Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Appendix of Vestigial Textbooks

In the words of "my friend", as they say in the Senate when talking about an opponent they hope does not get re-elected, I am a tree hugger because I complain about loose scientific practices which cause textbooks to become extinct.

Which requires reprints, which in turn requires the demise of even more precious trees.

Too bad.

More trees are going down because new textbooks must be printed to keep up with a new discovery about an old subject, the appendix:
"Maybe it's time to correct the textbooks," says William Parker, Ph.D., assistant professor of surgical sciences at Duke and the senior author of the study. "Many biology texts today still refer to the appendix as a 'vestigial organ.'"
(Science Daily). Shiver me tree timbers, I want to know more about this appendix, this vestigial organ they are talking about, so check it out:
The lowly appendix, long-regarded as a useless evolutionary artifact, won newfound respect two years ago when researchers at Duke University Medical Center proposed that it actually serves a critical function. The appendix, they said, is a safe haven where good bacteria could hang out until they were needed to repopulate the gut after a nasty case of diarrhea, for example.

"Darwin simply didn't have access to the information we have," explains Parker. "If Darwin had been aware of the species that have an appendix attached to a large cecum, and if he had known about the widespread nature of the appendix, he probably would not have thought of the appendix as a vestige of evolution."
(ibid). Doctors do not have to improve on nature by taking out the appendix any more?

Instead, culinary artists may find a way to stimulate the immune system so the appendix is used to store good bacteria as it once did?

I suppose this subject could be written in a book "The Evolution of Evolution" to compliment the book "The Evolution of God".

Or, science and religion could stop fighting and get on with the Ecocosmology movement, which works to eventually evolve the vestigial human species into one fitly adapted to this cosmos.

But what about the trees we will lose because we have to reprint the textbooks? Well, there is always vestigial recycling I suppose.

As a result of the removal of the human appendix, some people have had to have "feces transplants", or otherwise get their sh*t together.

The next post in this series is here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Is There A Shadow Government? - 2

We have been taught or indoctrinated into the notion that we are not permitted, in good company, to think about "conspiracy theories" because that is wacko and not sufficiently patriotic.

But in the political science context we are allowed, in good company, to think about political movements and the notions, ideologies, and political perspectives and power they have or do not have, without being wackos.

So, being a compliant citizen, I want to address the subject of a "shadow government" as a political science matter in the same context that the scientific community deals with the subject of "shadow matter" or "dark matter".

See Heretics Deny The Dark Matter of Faith for the preliminary scientific discussion, and Is There A Shadow Government for the preliminary political discussion.

After reading those posts, one can see that both of these dark matters could be considered to be "movements" within the cosmology field and within the political science field, rather than being conspiracies.

The notion of a shadow government, as a movement which would influence our government substantially, was the hypothesis of General and later President Eisenhower, who was echoing the earlier warnings of our Fourth President, James Madison.

We could say, then, that the political dark matter is a much more ancient concept than the cosmological dark matter is.

The dark matter that Eisenhower and Madison gave voice to was the hypothesis that military and big business would form an unconscious, natural alliance which would prove to be such a great influence that it effectively would be the controlling factor in what the United States government did and didn't do.

It would replace the constitutional form of government of, by, and for the people with its own influence to satisfy its own desires and needs.

If such a political science hypothesis were to be analysed by looking for evidence that it had or had not happened, so as to prove or disprove the hypothesis, even the most inexperienced political scientist would look for influences upon the president, the congress, the judiciary, and the press (whose duty it is to tell the U.S. public what is going on).

But what influences would any such political scientist look for?

The article cited to above points out that the cosmology scientists have not been able to find any evidence of dark matter, so faith is their mainstay, but what about the political scientists?

What would be evidence to support or prove that what Eisenhower and Madison revealed as factors of a shadow government had actually taken place?

Eisenhower mentioned that he was cautioning that "the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists".

One of the factors to look for is "misplaced power", that is, power being exercised by those it should not rest in, that is, being exercised by the military and by business associated with the military to the demise of the people's power.

An article at Huffington Post argues that on the business side it has happened already, but what about the military side?

The book Fortress America, by William Greider, 1998, observes the U.S. military in these terms:
Until more money arrives, the defense apparatus is literally feeding on its own parts, pinching this and that, scrimping here and there, in order to keep the same Cold War force structure in place and the same lineup of new weapons moving through the pipeline of development. During the Cold War era, the military institution acquired a reflexive appetite for growth that it's now unwilling to give up. Instead, it lumbers toward a self-induced crisis of malnourishment, as when an addict's starving body eats its own liver.
(see Fortress America NY Times, 3rd World Traveler, emphasis added). The author observed the military being an addict, which is synonymous with dangerous and aberrant behavior.

Within a very short time after the book was published came 9/11 followed by the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

The drug of war became the salvation of the military and the weapons industry.

If the critics are correct that the Iraq war had to do with the U.S. addiction to oil, then, we can conclude that the perfect storm did happen, the shadow government took over, and it is here to stay.

War worship is now the spirit of America, even though James Madison said it is our worst enemy.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Troy Davis Lives Again

What do former President Jimmy Carter, Civil Rights icon John Lewis, Nobel Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Pope Benedict XVI, as well as the European Union, the European Parliament, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, former FBI Director William Sessions, and former and current members of U.S. Congress Bob Barr, Carol Moseley Braun and John Lewis have in common?

They think Troy Davis is innocent but was falsely convicted, and they are happy that the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a district court hearing so that new evidence may be looked at.

This Supreme Court case was unusual in that it was an original habeas corpus application directly to that court, without first going to lower courts.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Health Care Includes Mental Health?

The sound and the fury of the health care debates raging in the land of pundits, journalists, and concerned citizens is sometimes less than clear.

