Brainy Quote of the Day

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Least of These...

Falling harvests and rising prices are in prospect. (Courtesy Morteza Rafikhah, via Wikimedia Commons)

Topics: Climate Change, Ecology, Economy, Politics

One of Mother Teresa's favorite texts in the Bible, which she often quoted to support her ministry to the poor, is "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40, 45, NIV). Source: Timothy Lent, LinkedIn

An effective climate strategy to protect everyone on Earth, and the natural world as well, is what the planet needs. But Austrian-based scientists have now confirmed something all climate scientists have suspected for more than a decade: there can be no simple, one-size-fits-all solution to the twin challenges of climate change and human poverty.

That catastrophic climate change driven by “business as usual” fossil fuel energy reliance will by 2100 impose devastating costs worldwide, and drive millions from their homes and even homelands, has been repeatedly established.

So has the need to shift from fossil fuels to renewable resources, almost certainly by imposing some kind of “carbon tax” worldwide.

But a new study from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis warns that if agriculture is included in stringent climate mitigation schemes, there will be higher costs in the short term.

If humans don’t act, then climate change driven by global warming will create conditions that will put an extra 24 million people, or perhaps 50 million extra, at risk of hunger and malnutrition.

Sadly, I think with the exacerbation of inequality; the Russian-installed occupant of the American Executive Mansion and the general disposition of self-absorbed humanity, these quotes by the author Fyodor Dostoyevsky encapsulates our current, pitiful state:

“The world says: "You have needs -- satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don't hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more." This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground

Climate strategy needs tailoring to poorest, Tim Radford, Physics World

Friday, August 3, 2018

They Are Q...

Image Source: DC Villains/Anarchy Wiki page 
Topics: Civics, Existentialism, Philosophy, Politics

I'm taking two weeks off before the fall semester and my sophomore year in graduate school. Tomorrow (Saturday, August 4th), I'll be giving a presentation on "How To Study" by Ron Fry, a book in its 25th edition that I still use to this day on how I get information in my brain "to stick." I'll apparently be speaking to two groups of millennials, and get a free lunch. 

Definition of anarchy (Merriam-Webster)
a : absence of government
b : a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority the city's descent into anarchy
c : a Utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government
a : absence or denial of any authority or established order
b : absence of order : disorder

Tampa, Fla. (AP) -- Amid the "Trump 2020" placards, the "Women for Trump" signs and the "CNN SUCKS" T-shirts, the most inscrutable message that came out of Donald Trump's Tampa rally on Tuesday evening was a letter.


People wore T-shirts with the letter emblazoned on the front. Others carried signs containing the letter: "Q WWG1WGA Trump 2020 Keep America Great! MSM is the enemy." Another held a dog-eared and slightly crumpled piece of paper in the air. It said, simply, "We are Q."

Q who?

The entire, loose movement has been called everything from "a deranged conspiracy cult" (The Washington Post) to a grassroots movement "about the covert battles being waged between the deep state and President Trump" (according to Tyler, a guy at the Tampa rally who held a metal coin emblazoned with the letter and showed it to WPLG, a TV station from Miami).

Here's a look at the trend that's sweeping certain dark corners of the Internet:


In late October 2017, an anonymous user posted on 4chan, a shadowy site known for, among other things, cruel hoaxes and political extremism. Under the title "The Calm Before the Storm," the poster claimed to have a high-level government security clearance — Q clearance to be exact — and referred to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, George Soros, political parties and former President Barack Obama.

Q gives readers "breadcrumbs" so they can ferret out details on their own. There's other lingo as well. Bakers are amateur sleuths who follow the crumbs. Anyone who tries to debunk Q is "a clown." (This includes CIA agents, shadowy operatives and most likely reporters, although there's separate terminology for them). Tamara Lush, Associated Press for Bloomberg News

Coincidentally, five years ago on August 1st, I posted Ab Absurdo. It was more about science denial in general, but two "tech" people fully convinced the moon landing was faked - which, I had the benefit of actually being on the planet to witness all of them, and they did not. I found it exhausting to discuss facts with them since like most cult members and social anarchists, facts are anathema to what amounts to their belief system.

"Q" is simply a continuum of anarchists that have a notion that the current situation we call governance is nonfunctional (in its current K-street lobbyist form, I would agree with that). Their action towards remedying that is to vote for and support of a conspiracy theory, barely literate or tethered to reality, tweeting nincompoop. An anarchist's general solution to anything is to tear the whole thing down, and then "magically" the plucky individual will work everything out - including, I assume food, labor, education, technology and infrastructure. Their *knowledge* amounts to a belief system cherry-picked from bits and pieces of information they have formed in dark corners of the Internet laced with bigotry, misogyny and antisemitism from like-minded addled individuals to reinforce their already ossified political beliefs. This is the same realm as abstinence-only vs. birth control and education; climate denial, "deep state" (replacing the previous "fill-in-the-blank" cabals, coined by the superior, perfect human specimen Steve Bannon); gun control opposition (but, not 3-D printed guns); science denial and ultimately, opposition to the continued, effective governance of a republic.

I will agree on ONE thing: it will be anarchy. And there is scant historical evidence anarchists have held together republics or sway in world order.
Image Source: Odin's Ravens: Give Trump a Shave with Occam's Razor

I will return 20 August. Be well.

Thursday, August 2, 2018


The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will search more than 85% of the sky.Credit: Leif Heimbold/NASA
Topics: Exoplanets, NASA, Planetary Science, Space Exploration, Star Trek

"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before." (Star Trek: Into Darkness)

Filling the shoes of NASA’s Kepler spacecraft won’t be easy. Since its launch in 2009, Kepler has discovered nearly three-quarters of the 3,700-plus known exoplanets. And there are thousands more candidates waiting to be confirmed.

So NASA is taking a different approach with its next planet-hunting mission. On 16 April, the agency plans to launch the US$337-million Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which will scrutinize 200,000 nearby bright stars for signs of orbiting planets. TESS will probably find fewer worlds than Kepler did, but they will arguably be more important ones.

“It’s not so much the numbers of planets that we care about, but the fact that they are orbiting nearby stars,” says Sara Seager, an astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge and deputy science director for TESS.

TESS is meant to identify planets that are close enough to Earth for astronomers to explore them in detail. Team scientists estimate that the spacecraft will discover more than 500 planets that are no more than twice the size of Earth. These worlds will form the basis for decades of further studies, including searches for signs of life. “We’ll see a whole new opening of exoplanet studies,” Seager says.

NASA’s next exoplanet hunter will seek worlds close to home, Alexandra Witze, Nature

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Graphene Black Hole Hologram...

An image to illustrate the concept of holographic duality between a graphene flake and a black hole. Physics World
Topics: Black Holes, Einstein, General Relativity, Graphene, Nanotechnology, Quantum Mechanics

Much research on black holes is theoretical since it is difficult to make actual measurements on real black holes. Such experiments also need to be undertaken over decades or longer. Physicists are therefore keen to create laboratory systems that are analogous to these cosmic entities. New theoretical calculations by a team in Canada, the US, UK and Israel have now revealed that a material as simple as a graphene flake with an irregular boundary subjected to an intense external magnetic field can be used to create a quantum hologram that faithfully reproduces some of the signature characteristics of a black hole. This is because the electrons in the carbon material behave according to the Sachdev-Ye-Kitaev model.

Some of the most important unresolved mysteries in modern physics come from the “incompatibility” between Einstein’s theory of general relativity and the theory of quantum mechanics. General relativity describes the physics of the very big (the force of gravity and all that it affects: spacetime, planets, galaxies and the expansion of the Universe). The theory of quantum mechanics is the physics of the very small – and the other three forces, electromagnetism and the two nuclear forces.

“In recent years, physicists have gleaned important new insights into these questions through the study of the SYK model,” explains Marcel Franz of the University of British Columbia in Canada, who led this research effort. “This model is an illustration of a type of ‘holographic duality’ in which a lower-dimensional system can be represented by a higher dimensional one. In our calculations, the former is N graphene electrons in (0+1) dimensions and the latter the dilation gravity of a black hole in (1+1) dimensional anti-de Sitter (AdS2) space.

