Why shouldn’t Iran be allowed to enrich Uranium from its natural .7% presence of U235 up to 20%?

April 10, 2021

A sphere of 400 kilograms of 20% U235 with 80% U238 is 34 centimeters in diameter, and gets spontaneously supercritical (extremely dangerous, sometimes fatal) studies have shown. Now, adding a few tricks to this 20% enriched core enables to lower the critical mass a lot. (Beryllium reflects neutrons back to the core, quadrupling neutron density; thick, strong tamper for example in U238, bottles down the chain reaction, while adding to it with fragments of exploding U238; core with tritium, lithium deuteride adds neutrons of appropriate energy; an exterior neutron source starts the chain reaction.) 

The Iran nuclear bomb problem is geopolitical: if Iran gets the bomb, a world war is much more likely. Indeed several Arab countries and Turkey, maybe Azerbaijan and its deadly enemy Armenia then of course large and mighty Kazakhstan, would get the bomb… So those who have the bomb already (China, Pakistan, India) would bomb up some more, meaning they would have to acquire much more capability to engage in nuclear war, thus lowering the trigger point… (India purchased Rafales from France in part because they can be used as hard-to-stop nuclear bombers.)

  • French thermonuclear explosion Canopus, 2.6 megatons, 200 times Hiroshima, 24 August 1968, Fangataufa, Tuamotus, South Pacific. The explosion was beyond the horizon, 35 kilometers away, but the shock wave (initially hypersonic) is only a mile away (look at the black clouds).

Logically Israel would have to strike Iran first (with the approval, not just of the West, but of plenty of Arabs, who should, and do detest Aryan Iran much more than Semitic Israel…)… and strike hard. Some Iranian facilities are deeply buried. Although they tend to spontaneously explode in recent years, maybe one will need to use nuclear bombs to help them with the on-going fireworks. 

A few countries agreed to stop or reverse their nuclear bomb programs (Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa which had officially seven bombs). Why? One cannot have dozens of countries with nuclear bombs… if one wants to avoid a nuclear world war. If bombs start to get used, the tendency will be to go all out and use reduced arsenals before they get taken out.

Pakistan has many of its bombs into deep caverns below its enormous mountains. hard to get to without precision bombing or nuclear bombs. The Islamist Republic of Pakistan is actively developing nuclear weapons, and long range rockets to carry them. Experts project that Pakistan may have the 5th largest nuke arsenal by 2025 with 220-250 warheads. A nuclear war between Pakistan and India would have a high probability to involve China if India “wins”. One has to realize that Islam has a serious violence problem (Islam won over the already violent, and holocaust prone, Roman catholics by being even more violent…). Nuclear war, once launched, will prove highly contagious.

Meanwhile, for the first time in more than a generation, the French military is preparing for an “Engagement Majeur” (major war)… within a few years and France has augmented its war preparation to 2% of GDP. Differently with what happened in 1870, 1914, and 1939, this time, at least under Trump, the preparation for war is involving the USA… which has now replaced Britain as France’s major military collaborator… Not that Britain is unwilling: it simply does not spend enough although it is close to the 2% of GDP, and is also augmenting its military spending, having lifted its cap on nukes by 40%… and so is Germany (greatly at France’s urging). Whereas the US, France’s rambunctious child, spends 3.4% of GDP on defense… The nuclear bomb collaboration between France, Britain and the USA dates all the way back to 1939… Should Iran develop nuclear weapons, European military spending will augment enormously.  

Some will whine disingenuously: why can Israel have nukes, and not Iran?

Well, Israel, starting way back, say with the Judean War (circa 70 CE, two millennia ago), has been submitted to persecution. First from the Romans, then from the Roman Catholics (a worse species, actually), and finally the Muslims … said Muslims were parroting their friends the Catholics: Muhammad got two high quality slaves as gifts from the Catholic bishop of Alexandria; but Muhammad’s relation with the Jews was cross after he exterminated a Jewish tribe in Yathrib; the Qur’an is full of absurd insults against Jews from all sorts of angles [1]; the Hadith is way worse). This is not to be taken lightly: after a revolt of the Samaritans, the Roman Catholics basically eradicated them… there are 2,000 left today!

Then came the Hitler madness, when Luther’s torturous dreams against the Jews were enacted into a Holocaust. By 1949, top French nuclear physicists of the CEA were collaborating with Jewish colleagues to give the just (re) created Israel, the Bomb. So the Israeli bomb is first of all a defensive weapon. At this point, Israel is basically the nuclear arm of the Semites, that is, the Arabs… Considering its tiny size relative to giants like Iran, Israel has no reason to attack, and a good reason not to (too risky).

If they build them, bombs, they will use them, bombs. Whether they want it, or not.

Patrice Ayme

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[1] From the Cow (second chapter in the Qur’an):

[2.87] We made a covenant with the children of Israel: You shall not serve any but Allah and (you shall do) good to (your) parents, and to the near of kin and to the orphans and the needy, and you shall speak to men good words and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate. Then you turned back except a few of you and (now too) you turn aside.

[2.88] And they say: Our hearts are covered. Nay, Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief; so little it is that they believe.

[2.98] Whoever is the enemy of Allah and His angels and His apostles and Jibreel and Meekaeel, so surely Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers.

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[4.160] Wherefore for the iniquity of those who are Jews did We disallow to them the good things which had been made lawful for them and for their hindering many (people) from Allah’s way.

[5.33] The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement,

[5.51] O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

[5.64] And the Jews say: The hand of Allah is tied up! Their hands shall be shackled and they shall be cursed for what they say

[5.73] Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one God, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve.

[5.78] Those who disbelieved from among the children of Israel were cursed by the tongue of Dawood and Isa, son of Marium; this was because they disobeyed and used to exceed the limit.

[6.146] And to those who were Jews We made unlawful every animal having claws, and of oxen and sheep We made unlawful to them the fat of both, except such as was on their backs or the entrails or what was mixed with bones: this was a punishment We gave them on account of their rebellion, and We are surely Truthful.

[9.30] And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!

[9:34] O you who believe! most surely many of the doctors of law [rabbis] and the monks eat away the property of men falsely, and turn (them) from Allah’s way; and (as for) those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s way, announce to them a painful chastisement….

[16.118] And for those who were Jews We prohibited what We have related to you already, and We did them no injustice, but they were unjust to themselves.

[17.4] And We had made known to the children of Israel in the Book: Most certainly you will make mischief in the land twice, and most certainly you will behave insolently with great insolence.

[62.6] Say: O you who are Jews, if you think that you are the favorites of Allah to the exclusion of other people, then invoke death If you are truthful.

Can Life Evolve On WOWs?

April 10, 2021

Around stars, there are “habitable zones”, defined by water on the surface. Several years ago, introduced my own subtility, the “radioactive zone”, where planets have a very active radioactive core, which I viewed as necessary for life. It turns out that new developments (2021) buttress my case (life living off radiation, see below). 

Probes sent around the solar system have revealed water to be much more common than expected. We expected the solar system to be a desert, with just one blue water planet. Well, there is an enormous blue planet in the Solar System, Neptune (blue because CH4 absorbs the red and yellow light). Others may not be blue, but they are full of water. Three worlds seem to have worldwide oceans, below the ice: Callisto, Europa, Enceladus. Move away, old concept of habitability! In general, WORLDWIDE OCEAN WORLDS (WOWs) seem common in the galaxy.

Habitability, that is availability for Earth life colonization is one thing. Clearly many worlds are habitable in the Solar System after extrapolating a bit from present tech.  Another concept is indigenous bioevolvability… a planet where life could evolve. There are going to be a tiny fraction of bioevolvable planets, relative to habitable planets, because catastrophe will be many.

Thus another possibility, unforeseen and new, is life evolving outside of the traditional habitable zone… in WOWs… Worldwide Ocean Worlds… Europa may have twice the water oceanic volume of Earth. Can life evolve on a WOW? We (PA and Ian Miller, see below) do not think so.

