Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Liberal Activism "Helping" Trump ? PUH-LEEZE! Get A Freakin' Grip!

"WAAAHH!  Don't badmouth the Donald mo' than I do, libruls! WAAHAHA!"

As we've seen the spectacle of the most massive protests since the 1960s Vietnam War era, it was inevitable numerous dunderheads would try to dismiss them as "astroturf" with protestors being "paid".  It never occurs to the dunderheads - even those like Gail King and Nora O'Donnell (this morning on CBS) that the protests at town halls are real, organically spawned by concerned citizens.   All of them outraged by the over stepping of the Trump bunch, especially in attempting to roll back their precious health care via the ACA (see my two previous posts). So why the hell wouldn't these rightfully outraged citizens be energized to show up and make their concerns known? But for too many dopes in the media, as well as Reeptard Reps, I guess they are only supposed to be seen and not heard.

Then there were the dozens of "Not My President" demonstrations and protests on Monday, again showing that a segment of the nation is not behind this psychopath occupying the White House. Yes, some of those events and protests were organized in advance, by and the Indivisible Movement, e.g.

 But that doesn't make them any less valid than the Tea Party protests organized 8 years ago by "Freedom Works" and "Americans for Prosperity" - the difference being that those organizations were confected by the Koch bothers.

But it appears the sights and sounds of all these "left" protests are getting to the group I call proto-Trumpiies. This lot I define as those who insist they never ever REALLY wanted to vote for the Donald, but found the alternative too appalling to contemplate. Also, this lot would work with Liberals if only the latter would cease with the "moral Bolshevism — the belief that the liberal vision for the country was the only right one".

So writes NY Times columnist Sabrina Tavernise ('Are Liberals Helping Trump?', Feb. 18).. She notes:

"Liberals may feel energized by a surge in political activism, and a unified stance against a president they see as irresponsible and even dangerous. But that momentum is provoking an equal and opposite reaction on the right. In recent interviews, conservative voters said they felt assaulted by what they said was a kind of moral Bolshevism "

Which is the biggest load of horse pockey ever recited in a NY Times political op-ed. In fact, she quotes one  proto Trumpie nitwit in SC :

"I didn’t choose a side. They put me on one.”

Awwww, boo hoo hoo, sonny! The scenes of angry progressives, liberals "forced" the poor little dweezil to back Trump even more. Sounds to me like Ross Kaminsky the talk show jock who (in a DPost op-ed) insisted liberals "forced him to get behind Trump and the Patriots" (he is a Broncos fan), by their "mean" protests and name -calling.

But like Kaminstky, the South Carolina twit DID choose a side when he voted for Trump. Sorry, that's how it goes. You can't now look for tranquility and comity after the fact, or be appalled at vigorous protests when you helped put an unqualified psychopath in the White House.  And don't even hand me that BS false equivalence that "we put up with Obama so why can't they put up with Trump". Oh no! Obama was a sane human who never engaged in pussy grabbing or bragged about it, or called Mexicans rapists, or made wild claims for electoral or popular vote wins he never achieved. Don't even try to go there!

Another joker quoted in the piece insisted:

"The name calling from the left is crazy.  They are complaining that Trump calls people names, but they turned into some mean people.”

Awww, bwaahahhaha! Cry me a river! In fact, the protesters are merely using apt appellations for a character beyond civil description. I might use the words "deranged, narcissistic psychopathic fucker" but even that falls short given the purview of his unhinged acts, tirades against the media, incapacity for governance and 3 a.m. tweets. And anyone who doesn't see that like this guy :"Bryce" is suffering from his own set of psycho-neurotic disorder.

This fool also told Ms. Tavernise, that:

"admitting you voted for Mr. Trump is a little like saying in the 1950s that you were gay."

Uh no, sonny. Admitting one was gay in the 1950s got one beaten to death, or lynched and set on fire in many places. (Like central Oklahoma, northeast Arkansas, northern FLA and western  Kansas).  Admitting you voted for Trump today just puts you in the relatively same fascist category as the anti-Semitic assholes who overturned gravestones in a Jewish cemetery outside St. Louis - or made one of the 68 bomb calls  to Jewish Community Centers.  In other words, if you voted Trump, you also by proxy voted Steve Bannon and his retinue of Breitbart  white supremacist and anti-Semitic tools.  Sorry! But hey, at least you don't get lynched!

In other words, this whole narrative about liberal protestors alienating Trump voters who "might be moderates" or moderated, is just a patent load of hog swill.  Only a low I.Q. dolt would buy into it, or any argument that these folks didn't make their choices of their own free will and cognition and - like Ross Kaninsky now - are just looking for excuses or ways to vent their spleen on liberal activists.

Do these proto-Trump dopes even know that Trump has the lowest job approval ratings of any President over the last 60 years? Probably not, because they likely just confine their attention to comics or  Enter now Ms. Tavernise's claim:

"if political action is meant to persuade people that Mr. Trump is bad for the country, then people on the fence would seems a logical place to start.. yet many seemingly persuadable conservatives say that liberals are burning bridges rather than building them.."

There is one problem with that: there is absolutely NO potential for any "bridge building" in this nation right now. We are a nation divided. Most protestors I know are not interested in persuading Trump voters (let's not call them "on the fence" if they voted Trump) because they know it's a hopeless task. People that absorb fake news, FAUX news etc. and are entranced by the antics of an authoritarian narcissist madman cannot be persuaded. To believe so is delusional. What protestors are actually about is igniting a firestorm to force political reps to look out for their interests, such as preserving workable aspects of Obamacare and not just "throwing the baby out with the bathwater". 

