Archive for August, 2022

Nuclear War Is An Argument In Favor Of Civilian Nuclear Power!

August 30, 2022

That sounds counter-intuitive. However, “renewables” would shut down during nuclear winter, making a bad situation way worse. Those who hate nuclear civilian energy apparently never thought carefully about nuclear war, nuclear winter, and V7 volcanic eruptions. Or then they do as if they never heard of them: these large scale, “renewables” extinguishing catastrophes are not over their mental horizons. After trying to addict us to Putin, now shallow thinkers and the emotionally frayed, may prepare for us an even more ominous fate… 

Indeed “renewables” partisans, meaning getting energy from sun and wind, as in the High Middle Ages, never seem to contemplate what will happen when it doesn’t shine and blow. One such occasion is nuclear war and its accompanying “nuclear winter”. “Nuclear winter” is an ancient notion which got reinvigorated recently with new simulations (in the famous scientific journal Nature, August 2022). 

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Volcanic eruptions can have drastic impacts on atmospheric composition and climate. They, furious igneous province volcanism, caused the greatest mass extinction ever. Powerful explosive eruptions can inject large amounts of SO2, ash, water vapor and various other chemical species into the stratosphere. Volcanic SO2 injected into the stratosphere is chemically converted to sulfuric acid vapor H2 SO4 over a timescale of days to months, causing substantial new particle formation and aerosol growth by condensation. This can be long lasting, with particle concentrations remaining substantially enhanced for several years in the case of tropical eruptions: Krakatoa’s magnificent sunsets were well documented, worldwide, for three years after 1883.

 

Pinatubo, a VE6 eruption in 1991, injected 10 million tons of SO2 in the high atmosphere (according to simulations), The stratospheric veil Pinatubo created lowered temperatures worldwide by one degree Celsius, slowing down the human GreenHouse Gas catastrophe.

 

In 1815, Mount Tambora in Indonesia next to Bali, unleashed the largest known volcanic eruption in documented history. The volcano’s elevation reached more than 4,300 meters (14,100 feet) high. Now it’s only 2850 meters: it lost its upper mile. The region, over thousands of miles, was plunged in total darkness for four days. In the following months, Tambora’s ash and sulfur dioxide clouds rose and spread worldwide, blocking enough sunlight to produce “the year without a summer”— in 1816 that resulted in massive crop failures and famine across the globe. Europe froze in July and August. Tambora was a VE7 volcanic eruption. VE7s volcanic eruptions occur every 125 years on average (over the last 100,000 years. Better: every 10,000 years or so, on average, earth is graced with a VE8 eruption.

 

No more solar, and no more wind either, both being activated by solar energy which can’t reach the ground when it’s blocked in the stratosphere (above 12 kilometers altitude). 

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Some may object that Vulcan will be favorable in the next few centuries, and produce no VE7 eruption, out of deference for humanity. Maybe. However one will also need Mars to be favorable, and organize no nuclear war. As the Russian dictator’s hysteria has shown, one little tyrant can blackmail the entire planet into nuclear submission, or at least try to. 

Many scientists have considered that fires ignited by hundreds or thousands of nuclear explosions would release millions of tons of soot, blocking sunlight and inducing global environmental effects. I am not as pessimistic as they are (soot should not get as high as SO2 from Pinatubo, Krakatoa or Tambora). However, what the most recent studies by the most prominent “nuclear winter” study group show is the following. 

 

A few years after a nuclear war between the United States, its allies, and Russia, the global average calories produced would drop by about 90%—leaving an estimated 5 billion dead from the famine, the research group reported. A worst-case war between India and Pakistan could drop calorie production to 50% and cause 2 billion deaths. The team tried to simulate the impact of food-saving emergency strategies, such as converting livestock feed and household waste to food. But in the larger war scenarios, those efforts did little to save lives.

 

An obvious solution to nuclear winter in the most advanced economies would be to produce food in shelters, using hydroponics and artificial lighting. However, that requires lots of energy… which will then not be available from renewables!  

In general, the AWE (Absolute Worth Energy) of modern technology has been ramping up: it costs more and more total absolute energy to make increasingly sophisticated machines, such as a smart phones or flying machines. Data themselves are requiring more and more energy: giant servers are installed in Arctic regions to reduce the cost of cooling them, etc.

Intermittent blow and shine renewables are leading to war, but have not experienced full world war yet. Instead intermittent blow and shine renewables are cannibalizing the entire energy sector, trillions of subsidies at a time… precisely because humanity has not experienced a VE7 or nuclear winter recently…

So we see that depending upon intermittent blow and shine renewables to too great an extent is a strategic error (strategos means general in Greek). Worse even it freezes us in the present situation: a huge dependency (84%!) on fossil fuels, and a rising dependency on “renewables”. As the invasion of Ukraine has shown, the world economy is highly dependent, for food and energy upon peace and transportation.

The solution, once again, is to develop nuclear technologies, without forgetting Thorium (which could warm up Norway, as its name indicates). Thorium, which is fertile, not fissile, has a great, and safe, future. 

***

It is thrilling to see that pseudo-ecologists and various other hypocritical peaceniks, in their urge to foster their pathetic view of the universe, are causing the very conditions they claim to be determined to avoid. 

Indeed, the policies pseudo-ecologists promote, the toxic mix of fossil fuels, wind and sun make the world increasingly dependent upon… fossil fuels  (total coal usage is at its highest ever in 2022, and projected to rise further in 2023!). One of the reasons the Kremlin dictator attacked is that he believed Europe could not be without Russian fossil fuels, and thus would submit to his will. 

Fossil fuels are dictator friendly, because they are capital intensive (hence plutocrat friendly, and plutocrats love dictators, being themselves of the same ilk)… and yet require relatively few highly skilled workers (geologists, engineers, technicians)… Nuclear is also capital intensive, but requires a huge academic background (especially in the present situation: deploying high temperature reactors, or Thorium reactors, optimally, bring in the need for massive fundamental research)… Thus nuclear energy deployment would be brain intensive… exactly what the world’s plutocratic order doesn’t like.

The more dependent upon dictators the world is, the greater the danger of war, thus, nuclear war (nukes make bigger booms). The more fragile the world economy is, the more susceptible to blackmail by bellicose dictators the world is… And the more brainless from too much pseudo-ecology, pseudo-democracy, pseudo-philanthropy by self-obsessed sharks, the world is, the more trouble there will be. 

The cost of brainlessness is war

Make no mistake, as the hypocritical Obama would say, I am all for solar power (wind, not so much)… As long as it is accompanied by (green and, or nuclear) hydrogen and nuclear power… Only thus can we significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels (which are used for all sorts of plastics, not just burning). The needed balance between intermittents (plus hydrogen!) and nuclear should be such that, in the case of complete failure of blow and shine for months (from a VE8 or a strong nuclear winter), the civilian nuclear sector could marginally hope to provide enough power for the basic services, including food production.

No, pseudo-ecologists and partisans of the return to the Neolithic, you can’t put nuclear energy back into the bottle as in one of these movies which constitute most of the culture you have. Nuclear energy has been militarized, and was launched by French partisans of world peace as early as 1938, because the Curies, who were as intellectual (Nobel prize winners!) and humanistic (early development of nuclear medicine; communists and fanatical partisan of world peace) understood that it was moral to nuke the Nazis, and that it could turn in an existential necessity.