Indeed, at first sight there could be more than refueling possibilities for humanity in WOWs. There could be native life. Viroids, maybe?… (Once we have mastered thermonuclear fusion, hydrogen, thus water, will be important because that’s what we will need the most in space, for colonization…) In any case, the concept of WOW augments considerably the habitable zones. In the Solar System, the presence of water may make more than half a dozen worlds colonizable by humanity… once we have compact thermonuclear fusion. This includes Pluto. (Mercury, Luna, Mars, Ceres, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Enceladus, Pluto…) 

Water worlds on moons around giant planets may be the way to exo-life (because they have tides, angular momentum stability, comet protection, are geologically alive, etc.). In any case the plethora of water worlds means the galaxy is eminently and imminently colonizable, and colonization is what we do…

In my not so humble opinion, I think it is likely that WOW will have no life, because life requires lightning and cosmic & solar radiation to appear and evolve ever greater complexity in a timely manner, in the genetic material of said life… Both lightning and radiation are found only on the surface of planets… Intriguingly, this idea may be why terrestrial life became more advanced than oceanic life on Earth! Marine mammals are advanced, right… But they evolved on the continents. 

Huge tides would help too, by mixing things up… Plus a mighty nuclear engine inside the planet to bury carbon with plate tectonics in an homeostatic way, and fabricate a huge magnetic shield. (I have proposed that nuclear fission helped in the creation of Luna; my theory would require that Luna and Terra have the same exact isotopic composition… As observed… If that is correct, a huge IF, it would mean that having a big moon, or being a big moon, is a requirement for evolving sophisticated, Earth style life…)

But of course whether WOWs can evolve sophisticated life is an experimental question: missions should be flown to try to detect organic activity… And the Viking experiments on Mars (which apparently found life!) should be repeated (that was refused for “Perseverance”!)  It is rather baffling that a big effort was not made by, say, Europe, to find evidence of life on Europa. Are they all spiritually dead yet, out there? Just waiting for America to design vaccines for them? 

My friend Ian Miller, a chemist, with a broad science background, has opinions on the scientific aspects of life on other worlds:

ianmillerblog

on April 5, 2021 at 10:47 pm said:

My argument is there is no life under ice on Europa. Reasons include no nitrogen (there is more sodium in the extremely tenuous atmosphere than nitrogen, unless the analyses are wrong), and no significant carbon. Additional reasons include no possibility of reproduction because besides no nitrogen and carbon: phosphates would sink to the bottom, no real mechanism to make lipid equivalents (too wet and cold), and no mechanism to make phosphate esters. The only one so far discovered that is plausibly abiogenic is photophysical, so it needs light, and no phosphate esters, no reproduction. Enceladus at least has nitrogen and carbon, but I think the light is still a killer, as is the limited phosphate.

There is one further issue. Abiogenic chemistry in oceans suffers from the problem of dilution. Even if you can get condensation reactions to work (very difficult in water, without light or enzymes and you can’t start with the latter) the dilution effect means polymers are always far too short to be useful, like two mers.

Patrice Ayme: Wow (pun intended). Very interesting comment Ian! One sees the chemist unfolding wings of understanding. Basically you say Europa’s chemistry is not rich enough. However, there may exist a carapace of 80 kilometers of ice above the Europa ocean… so what we may see may not be much. And Callisto seems also to have liquid water (it generates a magnetic field). 

You seem to be saying that life started on land? One can have concentration in ponds… on land, like in tidal pools. However, continents seem to be an emerging feature on Earth: they are the foam from tectonic plate activity… Thus they may have started after life (????)

On the face of it, except for cephalopods (no culture there), culture bearing animals on Earth evolved mostly on land (that’s my point). Land animals have had migrations for 300 million years apparently, and collective migrations mean culture and society. Instead of dilution, I look at the greater occurrence of genetic evolution through mutations… on land.

Finally there is this:

Now it turns out that bacteria in sediments below the ocean floor use radioactivity as power source: The contribution of water radiolysis to marine sedimentary life

(Justine F. Sauvage, Ashton Flinders, Arthur J. Spivack, Robert Pockalny, Ann G. Dunlea, Chloe H. Anderson, David C. Smith, Richard W. Murray & Steven D’Hondt 

Nature Communications volume 12, Article number: 1297 (2021)) 

Abstract:”Water radiolysis continuously produces H2 and oxidized chemicals in wet sediment and rock. Radiolytic H2 has been identified as the primary electron donor (food) for microorganisms in continental aquifers kilometers below Earth’s surface [This hydrogen is mostly produced by alpha and gamma radiation inside the sediments; this is the point]. Radiolytic products may also be significant for sustaining life in subseafloor sediment and subsurface environments of other planets. However, the extent to which most subsurface ecosystems rely on radiolytic products has been poorly constrained, due to incomplete understanding of radiolytic chemical yields in natural environments. 

… we show that all common marine sediment types catalyse radiolytic H2 production, amplifying yields by up to 27X relative to pure water. In electron equivalents, the global rate of radiolytic H2 production in marine sediment appears to be 1-2% of the global organic flux to the seafloor. However, most organic matter is consumed at or near the seafloor, whereas radiolytic H2 is produced at all sediment depths. Comparison of radiolytic H2 consumption rates to organic oxidation rates suggests that water radiolysis is the principal source of biologically accessible energy for microbial communities in marine sediment older than a few million years. Where water permeates similarly catalytic material on other worlds, life may also be sustained by water radiolysis.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/04/no-star-no-problem-radioactivity-could-make-otherwise-frozen-planets-habitable

ianmillerblog on April 6, 2021 at 3:06 am said:

Yes, Patrice, what I am saying is that the Jovian system is deficient in nitrogen and carbon, which is why Ganymede and Callisto have no atmosphere worth mentioning, while Titan has. It has to do with the ices that formed the planets. What I am saying is that as the ices warmed up, first the N2 and CO that helped form Neptune vaporized, then the argon and CH4 that helped form Uranus, then the methanol and ammonia that helped form the Saturnian system, leaving the Jovian system essentially with only water and solids.

I think the basics of life came from underground, with geologic processing, and life probably started around fumaroles. the reason being it was easy to get wet-dry cycles. With splashing cycles it is possible to get APM and UPM to form RNA fragments of u to 100 mers in a few hours, so the next trick is how to get AMP and UMP, and that is where sunlight comes in. It is not so much to provide energy, but rather to provide very high vibrational energy from an excited state decaying through internal conversion, which is why we use ribose – it is the only sugar that forms a furanose, and the furanose form is the only form that can relay the vibrational energy. That’s my view, anyway.

The radiolytic provision of hydrogen is interesting because life had to use hydrogen for the early anaerobes. There is obviously a lot more to life than what I outlined above, but I think that would be the way it started because this alone gets reproduction AND catalysis started.

Radioactivity has been ignored all too long in the evolution of life, indeed. Radioactivity was considerable in the past, when life emerged, because Earth was covered with U235… Yes, a concentration of which exploded above Hiroshima… There used to be one hundred times more! Before I come back to that in a future essay, let’s momentarily conclude:

And now a final word for those who believe that wisdom should not worry about other planets: there are two types of wisdom. Mussel wisdom, clinging to the rock one knows well, and human wisdom, clinging to the hope one does not know yet. Humanity and its ancestry has clung to progress as the examination worth having most. We have brains to progress. It was always so, and those believing something else, were wiped out, and always will be.

Patrice Ayme

Cuomo And His Admirers: Bully Lovers

April 5, 2021

Too much power into too few hands.

We need to be controlled by superior ideas, not highly successful bullies. To change this requires changing the nature of politics and “leadership”: instead of trying to elect miracle leaders, we need to find out what the better ideas are, and accept to be ruled by them, the better angels of logic and compassion. So we need to learn to aspire to be led by debates, not by bullies. 

Representative democracy, as we have it now, disingenuously represents that a few individuals represent all of us. They can’t. It’s a lie to pretend they can. Democracy should not be about the one replacing the many. Democracy should be about people power (what demos-kratia means), and the power of the people is what comes out of the debates of the people: suggesting ideas, adjudicating them, modifying them, and accepting them. As long as we look for brutish “controlling” autocrats, to “lead” us, we will get them. Cuomo is just the latest blatant example. It is the aspirations of the political system, what the “demos” wants, which need to be changed. As long as we prefer to listen to lies rather than finding the truth, we will be the victims of pseudo-progressives and pseudo-democrats.  

