Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Want A Better Future? Then The 'Evil Brain's' Tendencies Must Be Controlled



As we commence a new year the probability is we will see as many crimes, wars, mass murders, serial killings, political betrayals, and economic obstruction as we have seen in 2013. This brings up the issue of evil, and what can be done about it. To the Physicalist or Scientific Materialist, of course, there is no such thing as "Satan" or  "the Devil" - those are merely cartoon copouts for the unthinking.

Evil exists, but not as an infinite negative absolute, or personified in a spirit entity, but rather as a dynamic of our own brains. What most ordinary people refer to as “evil” is easily explainable by the scientific Materialist in terms of brain evolution. Thus, Homo Sapiens is fundamentally an animal species with a host of animal/primitive instincts residing in its ancient brain or paleocortex.


The paleocortex sits evolutionarily beneath the more evolved mesocortex and neocortex, the latter of which crafts concepts and language[1]. One clever person has compared this tri-partite brain structure to a car design welding a Lamborghini to a Model T Ford chassis, with a 1957 Chevy engine to power the Lamborghini. If an automotive engineer can conceive of such a hybrid beast, I'd be interested to know exactly how he thinks it would run.


Given the preceding brain structural defect, there is much evidence that human behavior will get progressively worse as the complexity inherent in technological and globalized societies increases, but brain evolution is unable to keep pace with it. Basically, we are a species with the capability of making nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles but with an R-complex imbued with reptilian tendencies[2].


Indeed, in terms of adaptability to technological society, the hybrid brain design is already theorized as one major cause of depression and mental illness in such societies[3] .


The behavior resulting from this hybrid brain is bound to be morally mixed, reflecting the fact that we literally have three brains contending for emergence in one cranium. Behavior will therefore range from the most selfless acts (not to mention creative masterpieces) to savagery, carnal lust run amuck and addictions that paralyze purpose.

The mistake of the orthodox religionist is to associate the first mode of behavior with being human and not the latter. In effect, disowning most of the possible behaviors of which humans are capable.- and hence nine tenths of what makes us what we are. Worse, not only disowning these behaviors – but ascribing them to some antagonistic dark or negative force (“Satan”) thereby making them into a religious abstraction.

The neocortex then goes into over-drive, propelled by its ability to craft words for which no correspondents may exist in reality. Suddenly, our “souls” are at risk of being “lost to Satan” who will then fry us in “Hell” if we don't grab the right afterlife insurance policy. In effect, the religionist’s higher brain centers divide reality into forces of darkness and light, just like the ancient Manicheans.

As the divide grows and persists, certain behaviorally idealistic expectations come to the fore, and a mass of negative or primitive actions is relegated to “evil”. Humans tune in to this Zeitgeist, which is soon circulated everywhere, and begin to suppress all behaviors that they regard as defective or "sinful". They don’t realize or appreciate that humans are risen apes, and not fallen angels.

Are we all sinners as assorted fundamentalists and zealots claim? No, we’re an animal species saddled with a tri-partite brain whose higher centers often become self aware of the chasm between the base, atavistic and primitive behaviors (emanating from the reptilian brain) and the ideal  behavior conceived by the neocortex. The neocortical language centers then craft the term sin to depict the gulf between one and the other.

In this context, the concept of sin makes eminent sense. Sin emerges as the label placed on specific brands and forms of evil. In reality, sin is predicated on an exaggerated importance of humans in the universe. Thus, it elevates (in a perverse way) the importance of humans in an otherwise meaningless cosmos. With sin the overly self-important and morally smug, self-righteous human has at least the potential of offending his putative deity – thereby getting its attention – as opposed to being relegated to the status of a cosmic cipher. Sin is thus an attention getter to a mentally conceived Big Cosmic Daddy.


Despite this, sin is an invariably localized and reactive behavior at the personal, individual level. Sin impinges on and affects the deity (God-concept) that so many believe in. Take away the deity, and sin loses its allure and quickly becomes redundant. How can there be sin if there is no deity to offend or to notice sin and to tote up all the little black marks in its book of future judgment?

The Devil or Satan is simply the mental projection of the most primitive brain imperatives onto the external world. And yes, this imperative  is capable of  rape, economic exploitation and mass murder as well as genocide. A supernatural Satan need not be invoked, only the ancient brain residue of reptiles – acting collectively – aided and abetted by a language -obsessed neocortex, which finds it as easy to create neologisms to represent non-existent phantasms as to think. It thereby does the reptile brain’s bidding, manufacturing sins, as opposed to attempting to halt it.



If we know all this, how might we bring the "evil brain" as it were, under control to at least mitigate its sudden explosions of violence? Those manifested in terrorist bombings such as we've seen in Russia, or in mass killings such as Newtown last year, or in the mass slaughter now going on in Southern Sudan or the Central African Republic.

