Thursday, May 25, 2017

Solving The Mystery Of The Sudden Warming Of Uranus' Atmosphere

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True color (left) and false color images of Uranus taken by Voyager 2 in 1986.

Do a back of the envelope computation of Uranus' surface (effective)  temperature and you get about T = 100 K. Investigate a more detailed model (also consistent with other gas giants, i.e. Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune) and you obtain 200 K or -73 C.  We know these planets have to be cold because they're so distant, right? I mean Uranus is at a mean distance from the Sun of 19.2 astronomical units and one of its years is equal to 84 Earth years. Its solar constant is roughly 3.8 watts per square meter compared to Earth's 1400 W/ m2.

However, in the course of the two Voyager flybys in the late 1980s, the actual measurements made of the upper atmosphere didn't conform to the model predictions. The Voyagers found temperatures much hotter than expected, by at least five times. (1,000 K  or 700C, hotter than any ovens can generate on Earth). What was going on? A greenhouse effect on this distant planet? Who (or better, what)  was producing it? In any case how explain such ridiculously high temperatures?

More baffling, though Uranus' upper atmosphere cooled from 750 K to 550 K over the past twenty years it has heated by 50 K/year since 2013. This is significant given the length of Uranus' year so that small variations in the atmospheric temperature as Uranus orbits the Sun ought to be taking place gradually.

One hypothesis offered by Henrik Melin and colleagues at the University of Leicester is a turbulent storm in the lower atmosphere generated the heating. According to Melin, quoted in Earth and Space Science News: "The fact that this turbulent weather phenomenon in the lower atmosphere occurs at the same time there is significant heating in the upper atmosphere suggest the storm is an important mechanism.

Melin actually believes this recent Uranian storm could have generated enough heat to reverse the 20-year cooling trend in the upper atmosphere. See e.g.

Melin went even further, hypothesizing that since storms occur all the time on Jupiter and Saturn they could display higher upper atmosphere temperatures as well.

What about the Sun? Could it be the heating culprit? Nope. As I noted earlier the solar constant is simply too low so we know solar photons don't supply enough energy to heat their upper atmospheres to current temperatures.   What about generation of heat via hot, internal cores? While we know Jupiter and Saturn possess such cores - left over from their formation 4.5 billion years ago- Uranus' core generates little heat.  A diagram of Uranus' interior is shown below:
Image result

What about a greenhouse effect based on methane instead of CO2?  Not likely given hydrogen and helium are the predominant atmospheric gases and methane is primarily in the form of ice. Also, unlike Earth - where released frozen methane can trap heat from incoming solar infrared radiation-  there simply isn't enough solar heat reaching Uranus to trap. As I already showed.

A more likely suspect, as named by Melin, could be low amplitude acoustic waves. These are also known as "gravity waves" - which could be generated by huge, turbulent storms.  Think of ripples on a pond, triggered by some disturbance,  as a reasonable analogy.  We also know that such gravity waves on Earth can be generated by violent thunder storms.  Monster storms on the gas giant planets also create such "p-waves" which propagate toward higher altitudes and generate heat. This would be done via the high density -> low density transition, and generate shocks - the immediate heating agent.

Melin validated this by saying (ibid.): "the appearance of these storms in 2014 correlates well with the abrupt heating of the upper atmosphere".  Melin presented his paper on the Uranian heating mechanism at the 2015 AGU Fall Meeting and those interested can read his abstract here:

Meanwhile, planetary astronomers remain unclear how gas giant planets' upper atmospheres react with the lower.  Also, it is possible that the apparent increase in Uranus' storminess is merely an artifact arising from an observational bias.  This is the take of Leigh Fletcher, also a planetary scientist at the University of Leicester. As Prof. Fletcher puts it (ibid.):

"Only a long term campaign of Uranus' storm tracking can accurately tell us the statistics of Uranus' storms, though the 2014 storms do appear to be bigger and brighter than anything we've seen before.

This is a sober and wise observation which bids us take our time before coming to any hard and fast conclusions regarding Uranus; warming. After all, we do not want to unwittingly generate fake news or fake "discoveries".

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

GOP Gangster Bum Greg Gianforte Body Slams Reporter - Deserves To Lose Montana Election

Ben Jacobs with his broken glasses being carted off in the ambulance.
Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs shown being carted off to the ER in Montana after being body slammed by GOP gangster, Greg Gianforte.

