Friday, September 13, 2013

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 23

Newly discovered life form
Friday is TGIF day and time to look at some fairly recent science reports and information.

There are seven theories for life's beginning (Seven Theories For Life's Beginning ).

Some scientists think that Earth life came from Mars (Earth Life From Mars).

Where ever life came from or originated, it is not fully understood yet, but is fully interesting.

Take the case of baby bees that were mixed into new hives resulting in killer bee babies being put into hives of non-killer bees, and vice-versa:
When he got the cards, says Robinson, “the results were stunning.” For the bees that had been kidnapped, life in a new home had indeed altered the activity of “whole sectors” of genes. When their gene expression data was viewed on the cards alongside the data for groups of bees raised among their own kin, a mere glance showed the dramatic change. Hundreds of genes had flipped colors. The move between hives didn’t just make the bees act differently. It made their genes work differently, and on a broad scale.

What’s more, the cards for the adopted bees of both species came to ever more resemble, as they moved through life, the cards of the bees they moved in with. With every passing day their genes acted more like those of their new hive mates (and less like those of their genetic siblings back home). Many of the genes that switched on or off are known to affect behavior; several are associated with aggression. The bees also acted differently. Their dispositions changed to match that of their hive mates. It seemed the genome, without changing its code, could transform an animal into something very like a different subspecies.

These bees didn’t just act like different bees. They’d pretty much become different bees. To Robinson, this spoke of a genome far more fluid—far more socially fluid—than previously conceived.
(Bee Genes - Epigenetics). This may add support to the hypothesis of a "cultural amygdala" that can change and adapt when the culture is changed (The Cultural Amygdala).

Another interesting genetic dynamic is the training of some microbes to do specialized work through genetic manipulation (Trained Microbes).

The graphic at the top of today's post shows a recently discovered life form which looks like an NSA listening antenna (New life form).

An interesting grid for communication between and among flora was discovered (Communication Grid for Flora).

Happy research and have a good weekend!

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

Thursday, September 12, 2013

That is Not My Daddy

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
Does fear bubble up inside of you, emanating from your subconscious amygdala, to automate a reaction when you see photo of the President of Russia?

Or does it prevent you from reading an op-ed in the New York Times which he penned?

If so, that is your cultural amygdala, an extension of your physical amydala which develops as your "birth amygdala" before it has been "customized" by your society, the culture around you (The Cultural Amygdala).

What goes into our cognitive system, our 2% conscious brain and our 98% unconscious brain, is not under our conscious control:
Probably 98 percent of your reasoning is unconscious - what your brain is doing behind the scenes. Reason is inherently emotional. You can't even choose a goal, much less form a plan and carry it out, without a sense that it will satisfy you, not dis­gust you. Fear and anxiety will affect your plans and your ac­tions. You act differently, and plan differently, out of hope and joy than out of fear and anxiety.

Thought is physical. Learning requires a physical brain change: Receptors for neurotransmitters change at the synapses, which changes neural circuitry. Since thinking is the activation of such circuitry, somewhat different thinking re­quires a somewhat different brain. Brains change as you use them-even unconsciously. It's as if your car changed as you drove it, say from a stick shift gradually to an automatic.
(The Toxic Bridge To Everywhere, quoting Professor Lakoff). You and I are sensitive beings, that is, our cognition is tied to our five senses.

What our five senses detect is handed off first to our amygdala for processing:
... the amygdala gets sensory information directly from the various sensory systems that process the external world. So the visual system, the auditory system, olfactory, touch, pain, and so forth. All of these kind of come together, or converge, in the amygdala. And then the amygdala on the output side with all the systems involved in the emotional reactivity. So, when you encounter sudden danger, you might freeze, your blood pressure and heart rate begin to rise, stress hormones are released, all of these things happen as a result of outputs of the amygdala.

So the amygdala you can think of as this circle with one input coming in being the... or the input coming in being a sensory, flow of sensory information from the external world, then outputs being connections to systems involved in controlling the responses. But we have to expand those inputs, so it’s not just getting one sensory input, but all sensory inputs. So each sensory system is coming in. And it doesn’t stop there because in addition to getting information from sensory systems, it also gets information from higher-order systems, like the prefrontal cortex and higher-order association areas involved in various kinds of integrative activities in the cortex.
(The Amygdala in 5 Minutes, quoting Professor Le Doux). Reactions to external stimuli in the form of sound, visual events, taste, feel, and smell, which first go to the amygdala, are not primarily formed by our conscious thinking.

In the extension of our primitive amygdala, an extension called the "cultural amygdala", the cultural "spin or propaganda" of our society, as well as the "spin or propaganda" of our "local world", is fused to sensory input.

What comes out to then be given / transferred to our conscious brain is substantially up to our amygdala, not up to our conscious brain, which gets the package last.

Our conscious brain does not unilaterally decide these fear and other issues, even though we may sometimes struggle with fears using our consciousness against the customized fear output of our physical and cultural amygdala.

So, some of the responses to President Putin's op-ed in the NY Times are based on past propaganda and/or current news media machinations within our two cultures.

President Putin wrote:
RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.

Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the cold war. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organization — the United Nations — was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.

The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.
(NYT, "What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria"). Our physical and cultural amygdala will work on that sensory input, that writing, so that we can't completely believe it.

Years of propaganda in the two nations have put people at each other's throats, so much so that the concept of peaceful co-existence is made more difficult for all of us.

