All Posts (5842)

Sort by

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc...

Frazz - fz170507comb_ts.tif

Image from GoComics.com and SpaceAndTime.com

 

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

 

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.

 

Suspicion of the democratic system is so pervasive on the right because it’s driven by the fear that white Christian America is facing demographic doom. The evidence is right there in the election results: Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, and if current polling trends hold, the GOP will be batting one for seven when the results come in on November 8. Thanks to gerrymandering, Republicans may hold on to a U.S. House majority for a while, and they’ll remain competitive in state capitols in the near future. But a whites-only party can’t win national elections. And over time, the GOP’s congressional and state fortresses will crumble if the party doesn’t change dramatically. Or if the democratic system doesn’t change dramatically.

 

The Right Is Giving Up on Democracy, Jeet Heer, The New Republic, October 24, 2016

 

The 2008 electorate was on-record as the youngest and most diverse in Pew Research history. It's why I think the right had a visceral reaction to President Barack Obama. He was the seventh African American to run for president in the modern era, and the first one to actually win. The trial balloon of a "post-racial" society was floated (see? We're not racist, you finally have a negro president). The 2012 re-election sent them over a cliff of brief self-reflection with the post-election GOP Autopsy, officially the Opportunity and Growth Project. That revelation was short-lived, and with past indicative revelations as prologue, quite reasonable and sane. State media/Fox propaganda and other conservative outlets couldn't help themselves. The faux "controversies" from Michelle Obama's bare arms (but not Melania Trump's bare behind), Grey Poupon mustard on hot dogs and tan suits seems delirious, hilarious, and deranged. It was a parade of the insane.

 

There are a pro and con to whether racism qualifies as a mental disorder. To those recipients of its attacks and largesse, it seems to fit the bill. I was the victim of a "Zoom bombing" recently, pornographic materials, and the n-word repeated to an online crowd of African Americans in a Sunday School meeting studying the Book of James: We'd lean "pro."

 

This demographics time bomb was set off by the aftermath of 1865: no longer having free slave labor, many legal machinations were attempted to re-enslave previously free African Americans using vagrancy laws, see "Slavery By Another Name," by Douglas A. Blackmon. The American Prison System exploits a loophole in the 13th Amendment: anyone arrested by the system - state, federal or for-profit - according to The Constitution is technically a slave of the state. We have Asian citizens because Chinese immigrants were imported to replace freed slaves on plantations. ICE likes to raid Hispanics/Latinos at food processing plants, but are missing the bonanza of brown targets at home builders, who probably couldn't offer their great home prices without company owners paying undocumented immigrants cash off-the-books, so as not to incur tax liabilities. Not a single home builder, for example, has done a perp walk.

 

*****

 

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

 

Chapter 2, page 33, subsection titled: Numerical Population Power 

 

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

 

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

 

 Source: Sample chapter

 

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc (Latin): after this, therefore because of this. It is an informal fallacy, meaning the fallacy originates in an error of reasoning rather than a flaw in the logical form of the argument. (Wikipedia) So, what WAS the original "argument"?

 

American mythology teaches that the early United States was founded by men of conscience who came to the "new world" in order to practice their religious convictions in peace and freedom. John Winthrop (1588–1649), the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in particular, has been quoted as a source of inspiration by U.S. presidents from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan.

 

Yet Winthrop did not represent a tradition of either democracy or religious tolerance. He hated democracy with a passion. The state he created did not hesitate to execute people like the Quakers and even brought to the "new" world the very popular tradition of medieval Europe, the trial and execution of witches.

 

"A Shining City on a Hill": Troubling information about a famous quote. The Puritan tradition of intolerance and John Winthrop, World Future Fund

 

We've taken The Constitution, our founding document, through historical apotheosis. Strict constructionists will say it is without flaw, and we should look for "original intent"; "breathing document" aficionados want constant change and continuous improvement, ever-becoming a "more perfect union."

 

The story we tell ourselves becomes muddled over time. This is similar to the game of "telephone," where my teacher whispered instructions to the first student in a line of fifth-graders from a 3 x 5 index card. Twenty-students deep, what we said and the meaning of what they said has irrevocably changed, similarly through essentially a 232-year relay.

 

We are here from Crispus Attucks to George Floyd, from sacrifices in revolts from England to knees-on-necks, no-knock raids, and killing teenagers carrying Arizona Tea and a bag of Skittles. We are here from Manifest Destiny, Trail of Tears, Black Wall Street-like genocides to Coronavirus pandemic. We are here because the original story of this country has become horribly distorted. That's not to say the original picture was perfect. For this republic's continuance, we desperately need to be honest with ourselves.

