Friday, June 27, 2014

You Are Here

I have mentioned the interesting phenomenon of "you are here" directives on Zoo maps that visitors are given at the Entrance Area to some large Metropolitan Zoos.

On one post some humor was generated by the story about how a certain Senator became confused by the map that the Zoo handed out.

He became confused because as he moved around the Zoo (noticing the map from time to time) he became certain that he had moved upon occasion since he had last looked at the map ... but ... to him the map was still indicating that he was still at the entrance of the Zoo (Has The Navy Fallen For The Greatest Hoax?).
Click to enlarge the Universe

There is a more serious side to the reality of where we are, where you are, and where I am.

Possibly the most interesting aspect of "you are here" is that we are all in the same place!

As the song says, "We all live under the same Sun" (Exploding Plastic: Inevitable, see video).

This "you are here" phenomenon even has psychological ramifications that have been written about in scientific journals:
One of the most robust and reliable demonstrations in spatial cognition (environmental, geographic, cartographic, etc., cognition) is the difficulty that results for most people when they use a misaligned you-are-here (YAH)
map to wayfind—to orient themselves to the proximal and distal surrounds in order to follow a route to a destination. This difficulty is called an alignment effect. YAH maps are reference maps—general-purpose maps meant to show features in the environment—that are typically rather large scale (i.e., show small areas of the environment) and are placed within the surrounding area they depict. They nearly always include an arrow or some other symbol representing the location and perhaps the heading of a person viewing the map (Klippel, Freksa, & Winter [2006] use the term complex for YAH symbols indicating both location and heading). That is, all YAH maps are in situ in that they represent the area where they are placed. Because they are intended to solve wayfinding problems for a person actively engaged in applying that solution to get somewhere in real time, they must be coordinated with the surrounds when used.
(YAH, emphasis added). One psychologist even made a list of suggestions that were designed to help eradicate the YAH confusion:
You-are-here maps are standard aids for newcomers to a complex terrain. A precisely constructed map with a properly affixed you-are-here symbol, however, is not sufficient. Two principles, one of structure matching and one of orientation, must be considered in order to maximize the map's usefulness. Indeed, neglect of these can make the map misleading. These principles lead to the following set of recommendations: (1) provide salient, coordinate labels in both the terrain and the map; (2) place the map near an asymmetrical part of the terrain; (3) design the you-are-here symbol to indicate map-terrain correspondence; (4) align the map with the terrain; (5) be redundant, that is, use as many of these supplements as possible.
(You-Are-Here Maps: Psychological Considerations, emphasis added). In my opinion the relevant psychology only becomes germane to all of civilization when "you are here" applies to our place in the cosmos.
Where will we "B"?

We live on the planet Earth, which seems to be confusing to some of us who have not figured out "you are here" yet.

I say that in the sense of where one is most often determines how one should behave a la "when in Rome do as the Romans."

When on Earth, do as a competent cosmic adult Earthling would do!

The psychological aspect of being lost in space on a planet we do not know enough about really is a frightening concept.

Yet there is no valid reason that our species should be endangered as we endanger all the other species still living with us, and in fact that is a violation of the map we have been given (The Tenets of Ecocosmology, I am the Highway).

Nevertheless, the fact is that we make about 200 species extinct each day as we move closer and closer to our own extinction (Will We Destroy Food - The Bees? - 2).

So, why are we here?

The next post in this series is here.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

2,000 Posts For Dredd Blog

Today's post is the 2,000th post on Dredd Blog.

It is hard work to research subjects and share ideas for free and without advertising, but it can be and has been done.

When bloggers contemplate strenuous posting activity from time to time we notice an ebb and flow, a swinging back and forth from major events to minor events that can end up making the selection of subjects to blog about more difficult at times.

Like writers cramp, selecting material is somewhat impacted by a history of interests, like fluctuating gravity perhaps, in that, some of us see fluctuations or oscillations while others do not:

F = G (M1 * M2)

In that formula "G" represents the gravitational "constant" which, as it turns out, is not constant in the usual sense of the word:
The official CODATA value for G in 1986 was given as G=(6,67259±0.00085) x 10-11 m3 Kg-1 s-2 and was based on the Luther and Towler determination in 1982. However, the value of G has been recently called into question by new measurements from respected research teams in Germany, New Zealand, and Russia in order to try to settle this issue. The new values using the best laboratory equipment to-date disagreed wildly to the point that many are doubting about the constancy of this parameter and some are even postulating entirely new forces to explain these gravitational anomalies. For example, in 1996, a team from the German Institute of Standards led by W. Michaelis obtained a value for G that is 0.6% higher than the accepted value; another group from the University of Wuppertal in Germany led by Hinrich Meyer found a value that is 0.06% lower, and in 1995, Mark Fitzgerald and collaborators at Measurement Standards Laboratory of New Zealand measured a value that is 0.13% lower. The Russian group found a curious space and time variation of G of up to +0.7%. In the early 1980s, Frank Stacey and his colleagues measured G in deep mines and bore holes in Australia. Their value was about 1% higher than currently accepted. In 1986 Ephrain Fischbach, at the University of Washington, Seattle, claimed that laboratory tests also showed a slight deviation from Newton's law of gravity, consistent with the Australian results. As it may be seen from the Cavendish conference data, the results of the major 7 groups may agree with each other only on the level 10-1%. So, despite our great technology advancements in measuring equipment, we are still very close to the precision of 1% obtained by Cavendish in the 17th century. This controversy has spurred several efforts to make a more reliable measurement of G, but till now we only got further conflicting results.
It is not a coincidence that ALL Cavendish and free fall setup experimental results fit within the same upper and lower boundary limits of 6.645E-11 to 6.715E-11, equivalent to -0.43% and +0.611% relative to the present (average) value from CODATA. What scientists seem to be missing is that G is oscillating within these two boundaries, and any experiment will give the value of G at the particular point in time of the oscillation. It means that all experimental data points shown above are in fact tracing an oscillating curve.
(Gravity Variations, emphasis added). Human history and the gravity in the universe oscillate even though we tend to think of them in linear, sequential, and constant terms.

But, we do tend to suspect that human history repeats itself, or perhaps oscillates between "really good" and "really bad".

Perhaps that oscillation is somewhat like the oscillation which the gravitational constant seems to go through.

Depending on the impact that any such oscillation of "G" would have on protons or molecules, it might cause some proton tunnelling mutation in DNA that it otherwise would not:
"The analysis of the original proton wave packet involves an interesting phase problem, and, since the energy distribution is temperature dependent, the whole phenomenon is also temperature dependent."
"The tunneling times will depend essentially on the height and the form of the barrier. In DNA, the form of the double-well potentials regulating the hydrogen bonds depend not only on the base pair involved but also on neighboring pairs, their net charges, and the entire electric environment. The tunneling time is hence not only characteristic for a certain biological specimen but is also a function of the position in the DNA molecule involved. The tunneling time is very likely also temperature dependent, even if the protons are well shielded in the double helix. The main problem is whether the tunneling time is very short in comparison to the replication time, or whether there exist organisms where the penetration of the barrier is slow in comparison to the replication." 
"It should always be remembered that, in Born's interpretation of quantum mechanics, the quantity |¥|² represents the probability density for finding the proton in a specific position. The tunneling of the wave packet is hence a time-dependent process which is going to influence the properties of the genetic code."
"In this connection, it should be observed that the tunneling probabilities depend not only on the base pair involved but also on the electrostatic environment, the neighboring base pairs, etc., which may explain the occurrence of "hot spots."
At a DNA replication, the protons have to "choose sides," and the proton code immediately after a DNA replication represents actually a nonstationary state from the quantum-mechanical point of view. The time evolution of the system and particularly the penetration of the potential barrier in the double-well potential represents a loss of the genetic code which should perhaps be considered as the primary cause of aging. The aging is thus a process which
Abiotic Mutation
goes on continuously in the DNA molecule but gets "manifested" at the replications.
Proton tunneling may finally be of importance in connection with the occurrence of spontaneous tumors. The growth of an individual is a highly refined balance between factors which enhance the cell duplication and other factors which limit this duplication so that the organism takes a specific shape. The entire process is stimulated and controlled by various enzymes, and there is a feedback from the environment about which we know, at present, very little. If there is a somatic mutation, i.e., a change of the genetic code in a DNA molecule in the body of an organism, the change may influence the protein synthesis and the balance between the enhancing and controlling enzyme actions in the growth cycle. Actually, the new genetic code may lead to the development of a "new individual" within the individual, i.e., a tumor."
"In this paper we have pointed out that, since the protons are not classical particles but "wave packets" obeying the laws of modern quantum theory, the genetic code cannot --in spite of all precautions-- be 100% stable. Due to the quantum-mechanical "tunnel effect," there is always a small but finite probability that the protons will change place, alter the genetic code, and give rise to mutations. This implies also that this transfer of protons over a distance of about 10-8 cm may be one of the driving forces in the evolution of living organisms on the earth."
(The Uncertain Gene, quoting Löwdin). Keep in mind that gravity is a "weak" force when compared to some other forces, however, at times it would not take so much to nudge the proton into the tunnel.