F0rtunately, we may well be on the cusp of controlling and regulating (at minimum) these atavistic brain tendencies which have produced everything from the Inquisition, to the Crusades, and even genocides. No human in his or her right mind could possibly dispute the fact that our species would be much better, operate more compassionately and perhaps even effectively in the social arena, if the brain could at least be subject to more regulation. At least the brains of those who need it. This has been exposed in the further development of quantum dot technology (see, e.g. 'The Quantum Dot: A Journey Into the Future of Microelectronics') .

The beauty of quantum dots is they can be specifically located in the exact brain regions where the most control is needed. If a feasible neural network mapping can be applied first, say to select input-output processing of hate and intolerance (as transmitted electro-chemical signals) in the brain's amygdala, is it not also possible to "disinfect" this tendency by altering the neural pathways and responses? Could the electro-chemical transfers effectively be cut off? Consider the most elemental input and output situation given by:


O o----------(e1)------(e2)------O (Z)

where e1 and e2 are two components by which an input at O yields a current (throughput)transferred to Z with information. The structure function of this would be: f(x1, x2) = x1 x2. But now suppose the component (e2) is negated or co-opted with another device. Then e2 = 0 and f(x1,x2) = 0. In other words the normal output one would expect is nullified.

We already know electro-chemical signals (via action potentials) are conveyed to  receptor neurons in the region of the amygdala. We note that when an axon is in its resting state it maintains a constant potential difference, or ‘resting membrane potential’ of –70 mV. When it is excited, it rises to a peak voltage of around 40 mV.  The latter basically arises from an uneven distribution of K+ (potassium) and Na+ (sodium) ions across the axon cell membrane relative to a collection of negatively charged protein molecules inside the cells.

Now, if neurons are stimulated – say by an electric shock from implants -  an electronic monitoring device will show the 40 mV ‘action potentials’ on the traces. An interesting phenomenon associated with this, is that no matter the size of the stimulus applied, the action potential peak remains the same. What this shows is that even an appliance, device or artificial neural network (to "train the brain's receptors") placed in the immediate pathway will not stop the signal propagation. Like solar x-rays that can incept total communication blackouts, a way or mode must be found to short circuit the whole transfer process.

Note further that each pulse peak for the action potential coincides with a polarization change in the axon. Thus, as the pulse moves to a given site on the axon, Na+ ions move into the axon. Though technically both potassium and sodium ions are involved, there is actually a preferential bias. This bias is what we'll need to exploit in creating an adequate neural network to regulate the reception of impulses. This particular bias inheres in a preferential transferal of Na+ ions through the axon membrane by a ratio that varies from 3:1 to 3:2 relative to K+ ions.

Thus, one way to engender a short circuit would be to alter the bias by altering the ion concentration at the axon membrane, say to 1:1. The synapses also have a role, of course, specifically the synaptic cleft. As I noted above, action potentials are constantly generated in an ‘all or nothing’ kind of way, and their endpoint is the synaptic cleft of the neuron. But here is where the ‘buck’ or rather the pulse, stops. Because as the axon has no choice in propagating the action potential, the neuron on the opposite side of the synapse (the post-synaptic cell) does have a choice of whether to fire or not fire when the potential arrives. If post synaptic neurons fired predictably with arrival of each and every action potential they’d be totally deterministic.

And boring. The fact that they need not fire, indicates a high degree of probability factored into the process. This process is depicted in the diagram (Fig. 2)  below in simplified view, based on treating the axons as simple electrical ‘cables’ and the ends as ‘terminals’. This is perhaps the essential modus operandi for the brain acting as self-programmable von Neumann machine, particularly since quantum mechanics can easily be factored in.
















In the diagram, we focus on Axon 1 and note that when the action potential arrives at the terminal it’s depolarized. This depolarization enables Calcium ions (Ca+2) already within the terminal to diffuse out into the mediating space. These ions follow a concentration gradient, unlike the case of the Na+ ions in the sodium pump. As the ions migrate, then diffuse to the post-synaptic cell (at Axon 2), they leave a channel in their wake that allows quantal releases of neurotransmitter (shown as a solid dot). These, like the Ca+2 ions diffuse across to the post-synaptic cell(s).

One neurotransmitter is acetylcholine. If the transmission of this or any similar chemical is rapid firing will occur, if not it won’t. Note also that Axon 2 must have a way of eliminating neurotransmitters almost as soon as they arrive. For acetylcholine, the enzyme cholinesterase acts to break it down into choline and acetate. In these inactive forms the neuron is spared being in a state of maximal and continuous excitation that would otherwise destroy it.

Generalizing the electrical cable analogy, the synapses act as switches in the system, the ‘on’ or ‘off’ positions denoted by information, in the form of chemical messages, to cross the synaptic cleft and trigger firing of the post-synaptic neuron(s) or not. Most probably there are bundles of similar neurons linked together by their respective connections, to perform critical functions. One might refer to the neuronal super-assembly or 'super-circuit’ within which considerations such as networks, and optimization of paths as well as 'adjacency and order' take precedence.  Again, this is almost absurdly oversimplified since there really are no neurons that have only one connection to another. Indeed, we expect the typical neuron to have something like 10,000 connections to others.

