Friday, June 28, 2013

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 17

I'll be back
There was a movie series about "The Rise of The Machines" accentuating the myth of machines arising to take control of biological species, specifically the human species.

The basic theme and plot is that in the future machines will become sentient or the like, and will seek to have control over humans, who up to that time in history always had control over machines.

That theme and plot is, in many aspects, a very narrow and uninformed view of evolution --especially in the sense of "which came first, machines or biological organisms?"

Current scientific thinking, in terms of cosmological and biological evolution, begins with the Big Bang theory of cosmology, then winds its way very slowly into stellar evolution, leading eventually to the development of carbon within stars, then the release of that carbon into space upon the demise of stars, and finally the concentration of that carbon and other elements to form planets which became platforms that eventually gave rise to an environment for carbon based life forms to evolve (Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 3; see also The Life and Death of Bright Things and Did Abiotic Intelligence Precede Biotic Intelligence?).

There have been various Dredd Blog discussions over the years concerning the nomenclature, word evolution, and morph of word meaning concerning machines, robots, cyborgs, and biological organisms (see e.g. Which Came First - Cyborg Or Robot? - 2 and Which Came First - Cyborg Or Robot?).

Note, so that you don't let bias control as you read this post, that the original parts of words, the words themselves, as well as the original meanings of those words came from a time prior to modern science.

Yes, those words and meanings came before the development of Big Bang Cosmology and quantum physics, but also came prior to a host of other revolutionary scientific enlightenments which we now take for granted.

Politics and/or class dynamics can also be a factor in scientific notions (Rich 'May Evolve into Separate Species'; cf. The Criminally Insane Epoch Arises - 2 -where it discusses Eugenics).

Before we get into very much of that, let's take a look at a quote from a recent scientific paper (27-Jun-2013) that is related to the subject of this weekend's rebel science post, and one that sets the stage with some basic background:
According to Dr. Enríquez, lead investigator on the study, "Understanding how cells generate energy is fundamental to understanding living systems, and for much of the last century this was a primary object of studies in biochemistry. By the beginning of the 80s the mystery of how mitochondria achieve this task was thought to be solved, and in the 90s the molecular structures responsible were resolved in incredible detail. This was considered to be one of the best understood processes in the cell."

This view was overturned by the description of mitochondrial diseases. Despite the impressive accumulation of knowledge of mitochondrial function, the models could not explain the symptoms of these diseases, and researchers were unable to predict who would develop these diseases or how severe they would be, or explain their origin and mechanism. As a consequence, it has not been possible to develop effective treatments.

This situation revealed that our knowledge of mitochondrial function was much less complete than had been believed and that our models were inadequate. Therefore research over the last ten years has been directed at providing a better understanding of this process.
(Researchers Reformulate the Model, original here). Ok, so our science had a blind spot that crippled our ability to forge knowledge into practical uses.

That paper goes on to reveal a major discovery which is instructive as to how cells function:
The new study confirms the model proposed in 2008 by the group led by Dr. Enríquez, who affirms that "this redefines our view of one of the most basic processes for life in all cells."

The energy released from the rupture of chemical bonds in food molecules is stored temporarily in the form of high energy electrons in two types of molecule, N and F, whose proportions vary depending on the nutrient source. By themselves, these molecules cannot provide a freely utilizable source of rapidly mobilized energy for the cell's needs; access to this stored energy requires the mitochondria, which uses five molecular machines, called complexes I, II, III, IV and V, to convert the energy stored in N and F molecules into the universal energy source ATP.
(ibid, emphasis added). The "five molecular machines" are used by what we call biological entities, i.e. "mitochondria."

Those mitochondria exist within other biological entities, i.e. "cells," and use "five molecular machines" to store and later retrieve energy ---in what we could also describe as "the tiniest batteries."

Our culture does not consider "cell battery", "cell phone battery", or "battery cell" to be science fiction terms, because we use those words and those gadgets every day.

What does sound like science fiction is "molecular machines" which are used to convert energy in "molecular batteries" into useful purposes within a living biological cell.

But regular readers know that the Dredd Blog System has been talking about these "molecular machines" as reality for several years now:
Looking at it that way, the machines are at the foundation of biological organisms aren't they? We are in a sense cyborg, then, because we are both machine and organic." (2/14/09)
"Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial." Professor Lithgow said." (9/25/09).
Dr Clarke said: “There are a lot of fundamental questions about the origins of life and many people think they are questions about biology. But for life to have evolved, you have to have a moment when non-living things become livingeverything up to that point is chemistry.”
"Many cellular processes are carried out by molecular ‘machines’ — assemblies of multiple differentiated proteins that physically interact to execute biological functions ... Our experiments show that increased complexity in an essential molecular machine evolved because of simple, high-probability evolutionary processes, without the apparent evolution of novel functions. They point to a plausible mechanism for the evolution of complexity in other multi-paralogue protein complexes." (4/10/12)
"Writing in the journal PLoS Pathogens, the team from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences show how they studied the molecular machine known as the 'type II bacterial secretion system', which is responsible for delivering potent toxins from bacteria such as enterotoxigenic E. coli and Vibrio cholerae into an infected individual.