 

We're here because the country was based on slavery: the wealth of the nation built on the backs of free, uncompensated, kidnapped-from-Africa labor for generations.

 

We're here because those persons were described as a fraction, 3/5th's, and their children sold away like so much cattle.

 

We're here because the same slave owners defining us as inferior beings had unsolicited sex with us, siring Mulatto children in heterosexual rape of African women and "buck breaking" in homosexual encounters meant to emasculate African males in front of their females and families. Sally Hemings was not Thomas Jefferson's "lover": the relationship (or, the rape), started when she was fourteen. That is BY definition, pedophilia, and like all the aforementioned sexual acts above, sadistic.

 

We're here because the slaves, nor their descendants received reparations for years of enslavement, murder, and terrorism by the KKK, "sundown towns" requiring a Green Book to navigate around, and white citizen's councils.

 

We're here because such wealth exchange as reparations would dismantle the current biased system of white supremacy, and the reason it is opposed so strongly.

 

We're here because to justify the system, this nation built-in mythologies of superiority and inferiority, socially-engineered the society to self-fulfill the delusion, and codified it into laws. African Americans can be prejudiced, but they cannot be racist. Racism = prejudice + political power; the ability to codify your hatred with the strength of judiciary. Hitler did not "overthrow" the Weimar Republic: he won the election, seized control, and cloned Jim Crow on steroids in Europe, the only lesson the United States refuses to take ownership of.

 

We are here because unlike the logical fallacy: our current "this" is logically followed by the obvious "that." For us to have a new tomorrow - "[Built] Back Better," we're going to have to admit the sins of the nation's past, and in the vernacular of scripture: repent.

 

Read more…

Oumuamua...

Mystery of Interstellar Visitor 'Oumuamua Gets Trickier

A 3D illustration of the interstellar object known as ‘Oumuamua. Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Astrophysics, Space Exploration, Spaceflight

Oumuamua—a mysterious, interstellar object that crashed through our solar system two years ago—might, in fact, be alien technology. That’s because an alternative, non-alien explanation might be fatally flawed, as a new study argues.

But most scientists think the idea that we spotted alien technology in our solar system is a long shot.

In 2018, our solar system ran into an object lost in interstellar space. The object, dubbed ‘Oumuamua, seemed to be long and thin—cigar-shaped—and tumbling end over end. Then, close observations showed it was accelerating as if something were pushing on it. Scientists still aren’t sure why.

One explanation? The object was propelled by an alien machine, such as a lightsail—a wide, millimeter-thin machine that accelerates as it’s pushed by solar radiation. The main proponent of this argument was Avi Loeb, a Harvard University astrophysicist.

Most scientists, however, think ‘Oumuamua’s wonky acceleration was likely due to a natural phenomenon. In June, a research team proposed that solid hydrogen was blasting invisibly off the interstellar object’s surface and causing it to speed up. 

Now, in a new paper published Monday (Aug. 17) in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Loeb and Thiem Hoang, an astrophysicist at the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, argue that the hydrogen hypothesis couldn’t work in the real world—which would mean that there is still hope that our neck of space was once visited by advanced aliens—and that we actually spotted their presence at the time.

Here’s the problem with ‘Oumuamua: It moved like a comet, but didn’t have the classic coma, or tail, of a comet, said astrophysicist Darryl Seligman, an author of the solid hydrogen hypothesis, who is starting a postdoctoral fellowship in astrophysics at the University of Chicago.

Mystery of Interstellar Visitor ‘Oumuamua Gets Trickier, Rafi Letzter, Live Science, Scientific American

Read more…

Starliner...

The CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to be flown on Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test (OFT)

The CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to be flown on Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test (OFT) is viewed Nov. 2, 2019, while undergoing launch preparations inside the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Credits: Boeing

Topics: NASA, Space Exploration, Spaceflight

NASA and Boeing continue to make progress toward the company’s second uncrewed flight test of the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft prior to flying astronauts to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The Commercial Crew Program currently is targeting no earlier than December 2020 for launch of the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) pending hardware readiness, flight software qualification, and launch vehicle and space station manifest priorities.

