Archive for October, 2013

De-Americanize This!

October 16, 2013

OK, the USA will not default now, but reserves itself the right to do so later. Say in three months.

Amusingly, the official Xinhua news agency from the People’s Republic of China is repeating much of what I have been saying for years. About the USA, of course. Before unleashing the hypocrites from Beijing, let me point out a few facts:

Can the USA default? Sure. The USA defaulted in 1789, 100%, and in 1933, 40%. So the USA defaulted when it was convenient. As the Romans used to say: caveat emptor USA (=Let the buyer of USA bonds beware). And you know what? Deep down inside, the USA’s elite does not care.

Here are a few numbers:

53% of the bonds of the USA are held inside the USA. 47% outside (mostly by other central banks).

61% of the world currency reserves are in dollars.

42% of the world transactions are made in dollars.

One dollar out of two is outside the USA.

Around 60% of 3.66 trillion dollars of Chinese reserves are in dollars.

The bonds of the USA were long claimed to be the safest holding in the world. However, in light of constant threats to default, in recent years, at the very least, the reasons for that conclusion have to be changed. One cannot argue with a straight face, that a default of the USA is unimaginable. The threat of default of the USA keeps on re-surfacing ever more urgently. It has obviously become a chronic disease.

Certainly, one cannot argue that it’s a big surprise. One has, instead, to explain why a default of the USA does not matter. The People Republic of China has to explain why, knowing full well that the USA loves to threaten default, it nevertheless kept on pouring up to 1.3 trillion dollars in US bonds.

The naïve reason usually given is that China has to put its money somewhere. However, the more Machiavellian reason is that the plutocrats in Beijing want to please their masters in Washington. And the more they help their masters, the more the masters will be pleased, and co-dependent. Or so the silly Chinese leaders hope.

As I have explained in the case of the Chinese and Spanish empires, there is a co-dependency. Right now it is between Washington/Wall Street and the global plutocracy (including the one in China).

Thus investing in the bonds of the USA is, for China, and not just for China, as if paying for protection money from the Mafia. The plutocratic Mafia.

Consciously or not, the leaders in Washington are playing this BOND RACKET. Like a global violin. That will work, as long as global plutocracy calls the tune.

Before a bit more on this, let me roll out the Chinese government’s melodious hypocrisy (with my comments between brackets):

“Commentary: U.S. fiscal failure warrants a de-Americanized world

BEIJING, Oct. 13 (Xinhua)…it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world.

Emerging from the bloodshed of the Second World War as the world’s most powerful nation, the United States has since then been trying to build a global empire by imposing a postwar world order, fueling recovery in Europe, and encouraging regime-change in nations that it deems hardly Washington-friendly. [“Washington” is one thing, plutocracy a much more general one.]

With its seemingly unrivaled economic and military might, the United States has declared that it has vital national interests to protect in nearly every corner of the globe, and been habituated to meddling in the business of other countries and regions far away from its shores.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government has gone to all lengths to appear before the world as the one that claims the moral high ground, yet covertly doing things that are as audacious as torturing prisoners of war, slaying civilians in drone attacks, and spying on world leaders. [If it were covert, it would not be as bad; the worse was trying to officialize torture and assassination without judicial process. Obama seems to start to understand this belatedly, though!]

Under what is known as the Pax-Americana, we fail to see a world where the United States is helping to defuse violence and conflicts, reduce poor and displaced population, and bring about real, lasting peace. [That’s a lie: the USA has done a lot for refugees, for example in Syria. China has done nothing.]

Moreover, instead of honoring its duties as a responsible leading power, a self-serving Washington has abused its superpower status and introduced even more chaos into the world by shifting financial risks overseas, instigating regional tensions amid territorial disputes, and fighting unwarranted wars under the cover of outright lies.

As a result, the world is still crawling its way out of an economic disaster thanks to the voracious Wall Street elites, while bombings and killings have become virtually daily routines in Iraq years after Washington claimed it has liberated its people from tyrannical rule.

Most recently, the cyclical stagnation in Washington for a viable bipartisan solution over a federal budget and an approval for raising debt ceiling has again left many nations’ tremendous dollar assets in jeopardy and the international community highly agonized. [Strange English; poor PRC with its “tremendous $ assets”.]

Such alarming days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated, and a new world order should be put in place, according to which all nations, big or small, poor or rich, can have their key interests respected and protected on an equal footing.

To that end, several corner stones should be laid to underpin a de-Americanized world.

For starters, all nations need to hew to the basic principles of the international law, including respect for sovereignty, and keeping hands off domestic affairs of others.

Furthermore, the authority of the United Nations in handling global hotspot issues has to be recognized. That means no one has the right to wage any form of military action against others without a UN mandate. [Agreed, yet not every regime is acceptable: Chap VII of the UN.]

Apart from that, the world’s financial system also has to embrace some substantial reforms.

The developing and emerging market economies need to have more say in major international financial institutions including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, so that they could better reflect the transformations of the global economic and political landscape.

What may also be included as a key part of an effective reform is the introduction of a new international reserve currency that is to be created to replace the dominant U.S. dollar, so that the international community could permanently stay away from the spillover of the intensifying domestic political turmoil in the United States.

Of course, the purpose of promoting these changes is not to completely toss the United States aside, which is also impossible. Rather, it is to encourage Washington to play a much more constructive role in addressing global affairs.

And among all options, it is suggested that the beltway politicians first begin with ending the pernicious impasse.”

Lots of true statements, yet colossal hypocrisy. Let’s not talk about Tibet, or Xi Quiang. Or even of the plutocrats in power in China. Xi owns about half a billion dollars, the preceding Prime Minister, 2 billions, and the just condemned Bo Xilai had impressive properties all over Europe and a child at Harvard, driving a Ferrari. 

Let’s just talk coal: the People’s Republic of China is the world’s largest consumer of coal, using more coal each year than the United States, the European Union, and Japan combined. More than half of the coal burned in the world is burned in China. Half of China’s power generation capacity to be built between 2012 and 2020 will be coal-fired.

The end result is a guaranteed disaster, rising seas, and that means war.

And who can make war better than the USA?

This explains why the bonds of the USA will always be desired, default or no default. One always want to be bonded to the strong, even if it means bonded by the strong.

***

Patrice Ayme

Nobel, Not Noble.

October 15, 2013

Hysterical celebrations of the hypernationalistic commentators in the USA heaping spite upon the feeble intellects of the rest of the planet, in light of the attributions of Nobel Prizes mostly to Americans. “Nobels and National Greatness Anyone who thinks America’s best days are behind it should take a close look at the latest Nobel haul,” crows Mr. Stephens in the WSJ.

It does not dawn on the naïve Mr. Stephens, that the Nobel prize may be an indication of bias, not excellence. A mark of propaganda, thus weakness, not a proof of superiority.

All The Pie To US Plutocrats, Glorious We Are.

The Nobel prize ought to be renamed the “American prize”. Main qualification: being an “American”, preferably from Chicago, and preach Americanization (also known as plutocratization). Look at the Nobel in economics: two of them, although charming fellows, got the prize for repeating notions that were well known more than four centuries ago, in the Netherlands (tulip mania!) or Japan (rice commodity market).

In other words, the Nobel is, at least plenty of times, given for trivial reasons.

Two of the Nobels are, of course, from the temple of plutocratic economics, the University of Chicago. Obama taught at that “private” university. As befits an organization smelling of sulfur, it sits in the middle of a ghetto, an oasis of privilege in the desert of the underclass, with a police call box every fifty meters, or so (when I was there, for a few weeks, I was shocked by the brutality of this apartheid world, with privilege 100 meters from people with no health care, no job, not even an ounce of rebellion in them).

Renaming the Nobel the “American prize” would be honest and revealing, thus completely inacceptable, as with plutocracy dissimulation and invisibility is of the essence.

The Chinese born ranking of universities is riddled with tricks to make universities of the USA look good, relatively speaking. For example French Nobels are counted… half for the universities they work for (the  reasons invoked are devious, such as how French research is financed).