New York Times: “You can’t call yourself a progressive champion while cutting school funding and Medicaid. You can’t call yourself a progressive champion while fondling young women and making them feel as if they are only valued for their high heels and short skirts. You can’t call yourself a progressive champion when your quest to assert your dominance leads to needless death. But Mr. Cuomo has tried to pull it off by using his political might to divert our attention.

The unmasking of Mr. Cuomo’s aggressive and abusive tactics offers a moment for us to reflect on the kinds of leaders we want and the best ways for them to pursue change. “I am a controlling personality,” he writes of himself in his new book. “But you show me a person who is not controlling and I’ll show you a person who is probably not highly successful.”

This is wrong. Requiring our leaders to be ruthless makes it harder for women and people of color to enter the halls of power. It associates competence with cruelty, which is something white men are allowed to brandish but other leaders are not.

The NYT says that we should have known about Cuomo long ago. Yes, starting with the fact his dad was NY governor too, so he inherited the job. But not just that: democrats should know they don’t have democracy, as it is, and structural reforms are needed.

Patrice Ayme

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More NYT on Cuomo: “For Mr. Cuomo, government has always been a show, and that was the case long before he won an Emmy for appearing on TV with PowerPoint slides. His flashy policy actions were paper thin, a veil for his pointed attacks on the most vulnerable.

In truth, he has long championed deep austerity even as he has touted high-profile progressive social issues. As early as his first year in office, he crowed about a “historic and transformational” state budget that reduced spending by more than 2 percent, in particular through reductions for Medicaid and education. The budget also eliminated some services for domestic violence victims and the homeless.

He has been at it ever since. In 2019, he clashed with newly empowered leaders of his own party in the Legislature when he resisted an increase in spending on education and other social programs. The next year, as a health crisis hit, he was still insisting that he couldn’t complete a state budget without cutting Medicaid. He has long opposed education increases, even for the neediest schools. When Congress sent coronavirus relief funding to the country’s highest-poverty schools in March 2020, including those in New York City, Mr. Cuomo cut the exact same amount from the state budget that the city would normally receive, wiping out the new money with a stroke of his pen. (This came after he had the gall to accuse Democrats in the State Legislature of failing to increase funding for poor school districts in 2019.)

All along, before the pandemic and during it, he has refused to consider raising taxes on the wealthy (until very recently),

His focus on his own image over and above improving life for New Yorkers has bordered on the absurd. Beginning in 2014, Mr. Cuomo installed more than 500 “I Love NY” signs along our highways as a PR move, despite being told that the Federal Highway Administration wouldn’t allow them, costing the state a $14 million fine. (The signs themselves had already cost $8.1 million.)

We still don’t know if, or when, Mr. Cuomo’s many scandals will ultimately depose him. But whenever he leaves power, New York should be ready to pick a different kind of leader. It would be a mistake to replace Mr. Cuomo with someone who pursues actual progressive policies with the same brutal aggression. We need someone who can get things done without leaving a path of abuse in his or her wake.

America Was Always A Governmental Project

April 3, 2021

The colonization of the West Indies, Central and South America, but also North America, were all governmental projects manipulated by private individuals. The “Crowns” of Spain, France, Portugal, England (in that chronological order) financed them. And so it was for centuries: government first, organized everything. The myth that the “Free Market” colonizes all, and is the ultimate organizer was just a (self-serving) myth invented by US plutocracy to better colonized all. Wait, some will say, aren’t you contradicting yourself? No, century or so was a period when the wealthiest individuals in the world, US plutocrats, acquired a variable, but occasionally domineering level of control of the US government: cursus honorum, as the Romans used to call it, American style.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the government, in a real democracy (people-power)… Except for the flaws Athens exhibited in its short lived total democracy dominance (namely over-passionate, poorly studied, hubristic and intemperate decisions). Now Athens had a basic problem: it was not the domineering military power (Sparta was stronger on land, and Persia was immensely stronger on land, more than equal at sea). Right now, the West is domineering militarily. but democratically incomplete. Biden is trying to grow government. He can be exactly what the doctor ordered, IF done right (spending where government spending will change the future for the best).

Governmentalism, done right, is growing, and has to grow… Be it only because it works so spectacularly in China,while the “free market” is failing spectacularly in Europe (see the European COVID debacle; Europe did less well than China, or the US, the latter mostly at the origin of the vaccines, through Trump’s efforts).

Overall, since the Communists took control, China has been driven by smart (and violent) governmentalism… when the government intervenes in all ways. For example, the Chinese Communist Party intervenes decisively by outlawing marriage with close relatives (which bolster kinship). What the CCP was doing was to impose frantically laws similar to those of Western Europe. Western Europe, led that way mostly by France, had been, for two millennia, the prime actor of governmentalism. England, a subsidiary of France initially, was not far behind.

(I prefer the word “governmentalism”, to “statism” which is too… static. The most dynamic societies have practiced “governmentalism… but were, precisely, far from static. Landing on the Moon, a government project, was not static!)

In 2020, massive intervention of the US government in private research, through development funding and rewards brandished, brought the spectacular arrival of half a dozen vaccines (“Operation Warp Speed”). The European Union did nothing similar to what Trump did, brutal governmentalism. Instead Europe waited for private enterprise (much of it now financed by Trump or… Boris Johnson!) to come up with solutions. So Europe failed monstrously, and now depends upon Trump financed vaccines. Now this is not exactly about Trump: governmentalism and mercantilism (governmentalism applied to “free trade”) have always been American traditions.

The part of America which became the USA has long been a government enterprise. English America was first founded by the “West Country Men”, a group of famous plutocrats which had included Sir Francis Drake, who died in an American military expedition… and where King James I would be most prominent.  

The Erie Canal made New York the economic capital of the USA, displacing Philadelphia.

The English North American colony, the 1607 project, was founded by the Virginia Company, a joint-stock entity which was empowered by the Crown to govern itself… with the help of military officers (such as the fierce and experienced Captain John Smith who was part of the governing council). So, from the beginning, the North American colony was a joint military-government-investors venture. 

Biden wants to augment significantly government spending, in a reversal of the Reagan program of considering the government as the enemy. There are powerful antecedents to this: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, JFK and LBJ. Ike rose the marginal tax rate to 91% (a bit higher than Truman left it).

Nowadays, what needs to be industrialized correctly is the entire world. In particular, in the long term, no more fossil fuels, no more deforestation, no more environment killing plastics, chemicals, heavy metals, phosphates, etc.

This reconfiguration of the world economy can only happen at the direction of governments. Taxation, anywhere in the world, just as the economy, anywhere in the world, or democracy, anywhere in the world, is a global problem. There never was, and never will be, a free market as the adjudicator of all things economic: it is the government itself which is the adjudicator. The government determines what freedom is, and what the market is. 

Around 655 CE, the government of Queen Bathilde of the Franks ruled that trading slaves was unlawful: this restraining of the free market led to investments in education and higher technology, making Europe what she became: a fulcrum of progress and relative freedom… As usual the link is indicative; I do not fully agree with the description of Bathilde as given by Encyclopedia Britannica; in particular, the British encyclopedia lies about Bathilde freeing only Christians. Bathilde [correct spelling from contemporaneous 7C, Seventh Century Latin documents] OUTLAWED SELLING and BUYING SLAVES… Even from OUTSIDE FRANCIA: more exactly, a slave bought outside Francia was automatically freed when brought into Francia. The religion, ethnicity, gender and origin of the slave did not matter; the slave was freed. The Bathilde governmental policy of outlawing slavery did not just change the socioeconomy of Europe, but of the planet.

She outlawed slavery: Most important political leader of the planet? Ever?