Gangster-style Trumpism has now reached its vile, bloodied hands into local state congressional races, in this case Montana's.  Even long time, news savvy reporters Jennifer Rubin (WaPo) and Steve Rattner, couldn't believe the audio clip  (see link at bottom)  played tonight as Guardian UK reporter Ben Jacobs was body slammed after asking an innocent question (regarding the CBO scoring of the GOP health bill)  of Repuke congressional candidate Greg Gianforte.  Both Rubin and Rattner insisted they'd never seen such a violent spectacle especially in U.S. politics.

We watched ("All In" with Chris Hayes) as the breaking news came in at 6:15 p.m. MT in total belief. "Holy shit!" Janice yelped. "We really have become a gangster state under the Repukes and Trump!"    I mean, let's face it, when you get to the stage of a politician hurling a reporter to the ground you are now talking of Nazi- style thug behavior not seen since the 1930s. As another guest on All In put it, "totally in-American".  Indeed!

Fox News reporter Alicia Alcuna, field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey witnessed the incident, according to an account published by After Jacobs asked Gianforte his question, Alcuna wrote, “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him."

She went on:

Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’ ... To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.”

Jacobs subsequently reported the incident to the police. The Gallatin County sheriff’s office is investigating.

All the above puts the kibosh on the Gianforte campaign babble that it was Jacobs who had been the aggressor. Their version, e.g.:

"Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a microphone in Greg's face,  and began asking badgering questions.  Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. "

Is so patently full of bull shit that it rivals the Pizzagate fake news BS about Hillary running a child sex ring in the basement of a D.C. pizza parlor.  Indeed, one merely has to listen to the audio clip and the explosive violence and shouting (by Gianforte) to be able to deduce WHO the aggressor was and it damned sure wasn't Jacobs.  That Jacobs was the "poundee" as opposed to pounder is also validated by FOX News reporter Alicia Acuna who was in the room. So not only was Jacobs body slammed by the Reepo ape, but  Gianforte also  jumped onto Jacobs and punched him too.

Indeed, Gianforte's lackey's (Scanlon's ) account is manifestly contradicted not only by the violent abortive interview where one can almost visually see Jacobs getting body slammed - like Don Knotts by Hulk Hogan, but also by the Fox News reporter's account. Also, at no time during the audio recoding does one hear a word about Jacobs being asked to leave, so we see Gianforte's gangsters are exposed as fucking liars.

Jacobs, who injured his shoulder and had to go to an ER, as well as had his glasses broken, is the victim here and merits filing a law suit, for first degree assault and battery.

"He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said by phone from the back of an ambulance. “I think he wailed on me once or twice ... He got on me and I think he hit me ... This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

Meanwhile, Montana's voters hopefully will be appraised of this vicious act as they go to the polls tomorrow. They need to do the right thing and send Gianforte a one time message that his sort of jackboot thug political violence will not be tolerated, not in their state and not under any circumstances.

You can hear the audio recording of the incident here:

See also:


Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault and three Montana newspapers have withdrawn their endorsements.

John Brennan Schools House Committee - And How The 2016 Election Was Tossed To Trump

Who is former CIA Director John Brennan?
Former CIA Director John Brenna at yesterday's open Senate Hearing.

"Frequently, individuals on a treasonous path do not even realize they're on that path until it gets to be too late,"   - Former CIA Director John Brennan yesterday before the House Intelligence Committee

Yesterday,  speaking before the House Intelligence Committee, John Brennan offered a frank assessment of Russia's aggressive approach to meddling in the 2016 election and, in the process, complicated Donald Trump's attempts to cast the whole thing as "fake news".  Brennan's statement below put the kibosh on this nonsense:

"I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. It raised questions in my mind about whether Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals."

While Brennan would not specifically identify any individuals associated with the Trump campaign who had contacts with Russian officials and would not speculate as to whether there was any collusion or collaboration, he did tell lawmakers why he was concerned about the contacts occurring against the general background of Russian efforts to meddle in the election. Brennan said he'd studied Russian intelligence activities over the years, and how Russian intelligence services have been able to get people to betray their country. "Frequently, individuals on a treasonous path do not even realize they're on that path until it gets to be too late," he said.