Professor Richard Pickersgill, who led the research, said: "Bacterial secretion systems deliver disease causing toxins into host tissue. If we can understand how these machines work, then we can work out how it they might be stopped." (4/10/12)
"The most complex molecular machines are found within cells." (ibid)
I think that suffices to get the point across, which is, that single cells within organisms are in fact composed of both machine and biological components.

The point is also applicable to the oldest life forms, microbes, which also use molecular machines: "Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines" (quoted above, see also The Tiniest Scientists Are Very Old - 2).

Have a good weekend.

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

Thursday, June 27, 2013

On The Origin of Security - 3

We Have Your Papers
The Obama Administration says that you need to be watched, along with all of your fellow citizens.

This watching includes gathering all of your private data available to the Military, granted to them by secret courts (On The Origin of Security - 2).

Courts so secret that if you release any of their opinions to the public like other court opinions, it is a violation of law to the point that you could be prosecuted for espionage under a law passed in 1917, or other laws against revealing government secrets.

Like Richard Nixon did to Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers.

Only, as Dredd Blog pointed out, the Obama Administration has done more to stop whistleblowing than all other administrations combined (Obama Administration Rides Into The W Sunset - 2).

Some evidence indicates this is because they need to hide more than other administrations because they are more egregious than other administrations:
The Obama administration for more than two years permitted the National Security Agency to continue collecting vast amounts of records detailing the email and internet usage of Americans, according to secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

The documents indicate that under the program, launched in 2001, a federal judge sitting on the secret surveillance panel called the Fisa court would approve a bulk collection order for internet metadata "every 90 days". A senior administration official confirmed the program, stating that it ended in 2011.

The collection of these records began under the Bush administration's wide-ranging warrantless surveillance program, collectively known by the NSA codename Stellar Wind.
(Guardian, emphasis added). The NSA mentioned in that quote, is a military outfit that is taking our private information for its own use:
The National Security Agency (NSA) is ... of the United States Department of Defense ... The NSA is directed by at least a lieutenant general or vice admiral ... The Director of the National Security Agency serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command ... (USCYBERCOM) ... an armed forces ... command subordinate to United States Strategic Command ... led by General Keith B. Alexander... USCYBERCOM ... synchronizes defense of U.S. military networks ... United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) is one of nine Unified Combatant Commands of the United States Department of Defense ... charged with ... military satellites ... information warfare ... missile defense, global command and control, intelligence, surveillance ... global strike and strategic deterrence ... nuclear arsenal ... Strategic Command [is] a successor to Strategic Air Command (SAC). It is headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base south of Omaha, Nebraska.
(Wikipedia: "National Security Agency", "U.S. Cyber Command", "U.S. Strategic Command"; see also On The Origin of Security - 2). What use can the military have for spying on American citizens as if they were an occupied enemy?

They have planned for a long time to commence military operations within the U.S. if we protest too loudly about economic conditions:
A new report by the U.S. Army War College talks about the possibility of Pentagon resources and troops being used should the economic crisis lead to civil unrest, such as protests against businesses and government or runs on beleaguered banks.

“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” said the War College report.

The study says economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks that might require military action within the U.S.
(Will The Military Become The Police - 3). That data would help them know a lot about those we were not happy with their use of our taxpayer dollars (MOMCOM - A Mean Welfare Queen).

And it would help them perpetuate the domestic and foreign policy coup that has clearly taken place (A Tale of Coup Cities - 4).

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

Ode to Snowden and Greenwald.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Barack Hansen Replaces Barack Bush?

Dr. Hansen arrested at Obama's House
Obama gave a speech yesterday that did not mention the fact that we are each day dumping into the life giving atmosphere of the only planet we can live on, the heat inducing carbon dioxide that results in the equivalent heat of setting off 400,000 Hiroshima nuclear bombs each day.

The famous scientist Dr. James Hansen (who has been arrested at the White House recently while protesting the damage being done to the Global Climate System) must be pondering the question "how will President Obama get the Keystone Oil Pipeline through?"

After Obama's speech yesterday, which was very fit for thirty years ago, Obama probably started work on the decision about how to get the Keystone through by repeating the false meme "it will make us energy independent" (Peak Oil and the New Carbon Boom).

His speech was very yesterday, and I will believe anything he said in it only when I see it happen, even though:
More than 100 million people will die ... by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change, a report commissioned by 20 governments said on Wednesday.
It calculated that five million deaths occur each year from air pollution, hunger and disease as a result of climate change and carbon-intensive economies, and that toll would likely rise to six million a year by 2030 if current patterns of fossil fuel use continue.
"A combined climate-carbon crisis is estimated to claim 100 million lives between now and the end of the next decade," the report said.
(Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment). That status quo and that future is being brought to you and me by U.S. history in the form of propaganda spouted by officials who serve only Oil-Qaeda.

History shows how yesterday U.S. policy is:
-Tyndall in mid 1800's began research into [greenhouse gases]
-Arrhenius did first degree calculations [in 1896]
-Callendar discovered [greenhouse gas] increases in 1930's
-Hulburt accord in 1930's [with Callendar]
-Gilbert N. Plass [in 1956] developed CO2 ... calculations
-Suess & Revelle do paper in 1957 warning of ... dangers
-Dr. Revelle warned of polar ice cap melt in TIME interview.
-CO2 levels discovered to be high.
-Lyndon Johnson in 1965 says fossil fuels causing [global warming]
-White of NOAA, 1978, warns of [global warming] dangers.
-IPCC formed in 1979 with consensus on [global warming]
-Bush I signed [global warming] treaty [in 1992]
(The Exceptional American Denial, includes great video). For nearly two hundred years the issue of the greenhouse effect has been considered.

The consideration resulted in a treaty two decades ago, in 1992, to do something about it.

The Oil-Qaeda oriented Bush II Administration withdrew in 2001.

Does President Obama think that his parroting of ancient history while ignoring the constant, daily catastrophes around the globe NOW, caused by a damaged Global Climate System, is going to justify his expected approval of the Keystone Pipeline?

Or will his words justify a thousand other policies that continue daily to damage the Global Climate System further?

The scientist arrested at Obama's house on several occasions recently, has also spoken on the matter with wiser, more scientific, and less political words:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dredd Blog Opinion of The Obama Administration

Some readers may be wondering about the criticism that Dredd Blog has been leveling against the Obama Administration lately.

So, today we will take a look back to show that Dredd Blog gave the Obama Administration a fair chance to show some change.

We criticized some progressives for not giving the Obama Administration a chance, and for condemning the Obama Administration way too early, before it was fair to determine what it would become after its entering into the realms of power.

On this date in 2009, a few months into the Obama Presidency, Dredd Blog opined that some progressives "compare Obama to Bush II, and then conclude that Obama and Bush II are the same."

We felt that it was too early to make that conclusion, and deliberately waited to see more before concluding in the different manner that we have recently (see Obama Administration Rides Into The W Sunset - 2).

Here is the text of that post on this date in 2009:

The Iranian election debacle has blown the clothes off some in the election integrity movement who fancy themselves as progressives, but whose political analysis capacity is actually now naked in the face of reality.

They continue to say Ahmadinejad is the good guy, the protesters are the bad guys, and the U.S. is behind the bad guys, so election results be damned.

In other words they are parroting the dictators of Iran, and harming the cause of the demonstrators in Iran who want fair and open elections.

Like the Iranian dictators, they compare Obama to Bush II, and then conclude that Obama and Bush II are the same.

This perplexing phenomenon has been cropping up since the women for choice left Clinton for McCain, who is not for choice, in the last election.

It is the result of cognition that goes awry based upon irrelevant notions; majoring in the minors; and one trick pony polemics.

In short, it is unstable.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Obama Administration Rides Into The W Sunset - 2

Mr. Transparent Green
While campaigning, someone we know was claiming to be in favor of a transparent government.

While also claiming to be one who understands the catastrophic domestic policy of addiction to oil.

Following the election, however, President Obama has morphed into the ringleader of our ongoing state of repeated failures, and on those two issues he is indistinguishable from the presidents we have rejected in the past for their succumbing to Orwellian and unscientific ways of thinking and doing.

He wants to be like those before him who were rejected?

Why else would he become a mouthpiece for Oil-Qaeda and Wall Street?

Like those before him.

On the "transparency" front (the place where secret back-room, shady dealings take place out of the sight of the public) Obama seems to be practicing for his next assignment - a traveling lobbyist for all the things that are bringing both the nation, as well as civilization, down.

This is all hidden in plain sight:
Prior to Barack Obama's inauguration, there were a grand total of three prosecutions of leakers under the Espionage Act (including the prosecution of Dan Ellsberg by the Nixon DOJ) ... But during the Obama presidency, there are now seven such prosecutions: more than double the number under all prior US presidents combined. How can anyone justify that?

