Archive for the ‘Biology’ Category

Ctenophora Rewriting 750 Million Years Of Neural Evolution

August 2, 2017

Ctenophora were long considered just a kind of jellyfish. Turns out that was a gross mistake. Indeed a Russian immigrant to the USA, Leonid Moroz, found that these animals were unrelated to jellyfish. In fact, ctenophora are so profoundly different from any other animal on Earth, that it has been discovered they are much older, and unrelated, to sponges (previously sponges were thought to be by far the oldest animals; now this is known to be wrong).

In 1995, Moroz tested the nerve cells of ctenophora for the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and nitric oxide, chemical messengers considered the universal instruments of the neural language of all and any animals. He didn’t find any of them.

Ctenophora were already known for having a serious nervous system, complete with neurons; but these first experiments by Moroz showed that ctenophora nerves are built from molecular building blocks – different from any other animal – using ‘a different chemical language’! says Moroz: he calls these animals ‘aliens of the sea’.

If vertebrates had not appeared, 200 million years after ctenophora, probably confining the latter into an ecological niche, civilization may have evolved from ctenophora.

An obscure force seems to compel the apparition of complex nervous systems to evolve. It is universal – not just on Earth, but also on inhabited exoplanets. And I will show roughly what it is, and where it comes from in a companion essay (to which this one is introductory).

Jellyfishes use muscles to flap their bodies and swim. Whereas ctenophora use thousands of cilia to swim. They can be very small, but the largest are 1.5 meter long (5 feet). Jellyfishes sting, ctenophora capture prey using two sticky tentacles that secrete glue. Ctenophora ambush their prey.  

Studies of ctenophora, starting 130 years ago, showed neuron masses, and, more recently, what looked like synapses. 

Ctenophore. It looks as if the ancestors of vertebrates MUSCLED out (serious pun intended!) the ctenophora. With sheer muscle power the cilia smarts ctenophora were thrown into a niche!

Moroz finally was able to make a “transcriptome” of the DNA of ctenophora in 2007.   5,000 or 6,000 gene sequences were actively turned on in the animal’s nerve cells. His team showed that Pleurobrachia lacked the genes and enzymes required to manufacture neurotransmitters seen in other animals. These missing neurotransmitters included the ones that Moroz found to be absent back in 1995 – serotonin, dopamine and nitric oxide – but also acetylcholine, octopamine, noradrenaline, etc. Ctenophora also lacked genes for receptors that to respond to conventional neurotransmitters.

As Moroz team put it in Nature:

“The origins of neural systems remain unresolved. In contrast to other basal metazoans, ctenophores (comb jellies) have both complex nervous and mesoderm-derived muscular systems. These holoplanktonic predators also have sophisticated ciliated locomotion, behaviour and distinct development. Here we present the draft genome of ten… ctenophore transcriptomes, and show that they are remarkably distinct from other animal genomes in their content of neurogenic, immune and developmental genes. Our integrative analyses place Ctenophora as the earliest lineage within Metazoa. This hypothesis is supported by comparative analysis of multiple gene families, including the apparent absence of HOX genes, canonical microRNA machinery, and reduced immune complement in ctenophores. Although two distinct nervous systems are well recognized in ctenophores, many bilaterian neuron-specific genes and genes of ‘classical’ neurotransmitter pathways either are absent or, if present, are not expressed in neurons. Our metabolomic and physiological data are consistent with the hypothesis that ctenophore neural systems, and possibly muscle specification, evolved independently from those in other animals.”

[Nature, June 2014. The ctenophore genome and the evolutionary origins of neural systems]

Further studies have confirmed that ctenophora have evolved earlier, and completely independently of other animals.

Ctenophora lack entire classes of genes that had been thought to be universal to all animals. These included so-called micro-RNA genes, which help to form specialised cell types in organs, and HOX genes, which divide bodies into separate parts, be it the segmented body of a worm or lobster, or the segmented spine and finger bones of a vertebrate.  Such genes are present in simple sponges and placozoa.

Ctenophora are the oldest type of animal known! (Moroz tried to publish a paper in 2009 which implicitly led to that conclusion; it was rejected. He then did more refined studies which led to the 2014 Nature paper.)

Moroz now counts up to 12 independent evolutionary origins of the nervous system. Including at least one in cnidaria (the group that includes jellyfish and anemones), three in echinoderms (the group that includes sea stars, sea lilies, urchins and sand dollars), one in arthropods (the group that includes insects, spiders and crustaceans), one in molluscs (the group that includes clams, snails, squid and octopuses), one in vertebrates – and now, at least one in ctenophora.

“There is more than one way to make a neuron, more than one way to make a brain,” says Moroz. In each of these evolutionary branches, different genes and proteins ensembles got elected through random gene mutations, to take part in building a nervous system. The details are completely different, yet, the big picture is the same!

And that’s no accident, as I will argue, there is an underlying Quantum force pushing towards intelligence… Thus Lamarck was right.

Moroz rejected much of what he was taught. Because his ‘initial hypothesis was exactly what was in the textbooks’, moving to the correct way of thinking about ctenophora took him 20 years.

Science is truth, but truth is not obvious. And searching for it is even more demanding.

Patrice Ayme’

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IMMORAL & UNSCIENTIFIC, To Crisp CRISPR

July 24, 2017

Abstract: We can edit genetics now. Should we? Of course. It’s the moral thing to do. First, because it’s moral to try to know what we don’t know, even when, and especially when, it’s a great jump in the unknown (I will explain why in a follow-up essay). Second, because, by pushing the CRISPR technology, we can save billions of hours of quality of life for millions of human beings, very soon.

***

In 2012, a collaboration between  Jennifer Doudna (from Hawai’i; then a professor at UC Berkeley) and  Emmanuelle Charpentier (a French professor from Paris working all over Europe) brought a huge invention. The two collaborating professors harnessed CRISPR into a method to edit DNA at will. Doudna learned first from CRISPR thanks to another female professor at Berkeley.

(Doudna wrote an excellent book on this “A Crack In Creation”, which I highly recommend; the title itself has a triple meaning.)

CRISPR is the abbreviation of: Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. They are segments of prokaryotic DNA containing short, repetitive base sequences. These play a key role in a bacterial defence system: bacteria get attacked by viruses, bacteriophages. RNA harboring the spacer sequence helps Cas proteins recognize and cut the enemy (exogenous DNA) in two. Other RNA-guided Cas proteins cut enemy RNA.

Several elements intervene in CRISPR: tracing with RNA attached to a pair of scissors, adding (or not!) what DNA piece one wants, & then automatic repair DNA…

Gene editing proceeds by attaching a DNA-breaking natural bacterial defense against virus to a particular region of the DNA, thanks to a recognizing RNA. Then whatever one wants to splice is brought in by another RNA. DNA. 

The potential is to create species at will. Or to remove diseases at will. Let’s hasten to say, that the process can, and has, happened spontaneously in the wild (so to speak). Some patients have had grave genetic diseases they were affected by, disappear, from the cutting effect appearing on its own in one stem cell’s DNA. (If that stem cell had enough descendants to compensate for the deleterious effects of others, wrong-DNA cells, a cure can be achieved!)

Some “bioethicists” are all alarmed by gene editing, and use big words, about the potential damage to life for frivolous pursuits.

Technically, CRISPR alarmists are panicking too early: first, and most importantly, the phenotype does not reduce to the genotype. Human beings’ inheritance is mostly phenotype, not genotype: this is why we can share 99% of our genotype with mice, and still be quite different  (except for those addicted to plutocracy, who may as well be mice).

Granted, one should not do whatever. Fluorescent mini-pigs should be amusing, but not if their fluorescence prevents them to sleep. Worse: a very promising, but hyper dangerous technique exists, the GENE DRIVE. In a gene drive, the CRISPR itself is made part of the genetic information which is added.

Promising? Experimentally, some mosquitoes species were then infected with 99.5% success with immunity to the malaria parasite. That would make malaria disappear faster than Bill Gates takes to visit five-star hotels on his way to do whatever in the name of malaria. So it’s an excellent thing. On the danger side, species could be eradicated. That technique could also obviously be weaponized.

***

We are the astonishing the species. Stupendous astonishment is what we do.

What is predictable is not astonishing, and what is truly astonishing, is not predictable.

Such philosophical musings are actually intensely practical. I am going to show how.