Monday night in her appearance on 'All In' Tavernise referenced one of the people in her anecdotal survey of 10 Trump voters in three states by saying:

"Well, the fellow in California said if Trump suddenly  ditches the health care law and there are 18 million people without health insurance, I'd be really mad at Trump and I wouldn't support him after that. That would make me really change my mind about this guy and his presidency....But liberals keep saying I am a Trump voter and I support him. But I didn't check my brain at the door."

But in fact, this guy did check his brain at the door. He did given he failed to note Trump's words during his campaign that he was going to repeal Obamacare. So how could he possibly be astounded now if he actually goes through with it?  The bollocks that seeing Trump actually ditch the healthcare law now would render him a non-backer is total bullshit and indicates he thinks the rest of us are idiots.

If Trump voters are really worried about vulnerable citizens (or themselves) losing their ACA benefits, fine, join the outcry. But don't whine and bitch that liberal activism forced you to back off and embrace Trump anyway. That doesn't compute and doesn't wash. It indicates a yen to make excuses for what they know in their heart of hearts was a god awful election choice. Now, they refuse to own up to it and the liberal protests are a reminder of that guilt.

In this respect, Erin Gloria Ryan's response to Tavernise's puff piece was spot on:

"I thought a lot of the reaction was to the headline, which was a provocative headline like headlines are supposed to be. But what I think is a really interesting question to follow up is: Are Trump supporters hurting Trump? Because the quotes that they gave Sabrina are like completely myopic. Like these people are concerned about their Facebook wall when ICE raids are breaking up families. These people are worried about whether or not to put a bumper sticker on their car when rivers are about to be poisoned. I don[t have any sympathy and I don't think many people on the left have sympathy for a guy because he can't wear his 'MAGA' hat on a dinner date."

And let's agree here that such myopia in the face of all Trump and his henchmen have done is another symptom of detachment from reality. These proto-Trump people actually see an inability to freely wear a red Trump hat on a date as more horrific than Trump's allowing coal waste to be dumped into rivers and streams. In other words, they are fucked in the head. So why would any sane liberal want to join in common cause with them, or be overly solicitous in regard to their upset feelings?

When Tavernise went on to say she's "not writing against protesting, only that she's seeing an equal but opposite reaction on the other side" , Ryan had the perfect comeback:

"Hillary won the popular vote by three million votes and the people that were spoken to in the piece were from South Carolina, California, and New York. States that did not hand Donald Trump the presidency. I think there is something to be said for persuading people who are persuadable but right now I think this is about activation, getting people organized and getting people who didn't show up to vote to actually show up to protest. Which is what they're doing."

All apt points, especially that Tavernise never stepped into any of the three 'Brexit' states (PA, MI, WI) that actually handed the election to Trump and by a mere 77,000 vote margin - about the capacity for a Packers' game at Lambeau Field.

Chris Hayes also made another very salient observation, that so much of the piece captured the distorted "enemy of my enemy" reasoning.  I.e.

"I don't like him but I hate the people that hate him more than I hate him."

Which is reasoning at about the 12 -year old,  pre-adolescent level.  Or,  as Hayes put it, a lot of the way many currently do their political reasoning.  In this case, for conservatives, "they hate liberals more than they're ever going to hate Donald Trump". And don't you dare spit on or mock the man! That's for us to do, if we choose!.

Tavernise again:

"Well, yeahh....and again, this is among these moderates, they feel that there is this contempt that is flowing in their general direction. That is imbibed through their social media, hrough everything that is happening everywhere - online, and to a certain extent with the protests. I think there's obviously a lot of polarization- conservatives hates liberals, liberals hate conservatives. All I'm saying it these folks aren't flag wavers for Trump and we do need a middle ground, we do need a middle space and we do need moderates,"

Except that I take Jim Hightower's quote more to heart:

"The only thing in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead skunks."

Even Hayes in his response pointed out the "middle ground" is vanishing if it hasn't already. Much of that can be traced to the Tea Party and the Koch brothers not to mention the rise of Trump. So to waylay the left now for reinforcing its own soldiers and activists is kind of like "we can do that but not you" thinking.

Or to quote Erin Ryan, "the reaction on the left is basically 'cry me a river'.  Yeppers, and don't shed your tears on us, after the shit you pulled with the Tea Party protests back in 2009.

Incredibly, Tavernise  in her piece quotes a "registered Democrat" Ann O’Connell, 72, (a retired administrative assistant in Syracuse)  who voted for Trump and whined. “I feel like we are in some kind of civil war right now. I know people don’t like to use those terms. But I think it’s scary.”

Well, we ARE in a kind of a civil war, which is going to get a lot more heated - resembling scenes of what we saw last month at UC Berkeley (when protestors shut down the appearance of pedophile defender Milo Yiannopoulis) if those like O'Connell and the other imps interviewed in Tavernise's piece don't get their reality glasses back on and their heads straight - to see what the rest of us in the sane contingent see. (Including two psychiatrists interviewed last night on 'The Last Word', who noted Trump is a "paranoid psychopathic narcissist who's divorced from reality" and  is  "as sick mentally as one can get in winning a presidency".)

See also:


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Continuation: How Repukes Plan To Eviscerate Obamacare

Image result
New HHS head Tom Price, another architect for the destruction of the ACA.

Another sadistic aspect of the Republican proposal scraps the income-based Obamacare subsidies that help families buy affordable insurance. Instead, Ryan wants to offer a flat subsidy that would be the same whether families earn $500,000 or $50,000. Residents of Minnesota, for example,  would get the same support as residents of Alaska, where premiums on average are three times as high. The subsidies would vary by age to give older people more support, but the Republicans have not said how much more.

Anyone see any similarities to Ryan's "premium support" or voucher plan for Medicare? If so, good for you! You recognize limited "block" allocations for medical funding, similar to the Ryan Medicare vouchers, which may not even cover one fourth of medical costs for even a relatively healthy senior or working class citizen.

