Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Good lessons from a bad year

What this guy says:

• Relentlessness pays off. President Bush won reelection by ignoring the conventional wisdom that vicious attacks on your opponent don't work and turn off voters. As soon as John Kerry won the Democratic nomination, Bush's campaign went on the attack and never stopped. It worked....

• Cultural hypocrisy should be exposed. I cannot understand why liberals who regularly criticize the excesses of the economic market let conservatives get away with being the advocates of "traditional values."...

• Class matters. Bush and the Republicans condemn "class warfare" -- and then play the class card with a vengeance. Bush has pushed through policies that, by any impartial reckoning, have transferred massive amounts of money to the wealthiest people in our country. Yet it is conservatives, Bush supporters, who trash the "elites," especially when it comes to culture. Class warfare is evil -- unless a conservative is playing the class card. ...

• Stand for something. Bush won this year because of those attacks on Kerry. But he also won because swing voters who didn't like him very much were nonetheless quite certain that he knew what he wanted to do and would try to get it done. ...

Happy New Year, kids!

Are they talking about the same Person?

Those of you that know me know that I'm what some people refer to as a "souless atheist".

I don't see it that way, quite, but it seems to me no person has an undying part. If we do our best to make the world a better (or worse) place, our actions and ideas can and do live on. But when we sleep, we sleep, and it's silly to stay up nights and worry about it.

A friend sent me a link awhile back, pointing out that there are a lot of Christians who actively oppose what Bu$hCo is doing to America. Let me apologize to him: I lost the link. There are lots of Christian voices against what Bu$hie's pushing on us.

But on the other hand, there are a lot of wack jobs like this who not only support Bu$h, but extend their fear and hate out to the "heathen" world.

If you haven't encountered it, an excellent parody site of the mindless side of the Christian religion is found here . I particularly like their Bible Quizzes , which are pretty well designed to show you no rational human being since about, oh, 3000 B.C. would believe the Bible is the Literal Word of God.

For those True Believers out there, my apologies and my sympathies.

Unrequited Love hurts the most of all.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

When you believe in things you don't understand

There's a fundamentalist mindset that is eager to assume the sinners deserve the wrath of God.

Be it tsunamis, plague, or ingrown toenails. Or something like poverty. Or war.

I find it offensive.

And they site the miraculous to justify their lack of any empathy. "The animals weren't found dead" . The only miracle about this is that the people who find this miraculous manage to hold a steady job.

Seeing as how it's mostly jungle around the Indian ocean, and we're getting footage of the recent tsunami from survivors on the second floor of many ports, presumably most animals can climb- or swim to an elevation of thirty feet or so to where they can climb out of the muck. Elephants are excellent swimmers, in fact.

Being unencumbered by niceties like trying to rescue property or people.

Additionally, most of the ravaged areas were beaches with tourists, docks, or industrial areas. Let's face it, people are going to be the major casualties in these areas- and when a dog sees surging water, curiosity isn't going to lead him up to the water's edge to see what's happening.

There are real miracles in the world. Human courage, for one. But this world works by reason, and citing the irrational to justify your own bigotry is not cool around here.

It will get comments deleted every time.

I can't delete Bu$hCo, but I can delete offensive posts. Go away if you don't like it. This blog is for my friends. It's that simple.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

What is a government good for?

Why does it take an op-ed piece in the N.Y. Times to remind them of what should be blindingly obvious?

This is a wild unstable world we live in, and civilization exists so that we can help protect each other from it.

Disasterous earthquakes aren't just isolated to the Pacific Rim. Nor are they unpredictable. You might chose to ignore it, but geologists have been warning of a disaster poised to devastate the entire East Coast for some time now.

And it's not only primed for a natural disaster. This particular volcano is riddled with mine shafts going through the fault line. Why should a potential terrorist struggle with trying to import a nuke into an American city, when it would be much easier to smuggle into this semitropical island and imbed into the base of this fault?

Try to defend against that, office of Homeland Security.

And they don't think it's passed across anyone's mind? Before now?

