Archive for the ‘robots’ Category

March For Science, Humanity, Sawing From Saturn.

April 23, 2017

Nietzsche “made philosophy with a hammer”. Yet science was always made with a saw, literally cutting, and not just through crap:

Today is “Earth Day”, in the USA, the most significant country, at least in the sense of most polluting, per capita (except for critters such as some emirates, Canada and Australia). Self-admiring herds of hollier-than-thou posers proclaimed the “March For Science”. Those herds marching around the US, with herbivorous intelligence, claim science is in danger. I agree, there is never enough science. 

Ironically, it is the ability to make distinctions which is in primordial danger. The inability to make distinctions proliferates in the rabidly anti-Trump, and PC crowd which tends to be marching quite a bit these days, flaunting its rage, and lack of foresight. Yet the “March for Science” is not per se anti-Trump (although the censoring, manipulative and partisan New York Times claimed it was).

Political Correctness certainly rests on the false pretense of not making distinction between being right, and feeling good. PC is driven by moods, not careful, painstaking analysis, and this is fundamentally anti-science. No distinctions, no science. (But certainly plenty of racism, tribalism, nationalism, fanaticism.) As we will see.

Marching is good, science even better. Without science there is no humanity. Literally and figuratively. Science is not a choice humanity makes, but its essence..

Humanity colonized the planet, and is now colonizing the Solar System. Colonizing: that’s what humanity not just does, but is. Starting 50,000 years ago, humanity colonized Oceania. Actually all of planet Earth, and its oceans were conquered from very small human populations. (In a very complicated spatio-temporal pattern, with select interbreeding of long isolated populations.)


Forecasts are that, thanks to automation, robots, Artificial Intelligence, 60 million jobs will be lost in the USA within 20 years. The solution? More science. More scientists, and artists. More high level science and other high level creative jobs. As robots crawl all over, creative thinking will be needed more than ever. For example, the mathematician of the future will coach her office AI into producing thousands of theorems, after tweaking some axiom(s). And then she will ponder how useful, or pretty, those theorems produced by the AI, look.

Homo SAPIENS, comes from Latin sapientem (nominative sapiens), present participle of sapere “to taste, have taste, be wise”. Homo Sapiens is a creature of wealth and taste. Wealth from capital, even simple obsidian blades and fire cages. 

Very pale tiny blueish dot: Earth as seen from between Saturn Mighty Rings. Shot By Cassini, April 12, 2017

Cassini/Huygens is the NASA/ESA robot sent to the Saturn system, nearly 20 years ago. It established the nature of Titan’s atmosphere and surface, and that life could exist on Enceladus. Enceladus has plenty of water and hydrocarbon molecules. Now, after using Titan to change its orbit completely, thanks to five close encounter with the mighty satellite, from various position, Cassini has switched to a semi polar orbit which allows it to squeeze between the giant planet and her rings.  In case it would collide with a grain of sand, or ice, the nuclear-powered spacecraft is advancing antenna first, using it as a shield.

Cassini was a Savoy-Italian-French astronomer, born in Nice (where now Islamist immigrants kill people by the dozens, in the name of the “Islamist State”). Cassini was first to find the Cassini division of Saturn rings and was the first to measure (using a 220 feet high church roof to set-up a camera obscura, with agreement of clerics) the diameter of the Sun. The diameter of the Sun was found to vary on the ground of the church during the year, as predicted by Kepler’s ellipse theory of planetary orbits. Cassini helped set-up the Paris observatory, and worked as an astronomer under a Louis XIV grant, for the last 43 years of his life. His son succeeded him as astronomer and geodesist (measuring the Earth).


Why does humanity need taste? To be able to distinguish: The word “Science” appears in mid fourteenth century English meaning “what is known, knowledge (of something) acquired by study; information;” also “assurance of knowledge, certitude, certainty,” from Old French science “knowledge, learning, application; corpus of human knowledge“.

In the twelfth century, the French, having the taste for simplifying the lives of their lips, transformed the Latin scientia “knowledge, a knowing; expertness,” from sciens (genitive scientis) “intelligent, skilled,” into something easier to pronounce (most of French is simplified Latin pronunciation… and grammar).

The original Latin “scientia” is the present participle of scire “to know,” probably originally “to separate one thing from another, to distinguish,” related to scindere “to cut, divide,” from Proto Indo-European root *skei- “to cut, to split”. In French : “scier” (to saw). This is the source also of Greek skhizein “to split, rend, cleave,” Gothic skaidan, Old English sceadan “to divide, separate;” itself related to schizo…


Want to Save The Earth? Institute a Carbon Tax!

Trump came out with a pro-science and pro-Earth statements, so the Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd will punch the air, once again. Right Trump at some point was one way, and at other points, the other. Trump and three of his children signed a  2009 letter to President Barack Obama calling for a global climate deal. “We support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the United States and the world today,” That was before Trump discovered, as I did to my sorrow, that Obama’s aspiring mood seems to have bee that of one of these Kenyan boys helping the big white masters of international finance, in a typical picture of colonial Kenya.

Later the weather got cold when Trump was trying to golf, or enjoy balmy weather in Los Angeles, and he called global warming a hoax. Nobody seems to have shown him the graph of the deep ocean temperature, steadily going up.

“My Administration is committed to keeping our air and water clean, to preserving our forests, lakes, and open spaces, and to protecting endangered species.” Trump’s statement added that environmental protection should not come at a cost to working families, and that the White House was focused on “reducing unnecessary burdens” on American workers while working to protect the environment.

Trump insisted that his administration would work to achieve the “twin goals” of environmental health and American economic growth, noting that “we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate… Today on Earth Day, we celebrate our beautiful forests, lakes and land. We stand committed to preserving the natural beauty of our nation.”

Beauty of Earth too. Earth Moon from Saturn: We Are Nothing Much! We Are Nothing Much! Hanging onto precious little! Care for our small blue home by making the Solar System into a more human park, there is lots of space!

Thus the usual sea of words from the US government, same as all the ones before. For 24 years, three US administrations, preciously nothing important has been done to reduce the CO2 crisis, at the US government level (whereas all European government, including fossil fuel wealthy Norway, put a 400% tax on fossil fuels).

So far, for the USA, it has been mostly words (the gasoline tax established by Eisenhower, as many good, effective, progressive things, was not really indexed on inflation, and has become ever more irrelevant). All most of the significant progress done in the US was from scientific and technological advances to which the government contributed only indirectly. For example the government contributed to PhotoVoltaic (PV) research. PV is changing the world: by 2020, the total Earth PV production will be at least 500 Gigawatts (500 standard nuclear reactors).

Human technology is improving ever more. The tech found in the 20-year-old  Cassini/Huyghens is already amazing. And we are much further. But weneed to accelerate, lest we perish. Here are the “Grand Finale” orbits of Cassini, after having used Titan’s attraction to get a completely different set of orbits.

Beauty of Earth too. Earth Moon from Saturn: We Are Nothing Much! We Are Nothing Much! Hanging onto precious little! Care for our small blue home by making the Solar System into a more human park, there is lots of space!

There is only one policy which can seriously help: a carbon tax. Or more exactly a GreenHouse Gas tax, a GHG tax. It does not have to be punitive, vengeful. Just compute the damage particular emissions cause to the Earth, consider those to be part of their cost, and require the perpetrator to pay for that damage they cause. Those who march together, bleating together about supporting Earth, are finding all too much comfort in their lack of data gathering, thought, and will. If they want to save earth that much, they should campaign for a GreenHouse Gas tax. A GHG tax. The more GHG is used in making a product, including produce, flowers, air travel and  ship transport, the more it should be taxed (the WTO authorizes this sort of tax, at any level… while limiting other taxes at 3%. So a 35% GHG tax is WTO, and UN legal! Installing it would dramatically favor the non-carbon energy production, from PV to electric hydrogen cargo ships pulled by sails or kites…)


Of The Ecological Hypocrisy Of The Obamas, Oprah, Springsteen, and their ilk:

Obama is great leader of the hollier-than-thou, we-don’t-need-to-think-too-hard, as long as it looks good on TV, crowd. Obama is widely and wildly admired, by the PC throngs. Although my flesh and blood friend, he was captured by the establishment, even before he became president. Much of the rage against Trump is actually subconsciously displaced from a severely suppressed, denied rage, against Obama, changing mirage! This all needs some fresh air.

