Friday, August 23, 2013

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 22

I can't figure out why bureaucrats are dumber than microbes which can't even be seen.

These microbes are like citizens who have to live with bureaucrats --they can't see us either.

Once I was at a bureaucracy shop and lost my parking ticket appeal (parking on the street in front of my house without a permit) because I got frustrated and told them "America is not far from here."

Anyway, I think I may send them a copy of this post.

This is Friday and rebel science is the norm around here.

So, let's explore a really interesting discovery that scientists have made, but which you and I already knew: slime mold is smarter than bureaucrats:
Since the best city planners around the world have not been able to end traffic jams, scientists are looking to a new group of experts: slime mold.

That's right, a species of gelatinous amoeba could help urban planners design better road systems to reduce traffic congestion, a new study found.

A team of researchers studied the slime mold species Physarum polycephalum and found that as it grows it connects itself to scattered food crumbs in a design that’s nearly identical to Tokyo’s rail system.

Slime mold is a fungus-like, single-celled animal that can grow in a network of linked veins, spreading over a surface like a web. The mold expands by dividing its nuclei into more and more nuclei, though all are technically enclosed in one large cell.

"Some organisms grow in the form of an interconnected network as part of their normal foraging strategy to discover and exploit new resources," wrote the researchers in a paper published in the Jan. 22 issue of the journal Science. Slime mold has evolved to grow in the most efficient way possible to maximize its access to nutrients.

"[It] can find the shortest path through a maze or connect different arrays of food sources in an efficient manner with low total length, yet short average minimum distance between pairs of food sources," wrote the scientists, led by Atsushi Tero from Hokkaido University in Japan.

To test whether slime-mold networks behave anything like train and car traffic networks, the researchers placed oat flakes in various spots on a wet surface so that the resulting layout corresponded to the cities surrounding Tokyo. They even added areas of bright light (which slime mold tends to avoid) to correspond to mountains or other geologic features that the trains would have to steer around.

The scientists let the mold organize itself and spread out around these nutrients, and found that it built a pattern very similar to the real-world train system connecting those cities around Tokyo. And in some ways, the amoeba solution was more efficient. What's more, the slime mold built its network without a control center that could oversee and direct the whole enterprise; rather, it reinforced routes that were working, and eliminated redundant channels, constantly adapting and adjusting for maximum efficiency.
(Slime Mold Beats Humans at Perfecting Traffic Networks, emphasis added). I could have told you that after my day at parking ticket appeal court.

Anyway, have a good weekend and avoid the road rage.

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

Thursday, August 22, 2013

American Feudalism - 2

"By your command ..."
In this series we have been surprised by feudalism's foundational and principle dynamic: military service in trade for security (American Feudalism).

In the first post I indicated that we would look at some dynamics of feudalism in various locations around the world at various times so as to see if there is any residue in current American culture.

Today then, let's continue to take a look at feudalism in Europe in The Holy Roman Empire which sprang up from the earlier Roman Empire that had ruled from Rome.

When the Western Roman Empire that had been ruled from Rome fell, it left the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) which was ruled from Constantinople.

The Holy Roman Empire then arose in the west:
The Holy Roman Empire ... was a complex, multi-ethnic political union of territories in Central Europe existing from 962 to 1806.

The empire grew out of East Francia, a primary division of the Frankish Empire, and explicitly proclaimed itself the continuation of the Western Roman Empire under the doctrine of translatio imperii ("transfer of rule" via a succession of singular rulers vested with supreme power).
(Wikipedia, Holy Roman Empire). The legacy of the Roman wars did not cease to exist in the feudalism of the Holy Roman Empire:
Feudalism in the Holy Roman Empire was a politico-economic system of relationships between liege lords and enfeoffed vassals (or feudatories) that formed the basis of the social structure within the Holy Roman Empire during the High Middle Ages.
The highest liege lord was the sovereign, the king or duke, who granted fiefs to his princes.
As the services of the vassal specifically included military service, under the Frankish monarchy the feudal system was for centuries the basis of the army as well as the social organization of the Holy Roman Empire.

It was not only the king who acquired vassals in this way. He was soon imitated by secular and ecclesiastical magnates.
(Wikipedia, Feudalism In The Holy Roman Empire, emphasis added). In the first post we learned of the foundational importance of military service and war to feudalism, which continued in the Holy Roman Empire version.

This carried on and entered into the culture of the English speaking peoples, from which the United States evolved, and from which current essences of American policy evolved:
And as war begat the King and the military noble, so it also begat the slave. There had always been a slave class, a class of the unfree, among the English as among all German peoples; but the numbers of this class, if unaffected by the conquest of Britain, were swelled by the wars which soon sprang up among the English conquerors.
(A Short History of the English People, by Green, pp. 12-13, emphasis added). That "war begat the king" and that Americans declared their independence from the king in their Declaration of Independence, is also in essence a declaration of independence from feudalism:
It is an old saying, nearly a dozen centuries old, that "war begat the king". It is no less true that war, not civil, but international, begat feudalism.
(Catholic Encyclopedia, emphasis added). We pointed out the awareness of this dynamic in the first post of this series, on the part of the founders of the U.S. Constitution:
War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied: and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.
(American Feudalism, quoting James Madison). The U.S. Constitution contained many attempts to not allow the king's warmonger mentality to continue into the new society:
The Congress shall have Power ... To Declare War (Art. I, Section 8).

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. (Amendment III)
(Constitution). These were things the feudal king alone could do (declare war himself or demand that soldiers be quartered) and the feudal vassals and serfs would have to comply.

By and large, then, we have fallen back into some of the spirit of feudalism, and in some cases even the letter of it: for example, we spend more on war than all the other nations put together (The Government of MOMCOM: Wartocracy - 3).

Religious service even became part of feudalism:
The Church, too, had her place in the feudal system. She too was granted territorial fiefs, became a vassal, possessed immunities. It was the result of her calm, wide sympathy, turning to the new nations, away from the Roman Empire, to which many Christians thought she was irrevocably bound. By the baptism of Clovis she showed the baptism of Constantine had not tied her to the political system. So she created a new world out of chaos, created the paradox of barbarian civilization. In gratitude kings and emperors endowed her with property; and ecclesiastical property has not infrequently brought evils in its train. The result was disputed elections; younger sons of nobles were intruded into bishoprics, at times even into the papacy. Secular princes claimed lay investiture of spiritual offices. The cause of this was feudalism, for a system that had its basis on land tenure was bound at last to enslave a Church that possessed great landed possessions.
(Catholic Encyclopedia, emphasis added). In that sense war and military service today, in some ways, are as they were in both Holy Roman Empire feudalism and earlier European feudalism (The Virgin MOMCOM - 6, Doing The Right Thing - Mithraism - 2).

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

With the lord on our side ...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Is There A Shadow Government? - 3

"What Shadow Government Dredd?"
This question was first asked on Dredd Blog in May of 2009, then on today's date in 2009 we added another post to the series.

In the years since then Dredd Blog has done a lot of research then provided it to regular readers as well as infrequent readers.

The Dredd Blog series of late, which is probably closest to the original question of a shadow government, is likely to be the series containing the posts about the notion of "epigovernment" (Epigovernment: The New Model - 3, Epigovernment: The New Model - 2, and Epigovernment: The New Model; but see also MOMCOM: The Private Parts through MOMCOM: The Private Parts - 5).

The ultimate nickname for that shadow government we now know is Oil-Qaeda (Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment, Oil-Qaeda: The Deadliest Parasite Of Civilization).

This reality has been uncovered in the latest revelations that the military NSA has been spying on all Americans, all Brits, and the world (see The Queens of Stalingrad - 2, A Tale of Coup Cities - 4, and ACLU vs. Clapper, Alexander, Hagel, Holder, and Mueller - 3).

The British press is scared silly of Oil-Qaeda:
Guardian editors on Tuesday revealed why and how the newspaper destroyed computer hard drives containing copies of some of the secret files leaked by Edward Snowden.

The decision was taken after a threat of legal action by the government that could have stopped reporting on the extent of American and British government surveillance revealed by the documents.

It resulted in one of the stranger episodes in the history of digital-age journalism. On Saturday 20 July, in a deserted basement of the Guardian's King's Cross offices, a senior editor and a Guardian computer expert used angle grinders and other tools to pulverise the hard drives and memory chips on which the encrypted files had been stored.
(NSA files destroyed by Guardian). The shadow government must have informed the Guardian journalists of things that go boom in the night, and other shadow stuff we are not privy to.

Anyway, we learn as we go, but for comparison's sake, here is the text from the previous post in this series in 2009:

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.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Agnotology: The Surge - 6

Modified graph from Skeptical Science
This year and last year tornado counts are down - fewer tornado events.

There have been fewer tornadoes and hurricanes this year.

This produces an opportunity to analyze those who do not think that the global climate system is affected by human civilization, that is, the situation gives the scientists of the Agnotology discipline (the study of the generation of scientific ignorance) another chance to point our how ignorance is generated and perpetuated in our society by denialism.

Today, we will focus on some of the intellectual dishonesty utilized by deniers like Senator Inhofe and evangelist Mike Huckabee (Mike Huckabee, Jim Inhofe Denying Climate Change Without Any Concern For Facts).

The graphic (click to enlarge) at the top left of today's post shows two trend lines from about 1960 to 2010 --temperature trend lines for the ocean, air, and land areas.

The light brown is land and air, darker blue is deep sea, and the lighter blue is shallower sea depths.

The light purple / pink line shows the trend of shallow sea depths, as well as the trend on land and in the air.

Both show an upward temperature trend --the Earth is warming.

Within the general trend are times when the rise flattened or decreased for a span of time, in contrast to the trend.

The vertical green lines mark the approximate beginning and end of years that were counter to the general trend (flat or cooler), and the columns which the vertical green lines make are marked with letters "A", "B", "C", "D", and "E" (A=~1973-74, B=~1979-81, C=~1987-89, D=~1992-94, and E=~1998-99).

Red circles are used to focus on those anti-trend areas, with red lines showing the downward anti-trend temperature events during those years.

What dishonest deniers tend to do is misuse those red downward anti-trend years as representing the overall trend, which is intellectually dishonest of those deniers.

The takeaway from this is that the decrease in tornadoes and hurricanes, and other weather or climate events traditionally associated with global warming, happens occasionally from decade to decade.

See On The Origin of Tornadoes - 3 for year to year and decade to decade trends in tornado events, including anti-trend year data.

The bottom line is that a couple of years of anti-trend is usual for the pattern.

But a mere couple of years does not show the general trend is reversing, rather, what is shown is that the overall trend during the past at least 50 years is a global warming trend.

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

Monday, August 19, 2013

When The World Outlawed War

 I had not heard of the book "When The World Outlawed War" until recently.

The book concerns, among other things, the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928.

Interestingly, the pact would have (as an intended or unintended consequence) also outlawed feudalism (American Feudalism).

Not long after that agreement became official the largest and most deadly wars were fought.

Not only that, those wars included the use of nuclear weapons on civilian populations, and were fought between or among the first nations to have signed and ratified the treaty to outlaw wars.

And wars continue now, some 85 years later, as the memories of the treaty fade along with the rusting war tanks, mines, and other weapons slowly returning to the dust they came from.

That being the case, the probability formula P(H∣E.b) = P(H∣b)P(E∣H.b) / P(H∣b)P(E∣H.b)+P(¬H∣b)P(E∣¬H.b) says it is probable that war will get rid of us before we get rid of war.

I suppose that the mental state of those who engaged in the more recent wars is a consideration when attempting to solve the what-happened-to-the-treaty mystery:
In 2002, it was reported that British Prime Minister Tony Blair had told a friend an amusing tale about our man George W. Bush. It seems that the two of them and French President Jacques Chirac had gotten into an economics discussion, after which George supposedly confided to Tony that he was decidedly unimpressed with Jacques' views: "The problem with the French," Bush scoffed, "is that they don't have a word for 'entrepreneur.'"
(Jim Hightower, see also The Dogma of The High Priest In Chief and He Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken).

Which reminds me of the Dredd Blog series The Germ Theory of Government.

War "breaks out" like some disease, causes more disease, and brings the worst out in nations and peoples (see The Greatest Source Of Power Toxins? and Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala - 2).

Surely it must be caused by germs related in some way to the corruption of power?