Brainy Quote of the Day

Friday, December 14, 2018

Damnatio memoriae...

Topics: Civics, Existentialism, Humor, Politics

Damnatio memoriae is a modern Latin phrase meaning "condemnation of memory", i.e., that a person is to be excluded from official accounts. There are and have been many routes to damnatio, including the destruction of depictions, the removal of names from inscriptions and documents, and even large-scale rewritings of history.

In Latin, the term damnatio memoriae was not used by the ancient Romans. The first appearance of the phrase is in a dissertation written in Germany in 1689. The term is used in modern scholarship to cover a wide array of official and unofficial sanctions whereby the physical remnants of a deceased individual were destroyed to differing degrees.

Damnatio memoriae, or oblivion, as a punishment was originally created by the peoples of Ephesus after Herostratus set fire to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of antiquity.[citation needed] The Romans, who viewed it as a punishment worse than death, adopted this practice.[citation needed] Felons would literally be erased from history for the crimes they had committed.[citation needed] Wikipedia

Apparently I have a few fans on the site Black In America dot com, a forum started by Soledad O’Brien when she was an anchor at CNN:

Another idiot is Mr. Reginald Goodwin! He’s always criticizing Pres. Trump, but I logically know this!
I am positive that Mr. Goodwin voted for Hillary Clinton and this is my argument.
If Mr. Goodwin was as smart as he think he is he would have reasoned like I did that Mr. Trump would be White America’s 45th president. Instead, the idiot Mr. Goodwin comes on Black in America and trash Pres. Trump for winning proving that Mr. Goodwin isn't smart at all since he voted for the wrong candidate, Ms. Hillary Clinton!

The policies that Mr. Trump campaigned on I reasoned Mr. Trump would win and that did happen, Mr. Trump won!

Mr. Goodwin is an idiot and I can say he is because I've proven he is since he voted for the wrong person and is now trashing the candidate that won, that is not intelligence!

Despite calling me out with an insult, I'm judiciously protecting this person's privacy. I'm obviously being facetious about his fandom. From his own words, we know who he's a fan of.

A few points before my retort:

2. The Mueller indictments so far: Lies, trolls and hacks, Jesus Rodriguez and Beatrice Jin, Politico
3. Mueller Indictments: Who’s Who, Wall Street Journal
4. Quoting myself in the post Belief in Oneness:
65,853,625 voted for the sane (though, maybe not desired) candidate.
62,985,105 voted for the orange fascist tweeting on the loo and defecating from his pie hole in a breathtaking achievement of daily, all-time Olympic-level lying.

Note: I was Who's Who For Colleges and Universities in my undergraduate days; International “Who’s Who” of Professionals 1998, volume 3 - page 2-47. I've never aspired however, to be on Director Robert Mueller's "Who's Who."

In response, I'm positive I voted for Secretary Clinton too. I'm pretty certain I did (my candidate is saner, and makes complete sentences on and off Twitter). I also don't think she's so much of a narcissist to call for a civil war if removed from office. He's Vladimir Putin's orange wet dream.

My retort (curt and to-the-point):

Who the hell are you, and why should I care? Take your meds and go back to bed, idiot. A prophet you're not, and a profit you've yet to net from your asinine comments. Enjoy oblivion as you will now be blocked and your insane commentary you can keep to yourself. Monday, December 10th 2018 at 1:52 PM

My troll posits himself a "prophet," a title I suspect he's assigned himself and is probably as accurate as Ms. Cleo, may she rest in peace, not speaking ill of the dead.

So, my response was to use the site's tools to block him. Because I've blocked him, he can only fume, post, spit at me from cyberspace and I won't respond or care. I do sincerely hope he takes his meds.

Lastly, I think damnatio memoriae is apropos once we are all post this era of Tweets, insults, incitements, indictments, arrests and Russian collusion. Oblivion should be his purgatory and zero access to the Internet. Like the Witch in the "Wizard of Oz" and my disturbed troll that is his fan: Entropy will allow him to shrivel and die alone and ignored, a Twitter account archived; no presidential library commissioned, bald; bereft of ferret toupees and tanning beds in something beyond hell and pee-pee tapes he would loathe above all else - obscurity.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Measuring Cosmic Distances...

Image Source: Link below

Topics: Astrophysics, Black Holes, Cosmology, Gravitational Waves, LIGO

Decades of experimental effort paid off spectacularly on 14 September 2015, when the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) spotted the gravitational waves generated by a pair of coalescing black holes.1 To get a sense of the effort leading to that breakthrough, consider that the gravitational waves caused the mirrors at the ends of each interferometer’s 4 km arms to oscillate with an amplitude of about 10−18 m, roughly a factor of a thousand smaller than the classical proton radius. The detection was also a triumph for theory. The frequency and amplitude evolution of the measured waves precisely matched general relativity’s predictions for the signal produced by a binary black hole merger, even though the system’s gravity was orders of magnitude stronger than that of any system that had been precisely probed before that detection.

