Mellow Dawkins challenges New Age        

The Enemies of Reason (UK Channel 4) is Dawkins’ measured attack on post-enlightenment relativism, in its New Age “spirituality” variants. He sees it as a failure of education that we are increasingly coming to treat personal feelings as superior to reason. Views that would have been dismissed as ignorant tales for the credulous a hundred years ago are socially widespread now.

Dawkins’ arguments are pretty unassailable. He presents them in a gentle way, the more remarkable because a few of his targets are engaged in the most dangerous forms of woo – spiritualists offering false comfort to the grief-stricken; alternative medical practitioners who can just provide gestures to the sick.

All the same, most of the people Dawkins talks to are polite and happy to engage in discussion and even experiment, which makes a pleasant change from the polarised debates that normally characterise this sort of debate.

Dawkins points out the ironies that triumphs of science and reason, such as the Internet, are being put to the service of irrationality – with bizarre conspiracy theories and fundamentalism being spread through the Net much more easily than they would have before it came into existence.

Answering those people who claim that logic is cold and empties the universe of meaning, Dawkins makes the point that the real universe is infinitely fascinating. His enthusiasm for the real world makes most of the ersatz magic workers

This is the strange thing about woo. It starts from a position that the real world is dull. This perspective is very hard to grasp and certainly must be a failure of our education system. The real universe is miraculous. It is always stranger than we can ever grasp. Surely, the effort of using our feeble human consciousness to understand ourselves and the nature of the universe provides enough meaning for our whole species.


          Manuel Ayau, the freedom fighter, the hero, the grandfather        
I am deeply saddened to learn about Muso's passing away on August 3.  I met Muso, a friend of my father, some 19 years ago in 1991. I had heard some interesting stories about him from my parents when they visited Guatemala in 1985. Over the years my dad kept in
touch with him through meetings and while I was too young to understand why he was so important I started to read a lot more about free market ideas, and to learn about the freedom movement through stories that were written for young kids. I especially remember reading as a preteen Muso's cartoon book " Cómo mejorar el nivel de vida"  (How to improve your living standard).  The book may be long forgotten but it had a deep impact on me because it lead me to start reading more and more why people are poor and how economics and free markets play a role into an individual’s welfare.  He was one of the first to plant the seeds in my head for a career of promoting liberty.
As I grew up I learned more about the Francisco Marroquin University (UFM) which Muso founded, and that inspired me to want to go there to study under the author of that little cartoon book that had made me forget my dreams of studying engineering, which came natural to me.  What I wanted was to learn about economics from Muso on that beautiful campus that I read about through publications and brochures
that my father received from one of his earlier ventures the think tank Center for Economic and Social Studies (CEES).


Finally, my wishes came true in January of 1991 despite my friends concern that I was going to Guatemala to study how to be a communist guerrilla fighter. I arrived in Guatemala City from Ecuador in the midst of the civil war, violent crime and kidnappings.  Little did my friends know that I was going there because I was totally convinced that the best fight against enemies of freedom was through education in free market principles. Some of my friends were concerned that I was going there out of idealistic pursuit of ideas, and not because it was the best university available. I had to admit that I myself was not sure if the University was an indoctrination camp and not a real university. These worries were quickly dissipated once I stepped foot on campus. Its reputation as a stellar institution of higher learning is rivaled by few.  
When I first met Muso I was pleasantly surprised at how warm he and his family were. I was invited to spend many weekends at their Amatitlán home. Muso was an engineer by trade, although he knew as much about economics despite not studying it formally.  He also shared with me (I learned over the years) a fascination for electronic gadgets and a kind of natural ability to learn how to use them quickly.  Of all his towering achievements this little fact might seem unimportant, but to me it revealed an attitude of defying usual expectations and doing things that other people thought impossible.  This trait was apparent when he founded one of the oldest think tanks in Latin America, a university in the middle of one of the longest and most devastating civil wars in the Americas, and a lifetime of entrepreneurial and academic success.  The icing was when he learned to fly helicopters at nearly 80 years old. Unbelievable…except to those who knew him personally.  
For those of us who were lucky enough to meet the man, Muso had a serious and talented mind. He was youthful not only in spirit, but physically too.  I still remember the first time I met him.  He took us on a tour around the Amatitlán Lake where his family lived.  At that time he was wearing a special belt around
his waist because he was suffering from lower back pain. Upon returning to his house he told me to try to tie up the boat at the pier.  I have never been particularly athletic and despite my youth I was afraid of falling into the water. Seeing that I was not able to do it, he told me, "let me show you."  He jumped from the boat to the pier like a teenager, and proceeded to pull the boat and tie it up to the pier.  Needless to say I still feel embarrassed at the fact that a sexagenarian was able to teach me that lesson. Over the years, until the last time I saw him in at a Liberty fund Colloquium held in Guatemala in November of 2008, he looked pretty much the same - not much different from those pictures 19 years ago.  Always with that funny grin like a kid about to do something naughty, very clever despite of starting to suffer the effects of the chemotherapy for his cancer, and despite being sometimes forgetful last time I saw him, always very witty and clever. 
Throughout my five years in Guatemala I went to Muso's home on weekends and he and Olga always complained to me and my father that I was not a more frequent visitor. It was a home away from home. It was such a warm and welcoming environment for a young man away from his home country. For that I am forever grateful.  A lot of times I felt a little shy as if I was abusing their generosity.  I felt a certain reverential fear when in Muso's presence.  He was always very open and talking with him challenged me to be extremely focused all the time because I was speaking to a towering figure.
Over the years I matured and began to feel more comfortable, but sadly I was not living any more in Guatemala and I longed every time I learned that he was attending one of Atlas's events to have some time and sit with him and talk.  Even better if Muso's wife Olga was with him.  With them I always felt as
though I was visiting my grandparents, a certain joy like seeing family.  I use to feel a little jealous of my brothers and sister who were able to regularly visit the Ayau family gatherings.  Even worst jealous of others,because when seeing him I was not able to talk in that familial environment that I had with him early on.  Muso had become like a rock star and many people wanted his attention.  The legend was reaching the pinnacle of his life and everybody wanted a piece of him.  Despite all that I knew that whenever he saw me he would come and ask me how things were, about my family and how important it was for me to lose weight (I was so much thinner when I met him in Guatemala!) I thank him because he was never judgmental in doing so but he was seriously concerned about me.
I reflect on this today as I am writing these random recollections because upon learning of his death I could not at first put together in words what I felt towards the hero of my childhood, the hero that put me on the path of advocacy with a cartoon book, the friend that opened the doors of his home and family to me and my family and was always concerned about my future like a grandfather. I can thank him for the fact that I studied at Francisco Marroquín, a university where you go to learn about freedom, but also and institution that strives for excellence in education and that focuses on the search for truth and independence.
I owe to him the fact that I do what I do at Atlas where I am committed to the cause of liberty. Lots of people I’m sure will be able to better put in words his lifetime of achievements, but I wanted to pay tribute to the man, the hero, the grandfather that he was to me.  I know that I am not alone, Muso and the Ayau family were very generous to all people that came through their lives and many will have similar recollections. He might be gone but the spirit and legacy left to those of us that try to engage in teaching and promoting liberty will be with us forever.


          Cialis Pill        

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          Manuel Rodríguez Erdoyza        

Ficha Personal

- Fecha de nacimiento: 25 de febrero de 1785
- Procedencia: Perteneciente a la aristocracia Chilena, hijo de el español Carlos Rodríguez de Herrera y de la peruana María Loreto de Erdoyza y Aguirre.
- Estudios: Sus primeros estudios los cursó en el colegio San Carlos, mas tarde ingresó a la Real Universidad de San Felipe, donde recibió enseñanzas de filosofía y leyes, titulándose de abogado en 1809, al igual que sus tres hermanos.
- Carrera política: Su primer cargo en la política fue en 1811 una vez que ya estuvo instaurada la junta de gobierno donde fue designado cabildo de Santiago, el cual duró poco tiempo debido al golpe de estado impulsado por Carrera. Tres años después fue adquiriendo varios títulos como diputado, ministro de guerra y secretario de Estado, sin embargo estas funciones administrativas duraron poco tiempo ya que debieron ser remplazadas en el campo de batalla. Luego de el desastre de Rancagua en 1814 las fuerzas patriotas debieron refugiarse al otro lado de la cordillera, donde Rodríguez también tubo que partir, sin embargo adquirió el papel de mensajero, por lo que continuamente viajaba para recabar información y entregársela a sus compatriotas. Además de esto, en sus viajes Rodríguez comenzó a organizar grupos rebeldes los cuales fueron muy útiles, ya que además de confundir a las tropas enemigas permitiendo el avance de los patriotas por la cordillera, se ganó la admiración popular, la cual mas tarde le valió para ser proclamado por el pueblo, director supremo.
- Descendencia: Un hijo llamado Juan Esteban Rodríguez segura.
- Muerte: Rodríguez fue trasladado de prisión el 25 de mayo de 1818, sin embargo antes de llegar a destino, en las proximidades de Tiltil, fue acribillado por sus custodios. Su muerte es un misterio, algunos hablan de conspiración otros, que era el destino que le tocaba después de intentar de huir.



          Schoolboy error        

Settle down at the back, there. Today we’re going to learn basic numeracy.
Do pay attention, Sir Michael Wilshaw (Chief Inspector of Schools, head of Ofsted, the agency that inspects schools…) This will be on the test.
On Breakfast TV this morning, you said that UK schools were failing to keep up with the rest of the world, and that one in 5 ten-year-olds were failing to reach the average.
LOL, LOL again.
Nobody on BBC Breakfast challenged this. The discussion continued as if he had said something both meaningful and scary. (And, of course, nobody said – “Surely this slide down the world’s literacy league tables coincides with the past decade’s massive expansion of school inspection activity?”)
OK, I naturally assumed the “average” word was a slip of the tongue. I told quite a few people because I was amazed that the chief inspector of schools didn’t understand the concept of a mean. But, on the BBC website, some more savvy person (maybe someone who’d studied Maths at the age of 11, as Sir Michael clearly hadn’t) had changed the reported words to refer to expected standards. Maybe I’d dreamt it.
But it turns out that Sir Michael had said the same thing on Newsnight the night before.
As the Guardian reported, a flurry of well-earned Internet derision followed the Newsnight speech. Ofsted press office said it was just a “slip of the tongue”.
Impossible that he and his press office didn’t spot any twittered mirth. But, there he was on BBC Breakfast, this morning, with his tongue still slipping wildly and disgorging the same scare story, using the same silly “average” word.
To misquote Oscar Wilde, to misuse one statistical concept may be a misfortune, to misuse two begins to look a lot like innumeracy.
I’ll be charitable and take it that he “really” meant “expected standard” but was more interested in getting in a soundbite than in communicating meaningfully. (In that case, of course, he’s failed basic literacy requirements instead.)
As the Guardian blog showed, Sir Michael isn’t alone in his innumeracy. The Secretary of State for Education is equally challenged by the statistical concept of averages. This is priceless:

Chair: One is: if “good” requires pupil performance to exceed the national average, and if all schools must be good, how is this mathematically possible?
Michael Gove: By getting better all the time.
Chair: So it is possible, is it?
Michael Gove: It is possible to get better all the time.
Chair: Were you better at literacy than numeracy, Secretary of State?
Michael Gove: I cannot remember.