Brennan also told the committee he believed that Russia anticipated that Clinton would be the likely winner of the presidential race, and that Russia tried to "damage and bloody" her before Election Day.  Most of this I'd written about in blog posts over the campaign including that Clinton would be the more "warlike" against the Russians. I cited for reference  her saber -rattling AIPAC speech, e.g.

HRC delivering her warnings at CA military base last year

Noting in particular, Clinton's  words:

"The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad."

I added in my post at the time: "Seriously? And you think the Russians will just sit by, smile and allow you to do that? (As you think they'd allow you to implement 'no fly' zones)  You have to be kidding. Again, this is what Bernie referred to in the debates as lack of judgment. "

 Of course, this would have sent red alarms to the Russians too. I'd also delivered a number of posts on Clinton regarding her staunch neoconservative position  - more likely to incite a war with the Russians. All of this, btw, would have been known by anyone following Hillary Clinton's speeches and interviews.  All of it is also factual, based on HRC's actual speeches, events - not fake news!  (In the interests of full disclosure I subsequently came to see Hillary as the more responsible candidate, especially after Trump's "pussy grabbing" video with Billy Bush emerged, and the debates - which found Hillary as far more prepared and Trump trying to "wing it".)

The point I'm making is there was more than ample basis for the Russians to 'go for it' in ensuring the 2016 election outcome went to Trump. On one level there is the issue of "collusion" or conspiracy of actual Trump campaign people with Russian intel or other officials. As Brennan voiced his own concerns yesterday:

"I was worried about the number of the contacts the Russians had with U.S. persons in the Trump campaign".

His primary worry was focused on the Russians "suborning" the latter, which means inciting them to "commit wrongful acts".   In his words:

"I know what the Russians try to do. They try to suborn individuals They try to get individuals including U.S. persons to act on their behalf either wittingly or unwittingly."

We do not have the exact plan or what the Trump bunch agreed to with their Russian counterparts, but it is possible to "reverse engineer" what transpired. This is what I call the "second level" or recruiting American voters themselves to act as a weaponized faction against Clinton. Specifically, it seems voters in the three critical states (WI, MI, PA) which tossed the election to Trump had their brains 'jacked' by sophisticated propaganda stories like "pizzagate", e.g.

As noted in a recent TIME account, ('Mocking Democracy- Inside Russia's Social Media War On America', May 29, p. 30)  "counterintelligence officials saw evidence of Russia using algorithmic techniques to target social media accounts of particular reporters".  Thereby, false stories could be seeded into media enclaves where - according to one CI official "the specific reporter might be slightly slanted to believing things".

With such a reporter's mind in the proverbial 'crapper', the mind virus would then easily be disseminated as the fake story - say Pizzagate- was maliciously spread.

But did this throw the election to Trump? It may well have. While the skinny is that the Russians alone sowed false stories, the TIME account identifies two Trump-linked outfits under probe as well: Cambridge Analytica - partly owned by Trump backer Robert Mercer, and Breitbart News, associated with Steve Bannon.   In effect, the collusion would have theoretically been between Russian fake news sources and the Trump-leaning organizations.

Evidence? Well so far it's indirect not direct. Examining the statistics for Google searches in the three states that tipped the election to Trump, Dem operatives found fake news searches (e.g. for "Pizzagate") were disproportionately higher in swing districts. These searches were not found in districts likely to vote Trump. Why would they? If indeed the purpose of the social media assault was to change brain orientations and beliefs against Hillary, it would not have been necessary to waste energy on the already converted. (E,g. Trump voters).

The Democratic operatives, as it turns out, created a package of background materials indicating that "someone had successfully altered the behavior in key voting districts in key states".

The notion that 77,000 voters' minds might have been changed in the 3 key states to toss the election to Trump is therefore not without some basis.

Most disturbing is that all that was needed for Trump to win the electoral vote race, and hence presidency, was for 77,000 brains to be jacked and their voting preferences altered.  Of course, I'm not saying other factors didn't also play a role, including voter suppression used on African Americans in WI who didn't have the "correct" ID and were not allowed to vote. Some estimates (e.g. in The New Republic) put that total as high as 300,000.