Which might mean that a mutation would result.

Subject matter of post contents on blogs goes through that too.

For example, on the social side of life, the gravitation towards war waxes and wanes, i.e. it oscillates like "G" does.

So, we can imagine a formula:

F = W (N1 * N2)

Where "W" is the warmonger constant, "N" is a nation's proclivity to war, and "P" is the people's ability to keep their government in line.

We see war rhetoric a lot, and the news seems to indicate that we get closer to war ... then further from it ... as history oscillates back and forth like gravitation.

Bloggers feel these tugs and pulls from time to time, and those tugs and pulls have an impact on what we blog about, and what readers want to read.

I will try to find interesting subjects for readers as long as I can.

It is said that spontaneous citizen journalist blogs like Dredd Blog tend to be active for about two years.

Note that Dredd Blog is halfway through its 6th year now.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Queens of Stalingrad - 8

Protesters as Blair, Bush II, & Brown (AP/Lefteris Pitarakis)
This series is about the madness that has infected the U.S. and other governments.

Another aspect of this series is the attempts to treat the illness of the U.S. government in the courts.

There are several Dredd Blog series that overlap some of the subject matter of this series new readers might also be interested in (e.g. A Tale of Coup Cities, Will The Military Become The Police?, Epigovernment: The New Model, The Germ Theory of Government, American Feudalism - 6).

For those who think Dredd Blog is a wee bit radical, check out some quotes from a journalist that gives this blog a run for its money:
The black-clad fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, sweeping a collapsing army and terrified Iraqis before them as they advance toward Baghdad, reflect back to us the ghoulish face of American empire. They are the specters of the hundreds of thousands of people we murdered in our deluded quest to remake the Middle East. They are ghosts from the innumerable roadsides and villages where U.S. soldiers and Marines, jolted by explosions of improvised explosive devices, responded with indiscriminate fire. They are the risen remains of the dismembered Iraqis left behind by blasts of Hellfire and cruise missiles, howitzers, grenade launchers and drone strikes. They are the avengers of the gruesome torture and the sexual debasement that often came with being detained by American troops. They are the final answer to the collective humiliation of an occupied country, the logical outcome of Shock and Awe, the Frankenstein monster stitched together from the body parts we left scattered on the ground. They are what we get for the $4 trillion we wasted on the Iraq War.

The language of violence engenders violence. The language of hate engenders hate. “I and the public know what all schoolchildren learn,” W.H. Auden wrote. “Those to whom evil is done do evil in return.” It is as old as the Bible.
We are not, as we thought when we entered Iraq, the omnipotent superpower able in a swift and brutal stroke to bend a people to our will. We are something else. Fools and murderers. Blinded by hubris. Faded relics of the Cold War. And now, in the final act of the play, we are crawling away. Our empire is dying.
(Goulish Empire, by Chris Hedges, emphasis added). There is little if anything that can be done to change what the warmongers among us did to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.