We are too exceptional for peace anymore (Exceptionalism In A Nutshell).

Peace should be the norm, but it isn't.

The warmongering wartocracy embedded within our two cultures engenders the dynamics that form our antagonistic, fearful, cultural amygdala.

We suffer accordingly as the elite of our nations celebrate their war profiteering and deal with us as if we are children (Security: Familyland, Fatherland, or Homeland?).

The next post in this series is here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fighting Terrorism For 200 Years - 4

Lest we forget: a day or so ago Saudi Arabian Royals offered to pay us in full to invade Syria and bring down Assad (The War Whores Ride The War Horse).

Hardball, March 1, 2012:

Morning Joe, March 1, 2012:

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

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Syria: War Drums Go Silent as Sensibilities Emerge

Make love not war
While watching Morning Joe (MSNBC), today, it was reported that: 
"Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp have offered a second path to dealing with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that doesn't immediately call for missile strikes. Sen. Manchin joins Morning Joe to discuss. NBC News' Chuck Todd join the conversation."
(Morning Joe). Sen. Manchin said that he had shared his proposed Senate Resolution with the staff of Secretary of State John Kerry, who thereafter had the good judgment to mention that potential diplomatic approach in a press conference, briefing, and/or speech.

Then President Putin of Russia took the ball and ran with it, publicly saying it was a good idea, to which President Obama agreed.

Next we have the Syrian government indicating that it accepted the idea and is agreeable to placing all of its chemical weapons under international, meaning U.N. control, it would seem:
On Monday, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem stated that his country welcomed the Russian proposal, which called for Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control and for the weapons to be destroyed.
(Huffington Post). And France is moving this new development along in the U.N. process:
The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said France had reacted with "interest but also with caution" to the Russian proposal that Syria place its weapons under international control.
(Syria: France to test Russia plan with UN resolution). This kind of thing should not be so rare in our international relations.

So, we should step back from the brink then move back to where we were a couple of decades ago, to a more robust use of diplomacy and the U.N.

Now President Obama has an opportunity to shine up his Nobel Peace Prize in his speech tonight, and at the same time has an opportunity to shine up his image with the people of the world, who have been clear that this new idea is better than the violent idea.

The era of international diplomacy is a good thing to revive, with full strength.

Recently President Obama mentioned in an interview that he was in favor of a robust diplomatic corps.

We Earthlings have a lot of things to work on together for the betterment of all of our lives on this embattled planet --our only home world.

I have my fingers crossed.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Goldilocks War Propaganda: Syria is Just Right

The MOMCOM world view
The graphic to the left shows the world wide command structure as viewed from the eyes of MOMCOM.

As you can see (click to enlarge), the globe is divided into sections which have been carved out by The Pentagon Wartocracy (The Government of MOMCOM: Wartocracy - 3), which is a Wartocracy that operates like a vassal lord's feudal fief (American Feudalism) granted by the Epigovernment (Epigovernment: The New Model - 3).

That graphic depicts:  USNORTHCOMUSSOUTHCOM, USCENTCOM, USEUCOM, USAFRICOM, USSOCOM, and USPACOM [NOTE: the military has changed or removed these web pages since the original Dredd Blog post covering these US___COM sites was posted, so Wayback Machine versions of those pages are used in this post].

All of the MOMCOM little US___COMs are obviously part of the size of government (On The Size of "Government" - 3) and are part of the COST in taxes you pay.

Those carved-out WORLD CONTROLLING COMMANDS fiefs are granted to exceptionalist generals who rule over those fiefs while living a lifestyle "befitting a billionaire" (American Feudalism - 3).

But what is missing from this grandiose picture of a worldwide military command and control structure?

For one thing, the list of COM's does not include USSPYCOM, which spies on everyone everywhere, including all American citizens (ACLU vs. Clapper, Alexander, Hagel, Holder, and Mueller).

What is also missing from that picture is the story of the participation of MOMCOM in 120 or so nations where daily acts of war are conducted:
Somewhere on this planet an American commando is carrying out a mission. Now, say that 70 times and you’re done ... for the day. Without the knowledge of the American public, a secret force within the U.S. military is undertaking operations in a majority of the world’s countries. This new Pentagon power elite is waging a global war whose size and scope has never been revealed, until now ... One of its key components is the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC, a clandestine sub-command whose primary mission is tracking and killing suspected terrorists. Reporting to the president and acting under his authority, JSOC maintains a global hit list that includes American citizens. It has been operating an extra-legal “kill/capture” campaign that John Nagl, a past counterinsurgency adviser to four-star general and soon-to-be CIA Director David Petraeus, calls "an almost industrial-scale counterterrorism killing machine."
(Huffington Post, emphasis added). If you watched the news about The Libyan War you would have seen the fruits of USSOCOM labor, since their primary operation now is the oil wars.

In their minds they are practicing the art of war, but our founders did not consider jingoism to be an American tradition.

Which brings us to the Syria jingoism.

Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, today, on Morning Joe (MSNBC) pointed out that the U.S. has been covertly involved in the Syrian Civil War for about two years now, conducting on the ground training, paying salaries, supplying armaments, and providing military intelligence (e.g. see this, this, and this).

That has not been going as planned ("what could go wrong?"), so now they want to bomb Syria into rubble on behalf of psychopathic killers that have formed a coalition of the killing, including "al-Qaeda operatives" ("what could go wrong?").

It is downright whore-i-fying (The War Whores Ride The War Horse).