All the great civilizations have been driven by smart governmentalism: Darius greatly improved the Achaemenid Empire by experimenting with the free market, while engaging in massive government spending in all sorts of infrastructure, canals, some underground, irrigation, communications, roads, state banking, a powerful navy, etc. China built a giant canal system, over millennia, and had a powerful educational system. Nowadays the most important spending should be research in fundamental science, something the “free market” and its greed can’t provide for… The world CO2 crisis can only be solved scientifically, not fiscally

Bidenomics consists, roughly speaking, of more of what I call “governmentalism”: large-scale public investment paid for with more taxes. 

The Biden administration infrastructure fact sheet alludes to part of that history, declaring that the plan “will invest in America in a way we have not invested since we built the interstate highways [Ike] and won the space race [JFK, LBJ].” I have long advocated to bring back the Dwight stuff — with much higher government investment as a share of gross domestic product than we do now, and also much higher tax rates on both high-income individuals and corporations.

The era of big government investment and high taxes on the rich coincided, not incidentally, with the US and Europe’s 30 glorious years the greatest generation — the post WW2 decades of rapidly rising living standards….

Public investment and progressive taxation in America in particular and the greatest civilizations in general goes back much further than the mid-Twentieth Century.

An example is the construction of the Erie Canal between 1818 and 1825. It imitated what the Romans and the French had done. When Marius’ legions arrived in Provence and waited two years for the savage German invaders to deign showing up, he occupied his soldiers by building a canal. The land which came to be known as France would keep on building canals, at government expense, for another two millennia. 

Unlike the privately owned canals of 18th-century plutocratic Britain, the original Erie Canal was built by the government of New York State, at a cost of $7 million (in 1818 dollars). This was carried out over the years 1818 to 1825. The canal is a 363-mile  (nearly 600 kilometers) waterway that connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River in upstate New York. It connected New York City to the Great Lakes, and through Chicago, to the Mississippi system. 

The legislative act allowing bonds to be sold to finance the canals’ construction specified a maximum interest rate of 6 percent… apparently was the interest rate which the bonds actually paid. Over the period from 1824 to 1882 the total tolls collected amounted to approximately $121 million. This ranged from $300 thousand in 1824 to $4.5 million in 1862. Thus the canal paid for itself in less than twenty years.

Britain had immensely wealthy individuals and banks, the USA did not (both the US Revolution and presidents such as Jackson made sure to keep away European plutocrats and their banks). So governmentalism was a necessity in the USA. As a share of state G.D.P., the canal was probably the equivalent of  $1 trillion today

Big public role in infrastructure continued down the generations, and it was accompanied by a policy not of “Free Trade” but “Mercantilism“: the US government would mostly maneuver to advantage private enterprise and greed, at the cost of all and any notions, including basic decency or filial piety… for example profiting from World War One by selling to racist fascist invasive mass homicidal genocidal Kaiser Germany what it needed to keep fighting World War One, by evading the Franco-British high seas blockade; this caused great suffering and weakening of France and Britain, the parents of the USA.

The US government would send the US Cavalry, massacre and clear the Indians, and distribute their lands around the newly built railroads. Land grants enabled railway construction and universities. Teddy Roosevelt finished the Panama Canal (started by the French Ferdinand de Lesseps and his French banks). F.D.R. brought electricity to rural areas. Eisenhower built the interstate freeway network.

So what is today’s infrastructure to be built? Mostly fundamental science. We need to leap scientifically: COVID was just a little warning. Very sophisticated scientific advances (mRNA vaccines and Adenoviruses gene carrier vaccines) enabled to solve the crisis promptly. Meanwhile the climate and toxic crises are squeezing ever more the world ecology. After the enormous expansion of the world population, it is to be feared that, barring spectacular scientific advances, cannibalism may come back. After all, it was practiced in the original English colony of 1610 CE, not just the Donner Party of the Nineteenth Century.  

When India was created as a modern country, respect was paid to Islam: (wealthy) Muslim men were allowed to follow their religious edict, the Sharia, and marry several women. Meanwhile, China, duplicating Europe, was explicitly outlawing polygeny. So India was created with a low level of government intervention, the opposite of the brutal dictatorship of the CCP. India was then wealthier per capita than China. Now China is much wealthier than India in capital (but not in capita).

In 2015, the India Supreme Court found that secular law should apply to Muslim men too. Thus governmentalism has been on the rise in India… And so has been the economy. The smartest governmentalism implies the smartest laws, the smartest “free market”, the smartest tech and science, and the smartest driver of them all, the smartest smarts… The latter point escapes autocrats. As Biden (who has personal experience with them) pointed out, autocrats such as Putin and Xi think the world has become too complicated for democracy and requires autocracy. Well, it is democracy, democratic governmentalism, which created that more complicated, smarter world. Yet, yes, it is a fine line, sometimes democracy backfires, as Socrates pointed out luridly, indeed, there are all sorts of thin red lines not to cross. But, done right, democratic governmentalism can’t be beat.

A piece of advice: too much spending giving money directly to low lives, is what was started in Rome, and it brought only the opposite of what it claimed to want to achieve. Besides many “Republicans” may resist it (rightly). The way to improve civilization the most is through education, availability of work, and fundamental science. A consensus should be buildable in that perspective.

Patrice Ayme

American Ruling Class: A Cancer That Will Devour Civilization, If Nothing Is Done

March 31, 2021

 All societies develop ruling classes. It is a very bad flaw of civilization: those oligarchies contradict the nature of humanity (liberty, equality, fraternity), and the nature of optimal intelligence (ideas from all over, competing for the best thinking; not just in the self-service of a tiny elite).

Why do ruling classes develop? Fundamentally, elitism is intrinsic to civilization. Civilization harnesses exponentiation: power grows proportionally to itself. For example, the more people, the more manpower, thus the more food production, the more irrigation workers, the bigger the defense budget, etc. Consequences of this exponentiation of human power can be dire: the Sumerian cities were destroyed in a flood of biblical proportions, caused by the ravages visited by human deforestation, agriculture and herding. Similar situations arose in Europe and Japan three millennia later (however, powerful medieval governments stopped these ecological devastations brutally before something).

But the same situation plays inside: political power exponentiates (not just financial interest from loans). That means the wealthiest and,or, the most powerful become increasingly, from one generation to the next, ever wealthier and powerful. This happens as classes, not just individuals. For example Harriman, the railroad baron, had two sons highly influential not just the US Democratic Party, but with Stalin and Hitler (one of them got decorated at the highest level by both; his wife became ambassador to Paris).   

Ruling by the few is intrinsic to civilization. Look at China with its, until recently, mostly independent 5,000 year old history.

The father of China’s big chief, Xi Jinping, was so important that the entire Red Army of Mao found refuge in the province this general held. Such auspicious beginnings at the very top of the Chinese elite, fed Mr. Xi and his all consuming, righteous hubris. A few years among the peasants under the Red Guards just fed his thirst for vengeance of whatever, whoever, did not fully appreciate his greatness. Let’s hope he has a good shrink. Doesn’t look like it, though…

***

The preceding is modified from a published comment to NYT answering America Has a Ruling Class

[Matija Medved] The ruling elite of the USA imagines itself as by the people, from the people, for the people. In truth, growing for 150 years, it’s a new aristocracy, so far diluted by the growth of the empire it rules, by hiding that this is exactly what it is doing

***

So what to do? Before having a strategy, we need those who can write down a strategy to be aware of the problem, and its seriousness. We are not living in more primitive times, when civilizations came and went. Destroying one brought another. And time had time. 

Notice that, after the collapse of the Tang empire, China tended to be invaded by foreigners a lot, and thoroughly: Uighurs, Jurchens, Mongols, Manchus… and even a tiny bit by France and Britain, and later powers in conflict with the Boxers; China tends to talk a lot about this late aspect, which was NOT significant; the real problem had been caused not just by those occupations lasting centuries, but the degeneracies which led to them. In any case, Chinese civilization slowed down enormously. In the West, it was worse: two enormous collapses, the Bronze Age Collapse (BAC), 32 centuries ago, and the Roman Collapse (RC, starting by 395 CE, death of Theodosius I, my chronology) showed that civilization is fully reversible. In both cases, literacy got killed (more so with BAC). The Roman Collapse was very complicated, because it was accompanied by the rise of the Frankish civilization, which was more advanced than the Greco-Roman one in the domains of ethnic and religious tolerance, diversity, equity (inheritance equally divided), slavery (outlawed), universal citizenship (everybody was a Frank, even Pagans, Jews, Syrians, Arians, not just Catholics).

The point though, is that all this happened over centuries, civilization had time. Nowadays, because of the unpredictable rule of an autocrat like Mr. Xi, the world could wake up tomorrow, at war. It does not take too many H bombs for a real bad day. Xi is not the US elite, of course, but just something that the US elite contributed to grow… same as Hitler, Mussolini, or Franco, or even Hirohito… Yes, Hirohito: why didn’t the US got his divinity’s oil supply off in 1937? When he invaded China, not just Korea and Manchuria?

Tolerance, if it is tolerance of evil, can be a cancer. It was found recently that nicotine affects directly immune system anti-cancer mechanisms. If Xi is a cancer, the US elite is nicotine. More generally this is happening because of mono-thinking in plutocratic, elite universities… Cancelling the existence of the errors of the past cannot be done. That’s cancelling the book we have to learn from. What needs to be cancelled is elite thinking claiming that birthright elite doesn’t exist.

The mephitic influence of the American elite extends worldwide, by implicitly flaunting itself as something that needs to be emulated. Nothing wrong with elitism, as long as it is genuine elitism of thought. But intellectual fascism, the rule of just a few ideas, from a few people and their instrumentalized institutions, is its exact opposite.

Patrice Ayme

****

Here are extracts from the NYT that the preceding reflections complemented: 

America Has a Ruling Class

Why do members of the political elite insist that they’re not? By Samuel Goldman

Mr. Goldman is a political scientist and literary editor of Modern Age: A Conservative Review. March 30, 2021

America’s most powerful people have a problem. They can’t admit that they’re powerful.

Take Andrew Cuomo. On a recent call with reporters, the embattled Mr. Cuomo insisted that he was “not part of the political club.” The assertion was confounding because Mr. Cuomo is in his third term as governor of New York — a position his father also held for three terms. Mr. Cuomo has also served as state attorney general and as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Or think of Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence. After her appointment was announced, Ms. Haines declared, “I have never shied away from speaking truth to power.” That is a curious way of describing a meteoric career that includes stints at exclusive universities, a prestigious judicial clerkship and important jobs in foreign policy and intelligence before her appointment to a cabinet-level office overseeing a budget of more than $60 billion.

This sort of false advertising isn’t limited to Democrats. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, for instance, has embraced an image as a populist crusader against a distant “political class.” He does not emphasize his father’s career as a banker, his studies at Stanford and Yale Law School, or his work as clerk to prominent judges, including Chief Justice John Roberts. The merits of Mr. Hawley’s positions are open to debate. But his membership in the same elite that he rails against is not….

Both strategic and generational factors help explain Al Gore, who claimed to represent “the people versus the powerful” in his 2000 campaign against George W. Bush. Compared with a Yale graduate, son of a former president and grandson of a senator, perhaps Mr. Gore — a Harvard graduate, incumbent vice president and son of a senator — did count as one of the common people. But Richard Nixon, an object of boomer hatred, inveighed against the status quo as bitterly as any hippie. Refusal to accept responsibility is not just a boomer quirk. Its roots lie deep in American culture.

…we should stop confusing consumer preferences with power. Popular culture relies on the outdated clichés of starched linens and vaguely British accents to indicate privilege. This anachronism encourages public figures to signal their outsider status with aesthetic posturing. On the left, that often means the vaguely bohemian manner cultivated by Ms. Haines, who once operated a bookstore that hosted readings of erotic literature. On the right, it tends to involve exaggerated machismo and embrace of working-class signifiers.

… We should judge public figures by the arguments they make and the results they deliver, not whether they eat caviar, kale or capocollo.

… we need to learn from historical figures… We honor and study consequential historical figures because they were flawed human beings who made incredibly hard decisions. Canceling their stories and monuments prevents us from understanding why they succeeded — and failed.

Finally, we need to be honest: America has a de facto ruling class. Since World War II, membership in that class has opened to those with meritocratic credentials. But that should not conceal the truth that it remains heavily influenced by birth. Even if their ancestors were not in The Social Register, Mr. Cuomo, Ms. Haines and Mr. Hawley were born to families whose advantages helped propel their careers. Admitting the fact of noblesse might help encourage the ideal of oblige.Ultimately, the change must come from the powerful themselves. Just once, I’d like to hear a mayor, governor or president say: “Yes, I’m in charge — and I’ve been trying to get here for my entire life. I want you to judge me by how I’ve used that position, not by who I am.”

Avalanches Teach Well. Nature Is The Ultimate Teacher. 

March 25, 2021

George from the New York Times is “saddened to learn of … a near record of avalanche deaths, nearly all in closed areas… I spent countless days on the slopes and never once did I ever think it wise to risk my life on un-groomed or out of bounds areas. I appreciate the thrill of skiing on virgin snow, away from others, but at what price? These senseless deaths and the risk of life of those tasked in recovery is too much a price to pay. Substantial fines should be levied for those daredevils, lifelong suspensions and cost of rescue should be billed.”

I replied this:

@george You propose “substantial fines” for “daredevils” who… dare to go out in nature? “Senseless deaths“? When does death make sense? Worldwide, the number of deaths by avalanches of the “daredevils” who dare to go in nature during winter is less than 150 a year…. while traffic accidents on roads kill 1.35 million a year. Everyday, 3,700 people are killed in collisions on roads.

I doubt that all these road trips “made sense”. One thing I am sure of, is that many things do not make sense nowadays, precisely because people have lost touch with nature, its beauty, its perils, the intelligence it requires, and the sense it provides. We need leaders who remember nature, because nature still rules. 

Another point is that condemning people to only go to resort for the wealthy is in poor taste, and feeds the engine of inequality. Traditional ski resorts are immensely expensive, both to those who go there, and to the planetary environment. One could actually wonder why they are not submitted to hefty carbon taxes. They are churches of environmental destruction where the faithful gather among the fuel, noise and machinery. Is that what we want to teach and encourage? Bring crowds, machines, pollution to pristine nature, and fine those who get out?

Avalanche in Sion vallee, Suisse: the Rhone flows through it. Sometimes avalanches, even in Switzerland, have been known to flatten entire forests. In the 17C, French peasants in the Vars area sued to Royal government for having cut giant meleze trees (larches) for building forts, exposing thereafter their villages to avalanches. The trunks of such immense trees can still be seen at the Montdauphin fort, and are much larger than any in existence today… A testimony to the ravages of man upon nature…

Cost of rescue is another matter. Generally European “daredevils” all have insurance both for health and rescue. The former comes from universal health insurance in Europe, the latter is readily available and covers dozens of millions of people there, because it is very cheap. 

Nature is dangerous. Danger is how nature teaches best. Life is a deadly disease, after all, but it’s also a mistake to focus on that. I was caught once in a giant rock avalanche above an unfathomable icy abyss. My survival, and that of my partner, was so miraculous that, would someone tell me such a story in its gory details, I would not believe it. Never. It is actually a most unlikely story of survival. To this day, although I was there, saving my life by playing superhero with inhuman powers, I cannot believe what happened. I know what happened, I can describe it, in detail, but still it was such a miracle that I understand why miracles make people believe in divinities.  

My two closest friends, and other friends, not as close, died in avalanches. In the Alps, in Himalaya. All of them, before they had children. Untimely death goes with mountaineering. I miss them, but since we will all die anyway, we may as well do it learning tough lessons. Because we can teach them, to all of humanity.

One lesson avalanches teach? It is not because it looks extremely unlikely, that it will not happen, and then, worse than imaginable. 

Other activities in nature can teach similar lessons. For example I swam many times at a place called Black Rock in the Hawaiian island of Maui, a towering cliff of black lava, overhanging, twenty meters above the water, twenty meters below, 400 meters long. I would swim in the shadow (the cliff is north facing), on the theory that I would see sharks if there were some, and they would not see me, if they were in the lighted part, out at sea. I got to befriend a giant green sea turtle, the largest I have ever seen, who would come visit me at the tip of the cape. Nobody was swimming that north facing cliff. But the south side, next to a honey sand beach, with short rocks, was very crowded, including swimmers who would jump  in. The north side was, is, super wild, with magnificent corals… I was super foolhardy to swim there without the full armament suite I used in Africa: harpoon and extra long, sharp combat knife for fighting off sea creatures… But, besides sea turtles, I saw no sharks. However I noticed the paucity of large fishes, which told me that there were sharks around. Later there were two lethal attacks, including one on the safe side of the rock, where the crowds were. A large, experienced 60 year old man was attacked and bled to death, in spite of immediate rescue from life guards. The shark, of unknown species, was not caught.  

Still, should one avoid the sea? No, but, should I go back to Hawai’i, it would be wise to go dive, fully armed. Some will sneer that I exaggerate… But I am familiar with long swims in the ocean. I have seen white sharks in the water twice, and one was the biggest white shark I have seen (including in videos). When one sees documentaries with plenty of sharks swimming around innocently, those sharks are not behaving like the sharks I have known in the seas; they probably bumped into cameras, or cages, or were otherwise trained… Another pitfall is the artificially low number of fatalities reported from shark attacks; the danger on a solitary diver is much greater than for a group; in underdeveloped regions, many deaths go unreported, or people are smart enough to not go swimming… 

Ah, lightning… Lightning kills a lot in nature. I am familiar with it as a mountain runner: I prefer to run with clouds, to avoid thirst and heat stroke, and mountain clouds have the tendency to turn into spectacular storms, which provide the natural caffeine of . The closest I have seen lightning was as a child, three meters away… I got caught by super intense lightning storms four times while climbing.

From all this, I learned how precious life was, and how close to disaster one can be. Not just for oneself, but for others… Some claim to be “Stoics”… The “Stoa” was a pillar in Greece, and some guy talked from the bottom of it. Ever since so-called “Stoics” have taught each other, the two most famous being those old crooks, yet excellent writers, Seneca, who led the Roman empire for five years (when his student nero was not paying attention yet), and Marcus Aurelius (who ruled the empire 20 years).  Marcus harassed to death a small number of christians, for no good reason, Seneca was well known for his astronomical corruption (while teaching that riches impoverished). Seneca himself, and that is not commented on usually, admitted in his letters that, in his times already, “there are no more philosophers”. Why? Because Romans had learned to only listen to their master’s voice. Romans were not listening to nature anymore. If one wants to be genuinely stoic, one has to learn to listen to the snow in the woods, because yes the snow talks, while contemplating the fresh mountain lion tracks one is following to ease one’s way (yes, another of my pastimes; I got mountain lions warnings more than once; the first time I heard the sound I had no idea what it was). 

Nature is the teacher. That’s where history, logic, science and the imagination come from. Nature is truth. We need nature raw, untamed, free to express itself.

Patrice Ayme

***

P/S: And we need philosophy schools learning from nature to have the largest following, rather than herds praying to a nailed scarecrow, a caravan raider, a guy below a pillar (stoa), a replete prince watching his navel, or a docile submissive anxious to please masters (Xi’s idol, Confucius)… Actually none of these is as much of a problem as Putin or Xi, the worsts popes today. President Biden, observed that he had spent longer with Xi than any other US citizen. In a refined analysis, Biden said that, just as Putin, Xi is persuaded only autocracy, by opposition to democracy, can resolve the complex problems of today’s world. This is of course absurd. But, as Biden pointed out this leads to, once more, a conflict between oligarchy and democracy. If Xi and Putin had learned from nature, they would know that they are inviting disaster: if anything, the law of averages always win, and having two gigantic countries led by just two men, that’s completely out of average behavior…

When Did Nazi Commanders Realize The War Was Lost? September 3, 1939!

March 23, 2021

September 3, 1939 is the day the Nazis understood they were going to lose the war. Before that fatidic day, the Nazis always got their way. That day, they got to fight the two largest empires, that is, to fight the world: all of Africa, most of Eurasia, Canada, Australia. In spite of their alliances with Stalin, Mussolini and Hirohito, how could they win? The disaster was obvious, and even inside their puny brains, they perceived it.

I am not trying to be cute. On September 3, 1939, Hitler was in the Reich Chancellery. 48 hours earlier, Great Britain and the French Republic had given him 48 hours to get out of Poland. The entire German Nazi government was milling around Hitler’s gigantic office, and the hallways leading to it. First came the British declaration of war. Then the French one. Hitler said nothing. He went to a gigantic window and looked at Berlin. Von Ribbentrop, the Foreign Minister, who had insured Hitler for years, that Britain would not join France, was aghast, but silent. Nobody said anything. The minutes went by, Hitler still watching Berlin. Eight minutes said some witnesses.

Then Hitler turned around, and with an anger none of those present had ever seen before, said in the loudest and most savage voice:”NOW, WHAT!!!???

Nobody said anything. The Nazi elite was crestfallen. The past was obvious to them. Starting in 1912, the so-called “Second Reich” had meticulously prepared a surprise attack to annihilate the French Republic. In Aout 1914, the entire German army, but for eight divisions protecting Eastern Prussia, attacked France. Germany had twice the population of France, and had been preparing its world war attack for twenty months. The French resistance was ferocious: day after day of butchery. Just on August 22, three weeks in the German all-out attack, furious French counterattacks cost the French 27,000 soldiers killed in action, all wearing red pants. German losses are unknown, but they were so serious that, in their rage, the Germans committed well-documented atrocities. Worse was to come: a monster counterattack by the French armies on September 6, using thousands of motor vehicles, even taxis, nearly destroyed the German armies which had to promptly retreat and entrench themselves.

In 1914, the German army was ready to fight a world war, even though the timing was everything: first France had to be defeated before the British army could be created and intervene in significant numbers. Then Russia, known to be slow to mobilize, had to be defeated thoroughly, and Britain somehow to be persuaded to make peace. US and Dutch “neutrality” would enable to break the British blockade. But then, of course, the French nearly destroyed the German army, so the entire plan collapsed.

In 1939, Germany was absolutely not prepared to fight a world war. When it dawned on German generals that Hitler was using tactics so dangerous that he was going to cause a world war, they decided to organize a coup, as early as 1937. But Britain and the US told Hitler, of the preparations the German generals had naively informed them of, so the coup petered out.

Now, on September 3, 1939, what the generals feared had happened: war with the two superpowers. Germany was allied with… its natural enemy, Stalin. The entire German army was invading Poland. 110 French divisions were mobilizing in the west. French tanks forces were much larger than the German ones, and with better tanks. Together, the French and Royal air forces were larger… navies did not compare; the two democratic allies had a much larger fleet, with aircraft carriers… The Nazis had only two modern battleships, no aircraft carrier. The blockade had strangled Germany in World War One… even though the US and the Netherlands had enabled to evade it for a while. But now the Netherlands had to be invaded to fight Britain. Obviously, for the Nazis, the situation was grim. They had persuaded themselves, for years, that Britain would never side with France in opposition to Nazism, that the two allies would never declare war… that the Nazis would be free to attack in the east (that was made explicit with Britain during the negotiations leading to the British-Nazi Naval Treaty). And now what?

Finally, after a silent disarray caused by Hitler’s savage outburst, Hermann Goering, second in power in the Nazi regime, head of the Luftwaffe, among other things, calmly, and sorrowfully, declared:”If we lose this war, God help us all.

Throughout the Second World War, Germany was horse-drawn. Why? Not enough oil, to start with. Also, hard to believe, blinded by their hubris, Hitler and his idiotic colleagues in the National-Socialist Party had not anticipated war against highly mechanized France (and soon the highly mechanized British, Russian and US!) Yes ten Nazi Panzer divisions, and a few other units, were highly mechanized, but that was it.

It looked completely impossible that Nazi Germany could defeat France and Britain… even to the Nazis. Britain had not much of an army, as usual, but a formidable Navy. France had the world’s strongest land army. Together the French and British air forces were superior to the Luftwaffe. Even the Nazis, in spite of their colossal stupidity, could see this.