And note that last week, the Department of Health and Human Services under Price proposed regulatory changes to the law, one of which allows insurers to reduce benefits and force people to pay higher deductibles on future policies. And to the point concerning the cessation of the individual mandate I noted earlier,  the Internal Revenue Service will no longer require people to answer a question on their tax returns about whether they had insurance the previous year. The question remains on the form, but filers can chose not to answer it.

Under Obamacare, people must buy insurance or pay a penalty enforced by the I.R.S. By backing off, the I.R.S. will encourage people to forgo insurance and take a chance that it will not seek more information or penalize them. When fewer people, especially the young and healthy, buy insurance, overall costs go up, because the people who do sign up tend to need more medical care.

Will Trump voters be as outraged as Dems on the ACA? They should be! And now is the time to strike when their Reepo vipers... errrr reps.... are still on recess so they can be ambushed at town halls and asked what's up. All citizens who stand to be victimized by their chicanery  can reach their representatives and senators and give it to them. Alas, too many lawmakers have cowardly canceled town halls to avoid angry constituents. Never mind, pissed off voters - just by showing up to sn empty hall-  can still send a strong message that Americans want legislation that improves health care and makes it more affordable for everyone, not the opposite. Just stand outside the empty hall with your placards aimed at the vermin cowards, and scream  - and let the optics deteriorate as local TV cameras roll.

No more time for nicey nice, folks, it's time for political combat - given lives and futures are now on the line.  I'm also glad to see that even the usually Spock-like, 'no drama' scientific community is finally getting riled up for more emotional protests, displays - given what Mr. Dump has in store for them, with cuts.

See also:

How The Repukes Plan To Eviscerate Obamacare

As I wrote in my post from December, 2nd, the way forward to the  demolition of the Affordable Care Act was cleared by the  appointment of Tom Price (R, GA) to the Dept. of Health and Human Services. Now, with his nomination secured, the Repukes have their "replace and repeal" deal all but drafted - needing only the legislative cooperation between Paul Ryan's anti- Obamacare gang on the Hill and the Trumpites. 

We also know Price, along with Paul Ryan,  wants to replace Medicare with a "voucher" system where each person gets a small amount per year ($10k is often cited) to buy whatever insurance possible - and to cover all medical incidents, emergencies. If I'd been reduced to such a yearly voucher I'd have had to file for bankruptcy since getting cancer treatment 4 years ago and having gall bladder surgery (which came to $28,000 ) this year.

Meanwhile, many experts as well as independent groups,  have warned of the economic fallout if a $3 trillion total market (involving insurance companies and total stock capitalizations) were to suddenly be eviscerated with no genuine support for the 20 million on the ACA. Already Trump, using an "executive action",  has wiped out the enforcement aspect for the individual mandate. This was by no longer requiring the IRS to monitor or impose annual penalties for those who eschew health insurance.  Without that mandate, certainly enforcement of it, too many will avoid getting any insurance and thus the best aspects cannot be preserved. Those included the one for pre-existing conditions (insurance companies had to accept them), and also enabling adult children to stay on their parents' plans until age 26. Now those goals are no longer feasible, minus the mandate.

We knew, given Dump's bloviations on the campaign trail,  that the ACA would be in danger. Now we know how bad it will be.   In his half-baked policy paper released on Thursday, Ryan trotted out washed-up, recycled ideas (originally proffered in his 2010 'Path to Prosperity'),   for “improving” the country’s health care system..  The problem? His plan would actually make things a thousand times worse.

 For example, Ryan's paper calls for reducing spending on Medicaid, which now provides insurance to more than 74 million poor, disabled and older people. If enacted, many millions of these vulnerable citizens would be cast out of the program. The Republican plan also forces most people who don’t get their health insurance through an employer to pay more by slashing subsidies that the A.C.A now provides. The same proposal also allows families to sock away more money in health savings accounts (HSAs).  This  may sound good in theory, but it won't really help the 4 to 5 million lower class Trump voters whose fate and future now hinges on ACA changes. The reason is that the HSAs would primarily benefit affluent people who can afford to save more.  In other words, you need to have ample disposable income to shell out of pocket for your care, and then you can make effective use of the HSAs. But if you're a Walmart or Burger King worker, that's about as pie in the sky s expecting to win your state lotto just as your health care is demolished.

Price hasn't even entered the picture but we know from his own history and statements that he has a fondness for tax credits and high deductible plans. At the same time no surprise Ryan’s blueprint for repealing and replacing Obamacare offered no estimates of how many people would lose coverage or how much premiums and deductibles would rise for middle-class and poor families. But hey, what are a few niggling missing details?  Those didn't stop the new HHS head Tom Price, - a former Ryan lieutenant in the House - from embracing the Ryan plan. According to BLOTUS Price:  “is all in on this.”

Well, God help all the Trump voters and other poor or unemployed if he is. They will now face steep costs for dealing with everything (in the coming years) from antibiotic resistance, to worm infestations of their brains, to new drinking water threats given that coal companies - thanks to a Trump "executive order" can now dump coal waste into fresh water streams at will.

This will be reminiscent of the 2014 Elk River (West Virginia)  chemical spill -  of  the coal cleaner  methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM).)  which caused enormous problems and a massive cleanup effort.

This time there will be no cleanup efforts because Trump doesn't give a crap. So all the millions who stand to be affected ought to brace for the many cancers now ready to be unleashed upon them, including of the pancreas, liver, kidneys, stomach, testes, breast and prostate. According to one of the West Virginia families affected in 2014, they were  informed their water was "so contaminated it was only fit for flushing toilets." 

Alas, when all those cancers, skin diseases, gastro intestinal reactions and others break out, people will no longer have the ACA to help carry the costs of their infirmities. Thank Mr. Dump!

The Grand Old Party wants 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. But if those people normally need some $4,000 a year each for their medical needs, just doing the math discloses the shortfall will be nearly a factor 5 less than needed ($500m vs. $50m).

The current program pays for the health care of everyone who is eligible. During recessions, when the number of people in poverty increases, the government spends more. Without that flexibility built into Medicaid, Congress would have to vote to give states more money when health care costs rise. (Say if there is an outbreak of Avian flu).  But politically, that's in the “impossible dream” category. So most health care experts worry that, over time, states will just cover fewer people and cut benefits. Or, they may make the thresholds for care so low that few qualify: say not earning more than $300 a month - for a family of four.


Another Crankster Exposed With Kepler's 2nd Law

Image result for johann kepler
Johannes Kepler: Why are deluded, uninformed cranks still trying to overturn his 2nd law of planetary motion?

In a post from a year and a half ago, I wrote:

"One thing that makes volunteering at 'All Experts' interesting is a particular class of questions received: usually when a person believes he or s he has disproven a fundamental physical or astronomical law or principle."

Thus, as an expert in astronomy and astrophysics the past 13 years (on 'All Experts') I have beheld not only cranks who claim to have overturned Einstein's theories of relativity (special and general) , but also basic laws -principles such as Kepler's Second law or area law. If Kepler's 2nd law holds at every point (equal areas swept out in equal intervals of time) we have for an elliptical orbit::

r2  (2πab /T) = h

Where a = the semi-major axis and b is the semi minor axis, and h is a constant known as the 'specific relative angular momentum'.  Recall my takedown of one of these characters, which I discussed here:

Now another crank has  recently surfaced with equally ridiculous claims, writing.

"Kepler's area law says r*Vp=Ct.  Newton's universal attraction force says this force is radial F=Fr and a perpendicular force (Fp)  to the radial, also a side force component does not exist.  So: m*dVp/dt=Fp=0.  Then dVp/dt=0 and with integration we get Vp=Ct.     f Vp=Ct is correct, elliptical orbits theory has to be modified to a new theory, new math. And the motion equation should be r=-4*t^2+4*t*T-4*T^2/6 .This equation does not indicate an ellipse but a parabolic vortex spiral."
Note several points:
1) He has not expressed the 2nd law in proper form as I showed in the preceding link and also below..   Indeed it makes no sense at all.   The proper  basis form (to obtain he)  is:

  d/dt (r^  x  a^) =  0  or:  r^  x  a^ =  constant  = h

But even that still leaves out factors.  Also, he has not defined 'C', and if it is the same as h he doesn't say so one can't just assume it.
2) His equation:  m*dVp/dt=Fp=0  is incorrect. As I note in the development below the correct form for the relevant forces is:
(m1)  d2   r1/ dt 2 =  G m1m2 (r^)/ r 3   = (m2) d2   r2/ dt 2
Hence, he's failed to distinguish between a non-existent force, i.e.  perpendicular to the orbit (since the gravitational force of attraction acts through the mass centers)  and one which  exists but is zero in a given situation.   For example, a mass m in an orbiting spacecraft for which g = 0  (in reality the mass falling at the same rate as the space craft in its orbit) so mg = 0, i.e. weightlessness. But if the space craft is imparted a rotation then artificial gravity  can be created so we have an acceleration g'  and mg' is non-zero. But one cannot magically induce a perpendicular force "Fp" to an orbit where one could never exist before.
In effect, his integration result, e.g. Vp=Ct  is spurious and his claim for a "new theory, new math"  and "parabolic vortex spiral" falls of its own vacuous weight.
Then his actual question:
"Now which expression is correct.r*Vp=Ct ? or Vp=Ct?  Kepler's law or Newton's law.If Vp=Ct is correct ,elliptical orbits theory has to be modified to a new theory, new math."
Is specious because of the reasons given.  Crank hood is evident in that the question is also posed as a false option. What he thinks is Newton's "law" (Newton's 2nd law) is actually nothing of the sort because it's based on a non-existent entity. Newton's 2nd law only applies to real forces even if they might be zero in certain situations.  (E.g. weightlessness) 

I had at first attempted to use similar arguments (and diagrams) to those given in the earlier link. He then responded that I "didn't  even use Newton's laws"  to form the physical basis so I presented an alternative argument based on those.

I referred him to the diagram labelled Fig. 1 a. above

Here the two masses shown could be planet m1 and the Sun m2. For m2 in the field of m1 we can write:   F21 = G m1m2 (r^)/ r 3

Similarly for m1 in the field of m2:     F12 =  G m2m1 (r^)/  r 3

By Newton’s 2nd law used in the given context:

(m1)  (d2   r1/ dt 2) =  G m1m2 (r^)/ r 3


(m2) (d2   r2/ dt 2) = -  G m1m2 (r^)/ r 3
But by Newton’s 3rd law, e.g. F12 = - F21. Or:
(d2   r1/ dt 2) =  G m1m2 (r^)/ r 3   = (m2) (d2   r2/ dt 2 )

Integration of the above leads to:

(m1) d(r1)/dt  +  (m2) d(r1)/dt  =  p

Where p  is momentum and v1 = d(r1)/dt     and v2 = d(r1)/dt 

Or:   m1r1 + m2r2 = pt  + q^

Where q^ is a constant displacement vector

With further working for a center of mass system consisting  of (m1 + m2) at R we can write:

m1r1 + m2r2 = (m1 + m2)R
Combining the expressions with the 2nd derivatives seen earlier:
(d2   r / dt 2) =   G m1m2 (r^)/ r 3 