***

With CRISPR all genetic diseases become potentially curable: Considering Huntington’s and Duchenne muscular dystrophy leads Doudna to write in her book: “The stakes are simply too high to exclude the possibility of eventually using germline editing.”Strange formulation: the stakes are simply too high to exclude the possibility of eventually using life saving technology?

I shall be even clearer. Those not all out for using CRISPR to cure human diseases are on the same moral side as those who didn’t go all out to prevent Auschwitz, although they knew about it. Yeah, no, I’m not exaggerating, but it’s going to be a bit difficult to explain why. 

By editing DNA at will, we become the architect of creation.

When one can alleviate human pain and suffering, absent adverse consequences, one has to do so. It’s a moral imperative. Otherwise one joins the ranks of those who could have done something about Auschwitz, and didn’t. Actually, it’s worse: opposing those who operated Auschwitz clearly had adverse consequences!

***

Same basic story as above, rolled out again to explain better…

Jennifer Doudna: “The truth is, I don’t have answers.” Doudna would like to have the public participate in the debate. However, says Doudna: “There’s a disconnect between the scientific community and mainstream culture, a real degradation in trust by the public. Many scientists — I’m guilty of this too — find it much more fun to do the next experiment in the lab than to take the time to explain to non-specialists what we do or how the scientific process actually works.”

Doudna is still searching for red lines that CRISPR technology shouldn’t cross. “I struggle with the question of crossing boundaries of speciation that are naturally in place” — For example 28,000 people are grafted every year in the USA. The demand is five times that, at least. Raising pigs with human-compatible organs becomes possible with CRISPR.  “You might decide that it would be unethical not to do that,” says Doudna, unhelpfully.

I love Doudna. She and Charpentier should get the Nobel. However, she somewhat disingenuously pretends to believe that, given our limited knowledge about the human genome, there shouldn’t be clinical use of CRISPR in the human germ line at present. (She does not really believes this, because she is not an idiot, but she affects to play a fair, Politically Correct game…) But she also admits that the balance is delicate. The same technology that might cure genetic-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Duchenne, diabetes and cancer might someday be used frivolously. Strangely Doudna pretends that “I don’t think that’s going to happen any time very soon, just because we don’t have the knowledge,” Doudna says. “But is it coming in 50 or 100 years?” She pauses to reflect, then says: “Yeah.”

However this is all a fake debate: it has been done with mice. Thus, it can be done with people. Thanks to the People’s Republic of China, it’s going to happen all over human disease. Mr. Xi just inverted the one-child policy established 40 years ago, he can earn more brownie points by curing human diseases.

CRISPR is a wonderful tool, to gather knowledge, and THEN to pontificate upon the morality this knowledge will entail. THEN.

To try to pontificate about the consequences of CRISPR now, when we don’t know so much, is unscientific. It will feed the enemy of the scientific method, by having scientists pretending to think when they can’t. As Doudna herself said, she doesn’t know.  

Indeed, the chicken-egg can’t come before the evolution which led to them. So the science has to plough ahead, and inform We The People. Then we can moralize.

Experiment, then moralize.

A reader told me, about the preceding aphorism that “Historically, you have it wrong; even though you may be right”. Right. I was expressing a moral imperative, not a historical observation of how people behaved. Experiment then moralize: the way of the thinker. Moralize, then be careful not to experiment: the way of those on the wrong side of history. 

CRISPR is on the right side of history. Follow it, to learn not just how to get more power, but how to become more moral

Patrice Ayme’

We War, Or We Are Not: Chimpanzees On Patrol

June 29, 2017

WAR AS “COLLECTIVE INTENTIONALITY” IN CHIMPANZEES, And HOW:

Most advanced animals are territorial. (It’s also true at sea: that was discovered with Orcas, Killer Whales, recently: the high sea races don’t mix genetically and culturally with the land-hugging races!)

Where does this territoriality come from? Researchers have no guesses. I do: it’s as simple as supposing that animals are smart. I run through the woods all the time among dangerous animals, and I can see them thinking fast, across many species, and adjusting their attitude accordingly.

It’s easy to see why, economically speaking, territoriality should arise. Economy means: environmental management. At this point many feel like writing a few equations that would justify everything, and such equations have been written, and those who wrote them achieved fame.

Equations tie concepts together. Concepts which can be measured. However, one has to be careful. The case of gravitation is famous. The master equation, call it Einstein’s equation, says:

Curvature = Mass-Energy

As Einstein himself pointed out, the right hand-side is not well-defined. However, one can still draw non-trivial consequences from it. But do those “prove” the equation? No.

Posing With That Special Attitude Can Speak Louder Than Words!

Researchers used 20 years of data from Ngogo in Uganda to explore collective action in chimpanzees.

When male chimpanzees patrol the boundaries of their territories they walk silently in single file.

Normally chimps are noisy: it’s a deliberate tactic to scare everybody. But on patrol they’re like silent death. They sniff the ground and stop to listen for sounds. Their cortisol and testosterone levels are jacked 25 percent higher than normal. Chances of contacting conspecific enemies are high: 30 percent.

Ten percent of patrols result in violent fights where they hold victims down and bite, tear, hit, kick and stomp them to death. It has been observed that a chimpanzee tribe could completely annihilate one next door.

The result of these savage acts of war? A large, safe territory rich with food, longer lives, and new young females wandering into the group.

Territorial boundary patrolling by chimpanzees is one of the most dramatic forms of collective action in mammals. Patrolling, and killing, together benefits the group, whether individual chimps took part in the action, or not.

Some Chimps In The ASU Study, While On Patrol

A team — led by Arizona State University Assistant Professor Kevin Langergraber of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the Institute of Human Origins — examined 20 years of data on who participated in patrols in a 200-member-strong Ngogo community of chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, Uganda.

Males joined 33 percent of patrols that occurred when they were in the group and young enough to take part. Young females have been observed to join patrols.

The behavior is evidence of what’s called group augmentation theory. What is good for the group is ultimately good for the individual. Some sacrifice from each member translates into a larger, safer group. By 2009, the Ngogo chimpanzees expanded their territory by 22 percent over the previous decade.

“Free riders may increase their short-term reproductive success by avoiding the costs of collective action,” Langergraber’s team wrote, “but they do so at the cost of decreasing the long-term survival of the group if it fails to grow or maintain its size; nonparticipants suffer this cost alongside the individuals they had cheated.”

“Cost” though, is a human concept tied to record keeping.

Chimpanzees are one of the few mammals in which inter-group warfare is a major source of mortality. Chimps in large groups have been reported to kill most or all of the males in smaller groups over periods of months or even many years, acquiring territory in the process. Territorial expansion can lead to the acquisition of females who bear multiple infants. It also increases the amount of food available to females in the winning group, increasing their fertility.

The researchers found no consequences for those chimpanzees that did not join patrols (but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist). Most studies have focused on short term benefits of cooperation, said lead researcher Kevin Langergraber, “but our study shows the benefit of long-term data collection, and also that we still have a lot to learn from these chimpanzees.”

Male chimpanzees remain in the group they were born in their entire lives (females wander to settle somewhere else). Because they can live for more than 50 years, patrolling when they’re young produces personal future benefits.

However, if they don’t patrol, there aren’t any consequences — no sidelong glances, snubs or being chased out of the group, claims anthropologist David Watts of Yale University, who worked with Langergraber on the study.

“We know from a lot of theoretical and empirical work in humans and in some other specialized, highly cooperative societies — like eusocial insects — that punishment by third parties can help cooperation evolve,” Watts said. “But it doesn’t seem to us that chimpanzees punish individuals who do not patrol. Sometimes individuals will be present when a patrol starts, and thus have the opportunity to join the patrol but fail to do so. As far as we can see, these individuals do not receive any sort of punishment when this occurs.”

Chimpanzees are extremely intelligent, but usually they aren’t considered to be capable of what’s called “collective intentionality,” which allows humans to have mutual understanding and agreement on social conventions and norms.

“They undoubtedly have expectations about how others will behave and, presumably, about how they should behave in particular circumstances, but these expectations presumably are on an individual basis,” Watts said. “They don’t have collectively established and agreed-on social norms.”

What Watts seems to want to say is that he didn’t see punishment. Thus, he says, there is no enforcement of norms. Thus there are no norms. Thus norms were not collectively established.

There are several problems with this reasoning. First all is not stick: there is also the carrot. A chimp may not be punished, but them he may lost opportunity. One opportunity lost? The pleasure of the hunt of the biggest game, fellow chimp, the pleasure of killing.

To expects animals establish norms as we do is, with all due respect, a bit silly. They do it, as we do when we don’t have language at our disposal.

“… this tendency of humans to cooperate in large groups and with unrelated individuals must have started somewhere,” Watts said. “The Ngogo group is very large (about 200 individuals), and the males in it are only slightly more related to one another than to the males in the groups with which they are competing. Perhaps the mechanisms that allow collective action in such circumstances among chimpanzees served as building blocks for the subsequent evolution of even more sophisticated mechanisms later in human evolution.”

Yes, sure. And what are these mechanisms? Can we imagine them?

We know how WE do it in civilization, and the million of years before that: we talk. We talk digitally, enabling us to communicate extremely precise information: this is the interest of equations.

What did we do before digital speech? Well we could whistle and do other sounds… which animals readily understand: a whining sound in humans of the sort my seven-year old daughter is expert at when she wants cake, is readily understood by a dog from 100 feet away. And by another 500 species besides.

There are other languages: action, gestures… They can vary. Most animals though, understand man is the top dog. I have been charged by bull elks, weighing 1,000 pounds, horns down, until they realized I was no mountain lion. Similarly, a bear or lion will immediately be reminded of human supremacy, from just the proper attitude. Then they instantaneously deduce they should moderate their rage, hunger, and other animals spirits inhabiting them.

The point is that they reason. They fear humans not “instinctively”, but because they were taught, by parents, or circumstances. Chimpanzees are also taught. From their first months on Earth. Then they deduce, in particular, friend from foe. Friends are in the tribe, foes are not in the tribe.

When I run in a National Park, all the dangerous animals out there, even the dangerous snakes, not just the bears, lions and various ungulates, know who I am, even before meeting me in person. They also know what a creature such as me is expected to do: left alone, I, and my ilk, will leave them alone.

So the missing link is that animals spent a lot of time thinking: their lives depend upon it.

“Collective Intentionality” results from all this collective thinking out of the same initial conditions. Chimps, from the earliest ager, learn that defending their traditional fruit trees enable them to survive, because they need to eat, to survive. And so on… It’s basic neurogenesis…

Patrice Ayme’

SUBCONSCIOUS (Theory Thereof!)

June 18, 2017

SUBCONSCIOUSNESS AS HIGHER DIMENSIONAL SPACES OF INCARNATED POTENTIALITIES:

I suggest the following: thesubconscious“, “unconscious”, or “preconscious” (“Vorbewusste”, Freud)  is, partly, the set of all weak synaptic (“Hebbian”) activity (in other words, all weak neural networks; yet, not only!). Thus, I propose that much of the so-called “subconscious” does not differ in nature from normal neuronal activity. The subconscious is not that… subconscious. A difference between conscious and subconscious is in intensity, the facility, of the neuronal pathways, not their nature.

(If you ask where I got this inspiration from, my own brain is a full lab at night, and not just at night; for example hard mountain running causes divided consciousness, but it also shuts down part of the brain, while opening others: thinking about the Foundations of Quantum Physics or Economics, or History, while running, or indulging in another passionate activity, gives completely different insights, contexts, and moods than when cuddling with one’s computer, precisely because parts of the brain shut down, including inhibitory regions… Introspection stays the main engine of philosophy, after all these years; see De La Mettrie’s fever, and his “machine man“, below)

The conscious would be where neuronal connections are strong, well-known. The subconscious would be WHERE connections are weak, and known only occasionally, during sleep, say. Thus the subconscious would be made, in part, of neuronal circuitry which got activated from UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES, thus sparsely, rarely, occasionally, and thus established WEAK connections.

In Its Simplest Form, A Subconscious Connection Is Just A Little Used Neuronal Connection. There are more tentative engrams, and some just potential.

Where Are Consciousness & Subconsciousness Located? Configuration Spaces, Just As Quantum Spaces! 

Amusingly, yet deeply, some may ask where is this “WHERE“, I am talking about where the subconscious would be, in my opinion, somehow, somewhat located. They may sneer: ‘isn’t it all in the brain anyway? how can the conscious be in the same 3 dimensional space as consciousness?

So where is this “WHERE“? This “WHERE” is a mathematical space! Hey, why did you think Riemann invented high dimensional geometry for? Interestingly, tellingly, and somewhat connected, the same exact objection has been made when the likes of yours truly have claimed that “Quantum Waves Are Real“: some physicists haughtily sneered back that Quantum Waves couldn’t possibly be real, because they would have to be not just objects in three-dimensional space, like the average tsunami, but in so-called “configuration space“. No, seriously, guys, with Quantum Fields in zillions of dimensions superposed on top of each other, and an omnipresent non-zero “Higgs” field interacting with all other quantum fields, to give them mass, and an all too real as far as the LHC in Geneva has it?… Well, as far as I am concerned, configuration space is space, just like three-dimensional space, is space, it’s real… I am not a mathematician for no good reason!

***

Why Sentient Animals Sleep: So That They Can Think Creatively!

This little theory of part of the subconscious as weak neuronal connections explains in part why animals sleep. Indeed, how were those weak connections which end up constituting most of the subconscious  activated? How come they are not activated in normal, conscious life? Sleep! A trick to do so is by shutting down parts of the brain, and thus forcing connectivity in other parts and pathways. How to shut down part of the brain? With sleep or heavy exercise, or passion, including abject fear and mad hunger, tourism, etc…Shutting down part of the brain, including inhibitory circuitry and organs, forces the Will to Connect to use unusual pathways. If those make sense, they get pre-established, and should some real world situations INPUT resemble what was encountered previously in the inner brain, those networks, that means those logics, those solutions, will get activated…

The usual advantages of sleep are considered to be housecleaning and reviewing, and reinforcing the neurological pathways experienced during the day. What I am saying here is that sleep forces unusual neuronal activity, thus the imagination. It’s an essential way of obtaining creative intelligence.

***

Homme Machine, the Machine Man With A Twist: 

Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709-1751), a physician born in Saint Malo, France, made observations on himself, during a feverish illness, referring to the action of quickened blood circulation upon thought, which led him to the conclusion that mental processes were to be accounted for as the effects of organic changes in the brain and nervous system. De la Mettrie argued that the organization of humans was done to provide the best use of complex matter as possible (this may have influenced Lamarck, and is as modern as possible: Quantum Field Theory find local minima of Lagrangians which depict energy; in a way a form of generalized economics…)

Julien Offray de la Mettrie, l’ Homme Machine! Obviously a Modern Psychology Animated Julien, But He Lived Only 42 Years (Same as his contemporary, Émilie Du Châtelet, discoverer of energy, infrared, etc.)

Most reasonable  Austrian-British philosopher cum physicist Karl Popper discussed de la Mettrie’s claim that man is a machine in relation to evolution and quantum physics:

“Yet the doctrine that man is a machine was argued most forcefully in 1751, long before the theory of evolution became generally accepted, by de La Mettrie; and the theory of evolution gave the problem an even sharper edge, by suggesting there may be no clear distinction between living matter and dead matter. And, in spite of the victory of the new quantum theory, and the conversion of so many physicists to indeterminism de La Mettrie’s doctrine that man is a machine has perhaps more defenders than before among physicists, biologists and philosophers; especially in the form of the thesis that man is a computer.”

From my point of view, this is not surprising. Indeterminism does not contradict the machine man. Far from it: it makes it possible. Indeterminism, the fuzziness of waves, smooths out and enriches everything, including in the brain: mechanics now does not mean wheels with teeth activating each other, but nonlinear waves crashing and interfering, a greater wealth of logic.

So, in my view, there is programmation, to generate pre-established connections but it’s self-generated, and those connections become self evolved… That’s a situation quite similar to what happens in biological evolution of the phenotype itself… And it’s related; namely lots of “instincts” are just evolved neurocircuitry. Evolved during one’s lifetime, even in a bee’s brain…

***

The Subconscious Is Not Reduced to Alternative Neuronal Networks: Influential Geometries and Topologies Are Crucial Too:

Are potential Hebbian networks all there could be to the unconscious? No. Some of the unconscious is of an even weaker nature. In that case the full neuronal connections were not made yet, but pathways still potentially exist, from the physical proximity of elements of potential paths…

The unconscious is the domain of possibilities and potentialities. The unconscious is a theoretician of the possible, the imaginable… So neuronal, glial, logical, emotional neighborhoods topologically close can well lead to unexpected, never experienced before connections. Those potentialities are also part of the unconscious. So the unconscious is not just (mini or pre-) Hebbian, about weak electric connections, but also about more subtle topologies (in the mathematical sense!). In particular emotional topologies. Thus the subconscious goes from weak Hebbian connections (what dreams are greatly made of) to topological conspiracies.