But a start to how we might proceed is depicted  in the Kohonen SOM (Self-Organizing Map) in Fig. 3.  below. Again, I reiterate, I'm keeping this at the most basic level. To reinforce this, trials performed quickly disclose Kohonen SOM  is too oversimplified. For example, it's applicable only to a single layer but the brain region under scrutiny is multi-layered. In addition, each "grid" neuron is an output neuron only. In real life, one must have both input and output neurons.Technically, we would need to examine and use the Multi-Layer Perceptron Network.








Anyway, as the Kohonen (SOM) is implemented, each input pattern gives rise to a localized region of activity in the feature map against a background of lower activity.For example, the activity may be registered as relative voltages, and these in turn may signify the ratio of Na+ ions to K+ ions. Once the Kohonen SOM is entrained, the aggregation of the input pattern should cause a localized group of neurons to be active.



However, the activity will almost surely not be what is desirable, because the simplicity of the map doesn't allow us to make drastic changes to the configuration of action potential thresholds.  In this case, using quantum dot implants - say for a religious zealot's or Islamic terrorist's brain - might well send him/her into convulsions, or worse. We certainly don't wish to have happen to the religious extremist what transpired with the main character in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' (i.e. after he was lobotomized at the end) we merely want to see his most reactive behavior tempered, so that he's tolerable, and more tolerant to others!  At the lowest threshold this would mean not doing harm to others, i.e. the evangelical grandma in Colorado who immersed her grandson in a tub of boiling water to "cure" him of Satan some years ago, or Islamic terrorists using suicide bombers to blow up trains in Russia- because they regard the Sochi Winter Olympics as "Satanic".


We ought to note here that already amazing steps have been made in terms of electronic implants, to control everything from over -eating to alcoholism. If these aberrant behaviors are within our purview, it is only a matter of time before excessive, meme (mind-virus) -driven zealous religiosity and its hate-driven actions derived from it are controlled.

See the following for information on the progress in electronic brain implants thus far:

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-brain-implant.htm


http://www.electronicsweekly.com/blogs/david-manners-semiconductor-blog/2010/11/brain-implants-in-10-20-years.html

If progress in this area succeeds then perhaps we might expect looking forward to at least one new year in which rampant mayhem no longer dominates.






[1] Author Arthur Koestler, to the best of my knowledge, first coined these terms in the 1967 edition of his book, The Ghost in the Machine. Since then they’ve been revived in other books but with differing nomenclature. For example, Carl Sagan in The Dragons of Eden, incorporates the paleocortex –limbic system into what he calls “the R-complex”.  Robert Ornstein in his 1991 work, The Evolution of Consciousness, incorporates the haphazard neurologic expression of one or more of these regions as “simpletons”.

[2] R-complex is the term used by Carl Sagan to denote the brain region with the most primitive tendencies, i.e. “performing dinosaur functions”. See, Sagan: The Dragons of Eden, 60.


[3] Solomon, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, 401.

Studying Solar 'Twins' to Forecast the Sun's Future






















A relatively little known area of astronomical inquiry is the careful study of solar "twins' in order to see what lies ahead for our own star. Basically, the method entails finding stars of the same spectral class and chemical composition, mass as the Sun and then assessing their age to infer what lies ahead for our star.

Our own Sun is about 4.6 billion years old (all the 'young Sun' nonsense of fake astrophysicists like Jason Lisle  to the contrary,  see e.g.

http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2011/07/jason-lisle-astrophysicist-dont-make-me.html

One example for study is the star HIP 102152, which turns out to be the closest match to our Sun ever found in terms of mass, temperature and chemical composition. The difference is that it's almost 4 billion years older providing a glimpse into our own star as it ages. One particular insight concerns the element lithium. It exists in high amounts on some stars but is virtually absent in the Sun.

Interestingly, solar twin researchers have found HIP 102152 contains even less lithium than the Sun, suggesting that as our star ages its lithium content will be further reduced. This is backed up by the finding that a previously discovered solar twin named 18 Scorpii has more. Taken together the findings suggest that the hot interiors of sunlike stars - where nuclear fusion occurs - gradually burn through lithium as the stars age.

Also like the Sun, HIP 102152 has low amounts of iron, magnesium and silicon, elements which tend to make up the bulk of rocky planets such as Earth. The only way they would have been found on Earth - or even in the Sun - is because the latter evolved from a solar nebula replete with the residue of those higher atomic number elements cast off in supernovae.

More research needs to be done to confirm and expand insights, but so far - at 8.2b years old- HIP 102152 is the oldest solar twin ever found. Meanwhile, in less than 2 billion years the Sun will exhaust the hydrogen in its core via the same nuclear fusion. When this happens it will balloon to hundreds of times its current diameter, engulfing the Earth and likely Mars too.  This is what we call the 'Red Giant' phase.