But the sadder aspect is how right thinking, intelligent American voter could remotely believe any of the codswallop such as peddled in the fake pedophilia story of Pizzagate. This means that unless Americans get much smarter and more percipient in future elections, we may see this sordid media gaming play out again.  The key threshold that must be crossed is more Americans being able to spot fake news garbage, as opposed to believing it and worse, acting on it.  To that end, readers might wish to circulate the link below to anyone they believe might be susceptible:

See also:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump And Cronies Dance With Saudis While They Screw Millions Of Trump Voters

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Trump cabinet members Wilbur Ross & Rex Tillerson took turns dancing with Saudis, Trump had his turn too.
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Trump -above- after Saudis delivered several lessons on how to do the "ardah". He still screwed it up.
Image result for Trump dancing with saudis, images
"No, you asshole! You're doing it the wrong way!"

Many will likely recall how 7 years ago, Trump raked then President Barack Obama over the coals for "bowing" to foreign potentates. One is led to ask how hypocritical one has to be to do that, and then not only bow to the "supreme" Saudi leader but also curtsey, e.g.

 then do a sword dance with this ilk, along with two members of his cabinet, Wilbur Ross and Rex Tillerson.  By all accounts in the Saudi-controlled media the trio yucked it up pretty good even as within hours Trump put the final touches on a wretched budget plan to reduce Medicaid spending by $800 billion, and also make food stamps cuts of at least 30 percent. Oh, and make those getting food stamps work. (Clue one: 95% of food stamp recipients already work.  It's just that they can't make ends meet with the jobs they have. Since nearly all the non-working food stamp beneficiaries are children, one guesses Trump and his cronies will make them work.)

The Trump supporters and voters need to take  note here, because it's estimated that up to 2 out of 5 of them depend on one or both of these programs. While they may firmly believe the current media firestorm over Trump's transgressions is fueled by media "hysteria", I can assure them that if the Trump budget passes they will experience hysteria first hand.

In his speech on Sunday,  Trump, as a guest of the Saudi monarch, spoke of a stronger alliance with mostly Sunni Muslim nations to fight terrorism and extremist ideology and to push back against Iran.  For reference, nearly all the 9/11 terrorists hailed from Saudi Arabia, whose Sunni monarchy controls Islam’s holiest sites. Ironically this bunch of freaks - recall ISIS is a Sunni entity too  -  sees itself as the natural leader of the Muslim world and has used its lavish oil wealth to spread its austere version of the faith.

Iran, meanwhile, was given short shrift by Trump, as he wailed about "terrorism" issuing from their faction of Islam. For reference, Iran is the world’s largest Shiite nation and is led by clerics who aspire to export the ideology of political Islam that brought them to power in 1979. But let us bear in mind, that ascension as well as the taking of hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Iran, didn't just occur spontaneously. It was decades building up based on U.S. meddling ending with the support of the brutal regime of the Shah of Iran.

For historical reference,  U.S. oil interests -   in collusion with the then CIA-   deposed Premier Mohammed Mossadegh in a coup d'etat via  in Operation TPAJAX.  His offense? He had sought to audit the books of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), and implement new rules.  The eventual decision was to remove Mossadegh - the best chance at Iranian democracy.  So if Iran is "extremist" today we are the ones to blame, at least in terms of interfering in their then democratic processes by forcefully removing a head of state (like we did with Salvador Allende in Chile - except more violently in that case).

Let's be clear there is nothing in our Constitution that condones or approves of removing foreign heads of state, for whatever reason.

In some disinformationist quarters the CIA's role in the 1953 overthrow of Mossadegh is dismissed as a "myth" in the same way pro-Warrenites dismiss conspiracy in the JFK assassination as a myth - because it serves their nefarious interests to do so -- in bamboozling our fellow citizens. The truth is the CIA had its hands in the Mossadegh coup d'etat as much as they did in Kennedy's. You can read more details, including how the CIA actually admitted its role here:

Meanwhile, three days ago, Frederic Wehrey, a senior fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said:

We are picking one side in this geopolitical struggle, and there is very little room for gray,.  Sectarianism is a byproduct of this geopolitical rivalry, and we are inadvertently picking one side in this sectarian struggle.”

The question is why did we pick the side that featured most of the vermin responsible for the most destructive attack on the nation in history?  Why also side with the nation with an embedded extremist strain (Wahabbi) that makes Iran's shortcoming pale in comparison?  

The Smithsonian channel's documentary, 'Islam and the West', ought to be required viewing for every American and especially the hysterical subset that believes all Muslims are the next thing to demons. The documentary traces the origins of Islam from Mohammed and to the present day, including how none other than the Brits- in the latter days of their Empire - drew up all the boundaries in the Middle East including for Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Palestine - totally ignoring ethnic and tribal affiliations. Viewing this excellent program will indicate why Trump's siding with the Saudis is a grave mistake.

In the meantime, the spectacle of the Trumpite Trio dancing with the Saudis even as they put the finishing touches on budget plans to undermine many of their own supporters couldn't be lost on the astute observer. It was also jarring to see Trump cozying up to this authoritarian, extremist lot in the way he did though we've already beheld his fondness for strong men, e.g. in Erdogan of Turkey, and Duterte in the Philippines.

See also:


Monday, May 22, 2017

Clearing Up The Issue Of "States' Rights" And Federalism - Again

One of the greatest tricks of the peddlers of faux American  history  is to have altered the meaning of federalism  and to have concocted the notion of "states' rights." 

Given the current political climate fueled by pseudo-conservatives - in trying to push "state autonomy" - we ought not be surprised that many press  articles are attempting to bamboozle average citizens saddled with average educations.

Also, because the ‘life cycle’ of most Americans’ political-historical memory barely stretches 5 years, this is increasingly easier to accomplish.  Thus, with a single prominent article it is possible to hoodwink too many and especially get them to accept as facts canards that are anything but. A case in point is the recent WSJ article 'Divided We Rise' (May 20-21, Review, p, C1) by Jeffrey Rosen, the President (if you can believe it) of the "The National Constitution Center" in Philadelphia.

The gist of Rosen's piece is that "people on the Left and the Right are turning to federalism as a way to resolve contentious issues and to calm our polarized politics"

That's a cute, convenient take, but absolute balderdash. He writes first that "federalism has long been a cause on the Right" but in fact, what they've really embraced is anti-federalism. The original meaning and intent of genuine federalism  was put forward by Alexander Hamilton (and even James Madison) in The Federalist Papers. This was a strong union with strong central government - not a loose affiliation with states basically deciding for themselves how their citizens will live and scarcely any checks from the central authority.. 

Madison actually predicted that if the Philadelphia Convention was unable to forge a stronger national government the result would be sectionalism or monarchy, He wrote to Virginia Governor Edmund Rudolph: "Our situation is every day becoming more and more critical...No respect is paid to the federal authority and people of reflection unanimously agree that the existing confederacy is tottering to its foundation."    Madison also was fond of using an analogy originally offered by John Dickinson at the Philadelphia Convention.

Dickinson compared the federal government system to the Solar system. Just as the planets (analogous to states) could not exist as part of that system without the centralized force of gravitational pull of the Sun, so also the federal system could not exist without the centralized pull of the federal government – leading the diversity of states to be one cohesive entity as a united confederacy. Thus do we find the Constitution includes limits on STATE governments.

THIS was the original heart, core and meaning of federalism. Somehow over the centuries it was mutated, however, into anti-federalism or worse, "nationalism" (as Rosen does).  This is in total contrast to the standard definition of nationalism, i.e. "The strong belief that the interests of a particular nation-state are of primary importance." In other words, that a given nation's interests trump those of all others. This is embodied, for example, in Trump's  "America First" codswallop..

Rosen also errs in terms of states' rights when he quotes the (related)  miscasting in a quotation from Rep. Zoe Lofgren ("top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee's immigration and border security sub-committee"):

"The Constitution, specifically the Tenth Amendment, protects states' rights and it prohibits federal actions that commandeer state and local officials."

Rosen goes on the assert "the framers of the Constitution would be pleased with this emerging consensus", e.g. between federalism as state autonomy and states' rights allegedly embodied in the 10th amendment. Alas, both suppositions are wrong. I already showed how the original meaning of federalism had been twisted, so neither Madison or Hamilton would recognize the word as used by proponents' of "states' rights" today.

States rights itself is an egregious mutation of the actual meaning.  Prof. Garry Wills (‘A Necessary Evil: A History Of American Distrust of Government, Simon & Schuster, 1999) further reinforces this point in his chapter ‘Constitutional Myths’(p. 108). He notes that citizens alone possess rights, which neither the states nor the federal government share. Both the latter retain powers and prerogatives, but not rights. Hence, the subtext is that rights can only accrue to flesh and blood citizens, not legal or geographical artifacts. What Rosen and Lofgren have done is to conflate rights with prerogatives and powers and ended up spewing bunkum, given the former are NOT the same as the latter.

Lofgren and Rosen also need to read the Ninth Amendment, which states that “the people retain unenumerated rights” "The people:" here refers to flesh and blood citizens, not to a bunch of contractual abstractions (states), or to corporations. As Wills emphasizes and underscores (ibid.):

The states have no natural rights. Their powers are artificial, not natural – they are things made by contract.”

Hence, the term "state's rights" is bogus, in error. States have prerogatives, not rights, because states exist as governmental entities not as persons or  thinking individuals.  It follows that that states' rights has obviously been a device - like "federalism" construed as state autonomy- to try to dispense with federal government regulation and oversight,  or the extension of federal welfare, or benefits - especially in the realm of health care.

As Prof. Wills has pointed out, the unenumerated rights are all those rights not already specifically declared or described in the existing document. The Founders thereby realized and understood there could exist rights in the future they hadn’t conceived of at the time of the Constitutional Convention, and so allowed those (then) undefined rights to become realized later. In other words, the rights allotted citizens are not limited to the rights actually and specifically delineated, i.e. in the Bill of Rights.

This opens up the basis for positive rights, not merely negative ones. A case in point is the conviction that there are only “negative” rights inherent in the Bill of Rights, and there can be no “positive” ones.   A negative right implies that there are ‘x’ things the government can’t do to you, e.g.  take away your guns or your property without good legal basis ("eminent domain"). . By contrast, positive rights assert there are actual positive rights to which you are entitled under the Bill of Rights, say health care and privacy. Most of those on the Right, who have only passing acquaintance with the Federalist papers, assert positive rights don’t exist, but they are wrong. They merely show they fail to grasp the concept of an "unenumerated right".

No surprise then this meme is pushed by the Right (and some ignorant folks on the left acting as useful idiots) to undercut the basis of any kind of national health system  ("Medicare for all") or even a national benefit system, say like Social Security. "Let the states decide and do it if they want!" is the new mantra, say of Paul Ryan in trying to push his Medicare voucher system.

It also explains the yen of HHS head Tom Price to slash spending on Medicaid over all by giving states the option of a "block grant" or a per capita allotment. So here in Colorado, for example, that may mean allocating the state a fixed amount for next year of $100m. That then will have to suffice to cover the needs of some 125,000  citizens, mainly frail elderly, poor, unemployed or under-employed.  And further, this will supposedly be effected despite Colorado now dealing with an estimated $1.3 b deficit.  Anyone who thinks Colorado or any state can deliver is living in la-la land.

If the Constitution's intent was to limit federal government power it certainly doesn’t say so. In Article I, Section 8 – the longest segment of the document, we see an extended declaration of congressional power. (The States are mainly afforded their power in the articles of confederation). In addition, it ends by clearly delegating to Congress the ability “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or any Department thereof."

The reality is the power of the federal government is needed now more than ever, not only to protect citizens' basic rights - especially against the specter of local hate crimes (such as the African American student in College Park, MD recently stabbed in the back by an Alt Right freak) but also to ensure our basic citizen protections ("regulations") are up to par, and benefits are secured and not allowed to be sliced by the states i.e. after being given "block grants" by the anti-federalists in the federal gov't.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Math Revisited: Tensors

Basic terms:

A tensor of rank 2 is a dyad.

A tensor of rank 1 is a vector.

A tensor of rank 0 is a scalar.

The most basic tensor of all is the unit tensor, defined:

=  i^ i^ + j^ j^ + k^ k^  =





1 × C  =  i^ Cx + j^ Cy + k^ Cz  

In all the above, of course, we have yet to introduce time, but will in the next section to do with tying geodesics to the Principle of Equivalence.

Further properties:

A tensor is symmetric if:  T i j   = T j  i

A tensor is anti- symmetric if:  T i j   = -  T j  i

The latter will look something like this:

(0 ……a12………a 13)


(- a13……-a23……0)

Doubled dummy indices, e.g. ii, jj, kk refer to the trace of a matrix, or the sum of the diagonal elements.  For example, if: i^ i^ + j^ j^ + k^ k^  =




Diagonalizing tensors.

This is analogous to obtaining the eigenvalues for a matrix in linear algebra. Consider the object below for which we want the principal axis,  a i j.

