Friday, January 31, 2014

GRE Sample Physics Problems (3)

We continue now  with the sample physics test questions, based on  the GRE:

31) Find the de Broglie wavelength associated with an alpha particle emitted with a kinetic energy of 1 MeV by the nucleus of an atom of radon.

32) Two slits are placed 2 mm apart and 300 cm from a screen. When light of 6000 A (angstroms) is used find the separation between the bright lines of the interference pattern in mm.

33) If the mean lifetime of the excited state of Cd 111 is T1/2
= 8 x 10 - 8 sec, find the half-width of the excited state.

Questions 34 and 35:

The decay of a radioactive sample obeys the following relation:

N = No  exp (-lt)

where N is the amount of the sample at some time t, and No is the amount of the sample at an initial time to = 0.

34) Find the half -life of one of the atoms in the radioactive sample.

35) Find the mean life of one of the atoms in the radioactive sample.

36) By what fraction is the kinetic energy of a neutron (mass m1) decreased in a head-on elastic collision with an atomic nucleus (mass m2) initially at rest?

37) If an HCl molecule has an inter-nuclear distance of 1.27 A and the atomic weight of a Cl atom is 36, find the moment of inertia of the molecule about the center of mass.

38) Find the Lande g-factor for an atom in the state 1D 3/2.

39) Estimate the average binding energy of a nucleon in the nucleus of an atom.

40) In the near infrared spectrum of carbon monoxide, there is an intense band at 2144 cm-1. Estimate from this the fundamental vibration frequency of CO.

41) Find the voltage induced in a coil with an inductance of 0.25 H (henries) when the current is decreased uniformly from 2 amperes to zero amperes in 1/16 sec.

42) Assuming the density of air to be constant near the Earth's surface, and the barometric pressure at sea level is 76 Hg, estimate the barometric pressure at an elevation of 200' above sea level.

43) A sphere of radius a has uniform charge density of q distributed within it. Find the total electrostatic energy of this system.

44) An oscillating circuit contains an inductance of 10 m h (micro-henries), a capacitor of 5 mf (micro-farad) and a capacitor of 25 mf, all in parallel. Find the natural frequency, f, of this circuit.

45) The relation between pressure and volume in an adiabatic expansion is:

pvn = k.

If the specific heat at constant pressure is c p and the specific heat at constant volume is c v, then n = ?

Another Mikey Goes Berserk - What's With These Psycho Mikeys?

U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) speaks to the media prior to a meeting regarding the Sandy aid bill with Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) January 2, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The House Republican leadership was criticized for not acting on the Senate passed legislation for Hurricane Sandy disaster aid. Pastor Mike's latest selfie. Is he a psycho?
Mike Grimm(left) , and Pastor Mike - in his latest selfie.

Seriously now, what's with all these Mikeys going berserk? Is it something to do with the name, or is it some hormone (testosterone) over-production leading to insane behavior and acts or what? Inquiring minds want to know!  Recall that we had already seen, some two years ago, a "pastor" by the name of Mike who wanted to put all atheists into a National Registry of Atheists - like a sex offender registry. This whacko actually wanted atheists to be singled out and identifiable the same way sex offenders are for current state registries! The bozo actually claimed, I shit you not:

 "I mean, think about it. There are already National Registrys [sic] for convicted sex offenders, ex-convicts, terrorist cells, hate groups like the KKK, skinheads, radical Islamists, etc. This type of 'National Registry' would merely be for information purposes."

Right! Whose information?

Then, more recently, we beheld the nutso Reep Mike Rogers, going off half -cocked and accusing Patriot Edward Snowden of being in league with "Russian Intelligence".  Without a shred of hard evidence, and in contradiction to an earlier conclusion reportedly  reached by NSA,  this turkey actually said:

"I believe there's questions to be answered there! I don't think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the [Russian intelligence service] FSB.”

Now, we have another Mike, this one named Michael Grimm, who - as reported by Rachel Maddow three nights ago, actually confronted a reporter trying to ask him a question and going off on him with f-bombs and threatening to hurl him over a railing, after saying he'd "break him like a boy". At which point Rachel rightly asked, "Wait, do boys break more easily than men?"  Apart from the fact he implicitly insulted the reporter in making the threat. 