Note the acceleration (LHS) is always anti-parallel to the vector r
It can then be shown, letting   m = G (m1 +  m2):
r^  x  a^ =  (m 3 ) (r^) x r^ = 0

Since the vector product of any vector with itself is zero:
d/dt (r^  x  a^) =  0  or:  r^  x  a^ =  constant
This  quantity is exactly h used in the Kepler 2nd law, and a constant of the motion.  In effect, with a bit of further working:

dA/ dt =   h z^/ 2

This is   the proper form for the 2nd law that the latest challenger  seems not to have heard about.  As I showed,  what he describes as Kepler's  2nd law is nothing of the sort. The most hysterical part of his claim - after being informed that if his "theory" was correct no space craft would ever reach another planet (since trajectory computation is partly based on the 2nd law) - is the following:

"Anyhow,  sending celestial probes to the Moon,or Mars or to any body will still be successful even if the orbits are triangular. It does not depend on  the form of the planet's trajectory . It is controlled from the earth."

In other words, he's saying you just need to fire the rocket into space, and the human controllers on Earth (like at Johnson Space Center) will do the rest,  to "steer" it to the destination.   No computations required, such as depicted in the recent film 'Hidden Figures'. Totally out of crank left field!

Another way the 2nd law can be derived is shown below, based on Figure 1b.
No automatic alt text available.
Fig. 1 (b) showing how to derive the 2nd law

This  can also be used  to show the geometrical significance of h. The diagram shows the rate at which the radius vector joining an origin O to a moving point P sweeps out a surface. This rate is called the "areal velocity relative to the origin O.

Let   D =    ½  [r   x (r +  r )] =   r^  x   Dr  

Now, the areal velocity at P  is by definition:

lim Dt ®0  (D A /D t)  

Then :  dA/ dt =  ½ r   x  r'  =   ½ h  

The moral of this story is that if you're going to challenge the validity of the Areal law at any serious level, you will need to have all your 'ducks' in a row. And especially -  if your math and physics are proven wrong -  you need to admit the putative space craft will not get to its destination - as opposed to saying:   "Sending celestial probes to the Moon  or Mars or to any body will be successful even if the orbits are triangular It does not depend on  the form of the planet's trajectory .It is controlled from the earth." 

Such a remark disqualifies you instantly from being a serious planetary theoretician, and also merits being put onto my growing astronomical crank list. Never mind, by next month another crank will offer his pet idea of why the universe and astronomical, physical laws aren't operating the way they should. And he (or she) is the only one to have the "correct" form!

On the upside, at least I don't have to toss away some twenty or so "scientific papers"  sent by cranks per week as MIT physicist Philip Morrison once wryly observed he had to do.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Who Could Have Predicted? PLAYBOY Reverts To Original Form (In A Way)

Recall that 14 months ago I questioned the wisdom of PLAYBOY changing to a no nudes format, e.g.

And I asked: "Is Hugh Hefner part of this ill-informed decision? Did he agree to bastardize his own "child"?  What drove this wacky decision and how will it play out?

I then compared the whacky decision to the one for New Coke:

 "One need only look at the "New Coke" fiasco from 30 -odd years ago when Coke - bummed by lethargic sales - decided to go to a new formula for its flagship drink.  In an article on it, Wikipedia notes:

"New Coke was the unofficial popular name for the reformulation of Coca-Cola introduced in the spring of 1985 by The Coca-Cola Company to replace the original formula of its flagship soft drink, Coca-Cola (also called Coke). New Coke originally had no separate name of its own, but was simply known as "the new taste of Coca-Cola" until 1992 when it was renamed Coca-Cola II.
Coca-Cola's market share had been steadily losing ground to Pepsi and the company suspected that consumers preferred the latter's sweeter taste, which they confirmed via numerous blind taste tests. However, the American public's reaction to the change was negative, even hostile, and the new cola was a major marketing failure. The subsequent reintroduction less than three months later of Coke's original formula, re-branded as "Coca-Cola Classic", resulted in a significant gain in sales" 

In other words, the company was forced to eat humble pie three months later, because its sales were plummeting. The same will happen to PLAYBOY. The lesson, which they ought to have learned, is you do not mess with or change an expected formula. It doesn't matter if their sales -subscriptions have gone down to 800,000 from a million 2 years ago."

It turns out that  in fall 2015, then-Playboy CEO Scott Flanders announced that the magazine would no longer publish nude photoshoots of women. The PR pushed was peddled by  Cory Jones, chief content officer of Playboy, told the New York Times that the nudity-free makeover was meant to make the magazine “a little more accessible, a little more intimate.”

Now, we learn only in the past week that's been shot down by none other than Hef's son, Cooper. who  sat down for an interview with Business Insider and slammed Playboy magazine's CEO Scott Flanders for the dummy decision.  Cooper, 24, who once titled himself as a former domestic and international "brand ambassador"  for Playboy Enterprises, added that Flanders  has been ousted from board meetings since expressing his disagreement with certain editorial decisions, including the nudity ban.

In Cooper's own words (ibid.):

"I've taken a massive step back with Playboy. Just due to that fact that I do not agree with the decisions and direction the company is actually going in, I was essentially asked to no longer participate in the board meetings because I didn't agree with his vision for the company. You either sort of take a step back and say, ‘Ok, I'm going to let this happen' or you try and do something about it."

This is a good move. given as I noted in my original post about the change that informal online polls at the time ( of male readers) by the Atlanta Journal & Constitution showed that nearly 8 in 10 would rather cancel their PLAYBOY subscriptions than continue for a magazine that opts to dilute its content in order to appease online "platforms". Most of those online connections, including the PLAYBOY web site, attract Millennials of average age 30 who are not so into nude females. They want them partially dressed as in MAXIM.