Labeled GW150914, that first reported event was soon joined by other detections of binary black hole mergers. Each of those events appeared to be totally dark to traditional astronomical instruments—the matter and electromagnetic fields near the merging black holes were not sufficient to generate any signal other than gravitational. As had long been promised, gravitational waves have opened a window onto an otherwise invisible sector of the universe.

Measuring cosmic distances with standard sirens, Physics Today
Daniel Holz is a professor of physics and of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago.
Scott Hughes is a professor of physics at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Bernard Schutz is a professor of physics and astronomy at Cardiff University in the UK.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Illustrations of frequency-dependent toughening in a polymer-metal-nanoglue-ceramic composite. Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Topics: Materials Science, Metamaterials, Nanotechnology

In a discovery that could pave the way for new materials and applications, materials scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that oscillating loads at certain frequencies can lead to several-fold increases in the strength of composites with an interface that is modified by a molecular layer of "nanoglue."

A newly published article in Nature Communications reports the unexpected discovery of the effects of loading frequency on the fracture energy of a multilayer composite involving a "nanoglue," the use of which was also pioneered at Rensselaer.

"Unearthing, understanding, and manipulating nanoscale phenomena at interfaces during dynamic stimuli is a key to designing new materials with novel responses for applications," said Ganpati Ramanath, the John Tod Horton Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer and the lead author on the study. "Our work demonstrates that introducing a nanoglue layer at an interface of a layered composite can lead to large mechanical toughening at certain loading frequencies."

Nanoglue can make composites several times tougher during dynamic loading,
Matthew Kwan et al. Nature Communications,

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Perfect Fluid...

If collisions between small projectiles -- protons (p), deuterons (d), and helium-3 nuclei (3He) -- and gold nuclei (Au) create tiny hot spots of quark-gluon plasma, the pattern of particles picked up by the detector should retain some 'memory' of each projectile's initial shape. Measurements from the PHENIX experiment match these predictions with very strong correlations between the initial geometry and the final flow patterns. Credit: Javier Orjuela Koop, University of Colorado, Boulder

Topics: Astrophysics, Fluid Mechanics, Nuclear Physics, Relativity, Theoretical Physics

Nuclear physicists analyzing data from the PHENIX detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)—a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science user facility for nuclear physics research at Brookhaven National Laboratory—have published in the journal Nature Physics additional evidence that collisions of miniscule projectiles with gold nuclei create tiny specks of the perfect fluid that filled the early universe.

Scientists are studying this hot soup made up of quarks and gluons—the building blocks of protons and neutrons—to learn about the fundamental force that holds these particles together in the visible matter that makes up our world today. The ability to create such tiny specks of the primordial soup (known as quark-gluon plasma) was initially unexpected and could offer insight into the essential properties of this remarkable form of matter.

"This work is the culmination of a series of experiments designed to engineer the shape of the quark-gluon plasma droplets," said PHENIX collaborator Jamie Nagle of the University of Colorado, Boulder, who helped devise the experimental plan as well as the theoretical simulations the team would use to test their results.

Compelling evidence for small drops of perfect fluid, Brookhaven National Laboratory,

Monday, December 10, 2018

BOCs @ Home...

Quantum games: Artist’s impression of the Alice Challenge experimental setup. (Courtesy: ScienceAtHome/Aarhus University)

Topics: Bose-Einstein Condensate, Electromagnetic Radiation, Quantum Mechanics, Theoretical Physics

Citizen scientists have outperformed physicists in creating Bose–Einstein condensates (BECs) of ultracold atoms. That is the finding of an international team of scientists and social scientists, which ran the first-ever optimization challenge in which the public was able to create a BEC remotely by manipulating laser beams and magnetic fields. Optimization experts using state-of-the-art algorithms took a similar challenge and both groups created BECs containing more atoms than the physicists who had built the experiment – even though the physicists had months to perfect their techniques.

By studying the behavior of the 600 citizen scientists who participated, the team has uncovered insights into what makes human problem solving unique. As well as providing hints for creating advanced algorithms based on human intuition, the study suggests how to exploit the best of human and artificial intelligence in the future.

The research was done by Jacob Sherson and colleagues at Aarhus University in Denmark, Ulm University in Germany and the University of Sussex in the UK. Sherson and some of his colleagues have been involved in the ScienceAtHome project, which develops games that use the brainpower of the general public to solve quantum science challenges. In 2016, they described how more than 10,000 players of one of these games – Quantum Moves –had efficiently optimized operations that could run a hypothetical quantum computer. “[With Quantum Moves], we documented that humans can contribute to solving complex challenges,” says Sherson. “With our current work we now take on the challenge of starting to answer how they contribute.”