No automatic alt text available.we have a i j

 With T’ =  A × I × At

Where t denotes the transpose.  Then we obtain, T’ =

(15 …..0……..0)
(0…….11 ....-3Ö2)
(0……..-3Ö2…..8 )

Which is to be diagonalized.  Writing this out:

(15 - l…...0…….....0)
(0……..11- l ....-..3Ö2)

This leads to a cubic - i.e. with triple roots -  which are:

l1 = 15,  l2 =  5, and l3 =  14

Substituting l1 in the matrix we get:

(0  ….....0……......0)   ( c x  )
(0……....-4 ....-..(-3Ö2))  ( c y  )
(0……..-(-3Ö2)…..(-7) )   (  c z )

For which the separate equations, e.g. in  c x, c y and c z can be solved. For example,

-4 y   -   3Ö z  =  0 

 -   3Öy   -7   =  0

After working through all the solutions, we obtain:

C  =  - Ö (2/3) e2^   +  1/ Ö3  (e3^)

Example  Problem:

In a certain rectangular coordinate system, the directions of whose axes are given by the unit vectors i, j and k, the inertia tensor of an object is given by:

I = K x

(0….1… ..1)

a) What are the principal moments of inertia of the object (the moments of inertia along the principal axis) relative to the origin of the above coordinate system?

b) What is the direction of the principal axis corresponding to the principal moment of inertia and equal to K?

 c)  If the origin of the above rectangular coordinate system is at the center of mass of the object and the total mass of the object is M, what is the change in the inertial tensor of the object if the rectangular coordinate system is displaced parallel to itself a distance ro in the direction:

 (1/ Ö2)j +  (1/Ö2)k?


a) We have:  I = K x

(0….1… ..1)

We write out the determinant with eigenvalue l:

(1 - l….0…..0)
(0….1 - l   ..1)
(0….1… ..1 - l)

Leading to the characteristic equation:

(1 - l)3 – (1 - l) = 0


(1 - l) [ ((1 - l)2 – 1] = 0


(1 - l) (l2 –  2l) = 0

Yielding eigenvalues: l= 0, l = 2


T = Kl,  so:

 T1 = 0, T2 = K, and T3 =2K

Or: (0, K, 2K)

b) We have to take:  (I T1)C

So that:

K [(1….0…..0)
  [(0….1… ..1)

K (1….0…..0)](x)
  (0….1….. 0)] (y)
  (0….0… ..1)] (z)

 (0….0…..0) (x)
  (0….0…..1) (y)
  (0….1… ..0) (z)   =   0

So that:  0  =


Which 0 for the x component implies the answer is I.

c) By the analog of the parallel axis theorem:

I o = IG  M(R2 I – RR)

D I =  I o -  IG   =    M(R2 I – RR)

RR =   r o 2     x

(0….1/2… ..1/2)

D I =   M  r o 2     x

  [(0….0… ..1)

  (0….1/2.. 1/2)]
  (0….1/2… ..1/2)]

= M  r o 2     x

(0….-1/2… ..1/2)

Practice Problems:

1. If  1  =  i^ i^ + j^ j^ + k^ k^

Write out the expression for 1 × D  

2. a) Provide a matrix which satisfies:  i^ i^ + j^ j^ + k^ k^  = 7/2

b) Write out the trace for the metric tensor.   g ik   =



(0.....0........r2 sin

c) Give one example of  3 x 3  tensor, then show how it might contain an anti-symmetric and symmetric  tensor (also how to go from one form to the other). 

3. For the example problem given above, use the remaining two eigenvalues, l2 and l3, to diagonaliize the matrix and obtain solutions in c x, c y and c z.

Net Neutrality On The Chopping Block - Thanks To Another Trump Toady

Image result for AjitPai protest images
Protesters outside Ajit Pai's home, for net neutrality and against his scrapping of Title II regs.

Two weeks ago, comedian John Oliver delivered a superb explanation of 'Title I' and 'Title II' regs in respect to the internet and how assorted spinners sought to confuse the public on net neutrality. Oliver argued that Title II regulations are designed to protect the net,  i.e.  barricade it against the sole use of private interests.