I also pointed out the importance of identity and how the magazine - having lost its basic format- became almost unrecognizable. Sure it had the Interview, and timely articles, but the special seasonal features (e.g. "Girls of the Big Ten" etc.) had vanished.  One also beheld a much diluted Forum as well as Letters and Playboy Advisor sections.

The problem has been that the older demographic that reads the print PLAYBOY, is accustomed to seeing it in a certain format, content arrangement and frankly grew perplexed and irritated when it was ditched to appease MAXIM readers. Like the New Coke fiasco, Playboy suffered its own - which I classify as an unforced error..  The authors of the Wiki article again:

"New Coke was only on the market in the United States for a short period, but it remains influential as a cautionary tale against tampering too extensively with a well-established and successful brand"

 The argument by some in the PLAYBOY empire that "there is already a glut of porn online so PLAYBOY doesn't need to duplicate it" , also doesn't hold up to scrutiny. For one thing, nude centerfolds identified PLAYBOY long before there was an internet. In addition, the aspect that has distinguished all PLAYBOY nudes is their quality and class.  By contrast, most online porn is precisely lacking in class, the very opposite of what PLAYBOY embodies. So the dictum that "it's already there" is basically telling existing PLAYBOY subscribers not to embrace PLAYBOY's soft porn imagery any more ...but "go for the gutter."

Anyway, PLAYBOY readers who of the older sort who do return will now be curious to see if Cooper really does return to something of the original mag. If not, and it's all a PR move, don't look for sales to increase anytime soon.

Granted PLAYBOY's changing content isn't up there with the top political news- like Trump's implosions (including exposing security documents to high rollers at Mar-a Lago) and Michael  Flynn outed as a Russkie covert contact and colluder. But even political junkies and readers need a break from heavy news every now and then!

Trump Vacay-Tracker: He's Now On His Third Getaway In 4 Weeks

Related image
"Hey, I'd rather loaf in Florida than stay in the White House and work! Whaddya think I am, a real President?"

This post commences what I call the Trump Vaca-tracker where I track how many times this asshole takes time off to go to his little rich boy estate at Mar- a-Lago, or to Trump Tower in NYC. This is also to keep track of all the taxpayer money the "whiny little bitch" (as Bill Maher calls him) is throwing away.  As of this instant, with his third trip in 4 weeks to Mar- a -Lago the tab to the taxpayer is $10 million. Process that. Process also  Trump claimed while campaigning that he would not be a president who took vacations.

 But according to the Palm Beach Post, a recent Federal Aviation Administration advisory states that Trump will be in Palm Beach Monday through Friday.  Hey, Trump, it isn't Easter break yet!

Other process points:

- Trump has spent 11 of 33 days in office loafing at Mar-a- Lago. That is a full 33 percent of his time in office.

- The costs that add up for taxpayers include: Secret Service and local police deputies guarding the estate, the U.S. Coast Guard having to be deployed in surrounding waters and Air Force One - costing $180,000 per hour to operate. Thus, each 4 hour flight to his seaside estate costs roughly $700,000.

Are any of his delirious groupies processing any of that? Are they okay with it? Or are they going to continue to act like whiny little Trump bitches,  blaming those "bitter haters and liberals" for not "giving him a chance"?

And remind yourselves this is the same turd who said Obama was "wasting tax  money"  and "taking more time off than other human" barely two years ago.   For reference, Obama's vacation tax tab averaged $12 million a year and ran to a total of $96 million after eight years. At the rate Trump is taking off - $10 m already the past 4 weeks - if he continues at the same rate (and there's no reason to believe he won't - see below) he will have run up a total of $480 MILLION on the U.S. taxpayers. This is assuming $10m a month for the next 47 months - assuming: a) the inflation rate remains the same - which is likely pie-eyed optimistic, and b) the dope isn't booted from office by impeachment or the 25th amendment

Trump's little minions and voters who dwell on fake news and BS from Lush Limburger (to rot their brains)  need to be reminded again of what their boy President said in the campaign:

"I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done. I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off. You don’t have time to take time off."

And yet he's taking time off - massive chunks now - at a clip. Why? Because the little bastard hates to work! At least he hates to work at governing. He loves to go out and re- campaign like he did in SC yesterday with all the Trumpies in their red hats celebrating.   But as Bill Maher put it last night, "Sorry,  you don't get to have month long birthday parties". In other words, you're supposed to be a big boy - indeed a President - so act like one, as opposed to a goldbricker.

Recall the guy has never really worked at a real job outside of owning his family branding business (who could order anyone to do his bidding) and being a real estate weasel who used bankruptcy (of multiple casinos) to make more $$$.  The little bitch  even bawled that the presidency had  turned out to be too much for him to deal with. Too many details, too much stuff to master for an extensive government bureaucracy.  Hence, his penchant for becoming a cable TV and tweet addict. See e.g.


Being president is harder than Donald Trump thought,” begins the article, neatly capturing the blithe, criminal ignorance that characterizes both Trump himself and the many dozens of millions of morons who thought he should be the leader of the free world. Yes, being the president is a harder job than Donald Trump would expect, because Donald Trump had never previously held an actual job, because actually, spending your inheritance on a succession of failed cons is not an actual job."

 But hey, if the job is too much maybe he ought to resign. It beats wasting time tweeting and watching TV for nine hours a day - when he isn't hosting his little rich country club boys in FLA or playing golf with them. On the taxpayer's dime.

Of course, his delusional followers and lackeys, hacks will insist he's "working while he's away" To which I call BULL SHIT! There is little doubt, very little, that if you are incapable of putting a full day's work in your normal work environment, you will not do it once you leave to go to a spacious hacienda with golf course, hot tubs and fancy restaurants. Such as the one a Mar -a- Lago last week when the boy wonder - eating a salad with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - was  informed North Korea had just launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile.  Instead of leaving the dining area for a secure room, Trump and his advisors scrambled to figure out what was happening while guests at the club watched and took photos, as reported by CNN

The word is that the episode left the national security state gasping and even more determined to oust this little fool by non-violent coup (using leaks) if at all feasible.

