Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE SOON ALL TOO HUMAN

March 10, 2016

What Characterizes Human Intelligence?

HOW DO HUMAN & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCES DIFFER?

We had a president Obama running amok with his “signature strikes” with half-blind drones with pixelated vision killing civilians, far from battle fields, in far-away lands. These crimes full of technological arrogance gave a bad name to Artificial Intelligence. Are we far from robots running amok? It’s clear that the Obamas of this world will have to be reined in.

The (Korean) world champion of the famous Chinese game “Go” was beaten by a Google computer: “I am very surprised because I have never thought I would lose. I didn’t know that AlphaGo would play such a perfect Go.” The champ looked a bit frazzled, but not as angry as Gary Kasparov, the world chess champion, when he was beaten by an IBM computer program, DeepBlue. Kasparov stormed out of the room.

Kasparov’s anger was not an intelligent reaction, because it was obvious, all along, that chess is not such an intelligent game that a simple machine cannot do better. If you want a really  intelligent game, try to become really ethical (vote for Sanders, not the corrupt one). Ethics? A supremely human game where my friend Obama failed miserably. He and his toys, armies of drones and plutocrats.

The Artificial Neural Networks We Build Do Not Grow Naturally. And Their Neuronal Nodes Are Simplistic Relative To Real Neurons. Real Neurons Are Environmentally Sensitive Self Building Micro Computers.

The Artificial Neural Networks We Build Do Not Grow Naturally. And Their Neuronal Nodes Are Simplistic Relative To Real Neurons. Real Neurons Are Environmentally Sensitive Self Building Micro Computers.

“Go” is 3,000 years old. A Go board is 19 by 19, a Chess board, is 8 by 8. People who love to sound scientific say: “Go has more combinations that there are atoms in the universe” (reality check: we don’t know how big the universe is, so we cannot know how many atoms are therein!)

DeepBlue used brute force to beat Kasparov. With “Go”, the breakthrough came from using neural networks. Neural networks can be made to learn. The computer used a program called “Alphago” (devised by my whipping boy, Google, which I congratulate, for once!)  “Alphago” had to use something closer to “INTUITION”, some even say, imagination.

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Does Patrice “Make Things Up”? I Hope So!

A few days ago, I pointed out to some would-be Stoics that the trite rejoinder of his admirers that Marcus Aurelius was the first emperor “with a natural born son” was a grotesque lie. I rolled out counterexamples, complete with the names of various sons…

All these sons were not named emperors-to-be, by their doting fathers. Only Marcus Aurelius did that This is of considerable import, because Marcus Aurelius is viewed as a pinnacle of wisdom by a large following (Marcus is the Muhammad of Stoicism).

Whereas I claim that, when Aurelius named his five year old son second in command in the empire (“Caesar”), contrarily to all Roman tradition, Marcus Aurelius showed he was anything but wise. Insane maniac, would-be king, violating the Republic is more like it. In particular, the two emperors just prior to Marcus Aurelius had more than three sons and grandsons, yet nominated none of them as successors when they were children. Although Marcus did. (Even the kings of Saudi Arabia don’t really do this!)

That, in turn, shows that Marcus’ followers have a serious problem evaluating reality. And sure they do.

A philosopher with a prestigious chair reacted angrily, accused me in public of “MAKING THINGS UP”. Even as a self-described “stoic” he could not take the reality of all these sons anymore.

Of course, I did not make anything up, in this particular case. I shoot vicious minds to kill, or, at least, maim. It’s best done with the truth.

But accusation got me to think. Do I make things up? That’s one beautiful thing about nature and its dangerous animals: even rattlesnakes can help me to think. Especially rattlesnakes.

The obvious glared back to me: even to find the truth, one has to make things up. First make things up (that’s imagination, which is most important, as Einstein pointed out). That’s making a theory. Or, in the deep cases, making a new neural networks (this is the part where intuition, that is emotion enters, as it is exactly what builds the network). Then checks that this new theory fits the truth (that’s the part where the network learn).

In the case of Aurelius, after revering him for a few decades, I came across facts and quotes which changed my emotional disposition relative to him. Instead of staying a psychological prisoner of his “Meditations”, I became an hostile witness, and explored facts which would demonstrate Marcus Aurelius’ viciousness. I found plenty (including the “natural son” story).

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HUMAN HIGHEST INTELLIGENCE IS ABOUT MAKING THINGS UP:

My theory of the mind is simple: impelled by genetics and epigenetics (both in the most general sense imaginable) plus the environment, neural circuitry gets elaborated in an attempt to make mini models of pieces of nature within the brain. So mental circuits are (SORTS OF) answers to the environment.

“Sort of” is crucial: it means the neural circuitry elaborated in reaction will often NOT be (capable of being) a faithful (enough) model of the environment. That’s literally impossible, but that discrepancy is precious.

That discrepancy is the difference between what the neural circuitry impelled by the (perceived) environment and said (real) environment, is human creativity.

(I say “human”, for ease of conceptualization, but actually I should say “animal intelligence”.)

What is going on with Artificial Neural Network machines? They learn, as we do through what is called the Hebbian mechanism.

How to explain neural network learning in the simplest terms? Basically, in very rough first approximation, imagine the neural network is a canal system (made of canal which can be eroded). Suppose one wants an output: more water through a desired exit gate. Suppose one augment the flow there (say by lowering that exit gate). The canal network will adjust itself to maximize output.

However, we, very intelligent animals use a META-HEBBIAN mechanism of neuronal network genesis. In Artificial Neural Networks, the network is given, and then it learns: the neural circuit is provided presently by humans to become part of a machine.

The machine does not make it itself. But we do.

Human brains literally make things up, because we objectively, physically, make our neural networks up. We do not just tweak our networks. The networks which characterize our highest intelligence are themselves answers to the environment we are in.

To make a neural network we use emotions: it is known that emotional activity drives dendrite growth, thanks to glial activity.

These neural networks’ construction is tightly controlled from the outside, not just by the environment in the most general sense, but, essentially, by what we call culture. Culture is the set of schematics of the networks which work.

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So, when we want to explore if machines could become as clever as human beings, we have to ask: could machines be devised to make things up? Could machines be devised which would make their own artificial neural networks?

Many of our fundamental neural networks (such as those controlling breathing) from “genetics” (in the most general sense). Those arise semi-automatically (with minimal back and forth with the environment). However, we make our own most sophisticated neural networks from the emotions which guide their architecture. Emotions are organized topologically, with NON-METRIC topology.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, and certainly worryingly, yes, we could make machines which have their own emotions which build their own neural networks. There is no reason to think we could not build such machines. They probably would have to use artificial neurons, etc. (And why not real neurons?)

The superiority of the human mind comes from making things up, or making ourselves up. Such machines would be similar.

Technologies, the special discourses, are our genus’ genius. Technologies made our genus possible, for at least three million years. Artificial, creative intelligence is more of the same, generating what we become. Not only we are becoming gods, but gods we cannot even imagine.

Imagination is when we make things up. It entails the construction of neural networks which will constitute what future knowledge is made of. This is why imagination is more important than knowledge. Because, without imagination, all the knowledge we would have would reflect neither creativity, nor even will.

Oh, by the way, should we panic? No. But it means that clueless individuals such as the ethically challenged Obama should not have the powers he had under stupid and Nazi-like technology such as drones used to kill civilians. It’s not a matter of replacing Obama by Sanders (although that would be a good idea).

We need a revolution (as Sanders say). We are going to get, in any case, a technological revolution. Intelligence is going to become a science.

But that intelligence revolution has to be about direct democracy fed by the best information possible, that is, total transparency, the exact opposite of the world the malefactor manufacturer Apple is proposing to us. And Obama in all this? He has only a few months to atone for the crimes he committed with the wanton usage of high tech he made. But first, he would have to realize how egregious they were.

This goes well beyond drones. Having the correct ethics will be fundamental for the safe and effective deployment of all too human artificial intelligence.

Patrice Ayme’

Solar Roads

October 15, 2015

Solar Roads Versus Objection Mars:

Long ago, when the sun had not set yet on the will of the West to progress, a poet was visiting my home. He read some of his poetry. Humanity had just reached the Moon. The poet loftily declared that we did not need the Moon, we needed to fight hunger.

Later, the malaria parasite mutated, becoming resistant to standard treatment. Now it kills more than 1.2 million people a year. A typical objection to colonizing the Solar System is this:

“as I see it – Scott’s movie (even if I’m a sci-fi fan and I love some movies of him as well: Blade Runner is definitely a masterpiece) is a mere conservative propaganda aiming for people to agree that these extremely expensive missions to Mars are more important than saving African children from ebola, helping Syrian refugees, letting Europe be democratic yet or supporting laws against free guns in the US … Save the “american” astronaut, guys!” The answer is crushing, it holds in one picture:

French Truck On Solar Photo-Voltaic Road: the Future Has Arrived

French Truck On Solar Photo-Voltaic Road: the Future Has Arrived

There is nothing “conservative” about missions to Mars. Quite the opposite: such missions are fully progressive. They force humanity to progress.

Disease in Africa has to do with lack of governance. Lack of hospital has to do with lack of governance. In the Ebola epidemic, the countries that were struck were struck from lack of organized health care.

Senegal got one, just one, imported Ebola case. The patient got cured, and that was it. Even Mali, with better governance, in spite of a Jihadist invasion, was able to contain a few imported cases. Meanwhile, several countries next door, which are intrinsically much richer (Sierra Leone, Guinea. Liberia) saw thousands of deaths, and containment came from the efforts of NGOs, France and the USA (mostly).

When France pulled out of Africa, some particularly smart critic told a senior French government minister that the argument of “freeing” Africa from alleged colonialism made no humanitarian sense: there was no “colonialism” to speak of, and who was going to pay for one hospital every 100 kilometers in the world’s second largest continent? The minister smiled, and said: “this is precisely the point, we will not incur that expense anymore.”

Two capabilities save children in general: a) good governance. b) science.

When considering a Mars mission in this connection, one has to answer if the Mars mission will improve governance and science. Governance itself is a science. A mission to Mars is “expensive”. How much? 100 million dollars? 200 millions? How much would a Mars colonization program cost to launch? Two trillion dollars?

According to the International Monetary Fund, subsidies for fossil fuels are more than 5.5 trillion dollars a year. Enough to set-up a village on Mars, with existing technology.

Now going to Mars would force drastic progress in, say, fuel cells. The technology of fuel cells was invented for the Moon mission. After Obama became president, the research funding on this field was yanked out (probably to send money to businessmen such as Elon Musk).

Mars colonization would force enormously innovative research in energy technology, for example fuel cells, and nuclear energy (both fission and fusion).

Nothing else will.

Syrian refugees? Mars will not save Syrians? Nothing is more removed from the truth. Mars, the god of war, is what is needed in Syria, fighting for Goodness, instead of having Mars fight in the name of the devil Assad, as was mostly done so far.

The 300,000 dead in Syria, the eleven million refugees, have been caused by the rule of a single, cornered man, Assad, son of Assad, and the clique surrounding him. To solve the Syrian refugees crisis, Assad’s rule ought to be terminated, so that he could be replaced by generals open to enough democracy to keep Syrians in Syria.

Unfortunately the Franco-American decapitation strike against Assad was called off by Obama, for reasons so far unexplained. So the massacre keeps on going, with forces under the orders of Assad killing at least ten times as much what the Islamist State kills.

Fossil fuels consumption, should it go on for a few more decades, will bring the global temperature up five degrees Celsius, and massacre the biosphere. It has to stop, but can be stopped only with plentiful, cheap, new energy sources.

That, or massive war (killing billions).

How? Science to the rescue. Without evoking the spectrum of nuclear energy (fission and fusion), Solar Photo-Voltaic (SPV) is here. Normal solar panels were developed for space missions. Without space colonization, they would not have been developed. Yet, solar panels are fragile. Or, more exactly, were fragile until now.

A giant French construction company (Bouygues) deposed patents to cover-up solar cells with various materials to make them tough. Glass can be made as hard as steel. Then Bouygues engineers drove more than a million vehicles above the toughened-up panels in a few test cities (Chambery, Grenoble). Now the first solar road is under construction. Four meters of said road can satisfy a house’s needs. 100 square meters (twenty meters of the linear road depicted) are enough to drive 100,000 kilometers with an electric vehicle. If 25% of French roads were covered, 100% of French electric needs would be covered.

The future, the good future, is here: it’s enough to let science roll. But science needs challenges. Such as Mars colonization. If (very serious) scientists and mathematicians need bananas, such as the Fields Medal and the Nobel Prize, certainly humanity needs bigger motivation, and bigger prizes than that!

You want morality? More morality? Then you need a bigger science. And the way to get a better science is by setting higher objectives, greater passions, more exacting thoughts. Progress, the Will to Progress, is a mood. It cannot be confined to moral progress, because the universe juggles with evil. Moral progress means technological progress.  Mars colonization is no moral objection. Objective Mars is a moral imperative.

Patrice Ayme’

Science, Mars, Or Moral Bust

October 14, 2015

In the first democratic debate, Hillary Clinton said she was “a progressive who likes to get things done.” Let’s hope they will be less plutocratic than the “things” done by her husband. Meanwhile the question came up from others that going to Mars, or similar colossal techno-scientific progress had no humanitarian value. Before a more organized rebuttal, here goes my poetical opinion:

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Science, Mars, Or Moral Bust

Many are the passions

Many are the tragedies

Against tragedies goodness,

All too often contend in vain.

Lest emotions move men and fate

Out of complacency, indifference,

Careers, self-admiring seriousness,

And obey the call of love for mind, sentience..

Yet, even when passions move us,

Towards the noblest goals, with the best intentions

All too often we find there is nothing

We can do at all, against pain and suffering:

When our magic, our science, come short..

To feel right and think right,

Does not mean we can do right.

For enabling goodness we need the powers,

The very powers which feed from,

By, and with, the Dark Side.

Power itself is dark.

Yet noble, and fundamentally us.

So yes, by any means,

Go to Mars.

It will nurture new emotions,

Wealth of transcendent emotions,

Not just lofty and intricate thoughts,

Humanity define.

We have always gone to Mars,

Ever since we left leafy trees.

We will stop,

Only when our fundamental lust,

What defines us,

Progress,

Dies with us.

 

Killer Robots Inevitable, Resistance Futile

July 29, 2015

Over one thousands experts, professors, renowned intellectuals, Stephen Hawking, even Elon Musk, the unavoidable Noam Chomsky, and, ironically enough, plenty of the actors of the computer industry, have signed a naive, hypocritical, and ineffective letter to ban “autonomous killing systems” (the letter is to be presented soon). Their agenda? Mass distraction, to divert us from the real problem, while making us believe that they really care. If they really cared, they would promote the solution I advocate, the one and only.

They pontificate: “The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI [Artificial Intelligence] arms race or to prevent it from starting. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable.” Is that the key question? What about the CO2 crisis, with its melting poles and increasingly acid oceans.

Autonomous Killing Systems Already Exist, But Direct Democracy Does Not

Autonomous Killing Systems Already Exist, But Direct Democracy Does Not

As if there was not a continual Artificial Intelligence arms race? There has been one, since 1940, or so. And there better be, if democracies want to stay on top, and world war avoided. Automated killing machines are moving swiftly from science fiction to reality…

The deployment of such systems is – practically if not legally – feasible within years, not decades,

Excuse me?  The PHALANX anti-aircraft, and anti-missile system is an automated fire-control system enabling it to automatically search for, detect, track, engage, and kill. Entirely autonomously, yes. It’s nickname is “R2-D2”, from the half smart robot by the same name in Star Wars. All major capital ships of the USA, and those of 16 allies, are equipped with it. Each American aircraft carrier carries several, covering all approaches.

So what are the worthies talking about?

Nothing. They are just posing as good people. They want us to believe they deserve our trust. They are smart enough to know no state which can equip itself with autonomous killing systems will hesitate to do so. So their approach is both immoral, thoroughly hypocritical, and deeply ineffective.

Forbidding democracies to use autonomous killing systems will make those a monopoly of dictatorships. It’s a no-go approach, as far as any half-smart military is concerned.

So what is the correct approach, oh great know-it all?

Granted that democracies will be anxious to equip themselves with autonomous killing systems, be it only to save soldiers’ lives, how can we make sure such systems will not veer into the situation depicted in the Terminator or Matrix movies, where machines take over?

Very simple: Direct Democracy. Direct Democracy is the solution to rule over robots, not just plutocrats. If every citizen is involved in the utilization, and the decisions to use such autonomous systems, then we will be as safe as safe can be.

The worthies and their petition want to distract from the one and only obvious solution. Instead, they propose a pious, ill-informed vow. Which will make the deep state, the intelligence agencies, the military and its contractors laugh derisively, in the leading democracies.

Right now, very few individuals are in the know about how technology is used to subjugate human beings. A handful of Senators in the USA, a handful at the White House. The rest of those who know are in the military. As long as this goes on, the temptation to use technology to serve a few, and their robotic servants will be irresistible. The remedy is that we all be involved, and in control. We need wikicontrol.

Patrice Ayme’

ADDED VALUE IN THE XXI CENTURY

March 9, 2015

PRODUCING SUPERIOR THINKING TO IMPROVE NOT JUST WORLD SOCIO-ECONOMY, BUT SURVIVAL:

Capital Exponentiate, Decapitate Wealth To Feed Minds:

Piketty’s “Capital In the XXI Century” argues that the return on capital is greater that that on labor: r>g. All economists from the pseudo-left fell on their knees, astounded by the depth of that observation. They obviously never studied history, let alone archeology.

In truth, Piketty’s big deal inequality, that r>g has been known for 12,000 years, as I have emphasized in countless essays, for years. I have even explained the mathematical-psychological reasons why r>g. Piketty has smirked that he discovered r>g when he wrote the book. (A case of arrogant ignorance buttressed by colossal stupidity: that r>g ought to have been the first law of economics. That it took centuries for economists to discover this cannot possibly be a matter of stupidity, but of the will, on the part of economists of not understanding how the masters who fed them got their power from.)

So Piketty claims he just discovered that r>g: maybe economists are not idiots, but they play some on TV? (Some are bound to think that Piketty should be my ally, and thus I should be nicer to him; however, correct philosophy tends to be done by being only friendly to truth.)

Homo Thrived In This Cold Climate For 2 Million Years (Georgia, Tusheti NP.) Thanks To Science & Technology

Homo Thrived In This Cold Climate For 2 Million Years (Georgia, Tusheti NP.) Thanks To Science & Technology

It was so well known, that the return on capital was higher than that on income, r>g, that all reasonably sustained societies had colossal, decapitating taxes on wealth.

By law, hook, or crook. And when this was not the case, when wealth became hereditary in an exponential way, disasters happened. Generally invasion and destruction.

This happened to all the plutocratically corrupt Chinese empires when Genghis Khan’s Mongols came down.

The peaceful variant is revolutions such as 1789 (for twenty years the king had been meekly trying to make the aristocracy pay enough taxes).

When a great Native American, or great Viking chief died, much of their possessions (it could thousands of horses) would be redistributed.

Time to re-learn the wisdom of the ancients.

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SUPERIORITY OF THE WEST?

Why did the West become so superior? Or China, for that matter?

Technology. Superior technology. Coming from superior thinking. Both the Greeks and the Chinese had colossal contempt for barbarians. (In both cases it went so far that the Greeks lost everything, and the Chinese came very close to annihilation).

Around the year 1000 CE, the Vietnamese (it seems) invented new cultivars of rice, which could produce an entire crop, twice a year. The population of East Asia exploded accordingly.

A bit earlier, the Franks had invented new cultivars of beans. The Frankish Tenth Century was full of beans. Beans are nutritious, with high protein.

Homo is scientific and technological. Thus, two million years ago, pelt covered (tech!) Homo Ergaster lived in Georgia’s Little Caucasus, a pretty cold place in winter. And the population was highly varied genetically (showing tech and travel already dominated).

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A GREATER OBSESSION WITH FREEDOM MADE THE WEST SUPERIOR:

Here is the very latest. Flour was found in England, in archeological layers as old as 10,000 years before present. It was pure flour: there were no husks associated. The milling had been done, far away. How far? Well the cultivation of wheat spread to Western Europe millennia later. The flour had been traded, and brought over thousands of miles. Most certainly by boat. Celtic civilization, which would rise 5,000 years later, was expert at oceanic travel.

What’s the broad picture? Not just that prehistoric Englishmen loved their flat bread, no doubt a delicacy. Advanced technology has permeated Europe for much longer than is still understood now by most historians. Remember that the iceman who died in a glacier, 5,000 years ago, was not just tattooed, and had fetched in the lowlands a bow made of special wood. More telling: he carried antibiotics.

China and the West diverged, because the philosophies of the Franks and the East were different. The Franks had outlawed slavery four centuries before the great divergence started. This helped freedom, especially the freedom to think of new technology and science.  (Frank = Free.)

The more enslaved a population, the less inventive. It is not just a cultural-psychological phenomenon. It may be epigenetic. The Franks were more ethologically correct, and that enabled to unleash full human epigenetic.

(Being endowed with full human capability, is perhaps why G.W. Bush was incredibly brazen when he became president, going to invade Iraq, whereas Obama was subdued, and just worked, under Summers’ orders, to save the established plutocratic order, like a little boy, obsequious servant of the great white masters; OK, Obama did not descend from slaves, yet he was exposed to the black slave culture, throughout, and somewhat clueless about it.)

The Germans had been obsessed with freedom since ever, and, since in particular, their first contacts with the Romans. All that Germanic freedom led to population explosions, and invasions of Greco-Roman lands, which, for centuries, were systematically cut down by hyper-disciplined Roman armies.

All this was brought into one mold by Consul Clovis, who, as Roman Imperator, and himself son of Roman Imperator Childeric (also elected king of the Salian Franks), made the soldiers of his army understand that they would have to be extremely disciplined too, under the penalty of death (Roman style, a revolting notion for free Germans).

Militarily, the Franks by combining freedom and discipline, were an undefeatable force ever since (the Mongols knew this all too well, thus did not send their scouts west of Croatia; then allied themselves to the Franks to capture Baghdad and Damas).

Free peasants had no slaves, but they needed help: domesticated beasts and mechanical advantage were thus evolved by Frankish society. When Europeans made it to China, they were astounded that people did everything, without using machines or beasts.

So not too many children, but then communal living: Middle Ages villages in Europe were commune-ist regimes. Exploitation of property was divided according to how many could work.

The end result was strong philosophical pressure for ever more advanced technology. Although China was ahead in some tech, as soon as Europe heard of it, it captured it greedily. That philosophy permeated all of Western European society. Peter the Great, emperor of Russia knew this so well, he went to study incognito as a worker in Dutch naval shipyards.

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AMERICAN ECONOMIC DISCOURSE: A TROJAN HORSE

Does the drive to advanced tech dominate now?

Not as much as it used to.

Why? American plutocracy. And the “Nobel Prizes” of a whole army of obsequious plutophile servants thereof.

Because the spirit of all-conquering technology has been displaced by Capital in the XXI Century. And more specifically its USA monopolistic operators (such as the insufferable Bill Gates, and cohorts of financial operators). Technology is, and will stay, of course, the main and ultimate capital of humanity. That’s how Homo colonized the Caucasus, two million years ago.

Piketty, in his book, brushes technology off. Absurdly, he believes that tech can provide only a 1% return. That’s thoroughly stupid: inventing full Quantum Computers, for example,  would have tremendous consequences, as any device could be made hyper intelligent.

Yet, this sort of attitude makes Piketty an object of admiration in USA Academia.

Why? Because USA Academia is plutocratic through and through. Piketty’s ideas do not threaten plutocracy. Quite the opposite: they will allow it to survive. Diminished, true, but alive. My ideas would destroy plutocracy. Let alone the fact that it would take a long time to implement Piketty’s scheme. My schemes, being multi-dimensional, could be implemented faster, and start to bite right away.

(I do agree with several of Piketty’s propositions, such as a world cadastrum, and progressive taxation on capital: I have advocated them for more than a decade!)

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PLUS OULTRE:

However, a European solar plane just took off from Dubai. It will go around the world on solar power alone. The main force behind this project, the inventor and pilot, the engineer Picard (scion of ancestors just like him) asserts that the global adoption of such technologies would lower energy waste by half.

Europeans, following the Europeans who had migrated to North America, were the richest, most powerful, better nourished people in the world, for five centuries, because their economies produced more ADDED VALUE than any other economies (in particular, better guns).

To re-establish relative riches, Europeans need to focus on what produced that superiority in added value production. That means technological superiority, and this is fed by a more educated population. More educated scientifically, and thus philosophically.

Philosophy, done in a humanly ethologically correct way, is the metaphysics of science. It all fits together. Anything else is an amputation of the possible. Of the humanly possible.

China understands this very well. At least the science part. (Not too sure about the philosophical part; without it, China may well follow the path of fascist Germany. It’s going that way, with a military budget bigger than France, Britain and Japan combined: $145 billion.)

How to do this?

How to add so much value from mind that superiority is re-established?

Well establish the correct philosophy, put it in power, teach it, finance free maximum quality education, free at all ages.

Pay by taxes on wealth, and large incomes, fortunes, in such a way that there would be a practical cap on wealth, as the Roman Republic used to have, when it really worked.

Decapitating wealth is important for the youth: it will show youth that material wealth to excess is such a bad thing, it had to be made unlawful. It will replace mind at the apex of what youth ought to aspire to, and be programmed by.

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KEEPING A CIVILIZATION GRADIENT WILL SAVE BILLIONS:

Billions of lives, that is.

The usual partisans of insignificance, nihilism and masochism will no doubt whine that Euro-American economic ascendency is a bad thing. They prefer to be haughty slaves than responsible masters.

European scientific superiority led to a reasonably stabled world order. (Except for some populations of the Americas who got exterminated, thus clearing the lands for Europeans.)

In a world where everybody has the same weapons, and ecology is collapsing (still not raining in California, fourth year in a row, in the greatest drought in several millennia), it is to be feared that disorder will express itself as it has in the past: the sort of massacres that make entire populations disappear. That is what Netanyahu is thinking of…

So defining properly Capital in The XXI Century is not just economically and socially important. It is morally important, in the apocalyptic sense of “moral”.

Superior mind is the ultimate capital. Obviously hardly a notion that comes naturally to economists. As what is called “economics” is mostly a fake science, and famous economists are mostly people who have learned to lie about that fact.

When Piketty claims he just discovered r>g, 10,000 years after most of our ancestors, he demonstrates that. More generally, the same critique can be directed at entire fields such as most of theoretical physics and even mathematics, as funding from plutocrats has become ubiquitous. By buying the hierarchy, the plutocrats bought the thinking. That’s what they wanted. Thinking to be directed incorrectly.

We have see this before: this is how Aristotle, or more exactly his sponsors, nearly destroyed civilization. The difference? The stakes are much higher now.

Can I be more specific in my critique, give a hint of what is wrong with Academia? Most thinkers in Academia are too specialized. Right, much science requires hyper-specialization. Say when one is studying Pluto’s atmosphere (the Solar planet not the god of planet finance). One needs hyper-specialized science. However, there is also the science, and the thinking, about big questions. In those fields, hyper-specialization, unguided by the broad picture, can lead to error: look at much of theoretical physics, much of philosophy, much of economics.

It is precisely because Thomas Piketty is obviously pretty ignorant of history, that he believes he just discovered r>g. After 10,000 human societies made the  notion central to their cultures. It is also why economists do not even know that, during most of humanity’s history, money creation was not farmed out to private individuals (the bankers). So they cannot even feel that there is anything wrong with the present money creation system.

Ignorance allows the devil to hide in the details.

Patrice Ayme’

Stuck On Earth, Earth Stuck With Us

June 24, 2014

Two Pluto sized planets have been found beyond Pluto, Eris and Sedna (Note 1). They have highly eccentric orbits. That means they don’t go around in circles. Now, in the fullness of time, one expects all orbits to become round (See Note 2).

Thus if said orbits are not round, it’s that something disturbs them. And it’s not Neptune, because Pluto, which is disturbed by Neptune, and closer to it, is disturbed less.

Conclusion: there is apparently at least one large planet out there, beyond the known Solar System. Morality? Little do we know.

Even More Was Found In That Zoo Out There Since 2012

Even More Was Found In That Zoo Out There Since 2012

All human beings going to Earth orbit are awed in the same way. As a twice Space Shuttle commander Rominger puts it: “The most incredible thing I’ve ever seen is the color looking out into space—and that color is black—a black so dark, so stark, so vast, I’d never seen anything like it before,” he recalls.

“And then it dawned on me, well, it is not the color, it is not the black that is so captivating. What I was really appreciating was the vastness of space. Without the atmosphere, I could tell I was looking trillions and trillions of miles into the depths of space, and it really struck me.”

That’s one important fact: there is absolutely nothing out there. Another, more prosaic fact: The last human space launch—Expedition 40 to the ISS—used the same Baikonur launch complex that sent Yuri Gagarin on the first human spaceflight on April 12, 1961. And it was basically the same rocket, of which the Russians have launched around 2,000, using the same old technology.

Morality? We did not progress much in propulsion technology in 70 years, ever since the Nazis invented reliable fuel powered rockets. We are not using a Space Elevator, the civilized way to go to space. In fact we are going to space just as the first human who tried to use rockets to fly. This bold Chinese inventor, nine centuries ago, fixed lots of chemical rockets to a large kite, and became the first flier to go with a bang.

Speaking of bang, for a bigger bang, we have to go nuclear:

Nerva Nuclear Engine: The Future Was In The 1950s

Nerva Nuclear Engine: The Future Was In The 1950s

[Larger Nuclear Engines were made, and are, by far the most powerful engines ever made, except now for French made (Thales) lasers; the largest nuclear engine was deliberately exploded, to see if that was a problem! Answer: no!]

ISS expedition 40, launched an American, a Russian and a German from that same Gagarin pad in Kazakhstan for the International Space Station. So, clearly, space exploration is a factor of peace: Kazakhstan, USA, Germany and Russia united. Maxim Suraev, Alexander Gerst and Reid Wiseman reached the ISS 6 hours later. At about an altitude of 400 kilometers, the ISS is zooming around the planet. Periodically a Russian or European Space Agency spaceship pushes the ISS back up, because it orbits so low, that the atmosphere dissipates, through friction, its potential energy, and it loses altitude, while gaining speed. Basically the ISS streaks through the very high atmosphere.

400 kms up is as deep into space as humans have ventured (except for visiting thrice the Hubble Space Telescope,) ever since Apollo 17 returned from the Moon on Dec. 14, 1972.

There is no nice oasis to go to out there in space. It’s not the Sahara. It’s a hard vacuum, whatever pointed head physicists believe Quantum Field Theory is telling them, in their colossal naivety. The ISS is refining our collective skill at operating in vacuum, in zero gravity. Zero gravity presents problems: bones and muscles lose substance, the heart thickens, and shrinks. The world’s space agencies do not agree on what we should do next. The Europeans, long determined explorers, have given up. The Americans have preferred to spend 6 trillion dollars enriching their plutocrats under the pretext of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. While spending only 8 billion a year on human space exploration (so basically the USA spent 100 times a year on bombing Iraq than gaining space expertise).

So we still use Nazi technology.

Mars, is as far as humankind can practicably expect to go. That’s too bad: there are bodies, such as Enceladus, and various satellites of Jupiter, with considerable quantities of water.

“Based on limitations to human physiology, based on reasonable technical limitations to the ability to shield humans during long voyages in interplanetary space, the horizon goal for human space exploration is Mars,” says Jonathan Lunine, a top planetary scientist at Cornell University, who co-chaired the recent U.S. National Research Council (NRC) human-spaceflight study. “Now, horizon in this case essentially means the farthest goal. It is not the only goal.”

A problem is radiation. Space is full of radiation. Some, the solar wind, consists of protons zooming by at 400kms/second. So fast they are, that they rob planets of their atmosphere’s water. This happened to Venus and Mars.

Earth is protected by her magnetic shield (the energy of which, I claim is nuclear fission generated).

Another type of radiation is of the cosmic type, galactic or not. Some of these rays have much higher energy, by many orders of magnitude, than the Large Hadron Collider in France-Switzerland. That’s why smart cookies such as yours truly, knew that the LHC was not going to create Black Holes that would swallow the Earth (as some lunatics thought, in their chaotic misunderstanding).

When astronauts are in orbit, they see stars. With their eyes closed, deep inside their spaceships. Why? Because there, even protected by the Earth Magnetic Shield, cosmic rays scream through astronauts’ brains like tiny meteors.

Earth, we have a problem. Our brains are streaked with fireworks.

Going to Mars, with foreseeable technology, will not be cheap. Ultimately, the NRC panel said, a human reconnaissance to Mars will take “decades” of work, and cost “hundreds of billions” of dollars.

No one has a motivation to spend that kind of money, considering there is no dramatic reason to go to Mars. Or so many in the Commons believe, erroneously.

“I would not want to indulge in specious precision to say whether it was $300 billion or $500 billion, but it is a lot of money,” says John C. Sommerer, a retired Applied Physics Laboratory engineer who headed the subcommittee that drafted the technical portion of the NRC report. “Given that we currently spend on the order of $8 billion [annually in the U.S.] on human spaceflight, you immediately understand why it is a long-term program.”

NASA administrator Charles Bolden says it will take only “a modest increase” in funding to land humans on Mars in 20 years or so, since the Obama administration ordered a different course five years ago.

Ironically, that has since been amended to funding “consistent with economic growth.” But Bolden—who commanded the shuttle mission that put the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit says Congress will not give the space program 4% of the federal budget, as it did for the race to the Moon.

What did that bring, aside from Moon rocks? Well, magnificent pictures of humanity’s loneliness, and Earth as the most object in the universe. A warning from heavens.

That warning, by itself, was worth it. The race to the Moon also brought a tremendous technological push. Not just Teflon. Not just personal computer power. Even Velcro (Vel(ours) Cro(chet)) was helped, as it got free advertising from NASA.

Earlier on the race to develop rockets was military. The Mongols got it started, and the weapon became ubiquitous, as its efficiency was spectacular. The next step up was during World War Two as the Panzerfaust, and all sorts of Nazi rocket tech (some ballistic, some cruise, some anti-aircraft) played a spectacular role. (It was not a decisive role, as it happened a tad too late!)

But now we have a tremendous civilian fall-out: weather satellites, GPS, etc. Even greater was the indirect fall-out of the technologies that had to be developed to make rocketry work.

To make space into an affordable new habitat, we need completely new technologies. For LEO, right away, only air breathing rockets will do, to make launches economical enough.

Further on, only space elevators will allow to go to space cheaply. The great fall-out of a space elevator, before it allows us to conquer the Solar System, though, will be the technology itself. It will allow to produce materials ten times lighter than steel, and stronger.

To ferry people and large loads between spatial real estate, only nuclear energy will do. Either fission, or fusion.  Developing those, in turn, will have tremendous fall-out (no pun intended). Why? Nuclear energy has a million times, per mass, more energy than any other energy that we can tap (although I proposed a vacuum energy machine, on this site, that’s still in the sci-fi future.)

The requirement of developing completely new technology is actually, at this point, not an impediment, but the best argument for going to space.

Indeed, only drastically new tech will save the biosphere as we know it.

Patrice Aymé

Note1: I call planet anything that’s big enough to become round under its own gravity.  That has the merit of clarity. Pluto is round, has five satellites and an atmosphere, so it’s a (“dwarf“) planet.

Note 2: Now, in the fullness of time, one expects all orbits to become round. Why? Because when a planet goes far from a sun, it’s climbing, converting kinetic energy into potential energy. Under a gravitational perturbation, it’s easier to lose the latter, because at that point speeds are lower, so the influence has more time to be felt (who said we need equations all the time?)

 

NEANDERTHAL SUPERIORITY

April 27, 2014

IS STUPIDITY A SAPIENS THING?

Why did Neanderthals disappear? This fascinating question brought other questions, that have blossomed ever more. Such as: “In light of the fact Neanderthals were obviously a superior human race, why do people think it’s so cool to demean Neanderthals?”

Just because they disappeared? Did they? Wait…

Indeed the original question, why did Neanderthals go extinct? is itself in the process of going extinct. As I tried to explain in “Mathematics “Extinguished” Neanderthals”, Neanderthals probably did not go extinct. They were too superior, to just disappear. Instead they genetically consolidated in a more economic format… The one they came from!

Among Neanderthal Inventions: Chemistry, Body Paint, Earliest Art...

Among Neanderthal Inventions: Chemistry, Body Paint, Earliest Art…

My reasoning in “Maths “Extinguished…”rests mainly on two ideas: a) the advancement of technology made most of Neanderthals’ cold adapted mutations irrelevant, and a burden. And: b) a subtle thinning-out from periodic near-extinctions  of genetic traits related to more bulky individuals. So it’s not just tech, but a very varying climate, that thinned out Neanderthalian traits.

Thanks to genetic studies spearheaded by Herr Doktor Professor Svante Paabo, an evolutionary geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (author of “Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes”), it turns out that, as he writes in the New York Times (April 25, 2014):

…”these past few years, my research group and I have worked to sequence the genome of a Neanderthal, the closest evolutionary relative of all present-day humans. We have also sequenced a genome from a small bone excavated in a Russian cave close to the border with China; this genome came from a previously unknown Asian relative of the Neanderthals — a group that we call the Denisovans.

These ancient genomes show that the Neanderthals were genetically very similar to us. In fact, for most of the genome, some people living today are closer to the Neanderthals than to other people. Comparing their genome with that of modern people, we identified a total of 31,389 genetic mutations that have come to be carried by all humans today.”

Please meditate this, the conclusion of genetics studies: “…some people living today are closer to the Neanderthals than to other people.” What a shattering notion!

Paabo’s work as been confirmed independently by other research groups. There are too many surprises to list them all. Some researchers found that the highest density of Neanderthals mutations in… North Africa.

North Africans are a type of Europeans, genetically speaking; in 2014 Neanderthal mutations were found all the way to ancient South African population!… And the whole situation became extremely complicated. For example Denisovans’ genetics were found in Spain. However, so far absolutely no Denisovan skeleton has been found: they constitute a genome in search of a body!

Then Paabo, unfortunately, slips into age-old racist prejudice:

“Among these mutations may lurk some subtle yet consequential differences between them and us that further research may eventually explain. For example, although Neanderthals, who became extinct about 30,000 years ago, produced stone tools and controlled fire, they never developed the technology and culture to multiply and spread across the planet as modern humans did.”

Paabo should know better than writing this. Some of the first genomic studies on Neanderthals found them quite far, genetically from modern humans. Then more recent Homo Sapiens Sapiens’ genomes were analyzed and found… just as far.

I appreciate the professor’s work. However the sentence: “although Neanderthals… controlled fire, they never developed the technology and culture to multiply and spread across the planet as modern humans did,” struck me as unwarranted, if not downright racist to the point of complete stupidity. With all due respect, of course: Paabo himself gave us some of the weapons to squash his prejudice! “Modern humans” of today have a different genome from “modern humans” of yesterday: whoever “spread across the planet”, why and how, is not too clear.

WHY NEANDERTHALS ARE A SUPERIOR RACE:

Neanderthals were adapted to a very cold climate. So they thrived in North Africa, but it’s not surprising that they did not get south. Meanwhile, as Neanderthals had invented pants, African Sapiens could spread into Europe (supposing that technology was transferred to them).

Paleontologist Zilhão found evidence demonstrating that Neanderthals in Europe were neither cognitively inferior nor less creative than Homo SS in Africa.

In 2010, he reported that a cache of painted marine shells on the Iberian Peninsula was made by Neanderthals (the photography at the top of the essay is of some of these shells; the hole indicates that they were worn as jewelry; thread had been invented by Neanderthals at least 30,000 years prior).

These shells were dated to 50,000 years ago, about 10,000 years before Cro-Magnon (viewed as Homo SS) appeared in Europe. These 50,000 year old shells were used by Neanderthals to produce body paint. To do so, preceding 19C chemistry by a full 50,000 years, Neanderthals used chemical reactions.

The shells contain mineral pigment makeup that required some skill and know-how to produce. (The makeup was composed of fool’s gold, aka pyrite, and ground hematite, which can be red and black, all mixed in to a base of the rust-colored mineral, lepidocrocite.)

Neanderthals were chemists who painted themselves and wore jewelry. Fashion shows in the Paris basin are at least 50,000 years old (so the degeneracy there is an atavism). Neanderthals invented many technologies. They had mastered hafting, more than 150,000 years ago. That allows to attach wood to warheads and tools. As I noticed in the Tasmanian Effect:

“Amazingly, the Tasmanians had lost hafted tool technology (it allows to fix a hard head such as a stone or a piece of antler to a wooden object such as a spear, arrow, or ax). Hafting was independently evolved in Europe by Neanderthals…”

Previously unknown Neanderthal technologies are found every year. Neanderthals invented needle and thread, way back (80,000 years ago, at least; probably much older). Necessity was the mother of invention: Europeans (aka Neanderthals) needed clothing more than Africans did, as the later wore none. Moreover, appropriate fibers are more easily found in the temperate zone (everything rots quickly in the very warm, wet tropics, including DNA).

NEANDERTHALS INVENTED DOGS, COAL BURNING, SHELL FISH DINING:

Some of the arguments against Neanderthals have been outright ridiculous: not only we were told, without any evidence, that they could not talk, but that the superiority of Africans came from eating shell fish, about 70,000 years ago (along the East Coast of Africa).

However, it has since been discovered that Neanderthal cavemen supped on shellfish on the Costa del Sol 150,000 years ago, punching another torpedo hole in the theory that only Africans ate (supposedly) brain-boosting seafood.

Neanderthals also used coal, as long ago as 73,000 years. Once again, making a fire in present day France, then suffering from a pretty bad glaciation, made more sense than trying to stay warm in the Congo.

Earlier and earlier prehistoric art has been found. It’s getting ever harder to claim that Neanderthals had nothing to do with it. This is from the enormous Chauvet cave in France, at least 32,000 years old:

If Not Neanderthal, Probably Mostly Neanderthal

If Not Neanderthal, Probably Mostly Neanderthal

(42,000 year old art was also found in Spain.)

Neanderthals also domesticated, and genetically engineered dogs, from European wolves. That’s very clear.

How do I know this? Simple. The Goyet dog, pictured below was dated around 32,000 years. In 2010, and an even older dog was found in the Altai mountains. Both dogs were derived from Canis Lupus Familiaris, the European wolf, but were quite distant from it, genetically, they had been evolved probably on a time scale of more than 10,000 years, thus well before any arrival of Sapiens Sapiens from Africa.

Those dogs were completely compatible with people, just as contemporary dogs are. Proof? Ancient, 26,000-year-old footprints made by a child and a dog deep in the Chauvet Cave, France. (OK, by then Neanderthals have been just deemed “extinct” by some… However, these are still the same dogs Neanderthals invented.)

It Took Many Thousands Years To Breed Such Large Dogs From European Wolves

It Took Many Thousands Years To Breed Such Large Dogs From European Wolves

It is perplexing that other human groups did not domesticate the local canids. There are (still!) wolves in Africa and India. And also Lycaons (“African Wild Dogs”). Those are supremely intelligent, and sort of domesticate readily in the wild (I tried this myself as a child).

The argument that Africans would have moved to Europe to domesticate European wolves, when they had a similar fauna, including wolves, to domesticate in Africa, is simply extravagant.

The only group in Europe at the right time and place to have made the jewelry and tools attributed to early Aurignacian culture is the Neanderthals. It would seem that the oldest cave paintings, dated at 41,000 years or more, were made by Neanderthals (they are in Spain, a Neanderthal fortress, and, at the time, Sapiens Sapiens were just entering Europe, far away).

Equipped with advanced weapons, Neanderthals started modifying the environment (for example extinguishing Cave Bears). At that point, the advancement of technology made their cold adapted mutations irrelevant, and a burden.

The argument is always made that the technological explosion in the Aurignacian happened because of the invasion by Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Why? Because Homo SS was superiorly intelligent. How do we know that? Because as it came in, there was a technological and artistic explosion.

Some scientists ought to be taught elementary logic.

In my train of explanation, all these phenomena, tech explosion, Homo SS invasion and Homo Neandertalensis transmogrification are related. Related by what? The tech explosion.

As I pointed out, the Tasmanians, who were as much Homo Sapiens Sapiens as their relatives in Australia, degenerated to technological level that would have driven them to extinction pretty much anywhere else, especially in Europe (Europe was crawling with megafauna: super lions (Cave Lions), Cave Bears, Mammoths, Rhinoceroses, ton and a half Aurochs, hyenas, etc. Bulk may have put them at a disadvantage relative to more frail forms of Homo Sapiens (Homo Heidelbergis, ancestor to Neanderthals was massive: 100 kilograms). Presto, especially in a varying climate, they may have reverted to their common inheritance.

Want one more proof of my little theory? The race that replaced the Neanderthals were the Cro-Magnon (“Big Cave” in the local, pre-Celtic Basque language). The Cro-Magnons did not look particularly “human”: they had rectangular orbits. But then they were less massive than Neanderthals (thus allowing part of my reproductive argument against Neanderthal physiology to come into play!).

This is "Modern" Man, Cro-Magnon. Perpetual Sun Glasses?

This is “Modern” Man, Cro-Magnon. Perpetual Sun Glasses?

The lighter form of being of Homo SS is an important point of my Neanderthals-traits out-breeding theory. But there are other points, including that the genetic adaptation of Neanderthals that were not advantageous anymore (thanks to technology) would tend to disappear… Whereas those that are still advantageous would thrive. This exactly what the geneticists such as Paabo are finding.

Examples: Neanderthal adaptations tend to dominate for skin. Paabo and others found some Neanderthal adaptations are still gaining, whereas others are still regressing. We are far from having a complete picture of the situation.

However, whereas Paabo expects the Neanderthal to be inferior from the epistemological point of view, I expect the exact opposite. Not just because of what they did, but because they had to do it (to live where they did). I even expect a strong cultural hereditability of paying attention to the essence of man. A cultural heredity of the metaprinciple that the supremacy of culture is essential to man, thriving to this day, coming straight from Neanderthals.

How did I explain the Tasmanian devolution? As a cultural phenomenon. At some point, Tasmanians got possessed by the wrong metaprinciples. They drove their culture into the ground. Anti-intellectualism got a life of its own (remember Turkey, outlawing the printing press: same idea).

The opposite can happen: intellectualism, the essence of Homo, can be revered. Superior principles can help create, in turn a succession of superior cultures (as observed in Western Europe, something Putin ought to meditate, if he could meditate).

Arguably all the way up to the late Neolithic Europe had kept some tech edge: the frozen solid individual found at the border of Austria and Italy was carrying antibiotics. The argument of Jared Diamond that Eurasians became as superior as they became because they had all these nice plants and animals is another circular argument: these plants and animals, all of them, had been invented by said Eurasians, from almond trees, to wheat, beans, and even cats (to kill grain eating rodents).

Later, when the Romans confronted the Celts, the latter had arguably the world’s best ocean faring ships, and the best metallurgy (the Celts equipped the Roman army, from early on!)

Thus it is entirely possible that the habit of maximal tech superiority, after allowing Neanderthals to thrive for hundreds of thousands of years, carry in to this day. The International Thermonuclear Experimental reactor is fully close to where Neanderthals experimented with coal at least 73,000 years ago. It’s a tradition, to invent ways of making nature serve Homo, probably revered there, more than anywhere else.

It was just found out that, generations (of deer!) after the triple lethal electric fence system of the “Iron Curtain” was removed, local deer still teach their young to respect the border between Germany and the Czech Republic (although as both are in Schengen, the physical border has been gone for generations. So if culture is that strong among rather stupid deer, imagine what it is among men!

Paradoxically, culture allows men to become more stupid than even deer, and for much longer (see Putin and his followers getting their minds from Ivan IV, the Terrible).

In the USA, apparently correct descriptions of the Crater Lake volcano explosion, in which the upper mile of the Mazama volcano blew up, leaving a deep caldera, were still made by the local inhabitants. 7,700 years later.

Culture has a life of its own, an evolution of its own. In a way, it’s reassuring to know that creative intellectuals can leave so much behind…

Even if they were simple Neanderthals.

Patrice Aymé

Reference: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/why-did-neanderthals-disappear/

 

ALL WE NEED IS TECH

September 30, 2013

REAL TECH, that is.

We Are TECHNOLOGICAL ANIMALS, THEREIN OUR REDEMPTION. Out With Financial “Products”.

Suppose we were gods: would we need to work? No. We would not even need an economic system; whatever we would want, it would be.

Indeed, what’s the difference between infinitely advanced technology and god like status? None.

So we see that technology primes economics. Technology also dominates not just the psychology of individuals, but the psychology of society itself. We are technological animals, and have been, ever since we depended upon tools and weapons for our survival: that’s several million years, all the way back to our distant ancestor species.

Without advancing technology, there would not even be a sustainable civilization, as resources get exhausted. Indeed, a given technology exploits given resources. Those are always finite.

Even Sol’s thermonuclear reactor has finite resources. The most recent observations show that the sun’s energy production is even somewhat erratic (some stars, such as the Cepheids, are extremely variable).  

For example, there is just enough lithium, on the whole planet, for a few million electric cars. Without much more advanced batteries, electric cars, a commendable goal, will stay an aborted dream.

The main technologies used nowadays, and by main, I mean those mostly contributing to Gross (“Domestic”) Product, are all unsustainable, because they rise the CO2 level at a rate that will turn the Earth into Venus within a few centuries.

Two or three centuries is very little time to switch COMPLETELY, and absolutely, to NON CO2 producing industries (as we will have to; skyscrapers may have to be built with wood, as present day concrete makes lots of CO2… although switching to much better Roman concrete will diminish CO2 emissions considerably!).   

The present economic stagnation has a lot to do with confusing the weapons of plutocracy with the technology we need to survive as a civilization, just as we mess up our spaceship. Finance supreme caused a brain drain down to hell, in the service of Pluto. A lot of ingenuity was spent on inventing new financial “products” or “technologies” that were just new ways of stealing people by skirting the letter of existing laws.

The transfer of most resources, including the brightest young minds and hopes, to “greed is all we need to make society right“, has caused this stagnation.

We saw the same exact thing happen to Rome under the plutocratic “Principate”… with the multidimensional collapse of the state, and even civilization, and population, as consequences…

Not only did resources, such as forest and metallic mines, got exhausted, but health care imploded, while the barbarians closed the military technological gap, allowing them to roam through the empire. All this because democracy had been displaced by plutocracy.

The collapse of civilization blossomed into the Dark Ages of the Fifth Century, with its many dramatic invasions (including by savages who came all the way from Mongolia, the Huns!).

However, in the original case of “Wacht Am Rhein“, the PAGAN Franks took complete command of the Roman forces by 486 CE, and acquired total military control of Gallia and Germania within 21 years. That neutralized the horrendous, civilization devouring, mind extinguishing Christian theocracy, that had caused the catastrophic collapse of everything (including of that of the population).

The ascent of the Franks had depended, for already two centuries, upon technological superiority, especially in metallic weapons (nothing new: the Roman army had purchased metallic armaments from the Celto-Germans for nearly a millennium). The civilizational bias favoring new technology had insured the ascent of the Greeks and the Romans. Yet, the mood of improving matters through technological solutions was undermined by slavery, and, more generally the mentality that all problems of man could be solved by exerting violence upon other men.

The overall mood enabled Macedonia, the Hellenistic kingdoms and the fascist Roman plutocracy, with its Principate, to take over the world from the republican poleis. Some historians will say: well, it was decided on the battlefield by, Philip Antipater, and Alexander of Macedonia. True. However it was not that simple: the mood of friendliness to fascism and plutocracy pervaded the works of Pluto, Aristotle, and those they influenced (top politicians, captains in the Athenian Navy).

The philosopher Demosthenes was extremely conscious that the wrong mood reigned, and urged the Athenians to resist Antipater, as their ancestors had resisted Xerxes. The Athenians fought back. Indeed. But not with the ferocity they had deployed against Persian plutocracy. 

Plutocracy in friends is a terrible thing, all the more as it is harder to resist. 

But the Franks put technology on steroids by making all citizens free, and outlawing slavery. The technological stagnation that had characterized fascist, plutocratic Rome was over. (OK, the Franks were also plutocrats; but their plutocratic index was much lower than that of the aristo-religious families of around 400 CE.)  

Consequentially, major technological and intellectual advances blossomed.

First of all, a more sustainable, less energy intensive economy was built around wood There was no more slaves to dig underground for coal, or stones. Absolute Worth Energy per capita had to be augmented. Using wood massively in housing allowed to do this (whereas using wood for mines, as was done before, was not possible anymore, from lack of slaves and too much depth).  

To replace human slaves, while augmenting production, friendly species were bred, from giant draft horses to protein laden beans. Mechanization was extreme, with thousands of wind and water mills per province. Carolingian script and German were invented by 800 CE. Caroligian script actually augmented the AWE of writing (it was devised to minimize the effort of the scribes).

Considered on objective indicators (total population, military might, ecumenism, religious tolerance, inclusivity, energy per capita, AWE per capita), the Imperium Francorum (486 CE-800 CE) was clearly an upswing, and achieved higher than Rome at its apex in some very important dimensions. This culminated in the official re-establishment of the Roman empire in 800 CE (when Charlemagne was the one and only Augustus of the entire Roman empire, all the way to Constantinople!).

The important point: the fundamental renaissance, after the death of Antiquity under slavery, contradiction and superstition, was the Imperium Francorum. So I propose this date: 486 CE for the renaissance that counted (some French nationalists will start singing; however, the Franks themselves put the context of their renaissance in a world perspective, from Troy to Europe, and in these words; plus, they spoke Old Dutch). 

(Islam was a neglectable quantity, because it did not make the transition out of slavery, so was stuck in the same philosophical trap as the Greco-Romans, and even worse, because it did not have secular law, and, thus, free men. Still a problem today.)

This technological drive launched by the Romanized Celto-Germans-Franks did not abate.

Even after plutocracy came back big time by 1100 CE (First Crusade). And the technological drive actually protected against plutocracy.

Massive iron architecture appeared by 1150 CE in the cathedrals (in Frankish style, insulted as “Gothic in 16C). That was rendered possible by hydraulic presses, an example of the mechanical advantage that was used all over the European Middle Ages (allowing to run a society with a much higher AWE per capita than China: machines and animals were doing the work down by armies of men in China, as travelers related at the time). By 1200 CE, gravity clocks were developed (they embodied most of the mechanics of the 17C).  

By 1300 CE the considerable development, now ahead of what Rome had known, collided with the exhaustion of resources wall. Within 50 years, the population had been cut by more than half.

However, the collapse of civilization did not happen. Why? Because it’s intellectual fascism, and the stupidity it led to, that collapsed the Romans. When technology and minds are moving ahead, that cannot happen.  

Before 1350 CE, Buridan, a secular cleric, advisers to several kings, twice rector of the university of Paris, a philosopher (and not a theologian!), physicist, mathematician had invented the principle of inertia (now stupidly attributed to Newton… who was born three centuries later!!!!). Also graphs, the heliocentric system, etc. by the time the Plague struck…

So, when the Plague struck, the nobles knew what to do: few, if any, died! (governments took the ultimate measures to prevent the spreading of the Plague, such as shooting on sight).

So the Middle Ages did not renew the Roman catastrophe because the technological drive did not abate. That, in turn was rendered possible by the fact that the moral system of those in power, that of the aristocrats, was not that of Christianity (whereas in the Late Roman empire, the emperors themselves were Christian fanatics).

Nietzsche insisted upon that fact (but he does not seem to have noticed the effect on science, technology and thing in general).

The case of Buridan is illuminative that way: in 1471 CE (that was 113 years after Buridan’s death!) Louis XI and the terrorizing Vatican made the reading of Buridan unlawful (however, the university that Copernicus attended made the reading of Buridan mandatory! Something to do with Jan Hus’ martyrdom… another, but related story).

Copernicus, an abbot, parroted Buridan’s work, but it would take much more than a century for the most obscure corners of the plutocracy to accept that ideas could change… and thus, to admit to the changed mood that intellectual fascism was not perfect. The changed mood that thinking about things actually improved things. And that poor thinking led to poor things (watch the Obamacare debacle for poor thinking!).

So how do we make technology into god, full steam ahead, as we need and in our image again? And not into that financial disease that is presently devouring the planet? Well, we keep plutocracy under control. And how do we do that? Well, we do it the old fashion way, exactly as the Roman Republic did it!

We cap wealth!

***

Patrice Ayme

GASSING EARTH: Tipping Point Passed!

June 29, 2013

CO2: NOT JUST HOT AIR ECONOMICS.

Warning: The essay below demonstrates, from published official data, that NON LINEAR EFFECTS are now ACCELERATING the CO2 greenhouse. This is no theory, but data that I observe. This is the major tipping point experts feared. It’s here, now. Weirdly I am the first to observe this catastrophic evidence. 

We are making war to the biosphere. We are trying to kill it (biocide?). Gassing Earth with CO2. Calling this atrocity “climate change” is more than a silly euphemism. It’s disinformation.

True information: the bath is heating up. Here is the global heat content of the ocean, incomparably greater than that of the atmosphere.

Global Warming Is Accelerating

Global Warming Is Accelerating

Self satisfied frogs croak happily in the simmering heat until they croak for good. Speaking of the stupid, loud and mosquito inclined, a deafening chorus from all over richly rewarded pseudo-science has recently claimed that global warming had stalled, or that the climate was less susceptible” to increasing CO2 than previously thought.

The graph above shows that those people are either paid too much, or as stupid as the frogs they mimic so well. Unable to deny the greenhouse, they focus suddenly on atmospheric heat content, as if that was the main problem (it’s not, by a very long shot!)

One can see, in the graph above, that the global heat content of the biosphere is clearly not just augmenting, but doing so faster than ever.

Another remark of mine of TREMENDOUS importance, and you read here first. Look at the graph above carefully. And then look at the CO2 graph below, just as carefully. Compare the graphs. What do you see? The horror! The HEAT CONTENT GRAPH accelerates FASTER after 1990 than the CO2 GRAPH!!!!

Thus there is now evidence that NON LINEAR EFFECTS ARE GETTING IN GEAR. Heat is increasing faster than CO2 now! Tipping points have been passed, the heat is growing by ITSELF, beyond human input.

Non Linear HORROR: CO2 Augmenting SLOWER Than Global Biospheric Heat Content!

Non Linear HORROR: CO2 Augmenting SLOWER Than Global Biospheric Heat Content!

[Technical math remark, consecutive to readers’ misunderstanding: I have a math background as one high as one can get; so, obviously I am not making the grotesque mistake of comparing the overall slopes, as the scale of the y-axes are arbitrary. What I am doing is more subtle, and that maybe why the NON LINEAR TIPPING POINT was not noticed before: I was trained as a research mathematician, not as a cloud watcher.

I am not comparing the overall slopes of one graph with the other, but the changes of slope after 1990, of one graph relative to the other. The global ocean heat content graph clearly accelerates so much after 1990 that it adopts a steeper trendline; one does not have such a feature on the CO2 graph. So one can say, supposing that the latter drives the former (that sounds intellectually fair), that it has been driving it much more since 1990. End of the high school level mathematical analysis. More details & answers to objections can be found in the comments!] 

So fossil burning is launching the avalanche, but the avalanche is also growing by itself, that’s what comparing the three graphs above shows.

OK, now for some elementary school math. The mass of the top 2000 meters of the ocean is 2 (total oceanic surface relative to continental surface) x 200 (mass of 2000 meters of water relative to atmosphere) = 400 times that of the atmosphere. The excess heat injected since 1990 in the upper 2000 meters of oceans is roughly equivalent to one billion times the energy of the Hiroshima bomb (personal computation). Yes, the inflection point when non linear amplification of CO2 started was in 1990 (look at the first graph ).

The core economic issue of our time is the alarming CO2 curve. That CO2 curve is threatening to become an exponential. CO2 is augmenting by (nearly) 1% a year. CO2 concentration has reached 400 parts per million. If one takes into account all industrially made greenhouse gases, it’s more like 450 ppm in CO2 equivalence, beyond the point where most of Antarctica’s ice shield is stable.

Thus the CO2 curve is also the core survival issue of our time. Every day, the deep oceans are getting warmer, more acidic (the CO2 gets in the sea, turning it to a soda), and lose oxygen. Every day, the deepest currents are absorbing the new energy, modifying themselves. Any day, Antarctica could start melting, big time:

Giant Regions Of Antarctica Are Below Sea Level

Giant Regions Of Antarctica Are Below Sea Level

The brownish and yellow parts are the WAIS, the West Antarctica Ice Shield’s bed, and are all below sea level, and are why the WAIS will disintegrate.

Areas more than 200 meters BELOW SEA LEVEL in East Antarctica are indicated by blue shading. Notice that a lot of east Antarctica, where the sub sea level basins are, have their margins well north of 70 degrees (and actually just north of the south polar circle).

(Extracted from: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/05/31/sun-cooling-ice-melting/)

Some idiots out there have pointed at the fact that atmospheric heat is not going up drastically, in the last decades. Of course. That means the energy is spilling in other dimensions. If those idiots had taken a physics class, they would know that this effect is similar to a well known phenomenon: as ice melts, the water in which it sits stays at zero degree (Celsius, only Americans use crazily obsolete units).

This general change of the biosphere, throughout dimensions so far unsuspected, is due to a generalization of the equipartition theorem:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2008/03/08/the-equipartition-of-energy-theorem-should-be-applied-for-climate-change-and-predicts-wild-fluctuations-of-temperatures/

At any point, any day, formidable non linear mechanisms independent of man, caused by the effects of the CO2 increase, could get in gear. That they did not happen yet is as reassuring as jumping from a gigantic cliff, without a parachute, and then gloating that everything is fine so far.

For example enormous, sudden releases of methane hydrates causing tsunamis (accelerating considerably the greenhouse, as methane is twenty to a hundred time more of a greenhouse gas). https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/05/15/terminal-problem-final-solution/

A slow-down of the sun has bought up some time, in the last decade (see again the very long: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/05/31/sun-cooling-ice-melting/.)

Most of the carbon found in coal has been buried for hundreds of millions of years. Extracting, and throwing  it up in the air, in ever greater quantities, is sheer insanity. This has got to stop. That is the main problem with fracking for gas; not that it makes water flammable, but that it pollutes with CO2. Although fracked gas (CH4) produces half the carbon for an equal amount of energy, that’s still an awful lot of carbon!

Advocating fracking-for-gas as a way to kill coal, short term, is tenable. But then fusion research ought to be massively financed, to make sure fracking-for-gas is really short term. Yet the $600,000 for fusion propulsion at NASA, while Elon Musk the well connected Neanderthal, gets billions, just for looking good, and dishonorable Sen. Feinstein’s whining about ITER, demonstrate that fracking forever, without fusion, is the real agenda!

Managing the planet correctly is real macro-economics. It is much more real economics than the shenanigans of some central bankers, or the dementia of unregulated shadow banking (which is just as big as official banking, 67 trillion dollars, nota bene).

The new Obama plan ought to be a war on coal. Right now, about ten billion tons of CO2 from coal are pumped in the atmosphere, each year. Better a war on coal now, rather the alternative. The alternative is world war, or worse. About CO2 pollution and energy.

This is not just a fancy vision of an apocalyptic future. It is also a sober assessment of an awful past. Around 1300 CE, sextuple trouble hit Europe: a population crisis, an energy crisis, a construction material crisis, a food crisis, an ecological crisis, and a climate crisis. All those aspects were entangled in one huge crisis .

Within a generation, France and Britain, until then part of the same polity, had exploded in a very complicated, but extremely lethal civil war, that was to last nearly five centuries. A terrible plague assaulted Europe (from Yersinia Pestis, a 2000 French study showed in all of 20 samples). The plague itself was related to the preceding, as bad climatic and military conditions in the two years preceding it, favored overcrowding of rats and humans alike. (Tremendous research on how the Black Death occured as early as 1348 CE, and great progress was made, leading to control of many diseases. Yet, the tricky causal triangle between fleas, rats, and plague was discovered only around 1900!)

In a few years, the population of the European continent had been cut by more than two-thirds. Greenlanders, assaulted by plague, climate cooling, and Inuits, died off.

Yet, countries such as France and Germany took effective ecological counter-measures of preservations of forests (thus saving commodities, construction, energy, soils, etc.).  Western Europe did not go the way of the Mayas because of vigorous. scientifically minded governmental counter-attack.

Instead, Europe chose then what we have to chose now. New technology was relentlessly pursued. By 1300 CE, pollution from burning geological coal was so acute in London that regulations were passed to reduce it. Edward III, grandson of French king Philippe IV Le Bel, and official launcher of the “100 Year war”(-that lasted in truth 478 years, as I said above) actually regulated coal trading, allowing the exportation of coal to the parts of France he controlled. Within two centuries, coal would be mined under the sea in Scotland.

No doubt all this would have worked better, the calamitous Fourteenth Century would not have been as calamitous, had superior technology, and careful management thereof, had arrived earlier. It could have arrived earlier.

In Roman Britannia, the usage of coal had been ubiquitous (even down the social scale). The tech was lost for nearly a millennium after the legions evacuated in 400 CE. Superior tech would have allowed to avoid the overcrowding that killed so many during the Black Death (relatively few nobles died, as they lived large).

The proximal reasons why Greco-Roman civilization collapsed are complicated, and are all entangled. Although the story started with plutocracy blossoming, it ended, four centuries later, with technology failing in so many dimensions that civilization could not be sustained anymore.

Basically, rising plutocracy (2C BCE)  led to political fascism (1C CE), that led to intellectual fascism (2C), which in turn led all sorts of technological stagnations or reversals (monetary, ecological, resources, military), and from there massive command economy and theocracy (300 CE) was called on, and then religious terror, anti-intellectualism and mental retardation (starting under emperor Jovian in 363 CE).

Many of these tipping points and causal chains are relevant today. However the situation is different in the sense that not only is history is going much faster, but, on the hopeful side, the world is still endowed with well armed, grimly determined republics (say France). Thus plutocracy may not win this time, as it did under the Gracchi brothers’ Roman republic. Indeed, we can now use meta arguments the Gracchi could not use, namely point at the fact that, ultimately, not only did plutocracy made society unfair, but the Republic collapsed, and so did civilization.

However, some causal chains, similar to those that undid Rome, are being activated presently.

One of them is the technological gradient between civilization and savages. Or, rather, the disappearance thereof. Bear with me a moment here.

Shortly after 300 CE, the Roman empire, in a reversal of hostilities, called onto the Salian Franks to become the shock troops of the empire. For years, the Franks had raided rivers of the empire, Viking style, and Constantine had fought them. Then suddenly, the Franks were at Constantine’s side, conquering the entire empire. And, astoundingly, by 400 CE, the Franks were put in charge of the defense of the entire North-West corner of Romanitas. Although, even more incredibly, the Franks had staged a long succession of coups and civil wars, against what they viewed as excessive Christianity, promoting a succession of secular Roman puppets to fight the central government.

What happened? Why did Christianized Romans put in charge their natural enemy, the Salian Frank Confederation? Simple: the Franks had better weapons, and better military capability. The Romans determined that, if you can’t beat them, you should join them. (Another, secondary reason, had to do with the Franks being more republican than the Byzantine court; Romans nostalgic with the republic, and secularism, and they were many, could only see the youth of Rome in those Frankish farmers).

What’s the connection with the CO2 rampage?

The only way for the most economically advanced countries to stay advanced is, first, by staying technologically advanced. Thus by researching, developing, and imposing worldwide, advanced technologies.  That can only work when those advanced technologies are necessary, and sustainable, that is, moral. As sustainability is the definition of  morality.

As I have long advocated, Obama is going to use his executive power by, hopefully, imposing new technology to stay on top. Not just on top of the problem, but on top of the world. Finally (Welcome to the executive branch, Mr. President!) With executive orders. Four years late. Execute, or be executed. After all, pollution to the extent we are exposed with CO2, is a form of execution. (Obama should have done the same with health care, as I also advocated more than 4 years ago).

The sorry collapse of the Greco-Romans, all entangled as they were with slavery (thus lower tech) caused some physical damage to the planet. Forests in Dauphiné are still showing subtle scars from Roman over-exploitation (mostly from mining). No big deal: South East France is heavily forested.

However what we are doing now with CO2, and other industrial greenhouse gases, is the big deal. The lifetime of CO2 in the combined air-ocean system is counted in many millennia. Projections show that we have already done enough to modify the climate enough to prevent a glaciation in the next 50,000 years . The mind reels.

So we are in life-and-death race to develop a long term, massive, survivable energy source. And there is just one; that of the sun, itself, thermonuclear fusion. Sun in a bottle. Feasible, but only if dozens of billions of economic activity are directed towards fundamental research labs (see note). Let’s not do like the Romans, and rest on yesteryear technology, until it’s so late, that nothing can be done anymore.

Einstein used to say that he knew the Fourth World War would be fought with sticks and stones. Error my dear Albert. The way things are going, the Fourth World War will be fought by scorpions and dragonflies.

***

Patrice Ayme

***

Note: let’s not be too passive, even if the outlook is sunny. Some are sure to whine that “solar energy” can do it all; what they mean is the passive reception, on Earth of part of Sol’s enormous thermonuclear output. Well, yes, they are talking about thermonuclear fusion, but may not know it (?) Passive solar has a great future. However its usage is bound to stay unimportant in space (!), high latitudes, and, more worryingly, in regions with high precipitations  (the greenhouse is going to get very wet in places!).

Violence Ends Worlds

December 22, 2012

PLUTOCRACY & MAN RUINED WORLDS BEFORE:
Mass destruction everywhere, all over, is how plutocracy makes the public violent and stupid, thus in synch with its rule.
Violence against people readily extends to violence against the environment, and reciprocally.
After all, one of the main reason to not hurt the environment is because, by doing so, people would be hurt. If one is willing to hurt people, one has one less reason to protect the environment. So ecologists should be concerned about the attitude to violence that people have.

VIOLENCE AGAINST THE ENVIRONMENT DID NOT START YESTERDAY, IT’S THE HUMAN THING TO DO. 50,000 years ago, Neanderthal applied the final solution to the Cave Bear problem. Cave bears and Neanderthals competed for the best real estate in Europe, caves. When Cave Bears had to do without caves, against their better instincts, they degenerated, and died off. There was even more a bear of a problem in North America.

Arctodus Simus: Guardian Of The Americas?

Arctodus Simus: Guardian Of The Americas?


The largest Polar Bear (Ursus Maritimus) ever was 1,002 kilograms (killed circa 1800). During the Pleistocene, which ended with the glaciation, 11,700 years ago, there were three gigantic bears: Arctotherium Angustidens in South America, Arctodus Simus in North America and the Cave Bear Ursus Spelaeus (the largest Ursus species) in Europe (that one was eliminated by 27,000 BCE). These bears are among the largest terrestrial mammalian carnivores that ever lived. The first two were dedicated meat eaters, and could reach up to two metric tons.

Arctodus Simus, long limbed, made for running, cruised as fast as 70 kilometers an hour. It could fight off Saber Tooth cats for the kills. Those giant bears specialized in terror supremacy. Those bears, and other terrible predators guarded the Americas (North America had more than half a dozen species of huge predators). That profusion of man eating monsters is why Australia, much harder to reach by sea, was invaded 40,000 years before the Americas. Those bears had only one thing to fear, man. They kept man off the Americas until man invented weapons advanced enough to kill them, and go south from Behringia, under the cover of climate change.

Why those ursine species did not invade Eurasia, whereas the European Brown Bears (“Grizzlies”) did invade the Americas seems rather mysterious, until one realizes that Neanderthals and their colleagues had long modified, and controlled, the Eurasiatic ecosystem. Grizzlies were compatible with man (and are delicious to eat), whereas the giant meat eating bears were not.
***

HUMAN INDUCED CLIMATE CHANGE: 11,700 YEAR OLD, EXPLODING NOW
After bioengineering many domestic animals, and creating new “cultivars”, or plant species (best example: corn), our ancestors had to cut trees… And kill lions. Studies have shown, and logic imposes, that lions and the like used to dominate the megafauna in total biomass, as a lion could survive on anything, from rabbit to elephant. American, and European lions were larger than the large North African lion (extinct for a century).

The end result was millions of cattle making methane, millions more than there would have been otherwise, and the climate warmed up relative to what it should have been (some specialists say that this Neolithic methane prevented a return of the glaciers to a great extent). More methane meant less glaciers, in turn more CO2 released through melting permafrost, etc.
This may explain why the CO2 density has been long out of control:

Homo Explodes CO2 Chart: We Are Now ~ 450 ppm!

Homo Explodes CO2 Chart: We Are Now ~ 450 ppm!

When people got to Australia, it was a massacre: the megafauna was quickly eliminated, leaving only kangaroos behind.
Conclusion: man has been violently modifying the environment for a very long time, we are in the Anthropocene.
***

WITHOUT PROGRESS, DELIBERATE, MEANINGFUL CHANGE, THE WORLD GETS OLD:
However, people did not get necessarily get away with it: in many places of the Middle Earth (Whatever can be reached from the Middle East within a few months of travel by Neolithic means, i.e. from Britain to India) cutting the trees accelerated, or even created desertification. Egypt is case in point (!). This was well known by the times of the Romans.
The Romans could see the mines getting exhausted, so they ran out of metals for their currency (currency crisis of the Third Century), and even for their weapons (metal crisis of the Seventh Century). After the Muslim attack, the Roman emperor came to Rome one summer to supervise the removal of metal from all the roofs of Rome to melt it, and make weapons of massive Muslim destruction.
Romanitas survived thanks to the metallic flame throwers of the Romans. Once, up to 2,000 Muslim ships were burned, as they sieged Constantinople. As late as the Tenth Century, a flame throwing Roman fleet coming from Constantinople, destroyed a Muslim fleet in the gulf of Saint Tropez, as a Frankish army, in a well coordinated pincer, eliminated the emirate Muslims had perfidiously established in Provence, so as to raid and ransom, all the way to Switzerland.

Meanwhile the Franks had invaded Eastern Europe, Rome’s unrealized dream. There the Franks got enough silver for making a currency again (China, having had drastic inflation & counterfeit from paper money would get silver for its own currency from Potosi, Bolivia, through the Philippines’ Spaniards, eight centuries later; paradoxically, by then the greatest European powers had reintroduced paper money for centuries, as their states were as strong as the 7C Tangs, who did use paper money!).

The cities of Sumer, at the root of (“Western”) civilization, were ecologically devastated. First there was salination (from too much sweet water usage), then deforestation in the Zagros and in the mountains around the Fertile Crescent caused an apocalyptic flood (the famous flood in the Bible). What had been civilization got covered by water, horizon to horizon.
Another famous (mostly) manmade disaster is the drought that put an end to the Mayan civilization. We now know that there was enormous environmental stress. The Mayans had run out of their preferred tree for construction: they used less and less mature specimen, until they had to switch to species that were not as good. The Mayans’ agricultural system depended upon the high technology of an enormous network of artificial lakes and canals. As the drought proceeded, that system failed, while war took over.
***

DARK FUTURE WITH COAL, THUS PERFECT FOR THE DARK SIDE:
Clearly a similar mechanism threatens us today: we need, desperately, more advanced technology. The only thing that can save the seven billions is more advanced technology, massively deployed. Thorium reactors are an obvious opportunity.
Right now, we do NOT have to proceed with coal. Anymore. British leaders were debating getting out of coal, exactly a century ago. Now leaders, everywhere, and especially the developing world, have decided to develop coal big time. In a few years, it will become, again, humanity ‘s main source of energy! Thus we will carry the sins of the Kyoto accord.
So what is going on? These leaders are actually plutocrats. They are not just leaders. They are rich, powerful, and nasty. They develop coal because they find natural to be nasty, as nastiness is the most distinctive quality that fostered their ascent. But it goes further than that. More nastiness deployed even makes them feel good about themselves, and the most developed quality they have, nastiness, showing them that nastiness is the force that moves the world.
***

THE DARK SIDE TOOK OVER ROME, PERFIDIOUSLY:
The fascist Roman empire imposed himself in a sneaky fashion. First there was a genocide against Carthage, one of the worst genocides known. It put an end to a civilization that was, in several ways, the world’s most advanced (in navigation and agriculture). Then the republican Greek city-states were exterminated (Corinth), or terrorized into abject obedience, after losing their independence. At that point, the plutocrats had to destroy the republic in Rome itself, and that is what happened in the following 130 years.
After this, the republic was not formally gone. Augustus did not make the mistake of his great Uncle Caesar, of violating tradition too far by making himself dictator for life (a notion all too close to the kings that Caesar had imposed all over Gaul, to the rage of the local Gallic Senates, causing in turn the great revolt against Caesar). Augustus called himself Princeps (First Man). First man in the Senate (and thus Rome).

Augustus’successors could only survive by augmenting the fascism, and the plutocratic index. The plutocrats around the emperor played a central role, and are always found in all tyrannies. Cultivating a small clique of “grands du royaume” buttressed the Princeps ( “grands”,as they were called in France: the Greats of the kingdom = plutocrats). These were of course the barons in England (with whom William conquered England, and their descendants) and the retinue of the “electors” in Germany (as the Frankish emperor was elected).

This was particularly obvious in the case of emperor Domitian (circa 80 CE), when we have actually reports of major conversations of the plutocrats around a dinner table, one of them the emperor, and they waxed lyrically that any of them could be the ultimate boss, and that those of their colleagues they had killed before, due to some conspiracies, had they not killed them, would naturally find their place again, and enjoy that meal with them.
The philosopher in chief, under Domitian, was Domitian himself, though. Those who disagreed with him, were, obviously, very bad, even dangerous, philosophers, and the sanction was death. Domitian exaggerated a bit, though. He rewarded some for their philosophy, and then eliminated them. Domitian progressively lost touch with his fellow plutocrats, so they send a professional assassin to have a picturesque fight to death with him in his bedroom.
Under the Antonine emperors that Gibbon admired so much, philosophers reached a pinnacle of power never seen before, or since. Most of them were Greek, some were billionaires, all said what the emperors, and the fascist-plutocratic structure supporting them, wanted to hear.
***

ROME & ATHENS CONTRADICTED THEIR RISE’S PHILOSOPHY, SO CRASHED:
A central tenet of the philosophy of fascist-imperial Rome was the exact opposite of what had allowed Rome to rise.
The rise of Rome was technological. Rome was first a melting pot, founded on equal opportunity. that equal opportunity made it an irresistible army, of citizens-soldiers, and that army, in turn, very pragmatically, favored technological innovation, by whatever means.
An example: Rome found itself at war with the greatest power in the western Mediterranean, Carthage. Carthage ruled the sea, her navigators had gone around Africa, and she brought, by sea all kinds of goods, from Black Africa, Gaul, Britain. Carthage ruled the seas, with the world’s most advanced ships.
The Romans captured one of them, and copied it . Within a few months, unbelievably, they built a fleet. The sailors were trained on the rocky soil, in fake triremes. They were declared sailors, and the Consul who had built the fleet, was declared to be an admiral. They sailed away. A Carthaginian fleet sank them all.
Never mind. The Romans built another fleet, paying more attention to detail. Soon they invented a device, the Corvus (=Crow), that could rotate around, and allowed to disgorge the redoubtable, hyper trained legionaries on the decks of the enemy. Carthage sank.
Amusing exploits. Demosthenes had incited Athens to engage in a private-public program to build a war fleet to fight Persia. That was done, and brought the tremendous victory of Salamis, just off the shore in Athens that ended up the efforts of the savage orient to conquer the West for 2,000 years. However, doing so, all the magnificent primary forest of Attica was razed, and never grew back, modifying irreversibly the climate, and making Athens even more vulnerably dependent upon Black Sea wheat. That is, Athenian food supply came from a very great distance, the kind of vulnerability many countries have nowadays. It forced Athens to conduct an aggressive military policy, constructing an empire that extended from Egypt to Byzantium and beyond.
In turn, that empire made Athens increasingly nasty. Within two generations, that nasty spirit, and its fragile far flung extent, became Athens undoing. Athens collapsed morally first, as she engaged in a pattern of war crimes (among them: attacking Syracuse out of the blue, annihilating an island’s population, etc.).
Here to define war crimes, I use Nuremberg, 1945. Some will say that I make an anachronism. However, not so. The roots of Nuremberg 1945 were planted 2,550 years earlier. Reading many texts of the period, and a century earlier, when republican, democratic Athens was created, is revealing. The Nazi like mood that seized Athens around 450 BCE, would have looked horrendous to some of the creators of its democracy (such as Solon), a century earlier, around 550 BCE (Solon was so disgusted by Athens after installing its democracy that he left for ten years to get better ideas, and visited Egypt, among other places).
Thus we see that, not paying attention to the ecology, even for the best reason (wasting Attica to build a war fleet to defend against fascist Persia), can lead to ill conceived, unsustainable empire (the Athenian empire rested on too small a population of Athenians), and then survived just by amplification of nastiness. When a besieged, starving Athens had to surrender to the coalition of Greek city-states, it’s (Persian financed) Sparta that saved it from the vengeance the other cities wanted to visit it with; some of its own medicine, annihilation.
That is why the moral drift in the USA leadership, ever since navy brass, and the dying Roosevelt became best friend with Ibn Saud, or blatant even earlier, when the USA declared Britain and France to be “belligerent” in 1939, and sanctioned them, is so dangerous. That’s how civilization dies.
Athens recovered, but not enough before the goons from the north, the Macedonians, the lovers of horse, Philippe and his son, with their own retinue of major plutocrats (Antipater, for example) could take over all of Greece.
Athens, and the other Greek city-states, ultimately rose successfully against Macedonia. But that was the help of Roman legions. By then the plutocrats were too powerful in the Roman Senate, and they made sure that the Social Revolution in Corinth was crushed. The new philosophy was sustainable fascism, plutocracy desired.
***

ROME COLLAPSED MORALLY FIRST, ECOLOGY FOLLOWED LATER:
So what happened under the Antonine emperors? The philosophers, and other Romans observed, as they said, that “the world was getting old”. Namely there were ecological disasters all over. The economy was becoming more difficult to operate, and command and control would be imposed within 150 years, as precious metals ran out. 300 years later, after the Franks had been unable to stop them, the vandals would seized North Africa, and so doing, starved all of Italy.
Could have Rome been spared that ominous fate? Well, yes, by more advanced technology, which could have been deployed (primitive steam engines existed, and Papin made a steam engine boat, in the 17th Century, using roughly the same metallurgical expertise; there is no doubt that the Romans could have made the same). But the Roman emperors deliberately blocked advanced tech.
The emperors, ill advised, thought that higher technology would increase unemployment.
That myth is entertained to this day. See Krugman’s December 9, 2012, editorial in The New York Times: Robots and Robber Barons. technology has taken a turn that places labor at a disadvantage… About the robots: there’s no question that in some high-profile industries, technology is displacing workers of all, or almost all, kinds. can innovation and progress really hurt large numbers of workers, maybe even workers in general? I often encounter assertions that this can’t happen. But the truth is that it can, and serious economists have been aware of this possibility for almost two centuries. The early-19th-century economist David Ricardo is best known for the theory of comparative advantage, which makes the case for free trade; but the same 1817 book in which he presented that theory also included a chapter on how the new, capital-intensive technologies of the Industrial Revolution could actually make workers worse off, at least for a while — which modern scholarship suggests may indeed have happened for several decades.
The debate is nothing new: Aristotle argued that, having no robots, civilization needed slaves, to do the work. The entire Greco-Roman civilization operated upon the bedrock of this completely idiotic assumption. And died from it.
So the emperors argued that, unemployment being a chronic Roman catastrophe, and people needing to work, the machines had could have alleviated work should not be constructed. That sorts of logic looks good, but it’s wrong at every turn. Unfortunately variants thereof presided to the making of the Kyoto Treaty.
All what happened was that Parthian arrows, fired from powerful double curvature composite Mongol bows, started to go through Roman armor, and that cataphracts terrorized the Roman army. Pathetically, in the end, the Romans adopted those military techniques… more than five centuries after suffering the devastating defeat of Carrhae from them.
What was the truth?
***

UNEMPLOYMENT AS A PLUTOCRATIC DEVICE:
In truth, unemployment was caused directly by the plutocracy that ruled Rome, it was a deliberate strategy. Unemployment empowers plutocracy. An unemployed man is impotent, and feels completely unworthy: after all, he is no use whatsoever. How could he be trusted to make a revolution? Let alone to vote? Another advantage is that unemployment means that the plutocracy lives off globalization, distant workers, who do the job, but can be cut off anytime, and replaced by others safely. That is why Rome, and then Italy got increasingly deprived of employment and even army under the fascist empire, culminating with the removal of the capital to Byzantium, by Constantine, to make Constantine-polis, Constantinople. To make sure, Constantine also removed the entire Roman metaphysics and tradition, by imposing Christianity.
When the Franks took control, they decreased the fascist index (the kings were elected, and the function was not hereditary, and women could reign), and they decreased the plutocratic index (sons were supposed to inherit equally and daughters would do, if there were no sons). Then the Franks formally outlawed slavery (~650 CE).
Outlawing slavery, that is, cheap labor, meant technology and science had to advance. It did. Countless tech advances occurred within a few centuries: heavy draught horse, bioengineered protein rich beans, water and wind mills all over. Frankish architecture (now known as “Gothic”), hydraulic presses, gravitational and spring clocks soon followed.
***

PLUTOCRACY IS BACK! IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME:
We are in a very similar situation nowadays, to the decay that corrupted Rome.
The plutocratic phenomenon has blossomed again. The banking sector has been taken over by bandits. This is very grave: in the Roman, Frankish, Tang, and other various Chinese empires, it was the state that created money. In the modern state, starting with the Italian republics of the Middle Ages, it has been the bankers that the state mandated to create money, through credit. So now the money creating system is corrupt, and the political, and even judicial class attached to them, is also corrupt.
Proof? All over the papers, everyday. Even inside the Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2012, the most incredible dialogues among plutocrats and crooks, about manipulating interest rates, and meeting back on their yachts to laugh it off, while exchanging 6 figures gifts.
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LARGEST PLUTO CRACTY EVER, LARGEST CRIME SYNDICATE, EVER:
Then there was the case of drug laundering by HSBC, a British based world bank. It showed the drug war is a very bad joke played upon the gullible public. Assistant Attorney General and longtime Bill Clinton pal Breuer is another of these plutocratic enabler who obviously expect to be well rewarded some more.
“Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who’s ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank…”
This is another case of international plutocracy at work, the largest criminal enterprise ever.
I say this after considering very carefully the involvement of JP Morgan, Henry Ford and company with various fascist movements, some of them genocidal, in the period 1920 to 1945; although the extent of genocide is lower, by an order of magnitude, so far, with WWII, with only a bit more than six millions or so assassinated in Africa, the intricacy, extent and penetration of world financial, economic, political and informational systems is unprecedented. (I have said this long ago.)
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IGNORING NUCLEAR ENERGY IS BEYOND GROTESQUE:
Nuclear energy is around one million times more energetic than any other energy source. So it’s the future, and it will allow to conquer the solar system, and go the stars.
Nuclear energy is intrinsically clean. It exploits decay, so its waste disappear quickly: nuclear waste becomes less radioactive over time. After 50 years, 99.1% of radiation is gone. This is in sharp contrast with coal. Arsenic, mercury and other chemicals that are stable, forever poisonous are released burning coal: under our eyes, the oceans and the Arctic are made too poisonous for life, and all what idiotic environmental NGOs can talk about is how bad nuclear is!
Well, if the Plutonium based 1950s nuclear tech is so bad, push for other nuclear technologies! Thorium comes to mind. But the first giant Thorium reactor will be ready in a decade or so. it will be made in China, of course.
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KYOTO, AN ERROR IGNORING THE MIGHTIEST ENERGY SOURCE:
The Kyoto accord decided that emissions of CO2 would be reduced after a while to 1990 levels. So far, so good. But then it was decided that the most developed countries, in other words, the West, would bear the burden, all the burden. On the ground that they caused the mess. In other words, those who set the fire would extinguish it, while those who did not could go right ahead with a new conflagration. The USA refused to ratify that unwise injustice. The Europeans, who have a long history of self flagellation, ever since they roasted most of the Jews, signed on greedily, and, glutton for punishment as they are, are suffering indigestion ever since. Now China emits three times more CO2 than all of Europe. And many times that in arsenic, mercury, etc.
Denmark gives renewable lessons to all, and depends more crucially on burning carbon than basically any other country. New burn factories are under construction. (On the positive side, this is self limiting, as most of Denmark will soon go below water, including all the Do-goodism.)
Why all the burning fires? Because of Kyoto’s most vicious flaw. Kyoto, and a later annex, Marrakesh, held that nuclear energy was an enemy. The Marrakesh Accords state:”Recognizing that Parties included in Annex I are to refrain from using credits…generated from nuclear facilities to meet their commitments under Article 3, paragraph 1″ .
However, this all hogwash. Out of say 100 different potential nuclear energy methods, the only one used is the military one, the U235-Plutonium cycle.
Conclusion? The do-gooders fanatically anti-nuclear ecologists are bringing back coal. Within a few years, after an eclipse of a 100 years, COAL WILL AGAIN BE the world’s main energy source. Most of the ecologists who were influential in the last quarter century should get their heads examined, because the return of coal is their work.
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NO PROGRESS, NO LIFE:
Fascist imperial Rome refuted technology. Thus progress. However any human society, since the Pleistocene is as if on a bike: it cannot stand still without crashing. Why? Because resources get exhausted, they always have, they always will (Malthus wrote nearly 5,000 years after Sumer flooded, from deforestation, so Malthus was right, but his were old news).
Technological progress is an ecological stabilizer.
Intelligence evolved because it enables to manipulate the world in a self serving way. In the war against the plutocratic phenomenon, what is in play is the meaning of self. And intelligence itself: the selfishness of the plutocrats is not just self serving, is afflicted with lethal shortermism. Why? because more is different.
Plutocracy is related to fascism, in particular intellectual fascism, where only a few ideas, a few moods, and a few people lead. That’s why Rome got increasingly stupid: any new intelligent discourse is specialized, it’s a techno (special)- logy (discourse). By refuting technology, Rome did not just refute progress, it refuted intelligence.
Nietzsche famously founded his philosophy on the “eternal return of the same”. Nothing could be more false; everywhere we look, however far in the past, long ago, in galaxies further than we can see, there is change, tremendous dynamics at works. We cannot go back to the past, we can only forge a sustainable future. And that means using force, and we have more force at our disposal than ever before, but, paradoxically, not enough yet to put the world on the right track.
Shooting at each other all day long to see who the good guys are, as the NRA and its fellow plutocrats are suggesting, is certainly not the way. Nor is the return to coal, more devastating than anything but outright thermonuclear war.
We are facing the greatest ecological and energy crisis ever, just when plutocracy is heating up. What to do? Full speed ahead with new technology, based in the deepest new science, and that goes all the way to throttle up in more advanced philosophy.
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Patrice Ayme