Citizen scientists excel at creating Bose–Einstein condensates
Benjamin Skuse, Physics World

Friday, November 30, 2018

On Teargas and Positive Thinking...

Reuters (via HuffPost): A Honduran toddler in diapers who came to the border on the migrant caravan sobs after she and her mother fled tear gas fired by American officers at the Mexican border Sunday.

Topics: Biology, Ethics, Existentialism, Politics

Note: Studying for and taking finals next week. Will be on hiatus until 10 December.

I've decided not only will there not be a "presidential pivot," but that there is no "low." When we think he's reached it, he'll just tunnel further to the center of Hades. Apparently, deviant meditations can be generated with the combination of an aggressive laxative encouraging septuagenarian elimination and early morning tweeting, a perversion of the old maxim "walking and chewing gum." The presence of his spot-on clone of Joseph Goebbels (himself a descendant of Holocaust survivors), only eggs on the most depraved behavior from our government and mimicked by a cult following of nihilists. It emboldens fascists globally: domestic terrorists here in the US, and authoritarians worldwide. What's happening at the border can't be done alone: there had to be a group of fellow citizens working in government for YEARS waiting for this moment and its orange, tweeting avatar. We have gone in two years from the world's best example (and that is arguable on many levels, I admit), to its decidedly worst.


Tear "gas" consists of either aerosolized solid compounds or evaporated liquid compounds (bromoacetone or xylyl bromide), not gas. Tear gas works by irritating mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth and lungs, and causes crying, sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, pain in the eyes, and temporary blindness. With CS gas, symptoms of irritation typically appear after 20–60 seconds of exposure and commonly resolve within 30 minutes of leaving (or being removed from) the area. With pepper spray (also called "oleoresin capsicum", capsaicinoid or OC gas), the onset of symptoms, including loss of motor control, is almost immediate. There can be considerable variation in tolerance and response, according to the National Research Council (US) Committee on Toxicology.

Use of tear gas in warfare (as with all other chemical weapons,) is prohibited by various international treaties that most states have signed. Police and private self-defense use is not banned in the same manner. Armed forces can legally use tear gas for drills (practicing with gas masks) and for riot control. First used in 1914, xylyl bromide was a popular tearing agent since it was easily prepared. Source: Wikipedia


"The use of tear gas on children -- including infants and toddlers in diapers -- goes against evidence-based recommendations, and threatens their short and long-term health," the statement, written by AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) President Colleen A. Kraft, reads.

"Children are uniquely vulnerable to physiological effects of chemical agents. A child's smaller size, more frequent number of breaths per minute and limited cardiovascular stress response compared to adults magnifies the harm of agents such as tear gas."

The AAP also alludes to possible psychological trauma, since children who have arrived at the border "have taken harrowing journeys."

"We must make every effort not to retraumatize them," Kraft writes. [1]


Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump on Monday denied that federal agents along the US-Mexico border used tear gas on child migrants, but photos and videos show women and children migrants were among those caught up in an incident between border agents and a migrant group that rushed a border crossing Sunday.

At the White House, Trump said that border agents involved in the incident "had to use (force) because they were being rushed by some very tough people and they used tear gas."

"Here's the bottom line, nobody's coming into our country unless they're coming legally," he added. Trump also said the Mexican government "wants to see if they can straighten it out." [2]

The Trump family infrequently attended Marble Collegiate Church, on Fifth Avenue in New York City. It was chaired famously by Reverend Norman Vincent Peale, author of the "Power of Positive Thinking" and other books published along the lines of the "new thought" philosophy that would become famous in motivational books, speaking circles as well as prosperity gospel ministries, and the new age movement. Dr. Peale performed his first wedding to Ivana; his successor would perform his second to Marla Maples in the same facility. Peale would famously be derided by the psychological community as a fraud. Maybe evidenced by his choices of consigliere that was an appealing trait.

One major criticism of The Power of Positive Thinking is that the book is full of anecdotes that are hard to substantiate. Almost all of the experts and many of the testimonials that Peale quotes as supporting his philosophy are unnamed, unknown and unsourced. Examples include a "famous psychologist", a two-page letter from a "practicing physician", another "famous psychologist", a "prominent citizen of New York City", and dozens, if not hundreds, more unverifiable quotations. Similar scientific studies of questionable validity are also cited. As psychiatrist R. C. Murphy exclaimed, "All this advertising is vindicated as it were, by a strict cleaving to the side of part truth," and referred to the work and the quoted material as "implausible and woodenly pious".

A second major accusation of Peale is that he attempted to conceal that his techniques for giving the reader absolute self-confidence and deliverance from suffering are a well known form of hypnosis, and that he attempts to persuade his readers to follow his beliefs through a combination of false evidence and self-hypnosis (autosuggestion), disguised by the use of terms which may sound more benign from the reader's point of view ("techniques", "formulas", "methods", "prayers", and "prescriptions"). One author called Peale's book "The Bible of American autohypnotism". Source: Wikipedia

This is why my theory is, I don't think he "thinks" he's lying: he's - in the parlance of "faith confessions" - speaking the outcome he wants to see, a warped understanding, or an intellectual laziness not to even BOTHER to understand.

Because he said President Obama was born in Kenya, he HAD to be born in Kenya. Because he "says" the Mueller probe is a witch hunt, it HAS to be a witch hunt (that has bagged a substantial amount of Warlocks). Because he "says" there was "no collusion," their CAN'T have been any collusion. Because he "says" the children aren't harmed, they can't be harmed by teargas. Because he "says" global warming is a hoax by the Chinese, it HAS to be a hoax by the Chinese. Because he SAID their were "fine people on both sides" in Charlottesville, they have to have BEEN fine people on both sides in Charlottesville, Virginia (to remind: one side - antifascists; the other side - Nazis).

I could go on for 6,420 false claims in 649 days (9.89/day). Every prevarication uttered like a steady flow of diarrhea from an erupting sewer are all individual, cherished "golden nuggets" of truth for us mere mortals that don't understand his vibe...

Most of the saner rest of us just calls it lying.

1. This is how tear gas affects children, AJ Willingham, CNN
2. Trump denies tear gas was used on child migrants despite pictures, video, Maegan Vazquez and Geneva Sands, CNN

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Eugenics Wars...

Some say a global moratorium on germline gene editing is called for In the wake of He Jiankui's controversial study. LUISMMOLINA/ISTOCKPHOTO

Topics: Biology, Ethics, Existentialism, Star Trek

"Superior ability breeds superior ambition."
– Spock, 2267 ("Space Seed") Source: The Eugenics Wars (Memory Alpha)

The Eugenics Wars (or the Great Wars) were a series of conflicts fought on Earth between 1992 and 1996. The result of a scientific attempt to improve the Human race through selective breeding and genetic engineering, the wars devastated parts of Earth, by some estimates officially causing some thirty million deaths, and nearly plunging the planet into a new Dark Age. (TOS: "Space Seed"; ENT: "Borderland")


When a researcher in China startled the world earlier this week with the revelation that he had created the first gene-edited babies, only one prominent scientist quickly spoke out in his defense: geneticist George Church, whose Harvard University lab played a pioneering role in developing CRISPR, the genome editor used to engineer embryonic cells in the hugely controversial experiment. Church has reservations about the actions of He Jiankui, the scientist in Shenzhen, China, who led the work.

The fiercely debated experiment, described by He at a meeting in Hong Kong, China, today, used CRISPR to try to make the babies resistant to HIV by crippling a receptor, CCR5, that the virus uses to infect white blood cells. But Church also thinks there’s a frenzy of criticism surrounding He that exaggerates the severity of what one critic gingerly called his “missteps” but another called “monstrous.” [1]


HONG KONG, CHINA--An international conference on human gene editing dominated by news of the birth of the world's first genetically engineered babies today concluded with a statement from the organizers that harshly condemned the controversial study. But it did not call for a global moratorium on similar studies, as some scientists had hoped; instead it called for a "translational pathway" that might eventually bring the ethically fraught technology to patients in a responsible way.

The hotly debated study, which apparently resulted in twin baby girls whose genomes were altered in a way that could affect their offspring, came to light on the eve of the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing here. The first summit, held in Washington, D.C. in December 2015, concluded with a statement that specifically said that unless and until safety, efficacy, and ethical and regulatory issues are resolved, "it would be irresponsible to proceed with any clinical use of germline editing," a reference to genetic modifications that can be passed on to the next generation.

But that is exactly what Chinese researcher He Jiankui did, crippling a gene known as CCR5 in hopes of making the babies as well as their offspring resistant to HIV infection. After the news appeared in the media, He appeared at a special session at the summit yesterday to defend his work and answer questions from the stunned audience. (He, an associate professor at Southern University of Science and Technology in nearby Shenzhen, withdrew from a second session on embryo editing on Thursday afternoon.) [2]

1. ‘I feel an obligation to be balanced.’ Noted biologist comes to defense of gene editing babies, Jon Cohen, Science Magazine
2. Organizers of gene editing meeting blast Chinese study but call for a "pathway" to human trials, Dennis Normile, Science Magazine