Grimm, an ex-Marine, displayed all the bravado and fake macho that we've beheld in a certain other "Mike"  ex-Marine, who's bragged about how many bat and tire chain fights he's been in, and how many times he's broken skulls and had his broken. (No shit!)   The difference is that while the latter Mike is a nobody sitting in his den somewhere in FLA blogging baloney and hate against "homos, blacks, and libtards", Mike Grimm is an actual representative from NY  - somehow getting in on the Tea Party bandwagon in 2010. That means how he acts and what he does - especially to other citizens - has far more  import than a wannabe backwoods pseudo-preacher blogger.

Meanwhile, this current Mikey's history evidently precedes him, as Rachel noted and as others have exposed an unstable, possibly dangerous goon. That much was obvious in the video in which he corners and threatens NY1 reporter Michael Scotto. His act may not have surprised readers of The New Yorker’s 2011 profile of Grimm, which describes the 1999 night that Grimm, brandishing a gun, terrorized a nightclub full of people in search of a man with whom he’d fought earlier.

What is it with these aggressive asshole Mikes, anyway? Do they all eat the same GMO-manufactured crap and feed off the same prion-tainted beef? Is that what turns them into screwball rage-aholics replete with all the macho posturing ? Or is it something else? Maybe an inferiority complex? Like they are out of their depth and know it.

And once more, like Mike Rogers, we have the earlier lawman background. As noted in a recent piece (The Real Problem with Dangerous Goon Michael Grimm)  on by Alex Pareene :

Grimm’s actions that night at the Caribbean Tropics nightclub in Queens would have likely put a regular citizen in jail for years. But Grimm was not a regular citizen: He was an FBI agent at the time, and thus, after an internal investigation, he received no punishment at all.

Pareene went on to cite former Grimm opponent, Dem Mark Murphy, who opined that maybe Grimm is a victim of roid-rage, from steroids. But really, this level of anger doesn't require drugs to attain, only the right (wrong?) political persuasion - the arch-conservative individualist bully. In this case, as Pareene observes: "Grimm is just what happens when the worst sort of hyper-aggressive lawman transitions into another field where being a short-tempered bullying prick is rewarded rather than punished: Conservative politics"

Cut those benefits! Take the kid's food away, because his parents are deprived of food stamps or unemployment benefits! Meanwhile, by virtue of this cutting, slow down the nation's growth. Nearly 1 % of GDP is believed to have been lost in the last quarter, thanks to GOP- demanded austerity measures - the major one being to no extension of unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed.

But this is the natural attitude that really binds all these 'Mikes' in common. Be the bully, the one who pushes around the weakest, the most vulnerable, including kids. Then call yourself a "man".  But the rest of us aren't fooled and we understand that brutal  macho posturing - even in the guise of conservative "tough" love economics - only renders you a mouse.

Solution to Complex Integral Problem (Correction)

Problem:  first factor to get:  f(x)  =    x/  (x  - 1 + i)(x  - 1 -   i)

In terms of the z variable:

f(z)  =    z/  (z  - 1 + i)(z  - 1 -   i)

In the upper half plane we need to obtain Res f(z+) for z = 1+i

 Then:   Res f(z+) =


lim z ® 1+i     [z/(z  - 1 +  i) ]  =   (1 +i)/ 2i

=   ½   - ½  i

Then:  Res f(z+) =   2 pi [½   -   ½  i ] =  pi  -    pi 2

 = pi  +    p = p (i  +   1)

In the  lower half plane we need to obtain Res(f(z-) for z = 1- i

lim z ® 1-i       [(z  - 1 +  i)   z/  (z  - 1 + i) (z  - 1 -   i)]


=  lim z ® 1-i     [z/(z  - 1 -  i) ]  =   (1 -i)/ (– 2i)

= ½   +   ½  i

Then:  Res f(z-) =   - 2 pi [½   +   ½  i ] =  -pi  -    pi 2

= -pi   -    p    =  - p(i  -   1)

Therefore (for upper half plane):

-¥  ¥    x  dx / (x2   - 2x + 2) =  p (i  +   1)

For the lower half plane: 

-¥  ¥    x  dx / (x2   - 2x + 2) =  - p(i  -   1)


Note: To modify the development for any case where the singularity is in the lower half plane, or m < 0 (i.e. m = -i) we have:
-¥  ¥    exp(im x)  f(x) dx  = - 2 pi å (Res)

Question: What would you obtain if Res f(z+) and Res f(z-) are added together?

Walter Block - Another Libertarian Blockhead! ("Slavery wasn't so bad!")

Where in the hell do these economic blockheads come from? What regressive pit of offal breeds them and then disgorges them into the world to posture like madmen, confuse their students, and undermine polity in the name of some misbegotten theory?  I've already expounded on one branch of these cretins, the bunch that pushed Pareto-based economics, e.g.

This was the work of none other than Vilfredo Pareto, who invoked the example of a "collectivity" of a wolf and a sheep - with the wolf only happy unless he could eat the sheep. (Else, only the sheep remains happy grazing on its patch of grass - while poor Wolfie starves)  Thus was born modern economic theory which inverts everything sensible, such as Greenspan arguing back in 2003 that Bush tax cuts were preferable to Social Security benefits. The poor little rich folks would use the money saved from those cuts to invest and help the economy, while Social Security could be collected merely because a guy could breathe.

Pareto's model translated into the argument that the buck is worth more to the rich man, and hence, any transfer from the rich to the poor hurts the rich more than it helps the poor (especially as the 'utils' for the poor man is also rather smaller by comparison).  E.g.     

From this degraded bollocks, it became possible to argue - for example - that it makes more sense to give the prospective patient or person to be screened (say for colon cancer)  $1,499 NOT to get the colonoscopy, than to let her get the test and consume valuable specialist time and resources via $2,000 subsidy. (Bestowed by whatever insurance allows it, say Medicare or Obamacare, or even high flier private) .

In a similar vein, these dregs argued that having 1,000 - 10,000 average Joes and Janes die each year from climatic catastrophes  (or fouled water from pollutants) is more tolerable than having oil speculation losses for the rich, because then they will also pull back on their investments in ETFs (exchange traded funds), hedge funds, and all the rest ....ultimately ending in less investment banking profits and perhaps another financial collapse. 

By a similar line of perverse Pareto reasoning, it made more sense for the impoverished billions in the third world to breathe filthy, polluted air than clean air. The reason is obvious: it is inefficient because if they had to pay for it, they couldn't afford it. By the same token, it makes more sense to dump the toxic wastes from advanced nations in poor nations than vice versa, because the same reasons apply: the 3rd worlders would never be able to afford their own clean up costs, so what's an extra five million gigatonnes of waste in the overall scheme of things?

Hence, from this "Libertarian-ish" style of bunkum it is not surprising that a Prof named Walter Block could spring, though I'm amazed he's at Loyola- where I studied in the 1960s (before transferring to Univ. of South Florida, where I could do astronomy with some of the best names in the discipline - including Heinrich Eichhorn, Sabatino Sofia and James Hunter).

According to a  Jan. 26 New York Times Sunday Review article on the 'Rand Paul Political Brand', Block actually had stated that "slavery wasn't so bad" - taking up the long standing libbie trope that, after all, the blacks were cared for, got their 3 squares a day and some time off (Sundays) and so long as they behaved themselves they weren't flogged by the overseer. (Block ought to be forced like 'Alex' - the character of 'Clockwork Orange' - to be strapped to a seat with his eyelids fixed in place and forced to watch the whipping scenes from '12 Years a Slave' in an endless loop for at least a day)

That may cure him of his delusions, but maybe not. Most hard core libertarians are so detached from reality that they inhabit a land of delusion of their own. (In one argument some three years ago, one actually argued that the gov't had no business interfering to interject civil rights legislation, and if the blacks really wanted it they ought to have struggled on their own to achieve it.)

In a similar kind of vein, Block - in an interview response to the author of the Times piece (p.21) observed that in the 1960s:

"Woolworth's had lunchroom counters and no blacks were allowed. Did they have a right to do that? Yes, they did! No one is compelled to associate with people against their will."

But consider the consequences if this bat shit crazy meme was extended willy-nilly so that anyone could apply it. Pharmacies could refuse serving people they regarded as 'misfits'  - say denying birth control pills to young, single women or not even permitting blacks to cross the doorway.

Owners of football teams could decide that they want no Jews, blacks, or gays entering their stadiums and they might put that into place. Private hospitals -operating as businesses - might decide that they want no blacks, Jews or gays on their premises either. Restaurants would feel free to bar anyone they think is marginal, including those who look like 'thugs' - or  whoever doesn't fit flitty criteria like hair length, or quality of dress.

In other words, you'd invite a society bordering on chaos, and don't think for a moment that  the millions of excluded folk would just sit there and take it! It is no wonder that Block describes himself as an "anarcho-capitalist".    No surprise that Block's ideas were hatched from the "Austrian School" of Friedrich von Hayek. See below:

Recall that von Hayek's austerity solutions led to the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Nazism.  The Wehrmacht soldiers I met in May, 1985, all agreed that Hitler would have had little chance to attain the Chancellorship had austerity measures not been implemented in the late 1920s - such that most people had to beg, borrow or steal just to get bread or feed their infants. Hitler offered a promise of plenty for all, via his concept of  Lebensraum - or expanded living space. Of course, these riches would come at the expense of other nations taken over by the Nazi expansion of the Third Reich!

Today, the seeds of this aberrant thinking remain, as voting rights laws are gutted state by state and even portions of the civil rights bill are placed in peril. Meanwhile, billionaires like Peter G. Peterson want to impose austerity via cuts to Social Security and Medicare, so he and his wealthy pals - like Tim Perkins -  can live high off the hog, buying up 18 giant yachts instead of 2 and fifty giant residences from Curacao to Monaco while homeless citizens have nada.

To the extent we let these fools succeed, we will all regret it, and the decline of our nation will be accelerated.

To read some of the reactions of the Loyola community to Block's bollocks, go to:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The ''Duck Dynasty" Fake Rednecks - And How They Played Red State America

The fakers from 'Duck Dynasty' - before they grew beards, doffed camouflage, adopted a "god fearin'" attitude and got their own TV show on A&E to dupe millions

I believe it was P.T. Barnum who once opined, "There's a sucker born every minute". Well one can certainly say that about the millions who've fallen to the 'Duck Dynasty' clowns after it was revealed the whole shtick was a big act put on by yuppies- who clearly saw a way to cash in on the vast "Red state" love of rednecks that permeates the 'land of the free'.

I bring this up because one of them - in redneck drag- was actually trotted out (naturally in the company of the Repukes) during the Obama state of the union. Didn't this character even have a clue his guise was exposed? That he was busted? Didn't his Reepo handler know that?

See also:

The break on exposing these guys came originally via a GQ article on the scam. But even that partly bought into the myth that they're real "godly folk" - yeppers, that also love 18 holes of golf and lots of amenities from fooling millions into believing this BS.  The actual source of exposure turned out to be a Political Blind Spot report from late last year titled “How a Wealthy, Clean Cut ‘Duck Dynasty’ Tricked the World for Publicity.”

That report displayed a series of Robertson family photographs from before the show that contrasted strongly with the beard-laden, camo-garbed image the Robertson men have cultivated in the public eye.  In one photo, the brothers posed with golf clubs apparently in front of a pool (see image).

In another, Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson posed on the beach with his family displaying an even worse haircut than he currently sports.

According to the original source, Luzer, for Political Blind Spot:

 Rednecks might sometimes play golf, but rednecks do not go on golf outings with their entire family. They do not pose with golf clubs and all of their brothers at the country club after a great game.. Seriously? He’s barefoot on the beach with frosted tips?

So A&E appears to have taken a large clan of affluent, college-educated, mildly conservative, country club Republicans, common across the nicer suburbs of the old south, and repackaged them as the Beverly Hillbillies.  And the outcome? 14 million Red State 'Muricans have jumped on their bandwagon.  After Phil was dumped from the show, they've yelped, put up Facebook support posts and  generally howled in their defense  - not realizing they've all been played.

The Duckster con almost reminds me of the "Balloon boy" farce of several years ago, when millions actually believed a small boy could be carried aloft for miles and miles in a hot air balloon - despite the fact anyone with passing acquaintance with basic physics would have known it was nonsense. In the case of the 'Duck Dynasty' bunch, any sensible person with some intellectual heft ought to have seen through the shtick and realized NO one turns duck hunters into a frickin' "dynasty"!  Nor do any REAL duck hunters exist in any dynasty. The ducks would have to be made of gold for that to happen. While in the real world, most duck hunters barely manage to get by - as I found when I visited Baton Rouge in 1969.

So again, we come to the need for more critical thinking in this country - as opposed to swallowing wholesale  whatever one sees on the tube, or anywhere else (especially NSA hearings)

NSA Gnome James Clapper: A Dope or a Nut?

James Clapper at Senate

It appears the liar and 4th amendment traitor James Clapper went on a tirade yesterday, demanding whistleblower Edward Snowden "return all the stolen documents" and calling the surveillance disclosures published by the Guardian, Washington Post, NY Times and other news outlets a “perfect storm” that would endanger American lives."  Of course, this is a pile of horse manure, as ripe as Clapper's LIES before the Senate Intelligence Committee in March of last year. So bad, that Patriot Act co-author James Sensenbrenner was led to assert in October(to the Guardian):

"Oversight only works when the agency that oversight is directed at tells the truth, and having Mr Clapper say he gave the least untruthful answer should, in my opinion, have resulted in a firing and a prosecution,"

And as for endangering American lives let's be mindful of Bruce Schneier, a security specialist, who wrote in The New York Times last July 3rd:

"The argument that exposing these documents helps the terrorists doesn't even pass the laugh test; there's nothing here that changes anything any potential terrorist would do or not do."

Evidently also, Clapper and his other NSA troglodytes never received the 'memo' that Snowden's documents are already electronically 'out there'  - in the proper hands of media sites that have agreed to disclose the content in quantized measures - as opposed to giant dumps. Even if Snowden were to agree to give back what he actually took, the copies of the documents would remain in cyberspace. Making one wonder if Clapper is a dope or a nut.

Reinforcing this, is that Clapper - arrogant ass that he is - offers nothing in compensation to Snowden - other than a "trial" (read kangaroo court mock trial) if he returns with what he has.  Is he joking or what? Why on earth should Snowden come back with his material to face a jury-rigged trial, likely from a military court, and a judge as biased as the one that sabotaged the Garrison case against CIA contract agent Clay Shaw?

Again, the sign of un unbalanced dope whose hubris and power have clearly gone to his head. Even more laughable, according to the Guardian account:

"Testifying before a rare and unusually raucous public session of the Senate intelligence committee that saw yet another evolution in the Obama administration’s defense of bulk domestic phone records collection, Clapper called on “Snowden and his accomplices” to return the documents the former National Security Agency contractor took, in order to minimize what he called the “profound damage that his disclosures have caused and continued to cause”.

Again, this is bollocks. The damage amounts to nothing, not one thing. The REAL damage is to these disgusting spooks whose act has finally been exposed for the world to see and who believe they have a license to gobble up everything about people in their metadata grabs. (And again, Obama is just as wrong to defend them- though as I've written before, he's likely coerced by their threats to do so.)

Clapper's "accomplices" bunkum is also choice, and an apparent imitation of the idiot Mike Rogers' recent rants about Snowden having "allies" in the FSB or Russian Intelligence. This despite the fact that Snowden has repeatedly said he acted alone in assembling and leaking a vast trove of information on the scope of US surveillance efforts.

Clapper also appears ignorant of the fact this was a conclusion  reportedly reached by the NSA’s official investigation into the Snowden leaks. SO again, he's either a dope or totally incompetent - if he isn't even aware of the conclusions reached by his own NSA.

 At the hearing, senator Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat whose questioning last March ended with Clapper lying to the panel about the deliberate collection of Americans’ data, pressed Clapper to give public answers on surveillance activities on American information “sent over the web or stored in the cloud” – references to NSA’s so-called “upstream” collection capabilities, which allow the agency to harvest data in transit. He also questioned Clapper on whether the NSA had conducted “warrantless searches” for “specific” Americans’ identifying information in its vast databases of foreigners’ internet content, an authority first reported by the Guardian.

“Can you tell us today whether any such searches have ever been conducted?” Wyden asked. To which Clapper responded:

“Senator Wyden, I think, at a threat hearing, this would ... I would prefer not to discuss this and have this as a separate subject. There are very complex legal issues here, I just don’t think this is the appropriate time or place,”

In other words, 'we gotta do these mass  metadata grabs but we can't provide you with any evidence to justify them'
Confirming what many of us in deep politics already suspect, that the "terror" card is being played as an expeditious smokescreen to cover up an all -encompassing industrial -economic espionage program and - as a byproduct -  to monitor the masses. The last thing the security state wants to see, or be caught off guard on, is tens of thousands rioting in the streets and burning cars, etc. - as they are in the Ukraine.  This is irrespective of whether the cause is fouled water, as recently occurred in West Virginia, or because a new Occupy movement takes hold to mobilize against the banksters and Tom Perkins' spoiled rich.

Above all, the masses must be monitored so they can be controlled. Hence, the use of a mass grab spy program to compile lists of "enemies of the state" for Main Core.

Another misbegotten canard is Clapper's insistence that the mass data grabs are allowed under current law. Let me assert if this is the case, that law is an 'ass' and in violation of the 4th amendment. The reason is that even a cursory reading of the 4th amendment shows the wording is predicated on individualized warrants! Hence, you cannot have a collective seizure of data that conforms to the heart of the amendment. What Clapper is really defending is the bastardized version of the FISA law that was created and approved AFTER the Bushies were caught out doing warrantless wiretaps in 2006-08.

Again, for those with short memories, the original (1978) FISA law required individual warrants which had to be sought from a proper FISA court.  After Bush and his thugs were caught breaking it, congress - instead of prosecuting them - took the easy way out and made legal what had been illegal!  In other words, the "law" now on the books is an affront to not only the 1978 law, but the 4th amendment and was composed by traitors!

Perhaps the real reason Clapper and his NSA clones are frothing at the mouth  about Snowden and his disclosures was best expressed by a commenter on the Guardian forum (for the Clapper article):

·        Lightning strikes 300 Americans a year. Huge by comparison to terrorism. Maybe the real reason is the military budget. They cannot live without a threat equal to 20th century warfare. Why don't we let them defend us against space aliens? Terrorism is way down from the 1970s and paradoxically appears to be a receding threat. Ok, the worst months of Vietnam killed 2000 soldiers. It took years running two wars to reach that level. Times change. The real discussion is about making the citizens of America a replacement threat for the Pentagon to keep their budget. They have to do it in secret because the US is a Constitutional state.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Surprise! A Fundie Is Incapable of Understanding the English Language!

Photo: Another dummie fundie!

It seems there is a persistent and irascible (also under-educated)  little fundie who still is unable to parse or grasp the distinction of the agnostic atheist – in terms of withholding belief in a deity. He evidently read my previous blog on fundies unable to process these subtle distinctions- leading his febrile brain to go haywire once more, and end up with the wrong conclusion.  But this is to be expected when one's educational standards have always been low, and the person in question is more at home in a bar fight than a classroom.

So, it seems we must explain it to him again, not that it’ll do any good – especially if one lacks the capacity for abstract ACH thinking. (As an aside, it’s clear this character couldn’t pass a PSAT Verbal test, far less a GRE Verbal test!)

Recall I had written:

What is happening here is not active disbelief, i.e. in making a statement “There is no god,” but rather simply passively withholding belief in a statement already made. Hence, the deity believer has made the positive claim. The ontological   (implicit) atheist’s  response is simply an absence of belief in it. No more and no less. It does not and never has implied  active disbelief, aggressive rancor or a vehement and militant opposition to the beliefs.

Let me quickly add here that this withholding of belief is the more natural position, as opposed to advocating belief, which is unnatural

Now, believe it or not – probably not – this dumb fundie demands:  “make up your mind” i.e. “Is it withholding belief or absence of belief’?.’ This guy, who’s probably had too many knocks on the head either from bats in bar room fights or from DI pugil sticks, thereby interjects a false dichotomy (thought he likely doesn't know what that means either).  Clearly he doesn’t grasp that they amount to one and the same thing.

If I withhold belief what am I doing? Am I actively DO-ing anything? No! Despite the word, it is a passive act.  However, the consequence of the withholding is yes, the absence of belief in the claim.

 You tell me you have an alien in your attic but you can’t prove it or give me a snap shot, so I withhold belief. I do not “deny” you have such an entity, only tell you that minus the evidence I can’t bestow any investment of mental capital to concur with it.  Hence, you walk away minus that belief, and so for you - there is an ABSENCE of my belief. How simple can it be? But evidently it's like general relativity or advanced rocket science for this moron fundie.

Again, via any withholding, what is the EFFECT? The effect is an ABSENCE of that which is withheld!  (See for example the cartoon graphic pertaining to the doofus withholding Jacks from his playing card deck but claiming there's no absence of them in his deck.)  Ipso facto, by any withholding one has engendered an ABSENCE of that withheld.  This absence could not have existed if one didn’t withhold.  Why the inability to process the logical connection? I suggest a lack of ACH thinking ability, which as James Cheyne has observed, is also a critical feature of many standard IQ tests.

The error made by this fundie lamo is to equate “withholding” belief to an active response, as opposed to an absence of belief.  In his incapacitated, regressive and forlorn brain, withholding is like denying! He doesn’t grasp that there is a logical and fundamental connection between withholding and absence -of whatever it is withheld.

The Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary defines withholding as:

to refrain from granting or giving something

It defines absence as:    a lack or deficiency of

And continues by way of explicating: i.e. to withhold granting something will create a deficiency or lack in it, for example withholding food- say to a starving populace-   creates a deficiency or absence of food.

In other words, a logical connection obtains between the words. Now, it is true that by use of the term “withhold” the causal consequence, i.e. directly leading to absence may not be immediately apparent, but it ought to be implicit.  At least it ought to be to a person of  even average intelligence. But then this guy was never even minor sub-Mensan level (e.g. top 20% as opposed to 2%) to begin with. (He may be Densan, or lower 40%).

On that note we shall have to leave it because though this deluded idiot believes he’s “checkmated” me he’s really only shown the extent to which he’s checkmated himself by stupidly entering a semantics war he isn’t outfitted  (educationally or intellectually) to win.  Maybe if he sits down and plays computer chess or GO he may improve his intellectual prowess, but given his only activity is blogging misinformation about his backward religious beliefs....I wouldn't make any bet that would work

The point remains that withholding belief in a deity is the warp and woof of the agnostic atheist, and it is correlated to an absence of belief - no matter how much hard heads want to contrive a ridiculous false dichotomy where none exists.


Obama's SOTU - So So....

Obama State of the Union

The rhetoric was soaring - often even Reaganesque- especially as it accented the notes of nationalism, and the promise of the nation's future. Of course, this is what any President delivering his SOTU aspires to. Only a guy like the fictional character 'Bulworth' would tell Americans the truth: that their nation is caught in a gulf of inequality from which it will never emerge (given the 'pay to play' system), it's in decline because of corroding infrastructure (needing $1.6 TRILLION to repair - according to the American Society of Civil Engineers) and the energy promise of fracking is about like fool's gold.

Let's take the last first. Recall from last year's State of the Union, Obama sang the praises of natural gas exploration via fracking.  He actually expatiated on a  "100 year supply of natural gas that's right beneath our feet" and the goal to "develop it safely".  This time he even rivaled that, claiming the U.S, is now nearly energy independent and did briefly mention the need to "safely" extract the energy, but of course the evidence is not there. Anyone who saw Erin Brockovitch's  map - displayed on Bill Maher's REAL TIME last Friday - of the contaminated water sites from fracking would get that. 

The frackers claim, and the corpora-media have attempted to bolster, the notion that "fracking is safe for water". But IF it is, why is fracking exempt from compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act? Surely, NO exemption is needed if it was truly safe! This is like the misbegotten trope that GMO foods don't need to be labeled because they're "proven safe". Well, how about just humoring me. You know, I'd like to KNOW what I'm ingesting!

More importantly fracking does NOT solve the problem of climate change /global warming as Obama claimed last night. Indeed, it makes it worse.  People-citizens need to process this, and I suggest they get hold of  Richard Heinberg's 'Snake Oil: How Fracking's False Promise Imperils Our Future'.

As Heinberg observes  (p. 110):

Kerogen is not oil. It is better thought of as an oil precursor that was insufficiently cooked by geologic processes. If we want to turn it into oil, we have to finish the process nature started: that involves heating the kerogen to a high temperature for a long time. And that in turn takes energy- lots of it, whether supplied by hydroelectricity, nuclear power plants, natural gas, or the kerogen itself. Therefore the EROEI in processing oil shale is bound to be pitifully low. According to the best study to date, by Cutler Cleveland and Peter O'Connor, the EROEI for oil shale production would be about 2:1. That tells us that oil from kerogen will be far more expensive than regular crude oil.

Recall 'EROEI' denotes energy returned on energy invested.

Heinberg  also disposes of the myth of "100 years of natural gas".

He observes, for example(ibid.), that "a study of the EROEI for electrical heating of methane hydrate deposits between 1000 and 1500 meters deep yielded ratios from 2:1 up to 5:1, depending on the source of the electricity"

Also, the methane extracted is a major contributor to accelerated global warming. It is not innocuous as Obama appears to believe. Hence, his clarion call for attention to climate change while approving of natural gas fracking is exponentially cognitively dissonant.

Obama's challenge to the Reepo congress to reinstate unemployment benefits was spot on, but his praising of the "budget deal" in December didn't mesh with that call. The fact is that deal was an abomination and gave away the store to the Repukes by leaving unemployment extension out of the plan.

Now the Dems call for reinstating benefits but that's like shutting the barn door after the cow's vamonosed.  The time to have ensured the benefits was when leverage existed - at the time of the budget dealing. Not now when the Reeps will simply ignore all calls .....oh, unless "equal cuts" can be found elsewhere. (How about the military? Like that F35 white elephant?)

The most stirring part of the address was the promise to "take action", presumably by Executive orders - not Executive "actions" - which are far weaker. (Recall JFK's Exec. ORDER 11,110 actually approved the printing of U.S. Notes outside the Federal Reserve system. It translated to $4.2 bllion such notes being generated.)

But as The UK Guardian observed:

 the executive orders will have only limited impact in comparison with legislative action, and his speech laid bare how powerless Obama is in the face of intransigence from the Republican-controlled House.

Finally, the one inspiring note I wanted to hear was sounded when Obama proclaimed the need to end the fiasco in Afghanistan, and the necessity to cease "permanent war".  However, whether he's true to his word here will depend on whether ALL troops leave at the end of this year, or some new deal is struck that allows 12,000 or so to remain another ten years.

THAT is not halting perma-war!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

1 in 4 Americans Have Not Read a Book in the Past YEAR? What Gives?

The stats are incredible, and truly make a (real) patriot fret that his countrymen are moving far from the injunction offered by Thomas Jefferson, in his 'Notes on Virginia':

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories. AND TO RENDER THEM SAFE, THEIR MINDS MUST BE IMPROVED."

The last sentence is emphasized by me in the manner in which I believe Jefferson would have wished his words to be attended to. The improvement of minds here denoting the attention to events occurring in one's nation and especially reading and processing those events, as well as those which have gone before - in BOOKS! And no, not those thin little synopses or 'Notes' on this or that. Full fledged books!

Like James Douglass' JFK and the Unspeakable,  or any of James Bamford's books on the NSA  (e.g. Body of Secrets, The Puzzle Palace)  or even any classic book, such as The Iliad, or Dickens' Tale of Two Cities.  Or even just a terrific science fiction work, such as Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy or Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Stranger Land, or Poul Anderson's Brain Wave -  about the Earth passing out of a 'mental inhibiting' field in its course of motion through the galaxy (as part of the solar system) causing everyone's IQs to shoot through the roof - so much so that they are no longer content with doing regular work, or regular tasks - and the entire edifice of modern civilization is threatened.

Books to engender the seeds of  critical thought in the mind and hence postpone its deterioration into a three pound glob of gray jelly!  Yet evidently millions of Americans are allowing brains to degenerate in just such fashion.
The Atlantic’s Jordan Weissmann pointed out Tuesday that:
The Pew Research Center reported last week that nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in the past year. As in, they hadn’t cracked a paperback, fired up a Kindle, or even hit play on an audiobook while in the car. The number of non-book-readers has nearly tripled since 1978.”
This is absolutely incredible! But it also helps to explain why so many polls taken recently appear to show the mindlessness that Jefferson worried about, especially a recent one showing 61 percent favoring Snowden stand trial - for being a REAL Patriot! (The NSA Gnome James Clapper has demanded he "return the documents" he took and called him a "hypocrite" but it's the lying Clapper who's the hypocrite! All the more reason people need to get off FB and read Bamford's books!)
Some have opined (e.g. on that  "the details of the Pew report are quite interesting and somewhat counterintuitive."
They note that among American adults, women were more likely to have read at least one book in the last 12 months than men. Also, blacks were more likely to have read a book than whites or Hispanics. People aged 18-29 were more likely to have read a book than those in any other age group. (Stands to reason if they're in college, getting ready for it or recently graduated. For most people the college years represent the apex of their intellectual development which encompasses reading different books)
Most troubling, there  was little difference in readership among urban, suburban and rural population.  This may also not be too surprising since consumerism is often tied to imitation, and whatever some 'book club' honors is often the book most read. Very few people tend to venture outside their comfort zones.  (Bible readers least of all, though they think they have all the answers there, which they don't)
What one hopes is that this is merely a passing aberration. There are some signs many people are moving away from Facebook, for example, and going back to more productive time pursuits such as reading for edification, or even taking online college courses. However, I wouldn't be too quick to say the days of Facebook are numbered.
But it is certainly true that the more time a citizen invests in Twitter, Facebook or 'Angry Birds' (letting the NSA have open season on him) the less time he has for opening a book or reading it. After all, the hours in a day are limited, so it's a zero sum game.
If Jefferson were around today, he'd tell Americans to get off the social media sites and get back to some book reading!