Why? Well the same reason that China holds 1.3 trillion dollars of USA bonds: another bond binding within the plutocratic system. If socialist France looks stupid, and the plutocratic USA look good, that’s excellent for the Chinese plutocracy, whose fortunes are determined in Washington, ever since Nixon and Kissinger saw to it.

Another example: Switzerland has 22 Nobels in science. France, with ten times the population, only 35. However, Switzerland is not, historically speaking, the author of major breakthroughs in science and technology. By “major” I mean really major, such as pasteurization, E = mcc, or the invention of the transistor. Suisse seemed not to have been the author of ANY technological breakthrough. France is.

(OK, I am unfair: a Swiss invented the first internal explosion engine, using hydrogen, in the early 19C! It’s the French Papin who invented the first steam engine and steam boat, in the 17C; see “Philosophy Feeds Engineering”)

So what is taught, and impressed upon, is lots of lies, and false truths. Take aviation: France dominated it by 1910, even with the first helicopter. But were not the Wright brothers Americans? Sure, and the Wrights invented a number of useful devices. However, the first motorized flights were made 13 years earlier, using a light weight steam engine, in a French military program (Clement Ader). Some said: oh, they were not that high, etc. However that proof of principle incited full-on progress.

If nobody talks about who invented movies, that’s because the Lumière brothers  showed the first movies in 1895. The world’s oldest movie theater, in the French Riviera city of La Ciotat, was just reopened.

The transistor was invented in Germany in the 1930s (using… Germanium, not silicon).

Some will object: ah, but Switzerland had Albert Einstein (more or less refugee from Germany), and he invented E = mcc, it’s well known. While in Bern, working at the Patent Office (thanks to the father of a friend of his).

My point entirely. Well known, Einstein’s E = mcc, but somewhat of a cheat: as far as I, me, can see, Einstein actually stole both the formula and the proof from the E = mc^2 work published by Poincare’ in 1900, five years earlier.

Poincare’ proved E = mcc, not in an obscure blog, but as a peer reviewed article, in the most well known Dutch Physics Journal (Lorentz, a Dutch who wrote the space-time transformation law was from there, Poincare’ got him the Nobel by 1904, and this explained why Poincare’ published in a Dutch journal).

So why is E = mcc Einstein’s formula and not Poincare”s? Because reality in the dominant Anglo-Saxon-Germanoid culture has a well known anti-French bias. Much better to have a German Jew the author of E= mc^2 than some super genius Frenchman. Nobody fears German Jews (they had some problems, except for the likes of Kissinger). But the French republic is a different matter entirely. It’s still out there, squat and ferocious, always spastic with chronic plutophobia.

A rough and tough idea, but something to munch on.

To admit that a Frenchman found the most famous formula in physics would threaten the established order of thoughts and moods. By changing how frogs are considered, it may endanger Wall Street, New York, Washington, Americanization, even plutocratization itself…

If a Frenchman has had colossal brains, it would tell us, that, if there is one super genius Frenchman, there might be more, and thus a Financial Transaction Tax may not be such a bad idea. France has a FTT. Or maybe a Carbon Tax would be a good idea. France has such a tax.

And France of course invented the Added Value Tax, now replicated in dozens of countries, even Japan, and much disliked by the Mafia and the like. Imagine American plutocrats having to pay tax, automatically: a world would shatter.

Or maybe default, as the USA practiced in 1933, followed by a variety of countries using similar unsavory means of re-establishing their finances, would not look as such a great idea anymore (alone among super powers, France did not devalue and default in the 1930s; Germany went further, stealing all the German Jews… France playing honest was, of course, a tremendous disadvantage, she ended poor, and soon beaten up, with no help from the resentful president Roosevelt, except late enough so that France would have been thoroughly beaten up first).

By depriving the French of intellectual honors due to them, the official plutocratic propaganda can insist that French frogs have no brains, and never bathe. Thus Obamacare is much superior to French style Medicare For All (which is what France’s Assurance Maladie is).

And bias does not stop at France.

Bose, a young Indian genius, who got the idea of bosons, the force particles, with their weird statistics, never got the Nobel in physics: because British imperialists objected to Bose’s opinions in matters political. 

So what do we see? Lots of Nobels in the USA’s “private” universities (actually not really private, but financed deviously through the entangled plutocratic and state systems). Does that mean those people got the most fundamental ideas? Not so sure.

When Eric Kandel went to Paris, he spent a year learning to work with Aplysia, and later got the Nobel for his remarkable work on learning… Learning of Aplysia. However, did the Paris teachers got the Nobel? No. Who started that flow of research and originated the basic ideas? Not necessarily Kandel.

And so on. In many fields, most people sitting in the Nobel committee are American, and colossal amounts of money are involved, so maybe the Nobel ought to be called the “American prize”, a bit like the “Academy Awards”.

It  would be most profitable, in the realm of ideas, to determine who and how the best and deepest ideas arose. Start by attributing the discovery of the First Law of Newton, the law of inertia, to Buridan, who discovered and advertized it, three centuries before Newton was born. Buridan was the rector of the university of Paris, adviser to kings (among others), contradictor of Aristotle, and discovered Copernicus’s work 170 years before it was taught to Copernicus at the university of Cracow, where Copernicus was a student.   

What truly count, for intellectual superiority, is, who got the big idea first, and how deep. A whole science of creativity could rise from finding how great ideas arise. The rest is propaganda at best, and outright thievery, racism and hatred, at worst.

How did the Nobel arise?

Nobel was heir to a plutocratic family wealthy from ammunitions. Nobel had established 90 armaments factories by the time of his death. Yes, ninety. A terrible explosion at  one of these killed a younger brother. Still another brother died in 1888.

A French newspaper clamored Le marchand de la mort est mort” (“The merchant of death is dead”)… Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.”

Alfred, who was long a resident of France, and in Cannes at the time, was mortified. Was it all what he was? A death merchant? Nobel got very depressed, and laid lonely and supine with his dark thoughts. How could he make his life worthy?

On 27 November 1895, at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, Nobel signed his last will and testament. He set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes, to be awarded annually without distinction of nationality.

However, there is clearly a national bias now, as Shelling, one of this year’s Nobels, would be the first to admit. Worse than that: it’s a plutocratic bias, exactly what Nobel, nobly, did not want to leave behind.

Remedy? The way the Nobel laureates are selected now guarantees a plutocratic bias (the richest universities are over-represented in the advisory committees).

The Nobel committees should thus explain much more their little reasonings in attributing the prizes, by writing vey long essays justifying their decisions, and who, exactly originated the ideas.

A timid step in that direction was made this year with the Physics prize (the contribution of the late Robert Brout was acknowledged). Also the prize ought to be attributed for as many people as necessary for one given idea, and attributed posthumously (at least in a honorific way; once again mentioning Brout was good, but not enough: he published the “Higgs” mechanism a full month before Higgs).

The Nobel is a carrot. One would instruct the world better by explaining why that carrot is exactly deserved, all the way back. And not just give it to the richest and most powerful. After all, his name is Pluto, and He lays down the abyss.

***

Patrice Ayme

REWILDING US.

October 12, 2013

REALITY IS WILD & FEROCIOUS. IGNORING IT IS INHUMAN.

And Presents A Civilizational Risk.

Princeton is freaking out. Flesh devouring aliens are lurking out in the woods, threatening academia’s fragile thoughts. Krugman:

‘From the Princeton Town Topics, which used to be all about (a) parking (b) deer:

A growing population of coyotes in the wooded area bordering the Institute for Advanced Study has motivated the Princeton Animal Control Advisory Committee to recommend that sharpshooters be hired to help handle the problem. “There is a big pack over at the Institute Woods,” officer Johnson said this week. “I’m having a lot of complaints that they follow people around.”‘

You Can't Always Eat Who You Want

You Can’t Always Eat Who You Want

The “Mountain Lion”, is a relative of the Cheetah (erroneously put in the cat family, felis, until last year or so). It has 40 names, in English alone, and is found from the American Arctic to Patagonia, from the sea shore to the high mountains. The weight above is that of the female. Males are heavier (typically up to 100 kilograms). The heaviest puma shot in Arizona was 300 pounds (136 kilos).

The lion/cougar/puma is capable of jumping up twenty feet from a standstill (yes, 6 meters; horizontally, 14 meters). It is capable of killing a grizzly (pumas and ‘golden bears’ were famous for their naturally occurring furious fights to death in California). The feline’s crafty method consisted into jumping on top of the bear, and blinding him with furious pawing. Top speed: 50 mph, 80 km/h. (By the way, there used to be pure cheetahs in North America, recently exterminated by man. I propose to re-install the Asian cheetah in the USA, in a sort of cheetah diplomacy with Iran.)

The philosophical question here is: what is this world all about? Is it about living on our knees, or ruling among animals and wilderness?

Why would Princeton panic about small canids? Because they don’t obey the established order?

Coyotes are totally clever, and not at all dangerous (being so clever). They have very varied voices, when in packs. Going out and shooting them is really primitive, and misses the main point of having nature around. That is: to teach humility, and teach the richness of our planet, visit hearts with emotional diversity, and minds with complexity.

Bears and Mountain Lions are a completely different matter. They are both extremely clever too, but can be very dangerous.

Running and hiking in the Sierra, I got charged by scary bears several times. I view this danger as a plus, but it never leaves my mind. I got scared nearly out my wits more than once.

Once, in a National Park on the coast, I literally ran into two large lions in 30 minutes! Then I got charged by a very large elk before he realized I was not a lion. Another high note was finding a bear cub on the trail in a close-to-vertical mountain side, on the way down, as dusk was coming.

After negotiating out of that one, a few miles further. I had the interesting experience to meet a large bear by the trail. He was lying down, bear rug style, at 9pm. It was an apparent ruse to let his unsuspecting prey approach until he could jump, and serve himself dinner. Great was his surprise when he realized that I was not a deer. Naturally, that obviously infuriated him. He was torn between making the human into dinner, and the instinct that this would turn badly for him. He instigated a few charges, until rocks heading his way encouraged his honorable retreat.

In Alaska I was charged by a moose with her progeny… although I did not retreat as fast as a native mountain biker who happened to be there too, the anti-grizzly cannister in my hand emboldened me to succeed in a circuitous move through a thicket to proceed towards my distant destination. The calf panicked, crashed into some obstacle, and drew his mother’s concern, facilitating my escape.

I often do shuttle runs where I get dropped some point, and then have, absolutely to proceed to a distant pick-up point, sometimes 4 days of backpacking away. Mountain running requires to proceed, no matter the obstacles in the way, when one is too far to turn around.

Bears know rocks, they have been hurt by them, and so they fear airborn rocks.

Here is the method: throw the rock on something noisy, to impress; I had to hit, with a very large rock, a charging bear directly, once; it fled; it was killed by rangers, three weeks later, after he caused a flesh wound to a grandmother; some will find all this very violent; well, nature is violent, that’s part of the whole point.

Mountain Lions are better charged and/or, roared or barked at. All these ways are somewhat deranged, and that is exactly the idea: Mountain Lions fear insane behavior.

In general making lots of noise helps, with bears and lions. I don’t have clever tricks to suggest for bathing safely in the murky icy Pacific. Although I assume that the presence of sea lions bobbing on the surface placidly is indicative of the absence of an obvious white shark prowling… In any case the pacific is so cold, you will probably die of cardiac arrest before you are devoured.

In Africa, there are about 500,000 elephants. 25,000 to 30,000 are killed, a year, to send the ivory to east Asia (China, Vietnam). So African elephants may disappear. This is beyond tragic, it’s irreplaceable. Elephants understand people’s gestures, without any learning (they apparently learn to use trunk gestures among themselves). One is talking about extremely intelligent animals here. (In contrast, chimpanzees have great difficulties understanding human gestures.)

Intelligence and culture are dominant among apex mammals. That’s what makes them so superior. Washington State had the smart idea to shoot full grown adult male mountain lions. Thus mountain lion society and culture collapsed, uneducated teenagers took over, and incidents with humans exploded (something about the quiet macho society!).

A Japanese specialist of chimpanzee intelligence who happens to have a bear in his lab, found that the bear did not underperform chimpanzees on mental tasks (that’s actually a problem with bears; being so clever, they can be unpredictable, one can never know what they have up their sleeve, like the one who mimicked a bear rug, above, or one who drove a car in Tahoe). A number of social mentally advanced animals (sea mammals, parrots) use advanced languages.

So what are my recommendations? The Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies ought to realize that, if it wants to become really brainy, it ought to give our fellow species a chance. They are part of what make our minds, in full.

Elephants and rhinoceroses used to be all over Europe and North America. They ought to be re-introduced right away, using Indian and African species (rare camels too; later, thanks to genetic engineering, part of those could be replaced by re-engineered ancient species, such as the Mammoth). Lions and leopard like species ought to be reintroduced too.

It can work: in the San Francisco Bay Area, there is an impressive population of mountain lions.  I had many close calls (in the most recent incident, a few weeks ago, a lion peed an enormous and dreadfully smelling amount on a trail I was making a loop on, obviously to show me he owned the territory, a total wilderness reserve a few miles from Silicon Valley… especially at dusk).

However, the lions are extremely good at avoiding people (although one got killed by police in downtown Berkeley in the wee hours of the morning). They will all be collared in the next ten years, to find out what is going on. With modern technology (collars!) and sophisticated human-animal culture, there is no reason why extremely dangerous, but clever species could not live in reasonable intelligence with humans.

So rewilding is possible. It’s also necessary. Why? So we humans can recover our hearts, and our minds.

Whether we like it or not, we are made for this wild planet. By forgetting how wild it is, by shooting it into submission, we lose track of the fact human life, and civilization itself, are much more fragile than they look.

And thus, by turning our back to the wilds, we lose track of what reality really is. Worse: we never discover all what our minds can be, and how thrilling the universe is. We are actually bad students who refuse to attend the most important school, that taught by reality itself.

Rewilding is necessary, not just to instill a mood conducive to saving the planet, but also to remake us in all we are supposed to be.

Expect Evil, And Don't Submit.

Expect Evil, And Don’t Submit.

These are the times when, once again, the plutocratic phenomenon is trying to take over. That’s when the few use the methods of Pluto to terrorize and subjugate the many (to constitute what is variously named an elite, oligarchy, or “nomenklatura“, or aristocracy, that is, a plutocracy).

And how is that possible? because the many have been made into a blind, stupid, meek herd (I refer to Nietzsche for the condemnation of the herd mentality).

How do we prevent that? Nietzsche advocated the mentality of the “blonde beast“. That meant the lion (and not what the Nazis claimed it was; few were as anti-Nazi as Nietzsche). Why lion? Because lions are domineering. I learned in Africa that one could go a long way with wild lions, as long as one gave them respect, and time to get out of the way. However, disrespecting a lion means death.

Lions don’t accept to live on their knees. When abominable forces from the giant Persian theocratic plutocracy put the tiny Athenian democracy in desperate military situations, Athenians fought like lions. And democracy won.

Yet, 150 years later, when fascist, plutocratic, but apparently not as abominable, Macedonian forces put Athens in a difficult situation, Athenians surrendered. They did not fight like lions. Democracy would not come back to Athens for 23 centuries (and only thanks to the European Union).

We will not defeat plutocracy if we do not rewild ourselves. First. Let there be lions.

***

Patrice Ayme

Constitutional Crisis

October 11, 2013

BEYOND THE DEBT CRISIS, A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS:

What’s the problem with the debt of the USA? Well, it can be viewed as worse than the debt of most European countries whose debt led to confidence crises (see the second paragraph below).

This debt crisis has become a government by the fools, for the fools, and it is starting to look foolish, even to the fools. It’s also bringing up constitutional questions, namely on the constitution of the USA, which is really very different from that of other democracies.

It’s no happenstance that no country has a constitution similar to that of the USA. A situation like the present one is simply impossible in other democracies, because new elections are automatically called when a budget cannot be passed. Generally it does not even get to this stage, because a no confidence vote is called well before that (as just happened in Italy).

It’s only normal that the legislative branch would be called to execute the law. However, in the USA, the legislature does not have to govern.

A legislature that does not have to govern does not have to be realistic.

Some will say: so what? The history of the USA show an incapacity to adapt to progress. The Civil War in the USA was, by far, the most deadly civil war in the West since the religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (it killed an order of magnitude more than the French revolution, relative to population). Adjustments could not be made in Congress, until a full blown war.

After the war, it took a century to get rid of institutionalized racism. And I have advocated the point of view that, for a century, plutocracy in the USA has been gathering steam. It leveraged World War Two, and related events leading to it, and following it, that it organized. Now global, the plutocracy installed the 2007 crisis, making the People pay for it, before, during and after.

Right now, sequestration is already a disaster (say on long term scientific and medical research). The evolution of employment, and of the median income, are also disasters. All what the plutocrats want is to starve the beasts, and the beasts are us, the Public.

For the plutocrats, the Republic, as long as it exists, is only a machine to make the richest thrive. And bonds, and Quantitative Easing, are crucial that way.

***

MORE DETAILS, & A DEEPER ANALYSIS:

USA debt: The total debt of the government of the USA is 16.7 trillion dollars (more than GDP; the number can look smaller when one looks only the debt “held by the public”, but that’s obviously not the important number).

The cash deficit, under Obama, reached 12.5% of GDP. Now it’s 5% and shrinking, thanks to unsustainable “sequestration”, a sort of amputation of the brain to make the patient lose weight. That, realized the bipartisan research arm of Congress, will actually augment the deficit. Very soon, considerably, and durably.

Many take for granted that a country like the USA cannot default, because its debt is in its own currency. That statement is so absurd, so anti-factual, it’s hard to answer. Countries which defaulted in their own currencies are legions. A recent major example is Argentina, which defaulted in 2001-2002. Notice:

1) the banks of the USA operating in Argentina made like bandits from that default.

2) Argentina is still trying to recover from that shock.

The reason why a damaging default for the USA is hard to imagine are the following;

1) The USA is completely self sufficient in nearly everything. The USA is the largest fossil fuel and gas producer in the world (with 22 million barrels a day). It also has the largest sea empire (slightly larger than France’s!), and resources therein.

2) The USA has by far the most powerful, most autarkic military, perfectly capable of protecting 1)… And more.

3) The dollar is the world’s reserve currency (although a second one has appeared: the euro!) The dollar is also low relative to the euro. Thus a serious down swing in the dollar is unlikely, and anyway, irrelevant, as planet USA is totally self sufficient (see 1))

But, precisely, that makes it possible for the USA to default!

It reminds me somewhat of the relationship between Spain and… China. China needed Bolivian silver (from Potosi), to strike a currency worth something (after disastrous paper inflation under the Yuan). China had silk and many other precious goods.

The interface between the co-dependent empires, was next to Manila. The Chinese established a powerful Chinatown. Way too powerful: the Spaniards at some point took umbrage, and annihilated it, killing all. What did the Chinese do? Well, they came back, and established another mighty Chinatown, crucial to the Spanish empire. And then the Spaniards had enough, and annihilated it, killing all. And the Chinese came back.  

There always will be USA bonds, they will always come back, as long as there is a Pentagon, and it’s mightiest. But there will not necessarily be a democracy in the USA.

Examples are plenty, in history, of republics that became plutocracies. It happened to Sparta. It happened to Athens. It happened to Rome. Even the European empire of the Franks, initially successful because it was less plutocratic than Rome, became riddled with plutocracy, seven centuries later. Florence, started as a republic, also evolved, after two centuries, into a plutocracy. The people loving, enlightened monarchy of Henri III and Henri IV, turned, within a generation, into the horrendous plutocracy of Louis XIV.

Progress can definitively go backwards. History clearly show that republics are the exception, and plutocracies, the rule.

***

Patrice Ayme

Central Banking

October 9, 2013

What does a Central Bank do?

Plots with plutocrats. Plutoplots. Especially in the USA, where major plutocrats are Central Banks directors (and also private bank directors).

Seriously, Central Banks regulate the financial system and, thus, a large part of the broader economy. That means that the financial system is a public system masquerading as a private system (privateering system?)

Think of a financial system as an engine. The Central Bank (“Fed” in the USA, ECB in Europe) controls how much fuel there is, by manipulating its price. The Central Bank is also supposed to dictate the permissible uses of fuel. That latter mission has been completely forgotten under Clinton, the great demoncrat, that’s why plutocrats lov him.

Historically the Fed’s mandate was made very precise in 1979: “to maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy’s long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates.”

What are interest rates in this engine?

The fuel of the financial system is money (generally under the form of credit). Central bank control interest rates, and those fix the price of money. The central bank raises and lowers the interest rates it charges banks when giving them money. When the central bank wants to slow down economic activity, it raises those interest rates, increasing the cost of borrowing money. Banks pass the augmentation to individuals and businesses: the latter borrow less and spend less, and economic activity slows down. When the central bank wants to stimulate the economy, it lowers interest rates.

So what happened under Fed Chair Greenspan?

In 1996, Greenspan said there was a bubble (some indicators were as bad as in 1929). However he refused to increase interest rates, because he claimed bubbles were self correcting (he read it in Ayn Rand). Yet when a fund of his friends crashed in 1998, Long Term Capital Management, he intervened (by giving enough money to friends in big banks to save his friends at LTCM and those in business with LTCM).

So Greenspan kept on piling up the fuel?

Worse than that. Under Rubin, Greenspan, Summers, in the 1990s, their boy Clinton allowed fuel to be freely used by the biggest banks to do things having nothing to do with the Fed’s mandate. Like setting fire to the entire economy and society, and then cashing in on the insurance.

Why did they allow this?

Because  the sums engaged, about ten times world GDP, or more, allowed outsize profits. They, their friends, families, and acquaintances, all made like bandits. Still do: dark pools are bigger than ever, and increase ever more every year.

After he retired, president Truman lived nearly at the poverty level. When asked why he would not cash in, he replied that he did not want to soil the office of the presidency. Compare with Clinton.

What’s your remedy?

I will come back to that. Outlaw all and any financial investment that does not benefit the economy directly (except for insurance, and some very restricted commercial derivatives, with sharp distinction between commercial operators and casino players).

Why hasn’t the Fed made larger cuts to consumer interest rates?

Because the financial system is run for profit. Lots of profits. and the financial, for profit system, is supposed to run the economies of the USA, and the EU.

That’s why some European Commissioners (Otto Rehn) are blue in the face at France for running an important socialist, not for profit economy. I mean, they are paid to be upset. When they come out of their stint at the European Commission, they expect a job at the like of Goldman Sachs.

Even Krugman has finally understood what they were up to, and condemned Rehn vigorously for the hypocrite he is; France is being attacked because it’s too much of a Republic, not enough of a plutocracy! (Basically Krugman dared to say this.)

Is the Fed powerless to reduce those consumer rates further?

There is what the central banks say they can do, and the reality that some of what they can do, they don’t even want to talk about. The Fed and the ECB have tried to distract us by a pair of novel strategies to drag consumer and business rates down. So they say.

One strategy is called Quantitative Easing (QE). The Fed has purchased more than $4 trillion in Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities since 2008, driving up prices as investors compete for the diminished pool of available securities.

When investors pay a higher price for a bond, they accept a lower interest rate from the borrower. So the Fed’s purchases have helped to reduce the interest rates paid by the government and by home buyers. The Fed claims other interest rates are driven down, but that’s controversial.

Another campaign is called forward guidance. One reason for higher interest rates on long-term loans is uncertainty about the future level of short-term rates. The Fed has sought to decrease this uncertainty by declaring it intends to keep short-term rates near zero as long as the U2 unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent.