This ensues because  a new "burning" phase is ushered in (at higher temperature), such that the following reaction series, known as the ‘triple alpha’ process, kicks in:

He 4 + He 4 -> Be 8 + gamma (- 95 keV)

Be8 + He 4 -> C 12 + gamma + 7.4 MeV

Here, the two alpha particles (helium nuclei) first fuse to give unstable beryllium and a gamma ray (gamma), with 95 keV energy absorbed. Then the beryllium fuses with a helium-4 to give carbon–12 plus a gamma ray and 7.4 MeV energy given off. In this way a new cycle commences, leading to a heavier molecular weight core. Each successive burning phase, however, is less efficient than its predecessor ( seen by comparing the energy given off in the triple alpha process to that given off in the proton-proton cycle, see e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton%E2%80%93proton_chain_reaction)

The key thing to bear in mind in terms of a stable phase (i.e. ‘Main sequence’) star like the Sun is that it is in pressure-gravity balance. The outer gas pressure balances the weight of its overlying layers. Any condition likely to disrupt this balance is therefore of paramount interest.

In the triple alpha process the balance is disrupted such that the outer gas pressure overcomes the inward directed gravity of the overlying layers resulting in expansion.

We have to hope that if humans still exist, they will have long since abandoned Earth. If not, they will suffer the consequences.

Solution of Laurent Series Challenge Problem:

Let f(z) = 7 z 2  + 9 z  - 18 /  z 3 -  9z

 
Find Laurent series for the convergence regions:

a)  0  < ÷ z ÷   <    3  and

b)    ÷ z  ÷      >   3    

 
We approach using partial fraction decomposition:



7z 2  + 9 z  - 18 /  z 3 -  9z = z (z  + 9) + 18/ [z {z + 3) (z – 3) ]


 

= A/ z  +      B/ (z + 3) + C / (z – 3)



7 z 2  + 9 z  - 18  =  A(z + 3) (z – 3) + Bz (z – 3) + Cz (z + 3)

 
For z = 0: - 9A = -18 so that A = 2

 
For z = -3:  18B = 7(-3)2 + 9(-3) – 18 = 

 
63 – 27 – 18 = 18   so that B = 1

For z = 3:  18 C =  7(3)2 + 9(3) – 18 =  63 + 27 – 18 = 72

 
So that C = 4

Then:

 
7 z 2  + 9 z  - 18 / [z {z + 3) (z – 3) ]

 
 
= 2/ z  + 1 / (z + 3) + 4/ (z -3)
 
 

 
Rewrite as:
 
2/ z +  1/3 (1 / 1 + z/3) – 4/3 (1 / 1 – z/3)
 
For term 1:   ÷ z ÷    <   1
 
For term 2 : ÷ z ÷    <   3
 
For term 3:    ÷ z ÷    <   3
 
Expand 2nd and 3rd terms and expand using 1 / (1 – z) and substituting:
 
2/ z + 1/3 (1 – z/ 3  +   z 2  / 32  +  …) -  4/3 (1 + z/ 3 +   z 2  / 32  +  …)
 
Combining Terms:
 
2/z – 1 – 5z/ 32  +  3 z 2  / 33  +  …)
 
 
Which series can be represented:
 
2/ z +  [ å¥ n = 0    (-1) n – 4   / 3 n + 1  ] z 4     
For: 0  < ÷ z ÷   <    3 
 
 
Now, rewrite the original partial-fraction f(z) in the form:
 
2/ z + 1/ z (1 / 1 + 3/z) + 4/z ( 1 / 1 – 3/z)
 
Expand 2nd, 3rd etc terms using 1/ 1 – z:
 
Þ  2/ z +  1/z (1 – 3/z  + 32  / z 2  +   ….)  +

......+   4/z (1 + 3/z + 32  / z 2  +  …)
 
= 2/z  + 1/z  - 3/ z 2  +  32  / z 3  +  +…….

+ 4/z +  12/ z 2  +  36  / z 3   + …..
 
= 2/z +  [5/z + 9/ z 2  +    45  / z 3  +  ………]


 
Which can be represented in the form:
 
2/ z +   å¥ n = 0    3 n  (4 +  (-1) n  ) /  z n + 1   
 
For:  ÷ z  ÷      >   3   


 
 

 



Monday, December 30, 2013

Now We Know: Benghazi Was Incited by Anti-Muslim Video - NOT Al Qaeda!

It's been over a year for the truth to finally emerge after all the hair-on-fire screeching over Benghazi by the Repukes last year before the general election.  To refresh people's memories, an attack occurred on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012 - costing the life of Ambassador Christopher J. Stephens. The disgusting Repukes then attempted to turn it into a 9/11 style Al Qaeda terror attack that caught Obama sleeping at the switch as well as Susan Rice. It cost Rice her job at State, and even put Hillary under intense scrutiny with hearings by the eternally outraged Re-punk,. Darryl Issa (CA).