This sort of thing would normally inspire pity. He’s obviously not very bright but, in a fair world, he could probably get useful work that didn’t need academic skills. In the real universe, he’s Secretary of State for Education.
In which role, he’s hellbent on promoting the ludicrous Academies. These obviously make perfect sense if you’re a business person who wants to get your hands on public money that’s earmarked for education but make no sense to anyone else.
The process seems to be –

  1. Ofsted “inspects” a school
  2. They declare it to be “failing” and in need of “special measures”
  3. The school has to choose between becoming an Academy or being closed
  4. An Academy is set up, it gets the money that the local authority would have paid to the school
  5. The school becomes Outstanding in the next inspection

But there’s a hiccup. A few awkward schools are refusing.
Heads are rolling resigning or knuckling under. And now, intransigent (locally elected) school governors are being dismissed and replaced by government appointees – who by an amazing coincidence turn out to be very pro-academy. (Downhills Primary, Nightingale Primary):

“We have therefore decided to appoint an interim executive board to give the school the leadership and expertise it needs to improve.
“Those connected with the school will then be consulted on whether the school should convert into a sponsored academy under the leadership of the Harris Federation.”
The hand-picked interim executive board will be chaired by Les Walton, the chairman of the the Young People’s Learning Agency – the academies’ funding body.
Other members include the head of the Harris Federation, Dr Dan Moyniham, and Dame Sylvia Morris.
Dame Sylvia has just retired as head teacher of St Saviour and St Mary Overy Primary School in Southwark. She was made a dame in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for services to education, and mentors new head teachers in four London boroughs….
At a parliamentary committee hearing in January, Mr Gove labelled campaigners against the academy plan for Downhills “Trots”, claiming they were politically motivated and linked to the Socialist Workers Party. (from the BBC)

One can only hope that Mr Gove is himself politically motivated. Otherwise, the whole operation looks a lot like straightforward theft.


          Hubble Video Shows Shock Collision Inside Black Hole Jet        

One of the trademarks of the Star Wars film episodes is the dreaded Death Star battle station that fires a beam of directed energy powerful enough to blow up planets. The real universe has such fireworks, and they are vastly more powerful than the Star Wars creation. These extragalactic jets are tearing across hundreds of light-years of space at 98 percent the speed of light. Instead of a battle station, the source of the killer beam is a supermassive black hole weighing many million or even a billion times the mass of our sun. Energy from the spinning black hole, and its titanic magnetic fields, shape a narrow jet of gas blasting out a galaxy's center. Hubble has been used over the past 25 years to photograph and rephotograph a jet blasting out the heart of the elliptical galaxy 3C 264 (also known as NGC 3862). Hubble's sharp vision reveals that the jet has a string-of-pearls structure of glowing knots of material. When these images were assembled into a time-lapse movie, they reveal – to the surprise of astronomers – a faster-moving bright knot rear-ending the bright knot in front of it. The resulting shock collision further accelerates particles that produce a focused beam of deadly radiation. The jet is moving so fast toward us it gives the illusion that it is traveling faster than the speed of light. But not to worry, the host galaxy is 260 million light-years away. We are seeing the jet as it looked before the dinosaurs appeared on Earth, and our planet was suffering a global mass extinction.


          Eternal Desire        
MetArt is a real universe of high grade sensual photography and video production. Recently they started launching sites that let you explore the work of a particular photographer or producer. We have reviewed some of them here already. Eternal Desire is the newest, letting you travel through the sensual universes a photographer called Arkisi creates. Check it out, it’s pretty dazzling.
          Sham U        
A man called Zhao Lianshan distributed fake university admission offers to students admission to the Shandong Institute of Light Industry, through a new pilot program for students who had not scored as well on entrance exams. They could enroll as full-time students for four years, and pay about RMB 8,000 per year in tuition. Sixty-eight students agreed to enroll, and it was not until June 3, 2012, four years later, that they realized they had never been enrolled in the Shandong Institute of Light Industry. The whole college career had been a sham, and Zhao Lianshan, the man who devised it, has disappeared. Anthony and Jeff talk about fake universities, real universities, and which is the bigger scam.
          CARBOHIDRATOS Y GLUCOPATIAS        
CARBOHIDRATOS Y GLUCOPATÍAS
1ª PARTE

EFECTO TÓXICO DE LOS CARBOHIDRATOS Y ALIMENTOS REFINADOS

Por: Lic. Nut. Miguel Leopoldo Alvarado Saldaña

COMENTARIO PRELIMINAR

De acuerdo a lo expuesto en artículos precedentes, existen suficientes evidencias científicas que permiten determina el volumen ideal de azúcar en la sangre para lograr un desempeño metabólico óptimo. La certeza científica actual indica que el volumen ideal y óptimo de glucosa sanguínea para la mayoría de personas, ronda alrededor de los 90 miligramos por decilitro de sangre, con ligeras variaciones dentro de un rango muy estrecho cercano a esa cifra. Siendo este el volumen necesario para lograr una máxima eficiencia metabólica.

La máxima eficiencia metabólica obtenida al lograr ese volumen ideal de 90 miligramos de glucosa por decilitro de sangre, es una condición indispensable para alcanzar un máximo rendimiento físico y psíquico, acompañado por un inmejorable estado de salud, calidad de vida y desarrollo humano.

Estado óptimo de salud que haría irradiar a cualquiera una vibrante y bella personalidad, vitalidad, alegría y amabilidad, manifestaciones que se acompañarían por una óptima capacidad de atención, concentración mental y para solución de problemas tanto de la vida cotidiana, como de trabajo y estudio.

Así mismo, en los rangos ideales el volumen de glucosa en la sangre, elevaría al máximo la capacidad del sistema inmune para combatir microorganismos y neutralizar las sustancias extrañas que habitualmente invaden al cuerpo, lo cual permitiría disminuir a su mínima expresión la propensión a todo tipo de enfermedades. Eso permitiría que el organismo humano estuviera en perfectas condiciones para afrontar cualquier eventualidad y carga de estrés físico y mental.

Es muy importante aclarar, ya que este es un medio dirigido a profesionales y técnicos de la salud y la belleza, que ese estado ideal de vitalidad y belleza física y mental, manifiesto en las personas que logran acceder a ese estado de máxima eficiencia metabólica, solo puede ser fruto de procedimientos dietéticos, siendo este un estado bioquímico resultado de una nutrición correcta, que ningún otro método sea médico, estético o cosmético puede igualar. Ningún medicamento, droga, cosmético, aparato o algún otro procedimiento quirúrgico, plástico, terapéutico físico o psíquico, puede igualar en ningún aspecto el resultado de una nutrición óptima.

En consecuencia resulta indispensable e insustituible en todas las ramas de le medicina general, antienvejecimiento, estética y para toda la industria de la belleza y el bienestar, velar porque los pacientes o clientes practiquen un régimen alimentario racional y saludable que les permita alcanzar una máxima eficiencia metabólica. Estado identificado y descrito por diversos expertos en nutriología entre quienes cabe destacar a Adelle Davis quien acuñó el nombre y concepto de máxima eficiencia metabólica, y el Dr. Barry Sears quien denominó a este estado y lo describió como estar en la “Zona”. Refiriéndose Sears a la zona metabólica que permite a una persona entrar a un estado de máxima eficiencia bioquímica.

Ahora bien, actualmente hemos acumulado una enorme cantidad de conocimientos sobre la nutrición humana, al aplicarse correcta y rutinariamente, permitirían a una mayoría de personas lograr esa máxima eficiencia metabólica necesaria para alcanzar un estado óptimo de vigor, salud, bienestar, calidad de vida y desarrollo humano. Entonces ¿Por qué paradójicamente, la mayoría de personas se encuentran bastante lejos de ese estado ideal y viven crónicamente cansadas, desvitalizadas y deprimidas, afectadas por una plaga de malestares y enfermedades físicas y mentales?

¿Por qué desde niños, una proporción mayoritaria de seres humanos salvados de nacer con alguno de los trastornos congénitos físicos o mentales característicos de nuestra época, sufren sin embargo, problemas de inadaptación social, hiperactividad, agresividad, ira, déficit de atención y de memoria, trastornos del comportamiento, depresión, cansancio patológico, depresión inmunitaria con acompañada de infecciones recurrentes, o bien hiperactividad inmunitaria origen de un sinnúmero de alergias? ¿Por qué continúa implacable el aumento en niños de casos de hiperactividad, déficit de atención, trastornos de la personalidad, obesidad, diabetes, cardiopatías, cáncer, artritis, asma, alergias, trastornos digestivos, y enfermedades mentales como autismo y esquizofrenia?

¿Por qué una gran cantidad de personas, desde niños hasta adultos mayores, sufren una severa incapacidad para manejar metabolicamente los hidratos de carbono suministrados por nuestra típica dieta occidental? Incapacidad manifestada en una variedad de trastornos relacionados en una primera fase con la hipoglucemia reactiva o relativa y en una segunda fase tardía en obesidad, diabetes, cardiopatías y otras enfermedades, trastornos todos ellos relacionados al consumo de alimentos refinados

La respuesta a esta problemática es bastante compleja pues involucra una diversidad de aspectos científicos, y sobre todo un entramado de intereses económicos y políticos, por lo que iremos respondiendo en partes.

INTRODUCCIÓN

Durante los últimos 100, de manera involuntaria, los seres humanos hemos sido sometidos a un "experimento de escala planetaria”, obligados a comer alimentos artificiales. (Kollath).

La implementación de nuevas tecnologías para la obtención de alimentos, aumentó y abarató su producción, pero creó una nueva clase de productos comestibles con características muy distintas a las naturales, con una elevada carga de nutrientes energéticos en forma de carbohidratos y grasas molecularmente alteradas, aditivos químicos y residuos tóxicos, junto a un empobrecimiento de su contenido de aminoácidos, micronutrientes, nutriente accesorios, fitonutrientes, enzimas y fibras.
La mayor producción de alimentos redujo el hambre, la desnutrición y la mortandad infantil, acrecentando espectacularmente el periodo promedio de vida de la gente.
Sin embargo, el consumo “alimentos artificiales” originó una progresiva degradación de la salud y la calidad de vida, que afectó a todas las poblaciones del mundo que los adoptaron como componentes de sus dietas, que produjo una epidemia de enfermedades degenerativas e infecciosas, con una elevada secuela de morbilidad, discapacidad, muerte y una significativa disminución de la calidad de vida y desarrollo humano.

En ninguna época anterior a la nuestra, hubo cultura alguna que consumiera ni tan siquiera una fracción del azúcar, almidones refinados y grasas alteradas, que componen la dieta estándar del hombre moderno. Fenómeno dietario que produjo una disociación entre el incremento en la esperanza promedio de vida, la calidad y la esperanza de vida activa.