Those who missed the segment can watch it at this link:

Oliver argued the net in its current form is not broken, while noting the FCC was pushing for a 'two tier' system.  Killing net neutrality would allow private companies to go into the fast lane leaving everyone else in the slow line. To get your streaming movies or shows then might take twice as long as it does now, while higher paying corporate entities - like Comcast - speed their ads through with ease. To refresh memories, the Obama FCC - to preserve net neutrality - ceased treating the internet as an unregulated information service- instead reclassifying it as a "telecommunications service". Thereby the FCC could assert authority to regulate the net as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

Oliver was so energized at the prospect of the new FCC chairman (Ajit Pai) overturning the Obama FCC rules that he provided viewers with a rapid link to enter comments at the FCC - supposedly seeking them for 120 days: 

This latest influx of viewer comments came quicker than 2 years ago, adding about 150,000 in a little more than a day . But it appears the FCC Trumpazoids anticipated it and created a account for bulk comment filings. The effect has been that commenters' requests have been getting blocked or tied up by an automated attack.  It seems that barely any have made it through, but we're expected to believe this change was made to "better handle traffic than last time".

Now we know why. According to a story yesterday in the WSJ Business & Finance section (p. B1) it is clear the FCC plans to "chip away at net neutrality". As reported, the FCC on Thursday "approved a plan to begin rolling back Obama era net neutrality rules".  This was accomplished by virtue of the 2 Repukes on the FCC panel overriding opposition from the lone Democrat to push this perfidy through.

Led by Trump  toady Ajit Pai, the FCC is now set to spend the  coming months drafting new rules that, if implemented, will slow down the net considerably for any who use DL'ing, including streaming of videos (including for Netflix and Amazon services).  Pai, like other Trump -appointed hacks (Tom Price at HHS, out to destroy Medicare, Scott Pruitt at EPA, out to destroy that agency or weaken it to the point of uselessness) is convinced the Obama era rules adopted in 2015 have "harmed the internet" by retarding investment in broad band infrastructure. 

In other words net neutrality is a no-no because it represents the continuation of "heavy handed regulation which will chill investment in a service increasingly critical to life in American society".

According to Pai, mastering the lingo of Wall Street speak (WSJ, today, p. A11), the small ISPs are being left out of the market because they can't compete with the big boys. Pai claimed he "heard from 19 small, government -owned, municipal broadband providers" who insisted that Title II regs stood in the way of their further investment. In effect, depriving hundreds of thousands living in those municipalities of accessing new services and the small ISPs from deepening their networks.

In Pai's mind the basic error of too many on the left is thinking "there is a dichotomy between the consumer and the market". No, there isn't. It's all in our imaginations - or our paranoid ideations- take you pick. According to Pai (ibid., today):

"To me, markets and market -oriented policies have delivered far more value to the consumer than pre-emptive regulation ever has."

It appears then that Pai like his FCC R-commissioners, is ignorant or oblivious to the lessons of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.  That also was promised to us as the be-all 'elixir' to finally get our cable TV rates down because of increased market competition. Instead, after a few years we found (n Maryland) competition diminished and less resourceful companies moved out allowing Comcast to charge whatever it wanted.  People were furious because they'd been sold the "de-regulated bait and switch".

If Pai's arguments were really sound why not first do all he and the FCC can to make all net speeds much higher as opposed to "comparable to Estonia" as Oliver joked in his piece.  The reason is that Pai and his cronies want to slow net speeds down even more for the rest of us so that private entities, that can pay a lot more, get preferential treatment in the form of much greater speed, efficiency.

Writing in his book, The Problem of the Media, Robert McChesney had this to say (p. 51);

"The corruption in media policy making culminated in the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, arguably one of the most important pieces of U.S. legislation. The law rewrote the regulatory regime for radio, television, cable television, and satellite communication - indeed, all of electronic communication including the internet.

The operating premise of the law was that the new communications technologies - combined with increased appreciation for the genius of the market- rendered the traditional regulatory market moot.

The solution therefore was to lift regulations and ownership restrictions from commercial media and communication companies, and allow competition in the marketplace to develop, and reduce the government's role to that of protecting private property.

There was virtually no dissent whatsoever to this legislation from either party, the law sailed through both houses of congress, and was signed by a jubilant President Clinton in February, 1996. Corporate CEOs regarded it as their "Magna Carta"."

The preceding  lesson from McChesney ought to be a no-brainer for us now: not to be fooled again by the "deregulation is good for ya" banter. Fool us once, shame on them, fool us twice, shame on US.

See also: