Posts Tagged ‘Colonization’

Organics on Mars? More Importantly, Water Long Ago, Now Ice Cliffs!

June 15, 2018

On this site, all sorts of essays are found. Some are on the cutting edge of research (and a subset of those may even be right! After all just one somewhat right, on a subject of significance, would justify all my efforts…). We live in times when, for the first time ever, the social Machiavellianism of a biological species, yours truly, has the fate of the biosphere, and maybe even of intelligent life in this galaxies, in its paws. That has got to have happened many times in the billions of galaxies, long ago and far away. But this is here now, and philosophy and its practical side, politics, are in the driver seat of the honor of intelligence in the Milky Way…

So here is the time to celebrate the little world next door, Mars. Mars, although half the linear dimensions of Earth, has exactly as much land as Earth (2/3 of Earth is sea). Recent discoveries have put Mars in a more habitable light.

Big picture for Mars remains that the rover is in what used to be a giant lake one hundred kilometers across. So Mars WAS HABITABLE. For about a billion years. Whether life evolved there is not clear: Earth is a giant churning engine of creation, with perhaps kilometer high tides at some point, every couple of hours or so… That forcefully mixed continent, sea, volcanoes, lightning, etc. If life had evolved on Mars, though, it would have transferred on Earth… thanks to impacts…

Ice Cliffs on Mars, 100 meters tall, took me by surprise… A happy surprise: without water on Mars, colonization a no-go

All this is much more agitated and eventful than the old picture…
Those towering, 100 meters high cliffs of ice on Mars. Last year. That makes Mars colonization feasible (once we have a huge energy source, like portable thermonuclear fusion…

NASA announced the discovery of organics on Mars. Ian Miller’s blog put that into perspective.
This sort of discoveries, ice cliffs now, and water four billion years ago, are more impactful than whether life evolved there. Hunting for fossils is how to solve that one… And will not be easy: 4 billion year old fossils on Earth are very controversial…

I am a bit impact and significance obsessed… in all matters. The hierarchy of all values comes from the hierarchy of significance. That Mars is colonizable, because it has water, is a huge piece of information, full of hope. A hope to spread humanity beyond our endangered cradle. But we don’t have all the technology we need yet: even if the cost of launches is brought as low as Elon Musk hopes (6 million dollars per launch of his giant BFR rocket, he claimed…), we don’t have an energy source for Mars: a worldwide dust storm has just plunged the planet in obscurity, and a solar powered rover had to shut itself down. (the Curiosity rover is nuclear powered, so it’s not affected… It was the last nuclear power pack, or so… Nuclear ain’t PC, you know…)

Pretty much we will need to develop controlled nuclear fusion to go melt those huge cliffs of ice… Some will scream at ecological devastation. Not so: right now, the European Union, this high temple of hypocrisy and things not being what they seem to be, import enough palm oil from South East Asia to kill all the Orangutans there… Among other life forms. And what does it do with all this food? Fuel! Fuel which the EU, in its colossal madness and criminal alacrity to invert all values, view as more important than life itself! Yes, most of the palm oil imported to Europe is turn into car exhausts…

Palm oil is one of the main engines of environmental destruction. Found in food and cosmetics, its growing use is destroying rainforests and endangering all species of much of the world. And indeed, more than half of all the palm oil imported by Europe is turned into biodiesel and blended into fuel (the US does the same with corn, but that’s more honest, less colonialist, as it is the US Middle West itself that is devastated by growing too much corn…)

Conquering the Solar System, colonizing it, will force us to use much more efficient techniques. Then we can recycle those new technologies on Earth, to reduce our impact on the home planet…So it is highly moral, not just games in space to feel better about ourselves, and distract us from gravitas. For example Photovoltaics (“PV”) used in space have nearly 50% efficiency, more than twice the one realized on the ground (they are also more expensive…) On the ISS, sweat and urine are 100% recycled…

Art, morality are children of our technology, itself the expression of science.

Patrice Ayme

 

As Africa Gets Colonized, So Do We

April 25, 2018

Abstract: Formal “decolonization” worked splendidly… for global plutocracy (with few exceptions). Otherwise, decolonization is a myth. Worse: a crime the way it was accomplished, in all too many places. Nowhere is that more blatant than in Africa, where regimes after regimes are horror shows, and should be viewed as having run out of excuses. And therein a lesson for the whole planet. And in particular for the whole “left” and other pseudo-intellectuals of the simplistic type, who have been more busy collaborating with a system they set-up, rather than fighting it.

***

On April 18, at 6;50 am, heading for Turin Airport, I headed towards the Montgenèvre  pass. Montgenèvre is probably where Hannibal crossed the Alps, as it is the lowest pass. However the famous general suffering huge losses at the hands of the uncooperative Natives, the Allobroges… He lost at least a third of his army, nearly all his elephants. Those Allobroges with whom the Romans, under Augustus, would draw a treaty, two centuries after Hannibal, making them part of the Roman empire… as an independent kingdom: Augustus was so proud of himself, he mad a gigantic monument, still overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. (The world owes to Briancon, the Roman Brigantum, the word “brigand”, depicting well the rapport between Rome and the Briancon area…)

In some places, all what is left are ancient baobabs, from desiccation, and abuse of the land. Baobabs like many African things, starting with the land itself, are enormous. Unfortunately, most of African ecology gets ravaged as we speak. The problem is not sourced just in Africa, we are all part of the problem, thus, the solution.

Along the road, suddenly ten Africans, Subsaharan African, black as charcoal, walking… All French speakers. They came, illegally, from south of the Sahara desert, crossed Libya, and the Mediterranean Sea, thanks to smugglers. Once in Italy, charities gave them clothes, addresses and cell phones, with subscriptions working in France and Italy. Train transportation was provided. From Sicily to deep inside the Alps, at the foot of formidable passes enjoying more than ten meters of snow over the last few months. Only one road goes through, passing in a tunnel below the Montgenèvre,  the world’s oldest ski resort. There are kilometers of tunnels on the “Italian” side. This is the road those outlaws took, obviously hidden in smugglers’ cars (the border between France and Italy is not enforced, but the French Gendarmerie has descended upon some technically Italian towns to make anti illegal immigrant raids, to loud protests from the Ligua Norte (a pseudo-independentist party)…. That whole area of “Italy” was French until Louis XIV gave it to the enemies he had created for himself by throwing 2 million protestants out, and making his grandson king of Spain… The fury of some Italian politicians is explained by their desire to see Africans go to France, instead of enjoying Italy.

Those smugglers through that one French Alps’ pass don’t view themselves as smugglers, but as friends of man, as charities. Yet, ultimately they are the accomplices of horrible regimes in Africa, themselves set-up by global plutocrats and the Western governments which served them (no relief to be obtained from China, which is arguably doing worse, under the guise of helping, as French and US politicians recently pointed out).

Of course, should I be stuck in Subsaharan Africa (as I used to be), I would also walk through the desert, and swim across the sea. Why?Far from the pleasant land I used to know, Subsaharan Africa is in danger of becoming a vast “shithole”, as Trump may have noticed in private… we are well into the process of following it down the toilet. And this we will presently address.

***

A superficially absurd question in Quora, which turns out to be very deep:”Why aren’t the French colonies in Africa liberated? Why don’t they ask for their independence?

My answer:

Silly question, superficially: there are technically no colonies in Africa, at the present time. Or pretty much anywhere else. However, the reality is just the opposite. “Independence” and decolonization was pretty much a sham. It was more of a delegalization, and the creation of a wild west, with Natives to exploit freely, far from law and prying eyes.

Indeed, it’s not France, the French Republic which has the colonies (as it used to be). The truth is worse. Much of the world has been colonized. By global plutocrats, immensely wealthy men (typically men), conspiring with local leaders (“elected” or not).

When the French Republic was in nominal control of much of Africa, there were laws, rules and regulations, of a Republican, democratic character. Roads, trains, schools (mandatory, secular) were built, covered the land. Through Subsaharan Africa, one could find an hospital every one hundred kilometers, in populated areas (which was ruinous for France, from the point of view of some pro-independence French politicians… Most of Africa didn’t ask for independence, it was hurled at them by French racists).

For example, most of the Ivory Coast forest was protected from destruction. After nominal “independence”, very wealthy men came from the north, made deals with the local potentates, and freely exploited the African environment.

They were free, the rest were enslaved. Not just diamonds for Al Qaeda in Sierra Leone, forest in Ivory Coast, oil off Nigeria and Gabon, etc.

Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabists, decided to extend their influence worldwide with a Salafist project flushed with oil money. This completely changed the nature of Islam in Subsaharan Africa, sending the (gigantic) region into a turmoil that profited the Saudis, version 1970s… but few other people besides. Subsaharan Africa became partly a mental colony of Saudi Arabia, with disastrous consequences for economy, society, peace, wisdom, and knowledge.