El impacto que sobre la salud humana trajo el consumo de alimentos refinados y la consecuente malnutrición por exceso de calorías e insuficiencia de todos los demás nutrientes de los que se despojó al consumidor, ha definido como “mesotrofia” o "mala salud vertical": estado en que se encuentra una gran parte de seres humanos, que no están suficientemente enfermos como para acostarse y hospitalizarse (en cuyo caso se convertirían en "horizontalmente enfermos"), pero padecen de múltiples dolencias y enfermedades crónicas que les impide llevar una vida satisfactoria. (Bland).

La investigación ha señalado este tipo específico de malnutrición moderna como responsable del progresivo declive de la salud y la vitalidad humana y de la pandemia moderna de padecimientos denominados “enfermedades de la civilización”: hipoglucemia, obesidad, diabetes, cardiopatías, cáncer, artritis, caries, diverticulitis, síndrome de cansancio crónico, síndrome de colon irritable y varias otras más.

De acuerdo con pronósticos oficiales la tendencia de estas enfermedades continuará en aumento y se prevé la saturación de los sistemas de salud que se tornarán incapaces de atender a tantos enfermos, originando con ello un colapso de los sistemas económicos y de sanidad en todos los países del mundo.

Las cifras oficiales muestran la magnitud de esta tragedia que está impactando dramáticamente la salud y la vida humana a escala planetaria, demostrando tardíamente que la dieta moderna es sumamente perjudicial.
Obesidad

En tan solo los últimos 10 años la obesidad se ha triplicado y distribuido en todas las poblaciones, afectando a casi dos tercios de las personas de todo el mundo, 25% de todas las personas se encuentran excedidas de peso lo que se ha constituido en una de las principales causas de muerte y en una amenaza para la humanidad.

En Estados Unidos 65 por ciento de la población padece sobrepeso y 31 por ciento obesidad. (Institutos Nacionales de Salud. 24 de agosto del 2004). En México la obesidad ha alcanzado a 32 millones de adultos de los cuales cinco millones están en riesgo de convertirse en diabéticos en los próximos cinco años. 62 por ciento de los mexicanos mayores de 20 años tienen sobrepeso. (OMS).

El número de niños con sobrepeso se ha triplicado en todo el mundo en los últimos 10 años. 155 millones de infantes padecen sobrepeso u obesidad (30 % de niños tienen sobrepeso y 10 % con edades entre 5 y 17 años tienen obesidad). A medida que aumenta la obesidad, los niños corren mayor riesgo de contraer diabetes tipo II, enfermedades cardiovasculares, cerebrovasculares, y ciertos tipos de cáncer. (Institutos Nacionales de Salud de Estados Unidos).

En ese mismo lapso de tiempo, en México se ha triplicado el sobrepeso y la obesidad en niños cuyas edades fluctúan entre los 5 y los 15 años. 20 % de niños padecen sobrepeso u obesidad, 15 % desarrollarán diabetes y corren riego de sufrir alteraciones severas. Entre los adolescentes de entre 12 y 19 años, un 24 % tienen obesidad. (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Diabetes
Paralelamente a la obesidad, en los últimos 50 años, la diabetes tuvo un incremento de 1800 % en todo el mundo. El número de diabéticos tipo 2 se duplicó en tan sólo diez años en casi todos los países. Existiendo una elevada proporción de casos subclínicos no diagnosticados. (OMS).

Existen en todo el mundo más de 143 millones de diabéticos. 300 millones de personas están próximos a convertirse en diabéticos. Se pronostica que su número aumentará de 117 millones a 370 millones en el año 2030, alcanzando a un mayor número de niños y adolescentes. En Estados Unidos se prevé que una de cada 3 personas sufrirá diabetes próximamente. (Centros para el Control y Prevención de Enfermedades de Estados Unidos. CDC). (OMS).

Obesidad y diabetes predisponen fuertemente a las demás enfermedades degenerativas que se han convertido en una gran carga de discapacidad y muerte prematura en todo el mundo.

ANTECEDENTES DE LAS PRIMERAS INVESTIGACIONES CIENTÍFICAS

Durante el siglo XX diversos investigadores pusieron de relieve que los alimentos industrializados portadores de elevadas concentraciones de azucares, almidones y grasas refinadas, y pobres en aminoácidos, ácidos grasos esenciales, micronutrientes, nutrientes accesorios, fitonutrientes y fibras, presentan una relación causal, directa y proporcional, a la incidencia de patologías denominadas “enfermedades de la civilización”.

Clasificación que comprende una diversidad de padecimientos como: hipoglucemia reactiva y relativa, sobrepeso, obesidad, diabetes, caries, ciertos tipos de cáncer de colon, artritis, diverticulitis, apendicitis, dislipidemias, aterosclerosis, enfermedades cardiovasculares, entre otras.

FRANCIS POTTENGER

Entre los años de 1932 y 1942, Francis Pottenger, M. D, llevó a cabo un experimento sin parangón en la bibliografía de investigación médica. Con una duración de 10 años sometió a estudio a 900 gatos durante varias generaciones, a los que proporcionó una dieta controlada. Los felinos fueron divididos al azar en dos grupos.

A un grupo se le suministraron alimentos naturales: Carne y leche crudas y aceite de hígado de bacalao. Los gatos de este grupo mantuvieron la anchura del rostro y la regularidad de sus dientes mostrando una notable uniformidad de tamaño y desarrollo de su esqueleto a través de las sucesivas generaciones. Presentaron una piel lustrosa, poca pérdida de pelo, resistencia a las infecciones, parásitos y alergias, se mostraron sociables y amistosos y su comportamiento fue predecible. Los abortos fueron escasos y las hembras alimentaban sin dificultad a sus crías, teniendolas sanas de generación en generación.

Los miembros del otro grupo al que se le proporcionó comida sobrante del Sanatorio Pottenger (la típica dieta occidental), diferían muchísimo entre sí después de solo una generación. Pasadas tres generaciones el estrechamiento del cráneo y de la mandíbula dejaba ver los dientes amontonados. Se produjeron diversos cambios esqueléticos incluyendo niveles inferiores de calcio, originando huesos más largaos, delgados y una mayor estreches de la pelvis. Su piel resultó más áspera y presentaron numerosos problemas epiteliales.

Pottenger escribió: “Muestran toda clase de alergias. Estornudan, tienen respiración sibilante y rasguñan. Son irritables y nerviosos, y no ronronean”. Una primera generación de gatos sanos, alimentados con residuos del hospital, produjo una segunda generación de gatitos con alergias, cuya incidencia en la tercera generación, se elevó a casi el 100 %. Los parásitos y las infecciones se generalizaron, lo mismo que los problemas cardiacos, miopía, presbicia, artritis e hipotiroidismo. (Francis M. Pottenger. Potenger’s Cats. Publicado por la Price-Pottenger Nutrition, PO Box 2614, La Mesa, CA 92044-2614, USA. Se puede pedir por correo o comprar el libro por Internet.).

En las hembras preñadas, los abortos fueron frecuentes y los partos difíciles, con muchas muertes durante el trabajo del parto. Los gatitos pesaban casi un 20 por ciento menos que los del grupo sano, mostrando una elevada mortalidad infantil. En cuanto a su disposición, las hembras eran irritables, algunas hasta el punto de ser peligrosas de manejar, en tanto que los machos eran más pasivos y mostraban una actividad sexual anormal.

Este grupo de gatos mantenido con sobrantes de los alimentos que en su hospital se proporcionaba a los enfermos internos, desarrolló las mismas enfermedades que hoy consideramos como normales entre los humanos: Artritis, trastornos cardiovasculares, hepáticos, de la tiroides, pulmonía, parálisis, perdida de dientes, caída anormal de pelo, disminución de la densidad ósea, disminución o anormalidad en el comportamiento sexual, diarrea e irritabilidad. Su excremento era tan tóxico que mataba a las hierbas cercanas a donde defecaban. La primera generación de gatitos resultó ser enfermiza y anormal. En la segunda generación frecuentemente nacieron muertos o enfermos. En los sobrevivientes de la tercera generación, las hembras eran estériles.

Sir Robert McCarrison

En 1904 cuando los ingleses colonizaron la India, Sir Robert McCarrison, médico ingles-escocés fue nombrado médico de estado y enviado durante 14 años, a evaluar las condiciones de higiene y salud de numerosas poblaciones autónomas de las regiones fronterizas al norte de Cachemira entre las que se encontraban los hunzas, que vivían en un elevado valle de los montes Himalayas.

McCarrison recibió una profunda impresión por la gran longevidad, hermosa conformación física, elevada salud, capacidad para el trabajo, ausencia de enfermedades degenerativas, mentales y delincuencia.

Años después, dedicado a la investigación científica, preguntándose a sí mismo qué es la salud, recordó a los hunzas y se dedicó a investigar las razones de su extraordinaria vitalidad, fortaleza y longevidad. Su estudio lo llevó a confirmar lo que años antes había observado, concluyendo que los hunzas representan el ideal de salud humana: exentos de enfermedades degenerativas, la vejez no los debilita ni inhabilita, sus músculos y corazones continúan siendo capaces de grandes esfuerzos hasta una edad avanzada. Su vida se prolonga a los 120 años, a los 75 todavía labran sus campos, recorren las montañas con cargas pesadas y algunos procrean.

Tras un concienzudo estudio de las variables capaces de influir y determinar el estado de salud y longevidad, concluyó que el factor determinante de ese estado era su dieta. Sus alimentos eran limitados, pero sus tierras se encontraban abonadas con estiércol, humus y desperdicios orgánicos naturales e irrigadas con agua de glaciares ricas en minerales de rocas molidas por otras rocas de las montañas.

Otros investigadores (como David Lorimer) estudiaron a los hunzas y describieron su amabilidad, alegre estado de ánimo y gran resistencia física. Como guías, los hunzas recorrían y trepaban los despeñaderos llevando pesadas cargas a cuestas, riendo y cantando durante todo el tiempo.

De regreso a Inglaterra, se dedicó a verificar sus conclusiones por medio de vastos experimentos realizados con ratas a través de muchos años. Dio a 1200 de éstas la alimentación típica de los barrios bajos de Londres. Pan blanco, platillos dulces elaborados con harina blanca, confituras, carnes conservadas, arenques, conservas, golosinas y de vez en cuando un poco de legumbres cocidas. Después de un plazo determinado, encontró en estas ratas, casi todas las enfermedades existentes en el hombre “civilizado”. Los animales sometidos a la influencia de un régimen urbano se volvían irritables, agitados y agresivos. Algunos de ellos terminaron por devorarse entre sí.

A otro grupo de ratas McCarrison les suministró una alimentación muy similar a la de los hunzas. Estas ratas se mantuvieron exentas de enfermedades y entre ellas reinaba la paz y la cordialidad.

Weston A. Price

Contemporáneo de Pottenger, publicó en 1932 su ensayo titulado: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and modern Diets and Their Effects.

Price recorrió el mundo entero examinando exhaustivamente a miles de personas a las que no hubiese afectado lo que llamamos civilización. Examinó grupos de personas en lo que entonces era una parte aislada de los Alpes Suizos, en el Norte de Italia, en la isla de Man, en las Nuevas Hébridas, Australia, nueva Zelanda, África Central, las Selvas de América del Sur, el Norte de Canadá y Alaska y en diversas islas del Sur del Pacífico.

