates.
Production of carbon nanotube microprocessors gets scaled up
Christine Middleton, Physics Today
|Fig. 1 Typical geometry for the SH microscopy investigation of poled x-cut LNOI.|
Topics: Applied Physics, Optical Physics, Thin Films
Thin film lithium niobate has been of great interest recently, and an understanding of periodically poled thin films is crucial for both fundamental physics and device developments. Second-harmonic (SH) microscopy allows for the noninvasive visualization and analysis of ferroelectric domain structures and walls. While the technique is well understood in bulk lithium niobate, SH microscopy in thin films is largely influenced by interfacial reflections and resonant enhancements, which depend on film thicknesses and substrate materials. We present a comprehensive analysis of SH microscopy in x-cut lithium niobate thin films, based on a full three-dimensional focus calculation and accounting for interface reflections. We show that the dominant signal in backreflection originates from a copropagating phase-matched process observed through reflections, rather than direct detection of the counterpropagating signal as in bulk samples. We simulate the SH signatures of domain structures by a simple model of the domain wall as an extensionless transition from a −χ(2) to a +χ(2) region. This allows us to explain the main observation of domain structures in the thin-film geometry, and, in particular, we show that the SH signal from thin poled films allows to unambiguously distinguish areas, which are completely or only partly inverted in depth.
Second harmonic microscopy of poled x-cut thin film lithium niobate: Understanding the contrast mechanism
Journal of Applied Physics 126, 114105 (2019); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5113727
|Helper two-dimensional metal-carbide layers could improve perovskite solar cell stability and help make these complex solar cells a viable green energy option. Credit: iStock Milos-Muller|
Topics: Condensed Matter Physics, Green Tech, Materials Science, Metamaterials, Nanotechnology, Solar Power
With the reality of climate change looming, the importance of realistic green energy sources is higher than ever. Solar cells are one promising avenue, as they can convert readily available visible and ultraviolet energy into usable electricity. In particular, perovskite materials sandwiched between other support layers have demonstrated impressive power conversion efficiencies. Current challenges reside in optimizing perovskite/support layer interfaces, which can directly impact power conversion and cell degradation. Researchers Antonio Agresti et al. under the direction of Aldo Di Carlo at the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy have investigated how cells containing two-dimensional titanium-carbide MXene support layers could improve perovskite solar cell performance.
To obtain good power conversion within a perovskite solar cell, all layers and layer interfaces within the cell must have good compatibility. Typical cells contain the active perovskite material sandwiched between two charge transport layers, which are then adjacent to their corresponding electrodes. Support layers may also be added. Charge mobility, energy barriers, interface energy alignment, and interfacial vacancies all impact compatibility and subsequent cell performance and stability. Thus, engineering well-suited interfaces with the cell is paramount to cell success and long-term stability, an important criterion for potential commercialization.
Two-dimensional buffer materials could help to modify and promote useful interface interactions. MXenes, a growing class of two-dimensional transitional metal carbides, nitrides, and carbonitrides, have shown impressive electronic properties that are easily tuned via surface modification. For example, the band gap of an MXene can be modified by changing the surface termination group from an oxygen atom to a hydroxide molecule. Additionally, MXene composition impacts the overall material performance. This type of fine-tuning allows impressive control over MXene properties and makes them ideal for interface adjustments.
Two-dimensional MXenes improve perovskite solar cell efficiency
Amanda Carr, Physics World
#P4TC: MXenes...August 24, 2015
Topics: Chemistry, Climate Change, Economy, Global Warming, Green Tech, Jobs
This week will be historic. In over 150 countries, people are stepping up to support young climate strikers and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels. The climate crisis won’t wait, so neither will we. Source: Global Climate Strike dot net
As with the Parkland demonstrations on mass shootings, young people are leading us - actually, PULLING us over the line to DO something about both important matters.
Shakespeare's phrase, *"hoist with his own petard", is an idiom that means "to be harmed by one's own plan to harm someone else" or "to fall into one's own trap", implying that one could be lifted (blown) upward by one's own bomb, or in other words, be foiled by one's own plan. Source: Wikipedia
Black, gooey, greasy oil is the starting material for more than just transportation fuel. It's also the source of dozens of petrochemicals that companies transform into versatile and valued materials for modern life: gleaming paints, tough and moldable plastics, pesticides, and detergents. Industrial processes produce something like beauty out of the ooze. By breaking the hydrocarbons in oil and natural gas into simpler compounds and then assembling those building blocks, scientists long ago learned to construct molecules of exquisite complexity.
