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Google vs. Microsoft
Editorial by Mike Ivsin
A few interesting things happened in the last six months to write about and reflect on the personal computing and communications business. First, the 1TB hard drive on my new all-in-one Vaio PC told me it is dying. I did not believe it but made backup DVDs anyway and waited. It died about two weeks later. Got another, bigger drive of another make and followed the procedure. It worked. I was up in about a couple of hours and fully up in about two weeks, with the updates coming in over the Internet and updating this or that. So I gave hi5 to Microsoft for that.
With the new Vaio I got a 3-license version of MS office 2010. Then I noticed a line that ran on top of the Word or XL window: '... non-commercial use only.' What? This was no doubt hitting below the belt. Did not see that on the package, just something like "home/student" edition. You mean if I wrote a resume and happened to get a job I am in some kind of a violation? This got really bad. I was in the middle of rewriting the book and bought the Word 2010 mostly to be up to date but now, with a knife sticking out of my back I went back to the Office 2000. I stopped using Office 2010 and begun to pay more attention to what Google was doing.
Then my old HP laptop mysteriously died and would not come up except in the safe mode. I like this laptop because of its high quality screen. It was shutting down sporadically due to its black lung problem (dust settles on the chips and the wheezing fan cannot keep it cool). It was tough times, the worst of hi tech times. I got another laptop because of its nifty IPS screen and struggled with transferring an old 32-bit web making program onto Win 7 because Win 7 just refused to install it. What? Too old to work on an MS system? That's when the ChromeBox entered my consciousness.
I now have a ChromeBox connected to the Vaio 23" screen monitor along with Logitech wireless keyboard. The ChromeBox does not come with a keyboard -- a major omission -- for even a minor problem does not give you the specialized interface you need. I converted the ChromeBox' DisplayPort to HDMI via a unique cable because ChromeBox does not have HDMI-out, the most widely available display interface in the world -- but somehow the ChromeBox does not recognize the display resolution automatically and does not offer me manual adjustment. So I am stuck with the edges of the screen (that have the main control icons) that are not on the screen but project happily somewhere outside of the screen. Tech savvy or not, this is crappy thinking on Google's part, particularly because it seems the reason for ChromeBox existence is to use all of the existing displays out there. So, as soon as my ChromeBox display is fully visible, I will start on the Google's promise of always having an up-to-date system with ongoing and undying speedy performance.
Oh, my old HP mysteriously came back from the dead. It happened that in the protective mode I was able to uninstall the VLC Media Player (my favorite) and that appears to have helped it. So I am back using the WebExpress with the laptop propped up to let more cool air in. Well, two days later my old HP is dead again. This time I had let it be dead.
The bottom line: Even-steven so far. But if the ChromeBox display were fixed, Google would be way ahead with its Google office tools provided Google would also allow me a backup of all of my files and really would let me use old programs forever. This is already happening with Google Drive but I need more assurance. To keep my files under my control is very PC-endearing. Let the cloud be the cloud but they better not lose anything and no peeking without me knowing it.
Most Secret War
by R. V. Jones, Penguin Group, London, 2009, Paperback (Copyright 1987)
The subtitle could also read "How the British military intelligence figured out the science and economics of its opponent."
And you thought the war was over. It ended in the middle of the last century, for goodness sake! Well, the science of that war is pretty much with us, and so is the spying. It just might be current to look back on an armed conflict of the World War II and, although we cannot reminisce, we can learn a thing or two.
At the time the war started the author was a fresh PhD with some infrared work under his belt. Having some fun playing practical jokes on his fellow students, he was also broad enough to write his own ticket on how to collect, analyze, and countermand the superior technology that was to face him throughout the war. Yes, the victor writes the history but in this book the successes and failures get equal billing and one can admire the honesty in acknowledging the limitations of the British intelligence collecting apparatus. Giving up on early detection of new weapons and not relying on luck, Jones, well aware of the economics, needs to deploy his resources to affect a return. He needs not only to figure out what the weapon of the enemy is, he needs to educate his fellow military that weapons with such capabilities do exist, estimate when they become operational and what their operational logistics and effectiveness might be. He also needs to spot weaknesses and recommend countermeasures that are, again, on the profit side. Always behind the proverbial 8-ball, we are taken along on the discovery of German navigation beams designed for precise night time unhindered bombing of British military and industrial targets. In a strict tit-for-tat strategy the beam transmitters should have been knocked out, but now we understand and appreciate that the Jones' strategy of electronically introducing an error to the navigation is much more economically rewarding. Although the Germans did eventually figure out their navigation beams were being "bent," another argument could be that if Hitler's decision to attack Russia rested on bombing-weakened Britain, such only appeared to be the case.
Knowing how technology leverages the bombing accuracy, Jones now has to tell his own Air Command that their bombing effectiveness is not only lousy, but that the generals are kidding themselves -- and do all that without losing his job.
The German outgoing navigation beams quickly became reflecting and receiving -- that is, radar beams, and Jones had a problem of a different sort. Although the metal chaff is easy enough to deploy and confuse the radar, its use was continuously delayed for fear the Germans would find effective countermeasures that could hinder the full allied air campaign still years away. Learning and deploying its own radar called for understanding of some very basic concepts [such as array antenna]. When military air action was happening over occupied territories, German effective response led to the conclusion that Germans were able to listen in on air-to-air transmissions and were not dependent solely on their radar. Here, Jones was not able to convince the allies of "weak" signals being monitored over hundreds of kilometers, and only when the allied bombers were sustaining unsustainable losses did the allies adopt the total silence policy.
Regarding the flying bomb V1 and the first rocket V2, there is not much new over previously published information. Jones' responsibilities were reorganized and while the decision to bomb the V1 production facilities at Penemunde were based on Jones' staff work, he was not asked to provide the specific bombing targets. Jones is very unhappy that the bombing killed the mostly slave labor, for he was deprived of information leaking from them from time to time. We can sense a change in policy from defense to offense while adopting the unconditional surrender baseline.
In one small vignette, Jones talks about the effort to return the shot down pilots and crews back to England. He is wary of confidence tricksters who can and usually did play both sides. The author makes a nice point that such people do not see right from wrong, not even during the heat of war.
We get but a few tantalizing details on German technologies making its way through the pipeline: the heat-seeking missile, jet engine, multi-stage rocket and, in the end, a few bits on the post-war flying saucers. In the true Jones fashion, he does not say the flying objects were UFOs but nicely trims the Soviets-have-new-weapons scare. There is total silence on Germany's own efforts in the flying saucer field.
The German atomic R&D has a full chapter. He takes with the grain of salt the post-war claim that many German scientists were attempting to hinder Nazi atomic bomb development, for he interviewed most of the scientists and generals after the war. A nice trail about Niels Bohr appears throughout the book. Jones respects Bohr for his scientific knowledge but, being a level-headed guy, Jones nicely reveals Bohr's inability to make sound predictions, including the time when it mattered the most: the atomic bomb. Bohr agrees the bomb is possible only after seeing what the US has done and then naively pursues the idea of sharing the bomb development with the Soviets. I was particularly interested in Jones' views because in my Quantum Pythagoreans book I find Bohr' quantum mechanical work wanting -- albeit in a footnote.
Finally, I was watching for the writing style that makes hindsight a 20-20 vision. I did not find it. We grow in knowledge alongside Jones and I can very much recommend this book for its factual, balanced and human insight dimensions.
On Becoming an Alchemist
by Catherine MacCoun, Trumpeter Books/Shambhala, Boston, 2008 (paperback)
"I got an interesting book on alchemy and it's written by a woman," I said the other day to a lady friend, a writer in her own right. She took exception as to why I would be surprised by a woman author writing about a topic mostly reserved by and for men. What happened is that I browsed this book before leaving for Prague and decided to buy it. It was on my way to the cashier I realized the author was a woman. There is nothing better than having the truth on your side and my lady friend remains my friend.
The truth, in fact, is what alchemy is about. Catherine kicks off this very complex topic with flair -- not weak, not strong. Then she invites you to the "in-between." The separation of the subtle from the gross, temporal and non-temporal, incarnate and disembodied. If you have some of your own notion on alchemy, you will feel at ease and supply your own dualities of matter and spirit, the noun and the verb -- and have fun following Catherine's entrance. At some point you become comfortable with the separation of the information coming in from the senses and another kind of information coming in from your mind and intellect. While the author speaks of "the style," I connected with Pythagoras' and Plato's "forms" that acquire the ending -ness; the likes of dryness and fullness. I recalled the Plato's answer to "I see a horse but I do not see the horseness," with "You see with your eyes but not with your mind."
By the middle of the book I was encountering some new notions: The interactions with the subtle body of the aura, the potential confusion when working the astral domain, and the effect of the mind on the environment aka magic. Catherine also makes a nice and convincing separation between the "vertical" or pure knowledge and the astral plane where the information is in a kind of anything goes. The observation that the alchemist must change before being able to change others is particularly well developed. The middle sections of the book stand out so well I recommend the book just for that.
Toward the end the author follows the basic seven steps of alchemy, starting with calcination. She keeps the pace with nice examples but as she progresses her cases are becoming weaker and weaker and at the end, for better or for worse, she loses it. The book builds up nicely toward the crescendo of the Philosopher's stone, the coagulation that is the creation, but then just before the summit she gives up. She even renames the last step and dissolves -- literally and figuratively -- into a hodge-podge of Shakespeare's Tempest references. She tries to make the best of it by claiming that the obscure ways of alchemy are just what's right. In the one last step she rapidly erodes the credibility she worked so well to build up. Catherine dissolves in the "surrender" kind of Islam idea, but I just cannot go along with that. She ends the book by giving it all up and joining God.
What a sorry way to end such a wonderful book, for you and I can join God at any time and do so without alchemy. She captured my attention early on when she speaks of the practical dimension of alchemy and I fully agreed that alchemy is not about philosophizing, for alchemy must deliver. The stone is a creation, any creation, and certainly not an abandonment that has no practical component in it. I think Catherine misses because she has not worked the idea of the free will. Yes, the alchemist may join God but that is but one option, for the alchemist may go and build a galaxy of his own. The alchemist does not abdicate or give up or renounce his or her powers. He or she chooses to do what is now in his power or powers to do. Yes, the alchemist may choose not to use force but he would never forsake the force he now has -- for the knowledge is with him forever.
My take on the Philosopher's stone is closer to the Universe card of the Tarot. The universe opens up to you in any of the infinite ways. You are then free to pursue the dimensions you find most challenging -- here or there. It is not possible to reveal the secret to the Philosopher's stone because the stone is about the infinities of the universe and it is not possible to describe infinity with words. You have to pursue it with your mind to reach it.
Meanwhile, the heros the likes of the Shakespearean Prospero are but people acting out the author's fiction.
Girl on the Couch
by Lorna Martin, Villard Books, 2008 (paperback)
I picked up this autobiographical book on the tail of finishing the previous book, Manic, which captured me for its soul fighting spirit. In the Girl on a Couch, on the other hand, a few pages were enough to see that the author Lorna Martin is a nice dizzy dame. She is funny but she is trying so hard to be funny she is not funny. Way too many tangents. So I put the book down not intending to return to it, except that I broke off in a spot where she meets her poker face therapist and it was this poker face that eventually brought me back in.
Lorna chalks up many successes as a newspaper writer but, while she knows she is useful in helping other people, she is not doing very well for herself. Ah, the relationships. Lorna has a number of girlfriends that give each other advice a là Sex in the City and it then appears she is in a support group environment that will benefit her. But nothing seems to work. Yes, her therapist is working to help her understand her anger that may be hidden and buried going back to her growing up days, and although Lorna comes up with many insightful points she is not able to string them together and make some new and firmer foundation out of it.
This book is also about some of the limitations of the present day therapy. Lorna's therapist is very good and understands that Lorna will have to figure things out and take the initiative by herself, yet in this particular case, and in the end, Lorna switches and shifts some of her values around but she does not become a person different enough to see the world in a new way. Lorna comes across as a person who cannot grow up, for her interests in men continue to be dominated by teenage fantasies of "oh -- he touched me, he is so cute, he looks like [celebrity name]" and at the same time unable to give a guy who likes her a telephone number because it would not be proper.
On a rational level both her therapist and Lorna failed to discover that Lorna's group of female friends is the bond that is holding Lorna in infantile friendships. More fundamentally, however, Lorna is right-brain dominant and her associations and tangents and fantasies and .. .. are running strong. This makes for some of the most innovative and talented people around. The downside happens when the right-to-left brain transitions are inadequate and the right brain's outcome of a new context is not transferred to the left brain that deals with structure and hierarchy aka grounding.
There are no prescription drugs that deal with the interchange between the right and the left hemispheres of our brain but this does not mean that more drug research is needed. Our thinking processes are inherently geometric and it is more than likely that certain visual patterns, music, and physical movements will assist with the right-left and left-right transitions and consequently restore the duality's balance. At times called just communication, the left-right-left interchange is really about data transformation. Drugs such as ibogaine do affect the left-right-left transformative processes and, while helpful with dependencies on other drugs, their downside is that they will also limit your future growth -- they are the chemical version of the shrink.
Girl on the Couch is a fine read, particularly since the issues one encounters in Manic are just the opposite. In the manic-depressive disorder it is the left-right interchange that is suppressed. A big hint comes from the management of the relationships: Lorna cannot disconnect from a relationship and it emotionally lingers on for years while Terri from Manic cuts it off quickly and efficiently and there are no benefits of it left.
There is something Lorna and Terri have discovered in common. I could say that to reveal that would cease to make this a book review. And so I will.
by Terri Cheney, HarperCollins Publishers, 2009 (paperback)
A personal memoir by a bright woman caught up in a nasty case of a manic-depressive disorder. That should do it for the byline but her writing skills, the personal tragedy, and the benefits one might get from reading her story makes it quite a story. Although the timeline is broken up due to her illness, Terri sticks to what sticks out, going from one episode to another in no particular chronological order -- but this does not detract the reader from her powerful experiences.
On the technical level the brain is in focus and it becomes apparent she is left-brain dominant and doing well as an attorney where winning is everything. Never looking back, there is always the next case to win. The relationship part of the brain, the right brain, just does not seem to be able to kick in and her affairs with men become the game of one-upmanship, a seduction that has the thrill of not only the chase but also the high she would get by dropping them. Case closed, let's go on to another one. A great example is with a man who did not want to walk away and kept helping Terri -- and she closed the relationship by physically punching the guy out.
The manic phase is alternating with a depression phase because, and this is a commentary, the right brain cannot integrate the conflicts and leaves the left brain to painstakingly and sequentially sort out the accumulated hodge-podge. Although Terri talks about the multiple drugs she was taking, she does not reach a conclusion on whether or not the drugs were actually helpful. Such judgment calls for integration, which she is still not able to make. Yes, she talks about drugs that help her but not surprisingly every drug somehow wears out its usefulness. She eventually undergoes an electric shock treatment with mixed and possibly mixed up results. It becomes clear that in her case the drugs were postponing the inevitable and piling up the problems ahead of her.
On the spiritual level the book offers a few though tantalizing details. If you ever had the priviledge of visiting a truly oppressive bardo, you could say that this lawyer from hell is really from hell, as the natural outcome is the absence of relationships that leaves but the 'who is the boss' view on life. It is then also premature to pull the old 'know thyself,' for Terri's illness kept getting worse gradually as the opposing forces played out. Her wake up moment was delayed by decades through her unfortunate conviction that drugs can "let you do the things as before." This is the classic pharma trap going back some forty years to the seminal book I'm dancing as fast as I can. In the end, Terri asks her spirit, or her higher self if you will, to help her. She knows things are going to get worse before they get better. She not only has to change her lifestyle but herself as well and undo what can be undone.
Terri still thinks her manic-depressive disorder aka the bipolar disorder is real. It is indeed real, but that's not germane. We all have real problems and most of us need others to help them -- and the best help is through a mutual relationship. Yet, as dramatic and traumatic Terri's problems are, and as hopeless we can imagine our case to be, and as deserving we may be, and as much as it is the other peoples' fault, we are all ultimately and personally responsible to know thyself and make the best of ourselves. Hell or high water.
A wonderful book.
The Music of Pythagoras
by Kitty Ferguson, Walker & Co., 2008
Any book on a Pythagorean topic is a must-do review for this site. So I opened up this book as a matter of routine but I did not like what I read. Not that the stuff in it is wrong but at the end of the day the reader just has no idea who Pythagoras was, what he did, and what his legacy might be. I just got a shovel full of opinions and deferrals as if taking a comparative literature class. One guy said this about Pythagoras, that guy thought that about Pythagoras but, you know, it might really have been something else.
So I had let two days pass before I returned to the book for another quick read, but things got worse. I saw the author as a compilation machine with little analytical skills that would add value. So I let two days pass before sitting down for the review. This book has a format only an academic would like. References and more references. The substantials are just not in there. There is nothing in the book addressing the pentacle star, for example, which is the Pythagorean flagship symbol. Taking up the pentacle the author would then have to get into the golden ratio and geometry, and my guess is that these topics are beyond the author's reach. The fact that irrational numbers are expressible via geometry but not via arithmetic is not in the book either. The author's flat baseline yields to the present day scientist who claims that irrationals were an unwelcome surprise to the Pythagoreans. This is not so but the author wants to ride the populist wave of the decade by deferring to the science guys who break out with hives upon hearing the words cold fusion. In this book you will not find the Pythagorean contribution to the Renaissance through the harmony of the heavenly spheres. You will read about harmony but not about what separates harmony and disharmony.
The Pythagorean relation one finds on the atomic level is not mentioned, which is a pitty, for that is what makes Pythagoras immortal. Even the mystical side is ignored and the monad is not mentioned once. Neither is the topic of salvation via the creation that is behind the Pythagorean 'All is number' credo.
In addition to the musical scale it is geometry that defines 'Pythagorean' and, by extension, 'Western.' Ms. Ferguson produced a fine piece of academic bla.
The book Pythagoras by Christoph Riedweg is head and shoulders above this one.
Another UFO Guy, the X-bureaucrat
There are two kinds of UFO guys: a UFO aficionado and a UFO researcher. A researcher is someone who can put together some facts and also a person who can make something better out of it and develop technology to new levels. A UFO aficionado knows a lot and gets to the truth by circumstantial evidence. This guy knows that the reason Friedman calls Lazar a fake is because Teller (the bomb guy) recommended Lazar for the UFO job and if Lazar really worked on UFOs then Teller is clueless on what it takes to reverse-engineer a UFO. A UFO aficionado figures out not only who knows but also who corrupts. That is what makes the UFO work interesting. UFO researchers the likes of Lazar burn out fast, for they run into their own intellectual limitations just as fast -- and Teller does not know what UFO science is about. It takes a special kind of a person to figure out the UFO, and credentials have nothing to do with it simply because credentials are man made. The word propulsion is the first thing that does not apply and Lazar's big thing was propulsion.
There are many who would not work on the UFOs. Not because the government is evil but because it is a one-sided deal. You might get paid but the conditions are enslaving and weigh down your soul. It is like winning the million dollar lottery and getting a dollar a year for million years. This may ease up a bit after some technology is deployed and particularly if the mind control thing is understood. There is a lot you can do if you are on the outside but take it easy, for the technology is so advanced it is also easy to jump to conspiracy conclusions. Actually, for conspiracy and subsequent fantasies to arise the plotter relies on insufficient knowledge of the audience. For example, UFOs have been around since records are kept. What is also a part of the record is that in (almost) all wars the gods take sides and likely started most of them. So now you have to keep cool and integrate this knowledge into your mindset.
It is no big deal and no big secret the UFOs are here now. The UFOs exist and they are not only fast but they can also transition, usually at will, between the real and the virtual domains. Einstein is irrelevant and really stupid but he might be good for keeping some people nice and ignorant. Okay, so we got pathological science on our back and we don't believe it. Yes, the grays got bases here and there and they don't stop to get visa unless they have to. But technology is also about power and power is about politics.
There is another player in the UFO phenomena: a retired bureaucrat or a military person who had some connection to UFOs. They are fun to watch. One ambitious guy named Greer collected a bunch of them six years ago, put them on tape, and then called a conference. The conference was in Washington DC National Press Club and dubbed the Disclosure Project. There he was parading a large group of former government bureaucrats, each of them saying something about seeing a UFO and each of them -- save the fellow from Mexico -- claimed to swear to the truth of their statements in front of Congress. Well, their leader actually demanded hearings in front of Congress with the agenda that space must not be weaponized. It was sort of like the real aliens landing in DC claiming to have some important info for our leaders, and, by the way, put down your weapons. Unbeleeveagubble.
These former bureaucrats and some military could not even come close to the UFO aficionados and researchers in the depth of their knowledge. They drew salary for decades and followed orders and today are on pensions -- but it seems they got something left in them. With one exception they all presented documents free for the taking or copying. This was the point I started to pay attention. I surely would not want them to hand out any of my stuff. You can buy it in a store of the Internet but you surely cannot take it, declare it important, and then start giving it away. Then I though perhaps they got a court order, which declared the info a public property; but no, this was important as in just-trust-me kind of important. Then it dawned on me: Oh yes, the whistle-blowers. Yes, they are protecting the public because there is fraud they uncovered. Nope. Then at least there must be danger that is being ignored. No again. Who are these people? These people took documents that do not belong to them -- classified or not -- and are giving it away for their own self-aggrandizement. Wow, I couldn't train a monkey to do that.
So now their leader says that they -- as if he is speaking for the aliens -- have but peaceful purposes and the space cannot be weaponized. His cohorts the x-bureaucrats have plenty of evidence that something moved and they have it on radar. So now I knew he was not going to say anything about animal mutilations and people abductions because their agenda was narrowing quickly. Sticking to their agenda we would be left to think the aliens upset easily and when they strike it's just our fault. It was becoming apparent that this was a special interest lobbying group disguised as peaceful aliens or a group infiltrated and controlled by aliens. So I think they should be accommodated by issuing all of them a card -- a little green alien card -- and send them back to whence they came.
Or maybe these guys need to appear in front of the Senate and hear; "Sir, is that your document you are reading from?" That would be a power trip every x-bureaucrat dreams about.
Things have quieted down since that reality show back then. Greer is still doing some circuits and talking about cooperation with another country, a whole country, which he does not name. Leader Greer could also ponder a question on how he was providing a platform for all these people to peddle documents none of them own. A much better thing he could do is to get Teller do 'I am dumb and I cannot help it' on tape. I'd buy that.
The Litvinenko File
by Martin Sixsmith, Mcmillan Publishing, London, 2007
As any detective story, this one starts with the funeral. It's raining, too. Litvinenko is dead. Other dead are remembered. The story unfolds.
This guy Litvinenko is a former FSB, which was formerly the KGB. As an FSB agent Litvinenko is in good standing. Then something happens, Litvinenko goes public and takes the dirty laundry along. For years he is harassed and pressured back into the fold. He cannot do it, for he has gone too far. He leaves the country with his family and takes his fight alongside his patron Berezovsky who by then is in London. Litvinenko is poisoned, apparently twice, with radioactive Polonium and in a week his body succumbs to alpha radiation. Clinically, alpha radiation is a stream of helium cores issuing from unstable Polonium.
Is it a story of misplaced loyalty, power or money? The author nicely reels in the players, inspects them, and lets them go. The real inspector could say, "Oh, don't leave town," but we are now global. The countries are sovereign when it comes to standing accused, but when they send someone to kill -- then it's just another country a couple of hours flight time. Let's pretend we are soccer fans.
Martin, however, will not take a moral stand, for that would not be investigative reporting. He is out for the real killer or killers, wherever they are and no matter where or how they are hiding. It boils down to Putin vs Berezovsky, both with an entourage of supporters.
Here is a spot where Martin could have explained the power structures and their differences. This is important to the understanding of the mentality, which he seeks for us to understand. In the States we have Civil Service and these guys, aka bureaucrats, are pretty much the employees of the government. They are treated as any employee and have recourse in a court. Putin has FSB and other organizations reporting to him in a military hierarchy and military has its own rules. Russian organizations operate inside and out while the CIA, in a military fashion, operates only outside. Yes, this makes Russia a military dictatorship and it helps the reader to understand the variances in behavior and motivation. In Stalin's time all party members were military in the true sense of the word and subject only to internal tribunals, but they also had nearly unlimited power over the non-party population. Sixsmith could do a bit of research if this is still (or again) the case. It probably is, judging by the interviews he had in Russia and with Russian ex-agents.
So now this Berezovsky gets in hot water back then in Moscow (you guessed it, a murder) but he does not seek to defend himself through the courts. He works the power structure directly to affect the outcome. Pure power plays, in-your-face armed guards -- and he also takes it to the court of public opinion through his own TV station. Litvinenko is now on Berezovsky side but Martin fails to ask the question of how the Litvinenko's loyalty to Berezovsky differs qualitatively from past Litvinenko's loyalty to the FSB -- for there appear to be no major differences in their modus operandi. Martin speaks of corruption on both sides and Litvinenko sees corruption on but one side. Martin offers the Chechen conflict as having some influence, for Litvinenko at some point sees Chechens as patriots. That could be the difference but it is still the lesser of two evils rather than good vs bad as the Litvinenko's stand.
In time Berezovsky is forced to leave the country.
The book gets into Berezovsky's help to get Yeltsin reelected and continues on with the key role Berezovsky played in getting Putin promoted to FSB and later elected as president. Putin then turns on Berezovsky and the contest is on. At this point, then, it appears that Litvinenko becomes a piece in the game between the two. Why Putin turned on Berezovsky remains unanswered in the book -- a major omission -- but a hypothesis can be offered here. It centers on Yeltsin's sudden and unwilling departure from his presidential position. It is fairly certain Berezovsky had a hand in that as well and the power to demote is different than the power to promote. It gets noticed in a different way and it does not friends make.
Martin's conclusion is that Litvinenko was a thorn in somebody's side, largely because he did not lay low -- like the other Russian and Soviet ex-agents -- and he names the suspects. It was easy for anyone to make contact with Litvinenko and make promises while having another agenda altogether. The attackers then had plenty of time to write and execute their own script. My feel on that is that Litvinenko's murder is a stage in the ongoing Berezovsky-Putin personal dislike where ever higher power leverages ever greater resources of the state. It is power for the sake of power. Putin cannot retire and Berezovsky thinks it would be stupid to build a public library with his money.
When power begins to dominate the spirit is confined by a single ideology that cannot be questioned (you are provoking me and that's your fault). Courts do not mean much. The people are reduced to a commodity.
Yet after all this the only people who are possibly afraid of the new old Russian methods are the ones who are easily intimidated in the first place. The guy who picked the method and the so called message to go with it thinks it is effective on others because it would be effective on him. Freedom is not a gift and it is not a privilege. Freedom is something you learn and earn through fair play. When you get to that you know that nobody can intimidate you and nobody can provoke you.
by L. Ron Hubbard, New Era Publications International, Denmark, November 2004 Printing
What a nice eye opener. Where Raymond Rife was drawn and quartered by AMA in the tradition of Prometheus, Ron thrives.
I started reading this book ten years ago. Put it aside, unfinished -- perhaps another time. It is October 2007 and it is time. Ron starts nice and easy. He is even solicitous to professionals the likes of medical doctors. One hundred pages later he lets them have it, full bore -- after he develops his process. This book makes a case for Dianetics as a new system of curing mental disorders and includes in it psychosomatic illnesses. Ron's got a tough job. He needs to get through to the individual and make friends in a broad social context if he were to make his system succeed but it is the social context of dysfunctional families that is under scrutiny with the individual barely able to keep the head above water. Ron's book is not about feeling-good about Dianetics. He is talking to the person who needs help, to the person who could not be helped in the past, to the person who is interested in mental health, to the person who seeks help for someone else, and even to the person who seeks to help someone else. When it is time to get help, it is not time to call a family dysfunctional -- Ron never does.
Just like Rife, Hubbard has got results. While it never occurred to Raymond Rife that a cancer cure would not be welcomed by the American Medical Association, Ron managed to get around AMA's troops and Freud's fixation police, which is surely a story in itself (Ron uses the word cure). That he's on to something is apparent early on. Because he did it with the "scientific" approach, Ron's results are quite remarkable. The right-brain function is very divergent, some say creative or infinite, and it seems that simple and deterministic and finite methods would not work there. But Ron is not trying to be right-brain-centric. He is correcting the so called reactive formations by reaching in with left-brain methods. At times he calls it reduction or clearing. Although Ron does not get into the left-brain vs. right-brain functioning in general, it is apparent that he is talking about it when he speaks of the 'analyzer' on the one side -- the left side -- and the 'associative' mechanisms of the right side of the brain. Actually, the right brain gets little play in Dianetics: it is either reactive-and-bad or standard-and-normal. In fact and in a correction to Dianetics, no action -- that is, command, issues from the right brain. Only the left brain produces action, be it reactive or not.
Ron is shy on credits. This is understandable considering the audience and because the book is not here to convince his fellow psycho-colleagues. The book is practical and Ron tears into 'expert' or 'authoritative' sources as cure-detracting personages -- and he does not cut slack your favorite person, your mother. So it is okay for a book reviewer to put in bits and pieces of where Ron might fit. (If you think Dianetics is original, well, okay, it is.) In Western psychiatry there is a fundamental separation between two approaches: One is, "I think your problem is.." -- that is, the authority is taking charge and this includes both the psychoanalysis as well as the hypnotic therapy, which necessitates that the formulation of a therapy or a hypnotic suggestion is done on the basis of knowing what's proper (this includes drug prescription -- a sore spot). The second approach lets the patient be the key to the solution. So it seems Dianetics is closer to Carl Jung who always "faced the issues together," but the credit went to the patient. Ron thinks so much about the cure the entire book tells you what the cure's mechanics are, who is doing what and why. The entry into the mind is also Jungian -- that is, by association, particularly through pain (called somatic -- as a noun -- in case of a physical pain). Giving various functions colloquial names also originates with Jung -- 'joker' and 'shadow' on the Jung side, 'denyers,' 'holders,' and 'groupers' on the Hubbard side. Dianetics has many original components and the "science" label is earned when Ron speaks of validating the results and verifying that the erroneous in-formations, called engrams, were indeed lifted out. The Jungian term for engrams is 'inferior systems.' The basic premise in Dianetics is that the (right) brain collections, when paired up with temporarily-poor (left brain) 'analytical' computations, produce engrams that weigh the person down in thinking terms. The really interesting premise in Dianetics is that the engrams ought to be removed even if you "figured out your life" and think you are able to go on as is -- for the engrams continue to slow you down nonetheless. This leads to the complete parting of Dianetics and the psychiatric profession, for Dianetics claims not only to give you back your life but to have you achieve your innate potential by becoming 'clear.'
The way to apply Dianetics is through differentiation. The left brain differentiates via human senses, which Dianetics credibly presumes to be weak in anesthetized or painful situations -- that is, the associations are stored undifferentiated during these temporary situations. Yet, we are subject to reductionism through mass media that simplify and flatten out differences. If mass media information is accepted on reduced or oversimplified basis it can then actually produce engrams and conceivably panic -- global warming but the most recent case. Reductionism is rampant in science and I imagine in other fields as well.
Dianetics claims to remove engrams -- that is, Jungian inferior systems. The person needs to re-live the situation of the engram but the important thing is that the person must be mentally in the time the engram was produced -- otherwise the engram is just read out without being lifted. My explanation on this is that the parameter of time is recorded only in the sequence-dominant (serial, rational, if-then) left brain and the particular time then also serves as the entry to the corresponding right-brain collections. After the left-right connection is made, my take on the mechanism is that the inferior system (engram) is not lifted or removed or reduced (as claimed by Dianetics) but becomes better differentiated through conscious recall -- the system (engram) broadens out through differentiation by acquiring more relevant associations and unbecomes inferior (unbecomes an engram). The 'relevant association' is important as names, places, and time -- for such objects become associated as they truly happened. An engram is not easy to find and several associative steps could be needed. Intrinsically, the aberrated situation manifests when the engram is triggered by a similar context: the person acts out the response as it was recorded, which ranges from poor to insane for the situation at hand. However, the next significant Dianetics step is that when your eyes are closed and the Dianetics auditor is with you the acting out is conscious and, therefore, mild. The acting out could also be a pain, a feeling of unease, or a weakness that brings on a particular disease. A person looking for his or her engrams must be motivated to do so and the responsibility is, as always, on the brain's owner. It is for this reason that Dianetics' claim of ending war and violence is not going to happen. Pushing someone into Dianetics therapy is by itself against Dianetics principles -- such as the avoidance of hypnotherapy -- because letting someone else dictate the course of action is not the best thing for you. If there is a bottom line on Dianetics it would be that 'It's just fine to have a mechanic fix your car, but to fix your thinking you are not the only but also the best person to do it.'
The most dramatic departure from classic therapy is the tossing out the value of a dream. Ron categorizes a dream as but a pun on the events, which gives it too much of an interpretive dimension and is then useless for Dianetics. For those (myself included) who think a dream has a future or a predictive component the dream has much utility. There are more than plenty of scientists and artists who claim to have discovered something new and profitable in their dream. (The dream also offers relevant links but they are from the right-brain side and because they are time-less they need work to be helpful.) Ron, however, is not interested in the future directly, for Dianetics goal is to work out the past poorly-differentiated associations in the past and let the future brighten up by itself. There are other aspects Ron thinks are not relevant to Dianetics and he is speaking not only to you but to the assistant as well, which in Dianetics is the auditor.
The best method I like in Dianetics is the 'returning,' which is a memory recall along a time line. I use it myself and discovered it before reading Dianetics: I park my car on Boston's streets. As parking is tight I hardly ever get to park in the same spot twice. More than once did I get out of the house when .. well, I could not remember where I parked my car. The guessing approach of searching neighborhood streets can make things worse (oh, here I was on Tuesday!) and waiting to possibly remember the spot has no appeal. So I went back in time, imagining where I was driving and I did pick up the trail and remembered all the street corners until I got to the spot. The method of 'returning' may not be your best pick but Dianetics has many methods that will resonate with yours.
I do not have Dianetics' stats but my guess is that men would be several times more likely than women to benefit from Dianetics methodology. Most women and large populations of the Eastern culture do not hold the time as their guiding line and it is just this line that needs to be used when searching for engrams. Also, as is the case with any mental health issues, people in therapy need to pick an assistant (auditor, psychiatrist, counselor, guru) that they will feel comfortable telling their problems to.
From this web site's perspective, Dianetics will give you many useful things to think about. For example, building of a system on the premise of "it cannot be determined" or "it cannot be found out" (Dianetics denyers) the likes of Feynman and Hawking are typical aberrations where fantasies such as black holes fill your side of reality (Hawking), or the reality is reduced to gee-wiz quantum weirdness (Feynman), both of which are analytically undifferentiated. (Hawking ignores antimatter and Feynman ignores electron's probability distribution.) Einstein is even more aberrated with his "cannot look outside" when he introduces his relativity theories. "Cannot look outside" is a [ghetto-like or communist-style] holder in Dianetics, which runs contrary to a healthy rational pursuit. Fundamentally, moreover, Dianetics cannot deal with chaos. This is my own assessment: Dianetics is based on finite methods, which, in turn, cannot address chaotic environment.
