Archive for the ‘Biology’ Category

Going Meta Here, There & Everywhere

April 19, 2016

Samantha Power is one of the great “leaders” of this world, so, endowed with quasi-supernatural powers, she powerfully zooms around in jets and armored motorcades. Such is our world: some think they can “lead” it, and it means they are above the law. So her motorcade zooms in Cameroon; at one hundred kilometer per hour on a dirt road. And runs over a seven-year old. Power was there to power up about security. A world led by such power monsters is not secure. This is what a powerful meta-conceptual analysis shows. (The rest of the day, the motorcade from hell slowed down to a crawl, momentarily chastised, because of bad PR…)

If one thinks carefully about it, one realizes that all and every progress in understanding were obtained by enlarging the scope of one’s inquiry. Typically factors not considered before get integrated, and they add logical dimensions to the logic. Another way of expressing this is by “going meta” (“meta” meaning beyond).

Just as there is metalogic and metamathematics, there is metaphilosophy (arguably metabiology has also arrived, with changes not just in genes, but in the bases of DNA). Plain mathematicians, or logicians do not like the “meta” version of their disciplines (nor do they like each other… except for those tremendous enough to transcend the differences). Indeed, at least once, metalogic studies invalidated a part of analysis.

Number of Books Mentioning Category Theory. For Decades, Most Mathematicians Have Feared And Despised Category Theory. CT Is Itself An Example Of Going “META”.

Number of Books Mentioning Category Theory. For Decades, Most Mathematicians Have Feared And Despised Category Theory. CT Is Itself An Example Of Going “META”.

Category Theory can be used to formulate “Meta”. Fascinatingly, the power of Category Theory is to go “meta” by forgetting all the details, and chasing (literally!) the big picture. One does not know why this is so, except, philosophically speaking, that the bark in your face tends to block sight of the forest beyond. To go meta, forget the bark, turn your head.

The incompleteness theorems are just one example of meta. earlier examples were equations, analytic geometry, euclidean versus non-simply-euclidean geometries, topology (generalizing metric spaces).

When one is  a baby it’s obvious that mom (= the Virgin Mary) and dad (= Zeus, Deus, Allah, etc.) created the universe. It’s a simple, deeply satisfying explanation, which helps provide all what one needs. However, when the baby goes meta, baby discovers there are other powers out there, other factors to take into account, from gravity, to getting air out of one’s stomach.

The rest of life is a long gathering of wisdom, by broadening and deepening one’s understanding, in a succession of conceptual mutations.

Some mathematicians (such as Alain Connes) have also complained that non-standard numbers were beyond their own understanding. Well, boys, I have bad news for you all: I invalidate all and any recourse to infinity as if it were another number. That still leave open the usage of “potential infinity”. But it demolishes… potentially, a large part of mathematics (what gets invalidated, or not, would, itself become a branch of mathematics).

Philosophy is the ultimate questioning of all the bases. “Metaphilosophy” should be a redundant notion. Part of metamathematics, such as Category Theory, have become workhorses of the mainstream… even in theoretical physics. Category Theory started as the ultimate pragmatism: forget about the foundations of the objects at hand, just worry about the rules the morphisms relating these objects can satisfy.

Thus one can safely say that fundamental differences between philosophy, mathematics, science and logic are all illusory. Category Theory provides with an example: it was started with a philosophical point of view on mathematics, and is now a must in some areas of physics.

So why does philosophy have a Public Relation problem? Because philosophy attacks the established order, always, and the new orders brutes always try to impose.

The other day the German Chancellor decided to prosecute a comic who had made (gentle) fun of Erdogan, the Turkish Sultan (aka “Turkish president”). It sounds like something straight out of more than a century ago (the Kaiser was allied to the Sultan). The healthy reaction from the philosopher Massimo Pigliucci was: Massimo Pigliucci‏@mpigliucci Apr 15

“Really Germany? Fuck you, Erdogan. “Germany Turkey: Merkel allows inquiry into comic’s Erdogan insult”

That’s excellent. It is excellent, because it is very wise. This is at the core of what the best philosophers have always done: scold infamy. In another tweet of Massimo, and it was a surprise to me, Hillary Clinton was revealed to have 27 million in income (in 2014, it was 24 million). Sanders had just $205,000 (less than 1% of Hillary’s income).

Philosophy, well done, brings revolutions, all over, not just consolation. Philosophy also brings consolation, yes. Boethius, president of the Roman Senate, wrote the “Consolation of Philosophy”, while waiting for his execution by bludgeoning from the local Erdogan. In the Sixth Century. (Islam did not yet exist, but, with examples like that, it could learn from the worst.)

The elites, lest they want revolution(s), can only view philosophy as a self-defeating endeavor. Elites are rarely for revolutions (although Louis XVI of France was for the American Revolution, in spite of strident critiques from his brother and members of his cabinet, that he was creating a Republic).

The fear and contempt elites have for revolution is the main source of the Public Relation problem of philosophy.

Meantime, humanity will keep on going meta, going beyond what was established before. That’s the genius of the genus Homo.

Patrice Ayme’

Is This Why We Are Alone?

February 22, 2016

Our giant galaxy is at least ten billion years old. It has 100 billion stars. Many of them second generation stars. It would seem most stars have planets, and many of these fall in the so-called habitable zone. In multiple star systems, some planets will fly away. Still, there may be 40 billion potential Earths in the Milky Way. Yes, and No.

However, ten billion years, over (more than) 100 billion planetary systems, gives more than plenty of time for a civilization to expand throughout the galaxy. Yes, throughout the galaxy. So aliens should have visited Sol, but all indications are that they did not: life on Earth is indigenous to Earth, or the Earth-Mars system.

Why We Are Alone: Earth Is Both Very Watery & Very Radioactive

Why We Are Alone: Earth Is Both Very Watery & Very Radioactive, Deep Inside. The resulting massive tectonic recycling creates a massive churning of carbon, preventing unbearably hot Earths, or snowball Earths escapades into conditions reducing life to bacterial life….

How did Earth get her enormous radioactive fission core? A mystery. It seems that Venus did not. Indeed, Venus has no self-generated magnetosphere (differently from Mercury, Jupiter, or Saturn; Mars is too small to have a churning metallic core, so has no magnetosphere, thus CMEs tear the Martian atmosphere away, in particular water). Instead Venus has an induced magnetosphere. A pathetic device that could not prevent Venus from being deprived of all its hydrogen, hence water, torn by the solar wind, especially during Coronal Mass Ejections CME).

The Sort of Comet from Hell On Top Is Venus. Earth, The Blue World, Is Below. Earth, With Her Complex Magnetosphere Created By Her Churning Liquid Metal Radioactive Core: Part Of The Reason Why Venus Melts Lead, & Earth Harbors Civilization. [Courtesy ESA.]

The Sort of Comet from Hell On Top Is Venus. Earth, The Blue World, Is Below. Earth, With Her Complex Magnetosphere Created By Her Churning Liquid Metal Radioactive Core: Part Of The Reason Why Venus Melts Lead, & Earth Harbors Civilization. [Courtesy ESA.]

Travelling throughout the galaxy is already within our reach. Nuclear fission rocket engines were very successfully tested in the 1960s. They would allow us, should we decide to do so, to make spaceships going through the galaxy at 100 kilometers per second.