Fossil fuels aren't just the feedstock for those reactions; they also provide the heat and pressure that drive them. As a result, industrial chemistry's use of petroleum accounts for 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Now, growing numbers of scientists and, more important, companies think the same final compounds could be made by harnessing renewable energy instead of digging up and rearranging hydrocarbons and spewing waste carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air. First, renewable electricity would split abundant molecules such as CO2, water, oxygen (O2), and nitrogen into reactive fragments. Then, more renewable electricity would help stitch those chemical pieces together to create the products that modern society relies on and is unlikely to give up.
Chemists in academia, at startups, and even at industrial giants are testing processes—even prototype plants—that use solar and wind energy, plus air and water, as feedstocks. "We're turning electrons into chemicals," says Nicholas Flanders, CEO of one contender, a startup called Opus 12. The company, located in a low-slung office park in Berkeley, has designed a washing machine–size device that uses electricity to convert water and CO2 from the air into fuels and other molecules, with no need for oil. At the other end of the commercial scale is Siemens, the manufacturing conglomerate based in Munich, Germany. That company is selling large-scale electrolyzers that use electricity to split water into O2 and hydrogen (H2), which can serve as a fuel or chemical feedstock. Even petroleum companies such as Shell and Chevron are looking for ways to turn renewable power into fuels.
Changing the lifeblood of industrial chemistry from fossil fuels to renewable electricity "will not happen in 1 to 2 years," says Maximilian Fleischer, chief expert in energy technology at Siemens. Renewable energy is still too scarce and intermittent for now. However, he adds, "It's a general trend that is accepted by everybody" in the chemical industry.
|Tee Public: I'm going to buy this shirt|
Can the world make the chemicals it needs without oil?
Robert F. Service, Science Magazine
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I have wonderful news! After discussions with the creator of the African American Author Fair Shatona Kilgore Groves, it is my honor the announce that I have been passed the torch and have been given ownership of the fair. I am extremely humbled and honored that she would hand over the reins of this much-needed event to my care. Over the past 2 years, The African American Author Fair has made great inroads with promoting a culture of reading, celebrating creativity, connecting the reader to the writer… and a whole lot of books. I have personally been a recipient of her hard work, professionalism, and zeal for this community. Shatona will continue to participate and serve on the advisement team as the event continues to grow and thrive.
We look forward to the great things to come as we embark on this next chapter. Please join our group for updates and information regarding the African American Author Fair. We also want to invite you to post information about your books, comics, and related topics.
Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed.
Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights
Republican media strategist Roger Ailes launched Fox News Channel in 1996, ostensibly as a "fair and balanced" counterpoint to what he regarded as the liberal establishment media. But according to a remarkable document buried deep within the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, the intellectual forerunner for Fox News was a nakedly partisan 1970 plot by Ailes and other Nixon aides to circumvent the "prejudices of network news" and deliver "pro-administration" stories to heartland television viewers.
The memo—called, simply enough, "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News"— is included in a 318-page cache of documents detailing Ailes' work for both the Nixon and George H.W. Bush administrations that we obtained from the Nixon and Bush presidential libraries. Through his firms REA Productions and Ailes Communications, Inc., Ailes served as paid consultant to both presidents in the 1970s and 1990s, offering detailed and shrewd advice ranging from what ties to wear to how to keep the pressure up on Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the first Gulf War.
Roger Ailes' Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for Fox News, John Cook, Gawker, 2011 article
Near the beginning of “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” the new documentary about the lawyer and power broker who mentored Donald Trump, an interviewee says, “Roy Cohn’s contempt for people, his contempt for the law, was so evident on his face that if you were in his presence, you knew you were in the presence of evil.” He wasn’t being hyperbolic.
In the 1950s, as chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy, Cohn wasn’t just a key player in the anti-Communist witch hunts of the time. He also persecuted men in the State Department who were suspected of being gay, despite being a closeted gay man himself. Later, he became a consigliere to New York’s mafia families, some of whom also had ties to Trump, even as he ranted about law and order.
Roy Cohn Is How We Got Trump
From McCarthyism to the mob to Trump, Cohn enabled evil.
Why did elites embrace him?
Michelle Goldberg, New York Times
More than four years into the experience, Trump can now pull a stunt that would have obliterated any previous politicians’ career before sundown and get away with it, because it’s incrementally more of exactly what he has been doing since he rode that golden escalator into this elongated infamy we now endure.
This is part and parcel of creeping fascism. An instance of horrifying racism becomes merely “expected” from the president, and then he moves on to another one, and then another, and another after that. He and his administration are laboring to normalize the grotesque.
Trump’s Racism Is Not Blundering — It Is Tactically Deliberate
William Rivers Pitt, Truth Out
History is the scaffold for the present.
Though Washington, DC was designed by the genius (and likely, closeted) African American Benjamin Banneker, it is, as of 2019, applying the umpteenth time for statehood. Moscow Mitch will block it as the grim reaper of all things decent, because it will "give an advantage to democrats." True. The District of Columbia will gain two senators and as long as we insist upon the anachronism, the slave state favoring electoral college. It should be extended to Puerto Rico, Guam and other territories. It is a tacit admittance the GOP's policies aren't attractive to a large swath of the population. Hence, the best way to win is to block, inhibit, intimidate, purge, voter ID or otherwise Russian-hack the vote.
We are here because we never dealt with the nation's demons of Native American genocide and land theft. We are here because we told ourselves captive, silly myths about enslaving Africans was "Christianize-ing the savages," and further logical fallacies about not needing to pay the descendants of centuries-free labor reparations.
Not withstanding the poignant observations of his college professor, the one thing he's studied and mastered brilliantly is chaos and division. It's the genius of feral instinct, not unlike a rodent in survival mode.
We are here because of the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." If they had simply added the modifier "White Anglo Saxon Protestant Cisgender Male," the matter would have been clarified. There would have been no 13th, 14th, 15th or 19th Amendments; Shirley Chisholm, Hillary Clinton, Harvey Milk, Barack Obama or Pete Buttigieg.
We are here because one man is a disciple of Roger Ailes and Roy Cohn's dark arts - either directly or indirectly - he's expertly mimicked their panache for not telling the truth to Olympian heights, and fabricates the reality he would rather than is. He has a ready-made audience of anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, climate change and science deniers. He has a bully charm to elicit the same behaviors from his minions - either fall in line, or be turned on in a tweet.
My acerbic commentary on Facebook regarding the article by John Fea "Why is Christian America Supporting Donald Trump?":
Because the first supremacy on this soil was Christian supremacy: it takes balls and psychopathy to slaughter the same First Nation people who kindly got them through their first winter. Many colonists resorted to cannibalism - look it up. It made it easy to kidnap Africans whose agricultural expertise made the colonists richer than sultans and kings. Many a lynch mob were the same people who read the good book minutes before the barbarous act, and many “Christian” masters sired Mulatto children or practiced “buck breaking” - raping male slaves to dehumanize them in front of their families, despite in either case being married with children and in many cases, “ministers.”
The veil is just off. This is who they’ve always been.
|An artist's depiction of an asteroid collision in outer space.(Image: © Don Davis, Southwest Research Institute)|
Topics: Asteroids, Astrobiology, Planetary Exploration, Planetary Science
"We are made of star stuff." Carl Sagan
Consider the possibility that an asteroid may have transformed the picture of life on Earth — but forget the dinosaurs and the massive crater, and rewind an extra 400 million years from that dramatic moment.
Back then, life was primarily an oceanic affair and backbones were the latest in arrival on the anatomy scene. But unlike the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, this earlier space rock never made it to Earth. Instead, a collision in the asteroid belt flooded the solar system with so much dust that, given some other changes at the time, allowed life on Earth to flourish, new research suggests.
"Most important events in the history of life are like that," said Rebecca Freeman, a paleontologist at the University of Kentucky who specializes in this period but wasn't involved in the new research. "You get a really unique set of circumstances that all come together, and you get a really dramatic event that maybe seems like it should be due to one particular dramatic thing. But in reality, it's a more complicated system at play," she told Space.com.
The dramatic event scientists want to explain is a spree of new species. That outburst of life, which paleontologists call the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event, took place in the oceans, which were inhabited mostly by spineless creatures. "This is really a world that is dominated by invertebrate marine organisms," Freeman said. "Probably the top predator would have been a cephalopod," likely an ancestral relative of today's chambered nautilus, with its intricate spiral shell.
But when Birger Schmitz, a geologist at Lund University in Sweden, went hunting for rock dating back 466 million years, he wasn't hoping to find fossilized nautiluses; he was looking for fossilized meteorites. And over the past couple of decades, he and his colleagues have found dozens of these fossilized meteorites in a Swedish limestone quarry. Each carries a chemical time stamp indicating that it was heated about 470 million years ago, and scientists have thought for a while that there might have been a massive asteroid collision around that time.
Asteroid Dust Triggered an Explosion of Life on Earth 466 Million Years Ago
Meghan Bartels, Space.com
|The rings of Saturn take center stage in this portrait by the Hubble Space Telescope taken on June 20, 2019. Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Simon (GSFC), M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley) and the OPAL Team|
Topics: Astronomy, Planetary Science, Space Exploration
There was a strong temptation to use the Norse legend of Bifrost - the rainbow bridge made popular in Thor, but rings of trees tell their age, so...
Yggdrasil is the tree of life, and it is an eternal green Ash tree; the branches stretch out over all of the nine worlds in Norse mythology, and extend up and above the heavens. Norse mythology: Yggdrasil.
Against earlier studies estimating an age of just 100 million years, new research suggests the planet’s rings could be as old as the solar system itself.
The great Saturn ring debate is far from settled, a new study suggests.
For years, scientists have argued about the age of Saturn’s famous rings: Are they ancient, dating to the birth of the planet itself? Or did the ring system form more recently, in just the past hundred million years or so?
This latter hypothesis has been gaining steam in the last few years, with multiple papers reporting that the rings could be even younger than the dinosaurs. Such studies cite the rings’ composition—more than 95% pure water ice—and total mass, which NASA’s Cassini mission pegged at about 15.4 million billion metric tons shortly after the probe’s epic “grand finale” at Saturn in 2017. (For perspective, 15.4 million billion metric tons is about 40% the mass of the Saturn moon Mimas, which is 250 miles, or 400 kilometers, wide.)
Saturn’s Rings May Be Ancient After All, Mike Wall, Space.com and Scientific American
Topics: Black Holes, Cosmology, Dark Energy, Einstein, General Relativity, Gravity
A fifty-year-old hypothesis predicting the existence of bodies dubbed Generic Objects of Dark Energy (GEODEs) is getting a second look in light of a proposed correction to assumptions we use to model the way our Universe expands.
If this new version of a classic cosmological model is correct, some black holes could hide cores of pure dark energy, pushing our Universe apart at the seams.
University of Hawaii astrophysicist Kevin Croker and mathematician Joel Weiner teamed up to challenge the broadly accepted notion that when it comes to the Universe's growing waistline, its contents are largely irrelevant.
"For 80 years, we've generally operated under the assumption that the Universe, in broad strokes, was not affected by the particular details of any small region," said Croker.
"It is now clear that general relativity can observably connect collapsed stars – regions the size of Honolulu – to the behavior of the Universe as a whole, over a thousand billion billion times larger."
Not only could this alternative interpretation of fundamental physics change how we understand the Universe's expansion, but we might need to also consider how that growth might affect compact objects like the cores of collapsing stars.
Black Holes May Hide Cores of Pure Dark Energy That Keep The Universe Expanding
Mike McCrae, Science Alert
|Everyone who was in the Fullerton, CA, movie theater, not just those at the "Avengers" screening, may have been exposed to the contagious disease. (Source: CDC/Twitter, KCRG)|
Topics: Biology, Civil Rights, Human Rights
Normally, I save this type of commentary for Fridays, but...
As measles cases rise, more vaccine exemptions are being demanded by parents concerned about government control or worried about the now-debunked link between immunization and autism.
This year’s back-to-school season coincides with the worst measles resurgence that the nation has seen since the disease was declared “eliminated” nearly two decades ago.
At least 1,241 people — many of them school-age children — contracted the viral infection across 31 states so far this year, according to the most recent count by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which called it the highest number of reported cases in nearly a generation. 
Here's what I was looking for:
Measles was declared eliminated (absence of continuous disease transmission for greater than 12 months) from the United States in 2000. This was thanks to a highly effective vaccination program in the United States, as well as better measles control in the Americas region. 
The declaration was a bit hyperbole and grandiose: we again, increased the likelihood of protection from it via herd immunity.
You can reduce the incident of things when you respect the science.
This resurgence of measles, with an R0 of 18 versus Ebola's R0 of 2 - is due to the rampant conspiracy theories spread online and hyped by celebrities that has impacted herd immunity - simply, if 95% of the population go for their vaccinations, it protects the 55 or so that for various reasons good only to them, refuse to get them.
When the numbers increase in the un-vaccinated and the numbers decrease in the vaccinated, you have the situation we're currently not enjoying.
This lack of respect for science has analogies: climate change and mass shootings.
In each case, there is a disrespect for the science that preceded any announced conclusions. In the case of climate change, it enjoys the same treatment the cigarette industry used to sow doubt (and in many cases, the same PR and law firms to do it).
With gun lobbyists that did NOT exist at the founding of the country, science is discouraged and the useless channeling of 'thoughts and prayers" follows any massacre, as if they know our attention spans are fleeting and the carnage has already been factored into their business models.
Though it thought triumphant in 2000 to declare ourselves measles-free, this predates 9/11 when our sense of safety was ripped away like a scab of useless flesh. Fear gripped the nation and irrationality became the norm. Fear of the "other" drove gun sales then, and they always will.
My "societal inoculation" to reduce (not eliminate) gun violence:
1. License and insurance - this logical step is resisted by the aforementioned gun lobbyists as the "slippery slope" to totalitarianism, yet no one has proposed we NOT regulate vehicle or business licenses.
2. Universal background checks - of in-store and straw one-to-one purchases.
3. Buy-back programs to those that don't want to go through the hassle of 1 or 2.
4. Confiscation - for the knuckleheads that will invariably try to go out in a "blaze of glory."
No one law or set of laws will eliminate gun violence any more than one vaccine, even at 95% herd immunity will totally eliminate a disease: it simply reduces its frequency; the current R0 for guns has to be around the mid thirties.
The above is slightly better than the thoughts and prayers that haven't traversed higher than the myriad ceiling under which they have been uttered.
1. Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of kids are going to school unvaccinated, Jayme Fraser, The Columbus Dispatch
2, Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Measles History
I am near completion of my new novella: The AFROFuturist Bible and want to share the intro here with members. I have a controversial view that all religion and mythology originated on the continent of Africa. Thus, worldwide spritualism is all African by nature. In my speculative fiction, I offer a variety of viewpoints and seek to encourage diversity of thought with action and adventure.
To me, AFROFuturism is the means to build a future that we all can prosper and survive in.
I believe that open discussion, especially in a forum such as the Black Science Fiction Society is critical to our survival and continued creativity. We need to engage each other on an intellectual basis and be "respectful" to further our causes and improve our endeavors. Advanced reading copies of The AFROFuturist Bible will be available to members of the Black Science Fiction Society upon request. There is no charge, I only humbly ask for your comments.
Two grime-encrusted intruders wearing patchwork military gear approached my private picnic on the beach. Online Social Media had promised me a pristine parcel of manicured green grass on the sultry west coast of Africa where persistent ocean waves smashed rhythmically against jagged rocks.
I had surrendered polished, antique Roman gold coins to ensure exquisite cuisine, anonymity and sharp salty breezes for romantic tranquility to charm an enchanting female by displaying my wit, wealth and masculine prowess. The distant strangers hoisted rusty, Asian-manufactured, semi-automatic weapons. Prey masquerading as predator; a desperate tactic in hostile times.
This was a distressing distraction.
It brought to mind, the first prophecy in my AFROFuturist Bible: “Mami Wata rules us all. The strong will always succeed until the weak get smarter.” I had written it, I own it, and it haunts me in my dreams and when I awoke in tangled sheets of cotton. When you swear an oath to celestial beings, there is very little wiggle space, limited possibilities to dishonor your commitment without suffering dire consequences.
I expected ruinous retribution for any transgressions against Mami Wata, the Eternal African Matriarch and founder of all human religions and mythologies on this world. I wondered if this was just another test of my resolve — what or who was I willing to sacrifice?
Find me on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/s?i=digital-text&rh=p_27%3AStafford+Battle&s=relevancerank&text=Stafford+Battle&ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1
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