We can argue and debate lots of things, but one thing we know from the past four weeks is that President Tweet (aka 'Twitter Troll of The United States') hates the job of actually governing!
No automatic alt text available.

Have Atoms of Antihydrogen Really Been Discovered?

No automatic alt text available.
Illustration of the CERN Alpha 2 apparatus which putatively has detected anti-hydrogen atoms.

Consider that in the original event called the Big Bang, matter and antimatter particles theoretically should have been create in equal numbers. In such a case, all the particle-antiparticle pairs ought ot have been annihilated with the universe left with no matter or antimatter at all, viz.

[M+]   +   [M-]   -> 0

where [M+] refers to the total of all (+) charged matter pairs, and [M-] refers to all antiparticle pairs. The essential point being the two classes behave identically except for the difference in sign (+ or -) disclosing difference in electric charge.

In retrospect, it wouldn't have actually taken much of a matter-antimatter imbalance to see the predominant matter universe we behold today.  One extra proton per billion proton- antiproton pairs would have been sufficient. But alas, even that tiny excess production is currently unexplainable. Note the matter preponderance doesn't specifically require matter v. antimatter manifest any difference other than sign, but if such a difference was discovered it would be critical in understanding the asymmetry of the early universe.

Some efforts in the past have already been made, namely, one postulate requiring a violation of what is called "CP symmetry invariance". Fitch and Cronin's (1963-64) discovery of a violation of CPT invariance. (C for charge conjugation, P for parity (spatial reflection) and T for time reversal set the original scene. Up until their 1960s investigations, it was widely accepted by physicists that nature played no favorites where charge conjugation, parity and time reversal were concerned. The discovery of a fundamental violation (Fitch and Cronin found a tiny fraction:  45 out of 22,700 - K2 mesons, spontaneously disintegrate into 2 pions, e.g. π mesons, (instead of the usual 3) changed all this.

It was suggested by them that this CPT invariance violation might also - in some way - account for the apparent asymmetry in the distribution of matter with respect to antimatter. Since then experiments have disclosed T-invariance can be subsumed by CP symmetry invariance. Trouble is, the existence of so little antimatter still violates CP invariance.

Beyond the CPT invariance, the fact is very little antimatter -matter imbalance in the primordial cosmos would have been needed to produce the matter universe we observe today. In fact, only one extra proton per billion proton-antiproton pairs would have been sufficient. to manifest the cosmos we have.  But never mind, even that tiny excess remains unexplainable.

Enter now the need for experiments which might detect a difference between matter and antimatter other than sign.  If such experiments found a difference this could be the key to understanding why the asymmetry existed.  In fact, such experiments have been going on  for the past thirty years at CERN where researchers have attempted to trap and study antihydrogen atoms.  The main line of inquiry has been to use precision spectroscopy to compare the known structure of hydrogen with antihydrogen.

Fast forward and it is now known that one of the CERN teams (the ALPHA collaboration) has achieved the first spectroscopic evidence for the transition between the 1s and 2s states of antihydrogen.  Recall the probability regions associated with hydrogen tabbed to the principal quantum number n:
No automatic alt text available.
In the above image, the far left n=1 image with its spherical shape denotes the 1s hydrogen orbital. The middle ring image with n=2 denotes the 2s orbital. If we zoom in’ on the 1s  configuration, and the probability for the electron in this region we end up with the graphs below:
No automatic alt text available.
This diagrams show that the hydrogen electron occupies no definite position. Instead, it’s confined someplace within a “cloud” or probability space (b) but that probability can be computed as a function of the Bohr radius (ao = 0.0529 nm).  The probability P1s for the 1s orbital is itself a result of squaring the “wave function” for the orbital.  If the wave function is defined:

y (1s) = 1/Öp (Z/ ao) exp (-Zr/ ao),

and the probability function is expressed:

P = ½y (1s) y (1s) *½

 Where y (1s) * is the complex conjugate, then the graph shown in (a) is obtained.   Now, as far as we know antihydrogen displays the same probability space distribution for its 1s  state, and likely the 2s as well.  Indeed, the ALPHA results up to now reveal no differences between hydrogen and antihydrogen, but the physicists hope that their precision (currently 200 parts per million) will improve and ultimately show the difference they suspect.

How does the ALPHA technique work? Basically, a laser is used to excite atoms in samples containing up to 1012 atoms. (For comparison, a single milliliter of water contains about 6 x 1012 atoms.)  The antimatter atoms are much more difficult to obtain and entail use of CERN's Antiproton accelerator. This device produces about 3 x  107   antiprotons every 100s. These can then be manipulated using cryostats made of matter.

The decelerated, "raw" antiprotons travel at about 7 percent of the speed of light (e.g. v = 0.07c) but the velocity is further slowed by directing the beams at thin aluminum foil.  The downside is that some 99 % of the antiprotons are lost in the process. The one percent or so that survive annihilation (and are scattered by the foil to a lower energy) can be combined with positrons  (generated from radioactive decay) to produce antihydrogen. The technique produces about 25,000 antiatoms per trial.

Of course, this is only the initial phase of the experiment. Because one needs to "trap" the antihydrogen then it must be rendered "cold" (less than 0.5K).  Given the generated atoms are charge neutral trapping them electromagnetically  requires exploiting their magnetic moment, e.g. 

m=  ½  [mv 2 /B]  

so that one uses an inhomogeneous magnetic field whereby a fraction of the atoms are drawn to the lower intensity B-field (in the middle ) with high field at the edges.. So in many respects it resembles the magnetic mirror machine we saw in the plasma physics posts (from January last year).   The point is the atoms can only be confined if the energy is low enough to yield temperatures less than 0.5K.