Whether to buy or borrow this book is, perhaps not surprisingly, your call. If you continue having the same problems, you likely need to read it. If you think you can easily fool other people -- that's one thing -- but if you think your fooling ability is an asset then you need to read Dianetics (you might be an object of your own talent, have a fool for a client, etc.). Also, Ron makes an excellent case against current therapies that are in the electric or insulin shock category or that include any and all brain surgeries; so in these cases your need to read it is urgent.
I have a small pain in my left foot. It is mild yet chronic. I started Tai Chi because of that and after six months the pain is still there. So I wonder .. when did it start .. I mean, what is associated with this .. let's see .. close my eyes (that's reverie) .. go back along the time line .. ['well hello, mother' is a possibility]
Unlike Dianetics, the HyperFlight site deals with the increase in organization and self-organization. Geometry is the leading component in organization but geometry is incidental in Dianetics. Symbols and geometric formations have meanings that are processed by the right brain but Dianetics needs the rational side, the left brain, to affect the change -- and the way it becomes apparent is that there is not a single illustration in the entire Dianetics book. It is funny how many verbs Dianetics makes into nouns -- for it is the nouns the left brain is about. Most Jungian archetypes are geometric formations (circle, wheel) that also include symmetries through the symbolism of a mirror, and also the inferior systems through the symbolism of the shadow. In addition to geometry, Quantum Pythagoreans book builds the organization by differentiating the leading (independent) and the following (dependent) variables. In an economics example, an increase in temperature will increase the sales of ice cream but even if you could manage to increase ice cream sales the temperature will not increase. In an allegory, an object casts a shadow and you can move the shadow by moving the object but you cannot use the shadow to move the object. The Quantum Pythagoreans book differentiates the If-Then methodology of the left brain with the What-Else method of the right brain and explains the self-organizing aspects with the interchange between the two.
Finally, there are right-brain and radically different methods that also address physical and mental health, and that have just as much range as Dianetics -- from feeling better to acquiring new mental and physical powers. However, if there is a problem then it needs to be worked -- be it through Dianetics or other approaches -- rather than passing the buck onto a society or deferring the problem to God.
You are the keeper of your fire.
updated Dec 2, 2007
by Jason Burke, Penguin Books, 2004
This book should certainly serve as an introduction to al-Quaeda (al-Qaida) and its methods. The author's background promises an easy read. Early and painstakingly Burke defines and describes the mechanics of al-Quaeda organizing concepts -- doing an excellent job on that. Yet he also disagrees with the use and leveraging of the al-Quaeda name by politicians. Because al-Quaeda specializes (or specialized) in international terrorism then that may be the case for this particular organization but, when all is said and done, the methods of al-Quaeda are nonetheless applicable to the methods of organizing and troublemaking that is typical of the Islamic jihadists.
The al-Quaeda core can be compared to the typical marketing organization. They make lots of pronouncements and hand waving as to what should be done, and then wait what a tide brings in. "Are you unhappy with your life or your wife?" could read one pitch. "Has someone looked at you disrespectfully today?" could be another one. "You know you are entitled to five coffee breaks (or prayers) every day. Is anyone denying you your rights?" If that does not work, you change the tone. "I know of some land in Kashmir. It's yours for the taking."
Now, that could work for some but others may be unhappy with the way their own Islamic country does not work. Appealing to these guys calls for finesse because you want to bring in the unhappy ones while never implying that the real problem is with the Muslim dictator, the prince, or the governing council. Besides, the powers that are could kick in a few bucks to send their subjects on the way to cause trouble somewhere else. Yeah, go get your own fiefdom, collect payments and kick ass all day long.
The author certainly does not write in this fashion and does not even try to send this message between the lines -- but that surely is how it reads to me. Emotion, sex, power, and revenge, all laced with Koran. If you cannot use the Jihadist in your group, you will then have to find out who can use such a fine lad all primed and ready to kill. That, of course, is called networking and making favors.
A nice example comes from one of the stories in the book. Prisoners in Chechnya are told by their Muslim captors they will be set free -- only to be killed later on. The murderers after the fact ask for a dispensation by a Mullah. And sure enough, one Mullah finds something in the Koran that such acts are okay and writes a little fatwa on that.
The sophistication of the al-Quaeda style recruitment organization stems from its economics approach. If an attack is to take place, who will be hurt and who will benefit? While the author describes the fact that proposals for terrorist action come from various individuals and small groups, and while such proposals are routinely returned to the sender for improvements, Burke is not explicit of the economic dimension of the Jihad fight. To get funding, the attack needs to be approved not only by al-Quaeda but also by certain interested parties. That is not easy to do but that's how it is done. Al-Quaeda is the underworld for hire.
In closing the author makes a case for the "real" dangers of al-Quaeda and how, perhaps, we are not paying close enough attention to this. Yet, just as the domino theory claimed the hard-line Stalinist regimes have a "natural" advantage, Burke fails to note that the jihad fighting is based on the basic human weakness -- intolerance. People recruited by al-Quaeda cannot even tolerate somebody else's painting hanging on the wall. Killing civilians is for them in the same category as taking candy from children.
Although technically an excellent book, Jason Burke needs to take a moral stand, particularly if his goal is to advise.
Cat has nine lives and you have ten fingers
When I checked my luggage to storage at the Union Station in Chicago, one could truly admire the fingerprint reader that allowed secure deposit and quick pickup of your luggage. Then, in the usual moment of enjoying the convenience of it all, you may also use your credit card to pay for the storage and, well, your fingerprint is now forever linked to you, sitting patiently in the database somewhere, anywhere, in the world. And you cannot take it back. No matter what firewalls that little baggage company may have, your only solace is that you still have nine other fingers left.
I was looking at new laptops recently and was quite frustrated by the fact that only the business class (read expensive) laptops have the fingerprint reader built in. The marketing guys really did not think this one through, I thought. You and I want the latest and best technology working for you. Somebody can take your secure card and your password, but who will take your fingerprint? It made sense to me, just as it made sense to the guy writing the marketing copy. So I went back and forth doing the regular laptop tradeoff thing but the diff was too much. No, I did not swing for the higher price but I did buy a great laptop without the fingerprint reader: HP 8000, electra-blue lights and all.
The third and final element in this story are the viruses that hijack or warp your valuable data. What if, say, somebody was to steal your fingerprint database from your laptop? If you say that now I would have eight fingers left - well, that is really not the answer. Yeah, this is getting serious. You heard it all before: No, that nuclear reactor is safe. No, there is this protection thing in there that cannot be circumvented this way or that. Your fingerprints are safe.
There is but one test to do at this point. Imagine walking into the bank, and besides getting the latest electronic toaster, you get assurance that your account is now safer than ever because their new fingerprint reader will make it easy and convenient one-finger withdrawal. Now, which finger would you offer the bank, if any? Which finger to the government guy [I said this is serious] who wants a fingerprint for your e-passport? How about the Internet vendor who wants to speed up your on-line transaction?
There is the story of Isis learning the true name of one of the gods and, well, acquiring power over this god. Once our fingerprint is in corporate domain it ceases to be effective for much of anything we think would be secure. And now, I am much happier without the fingerprint-reading laptop, too.
So, how many fingers do I have left? I paid cash in Chicago. Except now I think I should mark all of my fingers and, because I cannot afford to forget which is for who, I'll have to put it in a database. A very secure database.
XU in response to RFIDs
XU stands for 'eXclusive Use' and it is the most effective curbing response you and I can do to Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) tag proliferation.
We are going to hear a lot about what Congress should do to control RFIDs but the idea is that you can do something today that will protect you from the upcoming scourge.
Much is being written about the future shock of RFIDs, which presently enters our consciousness through the annoying false alarms at some retailers' entrances. RFID technology now permits the surreptitious placement of a unique ID transponder with just about any merchandise. The prediction - and it takes no expert - is that once the RFID tag's cost gets below one percent of the product cost, there will be RFID on that product. A book and a magazine article I read singled out IBM as the largest promoter of RFID applications, being active in the patent arena with functional descriptions only Big Brother and the spying Communists would love. One of the reasons IBM is so open about it is because they think you are dumb to begin with. Yet, it is not necessary to boycott IBM products, for we can appreciate that IBM was always the seller-to-the-top and that is the reason their consumer focused retail stores fizzled out about fifteen years ago. IBM bemoans the fact they cannot sell to consumers directly, and their patent application descriptions reveal why that may be the case.
It is a given you will not accept the pitch in favor of RFIDs such as the miraculous recovery of your vehicle, for that is happening already. You will not be impressed by gun markings doing something for your protection, for today's guns already have them in the form of a serial number. You also know that merchandise marking for warranty service can remain in the form of the optical barcode with numbers, for you really do not want the warranty service to be validated by the manufacturer and not by you. You will understand the difference between the voluntary RFID tag they put up Governor Schwarzenegger nose in case of kidnap - from the involuntary tag somebody puts in your underwear.
It is, then, about the conscious and the unconscious knowledge of having a tag on your body or in your household. A tag you know of is fine but the one you do not know about is the one that will likely cause problems. Europe will probably be more receptive to RFIDs because their TV and radio receivers are taxable each year and government enforcers at times roam the streets scanning for unreported devices.
The personal mechanism to invoke is a legal one and it is in place already. Whenever you make a purchase, place an XU after your name signifying that the transaction is exclusive to you and your use. You are not renting a jacket, you are not leasing a camera, and you are not buying a shared license. What you are buying is a product for your exclusive use. The XU, then, stands for exclusive use. Your exclusive use. This is powerful simply because the people of commerce - the very people eager to ID you till kingdom come - understand, haggle over, and sweat every minutia of business relationships. They are the ones who clearly understand that if you say you are buying it for your exclusive use there is no wiggle room. It is yours exclusively and nobody could hold a piece of it back - not even a tiny chip of it. Should a sales person inquire about the 'XU' well, then you will just have to spell it out: 'Exclusive Use.'
It is a good guess your congresspersons understand the law and by putting together some new laws "for consumer protection," they may actually dilute the exclusivity you currently already have with your purchases. Vigilance is called for and putting an XU after your signature shows the merchant you know the law and you want clean, clear, and unencumbered title.
In the long run we will determine if we are cattle needing gated environment or a free range running people ready to tackle any problem coming our way.
Happy Xs and Us.
PS.: This country's laws are plenty good and ready to work for you. What's the fuss over the patents for genetically modified food? Because the law says that no human food can be patented, square tomatoes with ten-year shelf life cannot be patented. If no human food can be patented, then the food going to feedlots cannot be patented, for feedlots are exclusive to human food production. So, patents for food that becomes human food are worthless. I don't mind if somebody comes up with patented cat food - in this country at least it would hold up.
HyperFlight March 2006 magazine review & editorial
Brit PC magazine has truth and guts
I would never think of buying England based publication over American. Why, even the Euro paper format - skinny and long - does not go along with fatter American tastes. England's magazines are shiny and really overloaded and busy looking, and when they sell motorcycle tyres they've got little yellow stars covering the ladies privates. What? You cannot even recycle these glossies.
Until, a couple of days ago, I came across PC Plus, yes, English-English publication with pound signs for prices. The reason was the comparison article on Intel and AMD processors; a head to head thing I was looking for -- for over a month. Looking everywhere, I did not find such article because there is not one in the American magazines. It took me so long not only because of my bias toward home grown reporting, but because the American magazines are devoid of Intel-AMD performance articles to begin with. Intel, just like the Emperor, is parading around stark naked and nobody wants to tell. It is "tell and kiss" time in America when it comes to saying "Intel sucks." AC power, too. It seems as if something ugly is going to happen to the American mag writers if they speak the truth. Intel's processors cannot come close to AMD's processors in performance and on top of that Intel processors run awful hot, around 15 degrees hotter -- that's Centigrade -- and that is so much it could well be a reliability issue, particularly since the temperature differential at the chip is even greater and particularly since the temperature is highly nonlinear when it comes to reliability. It sure seems Intel is grossly overextended on the chip temperature parameter and still is not able to bring the performance up. The performance benchmarks are not just 5-10% in favor of AMD, which, incidentally, would be "two full lengths" on the performance track. AMD trounces Intel 25-35% not just on selected models but across the breadth of the lines. Yet there is another whammy. Intel's dual core is grossly underperforming AMD's dual core and even if only the architectural dimension is exercised. The performance improvement based on dual core alone is much better for AMD than for Intel. So, that's one, two, and three strikes. But there is a fourth one: AMD already has 64 bit architecture while Intel' got but 32. What's holding AMD from firing up yet another cylinder above Intel is Microsoft. This company has the 64-bit operating system "in the works," but if it were to make it available today then only AMD could benefit. So where is it? Microsoft has its priorities but here is a great opportunity to quit complaining about Microsoft and release a 64 bitter that may just be merit wise head-and-shoulders above Microsoft. The Euro compendium should quit threatening Microsoft and come up with better OS -- now when the time is right and ripe.
So, welcome Brits to our shores. Your PC magazines have the attitude we need and could adopt, too.
Feb 21, 2006
Today I found another Intel-AMD comparo in Computer Shopper magazine -- good ol' USA -- March '06 issue. This comparison also found head-and-shoulders performance advantage of AMD over Intel in all five applications areas. The lab used existing commercial platforms to reach their conclusions, so the benefit of this report was that the processor advantage ripples up to the user. The disadvantage is that it is more difficult to put numbers on processors alone and PC Plus lets you do that. Computer Shopper did not say anything about the chip temperature, which is important to gamers who love to overclock their CPUs and do not mind an occasional dropout. The biggest benefit of the Computer Shopper report is their plot of performance vs. cost. When you buy Intel's top performer, the Extreme CPU, you will pay a premium for a hot -- as in fry your eggs here hot -- CPU that is beaten up silly by AMD's top 3rd CPU with a significantly lower price tag. The bottom line is that you could be extremely bamboozled to buy Intel's top CPU.
Llewellyn Publications, 2005
Should you come across a book on the subject you like, you may be really primed and ready to open it up and read it, talk aloud into the air, and perhaps have a pretend conversation with the author, because, of course, this is the turf you think you know a lot about. The Fog is a book that triggers a lot of silent comments, and "the Italian" hand waving as well. The Fog is about the fogging that happens in the Bermuda Triangle, a fogging effect that is one of the few objective components in describing what the triangle's mystery is about.
It turns out the partnership of the two authors makes much sense. Rob is an accomplished writer about the Bermuda Triangle and Bruce is a pilot with many stories to tell. Rob uses some of the mainstream science theories, but I don't think he uses it to explain the phenomena except to bring the reader closer in. Rob casts a wider circle and soon enough it is becoming apparent that Rob knows the subject well. The book has an illustration of the Bimini Island that also includes the "strange" geometric structures on and around the island. In our rational mind the civilization that put these things together is long gone because the structures are under water and some catastrophe "must have" happened. But Rob leaves plenty of room to see that something significant is still going on. Rob's writing technique wants to connect a variety of readers to the most unusual phenomena, which has been with us close to three thousand years. The strange power of the Bermuda Triangle is eluding rational explanations and is surviving only as mythological stories. To us, the humans, the boundary between air and water is very sharp, on the order of life-death, but certain waves and certain energies may not treat air-water boundary as something discontinuous that would cause problems. At Bimini, the author makes a case for equating Bimini with Atlantis.
Nailing down the location of Atlantis would be okay, but the book is really about da fog, and Rob settles on the fog as being electronic in nature. The fog envelops ships and airplanes with sticky attitude and wreaks havoc upon instruments, and then it makes sense that something electronic messes up the electronic instruments. Here is a significant but not really important correction. The fog is actually energized ether but saying 'energized ether' to a general reader is not very descriptive this day and age. Ether has an emotional quality about it and the mentioning of ether brings up discussion on the existence of ether -- and so we can understand that Rob does not want to go there. There are plenty of descriptions of the effects of the fog anyway. The big hint of the ether being the source of the fog comes from instruments that are shielded from electromagnetic radiation, but these shields offer no defense against the fog. There is an additional geometric effect, in which the pilot can see vertically up and straight down through the fog but cannot see through the fog in any other direction. Very interesting is the psychological effect the fog has on people. It may seem easy to "explain" the problem because the total reality is, except for the vertical bar, available only through the instruments and these gradually become erratic. A most wonderful narrative of the flight Bruce had through the fog nicely shows that, while the objective reality is gone, the subjective reality begins to dominate and becomes the key to the successful outcome. The inherent instability of the subjective "Oh my God, .." or "What the .." calls for certain stabilizing disciplines that Bruce is just good at. The ability to stay with it in the fog calls for some talent and training, and the book gains much merit by including Bruce's and other pilots' experiences. Bruce, after his airplane was encircled by the fog, makes a run for it through a small and tunnel like opening. It is likely that Bruce could be the first person to actually undergo and survive hyperflight. As the airplane's physical components become virtual, the cohesion of the entire entity rests with the crew that knows where to go. The entire conglomeration then transitions into that location. As silly as it may sound, if Bruce had changed his mind and wanted to be in Paris, he might have gone there. This is, of course, but a hyperflight theory. It is, however, nice to know that Bruce and his airplane made it to their destination with plenty of time to spare.
The Fog is a very pleasant book for flyers, boaters, and anyone interested in the possibilities for the upcoming generations. Rob also includes a great summary of the lost Avenger squadron of the Flight 19 -- the defining event of the Bermuda Triangle.
The Monk In The Garden
Book by Robin Marantz Henig, Mariner Books, 2001
Peas, numbers, and genetics. How about adding computer to Mendel's discoveries
Robin Henig, a woman writer with a good number of publications under her belt, tells us about a monk doing breakthrough science in the 1850s. Most of us have expectations that anything worth inventing was done in the West, but here we have a guy, a man of cloth, who is doing something very special at the fringes of the Western hemisphere, a place where Slavs do things with passion, horses, and wine.
So here we are in Moravia and a short ride to Vienna, Austria. As far as the Hapsburgs are concerned, however, they treat Moravia as a fringe country that's worth some patience because with a bit of pressure the Slavs could be made to see it the German way.
Vienna has the teacher certification process in place, which our hero Mendel cannot accommodate. For one reason or another, the rigidity of the Viennese academia does not accept a monk who, despite his enthusiasm, does not display the arrogance that is so often misinterpreted as confidence.
Abbot Napp, on the other hand, is the true believer. He not only sends Mendel to a school in Vienna, he is the person who builds the greenhouse for Mendel at the monastery in Brno. The author, perhaps unknowingly, nicely separates the rational coldness of the bureaucrat in Vienna with the almost naïve support and warmth of Abbot Napp. Mendel does receive decent schooling and returns "to his garden." His second attempt to achieve teaching certification fails as well and, while Mendel is allowed to teach in a lower position, it is the garden, the peas, and the secrets of nature that begin to unfold.
Robin has a gentle touch that is almost necessary when the subject matter begins to resemble luck or magic. When picking the traits of peas he would study, Mendel was "lucky" when he chose traits that were located on different genes. The 'tall growing' trait of one pea and the 'short growing' trait of another pea were located on different genes and, therefore, there were no in-between traits of, say, 'medium height' pea. Once located on separate genes, the offspring followed certain proportion of traits that Mendel was able to confirm. His schooling allowed him to appreciate the combinatorial aspects of numbers and he also understood that he needed to work a large number of plants to make his case mathematically, that is statistically, sound. The heart of Mendel's discovery, however, was the existence of the phenotype and the genotype - that is, a particular dual traits exist in either its manifested or in its latent form in a single individual. That, indeed, is a breakthrough. Mendel also introduced the upper case and lower-case notation to differentiate and combine the phenotype and the genotype, which today is the familiar Aa and Bb notation. Mendel did not propose the actual mechanism - that is DNA enfolding - that would execute his mathematical relations, but he surely drew attention to the fact that the traits of plants are in some fashion coagulated - that is, quantized.
Robin Henig now picks up yet another quirk in Mendel's life story. In the dissemination of his results Mendel sent out forty copies, which, at the time, were printed on large sheets and folded without cutting. After many years, most of Mendel's mailings were recovered and the intended recipient identified, and it is apparent that those mailings that remained uncut were never read. Here then is yet another and wonderful quirk of nature, for one of the uncut mailings was found with Darwin, the person most people credit with the theory of evolution. Darwin did not read Mendel's report, but it is very likely he would not be happy with its content. Mendel did not discover evolutionary trends and even if some phenotypes were better or "taller" than others, the genotype does not really disappear form the gene pool. In a larger context, Mendel's results certainly muted the "strongest survive" idea of Darwin. It is not a contentious issue that Darwin's ideas took hold among socialist ideologies, which grew into fascism and communism.
While not achieving fame in his lifetime, Mendel became the abbot of the monastery. Spending much of his time on administrative and community work, his next focus was on eliminating the tax being levied on a monastery. For ten years he wrote letters for tax abatement - to no avail. We will never know to what extent the separation of the church and state in Europe was his doing, but it surely is yet another notch on his magical wand.
In the historical context, the author does a great detective work with the forgotten but then magically rediscovered Mendel. It happened in 1900 when the quantization became all the new rage in physics -- and even a case can be made that Mendel's discoveries in quantizing biological traits preceded similar discoveries in physics by about thirty five years.
Finally, one additional discovery may be attributed to Mendel as well. His combinatorial results are no other than the logical interoperability of states among digital variables. Mendel's cross breeding of an 'Ab' trait with another 'Ab' trait yields AA, Ab, bA, and bb groups, which are the present day computer's logical functions among variables' ones and zeros. The phenotype is the logical OR operation with the 3:1 manifestation of the dominant gene while the genotype is similar to the logical XOR (Exclusive OR) operation having the 1:2:1 result. In the computer, each variable (trait) has but one of two possible states and because the upper case letter can be taken as 1 and the lower case letter can be taken as 0, Mendel's discovered relation are very close to George Boole algebra logic. While Boole's work was 100% theoretical, Mendel's discoveries are 100% practical. Gregor Mendel could well be included with Boole and Turing as the founder of the present day computer.
HyperFlight September 2005 Article
HyperFlight is entering the vernacular of today because it vibrates with tomorrow.
There is no connection between HyperFlight.com and the following commercial products, but all can be enjoyed if the guys could only read the instructions
It was not dark or stormy but one day in the summer of 2004 I got a call from a guy who wanted a replacement for his frisbee. I am game but I had no frisbee to send him. He insisted this was the right number and, besides, he was happy with the way his hyperflight frisbee performed. Yes, hyperflight is a frisbee -- for dogs, and this one frisbee had gone to the dogs.
There is also the hyperflight the sneaker -- more specifically the basketball shoe. I read a review saying it was too light to play serious basketball in. That may be, but my idea of the hyperflight shoe is the one belonging to god Mercury. It has cool little fluttering wings on the sides and makes a faster cut than the golden snitch. Nike is the maker of this shoe -- the earthy one, that is. The same maker imparted a huge soccer ball in the middle of a building running cracks every which way in the middle of Prague in the middle of the summer last year. Everybody noticed, which was the idea, except that urgent word was passed on from the president of the republic to do away with that nonsense. When the ball disappeared overnight (painted cracks followed few days later), the president was happy to be photographed wearing Nike tee. Just another day keeping peace in hot city.
Hyperflight's connection to Prague is not incidental. A city near Prague is the last known spot for German flying saucers. Everybody was having a field day a bit on the frantic side.
The next product you would expect. A model airplane lines from a company called Hyperflight in New Zealand. Seems they are on the distribution side but they like to fly what they sell.
Finally, the latest one is the watch from Pulsar. Hyper Flight. It's a "computer" watch with 77 time zones. The world is getting bigger but the only way we can have 77 time zones is if the earth is slowing down. That may be good news to some.
Now, there is a periodic time parameter inside Newton's gravitation constant, and it is likely it is this timing that led Newton to postulate absolute time.
Great summer to all. If you are in the other hemisphere, you will like summer that much more when it is your turn.
By Nick Lane
When Nick talks about the fire in the water, he is not talking about spirits -- yet he links water and oxygen in ways that only free radicals can surpass
(Oxford University Press, 2002)
What could be your expectations when picking up a book about oxygen? It seems that everybody knows everything about oxygen. But what do you do about the author who introduces many enigmatic attributes of oxygen and then just pipes in: "The truth is rather more complicated, but far more interesting."
Nick Lane's Oxygen is really three books in one. It starts with microbes craving and running away from oxygen, and along the way engaging in creating complex systems that use or control oxygen. The author then continues with oxygen being both a necessity and a toxic substance to people -- both the producer of energy and the source of free radicals. There is also a close link between oxygen and water, and the author shows how easy it is to move between one and the other. Water, a ubiquitous and neutral substance could actually become a flash of fire nothing could stop.
It becomes apparent that the depth and the many branches of this book make the book difficult to review. For this review, then, we pass on the microbes and start the book in Chapter 6 where the author describes the mechanism of creation of free radicals. In between oxygen and water there are three of them but the nasty one is the hydroxyl radical OH that can damage DNA so fast the author describes the damage as happening "before the bullet leaves the barrel." High-energy X-ray photon is absorbed by hydrogen that is, between the proton and the electron, with the result of both of these particles departing the water molecule and leaving OH, the hydroxyl free radical, behind. It is always a pleasure to come across an unusual mechanism that makes sense nonetheless. My ears perked up because the photon reduction can happen only in the context of momentum conservation and two bodies, in this case the proton and the electron, are required for photonic reduction. Because these two particles receive kinetic energy at photon's reduction, they must both move away and in opposite direction and so the remaining OH makes sense. Nick also makes a great link to the radiation damage (as in nuclear bomb or nuclear plant getting out of control damage) because the damage from nuclear radiation is along the same mechanism as the creation of hydroxyl radical OH. It is becoming clearer how one could limit potential radiation damage. Nick then continues describing the chain of fast, slow, and "reluctant" radicals as these build up ever close to water. Water-soluble iron and copper also make unusual companions in the damage another free radical, the peroxide, can make.
Nick also does an excellent job in commenting on the two kinds of molecular oxygen. As he describes the actual oxygen with four orbitals, some readers can begin to have a good idea regarding the construction of oxygen itself. When Nick explains the history of understanding the reactivity of unpaired electrons, it also becomes apparent that chemists have better appreciation of quantum mechanics than physicists. Here is where the flipping of the spin of the oxygen's electrons results in dramatic change in the oxygen's reactive properties. Nick is in mainstream science and will not engage in speculation, but it is refreshing to see him discussing molecular construction as if working in the kitchen. Oxygen is so intriguing Nick lets himself loose with: "..the fact that living things do not burst spontaneously into flame betrays an odd reluctance on the part of the oxygen to react."
It is very unusual that a book by a regular scientist did not act as a sleeping aid. On the contrary, Nick Lane's Oxygen opens all kinds of opportunities and possibilities of making oxygen from scratch and, under pyramid geometry, offers a wonderful new application. Personally I thought of Osiris and the erosion of the sarcophagus, but that is all but a speculation.
This book is written by two English academics who are proud to "hack" human mind to see how it works. To the authors, the verb hack has somewhat higher meaning than the commonly used 'just take a stab at it.'
The authorship of Mind Hacks is actually collaboration with many other people - more appropriately called the comet of authors. At the core are Tom and Matt who make the cover, while the tail of authors get credit in the preface accompanied with references to their web sites.
Authors start well by summarizing the shortcomings of present day brain research. According to Tom and Matt, brain processes are not layered but intermingled, have no distinct progression, resemble no computer or clockwork, carry no one-on-one correspondence between a specific brain area and specific function, and the outcome is dependent on expectations as well. The anticipation builds up that most, if not all, questions will be answered. The authors, unfortunately, live up only to the basic hacking title. Overall, Mind Hacks is good reading for people who enjoy encyclopedic or trivia knowledge but without the actual dry reading of the encyclopedia itself.
As a reader and reviewer, I had my own expectations in the areas of neuron functioning, learning mechanisms, the purpose of corpus callosum, and the definition of consciousness. There are no answers to these questions in the book but what was said highlights the state of academia's brainpower: Keep it so simple nobody could criticize it. Neuron's functioning does not go further than "neuron synapses fire fast or slow." There is nothing in the book on learning or attrition mechanisms but there is awful lot on uncertainty mechanisms. 'Rabbit that can be seen as a duck' is the old standby picture that makes it into this book. Pavlov did not make this book but he -- over hundred years ago -- associated a square with reward and a rectangle with punishment. Conditioned dogs became neurotic when the square shape was slowly changed toward a rectangle. Tom and Matt do not claim that the possibility of making either-or classification of some image is the example of brain's duality, as several other authors have done, but they stay away from any explanation. Every academic wants to have some anomalous behavior or thinking process named after him. Of course, that means that no method could possibly be put forth that would eliminate such precious human anomalies.
Authors dispute the popular notion that people use only 10% of their brain, and make a reasonable claim that the matter of degree is difficult to assess with cell density varying throughout the brain. Yet when it comes time to talk about corpus callosum, authors happily quote the surgeon who severed people's corpus callosum, ostensibly to fix their epilepsies, and then published his results -- not on epilepsy change but on changes to brain's functioning. The ethical conduct of such procedure never enters authors' minds and it is apparent that in this chapter authors' brains were engaged at well below 10%. Authors' work on left-right hemispheres is by now predictably limited to "left brain does this, right brain does that" functional separation but no reasons or benefits are stated for functional separation. Should you pick up any book that starts with "The Science Of .." -- most recently "The Science Of Harry Potter" and the little rockets strapped to his broom -- you may walk away with a good impression on simplistic left brain explanations authors may offer to keep muggles muggled.
Finally, authors enjoy writing about the drug effect coffee has on human brain. Tom and Matt think coffee brings out only reward and pleasure brain response. There may be no industry-supported studies, but authors' lack of knowledge regarding coffee consumption tends to put a damper on the whole book. You only need to talk to people to figure out that coffee in larger quantities -- and for some it is only two cups per day -- brings on a sneaky case of anxiety. Coffee also interferes with female fertility -- but that's something male authors probably would not think of. So we close with yet another correction to academia's self-delusion of self-importance: People are not dependent on scientists' reports and are quite capable of becoming correctly informed while building their own database.
When it comes to your mind, you can take it with you and your mind can take you with it.
by Christoph Riedweg (Cornell University Press, 2005)
I knew I would read this book, if only to review it for this site. So I braced for the scholarly format along with the German translation. I expected countless references, endless polemic, highbrow sniping, off-hand dismissals, back and forth contradictory quotes by various sources, and all the rest of the acceptable humbug academia has invented.
What a pleasant surprise. This book is readable and quite capable as gift material, too. The book starts with the report that Pythagoras was known to wear trousers. Being an unusual thing to do for the times and projecting into the present, it becomes apparent why West could be synonymous with Pythagoras. Today, anybody who can make a fashion statement that keeps on growing for 2600 years would surely be given the son-of-god status.
The book is academically tight and there are no speculative excursions. What the author does best is elaborating on the belief system of the times to create proper background for Pythagorean statements. For example, there is a Pythagorean notion that the earth itself is not at the center of the universe. Earth revolves around "Zeus' house," also called "Zeus' hearth," which today would be translated as "God's house" or "God's fire" - Zeus being the chief deity. In scientific translation this becomes "central fire." It is very pleasant to see that the author is not stuck on interpretive reporting such as "Pythagoreans catered to pagan gods," but instead translates what was then most likely a scholarly explanation of physics. The author does not question why Pythagoreans chose "Zeus" instead of "Sun," but it is likely the Sun was exalted so much calling Sun the Sun could be considered vulgar. Yet, jury may still be out on this if we include the possibility of Zeus' house being translated as the "Eye of the galaxy."
Many writers claim Pythagoras visited East, where he picked up on reincarnation. The author, however, claims that the belief in reincarnation was common at the times and sacrifices of animals were generally restricted to those that had no possibility of having reincarnated human soul - or that were not favorites of certain gods. Fish, incidentally, was on the list and could not be sacrificed. Fish is of some concern here on Cape Cod because for decades the priests here were blessing the fleet but forgot all about blessing the fish. Pythagorean way was also a way to salvation. To this end, the ethic conduct and adherence to rituals were the components of earning the place in heaven. The idea was that with the advancement of your knowledge of the workings of the universe, proper diet, and proper conduct you would fit. You joined Pythagoreans by placing your assets in common, and after five years you could graduate. If not, your assets were returned, and some sources claim that the returned assets were doubled. Apparently, putting the right shoe on before the left shoe and the abstention from eating beans were not the hardest parts: New members were expected to listen and think but not talk.
Plato, Aristotle and Euclid arrive some two hundred years later. Since many of their writings survive, and since Plato was a proponent while Aristotle was not, anything that these two persons wrote about Pythagoras and Pythagoreans is brought forth by the author. Aristotle has hard time with Pythagorean 'numbers first' because to Aristotle numbers are of the environment rather than the environment. To Pythagoreans, numbers are it because one sun is an entity, one person is an individual, and both are the number one, a monad a singular creation. You need numbers in order to create not just measure something that was created by someone else.
The author brings out a list of real historical Pythagoreans who one way or another left a paper trail. This list is exceptionally long and encouraging. Kepler was a great admirer of Pythagoras and many others the likes of Galileo, Da Vinci, and Newton are thought by many to be Pythagoreans. The author also places Pythagoreans as the driving force of the Renaissance. While the author is shy of stating that the Catholic Church was always harsh at Pythagoreans, he does make a case that many Pythagorean discoveries were massaged into dogma by the church. (Book's jacket informs us the author will be moving to Rome.) Every so often the church takes their "transcendental truths" and manages to create a schism or plow straight into the Dark Ages and every so often Pythagoreans show up and make things into Renaissance.
The success of Pythagorean philosophy also gave rise to forgeries, which the author identifies. An attempt also was made by the cabala proponents to include Pythagorean concepts into cabala but they got the numbers wrong, which in a way may have been the idea.
As can be expected the weakest research or incomplete historical data provide an opportunity for undermining or speculating about Pythagoreans. The irrational numbers are the case in point. E. T. Bell writes that irrational numbers were known to Pythagoras in his lifetime even though it is not known if Pythagoras himself discovered them. The secrecy of Pythagoreans also allows "conspiracies" to arise. Perhaps in the future edition the author can do a better job on the relationship between irrational numbers and Pythagoreans. For example, the author does not get into pentalpha (pentagram), which is the central symbol of Pythagoreans, which, moreover, has irrational as well as health and life-giving properties through the Golden Proportion.
What the author does not elaborate on is most revealing. Pythagoreans never had enforcers the likes of Jesuits or building inspectors nor did they deploy protectors the likes of Knights Templar or Marines but in 2600 years the Pythagorean way was never corrupted. It is surprisingly easy to identify people as Pythagoreans. For example, there is certain understanding of geometry and its advantage in addressing particular classes of problems. When Dedekind asserted that "man eternally arithmetizes," in a pun on Plato's "God eternally geometrizes" the apparent outcome is that Dedekind just is not a Pythagorean, for he thinks arithmetic methods are the same or better than geometric methods. That is, in a simple case of the square root, the arithmetic method is infinite and has tractability issues while the geometric square root is a finite method. It may take some thought to appreciate the difference, but it is the difference between being earth-bound and not!
Every day now I put my slacks on one leg at a time. What's on my list?, I say as I put my leg in and I think I am starting the day as a Pythagorean.