Black hole hologram appears in a graphene flake, Belle Dumé, Physics World

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Downloading Death...

Image source: the Cool t-shirt
Topics: 3D Printing, Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Philosophy, Politics

I'm quoting the actress Alyssa Milano from the CNN article which went live today titled: "A 3D printed gun is downloadable death." Officially tomorrow, it's no longer fantasy.

Below is a repost of a Thursday, March 28, 2013 article "Yin and Yang." Even though the quotes attributed to Einstein I've seen questioned, please note the video embed below. It's no longer speculation. We're here now. The next mass shooting will be undetectable by standard systems; untraceable by serial numbers. Since a 3D printer is not an unsubstantial expense, it will likely be a white male, "lone wolf," but never a "thug" or "terrorist." Or maybe it will be, since an Amazon account can get you a descent one delivered to your doorstep in 2-5 days. It's just the carnage a hostile power bent to turning our daily crumbling republic into a wasteland would want.

Except...this isn't a cartoon.


Yin and yang are actually complementary, not opposing, forces, interacting to form a whole greater than either separate part; in effect, a dynamic system. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, (for instance shadow cannot exist without light). Either of the two major aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object, depending on the criterion of the observation. The concept of yin and yang is often symbolized by various forms of the Taijitu symbol, for which it is probably best known in Western cultures. (Wikipedia)

Star Trek Blog: Star Trek’s replicator is an amazing technology concept that has fascinated us for decades. Working at the molecular level to synthesize materials, the replicator is able to instantly produce nearly any object, food or medicine on demand. It is easy to imagine how the replicator would quickly change the world. Such a device could dramatically reduce or even eliminate the cost of most products. Hunger and poverty would be stamped out worldwide, and much of the time and energy spent working for a living could be used instead for pursuits of education, exploration and the advancement of society.

Star Trek envisions the future of humanity to be one of incredible achievements made possible by evolved philosophies as well as technologies. This hopeful view of tomorrow is perhaps the reason so many have dreamed of inventing real-life versions of Star Trek tech -- from the transporter to the tricorder -- and the replicator is one of the most coveted.

A process called “additive manufacturing,” or its more popular nickname, “3D Printing,” has captured the imagination of the tech industry. These machines work much like the two-dimensional printer you may have on your desk, but instead of printing a layer of ink, a 3D printer extrudes many layers of melted plastic to form a physical object. You can imagine this as similar to a hot glue gun, where the heated glue stick is carefully extruded from a nozzle. In the case of a 3D printer, that nozzle is controlled by software and digital design files that tells it how to form a shape.

The comparisons between 3D Printing and the Star Trek replicator don’t end with plastic. Other materials like wood, metal and even some foods are now being extruded in similar ways to make on-demand creations. This has led to excited speculation that soon we may see the beginnings of a new era of manufacturing in America and around the world, where small-scale production is possible at very low costs. We may even “print” biotechnologies and human organs one day.

Gene Roddenberry's underlying message of the future: eternal optimism. As much as I am a fan, I'm afraid I possess a healthy dose of skepticism. Even the Star Trek Memory Alpha Wiki mentions some rough roads prior to 1st Contact with Vulcan. I sincerely hope "life does [not] imitate art" in this case (the "rough road" part; 1st Contact would be OK).

The last five mass extinction events were completely involuntary; unassisted since we hadn't showed up just yet. I end below the embed with two quotes from Einstein:

“I don't know what weapons will be used in world war three, but in world war four people will use sticks and stones.”

"We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings."


Monday, July 30, 2018

The Perpetuity of Doomsday...

A blood moon photo taken on Apr. 15, 2014. The world did not end when that blood moon occurred, and it is unlikely to end tomorrow (26 July), either.
Credit: NASA Ames Research Center/Brian Day
Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Moon, NASA

Tonight (July 26 - last Thursday), the moon will pass through the center of Earth's rusty-red shadow and remain there for a whopping 1 hour and 43 minutes.

To astronomers, this is a thrilling example of a total lunar eclipse — the longest one we'll see for the rest of the century. To some doom-saying YouTube preachers, on the other hand, it's a terrifying example of a "blood moon," and it may be the last one we ever see in this or any century.

"The blood moon is definitely a prophetic sign [of the end times]," one prominent YouTube preacher (whom Live Science prefers not to name) said in a recent video. "There are way too many prophecies in play here… we're in the end times."

This is not the first time a so-called blood moon has attracted prophecies of doom — not by a long shot. Throughout history, many non-Christian cultures have interpreted the disappearance of the trusty moon as a dark omen. According to National Geographic, Incan myths held that a lunar eclipse meant the moon had been eaten by a large jaguar, while ancient Mesopotamians believed an eclipse was the work of demons. With the light of the moon being so crucial to timekeeping and agriculture, it's little wonder why its disappearance or sudden blood-red makeover was a terrifying sight.

If Blood Moons Signal the Apocalypse, We Have Been in the 'End Times' for 4.5 Billion Years
Brandon Specktor, Live Science

Friday, July 27, 2018

Global Gaslighting...

Image Source: Medium
Topics: Commentary, Existentialism, Philosophy

The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right. George Orwell, 1984

What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” Jack Holmes (quoting drunk uncle-in-chief), Esquire Magazine

11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting (Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D., Psychology Today):

From the article:

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn't realize how much they've been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.

People who gaslight typically use the following techniques:

1. They tell blatant lies.
2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.
3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.
4. They wear you down over time.
5. Their actions do not match their words.
6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.
7. They know confusion weakens people.
8. They project.
9. They try to align people against you.
10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.
11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

Abuser? Check.
Dictator? Check.
Narcissist? Check.
Cult leader? CHECK!

The former "party of patriots" and "family values" have moved to impeach their own Deputy Attorney General because he dared to ask them post indicting 12 Russians that attacked our electoral process to "be Americans first." The problem is, the nation and our allies are being abused by a charlatan and a party that sees the fast-approaching shelf life of "The Southern Strategy." The difference is, this gaslighting is being done not as mental abuse to individuals, but to an entire planet!

Michael Lofgren got the memo early in his Internet screed: "Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult." This was prior to the rise of the Propecia Ferret toupee wearing, Orange Caligula. He's probably the first former republican to use the word "cult" to describe his former party. Before Lofgren departed...before George Will...before Nicole Wallace...before Steve Schmidt... I honestly have no idea why Michael Steele hasn't gotten a clue.

Amanda Marcotte wrote Troll Nation with a simple, yet understandable thesis - the right gave up trying to make a logical argument a long time ago - trickle-down is a joke, "prosperity gospel" is an obvious hustle and "family values" picked the p-grabber to shepherd the nuclear codes. So, their reason for living is to piss off liberals, period. It means opposing anything liberals find important like civil rights, LGBT rights, women's rights, universal health care, a living wage, a clean environment and combating global warming. It's the literal equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot and laughing that someone else is concerned about the gaping hole in it! These are people we shouldn't waste time trying to convince since "critical thinking" is against the tribal rules. I'm STILL trying not to be a prick as eventually, they have to come to the conclusion from Putin or Propecia their fears have been played against them and the nation.

I wanted to put this stake in the ground to say one thing: you're NOT crazy, HE is as well as his cult following! Why you're exhausted is this is his and his followers' "normal," which is abnormal and not a way to run a democratic republic...for very long.

With luck, a few hobbies, exercise, dates you enjoy; LONG walks and frequent escapes to Roku and Fire Sticks (and VOTING November 6, 2018), we'll get through this.

For the future of the nation and the species, we HAVE to.

Related links:

How to survive gaslighting: when manipulation erases your reality, Ariel Leve, The Guardian
What is Gaslighting? National Domestic Violence Hotline
What is Gaslighting? Northpoint Recovery