France had a gigantic empire spanning the globe. Britain had an even bigger and wealthier empire, spanning the globe. British empire forces and French empire forces provided enormous manpower, from all over, many of them expert at war. 

As in World War One, the French and British navies stood ready to strangle Germany, by cutting off vital supplies. High explosives and food in World War One. In World War Two, high quality iron came from northern Sweden, transited through Norway, and sailed down the coast, facing the main Royal Navy gigantic basis at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. And the strangulation would happen: Nazi Germany would run out of oil so much it could not train air crews, and had to drag jets with oxen. Said jets had aluminum engines that would burn up in a few hours because the rare elements needed to make high temperature steel alloys were not available anymore, after declaring war to everybody, etc.

So why did the Nazis persist in a war they were sure to lose? Mental inertia, hubris… Nazis had to give up on Nazism, surrender, or trust in God.  “Gott mit Uns!”, God With Us, proclaimed their belts. In the first ten months of the war, God was with Nazism, indeed, from a whole succession of unlikely events, the incompetency (at best!) of the French High Command, and the betrayal of France and Britain by their ungrateful American child. 

So when looking at Chinese dictator Xi, or the Russian czar, please do not underestimate their mental inertia and hubris. They could well ride, of their own volition and hubristic stupidity, a world war they would be bound to lose.

It is not because one is an anachronism, that one does not ride history to one’s doom! It is precisely the opposite! Xi and Putin are anachronisms, enraged tyrannosauruses snarling furiously at forces which spell their worlds’ doom. This is precisely their anachronistic despair which make them so dangerous.

Twice Germany’s leadership fell into the trap of mental fascism in the Twentieth century: the lesson is apparently hard to learn. Why France and Britain did not fall in the same trap is simple: they had been the European superpowers, 14 centuries in the case of France, eight in the case of Britain, even before Germany was created as a state. That’s a total of 22 centuries in which to make mistakes, but never mistakes so bad as to terminate the state. Thus French and British leaderships had plenty of time to learn about the pitfalls of mental inertia and hubris, and learn to avoid their exaggerated expressions.

To help Russia, China, and the world, then, one must do what was not done in the 1910s, or 1930s. What we need now is a united democratic front, ready for anything.

Patrice Ayme

Western Leadership Caused One Million Dead With Covid… From Racist Disregard Of Japan

March 22, 2021

Leading Western countries made a number of giant mistakes with COVID. Many Western countries actually, following the policy in Wuhan, forbade people to go outside… even now in France people are limited to 10 kilometers in 20 departments… Yes, with half a billion people vaccinated worldwide, France and Germany and other European countries are in hard lockdowns, with few people vaccinated, an abysmal failure of the European Union. In Great Britain, the pandemic has been crushed, because half of the population is already vaccinated (thanks to one shot policy and the home-made Astra-Zeneca-Oxford, Trump financed vaccine).

Mistakes of Western leadership caused the death of more than one million (by comparing with how many people would have died, had the death rate being the same as in Japan… which it would have been, if one had learned from Japan, what Japan learned, from that ship). Those mistakes were entirely avoidable, if science, observation and reason had been deployed: Japanese experts determined very early on that the virus was airborne, as their own experts caught it while visiting that cruise ship, the Diamond Princess in Yokohama.

So the Japanese people was told by its government of AVOIDING the three “Cs”:

AVOID:

1 Closed spaces with poor ventilation.

2. Crowded places with many people nearby.

3. Close-contacts.

There was no mask mandate in Japan. Masks are not just ineffective, they can be outright dangerous, and most mask types have now been outlawed in Europe (one can see them in profusion in the USA; they can multiply COVID transmission by five when turning big droplets in aerosol too fine for any mask to stop). Moreover, masks make people feel secure and let them loiter in situations where they will get the virus if they stay around long enough. If you can smell cigarette smoke below your ten superposed masks, you can get COVID: the virus is the same size, 100 nanometers.  

Conclusion: Japan suffered less than 10,000 dead so far, less than 1% of the deaths of the USA and Europe combined… without any lockdowns. WITHOUT ANY LOCKDOWN: lockdowns themselves bring death, decrepitude, misery, economic and social collapse.

A recent New York Times article went through the experiment of room with window open, and room with window and HEPA filter (HEPA filters glue the virus by Van der Waals force). Conclusion: masks do nada. Window open works, and with the HEPA, no problem.

One student with COVID contaminates an entire room in minutes, and the masks will be as effective at stopping COVID as they are at stopping cigarette smoke. New York Times graphics and Harvard modelization.

The rule of at best idiotic, at worst financially corrupt experts in the West has caused one million dead, and probably ten times this damaged for life by the virus, let alone their families and enormous social and economic damage… Including for millions now with advanced cancer, and other deadly diseases, because hospitals were not functioning normally. 

Inequities should be brought up for insider trading with homicidal intent. Let me be clear: I was personally invested in some companies which, rightly, profited from the pandemic. By giving money to Moderna or BioNTech, say, ten years ago, investors made those companies possible. So, instead of having half a billion dead from the virus, we will get away with only a few million dead (right now, three millions). That’s fine and moral.

Investing in biotechnology has not been easy in the last decade or more. However, by February 2020, it became obvious that advancements in biotechnology were necessary. Soon Trump invested ten billion dollars in vaccine development after the CEO of Moderna, a French guy, told him he could mass produce a very effective vaccine in three months, using brand new science, mRNA tech.

Once again, great. At the time, doctor Deborah Birx, hero of AIDS, United States global AIDS coordinator for presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump between 2014 and 2020explained that masks would not work and why. Her reasons were cogent, and duplicated what the Japanese had said. 

This is how the West got COVID: from COVID gas and ineffective masks, plus the ideology of massive protection from a few layers of paper or cloth. COVIDIOCY and Interbeciles have been rampant, they killed. But were the experts corrupt? That is one question. The conclusion is that the public health experts were only expert at making mistakes. Socrates warned us against not being led by experts. But what about those with a good reputation at expertise, completely unjustified? The Japanese were led, for decades by criminals posing as experts, who could only be stopped with atomic bombs. They apparently learned to be more circumspect, careful, and modest with expertise…

Yet a number of experts, pressed for lockdowns and a mask mandate. The combination was bound to make the pandemic way worse. Just to make sure it would get even worse , countries such as France, following the monstrosities in Wuhan, forbid citizens to get out of their homes (except with what the Nazi military occupation government called “Aussweiss”… and even then just for an hour, a temporal restriction Nazis did not have). 

The worse the pandemic was going to get, the better for the companies trying to find treatments and develop vaccines. The question is this: how many of these experts were invested in biotechnology, pharmaceutical stocks? 

Was the petulant Dr. Fauci invested in such stocks? Or playing the smart idiot on TV, not afraid to contradict himself 100% within months, for all to see? It’s great to see an 80 years old act so juvenile… But not when millions die as a result.

Sometimes idiocy is a coverup for unfathomable nefariousness. Let’s not be naive, and ask for criminal inquiries. Were our experts simple idiots, or were they invested? Invested in making a bad situation way worse? As they did?

Patrice Ayme

If The Universe is Flat, How Could There Have Been A Big Bang?

March 21, 2021

The Standard Big Bang model, the Λ-CDM model, considers that there was Dark Matter from the start. What is it made of? No answer so far; both speculative theory and experiments have come up empty. The Big Bang is supposed to fabricate a number of things, none of them behave like Dark Matter. According to specialists, there seems to be a few exotic possibilities left (“Axions”, etc.) So this looks tenuous: their reasonings are too convoluted and depend upon too many axioms. 

The Big Bang model exhibits a plethora of axioms, thus the Big Bang itself is not beyond any suspicion, In My Not So Humble Opinion (IMNSHO). 

The most blatant case is this. Right, there is a cosmic expansion going on, and also a cosmic ageing: these are obvious facts easily established with powerful telescopes. But there is a blatant philosophical problem: a couple of independent axioms doing the same thing at different times. We have TWO  cosmic expansions, none of which is explained by deeper considerations. 

