Saturday, December 30, 2017

Why Stephen Hawking's "Insane" Predictions From Last Year Are Still Valid (Part 1)

Professor Hawking’s insights shaped modern cosmology and inspired global audiences in the millions.
Almost everyone who's read 'A Brief History Of Time' - Stephen Hawking's seminal popular work on black holes and the universe, gets it that Hawking is a smart guy. This, despite the fact he's never won a Nobel Prize in physics. But his insights into cosmology, not to mention contributions (especially in the field of quantum black holes) to astrophysics have certainly illuminated many aspects of modern physics..

Less well known is that Hawking is also recognized  for his insightful predictions about the future of humanity and Earth.  Sadly, it appears in some enclaves of the mainstream media there is a running theme that Prof. Hawking is "losing it" with regard to his forecasts, or going round the bend, to use the vernacular.  But is he really? Or is this the usual media huff and puff snark penned by nattering nabobs who write too much and know too little?  

This year, for example, the Oxford physics professor was claimed to have "made some of the most insane predictions to date, some of which may put a slight damper on your New Year's festivities."   Really? What are they? I will examine in turn his entries in this post and the next, arguing they all (but one)  will have carryover effect into next year and beyond. First, I give Hawking's primary warning:

 Humans have only 100 years left to survive on Earth.

The media nabobs cheekily reported "this is nearly a lifetime", as if to say, how could this guy who professes to be so bright, predict an end to humanity within what will probably be our kids' lifetimes? An end of a species equal to the length of soon-to-be human lifetime? Get real.

Well, maybe, maybe not.  If one  watches Hawking's BBC series, Tomorrow's World, he names the primary threats that have the potential to end human life as we know it in a century. These include four prime culprits: climate change, Torino class 9 asteroid strike, nuclear war and an epidemic (which could also involve a weaponized virus) . He has also recently named AI systems as a real threat. 

Based on each of these he argues we need to leave the planetary nest within the net century. This has become the basis for a BBC documentary released earlier this year entitled "Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth".  Therein Hawking makes the case for leaving Earth and repopulating somewhere else in the cosmos.

This is a huge enterprise given our current space faring technology is limited to reaching only solar system planets - and even then that entails over a half year just to send a few astronauts to Mars. So it's difficult to see how we'd get the material  wherewithal to even reach Alpha Centauri in 100 years.  It's even more difficult to see how even a fraction of the current world population can be transported.  If there is any "insanity" lurking in Hawking's warning it is not in the threats to human existence per se, but in the fact he ought to know precious few humans can be saved from whatever dire fate awaits the species in 100 years.

That said
, let's look in turn at whether Hawking's predictions are viable before turning to means to effect a major repopulation project:

1-  Climate change extinction:

The danger here isn't so much that of a rapid cataclysm killing off human life, as environmental conditions becoming so unbearable it is nearly impossible for large populations (e.g. in cities) to survive.  We are talking about tiny increments of change - say in the pH of ocean water, or CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, setting us up for a slow rolling calamity.

In the worst case scenario that can be imagined, the ocean acidity (from absorption of CO2 by the oceans) becomes so great that the primary oxygen producers of the planet - phytoplankton - are killed off. Once they die, we perish too because there won't be adequate oxygen. Add in raging fires and other pollution likely present and the conditions for die off are magnified. You literally have billions of people suffocating.

It is possible that the phytoplankton might adapt over time to the changing conditions, so this extreme scenario doesn't happen. What other factors might emerge then to make human habitation intolerable?  I have listed the main ones below:

- Collapse of power grids

- Lack of potable water

- Spread of infectious diseases ("Cholera paradigm")

- Parasitic worm infestations

The first two pretty well occur together. The basic reason is that the power grids around the world - not just the U.S. - simply aren't designed to sustain the loads that will be imposed during extended heat events of the type we will face (E.g. 50 days or more with daytime highs of 115 F or more and night time lows of 90-95F)

Once the power grids go down then the water access is next. You need electric power to pump water and deliver to outlets in cities, suburbs etc   Take away power and water - as is currently the case in much of hurricane -ravaged Puerto Rico- and the spread of disease is next. 

This will entail everything from West Nile fever, to Zika, to dengue fever and cholera.  ((See, e.g. Global Climate and Infectious Disease:The Cholera Paradigm, in Science, Vol. 274, 20 December, 1996, p. 2025.)  Billions could easily perish, just from an uncontrolled cholera pandemic - spread because of the inability to provide power to even enable basic re-hydration of patients. Parasitic worm infestations almost certainly will accompany the lack of water, and this means foods will also spoil easily as well as providing an easy medium for worms - with the food then eaten to enable their invasion of the digestive tract, bowels and brain, e.g.

Worm infestations of the type shown will sap the energy from large populations already stressed by the heat and it is likely they will induce many suicides. 

The mere abundance of deformities of limbs, etc. from these parasites will be enough in most circumstances and locations to induce a sense of despair and hopelessness in the affected populations.

Lack of water to drink  in a future climate catastrophe  will sow misery orders of magnitude greater  than we are seeing in Puerto Rico with people so desperate they drink from polluted streams as well as from contaminated water at toxic waste sites. Expect then the further increase in severe water borne diseases (dysentery, diarrhea) as well as further worm infestations - say from schistosomiasis. 

2Torino class 9 asteroid strike:

This magnitude of asteroid strike defines your basic "planet killer". Such a calamity would most likely come from an Apollo object, especially a massive Earth orbit crossing object - perturbed out of the asteroid belt.   For example,   Gaspra (12.5 x 7 x 7.5 miles)  e.g.

This  monster asteroid's impact would obliterate all life on Earth - never to arise again. The crater and blast effects alone would eliminate most of the population on the continent it struck. An ocean strike, creating tidal waves upwards of 2 miles in height, would be even worse. The debris, for its part, would block out most solar radiation for years and probably usher in massive extinction of plants.  The size of object needed is >> 1 km, and an Explosive release: >> 100,000 megatons TNT equivalent.  It is no surprise that this kind of asteroid strike is the classic example used - as far back as Isaac Asimov in a 1976 lecture - for not putting all our "eggs in one planet".  As Asimov put in it that lecture, e.g.
"The dinosaurs were too dumb, too small-brained to avoid the asteroid catastrophe that wiped them out. But we humans can not only forecast such objects and their paths, but have developed rockets to perhaps knock them out. But these will be useless against a truly giant asteroid, so our best move is off this world."

To be continued next week...

Friday, December 29, 2017

COS Socialists' Infiltration By Cops Shows Left Is Still Scapegoated In US Of A

The Colorado Springs Socialists take to the streets in black bloc. - COURTESY SPRINGS SOCIALISTS
Colorado Springs Socialists march downtown recently. Infiltration by police has come to light, but it's nothing new for left groups in the U.S..

The news that Colorado Springs Socialists were infiltrated by local police should not come as news for most deep politics researchers. Indeed, we'd seen this show before with the attempted infiltration and spying on Occupy Wall Street.  Recall, by early October,2012,  the movement arrived in Houston, Texas, whereupon law enforcement officials and the city’s banking and oil industry executives went ape shit even more so than they did in some other cities. The push-back took the form of violent assaults by police on Occupy activists, federal and local surveillance of people seen as organizers, infiltration by police provocateurs—and, as crazy as it sounds, a plot to assassinate the “leaders” of this non-violent and leaderless movement. (Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what the document obtained from the Houston FBI said as related by David Lindorff : )

In fact, trained snipers were to be assembled for attacks on protesters in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and other cities, e.g.

In addition, a
nyone alive in the late 60s knows it was the FBI's COINTELPRO  program which actually infiltrated multiple protest groups including the Weather Underground, Yippies, the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society)  as well as less well known groups.  More on this below.

So the template has been used for some time, and the infiltration in COS is not new. As reported by The Colorado Springs Independent, the infiltrators were

"Two undercover Colorado Springs Police officers serving with the Metro, Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Division (Metro VNI) whose intelligence-gathering work relies on anonymity." 

In the case of the two spy cops in the Springs, their cover was partially blown as a result of an operation on March 26. That day, the officers went undercover to embed in a “March Against Imperialism” organized by the Colorado Springs Socialists, which culminated in the citation of four marchers for obstructing a roadway and failure to disperse. When the City Attorney’s office turned over the evidence via discovery, the defendants viewed body camera footage that revealed the undercovers in their midst.

The Socialists were alarmed to learn in the aftermath that law enforcement had infiltrated their peaceful assembly, particularly given CSPD’s history of spying on (generally leftist and environmentalist) activist groups. In truth, the Socialists should not have been alarmed given the history of American law enforcement busting into left groups dating all the way back to the Wobblies in the 20s. (Google it!) 

Fast forward to the late 60s, early 70s, and infiltration of left groups went on "steroids" with  the FBI's COINTELPRO  operations. The basic strategy was to dress these undercover agents like hippies (bell bottoms, long hair, floral shirts) then have them "join" the groups and spread havoc from within by telling lies or planting false info. (Google COINTELPRO and learn more about it.)   It is perhaps true that the most radical misfits in those 60s Left groups (like the Weather Underground) spurred much more targeting and infiltration  of the left-leaning "normal" groups.

I guess one might go along with the old saw "Peter got to pay for Paul" or some such, i.e. if "Peter" is relatively innocent -merely exercising his free speech - but "Paul" is the real bad guy. In this case, the violent acts of the Weathermen definitely led to all other Left groups - even peaceful - being targeted by COINTELPRO.    One could therefore say, with some plausibility, the aggressive surveillance of the Occupy Wall Street groups as well as infiltration of Socialists in the Springs by local cops is a carryover of that mindset.

But one also shouldn't be surprised  that Socialists nationwide would insist on much more respect after a Democratic Socialist (named Bernie Sanders)  had run in the 2016  presidential campaign - and won some 20 -odd states in the Democratic primaries. 

It was therefore not too surprising that - as reported by the  Indy-  the COS Socialists "hired the powerhouse civil rghts firm:  Killmer, Lane & Newman LLP out of Denver. They  filed a motion to dismiss based on “outrageous police misconduct,” arguing police violated federal regulations when they infiltrated a group with no history of or clear intent to commit violence. "

According to testimony by the two undercover police and Metro VNI Lt. Mark Comte at the Dec. 6 evidentiary hearing, the intelligence-gathering operation began early this year, when they became interested in local leftists based on “national trends” — particularly the proliferation of black bloc, a tactic most closely associated with anti-fascism (Antifa) in which protesters wear black and mask up to hide individual identities from law enforcement, disapproving employers and/or right-wing enemies.

Hyper wary of the Socialists (who have nada to do with Antifa)  Comte sent “Mark” and “Amy” to an open meeting, organized by the Colorado Springs Anti-Fascists, in the back room of the downtown Wild Goose Meeting House in January. The meeting was organized to plan how to “shut down” right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos during his scheduled appearance at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. (Yiannopoulos as most know is a convicted sex offender who goes around the country gaslighting everyone and everything a la Steve Bannon's playbook).

There,  according to the Indy account:  “Mark” said he heard some attendees propose rushing the stage and disabling the sound system. During cross-examination, he told David Lane, lead defense attorney, that pulling power cords could be considered violent in his opinion. That particular proposal was never incorporated into the group’s plan and the protest was nonviolent. Despite that, the undercover operation continued.

As for why an interest in Antifa would lead to surveillance of Socialists, the prosecution argued "there’s ambiguity and overlap between the memberships."   Of course, this is bare balderdash. The only "overlap" is that both often wear black.  So the Socialists' lawyers had to point out the
distinct differences, namely that Antifa tends to align with anarchism, i.e. they want to abolish the state, while the Socialists are mainly Marxist-Leninists.

That means they WANT the state to be expanded, i.e. to take over industrial, health, and other operations for the betterment of all. This , as opposed to having national institutions, pensions, and even water supplies and utilities privatized by greedy capitalists - impoverishing and exploiting even more millions of hapless citizens  As one of the seated Socialists pointed out for the peanut gallery regarding differences with Antifa: “We don’t even like each other.”

Note, Antifa - in addition to the differences from Socialists noted above-  doesn’t, in fact, have members. It’s instead a zeitgeist, a motive cultural -social tendency, not a fixed  organization with a charter, membership list and objectives - like the COS Socialists.  The spy cops didn't get this difference so naturally conflated the Antifas with the Socialists. As Mark put it, quoted by the Independent

“[I saw] him show up to a protest wearing black bloc clothing,”  

Well, let us hope there are no Baltimore Ravens' fans hanging around the Springs, because their normal NFL gear is black jackets and/or sweatshirts along with caps and slacks to match. 
Image result for Ravens fans in all black gear images
I mean, we wouldn't now want local Ravens' football fans (like wifey) to be lumped in with Antifa and Socialists as well.

Fortunately, Judge Kristen L. Hoffecker is expected to rule on the defense’s motion to dismiss in the coming weeks. Once that's finished the Socialists can continue fielding more candidates for the  Ds in the 2018 midterms, having already taken one seat in VA last month. Socialists are also busy training hundreds more to vie for spots on school boards, especially in Florida - where a large Puerto Rican diaspora (from the hurricane disaster that Trump ignored) have poured in by the hundreds of thousands. This means a "revenge vote" will be forthcoming and ensure whatever Dem presidential candidate (maybe Socialist Bernie Sanders) unseats dumb fuck traitor Dotard.

On the other positive side, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) are now grooming dozens of candidates to run in the mid terms, following the success in the recent primaries - including Virginia.

See also:

Once Again, "Super Freeze" Doesn't Mean No Global Warming

Rising permafrost temperatures could bring widespread thawing - story photo
Scene of melting permafrost near Fairbanks, AK as reported on Univ. of Alaska website.

Once again, almost like clock work, the dummy brigade has emerged to point to the bitter sub-zero temperatures in the north eastern U.S. and arguing there's really no global warming, no climate change. Even Dummy Dotard mockingly tweeted yesterday "we could use some of that global warming they keep talking about".  You wish, Dotard.

In fact, there is no contradiction at all. The Arctic dip or vortex in the east doesn't affect record breaking high temperatures here in Colorado (up to 60 degrees today), or 25 degrees higher than expected.  And, as I've noted before,  Arctic waves intruding into the U.S. or the "polar vortex" are actually signs of Arctic atmospheric instability tied to extraordinary heating in that region.

To the denier contingent, of course, there are no such things as any climate change records, because they are convinced it's all some grand, convoluted conspiracy by government and climate scientists. To these mostly brainwashed fools climate change is just an elaborate hoax. Never mind that, as I noted in my Dec. 18th post, human algorithms for monitoring temperature changes in certain locations of the Arctic are already out of date since they cannot encompass actual data outliers - such as Barrow, Alaska. 

In the 17 years since 2000, the average October temperature in Barrow has climbed 7.8 degrees. The November temperature was up 6.9 degrees. The December average has warmed 4.7 degrees The Arctic is warming faster than any other place on Earth, and Barrow is in the thick of it. With less and less sea ice to reflect sunlight, the temperature around the North Pole is spiking upward.
The NOAA Barrow Baseline Atmospheric Observatory, ...
Scene of mostly barren landscape near Barrow, AK last month. More dark surface area means lower albedo (less reflectivity), and more infrared radiation absorbed.

According to the NOAA Report issued earlier this month, which ought to awaken even the most comatose climate change denier zombies:

“The current observed rate of sea ice decline and warming temperatures are higher than at any other time in the last 1,500 years, and likely longer than that,”

This Arctic heat emphasis, for example exposed in the January , 2016 zonal temperature map :
No automatic alt text available.

dovetails with Prof. Gunter Weller's predictions (from the mid -1980s) - based on his ice core analyses- that future warming would be greatest in the Arctic.  This is  a phenomenon known as "Arctic amplification".  He pointed out that a much warmer Arctic also means a much more unstable polar region with more frequent intrusions ("waves")  of the polar vortex,  leading to frigid temperatures in parts of the U.S. such as we've seen the past few years.

The warming onslaught is now exacerbated by the rapid melting of permafrost. Vast expanses of former  Arctic permafrost have been reduced to mud, and also in the process of warming released methane - perhaps the Greenhouse gas which is most potent.  See e.g.

As reported by the University of Alaska -Fairbanks Arctic Research site:

In 2016, the latest year of complete records, the majority of Arctic observation sites reported the highest permafrost temperatures on record.

This comports with the NOAA report of anomalous heating at Barrow, for example.

The takeaway is that these sub-zero super freezes we're seeing with Arctic air intrusions are likely to become more frequent in the future, not less. The deniers and climate dummies would do well to learn more about this phenomenon and why they should be fearful, not wise ass snarky.