All Stories by SpitBallI'm a human being that lives on a planet referred to as "Earth" by those inhabitants that speak languages I can understand. It seems that I exist on a uni-direction timeline that some say began with a Big Bang and might end at any moment. I spend most of my waking hours trying to figure out what the hell is going on in the world and how I might work with other humans to push our culture toward justice and relief from the pain of scratching a life from these rocks.
Below are all stories written by SpitBall.
You know what I mean.
GWB’s nemesis has been done in by Barack Hussein Obama. A resounding victory for Neo-Libs, eh? Without leaks, to boot. Powerful stuff.
One, two punch combo, too, with the recent SNL-, Meyers- facilitated “D. Trump is a dip-schitck and here’s the long form I’ve been sitting on” skit. Head writer for the BHO network, too, Seth?
Is it really the anniversary of Georgie’s “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!” debacle, or was that a dream?
Seems they’ve been working on this since 2004?! Could explain why Obama retained GDub’s staff, and rearranged so recently. Job finished.
On the terrorist vs US of A board: Obama 1, Usama 0. Step up from the “I protected you for X many yrs” Bush/Cheney with 0 and Usama 1 + Old Europe Targets.
A drone in Pakistan attacked a mansion in a sovereign nation and killed a person with much hatred piled upon his head. Am I to be elated? Deflated?
Its really “exasperated” and “let’s try something different-itated”, if you get my drifteration and gistification.
Closure. An eye for an I. Blindness disenlightened by drones. Pilotless. Sterile.
Powerful and stochastic.
In a world where comics spark death squads, what will this execution bring?
Can it be buried quickly enough? The coal black ea may have claimed it, and with it our hatred. Perhaps.
If we push that way. Synergize and switch.
Come on, now.
According to some of the (dare I say) evidence discussed in this article from the Village Voice.
My own take: if people were so easily influenced by pop music lyrics and if the songs of the past decades were more about “us” than “me”, why didn’t we have a wave of unity at that time? Is it only negative behaviors that are stimulated by lyrics? Or maybe its just more dramatic to blame music for suicide than to discuss how many times people find the will to go on nestled in the lyrics?
The Dr. Kaku was a fine example of a theoretical physicist entranced with clever technologies and obsessed with Star Trek.
He talked about two ideas that sound very nice: 1) “Smart” wallpaper that can be programmed to change colors and might even provide a means to talk to a computerized physician (Yes, by talking to the wall) and get help for medical ailments. 2) “Smart” toilets for the home that can screen your families poop for DNA signatures that have been linked to human cancers.
So, in a world where even developed nations still have lead-based paint peeling off the walls in the low income part of town, this brainiac thinks we need smart wallpaper to watch over the rich assholes (literally). Socioeconomics aside, is it really a good idea to entrust your toilet bowl with life and death diagnoses? Especially when one’s only interaction with a medical professional is talking to the wallpaper? Where’s the counseling? Where’s the basic human compassion? (in the toilet!). Wouldn’t all of our great technological tricks be better used to find ways to provide clean potable water, sanitation and shelter to those who don’t have a toilet to up-grade, or walls to paper over?
Ivy league degree aside, this guy has a ridiculously skewed vision of the future.
“I was aghast at what I was witnessing,” ElBaradei writes of the official U.S. attitude before the March 2003 invasion, which he calls “aggression where there was no imminent threat,” a war in which he accepts estimates that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed.
In such a case, he suggests, the World Court should be asked to rule on whether the war was illegal. And, if so, “should not the International Criminal Court investigate whether this constitutes a `war crime’ and determine who is accountable?”
More excerpts from his new book The Age of Deception, here.
It would seem that expecting people to be convinced by the facts flies in the face of, you know, the facts.
Chris Mooney offered up a veritable briar patch of stochastic possibilities with his recent article, The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science, at Mother Jones.
This is not a new topic for the Open Left crowd. Some topics, however, may benefit from being repeated. There’s a lot of “motivated reasoning”, I think, in the deference so many on the leftish end of the US political spectrum show toward Obama and the Democratic Party in general. This is not a novel idea. It has been hashed over by others.
There is much to be discussed about the motivations that beget the kind of rational use of the irrational that underlies this phenomenon. Or is it, the irrational use of rationality? Ivy League lawyer, Dan Kahan, sums it up:
The study subjects weren’t “anti-science”—not in their own minds, anyway. It’s just that “science” was whatever they wanted it to be.
This is the time in the show when we like to mention that we generally run the show in two parts.
There’s the first part and the second part. We like to run the show in that order.
In between the two parts is another part that we like to call “Intermission”.
Intermission is a time when you can go out to the lobby and smoke (they don’t have to smoke). You don’t have to smoke! You can go out and drink (they don’t have to drink either). You don’t have to drink, you don’t have to smoke. If you don’t want to smoke, you certainly don’t have to smoke. You don’t have to drink either, hardly enough time for anything else, although it has been done.
Intermission: 15 fun-filled minutes without smoking or drinking. Have fun.
I’m still on the Off Topic series.
The context of this diary is primarily cellular. We’ve moved up a level of biological scale from the previous diary, Transition. Some may suggest that the molecular and cellular scales also define the non-living/living divide (if such a thing actually exists). That topic is beyond the scope of this diary. [Besides, I tend to piss off the philosophers when I talk about the meaning of life, so let’s get better acquainted before we tear the lid off that one.]