That’s 1/3000 of the speed of light. The galaxy is 100,000 light years across. So, with existing technology, primitive technology of the 1960s, we could cross the galaxy in 300 million years.

Now, of course, faster tech is perfectly imaginable, such as thermonuclear propulsion. (Thermonuclear propulsion may be easier to achieve than a contained nuclear fusion motor, because containment is the most major problem of controlled fusion; an uncontained engine would be half way between an H-bomb and ITER, and pure fusion is clean; actually NASA finances, all too modestly, such research.) Whereas the temperature in a fission reactor will be at most 3000 degree Centigrade, thermonuclear fusion could reach 100 million degrees, enabling an impulsion 10,000 times greater. Thus mastery of thermonuclear fusion would allow to cross the galaxy in a few million years.

So, if there was a civilization barely more advanced technologically than we are, it would have established a galactic empire in a few million years. It should have visited our blue planet, detectable from thousands of parsecs (with existing technology not deployed by the grotesque, imbecilic plutocrats who rule us through those countless obsequious greedy critters which most politicians are).

The definition of the traditional habitable zone is naive: it is only about temperature. Temperature has to be just right, so that there is liquid water on the surface. And, naively, that is thought to mean holding a particular distance relative to a star. However it takes more than temperature to keep a planet habitable. Mars had an ocean, but lost its surface water, a little bit at a time, from repeated Coronal Mass Ejections (CME). A CME consists in a super active flame jetting out from the sun. If a CME hit Earth now, much, if not most electric circuitry on Earth would fail.

Radioactive Elements, Being The Densest, Sink Towards The Star During The Planetary System Formation. (Observed So far.). Oxygen & Hydrogen, With 5% Average Nuclear Mass Migrate Out

Radioactive Elements, Being The Densest, Sink Towards The Star During The Planetary System Formation. (Observed So far.). Oxygen & Hydrogen, With 5% Average Nuclear Mass Migrate Out

Venus does not have a strong magnetic field either. Why? We don’t know. OK, Venus doesn’t rotate very much.

Earth, though rotates mightily, stabilized by her big Moon, and her high density (because of pressure, Earth is denser overall than Mercury, although the latter seems to be a planetary core…)

The Earth magnetic field is a shield, and it is created by the nuclear fission engine at the core of the Earth (it makes the surface of Earth’s core hotter than the surface of the sun! That makes a metallic iron ocean above churn violently, and generate the magnetic field… And also plate tectonics, which recycles carbon deep in the mantle, preventing it to sit in the atmosphere, as in the case of Venus!)

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/life-giving-nuclear-earth-reactor/

Thermal hot spots are indirectly nuclear fission activated, but before three billion years ago, thermal hot spots driven directly by ionizing and mutagenic radiation from surface nuclear reactors, were probably ubiquitous. Thus, to have the four billion of years needed to develop ADVANCED native life, with all the mutations it entails, one needs to have both a nuclear reactor inside a planet AND the planet enjoying surface water for four billion years.

A tough, and rare call. Moreover, life has to escape crashing dwarf planets, migrating Super-Jupiters, super stellar Coronal Mass Ejections (all the more frequent in Red Dwarfs), close encounters with passing stars, gamma ray bursts, supernovae, colliding black holes, super stars exploding, central galactic black hole eruption (many of these catastrophes were very recently revealed, and did not percolate yet to We The People). To let life develop over four billion years, we need an extraordinary confluence of circumstances. (And when I say four billion, that’s generous: the “Cambrian explosion” when animals appeared in a great number of types of species, was only 540 million years ago. Moreover, life on Earth may have been accelerated by being started on Mars, at a time when Earth was still way too hot for sophisticated chemistry, and then transported by meteorites (that this strange method of life transportation could still be done to this day, has been demonstrated, by carefully analyzing meteorites of Martian origin).

Life, Sustained Long Enough For Advanced Animals? Unlikely. The Milky Way Is Ours. And Oblivion Watches Over Us, Not Tenderly.

Life, Sustained Long Enough For Advanced Animals? Unlikely. The Milky Way Is Ours. And Oblivion Watches Over Us, Not Tenderly.

So expect life to be very frequent in the galaxy, and habitable planets to be many. As long as one is talking about bacterial life functioning on DNA like system (the details will be different, as post-DNA life was already synthesized in the lab!)

But little green men, Kzins and Doctor Spock? Not a chance. If they happen some day, they will be our descendants. That we are alone changes the stakes. We are not just threatening civilization, with our childish, yet lethal and atrocious antics, but we are threatening to annihilate the one and only crown of creation.

Patrice Ayme’

Torture To Death: Christ’s Crux

January 24, 2016

Patrice Ayme’: The angry, cruel, somewhat demented, child murdering, jealous, holocaust-prone god of Judaism-Christianism-Islamism justifies bloody despots. (So does Literal Islam, and even much more so, but that’s besides the point here. What is interrogated here is the origin of Christianism’s, and thus Islamism’s, hyper-violence)

Chris Snuggs: “Christianism does not belong in the same basket as Islam. Disregard how men have perverted both; just compare what they ARE, what their fundamental message is.”

PA: Agreed… If one forget that they are not at the same stage of development, and if one uses a stochastic filter. Stochastic comes from the word for “aim” in Greek. It’s used to mean “probability theory”. So the idea is to look at the New Testament, and take, so to speak, the average statement, ignoring those where (the mythical) “Christ” speaks about swords and all that… Sword, as an instrument to foster faith. Force, the Sword, is what made Christianism seductive to Constantine. He was a forceful man. He steamed his wife, alive, killed his nephew, and had his meritorious, accomplished, most famous general and admiral of a son, executed.

Force & the Sword, Justified & Practiced by God, Is The Christian Mood Which Seduced Constantine, Because So Was His Calling

Force & the Sword, Justified & Practiced by God, Is The Christian Mood Which Seduced Constantine, Because So Was His Calling

[Roman Emperor Constantine’s statue at York Minster, Britannia, his birth place.]

Here is a sample I have often used:

Luke 19:27: But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.

Some will play it down: ‘Oh, it’s just one sentence!’ Others turn this around, and sneer, when one criticizes Islam’s violence:’Oh, there are also violent statements in Christianism!’. Both COUNTER-IDEAS miss the point: just as one horrible scream can create a terrible mood, so can a horrible statement. PPP Torture Is Intrinsic To Christ’s Business Model [Final Judgment.]

And, by the way, there are actually multiple statements of the greatest of horror, and an insistence that horror was prescribed, ordered, glorified, organized, instituted by god himself. It’s not by accident that the very symbol of Christianism is the worse torture known to man. Even Christ could not figure it out. Well, my child, lonely nailed on your cross, I did: “VIOLENCE IS THE PRICE OF LOVE’. And it was fun to figure it out.

Judaism, its child, Christianism, and its grandchild, Islamism were all war religions. Judaism appears shortly before King David, the enlightened founder of the Greater Israel. (At least so says the Bible written by captives in Babylon, more than half a millennium later.) Christianism, or more exactly what he called “Orthodox Catholicism” (= “Orthodox Universalism”) was imposed by Roman emperor Constantine, who was one of the greatest warriors in history, second to none. As a teenager, the special force like, privileged youth Constantine already terrified the imperial court. Emperor Galerius, the “animalistic, semi-barbarian” persecutor of Christians, tried to get rid of Constantine with a number of dangerous challenges, including suicidal cavalry charge, and fighting a lion in single combat.

Constantine became the single emperor of the entire empire, after many decades of multiple emperors governing in a more or less collegial manner (there were up to 6 emperors at a time, mostly because of the problem of distance in the far-flung empire!).

Christianism is a system of thoughts. But it’s also a system of moods. Systems of thought can be subtle: Islam, for example comes equipped with two meta-principles: Taquiyah (lying to unbelievers as religious principle) and the Abrogation Principle.

Christianism did not have Taquiyah: early Christians obstinately refused to lie, and diminish their god, or their faith, in any way, to the bafflement and anger of other Romans. But Christianism definitively has the Abrogation Principle; when god feels it is good medicine to torture to death his own son, who did nothing wrong, definitively the message that it is good to torture to death people who have done nothing much.

Systems of moods are even more subtle than systems of ideas, because they do not say things directly and explicitly. The mood in Christianism is, basically, that it’s OK to kill, horribly, for no good reason: after all, man is created in the image of god.

Now is there anything more significant to torture to death the innocent? Should we call torturing to death the innocent the most prominent, the most significant, the most particular, the most peculiar, and marking art of the Christian god?

As I insisted, most human beings have known and practiced love. Human beings don’t need lessons on love, as if it were an alien planet never seen before.

But human beings have not known, and, or, practiced, nor justified, excused and become familiar with, torture to death. Christianism not only justified torture to death of the innocent, but made it the crux of its entire system of mood. Torture to death is the clé de voûte, the keystone, the part without which the entire edifice of Christianism collapses.

Judgment And Torture Constitute Christ's Business Model

Judgment And Torture Constitute Christ’s Business Model

And indeed, the last executions and torture to death of Christianism in Western Europe happened during the Nineteenth Century. In the preceding century, Voltaire had railed against the execution by “slow fire” of quite a few people, from a senile Jesuit to an eighteen year old a Jewish girl. The People was upset because of the Lisbon quake cum tsunami, which caused massive, irreparable damage. The girl was burned slowly just because she was Jewish.

Literal Christianism set up the mood which Literal Islamism inherited. Both originated with the guy who steamed his wife (and is a saint of the Orthodox branch of Christianism. Yes, this had deep consequences, including economic.

In the preceding, torture to death was vilified as Christianism’s ugliest mood. However, it does not stop there. The mythical Jesus, a rabbi, approved of the entire Old Testament. And that includes the mood of being willing to kill one’s own child to please one’s boss (“god”).

Yet, it does not stop there. Just as the cross is an add-on not found in old Judaism, Christianism is full of would-be cannibalism (“drink, because this is my blood”, “eat, because this is my flesh”). Would be cannibalism? Well, no wonder the Crusaders roasted children when they got hungry. History is not just an exacting teacher. Like the Christian god, history has no qualms, it just is.

And history is not just about facts and ideas. It is also about moods. Christianism went hand in hand with plutocracy, because it was all the excuse plutocracy needed to reign by the sword. And love was the screen behind which it hid its vicious rule.

How and why Christianism became supreme, as Constantine’s Catholicism, goes a long way to explain, and excuse, Literal Islam. This is the main reason to consider this agonizing corpse.

Patrice Ayme’

We Are All Martians

November 6, 2015

The Life Giving Nuclear Reactor within Earth protects us with the magnetic field it energizes. The idea is that, otherwise, the atmosphere would be torn away, as it was in Mars. Or, if not the atmosphere, at least the hydrogen (and thus the water), as happened for Venus.

At least, such was my philosophy of the rocky planets’ atmosphere (exposed in prior essays). “Philosophy” can be educated guesses based on lots of physics and mathematics, intuitively understood. Philosophy can stand just at the edge of science. But then it’s good to have a scientific confirmation. Here it is. NASA’s MAVEN (= Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) in orbit for years, has measured that Mars loses around 100 grams of atmosphere per second, due to impact from the Solar Wind (protons going at 400 kilometers per second).

That’s not good. Still, back of the envelope computations show Mars should still have a thick atmosphere. Instead, its density is only 1% of Earth, and few of Earth’s most primitive lifeforms are hardy enough to survive in Mars CO2 atmosphere (even neglecting UV and low temperatures).

Once the atmosphere was going, the water followed, and so did the considerable greenhouse water vapor brought. Water vapor (H2O) is more greenhousy than CO2, meaning the relationship CO2-H2O is nonlinear: higher CO2 on Earth means higher H2O, hence even higher greenhouse than the simple rise of CO2 would naively bring).

Earth Has A Powerful Nuclear Powered Magnetic Shield. Mars' Shield Was Too Weak. The Solar Wind Tore the Martian Atmosphere Away MCE By MCE.

Earth Has A Powerful Nuclear Powered Magnetic Shield. Mars’ Shield Was Too Weak. The Solar Wind Tore the Martian Atmosphere Away MCE By MCE.

So, if 100 grams per second was not enough to strip the atmosphere why did it escape Mars as much as it did?

The Sun is an hectic thermonuclear engine shaken by internal explosions. Occasionally a Mass Coronal Ejection (MCE) occurs. Then an alarming eruption of inordinate magnitude, violently flings material off the sun, in a particular eruption. The last one to hit the Earth was in the Nineteenth Century, and it caused severe disruption to the then nascent electrodynamic industry. More severe ones went here and there in the meantime (sparing Earth for now).

However, one hit Mars, and MAVEN was there to measure what happened. What happened? The MCE driven Solar Wind smacked into Mars with great force, and robbed the planet of five kilograms of atmosphere per second.

So what philosophy to extract from this?

  1. Thank our nuclear reactor at the core, which maintains an iron ocean, hundreds of kilometers deep, below our feet.
  2. Life is fragile: it can get started easily, but  can get killed easily.
  3. With at least two planets where life started, in the Solar System, life, basic life, probably started all over the galaxy.
  4. Earth’s life has a very high probability to be of Martian origin.

Why the last point? Because Mars cooled down at least four time faster than Earth. The very latest news show that life started on Earth within 500 million years of our planet’s formation. At that point, Earth became cool enough to sustain life (in spite of the formation of the Moon, which, whether from an impact or from my own nuclear eruption theory, was characterized by great heat, and worldwide fusion of the crust). By then Mars had been cool enough for four hundred million years, at least, to allow life (I get that working backwards from the geological date of life start on Earth, and the factor 4, from the surface ratios).

How did life bearing material go from Mars to Earth? Martian meteorites are found on Earth: an object crashes on Mars and debris flung into space (Mars has lower gravity than Earth). Some documented trips took no more than 15 million years, and temperatures within would have preserved life. More than four billion years ago, the bombardment was extremely intense, and Martian meteorites may have penetrated the terrestrial atmosphere continually. And it would just take one meteorite.

A baby was dying in London, from leukemia. All usual treatments were tried, and failed. The doctors proposed to try an approach so far only experimented only on mice. Collaborating quickly with the French company, CELLECTIS Paris, designer cells made to attack specifically Layla’s cancer were engineered. The treatment was an astounding success, so far. To make war against all diseases is not just fair, it is the war which has to be waged, paying our respects to Mars. In particular, I am certain that, when the choice is between death and trying a treatment which seems to have worked on mice, one should chose the latter. If nothing else, it brings hope, and the certainty one is contributing to:

  1. Fighting back (the most human thing to do, facing evil).
  2. Science
  3. Treatment to all of humanity (other babies, etc.), another most human behavior to engage in: giving one’s life for others.

So kudos to the doctors in London (and the British government for allowing experimentation, plus the two parents for having encouraged it).

Our species celebrates Mars as a god, because war is one of our oldest instincts. Anglo-Saxon media generally scrupulously avoided to mention that this was FRENCH technology (from a French start-up, of all things!). Not mentioning France is part of the war of Anglo-Saxon plutocracy against France. We are all Martians, in more ways than one. And yes, we need to cultivate the better angels of that Martian side of us.

Patrice Ayme’

Human Kind, Yet Evil Rule

October 17, 2015

Humanity Good, Institutions Bad? Not so simple. Evil Rule (Pluto-Cracy) is a fundamental consequence of human nature, amplified by civilization.

In “Human Kind“, 14th October 2015 George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 14th October 2015, suggests that:“Fascinating new lines of research suggest that we are good people, tolerating bad things.”

Sounds good. It’s very self-congratulatory: defining oneself as “on the left”, “liberal”, etc. has much to do with self-satisfaction about what a great human one is. I sent the following comment:

“Saying that “people are good, while tolerating bad things” is an ineffective morality. The crux, indeed, is the moral nature of institutions, controlled by a few, rather than whether humans are kind or not.”

That observation of mine was censored, as  all my comments to Monbiot in the Guardian are. Human kind? Thus Monbiot readers’ minds are kept safe from my dreadful influence (lest readers flee the Guardian, and starts reading my site?).

Cephalopods Are Highly Intelligent, But They Have No Cultural Intelligence., Thus Stay Mental Miniatures

Cephalopods Are Highly Intelligent, But They Have No Cultural Intelligence., Thus Stay Mental Miniatures

Meanwhile in the terror war occupation in Israel, in a few days, more than 40 young Palestinians got killed. One by one. Human kind? If something looking like a Palestinian moves, it gets shot. Some Jewish Israelis got actually shot because other Israelis thought they looked like the enemy (hey, they are all supposed to all be Semites! One very blonde beauty with very long hair who happened to be an Israeli soldier shot dead a Palestinian youth who may have pricked her: she is OK, don’t worry).

Cephalopods are surprisingly intelligent. They even use tools (the definition of Bergson of man as Homo Faber, Homo Artisan-Of-Hard-Materials is to be questioned). However, cephalopods experience short, brutish, asocial lives, and that boxes in their intelligence. This demonstrates that fully-dimensioned intelligence is social, and, in particular, cultural.

Superior intelligence is not just about the individual, it’s about the collective. Our biosphere, our part of the biosphere, is collectively intelligent (somewhat as in the movie Avatar).

Before I quote the interesting part of Monbiot’s article (which mainly quotes others), let me re-iterate my main thesis on altruism and love:

All advanced brain animals have to love, love enough to raise the young. To say love dominates, is saying we have brains grown with culture. It’s an important thing to say. And it explains the experiences Monbiot mentions.

Compare to the poignant fate of cephalopods, whose bright intelligence starts from scratch, with no culture, whatsoever. Cephalopod intelligence shines brightly, and quickly peters out, in a flurry of new born eggs.

So, the difference between us and squids is that we are adorned with philosophers, and other thinkers. The scorn Monbiot heaps on them is neither kind, nor wise, not to say arrogant, coming from someone with a simple journalist background (and it shows!).

A review article in the journal Frontiers in Psychology points out that our behaviour towards unrelated members of our species is “spectacularly unusual when compared to other animals”. While chimpanzees might share food with members of their own group, though usually only after being plagued by aggressive begging, they tend to react violently towards strangers. Chimpanzees, the authors note, behave more like the Homo economicus of neoliberal mythology than people do.”

That is not just a funny joke, but a deep observation, that traders are just enraged chimps. However, to view chimpanzee behavior as typical of other animals is erroneous. Chimpanzees are half-savannah animals. I saw one once in an area with small, very small, and sparse trees, and the first serious forest was weeks of travel away. Not surprisingly, he was acting fiercely and dangerously, in an area roamed by lion prides. Lions having a look at him, won’t try to come close: he shook an entire small tree he was hanging from, and swung away, with incredible power and speed, after flashing his four inches canines.

Thus Monbiot go off the deep end with chimpanzees. Here is a more balanced view: humans keep much in common with chimpanzees. They both descend from common ancestors (who may have been more Homo like than Chimp like: we don’t really know, however fossils, and logic, point in that direction).

Emotionally and socially, the psychology of chimps is very similar to humans,” says famous primatologist Frans de Waal at Emory University in Atlanta (a Dutch who started his famous observations in the Netherlands; universities in the USA have more money).

For instance, de Waal noted, chimps have shown they can help unrelated chimps and human strangers at personal cost without apparent expectation of personal gain, the sort of selfless behavior often naively claimed as unique to humans. They also display culture, with groups of chimpanzees socially passing on dozens of behaviors such as tool kits, and methods from generation to generation that are often very different from those seen in other groups. There are basically as many Chimpanzee cultures as chimpanzee tribes (and that’s thousands).

The big difference I see going for us is language,” de Waal said. “They can learn a few symbols in labs, but it’s not impressive in my opinion compared to what even a young child can do. They don’t really symbolize like we do, and language is a big difference that influences everything else that you do — how you communicate, basic social interactions, all these become far more complex.

Mathematics is, first of all, a language, remember.

The hyper aggressivity of Chimpanzees is related to their evolution: “They don’t like cooperating with strangers, that’s for sure,” de Waal said. Harvard biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham suggested this pattern of genetic (so to speak) violence may have been part of humanity’s legacy for millions of years. Yet, de Waal observed that based on what the canines of Ardipithecus suggest, “chimpanzees may be specialized in that regard [hyperviolence]. It’s only with the special recent human conditions of settlement and agriculture that gave us the incentive to worry about wealth, leading us to become warriors that way.”

This is close to my thesis: EVIL RULE (“Plutocracy”) was made possible by civilization. Before that it was just Demonic Males. Demonicity plus civilization = Evil Rule.

Compare de Waal’ subtlety with Monbiot’s imbalanced enthusiasm characteristic of the journalist he is:

“Humans, by contrast, are ultra-social: possessed of an enhanced capacity for empathy, an unparalleled sensitivity to the needs of others, a unique level of concern about their welfare and an ability to create moral norms that generalise and enforce these tendencies.

Such traits emerge so early in our lives that they appear to be innate. In other words, it seems that we have evolved to be this way. By the age of 14 months, children begin to help each other, for example by handing over objects another child can’t reach. By the time they are two, they start sharing things they value. By the age of three, they start to protest against other people’s violation of moral norms.”

Altruism is shown by nearly all advanced animals, because that’s how intelligence is grown. Thus, it’s not about material rewards. On board (so to speak) systems reward altruism intrinsically. Monbiot again:

“A fascinating paper in the journal Infancy reveals that reward has nothing to do with it. Three to five-year-olds are less likely to help someone a second time if they have been rewarded for doing it the first time. In other words, extrinsic rewards appear to undermine the intrinsic desire to help. (Parents, economists and government ministers, please note). The study also discovered that children of this age are more inclined to help people if they perceive them to be suffering, and that they want to see someone helped whether or not they do it themselves. This suggests that they are motivated by a genuine concern for other people’s welfare, rather than by a desire to look good. And it seems to be baked in.