Want world ethics? Want planetary safety? Put more real intelligence in charge

Patrice Ayme

Tonga Volcano Ash as seen from the International Space Station, January 2022. The top plume of that 10 megaton explosion reached 55 kilometers. That was a VE5! A VE7 (like Tambora, every 125 years on average) could explode with 1000 Megatons at its worst moment. Ash would be one hundred times more… Multiply all this by ten for a VE8… Recently the frequencies of VE7s has been augmented. A so far unidentified VE7 or two, (or an impactor?) affected very adversely the reconquest activities of the Roman empire in the Sixth Century…

Quantum Inspired Meta Strategy On Decision Making

August 30, 2022

Si vis optimum exitum, circumspice ante confligendum:

When in doubt, at first contact with an unknown, and some decision have to be taken, metastrategies offer advice. “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” is an example of a metastrategy in the art of deciding.

I will present a new metastrategy, which I have long used. It is inspired by Quantum Physics, how an electron comes out of the chlorophyll molecule. It does not always work: once the metastrategy failed spectacularly in the Alps, as I went up the wrong valley, the other side of which was blocked by impassable cliffs… but generally it works). For the background, see Note [1].

When one is confronted to a cliff, going up or down, and one has to find a way… one must observe the situation, first of all. And observe it carefully, because, after all, the end of everything is close at hand, should one decide poorly. The result of careful observation, from one point of view, is, typically, that a way seems to present itself. Call it W1. One then pushes things a bit further to confirm W1 seems to work, and one can evaluate the risk associated with W1, call it R1.

At that point, the most natural strategy seems to be to engage on W1: one has seen a way, so one engages in it. This is exactly what I would do if time was of the essence because some deterioration of conditions is expected within a short time (storm, nightfall, charging or lurking wild beast(s), etc…)

But, if I have time, going down W1, taking evaluated risk R1, the first apparent path which presents itself, is not what I do.

Instead, I look further, by moving and changing points of view and try to find another way some distance away, W2. If W2 looks promising, I then engage in W2. Doing so, I am forced to evaluate the risk associated to W2, R2. If I find that R2 is much greater than R1, I go back to W1 and its R1. But, if R2 turns out to be comparable to R1, I proceed along W2.

This non-intuitive strategy has several advantages:

First, as I go down (or up!) W2, I have W1 as a back-up. If I had gone down W1 to start with, I would not have a back-up, so no choice in case the going gets too tough. 

Second, a broader picture of the cliff has been discovered than if I had gone down (or up!) W1 alone… The second choice method boosts knowledge, relative to seizing the first path which offers itself, from the first point of view.. 

This method, by the way, is reminiscent of the integration along all possible paths of Quantum Physics. And it is probably how I derived the method! As the omniscient aspect of Quantum Physics is never far from my mind (this is one of the main riddles that the subquantal physics known as SQPR explains)

This method is worth an adage, Horace style: If you want the best outcome, look around before engaging

Si vous voulez le meilleur résultat, regardez autour de vous avant de vous engager

As Horace could have put it, had he thought of it: Si vis optimum exitum, circumspice ante confligendum

A weaker variant: Si vis optima solutio, circumspice ante confligendum

The consequences for biggest picture policies are considerable.

Patrice Ayme

When passing through such terrain from above (which I did, August 2022), one needs innovative decision making. Besides gravity, slippery ground, rockfall, storms, lions, bears, rattlers and various stinging insects, many of them lethal, have to be considered… Pinecrest cliffs, north of Yosemite Nat. Park, California.

Note [1], background: I am a mountain climber, and mountain climbing can require multi-day approaches. So doing, I ended, long ago, as a mountain runner, long before the sport was officially born. Thus I partly evolved into a sort of “ranger” (to revive the original meaning of the term)…. This sort of vacation is total, brutal, and excellent for those who live too much in the clouds (as Aristophanes, Socrates’ critic, had it in “The Birds” when he made fun of the “thinkery“). I cross mountain ranges off the beaten path, and cross country mountain exploration vacate the mind from anything else but the raw reality of nature. That and swimming through turbulent seas torn by swift currents.

Solo adventures in an unknown space: I have immersed in nature that way on the major continents: Africa, Eurasia and the Americas. Self-observing, I noticed that I use a peculiar strategy when in doubt about where to go, especially when crossing cliff bands. That strategy can, and should be, generalized for other decision making. It is basically a strategy to mitigate decision making itlself and make it more knowledgeable. The method can be extended all over. I do not know if someone thought of it before (Descartes himself had his “method”… I present one that he may not have thought of…)

Better decision making is central to humanity’s survival… And should be practiced in politics. After all, the greatest advantage of democracy is better thinking, the fruit of debate. But debate itself is full of mental decisions. Decision making showing up in judgments are the atoms of debate. Better decision making leads to better thinking.

Biden Helps Wealthy Elite Education Get Wealthier, More Privileged

August 27, 2022

Biden canceled, by executive order,  the debt of many students… with a (past) yearly income of no more than $250,000 (4 times the US median family income!) 

The move may cost simple minded US taxpayers more than $300 billion in money they effectively lent out that will never be repaid. For some obscure reason, this is viewed as progressive by many “Democrats“. Reaction of the perplexed New York Times:

“But critics — including some members of Mr. Biden’s own party — said the move was deeply unfair.”

Indeed, borrowers will be assessed based on the income they reported in 2021 or 2020. This means that individuals who could be making millions from their degrees will not have to reimburse their debts. NYT:

“Jason Furman, a Harvard economist and former top economist for President Barack Obama, said the plan “would unnecessarily provide tens of thousands of dollars to many high-income households in a way that goes well beyond even what he promised in the heat of a Democratic primary when the problem facing the country was low inflation — not high inflation.

The Republican National Committee released a statement slamming the program as “Biden’s bailout for the wealthy.”

Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, said the plan “forces blue-collar workers to subsidize white-collar graduate students. Instead of demanding accountability from an underperforming higher-education sector that pushes so many young Americans into massive debt, the administration’s unilateral plan baptizes a broken system.”

What is going on here? The usual: Obama-like figures are promoted, so they can lead where the establishment wants to go. Individuals who owe everything to the system and are put in commanding positions: the New York, in the same article, provides unwittingly a striking example:

“I was standing in my dorm room when I heard this, and I just let out a scream,” said Marlene Ramirez, 25, who relied on Pell grants and other aid to pay for her undergraduate studies.

Ms. Ramirez, the first in her family to go to college, used the grants to cover two years of study at a community college, then transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles. After graduating in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, she still has $25,000 in federal loans that she had used to cover her housing and living expenses.

“This will almost wipe that out,” said Ms. Ramirez, who is finishing a master’s degree at the London School of Economics. “I’m shaking right now. This is life changing.”

The screaming, no nerves, no decency, so self-examination Ramirez is the sort of enthusiatic simple minded underlings who act as the best soldiers to the establishment. The LSE is one of the top MBA schools in the world. People coming out of that seat in the C suite right away. Next year, Ramirez, grateful to the plutocracy, will be earning millions and ordering lumberjacks around. It is of course easy to find out that Ramirez will earn an MBA from the LSE. She deserves no loan forgiveness, and especially not as a future grandmaster of the universe, firing all the little people, and hopping around the world in private jets, Obama style.

Elections are coming. Biden, by striking what endoctrinated-by-the-wealthy pseudo-progressives view as… “progressive”, activates the enthusiasm of his excited but deluded electorate. This has no cost… Because Biden’s executive order will be shot down by the courts, and Biden knows this…

The Democratic Party excels at running the world’s plutocracy, with an international oligarchy always grabbing more power… while claiming to be in the opposition, and for the little guy. This has been going on for a century. For a while, the likes of Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, Stalin, even Hirohito, profited. But the same class always grew in power, while, and by, feeding the delusion that they are doing the opposite of what they are truly doing, Relatively speaking, Machiavel sounds like a toddler.

Patrice Ayme

***

Tech points: a) Penn Wharton budget modelers report that the cost of Biden’s debt cancellation could be as much as a tillion dollars…

b) President Biden extended a Trump-era pause on payments… (yes, Trump again! Much of Biden is Trump… under an antagonistic sugar pill cover… )

President Biden’s executive order means the federal student loan balances of millions of people could fall by as much as $20,000. Here are answers to some common questions about how it will work:

Who qualifies for loan cancellation? Individuals who are single and earn $125,000 or less will qualify for the $10,000 in debt cancellation. If you’re married and file your taxes jointly or are a head of household, you qualify if your income is $250,000 or below. If you received a Pell Grant and meet these income requirements, you could qualify for an extra $10,000 in debt cancellation.

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One vicious effect is ensuring the march forward of elite hyper expensive education which further feeds the inequality they depend upon. Even the NYT again perceives the problem:

Many economists warned the move could have damaging consequences for students and taxpayers in the future, by encouraging colleges and universities to raise prices with the federal government footing the bill.

Mr. Biden’s plan, including its limits on future loan repayment by borrowers, “would be a massive subsidy to the exact sector that created this mess with ever-rising tuition and fees,” said Melissa Kearney, a University of Maryland economist who directs the Aspen Economic Strategy Group. “We should be taking steps to rein in higher-ed pricing, not further subsidize higher-ed tuition and living expenses.”

SQPR GENERATES DARK MATTER, DARK ENERGY (in a nutshell)

August 24, 2022

SQPR, Sub Quantum Physical Reality, introduces the notion of Quantum Interaction: anything involving Quantum Entanglement rupture is viewed as an interaction. This is a new type of interaction, right. And it’s also not just verbiage: interaction means finite speed. In Quantum Physics, as it presently exists, in its CIQ (Copenhagen) interpretation, QI is instantaneous. So SQPR and CIQ make different prediction: SQPR predicts the universe as observed. CIQ does not.

Why Quantum Physics, so far, does not view Quantum Interactions as interactions is because of prejudice: it assumes nothing changes when entanglement is activated: simply, we can’t do something with it now, so we, 20C Quantum Physics, assume it has no effect. The reason is technical: the arena of a Quantum happenstance is a Hilbert Space representing the experiment at hand… And it’s assumed to be just one place, thus denying space (one of the reason why it’s hard to integrate Quantum and Relativity!)

However, that nothing happens when entanglement is activated is not what the Bell Inequality shows. Bell Inequality shows something changes, because any Classical Hidden Variable models, all of them, give a different result. And something big, thus, indeed, changes from the Quantum Interaction. SQPR says Dark Energy and Dark Matter are macroscopic effects of the Quantum Interaction.  

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SQPR assumes that QI has a finite range and propagates at finite velocity (much higher than the speed of light by a factor of at least 10^23). The metric used is phase metric to measure how far QI goes, the number of matter wave wavelengths (so higher frequencies, shorter Euclidean distance, hence effects on QFT). As matter waves have an average wavelength (since matter has an average energy-momentum), it means in practice that the QI range will translate in Euclidean distance.

Beyond that range, some mass-energy gets lost during QI. However, other Quantum characteristics of the particles involved stay the same in the main “particle” part: UP Quark stays UP Quark, etc. The Dark matter part is stripped of everything except energy-momentum. That remnant is what creates Dark Matter and Dark Energy.

Before QI, there was an energy-momentum. After QI, same. Thus, when QI ruptures, energy-momentum should be conserved, ergo some of the Dark Matter leaves with momentum, and that momentum will point in the opposite direction of where the matter it separated from is! Hence a repulsive force between matters clumps, Dark Energy!

 

In Quantum Field Theory, SQPR implies a natural renormalization, since the QI range is inversely proportional to the total number of matter-wave wavelengths.  

 

New fundamental concepts are the deepest breakthroughs. This is true all over thought, all over science, even in math and physics. Evolution (also found by Ancient Greeks), inertia, momentum (Buridan, 14C), Kepler’s laws (arising from Tycho’s effort), laws of mechanics (established over several centuries by many), electromagnetic field (many contributors over centuries), the Quantum (Planck), plate tectonic (Wegener), are examples….

The idea of a-toms: what can’t be divided, was a fundamental breakthrough. 

Intriguingly, Quantum Physics has stood the idea of atoms on its head: what rules now are waves and fields, Matter Waves, Quantum Fields…. Fields comprise the idea that there is something there, even if we don’t know what it is. Fields are intrinsically nonlocal. Einstein however insisted that the photon was an atom of light: not divisible, and its energy concentrated at a point, thus, local. I view this as a contradiction. QFT implicitly contradicts Einstein, but I propose to go further… by making the matter field divisible, thus atoms, in a sense, divisible… new predictions appear. 

Quantum Physics says there are no points (because all is waves, and waves can’t be just at a point, this is the essence of Quantum Uncertainty). If there are no points, atoms can’t be made of points (indeed QFT looks only at fields, which are intrinsically NOT points). So division of the (quasi) infinitely small is not possible to start with, in the traditional sense, as it would involve points. But rupture of entanglement does not depend upon the locally small, quite the opposite. 

It took around 2,000 years to go from the erroneous Aristotelian physics, to the notions of inertia and momentum (with Buridan, 14C). The switch could have happened right away, because Aristotle made a really trivial mistake (he overlooked resistance to motion obviously caused by the medium in which motion happened).

Hopefully we can learn from this mistake.

It’s pretty obvious that entanglement should have finite range, or a finite interection speed. Newton would have understood this (he thought his gravity theory had the flaw of being instaneous at a distance; Laplace corrected this a century later, simply by introducing an interaction speed, thus making gravitational waves appear; something Poincare then extended to spacetime after another century). Introducing spatial limitations to the Quantum is only natural.

Patrice Ayme

***

P/S: Early results from the James Webb Space Telescope seem to show monstruous galaxies, very far away, full of new stars… something… which the Lambda Cold Dark Matter model (“Big Bang”) does not predict.. .. But that I was hoping for! SQPR, an axiomatically leaner theory than the LCDM model does predict a much older universe, thus with much more large galaxies at a distance (held by their own matter gravity rather than by DM, as SQPR says that Dark Matter is an emerging quantity and quality).

California Grizzly: Rewilding Is A Moral Duty.

August 21, 2022

The last grizzly assassinated in California was killed in 1922, a century ago. The place of execution was the Southern Sierra (Fresno-Tulare counties). The species had been hounded to extinction by US citizens.  Since then grizzlies have only resided on Californian flags.

Now there is talk of reintroducing grizzlies in California. It should be a moral duty, symbolic and practical.

Other animals are reintroducing themselves, namely, wolves, who have entered, as packs, north-east California.

A collared male wolf went all over half of California, including the central coast. Twice in the Sierra I met gigantic wild canines who looked suspiciously like wolves (and not coyotes, with whom wolves interbreed…)

Reintroducing the grizzly? Commoners whine that they, the humans, are all over California, 40 million of them, and there is no room for grizzlies. That’s disingenuous: much of California is totally wild, empty of people. I have spent entire days walking and running, covering dozens of miles, not seeing a single human. Minutes from well-known places, one can start seeing strictly nobody.

***

Yes, grizzlies are dangerous: that is an important characteristic of having them around, and it makes them more worthy. Several species of spiders, wasps and snakes living in California are also dangerous. I was once stung by more than 50 wasps in a sequoia forest on the north side of Mount Tamalpais in a surprise attack. I survived, but others may have died. Last month a mysterious black wasp stung me by a lake in the Alps and my arm swelled spectacularly in minutes before medical treatment could be applied at a pharmacy, which was only 500 meters away. However, I am often hours from roads. Does that mean all stinging insects should be exterminated? 

We can hardly preach to Brazilians, Asians and Africans to take care of their wildernesses, if we refuse to repair ours. 

***

Grizzlies roaming in California could be managed in diverse ways. Being extremely intelligent animals, they could be taught to avoid people. Also one could equip them with electronic means of localization, and one could imagine apps telling hikers where the grizzlies are, in real time.

Our civilization has a problem with the wilderness in general, and wild animals, in particular.

The Norwegian government euthanized Freya the walrus on Sunday, August 14, 2022, citing safety concerns for the crowds that gathered to watch her sunbathe on a beach next to Oslo. The walrus had visited many European countries in recent years, and seemed curious about people. “The walrus is not getting enough rest and the professionals we are in dialogue with believe she is stressed,” Nadia Jdaini, a senior communications adviser for the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, said, in a pinnacle of hypocrisy, before secretly and quickly assassinating the curious walrus, obviously on human grounds, or so she claimed. Better dead than stressed by having one’s picture taken, says the Norwegian government! Other professionals saw no stress whatsoever in the walrus’ behavior. 

But the authoritative point is this: the walrus did not wear a mask, the walrus did not respect the lockdown ordered on him by the authorities. The fact the walrus did not know the law is no excuse: authorities rule by the law, especially if wrong. The walrus was creating in human beings unauthorized thought patterns, in particular the walrus contributed to humanize wilderness, something that could have wild consequences, all authorities will tell you that.

***

North America’s megafauna was devastated during the Neolithic. The Late Pleistocene fauna in North America included herbivores such as mammoths, mastodons, camels, horses, giant beavers, several species of tapirs, peccaries (including the long-nosed and flat-headed peccaries), saiga, camelids such as two species of now-extinct llamas and Camelops, at least two species of bison, the stag-moose, the shrub-ox and Harlan’s muskox, 14 species of pronghorn (of which 13 are now extinct), the beautiful armadillo and the giant armadillo-like Glyptotherium, and giant tortoises, as well as birds like giant condors and teratorns. Predators included Arctodus Primus, the short-faced bear,  the American lion, Miracinonyx (“American cheetahs”, not true cheetahs), the saber-toothed cat Smilodon and the scimitar-toothed cat Homotherium, dire wolves.

The extinction of this megafauna created an imbalance which has consequences on the flora and vegetation. Trampling and eating of trees made forests harder to burn. In recent fires, forests that existed for millennia, with thousands of years old individual trees, burned down to ashes, destroying a large part of ancient species, to the point that they should imminently go extinct. The cause? Forest mismanagement due to lack of megafauna activity (Native Americans had consciously replaced the megafauna, mostly through prescribed burning; now they are also extinct, at least in the wild).

The grizzly is not an American original: it is the European Brown Bear, and it migrated into North America as a replacement species… as a sort of companion to humans. Differently from the huge Cave Bear, ferociously extinguished by Neanderthals 50,000 years ago, the grizzly is much more human compatible, and can be readily tamed. Brown Bears and Wolves were extirpated from Western Europe using government reward money and poison, in the 19C and 20C. Now they are coming back, wolves on their own, brown bears through reintroduction programs (although locals often assassinate them). In a country such as Slovenia, large brown bear populations thrive, in cooperation with humans (who feed them sometimes).

One should strive to reintroduce American megafauna, starting with the more innocuous species (and that includes the grizzly). By the way, I have run and hiked in grizzly country (Alaska), with a huge bear pepper spray cannister at the ready. I nearly used the cannister on a charging moose (with her calf which was as big as a horse). The calf slipped off, and I eluded the mom through a thicket of very closely spaced tough trees. But I had my finger on the trigger, safety off. Moose attack more humans than grizzlies and wolves combined (although a bear attack is more dangerous). In any case, in the US, stinging insects kill around 100, deer around 200 (mostly through car collisions), and lightning around three dozen people, per year.

As it is, I run and hike a lot in California wilderness, out of rescue range. I generally try to stay aware of where and when I could come across bears, lions and rattlers. My last close call with a large rattlesnake, up a mountain slope, was partly due to hubris and not realizing I was moving in dangerous terrain. Fortunately I heard the slithering just in time. Dangerous animals make us aware of nature in its full glory, and the real nature of the human condition. They keep us more honest with what is real, what humanity is all about.

And that should be the primordial sense.

Patrice Ayme

 

Dangerous loitering criminal, said the Norwegian authorities about Walrus Freya.

Evolution Is A Voyage Through The Cosmos

August 19, 2022

Advancing science is not just fostering understanding, and power, it is also a teacher for our logical acumen, the lessons of whom can be carried all over human common sense and sensibilities

The classic movie “2001 A Space Odyssey” pretends that extraterrestrials made apes into proto-humans. Once proto-humans have reached the Moon, extraterrestrials tinker again with evolution. It was beautiful when written, but now it sounds rather silly and contrived: if evolution had reached the ape level, it would surely get to the human level, given a few million years… As it did: no need to intervene at this late stage; getting to apes was hard and took hundreds of millions of animal evolution, but once there, the mix of cultural and physiological evolution would reach a singularity of progress. 

Another flaw of “2001” was the assumption of extraterrestrial civilization: not only it is to be helpful, it is also unlikely to exist. Habitable planets are clearly in the millions, if not billions, in the galaxy. But conditions stable enough to enable a star traveling civilization are probably exceedingly rare.

***

By the preceding I do not mean that it is boring out there, and that life on Earth was not influenced by the cosmos. Quite the opposite: it’s not boring, and the cosmic influences are not just great, but primordial.

Not only that, but the cosmic environment has an influence on evolutionary smarts. Yes, there is such a thing.

Official evolution theory in recent generations held that evolution was the fruit of chance (haphazard mutations) and necessity (a better adapted organism will reproduce better). This standard “Darwinism”, also known as “Selection of the Fittest”. It is unlikely that Darwin believed just in that evolution mechanism, since, after all, he went to Scotland to study Lamarck, the discoverer of biological evolution in its full many-million years’ glory (evolution itself was known and exploited by the Ancient Greek breeders…). 

Lamarck, after spending decades behind his microscopes, believed that there was a mysterious force for complexification, and that usage created evolution. Although the details are not in, we can guess how that happens.

DNA has weak hydrogen bonds at its core. Submitted to a changed cellular environment, those bonds will loosen and reform, enabling mutation. The changed cellular environment can arise from a changed ecology (something the animal consciously controls)… But it can also arise from other changes, such as a change of radiation levels.

***

Voyager 1 was launched in September 1977 and flew by Jupiter and Saturn, targeting Titan. Voyager 2 was launched previously, in August 1977, but on a slower trajectory, and flew by Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Thanks to gravity slingshot effects using the giant planets, both spacecrafts are now headed out of the solar system into interstellar space on hyperbolic trajectories (they are not coming back).

Nuclear powered, the Voyagers’ instrument suites have proven hardy. Few failed, and now five scientific teams, 45 years later, serve the VIM, the Voyager Interstellar Mission, an extension of the Voyager primary mission that was completed in 1989 with the close flyby of Neptune by the Voyager 2 spacecraft.

Humanity is heading for the stars. For real.

***

Here is Science Magazine pondering in a long article why it would be a good thing to launch an Interstellar Probe (IP) going at the speed of the Earth-Moon distance every three hours: THE LONG SHOT

The Voyager probes raised perplexing questions as they exited the Solar System. Now, scientists have conceived new missions to interstellar space. (28 JUL 2022; by Richard Stone.)

Voyager found that 75% of the cosmic rays heading our way from interstellar space get filtered out in the heliosphere’s outer reaches. If the encounter with the next cloud squeezes the heliosphere all the way down to Earth’s orbit, life forms would be exposed to an intense radiation environment that would riddle DNA with mutations, Brandt says. (Brandt is John Hopkins APL space physicist and chief scientist on the Interstellar Probe mission concept study.)

There’s evidence of such an event around the time early hominids were just beginning to pick up stone tools, and Brandt muses on a possible connection. “Let that creep up your spine for a moment,” he says. In recent years, scientists have discovered iron-60 isotopes in ocean crust samples dating from 2 million to 3 million years ago. Iron-60 is not found naturally on Earth: It’s forged in the cores of large stars. So, either a nearby supernova blasted the heliosphere with the iron dust, or the heliosphere drifted through a dense cloud laden with iron-60 from a previous supernova. Either way, Brandt says, “The heliosphere was way in, and we had a full blast of galactic cosmic rays and interstellar matter for a long, long time.” To look for relics of other such events, IP could use plasma wave antennas to essentially take the temperature of nearby electrons. Hot regions might mark the blast paths of material from past supernovae.

***

Philosophically, that is on the grandest scale of the plausible, what does this all mean? First that cosmic radiation may have been the good fairy which accelerated human evolution. No need for extraterrestrials as in “2001”, cosmic machinery had its hand in the growth of human intelligence. A rational aura from this is that radiation shouldn’t not just be correlated to fear (as X rays, radiotherapy, and carbon free nuclear energy already show).

Second, life on Earth is much more cosmos dependent than it looks: not just sun weather (sun explosions, sun activity, up or down), but also cosmic weather are not just important for humanity, they may have played a primordial role. 

Third, the Voyager probes were intended to take the first detailed pictures of the outer planets. They became the first interstellar probes thanks to their usage of the heat of three Plutonium cartridges to keep warm and generate electricity. Plutonium is mighty, but those Plutonium batteries are still running out of power. Due to radioactive decay converted into heat, the Voyagers’ Radioactive Thermoelectric  Generators are losing about .8% of their power output each year. So the heat was dialed down on some of the instruments, which remarkably kept working (the ultraviolet detector still works at minus 80 C while it was designed for a minimum of minus 35C… Same with the Cosmic Ray System on Voyager 2). 22 systems were turned off in Voyager 1 to save power over the decades (as of 2022 CE)… However the ducts for the hydrazine propellant keeping the spacecrafts’ High Gain Antenna aiming towards Earth cannot be allowed to freeze…

In any case, after 50 years, the on-going operations of the Voyagers is not just a testimony to great nuclear and electronic technology, but keeps on bringing unexpected discoveries contradicting previous logic, that is keep on bringing great science. 

Those who argue for shrinking civilization should be reminded of the feats tech can accomplish, and the understanding it leads to. It turns out indeed that some of the unexpected results of the Voyagers were unexpected because the logic used for these predictions was not subtle enough. With more subtlety in the computations, we get some of what the Voyagers showed to be true.

In cases like that, when reality shows us that our logic is coming short, what is established is the necessity for more rigorous and clever logic, and the mistake(s) that were done… And the lessons carry everywhere, especially in complicated fields such as politics, economics, sociology, the human sciences. 

Hard science forces us to learn to think better, when time and time again, little innocuous reasonings we thought were sufficient turn out grossly mistaken because of little details we overlooked… which, after all, were not that small in the consequences they bear.

Launch more Interstellar probes (China, heavens bless, is planning two…)

Humanity is a voyage to the great beyond. Claiming it’s not, and actively blocking the voyage, especially in the interest of anti-intellectual, parsimonious or puritan ethics, is inhuman.

Patrice Ayme

 

 




It turns out the shape of the diverse features here are not as expected, or even their nature. The Termination Shock turns out to be rather spherical (it was expected to be comet-like). Also it is less of a shock than expected. The Heliosheath (confusely named heliosphere above) turns out to be flatter than expected (thus why Voyager 2 came out of it faster than expected, as V2 plunges below the (sort of) plane made by the Solar System). In retrospect, many of these characteristics should have been expected, the logic previously used was not subtle enough.

Smoking Us Blind With Carbon Capture And Storage, The Demo-Rats Are…

August 17, 2022

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is supposed to capture carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources and pump them deep underground where the CO2 can be imprisoned under huge pressure, or, if pressurized into cracked basalt, as found in Iceland, CO2 quickly combines into rock. Indeed, CO2 can be dissolved into water as bubbly, acidic champagne. Basalts contain high concentrations of calcium and magnesium ions that chemically react with CO2 to make rocks such as calcite, dolomite, and magnesite. Stuff champagne, get rock. The process takes as little as two years. This is all true, and it is used on a very small scale in Iceland… a place full of pressurized CO2 and basalts…

Carbon Capture and Storage was a big winner in the climate provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, signed into law during August 2022. But that version of CCS is a complete fake-out… Because the USA is not Iceland…. In the US, CCS is used to AUGMENT CO2 production. No way the clowns around Biden don’t know this.

 

C.C.S. is widely used by the FF industry, to boost the production of oil and natural gas. Natural gas processing facilities separate carbon dioxide from methane CH4, they are always mixed, similar bacteria producing  both. Some of these plants then pipe the “captured” carbon dioxide into what are known as enhanced oil recovery: it is re-injected into oil field reservoirs to increase their pressure and extract additional oil that would otherwise stay trapped underground.

 

Observe the cynicism of that conspiracy: CCS is presented as a climate solution, when actually it makes the situation worse!

 

Carbon Capture And Storage (CCS) is one more Public Relation way to sell Fossil Fuels (FF). 

On closer inspection, it’s just CO2 reinjection for FF, an old FF industry trick.

 

There are other ways to insure the survival of FF, such as so-called renewables without anything to store the energy they produce… except for ecologically, economically and financially expensive, inefficient batteries… which cannot be scaled up at the scale required, from lack of primary materials!  

 

Pseudo-ecologists have pushed for that renewables-battery trick, knowing full well it could not work at a sufficient scale for a positive climate impact, while extolling the virtue of Putin’s oil and gas, and hating nuclear solutions (except nuclear based in Russia or China).

 

Renewables, as they stand, are useless for transportation: no plane will move enough from windmills and solar panels on its back: the plane needs fuel. And that fuel can be obtained from renewables with pretty much only hydrogen. 

 

A gigantic infrastructure of renewables, and only renewables means intermittent energy, thus requires a full FF infrastructure capable of ensuring 100% production when there is no sun and no wind (a condition so frequent that it has a name the barometric swamp). If one has 100% of an extremely expensive equipment, one will use it.

 

CCS makes no sense at the most basic physics level: FF extracts Carbon C from the ground thn combines it with oxygen in the air, making CO2 and heat. CCS proposes then to return the C, with added oxygen into the ground. On the face of it, that looks circular: get C out, combine it with O2, then return CO2 into the ground. The latter step requires energy… On the face of it, as much energy as extracting C to start with, as it is to the same place it goes (and that makes no sense… except, as said above, if it is to pressurize a oil or gas field…).  

 

It is true that CCS works for special reasons in a particular place in Iceland. But they also have a new volcano in the area there: Iceland is a very special place (which produces enormous amounts of CO2 from its volcanoes). It is entirely possible that the capital of Iceland will disappear under a lava flow… propelled by CO2. But what is totally impossible is that CCS helps the world survive the present CO2 crisis…

 

That the Biden administration imposes on us this smoke and mirror is reminiscent of its promotion of women’s rights in Afghanistan… Carbon Capture and Storage is an example of conspirational, Machiavellian, plot. There is no way that its promoters do not know that this Fossil Fuels masquerading as “green”, or CO2 abating… Because CO2 augmentation is the way it is used right now, and no other usage is profitable.

Ah, but I forgot, there are no conspiracies, our masters told us, and if we think there are, we need to have our heads examined….

Patrice Ayme

This latest Iceland volcano produces up to hundred of thousands of tons of lava a day, all CO2 propelled. CO2 volcanic production prevents snowball Earth tendencies…. Notice the public on the slope, watching… In the Meradalir valley, 40 kilometers west of Reijavik…

WORLD WARS LAST A LONG TIME, Because They Have Deep Roots

August 11, 2022

Arguably the “Sea Peoples” invasions was the first world war, 33 centuries ago. This somber plot accompanied, or caused the Bronze Age collapse, when nearly all advanced civilizations of Western Eurasia disappeared, followed by dark ages. Several Pharaohs commented on the Sea Peoples, including Ramses II. Later, in one of several texts in stone, Ramesses III wrote, in 1175 BCE, relating, among others, the annihilation of the end of the HittiteMycenaean and Mitanni kingdoms: “The foreign countries made a conspiracy in their islands, All at once the lands were removed and scattered in the fray. No land could stand before their arms…” [1]

Most of the military collapse of the Roman state happened swiftly (395 CE-406 CE)… however, the Germans had put Rome in military difficulties since Caesar (50 BCE)… And Rome was at war with itself since longer than that (and that war with itself caused the invasions, as Roman corruption and devolution was a crucial factor in the success of the Goths, say at Adrianopolis; see note [2]).  

***

The Mongol world conquest of the Thirteenth Century, spanned from Europe’s Adriatic Sea to China, Indonesia and Japan. That war also lasted half a century or so. (As I relate in Note [2], in the case of the Romans, the Mongol conquest of Rus was made possible by the deliquescence of the invaded lands. Kyivian Rus had become a military nebulous state… When the Mongols encountered stiff resistance in Hungary, they found the losses unbearable, and return thence they came…)

***

The war of the Spanish succession, the Seven Year War, the war against the French revolution (1792-1815), WWIi and WWII (1939-1945) were all long world wars. World wars are always long, because peace has to be preceded by economic and, or, demographic exhaustion of the participants, and, or of the defeated.

***

Terrorized by Putin’s nuclear threats, the democracies have taken 8 years to come to the serious rescue of Ukraine since Crimea got invaded. Even to this day, the fact that, barring a coup in Moscow, this is a world war, is not generally acknowledged, although more than 50 countries are helping Ukraine militarily. This denial of blatant evidence only extends the conflict. 

***

ECOLOGICAL CATASTROPHE OFTEN PRECEDES WORLD WARS:

Ecological problems often preceded invasions. Indeed, with Rome, the mines got exhausted after 100 CE, and that turned into a currency crisis, then a confidence crisis and an economic crisis, which brought invasions and “barrack emperors” (50 emperors or so during the Third Century).

Renewable energy, on which 5 trillon dollars was spent (roughly the annual GDP of Japan) has itself been slowed down by the fact it needs hydrogen (and derivatives) as an indispensable complement, to replace fossil fuels by green hydrogen. Instead of installing hydrogen, nuclear energy was de-installed, and new forms of nuclear energy, much safer, non weaponizable, and less polluting, were not funded (except in China and India). This mis-investment has created a world energy crisis. 

De-carbonification without nuclear and hydrogen is simply impossible, thus a fraud and a lie. The cost of that lie is the devastation of the biosphere, now clearer, one heat wave at a time. It was also a lie to believe one could have a civilization in common with Putin. All these lies are coming together nicely, and the result is going to be a crisis deeper than any seen before. Global trade is a necessity, in the present world organization, but it depends upon cheap energy… Just as food production depends upon water, the fundamental reason why Putin invaded the rest of Ukraine in 2022: Crimea was out of water, and the rest of Ukraine refused to provide it by the canal from the Kherson Oblast.

***

World wars have started for ecological reasons, for example the one of the “Peoples of the Sea” we started this essay with: there is evidence of plenty of extraneous factors incurring at the time: a megadrought, plus quakes, and volcanic eruptions, and also the rise of disruptive iron technology (which may have helped some invasions, such as the one of the Dorians; think Sparta). Famine arose at the time, bringing forth calls to help from the Hittite empire to their old rival, Egypt. Egypt sent grain to its old enemy! The Hittites got the grain from Egypt, but were soon invaded by the “Peoples of the Sea”, and vanished as a civilization… part of the Late Bronze Age collapse, which brought four centuries of Dark Ages to Greece, among other disasters…

“Ecology” has to be understood in the broadest term: when the Huns pushed the Alans, Goths and other Germans in front of them like frightened cattle, the Huns had slightly better recurved bows.  

We now have on our hands, potentially and enfolding, the greatest disaster in 66 million years: the anthropocene is causing several ecological crises, including the worst of them all, the GreenHouse Gas crisis. And the dominant species has the most powerful weapons, ever, by a very long shot… weapons so powerful that a medium nuclear exchange would be more devastating than a V8 volcanic eruption (as happens every 15,000 years in the average) 

An all-out world war, using nukes, will be pathological, and completely out of the ordinary, as defined in the history of life on Earth…

So how do we avoid a devastating world war, as the ecology becomes ever more difficult? By learning how to get smart and see far ahead in the landscape of solutions… The best way to avoid war is by having those vested most in the statu quo ante to be militarily superior in such an obvious manner than those who have interest to disrupt the established order, and thus make war, cannot do as the Sea Peoples did, plan war, and attack… because they thought hey had a realistic chance of victory. This is why and how the famous Roman adage:”Si vis pacem, para bellum” works… or more exactly, worked.

When the Roman empire was defeated, at the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth centuries, what faltered was the will to go to war with all the means the Roman empire potentially had: no more than 100,000 warriors defeated 60 millions… Because those 60 million Romans mostly had lost, over centuries, the status of stakeholders they had when Rome was dominant as a Republic. So the world war which precipitated the fall of the Roman state (in which the Huns were crucially involved, and they came from Mongolia!) was even longer in preparation, than it was in execution, by a factor of ten, or more [2].  World wars, and their preconditions, are often enfolding in the longest time imaginable.  

After their costly victory in Hungary, the Mongol generals themselves said they thought they would lose against the Franks, as they remembered what had happened to their ancestors the Huns fighting in Gallia (first against the Franks… then the Franco-Romano-Gothic coalition). Oral tradition had passed, over eight centuries, from Huns to Mongols (with the Avars and Magyars somewhat in between): in the confrontation between steppe, mostly Mongolia originated, warriors and the civilized cities, one can speak of a world war which extended from Toulouse (which the Huns sieged with their Roman allies!) to Indonesia (which the Mongols tried to invade), over a millennium…

Civilization must be defended, sometimes with weapons in action, always through introspection first

Patrice Ayme

Hittite empire collpased around 1200 BCE, 32 centuries ago, one of many major collapses. Greece plunged in Darkness

[1] This is one of the many Egyptian texts in greater extent, from Ramesses III: “The foreign countries made a conspiracy in their islands, All at once the lands were removed and scattered in the fray. No land could stand before their arms: from HattiQodeCarchemishArzawa and Alashiya on, being cut off [i.e. destroyed] at one time. A camp was set up in Amurru. They desolated its people, and its land was like that which has never come into being. They were coming forward toward Egypt, while the flame was prepared before them. Their confederation was the PelesetTjeker, Shekelesh, Denyen and Weshesh, lands united. They laid their hands upon the land as far as the circuit of the earth, their hearts confident and trusting: ‘Our plans will succeed!‘”[83

***

[2] Rome’s collapse, as a Republic, started around 150 BCE, and was complete by Theodosius I’s murderous religious edicts of 381 CE. Thus it took more than 5 centuries. The military collapse, though occured swiftly between 394 CE (annihilation of the Occidental Roman army by Theodosius !), and then 395 CE (invasion of Italy) and 406 CE (crossing of the frozen Rhine by German nations piercing the Frankish limes) or 410 CE (capture of Rome by the Goth Alaric, ally of Theodosius I). So we see that the deliquescence of the Republic by corruption took 50 times longer than its direct consequence, defeat by military invasion. We also see that just one bad leader, Theodosius, was mostly at fault… Just as one bad leader, Gamelin, caused the Fall of France in May-June 1940… Both Theodosius and Gamelin were not just stupid, but full of ressentiment (Theodosius against non-Catholic, perhaps because of his father’s execution) and Gamelin against the French Popular front of PM Blum (perhaps because Blum was a Jew, so Hitler was viewed as a lesser danger, as Gamelin himself wrote in his memoirs…)

To Avert Nuclear War, Convene A Conference To Outlaw Military Use Of Civilian Nuclear Power

August 8, 2022

OUTLAWING ATTACKS ON NUCLEAR WILL MAKE NUCLEAR ATTACKS LESS LIKELY… From A Mass Psychology Effect…

Nuclear power is crucial as base power for a carbon free future. I explained that keeping fossil fuels as base energy is a trick to keep fossil fuels at 84% of total energy.

Nuclearizing electric power production would have required having four thousand (4,000) nuclear reactors, worldwide… instead of 400. 

Disappointingly, the percentage of electricity that comes from low-carbon sources today is almost unchanged from the mid-1980s. Throughout the early-2000s this low carbon share actually regressed, greatly because of the shutdown of nuclear reactors.. 

Yes, electric consumption is only 20% of total energy consumption… So going nuclear on electric would not have solved all. (We need more such as hydrogen for transportation!)

***

Nuclear can be made very safe, and non-polluting. The only deadly civil nuclear power accident was in Ukraine at Chernobyl, a type of reactor (graphite-gas), power (way too much) and construction without containment, which are all de facto illegal in the West. Yes, Chernobyl should never have been built. (Ukraine has the world’s highest production of electricity from nuclear reactors, a distant second behind France.) 

By comparison, fossil fuels kill around ten million people a year, and probably much more.

The Orcs of Putin have attacked nuclear installations in Ukraine, and transformed them into battlefield. That should be unlawful. It is also a way to inure us to Putin’s military use of nuclear energy… Something he already did by threatening to destroy humanity with nukes if we don’t let him destroy Ukraine.

*** 

Dams were attacked in World War Two, causing great damage and loss of life. Now a worldwide convention outlaws attacks on dams, and it has been, so far, respected in Ukraine, which has several giant dams. Mr. Putin has not suggested that he would destroy dams to get his way.

Trying to outlaw attacks on nuclear installations right away would indirectly heighten a worldwide healthy alarm against Mr. Putin’s nuclear ways. Mr. Putin has weaponized the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, by stationing heavy weapons there. Mr. Putin also implicitly threatened to use nuclear weapons to make his invasion of Ukraine work.

Thus calling for a worldwide conference to outlaw attacks on nuclear installations would make it less likely, from general indignation, and the possible loss of allies that it would entail, that Mr. Putin would dare to use nuclear weapons (as using nukes is generally worse than attacking nuclear installations).

Hence there is an excellent reason to rush an outlawing of nuclear attacks, as Mr. Putin’s effective defeat in Ukraine makes it ever more likely that he will use nukes on the battlefield.

Whereas the three nuclear armed democracies (US, UK, France) have refused to declare they would never ever use nuclear weapons first, they would certainly agree to not attack nuclear installations directly, so they would support such an approach. Nuclear power is an important way to mitigate the CO2 crisis…

Under Putin, the Russian military decided to adopt a doctrine of “escalate to de-escalate”, which includes using battlefield nuclear weapons… First usage of nuclear weapons, or attacks against nuclear installations is not explicitly unlawful. However attacks against dams are. 

The Russian military may detonate a few nukes against concentrations of Ukrainian troops (a good reason to avoid those)… Hoping that the democracies, terrified by nuclear war, would then just submit. Thus NATO should create an appropriate answer, not just hope that Putin will not go crazy (as it is clear Putin is not analyzing the situation clearly, this hope is inappropriate).

Patrice Ayme

Russian Tank camouflaged in front of Zapo nuclear reactors 1, 2, 3 and 4… August 4, 2022. Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), which Russian invaders are now threatening to blow up, contains 1,200 tonnes of nuclear fuel. If Russia decides to commit a terrorist attack, the nuclear disaster will affect the territories of both Russia and Ukraine.
…Says Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration Head Oleksandr Staruk…

Drole De Guerre: Having A World War, But Ignoring It, As In 1939-40?

August 5, 2022

After France and Britain declared war to Hitler, on September 3, 1939, they entered a strange phase. France attacked with 40 divisions, took seven German villages… And stopped (had the French army persisted in September 1939, some of its own shortcomings would have been revealed to itself…) 

Britain, of course, had no army: the first British soldier got to France a month later. This phase came to be known as the “Drole De Guerre” (strange sort of funny war) . The world war had started, but the British and French did their best not to notice. The Americans were even worse: the US Congress and US president sanctioned France and Britain as belligerent nations, no doubt instilling in France and Britain the feeling that resisting Hitler was not the right thing to do. 

The end result was that, while Hitler was making frantic plans to attack France with the help of Mussolini and Stalin, both France and Britain let their war production slacken.. With disastrous results: only half of the French air force was ready for action in France when the Nazis finally attacked with their entire army. Not having fought a modern battle at high intensity with the Nazis previously left French and British clueless about some easy to fix remedies, such having radios in tanks… Or knowing the Nazis used amphetamines (so they didn’t need to sleep)… Or just taking the Nazi army seriously, keeping a reserve [1]. 

In 1936, after the Nazis and Italian fascists attacked the Spanish Republic, France decided to intervene, but was overruled by the UK and US. Thus the Nazis got free training, and the democracies didn’t. 

The present situation is not a repetition of what happened in the 1930s. This time the democracies, more than 50 of them, are helping  Ukraine. However, the populations of these democracies are not taking this world war seriously enough, same as in 1939-1940. Putin made very clear he plans to use nukes. It could happen if, say, the Ukrainians free Kherson… Are democracies ready to fight nuclear war? No. But they should be. A number of things can be done, such as mass production of ABM missiles… 

***

Us

@Patrice Ayme

I was with you until the last sentences.  

Putin has indeed threatened to use nuclear weapons.  He is wielding fear of nuclear attack as a weapon.  Besides his invasion of Ukraine, which is an attack on European and world stability, he has threatened to use nuclear weapons.  Yet some people are eager to give in to Putin’s demands, believing that they will get peace in our time, believing that they can somehow manage a dictator who has actually threatened nuclear destruction. 

The world’s nuclear capabilities are very different from previous decades, and more modern anti ballistic missiles may intercept some. Submarines are mobile missile systems worldwide.  Countering hypersonic technology calls for new defense systems. The world democracies need to match new technology, but any nuclear strategy is unthinkable.  It’s not winnable. It’s not survivable.  Putin is evil and dangerous, but he does back down to power.  That’s why Sweden and Finland are choosing to join NATO.

***

@Us Those “last sentences” were an allusion to the “Standard Missiles” (SM3, SM6) which have proven capable of intercepting ICBMs (among other missiles). The SMs are carried on destroyers, cruisers, and there is a ground version being installed on two bases in Europe. Being carried by ships, they provide a mobile defense, including much of Europe, and major US coastal cities.

“Nuclear strategy” may be “unthinkable”… But Putin has it, was loud about it, and clearly incorporated it in his thinking about Ukraine. In particular Putin believes we can’t think about nuclear strategy… so he does the thinking for us… in his own special way. By refusing to incorporate nuclear thinking, we only encourage Putin. Democracies should not talk, but should ramp up production of the most sophisticated missile defenses. 

It’s not a question of nuclear war being “winnable” or not. Putin believes that if he uses nukes, the democracies will submit. This is erroneous. However, by pretending we can’t win a nuclear war, we only encourage Putin to go nuclear. Nuclear war, called “escalate to de-escalate” by the Putin folks, is fully incorporated in the present Russian strategic thinking. We have to do the same, and that will show Russian generals that Putin’s nuclear intimidation strategy can’t work.Meanwhile, we have to militarize the democracies’ economies, ASAP. None of this is fun and progressive, but the alternative is the Gulag run by Putin. 

*** 

Ted Jenkins

Ottawa Canada

@Patrice Ayme It’s true that our response should be more energetic (while avoiding nuclear war). It would have been better for NATO to declare a danger of war and fully-mobilize conventional forces (include plans to introduce conscription and rationing, host an alternative Russian government, fly into Ukrainian air-space, etc). Arrange contacts with the Russian military for a coup. But nuclear war would be a catastrophe.

@Ted Jenkins Putin’s war doctrine is that, because nuclear war is unthinkable, engaging in it will cause democratic thinking to believe it has lost the war. This was Putin’s computation all along. 

Right now, Putin is happy to destroy Ukraine, one explosion at a time: it serves his goal of ethnic cleansing, and enables him to crank up his dictatorship on Russia. But, should he strategically lose control of Crimea, say, Putin will try to use nukes on the battlefield, on Ukrainian troop concentrations. We have to get ready for this. And, by the way, the catastrophe is already upon us: the world’s greatest nuclear weapon power’s government has put itself in a position where it must win, or go nuclear… to win in an unthinkable way…. 

***

A question which should haunt NATO and its allies: why did the French Republic lose the Battle of France of May-June 1940? The French had nearly superior everything… plus the British empire as allies (one New Zealand ace, Edgar “Cobber” Kain, shot 16 Nazi planes down in three weeks). 

The answer is greatly that the Nazis had been at war for nearly three and a half years already, so the Nazi tactics, command and war administration were efficient… Whereas the French and British started to learn how to fight a war… while losing it. 

An example: France and the UK had roughly as large an air force as the Nazis, but they didn’t know how to use it. Ammunition rounds for fighter planes, although produced by the millions a month, barely reached the battlefield. Some aircraft units ran out of ammunition completely. French armies didn’t know how to use French aviation. French fighter planes were only used for ground attack starting June 5, 1940… More than three years after the Nazis had learned to do that in Spain. And so on. When a French reconnaissance aircraft, an Amiot 143 night bomber, saw the traffic jam extending more than 100 kilometers on three small roads, of most of the Nazi army trying to squeeze through the Ardennes mountains, on May 12-13, there were no French bombers to attack them… and the whole thing was so crazy, unthinkable and ludicrous, the French High Command preferred not to think about it.  

Defeat in war is all about the unthinkable happening by surprise.

Wrecked MS.406s and an RAF Bristol Blenheim Mk. I litter a captured French airfield as German soldiers inspect the damage and a Messerschmitt Me-109E comes in for a landing. (©Mary Evans/Sueddeutsche Zeitung)

[1] France and Britain had conducted two landings in northern Norway in 1940, successfully, defeating Nazis, sinking their ships. The French Foreign Legion crushed elite Nazi troops after the second landing, and was poised to cut Sweden in two, as planned (Sweden, in complete contrast with the Norwegian democracy, was an important ally of Hitler, providing him with high grade iron)… But the French army didn’t learn much, as the Norwegian campaign did not involve huge tank formations. France and Britain learned how to make good sea-air-ground disembarkment battles, though, and that turned out to be very useful later… Many times.


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