Over the summer, Boeing’s Starliner team focused on readying the next spacecraft for its upcoming flight tests as well as making improvements identified during various review processes throughout the beginning of the year. NASA also announced an additional crew assignment for its first operational mission, NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1, with astronauts to the space station. Here’s more on the recent progress:

Starliner Progress

Teams from Boeing are well into final assembly of the crew and service modules that will fly OFT-2 to the space station inside of the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility (C3PF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. OFT-2 will fly a new, reusable Starliner crew module providing additional on-orbit experience for the operational teams prior to flying missions with astronauts. For Boeing’s Commercial Crew missions, the Starliner spacecraft will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

With the majority of assembly complete, recent progress is focused on the NASA docking system re-entry cover, which was added to the design for additional protection of the system. The team also has completed the installation of the Starliner propellant heater, thermal protection system tiles and the air bags that will be used when the spacecraft touches down for landing. As final production activities continue to progress, the crew module recently entered acceptance testing, which will prove out the systems on the spacecraft before it’s mated with its service module.

Boeing’s Starliner Makes Progress Ahead of Flight Test with Astronauts, NASA

Read more…

Graphene Currents...

237921_web.jpg

A picture of an electrical current in graphene (marked by the red outline) showing a fluid-like flow imaged using a diamond-based quantum sensor. The grey portion is where the metal electrical contacts prevented collection of data. Courtesy: Walsworth and Yacoby research groups, Harvard and University of Maryland

Topics: Materials Science, Nanotechnology, Quantum Mechanics, Semiconductor Technology

A team led by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Maryland in the US has used defects in diamond to map the magnetic field generated by electrical currents in graphene. Their experiments reveal that currents in this atomically-thin form of carbon flow like a viscous fluid – a result that could provide fresh insights into the collective behavior of electrons in strongly-interacting quantum systems.</em>

Graphene has many exceptional electrical properties. Among them is the fact that, at the point where its conduction and valence bands just touch each other (the Dirac point), it can support currents composed of electrons and an equal number of positively-charged holes, rather than electrons alone. In the present work, Ronald WalsworthAmir Yacoby and colleagues set out to establish whether these electron-hole plasmas (or Dirac fluids, as they are also known) flow smoothly, like electrons traveling through a metallic wire, or unevenly like water running through a pipe.

Diamond defects reveal viscous currents in graphene, Isabelle Dumé, Physics World

Read more…

Fit...

20EL001_Exoskeleton-edit.jpg?profile=RESIZE_584x

Reflective markers are attached to blue 3D-printed apparatus above and below the user’s knee as well as two metal plates on the exoskeleton leg. Researchers track and compare the movement of the markers to gain insight into how well the exoskeletons fit. In this composite photo, the bottom plate has been added after the original image was taken to show the entire configuration.
Credit: N. Hanacek/NIST

Topics: Applied Physics, NIST, Research, Robotics

A shoddily tailored suit or a shrunken T-shirt may not be the most stylish, but wearing them is unlikely to hurt more than your reputation. An ill-fitting robotic exoskeleton on the battlefield or factory floor, however, could be a much bigger problem than a fashion faux pas. 

Exoskeletons, many of which are powered by springs or motors, can cause pain or injury if their joints are not aligned with the user. To help manufacturers and consumers mitigate these risks, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed a new measurement method to test whether an exoskeleton and the person wearing it are moving smoothly and in harmony. 

In a new report, the researchers describe an optical tracking system (OTS) not unlike the motion capture techniques used by filmmakers to bring computer-generated characters to life. 

The OTS uses special cameras that emit light and capture what is reflected back by spherical markers arranged on objects of interest. A computer calculates the position of the labeled objects in 3D space. Here, this approach was used to track the movement of an exoskeleton and test pieces, called “artifacts,” fastened to its user.

Exoskeleton Research Marches Forward With NIST Study on Fit, NIST

Read more…

Call It by Its Name...

23serners-leeHRjpg-INYT-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale

Image Source: New York Times, excerpt below

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Fascism, Human Rights

Turning Point: China removes presidential term limits.

First we see the face. The face of America’s Donald Trump, or Hungary’s Viktor Orban, or Russia’s Vladimir Putin, or Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the face of men who wish to transform democracies into personality cults.

The face is the oldest mark of leadership, the mark that works for clan or tribe. If we see only the face, we are not thinking about policies or politics; instead, we are accepting the new regime and its rules. However, a democracy is about the people, not a single mythicized person.

People need truth, which a cult of personality destroys. Theories of democracy, from the ancient Greeks through the Enlightenment to today, take for granted that the world around us yields to understanding. We pursue the facts alongside our fellow citizens. But in a cult of personality, truth is replaced by belief, and we believe what the leader wishes us to believe. The face replaces the mind.

The transition from democracy to personality cult begins with a leader who is willing to lie all the time, in order to discredit the truth as such. The transition is complete when people can no longer distinguish between truth and feeling.

The Cowardly Face of Authoritarianism, Yale Historian Timothy Snyder, New York Times

Yesterday, a demagogue spoke to a former political party that for the first time in its history, doesn’t have a platform.

Remove “R” and “D.” What are national conventions, other than platforms, or means, to lay out the vision of the standard-bearer for the country, and thus the party itself? To give a compelling reason to vote for a party’s vision, or colloquially, “what’s in it for me?” The chaos candidate who became the chaos president foamed at the mouth at a super spreader event breaking the Hatch Act on the White House lawn made no improvement – in FOUR YEARS – on my observations years ago, posted September 1, 2016: Party of Apocalypse.

Excerpt:

The first night of the RNC convention could have been a success with the noted exception of Melania Trump lifting whole cloth parts of now First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech to the DNC convention in 2008. An out-of-work journalist was the first to catch and tweet it (a sad indictment of the employed journalists ACTUALLY at the RNC convention) [1]. The last night of the RNC was like “The Dark Knight Returns”: the world was essentially a shit show like Gotham, and Batman screamed for 75 minutes incoherent, semi-form, hand-tossed Word Salad anointing himself Bruce-Wayne-Almighty-Cheetos-Jesus savior of the planet by the strength of his will alone (no cool gadgets – just a Galaxy Smart Phone and a twitter handle he misspells as he jacks off on almost daily). The Bat’s bravery was previously demonstrated during his selfless sacrificed Vietnam five deferments to let others more worthy die in his place.

My coworkers on the first night’s events had statements like: “that is not plagiarism” (it was); or “what she said (Mrs. Trump) in her speech most people say in one form or another every day!” 38 hours later: a phantom ghostwriter emerged – Meredith Melver, who apparently conveniently works for a man that’s on record imitating his own publicist. [2] The name sounds suspicious enough with the possibility of two plagiarisms vis-à-vis Mrs. Trump and his educational ventures. Trump Institute and University lifted content whole cloth [3]. There are suspicions like his publicist, Ms. Melver may have been a convenient creation, but it seems she’s legit [4]. But more importantly, the Meredith mea culpa was enough for my coworker Trumpism fans. Never mind Mrs. Trump had previously revealed to Matt Lauer of NBC she had “written it all herself.” They pivoted to the next talking point with the ease of any group studied by Leon Festinger.

Don’t know this guy? He studied an apocalyptic UFO cult in the 1950s – a precursor to the Heaven’s Gate Cult of the 1990s. They were ABSOLUTELY 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. [5] Simple Psychology defines it thus: “Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the 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).”</em>

This is a full-blown cult of personality.

cult of personality or cult of the leader,[1] arises when a country’s regime – or, more rarely, an individual – uses the techniques of mass mediapropaganda, the big liespectaclethe artspatriotism, and government-organized demonstrations and rallies to create an idealized, heroic, and worshipful image of a leader, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. A cult of personality is similar to apotheosis, except that it is established by modern social engineering techniques, usually by the state or the party in one-party states and dominant-party states. It is often seen in totalitarian or authoritarian countries.

The term came to prominence in 1956, in Nikita Khrushchev‘s secret speech On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences, given on the final day of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In the speech, Khrushchev, who was the First Secretary of the Communist Party – in effect, the leader of the country – criticized the lionization and idealization of Joseph Stalin, and by implication, his Communist contemporary Mao Zedong, as being contrary to Marxist doctrine. The speech was later made public and was part of the “de-Stalinization” process in the Soviet Union. Wikipedia

Making political speeches from the White House lawn is as illegal as making political speeches as Secretary of State from Jerusalem. They are violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits such actions. If this treatment of The Constitution like toilet paper is going on in plain sight, what happens when American becomes a failed state?

WHICH Amendment will matter, or be reinforced? Forget birthright citizenship: you are citizen if the KING says you’re a citizen. Forget voting rights for African Americans, or women, or their autonomy over their own bodies. Mashing up George Carlin and Margaret Atwood, I can see a dystopian scenario where women become “broodmares of the state” for people screaming about “white genocide,” doing much meth and little coitus. I can think a party, afraid of losing political power to demographics, could easily make the case the 2nd Amendment restricted to citizens with a LACKING preponderance of Melanin. In Putin’s Russia, there is no such thing as a 2nd Amendment, or a preponderance of Melanin, for that matter.

My “Party of Apocalypse” essay has, unfortunately, aged well.