Why? How would the hard logic of evolution produce such outcomes? This is the subject of heated debate.”

The heated debate is happening because the sort of view I defend (the view in Avatar, that of global intelligence, one could say) is progressing against the very reduced Survival-Of-The-Fittest approach.

The difference between us and squids is that we are adorned with philosophers, and the scorn journalist such as Monbiot heaps on them is neither kind, nor wise, not to say arrogant.

Humans are intrinsic scientists and philosophers, not just lovers and warriors. To try to say they are all one, and not the others misses the big picture.

The left, by insisting that humans are kind, underestimates the evil institutions are capable of. Institutions, although moral persons, in the legal sense, are not held back by human ethology in the behaviors they are capable of. (Nazism provided with plenty of example of that: even the very worst Nazis, including Himmler or Eichmann, found really hard to go all the way, and could do it, only by using institutional tricks, making institutions, Nazi institutions to force them to do what even them found too hard to do.)

Let’s not underestimate institutionalized evil. It has no bounds, whatsoever. Nazism, or Stalinism, were not about just a few very bad guys, they were about evil institutions, including a Prussianized army (in contrast to a human one). Let’s build human kind institutions that cannot not be commandeered by just a few (as our entire democracy-through-representatives regime gangrening the West, not to say the world, is).

Thus, to progress morally will mean to progress in the intelligence of the institutions we will set-up to rule over us. Hence moral progress will be a consequence, and only a consequence, of scientific and technological approfondissement (deepening).

Patrice Ayme’

Could We Colonize Mars?

October 7, 2015

Yes. There are no show stoppers. The main problem is how to get there fast, cheap and safe. That, in turn is an energy source problem. We need to go beyond chemical rockets (which were invented in China nearly a millennium ago).

Mars is a tempting prize. Mars colonization will double the extent of land humanity live on. Indeed the Red Planet is endowed with nearly as much surface area as all of Earth’s land surface combined (145 million square kilometers for Mars, 149 x 10^6 sqkm for Earth’s continents).

Mars’ rotation axis, over the eons, wobbles impressively. Right now, it’s half way (same inclination as Earth’s). But when the axis is fully inclined, my bet is that the poles melt. Then Mars has got to become much warmer, and wetter: the atmosphere would be full of H2O, water, a powerful greenhouse gas. Maybe life blossoms. Hence Mars is even more interesting than it presently looks (one could imagine life adapted to these super-summers).

Smaller, But Inhabitable Even Before Terraforming

Smaller, But Inhabitable Even Before Terraforming

 

Could we conquer the seas instead? Sure, we have to. However, it’s more difficult. How could it be more difficult to conquer the ocean? The average terrestrial ocean is 3,688 meters deep. This means that we have to handle, to live there, a pressure difference of 370 atmospheres. On Mars, as it is, the pressure is 1% of one atmosphere; that is just one atmosphere difference. A light spacesuit can handle Mars. But just going down 20 meters in Earth’s sea doubles the pressure problem we have on Mars.

Radiation on Mars, and getting there, is a problem: a year stay, with the trip, would augment the probability of getting cancer by 5%. NASA, and radiation workers’ limit is 3%. The average smoker doubles his cancer habit from his gaseous drug habit. Thus, by only sending smokers to Mars, and thus preventing them to smoke (the fuel debris smokers smoke clog air filters), one would vastly diminish their probability of them getting cancer.

The problem with Mars is how to get there. Getting in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is already (very) difficult, expensive, chancy, and will stay so, barring huge advances in material science. We need better engines, better airframes, and, or, a space elevator. Work is going on, in a number of ways, from perfecting launching rockets from planes, to airbreathing reaction engines, to the simple Ariane 6 solution of switching to solid rockets (French and American ballistic missiles are 100% dependable, as they sit in submarines stuffed with thermonuclear bombs).

Some hope that space tourism (one day in LEO for $50,000, say) will provide incentives for cheaper ways to leave Earth. Maybe, but university departments working on materials built atom by atom, better get lots of money (such materials, for example nanomaterials such as graphene, can be hundreds of times stronger than steel; we need to make them work on a large scale).

Given energy, rocket fuel can be made on Mars in a number of ways. Thus, plenty of energy, plenty of fuel. There is plenty of water on Mars (the Curiosity rover found between 2% and 3% in the soil). At least, at the poles (and perhaps all over). Some universities are already bioengineering mosses and other plants to survive on Mars.

With existing technology, and materials, we (or, rather, robots) could build a Space Elevator on Mars. So Mars could turn into a very convenient outpost, while terraforming proceeds.

To get to Mars fast, and to have the plenty of energy we need there to fuel robots, which, in turn, will be able to dig in the ground and make vast caverns and the like (etc.), we need a concentrated energy source.

The only one imaginable energy source would be from small thermonuclear reactors. A number of companies and universities are working on these.

There should be a crash program  on these (while pursuing steadily ITER).

Mars had life and an ocean, for probably at least a billion years. Not having a core nuclear reactor, hence a protecting magnetic field and plate tectonic, Mars lost liquid water, warmth and most of its atmosphere (Venus has the same problem, although Earth sized). Mars is waiting the human touch to smile with exuberant life again. Colonization can expand diversity as it most often does (will cynics add perfidiously). Besides, a Mars polis would be an insurance policy.

The only way to not being able to colonize Mars? If civilization collapses first, it won’t happen. Unlikely? This is exactly where abusing fossil fuels is leading us.

Patrice Ayme’

Good Is Absolute

October 2, 2015

Long Story short: Not everything is relative. Good, goodness are not relative, but absolute. Absolute thanks to what? Neurohormonal activity. The fact is, and it’s a truism, people are happy enough to keep on living.

The Gods are relative. Biology is absolute.

So how come much of human thinking and values became all too relative in the Twentieth Century?

In the early Twentieth Century, the genius mathematician, physicist and philosopher, Henri Poincaré, announced what he called the “Theory of Relativity” (1904). The theory achieved great fame. Especially as “Relativity” slowed down time (as observed since zillions of times). (Relativity was attributed to a German scientist, so it was viewed as very serious; never mind that Einstein had neither discovered, nor demonstrated ANY of the basic equations or ideas of said theory; it was the interesting case of a strictly non-German theory attributed to a German.)

In any case, it was thereupon decreed by the vastly mentally unprepared masses, and not quite a few intellectuals, that everything was relative, including good and evil. A relative mood set on the land. Einstein himself played it to the hilt:

Many Philosophies (Such As Buddhism), Adopt The Mood That Suffering Is More Important Than Happiness. Neurobiology Contradicts Them

Many Philosophies (Such As Buddhism), Adopt The Mood That Suffering Is More Important Than Happiness. Neurobiology Contradicts Them

Relativity of morality is not all wrong. My pet thinker, Nietzsche, contributed to exhibit moral relativity, by pointing out that aristocracy and the rabble it ruled over, had, thank to the “slave religion” of Christianism, completely different moralities. The mathematician, physicist and philosopher Pascal himself had pointed out that truth itself depended upon which side of a mountain range one considered (“Vérité en deçà des Pyrénées, erreur au delà. Ce qui est une vérité pour un peuple, une personne, peut être une erreur pour d’autres. Ce qui est valable pour l’un ne l’est pas forcément pour l’autre.”). In truth Pascal parroted Montaigne’s use of the mountains. More generally Montaigne said: is called barbaric what is not usual (“Quelle vérité que ces montagnes bornent, qui est mensonge au monde qui se tient au-delà…. Chacun appelle barbare ce qui n’est pas de son usage”.)

In truth, the “Theory of Relativity” is all about some types of space and time measurements being relative to some types of motion. It’s not about everything being relative. Modern logic admits that any logic is relative to the universe it lives in.

Does the latter mean all morality is relative? As the Nazis claimed? No. Morality, in the end, is a biological concept. But not an obvious one. Contrarily to the pathetic naivety of Nazi theories, biology can give us a ground to stand on, which is otherwise subtle than the “selection of the fittest“. We are biological systems, and much of us is inherited. Yes. However, what about good and evil? Is that inherited, and can we go beyond what’s inherited?

John Zande wrote a book “The Owner Of All Infernal Names”. I commented: Mr. Zande seems to embrace the ancient Cathar theory that the creator of the world is obviously evil. The problem with this, is that love is even more important to human beings than evil (that’s easy to demonstrate: babies would not exist, but for love). So, if one believes the occurrence of evil is absolute proof of an evil creator, the even more prominent occurrence of love is absolute proof of an even more prominent benevolent creator, by the same metalogic. (The Good Lord is good, because He makes more good than bad.)

Yet, there is no God but Evolution, and Evil is the Master’s stroke.

Mr. Zande kindly replied:

“Insightful comment, and the logic is sound. The thesis presented in TOOAIN addresses the so-named Problem of Good. To paraphrase, good is a necessity. It spurs on growth. Ultimately, though, there is no good. What appears good is in fact little more than the means to greater and more efficient suffering. Love is also encouraged. In the book I cite this poem by Naomi Shihad, Kindness:

>>Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness<<

The premise is, love-lost is stronger and more potent than the fleeting curiosity of love-found. Complicated grief is a terrible ailment and serves to exemplify this. To love is to opening oneself up to tremendous physical and emotional pain, and to the Creator, this is pure cream.

I also present a number of examples to demonstrate this point that there is no true ‘good,” including medicine in general, writing:

Consider then the truth: More bodies doing more things over a longer time can only be scored as a breathtaking augmentation of resources.

A general population dying at 35 cannot, by and large, produce the same quantity or quality of suffering generated through the extended life of a general population dying at age 80 or 90. Here man has added 30 years—an entire generation—to the duration of his potential suffering, which in the eyes of a debased being is to be applauded as not only a marvel of market optimisation, but an almost miraculous, self-inflicted diversification in the greater portfolio of potential pain.

By permitting the development and maturation of innovative methods and practices which abet bodily longevity the Omnimalevolent Creator has positioned Himself to reap 20, 30, or even 40 years more pleasure from His game; drinking in the pang of creeping irrelevance, the pain of crippling arthritis, the emotional distress of immobility, mental degradation, senility, the anguish of seeing friends and loved ones die early, the anxiety of financial and perhaps political insecurity, and the hopelessness of a life bookmarked by death and conscious annihilation. In no uncertain terms, ruinous ageing is an abhorrent stain on even the most spectacular of lives lived, often robbing an individual of their most prized possession, their dignity, and this gradual drip of irreversible decay and the misery born of it can only be seen as a boon for a being who thrives on tapping into increasingly complex veins of suffering.

Now, let me just say, the book is a parody of 19th Century natural theology works… and it was, at times, desperately hard to write the words. I couldn’t bring myself, for example, to detail all but three examples of animal cruelty.”

The first step out of the dilemma of pain is to realize that it’s evolution which created us, not some moral person up there (the so-called “God”). So there is no game. Normal life is, most of the time pleasant enough to feel better than the alternative(s). This is what evolution expects. And has selected us for. Cocktails of neurohormones in our brains and gut make sure of that we experience enough good to keep on going. So, integrated all over, weighted with time, life is, overall, pleasant. Abject pain and unfathomable terror, occasionally, do not make much of a dent on this (although, as John Zande points out, the problem of ageing has become, viewed as a sum, much more considerable, since we have made enough progress to extend ageing rather than extending health, indeed).

However, when pain and suffering get to be too much, one can take action: euthanasia, revolution, and even war, are solutions.

You want peace and happiness? Then kill pain and suffering, in a timely manner. Otherwise, your brain will do it for you. And slavery may ensue.

Patrice Ayme’

Ode To The Moon

September 28, 2015

Oh Moon, not just for lovers,

You shine for us all lifers

That beauty you fill us blunt

Not just for the hunt

But for humane seasons

In the end we grasped with reason

The Moon holds our hand

Across space to no end

Our celestial mate

Our own hand of fate

No Moon, No Trees? 4 Billions Year Ago, Moon Was Red Hot Liquid Rock

No Moon, No Trees? 4 Billions Year Ago, Moon Was Red Hot Liquid Rock

***

Earth’s Moon is most peculiar. It is large relative to the planet it orbits around. Nearly as large as the three largest satellites in the Solar System: Ganymede, Titan, Callisto. Those orbit giant planets.

The Moon has made advanced life on Earth possible. Maybe if Mars had a large moon, it would enjoy obvious life now: a moon would have made super summers impossible.

No Moon, No Sentience?

No Moon, No Sentience?

If one considers Mercury, Venus and Mars, there is something very wrong with their diurnal rotation: it is either way too slow, or way too wobbly, in the fullness of time. Even if Venus did not have a killer CO2 atmosphere, it’s very slow (counterclockwise) rotation would have scorched, half freeze life there, on a perpetual basis.

Mars rotates on itself in roughly one Earth day, but the axis of rotation does not just precess (as it does on Earth). It also changes inclination on the plane of rotation of the planets (the “Ecliptic”). And does so wildly. This means that, periodically, Mars has super summers (and super winters). During super summers, a lot of water vapor appears in the atmosphere, and that’s a powerful greenhouse gas (actually more powerful than CO2).

The Moon-Earth system has one global angular momentum: as the Earth’s rotation slows down, due to the friction of the tides, Earth’s angular momentum goes down, so the angular momentum stored by the Moon has to go up. That’s mostly stored in the product of the distance of the Moon, times its mass, times its speed. The only of these three factors which can go up is the distance of the Moon: so the Moon, which used to be very close to Earth, is now roughly at one light second.

Water Streak In This Martian Crater Are Hundreds Of Meters Long, Five Meters Wide

Water Streak In This Martian Crater Are Hundreds Of Meters Long, Five Meters Wide

NASA confirmed today what we already knew: there is briny water flowing on Mars. It’s liquid at minus twenty degrees Celsius (being full of anti-freeze). It’s exact origin is still unknown: deliquescence, melting permafrost, watery reservoirs?

It has long been known there is plenty of water on Mars. It’s just frozen in the ground, and at the poles. During super summer, the poles probably disappear, and there is much more water and warmth on the planet. It’s not excluded that life blossoms then.

Super seasons would have been be a killer for Earth’s advanced life, periodically over-heating or freezing the ocean.

Where from this orbiting celestial miracle?

The Moon is made of Earth. Science does not explain that yet. The main theory’s base state claims that the Moon is collision debris: Earth would have collided with a third body, Mars size, and the orbiting debris would have gathered into the Moon.

I even have my own theory, both outlandish and Politically Incorrect: a succession of nuclear-assisted explosions would have lifted material at the Roche limit, where it would have gathered, forming the Moon.

Angular momentum would have done the rest. Pro my theory: we have a massive, life-giving nuclear fission reactor below our feet. It rotates an iron ocean which in turn generates a life saving magnetic shield. It also generate plate tectonic and mantle subduction, which burrows all nefarious fossil fuels, and excess CO2. (That worked well until the oil devils took over!)

Could we have life on Earth without our large Moon?

This is not clear. Not at all. Having a stable rotation axis is primordial. One of our Solar System gas giant’s rotation axis is nearly within the plane of the ecliptic. Something happened to tilt it. Gas giants can be tilted. Yet, the Earth would be hard to tilt, because of the Moon.

Patrice Ayme’

Where Is Everybody?

September 22, 2015

Where Is Everybody? This is the question Enrico Fermi asked in the 1950s, referring to the little green men who were supposed to inhabit the galaxy. This question is still with us. Efforts have been made to search for extraterrestrial life. Science Fiction books are full of worlds peopled by clever creatures.

It would be reassuring to know that the galaxy is full of clever creatures. After all, if we, human beings disappeared, well, we were just not good enough, no big deal: those out there, better than us, would pursue the mission we are named after, wisdom (sapiens in Latin).

Yet I see plenty of reasons why Earth’s advanced biosphere is unique. I go even further. In my opinion, the fact Earth has a radioactive, high density metallic core is crucial. I will reinforce this argument today (in light of just published research).

Weirder Planets Than We Ever Imagined Are Out There. Yet, Weirdest Of Them All Could Be The Earth

Weirder Planets Than We Ever Imagined Are Out There. Yet, Weirdest Of Them All Could Be The Earth

Fermi, Nobel for discovering the neutrino (“little neutron” in Italian), discovered the Fermi principle and statistics (which posits that matter does not collapse because Fermions refuse to be in the same “state” in the same place at the same time). Fermi, who had fled from fascist Italy, was also the scientific head of the Manhattan project.

Fermi was both a theoretician and an experimentalist. Thus immensely clever, but yet down to earth. He obviously found that the obvious absence of civilization out there in space was a striking fact. And it is.

The idea that the stars had little Earths orbiting them, graced with little green men, with their own little green Christs, came all the way back to another Italian, Giordano Bruno. Bruno had lectured in universities around Europe, and was a friar. However, to suggest the world was not exactly as Christianism described it, was a capital crime in places ruled by Christianism.

To punish Bruno’s mental exuberance, the Vatican imprisoned and tortured him for seven years. Then the Vatican and its horrid Fundamentalist Jihadists stripped Bruno naked, pierced his palate with iron (so that he could not address the public), and burned him alive after he refused to submit to infamy. I am still waiting for the excuses from the institution at fault, the world’s oldest, the Catholic Church.

Yet, although he was a genius, Bruno was probably wrong about the little green men. Why? Where is everybody? Indeed. I argued that the nuclear reactor at Earth’s core has been crucial for plate tectonics, and preserving Earth from the runaway greenhouse which destroyed venus as a potential biosphere. I even argued that said nuclear reactor may have generated the Moon, by far the largest satellite in the Solar System relatively to the size of the planet it orbits around. (The Moon is larger than Jupiter’s third largest satellite, Europa.)

To generate a large radioactive core to a planet, one needs, first of all, metals. Actually metals enable to make very complicated molecules central to the wealth of biology. Hemoglobin carries iron which is used to transport oxygen.

Where do metals come from? Supernovae.

Which type of planets do we expect to observe in the Habitable Zone?

Vardan Adibekyan, Pedro Figueira, Nuno C. Santos

(Submitted on 8 Sep 2015)

“We used a sample of super-Earth-like planets detected by the Doppler spectroscopy and transit techniques to explore the dependence of orbital parameters of the planets on the metallicity of their host stars. We confirm the previous results that super-Earths orbiting around metal-rich stars are not observed to be as distant from their host stars as we observe their metal-poor counterparts to be. The orbits of these super-Earths with metal-rich hosts usually do not reach into the Habitable Zone (HZ), keeping them very hot and inhabitable. We found that most of the known planets in the HZ are orbiting their GK-type hosts which are metal-poor. The metal-poor nature of planets in the HZ suggests a high Mg abundance relative to Si and high Si abundance relative to Fe. These results lead us to speculate that HZ planets might be more frequent in the ancient Galaxy and had compositions different from that of our Earth.”

So the (empirical) argument is that, if a planet has metal content similar to Earth, it orbits so close to its parent star that it will be too hot for life. Reciprocally, planets which orbit in the Habitable Zone are found to be metal poor.

Planets are built from the same elements as their stars. Most of the properties of planets of different types strongly depend on their host stars’ chemistry, and chemistry varies. It seems Habitable Zone planets were formed long ago. After supernovae formed and exploded, spewing heavy metals such as Iron and Uranium, second generation stars such as the Sun formed, and were metal rich. However, the observations on hundreds of planets tend to show that metal-rich stars like our sun have large rocky planets wrapped in huge gaseous envelopes (caveat: it may still be a bit of a statistical fluke, at this point!).

If not a fluke (and that’s a big if), it gives a new reason to doubt that Earth-like planets are frequent in the galaxy: I argued that not just metal, but the very heaviest metals, the ones which have such large nuclei that they fission, are indispensable for life. Now it turns out that Earth orbits a metal rich star, but at a respectable distance.

So it may well be that Earth is a very special case. Maybe some day the Galactic Human Empire will be able to colonize habitable planets in various Habitable Zones, because thanks to human technology, humans, or, rather, transhumans, will capable of synthesizing metals, as needed (one could do this, if one had a mastery of accelerator technology to fine-tuned nuclear fusion as needed).

Philosophically, this rarity of Earth’s circumstances tells us, once again, that life is more precious that we ever imagined. It’s not just our unborn great grandchildren who will suffer from the holocaust of the biosphere we are engaged in. It’s the universe itself, because we may well be that unique.

Patrice Ayme’

Glacial Pace, Cool Lies, Melting Leadership

September 3, 2015

Obama went to Alaska and named Denali (the tall one in the local language) Denali. Denali, the tallest mountain that far north on Earth, is endowed with the tallest glaciated face anywhere on Earth, its north face being around 5,000 meters high (it had been named for a USA president who was killed by an anarchist, in those times when hatred for the mighty ran rampant).

Naming Denali by its name needed to be done, and, in Obama was up to the task. Obama is best at demolishing open doors, when not pursuing the world terror assassination campaign by drones which does not just dishonor the West, but saps its foundations. (I am not saying I am hysterically against assassinations, torture, and that every assassination ordered by Obama is unwise. But the question of due process, excellent information, and perfect targeting is crucial; moreover, having a plan beyond imposing terror is paramount; not the case here).

Obama Approaching A Glacier Which May Be Gone In 5 Years Thanks To His Affirmative Inaction

Obama Approaching A Glacier Which May Be Gone In 5 Years Thanks To His Affirmative Inaction

I personally have seen enormous glaciers which are now gone, both in Alaska, and in the Alps.

Obama uttered many truths in Alaska. We know this method: drowning reality under a torrent of little truths, and common place truisms. Obama seems to have realized that he was the did-nothing prez. This is better than Clinton, who, having deregulated the banks, was the did-terrible prez, or Bush II, viewed by a sizable part of the world as a war criminal, for his invasion and destabilization of Mesopotamia. Yet, even Bush did something good, and durable: Medicare Part D. One can forget a bad man who did a big, good thing. Obama just put a band aid on the gangrene of USA health care, and did preciously nothing about anthropogenic climate change.