Experts sing that these efforts have helped (at least a little). But, of course, this is all a sick joke.

Before you explain why it’s a joke, shouldn’t the Fed be worried about inflation?

Right now the problem is threatening deflation. All over.

Fed officials think they’ve got a clever new tool to prevent inflation. The money spent on bond purchases is credited to banks, but it is kept in accounts held by the Fed. The Fed recently started to pay interest on those accounts, giving banks an incentive to leave the money with the Fed. If the economy started to inflate, Fed officials say they can keep a lid by paying the banks higher interest rates to leave the money at the Fed.

In other words the fat cats of the biggest banks will keep on making ever more money.

President Obama said he wants no more asset bubbles like the housing bubble that caused the financial crisis. How?

Before the lamentable Greenspan, and since the bubble of the 1920s, that led to the 1929 crash, preventing bubbles used to be the Fed’s main job. As a Fed chief said generations ago, “by taking out the punch bowl when the party gets going“. This is done by rising interest rates. Volcker, named by Carter, brought interest rates up to 23.5%. That killed inflation (and the economy).

Under Clinton, the corruptocrats connected to the plutocracy claimed that there were no bubbles, on the grounds that the price of an open-market transaction is perfect by definition. If they had eyes to see, they could have observed there is no free market, just a rigged market. Others simply denied that the Fed could identify or pop bubbles. Both imbecile statements.

Why did you say that the ways presently used by central banks to decrease interest rates were a joke?

The Greater Depression started in 2007-2008 has been triggered by a crisis of banking caused by the unsupervised power of the abusers of the fractional reserve system: central banks give money to private bankers, and the latter lend 30 times that to… their friends. This happened in several ways: USA subprime, derivatives (especially swaps), European investment in continent size corruption, etc.

For example those banks could be British, French, German, and the corrupt friends could be Southern Europeans, and other Irish. When the whole castle of speculation crashed, European governments were asked to save the banks on the front lines, crashing their own governmental finances.

The rest of society was left holding the bag, while the plutocrats are dining on caviar in their castles. Instead the plutocrats ought to have been expropriated, and the castles put for sale.

A beautiful example is Greece. All the aid programs to Greece, as I have said forever, were mostly aid programs to big Northern European banks. Said programs were paid by the Public (all over Europe). The International Monetary Fund just recognized this was debated secretly inside the IMF (October 2013!).

Most of the  money created by QE goes into the derivatives business and other shadow banking and associated dark pools. It does not go to the real economy.

Thus not enough money is available to the real economy, that’s why interest rates are still high, and part of the reason QE ends up just as a subsidy to the worst financial pirates. The financial fuel goes into burning the house down, not the cooking stove.

Hence the importance of nominating Janet Yellen chief of the Fed. If she is nominated, I will explain why.

***

Patrice Ayme

META

October 8, 2013

I pursue my (energy motivated) program of turning all mathematics and logic, FINITE. I define the appropriate notion of META. Not just that, but I use the notion to make any logic into a chrono-logy. (A Chronology/Semantic Hierarchy evades the logical paradoxes.)

This is extremely advanced material, well beyond the edge of what’s commonly understood, using implicitly the implicated order from my sub-Quantum theory. Still most of the notions used below are easy to understand!

***

The notion of “META” is fundamental for the analysis of any system of thoughts or emotions. What’s going meta? I claim: Any theory has meta-theories associated to itself.

If one looks at the literature of meta, it’s a big mess. Recently it was encumbered by a sensation author obsessed by “strange loops” (Douglas Hofstadter, in books starting in 1979 with Gödel, Escher, Bach…)

Studying meta with “strange loops” is older than Aristotle (see the Cretan paradox below).

However the notion of meta I introduce here is much more general (although it contains the “strange loops” thingy, it also evades it, see below!)

To understand the essence of meta, one has to go back to bare-bone logic.

Given a language L, one can talk within that language L. However, what’s L made of? L = (LOG, TRUTH, U). “LOG” is the logic, U the Universe of objects the logic applies to. The logic consists in a set of assemblies that can be applied again and again to objects of U and make constructions. “TRUE” is a label applied to some Well Formed Formulas (WFF) within LOG. (Not all WFF are TRUE.)

Example: suppose LOG is the usual logic, and U consists only of the set made of 3 elements: eat, banana, good. Then ((eat, banana) –> good), a Well Formed Formula from LOG and U, could be the (one and only) TRUE formula (all WFFs are true in some purely formal sense).     

Metalogic and metamathematics, as usually understood, arose when Cantor showed that the Real Numbers were uncountable. Cantor was the metamathematician per excellence (he invented cardinal and ordinal theories). Cynics would say that’s why Cantor became crazy: he went a few “meta” too far.

Relatively simple modifications of (one of) Cantor’s proof(s), his diagonalization trick, led to the revelation that any logical system that contains the usual arithmetic is incomplete: statements can be made that are neither true nor false (which statements, that’s not clear; although Cantor’s Continuum Hypothesis is one of them…).

From my point of view, the problem with the most honorable, and usual, metalogic is that it uses infinity to go from logic to metalogic. I believe only in finite stuff. (Still the Cretan/Liar paradox, that started the field, 26 centuries ago, looks finite, although it truly is not really…)

However one can define meta easily in a finite (or not!) setting:

TRUE, (by definition the set of all true WFFs) is a subset of WFF, the set of all WFFs. (LOG2, TRUTH2, U2) is meta relative to (LOG1, TRUTH1, U1) if and only if each of three sets of the latter is a subset of the corresponding set of the former, one of them strictly (say TRUTH 2 includes TRUTH1, or U2 includes U1).

So meta carries as a useful concept in the finite realm, and has nothing to do with confusing causal loops.

How is the 26 centuries old Liar paradox solved in this scheme? That’s the paradox presented by the statement:

“This statement is false.”

Well, that deserves its own essay. Let’s just say I was chuckling all the way about how clever I was, until I discovered that my first solution was exactly the one found by Buridan seven centuries ago, and the second one, using my theory of meta above, resulting in a semantic hierarchy, was somewhat similar in spirit to that of Alfred Tarski.

Buridan’s solution is excellent (he notices that “This statement is false” is equivalent to A and non A, so is obviously false). However this is too ad hoc. One needs to handle contradictions where the implication chain is longer (A –> B –> Non A). Thus:

My hierarchy idea is to build the Language L by layers, like an onion, starting with a core (L, TRUE, U). One assumes that the initial TRUE of WFFs is non contradictory. Call that SEMANTIC (0). And then one grows TRUE by using L and U, one implication (or operation) of L at a time. Operating L once on TRUE, one gets TRUE (1). Either TRUE (1) has a self contradiction, or not. If it does, stop: (L, TRUE, U) admits no META. If it does not, call it SEMANTIC (1), and proceed to (L, TRUE(2), U). And so on. The iteration operation gives a notion of time (like a clock in a computer). L(n + 1) is richer than L(n), etc.

Thus META allows to build a hierarchy of logics, and semantics. To say that a theory is “meta” relative to another can be rigorously defined.

Progress in understanding is always achieved by climbing up the Semantic Hierarchy of meta.

***

Patrice Ayme

Dysfunction Chronicles I

October 6, 2013

Abstract: Connections between financial and health care pirates, Obamian stasis, and the necessity of (good!) empire.

Krugman in Shorting Out The Wiring: Bush was treated as a highly effective leader who knew what he was doing right up to Katrina, while Clinton — now viewed with such respect — was treated as a bungling interloper for much of his presidency.

Tyranosopher: Clinton now viewed with such respect”. Why to proffer such an absurdity? Just because Clinton is filthy rich, now that he has cashed in? Viewed with respect by whom? Big time plutocrats?

Clinton brought the reign of Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Sheryl Sandberg (lover and pet of the preceding one), and Geithner. Seriously:

1) Bill Clinton dismantled the separation of money creation (large deposit banks) and “investment” banks (Wall Street private-public casino). That separation (Banking Act of 1933) was Roosevelt’s greatest reform. So, domestically speaking, Clinton was the anti-Roosevelt. A sort of anti-democrat, a demonstrative demon emphatic for the people as the spider to the fly. (And now big time advising his boy Obama to hang tough.)

2) Bill Clinton allowed the expansion of financial and commodity derivative trading to the point of complete dementia (up to $750 trillion for financial derivatives trades, $50 trillion for real economy trades, worldwide)

Yes derivatives are an order of magnitude greater than world GDP. People do not understand what it means. It means that the WORLD’s money creation machine has been highjacked by a few pirates, the largest “banks”… that the Public is still financing through Quantitative Easing.

None of this has to do with the free market, capitalism, whatever. It’s about a gang having captured the economic and social flying deck of the planet, and Bill Clinton gave them the keys. Thus now viewed with such respect.

All this tanks to Clinton’s minder Rubin and his pet Summers (that would make multi-billionairess Sandberg the pet of a pet).

Why is Krugman uttering plutocratic propaganda (pro-plutocratic decisions are now viewed with such respect)? Is Krugman conscious, or simply saying something because people around him are saying it, and that’s how to get a modicum of respect?

Krugman: Hitting the Ceiling: Disastrous or Utterly Disastrous?

Tyranosopher: How far do you want the Machiavellian analysis to go (I know that you know that I know that you know, etc…)?

People on the supposed left should have long seen it coming. The blockage of Obamacare was all highly predictable. By differing health reform implementation for 5 years, Obama invited this.

Medicare For All would have taken one minute, on the first hour of his presidency, and could have been implemented right away (by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with providers, and that could be done by executive decision).

When he was elected president, Obama could do anything he wanted. He had a majority in Congress, a super majority in the Senate.

Newly elected executives controlling the legislative can do a lot. The newly elected Prime Minister of Australia, as soon as elected, launched a campaign to outlaw Australia’s Carbon Tax. Tony Abbott declared: “Today is not just a ceremonial day, it’s an action day,” the 55-year-old said in a statement. …”people expect us to get straight down to business, and that’s exactly what this government will do. We hope to be judged by what we have done, rather than by what we have said we would do.”

However Abbott’s party controls only 33 of the Australian Senate’s 76 seats. That’s not an easy position to be in. It’s very different from the total control Obama had.

Instead, once elected, Obama celebrated his blackness, as if he were a narcissist, and proceeded with Bush’s policies, as far as the eye can see, . That allowed him not to focus on what he could do to help people with health care.  It is as if Obama had been elected President of the Tea Party (OK, there was no Tea Party yet, my point entirely). 

But what Obama said is that he wanted to become bisexual bipartisan. Why? What did becoming bisexual bipartisan had to do with implementing reforms? What’s the difference between bisexualism, and bipartisanship? In the end, two years later, he did not get one single Republican vote (Republicans do not want to pose as bisexual bipartisan, apparently.) Anyway all this bi-something killed lots of time, as intended.

Having celebrated his blackness has proven highly profitable for Obama; I was listening to some European based talking head who was going black in the face screaming that it was all a racist plot against the “black” president. Whatever “it” was.

Krugman: The aim of Obamacare is to give coverage to the poor.

Apparently, except for Alaska, with subsidies, the cost will be $100 dollar a month for the colored plan (“bronze”; the cheapest). Top demoncrats are so disconnected with reality they don’t know that:

1) basic health care is free in other advanced countries.

2) the 50 millions of the USA underclass cannot afford durably $100 a month.

What could have helped people was to lower the COST of health care (about double that of any other country per GDP/capita).

But lowering the cost of health spending would have been a disaster for health care plutocrats.

Indeed, Medicare for All would have served Buffet not (Obama was going around calling Buffet “my friend”, when he was working on Obamacare; Buffet personally made billions from health care gouging). All what history will remember, from all this, is that Obama’s presidency was a disaster, and it got so from pseudo liberal sycophants filling up their pockets (Summers, Geithner and countless others are examples).

Krugman: Down with the Euro!

Tyranosopher: Well, yes, now that the dollar is not the only world reserve currency, nobody cares as much as they used to about a USA default. For reference, the EU has no debt. Nada. The USA has more debt than its GDP ($16.7 trillion, although Krugman, alone in the world, loves to say less than 10, by making specious distinctions…)

Europe is indeed a terrible place. At least 300 dead from just one boat trying to make it to European soil. Not only does Europe kills, but it kills by attracting people like flies, like one of these carnivorous flowers. What to do? Right now, the boats are confiscated, with the hope international crime syndicates doing the boating will run out of boats.

Not easy to control, those borders: Romania has 2,000 kilometers of borders to control, to prevent entry of the great unwashed inside the European Union. The American/Israeli solution is to build a wall (and actually, to enter the EU, Poland had to build such a wall!) But walls are expensive.

This being said, Europe has a demographic, not just democratic deficit…

So what to do? Go imperial, of course. If Europe is so good, it needs to be defended. In an age when major human vehicles weighing as much as an ancient Greek trireme can cover 8,000 kilometers in 15 minutes, the empire of the Republic extends worldwide. Whatever pseudo-leftist whiners will say, to satisfy their moronic holier-than-thou auto-celebration.

What does that mean? What does empire mean? “Imperare” means to order (well, imperially). Imperators were top Roman generals, with pretty much right of life and death over anybody in their way So imperators had rights similar to those of Consuls and Proconsuls (ex-Consuls mandated anew by Consuls). Under the pure Republic.

In this spirit, the USA just struck with two targeted raids in Libya and Somalia, to neutralize two terrorists chiefs. It seems to have been well done in Libya (live capture, differently from the somewhat lamentable Osama bin Laden raid). Capture them and make them talk (and remember as was discovered in the Middle Ages, that torture is counterproductive).

However, the raid on the Somalian coast, although not as bungled as the French one, deep in the interior, a few months ago, was not the sort of success one would more readily get, if, for example, the French and the Americans cooperated.

Having a worldwide empire is the only way out. But it has to be a good empire. A very good empire. Not a very evil empire where authorities are hunting those who reveal important malversations (Manning, Snowden), while earning respect by financing the richest (as Clinton did), or confusing wealth care exchanges for the richest with health care for the People.

By showing that he has some of what it takes, by striking terrorists, Obama may be able to earn back some of the respect he clearly needs in Washington…

***

Patrice Ayme

INSTINCT IS FAST LEARNING.

October 2, 2013

SMALL ANIMALS, FAST MINDS.

HOW FORCE BECOMES THE TRUTH OF MAN.

Abstract: “Innate Knowledge” is a stupid idea. The truth is the exact opposite: LEARNING IS EVERYWHERE, OUT THERE. Learning is the opposite of innate. This insight has tremendous consequences on our entire prehension of the world.

(It will not escape the cognoscenti that Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, were partisans of innateness. And that believing in the superiority of inheritance is a necessary condition for racism, fascism, slavery, and hereditary plutocracy as fairness. That makes the likes of Chomsky and Dawkins self contradictory)

Subjective time slows down in smaller brains.

Fastest Wings, Fastest Brains. Anna Hummingbird California

Fastest Wings, Fastest Brains. Anna Hummingbird California

Those wings go at 100 Hertz, four time the human perception limit.

Thus time is relative; just as light-clock time slows down in a fast reference frame, or in a heavy gravitational field, neurological time slows down in a small neurology.

(Interestingly, the deepest reason for the slowing of time… boils down to the same in the Relativity case as in the Neurological one! It’s all about energy.)

A lot of ideas on instinct came from studying insects: insects seem to know all, without having studied anything. However, if insect time flows slowly, insects actually have time to learn.

And that’s rendered easier by having brains adapted to their environment. If they have only a few tricks to learn, and what looks like ten seconds for us is an hour for them, no wonder they learn lots. Thus slow in small explains how “instinct” works.

Hence behaviors one describes as “instinctive” are just fast studies. A lot of the silliness about “genes” is thus dispelled, and the mind comes on top.

And hunting influences it. Thus the Dark Side dominates time itself, not just the hierarchy of values!

On the way, my theory of thoughts as material forms is rolled out, once again, with the refined elegance of a low shrieking hypersonic bomber shattering all it wake.

[To avoid boredom, I put my own science/philosophy upfront, followed by a more conventional recap of the published experiments.]  

***

SMALLER ANIMALS TEND TO PERCEIVE TIME SLOWLY, a study published in the Journal of Animal Behavior has shown.

That smaller animals perceive time in slow motion did not surprise me at all.. I have wild (“Anna”) hummingbird friends. They can make a whole body shake 55 times per second (that allows them to shake off rain).

I was only surprised it took so long to find measurable evidence for this. Anybody who observes a bumblebee, or a humming bird, collecting nectar, will readily feel that they take so many decisions in fractions of a second, that it means that time flows slowly for these creatures: they take in a lot of information, analyze it, and act accordingly.

Seeing hummingbirds hovering still in the turbulent high winds, as I have, from a few feet away, proves this (I extract knowledge from my wild hummingbird friends). They have got to process a tremendous amount of information per hundredth of a second.

Having smaller brains allows for faster processing. Faster mental processing is an obvious advantage in the predator-prey universe we inhabit, and our ancestors have evolved in. Evolution was bound to stumble on, and exploit, that trait.

***

MOSTLY LEARNING IMPLEMENTS BEHAVIOR.

But there is a much more advanced insight one can have: faster brain processing explains (what looks like) instinct. I claim the following. (Most of what looks as) INSTINCT IS FAST LEARNING.

Let’s think: where do we get our knowledge from? Did we get it the easy way, knowing everything all along, as Socrates tried to demonstrate we did? Or did we have to do some effort, listening to our parents, observing our elders, listening to our teachers, spending years to learn to read and write, and then reading books, experimenting around.

Of course it is the latter: any honest chimp knows that much of life is spent learning, figuring things out. Mind dominates genes:

It is nature that is the instruction set of all and any animal. FAST LEARNING, or “unconscious” learning, SOLVES THE NATURE-NURTURE PROBLEM. If a bee can spend, what is perceived by the bee as hours learning something (in subjective, bee time), whereas it feels to us like seconds, we observe “instinct”, whereas the bee has the impression of being at school forever and ever.

Bee time is even accentuated by the nature of learning. According to me, thoughts are just brain geometry (that’s more general than neuronal geometry, as it involves more than axons and dendrites, but also other cells and topologies). One needs time to build those. In simpler, smaller brains, such constructions will go much faster.

It goes much faster from smaller dimensions: the signals, electrical or chemical, have much less further to go before they get to an enacting node (that’s why computer circuitry is made ever smaller to satisfy Moore’s “law”). In a smaller brain, there are also fewer dimensions and volumes, so the energy of signals takes much less long to ramp up (that’s related to how the ramping up of a light signal gave a delay giving the impression that neutrinos were going faster than said light signal).

“The fewer dimensions” aspects is where innate inheritance (from genes and the like) comes in. Say a simpler animal can distinguish only a few things, it’s going to be much easier, and much faster, to learn those few things rather than zillions of things, human style.

So how are the most intimate brain structures, even in a bee, the thoughts, built? Well from studying the environment and building quasi-representations of it.

One has, of course to have a theory of what thoughts are. Well, for me they are forms (so far so good would Plato say!). What can be seen (the etymology of the concept of idea).

But then, of course FORMS OF BRAIN STRUCTURES. Hey, what else? We know enough about the brain and cytology to know that forms in the brain exists, and all the way down to the Quantum level (where their meaning becomes as mysterious as the non local Quantum).

Anyway, the important point for the subject at hand is that thoughts, feelings and conditioned reflexes, that is, most of the instruction set for behaviors is NOT pre-coded by genes, but it is learned from the environment. It’s the environment that codes, tweaked by the genes.

I of course argue that even (apparently) unconditioned reflexes are also the result of learning. Animals learn, early on, to withdraw their paw/foot real fast when submitted to a painful stimulus (as they discover that it diminishes the pain).

Some will look at me with boiled fish eyes, as they know that unconditioned reflexes are, well, by definition, unconditioned. However, I believe that most of these apparently unconditioned reflexes are actually the product of learning.

I am a mountain runner, meaning that I can negotiate abominable terrain at very high speed, thanks to these apparently unconditioned reflexes, all the way into the many muscles of the foot. As a few people who tried to accompany me crashed spectacularly, I know quite well that even something as natural as ambulation is full of conditioned reflexes.

I have also noticed to my dismay that, when I am out of training, my brain processing could not keep track on descents I knew all too well, and I was in danger of exploding into the closest rock I could find.

OK, let me recapitulate what the scientists directly established:

***

SMALL BRAINS CAN BE FAST, BIG BRAINS CAN ONLY BE SLOW:

The scientific study shows that smaller animals can observe movement on a finer, much faster timescale than bigger ones, allowing them to escape from larger predators (who looks to the small animals as if they were moving in slow mo).

Insects and small birds, for example, can see more information in one second than a larger animal such as an elephant.

How that works is philosophically obvious. In a large animal one needs enormous quantities of motor neurons to send the electricity to move those huge muscles. Those motor neuron packs, in turn, need to be hooked up with larger neuronal installations having to do with decision-making, deeper inside. All the energy has got to move ponderously: if, somehow, it did not, the animal may explode, from too much energy released too fast. And so on.

“The ability to perceive time on very small scales may be the difference between life and death for fast-moving organisms such as predators and their prey,” said lead author Kevin Healy, from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

The reverse was found in bigger animals, which may miss fast things that smaller creatures can rapidly spot.

***

SPEEDY SMALL CRITTERS

The scientists looked at the variation of time perception across a variety of animals. They gathered datasets from other teams who had used a technique called critical flicker fusion frequency, which measures the speed at which the eye can process light.

Plotting these results on a graph revealed a pattern that showed a strong relationship between body size and how quick the eye could respond to changing visual information such as a flashing light.

Of those tested, animals with the fastest visual systems included golden mantled ground squirrels, starlings and pigeons.

Starling live in large groups and forms massive swirling flocks, related to the need to keep track of where mates are, to avoid collisions. Another reason, for the fast swirling, is that it makes it impossible for a predator like a falcon to get a clean hit. Many fishes’ species use the same trick to confuse predators (who, in turn have devised strategies to handle that! Humpback whales herd the fishes, before dashing through the mass).

One species of tiger beetle runs faster than its eyes can keep up, according to the team. It essentially becomes blind so needs to stop periodically to re-evaluate its prey’s position.

In humans, too, there are variations among individuals. Athletes, for example, can often process visual information more quickly.

This reinforces my observation above that many reflexes that are viewed as unconditioned are actually conditioned, including time perception itself. An experienced goalkeeper would therefore be quicker than others in observing where a ball comes from. This is similar to taxi cab drivers getting larger memory centers. But it affects time perception.

The speed at which humans absorb visual information is also age-related, said Andrew Jackson, a co-author of the work at TCD.

“Younger people can react more quickly than older people…” (Of course that’s not saying much as too many people are fully acquainted with saturated fats, booze, pot, and other mind gluing or wasting drugs…). One may wonder, though, if that has to do with the accelerated perception of time that people seem to experience as they age.

Indeed, if one measures internal time by how much geometric reorganization a brain undergoes, as it learns new things, learning lots would mean time in slow motion. (And conversely.)

“From a human perspective, our ability to process visual information limits our ability to drive cars or fly planes any faster than we currently do in Formula 1, where these guys are pushing the limits of what is humanly possible,” Dr Jackson told BBC News. “Therefore, to go any quicker would require either computer assistance, or enhancement of our visual system, either through drugs or ultimately implants.”

The current study focused on vertebrates, but the team also found that several fly species have eyes that react to stimulus more than four times quicker than the human eye. For a reason that I partly forgot, I had determined, long ago, that bees processed information up to ten times faster than human beings.

Humans can perceive TV flicker say at 20 Hertz; I have to assume that my pet hummingbirds with their 55 times per second body shake, and their 100 Hz wing beat have got to perceive the world at an even higher pace; hummingbirds actually catch insects in flight, to balance their diet with proteins; they do this by opening fully their elongated beaks, high-speed photography has revealed.

SLUGGISH HUNTING EVOLVES SLUGGISH CREATURES:

The common European eel, the leatherback turtle, and the blacknose shark had the slowest visual systems.

Although the eel and blacknose shark are relatively small, they have slow metabolisms which explains their slow visual systems.

The leatherback is a huge turtle that feeds primarily on slow-moving jellyfish. It may live more than a century. However, intriguingly, it is also the fastest reptile (up to 35 km/h), thanks to its giant flippers, and its metabolism cannot be that slow, as it is warm-blooded (!). So it seems that the slow nature of what it hunts primes on other considerations to explain why it did not invest in high-speed visual processing equipment. This is another case where the weight of the Dark Side on evolution is blatant.

Some deep-sea isopods (a type of marine woodlouse) have the slowest recorded reaction of all, and can only see a light turning off and on four times per second “before they get confused and see it as being constantly on”, Dr Jackson explained. Confused woodlice from lack of a demanding predator-prey environment.

“We are beginning to understand that there is a whole world of detail out there that only some animals can perceive and it’s fascinating to think of how they might perceive the world differently to us,” he added.

Graeme Ruxton, of the University of St Andrews, Scotland, another co-author, said: “Having eyes that send updates to the brain at much higher frequencies than our eyes do is of no value if the brain cannot process that information equally quickly.

“Hence, this work highlights the impressive capabilities of even the smallest animal brains. Flies might not be deep thinkers but they can make good decisions very quickly.”

Some fishes live from cleaning other fishes: they extracts debris, clean the skin, benefitting those they clean. However, they can cheat, by stealing some protective mucus from the host they clean. That hurts the hosts, who dislike this very much, and may react very nastily. Still, mucus is good.

So the cleaning fishes have to carefully distinguish among their clients. There are basically three cases visiting the cleaning station: predators, residents, and visitors. It goes without saying that they deliver impeccable service to predators. A satisfied predator does not gobble its servants.

Residents are sedentary fishes living in the neighborhood: mucus stealing is big with those: where are they going to go? Visitors: one has interest that they would come back, so one treats them more deferentially, lest they go visit another service station.

Thus one can see that tiny modest cleaner fishes have economic principles as developed as American economists. There is no way that’s innate: tiny fishes observe, and deduce. Intelligence is everywhere, even among the tiny ones.

Conclusion:

Instinct As Fast Learning solves the nature-nurture problem. It also shows something else, even more important. It shows that the force of nature makes not just the force, but even the very geometry, of our minds.

(The construction of neuromorphology itself being forced by feedback from nature.)

The minds of sentient species, from bees to hummingbirds, are exquisitely tuned to be programmed by the (part of) nature they are made to respond to, all the way to the speed of time they need.

If we kill the environment, we kill out instruction set. The usual reason given to save the environment is that we would not want our descendants to live in a bad world. But what we see now is that a poor world gives poor minds, and that even time may go askew. Another, deeper than ever, reason to be a fanatical ecologist. Nature is not just our temple. Nature is where, and how, time itself is built, one neurological impulse at a time.

***

Patrice Ayme

ObamaCare Crazed?

October 1, 2013

So Obama wanted to be president. He was elected, and pursued the works of Bush: throwing all the money in the world to save his friends the bankers, and other financiers.

We were far from Roosevelt’s “I welcome their hatred!” (speaking of bankers).

To make his sense of friendship official, Obama, while president, called Jamie Dimon, the CEO of the giant bank JP Morgan, many times,“my friend”. 

Yet, it ought to have been then completely obvious that Dimon was a crook, in bed with the Bush administration (who offered him the bank Bear-Sterns in the infamous “Jamie Deal”).

Right now Dimon is negotiating a 11 billion dollar fine with Att. Gen Holder (probably proposing him in exchange a mansion on Grand Cayman, or something a bit less obvious: Holder himself is an expensive boy, with a fortune esteemed to more than 12 million dollars).

Of course, it was not all Obama’s fault: he had been selected precisely because he claimed to read the Financial Times, a perfect tool for the plutocratic system. Thousands of experts of said system were ready to steer Obama the right way.

Obama was told by one of the principals of Clinton, Mr. Bowles, himself a plutocrat, scion of an investment banker, in charge of setting up Obama’s cabinet, to “leave his friends behind, they only cause problems”.

Hence Obama’s friendship with well to do characters, such as the Gates, Buffets, Dimons… or even Wolf the more or less criminal ex-boss of UBS USA.

Looking back at the Obama presidency, we see nothing, but Bushes to the horizon. Ah, except Obamacare, a giant mountain that gave birth to a mouse. Obamacare’s official aim was to cover all Americans with a health plan, thanks to public subsidies to… private companies.

It’s esteemed that 45 million Americans have no health care coverage. Obamacare officials claim that, in ten years, in 2023, they will have reduced that number to…  a slightly less horrific 31 millions.

In any case, his lack of overall achievement, or even definition, is why Obama is obsessed by Obamacare. Remove Obamacare, and eight years of Obama would have achieved less than Bush (who passed the financing of drugs for seniors).

And the truth is… That Obamacare should perhaps be called Obamacraze. Indeed, it seems to be the most complicated medical system ever devised, a thorough entanglement of government administration and private profit.

Complexity is a major defect, in all systems. A few years back, a tree touched a transmission line in Switzerland. All over Europe, lights went out. Rome stayed dark for hours, creating a giant mess. This was the result of too much, uncontrolled, fragile complexity.

Complexity ought to be engaged, as required, but not a step more.

In a country such as France, the “Assurance Maladie” (basically, “Medicare For All”) covers everybody, up to fluff. Fluff is covered by private insurance.

If one needs a liver transplant, Assurance Maladie pays everything. But, if one wants to recover in a private clinic, instead of a public hospital, then private insurance (typically connected to an employer) kicks in. If one wants a fancy fake tooth, private insurance will have to pay the difference with the reimbursement provided by Assurance Maladie for a basic fake tooth. and so on…

Such as national health care system has reduced complexity: basic health care is handled by a governmental system, and non basic care by a profit based system. The lines are clearly defined.

Thus the worst is… That Obamacare may not even be worth fighting for! Obamacare is very far from the basically free universal health coverage that exists in dozens of countries.

Instead Obamacare is a weird system with the cheapest coverage for the lower classes being called “bronze” (like in… colored), whereas the better stuff is associated to whitish hues. In other words Obamacare, symbolically, but also very practically, perpetuates the class scheme based on color.

If you are “Bronze”, you will find yourself with ruinous health care, once sick. 

Obamacare was written down by a private health insurance executive who worked “under” Sen. Baucus, himself a plutocrat, for the occasion. Meanwhile, Obama was going around calling Warren Buffet his friend. Buffet made billions, personally by investing in private health care.

Despite the belief of much of their electorate in single payer, the professional Democrats took the strange step of offering a conservative, market-based solution instead. In other words, they went Republican. Now true blood republican make them eat crow.

The most hilarious detail was the last bill of the Republican controlled Congress, which proposed, among other things, that all the top politicos, including those in Congress and staff at the White House, led by President and VP, would have no more subsidies for health care. Instead the bill wanted to force them to buy their health coverage from the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare.

The “Democratic” leadership replied that it was impossible to force them to buy into Obamacare, because… junior employees could not afford it”.

Unreal.

***

Patrice Ayme


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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 The Best Thinking Possible. Morality Needs Intelligence As Will Needs Mind. Intelligence Is Humanism.

Learning from Dogs

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

ianmillerblog

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Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

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Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

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SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

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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 The Best Thinking Possible. Morality Needs Intelligence As Will Needs Mind. Intelligence Is Humanism.

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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