Sadly, degradation is contagious. As exterior individuals became free to plunder Africa, African natives themselves duplicated the plunder, all the more as the top leaders were part of the conspiracy (consider the assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in Congo, to be replaced by CIA pawn Mobutu). The later example shows it’s not just the French and the Saudis. For example the (quasi) dictatorship in Rwanda intervened in Congo, to grab rare earths, with discrete, ignored US support, bringing the death of 5 million Congolese citizens (and cheaper electronics for the rest of the world, and the fortunes of many a US plutocrat).

The problem was ignored: individuals such as Bernard Henri Levy, who became a billionaire by plundering African forests, is also an influential intellectual in Paris, or Morocco, and respected not just by left wing but right wing presidents… who financed him. He also controls (nearly) all media.

Worldwide plutocrats own most media, so they colonize us all. After they have made up our minds, the way they like it, we are free to opt to serve them further.

Just as the plundering of Africa, post “independence” has been contagious, and the natives have joined in the plundering, so it is, worldwide: the more the hyper wealthy plunder the planet and control minds, the more average people don’t care. That’s how the sense of citizenship was lost when the Roman Republic became Augustus’ dictatorship (the Roman “empire”, or, technically, “Principate”).

For the preceding to happen, it was necessary that the self-described “left” or “progressive” be completely blind to the preceding. Worse: much of the naive “left” is controlled by plutocracy.

Is there hope? Just a little. French billionaire Vincent Bolloré, a ten billion dollar billionaire, was arrested and detained on Tuesday near Paris over allegations that he indirectly influenced election outcomes for governments in West Africa and secured lucrative port contracts for his company in return. A Bolloré Group subsidiary allegedly undercharged for work, helping two African presidents win power in return for lucrative contracts.

According to a report by the BBC, Bolloré, 66, who is the head of the Bolloré Group, was taken into custody as part of an ongoing investigation into how his company obtained contracts to operate the Lome and Conakry ports in Togo and Guinea respectively. Now he has been charged. All, I repeat, all, billionaires who had to do with Africa, should be charged. That may not seem fair, not according to the “state of law” but all billionaires have overridden the legal process in the last few decades (at least in Africa). (Weirdly, Trump, whose pseudo-progressives love to hate, to change the conversation, gets a pass for now, being the less bad of them all, as he tries to change things, and didn’t become wealthy from corruption, as, say, Xi, Putin, Berlusconi, and an immense cortege of those lurking in the swamp between politics and greed…) 

The spirit of the law, worldwide, has been confiscated by the .1%. It’s not just Africa. We are all been colonized, or, more exactly, possessed (much of French Africa was more administered than colonized, in the sense that few “colons” ever came).

It’s high time to do something about ourselves becoming the property of others (consider the social networks and the virtual slavery they exploit us with). Because otherwise our future will be as bad, or worse, than the worst colonization (and there were very bad colonies, for example Congo, personal property of the Belgian king, where millions were enslaved).

Ah, a few technical points to finish: the French military interventions in Africa, from Rwanda to Mauretania, were, and are, not akin to “colonialism”: just the opposite (they tend to be all UN approved). They are efforts to free Africa from outrageous exploitation and plunders by (“religious”) gangs, or the likes of Gaddafi (who tried to physically invade Subsaharan Africa, before being stopped by the French military).

Part of the disaster that Subsaharan Africa has become has to do with demographic explosion (itself a consequence from the lack of intelligent administration, education and good healthcare). Many countries went from six millions in the 1960s (when the French administration left), to 45 millions now. In many countries, women have eight children (many to be tempted by violent Jihadism)

No ecology can sustain this, especially one which was borderline to start with. Thus, now dozens of millions of Africans from Subsaharan Africa are plotting to go to France, and try to do it at immense risks of lives and limbs (most of them fail, raped, drowned, eaten by Saharan hyenas, enslaved, or desiccating in the desert… but thousands a month make it to France…)

Something needs to be done, something drastic, and it won’t come from the old playbook…

Patrice Aymé

 

Humans: Neanderthals, Other Ancestors, Colonized & Migrated, Back & Forth. Therein Our Smarts

January 26, 2018

What does it mean to be human? It used to mean a race, then “Homo Sapiens”. Now, it’s getting seriously more complicated, in other words: mathematical. Titles in the media know, repeating what semi-brainless academics erupted with: “In Cave in Israel, Scientists Find Jawbone Fossil From Oldest Modern Human Out of Africa”.

Paleontologists announced in January 2018 the discovery of a fossilized “modern human” jawbone in a collapsed cave in Israel that they said is between 177,000 and 194,000 years old. By “modern human” they mean: like us.

If confirmed, the find, a find of a kind I expected, will rewrite the official, academic early migration story of our species, pushing back by about 50,000 years the textbook time that Homo sapiens first ventured out of Africa. 

Neanderthals all over us… Fair skin genes seem to have come from Neanderthals … and African from Subsaharan Africa have them to, before much more recent mutations darkened their skins… Yes, matters are becoming complicated. Th argument has been made, by comparison with the mysterious Homo Antecessor, that the Neanderthal face was actually more evolved. Yes, evolved. 

However, one has to be careful: a jaw doesn’t a mind makes. Homo Sapiens Sapiens’ DNA were already found, without any modern DNA descendants (whereas we all, or nearly all, have Neanderthal and Denisovan genetics!)

Previous discoveries in Israel limestone caves indicated that so-called “modern” humans began leaving Africa between 90,000 and 120,000 years ago. But the recently dated jawbone is unraveling that narrative, big time. It is replacing it by the mathematical mix and match I favor..

This would be the earliest modern human anyone has found outside of Africa, ever,” said John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist from the University of Wisconsin, Madison who was not involved in the study… But is an old fashion thinker.

Oldest modern human” is slippery conceptual ground: it seems to insinuate that most humans then occupying Eurasia, and who were to occupy Eurasia for the next 150,000 years, during the 200,000 to 50,000 years span, were not really human, or “modern”.  Yet, those humans made discoveries such as burning coal for energy, genetically engineering European wolves into wolves, etc… Insinuating that Neanderthals and Denisovans were not human is, arguably, the mother of all racism. And against our own ancestors! Sadomasochist racism?

To the contrary, evidence instead points out that Neanderthals and Denisovans were not just human, but super-human (Neanderthals had much larger brains than today’s “Sapiens”, by up to 20%!). It seems highly likely they invented so many technologies, they guaranteeing the evanescence of their own genetic modifications (they obsolesced themselves!)

So what of this “modern human” concept? A “modern jaw” does not make a modern mind.

I have proposed that the dilution of Neanderthals and Denisovans characteristics in Sapiens Sapiens genomics was most probably a mathematical effect, helped by climate change and advancing technology: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/why-did-neanderthals-disappear/

The upper jawbone — which includes seven intact teeth and one broken incisor, and was described in a paper in the journal Science — provides fossil evidence that lends support to genetic studies that have suggested modern humans moved from Africa far earlier than had been suspected.

In a way, that theory, the all-out of Africa, and Africa only theory, was silly: Homo Ergaster was in the Caucasus around 1.9 million years ago, in force. In those tough conditions, Homo Ergaster, an early prototype of Homo Erectus, was probably dressed in furs (at least, so they were represented on the cover of Science at the time! The winter is cold in the Caucasus!)

What didn’t kill them should have made them stronger, and smarter. Colonization, immigration is not just a hope, it’s a school. By conquering Eurasia, Homo Ergaster made the species stronger and smarter. Actually the earliest example of domestication of fire comes from China, and it’s 1.3 million years old. China, not Africa (right, some parts of China are colder than anywhere in Africa but for the glaciers of Ruwenzori).

It seems likely that colonizing Eurasia made the species more superior than it would have been otherwise. Just as Neanderthal genes were found all the way down Africa, why would not a back colonization, or back migration from eurasia to Africa have happened?

This is exactly what my little “math extinguished Neanderthal” theory predicted, and now what is found ou. Consider : “Deeply divergent archaic mitochondrial genome provides lower time boundary for African gene flow into Neanderthals” Wherein it is shown that African Homo Sapiens genes passed into the Neanderthal gene pool around 270,000 years ago!

It’s not because Darwin said humanity originated in Africa, that it really did in all ways. Maybe it didn’t, in crucial ways. Well, actually, it’s now proven… And guess what? It was only logical. That enemy of Darwin, Nietzsche (“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”), would have been delighted: Eurasian colonization made Homo stronger, and yes, neanderthals were fully human.  

Colonialism springs eternal! This, colonialism, immigration, exploration, is what humanity does, and has always done, and used as an engine of evolution, not to say creation. Notice here the problem with uncorrected, rampant and unthinking Political Correctness: it hates colonialism, thus hates what made us, the core of the human adventure. (OK, paradoxically, although it hates “colonialism”, much of the PC herd loves another way to describe it, immigration! Mental coherence is the first victim of Political Correctness.)

Once again, it turns out that Homo Sapiens Sapiens was actually in Eurasia 100,000 years before we thought (as recently as last year!) that he was. So the interaction with Neanderthals and Denisovans was not a short affair, but something that lasted at least 140,000 years. This indicates that Neanderthals and Denisovans were not inferior, they may actually have been superior, and math extinguished them!

Not only Neanderthals had bigger brains, but they had bigger faces, and those faces differed more from ours than ours may have differed from Homo Antecessor (an ancestor known from just remnants of four individuals at this point; it lived 800,000 years ago, and looked surprisingly “modern”). It’s not me who made this shocking observation, but one of the top specialist of the subject, fellow Algerian Jean-Jacques Hublin of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Hublin and his colleagues created computer models that let them “grow” skulls virtually. “When we do this, we can explain the variation in shape between Neanderthals,” says Hublin. “But if we grow a modern human skull to the size of a Neanderthal, we don’t have something that looks like a Neanderthal. You get something different.

Hublin thinks that modern humans have retained a lot of primitive features from our distant ancestors. “It seems the Neanderthals are more evolved in their own direction than modern humans.” He observes. Said differently, the faces of modern humans may not be that modern.

The term ‘modern’ is somewhat misleading,” says Hublin. “When you say ‘modern’, people assume you mean ‘more evolved’, but in fact in our case it may mean ‘more primitive’.” We have met supermen, and we diluted, we degenerated from them, long ago…

In any case, our ancestors were colonists, here, there, now and then, and everywhere. From DNA studies, it is known that, around 10,000 years ago, Fertile Crescent peasant colonized the Mediterranean islands, and went all the way to Italy, and probably beyond, bringing along their agricultural know-how. So when we go conquer back Iraq, we are going home, Neocons are sure to add, but we will smile sardonically… There had been a controversy about how they proceeded: through land, or islands? Islands! In particular, Crete.

Big data is fashionable. we were created by big data, and, even more, significant data. That data was found in other places than Africa. That data made us smarter.

So now, what’s next? The Moon! Mars! They are within easier reach than the bottom of the ocean, that’s for sure… Colonization will us strong, smart, push us forward, just like our ancestors

Patrice Aymé

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…

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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…)

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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’

Colonization All Over. So Why So Bad?

March 23, 2017

It goes without saying that colonization was a terrible thing, whine those who want to look good to themselves and other whiners. Colonization was a crime, they insist. At least that’s what PC people howl on every roof, as part of their unwitting campaign of rage against civilization. Because civilization, which was not civilized, caused colonization, this evil of evils, they crowe. Right.

We the descendants of the colonized shall howl from every roof what victims we are.

We the descendants of the colonizers, shall howl on every roof what criminals we are.

We the bipolar paranoid schizophrenic stand as accused, and may as well be mowed down by Islam driving SUVs, trucks, jumbo jets, and non sense, all over us.

***

Indeed, ladies and gentlemen, who does not descend from colonialists and colonizers?

All the Americas were colonized.

All of Oceania was colonized (twice at least).

Was the colonization of Australia by aborigines (who are part Denisovans), 50,000 years ago, a bad thing? It killed a lot of marsupials!

Sénégal: Organized, unified, but never really colonized! A very rare case!

Japan was colonized (twice at least). Japanese civilization started for real, when the archipelago was colonized. By the Chinese.

Some will say China was never colonized. Well, there used to be 100 nations with 100 languages in China, as recently as three centuries ago (the emperor himself recognized then, in a very sophisticated intellectual exchange with the Jesuits; and he expressed both his will to respect that, and his incapacity to do otherwise). However, nowadays, Mandarin (just one language) is taking over, all over. And all Chinese are forced to assimilate with the Borg in Beijing. That’s colonization therein. Is it bad? My daughter is learning Chinese, or, more exactly, Mandarin. She will be able to talk all over.

Madagascar was colonized (thrice; from Indonesia, Africa, France). Even Greenland was conquered by the Inuits, who pushed away the Vikings… (On their way, the Inuits had annihilated previous denizens in the northern Canada archipelago…)

Most of Africa was colonized multiple times. By descendants of Neanderthals (!), Bantus, Phoenicians, Greco-Romans, Arabs, etc.

All of Russia is a huge colony, all the way to Kamchatka. “Russ” initially means Eastern Swedes.  The Eastern Swedes, Viking style, invaded the huge placid rivers of Eastern Europe, all the way down to the Black Sea (where they could trade with the Romans). In the Tenth Century, Vladimir of Kiev conquered Crimea from the local Khan (Mongols who had themselves conquered centuries earlier the Greeks, who had conquered a millennium prior, etc.)  

Even China was momentarily (a few centuries here and there) conquered by Buddhists, Tibetans, Mongols, Mandchous…

Arabia was greatly colonized by Persia, much later Turkey (Ottomans) for centuries.

Europe?

Europe, shortly before Rome rose, was invaded by the Celto-Germans, who covered up the entire continent, all the way to Anatolia. When Caesar invaded, Gaul (“Gallia”) was made of 60 nation-states.

Much of India was invaded, colonized by white men coming from the north, central Asia, four thousand years ago, or more. That’s why India and Europe enjoy the same Indo-European language family.

Egypt was invaded by the Arabs, more exactly by Caliph Omar’s army. Never recovered (whereas Egypt had recovered from colonization by Black Pharaohs, Nubians, Sea People, Libyans, Greeks and Romans). Egyptians themselves had to decolonize the Sahara desert and concentrate on the Nile Valley and adjoining oases.

***

A real question is: which places in the world were not colonized?

Paradoxically, much of West Africa is one of the most pristine, uncolonized places.

West Africa is generally viewed as having been a French, British, Portuguese colony, and that’s superficially true.

West Africa also exported a lot of slaves (to the Americas).

However, West Africa was one of the much untouched places. (Contrarily to whiny repute!)

Not like Europe: all old European languages were wiped out by the Indo-European, Celto-German invasion (or close to it: Basque is a tiny remnant of what once was.)

And don’t brandish southern Europeans as old stock: the Middle Easterners came from the Fertile Crescent, with their futuristic crops (wheat, etc.) and their genes, 9,000 years ago. Another invasion to run over the many Sapiens invasions all over Europe, in the last 100,000 years. Neanderthals made it to North Africa, big time, and their genes to South Africa, but apparently not to West Africa.

***

A real question: when is colonization good, when is it bad?

From the point of view of the invaded, one will guess that colonization is often bad. Yes, but not always. The invasion of Gallia by Caesar would end up creating the strongest part of the Roman empire, Francia, and the Birth of the West. Viewed that way, it was a good thing. And it sure is a good thing if there was no other way to get that good thing. Was it? We don’t know. Was Caesar innocent of the invasion? We don’t really know.

***

“Colonization” in West Africa was mostly a joke, or more exactly, civilizing: ten French officers ordered around 5,000 Senegalese soldiers who, truly, conquered Sénégal. So, in truth, Senegal conquered Senegal under French management. In truth, there were basically no colons in Senegal: the land stayed property of the Senegalese (compare with the USA, where Indian lands were nearly completely distributed by the colonial government in Washington to the European colons!)

A big argument for the “colonization” of Africa was the eradication of slavery, which was endemic, pandemic, chronic, extensive and ubiquitous in Africa (the globalization of African slavery to the Americas, escaping the long arm of European law, has not been properly characterized…)

Here are the national languages of Senegal:

Some of these languages are tonal, some are not (making them a different as latin and Chinese!) It goes without saying that packing such different nations in so tight a space (less than 200,000 square kilometers), result in mayhem, just to keep the population stable. So Senegal has, rightly so, just one national language.

***

Colonization is good when it brings lots of progress, and less mayhem:

This should go without saying. However, the usual interpretation of (hard) multiculturalism is that all cultures are equally worth of respect. This thesis implies that progress does not exist. So we may as well regress, and have plutocracy.

So we see who these proponents of hard multiculturalism were trying to seduce: the powers that be.

By refusing to see when, how colonization has been, and could be, good, they refuse to bring reason to judge destiny. A silly attitude, considering how fast destiny moves these days.

But of course fundamentally hypocritical.

At least, nobody can accuse me to be a hypocrite. I don’t under (hypo) criticize. It’s much more fun, to over-criticize… And criticize all over… Colonization: assess, but don’t deny, its crimes, just as its merits. And remember the fine lines between colonization and immigration.

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’