Knowing that a vile anti-Muslim video had surfaced in the days before, I never bought any of this politically inspired bunkum.  Indeed, in my Sept. 14, 2012 blog post ('Getting a Grip on Reality - The Fake Film And Muslim Outrage') I noted:

"Now, as 11 Muslim nations – from the Sudan, to Egypt to Yemen, Pakistan, Iran and Indonesia go up in flames and riots, and 4 Americans have been left dead in Libya (Btw, NO Marines! There were two former Navy Seals killed and a civilian USAID worker apart from Ambassador Stevens). Questions are being asked as to: Who started it?, and What was this film? – what was the nature of it?

Some deluded nabobs have posed the issue as “free speech”, and that the film maker – who until recently remained hidden – had the right to portray what he wanted, without fear of distant uprisings, bloodshed or reprisals. But that specious speech cover does not apply to a film 'maker' who lies about his identity and especially the film title itself (in misrepresenting it and the film's featured characters to the actors), as well as the origins of the financial backers.


In the wake of the investigation by Brian Ross of ABC News, e.g.http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/anti-islam-film-producer-guilty-drug-fraud-charges-17231542

we now know this "movie" and its dubious maker add to a steaming pile of vile horse shit. A better characterization might be a 'drive by' on celluloid.) The guy who made the film wasn’t a "Sam Bacile" (the identity he originally gave) or a Jew at all, but a twice- convicted felon (for meth making and financial crimes) and Xtian Egyptian.

This twice-convicted (and until recently, imprisoned) methamphetamine maker and bank fraud perp, Nakoula Basselly Nakoula, adopted the nom-de-plume “Sam Bacile” for the purposes of avoiding responsibility for his disgusting film (which will remain unnamed), and portrayed himself as an “Israeli Jew”, implying Jews were behind the making of the film. All not true! Nakoula was no Jew but a member of the Egyptian Coptic Church. His wife’s Coptic Xtian relatives in Egypt funded this disreputable film.

What of the film itself? As the ABC Ross report notes, the actors-actresses said they were duped and had been told they were to appear in a flick called ‘Desert Warrior’. The scripts given them also were headed by this false title. Meanwhile, the names of the characters in the script were all fake, i.e. they were not the same as what "Bacile" would insert after production. (According to one actress interviewed, the names - of the actually intended characters, were dubbed in, post-production. Can anyone say FRAUD?)

For example in the actors' script the Prophet Mohammed was called “George”. Actress Cindy Garcia , interviewed by Ross, who made script-based (fictional) child molestation accusations against “George” (as she pointed out to Brian Ross) had no remote idea the references were to be later altered. For example, she wasn't aware that whenever she addressed the character "George" in her lines, the name would subsequently be changed (dubbed) to "Mohammed'. In other words, all the actors were lied to by this dirt bag Nakoula, who some rightists now wish to defend – even as he’s caused infernal havoc and bloodshed across the already unstable Middle East. And worse, as they seek to blame Obama for what this effing turd incited!

Let's get this straight once and for all: Any movie made under "bait and switch" false pretenses, to the extent the partaking actors are lied to concerning the film content, characters, is NO work of cinematic art but a TERRORIST act - especially when it incepts the violent reactions it did
!"


In the wake of that, within weeks, the idiot media (most of them) hyped the Al Qaeda connection as assorted Repukes - especially Mittster Romney- screamed and pounded for justice. A question on possible 9/11  Benghazi connections to Al Qaeda was actually asked during the 2nd Presidential debate by Candy Crowley.) Almost every Repuke and lax media nabob - to a man -asserted that saying the video was responsible amounted to foolishness. But I never bought this folderol, nor did I post any blog retractions.

Now, thanks to a New York Times investigation and story ('Deadly Mix In Benghazi, False Allies, Rude Video', December 29) we now know the video WAS responsible, and incited anti-American rage but it wasn't Al Qaeda involved. Rather, it was one of the militias with which the U.S. had made common cause to oust Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi.  In retrospect, this also shows the wisdom of the U.S. not compounding previous errors by making an alliance with the Syrian rebels to take down Assad, see e.g.  http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2013/09/if-youre-agaist-radical-jihadists-you.html

As the Times piece states:

"Months of investigation centered on extensive  interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.

The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefitted directly from NATO's extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in part by anger at an American -made video denigrating Islam."

The piece went on to delve into the basis in much more detail while also noting the (usually) garrulous Issa "had no comment" and that the incident "shows the risks of expecting American aid in a time of desperation to buy durable loyalty and the difficulty of discerning friends from allies in convenience in a culture shaped by decades of anti-American sentiment."

This provides the cautionary lesson for the U.S. not to meddle in Middle East affairs or states - whether by indirect interjection (via NATO air attacks and supplying rebels, as in Libya) or direct, as was contemplated months ago when the thought of using Syrian rebels to attack Hafez Assad was bruited in tandem with a cruise missile assault.  It also provides another domestic political lesson, of ignoring political grandstanding by known demagogues such as Darryl Issa, Peter King (R, NY), Lindsey Graham, and their assorted clones.

Will we learn from this? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, the fathead fool and dickhead Peter King (R- NY) has flipped out at the NY Times editorial board calling them "apologists for terrorists"- for calling for clemency for Snowden. See,

http://www.salon.com/2014/01/02/gops_peter_king_flips_out_on_the_new_york_times/

This asshole still claims Snowden is a “traitor” -  despite the fact Ed has done more to protect this nation's honor and principles than the fat bag of blowhard gas has done in all his years sitting in congress.  The real traitors are pigs like King, and we need to call them out and say so!


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Solution to First Laurent Series Additional Problem


Let f(z) = exp (-1/z 2) /  z5


a) Show the Laurent series can be written: 


å¥ n = 0    (-1) n   /   n !  z 2n + 5   

 

We can write:

 
exp (-1/ z 2)  = 1 -   z -2   - z - 4/  2!  - z - 6/  3!  +  ……..

 

So that:

 
exp (-z 2) /  z5     =  1/  z5  (1 -   z -2   - z - 4/  2!  - z - 6/  3!  +  ……..  )

 

=    z – 5 -  z – 7 -  - z - 9/  2!   - z - 11/  3!   +  …….


Or:

 
exp (-z 2) /  z5   =    z – 5  (å¥ n = 0    (-z -2   ) n   /   n !  )
 
 
=   å¥ n = 0    (-1) n   /   n !  z 2n + 5   

 
The challenge problem for math mavens remains and I will provide the solution for that on Tuesday! See if you can work it out!

Too Many College Bowl Games? For Sure!

Boise State running back Jay Ajayi dives backwards to get the first down in the third quarter of the Hawaii Bowl NCAA college football game against Oregon State on Dec. 24 in Honolulu.

"There are more than 30 college football 'bowl'  games over four weeks, many featuring mediocre-at-best teams, some featuring teams that you didn’t know had football programs, and many featuring teams with non-winning records. Sort of makes me long for the good old days when you had about a half-dozen bowls, all on Jan. 1 and all featuring some pretty good teams.

How bad does a team have to be to not make a bowl? I fully expect next year to have the Drano Toilet Bowl featuring the two best teams that didn’t win a game.

L.W. Hunley, Grand Junction,  Denver Post, Dec. 28


The Denver Post letter writer's take may sound extreme but he does have a valid point. The plethora of college football games today now diminishes the value of the whole concept. When you have excess you diminish quality and one sees it on perusing the records of some of the teams - but more on that later.

 When I first began following college bowl games in the early 60s, you had basically four: Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Orange Bowl in Miami, Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and Cotton Bowl in Dallas, They were not scattered across weeks but all played on New Year's Day.  You began watching the Cotton Bowl, then went to the Sugar Bowl, then the Rose Bowl in the late afternoon and then to the Orange Bowl at night. 

In general,  competitive teams appeared in the premier bowls  hailing from major divisions (e.g. Big Ten) and that's why the games became memorable, such as Miami vs Penn State in the Orange Bowl (several classic games) and Wisconsin vs. UCLA (Bruins) in the Rose. I myself attended the fabulous 1968 Sugar Bowl at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, when the LSU Tigers bested the Wyoming Cowboys 13-3. It was a thrilling game from start to finish for both my date and myself as we both cheered for LSU. 

Now, it's all diluted. You have mediocrity encroaching as the number of Bowl games has dramatically increased.  All for what? Money! On scanning the list of Bowl games on TV in the Denver Post Friday, no fewer than 35 were listed from yesterday through Monday, January 6th. And we aren't including all those bowl games that came before Saturday.

Among the choice "mediocre Bowls":

New Mexico Bowl: Washington State (6-6) vs. Colorado State (7-6)

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Kansas State (7-5) vs. Michigan (7-5)

AdvoCare V100 Bowl: Arizona (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5)


And I'm not including four other Bowl games in which 6-6- teams appear, though matched against much better record opponents. Examples include the 'Little Caesar's Bowl with 6-6 Pittsburgh against 10-3 Bowling Green, and the Texas Bowl with 6-6- Syracuse against 8-4 Minnesota. Now granted there may be method behind some of this madness, especially if the 6-6 team  comes from what is perceived to be a superior division to its higher winning percentage opponent .

But let's be clear that in the era of New Year's Day Bowl games NO 7-5 team would ever get a bid far less a 6-6 team. The very fact such teams are splattered throughout the Bowl schedule discloses the descent into mediocrity.

For me, only the four regular original Bowl games hold any fascination for me - in addition to the championship (BCS) Bowl with Fla. State vs.  Auburn. Thus, I will be watching:


Rose Bowl (Jan 1st): Stanford (11-2) vs. Michigan State (12-1)

Sugar Bowl (Jan. 2nd): Alabama (11-1) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)

Orange Bowl: (Jan. 3rd): Ohio State (12-1) vs. Clemson (10-2)

Cotton Bowl (Jan. 3rd): Missouri 11-2 vs. Oklahoma state (10-2)


Others can watch what Bowl games they will - but the only reason I'd understand watching a mediocre Bowl pairing is if one's own school,  Alma Mater is involved.  Hence, I admit to watching the very forgettable Sun Bowl in 2007 when my Alma Mater, the University of South Florida Bulls faced off against unranked Oregon. As most football fiends know, or at least I do,  Oregon defeated the Bulls by the score of 56-21.  USF set a Sun Bowl record for most points allowed to an opponent and was dropped from the national rankings in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today polls following the loss in this bowl game.

But, hold on, USF did come bouncing back - winning their next three Bowl games! They beat Memphis 41-14 in the 2008 St. Petersburg Bowl, bested NIU 27-3 in the 2009 International Bowl, and most recently took out Clemson, 31-26 in the Meinecke Car Care Bowl.

So cheer on college bowl fans, and watch as many as you want, so long as you have a 'dog' in the hunt. Or, just like watching college football.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Coloradans Had Better Be Unemployed If They Want to Partake of MJ Retail Stores

Medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles
A retail store in the Denver area gets ready to open for business January 1st.

Well, the news is out that the first licenses in the United States that permit retailers to sell marijuana for recreational use from 1 January were issued in Colorado yesterday. Owners of marijuana (MJ)  dispensaries lined up to collect the permits in Denver and an initial batch of 42 licenses were issued, most to growers but around a dozen to shops.

Colorado already licenses more than 500 medical marijuana dispensaries, and only those outlets may apply to sell it for recreational use. State authorities have already approved 348 recreational sale licenses but businesses also require a local license, the first of which were those issued in Denver on Friday. Meanwhile, a festive atmosphere imbued the normally staid city licensing office in Denver on Friday. Justin Jones of Dank Colorado in Denver picked up his  grower’s and retailer’s licenses for recreational pot on Friday to add to his newly-acquired state license in readiness for expanding his medical business for recreational purchases on January 1st.

The good thing about the new law - approved under Amendment 64 last year- is that Colo. residents can smoke weed in their own domiciles even if their particular county (like mine, El Paso County) has prohibited the selling in retail stores. One can also drive provided that one's blood doesn't exceed a limit of 5 nanograms of the active ingredient in cannabis, THC, while operating the vehicle.

At the same time, Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division spokeswoman Julie Postlethwait explained that the laws do not permit consumption of marijuana in public in any form nor on the premises of dispensaries in California-style pot cafes. As she related to the media:

You buy it and take it to your private property to consume.”

NOW  - the bad news is that the law hasn't changed a thing in regard to how state employers deal with workers who smoke MJ. If they therefore catch you with even a smidgeon of THC in a random drug test  - you can be fired on the spot. Also, this means that they are in control of your MJ smoking habits whether on the job or OFF.

In other words, let's get it clear - if you are gainfully employed you still don't have the freedom to puff weed during off work hours, because any given positive drug test (say the next day)  can allow your employer to fire you.

The conclusion, harsh as it is:  The only citizens possessing the genuine freedom to partake of the new law will be those who are unemployed. The downside is that they won't be able to afford the product, at $200 an ounce.

Yeppers, life is indeed a bitch!

So Wait - Paul Ryan Presumes to Lecture Pope Francis?











Francisco (20-03-2013).jpg

It's almost too hilarious, too imbued with extreme chuckle factor to relate without rolling on the floor in a laughing fit. But evidently, the econ doyen of the Repukes - Paul Ryan - has actually sought to lecture Pope Francis on capitalism after Francis came out swinging against trickle down BS economics, e.g.  http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2013/11/bravo-to-pope-francis-for-warning-of.html

Francis, in an 84-page document known as an apostolic exhortation, headed "Evangelii Gaudium" of the Holy Father, made it clear that NO moral theologian could embrace "trickle down, or supply side" economics or the Pareto model that it's based upon.(E.g. http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2011/06/modern-economics-its-evil-basis-pareto.html )

Francis was blunt - too blunt for many conservos - as he proclaimed:

How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

And this was evidently way too much for Paul Ryan as well - he who formulated and presented his noxious 'Path to Prosperity' several years ago, based on more tax cuts, more military spending, cutting food stamps and replacing Medicare with vouchers (which a senior could take to an insurance company and hope to buy up to $10,000 a year in health care  -never mind if his cancer treatment costs $55,000).

This is germane given that today some 1.3 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits- growing to 4.8 million through the new year as the 26-week cutoff point rolls forward.  They can thank Rep. Paul Ryan. He took the lead in negotiating a pseudo-bipartisan budget deal with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray that revealed again the Dems have no balls, no moxie and don't know how to deal with Repukes. As the authors of 'Banana Republicans' put it - they "carry knives to a gun fight" (when they ought to be bringing UZIs and AK-47s)  On behalf of his party, Ryan held the line against continuing extended unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.

Those who are left out of benefits from today, and those affected in the weeks to come - and who are faced with hungry, crying kids-  can thank Paul Ryan for his dastardly imposition of harsh austerity while the military and Spy state grows fat  to the tune of over $800 b a year. Make no mistake, it is the preferential favoring of the military -spy state that is costing people food, warmth and likely the very roofs over their heads.

Anyway, in an interview Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
"What I love about the pope is he is triggering the exact kind of dialogue we ought to be having now. People need to get involved in their communities to make a difference, to fix problems soul to soul.”
Ah yes, the "charity solution". The one favored in the 19th century by philosopher Herbert Spencer who coined the term "survival of the fittest" (not Darwin!) and used it in his theory that natural selection could be applied to the human race to prune away "undesirables". He railed against government assistance - even for the disabled - and proclaimed that "if they are not fit to survive on their own then they should not survive".  Instead, he offered the chestnut of charity- if people only donated more time, money then all would be well and the poor would be raised up, ennobled. And without the government Nanny state!  Never mind, even with people today donating some $6 b a year it still falls short of the needs and demands - with 48 million people at or near the poverty level.
"Soul to soul" is nice - a kind of cuddly trope to warm the cockles of the Neoliberal heart-- once you're in heaven - assuming it exists! On this Earth, and without the government's assistance, you're still going to see millions of kids hungry, in rags, and people homeless.
As evident in the interview, Ryan still couldn’t suppress either his right-wing politics or his ignoble capacity for condescension as he chirped:
The guy is from Argentina, they haven’t had real capitalism in Argentina. They have crony capitalism in Argentina. They don’t have a true free enterprise system.”
So wait....let me get this straight: because the Pope is originally from Argentina he's not free to comment on the U.S. Neoliberal capitalist system? The implication being he has to be ignorant (hence unqualified to comment)  if he isn't living here? Has Ryan ever heard of books, libraries, newspapers?  Does he believe Francis inhabits a vacuum or bubble like his Repuke - Tea Party clones?

The fact is that the Pope,  based on his experience, is probably much better qualified to discuss the limits and defects of capitalism than Ryan is, blinded as he is by Randite bunkum. Recall Ayn Rand's solution to helping others as she put it in her book, The Virtue Of Selfishness (p. 45):

The proper method of judging when or whether one should help another person is by reference to one's own rational self-interest and one's own hierarchy of values: the time, the money, or effort one gives or the risk one takes should be proportionate to the value of the person in relation to one's own happiness.

Now compare this to the biblical view: cf.  1 John 3:16:

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

One wonders whether Ryan, as a Catholic, ever had real occasion to study his Bible in depth (assuming he owns one).   In the same Rand book (p. 120),  we see how his idol compares those receiving Medicare to thieves "robbing a bank".  In fact, this harridan actually proclaims (ibid.) "the private hoodlum has a slight edge of moral superiority since he has no power to devastate an entire nation and his victims are not legally disarmed."

Are you shitting me?  So, please now, if Ryan is an acolyte of Randian econ how the hell can he also be a sincere Catholic and be enjoined to follow Francis' injunction to care for the poor and those tens of millions marginalized by Neoliberal market capitalism?  Never mind, Ryan has pulled another rabbit out of his cocked hat even as the Beltway morons of the Neoliberal corporate empire gawk and faun.

Ryan actually professed to an aide to BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins, that he is going to deliver an anti-poverty agenda as soon as the spring. “This is my next ‘Roadmap,’” Ryan told him, adding:

I want to figure out a way for conservatives to come up with solutions to poverty. I have to do this.”
 



Yes, indeed, he "has to" because his previous "Road Map" blew up along with all the Beltway buffoons that supported it and glorified it.  Recall that the previous incarnation of tomfoolery BS and bunkum busted out the deficit for years and didn’t balance the budget until 2040, thanks to its generous tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. In other words, the guy who impressed Ezra Klein as a serious, albeit deficit-obsessed budget wonk,  turned out to be terrible at math. Maybe Ezra needs some math retreading too, if he is going to be able to discern serious "wonks" from self-seeking assholes and fools.

In the meantime, I will go with Francis' take on capitalism, having already seen the extremes that trickle down can have on other nations, i.e. Barbados, when it was tried there in 1986.   As for "crony capitalism" I don't know what planet Ryan inhabits but the US of A is the hallmark and empire of cronyism. It is "pay to play" to the Googleplex power: the lobbyists and other scum bribe our officials with perks and money, and they deliver the 'goods' in the form of laws or policies in the money-changers' favor. Meanwhile, the 99 percent suck salt.....or shit, as the case may be.