One of the minor mysteries in biophysical chemistry is how cells manage to elicit sudden changes in various metabolic and physiologic characteristics, traits, or phenotypes. These changes are in response to signals of fuel availability and physiological exigencies pertaining to the multi-cellular individual as implied by homeostasis. The cohort of human beings pondering these mysteries as a matter of career define the word “manage” in terms of macromolecular conformational changes, enzyme catalysis, and a wide range of interactions between macromolecules and with smaller molecules. The shorthand jargon term for this is mechanism. These are not new questions. They have bugged us ever since the first moving cells were observed.
The question becomes: How do cells organize the molecules within them in order to accomplish the functions that these have been observed to fulfill?
This discussion is in context of all the caveats this community can conjure.
See if you can guess who I’m quoting:
Remember Barack Obama? He’s the president of the United States. As a candidate he promised hope and change. Now he defends the status quo. The fact that the status quo is clearly unsustainable doesn’t deter him. His budget’s endless deficits and rising debt takes us down a perfectly obvious road to ruin. But Obama asks us to close our eyes, pretend not to see, and hope against hope that we don’t need to change.
Many of the discussions here and elsewhere often come to a semantic juncture where the participants bemoan the need to use words to convey their message and/or points.
Let’s try to be proactive, eh?
Have at it.
A few weeks ago a good friend turned me on to this series by Errol Morris, “The Ashtray”. I’ve collated the 5 parts here: 1) The Ultimatum, 2) Shifting Paradigms, 3) Hippasus of Metapontum, 4) The Author of the “Quixote”, and 5) This Contest of Interpretation. The same Errol Morris who made The Fog of War and Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control.
It’s a good read. Morris approaches the essays with a documentarian’s eye for the drama of the mundane and snippets of dialog with an array of pertinent personages. Morris cuts right to the chase, explaining the obscure title of the series in the first paragraph.
It was April, 1972. The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N. J. The home in the 1950s of Albert Einstein and Kurt Gödel. Thomas Kuhn, the author of “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” and the father of the paradigm shift, threw an ashtray at my head.
Apparently, Kuhn was a bit peeved that his student (Morris) would dare attend a lecture by Saul Kripke. Morris reworks the incident throughout The Ashtray, weaving it through Pythagorean myth and legend concerning an alleged murder of Hippasus of Metapontum to illuminate his interpretation of why Kuhn became so stuck on his own notion of incommensurable paradigms in science. All the while tempting the reader to consider whether Kuhn really meant what we have come to believe his words mean, or whether Kuhn ended up defending the interpretation of others.
The Off Topic series continues and this time it is chemical. More precisely, the discussion begins with thermodynamics and this Gibb’s Free Energy diagram.
It seems strangely appropriate to mention that the phrase “Free Energy” was the first thing about academic chemistry that resonated with my childlike entrancement with nature. What more could an Anarchist want? But that’s another story.
There are 2 key aspects to the energy diagram, 1) the relative position of the left and right hand states (pun fully intended) and 2) the shape/height of the transition between them. (this video explains in more detail).
Read the rest of this entry »
At the Nation.
By mobilizing our military against Libya, we unleashed the dogs of war in a way whose future is simply unpredictable. None of my advisers or our intelligence community can tell me what will happen next, so I’ve decided to end our involvement tonight.
And Haley Barbour is one of them.
On Feb. 11, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, his wife and three aides flew in a luxury jet to Washington for a weekend of politicking, including an appearance on Fox News Sunday and a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference. “Our problem is not that we tax too little,” Barbour told the gathering. “It’s that we spend too much.”
The potential presidential contender may have another problem: Mississippi taxpayers paid the tab for Barbour’s first-class travel. State documents obtained by TIME show that Mississippi shelled out $7,020 to shuttle Barbour and his entourage to and from D.C. on its Cessna Citation, a cost that Barbour says is justified by state work he did in D.C. over the same weekend.
Lampedusa’s migrant detention center houses just 850 detainees. There are currently over 4,000 on the island. No country in Europe or elsewhere will help by taking refugees, leaving Italy to cope with the chaos alone. Once off the boats, there is now nowhere to sleep, very little fresh drinking water, and atrocious hygienic conditions. The seas last week were too rough for supply ships from Sicily to bring fresh drinking water and food supplies, yet more boats landed, often crashing into the rocky shores. Hundreds of lives have been lost at sea. Bodies are often caught in fishing nets or wash up on the shores. The local authorities, bolstered by military troops from the Italian mainland, have set up cage-like metal fences around the harbor and many of the immigrants are sleeping under semi-trailers draped with plastic to keep out the rain. The Red Cross calls the situation in Lampedusa “deplorable.”
Yet, somehow, the “humanitarian” mission is comprised of cruise missiles and fighter jets. Each Tomahawk costs about $1,000,000. Don’t you think that “the west” could use 1 or 2 fewer missiles and redirect the money and personnel to a place where the words “humanitarian mission” might actually have some meaning?
This is a continuing Off-Topic series explores concepts put forward by people trying to understand biological mechanisms in terms of chemistry and physics. My intent is to relate these biological mechanisms to the events observed in human societies and cultures.
The ongoing actions of human beings and other natural forces are forcing us to reassess definitions of “stability” and the closely associated mechanisms of “change”. The basis of stability implies a temporal standard. That is, how long must we fend off instability in order to be deemed “stable”? But, time is only one of the recognized biological scales.
It seems prudent to consider such from the biological perspective because ultimately, human culture, society and the politics are biological systems. More complex than an ant colony, no doubt about that, but nonetheless, a vast pile of animals crawling all over everything.
Read the rest of this entry »