Read more…

Figure

The spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (gray) is shown with three small antibodies (pink) attached to its receptor binding domains. The spike attaches at the left to the viral membrane (not shown). DIAMOND LIGHT SOURCE

Topics: Chemistry, COVID-19, Physics, Research

As the world anxiously awaits development of one or more vaccines to tame the SARS-CoV-2 virus, other research continues at a feverish pace to find effective treatments for the disease it causes, COVID-19. That work, in which physicists and chemists are deeply involved, has made significant strides in the past several months and has turned up a few surprises. Researchers at the University of Alberta reported at the August virtual meeting of the American Crystallographic Association that a dipeptide-based protease inhibitor used to treat a fatal coronavirus infection in cats also blocks replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in samples of monkey lung tissue. Joanne Lemieux, a biochemist at the university, says the antiviral, known as GC373, works by blocking the function of the main protease (Mpro), an enzyme that cleaves the polyproteins translated from viral RNA into individual proteins once it enters human cells.

Lemieux says GC373 has been shown to have no toxic effects in cats. Anivive, a California company that develops pet medicines, has applied for US Food and Drug Administration approval to begin trials in humans. Lemieux’s group crystallized the Mpro in combination with the drug and produced three-dimensional images of how the drug binds strongly to the active pocket on the enzyme. Although GC373 should be effective in its current form, the group is planning further crystallography experiments at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) and the Canadian Light Source to see if a reformulation could optimize it for human use, she says.

Cats and llamas could offer a path to coronavirus therapies, David Kramer, Physics Today

Read more…

Remnant...

supernovae.png?w=594

Image Source: Link Below

Topics: Astrophysics, Interstellar, Plasma, Supernovae, Radiation

Scientists have found new evidence that Earth has been moving through the remains of exploded stars for at least the last 33,000 years.

In a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of Australian researchers describes how they extracted a special isotope of iron called iron-60 from five deep-sea sediment samples using mass spectrometry.

That’s illuminating because as the researchers wrote in their paper, the isotope is “predominantly produced in massive stars and ejected in supernova explosions.” In other words, iron-60 is left over after a star explodes.

And because iron-60 is radioactive and decays in 15 million years, the theory is that our planet is continuously being dusted with the stuff as it’s moving through the “Local Interstellar Cloud,” a region of unclear origins made up of gas, dust, and plasma.

Scientists: Earth Moving Through Radioactive Debris of Exploded Stars, Victor Tangermann, Futurism

Read more…

Gothic Fantasy Short Stories
Black Sci-Fi Anthology

The Black Sci-Fi Short Stories anthology is due to be published in April 2021 (UK) and June 2021 (US), in our Gothic Fantasy series, joining existing titles such as A Dying Planet, Time Travel, Alien Invasion, Endless Apocalypse, Robots & Artificial Intelligence, Dystopia Utopia and more.

As always, we are keen to encourage new writers, without prejudice to age, background or previous publication history. It’s the story that matters, and the quality of writing. Please read through the details for submissions carefully before submitting your stories and make sure to include the project name in the subject of your email.

Diversity in all aspects of publishing still has a long way to go, especially the presentation of black voices. So, as well as offering great but neglected stories that deserve to be more widely read, this latest book in our Gothic Fantasy series will be a long-overdue step for us towards pro-actively rectifying the imbalance, by devoting a whole volume to work by black writers in science fiction, new and old. Of course, science fiction sits at the core of our own publishing, and offers an invaluable forum for exploring social issues past, present and future.

With a foreword by Alex Award-winning novelist Temi Oh, an introduction by Sandra M. Grayson, author of Visions of the Third Millennium: Black Science Fiction Novelists Write the Future (2003), and invaluable promotion from Tia Ross and the Black Writers Collective and more, this latest offering in the Flame Tree Gothic fantasy series focuses on an area of science fiction which has not received the attention it deserves. Many of the themes in Sci-fi reveal the world as it is to others, show us how to improve it, and give voice to the many different expressions of a future for humankind.

Dystopia, apocalypse, gene-splicing, cloning, colonization and much more can be explored here – in fantastic stories, whether informed by the black experience or not. The selected submissions will be combined with writing of an older tradition (by authors such as Martin Delany, Edward Johnson, Pauline Hopkins and W.E.B. Dubois) whose first-hand experience of slavery and denial created their living dystopia.

Word count is approx. 2000–4000 and submissions will be accepted between 24th August and 21st September – please send to 2020@flametreepublishing.com, ensuring ‘Black Sci-Fi’ is in the subject line. Payment will be 8 cents/6 pence for each word (SFWA qualifying market rate) and 6 cents/4 pence for reprints. If your story is a reprint please let us know in your submission email. Multiple submissions are accepted.

We will aim to read each story and confirm its status within 4 months of the submission deadline.

Key partners in this publication include:

Temi Oh graduated with a BSci in Neuroscience. Her degree provided great opportunities to write and learn about topics ranging from ‘Philosophy of the Mind’ to ‘Space Physiology’. While at KCL, Temi founded a book-club called ‘Neuroscience-fiction’, where she led discussions about science-fiction books which focus on the brain. In 2016, she received an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh. Her first novel, DO YOU DREAM OF TERRA-TWO?, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2019 and won the American Library Association’s Alex Award. She has loved and gifted Flame Tree's beautiful books for many years and is thrilled to be part of this project.

Dr. Sandra M. Grayson is a tenured Full Professor in the English Department at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her numerous publications include the books Visions of the Third Millennium: Black Science Fiction Novelists Write the Future; Symbolizing the Past: Reading Sankofa, Daughters of the Dust, and Eve’s Bayou as Histories; A Literary Revolution: In the Spirit of the Harlem Renaissance; and Sparks of Resistance, Flames of Change: Black Communities and Activism.

Tia Ross is the Founder of the Black Writers Collective (BlackWriters.org), the Founder/Managing Editor for Black Editors & Proofreaders, Editor for ColorOfChange.org and more. She is a polymath entrepreneur who is passionate about great writing, as well as forging successful businesses as an information architect and event organiser.

Read more…

Plasma Guides and Lasers...

rn-lasers-guided.jpg?w=1024

Lasers are used to create an indestructible optical fiber out of plasma.

Credit: Intense Laser-Matter Interactions Lab, University of Maryland

Topics: Lasers, Optics, Plasma, Research, Star Trek, Star Wars

In science fiction, firing powerful lasers looks easy — the Death Star can just send destructive power hurtling through space as a tight beam. But in reality, once a powerful laser has been fired, care must be taken to ensure it doesn’t get spread too thin.

If you’ve ever pointed a flashlight at a wall, you’ve observed an example of the diffusion of light. The farther you are from the wall, the more the beam spreads, resulting in a larger and dimmer spot of light. Lasers generally expand much more slowly than the beams from flashlights, but the effect of diffusion is important when the laser travels a long way or must maintain a high intensity.

Whether your goal is to achieve galactic domination or, more realistically, to accelerate electrons to incredible speeds for physics research, you’ll want as tight and powerful a beam as possible to maximize the intensity.

In their experiments, researchers can use devices called waveguides, like the optical fibers that might be carrying the internet throughout your neighborhood, to transport lasers while keeping them contained to narrow beams.

Plasma guides maintain focus of lasers, National Science Foundation Public Affairs

Read more…

APS...

Topics: COVID-19, Materials Science, Optics, Photonics, Research

From chemistry to materials science to COVID-19 research, the APS is one of the most productive X-ray light sources in the world. An upgrade will make it a global leader among the next generation of light sources, opening new frontiers in science.

In the almost 25 years since the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility, first opened at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, it has played an essential role in some of the most pivotal discoveries and advancements in science.

More than 5,000 researchers from around the world conduct experiments at the APS every year, and their work has, among many other notable successes, paved the way for better renewable batteries; resulted in the development of numerous new drugs; and helped to make vehicles more efficient, infrastructure materials stronger and electronics more powerful.

Advanced Photon Source Upgrade will transform the world of scientific research, Brett Hansard, Argonne National Laboratory

Read more…

Entropy and Existence...

Depositphotos_102544000_l-2015.jpg?profile=RESIZE_400x5 Ways To Safeguard Yourself After Divorcing a Narcissist, Weinberger Divorce and Family Law Group

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

Entropy as Time's Arrow: "One of the ideas involved in the concept of entropy is that nature tends from order to disorder in isolated systems." Hyperphysics

The Senate Intelligence Committees' bipartisan report confirming Russian interference in the 2016 election, and that Putin's puppet; his coterie lied in official testimony to Congress and the Mueller Report should be a damning indictment to a criminal enterprise masquerading as a political party with a doofus, bizarro mob boss at its helm. You should download both documents and READ them.

Crimes-in-progress is being confessed to on camera and in real-time. You likely think a guilty person wouldn't confess to a crime he's committing, but a brazen criminal unburdened by guilt or a conscious would, and say you shouldn't believe your "lying eyes," or "fake news." Jeb Bush said, "he was a chaos candidate, and he'll be a chaos president." Orange Satan asked African Americans "what the hell do you have to lose?" That hypothesis, as said at the end of a proof, has clearly been shown - healthcare during a pandemic, jobs, the post office: QED.

As a nation and a world, we are all in an abusive relationship with someone that has no real relationship with facts, data, or reality. We're being gaslighted by a narcissist, whose puppeteer is a KGB agent. His ascension was by design. Trigger warning for what follows:

11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting, Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D.

1. They tell blatant lies.President Trump has made more than 20,000 false or misleading claims
2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.   'Do you regret all your lying?' White House reporter's question startles Trump
3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.What Makes Some Narcissists Mean, Competitive, and Jealous
4. They wear you down over time.From the Spouse of a Narcissist: Here’s What You Need to Know
5. Their actions do not match their words.A Narcissist’s actions or intent NEVER match up with their words.
6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.Trump's pardon may be undermining Anthony's wishes, historians say
7. They know confusion weakens people.Dissociation And Confabulation In Narcissistic Disorders
8. They project.The Projector in Chief
9. They try to align people against you.Top Tips for Surviving Your Divorce With a Narcissist
10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.Why Relationships with Gaslighters or Narcissists Can Be So Painful
11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.The Narcissist and His Lies: How They're Different
Your succinct guide to malignant narcissism

 

A lot of the links above are about interpersonal relationships with women and their narcissistic partners. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements gained significant steam after the "American Carnage" speech at his pitifully-attended inauguration, which turned out to be both projection and promise.

As a country and world, we are all in a wearing, abusive relationship with the current occupant/Russian asset in the Oval Office. It is not hyperbole or hubris to state this election is not just for the "soul of America," but for the very existence of the species.

Whoever is in the next administration in America will have an impact on policies regarding climate change (this is still a thing). Concerning the deregulation of the fossil fuel industry during our current dystopian nightmare, under a second term (or, a lifetime according to Orange Satan), it can only exacerbate a precarious situation, magical thinking may create rainbows, and conspiracy theories make you feel smart, but neither has ever solved a problem relying on a knowledge and appreciation of The Scientific Method. Can you see QAnon in Starfleet? Do you want these people piloting your starship?

The following are excerpts from my previous blog post two years ago this month, The Mendacity of Dopes...:

“Putin’s thesis is that the American constitution is an experiment that will fail if it is challenged in the right way from within,” Mitchell continued. “Putin wants to break apart the American republic not by influencing an election or two, but by systematically inflaming the fault lines within our society. Accepting this fact is absolutely essential for developing a long-term response to the problem.” The problem Mitchell was describing has a kind of heads-I-win-tails-you-lose quality to it as far as Putin is concerned: Not only has the Russian leader tried to exploit political polarization over issues like race and guns, his attempts to do so have themselves become deeply divisive—to the point where even Trump’s advisers frequently find themselves at odds with the man they serve.

Part of Mitchell’s argument—which might be viewed favorably by a president who has taken particular umbrage at the notion that Putin sought to help him defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race—was that the Russian government isn't necessarily interested in supporting a specific politician, party, or ideology. Instead, it simply wants to sow chaos in the United States to advance its own goals, which it sees as threatened by America’s preeminent position in the world. Mitchell cited the revelations on Tuesday that suspected Russian government hackers have been targeting conservative U.S. think tanks and promoting “fringe voices” on both the left and the right on social media sites like Facebook.

Uri Friedman, The Atlantic: Even Trump’s Own Adviser Is Warning About ‘Politicizing’ the Threat From Russia. But the danger he sees is already here.

This is the metastasis of "The Southern Strategy" a rancid, racist tactic that was birthed on the heels of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. It was and is a desperate bid for power. It predates itself as the definition of "white" changed from excluding everyone except "Nordic stock" Europeans (the English, mostly) to eventually including the previously excluded: Italians, Jews [and ironically] Russians all had tiny quotas. The resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and the nascent eugenics movement in the United States fueled and influenced immigration policy in the earlier part of the last century. Admittedly, despite its reprehensible aims, it worked remarkably well for quite a while.

A president with decidedly African features, he and his wife both educated at Ivy League schools and a pitch-perfect family did not personify the fictional "Huxtables" before the fall of Mr. Cosby to their many detractors. The continual reminder that the country is becoming browner only ignited more fear and resolve to fight a demographic shift not in their favor of continual predominance circa 2042 - 2045. Their resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue transmitted a well-worn, white supremacist trope regarding farmland in South Africa (it's returning the farmland to their original, African owners), but he needs a distraction since his former campaign manager and former personal lawyer were both found guilty on a total of 16 felony counts in a matter of minutes. Their visceral reaction to them was an existential crisis, a call to arms; a "white genocide," ironically feared by the descendants of those that caused it well before the "Trail of Tears" for Native Americans. It caused Roger Ailes to see the power of televised propaganda and cater to an audience that was well past facts post the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and the rise of listening to Rush Limbaugh on AM Talk Radio and his "ditto head" clones; well past reasoned discourse before Twitter came online. What facts can be revealed are rebuffed by an avalanche of lies, there are no "gotchas" for a party that with the help of Karl Rove started "creating their own realities" a long time ago. A sizable chunk of the electorate has been in this "post-truth" Twilight Zone for decades.

Added: The NY Times reported Aleksei Navalny Hospitalized in Russia in Suspected Poisoning.

This is what the “end of the American experiment” would look like. Foreign nations would pick our leaders. If republicans can visit Moscow July 4, 2018, before the midterm elections, what would prevent democrats from visiting Beijing summer of 2022? Could we protest in the streets, or dissent from the state on systemic racism during a pandemic without getting tear-gassed, flash bombed, rubber bullets shot at our heads, or kidnapped in unmarked cars? Would we see poisonings, or people spontaneously “falling off buildings?” Would AG Bill Barr rescue the rule of law? Would VOTING matter?


That’s the essence of the somber warning President Obama gave Wednesday night, and this is an example of what a sham democracy would be like. Democracies that fail do so slowly – behind the scenes – the rapid fall only seems quick when it’s all over. Russia, like Iraq under Saddam Hussein has “elections,” but they’re fraudulent shows at gunpoint for a despot, thus ensuring high participation numbers in both totalitarian states. NO ONE represents the Russian people. They are ruled by a junta, led by a criminal sociopath. We are barely represented here. We have the nightmare choices of a marginally functional party and a dystopian, dysfunctional one led by a psychopath.


The bedrock of democracy, “an informed citizenry” would cease to exist: we would put in earbuds to jam out, or binge-watch streaming video and “mind our own business.”


Engaged citizens protesting racism during a pandemic looks like anarchy to tyranny.


Fearful, self-centered citizens are what authoritarian regimes crave and need: apathy.

All they needed was a useful idiot avatar, and a master spy to push the republic over the precipice. Ironically, if successful, the 2nd Amendment along with all others in a theoretical fall of our republic would become meaningless as in Russia, there is no right to bear arms that "former Americans" would recognize or appreciate. The imagined confiscation by government "jackbooted thugs" may be under the flag of a foreign power that duped the gullible:

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

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

For the sake of all liberal democracies and humanity on the PLANET, they...MUST...fail.

 
 
Read more…

Photography of the Invisible...

Figure

Figure 1. Sarah Frances Whiting (1847–1927) using a fluoroscope to examine the bones in her hand in Wellesley College’s physics laboratory, circa 1896. On the table in front of her is a Crookes tube mounted on a stand and an induction coil to modulate the voltage. (Courtesy of Wellesley College.)

Topics: Applied Physics, Optics, Women in Science, X-rays

In February 1896 Sarah Frances Whiting, founder of the physics and astronomy departments at Wellesley College, conducted a series of x-ray experiments. She was working only a few weeks after the public announcement of Wilhelm Röntgen’s discovery of the rays, and she was not alone; amateur and professional scientists at colleges, universities, and medical centers across the US were attempting to replicate and extend Röntgen’s results. But Whiting (see figure 1), who enlisted the assistance of a Wellesley colleague and several students, was among the first to do so successfully. Even more importantly, Whiting was the first woman—and almost certainly the first person, male or female—to do so in an undergraduate laboratory. Her original glass plates from the experiments do not survive, but 15 photographs printed from them (see the opening image of one such photo above) were recently rediscovered in a campus building slated for demolition. They provide a vivid reminder of Whiting’s success.

The x-ray experiments were only one instance in which Whiting drew on her keen engagement with contemporary scientific advances to offer her students an experience available to few undergraduates at the time, and to almost no women. Throughout her long career, Whiting introduced thousands of women to physics and astronomy, both fields then associated almost entirely with men. Her pedagogical efforts led many of her female students to pursue their own careers in the sciences.

Sarah Frances Whiting and the “photography of the invisible”

John S. Cameron is an emeritus professor of biological sciences and Jacqueline Marie Musacchio is a professor of art history at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

Read more…