Exactly what do they think we're up against? Perhaps it all really is a Great Game being played within the Carlyle Group members. But sometimes games get out of hand, to produce unintended consequences.

I keep on hearing calls from idiots to shrink government.

Some of these idiots are very powerful. And it's not just one or two. It's the whole Bu$hCo Administration , with both elected and unelected members.

But without science, without regulatory oversight, you get "lifesaving" drugs that kill . Without government support, we can't even monitor , much less predict, the weather. One can only hope the near misses extend indefinitely.

And even if they didn't you couldn't trust this bunch to do more than take care of their own- and possibly play the market ahead of time.

So shrink away, evil secular government. Dump the secular sinners from the Institutions created to serve and protect Americans. God loves the Child who's got his own.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

All this, and tax day too

1 in 60 ?

The highest Torrino scale score yet?

A gigaton impact if it hits?

Remind me to stay away from the Gulf at spring break this year...

Friday, December 24, 2004

Before and After Pics

Click right here to see pictures showing the effects of global warming on shrinking glaciers in Alaska.

It's real, folks. Once you get to the page, click on the windows on the left to see Glacier Bay from a number of different views. The whole story is here .

It's hard to appreciate on a Christmas Eve in Ann Arbor with a temperature of minus 10 Fahrenheit... but the world's more than what's happening today. After all, the Great Lakes don't freeze over anymore, either.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Fueling the long, slow climb back into the light

The crusading chimpanzee alpha males are having a hurrah at the expense of all else that would listen to their screams of indignation and alarm and heed their call to War.

The sapient protest, but lacking the tooth and claw, mostly use their intelligence to avoid the battle with the armies of the ape.

But even the sapient feel despair as the chimpanzee- emperor wannabe cheerleads the depletion of the pivotal resource of civilization: the cheap energy that fuels our economy and eases life.

Which they are justified in feeling- if the resource is really non renewable.

There is methane ice seeping from the sediment of the Gulf of Mexico, in places up to 300 feet thick. There are whole communities of animals that live in the methane seeping from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. Methane is produced naturally by a group of anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria normally live in the absence of free oxygen- such as in the silt at the bottom of the ocean or deep underground.

In the natural carbon cycle, most of the methane produced in the ocean is by a species of Archaeobacteria . Much of this exists as methane hydrate, an ice-like compound, can be found in the deep ocean beds.

The mechanism production of hydrocarbons is somewhat controversial among geologists- or geology NeoTheo Con geology revisionists , anyway. Many insist hydrocarbons are generated spontaneously in the mantle of the earth, but there is much evidence against this idea. If you ask the Government, it tells the kids methane's a nonrenewable fuel. It even calls the methane ice on the floor of the Gulf a fossil fuel, although it's being continually generated by bacterial action.

Actually, there's evidence both biotic and abiotic processes are at work :
Arguments have been advanced for each viewpoint, and although they conflict with each other, each line of argument sounds strangely convincing. In favor of the biogenic origin of petroleum, the following four observations have been advanced:

(1) Petroleum contains groups of molecules which are clearly identified as the breakdown products of complex, but common, organic molecules that occur in plants, and that could not have been built up in a non-biological process.

(2) Petroleum frequently shows the phenomenon of optical activity, i.e. a rotation of the plane of polarization when polarized light is passed through it. This implies that molecules which can have either a right-handed or a left-handed symmetry are not equally represented, but that one symmetry is preferred. This is normally a characteristic of biological materials and absent in fluids of non-biological origin.

(3) Some petroleums show a clear preference for molecules with an odd number of carbon atoms over those with an even number. Such an odd-even effect can be understood as arising from the breakdown of a class of molecules that are common in biological substances, and may be difficult to account for in other ways.

(4) Petroleum is mostly found in sedimentary deposits and only rarely in the primary rocks of the crust below; even among the sediment, it favors those that are geologically young. In many cases such sediment appears to be rich in carbonaceous materials that were interpreted as of biological origin, and as source material for the petroleum deposit.

On the other side of the argument, in favor of an origin from deeply buried materials incorporated in the Earth when it formed, the following observations have been cited:

(1) Petroleum and methane are found frequently in geographic patterns of long lines or arcs, which are related more to deep-seated large-scale structural features of the crust, than to the smaller scale patchwork of the sedimentary deposits.

(2) Hydrocarbon-rich areas tend to be hydrocarbon-rich at many different levels, corresponding to quite different geological epochs, and extending down to the crystalline basement that underlies the sediment. An invasion of an area by hydrocarbon fluids from below could better account for this than the chance of successive deposition.

(3) Some petroleums from deeper and hotter levels lack almost completely the biological evidence . Optical activity and the odd-even carbon number effect are sometimes totally absent, and it would be difficult to suppose that such a thorough destruction of the biological molecules had occurred as would be required to account for this, yet leaving the bulk substance quite similar to other crude oils.

(4) Methane is found in many locations where a biogenic origin is improbable or where biological deposits seem inadequate: in great ocean rifts in the absence of any substantial sediments; in fissures in igneous and metamorphic rocks, even at great depth; in active volcanic regions, even where there is a minimum of sediments; and there are massive amounts of methane hydrates (methane-water ice combinations) in permafrost and ocean deposits, where it is doubtful that an adequate quantity and distribution of biological source material is present.

(5) The hydrocarbon deposits of a large area often show common chemical or isotopic features, quite independent of the varied composition or the geological ages of the formations in which they are found. Such chemical signatures may be seen in the abundance ratios of some minor constituents such as traces of certain metals that are carried in petroleum; or a common tendency may be seen in the ratio of isotopes of some elements, or in the abundance ratio of some of the different molecules that make up petroleum. Thus a chemical analysis of a sample of petroleum could often allow the general area of its origin to be identified, even though quite different formations in that area may be producing petroleum. For example a crude oil from anywhere in the Middle East can be distinguished from an oil originating in any part of South America, or from the oils of West Africa; almost any of the oils from California can be distinguished from that of other regions by the carbon isotope ratio.

(6) The regional association of hydrocarbons with the inert gas helium, and a higher level of natural helium seepage in petroleum-bearing regions, has no explanation in the theories of biological origin of petroleum.

Most serious scientists don't argue: much methane, and even oil, is the product of the biological decomposition of biological products (see Nature 426, 344 - 352 (20 November 2003); doi:10.1038/nature02134 for a review).

Any biological product can be produced by a combination of molecular genetics, biochemistry, and chemical engineering. It's all a matter of isolation of the organism(s) doing the job, determining the genes, and working out a scale up.

Hydrocarbons could be produced from garbage or plant biomass at high yield- with a little research and development to pave the way.

So, yes, for the present, maybe for a generation or so, the Chimperor can royally screw up the economic basis for prosperity.

But sooner or later, some bright kids somewhere are going to put it together: an alternative energy source that doesn't require the destruction of some of the most pristine wild places on the planet for it's exploitation.

Who knows? It may be something as simple as cloning methanogenic genes into a transgenically rewired photosynthetic blue-green algae grown under glass, in nitrogen+ carbon dioxide, without oxygen, and over wet garbage to produce an endless source of power for the world's industrial economies.

It would make Saudi Arabia worth only about as much as its sand, and pauperize the robber barons that've been busy creating Endless War in order to get the Blank Check from the Faithful.

I think it would be a good idea.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Happy Festivus!

It's here.

The world is about as far from the sun as it gets right now, and to make matters worse, the northern hemisphere tilts to its extreme away from the light.

On the other hand, when you can see it, Orion is the jewel of the evening right about now.

The NeoTheo Cons hatch their plans for glory and conquest late into the night.

The Ukranian Presidential candidate gets slow poison- poison so slow, in fact, he realizes he can't easily blame his bitterest overt enemies.

The darkness lasts, and lasts, and the cold grows.

But water becomes a crystal, and the stars are the clearer because of it.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Dick and Rummy's Excellent Adventure 2

You might think with soldiers having to patch together armor and getting busted for it that the NeoTheo Cons might want to dig in and beef up before expanding their portfolio.

You would be wrong .

The road to Damascus is the key node in the Bush/neo-con roadmap for a new Middle East. Some may think the road starts in Baghdad. Wrong. It starts, simultaneously, in Washington, Jerusalem and Beirut. And neo-con think-tanks, the Christian Right and ultra right-wing Zionists are busy mapping it. A key player to watch is neo-con David Wurmser, who has been a member of Cheney's staff since September 2003 and who has for years called for a strike against Syria.

But don't be too surprised. After all, we're dealing with a group of successful if corporate revolutionaries . Remember, the success of any revolutionary movement may depend upon tactics its opponents can not or will not use.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The 300 lbs gorilla hiding in plain sight

In case the barrage of disinformation is really making you believe that Bu$hie needs scrap social security to borrow a trillion or so bucks- in your name- and invest it for you- in your name, read this :

And ponder this:

In particular, the public hasn't been let in on two open secrets:

Privatization dissipates a large fraction of workers' contributions on fees to investment companies.

It leaves many retirees in poverty.

...So the Bush administration wants to scrap a retirement system that works, and can be made financially sound for generations to come with modest reforms. Instead, it wants to buy into failure, emulating systems that, when tried elsewhere, have neither saved money nor protected the elderly from poverty.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Grand Moff Rumsfeld's black budget follies

Some ideas are just too good to write off because of a little thing like feasibility.

On the other hand...

And since this is a multiverse , on yet another hand... and still another ...

Tucked inside Congress' new blueprint for U.S. intelligence spending is a highly classified and expensive spy program that drew exceptional criticism from leading Democrats...

The rare criticisms of a highly secretive project in such a public forum intrigued outside intelligence experts, who said the program was almost certainly a spy satellite system, perhaps with technology to destroy potential attackers. They cited tantalizing hints in Rockefeller's remarks, such as the program's enormous expense and its alleged danger to national security.

Which may be related to this:

The president also instructed the Defense Department to develop plans to disable, in certain areas, an enemy's access to the U.S. navigational satellites and to similar systems operated by others. The European Union is developing a $4.8 billion program, called Galileo...

Awfully friendly of the D.o.D. to be able to disable our allies ability to navigate.

With friends like those in Bu$hCo... you really need to navigate a multiverse.

Thanks to Lambert at Corrente for the tip.

P.S. You also might like to see what Pandagon has to say about what happened this week.

When your friends keep raising prices...

you might as well foment revolution in your old competitor's back yard.

After all, it's just another move in the Great Game .

The real question is: which side is the Bush family playing for?

Monday, December 13, 2004

It's so hard to find good spooks these days

Using dioxin to poison a prominent politician.

Good grief. They're implying it was the Ukranian security chief that did it, since Yushenko had dinner with him the night before he went to the hospital. But that sounds just too blindingly dumb.

Even if Yushenko's over the immediate crisis, his liver is probably jello, and he's bound to have tumors starting all over his body.

Dioxin is no clean way to go. Look at what happened to the Viet Nam vets hit with agent orange . Are the spy agencies in the new Russia that amateur?

This sounds more like a traditional Poppy Bush Company hit, and less like the old KGB Putin headed- and certainly not Tenet's CIA.

You want a martyr? Feed him dioxin, so the whole world can watch him die. Feed him dioxin, so he can continue to rage against you more effectively than ever before as he slowly falls apart.

How incredibly stupid.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

..."The world, she's flat like a pancake..."

"I don't believe in evolution!"

There are a lot reasons why statements like this are given air by the talking heads in cable land.

But there's a simple logical fallacy at the bottom of it.

Evolution, like Gravity, is a theory designed to account for observable facts in the world around us.

Scientists don't believe anything.

When we observe the world around us, we come up with ideas to explain what we're seeing.

Then, we figure out how to test those ideas.

We test them, and then modify our ideas as needed.

That's why explanations are always changing. And that's why after decades and centuries of testing our ideas, modifying them, and testing again, we come up with explanations like Evolution and Gravity to explain data accumulated from diverse sources and disciplines. Evolution is like gravity or thermodynamics.

It really doesn't matter if you believe it or not.

It just is.

There are many very powerful people who don't approach life this way. Since they are inclined not to think too much about the world, their motivations, or the consequences of their actions, they build their lives on Faith.

Fundamentalism is the dead worst of this Faith-based, as opposed to Reality-based world view.

In this country, there are an increasing number of people who feel that:

Once Israel has occupied the rest of its 'biblical lands,' legions of the anti-Christ will attack it, triggering a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. As the Jews who have not been converted are burned, the messiah will return for the rapture. True believers will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to heaven, where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts, and frogs during the several years of tribulation that follow.

...these people
are sincere, serious, and polite as they tell you they feel called to help bring the rapture on as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That's why they have declared solidarity with Israel and the Jewish settlements and backed up their support with money and volunteers. It's why the invasion of Iraq for them was a warm-up act, predicted in the Book of Revelations where four angels 'which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of man.' A war with Islam in the Middle East is not something to be feared but welcomed—an essential conflagration on the road to redemption...

millions of Christian fundamentalists may believe that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed—even hastened—as a sign of the coming apocalypse....

Why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a word?

Welcome to the 21st century.

The beginning of the new Dark Ages, if the Wrepublicans have anything to do with it.

A religion that lets the robber barons, rape, loot, and burn as much of the world as they like.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Riding a hoax of a different color

John Titor advised moving out of the cities.

The Disappearings here, like the bad years in Argentina, start in 2005, apparently.

The global situation continues to deteriorate. It's getting a damn good start now, with Putin accusing the CIA of interfering in the Ukraine and Chechnya. Apparently nukes will be exchanged in 2015.

Now, I realize this is all a lot of garbage. Certainly this must be a hoax. And not even funny.

In fact, since the first set of predictions were made, in spring 2000, we've done the unthinkable. We went to war in Iraq. We are decidedly spiraling towards a NeoTheoCon fascist state.

So what if the John Titor hoax is a hoax of a different color?

If you were deep in the intelligence community, and you found that your peers weren't simply CIA, they were Bu$hCo Company people, and that they had a definite plan for the unthinkable and a timetable for that plan, maybe you would try to leak out the details of that plan.

Just sayin'.

Strangling the old folks in the bathtub

It doesn't matter if the market is wrecked to the Masters of the Universe.

As long as they can take your money they don't care.

They have no long term view, because they have realized that destruction of the system will make the rise of a new feudalism inevitable.

For people that have been living in a cave, no , there is no failure of Social Security that can occur any time soon, and yes , it could be fixed with a marginal tax increase when it does start to have short falls, about 30 years from now.

Without sending the government further into hock for billions, if not trillions, of dollars.

But why would they want to do something like this? Why wreck the market with hot money for speculation wildcatting, why drive the government further into bankruptcy ?

The answer is that it's all part of the plan.

Ask Grover Norquist .

Plus, they can get filthy rich doing it, allowing them to consolidate their grip on power when the gas tank hits "Empty".

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Unsurprising bedfellows

Who funds the DLC?

Lookee here :

The DLC and its close associate, the Progressive Policy Institute, are the recipients of grants from many Fortune 500 companies and such right-wing foundations as the Bradley Foundation. Corporate contributors to the Progressive Policy Institute include AT&T Foundation, Eastman Kodak Charitable Trust, Prudential Foundation, Georgia-Pacific Foundation, Chevron, and Amoco Foundation. (17) The Third Way Foundation, an umbrella group of the New Democrats in the DLC, receives funding from the Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Ameritech Foundation, and General Mills Foundation. According to one magazine report, the DLC enjoys funding from Bank One, Citigroup, Dow Chemical, DuPont, General Electric, Health Insurance Corporation, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Occidental Petroleum, and Raytheon.

Compare to who funds AEI :

Major donors include the heavy hitters of the conservative foundation world--the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the Olin Foundation, the Scaife Foundation, and Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (4). According to People for the American Way, corporate donors have included the General Electric Foundation, Amoco, Kraft, Ford Motor Company Fund, General Motors Foundation, Eastman Kodak Foundation, Metropolitan Life Foundation, Proctor & Gamble Fund, Shell Companies Foundation, Chrysler Corporation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, General Mills Foundation, Pillsbury Company Foundation, Prudential Foundation, American Express Foundation, AT&T Foundation, Corning Glass Works Foundation, Morgan Guarantee Trust, Smith-Richardson Foundation, Alcoa Foundation, and PPG Industries.

Some of these donors are quite like the others, some of these donors are kinda the same...

Any questions where the DLC's loyalties lie?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Babies with rabies needed...

Bobo and his Masters want more breeders to feed the War Machine.

Take a large, physically powerful, ignorant but ambitious white teenager indoctrinated to callous violence by endless propaganda.

Give him a weapon of mass destruction, and release him to kill as many as he can of those he is led to believe threaten his way of life.

He is guaranteed to keep the Blank Checks rolling in and Endless War rolling on.

The more wealthy and insulated the child soldier is, the higher up in the command structure he ends up.

Those suburbanites sensitive and confused enough to get involved with the Counterculture tend to succumb to drugs and/or sexually transmitted disease and are weeded out of the pool of breeders.

Sounds like an AEI/ PNAC/ Carlyle group scheme if I've ever heard of one.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The fix was in.

What happened November 2nd? And Why?

Kerry and Edwards said they were going to count every vote. They told everyone they were going to make sure the debacle of 2000 wasn't repeated this year. But the day after election, Kerry concedes, despite widespread reports of voting errors, malfunction, and suppression in two of the most pivotal states, Florida and Ohio.

Kerry is part of the same culture that produced the Bush family. He belongs to the same society as both Poppy and Junior at Yale. This was one thing that disquieted a lot of people.

Obviously there are major differences between Bush and Kerry. Kerry's usually come down on the progressive side of things. He's developed some very powerful allies, among of which is a major donor , the multibillionaire George Soros .

Soros is an interesting player. In addition to being a major bankroller of the Democratic party, he's also a major source of income for MoveOn. Recently he's also become a patron of the most vocal liberal blog sites and partisans like Michael Moore.

Soros is also a major contributor and investor of the Carlyle Group . You know, Poppy Bush's people . Established right after Poppy stepped down from Gerry Ford's CIA. Where old cabinet members, presidents, and CIA agents go to bank their money.

It wasn't an election, it wasn't a selection, it was merely an attempt at a friendly takeover.

The guys at the top of the heap worry most about keeping the blank check coming in for endless war.

The Democrats rolled over because their constituents- and a big chunk of America- were ready to seriously shake up the system if they acknowledged the Republicans had stolen yet another one.

That would have been bad for business.

Soros makes far more money off of Halliburton and General Dynamics and General Electric and Becthel and all the other Carlyle subsidiaries than even the Bushies do.

When the same megacorporate conglomerate makes money no matter who's in office, you have to look at the whole issue a little more carefully.

The final issue is what are these guys thinking? What motivates their policy?

I think at one level it's this :

In 50 years much of the industrial world will be moving to a preindustrial state because there won't be fossil fuels to run industrial economies.

Saudi Royals- big investors in the Carlyle group- are using religion and the war against Israel as a method to consolidate their power over a significant portion of the globe before their energy resources run out.

The Bush family- a wanna-be royal dynasty if there ever was one- has decided to use Christianity the way the Saudi royal families have decided to use Islam.

The Great Game is on again, and this round, winner keeps all, because they'll be no more fuel when they call time.

Soros may represent the social Darwinist fraction of the Carlyle Group. But basically he's in it for the bucks like everyone else. He's convinced pragmatism will ride the tide which ever way it shifts.

And as long as it's endless war, the blank check just gets bigger.

Cyberspace from outer space.

People at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence are thinking about beaming the Google data base into space.

Now that's an idea. Give 'em a good warning before they come knocking. The porn database alone will doubtless interest the silicon-based lifeforms.