There might be something we could change about the fact that we are committing suicide slowly, just as the empires of the past have done, after they poisoned themselves with the toxins of power:
"In other words, a society does not ever die 'from natural causes', but always dies from suicide or murder --- and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown." - A Study of History, by Arnold J. Toynbee

"It is forbidden to kill therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." -Voltaire

"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." - James Madison
(Dredd Blog Quotes Page). Both tyranny and oppression have been brought to this land in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

This has clearly been shown by Dredd Blog in this series and others (see e.g. Dredd Blog Series Posts).

Court cases have not yet corrected the mad infection (see e.g. ACLU vs. Clapper, Alexander, Hagel, Holder, and Mueller).

But there is one ray of hope to share with readers today.

A federal district court judge has ruled that the "no-fly list" is applied in a manner that denies constitutional rights:
When prescreening passengers, Congress instructed the Executive to "establish a procedure to enable airline passengers, who are delayed or prohibited from boarding a flight because the advanced passenger prescreening system determined that they might pose a security threat, to appeal such determination and correct information contained in the system." ... As discussed herein at length, the DHS TRIP process does not provide a meaningful mechanism for travelers who have been denied boarding to correct erroneous information in the government's terrorism databases. A traveler who has not been given any indication of the information that may be in the record does not have any way to correct that information. As a result, the DHS TRIP process "entirely fail[s] to consider an important aspect" of Congress's instructions with respect to travelers denied boarding because they are on the No-Fly List.
(Latif v Holder, p. 63, PDF). Remember that a prominent member of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, was placed on the no-fly list (Sen. Kennedy Flagged by No-Fly List).

The craziness has spread far and wide, and will take years of effort just to get back to where we were just before the ill-conceived "war on terror" infected foreign and domestic policy, taking us deeper into American Feudalism.

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

Interview of Senator Bob Graham (Real News):

A House member discusses what Senator Graham mentioned (the "28 pages of truth") which the government hides from the American people:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Cure For Congress & The Supreme Five: Fickle Fecal Transplants

Extinction is about bad timing
Timing is everything in some circumstances ("I'm such a profound believer that timing is everything; I would tattoo that on my arm." - Drew Barrymore).

The Supreme Five conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court have really, really bad timing.

In the case of Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), they weakened the ability of the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases.

In fact, they have weakened the EPA at the worst possible time.

But more than that, they have done so at the worst possible time in recorded history and in the history of that court as well, as shown by recent NOAA data:
With records dating back to 1880, the combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces reached a record high for May, at 0.74°C (1.33°F) higher than the 20th century average. This surpassed the previous record high anomaly of 0.72°C (1.30°F) set in 2010. Four of the five warmest Mays on record have occurred in the past five years: 2010 (second warmest), 2012 (third warmest), 2013 (fifth warmest), and 2014 (warmest); currently, 1998 has the fourth warmest May on record. Additionally, May 2014 marked the 39th consecutive May and 351st consecutive month (more than 29 years) with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average global temperature for May occurred in 1976 [38 years] and the last below-average temperature for any month occurred in February 1985 [29 years].”
(NOAA, emphasis added). To make that simple and clear:
2014 – hottest May
2010 – second hottest
2012 – third hottest
1998 – fourth hottest
2013 – fifth hottest
This is not the time to weaken the EPA, because a whole host of dangerous events are taking place because the air, land, and seas are being polluted by Oil-Qaeda and its minions (Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment - 3, Insecticides Endanger Food Worldwide).

The President indicated a few days ago that even our national security is at stake because of our Earth destroying ways (Will We Destroy Food - The Bees? - 2).

The timing of congress has also been so bad that it is polling at its lowest in history as things heat up.

Nevertheless, there are more global warming deniers than ever ... bad timing.

The timing of scientific discoveries and their application to medical procedures is a bit off as well.

For example, and to tie in the title of today's post, Darwin indicated that our human appendix was untimely.

He said it was a leftover relic of evolution that had moved on, but he was not correct:
"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.'"
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."
(The Appendix of Vestigial Textbooks). The appendix is now said to be a safe haven for microbes that aid in our digestion and immune system dynamics:
Parker’s idea, his hypothesis, predicts individuals with their appendix should be more likely to recover from severe gut infections than those without. To test this prediction, one could compare the fate of individuals with and without their appendixes after being experimentally infected with a gut pathogen.
And then, second, the big result …. Individuals without an appendix were four times more likely to have a recurrence of Clostridium difficile, exactly as Parker’s hypothesis predicted. Recurrence in individuals with their appendix intact occurred in 11% of cases. Recurrence in individuals without their appendix occurred in 48% of cases.
(The Appendix of Vestigial Textbooks - 4). Add to that a healthy diet and we can deduce that the medical procedure of removing the appendix is problematic in general.

Since once the appendix is gone it is not coming back, what can be done to correct the bad timing we are talking about?

Doctors have a medical procedure now which is named, on main street, as "getting your shit together" --or just "shit transplants" for short:
Fecal microbiota transplantation --- the process of delivering stool bacteria from a healthy donor to a patient suffering from intestinal infection with the bacterium Clostridium difficile --- works by restoring healthy bacteria and functioning to the recipient’s gut, according to a study published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The study provides insight into the structural and potential metabolic changes that occur following fecal transplant, says senior author Vincent B. Young, MD, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases and the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The transplants, which have been successful at curing more than 90 percent of recipients, have been used successfully since the 1950s, he says, though it hasn’t been clear how they work to recover gut function.

“The bottom line is fecal transplants work, and not by just supplying a missing bug but a missing function being carried out by multiple organisms in the transplanted feces,” Young says. “By restoring this function, C. difficile isn’t allowed to grow unchecked, and the whole ecosystem is able to recover.”
(Fecal Transplants - ASM). So they take out the hideout of gut microbiota, the appendix, then eventually due to bad diet, antibiotics, and other bad poisons and bad timing, the gut ecosystem is damaged or destroyed and we get sick.

The doctor says bring in a bag of crap from a close relative who is healthy, and we will inject it into your southern parts.

Wow, you just can't make this stuff up folks ... it is so now ... which is a bad time on many issues:
One day in 2008, Ruth, a Long Island teacher, walked into her doctor's office with a container of a relative's feces, lay down, and had her doctor pump the stool inside her.
(Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 8). Whoopie, the cart before the horse thingy.

Timing is everything.

We now find out that those gut microbiota also have an impact on our brains, which seems to tie in with these timing problems of our culture:
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"...
(The Undiscovered Side of Science & Life - 3). Our war on microbes, as I have called it in other posts, is a war on ourselves and is bad timing.

In closing, let me mention that there is a timing delay with respect to the things the EPA is trying to do.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment - 3

Today let's take a look at the early beginnings of lawsuits against Oil-Qaeda a la (Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment, Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment - 2).

Waves of the future?

But first, note that we have had related posts in the past (A Case of Big Oil vs. Climate Change, A Case of Big Oil vs. Climate Change - 2).

Also, we have discussed how courts in other nations are figuring ways to proceed (Is 'Insanity' A Valid Defense To Ecocide?, Is 'Insanity' A Valid Defense To Ecocide? - 2, Is 'Insanity' A Valid Defense To Ecocide? - 3).

Now, a case in the U.S. (Michael Mann, Phd. vs The National Review, et. al.) is making its way through the District of Columbia Superior and Appellate Courts.

It is a good sign when climate scientists begin to sue the slanderous, libellous, and Luddite deniers.

Next, those who are funding them, Koch Brothers, Heartland Institute, and the like, should also be sued.

I will be watching and reporting on these cases.

Note: the D.C. court of appeals has ruled that SLAPP cases do merit an interlocutory appeal when it involves quashing a subpoena (John Doe 1 v Susan L. Burke, PDF), so, the case now on appeal (Mann v National Review) may have to go through a full appeal process on the SLAPP issues.

But, that decision may not apply in this case Dredd Blog is following, because the appellate panel also held ("We do not address the related but separate question of whether an order denying a special motion to dismiss under the Anti-SLAPP Act is immediately appealable. We note that this was an issue in a different case before this court, Mann v. Nat’l Review, Inc., et al., 13-CV-1043, but the appeal in that case was dismissed before an opinion was issued", ibid).

Join me as the case develops in the appellate court.

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