Obama sold Federal coal, one of the highest quality low sulfur coal on the entire Earth, for 20% of its real environmental cost. That in turn depressed coal prices everywhere. But don’t worry: last week, the Obamas were in Tahiti, and Moorea, on a plutocrat’s 140 meter super yacht, celebrating the sucking dummies who vote “democratic”, and want to save the Earth. The Obamas were celebrating Earth Day their way, polluting massively, for all to see, with Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks, David Geffen. After an incredible performance in not appearing to be what they really are, the Obamas have revealed to be some of the greatest stage artists, and deserve to share in the .001% lifestyle. 

What will Trump do about the climate disaster? We don’t know (all the noisy measures he took so far are devoid of much impact, they satisfy the deniers, but that’s it). I advise a massive carbon tax, as usual.


One has to take decisions, to make distinctions: Considering the danger of Earth’s microbes spreading to Enceladus’ water ocean, or Titan hydrocarbon atmosphere, the decision was taken to crash Cassini into Saturn, where it will burn up. (Maybe Earthly microbes will survive and thrive in Saturn clouds, oops, haha…)

Yes, there is a dark side to colonization, including space colonization, and there is a dark side even to cognition itself. But not to worry: our species is fully equipped to handle the Dark Side, with a determined smile! That’s part of our charm.

Patrice Ayme’

FLASH CRASH Of Civilization Risked. And Why.

October 9, 2016


Are Our Idiotic Leaders Playing With Computer Fire? A Financial “Glitch” Last Week Is Most Telling: 

In the famous Terminator movie, a worldwide automated defense net takes over and launches strategic missiles all over, annihilating much of humanity and nearly all of civilization. Science-fiction? Not at all.

In 1979, the strategic command of the USA saw on its screens a Russian attack by 200 intercontinental missiles, enough to annihilate the USA. There were only minutes to launch a counter-strike. Panic ensued. Bombers were scrambled. The presidential plane took off, without the president. And so on! A smart general found that a training tape had been inserted by mistake. Alleluia! Nuclear Armageddon avoided this time.

The financial system has been riddled with “computer glitches”. Except they are not really glitches, but part of the war hyper rich financiers are waging against We The People.

Here is what happens when computers and plutocrats rule: 

In Minutes, The British Pound, Hence Great Britain, Lost Up To 8% of Its Value, Thanks To Robots In Common

Friday October 7, 2016, The British Pound, Hence Great Britain, Lost Up To 8% of Its Value, In Minutes, Thanks To Robots In Command

The robots we have put in charge do not have to respect Asimov’s First Law Of Robotics, which is that a robot should not hurt a human.

Ok, let’s give more details of this latest example, Friday October 7, 2016, as described by the Wall Street Journal:

Computers Seen as a Culprit in Pound’s Plunge

Unusual intraday move of 6% triggers concerns about automated trading

By Mike Bird and  Saumya Vaishampayan (Updated Oct. 7, 2016 6:44 p.m. ET)

LONDON—For a startling moment on Friday, the British pound crashed. In just three minutes shortly after 7 a.m. Hong Kong time, the pound sank 6% to as low as $1.18, according to Thomson Reuters data. Some electronic platforms recorded scattered trades near $1.15. For the currency markets, where moves are recorded in thousandths of a penny, it seemed that currency traders were all hiding under their desks. The most accepted scenario was that computers, not humans, were the ones that refused to buy. Coming at the most thinly traded moment of the global trading day, the latest “FLASH CRASH” once again showed how algorithmically driven trading programs have rewired the global finance game.

The pound’s gyration Friday was the second largest intraday move from its highest to lowest point in the past nine years, according to FactSet. The biggest move came when sterling swung down by as much as 11% the day after Britain’s June vote to leave the European Union.”

So why do we have hair-trigger systems all around the planet, with malevolent robots in charge?

The basic trick is this: hyper rich individuals, employing armies of physicists, mathematicians and programmers have set-up automatic systems to trade faster than individuals can. That’s called “high frequency” trading. High frequency trading is made possible by NOT taxing the sort of transactions the hyper wealthy are allowed to do. Normal people get taxed, the financially wealthy do not.

Flashback on 10,000 years of civilization: when the hyper wealthy does not get taxed, one has an aristocratic system: that is both the major cause, and major symptom.

Taxing small financial transactions would limit their speed, hence re-establish the notion of causality (that fact comes straight from knowing the fundamental physics which is deeper than the Theory of Relativity).

We are led by cretins. Russia and the USA have produced magnificent examples of complete cretins, put in command to instill deeply flawed strategies. And no, I am not just thinking of Trump, Clinton, Putin, Obama, etc.   

Let me go back on my question earlier, and generalize it a bit: Why do we have hair-trigger systems all around the planet, with malevolence in charge?

At first sight, it is because we are led by cretins, who do not see the danger. That certainly is partly true, but it’s not the whole truth: how could they be that dumb? Indeed, the danger is surely obvious, from the financial markets to nuclear war. Then what? We are led by people who do not mind the danger that they inflict to humanity and civilization, because, meanwhile they satisfy their greed, or will to power. In a way, to help engineer a giant catastrophe is surely a way to satisfy one’s ultimate will to power. As the French King Louis XV used to say:”Apres moi, le deluge” (“After me, the flood”).

An even deeper question is why did it come to this. Societies have moods. Those moods are caused by (imaginary or not) facts, habits, experiences, hopes. In the end, they influence hormones, not just in the masses, but in the individuals. Those hormones, some of them neurohormones, in turn change the logic individuals are capable of. When he was still facing some opposition inside Germany, Adolf Hitler sneered that his opponents did not matter because “we already own the youth”. Hitler knew that he had molded  the minds of German youth by creating an emotional ambiance which had turned into a mass driven hormonal, not just logical, Nazi setup. It was a case of mass procreation of Nazism.

After Thatcher and Reagan came to power, they imposed the mood that greed and the will to power was the ultimate motivation of human beings. (The Nazis were all about the will to power AND race; except “race’ does not really exist, as the Nazis found out all too soon, and the SS was forced to employ elite soldiers from all over!)

That Thatcher-Reagan-Neoconservatives mindset forsaken by humanity, propagated around the planet: France, Russia, fell to it later, with catastrophic results . That mindset focused on greed as the ultimate motivation is why Obama, a great admirer of Ronald Reagan, setup Obamacare the way he did, articulated by private companies looking for profits.

In other words, the ultimate good motivations of humanity, are supposed to be greed, and the closely related, and more general, will to power. The ultimate motivations are not supposed to be the will to care, or love. (Whereas, in truth, without love and care, there can be no humanity, to start with! Greed and the Will To Power are secondary motivations, sorry, Friedrich Nietzsche).

So here we are with more and more hair-trigger system. What is the interest of hair trigger systems, holding the entire civilization in its cross-hairs, or cross-hair systems making society ever more unjust, with some having all the power? The interest of hair-trigger systems as gods is that it tells everybody, deep down in their bones, at the deepest level of the emotional system, that greed and will to power are the ultimate good: they are worth going back to the Middle Ages, in a flash, with massive inequalities, or even back to the Stone Age (for the few survivors). Hair trigger, total destruction systems do not just celebrate will to power in its ultimate form, extermination. Having everything, from liberty, to equality, to fraternity, and even survival, at the whim of computer glitches is an expression of the will to collective suicide, and mass mayhem.

Some will say, such desire for appalling destruction is surely not an instinct? Quite the opposite. The will to appalling destruction is the ultimate human, all too human, instinct. Let me sketch the explanation. It goes deep in the bowels of evolutionary psychology, in its all too human variant, which no other animal has to that extent.

For millions of years, humanity has ruled the Earth, and increasingly so. The enemy of humanity was humanity itself, too much humanity, way too many humans. (At some point, a bit more than a million years ago, there were 14 humanoid species in East Africa alone.) To re-establish an ecological balance, humanity had to be culled. Now there are thousands of times more humans, so we need industrial means, computer glitches, nuclear war, and massive inequality.

However, understanding this will to collective suicide and mass mayhem logically will unbalance our stealthy collective subconscious, and the pernicious topology of its emotional ways. Something excellent philosophy has always done.

It goes without saying that all too traditional humanism has nothing to say about the preceding. And that is why it has become so irrelevant to what seriously matters, and why ‘progressives’ are so adrift. Humanism is not static. As technology progresses, our humanism has to become ever more subtle and powerful, just as, and because, our technology does so. Ever more power is what has defined ever more humanity, but all that ever increasing power, can only be managed with ever more intelligence.

Patrice Ayme’