I am not sure people are talking about the same thing sometimes, because they seem discordant and unsure of their facts about what physical illness is relevant.

I have heard no discussion about what mental health issues, if any, are covered in this raging health care debate.

Mental health care should be included in the discussion if the issue of mounting health care costs is to be a factor:
U.S. spending on mental illness is soaring at a faster pace than spending on any other health care category, new government data released Wednesday shows. The cost of treating mental disorders rose sharply between 1996 and 2006, from $35 billion (in 2006 dollars) to almost $58 billion, according to the report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. At the same time, the report showed, the number of Americans who sought treatment for depression, bipolar disorder and other mental health woes almost doubled, from 19 million to 36 million. The new statistics come on the heels of a study, released Monday, that found antidepressant use among U.S. residents almost doubled between a similar time frame, 1996 and 2005"
(Medical News Today, emphasis added). There is some potentially disconcerting language on some government sites in this regard:
The emotional impact of traumatic events can have devastating effects on the mental well-being of individuals of all ages. For many, it is easy to focus all energies on helping other people or on maintaining daily schedules and routines. Although these efforts deserve attention, it is important to remember to take care of yourself and to monitor your own emotions during difficult times.
(U.S. HHS, emphasis added). It is a bit strange but at the same time socially acceptable that we would be left to monitor our own mental condition, but would not even think of doing our own doctoring on physical maladies.

She Don't Mind She Don't Mind Cocaine

Once again we have a reminder of injustice and disparity in the U.S.A. when it comes to sentencing practices over the past decade or so.

Cocaine has been said to be the drug of the affluent, for which users get a comparatively light sentence in jail.

At least it is light compared to crack cocaine, said to be the drug of the poor, for which a much greater sentence has been given for the same amount.

A recent study shows us that cocaine is found on 90% of our small paper bills, our cash:
The scientists collected U.S. banknotes from 17 U.S. cities and found that larger cities like Baltimore, Boston, and Detroit had among the highest average cocaine levels. Washington, D.C., ranked above the average, with 95 percent of the banknotes sampled contaminated with the drug. The lowest average cocaine levels in U.S. currency appeared in bills collected from Salt Lake City.
(Science Daily). If it were crack cocaine on the cash there could be enough to send almost anyone to jail who handles enough currency so that the residue stays on them until a test on a person's hands is conducted:
For sentencing purposes, the rules equate one gram of crack cocaine to 100 grams of powdered cocaine. Essentially, the judge who sentenced Kimbrough ignored this punitive standard.

"The judge said, this crack/powder thing is just nuts," said Harvard Law School Professor Carol Steiker.

Other judges agree. So does the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which has repeatedly recommended revising the 21-year-old cocaine sentencing rules. So do members of Congress such as Reps. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., and Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, who've again introduced a bill to even out cocaine sentences.
(McClatchy). The 100 - 1 ratio has resulted in an unfair prosecution of blacks who make up the bulk of prisoners.

The Supreme Court held that federal district court judges could ignore the unfair 100-1 ratio and do sentences based on a more fair application of law.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wackos Take Another Hit

Surprise happens.

But when the best scientists are surprised, you can bet some propaganda has been dropped on the trail to throw them off.

In that regard, some specialists on methane which is a green house gas, were dangerously surprised:

"Our survey was designed to work out how much methane might be released by future ocean warming; we did not expect to discover such strong evidence that this process has already started."
(Science Daily). In other words they were preparing for a future catastrophe when they ran upon the evidence that the catastrophe is already here in the making.

There are two immediate negative considerations.

One consideration is that this could mean that efforts of the major nations to cut down on green house gas emissions have been neutralized, and that far more must be done even to get to where we thought we were, because methane "released from gas hydrate in submarine sediments has been identified in the past as an agent of climate change".

A second consideration is that "methane dissolved in the seawater contributes to ocean acidification", and as a recent post here shows, food supply is endangered because the ocean around Alaska is showing increased acidification.

The surprise in this matter may be a larger surprise than the scientist first suspected, since "July was the hottest the world's oceans have been in almost 130 years of record-keeping."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sure Sign of Police Force Degeneration

It is a sure sign that police departments are degenerating when they really do not know who Bob Dylan is.

But it happened and he got a ride in the same car the hurricane got a ride in.

Thankfully they did not taser him like they do a lot of innocent people, from moms to grandmoms, to people watching family members being baptised (because they do not say heil hitler properly).

Happy birthday once again Bob.

Gotta work on that heil hitler folks, if ya wanna be a real true patriot ... er I mean ... avoid that taser for freedom feeling.

U.S. Down - France & Germany Recover

Many of us have been saying that two U.S. wars have a negative effect on the middle class and poor, but have made the war profiteers fat with plunder soaked in innocent blood.

Combined with the bankster plunder, these bad actors caused a worldwide recession on middle class and poor folk around the world. Untold millions have lost jobs, homes, and health care coverage.

It seems that Germany and France are pulling out of the recession even as it continues in the "Homeland", a.k.a. the United States:
Germany and France achieved a shock return to economic growth in the second quarter of the year, ending their recessions earlier than many policy makers and economists expected ...
(Reuters). They have not been running war induced deficits for almost a decade as the U.S. has, nor have they stopped taxing the rich who can afford to be taxed.

The plunderously rich warsters and banksters have stolen from the middle class and poor, and have put the plunder into Swiss banks and other offshore repositories, and have been drooling over it as their honest fellow Americans suffer and die.

It should not be too difficult to grasp in the abstract, that nations not at war will be better off economically than those that are at war; except that the warsters have propagated propaganda for so long that many people actually think that the waste of war brings prosperity to all.

The truth is that war benefits the warsters, the war profiteers, but impoverishes the rest of the nation.