For a politician who tried to convince Americans to elect him based on repeated pledges of unprecedented transparency and specific vows to protect "noble" and "patriotic" whistleblowers, is this unparalleled assault on those who enable investigative journalism remotely defensible?
James Goodale, the General Counsel for the New York Times during its battles with the Nixon administration, wrote last month in that paper that "President Obama will surely pass President Richard Nixon as the worst president ever on issues of national security and press freedom.
(Guardian, emphasis added). The office of the president has often been the seat of these mental storms of the Pontius Pilate type:
Some journalists are now understandably afraid to go near the Stratfor files. The broader implications of this go beyond Brown; one might think that what we are looking at is Cointelpro 2.0—an outsourced surveillance state—but in fact it’s worse. One can’t help but infer that the US Department of Justice has become just another security contractor, working alongside the HBGarys and Stratfors on behalf of corporate bidders, with no sense at all for the justness of their actions; they are working to protect corporations and private security contractors and give them license to engage in disinformation campaigns against ordinary citizens and their advocacy groups.
(The Nation, The Strange Case of Barrett Brown, emphasis added). The video below features an author and professor who explains that the history of cultural and national "progress" is not like "progress" in science.

That is because "social progress" takes one step forward, but then is likely to take two steps backward.

Professor Gray even states in his speech that we could even see slavery reemerge in the distant future, because governments of nations forget what has been learned in the past.

On the damage done and still being done to the environment we depend on for our very existence, Obama is as clueless as those who went before him:
Today's post has to do with one specific meme that is on the edge of the climate change denier meme complex.

A meme which the President perpetuated in his news conference yesterday:
"The lifeblood of the economy." - Dept. of Energy
"[oft heard meme] ... no single weather event can be linked directly to ... global warming."

("President OBAMA: You know ... we can’t attribute any particular weather event to climate change.")
(see Katrina & Global Warming). Notice that according to this meme every single big weather event that makes the fossil fuel industry and government look bad (such as Hurricane-Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Katrina) "can't be linked directly to global warming."

Now who would want us to believe that?

"Why is that meme a false meme as the title of today's post indicates?" you may ask.

Since we deserve an answer, let's contemplate this problem with an exercise in deductive logic, premised on the false meme under our consideration today:
1) No single weather event can be linked directly to global warming;
2) all weather events are single weather events;
3) therefore, weather events can't be directly linked to global warming.
(see Doctors of Philosophy Make Phd. Mistakes). To see what the propagandists and/or apologists (who originally fabricated this false meme) are advancing, let's analyze this a bit further by considering a realistic meme:
1) Weather is a function of the global climate system;
2) all single weather events are parts of the global climate system;
3) the global climate system has been damaged by global warming;
4) therefore, all single weather events are part of the global climate system that has been damaged by global warming;
(see How Fifth Graders Analyze Hurricane Sandy). See the subtlety that the false meme forces, and see the bigger picture the accurate meme "global climate system" connotes?
(False Climate Change Meme Infects The President). That was made all the more clear in the series On The Origin of Tornadoes, pointing out that scientists own some of the blame for not stopping false memes in their tracks.

The previous post in this series is here.

Dr. Gray - The Myth of Progress

Index: Time (min:sec) - subject
01:00 - civilization and barbarism
01:30 - our situation today is akin to the situation in 1913
02:05 - international struggles for resources (see The Universal Smedley)
02:15 - religious conflict and war then as now
03:50 - civilization often becomes a vehicle for barbarism
04:45 - two traders go to the Congo with ideals then lose those ideals
05:00 - the neoCon myth of bringing progress to them or eradicating them
05:30 - possessed by a myth of "progress" that is actually imperialism
06:25 - eras in science tend not to be repeated once left behind
06:40 - this is not the case in civilization / ethics and politics
06:50 - things are learned in ethics / politics but they don't stay learned
07:20 - an example is the return to torture by civilization's preeminent democracy
08:25 - the progress myth is belief that knowledge makes us more civilized
08:30 - most of us believe in this myth
08:45 - but knowledge increase produces more civilization and barbarism
11:45 - "social evolution" is reemerging to what it was 100 years ago
13:00 - Herbert "survival of the fittest" Spencer at first believed but recanted
14:00 - one think you find about that myth is that it is fashionable to a status quo
15:33 - the social evolution myth attaches to any current notion of "what is good"
15:45 - fifty years from now, slavery may be seen as the direction of "social evolution"
16:00 - eras in ethical / political ideology tend to return, but in science not so
17:00 - questions