How much progress has been made with this trapping technique? In 2010, ALPHA's first successful trapping yielded 38 atoms trapped across 335 trials, with each atom trapped for a fraction of a second.  Now, up to 14 atoms are trapped per trial and held for many minutes.  Because of the low trapping success of the 2010 trials they were mainly focused on just that - trapping. Now with the improvement in trapping rates and times spectroscopy has come front and center.

The new "ALPHA 2" arrangement is depicted in the drawing at top of this post. The laser power is amplified by an optical cavity bound by highly reflective mirrors places outside the trapping region. This maximizes the sparse samples of antihydrogen.  The laser circulates roughly 1 W through the trapping region.  When an atom is excited by the laser it doesn't always return to its original state say 1s. On occasion it absorbs an additional photon and is ionized (absorption of energy E = hf causes a positron to be lost). At other times it reverts to a spin flipped version of the ground state.  Then the spin-flipped atom (or antiproton in the case of ionization) drifts to the wall of the apparatus, gets annihilated and produces a signal that can be detected.  When the given trial ends, the B-field for the trap is turned off and the remaining atoms are counted.

So far, the CERN physicists have probed the transition between antihydrogen's 1s or ground state and the first excited, or 2s state. Fortunately, the excitation's long lifetime -roughly  1/8 second- enables ample  time to absorb another photon before decaying back to the 1s state. (N.B. The long excitation time arises because of the 'forbidden transition' for a single photon. Hence, instead of tuning the laser to 121 nm - the full energy of the transition - the wavelength of 243 nm is used. This relies on two photons simultaneously absorbed to make the transition.)  When the two photons arrive from opposite directions  their Doppler shifts nearly cancel so there is no significant line broadening. (Recall the three important types of line broadening are Doppler effect, natural and pressure broadening.)

What has been the end result thus far? Well, after employing laser frequencies at resonance and detuned by -200 kHz, there is a mixed outcome but not one diverging from the null hypothesis. Specifically, 27 annihilation events have been observed during the off resonance trials - but this is consistent with the background effects from cosmic rays. By contrast, in the eleven "on resonance" trials - looking at 146 atoms - a total of 79 escaped the magnetic trap.  These results imply that any fractional differences between the transition frequencies of hydrogen and antihydrogen are less than  2 x 10-10 .  

But  this is kind of re-assuring. Look at it this way, if there was some discrepancy of behavior observed different from charge- it would actually undermine the symmetry between particles and antiparticles. This symmetry (i.e. we can't tell them apart other than by charge) is underpinned by both quantum mechanics and general  relativity. So....if there were differences observed we'd have to go back to the drawing boards to revise those theories.  In other words, we'd require major changes to the two primary theories of modern physics.

No one wants to go there, and if they do have to, the evidence for differences had better be very solid and fairly scream for attention.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Trump Unravels At Presser- Shows Again He's Unfit To Lead

"Look, I could blow up that Russian ship thirty miles away and everyone would think it's great! Never mind it'd start a nuclear war!"

"Let’s not mumble or whisper about the central issue facing our country: What is this democratic nation to do when the man serving as president of the United States plainly has no business being president of the United States? The Michael Flynn fiasco was the entirely predictable product of the indiscipline, deceit, incompetence and moral indifference that characterize Donald Trump’s approach to leadership. "  E.J. Dionne, The Washington Post, 'Admit It: Trump Is Unfit To Serve'

"Today was a turning point. Today was historically bad, not just for President Trump but also for the office of the presidency. Look, it's obvious to the nation the emperor has no clothes. Our boy president has surrounded himself by a team that tells him his coat is beautiful - but he's not wearing one. Let's recognize the heartbreak in this ...that we might be faced with a President who is not up to the task of the office he ran for and what do we do with that?" Fmr. Rep. David Jolly (R-FLA)

"President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued." - David Brooks, NY Times today

The fool and presidential pretender Trump tried to hold a press conference yesterday, but from start to finish it was the classical clusterfuck and showed again why this lunatic shouldn't be in charge of a dog kennel - far less running a country.  Donald J. Trump showed again he's totally detached from reality to the point he can't even discern how certain acts could trigger a nuclear war and even unable to tell that his electoral vote win was not the "biggest since Reagan".  When questioners tried to correct the wacky claim he merely fobbed them off with baldersdash, e.g. "that's what I was told".

Told? How about doing your own research first, asshole? But, of course, this doofus doesn't read, at least not genuine newspapers. So when he spews out BS to the press corps like: "The public doesn't believe you people any more." we have a first inkling on why he is so clueless. He only reads the nutso fake news on or the tweets from his pal Limburger, who actually told him his fiasco yesterday was "the best press conference ever".  If Trump actually read a real paper as opposed to a bogus website (like Alex Jones' 'Infowars') he might have known he was talking shit when he claimed the largest electoral vote win "since Reagan".

Predictably,  Trump dismissed claims that he owed his election victory to Moscow’s interference on Thursday, insisting “Russia is fake news.” are the intelligence gathering services of this nation 'fake' too?  Are your PDBs? Oh wait, Trump doesn't even read them - he used to have Flynn do that and then reduce them to baby gruel for him to digest. So, from this, one must conclude he regards all the intel reports - including those which could warn of a terror attack - as "fake" too.

"Dump", who has been rocked by the resignation of his national security adviser and dogged by months of speculation about his links to Vladimir Putin’s Russia, repeatedly denied reports he or associates on his presidential campaign had had contact with Russian intelligence operatives in advance of the November election, calling the reports “fake news”.