The one which came first was the expansion caused by the Big Bang, initially observed first more than a century ago. It just is: by 1920, astronomers were busy showing that groups of galaxies were flying away from each other, and the more away, the faster (that they could discover that from their grainy and messy pictures is amazing; the guy with the biggest scope, Hubble, carried the prize of eternal renown). 

The other cosmic expansion was a complete surprise. The first inkling of it were found in refined mathematical analysis in the 1960s (mathematician Segal pointed out that the expansion looked quadratic, not linear; he was ignored by the masses). The universe is expanding at an accelerated pace: there is surplus of energy out there. It is called “Dark Energy”. The obvious question I have asked is why would there be two inflation mechanisms, both unexplained? Maybe there is just one. And the Big Bang is an illusion, just a snapshot of Dark Energy applied over 100 billion years or so. (There are inklings this could be true as some stars are nearly as old as the universe…)

Part of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The faintest galaxies here are supposed to be 13.4 billion years old or so. The problem is that then, the universe was obviously completely flat already! How far must flat go before it’s obviously a problem?

The observed cosmic vacuum energy is roughly zero. Here by “observed” is meant observed as interpreted by using a theory of gravitation, aka “General Relativity” (GR). Roughly the main equation of GR is: Curvature = Energy. If energy is huge, so is curvature, and light beams (which define geodesics in GR spacetime) would immediately converge. They don’t.

We have to think about what this means. Spacetime is highly curved around masses, but not so on the largest size. Why should we think it was ever different? Because of the “Big Bang”? That’s a circular argument.

The Paucity of hypothesis philosophy will go on assuming there is only one cosmic inflation, Dark Energy, and that the Big Bang is an illusion driven by a desire to believe our times are special. (I know some will say Helium was created in the Big Bang… But I am not sure: given enough duration, couldn’t stars make all of it? 

As Einstein himself pointed out, the curvature is precisely defined, but the right hand, energy side of the GR equation is not. He was imminently qualified to say so, as by 1912 he and colleagues (starting with Planck himself!) had discovered vacuum energy.

It is traditional to brandish 10^120 as the energy of the vacuum. But that’s obtained by cutting the universe into Planck size boxes first. Then one gets a mass of 10^96 kilograms per cubic meter, 10^46 times the mass of the Sun. Basically all Black Holes, shoulder to shoulder. The ultimate high explosive. Silly stuff.

In SQPR, the number of oscillations of the Pilot Wave is de facto bounded. This also limits the QFT analysis independently of the Planck size, and at a much bigger scale. It also can be all computed. But nobody in the rest of academia was ever interested, aside from… Feynman and De Broglie  (whereas my ultra-finite approach to math attracted the attention of a number of top mathematicians, who bothered to check whether their own work would be immune to it…)

To come back to the initial question, Dark Energy answers it: the universe is flat because its engine is Dark Energy, and it’s not that mighty an engine. No “inflaton” there (the short period of inflation of space at 10^23 times the speed of light that Soviet and then US cosmologists suggested to try to reconcile theory and observations). As I pointed out in the past, given enough time, we don’t need the Big Bang. If the Universe is one hundred billion years old, many cosmic riddles vanish. But right now the official truth is that the universe was created 13.7 billion years ago (thanks to heavy fudging of cosmic, and comic, proportions). It reminds me of when Lamarck was looking through his microscope at fossils of mollusks million of years old, and the Christian church proclaimed that the universe was only 6,000 years old (that was less old than some oral traditions, let alone Hindu mythology or Persian history)…

Patrice Ayme

***

SQPR assumes that the wave function collapse is a force, the Quantum Interaction (QI). That means first that the definition of force of Buridan, something which modifies trajectory, is extended to just having something which causes an effect (that was already the case with the weak force…) Second anything having an effect is retarded. So QI goes at speed, say 10^23 c… Now, third, the nature of the quantum collapse is to shrink the quantum wave W onto itself (namely the quantum wave goes from all over the Hilbert space H, to an eigenvector within it, so collapse: W–> {*}) if the energy of the wave is the sum of the square root of the square of its curvature, it can be extended only to a limited number of cycles before it goes non linear, thus collapses, by interacting with another stray quantum wave, W’…

Sexism Promotes Inequality, Feudalism, War: Why Cuomo Must Go

March 20, 2021

Work relationships have to be just that, work relationships. In the human species, males and females are not very different in physical capabilities, and not at all in mental capability. Thus societies run by men only is a phenomenon tied to the sort of war-like societies which have characterized civilizations for the last few millennia.

Now, just as war should take a neglectable position, so should demonic males who refine their brutal skills by predation and raw dominance of females. Up to the Middle Ages, women have always been the prime status symbols of domineering males. Fighting for Helen (who had willingly followed a prince of Troy) launched a thousand ships. 

Keeping women in a submissive and subjugated role is a form of training for a society full of inequality and war. 

Beyond the sexual harassment and the gender discrimination looms the principle of the demonic male in command, instituting inequality. Thus, it is not just direct sexual attacks of the grossest sort which was to be proscribed, but also the light and subtle sort. To try to run civilization without females participating is worse than just oppressing half of humanity, and it is even worse than cutting humanity in half. Indeed mothers are on the frontline with infants and an oppressed mother will transmit to a child a submissive epigenetic, thus abating the creativity and freedom of the human species. So this is not just about one man, Cuomo. It is about freeing humanity from a feudal past.

Patrice Ayme

***

[Submitted to NYT as a comment to a Cuomo article; published 24 hours later, after 1,500 more presumably more worthy comments, after making sure nobody would read it.]

Serena Williams Not Serene. Sometimes it’s more moral to get very angry. Serena knew very well she was treated rough because she is a woman

Serena Willams: It’s the final of the US Open, and I’m competing to win my 24th Grand Slam against Naomi Osaka. It’s the beginning of the second set, and the umpire thinks he spots my coach signaling me from the stands. He issues a violation—a warning. I approach him and emphatically state the truth: that I wasn’t looking at my coach. “I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose,” I said. I walk back to the court and lose the next point. I smash my racket in frustration; he issues another violation and gives a point to my opponent. I feel passionately compelled to stand up for myself. I call him a thief; I again demand an apology. I tell him he is penalizing me for being a woman. He responds by issuing a third violation and takes a game from me. In the end, my opponent simply played better than me that day and ended up winning her first Grand Slam title. I could not have been happier for her. As for me, I felt defeated and disrespected…

“What could I have done better? Was I wrong to stand up? Why is it that when women get passionate, they’re labeled emotional, crazy, and irrational, but when men do they’re seen as passionate and strong?”

So often, in situations similar to mine, when men fight back against the referees, they’re met with a smile or even a laugh from the umpire, as if they’re sharing an inside joke. I’m not asking to avoid being penalized. I am asking to be treated the same way as everyone else. Sadly, that’s simply not the world we currently live in…

This incident—though excruciating for us to endure—exemplified how thousands of women in every area of the workforce are treated every day. We are not allowed to have emotions, we are not allowed to be passionate. We are told to sit down and be quiet, which frankly is just not something I’m okay with. It’s shameful that our society penalizes women just for being themselves.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve felt a need to voice my opinion and be heard. Some may not like it, and to be honest, that’s their prerogative. I respect it. Growing up as the youngest of five girls, I learned that I had to fight for everything I wanted. And I won’t ever stop raising my voice against injustice.

As a teenager, I was booed by an entire stadium (I took the high road and even thanked those who didn’t want to see me win). I’ve been called every name in the book. I’ve been shamed because of my body shape. I’ve been paid unequally because of my sex. I’ve been penalized a game in the final of a major because I expressed my opinion or grunted too loudly. I’ve been blatantly cheated against to the point where the Hawk-Eye rules were introduced so that something like that would not happen again. And these are only the things that are seen by the public. In short, it’s never been easy. But then I think of the next girl who is going to come along who looks like me, and I hope, “Maybe, just maybe, my voice will help her.”

From: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a28209579/serena-williams-us-open-2018-essay/


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Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

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SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism