Tuesday, December 01, 2015

the cover-up ALWAYS exponentially compounds the crime...,

NYTimes |  City leaders did everything in their power to keep the homicide from the public as long as possible. Indeed, Mr. Van Dyke was indicted only after the forced release of the videos.

We can surmise that each had particular reasons. Mayor Emanuel was fighting for re-election in a tight race. Superintendent McCarthy wanted to keep his job. Ms. Alvarez needed the good will of the police union for her coming re-election campaign and probably wished to shield the police officers who bring her cases and testify in court.

None of that alters the fact that these actions have impeded the criminal justice system and, in the process, Chicago’s leaders allowed a first-degree murder suspect, now incarcerated pending bail, to remain free for over a year on the city’s payroll.

There is good reason to appoint an independent commission to investigate the conduct of these public servants. But frankly, at this point, who would trust Chicago’s political institutions or criminal justice system?

An investigation would create further delay in justice and distract our attention from the real issues at hand: the senseless death of a 17-year-old, and the systemic problems of excessive police violence and lack of accountability.

Rather than hold hearings, investigate and perhaps prosecute its leaders, the city of Chicago needs to restore trust. These officials no longer have the public’s confidence. They should resign.

criminal justice reform = football - if america wanted this to end, it would end

NYTimes |  Truly, there are many troubling aspects to this case. But having covered so many of these cases in the last couple years, it strikes me that we may need to push back and widen the lens so that we can fully appreciate and understand the systemic sociological and historical significance of this moment in our country’s development.

While police departments definitely have distinct cultures, in a way they are simple instruments that articulate and enforce our laws and mores, which are reflections of our values.

The only reason that these killings keep happening is because most of American society tacitly approves or willfully tolerates it. There is no other explanation. If America wanted this to end, it would end.

The exceeding sad and dreadfully profound truth is that America — the majority of America, and that generally means much of white America — has turned away, averted its gaze and refused to take a strong moral stance in opposition. That’s the same as granting silent approval.

People try to pitch this as some sort of ideological argument, as an issue of blacks against the police or vice versa, but that is simply an evasion, a way of refusing societal blame for a societal defect: We view crime and punishment with an ethnocentric sensibility that has a distinct and endemic anti-black bias.

the bleak future of college football

theatlantic |  Football can be a force for good. The University of Missouri’s football team proved it earlier this month when student athletes ​used a facet of campus life many often decry—the cultural and economic dominance of college football—​to help force a national debate about the persistence of racism on American campuses. Football can build a sense of community for players and fans alike, and serve as a welcome escape from the pressures of ordinary life.

The sport cuts across distinctions of race, class, geography, and religion in a way few other U.S. institutions do, and everyone who participates reaps the benefits. But not everyone—particularly at the amateur level—takes on an equal share of the risk. College football in particular seems headed toward a future in which it’s consumed by people born into privilege while the sport consumes people born without it. In a 2010 piece in The Awl, Cord Jefferson wrote, “Where some see the Super Bowl, I see young black men risking their bodies, minds, and futures for the joy and wealth of old white men.” This vision sounds dystopian but is quickly becoming an undeniable reality, given new statistics about how education affects awareness about brain-injury risk, as well as the racial makeup of Division I rosters and coaching staffs. The future of college football indeed looks a lot like what Jefferson called “glorified servitude,” and even as information comes to light about the dangers and injustices of football, nothing is currently being done to steer the sport away from that path.

The football-consuming public has only recently started to grapple with the magnitude of the dangers inherent in playing football—traumatic brain injury and painkiller addiction chief among them—and to understand that you don’t need to play 10 years in the NFL to suffer permanent physical, psychological, or neurological damage. Though football’s dangers compound over time, they manifest right away, even at the lowest levels. Therefore, as more information comes out, more and more parents are hesitating to let their sons play organized football. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from January found that 37 percent of respondents would prefer that their children play any other sport, which seems understandable—what parent wouldn’t protect his or her children from unnecessary risk?

Unfortunately, the degree to which children are protected from the risks of playing football is very much related to the level of privilege—racial, economic, and social—the child experiences while growing up. That same NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that while 50 percent of respondents with postgraduate degrees would prefer their children not play football, only 31 percent of people with a high-school education or less would say the same.

There’s a good reason for that disparity—better-educated and wealthier people have more access to information about football’s concussion crisis. A 2013 poll conducted by HBO and Marist found that 63 percent of college graduates and 66 percent of people making more than $50,000 per year said they’d heard “a good amount” about football causing concussions, compared to 47 percent of those who made less than $50,000 per year and half of those without a college degree.

In other words, children are being put in danger not because of their own carelessness, or a difference in parenting style, or even because poorer, less privileged kids have fewer ways to climb the class ladder. It’s because many of their parents—especially those who earn less or who haven’t attained as much education—aren’t getting the information they need to make the best decisions for their families.

students foot the bill for college sports - how some are fighting back

WaPo |  At Texas A&M University, the president’s proposal to charge all 50,000 students $72 per year to help pay for a $450 million football stadium renovation brought protests.

At Clemson University, the athletic director’s idea to charge all 17,000 students $350 per year to help him keep up with competition brought pushback from student government.

At the University of Kansas, a walk-on golfer’s push to eliminate a $50 fee all 17,000 students paid the increasingly wealthy athletic department brought a strong — and to some students, vindictive — response from administrators.

And at many of America’s largest public universities, athletic departments making millions more every year from surging television contracts, luxury suite sales and endorsements continue to take money from tens of thousands of students who will never set foot in stadiums or arenas.

Mandatory student fees for college athletic departments are common across the country. Often small line items of a couple hundred dollars on long, complex tuition bills, these fees make millions for athletic departments at larger colleges.

In 2014, students at 32 schools paid a combined $125.5 million in athletic fees, according to a Washington Post examination of financial records at 53 public universities in the “Power Five,” the five wealthiest conferences in college sports.

To rich athletic departments, these fees represent guaranteed revenue streams that, unlike ticket sales or booster donations, are unaffected by on-field success. To less flush departments, increasing student fees is one way to keep up.

Athletic directors defend fees as well worth what their programs give back to schools.

“Athletics is a common good, bringing people together, developing relationships, unifying the institution, bringing fantastic exposure,” said Virginia Athletic Director Craig Littlepage, whose department charges undergraduates $657 annually.

why no smart city would want the nfl

reason |  “The NFL is good at fleecing taxpayers,” says ESPN columnist Gregg Easterbrook, author of The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America. “It’s about a billion dollars a year I’ve calculated in public subsidies to NFL owners and this is a group that consists almost entirely of billionaires and yet receiving significant public subsidies every year.”

The NFL raked in over $9 billion in revenues last season and the league is pushing team owners to triple that mark over the next decade. 
With the league’s overwhelming success, many cities are eager to get a piece of the action, often offering billions in public subsidies to attract (or keep) football in their localities. 

But with the NFL making record profits, is it right for cities to spend public money on these type of projects? Especially when over half of NFL team owners are ranked on the Forbes billionaire list?
No where is this illustrated more than in Los Angeles, which has been trying to lure the league back to the area ever since the Raiders and Rams left town 20 years ago. And though numerous economists have demonstrated that sports stadia don’t increase local economic activity, it hasn’t stopped debt-ridden cities like L.A. from approving a $1.2 billion dollar stadium deal that would be financed with nearly $350 million in taxpayer-backed bonds. 
Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge has been an advocate of bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles and voted along with the rest of his colleagues to approve the stadium deal (whether it ever gets built is remained to be seen). “There’s a beauty to the game and I’d like to see the beauty in Los Angeles. I like what it does for a city when their team wins,” says LaBonge.

Monday, November 30, 2015

why there is NO such thing as international terrorism


tikkun |  There is no such thing as “international terrorism”.

To declare war on “international terrorism” is nonsense. Politicians who do so are either fools or cynics, and probably both.

Terrorism is a weapon. Like cannon. We would laugh at somebody who declares war on “international artillery”. A cannon belongs to an army, and serves the aims of that army. The cannon of one side fire against the cannon of the other.

Terrorism is a method of operation. It is often used by oppressed peoples,  including the French Resistance to the Nazis in WW II.  We would laugh at anyone who declared war on “international resistance”.

Carl von Clausewitz, the Prussian military thinker, famously said that “war is the continuation of politics by other means”. If he had lived with us today, he might have said: “Terrorism is a continuation of policy by other means.”

Terrorism means, literally, to frighten the victims into surrendering to the will of the terrorist.

Terrorism is a weapon. Generally it is the weapon of the weak. Of those who have no atom bombs, like the ones which were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which terrorized the Japanese into surrender. Or the aircraft which destroyed Dresden in the (vain) attempt to frighten the Germans into giving up.

Since most of the groups and countries using terrorism have different aims, often contradicting each other, there is nothing “international” about it. Each terrorist campaign has a character of its own. Not to mention the fact that nobody considers himself (or herself) a terrorist, but rather a fighter for God, Freedom or Whatever.

(I cannot restrain myself from boasting that long ago I invented the formula: “One man’s terrorist is the other man’s freedom fighter”.)

MANY ORDINARY Israelis felt deep satisfaction after the Paris events. “Now those bloody Europeans feel for once what we feel all the time!”

Binyamin Netanyahu, a diminutive thinker but a brilliant salesman, has hit on the idea of inventing a direct link between jihadist terrorism in Europe and Palestinian terrorism in Israel and the occupied territories.

It is a stroke of genius: if they are one and the same, knife-wielding Palestinian teenagers and Belgian devotees of ISIS, then there is no Israeli-Palestinian problem, no occupation, no settlements. Just Muslim fanaticism. (Ignoring, by the way, the many Christian Arabs in the secular Palestinian “terrorist” organizations.)

This has nothing to do with reality. Palestinians who want to fight and die for Allah go to Syria. Palestinians – both religious and secular – who shoot, knife or run over Israeli soldiers and civilians these days want freedom from the occupation and a state of their own.

This is such an obvious fact that even a person with the limited IQ of our present cabinet ministers could grasp it. But if they did, they would have to face very unpleasant choices concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

So let’s stick to the comfortable conclusion: they kill us because they are born terrorists, because they want to meet the promised 72 virgins in paradise, because they are anti-Semites. So, as Netanyahu happily forecasts, we shall “live forever by our sword”.

a kurdish region in northern syria that’s ruled by militant feminist anarchists?

slate |  There is an astonishing story in Sunday’s New York Times about Rojava, a Kurdish region in Northern Syria that’s ruled by militant feminist anarchists. Rojava’s constitution enshrines gender equality and religious freedom. An official tells journalist Wes Enzina that every position at every level of government includes a female equivalent of equal power. Recruits to Rojava’s 6,000-strong police force receive their weapons only after two weeks of feminist instruction. Reading Enzina’s piece, it’s hard to understand how this radical experiment in democracy in one of the bloodiest corners of the world isn’t better known internationally, particularly on the left.
 At the start of piece, Enzina himself isn’t quite sure Rojava is real. It sounds too fantastical:
The regime of President Bashar al-Assad doesn’t officially recognize Rojava’s autonomous status, nor does the United Nations or NATO — it is, in this way, just as illicit as the Islamic State. But if the reports I heard from the region were to be believed, within its borders the rules of the neighboring ISIS caliphate had been inverted. In accordance with a philosophy laid out by a leftist revolutionary named Abdullah Ocalan, Rojavan women had been championed as leaders, defense of the environment enshrined in law and radical direct democracy enacted in the streets.
The reports, Enzina eventually finds, are largely true. In Rojava’s three Kurdish cantons, together comprising an area about the size of Connecticut, society is being organized according to the principles of an American anarchist-ecologist philosopher named Murray Bookchin. (Bookchin’s most famous work is The Ecology of Freedom.) This unlikely turn of events springs from the ideological conversion of Abdullah Ocalan, the founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or P.K.K., which was once a Marxist Leninist terrorist group in Turkey—and in fact, the P.K.K. is still designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S., the E.U., and NATO.* With America’s help, Turkey captured Ocalan in 1999, and he was imprisoned alone—surrounded by over 1,000 soldiers—on an island near Istanbul. There he discovered Bookchin, who inspired a manifesto he issued in 2005. Enzina writes:

refugee camps are the "cities of tomorrow"?

dezeen |   Governments should stop thinking about refugee camps as temporary places, says Kilian Kleinschmidt, one of the world's leading authorities onhumanitarian aid (+ interview).
"These are the cities of tomorrow," said Kleinschmidt of Europe's rapidly expanding refugee camps. "The average stay today in a camp is 17 years. That's a generation."
"In the Middle East, we were building camps: storage facilities for people. But the refugees were building a city," he told Dezeen.
Kleinschmidt said a lack of willingness to recognise that camps had become a permanent fixture around the world and a failure to provide proper infrastructure was leading to unnecessarily poor conditions and leaving residents vulnerable to "crooks".
"I think we have reached the dead end almost where the humanitarian agencies cannot cope with the crisis," he said. "We're doing humanitarian aid as we did 70 years ago after the second world war. Nothing has changed."
Kleinschmidt, 53, worked for 25 years for the United Nations and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in various camps and operations worldwide. He was most recently stationed in Zaatari in Jordan, the world's second largest refugee camp – before leaving to start his own aid consultancy, Switxboard.

He believes that migrants coming into Europe could help repopulate parts of Spain and Italy that have been abandoned as people gravitate increasingly towards major cities.
"Many places in Europe are totally deserted because the people have moved to other places," he said. "You could put in a new population, set up opportunities to develop and trade and work. You could see them as special development zones which are actually used as a trigger for an otherwise impoverished neglected area."

Sunday, November 29, 2015

13 yr. old got enough sense to finally disavow coon-serva-tard-ism....,

theblaze |  Pearson attributed his decision, at least in part, to seeing the video of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting LaQuan McDonald.
“I’m not interested in being a champion of a cause that turns a blind eye to racial discrimination and police brutality in America,” Pearson, 13, said in a statement. “I also don’t want to be the ‘anti-Obama kid.’ I want to be the kid who fought for real change and worked with both sides to achieve a better America.”
In an interview with TheBlaze Friday evening, Pearson said he was still fiscally conservative but socially liberal except when it comes to the issue of abortion.
“I’m tired of labels. I’m ready for solutions to the issues facing the American people,” Pearson continued.
From endorsing Republican Sen. Rand Paul for president to working on fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign to disavowing conservatism — Pearson told TheBlaze Friday evening that it just might be Sen. Marco Rubio who the viral teenager finally throws his support behind.
“Right now, the best candidate tackling race relations that I, with my beliefs could get behind, is [Florida Sen.] Marco Rubio,” Pearson told TheBlaze, adding that he doesn’t see himself working for any other campaigns this presidential cycle.
Pearson said that working for Cruz’s campaign had nothing to do with his decision to distance himself from the conservative label and admonished that he is “no Jonathan Krohn” — the 13-year-old who spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2009 but denounced conservatism just a few years later while attributing his previous views to his “naivety.”

do you ever wonder what your anthropocene antics look like from the bacterial apex?

pnas |  In most ecosystems, microbes are the dominant consumers, commandeering much of the heterotrophic biomass circulating through food webs. Characterizing functional diversity within the microbiome, therefore, is critical to understanding ecosystem functioning, particularly in an era of global biodiversity loss. Using isotopic fingerprinting, we investigated the trophic positions of a broad diversity of heterotrophic organisms. Specifically, we examined the naturally occurring stable isotopes of nitrogen (15N:14N) within amino acids extracted from proteobacteria, actinomycetes, ascomycetes, and basidiomycetes, as well as from vertebrate and invertebrate macrofauna (crustaceans, fish, insects, and mammals). Here, we report that patterns of intertrophic 15N-discrimination were remarkably similar among bacteria, fungi, and animals, which permitted unambiguous measurement of consumer trophic position, independent of phylogeny or ecosystem type. The observed similarities among bacterial, fungal, and animal consumers suggest that within a trophic hierarchy, microbiota are equivalent to, and can be interdigitated with, macrobiota. To further test the universality of this finding, we examined Neotropical fungus gardens, communities in which bacteria, fungi, and animals are entwined in an ancient, quadripartite symbiosis. We reveal that this symbiosis is a discrete four-level food chain, wherein bacteria function as the apex carnivores, animals and fungi are meso-consumers, and the sole herbivores are fungi. Together, our findings demonstrate that bacteria, fungi, and animals can be integrated within a food chain, effectively uniting the macro- and microbiome in food web ecology and facilitating greater inclusion of the microbiome in studies of functional diversity.

Revelation 2: 12-13 (Pergamum = Turkey)

buchanan |  Turkey’s decision to shoot down a Russian warplane was a provocative and portentous act.

That Sukhoi Su-24, which the Turks say intruded into their air space, crashed and burned — in Syria. One of the Russian pilots was executed while parachuting to safety. A Russian rescue helicopter was destroyed by rebels using a U.S. TOW missile. A Russian marine was killed.

“A stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists,” said Vladimir Putin of the first downing of a Russian warplane by a NATO nation in half a century. Putin has a point, as the Russians are bombing rebels in northwest Syria, some of which are linked to al-Qaida.

As it is impossible to believe Turkish F-16 pilots would fire missiles at a Russian plane without authorization from President Tayyip Recep Erdogan, we must ask: Why did the Turkish autocrat do it?

Why is he risking a clash with Russia?

Answer: Erdogan is probably less outraged by intrusions into his air space than by Putin’s success in securing the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, whom Erdogan detests, and by relentless Russian air strikes on Turkmen rebels seeking to overthrow Assad.

Imperiled strategic goals and ethnicity may explain Erdogan. But what does the Turkish president see down at the end of this road?

And what about us? Was the U.S. government aware Turkey might attack Russian planes? Did we give Erdogan a green light to shoot them down?

These are not insignificant questions.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

belief means not wanting to know what is true - nietzsche

zerohedge |  Six months later, it looks like those plans are on track. As WSJ reports on Friday, "China plans to build its first overseas naval installation in the East African nation of Djibouti, expanding the geographical reach of its armed forces as Beijing seeks to protect its growing economic and security interests around the globe."
True to form, China is attempting to downplay the effort, calling the installation a "support facility." "This facility will better ensure that the Chinese military can carry out responsibilities such as international peacekeeping, naval escorts in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters, and humanitarian assistance,” a defense ministry spokesman said.
As WSJ goes on to note, "China has often cited its lack of foreign bases as evidence of peaceful intentions, but has been rapidly expanding its military capabilities in recent years to defend its regional territorial claims and project power far into the Pacific and Indian oceans and the Mediterranean."
The US - which also has a base in Djibouti - is adopting Washington's trademark condescending paternalism in discussions with the country's government. "We definitely have concerns and parameters that were communicated in terms of how we think they should manage Chinese or anyone else entering into what is already a fairly congested space."
Here's a bit of useful color from The New York Times:
China announced on Thursday that it would establish its first overseas military outpost and unveiled a sweeping plan to reorganize its military into a more agile force capable of projecting power abroad.

The outpost, in the East African nation of Djibouti, breaks with Beijing’s longstanding policy against emulating the United States in building military facilities abroad.

By establishing an outpost in the Horn of Africa — more than 4,800 miles away from Beijing and near some of the world’s most volatile regions — President Xi Jinping is leading the military beyond its historical focus on protecting the nation’s borders.

Together with the plan for new command systems to integrate and rebalance the armed forces, the two announcements highlight the breadth of change that Mr. Xi is pushing on the People’s Liberation Army, which for decades has served primarily as a lumbering guardian of Communist Party rule.

A presence in Djibouti would be China’s first overseas logistics facility to service its military vessels since the Communists took power, said David Finkelstein, director of China studies at CNA, an independent research institute in Arlington, Va.

“In the grand sweep of post-1949 Chinese history, this announcement is yet another indicator that Chinese policy is trying to catch up with national interests that have expanded faster than the capacity of the People’s Republic of China to service them,” Mr. Finkelstein said.

The new facility would enable the navy to live up to a strategy laid down this year by the Communist Party in a major defense document, known as a white paper, that outlined its ambitions to become a global maritime power.

China has invested heavily in Djibouti’s infrastructure, including hundreds of millions of dollars spent upgrading the country’s undersize port. It has also financed a railroad extending from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, to Djibouti, a project that cost billions of dollars. The country has a population of about 900,000, many of whom live in poverty.

Strategically, Djibouti offers an excellent place from which to protect oil imports from the Middle East that traverse the Indian Ocean on their way to China, military experts say. From Djibouti, China gains greater access to the Arabian Peninsula.
Indeed they do, and that means not only will Beijing be able to keep a close eye on seaborne crude, they'll also be better prepared to intervene in Mid-East affairs should the situation call for it.

Friday, November 27, 2015

choose NOT to waste life in an ill-fitting and uncomfortable suit...,

Body and Mature Behavior  |  In all neurotic states we find anxiety, nausea, giddiness, museular tension, digestive and breathing troubles and sexual disorders of some sort. So long as there is no improvement in these troubles there is no improvement in the general state and vice-versa. Muscular tension and anxiety are invariably so closely interwoven in all states of emotional disorder that it is difficult to'see how any real advancement towards clearer understanding of the nature of cures is possible without greater knowledge of the phenomenon of anxiety.

A number of facts must be brought together to give at least a direction for constructive thought. Lesions destroying exactly the same areas in two adult brains do not cause the same symptoms. The life experience of the brain is in some way written in the cortex. "Even in the excitable motor cortex (Sir Charles P • .symonds, President of the Royal Society of Psychiatry), where functional patterns are relatively stable, it is evident that response depends on individual experience. Whether extension or flexion will take place in a digit depends on what has just happened, not only at this point of the cortex but in the sensory cortex behind it." Emotional tensions affect the cortex via the vegetative nervous system. All neurotic symptoms are intimately connected with and express themselves by affecting the relationship of the person to other persons or society in general.

It is of the greatest importance to be quite clear on what is amenable to human influence. If behaviour means all response to stimulus, we must distinguish between reflex responses which are by definition outside human influence, and those, formed under the influence of environment after birth, which are likely to be influenced by change of environment a priori.

A reflex activity is a biological inheritance generally common to a whole group of animals and it is essentially immaterial whether the individual has had any previous experience or not, since the first stimulus will elicit the same response as the second. Subject to the laws governing fatigue of the nervous cell and some other laws, the response is elicited every time the irritation occurs. Such inheritance is genetic, i.e., handed down to each individual through the genes of the species, and we can do little to alter it unless we can modify the genes of the species. If we could modify the genes we would obtain a new species in which the modified genes would be perpetuated in all subsequent generations. Any behaviour that is not handed down to subsequent generations in accordance with the general laws of inheritance is not ofa genetic character, and is therefore an acquired response or an acquired behaviour. It follows that human behaviour is so essentially acquired that some of our most cherished beliefs unquestionably need revision.

Acquired behaviour is the result of interaction of the genetic entity with its environment. Thus it seems legitimate to assert that, provided the environment can be altered, the acquired behaviour would undergo change. In other words, all characteristic be .. haviour that does not obey the laws of inheritance is amenable to environmental influence.

The conclusion just reached is rich in consequences, especially if we consider genetic inheritance to embrace complex as well as simple reflexes. For complex sequences or a simultaneous combi .. nation of simple reflexes is the physiologist'S definition of an instinct.

This important conclusion results then, that true instinctive behaviour alone is impervious to experience and environment. More precisely, only those responses that cannot be elicited after an alteration in the nervous paths concerned are instinctive; all other behaviour is acquired and has nothing permanent about it but our belief that it is so.

It is in this connection that the study offunction and structure relations appears in its full significance. In every case where the actual use made of the body can be shown to account for the physical structure, it becomes certain that the particular shape of the structure, though it may be similar to that of the parent, is still amenable to human influence.

This approach makes it imperative that answers to many problems will have to be revised in the light of better knowledge of the functioning of the nervous system.
The revision of all human behaviour in the light of our conclusions is beyond the scope of this book, or anyone book for that matter. We will, however, treat some important particular instances fairly exhaustively.

Modern psychology is well aware of the importance of environment in the final make-up or personality, but its approach is timid and piecemeal. Some workers stress the importance of one group of conditions, some of another. Thus the Freudian school established that neuroses and psychoses are due to conflicts arising in the mind in the process of adjustment; but psychoanalysis accepted implicitly the existing laws of society, religion and family as sacrosanct. Every individual must accept these whether he wants to or not, ifhe is to be normal.

The possibility of the fault being in the very conditions to which the individual is called to adjust himself might have been faintly understood but was never expressed. It was, and with many analysts still is, the rule that the patient's marital and other relations of social origin are not to be manipulated by the therapist. His job was to make the patient accept what Tom, Dick and Harry do.

However, the rapid development of analysis showed that Tom, Dick and Harry do not accept, what the patient is induced to accept, with such unreserved completeness as the layman thinks ; that neuroses of all degrees of gravity are, in fact, widespread in all layers of society; it thus became more and more difficult to expect the patient to succeed where so many fail.

The obvious way out was to attack the immutability of the social laws, habits and traditions themselves. The attack shifted from sexual conflicts to those arising from family conditions, and at present the full weight of attack is thrown against the beliefs, traditions and economic conditions which are the foundation of our society.

Every such attack has met great antagonism, the bitterest fight being put up by the protagonists of the established school who cling to their teachings with the same tenacity as the public to their traditions.

It is hard to deny that the traditional foundations of our social structure need thorough revision. No objective observer, free of prejudice, will argue against the necessity of radical changes. Some will prefer gradual adjustment, some drastic change, but change there will be. Indeed change is 'already being effected. In such changes lies hope for a better future. A social structure in which economic and marital conditions are devised to mini~ mise and perhaps eliminate the greater difficulties of adjustments, should in time reduce the present increasing number of malad~ justments and mental conflicts.

Yet there is no room for complacency. The fact that antagonism to revision of old notions is as strong among analysts as among laymen shows that either the analysis they undergo is not carried far enough, or that analysis cannot completely eradicate bad habits.

While expecting hopefully that the environment will be changed by our collective efforts, we must also make sure that everything amenable to human influence in each individual is used to facilitate adaptation. This will not only eliminate much misery in the present generation but will also give a better chance to the next.

In anticipation of our conclusions it may be said at once that we do tolerate certain limitations, physical and mental, just because we do not know that they are amenable to our influence. The results of faulty habits are called character or chronic diseases which, as their name suggests, are incurable. And improper use of oneself is explained as unfortunate inheritance or permanent deformation. Degeneration of the human species is so often in~ voked as confirmation of the futility of all endeavour to improve, that it seems proper to see what truth there is in it.

fearless access and exposure maximization separates life's winners from its losers...,

WaPo |  Over the past four decades, whenever universities have faced complaints about exclusion or racism — often real — the solution proposed and usually accepted has been to create more programs, associations and courses for minority students. This is understandable, because these groups have been historically ignored, slighted and demeaned. But is this solution working, or is it making things worse?

A 2004 empirical study led by Harvard University psychologist James Sidanius (who is African American) concluded that “there was no indication that the experiences in these ethnically oriented . . . organizations increased the students’ sense of common identity with members of other groups or their sense of belonging to the wider university community. Furthermore . . . the evidence suggested that membership in ethnically oriented student organizations actually increased the perception that ethnic groups are locked into zero-sum competition with one another and the feeling of victimization by virtue of one’s ethnicity.”

The academic programs that have been created and expanded also reinforce feelings of separateness. Again, there was a need for greater attention to many of the areas of study, and some extraordinary scholarship has been produced in these fields. But the cumulative effect is one that distinguished scholar Tony Judt wrote about in an essay for the New York Review of Books in 2010. “Undergraduates today can select from a swathe of identity studies: ‘gender studies,’ ‘women’s studies,’ ‘Asian-Pacific-American studies,’ and dozens of others,” he noted. “The shortcoming of all these para-academic programs is not that they concentrate on a given ethnic or geographical minority; it is that they encourage members of that minority to study themselves — thereby simultaneously negating the goals of a liberal education and reinforcing the sectarian and ghetto mentalities they purport to undermine. All too frequently, such programs are job-creation schemes for their incumbents, and outside interest is actively discouraged. Blacks study blacks, gays study gays, and so forth.”

Thursday, November 26, 2015

the future of ethereum?

ethdev |  To research, design and build software that, as best as possible, facilitates, in a secure, decentralised and fair manner, the communication and automatically-enforced agreement between parties.

The facilitation will necessitate the building of tools to aid users and developers alike to utilise the back-end systems and make them as effective as possible in their facilities. It is anticipated that these tools will include the development of consumer-grade end-user components (the so-called Ethereum Browser) together with IDE-like components and associated tools. It will also mean the provision of certain high-level (on-the-system) functions, modules, examples, templates, standards and live services without which development and interoperation would suffer.

Security will likely entail use of strong cryptographic technologies, but could also use various other technologies including, but not limited to verifiable computation, computational steganography, complex-systems modelling and formal proof systems.

Fairness must be absolutely guaranteed throughout. We agree that this is pure technology and must make no affordances to the beliefs of any single actor against any other. The system must never even have the possibility of disadvantaging a single user or organisation over any other. We accept that full decentralisation is pivotal in accomplishing this.

Forward-enforceable agreement between arbitrary sets of parties is a core goal, however to achieve this goal, parties must be able to determine the existence and volition of the other. Communication methods must be provided, on the same technological basis, to facilitate this.

It is anticipated that the use of consensus-based blockchain technology using a Turing-complete VM within its transaction resolver and an arbitrarily large state space, such as that first proposed by Buterin (2013) and an evolution of which was formalised by Wood (2014) will be pivotal in the initial delivery.

It is also anticipated that additional research will need to be conducted, both internally and externally in order to deliver solutions of increasing concordance with these broad goals.

what is ethereum?

wikipedia | Purpose The stated purpose of the Ethereum project is to "decentralize the web" by introducing four components as part of its roadmap: static content publication, dynamic messages, trustless transactions and an integrated user-interface.[6] Each of these services is designed to replace some aspect of the systems currently used in the modern web, but to do so in a fully decentralised and pseudonymous manner.[7]

Ethereum is an open source project. Development began in December 2013, with the first Go and C++ proof of concept builds (PoC1) being released in early February 2014.[8] Since then, several further PoC builds have been released, culminating with the public launch of the Ethereum blockchain on 30 July 2015.
The currency unit of Ethereum is the Ether, used to pay for computational services on the network.
To finance development, Ethereum distributed the initial allocation of Ethers via a 42-day public crowdsale, netting 31,591 bitcoins, worth $18,439,086 at that time, in exchange for about 60,102,216 Ethers.[12][citation needed]

Ether is divided into smaller units of currency called finney, szabo, shannon, babbage, lovelace, and wei (named after Wei Dai, the creator of b-money). Each larger unit is equal to 1000 of the next lower unit.[13] In practice, however, the developers encourage the use of ether and wei. Wei is the base unit of implementation and cannot be further divided.

Smart contracts on Ethereum
Smart contracts are computer protocols which verify or enforce the performance of a contractual agreement. On Ethereum, contracts can be written in one of the following four languages: Solidity (a JavaScript-like language), Serpent (a Python-like language), Mutan (C-like) and LLL (Lisp-like). They are compiled into bytecode before being deployed to the blockchain.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

inconceivable that humans are the most intelligent animals on the planet

upliftconnect |  Mammals like us, who have been on the planet a whole lot longer than us, who also have larger brains than us, is interesting to reflect on. We humans pride ourselves on technology, on creating tools, gadgets and machines. Of course it is easy to consider that intelligence is based on technology. Then there is the idea of emotional intelligence which acknowledges a form of intelligence which is internal, can not be easily measured empirically but plays a major role in the success of an individual. Intuition, compassion, empathy are usually considered feelings, but these are skills, non-physical tools that we can use to ascend the social ladder. Meditation could also be considered a non-physical tool that changes our biology, reduces stress and opens the mind. We may be at the very beginning of understanding that tools do not need to be physical or easily measurable by traditional science in order to be valuable.

We willingly accept the idea of intelligence in a life-form only if the intelligence displayed is on the same evolutionary wavelength as our own. Technology automatically indicates intelligence. An absence of technology translates into an absence of intelligence.Dolphins and whales do not display intelligence in a fashion recognizable to this conditioned perception of what intelligence is, and thus for the most part, we are blind to a broader definition of what intelligence can be.Evolution molds our projection of intelligence. Humans evolved as tool-makers, obsessed with danger and group aggression. This makes it very difficult for us to comprehend intelligent non-manipulative beings whose evolutionary history featured ample food supplies and an absence of fear from external dangers.  – Paul Watson

Again it is important to recognize how this attitude has not only been applied to animals, but also to indigenous people historically. How we define intelligence is restricted to our definition of intelligence. Are we willing to broaden our definition of intelligence?

Intelligence can also be measured by the ability to live within the bounds of the laws of ecology — to live in harmony with one’s own ecology and to recognize the limitations placed on each species by the needs of an ecosystem. Is the species that dwells peacefully within its habitat with respect for the rights of other species the one that is inferior? Or is it the species that wages a holy war against its habitat, destroying all species that irritate it? What can be said of a species that reproduces beyond the ability of its habitat to support it? What do we make of a species that destroys the diversity that sustains the ecosystem that nourishes it? How is a species to be judged that fouls its water and poisons its own food? On the other hand, how is a species that has lived harmoniously within the boundaries of its ecology to be judged?  – Paul Watson

Watson gets very in-depth and cites the research which compares cranial capacity, and brain complexity between humans and sea mammals. At the very least this information is humbling. Paul Watson has given us a lot to think about, but probably the greatest gift in his essay can be summarized by this quote:

It’s not enough to understand the natural world, the point is to defend and preserve it. – Edward Abbey

Watson is not merely a philosopher, he puts his words and beliefs into action. For 35 years, Captain Paul Watson has been at the helm of the world’s most active marine non-profit organization – the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I highly recommend reading the entire essay which is available here.

ubiquitous indestructible cryptobiotic tards....,

theatlantic |  The toughest animals in the world aren't bulky elephants, or cold-tolerant penguins, or even the famously durable cockroach. Instead, the champions of durability are endearing microscopic creatures called tardigrades, or water bears.

They live everywhere, from the tallest mountains to the deepest oceans, and from hot springs to Antarctic ice. They can even tolerate New York. They cope with these inhospitable environments by transforming into a nigh-indestructible state. Their adorable shuffling gaits cease. Their eight legs curl inwards. Their rotund bodies shrivel up, expelling almost all of their water and becoming a dried barrel called a “tun.” Their metabolism dwindles to near-nothingness—they are practically dead. And in skirting the edge of death, they become incredibly hard to kill.

In the tun state, tardigrades don't need food or water. They can shrug off temperatures close to absolute zero and as high as 151 degrees Celsius. They can withstand the intense pressures of the deep ocean, doses of radiation that would kill other animals, and baths of toxic solvents. And they are, to date, the only animals that have been exposed to the naked vacuum of space and lived to tell the tale—or, at least, lay viable eggs. (Their only weakness, as a researcher once told me, is “vulnerability to mechanical damage;” in other words, you can squish ‘em.)

Scientists have known for centuries about the tardigrades’ ability to dry themselves out. But a new study suggests that this ability might have contributed to their superlative endurance in a strange and roundabout way. It makes them uniquely suited to absorbing foreign genes from bacteria and other organisms—genes that now pepper their genomes to a degree unheard of for animals.

Thomas Boothby from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill made this discovery after sequencing the first ever tardigrade genome, to better understand how they have evolved. Of the 700 species, his team focused on Hypsibius dujardini, one of the few tardigrades that’s easy to grow and breed in a lab.

At first, Boothby thought his team had done a poor job of assembling the tardigrade’s genome. The resulting data was full of genes that seemed to belong to bacteria and other organisms, not animals. “All of us thought that these were contaminants,” he says. Perhaps microbes had snuck into the samples and their DNA was intermingled with the tardigrade’s own.

But the team soon realized that these sequences are bona fide parts of the tardigrade’s genome.