Take an example: why plutocrats love art so much; they will tell you that they have a sense of beauty, and I will tell you they have a sense of tax evasion; the plutocrats’ subconscious about art is that it enables tax evasion, by creating an untaxable, untaxed currency and store of value; but of course nothing a plutocrat in good standing will want to have pointed out in the plutocratically owned media. Nor anything that a plutocrat who wants to think highly about himself, or herself, would like to see pointed out, anywhere.

***

Consciously Connecting With Socrates’ Daemon, Monism, and the like:

Historically, the subconscious was defined as the part of consciousness that is not currently in focal awareness. The mechanisms I evoked above explain how that work. “Consciousness” is, first of all, an efficient administrator, not forgetting that the brain consumes up to an astounding 43% of the energy that a human uses. Thus “focal awareness” will favor networks with strong synapses bringing action readily. You can’t hesitate when those saber tooth lions come around, lest you want to become dinner. Hesitation, inaction, will surely kill you. Errors may be survivable (and the source of instruction).

The word “subconscious” is an anglicized version of the French subconscient as coined by the psychologist Pierre Janet (1859-1947), who argued that underneath the layers of deliberative, and critical thought functions of the conscious mind lay a powerful awareness that he called the subconscious mind. In my vision that awareness which lays waiting is an enormous construction zone of potential logics. (Logics in the widest meaning of the term, not just mathematical, or neuronal logic, but also emotional logics and even what viciously spiteful “philosophers” tend to call “pseudologia fantastica“; once Professor John Searle qualified me that way, to give him an excuse to censor me; now Searle is the object of various prosecutions…)

That continual attempted construction of all sorts of new logics, that is, of new circuitry, and new geometry (dendrites!) and topology, of course, uses an enormous amount of energy, as construction sites tend to. This is what the brain does most of the time (and, as most of this activity is not spurred by “focal awareness”, most of the time, this explains why neuroscience does not know (yet) what the brain is spending so much energy doing, most of the time).

There is a big difference between the unobserved brain, trying to establish new logics, and the brain in a social, and in particular, in a war mode. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as enabled some progress in envisioning how complex the brain is. The brain evolved as a social interface, not just as an efficient advanced calculus mathematician in charge of trajectories. As Wired UK put it in “Why does the brain uses so much energy?“: “Scans showed the inferior parietal cortex (IPC), an area that helps us control the amount of energy we use, became deactivated when people felt they were being observed. The IPC works with the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) to form what researchers called the “action-observation network” (AON). This area of the brain helps people infer what others are thinking based on facial expressions, body language and gaze.

In any case we are now able to figure out what that “daimon (demon)” who advised Socrates was made of: logical potentialities writ into various material connections and entanglements.

In Plato’s Symposium, the philosophical priestess Diotima teaches Socrates that love is not a deity, but rather a “great daemon”. She explains that “everything daemonic is between divine and mortal” and describes daemons as “interpreting and transporting human things to the gods and divine things to men; entreaties and sacrifices from below, and ordinances and requitals from above…” In Plato’s Apology of Socrates, Socrates claimed to have a daimonion (literally, a “divine something”) that frequently warned him… The Platonic Socrates, however, never refers to the daimonion as a daimōn; it was always referred to as an impersonal “something” or “sign”. Thus Socrates seems to indicate that the true nature of the human soul is pertaining to self-consciousness.

Regarding the various charges brought against Socrates in 399 CE, Plato surmised that “Socrates does wrong because he does not believe in the gods in whom the city believes, but introduces other daemonic beings…” Well those daemonic beings were all potentialities in his head.

Notice that the preceding turns around the problem of the traditional opposition made in philosophy between “monism“(the mind is material) and dualism (body and soul dichotomy). This is true, even without evoking quantum physics, because, even without slipping the ephemeral and ubiquitous Hilbert Spaces of quantum physics in the debate, the argument above implies that the brain geometrodynamics, and topological dynamics are extremely high dimensional objects, always fluctuating (quite a bit in the mood of Quantum Field Theory, and probably, ultimately, for the same underlying reason…)

Also notice that the overall mood of the explanation above is that logical and emotional potentialities are embodied in the brain, and that the brain’s main activity is to further them ever more through imaginable twists and turns (in several manners, including, but not limited to weak Hebbian connections). This is very similar to the potentialities which arise in quantum physics experiments. I believe that’s not coincidence, and that it corresponds to even tighter identification deep down inside, namely that consciousness, which has a lot of characteristics in common with the quantum, originates there; the machine man is quantum mechanical. Or Sub Quantum Real (SQPR!) more exactly.

“Gnosis”, the knowledge of spiritual mysteries, was, for millennia, mostly in the eye of the beholder. Science is now excavating some, spearheaded by the philosophical method. For the longest time, the likes of Joan of Arc, Muhammad, Jesus, Socrates, claimed to have heard voices in their heads, or get otherwise in contact with entities not pertaining to their own consciousness. Maybe, but now we have explanation we can all understand. We also understand why we should take the subconscious seriously: it’s a sort of pre-explanation of whatever may unfold later. It’s both clairvoyance, and exploratory explanatory genius of whichever logics fit best the reality out there

Run-of-the-mill knowledge should also be considered on the ground of synaptic capability. Thus “gnosis”, knowledge, and beliefs, should be evaluate according to the strength of synaptic connections, integrating Hebb theory…. Thus I am saying that knowledge is more or less known, belief more or less held, on the ground of how neurology works… Electronic circuits, the way we have electronics now either work, or they don’t (electronics is not yet quantum, and, presently, more akin to make water circulate in canal networks). Neurological networks works more or less. So do knowledge and beliefs then. When those networks work very well, consciousness. When they are barely there, subconsciousness…

Patrice Ayme’

Artificial Consciousness?

March 14, 2017

Move over, Artificial Intelligence! Artificial Consciousness, while not exactly around the corner, is in sight, as a human creation. I have already advocated, on very general philosophical grounds, that “Consciousness Is Quantum“. Now an article in Aeon argues, reproducing rather murkily Heidegger-like Zeitgeist, that “The body is the missing link for truly intelligent machines“. I will argue a bit more precisely, and it is not the first time, that machines are embodied self-creating intelligent designs. When brains learn from the environment, they self-create accordingly. (The details will probably involve a better knowledge of Quantum Physics than what we presently enjoy.)

Well before his famous parrots (Husserl, Heidegger, etc.) the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was saying that we think with our gut. Expressions such as “take heart”, “from the heart”, “gut feeling”, and countless others show that the body was long thought to be the source of emotion.

Indeed, neurology extends over the body: there are neurons, dozens of thousands of them, in the heart, guts, spinal cord.

One may view the rise of animals as the rise of organized intelligence. It is likely that, even before DNA, the sort of teleological intelligence Quantum Physics deploys was hijacked by biology (teleo means: at a distance, this comes from the nonlocality of Quantum Physics; “intelligence”, because all and any Quantum Process proceeds as an intelligent choice between various possibilities, encompassing all, thanks to said nonlocality!)

Innards of an Eukaryotic Cell. We are made of trillions of them. Each has hundreds of organs, each functioning as a Quantum Computer. Such cells appeared 2.5 billion years ago. They are vastly more complex than bacteria, and remarkable by their mastery of Quantum Computing.

This natural selection of intelligent self-design, by the way, is the missing piece of evolutionary theory: consciousness, from bio-engineered intelligent design.

Inside the thinking organism, the same propensity towards higher intelligence should be at work (haphazard selection being bound to find, in the end, the best system). Sleep is mostly flight simulation, where plausible scenarios are self-run, memorized, and meditated upon. The “Meta” function is known to be plausibly activated by new dendrites, new synapses, new neurons, and neurons which control myelination along axons (making them more or less conductive, here or there).

This means that software activation in the brain brings hardware modifications, and even gigantic hardware creation. Through intelligent (self-)design. We were looking for Intelligent Design, in their silliness. And it was us, all along!

Throughout, Quantum Processes are run, more or less haphazardly thanks to whatever stimulation the cosmos brings.

Cosmic rays modify the behavior of smart phones and computers… although those do not, yet, operate Quantum Mechanically (aside from a few prototype Quantum computers), and are larger by orders of magnitude than the smallest biological scale.  Whereas it is known in the case of a few biological systems, that Quantum Physics is central and essential for their functioning (for example chlorophyll). One can guess it is the same all over the finest biology, even for the genetic code (the hydrogen bonds therein are fragile Quantum devices, very sensitive to the environment surrounding the DNA; they will change if said environment changes)

Thus brains are embodied Quantum computers, constantly running, constantly self-recreating, and body-building according to what they perceive out there 

The day we can have Quantum hardware endowed with the same nature, capable of the same feats, we will not just have created Artificial Intelligence. We will have created AC, Artificial Consciousness. The ethical and security consequences will be many.

Patrice Ayme’

Hormones Rule Reason

January 30, 2017

Is reason free as a bird? Well, first birds are not that free, and reason springs from brain organization, something that biochemistry built.

Old wisdom: there is reason, and then there is its opposite, its enemy, irrationality. New wisdom: reason is context dependent and context is hormonally determined.

In turn, hormones are dependent upon cognitive environment…

(Nietzsche already wrote people thought with their stomach:”a spirit is more similar to a stomach”. A general mood already found in Napoleon’s writings:”an army marches on its stomach”.)

Indeed, there are the hormones everybody has heard of, but less noticed are neurohormones, more recently discovered. Neurohormones double as neurotransmitters. Dependent upon hormonal, and neurohormonal activity, part of the brain gets active (at least that’s my hypothesis). So what? So, mental inertia. Reason does not remain a question of logic as found in logic text books, but also a question of chemical logic, and vast inertia, as sub-organs within the brain gets active, or asleep: a sub-organ will develop according to activity (say posterior pituitary gland, versus its anterior part: they secrete different neurohormones!)

There Are 50 Neurohormones Known. Moreover, There Are More Ephemeral "Neurohumors"... These Chemical Universe Means Bias & Inertia

There Are 50 Neurohormones Known. Moreover, There Are More Ephemeral “Neurohumors”… These Chemical Universe Means Bias & Inertia

Tied up with that concept of chemical machines as the factories of reason within the brain, is psycho-rigidity, also called by me “mental inertia”.

A practical example: many anti-Trumpists revel in hatred at this point. Differently from other activists such as Islamists, anti-abortionists, neoconservatives, etc., they are unfamiliar with hatred, they are accustomed to it, and they really love it. After a few months of this, they may find it addictive, and pursue it by sheer mental inertia.

Reason is not just about building neuronal connections, it’s about building chemical factories within the brain. Factories are infrastructure: they don’t go up, or down, easily.

So, if one wants to become a superior mind, not cannot just cultivate one’s logic and facts carefully, and hope for the best. To reach the highest and best reason, one also has to manage which experiences, emotions, or types of emotions one engages in, and one has engaged in, carefully: emotions and experiences build up the brain, one just cognitively, logically, but in its very chemical infrastructure, and what one has the propensity to engage in, like, love, or detest. Mental imprinting, even apparently distant imprinting, even apparently distant imprinting of one’s feelings, impacts one’s subsequent capability to generate superior reason.

So one cannot just think about a subject, roll-out the Socratic method, and get it right. One has first to be in the appropriate mood. Socrates did not know this, and that’s why he ended up drinking hemlock, after 501 members of the jury found “he had corrupted the youth” (Socrates’ students and lovers imposed dictatorship and various lethal mishaps upon Athens, and it was widely considered that Socrates taught his students, many more than 40 years younger than him, in a way which was not appropriate; Athens lost her empire, and half her population in the war…)

Speaking of Socrates, indeed, the philosopher was widely viewed, at the time, as “anti-demos”. Still, Socrates is always, apparently always very logical. So how could Socrates be both very logical, and very wrong? Simple. Socrates was chemically disposed against the total democracy instituted by Pericles (and his top philosopher friends and lovers) which made Athens a lasting jewel for civilization. Thus he rolled out plenty of very logical logic against democracy.

The brouhaha against the Trump order against immigrants from seven countries gave several examples of a similar type. Obama’s spokesman said“With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion,”

Motivated by a mood of cheap vengeance, (but I can understand the motivation of jumping in at the first occasion,) and with the advantage of getting in the interventionist mindset (which I advocated). Also wrong in several ways: first Trump said it was not “anti-Muslim” (there too, the occasion was too good to show everybody who the boss was… while rushing US Army tanks to the Baltics, to help sober up Putin in advance of NATO deployment in Spring).

Second, and more importantly, we DO discriminate against faiths or religions: more than 99.9% of historical faiths and religions are outlawed in Republics such as the USA or France (and their many parrots around). Did you try a human sacrifice, Gallic, Punic, or Aztec style recently? Or eat someone, Polynesian style, as happened when the esteemed Captain Cook got cooked in Hawai’i? No. Not really: it’s not our taste anymore. A question of stomach, in more way than one.

This means that we do discriminate against individuals who would insist on bringing back those faiths or religions. And why? Because such faith and individuals promoting them are incompatible with Republican law.

That is exactly the case of those faiths and individuals promoting “Sharia”, the so-called “Muslim law”, which is incompatible with Republican law. If we get in a mood of compromise, there, we will hurt, fatally in the long run, the Republic. With Sharia, the proper mood for the Republic is not tolerance, but abrogation and retribution against its unlawful promoters.

I will give another example soon of chemistry ruling reason: Sartre, De Beauvoir and other “existentialists” being all too existential, namely ruled by a mood all too sympathetic too pleasing to those who have the biggest stick around, and above. Those had a mood of submission (as Obama did), a brain chemically made for submission, not rebellion (whereas Camus did, and so did most real resistance fighters).

Any logic, logical textbooks will reveal, is bounded by the universe in which it is applied. Alternative facts will call on a different universe, thus a different logic. And those universes are chemically dependent.

I don’t believe in the multiverse as a foundation for physics. However, the multiverse is a fact, for reason itself. And those various universes are made from alternative facts and chemistry.

How we feel, how we felt, implies how we think, and will think. I think, therefore, I am in some universe, somewhere. Reason is not the end-all, be-all. And one of the reasons for the lack of reason, beyond emotion, is that logic itself is not one: consider the Incompleteness Theorems in metamathematics. Beyond those, modern logic has been demonstrated to be pretty much anything we want. And we want what feels good.

Reason has its reason that only the heart knows.

Patrice Ayme’

Want More Wisdom? Get More Life!

January 2, 2017

ANTI-AGE REVOLUTION NEEDED FOR EXTENDING WISDOM

What is the primary strategic goal of anti-aging? Extending not just life, but wisdom!

(Some may sneer that strategia, generalship in Greek, is about war. But life, preserving life on Earth, is a war, and fighting that war, what wisdom leads to.)

In the European Middle Ages, a colossal discovery was made, which made civilization much smarter, wiser, and far-sighted: glasses. Glasses changed everything, by making plenty of other inventions possible. Glasses were an invention amplifier..

By age 40, in the European Middle Ages, aside from the Black Plague of 1347-53 CE, the death rate was slow, but artisans could not engage in precision technological work, because they lost their short distance vision (as people lived outdoors a lot, they tended to be far-sighted, thus lost proximal vision early).

The same vision problem affected intellectuals: they could not read, write, or copy, anymore, by the time they reached their 40s, and the heights of their mental powers.  Mental power is something which grows with age. A cephalopod observes, learns, and then duplicates. On the left below, the mollusk: 

Nothing Here But Us Algae. To Build A Civilization, One Needs The Functional Equivalent Of Hands, But Also Speech, Society And More Of What They Require, Longevity. All These Cephalopods, However Bright, Do Not Have.

Nothing Here But Us Algae. To Build A Civilization, One Needs The Functional Equivalent Of Hands, But Also Speech, Society And More Of What They Require, Longevity. All These Cephalopods, However Bright, Do Not Have.

[Cephalopods have typically 500 million neurons, five times the number of neurons a rat has; they use it to instantaneously mimic the colors and patterns of their environment, not just by changing colors, but even shape, as seen above, for all sorts of dissemblances; and also for manipulation…]  

Reading glasses changed everything having to do with WISDOM. Shortly afterwards, precision mechanisms could be developed by artisans and scientists: the telescope (late 16th century), the advanced mechanical computer (Pascal, early 17th century), and the mechanical clock, which enabled mariners to know where they were (thus enabling the conquest of the world by civilization, and global trade, the excesses of which we are presently experiencing now…)

Glasses were industrially fabricated in Italy by 1286 CE. They were an extension of rock crystal magnification known, and used, for centuries.

The invention of glasses corresponded to the mood of deliberately helping, or even beautifying, life by new technology through national invention programs, the archetype of which was the invention of stain glass windows and metal architecture in Cathedrals, Frankish style. Or the use of giant hydraulic hammers to bend giant iron, one thousand times too strong to be bent by hand, also for cathedral construction.

That mood, of developing technology to facilitate and prettify life, was not new, it dated from the early Imperium Francorum, but gathered momentum as the Middle Ages advanced.   The Tenth Century was full of newly invented (cultivars of) beans. Beans brought lots of proteins without having to go though the less efficient meat production…

So here we are. We went through considerable revolutions in energy and telecommunication, and produced antibiotics industrially (instead of gathering them in the forest, as prehistoric men did).

However, it has been a long time since our civilization made a drastic extension of useful life time. Sophocles was in his nineties when he wrote (or, rather, dictated) some of his work.

Glasses doubled the number of decades intellectuals could spend furthering their studies. It is no coincidence that full-blown printing with movable type appeared within two centuries after the invention of reading glasses: the glasses augmented the availability of books, and the reading of books. Glasses basically doubled the lifespan of intellectuals. Basically doubling the wisdom (doubling the time to gather,.distill and teach wisdom).

The easiest way to double wisdom again, is to double lifespan again.

Further anti-age revolution is needed now to help wisdom. And, as the biosphere totters under the blows of our irresponsible civilization, more wisdom is not just desirable, but necessary.

So extent lifespan. Bill Gates, who got his fortune from his mom’s influence, pontificated recently that the search for life extension, as pursued by, say, Google, was fundamentally “selfish”. Well, no. Bill Gates is an early college drop-out (see mom, an IBM director, above), Bill Gates does not have much formal education. Gates does not have the conception that it takes years to learn esoteric knowledge. And digest it. And forget it. And reconstruct it, to become a master of wisdom.

We need more time. This year, it was learned that Greenland sharks apparently can live more than 500 years. And that some Bowhead whales live more than 280 years.

So why do we live so little? We, the wisest of them all? Because that was the optimization between fast generation renewal and the wisdom we needed to gather, teach and transmit for the new generation, the whole thing protected by enough war-like instincts. So our wisdom, so far has had a lot to do with how to make war wisely, accelerating the evolution of our species.

Well, we need more wisdom, more gathering thereof. We need a different sort of wisdom, of a less bellicose type, a different sort of war, against fate, rather than men. And thus more time, to find out carefully what is really going on, even inside ourselves. it’s not just about ourselves. Earth needs it.

Patrice Ayme’

Australian Thunderstorm Or GMO Asthma?

December 4, 2016

Comic Relief From Plutocratic Media: People Are Allegedly Poisoned By Thunderstorm. Instead, We Suggest Man-Made Poisons Are Mostly At Fault:

I read to my lawyer the Thunderstorm Asthma story, out of Melbourne Australia. When told that there were several millions hectares of pasture and agriculture just where the thunderstorm came from, my lawyer sneered: “this is a bogus story. They are hiding the fact it is all about GMOs, insecticides and herbicides. I was stunned by my lawyer’s perspicacity.

Here is the story, from the New York Times:

Thunderstorm Asthma’ Kills 8 in Australia, NOV. 29, 2016

SYDNEY, Australia — When David McGann left his office in Melbourne just after 5 p.m. to cycle home, a stifling heat had settled across the city, and the temperature was peaking at 95 degrees.

A hot, gusty northerly wind picked up. Rain clouds had gathered across the skyline, but there was little relief. “It was the hottest day of the season,” said Mr. McGann, 35, who manages accounts at a law practice. “By the time I got home and had a swim, my chest had started to tighten.”

[When] Mr. McGann’s partner… returned, he was on the couch, sitting quietly, struggling for breath. The inhaler he found after rummaging through drawers was five years past its expiration date.

Mr. McGann was one of thousands of people in Melbourne having an attack of thunderstorm asthma. They flooded the city’s emergency rooms, swamped ambulance call lines and joined lines around pharmacies during six hours on Nov. 21. All were struggling for breath. About 8,500 people went to hospitals. Eight have died, and one remains in intensive care more than a week after a thunderstorm surged across Melbourne, carrying pollen that strong winds and rain broke into tiny fragments.

Perennial ryegrass seeds were swept up in whorls of wind and carried from four million hectares of pasturelands (about 9.9 million acres) that lie to Melbourne’s north and west. If broken into fragments, they are so fine that they can be inhaled.” 

Actually what also lie north and west of Melbourne are giant fields of canola. Consider the following propaganda picture (later I will show the truth, namely technicians going through said fields in chemical hazard suits):

These Fields Are Poisoned At Such A Level, Plants Have to Be Genetically Modified To Survive. Question: Have These Children Been Genetically Modified By The Gates Of Hell, Too?

These Fields Are Poisoned With Herbicides and Pesticides At Such A Level, That Plants Have to Be Genetically Modified To Survive The Added Poisons. Question: Have These Children Been Genetically Modified By The Gates Of Hell, So That They Can Survive, Too?

Here is the New York Times again:

“So many people became ill so quickly that some of the state’s crisis medical teams were stretched beyond their limits. Firefighters and police officers stepped in where paramedics were overloaded. Triage centers at 10 hospitals struggled with admissions across Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, with a population of 4.4 million in the greater metropolitan area and suburbs.”

And then the New York Times plunged into the mysteries of how ryegrass kernels could get deep in the lungs. At this point, we are getting into disinformation. Full information would observe not only that the cases have augmented:

“An earlier episode, in November 1989, sent 277 people to hospitals, and 47 were admitted…

Grass pollen is usually too large to enter the small airways of the lungs…
Emergency services were surprised by the number of so-called silent patients. “They appear O.K., but their airways are so obstructed that they are concentrating, really focusing, on staying upright and just breathing,” Dr. Baker said.

Mr. McGann did not end up in the hospital. But by the time he found a pharmacy open late, he was beginning to panic. “Every breath I took made the next breath harder,” he said, adding that he had no family history of asthma. “I just didn’t realize it could have the effect it had.”

Grass pollen is the primary source of allergies in southern Australia, and tracking the data allowed scientists to forecast high levels of grass seeds in the atmosphere on Nov. 21. Still, Ms. Hennessy said, the government was taken by surprise.”

Surprise, indeed, this did not happen before, by two orders of magnitude. How come so much more severity?

My lawyer’s theory is different.  It evolved from my own observations and theories of why asthma and allergies, let alone weird cancers, have been augmenting spectacularly. There are around 150,000 artificial, man-made chemical products in use. By medical drug standards, they are untested (in earlier essays, I mentioned 80,000, which is the number brandished in the USA; however, French specialists talk about 150,000 untested chemicals.).

Canola (or rapeseed), Brassica napus, is an oilseed crop which is cultivated for its high quality edible oil used in many foods (eg. margarines and cooking oil) and seed meal (the fibrous material left after the oil pressing process), which has a high protein content. That makes it highly desirable as a stock feed.

In 2010-11, the Australian state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located,  produced 476 thousand tonnes of canola with a gross value of $293 million.

Control of weeds, particularly weeds from the Brassicaceae family (broadleaf), through herbicide application during the canola-growing season, significantly improves the quantity of the grain produced. Weeds compete for space, nutrients and sunlight. (African countries have dismissed that the quality of GMO seed is higher, in contradistinction with US propaganda; quite the opposite, they say)

Two genetically modified (GM) canola varieties have been developed in Australia, Roundup Ready® (by Monsanto Australia Ltd) and InVigor® (by Bayer CropSciences Pty Ltd). For maximum effect, each GM variety has been developed to be tolerant to and hence used with, a specific herbicide. The result is the mass poisoning of the planet, horizon to horizon.

Our Workers Are Protected With Hazard Suits. Your Children Can Get Cancer, We Will Sell You Drugs, To Alleviate Their Pain, With Obamacare

Our Workers Are Protected With Hazard Suits. Your Children Can Get Asthma, Cancer, Attention Deficit Disorder, We Will Sell You Drugs, To Alleviate Their Pain, With Obamacare, Or Its Ilk.

The same poisoning trick is used for insecticides. To boot, the poison resistance spreads, demanding even higher doses of poison to be used in the grand outdoors..

In other words, massive quantities of poisons are put in the soil, and from there, are kicked up, in the air.

Exposed to this life destroying poisons, the body reacts by shutting down all pores. Asthma.

Some will say that we have no proof of what we advance. True. But what is a proof? Logicians themselves are not too sure (Kurt Gödel famous showed that there are always unproven truths, in any theory which allows one to count with integers). What we have here is the beginning of a proof: mass asthma in the State of Victoria started coincidentally with mass poisoning of the State of Victoria. Thunderstorms did not start yesterday, nor did ryegrass. Two new factors surging simultaneously: if one has more intelligence than journalists in Main Stream Media, one will suspect that they are correlated, and maybe, even causally related. The burden rests on the side of those who dismiss the plausible causation. Especially considering what is at stake.

But Obama just gave the Gates the “Medal of Freedom”. The Gates have been immense promoters of GMOs and Monsanto (from which they got employees, and in which they are invested, so they can become ever richer). Through their “Foundation”, which ostensibly cares about health (health or death, that is the question).

Some countries have started to outlaw Monsanto. Their leaders were not paid enough, and, or, they speak French (as in Burkina Faso).

Gates of hell.

Patrice Ayme’

Bees Learn From Culture & Experience

October 25, 2016

When “INSTINCT” IN BEES:TURNS OUT TO BE LEARNING JUST AS HUMANS DO. Bees Practice The Experimental Method, Observe Others & Transmit Knowledge To Others!

Bumblebees can experiment and learn to pull a string to get a sugar water reward and then pass that skill on to other bees.

This comforts a long-held opinion of mine. See: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/instinct-is-fast-learning/.

There I claimed that:

“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.

My reasoning was typical philosophy: well-informed general reasons. Now there is increasing evidence that not only big brained vertebrates, but smaller brained invertebrates learn.

Conclusion: we humans do not differ from other animals, even insects, in kind, but in the amount of capability we enjoy. Thus, if we want to be truly human as much as we cannot just lay there like cows.  If we want to be fully human we must learn more of what is significant, and learn how to learn it. We cannot just sit on our hands and do as Barack Obama, the do-not much not-so-funny clown in chief, did, obsess about easy one liners and sport scores.

***

Intelligence Is A Fact, Instinct Just A Vague Theory:

For years, cognitive scientist Lars Chittka was intimidated by studies of apes, crows, parrots, and other brainy giants. Crows make tools. And they obviously talk to each other (my personal observation in the mountains). From the latest research in Brazil, parrots seem to have advanced language among themselves (which we don’t understand yet, as it too fast and high pitch for humans to hear it, and there is too much “austerity” around to pay scientists to understand the world as much as they could).

Chittka worked on bees, and almost everyone assumed that the insects acted on so-called instinct, not intelligence. Instinct? Come again.

As Bumblebees Can Learn To Pull Strings, So Can Plutocrats. Thus We Need To Outlaw Such Pluto Strings

Hillary Pulling Out Her Reward? As Bumblebees Can Learn To Pull Strings, So Can Plutocrats. Thus We Need To Outlaw Such Pluto Strings

Sophisticated behavior from “instinct” is a rather stupid assumption, because it is a superfluous assumption: Who needs instinct to explain an animal’s behavior, when we have simple, old fashion intelligence to explain it? Well, speciesists! (Same as who needs the Big Bang, a theory, when we have Dark Energy, a fact, to explain the expansion of the universe.)

Indeed we know of intelligence (some people, and certainly children, can be observed to have it). We can observe intelligence, and roughly understand how it works (it works by establishing better neurology, that is, neurology which fits facts better).

We can define intelligence, we cannot define instinct. But what is an instinct? We can neither observe “instinct”, for sure, instead of learning. Nor can we give a plausible mechanism of how “instinct” would generate complex behaviors (DNA does not code for “instinct”).  

When carefully analyzed, complex behaviors turn out to be learned. In humans, social motivations such as the Will to Power, are primary, thus Chitkka was motivated by : “…a challenge for me: Could we get our small-brained bees to solve tasks that would impress a bird cognition researcher?”

***

Einstein Bumblebees & Their Superstrings:

Now, it seems his team has succeeded in duplicating, with insects, what many birds and mammals are famous for. It shows that bumblebees can not only learn to pull a string to retrieve a reward, but they can also learn this trick from other bees, even though they have no experience with such a task in nature. Christian Rutz, a bird cognition specialist at St. Andrews university in Scotland concludes that the study “successfully challenges the notion that ‘big brains’ are necessary for new skills to spread”.  

Chittka and his colleagues set up a clear plastic table barely tall enough to lay three flat artificial blue flowers underneath. Each flower contained a well of sugar water in the center and had a string attached that extended beyond the table’s boundaries. The only way the bumble bee could get the sugar water was to pull the flower out from under the table by tugging on the string.

The team put 110 bumblebees, one at a time, next to the table to see what they would do. Some tugged at the strings and gave up, but two actually kept at it until they retrieved the sugar water: two Einstein bees out of 110! In another series of experiments, the researchers trained the bees by first placing the flower next to the bee and then moving it ever farther under the table. More than half of the 40 bees tested learned what to do with the strings. See: .Associative Mechanisms Allow for Social Learning and Cultural Transmission of String Pulling in an Insect.

Next, the researchers placed untrained bees behind a clear plastic wall so they could see the other bees retrieving the sugar water. More than 60% of the insects that watched knew to pull the string when it was their turn. In another experiment, scientists put bees that knew how to pull the string back into their colony and a majority of the colony’s workers picked up string pulling by watching one trained bee do it when it left the colony in search of food. The bees usually learned this trick after watching the trained bee five times, and sometimes even after one single observation. Even after the trained bee died, string pulling continued to spread among the colony’s younger workers.   

But pulling a string does not quite qualify as tool use, because a tool has to be an independent object that wasn’t attached to the flower in the first place. Yet other invertebrates have shown they can use tools: Digger wasps pick up small stones and use them to pack down their burrow entrances, for example.

***

Bees: New Aplysias For Intelligence & Culture?

Nobel laureate Eric Kandel, following a mentor of his in Paris, worked on the brain of the giant California sea snail, Aplysia Californica with its 26,000 neurons. This enabled to progress in the understanding of basic learning and memory mechanisms. However, Aplysias are not into tools and culture. Bees are. Bees have a million neurons, and a billion synapses.

[The bee brain is only .5 mm; whereas the human brain is ~ 400 larger, thus 4x 10^2 larger, its volume is thus ~ 10^2 x 10^6 = 10^8 larger than that of the bee brain; thus scaled up, with the same neuronal density, the human brain should have 10^14 neurons! Which is the number of synapses in the human brain. The density of the bee brain Thus we see, in passing, that human neurons pack up much more power than bee neurons! That has got to be a quantitative difference…]

The discovery of bee culture involved almost 300 bees, documenting how string pulling spread from bee to bee in multiple colonies. Cognitive studies of vertebrates like birds and monkeys typically involve smaller tribal units (30, not 300). Thus the bee studies on culture, more broadly based, show better propagation (at least at this point). .

Clearly bees are equipped, psychobiologically, for the meta behavior known as creative culture: learning from others, while experimenting on one’s own. Thinkers of old used to believe these behaviors were exclusively humans: animals were machines (Descartes) and only man used tools (Bergson, who called man ‘Homo Faber”, Homo Worker)

That insect can learn and experiment, and have culture was obvious all along, according to my personal observations of wasps’ intelligence: when I threaten a wasp. It gets the message, and flies away (I have done the experiment hundreds of times; it does not work with mosquitoes). Reciprocally, if I try to get a wasp out from behind a window, it somewhat cooperates, instead of attacking me. Whereas if I come next to a nest, I will be attacked when my intent is deemed aggressive (reciprocally if a nest is established in a high traffic area, the culture of the local wasps makes it so that they will not attack).   

What is the neural basis for these “smarts”? Some say that the insects might not be all that intelligent, but that instead, “these results may mean that culture-like phenomena might actually be based on relatively simple mechanisms.” Hope springs eternal that, somehow, human intelligence is different.

Don’t bet on it. Studying how bees think will help us find how, and why, we think. And the first conclusion is that it matters what we do with our brains. If we want to rise above insects, we cannot mentally behave as if we were insects all day long. Being endowed with human intelligence is not just an honor, but a moral duty. (Learn that, clown in chief!)

Patrice Ayme’

Civilization & Its Mad Haters

September 25, 2016

Anti-West Propaganda: Dumb Yet Unexamined In Causes and Extent:

There is colossal anti-West propaganda going on. I will give a striking example here: asinine graphics from no less than “The Economist” (I had noticed it when it came out, but now it has gone viral). Propaganda is not just made of systems of ideas, but systems of moods. For example, racism or ‘esclavagisme’ are certainly moods. So is nationalism. The mood that civilization, in its present form, did not blossom in Europe, is just counter-factual… And as we will see below, insane, serpentine, base and villainous. And self-serving to a malevolent elite.

Anti-Western propaganda is also anti-civilizational propaganda. Many will disagree with this; because they have been thoroughly molded by anti-Western propaganda. But actually, it is pretty clear: the United Nations charter is the French Declaration Des Droits, written large… (The various US “Bills” and “Independence Declaration” or “Constitution” are not far removed.)

Who would have interest to undermine Western ideology, also as known as civilization? Those who want to undermine correct civilization. The one and only. And replace it by plutocracy (evil boosted oligarchy).

So what did The Economist do? It published these cute, authoritatively spoken of, yet viciously lying graphics:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/10/daily-chart-9

Just restricting Europe to “Italy” means nothing. For most of the history of the place presently known as “Italy”, “Italy” did not exist. Here is the real situation before Charlemagne conquered Eastern Europe (including the Avars in Hungary).  

Europe 800 CE, Before Franks Conquered Eastern Europe. The Franks reconquered Britannia in 1066 CE, giving birth to the present polity there.

Europe 800 CE, Before the Franks Conquered Eastern Europe. The Franks reconquered Britannia in 1066 CE, giving birth to the present polity there. (Yes, they called themselves “Franks” or “Europeans”.)

The description given by The Economist incredibly shrinks Europe, by comparing provinces of Europe, with giant multinational, multireligious empires. “The Economist’s” brain-molding will work only for those who know nothing of the history of the Indian subcontinent, nothing of the history of “China” and nothing of the history of Europe. Comparing two empires, India and China, with portions of the European world and its colonies is both stupid and biased, to the extreme.

So the entire idea of The Economist’s graphs (‘China back on top!’) is silly: It is little more than comparison of demographics. And wrong demographics: implicitly identifying “Italy” as its own power in 1 CE is exhibiting a total ignorance of Roman history and politics (the Gallic tribe of the Senones had captured, centuries earlier, Northern Italy, and defeated Rome; in 1 AD, Gallia Transalpina, North Italy, was still administratively, part of Gaul).

If one wants Western GDP in 1 CE,  one has to look at the entire Roman Empire, and add Britannia and Germania.  That would make for the world’s largest GDP (Rome had already 25% of the world’s population, then, more than 60 millions, and the richest areas, like Syria (!); East Asian populations would explode later, from new rice cultivars producing two harvests a year).

In the West, the (legal, political, civilizational, linguistic, imperial, spiritual!) successor of Rome was Francia (“Imperium Francorum”). It was synchronous with Tang China, and comparable in population, extent and GDP (Tang controlled a gigantic desert far west of not much import on GDP). Tang was a high point of Chinese civilization complete with empresses (like Francia!) and printed paper money.

So why not consider just GDP within the Central China Plain, if one wants to compare with portions of Europe?

China, to this day, is made, officially, of one hundred ethnicities (several times more than Europe). China was rarely united in the last 4,000 years. When Genghis Khan’s army invaded “China”, “China” was actually made of several empires with different languages and religions.

Ditto with India (many parts of India were independent nation-states with their own languages, alphabets, religions, for most of their history).

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Ironically Enough, Those Who Promote Civilizational Decay Bemoan ‘Shrinking Europe’:

That Europe is shrinking, there is no doubt. As soon as Europe finally orders Apple Inc., the world’s largest market cap company, to pay more than 1% tax, Washington screams, and then right away retaliate by ordering Deutsche Bank to pay 14 billion dollars in fine. What does Europe do? Bleat. Even the anti-Euro Stiglitz admits that we are dealing here with a “fraud”. “Frauds” like that undermine Europe, by undermining the tax base of countries such as France, hence the French or British military and defense financing, hence system, thus all what’s left of European defense, and so on. (In the next step, naturally enough, Europe makes humiliating treaties with the Turkish Sultan, as Europe does not have the military will, let alone the military strength to go re-establish order in neighboring Syria!… and leaves the Russian and American empires in control, free to extend the mess ad nauseam).

In “Charlemagne”, The Economist pontificates that: “Unshrinking the continent: Europeans see themselves as mouse-sized. They need to man up…output in 11 EU countries has yet to recover to 2007 levels. Large economies, like France and particularly Italy, are struggling. The IMF has downgraded its forecasts for the euro zone, warning of the risks posed by Brexit. Unemployment remains over 10%, twice the American rate. And there is precious little thinking about long-term challenges like ageing, infrastructure or education. ”

Why would one to “man up”, when one is told one was always insignificant, wrong, colonialist, exploitative, cruel and degenerate? Did not insignificance and all these other wrongs work pretty well? In the fullness of time?

In truth, Europe spread civilization by the sword, and then the gun (against all sorts of established plutocrats, often, not always, to put in place neo-plutocrats). Field guns were developed by southern French to win the “100” Hundred Year War against Northern France and England… A bit earlier, the Mongols used rockets rather than guns. Later the giant “Ottoman” guns which fell the walls of Constantinople were actually made by hungarian engineers…

Civilization without guns, that’s called pasta.

Implicitly, “The Economist” concludes the same:”Hormones Needed”. Yes, well, hormones, the right hormones, come from the right moods. And that comes, in turn, from a correct version of history. The right moods come only from a correct version of history, in the individual, as much as in a civilization. 

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Why So Much Hatred Against The West, In The West? Why So much hatred Against Civilization?

The bottom line is that civilization has always been victim of a chronic disease, plutocracy. Plutocracies rest on ideologies, including self-serving religions (Islamism and Christianism are examples).

The adversary of plutocracy is, always, the optimal civilization (OK, sometimes it is not easy to imagine how a civilization like that of the Aztecs could have quit the man-eating habit, considering the context).

What is this optimal civilization? The one closest to human ethology writ large: liberty, equality, fraternity. At a given technological level, in a given ecology there is pretty much just one. Those who hate civilization, In other words those who aspire to rule over others, using whichever ideology comes in handy, the plutocrats. This is generally how plutocrats come to power. Chains control rebellious bodies. Erroneous ideas and misleading moods control minds, eschewing the potential for rebellion altogether.

An example; the first two presidents of the USA, in the Eighteenth Century, signed a document, the first international treaty of the USA, stating that “the USA has nothing to do in any sense with the Christian religion”. Perfect. And the motto of the USA was “E Pluribus Unum” (“Out of the many, One”, a verbal version of the Roman and French Republic fascist principle). However, in 1954, apparently inspired by the Nazi SS, the US Congress replaced it with “In God We Trust”. That was a perfect mood to accompany the USA’s superficially pro-Islamist policy (pro-Wahhabist, pro-oil, pro-Saudi, anti-French, anti-British, pro-Shiite, anti-democratic Iran, etc.).

Telling us constantly that European civilization was weak trash, throughout history is self-serving propaganda on the part of those who hold (most of) the media, the plutocrats. They want We The People to be weak. So they persuade We The People that it was always weak. We have seen all before, when the Roman Republic, and, later, the Greco-Roman empire imploded. The best of the Greco-Romans, the Neo-Platonists, were told, again and again, that they were enemies of God. And often submitted to abuse, and sent to torture, or death (see Hypatia).

We don’t need to see it again. The world seems at peace now, as it seemed to be in May 1914. However, and differently from 1914, a huge catastrophe, the greatest in 65 million years, is gathering steam. That could heat up the situation quickly, in all sorts of unexpected ways: cornered, overcrowded rats tend to become very aggressive. And not just rats. When a situation gets tense, war hormones go up, and small provocations can lead to irreversible combat.

Patrice Ayme’