Posts Tagged ‘Dinosaurs’

Waning Dinosaurs, Victim Of Their Success In A Warm Climate?

July 20, 2021

The question of the disappearance of the dinosaurs is closely entangled with the deepest philosophical questions (and already were so at the time of the Ancient Greece or China, where as recently as a few years ago dinosaur bones were mistaken for dragon remains, and finished as soup…) Do smarts have to do with it?

An old, all too old, idea is that, if dinosaurs had no gone extinct, mammals in general and homo in particular would not have arisen… Dinosaurs would have kept on eating mammals. Instead highest intelligence would have arisen from dinosaurs. Some scientists have claimed that, based on the size of T Rex’s brain, it was as smart as a chimp. But that dinosaurs prevented the rise of primates, let alone mammals, is a complete absurdity, as it blatantly contradicts logic and facts.

Instead, one can turn the argument on its head: maybe mammals caused, ultimately the disappearance of dinosaurs… With the little help from three well-known catastrophes…

Indeed here is the general scheme I propose: mammalian reptiles are arguably older than dinosaurs… They may have arisen directly from the previous mass extinction 250 million years ago. Then, as the climate became balmier for around 150 million years, dinosaurs could evolve… in a less demanding way. Dinosaurs were mesotherms: they generated some internal heat, and they often had some sorts of feathers for insulation. Still they were not fully generating their own heat in 36 C-96 F to 40 C, 100F range as mammals and birds do.

An analogy is aircraft carriers: the latest class of US supercarriers is on the verge of service. USS Gerald Ford (WW2 naval aviator who became president) is undergoing its last trials, which consist in giant submarine explosions next to the ship to check for shock resistance. The Ford is the same size and mass as the earlier carriers the last of which was built 35 years ago. However, Ford carries three times the electric power of the preceding Nimitz class. Ford is more energized than Nimitz. That enables Ford to do things Nimitz could not have done.

By being higher temperature constantly, thus much more energized, constantly, mammals and birds were constantly dangerous to dinosaurs.

Imagine this: the planet cooling, a whiff of a cold blast. What would dinosaurs do? Go sluggish, we know they were expert at that: some were living next to the poles and were probably used to semi-hibernation (as many bear species in cold climes do today). One can imagine the dinosaurs’ nests raided, during a cold worldwide “nuclear winter” by enterprising mammals and birds. Well before the mass extinction event of 66 million years ago, there were primates, and they survived the mass extinction (some fossils are from 100,000 years afterwards). Several species of the genus Purgatorius are known (see below).

The advantage and characteristic of the most powerful philosophy is to love, discern and use the biggest, strongest arguments. For example why two different inflation mechanisms in cosmic evolution… One of them all too much an apparent copy of the Bible… Yes, really! Do away with that latter Judaic inspiration, and simplify matters with an expanding but much older universe, using the only cosmic expansion we can see instead of a superluminal expansion ad hoc to save the Bible? That (philosophical) argument is so simple, I have no doubt it will impose itself, and everybody will forget that I originated it… Once the philosophical argument has been found, an educated guess, the scientific method can move in and check the details.

So back to dinosaurs, plesiosaurs, and pterosaurs. The pterosaurs were highly evolved, and much better fliers than the birds: whereas birds appeared around 150 million years ago, pterosaurs appeared 80 million years prior (230 million years ago), and birds probably hid in the forests, flying between the trees, thanks to their feathers, for as long as it took (namely 84 million years) to not become pterosaurs’ dinners (or then they live in climes too cold for pterosaurs… we have evidence of this). Still, then, in spite of their tremendous aerial mastery, and their four limb capability to launch their enormous masses in the air, the enormous flying dragons disappeared with the dinosaurs…. Probably victims of that same evolutionary trap, the balmy Jurassic-Cretaceous climate. Sluggish cold pterosaurs’ eggs eaten by rats or the like? That’s my (gory) vision of what happened. Here is, from the prestigious scientific journal Nature, June 29, 2021:

Dinosaur biodiversity declined well before the asteroid impact, influenced by ecological and environmental pressures

Abstract
The question why non-avian dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago (Ma) remains unresolved because of the coarseness of the fossil record. A sudden extinction caused by an asteroid is the most accepted hypothesis but it is debated whether dinosaurs were in decline or not before the impact. We analyse the speciation-extinction dynamics for six key dinosaur families, and find a decline across dinosaurs, where diversification shifted to a declining-diversity pattern ~76 Ma. We investigate the influence of ecological and physical factors, and find that the decline of dinosaurs was likely driven by global climate cooling and herbivorous diversity drop. The latter is likely due to hadrosaurs outcompeting other herbivores. We also estimate that extinction risk is related to species age during the decline, suggesting a lack of evolutionary novelty or adaptation to changing environments. These results support an environmentally driven decline of non-avian dinosaurs well before the asteroid impact.

Dinosaurs were dying, and had been dying out for millions of years, out-competed in a cooling climate by hot, conniving primates, warm energizer rabbits and hot, angry birds:

If I added the planetary temperature graph, it would look a bit like the collapsing diversification rate on the right…

Introduction
The most famous mass extinction was the disappearance of non-avian dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous, 66 million years ago (Mya), after ruling the Earth for 170 million years1,2,3. The best-supported extinction model is the impact of a large asteroid in the Yucatán Peninsula (Chicxulub, Mexico), which set off a global cataclysm and environmental upheaval4,5. Although evidence for an end-Cretaceous impact is indisputable6, most scientific debate has focused on whether the extinction was geologically abrupt or gradual7,8,9,10,11, whether it was caused by factors intrinsic to dinosaurs12,13,14,15 or by extrinsic physical drivers16,17,18 or both acting in concert19,20. If extrinsic events had a role, the question is whether this driver was terrestrial or extra-terrestrial21,22,23. It has proved harder to posit a convincing killing model that explains exactly how the dinosaurs, as well as many other groups24,25, vanished. And yet other groups of animals and plants survived through this singular, short-term crisis26,27. Could some groups have been teetering on the brink already? Furthermore, the extinctions coincide with a period of long-term environmental changes that resulted in remarkably high sea levels, cooling climates and the spread of new habitat types on land, as well as massive volcanic activity at the end of the Cretaceous16,19,20.

That there was an impact at the time, there is no doubt. That there was massive Large Igneous Province (LIP) at the time, there is no doubt. A LIP, the Siberian Traps, caused the even more massive mass extinction, 250 million years ago. Remarkably the bolide (I suspect a comet) impacted just when the Dekkan Traps were at their eruptive maximum (or so it seems at this point, 2021). It always seemed to me that one impactor the size of the one on Yucatan, was not enough. However, if the bolide was a comet, it may well have disintegrated in several fragments prior to impact, as happened with Jupiter and Shoemaker-Levy comet (which broke up in seven main fragments).

But there is an even bigger factor which seems indubitable: the biosphere was cooling. And we are talking drastic cooling, as much as seven (7) degrees centigrade over the Atlantic… for comparison, the Atlantic was only five degree C lower in temperature during the last glacial maximum, when monster glaciers kilometers high crushed New York…   

So I propose (and have long proposed, see Trapped By Super Traps) three layers in the dinosaur extinction:

1) The surface of the planet was cooling, and had been for dozens of millions of years. (Such large cooling, over dozens of millions of years are probably related to plate tectonic preventing warm water to get to the poles; this is why Antarctica got covered by ice, from the closing by the Indonesia island arc, simultaneous with the closing of Mesoamerica; once the poles ice up, the albedo of the planet shoots up, as solar radiation is sent back to space by ice and snow

2) Dekkan Traps had been erupting, for millions of years, causing all sorts of mayhem, from poisonous gases, sometimes heating the atmosphere, sometimes cooling it, acidifying the seas.

3) … with the impact of bolide(s) being the coup de grâce, driven by warm blooded hunger (the latest my idea).

From the Nature article:

The Late Cretaceous was a greenhouse world, characterized by high temperatures and reduced latitudinal temperature gradients72,73, which likely contributed to a flat latitudinal diversity gradient in dinosaurs74. Peak warmth was attained in the Cenomanian-Turonian (100–90 Ma) with sea-surface temperatures reaching ≥30 °C in the tropics and the southern latitudes72,73,75. After this interval, sea-surface and deep-water temperatures decreased to the cooler greenhouse of the Campanian–Maastrichtian (80–66 Ma)72,73,76. This important cooling (~7 °C in North Atlantic77, and ~10 °C in southern latitudes76), which intensified during the Maastrichtian until the K/Pg event, could have impacted dinosaur diversity. However, other factors, such as Cretaceous geological changes17,41 or floristic turnover78,79 should not be discarded.

These results imply that warm periods favoured dinosaur diversification whereas cooler periods led to enhanced extinctions, as observed in the latest Late Cretaceous77. This result is particularly in agreement with a recent analysis of multiple tetrapod phylogenies showing the significant effect of Cenozoic cooling on diversification slowdowns, which is linked to the metabolic theory of biodiversity63. As dinosaurs were probably mesothermic organisms85 with varying thermoregulation abilities in different groups86, their activities were probably partially constrained by environmental temperatures. This is particularly true of larger dinosaurs, which almost certainly relied substantially on mass homeothermy to maintain constant body temperatures. It is likely that climatic deterioration would have made such a thermoregulatory strategy more difficult, and that global climate cooling was an important driver of the dinosaur diversity decline as indicated by the MBD diversification model. A physiological explanation for the cooling-driven extinction could be the hypothesis that if sex determination in dinosaurs was temperature dependent, as in crocodiles and turtles, sex switching of embryos could have contributed to diversity loss with a cooling global climate at the end of the Cretaceous87.

So basically the essay is saying in a thorough way what I also said… With, in my case, the twist that predation by fast, hot species may have been the ultimate factor. 

A few years ago I was talking with a friend of mine, a top paleontologist (he is the top editor of the subject at Science, chair of a paleontology department in a most prestigious university, and head of a museum…). And also an extinction-by-bolide advocate. When I exposed the preceding to him, he said: “Oh, but then you are saying that the bolide gave the coup de grâce… So the bolide caused the extinction…” No, not quite. The house was on fire (that’s the 25 million years cooling), then got full of lethal smoke (that’s the Deccan Traps), then a beam fell on the unfortunate half passed out dinosaurs (that’s the bolide), trapping its leg, but even then the coup de grâce happened when the rats ate alive the trapped beast…

Causation is often a complicated matter, more of a causal web than a causal chain.

As long as the planetary climate was cooling the mesothermic (middle-temperature) creatures were doomed, from competition from warm mammals and hot avian, high metabolism dinosaurs (the birds). Paradoxically the very success of say, Pterosaurs, caused their doom. Pterosaurs were such efficient fliers that they did not need the highest metabolism, high temperatures of avian dinosaurs: Pterosaurs fell victim of a sort of evolutionary hubris. 

But wait a minute, some may say, what about dinosaurs in Alaska? Yes, certainly. Polar dinosaurs are an archeological fact.

Dinosaurs certainly could not migrate out of the way of Antarctic or Alaskan winter, the distances are immense, no non-flying animal could cover them. Evidence of adaptation to Arctic conditions, such as smaller size, are clear. Predators, such as in Troodon, a feathery, eight-foot-long dinosaur genus with large eyes, to see in the polar night, showed that they spent the winter there. So then what of brutal winter caused by an impacting comet or massive eruption, why couldn’t dinosaurs resist to it? If they could resist to winter? As I said, a sudden drop of say twenty centigrade all over, would have made life very difficult. We know, from fossil evidence that dinosaurs became sluggish in winter, they stopped growing. So a “nuclear winter” would have made them go comatose big time, and the frantic hot blooded critters would have viewed dinosaurs as living refrigerators, full of ready to eat meals… Actually feathered dinosaurs found in Australia, at that time, more than 100 million years ago, by the South Pole had dark feathers (in summer)… and shared their ecology with flight capable birds… not pterosaurs… This observation, if it holds, shows that pterosaurs, which are suspected to have been warm blooded, and furry (with sort-of hair), were not as warm blooded as birds. In any case the K-T extinction was massive, and many bird and mammals species went extinct. The slight difference in sluggishness may be all one needs to get an explanation for the disappearance of dinosaurs and pterosaurs, etc.. When the going gets tough, the toughs get going…

Here is one of our potential ancestors, Purgatorius, below, an omnivorous primate, getting smarter, hunting meat, was around while dinosaurs roamed. Purgatorius is highly evolved, so it is likely that primates got started well before 100 million years ago. 

As the long sharp teeth above show, our ancestors were omnivorous… And that means that, if dinosaurs were too sluggish, they, or their young or eggs, were dinner. So it is entirely possible that, in the end, we, or at least our fellow warm blooded relatives, are the ultimate cause of the dinosaurs’ disappearance…

Patrice Ayme

Did Planetary Cooling Make Dinosaurs Vulnerable? 

August 1, 2020

The ongoing argument over the theories of dinosaur disappearance all too often ignore that dinosaur populations had already been in decline for tens of millions of years before the impact and, or, volcanic events which caused their brutal demise.

The obvious cause for a dinosaur and sea reptile decline would be cooling of the planet, giving an advantage to animals capable of regulating their internal temperature, in particular by staying warm enough where it mattered: birds and mammals, but also some fishes (tuna, sharks, which can keep their major swim muscles as warm as if they were mammals).

This is a very rough picture, but notice the cooling towards the end of the Cretaceous. Whatever happen next, and massive volcanism and a huge impact certainly happened, drastic cooling would have happen (‘nuclear winter”) for weeks, months, or years…

Indeed dinosaurs and their fellow in the air and the seas, although immensely advanced and efficient in many ways, which enabled them to evolve absolutely gigantic forms in the air or on land, had one Achilles’ heel: they were mesotherms, neither too cold nor too warm, depending a lot of the balmy climate which ruled the planet, all the way to the poles. That does not mean the cold killed them directly. The cold, plus the comparative advantage it gave to small hot and nasty mammals would have, as I have argued in my quasi-extinction theory I also use to explain the quasi disappearance of homo Neanderthalis.

_______

Our results highlight that dinosaurs showed a marked reduction in their ability to replace extinct species with new ones, making them vulnerable to extinction and unable to respond quickly to and recover from the final catastrophic event 66 Mya.

– from research article “Dinosaurs in decline tens of millions of years before their final extinction” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/04/13/1521478113

It’s a bit as with the decline of Rome: dinosaurs could evolve new species, but not a whole new method of staying warm enough to avoid being eaten! Similarly Rome could not change its entire systems of thought and moods, as they all considered slavery the core of civilization! When you are too far in, being wiped out is the only outcome…

Patrice Ayme

***

***

The paper admits that some herbivore dinosaurs species were not in decline… But I gave the reason above for the overall decline.

“Whether dinosaurs were in a long-term decline or whether they were reigning strong right up to their final disappearance at the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction event 66 Mya has been debated for decades with no clear resolution. The dispute has continued unresolved because of a lack of statistical rigor and appropriate evolutionary framework. Here, for the first time to our knowledge, we apply a Bayesian phylogenetic approach to model the evolutionary dynamics of speciation and extinction through time in Mesozoic dinosaurs, properly taking account of previously ignored statistical violations. We find overwhelming support for a long-term decline across all dinosaurs and within all three dinosaurian subclades (Ornithischia, Sauropodomorpha, and Theropoda), where speciation rate slowed down through time and was ultimately exceeded by extinction rate tens of millions of years before the K-Pg boundary. The only exceptions to this general pattern are the morphologically specialized herbivores, the Hadrosauriformes and Ceratopsidae, which show rapid species proliferations throughout the Late Cretaceous instead. Our results highlight that, despite some heterogeneity in speciation dynamics, dinosaurs showed a marked reduction in their ability to replace extinct species with new ones, making them vulnerable to extinction and unable to respond quickly to and recover from the final catastrophic event.”

Extinction Of Dinosaurs & Demoncrats: A Unified Theory

November 27, 2016

Obsolete Dinosaurs Extinguished In Anguish by Blossoming Mammals, Newer, Better, More Energized.  Same Fate For Smaller Brained Demoncrats?

[The science in this essay is real (although the thesis proposed is new, as far as I know). However, the science is used to generate a sarcastic analogy in the last few sentences.]

My opinion about the main cause for the disappearance of dinosaurs, plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, etc. is that what I call “core volcanism”, also known as super Traps. Massive hyper volcanism, with ejecta of the order of 10,000 times that of the proverbial asteroid, changed the climate durably when the Dekkan Traps started to erupt (millions of years before an asteroid hit Yucatan, future base of the Maya). Weirdly, the Dekkan Traps eruption reached its paroxysm around the time of the asteroid strike (the detailed timing of what exactly happened when is ever more refined, every year). However dinosaurs and their cousins were made for a warm Jurassic climate (the sort we, the fossil carbon burners are trying to implement in the next 100 years). Dinosaurs and their ilk had insufficient temperature generation capability, something birds and mammals, being of a much higher metabolism, due to their much greater internal heat generation, had plenty of.

Mammalian reptiles appeared 250 million years ago or so. Full mammals are more than 3% of the age of the Earth old. Large ( meter long or more) carnivorous mammals existed already 150 million years ago, around the time birds diverged from dinosaurs.

Mesozoic Repenomamus, about one meter long were found with dinosaurs in their stomach:

Repenomamus Mammals Hunting for Dinosaur Prey during the Mid-Jurassic Period of Europe.

An Early Case of Advanced Types Devouring Demoncrats? Furry Repenomamus Mammals Hunting for Dinosaur Prey during the Early Cretaceous Period of Europe. Mesozoic Era, 122 Million Years Ago.

So picture this: climate cools, dinosaurs, which were spread from the poles to the equator, have increasing difficulties, the number of their species go down. How come dinosaurs could not adapt? Probably because mammals and birds ate them, or their young.

Mammals and birds may well have been a complicating factor in the change of fauna at the end of the Cretaceous. Mammals and birds, capable of sustaining higher metabolism in cooler climes turned a near-extinction into a full extinction. They were a catalyst accelerating the reaction. This is supported by direct scientific evidence, not just philosophy. Some Cretaceous mammals fed on juvenile dinosaurs. It does not require much imagination to figure out that massive carnivorous mammals, whose fossils have been found, had been into that habit for already 100 million years when dinosaurs croaked terminally.

Some may sneer: they don’t know enough. Mammaliaformes are actually 225 million years old. They had evolved from large brained ancestors descending from mammalian reptiles which, themselves, evolved from Synapsids. Synapsids were the largest terrestrial vertebrates in the Permian period, 299 to 251 million years ago. (Large Synapsids were annihilated by the Siberian Traps eruption… however those among synapsids which had become bigger brained, and more prone to make burrows did survive… Thus big braininess in mammalian ancestors was established 251 million years ago…)

In the Jurassic, mammals tended to occupy the niche of smallness. Not that they were terrified by the dinosaurs and tried to make themselves as small as possible, like Trump voters terrified of rampaging demonocrats. More simply, I guess, dinosaurs could not make themselves very small, as they would lose too much heat. So anything smaller than a chicken was a mammal, or the soon to evolve birds.

What sort of philosophy to extract from all of this? Brains and higher metabolism, higher energy lifestyle, can overwhelm the more primitive forms. Extinction itself is multicausal: maybe if neither birds nor mammals (nor sharks or sea-going crocs) had been around, dinosaurs, plesiosaurs, pterosaurs and mosasaurs would have survived the considerable climate cooling at the end of the Cretaceous.

Demoncrats and plutocrats are whining all over as they (correctly) fear going extinct. Asteroid Trump has landed, the climate was changing already anyway, disaster looms for these primitive forms. Flushed with new notions, more clever monsters are roaming the land, devouring the very environment which sustained demoncratic, even plutocratic life, not to say lies. This is how dinosaurs disappeared: global change, and the death-blow given by better equipped, given the new circumstances, opportunistic predators.

Please stay tuned.

Patrice Ayme’

Aphorisms June 2012

June 28, 2012

Dinosaurs Warmed Blooded After All?

Some have argued that dinosaurs had hearts like birds. Now some Spanish researchers have confirmed older studies on dinosaur bones. However the best evidence for warm blooded dinosaurs may simply be that birds evolved from bird like dinosaurs.

That latter observation is typical of the philosophical approach, in this case, using an economy of thought: since the birds, present in the last 80 million years of the dinosaurs’ reign, were warm blooded (right from the start, as flying requires lots of energy), it stretches the imagination that they would have grown wings, feathers, and become warm blooded simultaneously .

To quote the San Francisco Chronicle: …”in his conclusive argument in Nature that accompanied the report, titled “A bone for all seasons,” Kevin Padian of the UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology noted that microscopic features of dinosaur bones show precisely the same lines of arrested development as the bones that Köhler and her colleagues studied in modern animals, which live in all the world’s climates.

The bone growth patterns of dinosaurs establishes that they grew just like large mammals do, and at comparable rates,” Padian said in an e-mail Wednesday. “So their physiology could not have been like lizards and crocodiles, which grow much more slowly and whose bones look very different inside.

Padian has long argued that warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals have formed a “continuum” in evolution.

***

…But Are Many Thinkers Cold Blooded?

Actually there never was any evidence that dinosaurs were ectotherms,” Padian said Wednesday. “It was just sort of like, well, dinosaurs are reptiles, and living reptiles are cold-blooded, so dinosaurs were cold-blooded too.

The last part that I emphasized is fascinating. You see, scientists are supposed to be temples of reason. But, actually, they are not. Just like most of the commoners, scientists are careful to toe the line. Scientific revolutions are rarely engineered by anybody else but outcasts, or extremely fierce personalities.

All to often, in science physical or human, and also in philosophy, or even literature, reasoning by induction means to follow the flow of common wisdom, or common emotionality. Nothing more. The herd is safe, and the herd is thrilling, when it stampedes.

***

Crazy Does It:

The big lessons from modern logic, starting with Russel, and then Goedel. Logic comes with context. Moreover, logic wants to grow out of the context that gave birth to it. But it cannot. Except when we take a (by definition not rational in the sense of the old logic) decision about what the new context will do. Thus, not only the heart has its reason that reason does not, but reason needs reasons that it does not have.

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World War Two Resistants Tell You: Behind It All, The Same Mass Criminality As In 1939:

Manolis Glezos is a 89 years old Greek. He was a European MP, and was a candidate for the radical left, against the austerity plan. For him, there is no doubt: global finance is the enemy. same as in WWII.

Some say: how do you dare assimilate what is going now with what happened with Nazism? Some even claim that what happened with Hitler is incommensurate with anything, before and after.

William Randolph Hearst, the American press magnate, was paid by Hitler, from German taxpayer money. In 2009 a visiting Jewish tourist to the “Hearst Castle” in California, recognized family paintings which had been stolen by the Nazis. Hitler gave them to Hearst in… 1935. (A lot of the Nazi economic miracle had to do with stealing opponents, and redistributing the stolen riches to supporters.) The paintings were returned by the National Park Service.

As I have long argued, it is the same (sort of) people, the same organizations who financed, and organized Nazism. The banker JP Morgan was in the lead, when Hitler was still in primary school.

That idea has also been put forward by Stephane Hessel, 94 years old, and an authentic hero of the resistance and the free French in WWII (although he was an “Israelite”, so one would think he would have laid low, but most French Jews actually were in the forefront of the armed struggle. them and the old right wing French aristocrats).

Mr. Glezos is famous in Greece. In 1941, he climbed up the Acropolis, and stole the Nazi flag that was floating there. his brother was caught, and shot, with another 700 other Greeks, that day, that hour, in that place..

***

Serfdom: On Its Way Back In The USA?

I explained many times that Obama’s ironically labeled “Affordable Health Care Act” was unconstitutional. But Roberts, Chief Justice, a Bush right wing appointee, found it constitutional. Am I an idiot?

No: Chief Justice Roberts just decided the obligation of getting into a private contract with a private health insurance company was a “tax“. That I did not expect. It is of course incorrect in a res-publica, because, in a republic, taxation is only paid to the government.

The naïve on the left applaud: they do not see that Obamacare was right wing. Now Roberts has gone further right. Makes sense.

Indeed, is there a precedent? Assuredly, private taxation was deemed to be correct when the Frankish authorities established the feudal system. (Private taxation culminated with the “Fermiers Generaux“, who were decapitated in the French revolution.)

However, the Franks had kept some republican decency. The Franks knew that it made no sense to force commoners into contracts with private parties (in this case the Lords), in a republic. The Roman empire they had reconstituted, the Imperium Romanorum, was, after 800 CE, as in its preceding version, based in Rome and Constantinople, viewed as a sort of republic. After all the Frankish kings were -supposedly- elected!

Thus Frankish law made a principle that serfs were in a contract with the lords, because the lords provided services. When those services were discontinued (say because the serfs fled), this contract was broken (that it was broken by the serf was irrelevant). Thus the serf was relieved of this contract. Hence, if a serf ‘escaped’ for 30 days, he was a plain, normal Frank, that is, he, or she, was free. Many of the newly freed went to the cities. Cities did not depend upon lords (except for the rather theoretical oversight of the imperial government, that is, in France, or England, the king).

No such opportunity in the present USA.

I spent last weekend with a health care professional, a top notch doctor, who told me how to rack up the medical bills by 100%, for the benefit of the doctor signing such bills. In several ways. I will not give any details at this point, because it was rather confidential.

Taxpayer money irrigating uncontrolled corruption reeks of plutocratic perversion. Obamacare will change that not. However, the American left’s tenors are officially happy: more taxpayer money to be sent to plutocrats, so that they take care of the commoners. An American creed is that to be rich is good, and one proof is that the rich are good (that’s why they are called “philanthropists“).

Chairs have been re-arranged on the Titanic, the commoners are happy, the orchestra is still playing, the sea is calm: what could go wrong on SS USA?

***

When Confusion Is A Weapon:

A trick was found, long ago: playing dumb, allowing to do evil, as if by accident.

The idea is to confuse the issue of deliberate evil behind the smokescreen of, well, complete confusion. There is no magic, but there are people doing as if they believed in it, and their alleged idiocy allows them to hide their Dark Side. Various superstitions and religions have been used that way too.

Ultimately the principle is always the same: excusing one’s evil behind a thick cloud of playing dumb.

The Iraq invasion was propelled by total evil: on Fox News, luminaries were claiming that the invasion would pay for itself. A minimal aim was achieved: to demolish Iraq as an independent force. Iraqi oil is pretty much shut down at this point, and that allowed the USA to switch to fracking, while, of course, Iraq was prevented to trade in euros…

Now Americans are coming up, explaining to us all that they just confused reason and magic. But, when Obama targets families for assassination (as the New York Times recently claimed), it’s not because Obama believes in magic. It’s because he believes in evil.

***

Athens Had Direct Democracy, We Have Kings;

Representative democracy, clearly, does not work. Ancient Athens used a form of direct democracy (the ecclesia, the popular assembly, had 43,000 members). Even the Populus of republican Rome kept, for many centuries, a very tight leash on elected officials (Consul were elected for a year, but the powers rotated between the two Consuls on a monthly basis).

Right now we elect kings with more powers than kings of passed ages ever had. Then we pretend the People rules. But if it walks like a king, speaks like a king, rules like a king, and even order assassinations in full view, as Obama does, it is a king.

In a first reform, one should adopt a Swiss like system, where a seven member Federal Council rules, rather than one person (although there is a president, elected for a year within the council). In Europe, parliament could elect the Commission, or something like that.

 ***

 Something Economists Don’t Understand: The Economy Is Not Fundamentally About Money:

Economy is, ultimately, what the state decides to do, some of which it calls “the market”. For example, in the USA, the military-industrial complex is (still) strong.
When the state decides nothing, and, instead, let the unelected bankers, and other plutocrats run amok, we don’t lose just democracy, but even the economy. This is what we observe presently.

Two heads of the Camerkozy are still alive and biting the destitute, by the way…

Being a full human being is an indispensable way for making one’s thoughts better, and deeper.  Greed is not enough that way. Yet, thinking is man’s most productive work. To overlook this is a major flaw of conventional socio-economic thinking.

The Internet is a storm in which minds get easily spread about to the four winds, for the best, and the worst. An advantage, and a threat.

***

 How To Save Rhinoceroses:

Just harvest their horns in official programs. After the horn has been cut, the rhinoceros loses its financial value. Yet, the horn regrows. Thus rhinoceroses’ horns can be harvested. Domesticated rhinos don’t mind. They use their horns in combat. But, on a farm, they don’t have to fight (actually horns have been cut by rangers on wild rhinos from particularly threatened sub species!)

Rhino horn material is worth several times gold, by weight. Something about China. So farming rhinos for their horns could pay for much nature conservation… Besides saving entire rhino species.

Making the profit motive a friend of conservation, an ally to the biosphere: that’s not re-arranging the chairs on the Titanic, while playing democratic music. The sea is not calm. The sea is rising, faster and faster. Planet Earth is sinking.  We can do better than re-arranging chairs and playing irrelevant music.

A way to achieve serious relief, would be with a carbon tax. After all, carbon burning has already killed hundreds of times more than nuclear (even including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which is not fair). But have Obama and company the sort of brains, and guts needed to impose a carbon tax? Not, so far (even though it would solve the Taxgameddon problem).

***

Patrice Ayme


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GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

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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

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RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

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Power Exponentiation By A Few Destroyed Greco-Roman Civilization. Are We Next?

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

Rise, Republic, Plutocracy, Degeneracy, Fall And Transmutation Of Rome

Power Exponentiation By A Few Destroyed Greco-Roman Civilization. Are We Next?

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