At the Exit glacier, the president walked past signs that mark the year the glacier reached at that point. The glacier has receded two kilometers (1.25 mile) in the past 200 years. It is now the only glacier accessible by car and foot in the Kenai peninsula (which contains the largest icecap in the USA).

Pointing to the signs, the president considered the speed at which glacier retreats is accelerating. “It is spectacular, though,” glancing back at the view. “We want to make sure our grandkids can see it.”

This is slick disinformation. Grandkids? Are you kidding me? In truth, it’s absolutely certain that the grandkids will NOT see that glacier, except if the Obama daughters rush through the reproductive process. As I related in a preceding essay, a few years ago, I went back to Alaska, to show to my own toddler a giant glacier I remembered to be easily accessible by car and a little flat walk. I could not recognize the landscape: the glacier was completely gone, and had been replaced by tall trees. It was astounding. I was contemplating the same transformation of ice into trees this summer in the Alps. Going through a forest I had known as a formidable glacier.

Obama is a Harvard lawyer. People around him are politicians (often also with a legal background), financial types, more lawyers, banksters (real or potential), conspiracy consultants, managers, celebrities, etc. So it is with most politicians around the world. Those people have little education in physics. One does not even know if they understand the basics involved in pushing a car. Apparently, they don’t. Push hard on a car without the hand brake, and it will not move much, if at all.

Once I was in the Sierra Nevada, on a small road at 10,000 feet. California route 108, to be specific. Said road can get extremely windy and steep as it reaches Sonora Pass. It’s a trap: in the lower reaches route 108 is wide enough to accommodate the largest imaginable trucks. A truck driver armed with GPS had got his truck, a tractor-trailer, high enough to be unable to go back. Still hoping for the best, he forged ahead, until its giant vehicle was unable to take a hairpin, and, still hoping that brute force would solve everything, the driver succeeded to get completely across the road in two places, with many of its enormous wheels secured among very large boulders, both for the cab and the trailer. A large traffic jam ensued. As the closest imaginable rescue laid dozens of miles away, and going around, supposing one could back up, would require a detour of 200 kilometers (in the mountains!), it was time  to think creatively.

While dozens of people were milling around, I noticed an imaginable path, by displacing boulders, and filling some gaps with stones. It helped that we were close to timberline, and trees were few. Getting to work with my spouse, we soon cleared and engineered enough of the land to pass through. Other vehicles followed.

This little incident has nagged me for years: why did not the other drivers think about it? OK, my spouse and I have a maximal background in physics, but still, one is talking about basic common sense here. Why did no one else think of making a different road?

Obama’s road, and that of the other politicians, from Cameron to Hollande, let alone Putin, or Xi, is to say what sounds good (Merkel may be an exception; but then she is a physics PhD too). It sounds good to speak about the “grandkids”: Commandant Cousteau started that one: save the planet for the grandkids.

The ideas there are that the world ecology decays slowly under our assaults, and that it may be in our selfish interest to let it be, but nefarious within two generations. In other words: the future is slow.

Our great leaders, the supremacists of self-endowed selfishness, just don’t have enough of a feeling for physics to understand climate change (once again with the possible exception of physicist Merkel, who has engaged Germany on a one-way trip to renewable energy… in a cloud of coal dust).

INERTIA and MOMENTUM were discovered by Buridan a Fourteenth Century Parisian mathematician-physicist-philosopher-politician-academic (although the discovery is erroneously attributed to Newton, who blossomed 350 years later). Buridan had a gigantic following of students, including Albert of Saxony, Oresme, the Oxford Calculators. Those students used graphs (a world’s first), and demonstrated non-trivial theorems of calculus.

Somehow, Aristotelian physics was as wrong as possible about dynamics. Aristotle and his clownish parrots believed that one needed a force to persist with motion, completely ignoring air resistance. Aristotle should have ridden a horse at a full gallop, and discover air resistance. If one believes in Aristotelian physics, there is no problem with the climate: just reduce the CO2, and the climate changes comes to a halt. Apparently our great leaders are at this level of education.

Buridan gave the formula for momentum (which he called impetus): (MASS) X (VELOCITY). Given a constant force, impetus would augment proportionally to speed. This is what came to be called “Newton’s Second Law.

At this point human modification of the atmosphere, from stuffing it with CO2 and other gases, has made the lower atmosphere into a thicker blanket, imprisoning heat close to the ground. This is applying a constant heating force (aka thermal forcing) to the ground and the ocean, both of which are heating at increasing depth.

The climate is the largest object, so far, on which humanity has applied force. The force applied is immense, the greatest force which humanity has ever exerted. Yet, because the climate is so massive, it takes much time to accelerate: the variation of climate change is low.

Pushing the climate hard is similar, but much worse, than pushing an enormous object, say a truck: initially, it does not move. But when it does, it’s suicidal to try to stop it by standing in front.

Can we stop applying the force? No. Not within existing technology. We cannot extract the excess CO2 in the atmosphere. Making plants grow to absorb the CO2 cannot work. First, recent studies on the Amazon show that present vegetation is not adapted to the present density of CO2. It grows faster, but then dies faster. Second, and most importantly, the mathematics don’t work.

1ppm ~ 2 Gt. 3 ppm: 6 Gt. Total CO2 atmosphere: 750 Gt. So CO2 augments by roughly 1% a year. Yet, total anthropogenic emissions are at least 35 Gt, and perhaps as much as 50Gt (a number I consider correct). So most of the CO2 from burning fossils disappears (probably in the ocean, where the reserves are of the order of 40,000 Gt; thus we are augmenting total carbon storage there by 1% in ten years; not dramatic, but the CO2 converts in carbonic acid, and the acidity is going up).

In any case the excess carbon we send in the atmosphere is of the order of 7% of the total carbon in the atmosphere. We cannot neutralize this by growing plants: that would require to grow the biomass by 50Gt a year, 50 billion tons a year, year after year. A grotesque proposal.

Do the math, ignorant leaders! Shoot, I forgot you had no math at school, beyond the basics, except for Merkel; the total annual primary production of biomass is just over 100 billion tonnes Carbon per year. However, because the biosphere was balanced until the massive extraction and burning of fossils, in the last 150 years, as much was being destroyed (through burial). Now we are talking about creating 50 billion tons of biomass a year. Where are we going to put them? On brand new, specially built mountains sized skyscrapers? (Don’t laugh, it’s the future.)

Even then, supposing we could miraculously stop the augmentation of concentration of CO2, under the present anthropogenic gazes concentration (around 450 ppm), we are well above the stage where all ice melts from the Arctic. So that is going to happen. In turn it will release further presently still frozen carbon storage, making it a increasingly non-linear augmentation (of the catastrophe).

There is exactly one method that will stop the greenhouse madness, and it’s the simplest. Talking to no end about complicated schemes is diabolical, as even the Pope pointed out.

Our present leaders will be judged severely by history. Not only they are dinosaurs, but they make sure that we are going back to the Jurassic all too soon.

Patrice Ayme’


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

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

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

Learning from Dogs

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

ianmillerblog

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

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

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

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

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

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

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

Learning from Dogs

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

ianmillerblog

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

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

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

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

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

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

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

Learning from Dogs

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

ianmillerblog

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

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism