Friday, September 19, 2014

humanzee essentials: what it do...,



*Abbot:* I’m neither irritated nor upset. I’m simply surprised and a little disappointed. Somewhere along the way, you have learned or were taught that a discussion must involve anger, ranting, suspicion, and dirty tricks. You treat dialogue and discussion like some kind of sword fight or some sort of violent contest, where directness and bluntness and the disparaging of the other person are weapons to be used to win something. Don’t you find cynicism tiresome? I was taught that dialogue and discussion is the coming together of people to gain understanding, insight, sympathy, and an education or experience of a new or different perspective. It’s not a sword fight or some other violent contest. There’s no need for strategies. And, the idea of winning something is a non sequitur. It comes from a place of genuine interest in the other person or group. And, the goal isn’t division but the forming of a better understanding and hopefully, a closer bond.

*Ethologist:* Hello Abbot. I enjoy reading your posts to the group. Thank you for your vocation. There are certain advantages for a Roman Catholic religious male to be celibate. You have just demonstrated one of them: a peacemaker among other reproductive-age males. Among reproductive age non-celibate males, interactions with other reproductive age males also have a component related to one's social status in a sex-specific, male dominance hierarchy.

When two non-celibate heterosexual males interact there are always two agendas: (1) an exchange of information and (2) a sizing up of the other male's social status. Once (2) is obtained and it the status differences between the two interacting males appear to be close enough to be challenged, the agenda for each male becomes increasing the relative social status of self above the social status of the other male with whom you are interacting.

This increasing one's relative social status is done in two ways: (a) displaying linguistic symbols of one's resources, including intellectual resources, or (b) saying things that attempt to lower the status of the male with whom you are interacting. You are commenting about (b). The reason why one's rank in a male social hierarchy is important for a heterosexual male is because higher rank gives a male preferential access to high value females both as marriage partners and as extra-pair-bonded opportunistic "matings." High value human females are sexually attracted to high social status males like ducks are attracted to water. They are wired that way.

One would think that after a certain age heterosexual males would stop acting this way. However, natural selection has wired us such that this propensity lasts as long as we breath. High status older males are still "attractive" from a reproductive perspective to reproductive age women. Henry Kissinger, the now 90 some year old former Secretary of State in the Nixon administration in the USA, once captured this phenomenon well several decades ago when he said "power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." When asked, he said that this statement referred to how women found him attractive when he was Secretary of State and appeared to be "running the world."

killing comes naturally to these humanzees because the females prefer high-status aggressive males as mates..,


npr |  Although he adheres to the chimps-as-natural-born-killers theory in the book Demonic Males — finds cause for optimism when it comes to the ability of humans to change their own violent tendencies.

In observing bonobos (the closely related but less-violent cousins of chimpanzees), Wrangham observed peaceful communities based on a power-sharing arrangement between males and females. Chimps, by contrast, live in patriarchal groups where dominant males run roughshod over compliant females.

The reason for the difference, he concludes, is sex selection. Female chimps select aggressive males as mates; female bonobos don't.

"The example of the bonobos reminds us that females and males can be equally important players in a society," Wrangham is quoted in Harvard Magazine as saying. "And by giving us a model in which female action works in suppressing the excesses of male aggression, the bonobos show us that in democracies like our own, women's voices should be heard more than they are."

bare essentials of the society for creative anachronism flourishing...,


NYTimes | A hotel ballroom in Ellicott City, Md., seemed an unlikely setting for a four-day competition involving ancient martial arts, Longpoint 2014.

“Fight!” the referee called out.

Axel Pettersson, 29, raised his sword above his head and waited. When his opponent drew near, the two exchanged a rapid set of blows. At last, Pettersson landed a vicious cut across the torso of his opponent’s body armor, winning the open steel longsword competition and adding another championship to his collection.

Longpoint, held in July, is one of several annual tournaments around the world, manifestations of renewed interest in what enthusiasts call historical European martial arts, or HEMA. It includes events like grappling — similar to Greco-Roman wrestling — and several types of swordfighting. But the focus is on the most iconic medieval weapon, forged from cold, lustrous steel: the longsword.

 “The longsword specifically is just very accessible,” said Pettersson, a management consultant from Gothenburg, Sweden, “because that is what the old masters wrote about the most. It was called the ‘queen of weapons’ in the old days.”

Unlike re-enactors or role players, who don theatrical costumes and medieval-style armor, Longpoint competitors treat swordfighting as an organized sport. Matches have complex rules and use a scoring system based on ancient dueling regulations. Fighters wear modern if sometimes improvised protective equipment, which looks like a hybrid of fencing gear and body armor. They use steel swords with unsharpened blades and blunt tips to prevent bouts from turning into death matches.

Skill and technique, rather than size and strength, decide the outcomes. Fights are fast and sometimes brutal: Essential to the art is landing a blow while preventing an opponent’s counterstroke. Nevertheless, even the best swordfighters earn large bruises in the ring, which they display with flinty pride.

Longpoint began in 2011 with 60 participants; now the largest HEMA event in North America, it drew about 200 this year. The open steel longsword division had 55 entrants, eight of them women.

CLANG dead...,


eurogamer |  Remember when Snow Crash author Neal Stephenson raised over $526K on Kickstarter to make a motion-controller-based sword-fighting game called Clang? And remember when that project was put on hold indefinitely after Stephenson's company, Subutai Corporation, ran out of money and couldn't find a publisher to fund it further? Well now the worst has come to pass: Clang is cancelled.

The reason is quite simple: that additional funding never came. "Members of the team made large personal contributions of time and money to the project before, during, and after the Kickstarter phase. Some members, when all is said and done, absorbed significant financial losses. I am one of them; that has been my way of taking responsibility for this," Stephenson said in a Kickstarter post entitled Final Update.

"The team had considerable incentives - emotional and financial - to see Clang move on to the next round of funding. They showed intense dedication and dogged focus that I think most of our backers would find moving if the whole story were told. I will forever be grateful to them. In the end, however, additional fundraising efforts failed and forced the team to cut their losses and disband in search of steady work."

Stephenson admitted that much of the fault laid with him, as he focused too much on the wrong things. "I probably focused too much on historical accuracy and not enough on making it sufficiently fun to attract additional investment," the renowned sci-fi author lamented.

He also said that the project kept changing shape as new ideas were introduced during development. "As all this was happening, new ideas and opportunities presented themselves. These reflect a lot of experience that was gained and connections to the industry that were made during that project," he said. "Although these ideas and opportunities may ultimately wind up in some of the same places we wanted to take Clang, they will do so in non-obvious ways, by starting from a clean sheet of paper in each case, building new teams, and pursuing projects that in some cases have no obvious connection to historical swordfighting.

"I have delayed talking publicly about these projects for a long time because I kept thinking that at least one of them would reach a point where I could describe it in something other than generalities. I apologize for that delay. But now a year has passed since the last update and I've decided that it's cleaner and simpler to cut the cord, and announce the termination of Clang."

socioeconomic status and structural brain development..,


frontiersin |  Recent advances in neuroimaging methods have made accessible new ways of disentangling the complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors that influence structural brain development. In recent years, research investigating associations between socioeconomic status (SES) and brain development have found significant links between SES and changes in brain structure, especially in areas related to memory, executive control, and emotion. This review focuses on studies examining links between structural brain development and SES disparities of the magnitude typically found in developing countries. We highlight how highly correlated measures of SES are differentially related to structural changes within the brain.

Introduction
Human development does not occur within a vacuum. The environmental contexts and social connections a person experiences throughout his or her lifetime significantly impact the development of both cognitive and social skills. The incorporation of neuroscience into topics more commonly associated with the social sciences, such as culture or socioeconomic status (SES), has led to an increased understanding of the mechanisms that underlie development across the lifespan. However, more research is necessary to disentangle the complexities surrounding early environmental variation and neural development. This review highlights studies examining links between structural brain development and SES disparities of the magnitude typically found in developing countries. We do not include studies examining children who have experienced extreme forms of early adversity, such as institutionalization or severe abuse. We also limit this review to findings concerning socioeconomic disparities in brain structure, as opposed to brain function.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

good order in public schools ended when corporal punishment was replaced by armed uniformed security guards...,


NYTimes | While 70 percent of Americans approve of corporal punishment, black Americans have a distinct history with the subject. Beating children has been a depressingly familiar habit in black families since our arrival in the New World. As the black psychiatrists William H. Grier and Price M. Cobbs wrote in “Black Rage,” their 1968 examination of psychological black life: “Beating in child-rearing actually has its psychological roots in slavery and even yet black parents will feel that, just as they have suffered beatings as children, so it is right that their children be so treated.”

The lash of the plantation overseer fell heavily on children to whip them into fear of white authority. Terror in the field often gave way to parents beating black children in the shack, or at times in the presence of the slave owner in forced cooperation to break a rebellious child’s spirit. Black parents beat their children to keep them from misbehaving in the eyes of whites who had the power to send black youth to their deaths for the slightest offense. Today, many black parents fear that a loose tongue or flash of temper could get their child killed by a trigger-happy cop. They would rather beat their offspring than bury them.

If beating children began, paradoxically, as a violent preventive of even greater violence, it was enthusiastically embraced in black culture, especially when God was recruited. As an ordained Baptist minister with a doctorate in religion, I have heard all sorts of religious excuses for whippings.

NYTimes |  According to reports about the Adrian Peterson felony abuse indictment, Peterson’s 4-year-old son pushed another of Peterson’s sons off a video game. Peterson then retrieved a tree branch — called a “switch” — stripped off its leaves, shoved leaves into the boy’s mouth and beat him with his pants down until he bled.

According to a CBS affiliate in Houston, Peterson texted the boy’s mother that she would be “mad at me about his legs. I got kinda good wit the tail end of the switch.”

He also reportedly texted that he “felt bad after the fact when I notice the switch was wrapping around hitting I (sic) thigh” and “Got him in nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I’m all tearing that butt up when needed! I start putting them in timeout. N save the whooping for needed memories!”
But the boy reportedly said, “Daddy Peterson hit me on my face,” that his father “likes belts and switches,” that “there are a lot of belts in Daddy’s closet,” and that he “has a whooping room.”
Spanking is not against the law in America — although some argue that it should be, as it is in Sweden and some other countries — but, as with most things in life, there are degrees beyond which even something that is generally acceptable, or at least legal, crosses a threshold and becomes not so.

sistah girl say "whoop them bad chirrens", predictable Cathedral whinery ensues...., REDUX (originally posted 2/19/14)



kctv5 |  A Kansas lawmaker wants to give school teachers and caregivers more power to spank children.

Representative Gail Finney
Kansas House member Gail Finney, D-Wichita, said the bill is designed to restore parental rights. It would expand the current law, which allows spanking without leaving marks. If Finney's bill passes, it would allow up to 10 strikes of the hand and smacks hard enough to leave redness and bruising.

The proposal has its detractors, who say it is antiquated. 

"Twenty, 30 years ago, we didn't sit in car seats, and we do now. So maybe they did spank or were spanked as a child, but now we have research that shows it is less effective than time out. It tends to lead to more aggressive behavior with a child," pediatric nurse practitioner Amy Terreros said. She is a child abuse expert at Children's Mercy Hospital. 

McPherson Deputy County Attorney Britt Colle introduced the idea to Finney.

The proposed bill suggests lightening the spanking laws, allowing parents or anyone given permission by a parent to spank hard enough to leave redness or bruising.

"This bill basically defines a spanking along with necessary reasonable physical restraint that goes with discipline, all of which has always been legal," Colle said. "This bill clarifies what parents can and cannot do. By defining what is legal, it also defines what is not."

Colle said the bill makes it clear that hitting a child with fists, hitting a child in the head or body or hitting a child with a belt or switch is not legal discipline and may be considered battery or abuse.
Deidre Sexton said she would never spank her granddaughter. She enjoys being "Nana" with the
responsibilities of a guardian by day.

But Sexton said she has limits with how she disciplines her 2-year-old granddaughter, and she draws the line at spanking. "Even if the parent tells you. Even if my own children told me you can discipline the grandkids, I wouldn't do it. I would find other ways of doing it," Sexton said.

Kansas proponents of the bill say children are losing respect for authority and that parents need to be able to discipline without fear. But 30 other states disagree, and they've banned corporal punishment altogether.

The "Crazy" Rev. Wright - REDUX (originally posted 3/26/08)

I've been meaning to do a quick and dirty exegesis of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's most "controversial" sermonic utterances, i.e., those suggesting an organized effort to damage Black folks with drugs, disease, and incarceration. Thankfully one of my literary icons, the great Ishmael Reed, has written the response that I would've liked to write - and then some. It's lengthy and well worth reading in its entirety.
Martin Luther King. Jr. had a dream. Here's mine. What would happen if all of the whites holding forth in Op-eds and on cable about race- both in the progressive and corporate media- the middle persons who interpret black America for whites( when they are capable of speaking for themselves), the screenwriters and TV writers who make millions from presenting blacks as scum, and the authors of the fake ghetto books would just shut the fuck up for a few months and listen. Just listen. Listen to blacks, browns, reds and yellows, people whose views are ignored by the segregated media. Listen, not just to their meek colored mind doubles like an Obama critic, Rev. Rivers, who nobody's ever heard of, but people who will level with them.

In 1957, Doubleday released Richard Wright's White Man Listen. In it, he wrote "...the greatest aid that any white Westerner can give Africa is by becoming a missionary right in the heart of the Western world, explaining to his own people what they have done to Africa."

Nobody expects the media to educate the public about Africa. The current coverage is consistent with the images found in the Tarzan movies. It's not going to change. I'll settle for missionary work among the American public. Free them from entrapment by the corporate media, which are causing their brain cells to atrophy. Teach them the other points of views that are smothered by the noise, and trivialized on You Tube. Then maybe they'll understand where the crazy Rev. Wright is coming from.
Of course, this is NOT going to happen. Not even an Obama presidency would suffice to initiate the profound and encompassing evolutionary surge that would be required to adjust the collective American psyche enough to stop its insane self-talk long enough to listen to a different point of view.

The Gurdjieffian Appeal - REDUX (originally posted 12/26/07)

Gurdjieff was engaged in the practical study of hypnotism between 1900 and 1908. He worked at it in connection with curing people of alcoholism and opium addiction, and with various other influences that increase suggestibility and diminish the power of personal initiative. During those years, Gurdjieff was trying to see whether he could establish a practical means for helping people with this grave condition.

Suggestibility is one of the central causes of contemporary malaise. It is a derivative weakness that is more serious than most people nowadays are prepared to admit. We are all familiar with the concept of political and advertising propaganda, but erroneously believe ourselves personally and individually immune from the same. The overwhelming majority of people have no idea about the history and practical exploitation of suggestibility as a primary instrumentality of governance.

Contemporary with the rise of the exploitation of suggestibility as a governance methodology, i.e., he saw and responded to the problem while it was yet in its infancy - Gurdjieff undertook to discover the means by which people could be delivered from this psychic weakness. Gurdjieff was decades ahead of his time - concerned as he was with something critically important to us all - long before anyone else gained a retrospective understanding of what was being done, by whom it was being done, and how it was being done. In addition to taking on the symptom of suggestibility, and its exploitation by elites as a primary governance methodology, Gurdjieff also endeavored to provide a means by which individuals could train and condition their psychic machinery to realize its full possible range of functioning.

Behind the general condition of suggestibility lurks a generalized and woeful ignorance of human nature. This is one of the most awkward aspects of our general situation. People believe that they know themselves, know their own internal nature, but nothing could be further from the truth. Where precisely does one come upon a deep and sound education concerning the nature of his/her psychic apparatus? Home and family? School? Church? Place of employment? The fact of the matter is that it simply never happens. Education in the methods of self-knowledge are infinitely more fragmentary and sporadic than simple sex education. We're neither provided with a user manual for basic operation of our organism, and, the institutions which shape and control our lives' attention don't trouble themselves to provide such a manual.

Why should they?

Knowing so much about the external nature of the world and of ourselves, and knowing so very little about our own internal nature makes us very easy and very cost effective to govern. As long as people can be made to work very effectively on the outside, while kept weak, ignorant, and ineffectual on the inside, we are as lambs under the care of wolves.

The basic illusion by which we are kept docile and governable is rooted in the nature of consciousness cultivated and permitted within our embedding culture. What we ordinarily call consciousness is only a reflection of true consciousness. True consciousness is the reverse of what men ordinarily call consciousness. To the extent that we learn this fact, and go beyond knowledge to practice, and effect a reversal of the ordinary waking state, i.e., make what is in our subconsciousness the agent and center of what we call our consciousness

super-rich losing the war against nature


telegraph |  In a desperate bid to save their manicured lawns and towering topiary, some of Montecito's multi-millionaires have since been trying to out-spend nature by buying water in from outside. 

Each morning at the crack of dawn, trucks laden with precious H₂O trundle down lanes towards parched estates.

The buyers are paying up to $80 (£49) a unit – a unit is 748 gallons – for water that normally costs a maximum of $6.86 (£4.23) a unit from the water district. 

The trucks are now a common sight in Montecito, passing by Sotheby's International Realty and an haute couture clothes store. But the origin of the water is something of a mystery. 

"I see the trucks every day. They're like big gas trucks with a water sign on," said Tori Delgado, who works in the Montecito wine and cheese shop. "But nobody knows where they're getting it from."
The water is likely being sold by private individuals elsewhere in California who have wells on their properties. 

But wherever it comes from the buyers appear to be staving off the inevitable only temporarily, and many millionaires are turning to conservation instead. Miss Winfrey is prominent among them.
"Two months ago she just said, 'Turn off the water', and now there's not a green blade of grass on that lawn," a resident who has seen her parched garden told the Telegraph. 

At Miss Winfrey's second and larger Montecito estate – an $85 million affair called Promised Land – the grass is still green but the water bill has also fallen dramatically. 

The Montecito Water District has so far banned the watering of gardens in the middle of the day, filling swimming pools at any time, and the building of new homes. 

Meanwhile scores of angry residents have lodged appeals for more water. One asked for a supply to save 300 specimen trees – but was told the trees would have to die. 

Tom Mosby, general manager of Montecito Water District, said: "People come to us and say 'We want to build a swimming pool' and we say 'No'. If it doesn't rain next year the state's going to go dry. We are talking about a disaster movie in the making."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

the geopolitics of world war three...,


scgnews |  The U.S. dollar is a unique currency. In fact its current design and its relationship to geopolitics is unlike any other in history. Though it has been the world reserve currency since 194 this is not what makes it unique. Many currencies have held the reserve status off and on over the centuries, but what makes the dollar unique is the fact that since the early 1970s it has been, with a few notable exceptions, the only currency used to buy and sell oil on the global market. 

Prior to 1971 the U.S. dollar was bound to the gold standard, at least officially. According to the IMF, by 1966, foreign central banks held $14 billion U.S. dollars, however the United States had only $3.2 billion in gold allocated to cover foreign holdings.

Translation: the Federal Reserve was printing more money than it could actually back.
The result was rampant inflation and a general flight from the dollar.

In 1971 in what later came to be called the "Nixon Shock" President Nixon removed the dollar from the gold standard completely. 

At this point the dollar became a pure debt based currency. With debt based currencies money is literally loaned into existence.

Approximately 70% of the money in circulation is created by ordinary banks which are allowed to loan out more than they actually have in their accounts.

The rest is created by the Federal Reserve which loans money that they don't have, mostly to government.

Kind of like writing hot checks, except it's legal, for banks. This practice which is referred to as fractional reserve banking is supposedly regulated by the Federal Reserve, an institution which just happens to be owned and controlled by a conglomerate of banks, and no agency or branch of government regulates the Federal Reserve.

Now to make things even more interesting these fractional reserve loans have interest attached, but the money to pay that interest doesn't exist in the system. As a result there is always more total debt than there is money in circulation, and in order to stay afloat the economy must grow perpetually.
This is obviously not sustainable.

Now you might be wondering how the dollar has maintained such a dominant position on the world stage for over forty years if it's really little more than an elaborate ponzi scheme.
Well this is where the dollar meets geopolitics.

In 1973 under the shadow of the artificial OPEC oil crisis, the Nixon administration began secret negotiations with the government of Saudi Arabia to establish what came to be referred to as the petrodollar recycling system. Under the arrangement the Saudis would only sell their oil in U.S. dollars, and would invest the majority of their excess oil profits into U.S. banks and Capital markets. The IMF would then use this money to facilitate loans to oil importers who were having difficulties covering the increase in oil prices. The payments and interest on these loans would of course be denominated in U.S. dollars.

This agreement was formalized in the "The U.S.-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation" put together by Nixon's Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1974.
Another document released by the Congressional Research Service reveals that these negotiations had an edge to them, as U.S. officials were openly discussing the feasibility of seizing oil fields in Saudi Arabia militarily.

In the United States, the oil shocks produced inflation, new concern about foreign investment from oil producing countries, and open speculation about the advisability and feasibility of militarily seizing oil fields in Saudi Arabia or other countries. In the wake of the embargo, both Saudi and U.S. officials worked to re-anchor the bilateral relationship on the basis of shared opposition to Communism, renewed military cooperation, and through economic initiatives that promoted the recycling of Saudi petrodollars to the United States via Saudi investment in infrastructure, industrial expansion, and U.S. securities.

The system was expanded to include the rest of OPEC by 1975.

Though presented as buffer to the recessionary effects of rising oil prices, this arrangement had a hidden side effect. It removed the traditional restraints on U.S. monetary policy.
The Federal Reserve was now free to increase the money supply at will. The ever increasing demand for oil would would prevent a flight from the dollar, while distributing the inflationary consequences across the entire planet.

The dollar went from being a gold back currency to a oil backed currency. It also became America's primary export.

Did you ever wonder how the U.S. economy has been able to stay afloat while running multibillion dollar trade deficits for decades?

Did you ever wonder how it is that the U.S. holds such a disproportionate amount of the worlds wealth when 70% of the U.S. economy is consumer based? 

In the modern era, fossil fuels make the world go round. They have become integrated into every aspect of civilization: agriculture, transportation, plastics, heating, defense and medicine, and demand just keeps growing and growing. 

As long as the world needs oil, and as long as oil is only sold in U.S. dollars, there will be a demand for dollars, and that demand is what gives the dollar its value.

For the United States this is a great deal. Dollars go out, either as paper or digits in a computer system, and real tangible products and services come in. However for the rest of the world, it's a very sneaky form of exploitation.

Having global trade predominately in dollars also provides the Washington with a powerful financial weapon through sanctions. This is due to the fact that most large scale dollar transactions are forced to pass through the U.S. 

This petrodollar system stood unchallenged until September of 2000 when Saddam Hussein announced his decision to switch Iraq's oil sales off of the dollar to Euros. This was a direct attack on the dollar, and easily the most important geopolitical event of the year, but only one article in the western media even mentioned it.

the dollar's 70-year dominance is coming to an end


telegraph |  In early July 1944, delegates from 44 countries gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. A three-week summit took place, at which a new system was agreed to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the Second World War. 

The US was already the world’s commercial powerhouse, having eclipsed the British Empire several decades earlier. America was also on course to be among the victors of “Europe’s conflict”, even though its economy was largely unscathed by war. As such, Bretton Woods was US-dominated and produced a settlement largely on US terms.
Seventy years ago this week, that fateful summit ended. Its close marked the moment the dollar’s unquestionable supremacy was secured. Since then, global commerce has been conducted largely in dollars and leading economies have held the greenback as their primary reserve currency.
The same system remains intact today, with the lion’s share of commercial settlements worldwide still clearing the US banking system – even if the parties involved have nothing to do with the States.
The dollar’s hegemony continues to be cemented, meanwhile, by the operations of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Founded at Bretton Woods, they’re both Washington based, of course, and controlled by America, despite some Francophone window-dressing.

The advantages this system bestows on the US are enormous. “Reserve currency status” generates huge demand for dollars from governments and companies around the world, as they’re needed for reserves and trade. This has allowed successive American administrations to spend far more, year-in year-out, than is raised in tax and export revenue.

By the early Seventies, US economic dominance was so assured that even after President Nixon reneged on the dollar’s previously unshakeable convertibility into gold, amounting to a massive default, dollar demand kept growing.

So America doesn’t worry about balance of payments crises, as it can pay for imports in dollars the Federal Reserve can just print. And Washington keeps spending willy-nilly, as the world buys ever more Treasuries on the strength of regulatory imperative and the vast liquidity and size of the market for US sovereign debt.

It is this “exorbitant privilege” – as French statesman Valéry Giscard d’Estaing once sourly observed – that has been the bedrock of America’s post-war hegemony. It is the status of the dollar, above all, that’s allowed Washington to get its way, putting the financial squeeze on recalcitrant countries via the IMF while funding foreign wars. To understand politics and power it pays to follow the money. And for the past 70 years, the dollar has ruled the roost.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

a biohazard mask and suit in the heat and humidity of equatorial west africa is literal hell-on-earth


whitehouse |  As the President has stated, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the humanitarian crisis there is a top national security priority for the United States.  In order to contain and combat it, we are partnering with the United Nations and other international partners to help the Governments of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal respond just as we fortify our defenses at home. Every outbreak of Ebola over the past 40 years has been contained, and we are confident that this one can—and will be—as well.

Our strategy is predicated on four key goals:
  • Controlling the epidemic at its source in West Africa;
  • Mitigating second-order impacts, including blunting the economic, social, and political tolls in the region;
  • Engaging and coordinating with a broader global audience; and,
  • Fortifying global health security infrastructure in the region and beyond.
The United States has applied a whole-of-government response to the epidemic, which we launched shortly after the first cases were reported in March. As part of this, we have dedicated additional resources across the federal government to address the crisis, committing more than $175 million to date. We continue to work with Congress to provide additional resources through appropriations and reprogramming efforts in order to be responsive to evolving resource needs on the ground.  Just as the outbreak has worsened, our response will be commensurate with the challenge.

New Resources to Confront a Growing Challenge
The United States will leverage the unique capabilities of the U.S. military and broader uniformed services to help bring the epidemic under control. These efforts will entail command and control, logistics expertise, training, and engineering support.
  • U.S. Africa Command will set up a Joint Force Command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia, to provide regional command and control support to U.S. military activities and facilitate coordination with U.S. government and international relief efforts. A general from U.S. Army Africa, the Army component of U.S. Africa Command, will lead this effort, which will involve an estimated 3,000 U.S. forces.

patience..., vast land and resources coming soon in an equatorial region near you


wired |  The Ebola epidemic in Africa has continued to expand since I last wrote about it, and as of a week ago, has accounted for more than 4,200 cases and 2,200 deaths in five countries: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. That is extraordinary: Since the virus was discovered, no Ebola outbreak’s toll has risen above several hundred cases. This now truly is a type of epidemic that the world has never seen before. In light of that, several articles were published recently that are very worth reading.

The most arresting is a piece published last week in the journal Eurosurveillance, which is the peer-reviewed publication of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (the EU’s Stockholm-based version of the US CDC). The piece is an attempt to assess mathematically how the epidemic is growing, by using case reports to determine the “reproductive number.” (Note for non-epidemiology geeks: The basic reproductive number — usually shorted to R0 or “R-nought” — expresses how many cases of disease are likely to be caused by any one infected person. An R0 of less than 1 means an outbreak will die out; an R0 of more than 1 means an outbreak can be expected to increase. If you saw the movie Contagion, this is what Kate Winslet stood up and wrote on a whiteboard early in the film.)

The Eurosurveillance paper, by two researchers from the University of Tokyo and Arizona State University, attempts to derive what the reproductive rate has been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. (Note for actual epidemiology geeks: The calculation is for the effective reproductive number, pegged to a point in time, hence actually Rt.) They come up with an R of at least 1, and in some cases 2; that is, at certain points, sick persons have caused disease in two others.
You can see how that could quickly get out of hand, and in fact, that is what the researchers predict. Here is their stop-you-in-your-tracks assessment:
In a worst-case hypothetical scenario, should the outbreak continue with recent trends, the case burden could gain an additional 77,181 to 277,124 cases by the end of 2014.
That is a jaw-dropping number.

is this the real issue at the heart of the scottish independence vote?


euanmearns |  On 18th September 2014 (in a few days time), Scotland will vote on the following question:
Should Scotland be an independent country?
Answer YES and the vote is for independence, answer NO and the vote is to stay with The United Kingdom. Energy has not figured at the top of the debating issues that have been dominated by currency union, the economy and disaffection with Westminster. The future of North Sea oil has been on the second tier but periodically gets thrust into the limelight, normally on the back of sensational headlines about the future. Part of the current reality is that Aberdeen is in the early stage of cyclical recession, brought about by declining production and soaring costs now exacerbated by Brent sliding below $100/ barrel. Redundancies have already begun. In this post I want to examine three issues that have been in the news 1) future exploration potential 2) offshore fracking and 3) remaining reserves.

gasbaggery a little bit closer to the bullseye...,


NYTimes |  The economic risks are so glaring that even Paul Krugman and I agree it’s a terrible idea. What currency will Scotland use? The pound? The euro? No one knows. What share of North Sea oil revenues will go to Edinburgh? What about Scotland’s share of Britain’s enormous national debt?

Is this going to be one of those divorces in which one partner claims all the assets and offers the other partner only the liabilities? Whatever the S.N.P. may say, a yes vote on Thursday would have grave economic consequences, and not just for Scotland. Investment has already stalled. Big companies based in Scotland, notably the pensions giant Standard Life, have warned of relocating to England. Jobs would definitely be lost. The recent steep decline in the pound shows that the financial world hates the whole idea.
Yet the economic arguments against independence seem not to be working — and may even be backfiring. I think I know why. Telling a Scot, “You can’t do this — if you do, terrible things will happen to you,” has been a losing negotiating strategy since time immemorial. If you went into a Glasgow pub tonight and said to the average Glaswegian, “If you down that beer, you’ll get your head kicked in,” he would react by draining his glass to the dregs and telling the barman, “Same again.”

So what kind of appeal can be made to stop the Anglo-Scottish divorce? The answer may be an appeal to Scotland’s long history of cosmopolitanism.

The great Scottish philosopher David Hume was contemptuous of what he called the “vulgar motive of national antipathy.” “I am a Citizen of the World,” he wrote in 1764. Hume’s account of the consequences of union with England could scarcely have been more positive: “Public liberty, with internal peace and order, has flourished almost without interruption.” His only complaint was the tendency of the English to treat “with Hatred our just Pretensions to surpass and to govern them.” (At the time, the English had not quite got used to Scottish prime ministers, of which there have been 11, by my count.)

Petty nationalism is just un-Scottish. And today’s Scots should remember the apposite warning of their countryman the economist Adam Smith about politicians who promise “some plausible plan of reformation” in order “to new-model the constitution,” mainly for “their own aggrandizement.” All over Continental Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, nationalism was what ambitious hacks espoused to advance themselves. Scotland was the exception. May it stay that way.

inane gasbaggery about scotland...,


stratfor |  Scottish independence would transform British history. All of the attempts at minimizing its significance miss the point. It would mean that the British island would be divided into two nation-states, and however warm the feelings now, they were not warm in the past nor can we be sure that they will be warm in the future. England will be vulnerable in ways that it hasn't been for three centuries. And Scotland will have to determine its future. The tough part of national self-determination is the need to make decisions and live with them.

This is not an argument for or against Scottish nationhood. It is simply drawing attention to the enormous power of nationalism in Europe in particular, and in countries colonized by Europeans. Even Scotland remembers what it once was, and many -- perhaps a majority and perhaps a large minority -- long for its return. But the idea that Scotland recalls its past and wants to resurrect it is a stunning testimony less to Scottish history than to the Enlightenment's turning national rights into a moral imperative that cannot be suppressed.

More important, perhaps, is that although Yugoslavia and the Soviet collapse were not seen as precedents for the rest of Europe, Scotland would be seen that way. No one can deny that Britain is an entity of singular importance. If that can melt away, what is certain? At a time when the European Union's economic crisis is intense, challenging European institutions and principles, the dissolution of the British union would legitimize national claims that have been buried for decades.

But then we have to remember that Scotland was buried in Britain for centuries and has resurrected itself. This raises the question of how confident any of us can be that national claims buried for only decades are settled. I have no idea how the Scottish will vote. What strikes me as overwhelmingly important is that the future of Britain is now on the table, and there is a serious possibility that it will cease to be in the way it was. Nationalism has a tendency to move to its logical conclusion, so I put little stock in the moderate assurances of the Scottish nationalists. Nor do I find the arguments against secession based on tax receipts or banks' movements compelling. For centuries, nationalism has trumped economic issues. The model of economic man may be an ideal to some, but it is empirically false. People are interested in economic well-being, but not at the exclusion of all else. In this case, it does not clearly outweigh the right of the Scottish nation to national-self determination.

I think that however the vote goes, unless the nationalists are surprised by an overwhelming defeat, the genie is out of the bottle, and not merely in Britain. The referendum will re-legitimize questions that have caused much strife throughout the European continent for centuries, including the 31-year war of the 20th century that left 80 million dead.

Monday, September 15, 2014

will scotland imitate iceland and free itself from the vampire squid?


medialens |  Craig Murray was scathing about the leaders of the main Westminster political parties, and their last-ditch desperate trip to Scotland last Wednesday to 'save the Union':
'Cameron, Miliband and Clegg. Just typing the names is depressing. As part of their long matured and carefully prepared campaign plan (founded 9 September 2014) they are coming together to Scotland tomorrow to campaign. In a brilliant twist, they will all come on the same day but not appear together. This will prevent the public from noticing that they all represent precisely the same interests.'
Murray nailed what is at stake when he said that the 'three amigos' 'offer no actual policy choice to voters', and he gave a list showing how tightly they march together:
'They all support austerity budgets
They all support benefit cuts
They all support tuition fees
They all support Trident missiles
They all support continued NHS privatisation
They all support bank bail-outs
They all support detention without trial for "terrorist suspects"
They all support more bombings in Iraq
They all oppose rail nationalisation'
In short:
'The areas on which the three amigos differ are infinitesimal and contrived. They actually represent the same paymasters and vested interests.'
These 'paymasters and vested interests' are surely trembling with fear at the power now residing in the hands of voters in Scotland. As George Monbiot observes:
'A yes vote in Scotland would unleash the most dangerous thing of all - hope.'
He expands:
'If Scotland becomes independent, it will be despite the efforts of almost the entire UK establishment. It will be because social media has defeated the corporate media. It will be a victory for citizens over the Westminster machine, for shoes over helicopters. It will show that a sufficiently inspiring idea can cut through bribes and blackmail, through threats and fear-mongering. That hope, marginalised at first, can spread across a nation, defying all attempts to suppress it.'
Whatever happens on Thursday, skewed media performance on Scottish independence - in particular, from the BBC - has helped huge numbers of people see ever more clearly the deep bias in corporate news media.

9/11 inaugurated a police state in the "land of the free"


PCR |  The tragedy of September 11, 2001, goes far beyond the deaths of those who died in the towers and the deaths of firefighters and first responders who succumbed to illnesses caused by inhalation of toxic dust. For thirteen years a new generation of Americans has been born into the 9/11 myth that has been used to create the American warfare/police state. 

The corrupt Bush and Obama regimes used 9/11 to kill, maim, dispossess and displace millions of Muslims in seven countries, none of whom had anything whatsoever to do with 9/11. 

A generation of Americans has been born into distain and distrust of Muslims.

A generation of Americans has been born into a police state in which privacy and constitutional protections no longer exist.

A generation of Americans has been born into continuous warfare while needs of citizens go unmet.

A generation of Americans has been born into a society in which truth is replaced with the endless repetition of falsehoods.

According to the official story, on September 11, 2001, the vaunted National Security State of the World’s Only Superpower was defeated by a few young Saudi Arabians armed only with box cutters. The American National Security State proved to be totally helpless and was dealt the greatest humiliation ever inflicted on any country claiming to be a power.

That day no aspect of the National Security State worked. Everything failed.

The US Air Force for the first time in its history could not get intercepter jet fighters into the air.
The National Security Council failed.

All sixteen US intelligence agencies failed as did those of America’s NATO and Israeli allies.

Air Traffic Control failed.

Airport Security failed four times at the same moment on the same day. The probability of such a failure is zero.

If such a thing had actually happened, there would have been demands from the White House, from Congress, and from the media for an investigation. Officials would have been held accountable for their failures. Heads would have rolled.

Instead, the White House resisted for one year the 9/11 families’ demands for an investigation. Finally, a collection of politicians was assembled to listen to the government’s account and to write it down. The chairman, vice chairman, and legal counsel of the 9/11 Commission have said that information was withheld from the commission, lies were told to the commission, and that the commission “was set up to fail.” The worst security failure in history resulted in not a single firing. No one was held responsible.

Washington concluded that 9/11 was possible because America lacked a police state.
The PATRIOT Act, which was awaiting the event was quickly passed by the congressional idiots. The Act established executive branch independence of law and the Constitution. The Act and follow-up measures have institutionalized a police state in “the land of the free.”

rule of law: present day robbing hoods...,


WaPo | Hain’s book calls for “turning our police forces into present-day Robin Hoods.”

Cash seizures can be made under state or federal civil law. One of the primary ways police departments are able to seize money and share in the proceeds at the federal level is through a long-standing Justice Department civil asset forfeiture program known as Equitable Sharing. Asset forfeiture is an extraordinarily powerful law enforcement tool that allows the government to take cash and property without pressing criminal charges and then requires the owners to prove their possessions were legally acquired.

The practice has been controversial since its inception at the height of the drug war more than three decades ago, and its abuses have been the subject of journalistic exposés and congressional hearings. But unexplored until now is the role of the federal government and the private police trainers in encouraging officers to target cash on the nation’s highways since 9/11.

“Those laws were meant to take a guy out for selling $1 million in cocaine or who was trying to launder large amounts of money,” said Mark Overton, the police chief in Bal Harbour, Fla., who once oversaw a federal drug task force in South Florida. “It was never meant for a street cop to take a few thousand dollars from a driver by the side of the road.”

To examine the scope of asset forfeiture since the terror attacks, The Post analyzed a database of hundreds of thousands of seizure records at the Justice Department, reviewed hundreds of federal court cases, obtained internal records from training firms and interviewed scores of police officers, prosecutors and motorists.

The Post found:
  • There have been 61,998 cash seizures made on highways and elsewhere since 9/11 without search warrants or indictments through the Equitable Sharing Program, totaling more than $2.5 billion. State and local authorities kept more than $1.7 billion of that while Justice, Homeland Security and other federal agencies received $800 million. Half of the seizures were below $8,800.
  • Only a sixth of the seizures were legally challenged, in part because of the costs of legal action against the government. But in 41 percent of cases — 4,455 — where there was a challenge, the government agreed to return money. The appeals process took more than a year in 40 percent of those cases and often required owners of the cash to sign agreements not to sue police over the seizures.
  • Hundreds of state and local departments and drug task forces appear to rely on seized cash, despite a federal ban on the money to pay salaries or otherwise support budgets. The Post found that 298 departments and 210 task forces have seized the equivalent of 20 percent or more of their annual budgets since 2008.
  • Agencies with police known to be participating in the Black Asphalt intelligence network have seen a 32 percent jump in seizures beginning in 2005, three times the rate of other police departments. Desert Snow-trained officers reported more than $427 million in cash seizures during highway stops in just one five-year period, according to company officials. More than 25,000 police have belonged to Black Asphalt, company officials said.
  • State law enforcement officials in Iowa and Kansas prohibited the use of the Black Asphalt network because of concerns that it might not be a legal law enforcement tool. A federal prosecutor in Nebraska warned that Black Asphalt reports could violate laws governing civil liberties, the handling of sensitive law enforcement information and the disclosure of pretrial information to defendants. But officials at Justice and Homeland Security continued to use it.
Justice spokesman Peter Carr said the department had no comment on The Post’s overall findings. But he said the department has a compliance review process in place for the Equitable Sharing Program and attorneys for federal agencies must review the seizures before they are “adopted” for inclusion in the program.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

the fate of the world is linked to the fate of antarctica


forbiddenknowledgetv | The fate of the world as we know it is linked to the fate of Antarctica. 70% of all the fresh water on Earth is in Antarctica, in the form of ice.

Antarctica, a land mass that was once bathed in tropical sunshine and which housed vast forests and dinosaurs, is now the coldest continent on our planet, with record-breaking low temperatures of -93.2 degrees Celsius.

The striking footage of Antarctica's powerful winds, massive icebergs and strong sea currents coupled with graphics demonstrates how the intensification of winds in northern regions have picked up speed and led to the demise of billions of layers of ice on Antarctica's western coast.

By using satellite technology on a mission in 2002 called GRACE, scientists discovered that a massive meteor struck Earth's southern hemisphere, which may have aided in the break-up of Pangea, the ancient super-continent from which all the current continents derive.

The shift of land masses pushed Antarctica to the southern-most pole, making it the coldest, driest and windiest place on our planet.

The GRACE mission showed that Antarctica is losing ice primarily on its western coast and in the center of the continent; while the northeastern areas are actually gaining ice. A whopping 159 billion tons of ice have been lost per year from 2010 to 2013. This massive loss is due to the intense winds and temperature differentiation from the north that are pulling warmer water to the surface, eradicating large ice shelves of west Antarctica. After drilling through 500 meters of ice, warm water was detected below that is also causing deterioration of ice.

What does the breaking apart of glaciers from Antarctica mean for the rest of the planet? As the speed in which these glaciers break apart increases, the ice sheets that lie behind them will collapse. Surprisingly, the erosion of parts of the continent is not merely due to climate change; there is movement of magma 25 kilometers below the plate that is also a big part of the glacial ice destruction. This proves to be a terrifying find: how will we stop the destruction of this frozen continent if it is completely out of our control?

There is no doubt that the increased melting of Antarctic ice spells a rise in global sea levels. This is nothing new, from the viewpoint of geologic time. Throughout history, global sea levels have risen and dropped. However the rapidity of what is currently happening will doubtless have an impact on our lives.

Conspiracy theories and political arguments cannot downplay what is happening to this southernmost land mass. Glaciers will continue to fall, creating a domino effect for the layers of ice behind them, and sea levels will continue to rise. Soon, our seaport cities, such as New York City, London, Hong Kong, etc. will be at risk.

how thirsty california has become...,

latimes |  It doesn't take much to understand why California is so worried about drought. Reservoirs are ever-dwindling. Rainfall is sporadic at best. And let's not forget about the millions of gallons of precious water recently flooding the streets of Brentwood.

More than 80% of California is in extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and the state's condition isn't expected to improve in the near future.

The Drought Monitor, which collects data from 50 different weather indicators, have shown an increasingly red California since 2011, the last time the drought map was clear.

Watch the 10 second snap-shot here.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

why was admiral byrd dispatched to antarctica immediately after WW-II?


wikipedia |   Operation Highjump (OpHjp), officially titled The United States Navy Antarctic Developments Program, 1946-1947, was a United States Navy operation organized by Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd Jr., USN (Ret), Officer in Charge, Task Force 68, and led by Rear Admiral Richard H. Cruzen, USN, Commanding Officer, Task Force 68. Operation Highjump commenced 26 August 1946 and ended in late February 1947. Task Force 68 included 4,700 men, 13 ships, and multiple aircraft. The primary mission of Operation Highjump was to establish the Antarctic research base Little America IV.[1][2]
Highjump’s objectives, according to the U.S. Navy report of the operation, were:[citation needed]
  1. training personnel and testing equipment in frigid conditions;
  2. consolidating and extending United States sovereignty over the largest practicable area of the Antarctic continent (This was publicly denied as a goal even before the expedition ended);
  3. determining the feasibility of establishing, maintaining and utilizing bases in the Antarctic and investigating possible base sites;
  4. developing techniques for establishing, maintaining and utilizing air bases on ice, with particular attention to later applicability of such techniques to operations in interior Greenland, where conditions are comparable to those in the Antarctic;
  5. amplifying existing stores of knowledge of hydrographic, geographic, geological, meteorological and electromagnetic propagation conditions in the area;
  6. supplementary objectives of the Nanook expedition. (The Nanook operation was a smaller equivalent conducted off eastern Greenland.)[3]

why did the nazis make moves on antarctica?


bibliotecapleyades | The connection between Antarctica and the UFO phenomenon was sealed with claims made by one Albert K. Bender who stated that he “went into the fantastic and came up with an answer and I know what the saucers are.”

Bender ran an organization called the International Flying Saucer Bureau (IFSB) a small UFO organization based in Connecticut, USA and he also edited a publication known as the Space Review which was committed to the dissemination of news about UFOs. In truth, the organization had only a small membership and the publication circulated amongst hundreds rather than thousands, but that its members and readers valued it was in little doubt. The publication itself advocated that flying saucers were spacecraft of extraterrestrial origin.

However... in the October 1953 edition of Space Review, there were two major announcements.
The first was headed Late Bulletin and stated:
A source which the IFSB considers very reliable has informed us that the investigation of the flying saucer mystery and the solution is approaching final stages. This same source to whom we had referred data, which had come into our possession, suggested that it was not the proper method and time to publish the data in 'Space Review'.
The second announcement read “Statement of Importance":
The mystery of the flying saucers is no longer a mystery. The source is already known, but any information about this is being withheld by order from a higher source. We would like to print the full story in Space Review, but because of the nature of the information we are very sorry that we have been advised in the negative.
The statement ended in the sentence :
We advise those engaged in saucer work to please be very cautious.
These announcements were of little significance in and of themselves.
Bender’s publication was considered “fringe”, at best, even at the time... However... what gained them wider attention was the fact that immediately after publishing this October 1953 issue, Bender suspended further publication of the magazine and closed the IFSB down without any further explanation.
This is completely consistent with the “prudent” approach, shown by many who have been “gently” warned to “cease operations” by the Majestic 12 Group and other agencies involved in “keeping a lid” on any real investigation into the Unidentified Flying Object phenomenon. 


Bender might very well have known “what the flying saucers” were, at least a portion of them... but he later revealed in a local newspaper interview that he was keeping his knowledge a secret following a visit by three men who apparently confirmed he was right about his Unidentified Flying Object theory, but put him in sufficient fear to immediately close down his organization and cease publication of the journal.

It has been argued that the story of being visited by three strangers and being warned off was a front to close a publication that was losing money, however the fact that Bender had been “scared to death” and “actually couldn’t eat for a couple of days” was verified by his friends and associates. It is also widely known that such “stories” are often spread by the United States, and other governments to discredit those who might just have the truth, or at least a portion of it.

In 1963, a full decade after his visit from the three strangers, Bender was seemingly prepared to reveal more of his story in a largely unreadable book entitled Flying Saucers and the Three Men in Black. The book was scant on facts, however, it described extraterrestrial spacecraft that had bases in Antarctica.

This was apparently the truth Bender was terrorized into not revealing.
Bender also provided images of the saucers he was aware of. He produced drawings of Unidentified Flying Objects that he was aware of... not saucers, as were the common depictions of the time, but rather “flying wings” which showed three bubble-like protrusions on the underside, reminiscent of the German designed Haunebu II (which was allegedly only in the “design stage” at the end of the Second World War) alongside a cylindrical, cigar shaped object.

moore's law in material sciences will yield what is indistinguishable from magic...,

technologyreview |  A new type of material, made up of nanoscale struts crisscrossed like the struts of a tiny Eiffel Tower, is one of the strongest and lightest substances ever made.

If researchers can figure out how to make the stuff in large quantities, it could be used as a structural material for making planes and trucks, as well as in battery electrodes.

Researchers led by Caltech materials scientist Julia Greer found that by carefully designing nanoscale struts and joints, they could make ceramics, metals, and other materials that can recover after being crushed, like a sponge. The materials are very strong and light enough to float through the air like a feather. The work is published today in the journal Science.

In conventional materials, strength, weight, and density are correlated. Ceramics, for example, are strong but also heavy, so they can’t be used as structural materials where weight is critical—for example, in the bodies of cars. And when ceramics fail, they tend to fail catastrophically, shattering like glass.

But at the nanoscale the same rules do not apply. In this size range, the structural and mechanical properties of ceramics become less tied to properties such as weight, and they can be altered more precisely.

“For ceramics, smaller is tougher,” says Greer, who was named one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 in 2008 for her work on nanoscale mechanics. This means that nanoscale trusses made from ceramic materials can be both very light—unsurprising, since they are mostly air—and extremely strong.

portable power supply in the species future



nanowerk |  Aligned carbon nanotube/graphene sandwiches for high-rate lithium-sulfur batteries 

(Nanowerk Spotlight) Sp2-bonded carbon nanomaterials – such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene – have attracted enormous research interest over the past decades. Due to their superior intrinsic physical properties, such as mechanical strength, electrical and thermal conductivity, these nanocarbons find numerous applications in areas such as catalysis, energy storage or nanocomposites. In addition to these intrinsic physical properties, what makes these materials so attractive are their tunable chemical characters, such as functional groups, doping, and surface modification.

However, the demonstration of their intrinsic physical properties and performances in as-fabricated materials and practical devices has been suffering from the self-aggregation and re-stacking of nanocarbon materials due to strong van der Waals interactions. This prevents the full utilization of the active sites for catalytic reactions.

Researchers consider the rational combination of CNTs and graphene into three-dimensional (3D) hybrids an effective route to amplify the inherent physical properties at the macroscale. From post-treatment methods to in situ growth, various strategies have been explored to fabricate such CNTs/graphene hybrids. Most of these approaches, though, still require barrier layers, which hinders the full demonstration of the excellent properties of these hybrid materials.

By in situ nitrogen doping and structural hybridization of carbon nanotubes and graphene, a team from Tsinghua University, led by professors Qiang Zhang and Fei Wei, have now successfully fabricated nitrogen-doped aligned carbon nanotube/graphene (N-ACNT/G) sandwiches. In this work, aligned CNTs and graphene layers were anchored to each other, constructing a sandwich-like hierarchical architecture with efficient 3D electron transfer pathways and ion diffusion channels.