Science as a political party
Science is inherently narrow minded and cannot have priviledged position
To some it is difficult to acknowledge that mainstream science can be anything but objective. There are, after all, the equations. The equation, boring or not, provides a kind of stamp of objective approval on things. Once something is considered objective it is then reasonable to spend money in this arena because the notion of objectivity benefits all.
But mainstream science is far from being objective. Mainstream science has member organizations, magazine and book publications, lobbying organizations, and the biggest mother of all, the universities. Not only do these organizations promote science, they also uphold the definition of mainstream science. It then is most difficult to overturn outright nonsense from the purview of science. For example, relativistic postulate is so ingrained a cornerstone that even if in-your-face proof is presented, science guys just go on as if nothing has happened. Specifically, all electrons radiate energy when accelerated but, applying relativistic equivalence, accelerating frame of reference going by the electron should -- but does not -- give rise to radiation from the electron. Relativistic presumption error continues on and the only conclusion from such inflexibility is that relativistic postulate is for pinheads. On legal grounds, teaching relativistic concept is outright fraud if you collect fees for teching things you know are false.
All problems that science may cause are reduced by pointing out great advances of science in communications and transportation, to name but two. Many a religious group embraced 'science' in its name the likes of Christian Science and Scientology. Others, such as the Theosophists, support science as if it were but another form of religion. That, for better or for worse, is not far from the truth. Science may strive to be objective but it almost never ends up that way.
The purported objectivity of science has one great drawback. It pretends that it is the only way of doing things or the only choice for accomplishing a particular objective. Not so. The biggest reason we cannot reconcile the whole UFO business is because our current and objective science of transportation is hopelessly stuck and lost in left field. A car is better than a bike and bike is better than walking and that is supposed to be progress. Not so. That's engineering, not science. The cell phone is better than yodeling but that is not about science, either. It is about not understanding physics the way physics is. Worst of all, it is about accepting limits where "you cannot get there from here" is becoming acceptable.
But if you think that somebody is working on it, then it is surely not happening at our universities. The fact that light does not impart pressure at reflection is a great new concept, but universities are no other than monasteries copying old and corrupted equations from one generation to the next. Equations are built from assumptions and they are not superior to anybody's logic. Equations can be corrupted or narrow minded just like anybody's logic. The political culture of science is holding on to the old and wrong equations that flood government proposals.
We routinely mix up engineering and science and think that engineering is science. We mistakenly believe that science is upholding some objectivity. Science will not change unless and until there is a fundamental acceptance that science can take the most unusual turns. Until then, science will continue to be politically entrenched and spending on science will be politically motivated. With the expectations trimmed by "you cannot get there from here," the politics of science will pretend to be happy with marginal improvements. Even then, marginal improvements can disappear if the down sides such as the hole in the ozone layer are included in our considerations. Marginal improvements become deeply negative when we consider the lost opportunities the likes of Rife's advances in curing cancer. AMA should certainly not be the sole and subjective decision maker on what constitutes a treatment and a cure.
When Europe, China, India, and Japan are all launching their own space initiatives, it is time to figure out how lost we really are. What is really scary is that we may be the only ones believing the pathological nonsense of general relativity. It is time to allow all efforts of advancements to compete -- not by financing everybody -- but by acknowledging and establishing that science has no inherent monopoly.
The Road To Reality
by Roger Penrose. (A. A. Knopf, 2005)
There is one positive revision we meet on the road to reality.
When the author defends relativistic viewpoint, however, you can tell he does not have it: Particles moving through slits express their own moving energy through waves and relativistic approach does not work.
Roger Penrose's other book, Emperor's New Mind, is still the best book that will get you thinking about computability, and it is conceivably the first book about such a critical topic.
"In the 1920s the scientists thought they knew what was going on and they thought the 2nd law is such a big deal it will invariably bring the whole universe to a tepid pool of a day-old coffee. But now, we the scientists know the real truth because the 1920s scientists were just a bunch of commie junkies promulgating old wife's tails."
It is easy to have fun at the scientists' expense. Yet, if the science of Eddington and Einstein were taken as the truth, a significant and possibly irreversible damage could be inflicted on the population. It is possible to make a case that evolution theories led to the rise of fascism and communism by direct application of the scientific notion that "the strongest survive." Another way of seeing the reductionism espoused by scientists is that the stronger the proof the narrower the context of applicability. However, it is the robustness and choices that make for society's advancement. It is quite likely that in this country cancer would be cured if AMA was not the sole, self serving, and monopolistic determinant of what constitutes acceptable care -- in light of Raymond Rife's cancer clinical results.
When organization such as NASA does not acknowledge that light cannot impart pressure on a mirror but instead subscribes to but their own version of dreamed up reality, then, one way or another, NASA will not be flying.
Dummy down the reader
view does not keep energy with individual recipients
what Penrose might consider is the fact that light does not put
pressure on mirror at reflection. This would decimate the content of
his book but that is precisely what reality does. If I was the
science advisor to Her Majesty and Roger was to be knighted, my
advice to be passed on to him would be: "Analyze This!"
The Nostalgia of Retro Bang
Big Bang by Simon Singh, HarperCollins, 2004.
Why would a
competent writer write a big book on a topic of no
Unfortunately, our author takes the big bang as serious science. Poor Simon takes the big bang and does not stop to think that with or without big bang the people we so freely call scientists are nowhere near the understanding of how the universe got to be organized the way we found it. Dear Simon puts in a lot of pictures of big telescopes but in the end he has nothing to show for it because he is not honest about it: big bang is a political animal.
For Simon Singh to make his most crude points he needs to find or make converts. He counts one Pope among big bang aficionados. With so many Popes, however, he could probably find one who fancied ladies and another one who sold Constantinople, too. But then he grows the scope and the size of the book where no Pope likely ventured. Simon includes the no-ether crowd with the big bang followers even though the big bang idea is so primitive a notion it is not dependent on ether one way or another. When Simon runs out of converts, he jams big name squares into the big bang hole: Michelson becomes 'no ether, big bang' convert even though Michelson is on record as ether holdout. Simon posthumously force-converts Newton because "Newton's model of the universe was not stable." Newton really did work on three-body instability that may be unresolved to this day, but big bang does not help that. For the most part, Newton is closer to being clock-mechanistic, while his nondeterminism work was picked up later as chaos. Big bang has nothing to do with Newton because big bang has nothing to do with gravitation or chaos or clockwork. There is no intelligence in big bang. Big bang is a topic for those who want to make a point of no consequence. One day God slipped on a banana peel and things went flying.
Big bang has a self-referencing faulty logic created by, and for, group-think narrow-culture mentality. Big bang can be adjusted to come up with temperatures and pressures anybody may want. Do you need 10,000 degrees for a theory about nucleus formation for this or that element? No problem -- big bang will supply that. Yet, big bang is no better a mechanism than postulating some belt-full-of-comets in outer space, and now a "scientist can explain" how we got so much water -- icy comets crash here and melt. Boy, just as convenient as big bang in explaining nothing. It is so much more poetic to portray gods as having a good supply of lightning bolts, which they hurl down on us every time something displeases them.
Because the atomic structure is a computable entity the atom can be created without extraordinary temperatures or pressures. This site will from time to time speak to that. Actually, every time this site has stuff on pyramids, frequencies, and irrational numbers, it is to some extent about atomic computability as well.
Resurfacing big bang is about retro science. Not unlike the retro cars and motorbikes, some readers will enjoy the good old days when meaningless science was good science and we won the cold war anyway. Whether it is relevant now is another story because the world has changed. Should we insist on the big bang chase, either as a public relation front or as serious science, it will only show we don't get it. As for reductionism, its okay to keep reducing but in the end both the author and the theory reduce so well they will be ripe for a laugh. It will be fun watching scientists disgorging the black hole with all the appurtenances of a fur ball.
But what if you could get to another planet or another solar system quickly but needed ether for that? Leave it to the next generation to rediscover ether. No genius in figuring that. You only want to do the experiment showing that the laser beam is not able to put pressure on mirror. And then you need but one magic word: "Whoops!"
But don't go looking to scientists for approval. Scientists cannot give approval, for they are looking to government for approval of their proposals. On top of that, the physics that scientists teach is so pathetic the alert guy could get refund on his physics courses and maybe start something big.
Two Books Review On Quantum Mechanics
Schrödinger's Rabbits by Colin Bruce (Joseph Henry Press, 2004)
The Quantum World by Kenneth W. Ford (Harvard University Press, 2004)
The best way to buy a book is to look at it as if you were to write a review for it. You not only want to understand the book's content but you also want to take a closer look at the cover design and the jacket. Check who is making the recommendations and make a guess what they say before you read them. Then you want to look at the list of contents to see the general direction.
First book review
At this point the right idea is to close the book and give thanks to supply side economics. Colin, however, makes a case for many-worlds hypothesis and before we leave him you may want to know who is promoting this. A parade of scientists from Oxford University is pursuing many-worlds, and lots-of-rabbits, theory. Many a scientist and professor get a play in the book. The publisher, Joseph Henry Press, pipes in with their motto about promoting national science but along the way they missed a continent.
In the end, this book is a good example how not to write a science book. The author explains the many-worlds hypothesis that allows things to enter, and disappear from, many different and invisible real worlds. He then asks: "What is the layperson to make of all this?" Frankly, the reader is never a layperson, particularly if the nonsense of this book is touted as professional. The general reader has more brains than to go along with a layperson label. When a beam of light is reflected by a mirror and presumably gives the mirror some movement, the reflected light bounces off at the same speed. You need but common sense to see that if light is moving with the same speed, and it does, the presumed movement of the mirror is now happening with no loss in light's energy and the author should either cheer or explain his discovery of perpetual motion by bouncing light between parallel mirrors. You can write about science by way of a story but if you mess up the fundamentals it's only a story.
In the second book
Newton gets some interesting reporting. Ken treats Newton's force as always arising as a pair and so the action and reaction can only happen together or nothing happens at all. This, of course, gets you thinking about gravitation and what it would take for the force not to arise. Thinking of force as a pair is a very succinct description and the author should point to a source - even if it is himself. The wavefunction of light is an even function - it is distributed 50-50 about its axis -- and thus the absorption of light creates momentum while conserving (total) momentum via partitioning its energy 50-50 and in the opposite direction. The wavefunction of light being an even function was unknown to Newton, yet it supports Newton's assertion about force.
You can tell Ken needs to brush up on transformations. In the absence of transformation the quantum effects seem weird because so many contradictory states such as the particle-wave state conceivably happen at the same time. Ken tries to save it by math. When an electron moves to another orbital, Ken makes a case that the atom is now a different entity. Okay, when putting on a new hat I feel like a different person -- but really, Ken, math needs to support the operation of transformation before things change in a substantial way. Reflection and refraction is math that describes change but it is not transformation. The electron makes it to another orbital through transformations (matrix math) with a photon, but upon reaching new orbital the electron is back to its usual diffused self, while chemical and physical properties of the atom do no change. Transformation is the step that resolves quantum weirdness, but this presumes professors are knowledgeable in ways of doing that and also that they know how to deal with duality in a mutually exclusive fashion.
Harvard University Press owns the copyright to this book. This means that Ken Ford wrote the book while getting paid, but Ken should also go out and make a name for himself. It is nice to see him defending and explaining the photon going simultaneously through both slits in the dual slit experiment, but it is unfortunate to see him stop dead in his track and not extend it to the electron that has wave characteristics as well. Somehow, the present generation of scientists cannot get over the fact that real things can truly behave as waves -- with probabilistic distribution and all. Should you ask a scientist, "What is the wavelength of a neutrino and how fast is it spreading?" he or she will happily give you the answer -- except that the answer also contains the reason why the so-called neutrino is not worth the chase. Quarks are, and always were, DOA. Ken kicks meat that is neither abstract, useful, nor real but it may be that Harvard still has neutrinos and quarks on their government plate.
Ken Ford does not treat his readers as dummies and The Quantum World is a good read for the beginner who needs to put most of it in, and a good read for the advanced guy who can have fun sorting it out.
Dummy down the reader
"If these people did not know that they were really traveling on a curved surface of a sphere, they would conclude that they must have experienced some attractive force, since they arrive at the same point [at the pole] in spite of starting their motion along parallel lines."
The operative statement is "did not know." You will always know you are traveling along a curve because there is always a centripetal acceleration associated with changing direction. Similarly, Einstein asked for "not being able to look outside the elevator" in his thinking experiments. Einstein does not look outside and remains ignorant, but you can look outside.
The Guy On The Other Side of The Square
I saw this guy about a half a dozen times in all. He stood, as close to Senator Kerrys residence as the Secret Service people would let him, usually on the other side of the Louisburg Square. He held a sign he would not flaunt. But you could tell right away he was not Kerrys supporter.
Sixty something. He would talk to me every time I passed by. He would say something and pause - and then he would say something again without repeating himself. And I suspect he talked to everyone who passed by on their way to take pictures of Kerrys place. He did not shout because he wanted to talk to you. He did not mind you did not answer because he was going to talk to your heart anyway.
He said to wake up but not with zealous intent. He felt it was coming to a head. The best he could get back was a nod of a head, a look in the eye. He did not want the ear of symphathy, for he wanted you to understand.
He did not say Kerrys wife is an idiot. He did not say Nader was not allowed on the presidential ballot in Massachusetts even though the Democrats were going to win here either way. But he did let you know he cared about this country and he wanted you to care as well.
HyperFlight November 2004 Essay
Free energy costs as much as a free lunch, or two..
Free energy is free by definition and there are no costs associated with it. At most the guy needs to get off the couch and put the TV plug into the socket with the 'Free' label right next to it. The startup costs, then, are minimal.
Free energy is talked about all over the Internet just as free samples are gratis all over TV. If everything were free and in abundance then it must be the greed of some awfully smart fiends holding free energy back from us. If there are conspiracies to overcome then lets give free energy some good names like zero-point energy! How about ether-mining? Water fortex sounds hip German.
If you construct a dam the energy becomes free. If you harness the bay and convert ocean tides to energy then this energy is free, too. If you reach around your electricity meter is there gold in them wires?
The conservation of energy is the law of nature that is simple and works for everybody. Energy can be transformed in full from one form to another and energy is, therefore, indestructible. Some forms of organized energy become manifest as real things and some do not. The sheer magnitude of energy available inside real matter testifies to the intelligence and effort that put matter together, but it may not be free for the taking. For our part, if an alien ship parks over some power lines and tops off without paying five cents per kWh then our police should deal with that, technically speaking.
People who are going for patents based on free energy all trip up on one simple thing. They claim free, excess, or over-unity energy and they will be always turned down. Over-unity energy can be had but such claim is analogous to the framework of the dam builder, who could claim his power plant is over-unity because the rain just comes down for free and drives his turbines. Energy can be derived from crystals and from within water, and if you don't skip on how the energy gets in there in the first place you will know you did not get the energy for free. By figuring out the surrounding knowledge you will understand where the energy comes from and then the energy will possibly become free or nearly so.
Some people simply cannot visualize that the virtual energy is renewable and useable. Such people need to hold on to something physical the likes of a lump of coal before they could make the energy connection. Matter is put together exceptionally well and it is okay to crunch it to figure out how it works, but matter cannot be destroyed on the conveyer belt just to make some heat out of it if you don't understand the down side. If you think the organization in the universe is continuously decreasing and you think it's okay to join in, then your ignorance is showing and you may as well reach the conclusion you are a prisoner on the material plane tossed here by the angry God who got tired of your excesses and arrogance.
Development of new and radical technologies is about the integration of technology. Tesla and Edison, both techies, are good examples of that. Tesla won the first, the generation round driven by technology, while Edison won the distribution round driven by politics. Development of new technologies is not about NASA because these guys get their money for projects without the slightest concern for the return on investment. Military, if you could believe it, has a better ROI, mostly because of the Internet and the emerging GPS.
Today, super high efficiency generators may find a niche in tidal bays where low head pressure excludes just about all other technologies. Right now the virtual, or ether, formulation of energy is not well understood and is poorly recognized but patent issuance depends on claims. You can and sometimes you want to overtly protect forms and geometries through patent claim while staying away from "free" or "ether." Because ether's got a bad rap it is tough to use magic as one of your claims and with so many disconnects and holes in the understanding of ether it becomes difficult to enforce magic anyway. Shapes and forms and geometries are patentable and in fact are routine in airplane wing designs.
Our web site deals with computability and this includes the organization of virtual energy. It is most difficult to foresee the acceptance, understanding, and conversion of the virtual energy. Just as it was not possible to predict the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is not possible to forecast the time when relativity theories become burden no longer tolerated.
All projects based on the presumption that light puts pressure on mirror are fraudulent because it is not possible to pretend otherwise since the mid-sixties the in-your-face test is available. The failure to acknowledge the absence of pressure that laser puts on mirror could be pathetic or pathological or anywhere in between. In any case, solar sailing and its derivative projects the likes of gravity waves have guaranteed negative return on investment. So, the hope is that God is more into universal love than into management. An error in such presumption could result in this planet getting isolated and possibly withering away. And if you got your dukes up ready to break out, consider that it is possible to shut down the nukes and do it remotely at that. The hope is not about hope but about the merits of new approaches.
The Circle and Pi topic received its own page, with several additions
Plus a brief review below of yet another book on Pi called by A. S. Posamentier and I. Lehmann (Prometheus Books 2004)
Carl Jung put the circle in the archetype category -- you have to go really deep to connect with it and a circle is something very basic and innate. On the other hand, many writers go straight up and call circle the solar this or cosmic that, possibly with the help of shaman's drum. Geometers hang on to Euclid's simple definition of point equidistance and use compass when dealing with the circle. For Pagans, the circle is the symbol of closure that has repeating periods and from there it goes on to yet another harvest of nature's bounty and certainly a good cup of wine. Math guys also like the stuff that has some periodicity in it because Fourier picks on repeating things very fast. You do not need to be a magician to see circle as the delimiter of context. A judge will make a circle around the case to make the universe of evidence admissible or inadmissible.
When all descriptions of a circle are exhausted, some scientists give circle another name such as infinity. Scientists in general, however, think of infinity as being stuck in a rotary. With recent Eastern imports, circle is zero and infinity, and maybe you should think which is which before making a corporate logo -- Lucent and Vodafone coming to mind. All in all, we understand Pi from school as something to use when going from the straight line that is diameter to the curved line that is circle, or vice versa.
There are two basic functions applicable in the virtual domain of the atom: Even and odd functions. The even function is symmetrical about the vertical axis while the odd function is symmetrical about a point. Even function has infinitely inclusive properties such as those of a photon and it is an agreeable extension to call even functions 'feminine.' Inclusiveness is at times called superposition. Generically, all even functions are forces [and may she be with you]. The odd function, you guessed it, has exclusive properties such as those of a proton and calling the odd functions 'masculine' then also makes sense because protons "butt heads" and displace each other -- at least in the real domain. Generically, all odd functions are real things, and bumpers with automobiles are just such things. Every atomic entity has properties that fit either the even or the odd function.
The circle is the one and only geometry that has even and odd symmetry. This does not make circle the gender neutralizer. Instead, because the circle is acceptable as both the even and the odd function the circle is the originator and the go-between among the two. The circle is the vehicle for the initial differentiation and the circle also facilitates the transformation between the two. Moreover, whenever something is symmetrical about a point it is easy to see we are dealing with rotation or orbits. Whenever something is symmetrical about the vertical axis we are dealing with translation and the even symmetry holds for straight linear motion at any point on its straight trajectory. You now take your compass and unmarked straightedge, and attempt to be Blake's master geometer that is God.
In summary, Pi must facilitate energy conservation when entity's motion changes between the angular and the linear motion. Because Pi is transcendental then Pi's value is expressed with infinite quantity of components [here she is again]. The real domain, however, consists of object's values that have finite length (finite precision). Pythagoras would certainly agree that classifying Pi as the transcendental number is a good call.
If you wish to give a test indicating the level of understanding of physics by physicists, here is one question where the answer is not very encouraging. Ask any physicist: "Why would the Planck constant h be routinely divided by 2Pi?" and he or she will say: "Because it is convenient." Yikes!
As far as Posamentier and Lehmann book is concerned, you will not find any of the above topics there. The usual historical notes are presented, including Archimedes of 250 BC. The Old Testament Pi correction is there as well and is based on making numbers out of letters -- it's the same method that looks for 666 on bad hair day. But you can understand authors' desperation since Archimedes is older than the Old Testament and Archimedes is much more accurate. Many arithmetic relations are also listed in the book that come really close to Pi but none of them has a story on how they came about -- they are just dull equations. [I have my own close Pi that has a nifty ancient story based on the real pyramid and the root of the Golden section: (32/(1+5½))½.] The book then puts Pi to work in some applications such as probability and lunes, but nothing on pendulum. The authors ooh and aah about Pi because a needle that randomly falls across parallel lines touches the lines as a function of Pi. By now you are ahead because you know that randomly tossed needle will also rotate and Pi is about rotation. Lunes are areas bounded by circles and some readers may enjoy calculating the unusual twisted spaces of lunes.
Squaring of the circle comes up again and, as usual, the authors do not see the impossibility of circle squaring as a useful exercise. If you have never done circle squaring and simply took it as some kind of don't-have-to-go-there exercise, you likely would not contemplate the mystery of the conservation of energy and the opportunities arising from there.
Invariably, the effort of computing Pi to many zillions of decimal places is also presented because the authors did not get the idea of publishing a simple program for your PC. If the authors did that the book would shrink by about a third, for many a table could be computed on your PC or looked up on the web. I was particularly interested in Newton's own algorithm that has one of the fastest convergences. Newton uses factorials in the denominators and factorials quantify the total number of routes in the Traveling Salesman problem. Yet Newton's procedure is not in this book. It could be that Newton's speedy algorithm would upset lengthy explanations on slow convergence of other people's algorithms.
Proprietors rule and Kepler did not leave the building
Not many people remember the gas lamps in the streets of this wonderful city. The guy with the hook at the end of the long pole would turn each gas lamp on and off, one lamp at a time. And the kids taking up the forbidden climb up the pole proving turning lamps on and off is no big deal. Lampposts have gone electric and the gas lamp guy is gone - gone fishing. Nostalgia is all that remains.
There is Renaissance going on in Prague. Long repressed relationships are now allowed to form and in the initial burst of enthusiasm casinos exist alongside hotdog stands, coffee houses and souvenir shops. Beer drinking establishments have various historical names the likes of Golden Snake, Three Piglets, and Black Sun. One group of nationals can be seen and heard at George and the Dragon, doing their own kind of slaying with the real draft beer at $1 a pint. Never were the terms of endearment so inexpensive.
Prague is a city of proprietors so much the P in Prague well stands for proprietors. Czechs take proprietorship so literally that in four out of five restaurants you do not get printed receipt. You are told the price to pay, you pay, and you leave. The tip, you should think, is not necessary since the transaction never enters the paper domain. At first I felt uncomfortable leaving without a receipt but the way it works is that you ask to pay only when you are ready to leave. The end result is that the proprietor never asks you to pay before you want to pay and you can spend the entire afternoon watching the crowds on a single cup of coffee; writing post cards and musing about the economic indicator of ladies pants getting shorter again - shorter from the top this time.
But then Prague is also a city of Tycho and Kepler and so you take a sharp uphill hike by the castle toward the end of Kepler Street. They are both there: Politically correct Tycho de Brahe is with his earth at the center, and Kepler right next to him politically incorrect with sun at the focus of the elliptical orbit.
Prague also has great alchemical tradition, which continues to manifest with subtle clues or, if you prefer, the absence of heavy handedness that has gone with the Russians. You can pick up a nice local Tarot deck -- at the castle gift shop, of course. The only uncompromising stand is with drinking and driving - no tolerance in this department. While other Euro member countries give Czechs low marks for alcohol prevention and alcohol fight, these very surveys ignore that the zero drinking and driving tolerance coupled with excellent public transportation neutralizes the most undesirable end effect of intoxication.
Posted signs that forbid things is the unfortunate remnant of the Austrian-Hungary monarchy that was also reinforced by German proximity. One comes across signs forbidding crossing of railway tracks, for example, all in the name of conveniently putting the blame on the potential victims. Until recently it was the pedestrian's fault if struck by a car. Czechs have one astonishing statistic where one third of its population smokes. It is, then, a much-needed change to remove all signs forbidding things and replacing them with 'please' signs. My guess is that spray painting of building facades would come down as well. This recommendation also holds here in the US, for the heightened alert invariably leads to posting of signs forbidding this or that, which results in subtle but significant ostracizing of the freedom of living, thinking and innovating.
Finally, if you like the quaint warmth of authentic gas lamps running on real gas, feel free to come and enjoy Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood.
Picture: Statue of Brahe and Kepler in Prague
Penguin Books, NY, 2000
stumbling over irrational numbers Seife makes a decent read.
As soon as the author mentions that the cousin of zero is infinity, you know there is more to this book than just a narrative of the history of the number zero. Many a good soul succumbed to infinity and to increase the scope of this book right in the introduction the hopes I had for this book were high indeed. Yet, Charles opens his book with a news item where computer division by zero stopped the aircraft carrier dead in the water. A feeble start considering any bad number in a computer can spoil the whole day.
Charles Seife is a science writer - rather than a scientist - and that gives him a unique position. Charles cannot say he believes the world to be this way or another if he just reports on the achievements of others. Yet Seife should certainly take a stand if what he reports does or does not sound right. Even a science writer, then, is to be held to a standard commensurate with his profession.
This book review can also be seen in the context of the latest events surrounding cold fusion, which is suddenly being officially revived. On the atomic level zeros and infinities play havoc with scientists, and science writers easily look like leaves in the wind. There were and are many a science writer who happily heap scorn on anything having to do with cold fusion simply because it is, or was, the official position. Thinking that two scientists were hounded out of this country because of cold fusion sounds and is insane, and it is a fact as well. The bottom line is that, unfortunately, merits of issues take second seat to status quo and if you pay status quo guys good money they will sure try to have new ideas thrown out. This web site put cold fusion in the category of "Let Japanese get some patents on cold fusion" in our October 2002 editorial.
Charles Seife opens in Babylonia -- a present day Iraq -- where zero first appears as a symbol resembling a double-slash. Babylonians were the first to use positional notation and they needed something to indicate there is nothing in this or that position.
Mayans used zero quite properly, it turns out, because they started every new epoch with year zero. We would not skip zero today and go from 1999 to 2001, now would we, and Mayans properly counted zero to 19 and back to zero. The section on Mayans is well done and the next edition should include a note on Mayan's positional notation and possibly some historical research on Chinese positional notation.
Charles now moves back to the historical beginnings by treating Pythagoras but gets bogged down on irrational numbers. Irrational numbers give grief to all kinds of people and Seife's unease shows by dumping the problem of irrational numbers on Pythagoreans - that is, irrational numbers were supposed to be existentially threatening to number-centric Pythagoreans. Pythagoreans called irrational numbers incommensurable. Incommensurable numbers did not present problems to the Pythagorean view of the world or the universe. Pythagoreans experimented with various ratios of string length and knew they could produce both pleasant and unpleasant sounds. The existence of unpleasant sounds was thought to be a source of discord and may even give the listener the creeps, but the existence of numbers that are incommensurable was not denied or kept secret and did not threaten to bring the house down. For example, Pythagoreans readily used the square root of 2, which is incommensurable, in the construction of geometric problems where the area of the square doubled. Pentalpha (Pentagram) is full of lengths that are incommensurable, yet it is the primary symbol of Pythagoreans. There were and are secrets kept by Pythagoreans, and science writers will continue to be clueless there. Regarding the concept of numerical incommensurability, however, there are no secrets. Pythagorean Theodorus of Cyrene did a treatise on numbers and proved that many numbers obtained by taking a square root are indeed incommensurable, which are being called irrational numbers only in the last hundred years or so. While the numbers that are incommensurable can be constructed and can even be "played," planets do not have orbits composed of ratios that are incommensurable, including the unknown-to-Pythagoras 2:3 orbit ratio of Pluto and Neptune, which, not incidentally, corresponds to a note on the octave. When it comes to irrational numbers Charles Seife does not get it and he managed to botch up this section quite well.
In the West, having zero potatoes was zero fun and the number zero as well as infinity was institutionalized as non-existing. Charles makes a good case Aristotle is to blame for banning both zero and infinity because Aristotle carried the day lasting over a millennium with his "nature abhors a vacuum" doctrine. After the invention of zero in India about 500 AD Aristotelian doctrine continues to hold sway up through the Dark Ages, being espoused by the Roman Catholic Church. Fibonacci stands out as the guy who brought zero and the decimal system to Europe. The author makes a point that Muslims just took and used the Indian numerals, along with zero, and our numerals should be referred to as the Indian numerals or Indian numbers - rather than the Hindu-Arabic numbers. Charles now makes an excellent point regarding Hindu religion and its acceptance of the zero-infinity duo: mysticism. There were no barriers in India thinking in divine ways where infinity is part of the mystique. On the home front, however, rapid acceptance of zero and infinity happened through Fibonacci because of new net-zero accounting practice in business and banking, and because of Brunelleschi point-of-infinity that created a perspective in paintings and that also changed 2D architectural drawings into 3D drawings.
Section on Riemann gives much detail on Riemann sphere, which include the poles and their properties at projection. Quality and detail of this section alone makes this book worth a look. Much insight can be gleamed from here, particularly for those guys who need to get comfortable with infinity and how the square root of minus one, the i, fits in. Take it slow here, for you do not want to get sucked into the rotating pole.
Newton-Leibniz work on infinitesimals could have been treated as accomplishments that closed out Zeno's riddles from 500 BC, which introduced limits, continuous fraction, continuity of a function, differentials, and integrals. Particularly useful was l'Hopital and his work resolving the division of zero by zero, which happens often in calculus.
Descartes gets honorable mention for the Cartesian coordinate system having zero at the center. What should be mentioned, however, is that Descartes' work introduces analytical geometry while replacing construction geometry -- but microstructures may bring the construction geometry right back in ways we will not be able to count, which is precisely the idea behind it. Kepler is not forgotten for his optical work introducing infinity of parallel light rays that get focused into a point.
The rest of the stuff on Cantor and Einstein is best skipped. When all numbers are reduced onto a line or when all suns are reduced into a black hole then such finding are heading straight onto the trash heap of history.
Charles Seife Zero is a decent book although it does not make introductory reading.
Finally, although the invention and the application of zero are considered to be of non-Western origin, such reasoning is not necessarily correct. Euclid (300 BC) in his Elements defines a point as that which has no parts. A line has length of no width. The plane, also, has no thickness. Many scientists consider Euclid's Elements the most influential book of all time. Now, think of the Pythagorean Tetractys and it all double-clicks from there. The best secrets are the ones not readily apparent as secrets or breakthroughs, and most science writers do not see them even if the same secret is ahead, above, and behind them. The best-kept 2,500-year-old secret is that there are many different ways of applying zero.
One For Ron
It is not difficult to write something about President Ronald Reagan that was not said in the last month, for our President touched many people in many different ways. Although his conviction and determination to deliver on promises became his legacy in just two years after his retirement, one thing that was not said so far is that Ronald Reagan was a public servant - in the true definition of the word.
Dukakis thought he was a public servant because he promoted public transportation.
Carter thinks he is a public servant by soliciting money for cancer cure while pretending cancer cure does not exist. Carter's daughter Amy nuclear nonproliferation campaign appeals did not affect Soviet Union, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Lybia, or France. Apparently, Carter's own daughter's wishes did not spur Carter to leave a lasting impression.
Clinton never though he was a public servant, not with "My Life" in the title -- a public nuisance, perhaps.
George W thinks he is a public servant because he can give everyone a fair shake -- a fresh break with the usual "our turn at the trough" attitude.
Ronald Reagan was a public servant because he wanted to be a public servant. Growing up with the Big Deal of the Roosevelt era he did figure out that the way of the Democrats is to serve the boss and talk the walk. It is possible to say no one is born a Republican and a person can only become a Republican. We may need the cohesion and structure for a while but no way a Republican can grow up to be a free man while just pretending to be free. Ron Reagan took our ideas of freedom and delivered on our ideas of freedom, which, of course, includes being free of Soviet nukes and their single-ideology state.
The Seventh Sense by Lyn Buchanan
Paraview Pocket Books, NY, 2003
Being interested in remote viewing is no longer the purview of the psychics or for the appreciation by the curious. Metaphysical books are just like any other books and they do not come in plain brown wrapper. Our local Borders bookstore has many sections just for this genre and there is even a section called General Metaphysics, as if metaphysics has gone mainstream already.
There are many books on the topic of remote viewing and it seems one should read several books before this fairly complex topic begins to add up to something meaningful. Fundamentally, the remote viewer accesses memory that is external to his or her mind. This is similar to Jung's description of the collective unconsciousness except that Jung does not elaborate on whether the memory is internal or external. It is also similar to the New Age 'we are all connected' mantra. In trendy terminology it would be: 'The data is out there!' Once the variables from the memory are put together in a particular context the unconscious becomes conscious. Additional idea is that it just might be possible to address these mechanisms quantum mechanically.
The Seventh Sense has excellent content but it is the book's organization that makes this read most suitable for the beginners and for the full-grown types as well. Lyn talks about many things and yet I did not find the introductory content superfluous. Lyn does not dwell on procedures or on comparing "dream" sketches versus the real thing and he tucks these subjects neatly in the appendix. The author does not make remote viewing esoteric and does not place it under the provenance of gods. It is, perhaps, that Lyn has the remote viewing talent while appreciating that talent is not there just to be admired or used but in anger. The talent varies widely across applications and Lyn gives the reader good understanding on how to discover different talents in people. Much confusion and misinterpretation can be found in this area and Lyn's experience in dealing with dismissive or hostile viewpoints brings out the personal dimension of the author. Lyn's talent, then, is that he works with what he's got and he is practical about it. Yet, when he describes the separate but connected workings of the left and the right brain, he is talking about science that is well ahead of the academic science, which happily muggles on with intractable theories. A pleasant surprise awaits you in every chapter.
There is also the control aspect many people find either intriguing or outright scary. Lyn claims it is not only possible to read the info but also to plant ideas into other people's minds. Then again, willing something onto others is not as one-sided and crude as taking candy from children. Lyn talks at some length about the tradeoffs and it can become a double-edged thing. Wearing funny or furry or steel hats does not guarantee protection but there are things Lyn mentions when working on counter-counter-counter this and such. He is not specific as to methods and it appears one should inquire directly with the author. As much as one may need mental self-discipline, being practical is often the best. I much enjoyed the example of Russia's paranormals spooking and protecting each other to their mutual implosion. Overall, Lyn's revelations help the reader to appreciate that one need not freak out about such things and take overly conservative or aggresive action.
Among many interesting mind excursions, Lyn offers a remote read on the Tunguska explosion. It is quite likely it was an ET spaceship explosion but because Lyn worked it through the mind of the pilot, he may have picked up but the pilot's subjective angle on the cause of the explosion.
Finally, an interesting remote viewing target would be black holes of the infinity of crushed matter. For those who know there is no such thing as black holes the results will nicely differentiate between fact and belief -- and which, or if both, are picked up.
The Seventh Sense is a cover-to-cover read.
Kepler's Witch by James A. Connor, HarperCollins, New York, 2004
In his introduction the author lets you in on his fascination with Kepler: Born into Lutheran family the brunt of the Counter-Reformation gave Kepler as much as he could possibly handle. Kepler did not just deliver equations concerning the orbits of heavenly bodies; he also lived his life with conviction. This book, then, is more about Kepler the man than it is about Kepler the stargazing mathematician.
Kepler's mother Katharina was accused of heresy of witchcraft when she was seventy years old, same age as when Galileo was accused of heresy. Unlike Galileo, when informed of the methods of the inquiry that was torture, she responded she did not do anything wrong and told her accusers to go right ahead.
Jim's book makes a great study into the question of the separation of church and state. Writing about church and state was not perhaps the author's intent but the complexities of this issue nevertheless transpire throughout the book. Sheer richness of this book will most certainly give readers other insights that are relevant to this day.
In Kepler's Prague years the emperor Rudolf II was trying to manage a number of different religious majorities. Although the author does not give Rudolf high marks on statesmanship, Rudolf is most unusual in his attempts to formally legalize several different religions. The dismal result -- Prague was sacked and retaken -- does not invalidate the fact that several religious groups were doing their thing along with but one state. The tension, however, seems to have come from the possibility that any religion could become the state religion and the fight for the prize was constantly on. The Turks put together an army of 600,000 men and before they were creamed made things interesting by threatening Vienna.
All artists and professionals of the day spent much of their time looking for a patron and Tycho de Brahe, Kepler, and Galileo were no exceptions. Dee and Kelley also stayed in Prague plying their craft around the same time. Kelley gets a few paragraphs as a skillful crook who created Irish heritage for himself to cover up his past. Kepler's advantage was in the casting of the horoscopes, which was useful in distilling the ups and downs of religious torrents. Making extra money with his seminal Astronomia Nova proved to be more difficult, however. Rudolf was his employer and wanted it all -- except that Kepler was not paid on time quite often. A compromise was reached where Kepler could sell his work to a publisher for a sum. (In a medieval extension the Czech athletes competing abroad up through1980s could not claim cash prizes for themselves because every Czech citizen was automatically an employee of the state or, as others saw it, a slave with an allowance.)
While perseverance did not always pay off for Kepler, he should be remembered for his willingness to appeal bad calls. Kepler appealed bad decisions and bad judgments against him and his mother even if the whole mess could have been resolved by his conversion to Catholicism. Somehow, Kepler thought the reason should prevail and in many cases it did. In the end, however, all religious groups closed their own ranks and Kepler's convictions did not find sympathy -- bullets flying.
The salvation of the soul was the last and the only thing many people were left with in Kepler's days. With the accepted norm of but one state religion the strength was in numbers -- conversion and eviction of Lutherans from counter-reformed lands was the way to go. It made much sense to the reformers to be actively responsible for their own salvation, just as it was enticing to the other side to continue the monopoly on salvation through religious hierarchy.
So it goes to this day in regard to personal responsibility for our diet, questioning of mainstream medical practices, improving the rules of economic opportunities and, of course, the advancement of the soul -- all the while emphasizing the things that unite us over the things that separate us.
Kepler's Witch is a fascinating read. This book should certainly see the paperback edition while also giving the publisher the opportunity to correct many misspelled Czech names. Jim Connor's easy going touch-of-irony style is unique and fits well with the volatility of Kepler's times.
Review of two books on Pi (), with comments
Joy of Pi by David Blatner, Walker & Co., New
Have formula --
Still Clueless in Mathland
Even though both authors use the term 'transcendental number' when they talk about Pi, they really do not come out and say what is inside of such fancy name: Pi can only be obtained by adding infinitely many terms. But once you say it you could be finished -- and then the book's closing sentence would say Pi has as many decimal places as you want. These two facts about Pi make Pi complete, technically speaking.
Now that you know as much about Pi as the mainstream math guys do, you should also know why mainstream math is pedestrian math. Mainstream math has much less substance than the proverbial general reader can handle. Mainstream academia cannot develop a thought that concludes ".. and we do not know why they did that." So the mainstream math guy such as Petr Backmann may have credentials up to WasU, but he will not tell you that the ancient Egyptians used Pi in the height of the pyramid because the academic has no clue why they did it that way. It certainly would be much easier to construct a nice 45 degree pyramid where for every unit of distance you get the same unit of rise -- and you do not have to mess with fractions the likes of 22/7 or 25/8 while wondering which is better. So the authors just keep quiet abot the pyramid.
In the case of the first book the author David Blatner is easy going about the whole Pi thing and takes the Pi topic in a whimsical fashion, supported by fancy illustrations and over-the-text graphics. In the second book Petr Backmann makes an awful lot of grandstanding, chewing up all historical personages that made it onto his black list. Authors with attitude can be fun if they have a new and original thing to say or a new theory to propose -- stick their neck out, so to speak. Sadly, this is not the case here and after a while the text gets rather predictable. Of course, Petr keeps Einstein as one of the good guys, which then makes the booklet into a compilation of personal preferences -- general relativity being easy to prove false.
What were they
thinking? Old Testament as rational doc
After much spinning it is a relief that neither author tried to distill the transcendental nature of Pi out of the Old Testament. The School of the Present Day Scientist would like to think that religious guys want to do revisions that also go along with present science. That, however, is but a wish. It is most likely the Old Testament writers were more interested in espousing trinity than in pursuing the accuracy of Pi. The Old Testament writers may have wanted to appropriate the rule of the re-turn of the three used by the Pagans, but the Hebrew commentators may have something else in mind if they refer to the unit of measure as the 'fist.' Certainly, the Old Testament authors had no technical or symbolic clues regarding the transcendental nature of numbers -- the only available gods being way busy with their chariots and the daughters of men.
And the Pi is..
The bottom line on Pi is not who used it first or with what accuracy but to what purpose people use Pi for. You do not need Pi to invent the wheel, but what is there beyond making fine optical lenses that uses Pi? When a book on Pi fails to speak of ancient Egyptians and why they used Pi in the pyramid, my reckoning is you will not learn any more than you already know from high school.
Mullahs, Fatwa, and the Gays
George W says it the way it is. Kerry thinks gays are in the bag -- but only if he won't say anything
There is no easier or faster way to make a law: Just write one. If you are a mullah with a sizeable congregation - that is, with a good sized district, you write a fatwa on anything you want and then you bind the congregation into implementing it. If you want democracy where everyone is to vote to select their representatives in a secret ballot using but his or her conscience -- you just write the fatwa to do it that way and, incidentally, you are out of the fatwa business.
Democracy is about the right to write laws by those who get elected, while the courts interpret the law and even invalidate it if it does not apply to all equally. The judges can, technically, invalidate the present marriage laws if they think gays are unjustly excluded because of it, but the judges cannot write fatwas to include same-sex persons in the present marriage arrangements.
You do not need to be a weathered soul beaten about by child support payments to figure out that in marriage the father becoming a father and mother becoming a mother binds the partner toward supporting the child for, say, twenty years. If a lesbian mother gets pregnant in a marriage the marriage partner is on the hook and has no say about it before or after the pregnancy. Believe it or not, marriage is created by children yet to be born. Pre-nuptial contract, therefore, cannot invalidate support of future children. Everything else, though, is negotiable.
Marriage is in part a contract of ownership. The contract, however, is applicable only when marriage fails. Many of us like the easy, even convenient, aspect of marriage because marriage brings with it a standard contract. Much the same way as walking into a restaurant and ordering a meal: we become bound to pay the bill without signing anything.
It is now a good time to guess that Senator Kerry is not going to say anything on this issue because he hopes all gays and lesbians are stupid enough to think that gay marriage is about rights and recognition while, in reality, it is about mutual obligation. Senator Kerry cannot get over Clinton's stunt when Clinton gave Tibet to China and the democrats he fooled still kept driving around with their "Free Tibet" bumper stickers. If the gays drive around with "MarryMe2" on their bumpers, they are in for a ride all right. When George W says gay marriage is no good, he is not only speaking for most of us, he is speaking for all of us. If the gays insist on having a straight recipe on how to live together then they should just keep acting up with their legislators until they get what they don't want.
Finally, I can hear Massachusetts lawyers giggling silly when the local judge issued his fatwa. Imagine a gay couple waking up the next morning and hearing: "Congrats, lovers. You were cohabitating over seven years and you are now married! Come see me if you don't like it."
The Day The Universe Changed
By James Burke Little Brown & Company, Boston, 1995
Historical books are cut and dry and possibly boring: The ascent, conquest, and then a decline of this and such empire does not seem to carry much excitement. In an obvious yet unusual perspective, James Burke's highly illustrated book lets technology drive the history of the world. Suddenly the changes, upheavals and conquests begin to make sense. The Roman Catholic Church becomes the original club of the self-righteous, preferring to think of Constantinople as a rogue offshoot of Christianity. Ignoring and even suppressing technology, Catholic Church seems to carry the inheritance of but the one-time splendor of the Roman Empire. It is not surprising, then, that Constantinople succumbs to Islam's advances in cannon technology and it was not a coincidence that the dark ages of Europe happened alongside the golden age of Islam.
The author traces the evolution of Greek geometry and its imprint on architecture and astronomy. Mathematics makes its way into commerce and continues, as statistics, to affect public health policies. The benefits of science become so apparent the science itself becomes institutionalized. From opinion and the priority of established beliefs arises "the fact," a word not used before the advancements in sciences. As an example, the advice on fighting Indian cholera of 1830s started feebly and with much fear following the Black Death experience. But instead of running away, a great turnaround in understanding and enforcement of sanitation took control of the disease. The electricity is perhaps the most recent and the most influential discovery among the sciences. The author takes us to the 20th century with electroplating, where the "Public saw technology and thought it was science."
Significant benefits science brought to its inventors and practitioners are nonetheless offset by changes that accompany science's growth. James Burke makes a convincing case that Darwinism, as a scientific theory that is devoid of spiritual involvement, spawned and fed Marxism, Nazism, as well as Capitalism.
Overall, this book should serve as a prototype on how history should be taught. The leaders are not deranged princes of power, although we do get a share of those, but people who can manage, advance, and deploy technology. Because the last printing of this book happened before 9/11 of 2001, insights on Muslim history and conquest are most revealing. The Roman Catholic Church still needs to come out on Constantinople - and it will be very difficult. But when it does, it will possibly be the most cowardly chapter in the Church's history.
Three books review, with comments:
Music of the Primes
On the subject of Riemann hypothesis there are three books worth considering. Although the subject appears highly technical the implications of Riemann hypothesis reach far and wide. When Internet security solution with public key encryption generated some $200 million for its inventors, mathematics was suddenly no longer the purview of the eccentrics. Weird savants became savants with quirks. After Microsoft it could be just another case of the revenge of the geeks.
All three books are on the same subject but their authors take different tacks and my recommendation is to start with Karl Sabbagh. If you like what you read then go to John Derbyshire with deeper mathematical approach or go straight to Marcus du Sautoy if you want broader, applications oriented approach. Karl takes the nurturing approach to math and even puts much of the math in the appendix - a good move for the beginner reader on the subject. John, on the other hand, does not shy from math but also uses many graphics and illustrations that allow skipping of the equations. Marcus, being the latecomer, enriches on the applications.
While all authors describe the implications of Riemann hypothesis to quantum mechanics, none of them were able to capture the connection between Gauss' Modulo arithmetic and its physics foundation. It is utterly strange that in the division of two numbers a person would disregard the whole integer result and instead focus solely on the remainder. Dividing 8 by 5 we get 1 and the remainder 3 becomes the important part. Gauss discovered many nice numerical properties just by studying the remainders. All authors go over the Modulo arithmetic as something of a rule-based drill exercise but without a tie-in to some physical application. Analyzing remainders does not make sense unless a person gets into atomic orbitals because it is the remainder of the orbital that causes problems for the atom. The whole work out with Modulo arithmetic is about fitting electrons into best possible orbits. Prime numbers do not have any divisors and, therefore, figure prominently in the atoms' allowed - that is available, orbitals.
Karl Sabbagh introduction gives a nice feel for Riemann's background, while John and Markus do well documenting the forward if zig-zag progress of the last hundred years in the life of the hypothesis. John Derbyshire takes a long route to explain the hypothesis by putting together individual pieces one by one. If you do not appreciate the beauty of math then John's approach seems like a tease. Marcus du Sautoy pays particular attention to bringing the reader along with visualization, which helps considerably. In the end, though, Marcus gives us the gory details on all mathematicians, including nationalities and cultural backgrounds, which is way too Continental for American taste.
So what is Riemann hypothesis? It specifies a function called Zeta that has infinitely many terms and states that such function is zero when a particular variable embedded in Zeta's terms is a complex number and, moreover, the real component of such complex number is ½. Never has been so much written about the number ½. The exciting part is that the complex number has a lot to do with prime numbers and Zeta function is potentially unbounded on the number of zeros it may have. It turns out Riemann improved on Gauss with his J function that counts all primes between one and any number. The Zeta function then acts as an adjustment to the J function and when Zeta is zero then the J function gives the exact count of all primes.
What is it about ½ that makes it so different? When all is said about applications at the end of all books the ½ is forgotten and none of the authors come back to it. Math guys have always been removed from physics and it seems they are proud of it. AT&T, IBM, and HP employ mathematicians but nobody seems to ask practical questions the likes of "what does this mean in the real world?" Dirac was the only guy who, upon coming up against the discrepancy of a factor of two went on to formulate and propose antimatter.
The ½ is about momentum creation and about the law of the conservation of momentum. The energy must be split in half if momentum is to be created, for the only way momentum can arise and be conserved at the same time is when two objects move in the opposite direction while each carrying ½ of the energy. It appears that Riemann Zeta function calculates all possible energy conflicts between atomic, and possibly molecular, orbitals and establishes valid orbitals using ½ of the available photonic energy. Photon, you may recall, is an even function.
Finally, Riemann hypothesis will never become a theorem. This is a personal conjecture based on atomic physics while considering work of Möbius and Martens. Once energies get ahead of the log n bound, the world of the micro ceases to exist because forces based on photons and electrical charges no longer find computability with electrons and protons. Nonetheless, there is plenty still to be had in the micro domain. It also seems likely that computability takes precedence over Riemann hypothesis because even if additional orbitals (read primes) are available, the availability does not guarantee computability. Riemann hypothesis is not about the macro world but this should be good news as well, for otherwise the entire universe could become an awfully dense structure having but atomic dimensions.
The Diary of A Psychic
By Sonia Choquette
Publisher: Hay House, Carlsbad, CA, 2003
These days it seems okay to talk about openly about spirits, particularly if the spirits have nice and practical things to say. The truthfulness of the spirit's advice is another matter entirely and prognostication can be buyers beware business. On top of that, trying to explain the-way-of-the-spirit can be outright overwhelming. But between magicians, shamans, witches, healers, astral travelers, remote viewers, seers, mystics, wizards, and the viziers, psychics take the niche of the advisor. Psychics work with practical aspects of everyday living, although, just as with any advisor, your goal is to know you so that you can take it on your own for a big stretch at a time. Know Thyself motto from the days of Delphi would today be translated as Empower Thyself.
The Diary of A Psychic by Sonia Choquette has the reader growing up with Sonia along with the up and down dynamics of the spirit, which is very much a part of the makeup of a psychic. The guys would like to think that here is where the dizzy of the dizzy dame comes from. Psychic stuff is about emotion all right but the idea is how to work it. In the book we are introduced to the challenges of being a working psychic -- that is, bring all influences in, work them to make sense out of it without passing judgment and without succumbing to the onslaught of emotions. So far a pretty close definition of a manager except the manager must at times pass a judgment when rules are broken. Also, Sonia explains, psychics for the most part do not do anything with the information they receive from the spiritual guides without asking them first. It turns out ignoring unsolicited advice plays a big part in keeping the spirits from running the life of the psychic.
There are advancements and improvements in the psychic profession and the author makes a good case for keeping the table on a level plane, so to speak, and recognizing there are spirits that give poor advice. The maturing psychic, then, does not pass judgment on the client but does make a choice of the company she or he keeps. Clients oftentimes react to the advice in a variety of negative ways and the next level in the author's growth was to appreciate that the truth of the advice will have to work its way toward the longer-term benefit of the client. Jung describes similar experience, for it may have taken six months for his patients to suddenly connect.
Possibly the most interesting aspect is Sonia's recollections of making her own wishes come true. Oftentimes, psychics want to apply spiritual advice to their own lives and the results do not live up to its billing. The author does an excellent job in describing the complexities no one expects after the wish is formulated.
There are other motives for reading this book. My watchword were the mechanics of the spiritual dimension and, while prognostication is rather complex, it appears that the idea is to collect and process variables that tend toward infinity while computing the ebbs and flows of all of them. Indeed, working the domain of the spirits can be an exhausting job. For that the author's advice is on rest and a method called balancing that centers all thoughts about their neutral position. With the spirits we are in the data domain where data dominate over procedures and it is the preponderance and processing of a very large number of variables that add up to the predictive value. Remaining coherent in such situation is certainly the art of the psychic.
Sonia Choquette wrote a book where the professional practitioner speaks as a person and, in the end, makes The Diary the work of art.
The Magus of Java
By Kosta Danaos
Publisher: Inner Traditions, Rochester, VT, 2000
Can you say more about magic besides " ..their magic carpet carried them to the land of perpetual happiness?" If you wanted to find a book about practical magic you would be looking for some kitchen magic that could hang around for a while. As it happened, there is a nice book on magic that is so practical it merges with the martial arts of the Chinese NeiKung.
Not a single exercise in this book. Not that you would not need to do some if you were to become serious, but this book is about the NeiKung master from the perspective of his young student. The narration starts a bit cheesy because it begins with the search for the master. Chinese, however, look at 'search and find' aspect as having a divine dimension to it. The connection is made through ether rather than a newspaper advertisement. The book then also deals with dedication and loyalty of the student to the master. There is the obligatory pedestal mounting of the master John Djiang Ie, but every so often the master does something from his magical repertoire that keeps the student and the reader in the alert state of "is this for real?" You and I would find it silly if, say, the American sales guy calls his manager The Master, except, if you will, imagine that The Master picks up a phone every so often and closes a deal equivalent to your annual quota -- just like that. Now, would you not call your manager The Master and openly at that?
NeiKung is about a particular control and manipulation of Chi, the life force that all Chinese recognize. We can spend time here discussing the existence or nonexistence of ether but many preempt such discussion by actually doing something with it. It is apparent that this book's master can collect and process Chi in a way that can then be remotely directed with most astounding results. To the Chinese it is an art that is guarded and passed on through disciples, but it still has the "will of heaven" component. To many it is but a collection of stunts. To others it is a system that leads to superior human development and the author does not mince words about being able to master immortality. The claim is, then, that there are some things you can take with you. NeiKung can also be viewed as technology with highly polarized and open-ended consequences, yet this is but one person's [yours truly] opinion.
Chinese communists have problems with all kinds of individual or organized initiatives. Master Djiang lives in Java and he is not welcomed in China. Kosta Danaos wrote a pleasing book on a very extraordinary extension of the human mind.
NASA Sausage Factory
With their black hole and big bang fundamentals, NASA has fulfilled its mission and reached the event horizon of its known universe
Comparing NASA to a sausage maker is apt. The butcher says "it's all in there," but we have nothing but his word for it. Once the credibility of the butcher is out, so is the sausage.
It should come as no surprise that the shuttle crash investigation and the follow up Congressional hearings centered on credibility and merits. Close to one third of the questions to NASA were about making a business case out of its manned program. This may be well and good but NASA was never about a business case because they always were a cost center. There is no business line for NASA. NASA Administrator must have said, " .. that is a line in the budget.. " about a half a dozen times during the hearings but he has no clue what the business line is and because to him NASA line is always equal to the bottom budgetary line, NASA Administrator's line was a straight party line: I've got all that pork of yours in there, sir/madam.
Of course NASA thinks about the benefits to the nation, but for one reason or another that has not gone beyond mattresses and pens that write upside down and under water, too. Unexpectedly, it was the military a decade ago that made a good case for putting the Internet together. The aeronautical aspect is the first 'A' in their name but NASA was unable to innovate and do anything about the awful decline of the US commercial aviation of the last fifteen years. Do you really think NASA could make something out of technology that would suddenly drop into their lap? Do you really think NASA could do poorly with manned flights but do a good job in unmanned technology? Do you really think NASA or anybody else could possibly learn from mistakes when a billion dollar probes crash billion miles away two years after launch? One needs to get to the moon in, say, under an hour before crossing the street on to Mars. Oftentimes, NASA is compared to the brave explorers the likes of Columbus sailing uncharted waters while making the most beneficial discoveries. Yet, three hundred years ago Columbus did not set sail without first having the business case of the new commercial routes to the Indies. What is the Mars business case? National security is not an argument simply because such argument can be used on anything, even for burning things down. Or is it about the contracts that congressmen protect and Mars is but a red herring planet?
NASA started out as an agency with an open and a noble agenda: Explore space and, by doing it better, keep Russia in low orbit. Publicly funded, NASA could not charge for its pictures, had to keep its books open and, most importantly, provide forum and leverage to scientific work. Today, if NASA were to just disappear nothing would change. Small planes development would just go on as before to cash in on personal travel: there are over twenty small, one and two-person planes getting ready to fly with but your driver's license. Large planes development would likely improve if NASA did not pretend it could help. One-on-one walkie-talkies are going national. There is no industry here today that relies on NASA except for busy work. Do you get excited and invigorated when NASA discovered that the space background radiation is uniform? NASA did it by taking out and filtering out all suns, galaxies, moons and pulsars and if something blipped on their censors they took it out to make the background flat. Jeepers, these guys are scientifically certifiable as boring, and they are wrong too, but who is supposed to be impressed by this? It's not even technology.
Some may think NASA has business orientation because, well, they subcontract a lot of work. That is, however, exactly how Russians screwed it up because they put busy work and making money from contracts ahead of business returns. In retrospect, is there something that could have saved NASA? Yes. It's called the open system, for the fairness inherent in the open system is what fertilizes the investment. That is what I was looking for during the Congressional hearings discussing the investigation and the recommendation following the shuttle disaster - the investigation on how NASA awards its contracts and how open NASA is about new sciences. It did not happen. Openness was just the right adjustment after Russia became Russia again. Calling for more or better safety procedures is irrelevant, for this has happened before. Is there really a difference between an o-ring and a piece of foam? It's just another link from the same sausage factory. With Russia out of the equation it's not a pretty sight.
Making heads and tails out of torrents of data is what this century is about and the first gate is how to handle new ideas. When the chief investigator said he would personally fly on the shuttle the fate of NASA was sealed. The US Navy tradition calls for systems good enough for his sons to fly on.
The success of the policy of confinement is deeply rooted in science. In a closed system things get stale, organization decreases, chaos and corruption increases and in the end it does not matter if you call it the Second Law or the Law of the Falling Berlin Wall. When NASA freaks out about alien or UFO technology and thinks it has to classify it and feel important about it then NASA is walling itself in. It shows that NASA thinks there are more smarts on the inside than on the outside. The truth is they do not have a clue and they are gone far enough to even figure it out. The truth is by now they do not even care and will ride it as far as it will go. It just happened that in my personal contact with NASA I found them self-important and self-righteous -- the attitude of a monopoly that has nothing but bravado and clipboards to talk about. Say goodbye to NASA. TVA had electricity going when they were done. Make your own jokes on NASA legacy. That NASA pen, you know, can also write in vacuum. Many may have nice things to say about public works projects and in NASA case there is a particular need for good oration at the funeral.
Say hello to all who can do better.
Illusion, Delusion, and the Bump on the Head
Getting matter organized takes some work. Making new and different and better matter make take more than a deep thought
Coming across some literature on Tibet one cannot help but be impressed with the mental feats of some of the lamas. It seems walking on water and making things appear or disappear is something that is indigenous to the West and the East and everywhere in between. Everybody wants to be a Magi. In fact, Tibetan Buddhists think matter is but an illusion and so the goal in life is to shed the material body and, well, it seems they are still trying to figure out the next step. The next step is too specific of a goal and to avoid excessive head scratching we'll call it the next level instead. They may be treating the material plane as a sort of a prison but they do not say what they want to do once they ascend up there. I just cannot imagine needing some academic board humming their silly theories up there.
Of course there are many energy levels with different vibrating octaves but what is one to do there once one gets there? Creating matter would, of course, be a step back (sorry, a level down) unless you would enjoy creating illusions for somebody else. If that is the case, please do, for we can always use some more organized matter. We all appreciate that the vibrations will be sympathetic and that we will find ourselves in good and agreeable company. But I for one am not happy with the matter that is available around here - that is, the matter can be better.
Creating order out of chaos is to many an intractable proposition. Just like the traveling salesman problem it is impossible to keep a few billion solar systems moving and growing at the same time if you have to tell each and every one which way to move next and what distance to keep. The existence of an organized galaxy is a feat worthy of pursuit and calling it illusion is a copout and possibly a delusion.
Looking over the letter A in the Tibetan alphabet makes an excellent start. It just seems that the Tibetan alphabet has a lot to do with physics and it may be my turn to be delusional. Do you see photons and electrons in there? I mean, electrons on the left and the photon cavity on the right? Just below the apertures?
It is time to put illusion and delusion in the proper context and get going on some new matter. There is a way of creating altogether new and different matter and maybe even delegate the periodic table to a subset that can be created only by the lesser gods. Some can see the apple falling to make the connection. For some the apple needs to land on their heads. In either case the Tibetan Buddhists have a lot to say on this. Maybe the Tibetan Buddhists will want to have and crave and enjoy independence after all. The independence of moving between any and all octaves, including the one they think is an illusion.
Hacking Matter by Wil McCarthy
If the marketing guy has but two words to sell a book then you should never buy a book by its title. I recently came across a book with Quantum Brain title and half way through there was nothing on quantum or the brain. Is there something left to write about in this book, Hacking Matter? There certainly is if you can forgive this title as well. In fact, there are so many good things one can do with electrons I would not even get involved in the matter of matter and let the electrons carry the title of the book. Electron Keepers, perhaps? It is much more enjoyable to get into electrons right from the start rather than getting into "pretend matter" and then undo the protons and strip the hype until but pure electrons are left anyway. When the future closes in it will be about electrons and photons while custom atomic core and custom shape of matter will be in the second wave.
In Hacking Matter Wil introduces us to the colleges where professors get paid and students get to hack with electrons. It turns out the lowly ball lightning is still in the gee-whiz category resisting awards, not impressed by the stars from East coast colleges and corporations. What we get are quantum dots. Quantum dot is an appropriate name for a microstructure that holds the electron as a standing wave. Pythagoras is smiling on this as well because the quantum dot can also become a quantum wire (read line) and quantum area. The author then whets the investment appetite with such possibilities as diamond-strong valence bonds, associative memory, color displays the size of a building, super battery, and programmable or switchable super magnets. Super battery is where the ball lightning lurks. Super magnet is where Pauli is biting his tongue for his spin exclusion principle, for that is the effect of a particular atomic symmetry, and not a matter of principle. One application gets rolled out in the form of biological markers and the author tries to improve the marker's smarts beyond the plain yes-no, marker-is-in, marker-is-out applications.
There are some funny moments when the memory guy does not know how to write into the memory of the quantum dots before he could associatively access it. I also looked for people empowerment - that is, will quantum dots help you and I the way PCs did, for example. The empowerment, then, is different from donating your car battery for a wheelchair or giving some "poor fella" a scholarship at Harvard. The book does not have and does not try to make a case for 'When in the course of human events.. .' Electrons, however, have their own way of tunneling through. Regardless of patents and quantum traps, electrons will come to you just as you learn to spell decoherence.
At the tail end of the book a passing comment makes a point that Einstein partially explained the photoelectric effect and the author says nothing that would support photonic pressure or photonic momentum on a free electron. Einstein's full misunderstanding of the photoelectric effect may not be surprising to some but this is the first break with officialdom such as NASA and Nobel I've seen. Wil McCarthy is not academia and I would place a bet Wil can change his engine oil before the professor could open the little red preaching book.
Wil McCarthy put together a decent book about the challenges and the opportunities of the quantum electron where the technical and the financial attributes are in naturally entangled states.
.. Lytistics (Lying with statistics): Claiming inferior tools as the source of reason; using second-rate mental gymnastics to make a point or create controversy
It is easy to say it is easy to be lying with statistics. However, the same logic that is used on cigarettes can be used on fried foods. Whether that is good or not depends on which side you are on.
Causality is likely the most discussed topic since antiquity because causality deals not only with purpose and reason but also with fault and liability. Today, we pass righteousness and go straight to damage awards. We do not ask for apology or applause because making a good story stick in court is about eliciting emotions from the jury but not from the public.
Causality is one of the strongest logical relations we have. A rolling ball trips the lever that moves the trigger that.. Causality not only allows us to make if-then constructs but the absence of the supposition if invalidates the result then altogether. If the ball did not roll, none of that would happen. People claiming that cigarette smoking damaged one's health want to establish the causality link between smoking and disease. They must also make a convincing case that the absence of smoking does not result in some such disease and, also, that smoking by any and all individuals will result in that disease. Since it is impossible to establish a causal link between smoking and disease, either the definition of 'causal' is changed or the lytistics come in.
The most often used statistical tool is correlation. Correlation yields a number that tells the extent one variable moves along with another one. Math guys are first to admit that correlation has nothing to do with causality and the often-quoted example is in the form of a question: 'What's that got to do with the price of tea in China?' Math guy are math guys but that does not mean that correlation does not get routinely substituted for causality. 'Smoking is linked to depression' is one of the more recent disclosures. The idea behind publicity is that, somehow, smoking "causes" depression and if you smoke.. Yet the very same statistical method gives the same result if some antidepressant drug is used instead of cigarettes. 'Valium is linked to depression' statement is statistically, methodologically, and quantitatively just as valid as 'Smoking is linked to depression.'
The big crash of 1929 was, in retrospect, quite preventable. But it was the love of the game and the challenges of the risk that kept regulation from action. The catchall phrase of "checks and balances" implied that much was overlooked and with due diligence things will work out. Diligence suffered in the 90's and many kept working the bubble to the tune of 'If it ain't burst, don't fix it.' Yet our present tools on which we make our regulatory, investment, and judicial decisions are remarkably inadequate. Are we in a V2.0 of the game and, if so, is the game up?
There are new data processing methods that go well beyond correlation. Variables can be quantified as to their leadership value - that is, the leading or dominant economic variables can be found, quantified, and their strength tracked. The direction is inherent in causality and new tools quantify A vs. B as well as B vs. A. The methods associated with the quantification of causality will not, however, find fertile ground if presently it is the game that keeps the inferior tools in business. Which way it is going to work out depends on the number of inferior tool users. If the ratio is too close to one, advances and reforms are not taking place and a complete breakdown happens for those who can only be guessing at the real causes.
Einstein, A Crashing Theory
Physics he authored will never work. Does his philosophy of 'you cannot get there from here' inspire you? Which part of crash and burn don't you understand?
Bottom Line: NASA's ready for break up
Last month I spoke with Dr. John Mather, who is heading NASA effort on light's cosmic background radiation. John is the guy who measured light's intensity from space and found the radiation uniform - that is, if the stars are ignored. I opened up with the fact that light bouncing between parallel mirrors would produce a perpetual motion machine if light has pressure. And then I continued:
"I cannot find anything about an experiment that would confirm light's pressure."
"There are equations.. ," answered John.
"That's my point, John," I said. "Equation is one thing but do you know of an experiment? Everybody knows about lightspeed measurement experiment but there is nothing on light's pressure experiment."
"I cannot help you," said John.
John Mather cannot help because light's pressure does not exist. All books on Michelson have information on lightspeed measurement but nothing is published on light's pressure measurement. There are plenty of publications on the wonders of light's pressure that reference Einstein, but there is nothing on the actual measurement of light's pressure. John cannot help because his job rests on his credentials that in turn rest on what he was taught in school. John, and many like him at NASA are not into discovery or challenge or even into truth and he will profess theory but nothing to back it up even though he says he works with light day in and day out. John is always ready to call on his and his colleagues' beliefs in his hour of denial. The thing is, although light's pressure is nonexistent it does not mean that NASA is not spending big on projects where light's pressure is the primary mission: Solar sailing and space mirror adjustment with handy laser beams, for example. John Mather is part of NASA silence and the buildup of ignorance that eventually and invariably leads to a crash, physical and financial. John likely understands the logical reasoning that light's presumed pressure would result in the impossible perpetual motion machine. Like a true Russian sport, however, John is going to nurture the myth of light's pressure until the paycheck stops coming - meanwhile, everybody else be damned. It is quite likely that after our interview John knows the mirror adjustment by lasers in space will never work even on theoretical grounds and whatever this mirror is supposed to do will not work. But by now John cannot talk or think straight - it is no longer John's goal to make some space defense or commercial thing work right and John will not help.
The presumed light's pressure is where Einstein's legacy comes from. Einstein is accused of using other people's discoveries as his own but even a cursory review tells you his Nobel Prize was not for work in contested areas. The equation asserting light's pressure is vintage 1905 Einstein. The equation that purports to describe how the atomic electron is knocked off its orbit by a photon is untainted Einstein and here is where his Nobel Prize was awarded, as his equation was thought to explain the photoelectric effect. Nobody at the Nobel committee, it seems, thought about the perpetual motion machine problem, for one needs to visualize two parallel mirrors and realize that it would take but two bounces for light's energy to produce energy over unity. Nor did anybody ask if free electrons were bouncing in accord with his equation - they do not. Einstein's math claims to work on atomic electron but does not work on a free electron, which altogether makes the math as well as the photoelectric effect explanation suspect. A strong enough laser was not built until the sixties and so the direct experimental (in)validation of light's pressure was about forty years off. The presumed light's pressure, though, acquired a twisted life of its own, in large part as a result of the Nobel Prize award. To this day nobody at NASA called light's pressure to account. This includes JPL. JPL is part of NASA and while, or because, JPL is into solar sailing nobody at JPL is busy verifying photonic pressure - now that JPL's Mars probes are lost.
The presumed light's pressure, not unlike cancer, spread through the sophisticated, clever, mature, modern 20th and 21st Century science. We now have black holes because government scientists believe photons of light behave like real things and light can be bent or squashed. Black holes ought to be lurking in the eye of every galaxy. The announcement today that light's pressure is, after all, nonexistent also calls for unwinding the mainstream - that is, tax-supported, North America cosmology of the last hundred years. If cosmology appears as such a mundane thing, think about ejecting displays on black holes from Boston Museum of Science hall and planetarium on the grounds that this is a topic of belief equivalent to religion that certainly does not rest on facts and is in fact supported by the public to the detriment of the public. Think about rejecting, by now fraudulent, proposals to the government that are based on the presumption of light's pressure. Think about alternate ways of knowing about gravitation because the current NASA rocket science has a dead end, literally and figuratively, written on it.
It has now come to pass that NASA is grounded. The merits of NASA work have dwindled to not much more than providing an expensive microgravity platform, and this only because the Einstein gravitation theories do not let NASA past the rocketry technology. Judging by the NASA culture that hangs on, defends, ignores, and lies to keep the status quo, NASA is not going to resume flying anytime soon. It is likely NASA will be broken up, by obvious and not-so-obvious means, before flights can resume. Oftentimes an organization may be in trouble but it is hanging on, hoping to hijack, buy or run into a breakthrough somewhere, somehow. For some companies being first is not necessarily synonymous with being the most successful. Such companies, though, know it and are actively scouring the breadth of new technologies. NASA, unfortunately, does not have the internal spark to be the technology-leveraging agent. NASA, with their foam bed linings and rip-stop nylon is in self-promotion and subcontracting business that has nothing to do with breakthroughs, here or there. Even branching and giving NASA specialized focus with the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts yields childish projects the likes of a giant rubber slingshot and, you guessed it, impossible solar sailing. A formal solicited proposal to NASA to do the light's pressure measurement was smugly turned down on theoretical grounds in the early 2001 - that is, the easy measurement was rejected based on self-righteous faith. Even offering new gravitation mechanics based on proven nonlocality of light could not turn NASA on simply because in 2001 they had their very own and very exclusive thing going.
Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is searching for black holes in their justifications for government money. Their X-ray telescope is useless for anything having to do with our current Earth issues because at such wavelengths our atmosphere absorbs X-rays that may originate on the planet's surface. Looking outward, there is nothing to look at these wavelengths except nebulae and then only to consider and contemplate black holes. Black holes come from Einstein's presumed photonic pressure anyway and Harvard is then contemplating nonsense. Harvard could do better by doing a study about missed technological and business opportunities - it turns out the transistor and the resulting computers are the quantum-based technologies Einstein was trying to discredit through professional publication while calling light's nonlocality spooky. Though it is largely amusing for a physicist to call light spooky and even schizophrenic, there are plenty of new space technologies we missed when Harvard put money on Einstein. Even Newton's postulate of absolute reference can do better for space technologies. All said, Harvard has too much of a groupthink mentality to advance space technologies. When Harvard in one year does not fill advertised positions, in the present market no less, you know Harvard is grandstanding. When Harvard could not take the leadership in the last forty years to (in)validate laser beam's pressure on mirror, you know Harvard has become a second tier institution and a lazy one at that. What we can expect out of Harvard is plenty of red herrings, which take form of convenient back and forth accusations of racial or religious prejudices. Political expediency, though, is but a delay action that attempts to perpetuate whatever it is Harvard is now.
As for Nobel and company, they have some cleanup work to do as well. Presumed light's pressure affecting free electrons could have been experimentally determined at the time of the potential award and it does not bode well for Nobel people when such straightforward confirmation was not sought. Royal Swedish this or that puts a nice patina on things but that, in and of itself, does not a guarantee make. A country has a supreme court because at times even a well-meaning decision turns out to be a dud. The Nobel Prize committee presently does not have - but should have - a review that takes some of the previous judgments and puts them aside. The symbolism of the Tower of Babel is the absence of a correction and the Tower of Nobel can crack up without references to tarot cards or the bible. There are several new theories pushing for recognition and anything that is based on light's pressure, gravitational influence on light, or black holes only gives the tower of Nobel additional tilt.
Some may promote Einstein as the latest thing but with his inherent flaws the force of gravitation can only be seen as "it takes too long to get anywhere and black holes get you nowhere." Gravitation can never be explained in terms of presumed but nonexistent light's pressure or its derivatives the likes of black holes and gravitation waves. Renaissance is associated with economic growth but what really happens during renaissance is that the truth is no longer suppressed. The truth is sacrificed on the altar of national security, power, money, control, fear, slavery, one-upmanship, and ignorance - a mix of noble and inferior reasons. But before the renaissance can become the renaissance, the truth must come out: Einstein did not and does not have it. Einstein's errors and his conclusions are egregious and they have to be taken out before the money gives us something in return.
On and Up About Iraq
The sight of Marines' night vision equipment s-mounted on their foreheads reminds one of the cobra -- or possibly of thousands of pharaoh of Egypt coming back to claim the ancient Sumerian lands. The royal cobra does what it is supposed to do: Strike fear into the opponents with the extra, third eye. If you want to argue that historically there is really but one pharaoh for millions of subjects then you have not been to the US lately. These same Marines also take care of their jump jets, administer a city, and tell a difference between a defender of religious freedom and a guy who hijacks a mosque for a barricade. The grave robbers, meanwhile, turned to stripping the museum in Baghdad of some of its possessions. While the lament of the museum staff seemed staged with all that advanced notice and video security, we will be able to see if it was an inside job as soon as the missing pieces catalog gets printed.
There was also the case of the reporter who, being a contractor to MSNBC, got a pink slip for answering questions from the other side's reporter. Microsoft, which is well known for using contractors, co-owns MSNBC and contractors do not get paid fringe benefits. Perhaps Microsoft can learn and hire an employee sometime. The overall tightening on reporters became important when Mubarak tried to get the whole Egypt steaming. Reporting also needed to focus on facts because the New York and Los Angeles liberal dailies were skeptical from the get go. Although there is such a thing as snatching a defeat from the jaws of victory, the Internet should by now be a good counterweight to biased newspaper headlines. The civilian spokesperson at the Pentagon surely got everybody confused with her jacket, for she looked like a real live model of The Hanged Man from the tarot deck. By the end of the second week, though, the Army and the Marines were getting their credit straight.
It will be interesting to see what form of government Iraq will have. As much as they do not expect it, Iraqis will get the first vote. It depends how quickly Iraqis figure out that protests, fist shaking, and religious chest beating really will not work and they will have to put forth something of merit before they will be taken up on it. Iraqis certainly will not get the Russians or anybody else running the electricity or the telephones for them a la Saudis and they will have to do it themselves. Standard US management gets the job done without innuendos and the turnaround will come when the Iraqis figure out that doing it yourself and doing it better can even be inspiring.
Russians should know by now that the arms they sell to rogue regimes could and will be used to destabilize such regimes. The Russians have no idea what stability is about, for selling GPS disrupters for application over populated areas makes no military sense unless the military wants to protect itself and nobody else.
The unfortunate aspect is Kissinger turning down the chairmanship of the blue ribbon panel looking into the causes of 9/11. The conflict of interest on his part means that his consulting and financial interests are more important than the whole of 9/11. To Kissinger the causes, rebuilding, and lessons learned have already been reduced to the haggle over insurance claims. Kissinger cannot or would not transcend his miserable Vietnam record and he has to take what's left of his craft to China and with prejudice. It may turn out that the 9/11 memorial will be built at ground zero but not much else -- and perhaps that is the way to go.
The French are continuing to be on our radar. The whole French phobia is easy to understand if one looks at Lybia along with the air terror, hijackings and kidnappings of the last twenty years: French aeronautical interests are thriving while the American aeronautical fortunes are declining. Before one screams about conspiracy -- and it is a tacit one developed over hundreds of years -- one needs to clean up our own house and understand which are the leading economic variables. We need to get the airline expenses down across the board and this is already happening. Because the aeronautical business is presently linked to propulsion technology and space in general, NASA needs to be purged of arrogant and pretentious management -- and there are too many of them there. Also, oil resources have a lot to do with it and that explains why the French cannot play a game of pretend anymore. We will have figured out the French when our priorities shift to Libya and when NASA is reorganized. Yes, North Korea is on the bottom of the list. Lower than Iran or Syria, for these are already being managed by proximity. There is no need to threaten North Korea unless one wants to rebuild yet another forsaken country. NK is China's legacy.
Finally, it is fun to watch the Clinton dance, for he never knew which way the North is. When his incompetence came calling -- as when he put the US troops under UN command and sent them to Mogadishu -- he was greatly protected by the office of the presidency and the whole nation got dragged in along with him. Perhaps Timothy McVeigh is resting easier now, the hanged man. Presently, Clinton can put his influence where he thinks it works and take but his cronies for a ride: "Kids, sugar's really cheap in Canada." Oh, and the French goat cheese business is for sale.
UFO Got To Do With It
If you ever get into UFO research there will invariably be a pointer to cattle mutilations because these appear to be done with alien-sponsored or alien-associated entities. Things can get pretty enigmatic and even scary - not only because such mutilations also happen to dogs, goats and chickens, but also because this phenomenon has been around for a while. When an animal is found without a trace of blood and its heart cut out and gone, it is time to reach back to history and folklore to see this for what it is.
When the Magician found the animal without the heart and blood, the Magician called upon the priests of the Aztec, the Inca, and the Maya. And He said unto them: "Guys, you've been bamboozled!"
This just might be a good start. There is no problem in understanding there are benevolent and evil entities around, and it is quite likely that all kinds of entities manifest their friendly or ugly face every so often. Yet what perhaps defines the human is the understanding that evil cannot be raised to god's level and animal sacrifices cannot appease evil. What makes person into a human is that he and she knows, differentiates, and takes a stand on the good and the ugly. The Aztec, the Inca, and the Maya certainly shot themselves in the foot, if not the head, by accepting evil as something to be appeased and perhaps even emulated.
When the Magician found the alien subjugating the human while telling the human he was especially chosen, the Magician called the Rabbi. And He said unto him: "Man, this chosen people stuff is suspect!"
The separation between myth, religion, indoctrination and enslavement is becoming clearer. In Mexico, the proliferation of conjurers, magicians, shamans, graduated spinmasters, and self-appointed hexmeisters is likely justified by the lack of straightforward access to justice.
In addition, a new scientific approach can be engaged when speculations, chaos and make believe could be brought to an end. There is most definitely a need for a new definition of the scientific method that is based on tractable computability rather than on measurement repeatability. Tractable computability allows one to see and measure relevancy. The Brits, for example, have given up on Newton's idea of absolute measurement, for special relativity should have been seen in just that context. When lightspeed is postulated and measured to be constant with respect to any moving observer then lightspeed constancy was and is a confirmation of Newton's concept of absolute velocity. In fact, the abandonment of the existence of absolute reference is what is holding back the UFO research today.
We have done a great job ignoring cosmological theories, religious forecasting and Hollywood make believe as we pursued quantum mechanics with cool finds such as the transistor and the laser. Once quantum mechanics crosses onto the macro scale - which is quite straightforward - we are looking at additional super advancements. Cattle mutilations could then also be seen with new insight offering a correction and human self-governance.
It is not difficult to gang up on the French, for our cultural differences make it easy picking. It is also easy to say that one should listen to the other guy before making a conclusion. Since George W. changed his mind on justice alone and incorporated a nations building as well as the United Nations building approach, it may be worthwhile to recognize where the French are coming from and what kind of tool kit they are carrying.
At the outbreak of WWII it was not apparent how the lines were going to be drawn. The Maginot Line was equivalent to leaving your lights on at home hoping the burglar will go someplace else. President Roosevelt drew the line when he told the Brits he would seize the assets of Canada based Royal Navy and use it on the Nazis. The French, after losing their defenses were still undecided on whether to surrender or fight. They got a swift kick in the head when their tucked-away navy got crippled - by the Brits no less.
The French have managed to overcome Islamic onslaught into Spain and did put up their dukes to push the Moors out back to Africa. It is likely that it was at this juncture their Catholic ties to Rome formed and the bond persists to this day. Over the hundreds of years the French kept and developed their national identity - not an insignificant feat considering the decline of Spain and Portugal. The French took action against the corrupt Knights Templar who could well be an early example of corporate pretention and greed. The most significant breach, however, was the usurpation of France by Napoleon who took the whole nation on a demonic ride in a strange precursor to usurping Hitler. In more recent history the French were instrumental in forming the Turkish state with its secular form of government and because the Ottoman Empire's land grab of Constantinople was always a historical sore point, it is likely that Rome was and is involved in the Constantinople correction. France also successfully allied with Turkey to rein in the ambitions of Imperial Russia. When the US tried it on the Soviets the Cuban Missile crisis resulted. Yet, that is how it works because the US is always willing to say: Go ahead, make my day. And this will happen with any entity, whatever narrow-minded dimension it may be coming from.
It takes some flair to take a $5 bottle of wine and with extra bubbles sell it for another $40. It takes some outstanding marketing to take an ounce of sweet smelling spirit and make it into a $100 perfume. Ditto for changing a $150 watch into a $5,000 watch. The French are artists and scientists, and they want and should be admired. The French, however, will not mind selling your mother if you get infatuated. The old joke is about the salesman who can sell ice to the Eskimos but the French are already selling us our own water for $1 a glass.
France abandoned their military treaty with the Czechs and sold them out in Munich with a condescending slap-on-the-back advice to the Germans: "Go East young man!" However, to belittle the French will not work because they have a few under their belt. Historically, the French do not have a good feel for when to cut the bait but they are coming around when it is time to tighten up NATO's chain of command. Perhaps the natural conjunction of diverse Western ideas will happen in Africa.
If the US understands history's long, deep and powerful memory the US would bring up Constantinople for what it is and get the Turks going by adding a few facts about the Armenian genocide. Otherwise, the Turks can be asked to do the right thing but they cannot do it since their atrocities are not accounted and Constantinople is not consummated. Alternatives should be available, for the US Army Corps of Engineers can build staging areas in Iraq before moving on to restore the Sumerian valley the same way they restored the everglades. There is an environmental aspect here that should not be overlooked.
It may be difficult to asses to what extent our own scientific deficiencies influence politics. We may be proud, and rightfully so, to put technological advances into our weapons making them smarter and more discriminating. Yet, if our scientific-cultural base is lacking, as is the case with the black holes belief, simpleton gravitation theories and nonexistent yet espoused photonic pressure, will our strength be misconstrued? Worse yet, will we be judged to be good for heavy lifting and then displaced or corrupted without most of us realizing it? Our forty year inability to carry out straightforward verification of presumed photonic pressure at reflection surely speaks of bureaucratic funding-by-belief and reveals a woeful lack of initiative and leadership. What is the effectiveness of academic tenure when so many primary missions rely on nonexistent photonic pressure? Our inability to comprehend the physics of light is not only about missed business opportunities -- it is about our willingness to be and remain duped.
In the near future, will Buddhist statues be restored in Afghanistan? It is apparent that Islam cannot even be a guardian of other peoples' heritage and this would be a good followup for the UN. Much can be talked on and about symbolism but what counts is how you walk the walk. On the secular side, do Turkey or Egypt have working constitutions accepting other religions? How can the Egyptian secular government ever be secular if it calls on "all Islamic nations?" We know Buddhism can live with Islam but can Islam live with Buddhism? Islam could not live with Christianity in France, Spain, in Africa, or anywhere else once Islam gained a foothold. Will Germany be next? If Islam believers perceive Islam as a religion and a state rolled into one - and both historically and presently they do - there will always be blood with oil.
When all emotions are penetrated the health, wealth and growth of any nation is in its intrinsic ability to innovate. The enslavement of others through doctrine or force may have worked for Islam in the past but such ideology is insufficient in the present and into the future. It is apparent that Egypt continues on its path to insignificance while Constantinople is ready to revert to another administration.
Pill That Is North Korea
A while back the takeover company could buy controlling interest in another company and make a quick profit by selling control back at higher price. Poison pill defense was put in place to make the target business harder to swallow. The poison pill defense is written into the company's laws and gives some if not all of the profit to the original shareholders. Is North Korea a bitter pill of a bitter conflict or is North Korea but another of China's defense trenches? It is both and the question is how is this and other things going to play out over the coming year.
China, being overly sensitive about its sovereignty, does not allow flights of sporting air balloons over its territory, for example. The Korean conflict in the 1950s brought China into it simply because the conflict was too close to China's borders and when the attacking instigator North found itself in retreat. That is the official, if lame, reasoning but it suggests that China had something to do with the hostilities in the first place.
The truth is found when one looks at the legacy of power and influence. Soviet Union managed to squeeze all it could out of Baltic, East European and its southern Islamic states. Predictably, empty shelves and plenty of resentment are Soviet Union's legacy, its name change notwithstanding. The US has close to exemplary record in Asia and Europe, somewhat less so in Latin America. The UK record is generally positive throughout the world. China's international record is now surfacing through North Korea. China was unable or unwilling to provide leadership and North Korea was left to feed on its own and China's paranoia. It is also apparent that China did not and could not make anything out of Tibet other than to occupy it, Soviet style.
What makes the present situation more difficult is that North Korea's classic communist stratification of classes allows and even promotes the export of weapons. It is tough to imagine that North Korea would draw the line by exporting only missiles, particularly with the most recent admission of deceit regarding atomic weapons. It seems that China, despite its elevated status at the UN, continues to think in its own and narrow framework of its immediate security, and cannot even think of playing a positive international role.
Some working ideas for the next year are:
1. China has no partnering mentality in Tibet - or anywhere else in the world where it cannot extract technology. China should leave Tibet since it cannot provide mentoring and tolerant policy in a country that is uniquely peaceful. Unfortunately, large US investments in China will not be in phase with this. Indeed, many talking heads are elevating US economic opportunities in China with a weary resemblance to Enron hype. Fundamentally, North Korea's atomic weapon development is China's legacy and, precariously, the source of raw fusible material is not being questioned. Both political parties are overcommitted to China and no sense of balance is likely to emerge. The investment in China can slow down to make the economic shift more manageable. Protecting one's investments should be mostly autonomous where the courts, rather than an army, enforce the intellectual and other properties. South Korea may want to get creative and a large scale defection would end this whole thing. Alchemy is about transmutation and includes the transmutation of poisons.
2. A while back a decision was made to make Russia into a friend, again. After the Soviet Union found itself on defensive in Afghanistan the US had to pick a friend and it was likely an easy decision. Russia, as always, has ponderous mentality and the results to date should be ahead of expectations. It is Peter The Great all over again telling Russians to look more western. Russia has a great opportunity to make some good business deals with Japan, provided they could make the return of the Sakhalin Island part of the deal. This is not as much about putting pressure on Russia as it is about seeing if Russia is maturing enough to see the benefits of receiving intellectual property in exchange for a piece of land it took from Japan. Perhaps making Vladivostok into a free trade zone, not unlike the idea of Hong Kong. If Russia cannot improve the creation and application of commercial intellectual property, Russia's population will continue to implode. Selling nuclear technology to Iran is dealing from the position of weakness, akin to North Korea, and points to corruption - that is, it points to power concentration without accountability.
3. As for Iraq the end game is pivotal and will be felt for years. If the conflict is viewed as a lesson, warning, punishment or a conquest then we do not understand the fundamentals. If the conflict is viewed as freedom vs. slavery then the end game is in place. Freedom is about independence and choices that result from self-chosen and broad participation from among all religious beliefs. As simple as the separation of the church and state is in the West, this concept is impossible to comprehend with the tribal mentality of the Middle East. Longer term answer is in conversion of nitrogen into hydrogen and oxygen, as mentioned before.
4. Fighting terrorism at home is synonymous with rooting out the corruption. When Los Alamos problems come up you can tell it is a home run as soon as the opposition picks something emotional for a red herring. New technologies that may seem like panacea can be corrupted if the infrastructure is corrupted.
Finally, the proposals for the new World Trade center fell way short. Jagged, crumpled, contorted, or knife edges and splits speak of pain. Memorial that works speaks of respect and strength while the projection of memory into the future can take a form of a celebration. A good way to start is to look at memorials that work and the ones that do not. Boston has at least two memorials that should be redone. The most difficult part is that the building and the memorial are one and the same, which has never been done before. One cannot build a separate memorial and a building next to it thinking that the two are separate. The new World Trade center as proposed here is still the best.
Star In The Heavens
There are many stars and you can draw them with the number of points of your choosing. This particular star has five points and it certainly is in the heavens if heavens is what you see above when you look up at night. This star is crafted together by Venus and Earth.
Mayan astronomers first observed the periodic relationship between Venus and Earth. It turns out these two bodies have interlocked orbits in a ratio and that means that the orbits of Venus and Earth are not independent of each other. While this is not a source of orbital problems the orbital interlock allows Venus and Earth to become effectively a single planet in one orbit. The resulting planet is moving close to the midpoint between Venus and Earth because both of these planets are of about the same size. From the Sun's point of view the positions of both Venus and Earth periodically occupy the same two spots on the solar plane and the merged planet is then also in a spot it occupied before. For such merged planet the aphelion period is the time for Venus to catch up with Earth again, which takes 1.6 earth years. Every time Venus catches up with Earth the merged planet reaches its aphelion, the farthest distance from the center of the Sun. Orbital interlock merges both planets yielding one highly elliptical orbit that rotates and repeats every eight years -- that is, the merged planet passes the same starting point every eight years. During these eight years the merged planet reaches aphelion five times, tracing a five-pointed star with 1.6 years between points.
Historically, aphelion is defined as the farthest distance from the Sun but you may have noticed that the aphelion for the Venus-Earth planet is now defined as the farthest distance from the center of the Sun. The merged planet's orbit may possibly dip into the Sun.
You can imagine the "crisis" in the horoscope circles as Galileo's and Newton telescopes begin to uncover new planets. There were seven planetary influences and seven is a sacred number. Horoscope casting is a serious business for some, so what is to be done? Presently, several mainstream science publications want to make Pluto an outcast but nobody is arguing whether Venus or Earth is a planet or not. We could never think of Earth as not being a bona fide planet -- yet the Sun has made the orbital decision for us. Sun sees Venus and Earth as one body that orbits in a five-pointed star topology with a tight curlicue close to the Sun between points. Perhaps there is a way to resolve all of this because Pluto's orbit is interlocked with Neptune as well. So now, two pairs of planets both merge into two independent orbits and we are back to seven unique and independent orbits in our solar system. While it may be difficult to prove that seven is the maximum number of independent orbits in out solar system, what this also means is that there can be more planets than there are independent orbits.
There may be some rumbling about angel reorg but this should be manageable, for we are sun-centric for a while now. In the hyperstates context the major influences upon Earth are the Moon, Sun, and Venus. Mercury, Mars and the other planets are in hyperstates that do not involve Earth directly, for those influences are through the Sun. Moon's orbital momentum was created by (and is pointing at) another solar system and we have an influence from there.
Why not give each planet its own independent orbit? There may come a time where this is not possible. Any two-body system is computable but a three-body system can become chaotic. Independent orbit calls for planetary separation that is great enough for each planet to be treated as a two-body sun-planet system. As big as Sun is there are but a limited number of orbits available. Orbital interlock allows merging of Venus and Earth such that two bodies become one and the resulting body is always computable with respect to Sun. Potential Sun-Venus-Earth chaotic trio becomes a computable duo. Giving Venus and Earth their own independent orbit could technically result in two two-body systems but would likely require greater planetary separation and greater distance from the Sun. Venus-Earth orbital interlock then results in a smaller disturbance or wobble onto the Sun: Through the orbital interlock both bodies can be physically closer to the Sun and to each other.
Before you move to Idaho or acquire a broom, consider the merged planet's order of transcribing the aphelion points. Every two points are skipped as the trace moves from first (top) to fourth to second to fifth to third and back to the first point. Being in the solar plane the stars orientation does not have an appreciable aspect, at least as far as the solar perspective is concerned.
Draw the star in the air, for that is how the Sun feels the dynamics of Venus and Earth. Draw the star in your heart and make a friend.
Symbolically and fairly close to reality, all points of the star are at midpoint between two circles that are the orbits of Earth and Venus. Dot in the center is the sun. The two circles are paramount because the star owns its existence to two interlocked orbits. To add mystique, you can include alchemical symbols for the sun and the two planets. Also add a curlicue that may look like a lower case scripted 'e' (for gals) or Greek alpha (for guys). If you are into numbers then 5 and 8 and their ratio 8/5 (1.6) are relevant.
This dual-ring star is about a very close friendship, just in time for the New Year.
Dig Ending Has A Beginning
Election fever in the Massachusetts's gubernatorial election is clearing up. On the one (left) hand Shannon O'Brien has a very simple message: "Let's pour some more concrete." On the other hand, Mitt Romney tells us with a smile on his face about O'Brien's husband being on the payroll as a lobbyist for a Big Dig contractor and Enron as well.
Before Big Dig there was Big Swath. Bulldozers cut a path of land right through downtown Boston thirty some years ago. The idea was not as much to get people moving but to have them come and get them to stay in Boston. Garages have a lot to do with it and Boston has that on front burner. The buildup of garages at Boston's Logan airport, however, is such a lump or perhaps a dump of concrete that if you drive into one, keep the old Boston song in mind: ".. He never returned and he never returned.. He thinks he left the car here -- or was it there?"
Boston is a walking town. Bostonians look left and right when crossing a one-way street. Yes, there is a way of getting traffic to increase in Boston while keeping it a friendly walking town. The automated shuttles that make their appearance at many airports -- except Boston's Logan -- leverage a great view with quiet, non-polluting, and convenient transport that can be almost a thrill ride. It just may be the right time to have these cars shuttle about Boston's great green strip left over from all that clearing and digging. Riding about town taking in the sights and then sampling some chowder is something even locals would love. Yet before there can be a shuttle there are the other interests to deal with: limos, taxis and dozens of bus companies that made such a mess out of Logan -- they all want to trash about Boston doing their thing. Nobody wants to be the guy who tells the iceman that electricity was invented and that he is no longer needed. It takes a guy with flair and clear mind to put Boston in with the next generation of transport ideas while putting the iceman in the refrigeration business.
National Academy of Sciences has many boards. One of them, the Board on Physics and Astronomy has issued a report From Quarks to the Cosmos: Eleven Science Questions for the New Century. It is surprising to have quarks in the title because no physicists today publish on quarks and one can make a guess that the board wants to commemorate them. NASA will hop to it as usual, for this is as much of a no-brainer as when NASA brought you the black holes in full color.
Whether one looks at this report scientifically, psychologically, sociologically, economically, or politically, its content is pathetic. Striving for the greatest possible underachievement, the report contains no words such as 'topology' or 'quantum computing,' and the word 'organization' does not have any connection with cosmos or the atom. Nobody asks a straightforward question such as "what are the dynamics of sustenance of the atomic core?" Group theory and duality help here but because atom-smashing in general and quarks in particular do not contribute to answering that question, it never gets asked. Knowing full well about chaos, nobody asks a question "what is the mechanism that increases organization and creates cosmic topologies?" No bang can begin to answer that question. The report alludes to the failure of the conservation of energy in quantum vacuum but nothing is offered in the way of explanation or a proposal, as if we are supposed to be resigned to this for the next hundred years. Again, group theory's concept of parity is the way of addressing it.
The popular stereotype of putting the fear in the devil is to show him the cross, for the devil cannot deal with the truth. A simple way to deal with pretend science is to ask for a written answer to a question. Black holes, dark matter, dark energy, big bang, and many other report-recommended pursuits of the official cosmic beliefs have a common root in the presumption that light carries real momentum with each photon and, consequently, light is supposed to be subject to gravity. A question to ask every physicist and astronomer who produced the report is an easy one:
"If light exerts pressure on mirror at reflection, explain how you would or could build a perpetual motion machine by bouncing light between two parallel mirrors." This works magic. When scientists are asked to write down the conclusion to the basic tenet of taxpayer supported science -- they run. Sometimes they scream. But they never direct a laser beam against the mirror to measure the professed photon pressure on mirror. Without a clue on how to go about finding the truth about light and gravitation, scientists talk about their credentials. Without photonic pressure the pursuit of gravitation waves is mute. Once the fact that light cannot impart momentum to a mirror becomes public, charging a fee for teaching much of the current physics technically becomes a fraud. The realization that one studied flawed science for years causes a pain of yet another kind. Meanwhile, the fact that laser has no recoil is not getting applied. Meanwhile, the Japanese are doing some cold fusion patent work.
Congress created the National Academy of Sciences and if Congress thinks these guys are good for bearing down on anything that smacks of creationism, then consider they have but nonexistent black holes to offer. Particle physics did not deliver much of anything during the last forty years. Actually, particle physics is the biggest boondoggle in the history of mankind, outstripping the manpower put into the building of the pyramids at Giza that, at least, are getting some tourist traffic.
Should you think the architects formed a committee or two to come up with the new World Trade Center, they did. Should you think they will come up with something other than a one hump camel or two, do not get your hopes up.
The proposed World Trade Center shown below will be in the shape of a triangular pyramid that is unique and fundamental at the same time.
The present site can support tapering structure going up about 100 stories. Incline edges and sides admit considerable light to the plazas and streets below and the Eternal Flame can be seen from the ground. Each corner edge has a particular character. Good for trading. Good sight for the returning travelers.
Morning and Evening sides can be lined up to point at the rising and setting sun of the winter solstice for a cool variation on the equilateral geometry. Sunny side's incline can also match the winter solstice at NYC latitude.
The new World Trade Center is a building, a memorial, and the structure of the future. The new building will have 50% more floor space than the twin towers it hails from.
Finally, Boston's Museum of Science has a great exhibit on mathematics and mathematicians except it has not a thing on Pythagoras. Pythagoras started a school of high learning offering Bachelor, Masters, and Doctorate degrees some 2,600 years ago -- a nice association with college-heavy Boston. Pythagoreans defined prime numbers that are used in encryption, as well as binary numbers that are used in every computing machine. Pythagoreans delved into even-odd parity of numbers and today's memories do error correction with that. We also do particle physics with even-odd functions that came out of the group theory started by Pythagoreans with their even-odd transformation and invariance rules. The thing is, Pythagoras is not only about the roots but also about the most practical applications of math. Getting into the octave and Pythagorean discoveries in music opens yet another chapter, perhaps a hemisphere. After two and a half millennia Pythagoras is going strong, which is something the Boston's shrinking computing industry can reflect on. Should Boston Museum of Science think Pythagoras and the group theory are not applicable to quantum computing, the computing revolution may not be coming Boston way.
Invitation to Pretension
Mr. Clinton invited all of us to play a game and most of us thought we could play. Forget about laws because tobacco was going to pay irrespective of that. In what appears to be a leftover from one of the the last administration's plays, a suit was brought up last week claiming french fries are addictive and not good for you. During the eight years of the last administration, accusations became more important than the process. All eyes are on Congress now to save our portfolios, but will new laws really help if the old laws were not engaged in the first place? So now the question 'what did you do during the war?' is replaced with another question: 'What did you do after Waco?' Congress stepped up to the plate at that time but the public was busy pretending Waco has nothing to do with the fairness in general and with the economy in particular.
It is easy enough to lower interest rates and ease up on the money supply but if the system is inefficient or corrupt the benefits will not show up and will not reflect in employment or reinvestment. When the President or other economists claim that the fundamentals are right, what fundamentals are they talking about?
NASA fundamentals are messed up all right. They still pretend light can push a mirror and have billion dollar expenditures to prove it. To this day, NASA follows Russians in space because they never stopped playing catch up with them. NASA cannot lead because pretending has nothing to do with leadership. If you were to come up to NASA and DOE and tell them they should be able to convert nitrogen to hydrogen and oxygen, NASA would respond, 'what are the Russians doing?' DOE would want to manage something nasty akin to nuclear fission and, besides, that's what the oil is for. Water? We got that already.
Lack of leadership is a bear for another reason. Others may not follow you not because they do not like you but because they know they can do better. China not joining the international space station may be a precursor to that. We go chase nonexistent neutrinos with Japan and Canada, and deploy nonworking solar sailing -- while China will do its own way.
Reforms are on. When Amtrak starts to run out of money the changes are forthcoming. We are not under Mr. Clinton mindset any more when reforms were fought with scare tactics suitable for Middle East and where the business case was the political case of insiders trading to each other.
When NASA grounds its shuttle fleet the changes are forthcoming because the resistance to changes at NASA manifests by pushing back. The idea is for NASA to figure out they do not need new hardware but a new revolutionary hardware. So far they do not get it and hang on to bureaucratic procedures because, unfortunately, NASA is full of bureaucrats and that's what they do best. Economic benefits, however, cannot be leveraged with the present NASA technology because their technology is not only narrow but in the case of solar sailing it is built on wrong physics that is wrong for many years now.
The idea of the separation of church and state took a funny turn. The Pledge of Allegiance was deemed too religious to be a required reciting at public schools because it refers to God and the Circuit Court ruling said as much. Then the Court went further to say that the Pledge of Allegiance is forbidden to reside in public institutions. Because religions exist in superposition with each other and alongside with -- as well as separately from -- the state, this issue is indeed complex and some work is needed. The phrase "under God" may not sit well with judicial guys because, for example, our common laws are more diverse and more specific than the Ten Commandments. Religious laws as practiced in church-states are outdated, at times childish, and cater to local religious preferences. Circuit Court is trying to do the right thing but equating God with a specific religion is a stretch. So, the Pledge of Allegiance should be changed rather than expunged. Given that one cannot defer responsibility to God, the appropriate new way of saying it is, ..One nation, with God..
Ease Up and Do It
It may be tough to imagine that the best way of affecting our challengers is to improve ourselves. One can spend countless hours hammering down on Russians to allow nuke arms inspection but does anyone give a hoot about controlling nuclear fission remotely? One can spend years negotiating this or that thinking one can outsmart the other guy but at the end of the day the frustration of a dead end should not be the only outcome. Thinking outside the box is another popular comeback. Such thinking, for example, does include moving Palestinians out of Palestine along the same way as moving drug pusher families out of public housing yet the adjudicating infrastructure needs to be in place.
When things are heating up the most likely cause is not the lack of new opportunities but the lack of seeing them. New vision is also easy to talk about but difficult to implement. We get in defensive mode of protecting our turf or applying more of the same things that worked in the past. You can tell the other guy hits the wall when he rolls his eyes in response to somebody's idea. It is, then, good to learn that the state of Maine imposed a fee for each new car that has mercury switches in it presumably to safely remove the offending pollutant. It is, however, not good to learn that the automobile industry cannot eliminate mercury from switches even though non-contact solid-state magnetic or optical switches are available for decades now. You can tell consumer magazines do not give a damn about introducing a pollutant or judge a car on ease of recycling even though they claim to be on the consumer side.
You can tell the accountant becomes a politician when making more money means stretching and spinning the financial results.
"How much is one plus one?" the manager asked of the prospective accountant.
"How much would you like it to be?" is the answer that gets the accountant hired. This joke was once indigenous to any other country except that now it arrived here and it is not funny any more.
It is really about attitude. If you decide to fight high mileage car requirement, the guy that does not see it contentiously may come up with a high mileage hybrid engine while you've got nothing at the end of the decade except hybridized politico-economic lobbyists. Do you then want to use these lobbyists to ban hybrid engines, just like the music guys who killed digital tape recorders? Would you believe even NSA admitted that banning encryption algorithms amounted to nothing more than closing the door of a barn that no longer had walls?
The pols will do your bidding at their fee and at your cost.
Take Intelligent Design Any Day
Kansas school system approved the concept that evolution is not the only way of getting the job done and it did not take long for hard science types to exclaim that intelligent design is nothing but the second coming of creationism. Putting a label on intelligent design or not, science cannot advance its cause by fighting intelligent design because no scientist can ever create an orange by evolving apples. One can possibly get square apples but never an orange. Scientific method did not reconcile classical and quantum mechanics during the last sixty years because science types cannot advance quantum mechanics past the "measurement problem" and the scientintist hugs the scientific method not daring to examine its definition. By refusing to think about intelligent design and by insisting on tractability, hard science moves right into the never ever land of infinite time. They are forced into a corner where every sentence starts with, "Given enough time," but nobody is really going to wait ten million years before the scientist gives up evolving apple into orange. Applying scientific methods to make breakthroughs is a dead end, a showstopper, certainly not an explanation, and never an excuse.
Hard science types are in a bind because they are fighting with facts but must ignore facts that do not support their theories. The fact is that three-body chaotic interactions cannot be emulated on present day machines and this contradicts deterministic gravitation theories we spend taxpayers' money on. The fact is that three-body gravitational interactions do not have a general mathematical solution but this is not taught. What is taught as The Science is that light exerts pressure on mirror this being tantamount to pursuing the perpetual motion machine because the alleged movement of the mirror can go on forever when light bounces between mirrors.
Hard science types are sawing the branch they are sitting on because in the process of denying other people's ideas they deny themselves. They want proofs and because they cannot prove the impressionist painting can be pleasing, they live without it. Fancy flowers? Me? Take two of these and call me in the morning.
Hard science types are in a tough spot because the rest of us no longer believe in self-correction of science. NASA refusal to validate the fact that light cannot impart movement to a mirror is perhaps the most poignant example, for this is going on for decades. The truth of the 64 dollar question jeopardizes their million dollar projects not to mention invalidating a good part of what they were taught in school. It is perhaps more than a point of interest to note that the if-then method of a computer hinges on preexisting knowledge and if-then methods are not and never will be self-improving. Scientist can easily become the defender of dogma and the purveyor of nonsense.
When hundred or more variables interact in a system then such system cannot be tractably described using computer's if-then methods free economic system being but one example. The fact remains that practical quantity of interacting variables cannot be described with present scientific methods and the paradox of science is that the insistence on tractability makes new systems unattainable. Scientific methods can also result in solutions with benefits so narrow they simply miss the mark. Scientific method is not and never has been the only answer. Scientist cannot claim to have brainpower monopoly unless the scientist also claims that only one half of the brain does all the work. Large systems with multiple interactions are the only ones that can facilitate an improvement in the degree of organization because large quantity of relationships is what discovers the most relevant influences.
Maya astronomers used numerical base20 notation that included zero and they were adding numbers like we do today using a carry. Maya astronomers took meticulous measurements of Venus, were the first to figure out that Venus and earth's orbits are interlocked in a ratio, wrote it all down for hundreds of years, and practiced human sacrifices to ward off bad omens that may come with Venus phases. Today, the boogie-men of science pitch a palette of nonexistent all-devouring black holes, dark matter, antiatoms, and pretend-real neutrinos and gravity waves and then the scientist wants funding to "find out more about it" while telling us we cannot get there from here in less than five million years.
Large interacting systems are at times called non-linear systems because the influences between variables have different weights at different levels of interaction. New tools that address these issues are here and these methods do not result in yes-or-no answers the scientist loves to espouse or criticize. Rather, new relationship-measuring tools result in reduction of all possible influences to several diverse priorities that are then managed together to make a new day. It is the breadth of weakly interacting systems that reduce a very large quantity of relationships to those of relevance. Human body is also a non-linear system and intelligent design tools or intelligent relationship tools will be able to select different blends of nutrition or different drugs and doses for different people. Science does well in leveraging existing knowledge but the result is more of something and one can get more of the bad as well. If the scientist cannot take time to understand intelligent design, he or she may have to wait in the dark until new plans are in place.
Government was told in many ways on many occasions to keep out of "do-this-or-else" and keep level that is accountable, playing field. Worse yet, government can take good forward-looking ideas and then give money to NASA to establish new organizations. NASA's advanced concepts, however, result in improved mattresses, slingshot rubber, rip stop nylon, and pretend-real solar sailing. You could enjoy meeting NASA bureaucrat in charge of advanced concepts and tell him his solar sailing is about building perpetual motion machines and you could tell him that laser has no recoil. But what chance does the concept of the conservation of energy have against this bureaucrat with anonymous reviewers at his back? When NASA's advanced systems bureaucrat tells you that reviewers' names are anonymous, he is telling you they've got a good thing going and that you may as well go away. He is telling you he listens to them and you cannot change that. It takes a while, at this juncture about forty years, and not unlike the Berlin wall it is going to fall. Eventually something nasty such as the 9/11 happens and questions should be asked and acted upon if we don't want to be in the internal police business. Looking for dead to make into heroes is what Russians do best when bureaucrats cannot do much of anything straight. In this country, such bureaucrats certainly should not do more of the same anyplace else.
With eighty percent of NASA going to heavy lifting, harnessing quantum mechanics of gravitation puts NASA out of business. Government may not succeed in putting NASA out of business but once it happens the government will do quite well in adapting to it.
The R Word, Finally
It is easy enough to get down on Canada for not screening immigrants as to their purposes and aims. It is also easy to presume that professionals who know and value due process run FBI. We have, after all, a decent system with checks and balances through judicial court's rules of evidence and cross-examination, and we know that the down side of sifting through hearsay is much detail work at some expense. There also was some consternation regarding the paper trail in Arab states because, well, good and bad money is intermingled.
When INS botched up their visa granting process, George W finally said INS needs a reform and this is the first time our chief executive used the word reform in possibly a decade. The good news is that INS previously turned down a new bunch of computers to help them with their post 9/11 work because the computer in and of itself is a leveraging agent rather than the agent of change. Somebody already knows there cannot be just more of the same and, thankfully, spinning the problem with more computers or more personnel is not on the agenda.
George W has declared war on terrorism but to make it a success a good number of reforms are needed in such core areas as law enforcement, independent accounting, NASA, and the whole physics science funding. It is not possible to extend our influence on others without having better systems to lean on and better systems to offer. Five of the last six presidents could not and did not make much headway because their idea of influence projection is to lash out, pull back, and hope for the change. President Reagan is the exception because he started with a domestic reform.
Aristotle searched for all things causal. The trouble with causal-only thinking is that one needs bigger and bigger things to prevail over smaller things. Alexander The Great was his talented pupil and he followed such philosophy so well it all nicely fell apart in the end. Expansion without improved organization is not only ridiculous but it can lead to an outcome that is worse in the end than at the beginning. The success of the war on terrorism starts at home; not by asking what each can give, not by asking tolerance of others, but by asking how much we can improve. Easier said than done, for the bureaucrats at NASA compete on the size of their budgets while the projects that cannot succeed get the spin.
If there are bits and pieces of Aristotelian logic sitting right-of-center, the question that comes up is whether or not we are ready now. The thing is that the expansion and the reforms must happen together because the context and the system are interlinked. Afghanistan and Pakistan, for instance, can begin to understand the concepts of religious freedom among different Muslim factions in the context of the separation of religion and state. For our part, we need to disengage our own governmental bodies from financing exploits that are based on nonexistent properties of light also in the context of the separation of beliefs and state.
Light's presumed ability to exert pressure on mirror makes about 50% of physics research funding into guaranteed losers because pretend-real properties of light also extend to dead end neutrino research and pretend-real gravity wave research. Twenty-year unwillingness to accept the fact that light is different shows that beliefs and possibly corruption are getting their say in our government. One does not need to get into Medusa mythology or Jung's mirror analogies to see that the unwillingness to invalidate light's pressure on mirror points to fundamental shortcomings of present day physics.
Reform is more about leadership than it is about pain. Rather than taking out only the wrongs, leadership is about reorganizing systems while bringing fundamentals to your side. Thanks, INS and Andersen, we needed that!
HyperFlight Editorial March 2002
Make You Own Platform
University publishers seek author exposure in magazines for their newly released work. New York's Natural History magazine - in the context of the World Trade Center tragedy - provided a pride ride into New York's past and future links with the stars of the universe. All nicely tied together with pictures of murals, mosaics, and sculptures, several authors were grouped with articles gisting their books.
Academia and university presses pursue their own ideas on space, universe, stars, planets, atoms, and things that go bang in the dark. They sell to each other because they flip each other's hamburgers and they push government sponsored view. Topics about the universe are about our own social order, you understand, because many of us think there is little we understand about the universe and so we may need specialists to tell us what to think. We are gullible enough to believe some balance seeps through the scientific and publicly funded research, but that tends to disperse when we realize Natural History magazine is really an in-flight magazine that is supposed to give us something distracting to chew on. Nonetheless, it is one thing to regurgitate silly ideas about big bang and quite another to find out that something went wrong with the orbit while the guy on watch had no clue a thing like that could possibly happen.
2001 university science topics concerning the universe are in a couple of categories. The first one is that explosions happen someplace else and even there bad things happen long after your mortgage is paid up. The second one is that you cannot get anywhere from here and so you may as well be resigned to what the academics tell you. The first category allows the researcher to tell you about things from a safe distance. In the second category the expert tries to get you connected with simpleton concepts such as a calculator that does not have enough zeros to signify what is going on. This is about as potent a tool as saying that going around in circles takes a long time. When the bandwagon of experts combines both categories, a supernova happens so far away that by the time we see the event it is a non-event. To keep the separation myth going the scientist cannot admit that gravitation is nonlocal and that distance as such may have little to do with many manifestations. One galaxy's axis may be almost the same as another galaxy's axis but this fact is ignored, for even the happenstance explanation is rather lame. The most delirious logic is the part where 'if we cannot get there from here, they cannot get here from there.' You are safe and sound at a minor expense of sticking your head in the sand.
Overall, 2001 university publications on cosmos are a downer and a collective pointer to the lack of science leadership. Mathematical equation is shorthand for logic and, you guessed it, an equation cannot improve on it. Bandwagon promises leverage and it appears helpful to quote this guy or that theory that supports your proposals; yet leverage works both ways. All partnerships and deals add up negative when the foundation is vapors. Bandwagon reduces risk for the bureaucrat but the resulting value becomes marginalized. On the negative side, bandwagon's "them vs. us = bad vs. good" group-think has no inherent correcting mechanism and the emperor ends up with no clothes. When we deny daylight to simple physics experiments because the result does not click with present bandwagon mentality then bad things will happen right here because the bandwagon no longer represents a credible and positive force.
New York tragedy is a call for fresh approach that is not only about new ideas but about new leadership as well. A former baseball player wrote the only one of the many stories that made sense when he finished it with "it's the ninth dimension, stupid!" He can tell the clueless scientist is somewhere in left field looking for a ball under a light post.
You want to buy a book if you think it gives New York a boost but you may want to do some work before putting that book on your coffee table. It may turn out you have no need for nonexistent goop of dark matter, you may not want to furnish a cave with tax dollars looking for pretend-real neutrinos, and you will know that nonexistent black holes are doing something funny to someone else's head.
The idea is that you can figure things out and have a grand time working the universe, here or there.
NASA's Dumb Science
Marketing guys at a publishing company thought the hip way of reading and learning is to put the reader at the lowest common denominator when they published the ..for Dummies series of books. Much like the preacher who claims we are all sinners the day we were born, the idea is that the consumer's got nowhere to go but up.
Here comes NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts, which is supposed to deal with advanced concepts but they claim they are about revolutionary breakthrough systems. NIAC does not shy away from financing solar sailing, which has nothing to do with breakthroughs or advanced systems or advanced concepts or a scientific revolution and, on top of it all, solar sailing does not work. In NASA's eyes, science for dummies is not popular science but a treatment of taxpayers as dummies for as long as it takes.
The 200 year old equation that purports to show light's ability to put pressure on mirror would yield 0.01g acceleration for a 35 pound reflecting object using hold on to your hats one gigawatt of laser power. If you think this is worth your dollar then an experiment should be done to confirm it. But that is where the dummy part comes in. NASA will do all kinds of developments and all kinds of experiments except direct laser at a mirror. There is work underway to construct a large telescope in space which needs minute adjustments to work properly with, you guessed it, lasers placing pressure on various mirrors. So far, NASA's JPL sponsored two experiments that are in the validation category, but neither of them involve mirrors. One used custom carbon sail irradiated by microwaves and was inconclusive hats off to its authors. The other experiment also used carbon sail, this time irradiated by laser, and while its author claims success the basic insanity of the whole thing is that if you pump hundreds of kilowatts of power into a chamber and turn it into heat, you can prove any minutia you want. In the second case the client was the USAF and it looks like these guys want something positive in their reports to tidy them over for now. Apparently the WPAFB personnel do not have enough on the ball to take advantage of the truth that is, since light does not impart momentum to a mirror, laser on the ground or in space has no recoil. In both experiments the sails heated up to where most metals melt and much of the report dealt with explaining how little the heat influenced the results. None of the experimenters got down to basics by targeting a mirror with little generated heat because they are getting paid for applying equations while ignoring the validity of the equations.
Light cannot exert pressure on mirror because if light has real momentum we could make a perpetual motion machine by bouncing light between two mirrors and then extracting free work from the movement of the mirrors. Dark paddle on the light mill toy recedes from light because light is absorbed as heat and neighboring air molecules move the paddle as they bounce faster with increased heat. Sure enough, fully evacuated light mill stops rotating and never can and never does reverse direction.
Is our science of physics on the rocks? You can bet on it. Chasing neutrinos is yet another 100 million down the dry hole and the pinhead science keeps going after your wallet with the gravitational wave measurement. Is it incompetence or a fraud to apply a 200 year old equation in space mirror laser pressure that has never been tested? Or is this someplace in Russia where the management always has a higher and deeper and unquestionable insight on things? Academia, for its part, gladly fights for their impotent equations rather than coming up with new ones. The realization that photon cannot push a mirror is at the heart of the transformation.
Breakthrough science NIAC likes to talk up is best reflected in projects they finance. Another selection is a giant rubber tether with massive counterweight that is supposed to hitch a payload from low orbit and sling it hard to someplace in deep space. The best part, though, is that NIAC management thinks breakthrough technology gets delivered to them by email and the anonymous reviewers just pick the best match for their agenda. Because this agenda is a convolved mixture of wishes, beliefs, and power, NASA continues on its path of state sponsored religion. Rubber is as close to flubber as NASA gets to breakthrough travel.
Working It Through
About a year ago, and for some even earlier than that, the nasty red bloody nuke communist has morphed into a terrorist. The National enemy number one are a new group of people who, perhaps not surprisingly, are just as ruthless as commies used to be. Most of us remember just fine that communist states proliferated nuclear weapons and included biological, chemical, and mind altering drugs in their arsenal. Without thinking twice about it, Czechoslovakia sold enough plastic explosive to Libya to bring down ten thousand airplanes.
Our papers and magazines took on the challenge of defining terrorism because it makes sense to think we would defeat terrorism by putting it in focus. In about a week the efforts to define the terrorist faltered and withered. That ex-spy Putin was on record as wanting to kill Chechens in their latrines; Israelis dispense with both the courts and the military tribunals; Christians were open game when Romans enforced the order; and IRA likes to put bombs in shopping centers at Christmas time and phase it so that the second explosion hits at the rescuers.
After some additional consternation we may proposition that the recent increase of organized terror has also a lot to do with the moral corruption of law enforcement, here and there. The outcome of this battle, then, may have little to do with the dismantling of tens or perhaps hundreds of organized terrorist cells.
There is one good part to the September eleven large-scale manifestation of terrorism. The effort to break the drug trade and to break the oil cartel was beginning to work. The overt strike at the US is the escalation of conflicts of the illicit drug and the monopolistic oil business, where, believe it or not, the bad guys got cornered. Some even advance the notion that the cartel cannot find surrogate regimes to do their dirty enforcement work.
Fundamentally we cannot justify terrorism because we are leaders. We define democracy by the way we live it. Usually we join with others because we want to do it together by desire and not by necessity. For us to succeed we teach and live due process. When we screw it up we admit it, fix it or pay for it, and go on. We live honestly among ourselves first. If you think you need George W to define evil for you, then the couch and the potato are one and the same. If you think you need mass media to define heroism for you then you did not read your job description.
Militarily we deny comfort to the enemy. Since direct control is not the final solution to us, we may need to think through and work through the scenario where the management of natural resources goes to the most able rather than the most ruthless. In the final analysis the solution is economic. Land boundaries have weakened not because of an external force but because people want to get to know and accommodate each other for mutual benefit.
Are the terrorists on their last leg? Is our law enforcement motivated by its own self-interest so much that strikes against us or against each other become a foregone conclusion? It is to the large extent both. As we start the New Year we can look at some recent happenings and see where we stand:
"FBI admitted they botched up a call made to their office" -- Small, may be significant. Many problems are still waiting to come out. If not, this whole org may have to be reworked.
"Immunex acquired by another biotech company" -- May not seem exciting but the acquisition is directed at growth rather than being a defensive retrenchment.
"Saudis say the mullah who participated in Bin Laden interview is not welcomed in Saudi" -- Not-our-problem attitude of a privileged percept shows Saudis still think they will pass the buck in more ways than one. Warlord special for all CIA kids: Get to know Saudis without paperwork; you feel good and they keep the rest.
"Russia does not join in controlling the supply of oil" -- Possibly a leadership move if they think it is good for their economy rather than just to spite someone.
"NASA thinks solar sail can be funded even though it does not work" -- Professors who are willing to discuss solar sailing become mum when the discussion turns to solar sailing actually not working. Real physics is, well, not on their agenda. Tenure leads to politics, now that free speech is in the Constitution. Leaving college behind may be a smart move not limited to the likes of Bill Gates. And if you are tempted to submit proposals where the scholarly reviewers are anonymous, you may want to figure out that such process is about power and not much else.
If you are still trying to define terrorism or communism, it is about power and not much else.
Update on Solar Sailing below (November Ed)
Order of PC Battle
Every few months there is good time to talk about personal computing while taking the technology and marketing angle. We can agree that the pleasure gaming market always pulled the PC on ahead because giving your old PC to your kids just does not work: Games bring the PC down to its knees in the first place. The gaming pull is so fierce PCs are not able to keep pace and a separate gaming market is getting even more separate with the Xbox. Market segmentation into PC and Gaming products, then, points to the computing growth in general. Staying with the PC, there are three technologies that are ready for tighter PC integration: Flash memory, USB home network, and multi-level logic.
Flash memory is coming in big time because its electronic speed is coupled with nonvolatile storage. Whatever removable disks were good for, flash memory can cover that at the present capacity of about 128 Meg and do it with the media the size of postage stamp. Floppy disk demise is not happening because flash memory applications are so overwhelming nobody even cares about replacing floppy disks. At 50 cents per Meg today, flash memory medium is competitive with CD ROM at about 8 Meg retail payload. To threaten CDs at 50% of CD markets, flash memory needs to get to about one tenth of its present cost while doubling its single-media capacity. In PCs, flash memory should become the storage for the operating system thus bringing PCs to life just about instantly. Did somebody say reboot? Consumer should get the opportunity to buy flash memory and replace as much disk memory as is his subjective need for speed. It is likely that flash-resident programs will give PCs superior responsiveness and much-improved feel because the turbo lag is gone. Maybe, just maybe, flash memory will save the handheld PCs from being absorbed by the cell phone.
U in USB stands for Universal but this network's main strength is that its speed is maximized at the expense of distance. This is dandy for P as in Personal because we do not need to run networks throughout the factory and office floors. Ethernet guys really missed out on this one, putting their Ethernet network adapters in higher priced PCs and not bothering to come up with a personal version of the Ethernet. Now, we may as well say that the U in USB stands for ubiquitous. USB is best visualized as a burst of nodes where each node can be a printer, flash memory storage, or another PC. Now that USB and flash memory are together, the corporate PC guy may be limited to writing and shredding CD ROMs while the home PC guy just reuses flash memory. To obsolete 90% of CD-writing applications, we need 64 Meg flash memory media for under $2 in quantity.
Multi-level logic has been kicked around as long as computers have been around because people take cues from their fingers and work with ten symbols for a while now. Computer appears degraded in some way because the two-symbol computer is a Morse key typist. While giving more symbols to the processor is difficult, it is getting less difficult to give multiple symbols to transmission lines. When it comes to from-to transfer of data, here is where the bottlenecks are anyway. New technology can place many symbols on a single wire and the benefit to PCs is that the number of wires between chips decreases while throughput increases. Leaving the best for last, multi-symbol technology can be used inside memory chips for address decoding and, finally, we can attack the last and the most persistent pain in the computing bottleneck.
Update on solar sail. Last month's editorial took on NIAC, a NASA affiliate, because NIAC finances solar sailing that in actuality does not work. In the latest contact, NIAC simply said that light's pressure on mirror is so obvious no direct experiment needs to be performed to confirm it because light pressure was confirmed many times. Well, light pressure has been presumed many times but never experimentally confirmed. Quick survey at NIAC resulted in a categorical statement that: "All physicists at NIAC believe that light does exert pressure on mirror." So there. How lazy can the government scientist get? These eggheads can go on for three decades working the light sailing fantasy in their heads and nobody asks them to take their swell idea and prove it in the lab? If you think this is happening at some offbeat NASA branch, hold out for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, for JPL is big into solar sailing now and for a long time. Russians, appearing in the know, are hopping on the light sailing bandwagon because Russians are always looking for an ideological bandwagon. Russian military launched a rocket with solar sail payload and presumably private US support yet the payload release failed. It is easier to explain failed launch than failed concept. Maybe get another free launch, Bunky?
It is said Einstein called light's behavior schizophrenic. It is easy to pass the buck on Mother Nature, especially when one does not look in the mirror. The most amusing part, however, is the arrogance with which government scientists deal with the solar sail issue. Light's pressure on mirror has become a belief much removed from science. That is why one runs into the arrogance and how this matter is now more about power than anything else. The belief itself is defined by the lack of desire to confirm the hypothesis and we are getting into state sponsored religion, no doubt about it.
When you blend anonymous and secret peer reviews with simpleton approach to antimatter, neutrinos, and intractability the mix of hell-potent ingredients is gonna blow, while, or because, the NSA pays the blind believers to lead them out of the dark.
The Pro in Prophet is About Economics
There is this thing called NIAC, an organization that is supposed to stand for NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts. They got money from Senators because doing advanced things for the country ought to be encouraged. Money is awarded based on a review by a secret committee. The advantage of a secret bunch of guys is that there is no one to blame, no one to hold accountable and, best of all, you can throw the advanced concepts out of the window as well.
NIAC talks advanced all right. They even claim that developing new materials is way too pedestrian for them. When we look at their reports, however, NIAC finances solar sail research in 1999 and in 2001, happily referencing the manufacture of plastic wrap sheets along with ten-year-old rip-stop advancements. Fourteen pages of equations along with fourteen scientific references can give solar sailing a life of its own - that is, space borne light-pushing sail provides good living for many even though the whole thing is without merit. The best part, however, is that the whole space light sail business is a fraud going back to 1970s.
The fiery preacher's bible is always at the ready to dispense the dose of righteousness, and the scientist does the same thing with equations. There is no better way of keeping the donations flowing than referring to, say, two hundred year old Maxwell tensor equations that just might do a miracle. To hell with Bell's experiments if NIAC secret appropriation committee for breakthroughs gets away with deferring to the good ol' theoretical equations - while the management is in on the game and never asks for the $64 proof.
It is not a question of making the scientist repent or proclaim that it ain't so, because the problem is in the management. If you have enough on the ball to seriously think about scientific advancements, you will never defer to theoreticals that do not need to remain theoretical. Yet these are only the mechanics. Scientific advancements need people with common sense and practical bend, not people saddled with old equations that make them feel comfy hugging trees, righteous of their credentials, and ready to exchange credit for funding.
In fact, you are in on great fraud-in-progress observations, courtesy of NIAC arrogance. In NIAC's latest 2001 perpetuation of its solar sail let's-pretend-it-works schema, NIAC is financing yet another light pushing sail nonsense called High-Acceleration Laser Sail. This time, there is also a promise that the concept can be tested. Well, the concept could have been tested ever since higher power lasers were introduced, say, in 1960s. But that brings us back to the front row seats of the great fraud-in-progress status. The light-pushing sail in space poppycock is working so well for NASA that they just cannot bring themselves to drop it and it will keep unfolding right in front of us. What NASA can do in the latest light pushing sail is to (1) drop the test from the work, or (2) do it in the air so that we get the light mill effect and NASA could claim that it works, even though we know it can never work in space vacuum.
If you think some secondary good is going to come of it - it will not. There is no value in yet another theoretical study on which plastic reflects light which way - with flawed equations to boot. If you think the fraud thing is exaggerated, then consider that we are dealing not only with fraudulent science but also with crude management and business practices. NIAC blabbers on about antimatter while having no fundamental understanding of the antimatter topic and no clue on what this thing does and does not do. We are, then, dealing with a loss of leadership in space and aviation, and with busy work that generates little or no economic value yet perpetuates a lot of nonsense and some careless exposures. What we are missing is a multitude of new discoveries that are based on new and dramatically different properties of light that should not remain suppressed because of NASA's self perpetuating self aggrandizement. Public announcements regarding the financing of physical concepts that are clearly false - light sail being just one - is turning taxpayers money into a tool for economic self-destruction. Politicians may think we'll make the other guy implode, but that can happen only if we have economic self-improvement vitality, which NASA just does not have.
It is said Galileo could not persuade some people to peer through his new telescope. It is likely these people thought their status would not allow them to follow Galileo's suggestions and, besides, they thought they had the power of decision on what stays and what goes. The Catholic Church became a shell game with doctrines and unforgiving hierarchies. The reason NASA is destined to become just a shell is because the space sail project is but one of too many projects that is more about the one-upmanship of money extraction and little about the transfer of science into our economy.
Finally, a vote of approval goes to Boston's mayor Menino, for this guy got tired of FBI telling him to watch for the bad guys, and then watch for some more bad guys. It takes a practical guy to see that the information that is passed on to the city without added value is not only a waste, but also that it is coming from redundant minds. With the Boston mayoral elections coming up, Menino gets the vote. Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood fielded four junior soccer teams in this year's Mayor's Cup - thanks largely to the second community house on the Hill.
As it is happening right now, Europe is coming together as .. something. Long torn by internal disagreements and wars, it seemed just a few years ago that Europe was together only by its geographical designation. To say that one was from Europe meant that it took a week to get to the US by boat and not much else. It is the US that is the melting pot of the world and that was that. Now, Europe is beginning to assert itself as a unified body.
As an organized entity, Europe would be on par with the US and, using this site's terminology, the computable state will be that of a two-body system. Shoulder to shoulder is not the best analogy here because the two body system is not about greater linear momentum or larger mass. We know that the three body system is chaotic and any entity such as Japan, China, or Russia will have much difficulty joining in on par unless we move to another computable system that of one-body system derived from galactic topology. The galactic system has its own linear-angular momentum exchange cohesion and that is how the entire assembly remains computable. Although no dark matter keeps the galaxy from flying apart, the prevailing Western belief in dark matter calls for some work in this area.
All religions hold themselves up to be the one, true, and the right way to salvation. The path to righteousness or enlightenment can be rudely interrupted because no formula guarantees things do work out. Pious attitude, subservience, offerings, loyalty, prayers, proper dress, or charity may or may not work all of the time. The result, then, is that religions tend to exclude each other. Orthodox Islam and other orthodox religions do not coexist easily with others and this mindset results in tightly interwoven one-body entity, that of a piece of a rock that has negligible cultural linkages to others, while having its computable environment through deep faith and physical collisions. Similar situation arose in communist states where party members took care of their business with the active and institutionalized exclusion of everybody else.
Working against exclusion is a great American tradition. Although private or religious entities can pursue their own agenda, they still cannot label others as infidels. Duality is the essence of organization and growth, and, technically, the Islamic tradition must move into and stay in the virtual domain where all religions exist in superposition, while the secular state takes charge of the laws that apply equally to all people. Egypt and Turkey made that transition and these are the only two, Iran failing recently. The separation and coexistence of faith and state is the fundamental duality and this is not advocated here just for Islam, because the state of Israel does not have such separation either. Duality is advocated here for all religions because any religion will strike out at others, fair or not; Tibetan Buddhism being one significant exception. In the US we have an excellent example in the witches of Salem trials where religious expediency of good and evil quickly led to injustice and violence, best intentions of a new life in new land notwithstanding. Europe has examples of religious violence at just about every corner of every city. Europe was a deeply divided continent for fifteen hundred years and, in a way, the strengthening of Europe does not bode well for Islam, for it can be propositioned that Islam prospered when Europe suffered. The unification of Western Europe is, therefore, most remarkable. In East European and Russian mind there continues to be much hesitation when it comes to creating commerce because the fruit of one's labor is so easy to steal or destroy.
In Islam, the religious aspect continues to be the military aspect because that is how it was set up and that is how Islam made its extraordinary historical gains. The fundamental mechanism here is the sudden appearance of mass transitioning from virtual to real, which can, just as suddenly transition back to virtual. It is a fairly powerful mechanism if the size, place and direction of the appearing mass results in chaos. Historically, the succession of power is by force, dating back to 2000 BC Sumer Valley, and the victor attributes his success to providence. There is no right-wrong aspect to it since it is a full commitment and there is careful preparation and meditation conjunctive with the survey of the lay of the land. The providence aspect is that one needs to be "one with the lay of the land" to take it. Building of a mosque on top of other religious structures is the ancient spin of present day advertising or politics when one tries to attach other people's accomplishments to one's own.
In the US we attack each other through courts. Company with high profits or assets is targeted and after a court battle the penalties may be extracted. Tobacco, breast implants, and guns being the most recent examples of battles that place US as extractor rather than as creator. Lawyers lay low until a particular industry or a company appears weak. One side relies on empowered citizens to keep things in perspective, while the opposing attorneys count on disfranchisement to send someone a message with a hefty fee to match. In our ambitious pursuit we bet our job, but not primarily other people's lives. When a judge compares a business person to Napoleon Bonaparte, it is a good example of how politics cloud our judicial system. Poor judgments, however, can be reversed.
It takes no seer to understand present conflicts. Technologies have taken their course while the Islamic states are mostly passive owners. Technology is about organization and organization is about depth and breadth. The foundation of middle class ownership works well here while the Islamic culture did not keep pace. More likely, middle class and diversity is not considered a necessity if you can divert the disenchanted to attack someone else a classic pre-WWI situation. Islamic state-only and faith-only governments diligently exclude each other fearing armed succession while being acutely aware that oil is what keeps them together. Neither of them evolved the concept of free speech, all have token internal and external sports competition, and all are largely closed to outsiders.
Regardless of how one defines success, the fall of Constantinople is directly linked to the exploration of alternate trading routes to the East, which resulted in financing of Columbus' voyage. In time, the Indian continent's original cultures were largely saved and reorganized, full credit to the British; yet the continent is collecting some critical mass now. Being focused on one area gives rise to other opportunities and Indonesia is worth watching. The plunder of Central and South American cultures put Spain in decline from which it has not recovered.
US and Europe can help in moving and keeping the faith in the virtual domain while leveraging the concurrency of diverse cultures, for this is a matter of necessary evolution to us. Cultures, in turn, must keep the government accountable. Given that so few people saw Waco as a case of gross incompetence shows that we have some more work to do. FBI lost its prestige when working cooperatively with organized crime. Through Waco FBI lost its credibility, good will and thus effectiveness so much it may have to be reconstituted. On the positive side, the case of the Cuban boy refugee shows our populace is no slouch. It is not clear how successful our efforts will be with the Islamic faith because the Islam faith continues to be held up as the one and the only one and it is not likely their overt military formula will be discarded because it simply transits to virtual. In the absence of the Islamic middle class, it is likely that even if alternate sources of energy are developed, Islamic militancy will continue because, historically, the cup is neither half full nor half empty, but the cup can be broken in some way. The unification of Europe, then, should be seen as an event that is coming together despite the external stimuli that are bent on playing the individual pieces against each other.
The fearsome Afghan warrior would not last a week in New York City, overt or covert. One way trips are not suited for him either because Afghanistan is where young bullies come to fight for their place on the pyramid. If you have just relaxed a bit, you are not done yet. There is one hell of a difference between a new world order and a new world leadership.
On the House!
What is this thing called the ethicist? Is it a new spin job or is it just another will-of-the-people non-elected official? Is it a conglomerated and homologated term for all touchy-feely priests and mullahs we run to when we run out of our wits? As in "Father, my wife is acting strange. I think she has been bewitched (by someone else)! What should I do?" Did we all get blindsided with the stem-cell that can grow some goods for a corporation or a university?
George W does the mumbo with the jumbo Texas flies streaking in the background. The chief government exec does what he thinks will do well for the country and make the genetic code into a general resource with public and taxpayer backing. Unfortunately, when new terminology is mixed in with the ethics, we are witnessing a campaign for a change because we do not want to say what is really obvious: Wholesale genetic robbery is upon us.
It is well established that if you do not protect your secret sauce secret, it can slip into the public domain and in public domain the owner has no recourse. Yet you do not need to guess hard that GenCorp will patent their results with your genes, screaming all the way to the bank that this is the only way for them to finance the whole gene-whiz. You know genetic plants are being patented in a roundabout way of animal feed, even thought no patent can technically exist on people foodstuff. Working the legal angle, no animal feed should be allowed a patent if such animals are bread and fed for mostly human consumption.
Our job, then, is to say that the US Constitution does not allow government to search and seize without adjudication and, sure enough, this includes inanimate property and living things and intangibles as well. From the copyright law standpoint, genetic research is cut and dry: Get the owner's permission or do your business at peril. Get with it. Today's computer can tell us who and where bought what when and how much. It is easy enough to register your genes as yours, and keep track of who is using them and how many times. In other words, you can, should, and could be in charge.
Since the things we want do not happen by themselves most of the time, there are some things we want to do. On a larger scale, we cannot groan about illegally copied software in China if we stand ready to rob our own populace of its own tangible and intangible heritage. Closer to home, though, there is a precedent in The Actor's Guild. These guys, Ronald Reagan among them, fought and got royalties for reprints, re-releases and rebroadcasts -- colorized, computer enhanced, or animated. It is not purely a question of money, for you can ask for conditions GenetiMatic Corp will not be willing to sign up to. We are also ready to hear the old come-ons the likes of "If you don't let us use your genes (or acting talent), we will find somebody else who will." Some of us should start practicing how to smile politely, for no gene is created equal. Here is where we part with the actors analogy, for even the lousy genes can be in demand.
The structure is in place, but we will need to take the initiative. When you submit a sample of your blood or tissue, add 'All Rights Reserved' or 'Proprietary' to your name. Proprietary and Confidential must come together. Confidentiality is fine but you do not want the labs to think they can sell your genetic info as long as it remains anonymous -- with supposedly general information such race, gender, age, health history, .. Quite the opposite. Genetic stuff must be linked to the owner in a confidential manner and your conditions need to tag along. From the other end, GenieMagic cannot handle any genetic stuff without trace-ability to the owner. There is no doubt we can manage our genes better than government can manage our genes.
Welcome to new age computing. You do not want to be mad and righteous, just made right.
These skateboarders may seem to some as a real nuisance. Not only can these guys hurt pedestrians but they hurt themselves as well. What an easy way to get on a soap box about the right and the wrong way to do things. What an easy way to tell others how to live. No skateboarding allowed on this block police take notice. Done. No need to come out and talk to these guys. Just post the damn sign and the peace will take care of itself.
Whoa. Merchants a while back moaned about generation X because, frankly, they could not set the hook in them. The Xers were doing their thing their way, would you believe it? Now, although the X-guys folded nicely into the .com rush, the skateboarders are not joining the second wave. Despite the general economic upbeat, they not only do their own thing but they are winning their own way.
It started in Vermont, in all places, when this guy Burton ticks everybody off with his snowboarding a decade ago. The now-old kids fought for public seashore beaches in the sixties, and Burton fought for access to the ski slopes in the nineties. Differentiation, the most fundamental aspect of creating a brand out of a commodity, got lost on Vermonters. Perhaps they feared the established base would erode, but the new takes a bite out of the old no matter what and it is the net increase that's worth watching. The whole thing degenerated into a tug of war of preserving the good life rather than looking after a new business opportunity. After all, these snowboarders were wearing these terribly drab gray and brown and long loose clothing and soft boots. In case you did not notice, in the last skiing season the mainstream equipment clothing were terribly drab and the snowboarders have won.
In summertime the board gets wheels and it is time to conquer new territories. Do different staircases, unusual rails and bumps with style. It is truly enjoyable to watch the skills and the partnership of these guys. But that is not half of it. What is outstanding about it is the road these guys traveled. All the signs at city hall that say go away, break your leg someplace else, don't bother me. Skateboarders will no doubt be running for the office one day and here is where the next milestone comes from: We need a new city hall in Boston. Literally. The present hall is a concrete nightmare with brick fortification redoubt walls running three layers deep in places, a medieval idea of a debtor's prison rather than a city hall. What we need is a nifty quarter or half pipe going straight up to the mayor's window. The rest of the bureaucrats can do just fine working underground while the plaza is for the enjoyment of those who can organize and create new things in face of adversity.
Meanwhile, don't worry about the established order. They are sleeping at the switch thinking basketball will be forever popular. Higher something gets, the flanks get weak and only the alert outsiders notice. Just as sugared soda soars to 90% of the market and a new entry becomes impossible, there come in new and different drinks like firestorm. Ditto for energy drinks. Do you think they know how to sell the new gaming boxes? Do you think they know there can be no glitches in the matrix just real smooth real action?
Meanwhile, keep on creating. New creations enable you to lead rather than to bargain for a commodity.
Some Old Scuds
Defense. It has such a nice ring to it. Just about every country has had the Ministry of War or the War Department, but that name has changed once we learned that wars are not won by a mere call from the supreme commander. It is perhaps more than a tradition to say that we let the other guy fire the first shot. Why, pray tell, would a country such as France object strenuously to US missile defense?
One cannot put forth a case for scrapping missile defense without proposing US to become a policeman. A critique of the missile defense should also answer such lame pronouncements as "We sold North Korea some old scuds and they just made it better," or "Missiles we sold to China were not developed with US money."
A big thick wall is an epitome of defense. A real wall, though, is an eye sore regardless of its architectural embellishments and an argument can be made that a wall is there to keep things in rather than to keep the bad stuff out. France's Sun King would surely be the first to agree that organization prevails over walls and moats, with or without crocodiles. Is it true, then, that the French can sip their wine in peace only if they have their or other missiles pointing at the vulnerable USA? Pure water is fine but pure defense is not? Everybody now, how belligerent can anyone get!
There are no editorials in any of the newspapers or magazines that would at least advance some theories on why our allies suddenly got the jitters. Why would missile defense be destabilizing and lead to arms race if the total number of long range missiles and bombers in the US were going down? Did we really get used to mutually assured destruction and cannot let go? Should we get suckered into discussions where the other guy has a right to inflict serious damage on us?
The answer is simpler than we think but we will need a bit of honesty to get there. Arms business. We all do it and we all hustle for it. To get the business, you must show that your system is better than the other one and that it will not be defeated easily. Did somebody say obsolete?
Get with it. Workable missile defense puts a crimp on arms exports, including the exports of our allies. Downing a missile in flight means we don't care if the French or Russian or North Korean or Israel or PRC missile know-how somehow appears in Pakistan. What the US missile defense does is what US leadership is all about: "Let the other guy do what he thinks he's gotta do."
We do not need the follower logic of the previous administration that saw reason in paying inducements into a corrupt Russian system under the fear of weapons proliferation, yet could not see the leadership dimensions of the missile defense for this country. Russians offered their supersonic technology and it is likely the Clinton administration got giddy over something the Russians stole in the first place.
It will take a lot of smarts to develop and operate the defense system. All indications are that there is some cool science coming. It is time to bring past memories into the open because our score is way up unless you need the grudge to keep existentialism cooking past the puberty of your constituents. It is also time for the other guy to figure out he has few choices but to change his attitude from military-first to commercial-first.
Maybe, say, treat a neighbor as a neighbor?
Get Your Ars to Mars
Arnold Schwartzenegger read his lines well when he ordered himself in no uncertain terms to go back to Mars. Reality, deceit, and wishful thinking are so tightly convoluted in Deep Recall, that for a while the audience, the hero, the enforcers, as well as the spinmasters can only guess which way is up. The suspense of this movie stems partly from the script where everybody can influence and determine the final outcome.
Are we ready to go to Mars? Is there money to be found without a race to the finish since there are no competitors selling strategic advantages to their governments? Duh, the bad guys terrorists, drug smugglers, and corrupt cops and pols are here on earth. Is it, then, enough to say that we'll bring along some hardy moss to kick off terraforming? Perhaps we can say that Mars would make a great penal colony!
So far, NASA media releases are for a go but, unfortunately, the context is so bland there is a real danger for the whole thing becoming just a job rather than a challenge. Pork of science, the bureaucracy of budgets and contract awards. We may hear something about technology gains and some plausibly sterilized history of our solar system, but all the man's destiny talk will not put us over the critical mass without some significant technological breakthroughs right up front.
The present NASA mindset talks about breakthroughs but cannot manage them, for such management calls for several possibly contradictory avenues of pursuit to be happening at the same time. Equations cannot sideline simple experiments, for a scientist can pen an equation just as easily as the Hollywood writer can produce plausible scrip. If we have to wait for the present favorites to wither away then the coming breakthroughs will have nothing to do with NASA. It would not be guts or desperation but indeed it would be leadership to say that an experiment will be carried out to determine if laser light can push a mirror. Until that happens, we know that NASA is hustling for life-support on old projects, not for breakthroughs that may open up new growth.
One of the breakthrough technologies, according to NASA, is a slingshot that hooks an orbiting payload from a higher orbit and, like grand suspenders, swings the payload on its way. Besides being rather pedestrian, the lack of knowledge of high school angular momentum physics does not seem to bother anyone. A while back a cable break of a satellite being reeled out of the shuttle could have been predicted if somebody just looked at the issues of angular momentum. The dark conclusion is that NASA is looking for ideas under the academia light post, for this is where their breakthrough money is going. When it comes to Mars, the academic path will set us on yearlong journeys, which, in effect, means that we would be spending money on infrastructure of self-sustenance for that period. Watch that appendix Bunky and sign the standard form here that says you can be ejected in a space bag if you don't make it.
There are two breakthrough candidates that will move Mars closer for the earthlings: Instantaneous communication and quantum mechanical gravity engine. Until these breakthroughs happen, we are not going to Mars unless we expect to get our ars in a slingshot.
The Rules of Engagement
Many a times we take the rules for their literal meaning. Rules, one may believe, do not change. If they do, all parties are to understand what's OK and what is not - that is, the rules are written down. Yet, oftentimes the engagement happens with purposefully vague rules. This can make for an exciting game of cricket, which, although played with hard balls, is not about losing one's life.
There was the Waco thing where the surrendered parties were not going to get their day in court. The unwritten rule is that federal agents died and that is that - an eye for an eye. Nobody is supposed to argue about the use of excessive force or about circumstances or about the motive. It is said that Alexander the Great gave a couple of opportunities to his opponents to give up the fort and when that did not happen all defenders were summarily dispatched. Indeed, American citizens were under undeclared Martial law for close to a decade.
The unabomber thing is also a case to look at, although for a different reason. Here, the FBI could not get their man for years and it was the perpetrator relatives that consciously gave him away. The point here is the destruction of unabomber's cottage, for undoubtedly the FBI did not want the cottage to become a shrine of their incompetence. One needs to appreciate that incompetence manifests with an attack on symbols.
The third thing is the Cuban boy in Florida. Here, the heavy hand of the Government appears to have prevailed over the humanitarian circumstance and the generosity of the American culture. It was nice to see Florida becoming Clinton's Waterloo, for most people do not care for a real Judge Judy, a trashy Big Mother joining the Big Brother.
It is easy enough to blame our pols but it is also up to us to keep things in balance. For example, FBI's crime lab was not certified for years and our mass media did not have the backbone they displayed during the Nixon years.
We have a great help in the Internet. We need, however, strengthen our home base before we can look forward to successes outside. It is time to clean up our own house. Tobacco needs to reclaim the monetary penalties, for tobacco did not break any laws. Microsoft needs to get from under the monopoly charge; giving away a free computer program can never be construed as tie-in bundling, but the charges can be seen for what they are - an attempt at legitimizing blackmail. Ditto for guns. Ditto for bicycles. Bicycles? Sure. Any lawyer can prepare a plausible suit showing in fact that bicycle is the single most dangerous implement there is. Bicycle injuries and deaths are the most of any other piece of sporting equipment out there and bicycling can be argued as being "directed" at our youngsters, now ain't that the truth.
There are no new laws needed to clean things up. Law firms that monetarily support public causes while trying to change the sentiment and statistics in order to collect damages is clearly illegal because they have thus become a party in the litigation: the case of breast implants being an example. Be it greenmail, brownmail, or softmail, it takes a decent, clean, and fair business platform not to look at what you can steal from your neighbor, but what you can earn in the open market.
Lead, Follow, or What?
There was time a while back when Copernicus figured out the sun is really in the middle of it all. The earth until then was in the center and everything else revolved around it. It was not easy to figure things out, for standing on earth the sun moved in a smooth orb and so did the moon. The first hint were the planets that wander across the sky, reversing their direction in a loopy kind of way. The stars were then still stitched on the tapestry of heaven and were not in play.
No big deal, one would say. It certainly was newsworthy, a story to make the day more interesting. The Pope, though, did not take this laying down. The facts are about power, and for some power is about facts.
"Your Eminence," we can hear his executive assistants chiming in, "We know You are the center of the universe and this Coper-nic, this Copper-head is obviously on some kind of a power trip here."
"Well," said the Pope, his hand rising as if to have his ring kissed up some more.
"Your Excellency, we've got the inquisition on the second stage of alert. I took the opportunity of speaking at the unveiling of the new painting of Adam and Eve being evicted from paradise and you can be assured the working folk understand all roads issue from Rome."
"Same ol', same ol'," said the Pope tiredly, closed his eyes, and proceeded to go over the basics. "These heretics are putting strain on our operations. You all are making decent profits building churches and sanctioned enterprises. Now, Michelangelo is working for free for the glory of us all and we just cannot have these Coper-nics put ideas in the heads of his likes." The Pope did not want to be interrupted. "Peasants plant their crops by our lunar calendar. Japanese emperor was much impressed when we foretold the eclipse, hah?"
"We'll burn that sonovabitch," someone shouted.
"Been there, done that," the Pope said, now almost asleep.
"So, what do they want? Construction contract? Food?"
"And if they rebel, we'll let them eat cake," someone trumped.
"Marie Antoinette did that."
"Never heard of her," said the Pope, opening his eyes.
"This Luther guy can split the church right down the middle."
"Never heard of him, either," said the Pope and looked around to see who was speaking with such open heresy.
"I talked to Copernicus, your Prominence. He said building bigger churches and painting bigger saints is as good as building pyramids. Self-aggrandizement he called it. Not good economics, he said."
"How so," said the Pope and rose in his seat. "We've got such a great organization here." The Pope was inspired now and slowly raised his voice. "We've got bright minds working together and are we making profits or what? We are making stuff the likes of which the world has never seen before."
"Same as the pyramids, your Providence."
"Oh, yeah?" The Pope would not be denied. He inhaled to collect his wits.
"We've got armies that will fight. Egyptians got stuck on their symbols, but we are practical people.." the Pope was calmer and smiling.
"Your Highness, he kept talking about the merits of truth and credibility, and about the return on investment. He said it makes no difference what you build, for if you ignore facts it will flop in your face."
"Nobody can get a job in this town without our blessing, and getting a franchise has nothing to do with sun or earth being in the center. We set the agenda." The Pope was annoyed for having to say the obvious. "Why, sometimes I feel we should dig a big hole in the ground. I just get a kick out of watching the contractors nodding their heads and putting spin on it."
"My Lord, Copernicus asked how much more we are going to pay the army before we begin to pay the architects?"
"I've heard enough. Feed him to the crocs. Is this a bad dream or what?"
PCs Marching On
Gateway announced layoffs. Intel has difficulties bringing out its next generations of Pentiums. Every PC that is out there now can do 80% of all work without much processing strain, and it appears that PCs are hitting the market's saturation point.
On the supply side, the music guys want some money now and are cutting the copyright's ugly nose in spite of its pretty face. Higher communications bandwidth is not coming down in price as some would like. DSL and cable modems are commanding $40 to $50 per month: this on top of the annual contract plus a $30 monthly phone line charge plus a $10 ISP monthly charge. Movies on DVDs have their own $100 play boxes and one does not really want to buy a new PC with $50 DVD option just to watch movies on PC monitors.
Before we pronounce PCs in a stall, let's recall that pleasure games market was not only saturated, but also kept on dying as the marked grew through 3, 5, and then straight into a 10 billion dollar industry. PC on its heels, fun games and PCs are playing push-pull seesaw for good five years now and it's the fast trigger fingers guys who are pulling the video accelerator market to new performance records.
As new games come and go and as new songs come and go, the fast pace of new on top of new somehow skewed the fundamental draw of the PC: the empowerment of the individual. We may have come a long way from having to choose between two styles of telephone sets that brought you a ring through the house wires owned by the phone company. We have come a long way from Big Brother-inspiring water-cooled mainframes where corporations kept track of our intimates. Just as big corporations, the individual can now send hordes of messages for fun or profit. In the futuristic novel, 1984 was the year the individualism was to be crushed. Fifteen years later, the corporate web sites are fighting off PC launched data packets.
Just as big corporations, the individual can now collect reams of data.. well, not really. Here then is the next PC opportunity and a source of its next branch of life: The PC as the Personal Collection machine. What we need is a direct copying link from a TV set to a CDW and, just as importantly, we need a PC jukebox that would hold 100+ CDs under a CD management program. There. All this stuff could be available close to one individual's power tripping fingertips. While you are at it, put PC video monitor interface on new digital TV sets, particularly the flat plasma and LCD ones. Oh, RAID is ready for the PC market as well if this can quadruple disk response. Then, too, I'd love to TCP/IP [pronounce tee-sip] my home PC camera from work to see what's cooking, right after I get the bulletproofing software developed in response to the web attacks. Should your boss suggest this as too disturbing, then perhaps we can wire our branch to another branch and listen to each other as we go about our work and talk to each other and see each other big screen big time.
The beat goes on, only louder.
The Educator and The Administrator
The administrator hands out condoms thinking this really does a lot of good. The educator, on the other hand, builds the person's psyche to understand choices and how to make them. The administrator's strength comes from the consensus of a group that attacks a problem with a simple answer of a medical pill or a free syringe. The educator's strength comes from within, from within one's own knowledge, experience, and convictions.
The democratic principles of this country may lead one to believe that just about every person ought to grow and develop into an educator. Governmental institutions, however, do not and cannot develop into centers teaming with educators. In most cases, the output of governmental institutions are procedures that are administered. Should one educate instead of administer, one is more likely to become a loose cannon, a person that does not fit the mold. Yet, the private - that is independent, institutions do look for educators because they are on a mission. Underfunded or funded by trusts to promote general welfare, the individual initiative and resourcefulness is much appreciated.
The present administration's effort to fund religious organizations' charities can turn out to be funny and amusing. We can predict that as soon one of them does its own thing and gets out of line, the general outcry will pull the offending one and others back in line. One can also say that smart charitable organizations know that their core cannot be compromised if they are to remain viable and true to their mission. Many others will be smart enough to sign up to tow the line and get paid for doing just what's been ordered. We should not be surprised if organizations are formed for the sole purpose of lining up in goverment soup line.
Historically, government's best role has been in financially supporting ideas that grow and eventually turn out profit and taxes. There comes a point, however, where funding must stop to let the idea prove itself. Some, the likes of the massively parallel computing of the Thinking Machines corporation, were a dud.
Similarly, some charitable programs will turn out self-sustaining individuals. Most will not. Still, I like the life-time cap on welfare to an individual the best. Ready or not, when the money runs out we are on our own. Here, the administrator tries to redefine fairness. The educators just shine.
It Gets Dark Before It Gets Lighter
As oftentimes happens, news that one considers bad tend to cluster, and more bad news keep piling up almost to the breaking point. Massachusetts taxpayers were asked to approve a measure that would give every Massachusetts resident a right to free health care. The measure was turned down. Yet, more proposals are floating about giving every citizen free access to prescription pills, drug dependency treatment on demand, and just about anything that would put more bodies flowing into the existing infrastructure. It just seems humane and proper to give all folks health care, particularly today when tax receipts are good. The question, then, is about all the fuss for increased healthcare even though the people's incomes are good. If you reached a conclusion that the healthcare in this country is in a real mess, then indeed the calls for socialized medicine represent a lot of bad news.
Good, bad or indifferent, the health care industry is not doing very well. The number of people dependent on other people being sick is rising. This is not because nurses and doctors were hired in excess, but because people are not as sick as they were in the past. You can take your own survey and think back about your trips to the doctor in the last two years and, indeed, there you will recall a peculiar trend of encountering fewer and fewer people in the waiting rooms. The decrease in patients is not limited to flu or injuries but includes serious cases of cancer, which are decreasing even in the absence of overt breakthroughs. On the other hand, in the wake of massive marketing efforts to distribute and make socially acceptable the behavior-controlling drug Ritalin, this drug in under a decade is the #2 drug in drug abuse category, following alcohol. Ritalin dependency could not have happened without our public school teachers who put their own convenience ahead of their profession. Undoubtedly we will now call for more funds to be spent on halting its abuse with possibly some honesty when we admit that "we met the enemy, and it is us." Calls to your Massachusetts senators will not work, for these guys were in the loop from the start.
With the Internet also came the realization that the healthcare industry is more in business of perpetuating itself than in healing people. The license to practice medicine became a meal ticket for the practitioners and their assistants. Worse still, the practice of medicine in this country slid sideways from adequate to ineffective to just about charlatan. Cancer treatment in particular is becoming a one way street to disfigurement and death if you are dumb enough to take the institutional road.
The good news is that bad news is a precursor of good things to come, particularly in the supply side economy. The good news is that the individualized approach to one's well being is better that the massive cure-all of pill research. The good news is that you can restore your body to function properly, while the pill helps only to compensate for current body imbalance. Medical doctors have worked themselves into a monopolistic position of drug prescriptions with narrow effectiveness. While excluding lay people from helping other people, the lack of drug effectiveness in fact discredited drug practitioners rather than all practitioners. The fundamental change is in the realization that each person needs to take charge of his or her own health. In the long run, no one can delegate their health concerns to their doctors or to their politicians without paying the ultimate price.
Who Let The Dogs Out?!
Who is on first? What? Will Grinch steal Christmas? Will the citizens of Whoville point fingers or cry when they say You-Who?
The Will of the People does exist as much as the Will of God exists - in retrospect. The problem is not with the will of the people but with anybody who proclaims to represent the will of the people. In court, the case of People vs. John Doe does not guarantee the victory for the People. Elected guys, you guessed it, represent the will of the people and make decisions on behalf of the electorate. Judges have extraordinary powers, for these guys can roll back changes, confiscate property, impute income, invalidate corporate protection, or make immediate arrest - all this under only two conditions: Either a harm was done such as broken law or broken arm, or the court cannot gain access to relevant evidence. If evidence is not being withheld and if no actual injury exists then there is no real case. Such case, then, is without merit and not possible to adjudicate. Such case can also be called not ripe, for the court's remedies cannot correct wrong if there is no wrong. So much for the fruit part of the fruitcake sent to you by the Florida's Supreme Court. The complainer raised no improprieties such as election fraud, and the Court must bow out.
After the Florida Supreme Court decided to chase a case that was not there, it piled on more damage. The court cannot order a process to be followed to assure that a law does not get broken because, right again, this is exactly what the executive branch does. Adding insult to the injuries it created, court instructed that voter intent should be sought from disputed ballots.
The US Supreme Court, then, has these three things to unravel. It is not enough to invalidate the Florida Court involvement, for the other rulings from this botched case could come up again during a legitimate case of vote fraud. The US Supreme Court will explain that, once a secret ballot is cast, there can be no ambiguity as to voter's intent and, therefore, dots, circles, smudges, or partial punches cannot count. It is the secrecy aspect that does not allow the person doing the counting to question the person that cast the ballot and thus the counting person cannot stretch the interpretation of the ballot. Only the seeker of the elected office attempts to discern the intent of the voter -- before the election. Second, the US Supreme Court will rule that hand count cannot be performed arbitrarily, particularly after a recount. The reason must be given because a certification time limit can yield only to good reasons. While the election boards have much leeway in ordering a hand count, a significant reason must be shown: fraud or improper procedure being examples. Third, Florida Court will be chastised for taking on the case in the first place because the usual ripeness test was ignored. The Secretary of State should stand ready to certify the count as it stood after the first statewide recount. This is not necessary because there will not be such order and because the end effect is the same, but the Secretary should do it anyway to show the understanding of the US Supreme Court decision.
Looking back, we are a nation who no longer considers welfare an entitlement. This is a legacy of our president Ronald Reagan that is worthwhile remembering. Germany with all their work ethic has much difficulty in this, not only on the fiscal side but also on the social side where changes in welfare policies are coupled with fear of street violence. Looking ahead, our suburbs are unbecoming sterile and voter activism and organizing is up.When FDR's popularity carried him from victory to victory, Congress had enough. President, it was believed, had too much power. Although Roosevelt's policies were positive, for he never succumbed to controlling the electorate directly, Congress thought of having a president for life as too close for comfort. The President's terms were trimmed to two. The point is that we should not take Clinton as close shave now, even though it got pretty close during the last eight years. Sending our troops to fight under UN command may be a latent memory, but that started a string of events where the president put his own interests before our country's interests. We need to differentiate between the office and the officeholder. To curtail president's power now would be to say that our nation responded poorly, that the level of organization has not improved, and that it is the office that needs fixing.
Thinking positive, the following changes are worth considering:
Increase the number of Senators from two to three. This will lessen party-line polarization and help focusing on issues, although it may move Congress closer to a Parliamentary arrangement when additional parties become part of the process
Senate to elect the vice-president. Vice-presidential ticket is not living up to anybody's expectation and the office of the Vice-president is better served as Senate liaison
The election results also indicate that blacks voted about 90% Democratic. Although their vote will be heard, this result also indicates that blacks can be herded. Having said that, the NRA is exhibiting herd behavior as well. The NRA membership needs to move from a complainer to a force that understands that gun ownership is not only about self-protection, but also about the empowerment of an individual. Be it about the Internet or about health care choices, it is the informed and confident individuals that make the best organization. There is no reason why NRA could not make alliances with the Green Party, for they have much in common. NRA can lead the reintroduction of wolf and bison in this country, including the development of self-protected cowherds where ranchers breed healthy stock while guns are primarily for sport.
Finally, it is time to get going on the real cross-country superhighway. No-speed-limit roadway has East coast and West coast bows and also spans diagonally from Boston to San Diego and from Florida to Washington State. It will be elevated to let wildlife pass and offer a great view. Only personal transport, you understand, with a tool charge for every foot of a car in excess of, say, seven feet.
Joan, My Child
When things get awful, politicians come out of the woods with promises. Some will offer order as a way to bring about stability. Order, as you may well imagine, becomes the likes of Martial law, fences, guns, and dogs - restrictions on assembly, information, and goods. Good and bad becomes associated with groups rather than with individuals.
When things get awful, many a religion will tell you that God sends a savior. Blood and mayhem somehow acquires a higher meaning. You may as well contact your priest, rabbi, or mullah to get the gory details.
When things get awful, in the alchemy of the universe God sends a child. Such child will appear in circumstances that capture everyone's attention. This child then asks the most preposterous questions and makes extraordinary demands. Nobody is able to stay on the sidelines because the child pulls everybody's strings. Invariably the learned men who speak with authority are asked for their opinion:
"Child's brain function is still maturing," says one, the doctor, charitably.
"Child is not covered by our laws," says one, the lawyer, confidently.
"Child must be returned to whence it came," says the pol, amicably.
"Clearly, this child is being manipulated," says the psychologist, wall full of books in the background.
"Child is lying in court." "Child is telling the truth and cannot be cross-examined." "Child cannot be in court, that's why we have guardians." "Child is creating disturbances and must be controlled." "This kid is too much trouble and should be burned."
Yet behind every ridiculous demand or circumstance, this child asks is a simple question:
"Are you human? Are you? What will it take to make you into one?"
As it happens, and as the controversy is going on, the men in charge do not know they have about ten seconds to say: "Yes, Virginia, there is Santa Claus." They are preoccupied with things and how lousy things are and how to take advantage of the situation. The politician may play one side against another without any desire to help either. The authorities are not about to stick their neck out for a child - wouldn't that be ridiculous, silly as well!
Joan of Arc was such a child. She challenged the church and she challenged the state. She brought them to head and they had to do something about the things she brought with her. Both the church and the state failed miserably. There was not one who would say, "Joan, you can rest now. No harm will come to you as long as I have something to do about it."
In hindsight, Joan discredited the church and thus its stranglehold on people. One can give Joan credit for the end of dark ages. Catholic church backpedaled 500 years later by canonizing her, but as things are, you are tested and judged because of the very situation you are in and because it is the child's hour of need that matters. Anyone who was a beneficiary of help during a critical period in their life will understand that canonizing Joan later on is yet another insult onto her. Joan of Arc was my child and your child. She was and is a child of everyone she touched, then and now.
If things get nasty again, another child will mysteriously appear, say, on the shore. Everybody's attention will be directed there, for the child certainly should have drowned, and, then, the social correction will commence once again as we hear learned men explain:
"Child's mother came here only to be with her lover. Pity she drowned."
Tobacco company people have a secret. They have given up on running smokes as a business. They will gladly pay protection money in the form of taxes, as long as they get their two bits on a pack of cigarettes. The price of cigarettes makes no difference, as long as tobacco collects its money on each and every pack. Sounds like a monopoly and it is: Price-insensitive, demand-driven, competition-nonexistent, and substitution-illegal pack of goods. Why, the government will mandate that there is to be no competition: not on TV, billboards, magazines, or clothing. The bureaucrats will fight it out on who will control and spend the cigarette tax, buying a vote here and there - spend it on anything that can be tied to a bad habit - they will promise you to fix the hole in the ozone layer.
Massachusetts's court ruled that tobacco could keep its secret. Tobacco ingredients, the court says, are trade secrets. Like the secret sauce or the secret soda flavor, tobacco additives are suddenly benign. Unlike food color additives, tobacco additives need not pass any test. If public good is to be held up as the highest and necessary mark of a secrecy test, then certainly the public has been sold down the river on this one.
If a led compound is not good for you, then it has to be removed from paint, gasoline, and bullets. Ditto for PCB, DDT, and xyz. What you do not know will harm you, if not kill you. There is everything American in defending the stuff you sell to the public. Hardly a day goes by without some ingredient being questioned: insecticides on apples, irradiated food, oil extenders, oxygenating gasoline additives. Get with it. Get clean. Selling addictive substances is not in and of itself a deterrent to anything, for we know that every product tries to set the hook into you. One of the most effective methods of drug control is the kind of education that does not "just say no," but an education that offers alternatives. This is because freedom is about choices and about our ability to have them and make them.
There are some who claim that knowing the ingredients does help in a different way. Not by staying away from the nasty ingredients, but by engaging our mind to figure out a way around them. Mind over matter, if you will. Every compound can be metabolized into harmless byproducts and it will take less time if we know what we are up against. People can adapt, too.
The mad part of the Massachusetts's court tobacco decision is the clear desire by both the tobacco and the state to control the tobacco tax at the state level and you can tell that because the appeal would ruin the arrangement. It is apparent that if this issue were to come up at the Supreme Court, the Court would uphold both the public's right to know and the business' right to engage in a free and open enterprise.
To Save The Union
Everybody wants to save the union. Abe Lincoln, Soviets, the American labor. The union, the one, unity, the one-ness has intrinsic appeal that was not missed by Pythagoras for whom number one was the most grand. Then there is the sanctity of the marriage union, the ichi ban of the supreme military command, and the marketing fantasy in Matrix where every one could think to be the chosen one.
We sure got the oneness kind of thing much over-generalized. The union boss has a concept of the Union that is quite different from the Union of sovereign states. There is the Zulu clan with a chief who gets to show his supremacy by having Zulu virgins dance right in front view. One religion offers a union with the universe through a life-long learning experience. Another religion will make you second-born just by joining.
It all makes sense depending on how you look at it - and which one you chose as your own. The Union of the Left is that of hierarchy while the Union of the Right is that of relationships of equals. Left and right appears arbitrary until we bring in the left and the right side of our brain, which, indeed, function the same separate way.
On the Left you ride the herd. On the Right you work all possibilities into probabilities. On the Left you solidify the hierarchy. On the Right you discover the relevancy among the infinity of concurrent relationships. On the Left you seek advantage by enforcing only one attitude to leverage the mass. On the Right you seek coherence of similar attitudes regardless of their source. On the Left, the attitude is the policy that must prevail at all costs. On the Right, the enforcement is not the rule because we seek consensus and initiative from within and because the results come about with expenditures of real resources that are below those of a competitor.
On the Left the fashion chief decides that the horizontal stripe is the thing for next year. All subsidiaries lock in and many shades of the horizontal stripe will begin to appear. The idea is to bring the horizontal stripe into a point of a critical mass where the horizontal stripe becomes the in thing. To achieve critical mass, one needs many subsidiaries - that is, a large mass. If somebody in the organization does not get it and starts doing something vertical - well, (s)he is quickly dispatched.
On the Right everybody watches and everybody decides for himself. Microsoft is using different color saturation level of orange and green in their promotions. You make shoes but the new Microsoft colors are receiving so much billing you would be smart to use them in your products. Both parties benefit even though they have no formal arrangements.
It is easy enough to figure out what kind of organization you and your brain is comfortable with. If you start to make mistakes, become a rebel, or get yourself fired, cheer on - for you are being managed by the other side of your brain that is telling you to return to your balance. This calls for some work on your part, for otherwise you will become a rebel without a cause.
Next time your union boss will want you to return the meal pass you received from management as a token of company appreciation, you will make a decision that directly affects your person. Those that can be led will be led to their end at the whim of their boss, particularly after some obedience training. Your boss is the boss because he shows he can do with you as he pleases. If you do not rebel, you will not extricate yourself later, as smart as you think you are. To think you can jump before doing something egregious is the same as thinking you can sell your stock just before the stock plunge, in a free country or in a liquid market, no less.
To save the union is to maintain the balance of the left and the right, as these are always separate and compute separately. Dominance of either side does happen, only to manifest in an untimely demise. Russia is going down, not because they lack determination, but because they are stuck on running the whole country as a union shop. It's the best soap opera we've got, with a moral to boot.
Civilized Death to Lawyers and Boogeyman
There was time not long ago when telephone equipment was amortized over a thirty-year period. The logic was that a decent quality mechanical relay could go on clicking for that many years. You could go to AT&T and get a phone that Ma Bell thought was pleasing, no Mickey Mouse neon, you understand. By the strength of your ringing current, AT&T knew how many phones your house had and how much you had to pay. After all, AT&T owned copper wires inside the walls of your house as well.
Pretty much the same thing was happening on the computing side where IBM had the business market all to itself with their 360 mainframe. To get new stuff, you had to buy it all bundled up with IBM hardware and software - even buying and leasing terms were all blue tape cash storage system that was used as cash flow spigot for IBM benefit. Ma Bell and Big Blue spent much of their time protecting their respective voice and data markets.
Such was the time Before Microsoft and before the rapid improvement and replacement of software that eventually rubbed off on hardware. The replacement of software did not fill up landfills and so the first thought was to upgrade software without a second thought. Hardware is playing catch up ever since.
Microsoft has a different reward system and that was and is the engine of their innovation. To some, saying that there is no limit to the degree of organization is saying the obvious. Management at some companies still prefers to wage a button down war. To win at this game, though, the number of players must be small, no more than three. The attitude is "we own this thing, and so we can rent all the lawyers we want and don't need." Government is excellent at this and if you had the privilege of working for one, you will agree that government is always about control and never about a product. The end user is the guy who has purchasing power, not the guy who uses the equipment. It is outright amusing to watch bureaucrats cock fight over a $40k position.
Now that the replacement of hardware is mostly about proper material recycling, it is time to understand which of people's qualities need to be rewarded if the focus is to shift to product growth. You guessed it: there are opportunities out there and the classical hierarchical control structure is going to get you in trouble. This is not about good or bad people - this is about the appropriate management style. More than that, this is about putting money where the returns are. You may as well get used to the fact that a lead engineer should be paid $150 an hour while lead attorney should be in the $75 range. If that is shocking to you, please recall the quote about lawyers from Shakespeare, with the proviso that civilized killing of all lawyers is by letting the supply and demand do it for you.
Presently, then, the guy who will make the most progress is the guy who is cooperative and forthcoming. This guy also knows that mistakes are those of omission and thus seeks to manage and leverage as many diverse issues as possible. It may seem strange, but the guy who is "giving away the store" by putting together best-organized documentation is indeed the guy who thinks of the end user as his own customer and who knows the best is yet to come. The guy who knee jerks into a boogeyman, unfortunately, is focused on control and is overpaid at best
Summer for All But The Legislators
Politicians are quick to pick up on statistics because statistics are easy to generate and offer as narrow a glimpse as one may desire. Statistics can support one's policy, point out shortcomings of others, or launch yet another thousand ships. This audience should be smart enough to be bored to tears with statistics. We will, therefore, offer a change that can turn all stats on their heads.
The divorce rate in this country may be high and this may be good or bad, depending on your particular instance. Children, it is apparent without statistics, suffer the most. Lawyers make the most out of the divorce and statistics show 90% or so politicians are attorneys. So, in a way, one has to take the divorce thing into his or her hand, as difficult as it may be. The most radical thing is to allow extended families with many wives or husbands, yet keep in mind that there are many who tried and it appears there exists a critical mass of politicians (read lawyers) who will work hard against the loss of their income and the loss of your suffering.
When all is said and done, the pot is divided equally but children and the support checks will go where the mother is. Unfair? For sure. Incentive for a divorce? You bet. It is, though, a sure bet that the divorce rate in this country would drop by 50% in five years if neither parent were guaranteed the custody of their children. To make this stat go even further, should the parent be involved in a bankruptcy or liability litigation, the spouse and children should automatically become a claimant against the amount in question and without being forced to obtain such status through a divorce.
All state legislators are hereby put on notice to do something useful for their state of the family.
One NIAC For Your Pleasure
NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts is having its 2nd annual Meeting early this month of June. Looking at the agenda, this year's topics are broad and include optics, robotics, navigation, long-term space survival, and the p-word: propulsion. By the looks of things, hyperflight continues to be out of reach of the NIAC acronym; Hyperflight, in the eyes of NASA, is beyond advanced. Going after hyperflight would pretty much do away with 50% of NIAC topics because long-term survival issues would yield to the application of quantum computing to navigation. 3D map of the Milky Way galaxy would need to have any-point reckoning algorithms adjusted for lightspeed constancy. Propulsion would be replaced by the studies of atomic spin and the correlation and modulation of the linear and angular momentum. Optics would transform to studies of optical and electron computing the coming of the first computing revolutions would be upon us, because doing if-then very fast is not revolutionary. This assumes that detection of the virtual gravitational vector is well understood.
For hyperflight to be included "within practical means," the required change is that of our mindset rather than that of evolving technology, which suddenly and fortuitously may offer new opportunities. Christopher Columbus did not need to marshal resources for development of new technologies. His goals materialized because his voyage promised great returns, while the change in mindset were to accept the idea the world is round.
Hyperflight, though, forecloses you to throw out the rocket with the fuel and so it appears one has to go back before going forward. That may be, but only in your mind.
First with Passion, then with Compassion
This country's greatness ..
Such is the beginning of many an editorial.
..was built by immigrants who..
Then there is a lot of sweat, tears, determination, work ethic, education, and all kinds of references to scientists, politicians, melting pots neighborhoods, and success stories. Believe it or not, immigrants know how to make things better because they did not roll over and play patsy.
What is happening today is that the present administration is turning on its own, devouring its own. Such may be the beginning of a decline of many, if not all, cultures that found the enemy but did not figure the enemy were they.
The present abandonment of one's own roots became apparent at Waco, when the surrounded ones were attacked nonetheless, children notwithstanding. The clue came from the lack of explanation, for the new world order meant that the stupid American public did not need any.
The second shoe dropped in Kansas City. Billy boy played the sax when the building came down, just as he decided on his favorite tune See If I Care. Amazingly, he found terms-of-endearment chorus clapping hands and joining in "You Point the Finger and We'll Do the Rest."
There is no courage in not caring. There is nothing in banding together to frustrate one's own by putting the foreign on the pedestal. Russians' attention on survival for the sake of survival practically institutionalized corruption, theft, and violence.
The mentality that carries the day today comes from those of mind who cannot see how to make things better yet have enough talent to try to pilfer the results of somebody else's labor. The entourage is applauding while hoping that bad things happen to the other guy -- what a scene from the Old Country, right down to the nervous smile concerned with innuendo. Then there is the guy who systematically picked and shot minorities on the street; Billy boy is really getting the followers he deserves.
It is time to prepare for the time when things get into a forward gear again. It is a waste of time to complain, as right as one may be -- for the response is not that of fairness but that of a political advantage. On the battlefield of present politics some think they are victorious by arousing the outrage in others with 'Let them eat Constitution.'
The scientific and technical view needs to change to accept the new physics of gravitation. Yes, you can build a bridge and charge a toll, too. There are almost infinite opportunities coming out from there and the centralized aspect -- that is, big brother government, will not be able to corral the growth, just as the government cannot contain the Internet. No person can control diversity and the increase in organization and in wealth -- except by succeeding in turning us at each other. For the time being, you may want to exclude your children from your discussions.
I would not look at present political issues as the indicator of fundamental problems ahead. Rather, I see the old guard being thrashed: the American version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution is taking place in your living room and in your wallet.
..and The Court Says..
Tell the present administration to pack up their bags. Their meddling with the tobacco industry is left-of-center and does not compute here.
More interesting aspect, however, is how many people think of Clinton as da guy. He sure looks and is the people's guy, people's choice, for the people, by the people. Robin Hood kinda guy who tries to steal from rich corporations and give it to the masses. Damn the Congressional torpedoes. Full head steam ahead. Yet, the same kind of method fits another person far removed from these shores. Hitler went straight to the people through a plebiscite. Got problem? No problem. Adolf made a speech with a drum roll and asked the inspired nation to go out and vote on it. Very democratic. When Reichstag resisted, he dissolved it. ("These Parliamentary punks," he probably muttered, "I got people on my side!") People went out and voted just the way Adolf asked. Even Austrians voted on joining the Reich, although he did hold out holding the plebiscite until after the tanks came in and he made a few speeches about the Great(er) Reich.
Our court also said this guy who is the chief executive could not regulate the tobacco industry, much less to tax it. The chief executive gets the vote to enforce the law rather than make it or break it. Court decision story hit the news and then we went back to work. It is just plain great to be able to say something positive about the courts in this country and at this juncture. One would hate to think working hard and smart and within the law would get you the Russian treatment and your money taken away from you because a politician declares you the enemy of the people.
Mr. G Takes Stock of Stocks
Mr. Greenspan thinks the skyhigh price of stocks is bad for the economy and bad for you. Stock prices are not necessarily high in and of themselves. It is their Price-to-Earnings ratio that is supposed to be too high. But why would these stocks be suddenly in focus of Mr. G's regulatory powers?
When the S&Ls went on a loaning binge in light of President Reagan's deregulation, the fast and loose practices resulted in many S&Ls becoming insolvent. It was also Mr. Greenspan's job to liquidate and absorb these institutions into other financial operations. The question always was: "What part of the money was insured by the Feds and what part was not?" The billion-dollar question was: "What part of the loss was to be borne by the taxpayer and what part by the stockholder?" So fuzzy way the dividing line that Mr. G seriously proposed clearly separated transaction windows; one labeled "Insured" and the other "Uninsured." Booming economy and raising stock market quickly put the S&L crunch into the category of a speed bump.
Stock market this year is moving funny. Good, though cyclical, stocks with P/Es in the twenties and thirties are correcting while Internet, com, and software stocks with negative P/E or P/E in the hundreds are going as they did last year: up. Some say the pickings are slimmer this year but in retrospect this is always the case. Once McDonald or IBM or Microsoft or Dell establish themselves in their segments, it looks and is more difficult for others to make inroads. Until CMGI comes around. Until somebody puts a computer on their body like a pair of glasses. Or until somebody figures out how to market the ion exchange power source.
Mr. G apparently thinks all this new stock commotion is forcing the established companies into investments that may not pan out and thus give everybody a black eye. Hardly a week goes by without yet another IPO claiming to redefine the way business is being transacted. Besides, established companies should be able to get on the Internet on their own and without panic. These Amazon or Ebay guys are giving others the creeps. Mr. G and probably others think that financial and brokerage companies should not rush out to buy each other out only because they think the competition from strength is the way of challenging the Internet startups.
Remember the digital recorders able to copy CDs? Remember Congress jumping up trying to protect the recording industry from the song thieves? The V chip was joined by the blocking chip, which was joined by the chip that actually degraded music quality during recording. A novel solution was to have the writable blank CDs or tapes include in their price the presumed copyright infringement fees, even though no specific author could be credited. Congress was not quick enough to figure out that this fight was not about copyright but about a new Internet Distribution system that was just too good to pass up. The result? In spite of the conservative "pay before you ride" initiatives, the music industry is booming by doing what they have always been doing: "We do not know up front what will sell and so we do a lot of hopping and give out a lot of freebees." [Distribution should be always spelled with a capital D.]
Mr. G or anybody else cannot presume they know all the bad things that may or will happen. As old, wise, clever, or just plain intelligent some people are, they cannot predict somebody's motives up front. The best they can and should do is to level the playing field and put some damage control plan or an accounting tripwire in place. The best thing, however, is to take stock of all the good things one has done in the past. The outcome of the fast and furious future will be in great part determined by the foundation that is in place now.
Money is as good as the system it is flowing into. The quantity of money has nothing to do with it. Better systems will grow faster. The growth is reflected and indeed measured by the increase in the system's organizing ability. Corruption turns money into mush or worse, an implosion. (In the worst case corruption results in supernova as virtual components materialize in opposition.) Controls will slow things down because the concurrency of the enterprise diminishes as processes become sequential. So we rely on the integrity of the system, the system's intrinsic worth. As chief referee, one cannot blow the whistle before the foul. There are two aspects that need some work: The balance of trade and the fairness of doing business domestically. The balance of trade deals with the ability to recover foreign investments, preferably without the help of the military. Domestic business must be able to grow into new markets that help out with the recovery of the foreign investments by offering the future through the domestic know how. Punishing Microsoft points more toward self-aggrandizement at the expense of growth or at the expense of making a better system if the Microsoft case turns into greenmail. Taxing tobacco will tax growth because tobacco did not break any laws. Punishing tobacco turned into blackmail that is spilling over to other industries.
Protecting the current channels of Distribution, however, will make investments in maverick Internet solutions riskier - likely the opposite effect Mr. G is after.
Missile Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3, 4
So they say the rocket shootout test last month was not a success. One rocket shoots up and another one tries to take it down. Good concept. The technology for this may be a bit archaic but what the heck, it's the best we've got.
This site is also about making rockets obsolete, and if that means taking them all down at will, so much the better. Overall, it is possible to develop algorithms that would shoot down a missile head on, under wide ranging conditions, and without much debris. More importantly, though, is to know the spot the missile is launched from. That, in and of itself, can be a greater deterrent. So, keep on working the systems while the rest of us will keep looking up - watching the stars and other flying things.
It is also important to keep working the economy of this nation on a more open - that is supply-side, side. There is some political magnet in pursuing a policy of socialized medicine, education, casualty insurance, or socialized anything. The draw is that, within a conglomeration of doctors, professors, or captive insurance pools, we think there is competency that is transferred to the customer. However, any closed system quickly atrophies and reaches a point of diminishing or negative returns. The influence of insurance companies in Massachusetts not only insults the taxpayer, but the courts' handling of insurance cases may serve the insurance company interests. This is likely not because the insurance companies are evil; fixed premiums along with the inability to screen its customers will force any insurance company to focus on controlling its costs.
There is indeed a strong connection between shooting down missiles and having integrity, efficiency and professionalism. This goes beyond a moral resolve of keeping bad guys at bay. You will never get a complex system to work if there are doubts about the purpose of the endeavor. You will never get a complex system to work if the attitude of unfairness permeates the mind. One could only demean self by putting its own best into a corrupt system.
New ideas will always come up against the status quo. The idea here is that it is not enough for organizations to investigate new ideas. The idea is that new ideas are always evaluated as to their fit into the system. Poor ideas fit into poor systems. The insurance company in Massachusetts will be more interested in hiring a former judge for influence peddling than a web guy who could bring in more customers or a lower risk customer. A corporation or a community will hire police instead of architects if they think they cannot get a fair and open treatment. This country's computer and communications industry works well in the open, while closed academia will continue to struggle, regardless of the amount of money coming in through tuition or grants. Pharmacological industry is trying to come out into the open, but we will need to wait for administration that is willing to stay out of the way. Few people thought twenty years ago that a million dollars' worth of computing power could end up in every household. There are only a few people out there now who think a heart surgery could become as expensive as a PC is today. Less invasive surgery tools are pointing the way: Yet the administration is fighting the whole thing and it ain't the cheese that stinks. Perhaps the way of opening up healthcare is to let the current administration's health care plan collapse of its own incompetence.
Finally, I hope you know a laser will not knock the missile out of the sky. Laser beam is okay for targeting. But if you think Star Trek is about the future and that the photon torpedo is the most potent weapon there is, you may want to do some simple experiments first. It will turn out a child with a mirror can put to shame the entire crew of the politically correct academia fantasy.
Last Call for Doom
Doom is upon our senses just as everything else is. Doom is also a game for your PC that does not pretend anything it is not and does not cover up anything it is. It is a game for fun, profit, virtual gore, and it may even carry a label saying as much. If you like beer and spend your real money on Genuine Draft even though it comes in the bottle, you are certainly buying into a little lie. To a beer lover, you are silly or profess genuine stupidity. To a salesman, you provide an opening where you can be had. Then there is the guy who thinks burning the American flag damages American power and prestige.
How well can we separate a belief from the real thing? Do we need to know what's a head and what's a tail? What is harmless fun, and what really matters? The separation is more fundamental than many people would admit.
What is the big deal if beliefs, myths, or religions get to become a part of the state, a mainstream component of government operations? What is the big deal if we pass laws punishing flag burners? Ban games with pretend violence? On the other hand, what is the harm if a judge displays "Thou shall not bring false witnesses" in his courtroom? Maybe he thinks it is better than "you will be punished if you perjure yourself."
If we do not know the difference between a myth and the real thing, the peril is in spending real resources on beliefs that will not have a real return. The harm is in getting serious over derivatives or dependent variables - chasing the tail, so to speak.
If you could pick a state religion, would you pick Aztecs'? They ruled! They scared their neighbors into paying them protection. They did not watch horror movies - they lived it. They scoured land for potent cacti because they thought consuming its extract was the way to be with their gods. Their agriculture was tops; they knew the planets and constellations well. They knew how to count, how to build, how to fight; they knew that . . . well, they thought they knew the stuff of the universe and that souls had to be sacrificed for the sun to come up the next day. They put their heads together and thought they figured out the workings of the universe. They did not listen to anyone who would come and tell them all this blood-makes-the-sun-come-out is a myth. To one they marched to their doom, making a belief their serious state of mind. We can imagine some guys tried to get that straight, but, since the Aztecs are gone, they were not successful. We can only imagine one guy finally getting to say what he had to say, and . . .
"My brave Popokatepetl," replied the chief. "You say we are deadheads and you say the universe has been organizing for a good billion Venus co-cycles. What ticks me off is your saying that if we were to disappear tomorrow, the universe would go on just fine."
"My dear chief," said P and pulled out a coin. "Give to the chief what is the chief's and give onto gods what is gods'. Keep the two separated or you'll be sorry."
"The thing about science," you say, "is that, once there is something better, it just becomes recognized." If you are nodding your head, I bet you did not know about Laithwaite. He died at 76 three years ago - an English guy who came to show few gyroscope experiments to the whole of royal scientific plenum. When he demonstrated for them what every child could show them and how a particular spinning gyro comes up against gravity, they put their heads together and erased the entire proceeding from their records.
"This could not happen in this country . . ."
I hope you are not nodding your head.
"The thing about myth," I say, "is that one may work very hard to preserve it." The myth is a belief and it is about being right in your own mind and for some it is about being right in their own wallet. The warning signs are there, but you are challenged to believe, not to think. You are asked to defer to a higher authority and unload your burdens without the hardship of doing something different. You may even work very hard to keep it the way it is. You may even think somebody did or will carry your burdens for you. You are running out of the warning track when you think a savior or a spaceship are going to come and take care of things.
It starts innocently enough when people, calling themselves priests, gurus, or just plain geniuses would tell you about doomsday. The inevitability of it. Perhaps even looking forward to it. The crunch, infinite singularities, Armageddon. General relativity is full of it. Black holes, wormholes, dark matter, space that folds onto itself, negative energy and other things that you are enticed to believe in but cannot verify any of it now or later - while the government is spending good money searching for black holes from which nothing can escape. The hook is set when you begin to believe that somehow, somewhere, you need these doomsayers in your own, by now diminished, life. Beliefs and myths give you great insight and for that they are invaluable. Beliefs, however, can only guide you. Beliefs and myths cannot direct you or make you spend your resources on it. Another thing: You'll have to figure it out yourself. For starters, matter and antimatter make for one hell of a doom, but it is not inevitable and it can be localized.
So, they were asking for it when they were building more and some more statues to appease gods, eh? Guess you are right, this is not happening in this country. This was another doomed place: Easter Island. Or was it Russia? Anyway, not in this country. Not here. Impossible.
Let us build some more rockets? Rockets are expensive, and it takes eight hundred pounds of hardware for one pound of payload. We also have heads in government labs that insist their equations prove the propulsion technology - that is rockets, are the only way to travel into and in space. They growl if anyone comes close to disputing them and for that they are the keepers of the myth. They will gladly spend your money in the land of no return and for that they are the seed of doom.
Prez, Press, and GenX
On his most recent visit to Greece, president Clinton did something unusual. He provided his own coverage and interpretation of the violent protests there by saying: "[Greeks] exercise heartily their rights of free speech."
The press, after eight years of providing the most creative spin, is backing off. Just over a year ago, the press convicted the Atlanta bombing suspect in less than 24 hours: a new American, if not Olympic, record. The conviction of Mr. Jewel was their first foray into taking the lead and directly creating reality, after merely standing by and wistfully parroting FBI Waco news releases. Nice part is that the press is not holding off because they happened to read their job description just today. Press is left holding the bag while the Prez is undergoing brain surgery to become a Republican. FBI director Freeh is suddenly taking the high road talking up how much respect law enforcement needs to give people it is chartered to protect. No doubt he will collect few honorary degrees in the process because FBI and tenured academia like each other's duplicity. Meanwhile, MIT students are scrambling to learn Internet and eCommerce on their own because professors are busy chasing tenure. Poor AG Reno is not catching on and is stuck with a modified Nüremberg defense: "I only followed orders of my subordinates."
The culmination of press worthlessness is the column in the New York Times the day after Egyptian Flight 990 went down. The author argued that a writer could be held criminally liable for recommending to the public to take a car instead of flying because cars are statistically less safe. Is the New York Times on the block? Somebody should check writer John's spinal column; for it is not only obvious his connection to the culture and history of this country has been severed and that statistically one cannot make an apple pie out of oranges, but Dear John also forgot what he and a writing job are about. "Dear John: People dodge milk trucks every day and still do great things for this country - while you cannot even get yourself fired for it."
Gees, we thought baby boomers would learn from mistakes of McCarthyism. Gen X is in their mid twenties now and their mistakes will be coming on the heels of baby boomers' mistakes. The separation of church and state may lead one to believe that the clergy would come up with a spirited defense of a small religious Waco group. Not one put his or her name on the record, in a free-speech country no less. Following in the president's footsteps, Rev Jackson is still revving up the inversion of priorities. It is OK to pray with Slobodan and support high school bullies, for the aggression is in vogue and, besides, Tutsi and Hutus are from another tribe. Never mind ATF agents are there as tax enforcers preventing the smuggling of A, T, and F into this country because the tax differential gives these products a good profit differential. We did not see a single ATF guy say, "I am getting another job because these Waco guys are not A, T, or F smugglers." We did not see a single FBI guy say, "We are bigger than any of this and due process is what this country is about."
How wonderful the delusion of thinking: "these bad things are happening to someone else and that's fine by me, yap, maybe an opportunity." How quickly can things change. American Catholics are silent no more when subjected to an attack on their religious beliefs, with the taxpayer's money adding insult to the injury. Is this about power? If this is about lack of compassion, then whose compassion is this about? Are we going to bring up the history of French Huguenots who were massacred and hung en masse from a balcony as offerings, terms of endearment to the Catholic power of the day? Then again, the Pope JP2 understands the separation of church and state in its most fundamental form.
One thing you will never hear Clinton say is: "My fellow Americans." Two possible histories are likely to spin out, depending on whether or not his Republican transformation succeeds:
1 He broke new ground and made many foreign friends. He continued Ronald Reagan's promise of lesser government and his administration ended with one fewer federal buildings than when it started. He brought into the open Israel's export of AWACS technology to China. He sent his campaign strategist to Israel who successfully facilitated a change in government there.
2 He ignored due process and managed to outrage decent people. He thought American people were pushovers, but felt he needed more police just to be on the safe side. There were also the China investments, and he was about to lose more old friends than make new ones. From his actions, it became apparent that he misunderstood president's Kennedy speech containing the phrase "The torch has been passed.."
The clergy and the FBI are the wimps during this administration and are our major weaknesses. If this was "only a test," we are in a tough shape. On the plus side, Secretary of State Albright's cool head and warm heart is a combination the Clintonites can do nothing but suck their lips in.
But if in the evening you'll need to check the outside for snipers, you'll know we've got the worst-case scenario on our hands. The early warning will be the registration and surrender of guns by the public, because we thought the way to address police incompetence is to make citizens competent even less. If there is a knock on the door in the middle of the night and you bid your family goodbye, you'll know we've got the nightmare here from which waking up is not the visitor's intent. It makes no difference if Canada evens out the cigarette tax with the US: The ATF guys will want to put their storm trooper gear up at charity auction - soon.
Gen X will be on its own during the next decade and they will likely skip baby boomers legacy save one: The Internet. It speaks volumes. The China thing will not be skipjacks, but every generation will get its challenge - whether they voted for it or not
The Fiefdom Is Falling, The Fiefdom is Falling
There was, in a land not far away, in a time not long ago, a fiefdom that stretched the length of the Commonwealth. The fiefdom collected change from passersby and with the help of wireless, it hoped to reach into people's wallets remotely, quietly, efficiently and almost painlessly. This fiefdom had its own board of directors and did not bother to report anything to anybody. The board could raise money in the bond market, its repayment risk low. When the bonds were repaid, new bonds were issued for new improvements. Decisions of the board were final, as were the contracts issued. The governor could not make appointments to the fiefdom's board, and the only problem the board had was how to dull the threshold of pain of the passing motorist.
The fiefdom's operation would qualify for a new definition of a monopoly - autopoly - because it was not only autonomous and authoritative and had that stretch of highway all to itself, but it was also running on the autopilot of its own desires. Altogether not a bad business proposition, that of putting a decent road down the middle of a piece of territory that cannot readily be circumvented. The idea goes back to the River Rhine of medieval Germany, as the castles of that river were nothing more than tollbooths. The personnel were ready, willing and able to collect from boats a tax in the form of something edible, something saleable, or something shiny. Maybe they invented a new form of behavior, for the sinking of a barge must have been done in a controlled, public relations sort of way, and without hindering the traffic. Maybe they promoted commerce by offering the captains a local brew and cargo at a price that was difficult to refuse.
So when it was time to do something better, the first thought may have been to bring in an iron-willy, do-it-my-way-or-else kind of guy who could thrash the old guard. But how do you convince a brass knuckle hun(k) to turn over a clean street to public use? You bring in somebody who not only has balls, but somebody who has something on the ball. In retrospect it is surprising it took so long, but one governor was able to accomplish that feat of new civility. Rather than "it's our turn at the trough," public service is the organizational knowledge, the awareness that increases the standard of living rather than the field command's standards. Governor now makes appointments to the board, collections booths shrunk to less than a half, and there is collection end in sight. The particulars of the governor's win are important and, in a way, not important. What will remain at the center of the winning move is the confluence of civic as well as business interests. When it clicks, the results are phenomenal; the case of seduction of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority being right there at the top.
On one occasion our gov was ahead of its time. Taking a stand for consumer's freedom of independent choice (on the demand side), while at the same time trying to help the tobacco industry escape additional taxation or regulation (on the supply side), the governor asked for the disclosure of cigarette tobacco ingredients. The tobacco company spokesman threatened to withhold sales in Massachusetts. Neither side got the idea then and both sides are getting it broadside now.
Minnesota developments indicate people can catch on quickly. I would hate to think our former governor continues to be ahead of the people of the Commonwealth.
Our governor would have made Mexico a real neighbor, with Panama a double click. These countries may be far away and one may ask, "What's that got to do with the price of tea in China?" Hopefully nothing. But I am beginning to think our former governor continues to be ahead of the Congressional Committee chairmen.
Thirty years ago this country had a search & seizure mentality. Search as in ".. what's going on?" Seizure, as in grasping at straws. Drugs. Students shot at Kent State. Rock happenings. Troops deployed at the Capitol. The future was spelled in Japanese. North was a Rust belt, South was the Bible belt. Russia deserved respect because Russia was a great power; as in beat-you-over-the-head power.
Ronald, as in Reagan, put the fear where it belongs - in the other guy's knees. Somewhere along the line Japan withered, Russia imploded, Europe emulated, and the greatest concern the US had a year ago was how to collect software royalties from China.
What happened? Change was allowed to happen. IBM, for one, stopped being the owner of software, hardware, applications, people, sell-to-the-top model, and the future. Yet the pink slip did not throw people into the waiting line of the soup kitchen. The guy on the street did not look up to the corporation as the leader, because it was the street where the leadership was.
Thirty years ago most bankers thought their competition was another banker. With that green spigot in the basement running all the way to the Treasury, who could have thought otherwise. They don't think that today. Twenty years ago, most people thought a salary was the only way to pay their bills. Today, Washington economists still cannot figure out the effect employee stock options have on inflation. Fifteen years ago, Generation X label described a lost and dispirited mass.
As much as we are enjoying things the way they are, things are also beginning to stall. Not as in eject, eject (female voice), but it appears there is no longer the determination and vision it takes to create vital markets and assume leadership. The motivating factors, whatever these are, appear to be weakening. Somehow, it does not help to offer the challenge of the world leadership. Somehow, economic growth is not a motivator. The New World Order Bill (the other Bill, not Gates) does not inspire. We are slowing down by throwing things at the courts. We are losing our leadership because Disney would rather send Henry to Beijing and tell them what a wonderful shoot-them-in-the-back-of-the-head power they are. Disney would negotiate access to a closed Chinese market rather than have them fork over the royalties in the open market. Loss of leadership is when we buzz high school kids for weapons because we do not know what else is there to do. Loss of leadership is when we find it convenient to distribute condoms and needles because we have no clue on how to bring out the better in us, in a school no less.
What we've got here now is about leadership. We are running out of ideas as in "I cannot talk now, it's in the courts." In the court we are showing off who can gum up the works the best. Who has the greatest power to control things at the expense of everything else. What we've got here now is about the last surviving monopoly in the US - the courts.
Courts are the guys who celebrate the new Millennium by cracking open a new box of carbon paper to go with their typewriter. Their microphones don't work because they don't care and nobody will fix them because nobody cares. If they get some money tomorrow and buy some computers, these machines would break down literally and figuratively because nobody cares. Courts of the nineties are the battlefields of the sixties - we wish the courts would issue a subpoena and nobody showed up. The soft part is that we think the courts are useful for something, even let them decide who or what or when something is a monopoly even though they should disqualify themselves from answering that very question. Here we go again; they want to show off and screw it up. Not because they are dense and do not understand the issues, but because they cannot manage current changes and because the changes work against them. The courts will tell us hugging trees is the only option to take. They will tell you hugging trees is good in a hurricane and they would be right. But it is the technology deluge out there that needs to be managed by looking ahead. That, for better or for worse, is something the courts cannot begin to contemplate. The preponderance of ponderance is what the court is about. The court, in effect, is asked to take itself out. Tell that to a guy whose doctrine of fairness is to take sides.
Ten years ago judges moaned about mandatory sentencing. They did know perhaps that civility means fewer jobs for judges, fewer insults for the victim, fewer behind the back deals all around.
Microsoft or anybody else on either side cannot prove much in fast changing markets. Managing external events and turning them into opportunities is another way of saying it. It is like judging a football game based on few plays. The court can always come up with something that sounds plausible, but what the court does not know - what the court does not want to admit - is that the court is not relevant in a fast changing environment.
The court can say:
"Software business has few barriers to entry. If one cannot sell to the end user, one can integrate its software with other providers and enter markets at many levels. Royalties are easy to allocate. Many software vendors, in fact, sell into as many levels as possible and this is the singular hallmark of the software industry.
Vertical integration with hardware is possible but the risk of hardware innovation is real and software makers will choose several platforms. A dominating software company does not avail itself to writing a majority of software but must purchase new software in the open market. This is because the dominant software producer does not have a monopoly on new ideas, and, repeating the opening statement, there are few or no barriers to entry in the software business. The apparent monopolistic practices stem from the basic and possibly disturbing lack of vendor choices, as Microsoft is currently the best-of-breed provider. It is the opinion of this court that being the best of breed is not a monopolistic practice and any frustration by competition simply stems from the fact that these competitors do not offer products in the same class of features, functions, options, and quality. Such source of frustration should not and will not find relief in court. It is also a fact that all competitors have identical opportunities to be significant players in the market. Microsoft can only be guilty of exposing and embarrassing the present mediocre standards, which extend to the lack of innovation originating at the nation's schools.
The use of part time workers by Microsoft, however, has created an underclass of workers and it is an issue that may be relevant."
Unfortunately the court, being a monopoly, cannot provide or even recognize leadership because the court throws an anchor around all parties and, sooner or later, they all beg to have it lifted. But if the court cannot take itself out on this one, the court will be putting its own future in play.
What is creeping in is product competition that is not based on a platform of a better product but, instead, on a platform of 'for' or 'against' Microsoft product. Party line. And all the court's horses and all the court's men, cannot advise without bringing closer their own horse's end.
Maybe do arbitration next time.
Another Bomb From Jet Propulsion Laboratory:
One would think a national laboratory with Jet in its name would come up with some inspiring new designs besides another bomb, literally or figuratively. On a restaurant menu last month, I was not promised enlightenment by ordering Le Petite Bombe au Chocolade, but succumbed nonetheless. This set me back a cool $4.50.
Sailing in outer space? Solar power, eh? That will set you back $10 million plus, American. A giant parasol is to deploy out there in space and it will be pushed by light. Telling you that this will not work goes up against the credibility of the JPL scientists. Telling you that the photon - that is light - does not have real momentum to push things is heresy because we've been told that light packs a real punch so many times we do not question it. In the category 'How to annoy a scientist,' the simple thing is to ask: "Are you sure a laser beam will push a mirror because, you say, the mirror is supposed to get twice the photon's momentum when it bounces off it?"
The photon has momentum that is virtual. It exists but pulls no punches. The photon's momentum is tied to the square root of minus one, the real 2000-year-old problem. The photon's virtual momentum can be converted to real heat energy and from there the heat radiates out again or pushes molecules or ejects electrons, which then move things around. [It is somewhat more complex in the virtual domain and we would need to get into de Broglie's sloppy math.] Yet, somebody, or possibly everybody, overlooked the obvious. There are no molecules to push around in the vacuum of space, and light will bounce off of the parasol without imparting any physical momentum whatever. This mission should be called The Starship Lollipop; it sounds sweet and enticing and it's a sucker.
When the photon sailing mission fails, what is left of the experiment? Merit-wise, there is nothing. There are no secondary benefits to this mission. On the basis of merit we should implore the Capitol guys to save taxpayers' capital. However, when things get this bad, it has nothing to do with the JPL. University science graduates do what they are taught and nothing much has changed there in the last eighty years.
"Do something fresh for y2k? Drop propulsion from your name."
F-22 Is Out: Cannot Take The Gs
Is it possible there is some astute political and technological thinking going on in Washington, DC? Over the last decade, the pilot was slowly and inevitably pushed aside. The best and the brightest became the limiting factor as fighter technology slowly eclipsed them.
First were the materials and the engines that push them. Pilot's ability to take the Gs limits the maneuvering performance for two decades now. Finally, it's the brain's turn. If the pilotless plane outmaneuvers piloted plane and brings it down, it's a no brainer.
Much can be written about the pilot's ad hoc decision values, along the same lines as the necessity of having ground troops in the end. Yet, it may be only a matter of time when some poor soul surrenders to a robot.
But the pilot will be back. Gravitational vectoring will put him back in the seat making right degree turns at the "speed of thought."
You've come to the right place.
Grass Roots Oxygen
It is interesting to come together and participate in an informal, friendly, and low budget conference that is put together on the initiative of a few for the benefit of many. The First Anti-Gravity conference in Reno, Nevada, drew over twenty attendees and speakers who enjoyed presentations, demos, discussions, and picnicking.
Nobody was terribly surprised when a 24 pound device showed weight decrease of 13 pounds on a plain bathroom scale in a demo that was repeated several times. After looking at the 11 pound mark for thirty seconds, all questions disappeared along with the weight. It was time for fine tuning. Can you eliminate the clutch? Yes. Can you get it off the ground? Yes. Can you direct the thrust vertically and horizontally? Maybe. That was just the beginning. The credibility boost was thus given to another presentation of a clutchless, geared gyroscopic thruster which was on the drawing board and which has previous encouraging versions. This device's moving parts do it on a 2D plane with four gyros smoothing out the linear thrusting.
There was one classical presenter who could not or would not comment on the in-your-face 50+ percent weight reduction. He chose to keep the stiff upper lip, but one of these days the wall will come down when the institutionalized funding dries up and the emperor's clothes will be plainly missing, just as they were for the last eighty years.
Never underestimate the power of the guy tinkering in the garage, the guy who beats a path to the beat of a different drummer, the guy who shifts the paradigm and leaves management consultants scrambling trying to put a name on it.
Never underestimate the American ingenuity in scaling up or transferring a concept into marketable dimensions. It does not take deep pockets of the feds to make this into something that is flying in more ways than one.
Now more than ever, books, magazines, cinema, television, and computer simulations are selling fiction as nonfiction. A new attitude of better-believe-it stories has plenty of hooks, and it does not take a rocket scientist to see little gems of black holes, wormholes, time travel, big bang, and morphed space-time that gives "Bandwagon Productions" the grease from publicly accepted realities.
What separates the mind of media from the mind of the hands-on inventor is that the inventor has a tangible product to sell in the end. A new real product comes to life because there is an inventor who has a vision. A real inventor sees the reality as it is and steers around the cape horn of pretend realities. The successful inventor knows when and how pretenses collapse. To a true inventor, failure is not an option because (s)he is not doing a story about inventing.
Every so often, the government procurement process needs to do a reality check because government is in the business of creating lasting values rather than supporting beliefs or myths. The reassessment of the general theory of relativity is in order, for anything coming out of this theory will continue to have poor tangible returns. The experiment flaw and the inability to explain spin when everything in the universe is spinning are but two of the most glaring and fundamental flaws. Black holes, wormholes, time travel machines, gravity wave detectors, or things that are a direct consequence of the general theory of relativity will not produce direct and real paybacks.
We were fortunate that the field theory of atom or the general relativity was ignored in 1948 when the transistor was invented. Even then, we did not anticipate the transistor and did not know what to do with it. The boundary between quantum mechanics and general relativity is presently drawn right through the atom. Should we pass on the pursuit of quantum mechanics of gravitation and continue to hold on to general relativity as we step outside of the atom, the fortunes may not be with us the second time around
We are familiar with dual-use technology as technology that benefits the military and commercial sectors, possibly synergistically. Similarly, we justify spending taxpayer money on multi-use objectives, some of which we know will fail, if we anticipate that the pursuit in and of itself will produce side benefits. A dedicated search for nonexisting black holes will be a good investment if, for example, it results in new digital optics or x-ray detectors. On the other hand, a search for nonexisting neutrinos in their real (collapsed) state results in building a simple detector thousands of times -- certainly a hole in the ground.
There is no stronger motivation than the one arising from the pursuit of the gravity-vectoring platform we know exists. There are no greater, more numerous, or more leveraging rewards than the ones flowing from the GVP implementation.
There is a need to clear out the remnants of the mechanics that lead to the First World War. The industrial revolution benefited few and was used by few. Innovation, then, was associated mostly with sustaining status quo or with concentrating power in fewer individuals. The meaning of progress was (and to some still is) distorted or perverted. Presently in the US, the copyright, trademark, patent, financial, and tax structure favor the innovator. Court access is good. Both the tightly and the loosely knit organizations thrive. In spite of recent tragic events, the separation of church and state appears to hold. As things evolve and HyperFlight becomes a reality, more legislative and infrastructure work will need to be done to remain a society in balance. Progress and innovation should be reflected in the society's higher capacity for self-organization where the tangible goods benefit the intangible and vice versa.
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