Analizó las dietas de catorce culturas primitivas de todo el mundo, entre ellas indios norte, sudamericanos y suizos que vivían aislados en las montañas, celtas, esquimales, melanesios, polinesios, malayos, maoríes y miembros de tribus de África oriental y central. El resultado de sus análisis corroboró que esas dietas primitivas eran mucho más nutritivas que las dietas “civilizadas” de su época.

Algunas características variaban entre las diferentes culturas, en algunos lugares se encontraban compuestas en su mayor parte de pescado o carne, sin hortalizas ni cereales; en otras, de hortalizas o granos, sin carne ni pescado; parecían no tener nada en común. Sin embargo, detecto como características comunes: sobriedad, ausencia absoluta de alimentos refinados e industrializados, ausencia de sustancias químicas artificiales y tóxicas y un elevado valor nutritivo de los alimentos.

En todos los grupos de culturas primitivas encontró un elevado grado de salud, vigor y dentaduras virtualmente perfectas, aspectos asociados a sus dietas tradicionales. Tal como sucedió con los gatos de Pottenger, la amplitud característica de los arcos dentales, otorgaba a cada uno de estos grupos un rostro ancho, que daba a esas gentes una apariencia similar, como si todos fueran miembros de una misma familia.

También tuvo tiempo de constatar que tan pronto como esas personas emigraban “al mundo civilizado” o adoptaban una dieta de alimentos refinados, adquirían caries y dolores de bucales tan intensos que se convertían en motivo de suicidio. Con el tiempo, el rostro se les fue estrechando, los dientes amontonando más y más en cada sucesiva generación, la apariencia individual se tornaba muy diversa.

Adquirieron problemas en los senos faciales, respiración por la boca, estrechez de las fosas nasales, visión disminuida, problemas con muelas del juicio y, cosa extraordinaria, escasez de buenas voces para el canto. En sus viajes, Price quedó asombrado de la cantidad de magníficos tenores en potencia que encontró entre los pueblos de hábitos de vida tradicionales.

Las estadísticas de Weston Price y McCarrison aplicadas a culturas primitivas fueron similares: ausencia total de todas las enfermedades comunes en occidente. No pudo encontrar úlceras, canceres enfermedades cardiacas o renales, polio, diabetes, etc. Tampoco encontró cárceles, institutos pare enfermos mentales, delincuencia infantil o adulta, desviaciones sexuales, infertilidad e inadaptación social.

Entre las variables analizadas, concluyeron que: El factor determinante de su salud y longevidad, es su dieta compuesta de alimentos sin procesar, producidos con abonos orgánicos, agua de glaciares y libre de productos químicos.

Como sucedió con los gatos de Pottenger y las ratas de McCarrison, Weston Price encontró que cuando las razas primitivas adoptan una dieta de alimentos refinados, ven alterada su inmunidad, incrementadas sus tendencias antisociales, y cambiada su apariencia física. También observó que los individuos más jóvenes se vuelven adictos a los alimentos refinados.

En su ensayo Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Price relata: “Mientras viajaba entre los miembros de razas primitivas de varias partes del mundo, me impresionó profundamente la belleza de su personalidad y la fuerza de su carácter”. Describió a la gente de costumbres primitivas como personas con postura erguida, gran resistencia física, carácter animado y siempre estable. Encontró personas con una excelente estructura ósea, rostros y maxilares tan anchos y bien desarrollados (que no tenían los dientes hacinados unos con otros como sucede en la actualidad) y libres de caries, del mismo modo su cuerpo se encontraba libre de enfermedades degenerativas.

Las estadísticas referentes a la incidencia del cáncer, úlceras, hipertensión arterial, tuberculosis, cardiopatías, trastornos renales, poliomielitis, distrofia pulmonar, esclerosis múltiple y parálisis cerebral eran cero en todos los casos. (Weston A. Price. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Los Ángeles California. American Academy of Nutrition. 1950).

En todas esas culturas Price encontró que sus alimentos eran producidos con métodos agropecuarios que hoy conocemos como orgánicos. En su agricultura utilizaban abonos naturales y ningún producto químico artificial. Varias culturas utilizaban como alimentos pescado, mariscos, vísceras y productos lácteos de animales alimentados con hierba verde y fresca libre de químicos. En algunas partes se alimentaban con hueva de pescado y algas kelp.

En todas esas culturas no contó nombres para enfermedades degenerativas, ni eran necesarios por ser inexistentes. Price no encontró médicos, cirujanos, siquiatras, prisiones, instituciones para enfermos mentales, delincuencia infantil ni desviaciones sexuales. Todas las madres amamantaban a sus hijos; no se había oído jamás de un pecho que no funcionase. La salud mental, moral y emocional acompañaba a la salud física.

Price fotografió y elaboró una gran colección de documentos y imagenes para avalar sus investigaciones entre las que presentamos algunas muestras a continuación:






Burkitt Denis Parsons

Cirujano Británico, originario de Enniskillen, Irlanda del Norte, educado en Dublín y Edimburgo.

Habiendo sido rechazado por el gobierno inglés para ocupar una posición como médico de las colonias británicas en África, Denis Burkitt aceptó una oferta del gobierno alemán y fue enviado entre 1943-1945 a Kenia, Somalia y Uganda. En 1946 fue trasladado a Kampala, Uganda en donde se incorporó al ministerio de salud.

Descubridor del linfoma de Burkitt en 1957 en Kampala, durante su trabajo en África, despertó su interés en medicina y epidemiología geográficas. Burkitt observó que las dietas autóctonas altas en fibra previenen muchas de las dolencias modernas, tales como apendicitis y cáncer del intestino, enfermedades comunes en el occidente, pero casi ausentes entre los nativos de África y otras regiones que conservan sus costumbres y dietas originales.

Durante su estancia en África, Denis Burkitt y Cols observaron entre la población nativa un patrón de enfermedades que difería al de los países occidentales y lo relacionaron a sus hábitos alimenticios. El efecto más notorio de la dieta autóctona consistía en producir una gran cantidad de masa fecal. El peso de las heces producidas por los campesinos de Uganda era aproximadamente el doble del de las producidas en los países “civilizados”.

A raíz de estas observaciones se estableció una relación entre ingesta de fibra dietética y su implicación en la función y patología intestinal: las diferencias en el patrón de enfermedades aparecidas se debían concluyeron, a la proporción de fibra de la dieta.

Burkitt y Hugh Trowell conjeturaron que el consumo de carbohidratos refinados con bajo contenido de nutrientes y fibra era la principal causa del cuadro de patologías que denominó “enfermedad occidental”, incluyendo apendicitis, diverticulitis, diabetes, enfermedad cardiaca y ciertos cánceres.

Consideraron que muchas de esas enfermedades presentes en occidente, pero ausentes en el tercer mundo tienen su causa común en nuestro patrón dietético compuesto de alimentos refinados. Sobre la base de esas convicciones, lanzaron una cruzada mundial para aumentar el consumo de fibras vegetales.

En 1992 La Real Universidad de Médicos Cirujanos de Canadá reconoció a Burkitt, concediéndole un título honorífico, resumiendo y publicando sus investigaciones.
T L Cleave

En 1974 T. L. Cleave brillante médico cirujano británico, director de investigaciones médicas del Instituto de Medicina Naval (Institute of Naval Medicie), publicó los resultados de un exhaustivo estudio epidemiológico denominado “La Enfermedad Provocada por el Consumo de Sacarosa” (The Saccharine Disease).

Cleave realizó una cuidadosa revisión de los registros de hospitales en naciones del tercer mundo, principalmente África, corroborando que ningún nativo que conservara su dieta primitiva original, había sido afectado por las enfermedades comunes de occidente, incluidas obesidad, diabetes, cáncer de colon, cálculos biliares, diverticulitis y enfermedades del corazón, padecimientos que no solo fueron menos frecuentes, sino inexistentes.

A diferencia de su colega Denis Burkitt, quien revisó la misma información señalando el elevado consumo de fibra como el elemento preventivo de las enfermedades, Cleave concluyendo que la protección era ejercida por la ausencia en su dieta de alimentos elaborados con carbohidratos refinados como azúcar y harina blancas.

Cleave estableció con cuidadosos estudios que casi exactamente veinte años después de la incorporación de alimentos refinados a la dieta, (desplazando a los alimentos de las dietas originales), se inicia un estado de degeneración física y mental al que denominó “enfermedad de sacarosa” dando surgimiento a la proliferación de hipoglucemia, obesidad, diabetes, enfermedad cardiaca y cáncer. Cleave llamó a este fenómeno la Regla de los Veinte Años, misma que ha sido corroborada una y otra vez a través del tiempo por numerosos y prestigiados investigadores.

La regla de los veinte años ha quedado confirmada en casos cómo de: los Judíos Yemenitas cuando fueron trasladados a Israel, los Indios Pima de Arizona, poblaciones de Arabia Saudita, Japón, India y México, que abandonaron su dieta tradicional y la sustituyeron por un régimen de alimentos refinados, toda vez que alcanzando los niveles de carbohidratos refinados promedio de la dieta occidental, dieron origen a las enfermedades asociadas a la Enfermedad de Sacarosa tornándose epidémicas.

Definió a la Enfermedad de Sacarosa como la enfermedad maestra de la que derivan los trastornos degenerativos como la obesidad, diabetes, enfermedad cardiovascular, úlcera péptica, colitis, síndrome de colon irritable, cansancio crónico, estreñimiento, hemorroides, venas varicosas; enfermedades infecciosas por escherichia coli, como apendicitis, colecistitis, pielitis, diverticulosis, diverticulitis; también cálculos renales, caries y diversas enfermedades de la piel.

El mecanismo patológico principal y subyacente a este conjunto de enfermedades fue identificado y descrito por eminente investigadores como una exagerada respuesta insulínica producida por un páncreas sobreestimulado por el consumo de carbohidratos refinados. Manifestación inequívoca de intolerancia a los carbohidratos refinados, descrita más adelante como un shock insulínico producido por los alimentos industrializados y similar al shock insulínico inducido por la administración de una sobredosis de insulina administrada a un diabético. Este estado de sobre-estimulación pancreática da origen a una desproporcionada elevación en la secreción de insulina, generando bruscas caídas de glucosa en la sangre, como respuesta a la hiperglicemia generada después de consumir carbohidratos refinados.

Este estado de sobre-estimulación pancreática que bien puede considerarse como un estado prediabético se caracteriza por bruscos altibajos de glucosa en la sangre, lo que en una primera fase produce hipoglucemia (reactiva o relativa) cursada con depresiones, cansancio crónico, y de leves a severos trastornos del carácter y de la conducta con un característico cuadro de síntomas físicos y mentales.

La hipoglucemia reactiva ha sido definida como una caída del volumen de glucosa por abajo de los 80 miligramos por decilitro de sangre, media hora después de ingerir alimentos; o hipoglucemia relativa como una brusca elevación de la glucosa sanguínea seguida por una igual de abrupta caída de 20 miligramos desde su nivel máximo, media hora después de ingerir alimentos. Aun cuando el volumen de glucosa se conserve dentro de los rangos considerados normales, esta disminución brusca, produce el mismo síndrome de la hipoglucemia reactiva.

La continua repetición de estos ciclos de altibajos de insulina y glucosa en la sangre, desemboca en el conjunto de manifestaciones físicas y mentales que Cleave define como Enfermedad de Sacarosa.

Roger Williams

Roger Williams, uno de los más prestigiados bioquímicos del mundo contemporáneo relacionados con la nutrición, considerado por Linus Pauling como “su maestro”, realizó un exhaustivo y fecundo trabajo de investigación iniciado en 1950. Constató que la vida no es posible sin la desigualdad. La herencia genética interactuando con el entorno biofísico y psicosocial, contribuye a dicha desigual individualidad en la misma proporción, afirmó Williams.

En los seres humanos la expresión de sus genes es modulada por un conjunto de factores biofísicos y psicosociales: Alimentación, aire, temperatura, sustancias químicas naturales, otras de carácter tóxico como microorganismos, radiaciones, luz; traumas y diversas influencias psíquicos.

Williams demostró que los genes interactúan dinámicamente con el medio ambiente desde el desarrollo fetal hasta la primera infancia, asegurado que cada individuo resulte bioquímicamente único. Por este mecanismo, cada ser humano resulta anatómico, fisiológica y bioquímicamente único y distinto a los demás.

Williams demostró con exhaustivos y detallados análisis que cada persona tiene órganos con diferentes formas y tamaños, distintos niveles de aminoácidos, vitaminas, minerales y enzimas. Comprobó que aunque los niveles de vitaminas y otros nutrimentos en la sangre permanecen extraordinariamente constantes, los requerimientos de cada individuo varían de forma considerable.

La individualidad anatómica-bioquímica origina un abanico muy amplio de necesidades de nutrientes que pueden alcanzar niveles muy altos en algunas personas. Pueden elevarse a una proporción un mil por ciento arriba de las dosis mínimas recomendadas. Si esa necesidad acrecentada no es satisfecha, la insuficiencia originará estragos en el metabolismo y la gente enfermará. En personas enfermas el porcentaje puede ser aun mayor. Sobre esa base, formuló el Principio de Individualidad Bioquímica. Expuesto en su ensayo Biochemical Individuality.

Creando las bases del nuevo paradigma del origen molecular de la enfermedad explicó que las continuas y aleatorias mutaciones de los genes y la modulación de su expresión por diversos factores ambientales, crean un "ambiente molecular modificado" que altera la anatomía y fisiología celular, modificación asociada a enfermedades específicas.

Formuló el concepto de Polimorfismo Genético para describir esta variación funcional que rodea los rasgos genéticos específicos, incluso entre gemelos idénticos. Aunque gemelos idénticos comparten los mismos genes, como resultado de diversos ambientes dentro del útero, una distinta alimentación y un distinto ambiente de desarrollo, pueden manifestar una diferente expresión genética que los desigualará más, mientras más edad alcancen, y hará que sus necesidades nutrimentales para alcanzar una función óptima sea distinta.

De gran importancia resulta que el estado de nutrición influye de forma determinante en la expresión de los genes. Ahora sabemos que el genotipo se transforma en un determinado fenotipo como resultado de factores ambientales y la alimentación, factores que determinan el estado de salud y la longevidad. Estos factores funcionan como golpes de un escultor que modelan una roca para formar una escultura. (Dr. Williams).

Identificó la relación entre "individualidad bioquímica", requerimientos nutrimentales individuales y función metabólica óptima. Formuló el principio de sinergia entre los nutrientes, según el cual, estos trabajan en sincronía, como lo hace una orquesta. Para lograr una salud óptima, todos los nutrientes deben de estar presentes en la cantidad y proporción óptimas a un mismo tiempo cubriendo las necesidades individuales.

Los alimentos naturales producidos resguardando su integridad molecular natural, sin manipulaciones químicas, tienen cantidades y proporciones de nutrientes que cubren de manera óptima una amplia gama de necesidades. El metabolismo humano no tiene capacidad para utilizar los alimentos artificiales, elaborados para ser más duraderos y agradables al paladar, más no para nutrirnos. “Los fabricantes de alimentos ignoran el principio esencial de la sinergia que Williams sugiere”...“La comida industrializada genera una discordancia en la armonía del metabolismo: la ausencia de un nutriente es comparable a un violín con una cuerda rota” (Abraham Hoffer & Morton Walker), siendo esta la objeción más importante a la comida sintética de la dieta moderna.

Los alimentos sintéticos no contienen los micronutrientes, fitonutrientes y nutrientes accesorios identificados recientemente y otros que probablemente aun no se han identificado y que influyen de manera importante en el estado de salud. (Abraham Hoffer & Morton Walker).

En consecuencia, para lograr una salud óptima, cada persona deberá recibir una nutrición óptima, adecuada a sus necesidades individuales, refutando de ese modo los mitos de la necesidad mínima diaria (MDR) y de la ingesta diaria recomendada (RDA) de nutrientes. También encontró que algunas personas enferman gravemente al ingerir ciertos alimentos los cuales resultan muy saludables para otras.

Kollath

Dr. Kollath del Instituto de Anatomía Patológica de la Universidad de Munich, denominó mesotrofia a la situación en la que asegura, se encuentra actualmente la humanidad, a la que definió como un estado en el se puede vivir con una apariencia más o menos normal y estar aparentemente bien nutrido, pero con un nivel degradado de salud.

La mesotrofia es una epidemia moderna de falta de salud que coexiste con una gran diversidad de molestias de difícil definición, padecida cada día por un número mayor de personas.

Las personas mosotróficas no están enfermas de acuerdo a los estándares y criterios médicos oficiales, pero tampoco se encuentran sanas, carecen de una salud y calidad de vida óptimas. Estas personas disfrutan de una salud "imaginaria"(Gortner): piensan que están bien, pero no lo están debido a que nunca han sabido lo que es una salud óptima. Se consideran normales ya que la mayoría de las personas a quienes conocen tienen la misma falta de salud.

Kollath analizó a más de 7 mil ratas a las que alimentó con la típica dieta occidentalizada, y observó en éstas, síntomas de degeneración con caries dentales, caída del pelo, estreñimiento crónico y otros similares que presentan los humanos mesotróficos. Las ratas fallecían de infartos, cáncer, diabetes y derrames cerebrales (ACV), igual que los hombres civilizados.

Reprodujo los mismos resultados obtenidos por Pottenger con gatos y por McCarrison con ratas, animales a los que con la misma dieta, produjeron un gradual deterioro de su salud, el cual se acentúa con el transcurrir del tiempo.

Como sucede con los humanos con su dieta moderna, los animales de experimentación desarrollaron dientes apiñados, huesos más largos, delgados y frágiles, piel más áspera, dermatitis, alergias, parásitos, infecciones, problemas cardíacos, miopía, presbicia, artritis, hipotiroidismo, abortos frecuentes, partos difíciles, elevada mortalidad infantil, hembras irritables, respiración sibilante y machos con actividad sexual anormal.

En 1974 Cheraskin y Ringsdorf, llegaron a la conclusión de que cuerpo humano no se encuentra capacitado para el consumo de azúcar y harina refinada, ingredientes que nunca antes en toda la historia y prehistoria humana habían formado parte de nuestra dieta, sino solo hasta hace un siglo. Nuestra maquinaria metabólica –aseguran- no cuenta con la capacidad para controlar y aprovechar los carbohidratos refinados que consume el hombre moderno. Son un alimento que no nos nutre, desplaza a otros alimentos nutritivos, funcionan como antinutrientes y crean necesidades artificiales de otros nutrientes (deuda de nutrientes). Son la principal causa de hipoglucemia, diabetes, cáncer y cardiopatías.

La sacarosa es particularmente insidiosa, ya que cuenta con un poder adictivo, destructivo y perjudicial similar al de la heroína, solo que su adquisición es legal y su consumo no se considera antisocial.

Por término medio cada persona (niños, mujeres y adultos) de cualquier país consume 56 kilos de azúcar refinado por año, además de otros carbohidratos refinados. Se asimila y se vierte en la sangre con demasiada rapidez y sin compañía de los demás nutrientes, resulta sumamente tóxica. Su consumo es muy perjudicial para la salud, envenena el organismo, se infiltra hacia el corazón y hacia el cerebro causando estragos.

Lo cierto es que un gran número de enfermedades físicas, así como depresiones, estados de ansiedad, alcoholismo y otras adicciones son el resultado final de la ingestión de sacarosa.

Campbell después de años de estudios, en 1966 concluyó que el azúcar refinado, crea adicción y estableció tres reglas respecto los efectos de su consumo en seres humanos:

  1. Regla de los 20 años. Un individuo puede resistir los efectos perjudiciales del azúcar refinado durante 20 años; a partir de ese momento aparece la diabetes.

  2. Regla de las 70 libras (31.5 kilos). Una población puede consumir hasta 70 libras de azúcar por persona y año antes de que afloren enfermedades graves.

  3. Regla del 20 %. En poblaciones con presencia de diabetes, el consumo de sacarosa será superior al 20 % del consumo total de calorías.

Yudkin

Entre 1969 y 1972 Yudkin estableció que el consumo de sacarosa es una de las principales causas de ateroesclerosis y trastornos coronarios. Aumenta la aparición de caries, dispepsia y dermatitis seborreica. Y agrega: “Sorprendentemente, no se han realizado experimentos de laboratorio para comprobar su potencial cancerígeno”.

PRINCIPALES MECANISMOS POR LOS CUALES LOS ALIMENTOS INDUSTRIALIZADOS ACELERAN EL ENVEJECIMIENTO Y PRODUCEN ENFERMEDADES (Estos mecanismos y procesos patológicos serán debidamente explicados en los artículos siguientes):

Carbohidratos: Hiperglicemia> Hiperinsulinemia> Desordenes Hormonales> Desequilibrio de Eicosanoides> AGEs> Caramelización de proteínas> Hipoglucemia> Cansancio Crónico> Apetito Compulsivo> Hipercolesterolemia> Dislipidemia> Obesidad> Ateroesclerosis> Aumento de la Reactividad Plaquetaria> Hipertensión> Mayor Riesgo de Diabetes, Cardiopatías, Cáncer, Artritis, Disfunciones del Sistema Inmune.

Ácidos Grasos Hidrogenados y Ácidos Grasos Trans: Hipercolesterolemia> Dislipidemias> Desordenes Hormonales, Desequilibrio de Eicosanoides> Aumento de la Reactividad Plaquetaria> Injuria Endotelial> Modificación de las Propiedades Reológicas de la Sangre, con Incremento de la Viscosidad Sanguínea> Hipertensión> Mayor Riesgo de Diabetes, Cardiopatías, Cáncer, Artritis, Disfunciones del Sistema Inmune.

Conclusiones y sugerencias.

De acuerdo a los hallazgos de los investigadores que hemos mencionado, los cuales nos muestran que el mecanismo más importante para lograr una Longevidad Activa, satisfactoria y Saludable, con una Elevada Calidad de Vida, consiste en revertir la tendencia de este último siglo: Una progresiva degradación del estado de salud y vitalidad humana, producida por la incorporación a la dieta de alimentos artificiales elaborados con ingredientes refinados ricos en energía y aditivos químicos, pero pobres o casi nulos en cuanto a su contenido de vitaminas, minerales, oligoelementos, aminoácidos, nutrientes accesorios, fitonutrientes protectores, enzimas y fibras; y con concentraciones y proporciones de macronutrientes muy distintas a las naturales.

Para lo cual sugerimos que independientemente de cualquier otro método utilizado por profesionales y técnicos de la salud con fines profilácticos, terapéuticos o estéticos, de acuerdo también a la premisa fundamental del Instituto Linus Pauling de la Ciencia y la Medicina: de una dieta óptima es la llave para una salud óptima:

  1. Supresión absoluta y total y absoluta de alimentos artificiales elaborados con ingredientes refinados y aditivos químicos que funcionan como antinutrientes, tales como azúcar, harina refinada, aceite refinado, margarina y todo tipo de aditivos químicos.

  2. Supresión total y absoluta de alimentos en cuyo proceso de producción se han utilizado abonos químicos, plaguicidas, pesticidas, funguicidas, insecticidas, hormonas y otras sustancias químicas utilizadas por la industria agroalimentaria.

  3. Incorporación a la dieta de alimentos orgánicos, más nutritivos y libres de insecticidas y pesticidas.

  4. Selección de alimentos orgánicos, naturales, integrales, sin refinar, ricos en nutrientes, fitonutrientes, nutrientes accesorios, enzimas, fibras y libres de aditivos químicos.

  5. Incorporación a la dieta diaria de alimentos crudos (ricos en vitaminas y enzimas) en una proporción aproximada de entre un 60 a 80 % del total de alimentos comidos diariamente.

Para lograr una larga vida junto a un elevado estado de salud, vitalidad, condición física y belleza, es igualmente necesario habituar un régimen alimentario moderadamente bajo en hidratos de carbono, suficiente en proteínas y ácidos grasos esenciales, compuesto exclusivamente de alimentos orgánicos, naturales e integrales e incluir complementos alimenticios de acuerdo a la individualidad bioquímica de cada persona determinando su necesidad óptima.

La prescripción de dietas y de complementos nutritivos deberá tener presente la necesidad y tolerancia individual de carbohidratos, aminoácidos, ácidos grasos esenciales, fitonutrientes, nutrientes accesorios, oligoelementos, enzimas y fibras.

Bibliografía

  1. Raylor, R., Hunza Health Secrets, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, Nueva Jersey, 1964.

  1. McCarrison, R., Studies in Deficiency Diseases, Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1945.

  1. Sir Robert McCarrison. Studies in Deficiency Disease. Oxford Medical Publications, 1921. http://www.soilandhealth.org/02/0203cat/020306carison/mccarrison.html

  1. Sir Robert McCarrison. Nutrition in Health and Disease. By Major-General Sir Robert McCarrison, C.I.E., M.D., D.Sc., LL.D., F.R.C.P., I.M.S. (Ret.), Oxford. British Medical Journal. London: Saturday, September 26th, 1936. Read in opening a discussion in the Section of Nutrition at the Annual Meeting of the British Medical Association, Oxford, 1936.
http://www.soilandhealth.org/02/0203cat/020306carison/medtest_mccarrison1.html

  1. Weston A. Price, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Los Angeles California. American Academy of Nutrition, 1950.

  1. Price, Weston A., D. D. S., Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effect. Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation. 1982. Se puede conseguir en Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, PO Box 2614, La Mesa, Ca, 92044-2614, USA.

  1. Price, Weston A., D. D. S., Nutrition and physical Degeneration: A comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects, Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, 1982.

  1. WESTON A. PRICE, MS., D.D.S., F.A.G.D. A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects. Member Research Commission, American Dental Association. Member American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Author, "Dental Infections, Oral and Systemic". A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects. La Fundación Weston A. PriceSM. PMB #106-380. 4200. Wisoncsin Avenue, NW. Washington, DC 20016. http://www.westonaprice.org/membership/wapfbrochure_es.html
http://www.westonaprice.org/index.html

  1. H. Trowell, D. Burkitt, K. Heaton, editors: Dietary fibre, fibre-depleted foods and disease. London, Academic Press, 1985.

  1. D. Burkitt: An approach to the reduction of the most common western cancers. The failure of therapy to reduce disease.

  1. Annals of Surgery, Philadelphia, 1991, 126: 345-347.
http://www.whonamedit.com/doctor.cfm/2199.html

  1. Roger J. Williams, Biochemical Individuality; The Basis for the Genetotrophic Concept. Consultant and Co-founder, Clayton Foundation Biochemical Institute, The University of Texas at Austin. 1956. 1998.

  1. Roger Williams. Biochemical Individuality: The Basis for the Genetotrophic Concept. 1956, 1963 (soft cover), John Wiley & Sons. 1969 (soft cover), Univ. of Texas Press (7th printing, 1979). 1998 (soft cover), Keats Publishing, with new Introduction by Jeffrey Bland, new Afterward by Donald R. Davis, 1988 In Memoriam by Donald R. Davis, and expanded index. Translated into Russian 1960, Italian 1964, and Polish 1969.
http://www.cm.utexas.edu/williams/
http://www.cm.utexas.edu/williams/inmem.htm

  1. T. L. Cleave. THE SACCHARINE DISEASE. Conditions caused by the Takingof Refined Carbohydrates, such as Sugar and White Flour T. L. CLEAVE, M.R.C.P. (Lond.). Member of the Institute of Linguist. Surgeon-Captain Royal Navy (Retd.) Formerly Director of Medical Research, Institute of Naval Medicine. WITH A FOREWORD BY D. P. BURKITT, M. D., F.R.S., F.R.C.S. (Ed.), D.Sc. (Hon.), F.R.C.S.I. (Hon.) Medical Research Council External Staff BRISTOL JOHN WRIGHT & SONS LIMITED 1974.
http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/Cleave/cleave_toc.html

  1. T. L Cleave. The Saccharine Disease. Keats, New Canaan CT, 1975.

  1. T.L. Cleve. The Saccharine Disease. Keats Publishing, Inc., 36 Grove St., New Canaan, Ct 068400, 1984.

  1. Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., MD. POTTENGER'S CATS. The Original Study In Animal And Human Nutrition.
http://www.price-pottenger.org/
http://www.westonaprice.org/nutrition_greats/pottenger.html
http://www.price-pottenger.org/Articles/PottsCats.html

  1. Hotchkiss, Thomas. A Personal Memoir of Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., M. D. The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, 1975.

  1. Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., M. D., Pttenger’s Cats: A Study in Nutrition. Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, 1983. Some links of interest:
Pottenger’s Cats- A study in NutritionFeeding Cats for maximum health the Billinghurst Way
http://www.rawmeatybones.com/

  1. Potter, M., Kaufmann, A., Blake, P., and Feldman, R. "Unpasteurized Milk - The Hazards of a Health Fetish." The Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 252, No. 15, 2048-2052, October 19, 1984.

  1. Pottenger, F. M., Jr. "The Effect of Heat-Processed and Metabolised Vitamin D Milk on the Dento-facial Structures of Experimental Animals." American Journal of Orthodontics and Oral Surgery, Vol. 32, No. 8, 467-485, August, 1946

  1. Raúl Gutiérrez Sáenz. Introducción al Método Científico. Editorial Esfinge. México. 1980.

  1. Linus Pauling. Vitamina C, Resfriado común y gripe. Madrid. Editorial AC. 1980.

  1. Jeffry Bland, Ph.D.. “Vitamin C the Future is Now. C Metabolites, Thereon ate, and the power of Ester-C”. Health International, Inc. 1995.

  1. Abraham Hoffer & Morton Walker. La Nutrición Ortomolecular. Barcelona. Editorial Obelisco. 1998.

  1. Dr. Matthias Rath. “Avance de la investigación celular en la lucha contra el cáncer”. MR Publishers. Holanda. 1999.

  1. Thomas E. Levy, MD, Jd. “Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, & Toxins. Curing the Incurable. With over 1,200 scientific references”. 2002.

  1. Dr. Matthias Rath. “Por qué los animales no sufren infarto… Y los hombres sí. Prevención natural de infartos cardiacos, apoplejías, hipertensión, diabetes, elevado nivel de colesterol y otros muchos riesgos cardiovasculares”. Editado por la Fundación de Salud del Dr. Rath. 2003.

  1. Roger J. Williams, Ph.D. Biochemical Individuality. “The Basis for the Genetotrophic Concept”. 1958. Reimpreso por The University of Texas at Austin. 1998.

© 2005 Copyright. Lic. Nut. Miguel Leopoldo Alvarado Saldaña. Seattle-México.

Lic. Nut. Miguel Leopoldo Alvarado Saldaña.
Nutricionista especializado en Nutriología Ortomolecular, Medicina Antienvejecimiento y Naturopatía.

Organización Mundial de Salud Ortomolecular.
Fundación ProSalud.
Sede Seattle Washington.

Domicilio: 12556 15th Ave NE # 305, Seattle Washington, 98125, USA.
Teléfono: 206-418-1100
Correo electrónico:
miguelleopoldo@yahoo.com
Sitios de Internet:
http://www.nutriologiaortomolecular.org/
http://espanol.groups.yahoo.com/group/OMSO/
http://mx.groups.yahoo.com/group/Ortomolecular-Diplomados/
http://mx.groups.yahoo.com/group/NutricionOrtomolecularAntienvejecimiento/
http://mx.groups.yahoo.com/group/LongevidadSaludable/
University girlfriend Dora from Hungary (1)

She is a real university slut from SZE, Hungary, She has nice big boobs with asymmetrical nipples, and shaved pussy with a round ass.

The post University girlfriend Dora from Hungary appeared first on Ex girlfriend pics & Exgf pictures.


          Manuel Javier Rodríguez Erdoíza        
Manuel Javier Rodríguez Erdoíza
(1785 - 1818)
Su nombre a pesar de los años se mantiene siempre presente. Las generaciones han brindado un reconocimiento permanente a su gran logro. Calles, colegios, plazas y paseos de Chile llevan su nombre.

Nació en Santiago el 25 de febrero de 1785. Sus padres fueron María Loreto de Erdoyza y Aguirre, y el peruano Carlos Rodríguez de Herrera.

Sus primeros estudios los realizó en el Colegio de San Carlos, donde de inmediato se destacó por su carácter vivaz e inquieto y por sus aptitudes intelectuales.

Siguió estudios superiores en la Real Universidad de San Felipe, a estudiar Cánones y Leyes, recibiendo su doctorado en Leyes en 1804, el mismo año en que fue recibido como abogado por la Real Audiencia, a los 24 años de edad.

Rodríguez destacó por la rapidez con que captaba los argumentos del contrario y la facilidad con que los rebatía. De oratoria rápida y fulminante, mezclada con un tono histriónico, terminaba siempre diciendo la última palabra.

En 1810 empezó a manifestar sus simpatías hacia la causa revolucionaria en la cual desde 1811 coincidiría con su compañero de colegio, José Miguel Carrera. En mayo de ese año, Rodríguez fue nombrado procurador del Cabildo de Santiago, cargo que desempeñaría por breve tiempo: el golpe de Estado de noviembre lo llevó a la diputación por Santiago ante el Congreso y a los pocos días fue nombrado secretario de Estado en la cartera de Guerra.

En 1813 fue nombrado secretario particular por su amigo José Miguel Carrera. Tras la Batalla de Rancagua, debió emigrar a Mendoza, desde donde inició una serie de actividades de espionaje y correrías que lo transformarían en uno de los personajes míticos de nuestra historia. En un plano objetivo, las funciones que Rodríguez desarrolló en Chile consistían fundamentalmente en el traspaso de información acerca del estado de las tropas realistas. Asimismo, su misión era realizar acciones de distracción que indicaran que el grueso del Ejército de Los Andes cruzaría la cordillera por el paso del Planchón, provocando así una desconcentración de aquellas tropas, que en su mayoría se encontraban acuarteladas en la Zona Central.

"¡Aún tenemos patria ciudadanos!“
Reunidos en la Asamblea, en conjunto con el Cabildo, Rodríguez en su discurso lanzado en la Plaza de Santiago, mencionó la frase: "Aún tenemos Patria, ciudadanos". Su objetivo era organizar la defensa de la ciudad. Para este fin creó el escuadrón Húsares de la Muerte, batallón que se caracterizaba por una calavera blanca sobre cuello del uniforme. De éste grupo se nombra Comandante, el 23 de marzo de 1818. Tras la Batalla de Maipú, el 5 de abril de 1818, se ordenó la disolución de los Húsares de la Muerte.

La muerte de Manuel Rodríguez es uno de los hechos que han enlutado nuestra historia patria. Después de haber sido juzgado y al ser conducido a Quillota, Manuel fue arrestado después de entrar al Palacio de Gobierno en su caballo, y conducido al cuartel San Pablo del cual fue sacado para ser trasladado a Valparaíso, fue asesinado en Tiltil el 26 de mayo de 1818 y su cuerpo enterrado en la capilla de esa localidad.Tenía 33 años.

La muerte de Manuel Rodríguez caló hondo en la historia de Chile. Su nombre a pesar de los años se mantiene siempre presente. Las generaciones han brindado un reconocimiento permanente a su gran logro. Calles, colegios, plazas y paseos de Chile llevan su nombre.

Más información

Biografía de José Miguel Carrera
http://www.ejercito.cl/historia/heroes/comandantes/j-carrer.htm

Completísima biografia de José Miguel Carrera
http://www.armada.cl/site/tradicion_historia/historia/biografias/161jcarr.htm


          By: Sue        
I agree with Jenny. Adding to that, I have always been of the opinion that an Associate degree is simply the halfway mark to a Bachelor degree and not worth much. It's a start, basically. If you want to argue this point, you might want to spell-check the comments you've already posted first. A Bachelor degree is your standard for simply not quitting after high school. Pretty much a bare minimum requirement. I am also a HUGE proponent of traditional school. I earned my Master's the traditional way...by going to class at a real university. I don't see a Master's degree from some Joe's University online my equal. Honestly, by getting home late from class, trudging through all kinds of weather, sacrificing other things to make it to all those classes, participating in live group settings, etc., I worked harder for it. Interesting though, that it hasn't been until getting ready to earn a professional certification, that I've considered adding M.S. to my business card. It's kind of like, once you've gone there, you may as well list them. So with that, not sure I'd list an MBA by itself, but once there's some certifications (like, real ones...CPA, etc.), I say go for it. If it suits you, do it.
          Religious Fanatacism        
Even if we bend over backwards to concede that scientific truth is no more than that which enables you to pilot your way reliably, safely and predictably around the real universe, it is in exactly this sense that – at the very least – evolution is true. Evolutionary theory pilots us around biology reliably and predictively, with a detailed and unblemished success that rivals anything in science. -- Richard Dawkins
I could not have said it better, and I know because I've tried. I'd like all of you who have ever said "it's just a theory" to read this quote seventeen times and then say a Hail Mary.
          Unreal Universe on deviantART        
none
          Epic Games Brings Unreal University to East Coast Game Conference        
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          Epic Games Announces Program Schedules for ‘Epic Developer Day’ and ‘Unreal University’ in Europe        
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          Sp.A.I. Developers Make an appearance at Unreal University        
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          Epic Brings Gears 3, Samaritan and Unreal University to ECGC        
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          The Weekend Continues        

"You don’t remember, do you”?

He asked, when he was finally able to pull it together. An odd mixture of pity and mischief in his voice. I continued staring blankly, as he pulled up a chair, and sat next to me.

“Chantelle, I’m going to show you a photo, maybe that will help your memory”, he said, as he handed me his phone. I dropped it in shock. Not quite sure what was worse; the fact that he just called me Chantelle (this is not my name), or that the bikini- clad girl in the photo was actually me! Looking zoned out, with a foolish smile on my face.

I gripped my chest in panic, nursing a mini heart attack as the memory of my misdemeanour flooded back.

ASUU had gone on one of their strikes, and rather than go home to dull myself, I had gone to visit my friend, Voke, in Ekpoma.

Now, I feel the need to mention here that I was a 200 Level student who had never been involved in any kind of nighttime activity. Why? My School was buried neck-deep in Obscurity, where the closest I had come to a party was a Keggite display consisting of palm wine,drums and gyration music. Yes, it was a real University, and No, I’m not lying.

All dreams of University life were slapped to reality when I saw the sign as I arrived at what was called the main gate, but was really some rusted barbed wire hanging off a broken fence. My first thought was  â€¦â€¦.!!!!!!

I woke up daily to a sea of black and white in my Mono-Legal Faculty, and cursed my luck for ending up there in the name of Education.The major pre-occupation was Fellowship and "Kparakpor". Local Hotels provided us the odd entertainment on random nights when we treated ourselves to various versions of Fried Rice and Chicken….

So…when Voke mentioned that we’d be going out with her friends to a poolside party, I smiled to myself and I mentally thanked God I had brought a bikini.

I turned up wearing a small dress, and was immediately ushered towards a table pouring with all kinds of alcohol. I had never had alcohol so I declined, plus I was hungry so when the waitress passed by, I had two bowls of peppersoup sharply, then settled to enjoy the parry.

Contrary to my wild imaginations, this party wasn’t rocking at all.The poeple seemed oddly subdued and reserved.I asked Voke if this was the way it went all night, and she laughed, saying, ”Party neva start, when e start dem no go tell you”.

Good music was wasting and since I couldn’t dance alone, I got up and took a small stroll around the parry, forming activity and subtle notice me. Some goggled geek approached me and started yarning dusty dust about love at first sight.

Tcheeew.

I was still cursing under my breath when it happened.I heard it LOUD and clear in my head…like a distant church bell…

”Ding-Dong”.

I looked up sharply but it appeared only I had heard it….


Errrm .... what jus happened?
   














To be continued.





          Comment on FIA REPORTS – Archives by vivian bryte        
Att: ALL ................................... A REAL UNIVERSAL OPTION FOR WORLD PEACE HAS BEGUN! (TIMELESS MIND-FREEDOM CATALYST INFORMATION) Surprising or not, the idea of Earth's human resources claiming their mind-freedom and natural sovereign independence, may not be as remote as some might think. Times are tough and could get much tougher for us all unless Humanity comes together and unites with the universal truth of reality (Source Consciousness). Around the World, people and natural resources are being brutalized and destroyed while the rest of us (Those who are yet critically untouched) exist in various states of denial, depression, deception and toxic lifestyles. While this unharnessed slaughter continues there many inquiring minds looking for answers to the following string of questions; ''Could it really be that everyone -- at least everyone with a reasonably natural mind and brain -- has a true inner self that is partly buried beneath their everyday personality? If so, could this inner true self be who each of us actually is and can become when our natural growth isn't interfered with by personal and cultural neurosis? Could it be that the real us at those times when we feel whole and are psychologically strong enough to hear and speak the truth; when we are naturally assertive rather than fearful and aggressive; when we are open to other people and compassionate rather than being manipulative and secretive; and when we are capable of embracing life and enjoying the moment, without regressing into a neurotic secondary personality that is distorted by a defensive battle between fake desires on one side, and self-reproaches, prohibitions, and taboos on the other? Could it be us when we have a natural, aesthetic, revulsion to evil, including a revulsion to all those behaviours that violate and diminish ourselves and others? And could it really be our true inner selves when we express our inherent desire to create and build and care for things, instead of supporting destruction?’’ Contrary to what most of us have been led to believe, this inner holistic true natural self isn't merely something to strive for, an ideal that expresses what one might become. It is already part of us and is as natural to us as the sun rising each day. In everyday life, we manifest it all the time, but it is mixed in with neurosis, so it is expressed mostly in a partial form, as a part of the secondary and false personality we often show to ourselves and the world. But what most of us did not anticipate was to discover how our minds have been captured and possessed by global management organizations who use multiple formats of systematic reality-control programming to direct and manage human resources without our individual authorized permissions. Nor did most of us actually anticipate being freely equipped with an unconditional mind-freedom catalyst called ‘ENTHUSIASM’. julia ramsey WARMICH-AUSTRALIA..........................UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESS AGENT warmich28 (at) hotmail.com Note: The attached File ‘ENTHUSIASM' and linked video contain life-crucial information which has been kept secret from Mankind's truth-suppressed/controlled populations. LIFE-IMPORTANT VIDEO LINK: Sacred knowledge about energized water and consciousness. sacred knowledge of vibration and the power of human emotions
          Puente de Mayo en Salamanca!        
Yesderday was Labor Day here in Spain, so it's a three day weekend, the famous puente de mayo! I didn't want to take a big trip because EVERYONE in Madrid is traveling this weekend, so I thought a daytrip somewhere close to Madrid would be nice. Hannah, Sondee and I took a train to Salmanca, the great university city, in the comunidad autónoma of Castilla & León. Our train left at 11 am, so we got to Salamanca around 2pm...it was a lot farther than I was expecting!

Once we got there we headed for the Plaza Mayor, one of Spain's largest and grandest! All around the Plaza are arches with faces of kings, authors, and other famous people, and the Royal Pavillion on the east side is decorated with a bust of Felipe V, who built the square. We found the head of Cervantes! I really liked the Plaza Mayor because it really was a central meeting poing and the heart of Salamanca. There were tons of people sitting on the ground, eating lunch, talking, sun bathing, kids playing, it was so alive!
After Plaza Mayor, we were getting hungry, so we walked and found a little restaurant with tables on the sidewalk. Sondee and I ordered the plato tipico de Salamanca, huevos con farinato (two fried eggs, spicy beans and a breaded meat). It was pretty good, but so much food! After lunch, we headed to the Catedral Vieja and the Catedral Nueva. During a restoration of the catedral in 1993, one of the "creative" workers decided to put an astronaut along with a few other interesting characters on the side of the puerta principal. At the time, a lot of the citizens of Salamanca were not happy, but now it's funny.

After the Catedrals, we walked past the Casa de las Conchas, "House of Shells", a mansion of the knight Rodrigo Arias Maldonado. The golden stone scallop shells that cover the walls are a symbol of the Order of Santiago.

After the Casa de las Conchas, we took a tour of the Universidad Pontificia, the private university that we thought was the University of Salamanca...so 4 euros and thirty minutes later, we left and found the real University, which was "en obras" and closed! But we saw the elaborate facade and the . This university was founded by Alfonso XI, of León in 1218, making it the oldest in Spain. Miguel de Unamuno studied there as well as Miguel de Cervantes, so it was really neat to see it, even if it was only the door! The building's façade is decorated with numerous figures, one of them being the famous ¨frog on a skull¨, which isn't easy to find as there are numerous small figures, but according to local tradition academic success is guaranteed if found, so I guess I will have luck for my finals in a few weeks! :)
After the University, as we were walking down to the Puente Romano, the Roman bridge across the Rio Tormes, built in the 1st century AD, we saw a wedding! It was absolutely gorgeous! I took a few pictures sneakily and decided that I want to have a wedding like this! :)

After the Puente Romano, we had to get back to catch the train! It was a short time, but I'm glad we went! We finally got to see the famous University and the Plaza Mayor!

          Playtime is Over: How Computer Games Hijacked Your Sense of Play        
(This is a write-up of a Pecha Kucha - 7 slides / 7 minutes - presentation I gave at Galerie Open, Berlin, at the closing event of “Objective of Play” - a project curated by Leen Horsford investigating the nature of play. )


All Your Base Are Belong To Us



Computer games are play as it perhaps never should have been. The simple concept of a game expands on our sense of play - that is, doing things that express us, that we find fun, outside of any particular real-world incentive or economic advantage. Games take this playful proclivity and channel it in specific directions by giving us rules and a structure within which our play happens: boards, opponents, dice, alternate realms, skills, partners, stories, scores, winners.

If games are a way of channelling innate human behaviour, the video game is an extended and perfected form of game, where environments can be meticulously created by a game designer, and our play is augmented by a richer virtual creation in silico. The computer responds logically and dynamically to our input - our play - and the results are as complicated or simple as the designer wishes.


Why should you care? Well, firstly we all play video games, whether Angry Birds or World of Warcraft, or Duke Nukem, or Farmville. It’s a huge and growing industry - something like $80bn a year. Computer games are compelling and addictive. And importantly, as I’ll argue, because the dynamics used in video games that make them so successful are no longer just used in games - it’s all around us, and to some extent, video games being about play is a thing of the past.

(Oh, and one important point. Games require collusion; an agreement that the rules will be followed or for the most part respected, a willingness to fit our minds to a foreign and fundamentally unreal universe, and some sense of value for the process and outcome. Without this tacit agreement to play, conscious or not, the game is meaningless and people stop playing.)


1/3: Escapism - Simulation and Immersion

Back To Square One 

The Maya would be impressed with the magic of the LHC.
Is this your temple? What are you doing? You don't know yet!

In the old Mayan days, the stars told them. Outside on a clear night in Spacetime.

--Alan Gillis
          ABIS de CAMELIA CONSTANTIN        
Stătea nemişcat pe marginea abisului. Ţinea pumn, talismanul timpului. Cu ochii derula minte filmul vieţii sale. Secvenţele se perindau cu o viteză uimitoare, momentele importante ieşeau evidenţă un colaj de evenimente. Nu-i mai era teamă. A pumnul şi a lăsat talismanul să cadă. Spre surprinderea lui acesta a rămas lipit de palmă, de puternic, şi-a acoperit ochii, să nu orbească. A auzit o voce, fără chip sau formă Fără voinţă şi determinare eşti pierdut. Ce vezi, sunt simple proiecţii ale unei holograme formate din iluziile trăirilor, pe care ţi le-ai creat singur. Nimic nu-i real univers continuă mişcare. Fiecare om ţese propria poveste, dar nu este capabil, să o transpună realitate din cauza fricii, a visurile şi aspiraţiile ai ajuns pe marginea prăpastiei. Nimic şi nimeni nu te poate salva, dacă talismanul de timpului nu ...
          Per Mertesacker - Future Arsenal Captain And Legend        
Words cannot describe my love for Per Mertesacker. 

He's got me right there, right in the heart.

I maybe nearly two years older than him but I love him so much I wish he was my Dad. 

Well that might be harsh on my actual Dad so I wish he was my uncle. Or my brother. 

Or just my mate.

When he first came to Arsenal people, including many Gooners, slaughtered him. 

I felt this was very unfair. 

I've always backed him, from the start, because many foreign players need time to adapt to English football.

The man had played 42811 times for Germany too, so he couldn't be that bad right? 

It's a credit to Per that he has changed most of the doubters views. 

In fact I reckon 99% of people would now acknowledge the fact that the Big Fu*king German is one of the best defenders in the Premier League. 

Personally I'd go further. I'd say he's one of the best defenders in the world. Maybe even the universe. And not Universal Studios. I mean the real universe.

The man is probably the first name on Arsene Wenger's team sheet these days. That's how well he's adapted to English football.

I love everything about Mertesacker. 

I love how passionate he is about Arsenal. I love how good he is. But most of all, I love how he doesn't need to ask someone to reach something off of the top shelf for him in Tesco.

When RVP left the Arsenal Thomas Vermaelen took over as captain. At the time I felt that Mikel Arteta should have been given the armband.

Nowadays I think the most suitable skipper for Arsenal should be big Per Mertesacker and I hope that Wenger gives him the honour this summer.

As I've said, Per is the first name on the team-sheet week-in, week-out. He, alongside Arteta, is the most influential, and tallest, player in the Arsenal squad.

Mertesacker is a leader. A man players look up too (literally) and I think he'd be a very popular choice among the squad, and amongst Gooners.

I've read that Per, when he was a (not so little) kid, was an Arsenal fan so he has the club in his blood. He loves the Arsenal. And I love this.

He has everything it takes to become an Arsenal legend. I can see him ending his career with us. And I can see him helping us to trophies.

Get a few of them, with him here, and Per would have gone from someone people didn't rate to someone who Gooners will talk about as the man in many years time.

Follow me on Twitter @_Wrighty7 and,

Keep it Goonerish............
          Comment on The health of the 25 % and the nation by Alice O' Flynn        
Hope you are feeling much better and so glad you blogged this insight into our health service....i absolutely agree that we need to talk about what kind of health service we want and how we pay for it...and now is the time to have that debate ...before the next election ...the present two tiered health system is a waste of time, money, equipment, personnel...i could go on..but enough!...a real universal health care service is what i want to see...and it's i will be campaigning for ....
          Blog Post: Mass Effect 2: Blastoise Review        

I'm not too sure how to kick this one off. I could start with how the introduction completely hooks you in & ends with a bang. Or I could narrorate the epic scale & the grandeur of the universe for this series. I could also compare & contrast the vast differences of Mass Effect 1 & Mass Effect 2. But I think I'll start this game off by telling you how Freaking Awesome this game is. ( This game is freaking awesome.)

The galaxy needs Shepard to save their asses once more & he's more than capable to oblige, even crossing te boundaries of Death so to achieve his goal. As he's strapped back into his combat armor Shepard gets filled in on what's been going down in the universe while he's been away for an extended absence. A mysterious race of aliens dubbed The Collectors, has apparently been snatching up entire human colonies on the Outer Rim for an unknown reason & Shepard is coerced into stopping these dastardly douchebags with the aid of Cerberus. A pro human organization headed by the questionable Illusive Man.   

Your not in Kansas anymore. This new installment has you traveling in the farthest reaching galaxies in known space. While you periodically visit the Citadel from time to time every other environment is brand new, allowing you to land on strange new worlds full of lush jungles, rocky canyons, toxic fumes, & scorching lava. Needless to say its pretty ***. Along with the new locales Bioware has added a fresh coat of paint making the graphics a very noticeable upgrade from their previous Mass Effect. Everything has a alluring shine to it & although there's a few circumstances of pop in pop out textures, it doesn't detract from the look of it as a whole. These updated visuals are some of the best in the gaming world & the character animations are amazing. Graphics aren't everything but they sure do help when it comes to a complete package.

Your proclained "Suicide Mission" means that you must gather some of the most rugged, baddest, meanest, grimiest, aliens throughout space right? Well, kind of. During your adventure you pick up a blunt Salarian scientist, a cloned Krogan war machine, & a deadly Drell assassin just to name a few. You also meet & add some of your old friends from the first game into your crew which OSS definitely nice so you can see what your old squad mates have been getting into while you've been away. (Garrus is one bad mofo') The voice acting for these characters old & new is top notch delivering the aggresiveness of a young Krogan & the well disciplined & knowledgable state of mind of an Asari death dealer. The in game sounds such as the popping of your guns to the wailing of crazed Husks is very appealing too & everything has that certain sci fyey sound to it. As it should. 

A cool feature in this game is that if you have a completed saved game from the previous Mass Effect you can upload him/her into this RPG & it will remember the decisions you have made as well. This will allow you to see what the consequences of your choices were & what impact they had on the universe. Carrying your character over into ME2 really makes it feel as if you are carving your place throughout the games universe. Very cool Bioware. Very cool. 

While it has the same title as its predecessor except for the big 2 stamped on behind it, don't come in expecting to play this just as you did Mass Effect. There have been not so subtle tweaks involving the gunplay & upgrade aspect. This new installment has been streamlined less as an RPG & more as a shooter now. The controls for cover & combat have been tweaked for more responsiveness & relatively easiness for kicking ass. That being said, some of the RPG elements have been completely stripped down to their barebones status. The upgrade & armor system of ME1 has been scrapped & now you must buy different perks per say, for your armor within stores except for you don't. One across many armor parts during your travels. The color of your armor though can now be chosen aboard your private terminal on your shop which is refreshing, so now you won't have to be saving the universe in hot pink & cloudy white color scheme.(THANK GOD) you no longer level up by killing enemies but by completing missions. This is quite different because no longer will you be a level 50-60 hardass taking on unknown perils. I believe I was level 27 when I finished my play through & that was with completing most of the missions. You also have less powers albeit they still rock. & your cool down timer this time around reflects on all of your abilities so no more using Pull & then following it up with a Throw right afterwards. While all of this may sound bad, it's not very noticeable later in the game & it feels more natural as you can hot key your powers to simple button presses.

Upgrading your guns & damage is where Mass Effect 2 kind of loses it's way. They force you to travel around to each planet & go into a awful & menial mini game of sorts to mine the worlds resources so you can upgrade your guns which is kinda weird to think about. Would Shepard actually suck a colonized planet completely dry from their natural resources just so he can receive a 15% increase in heavy weapon ammo? Bioware also adds in two more mini games of sorts called hacking & bypassing. Bypass forces you to match up a pair of nodes together while Hacking gives you 3 preset info clips & you must find their copies scattered throughout an ever moving endless number of different clips. While these aren't very hard, they are time consuming & become very annoying when all you want to do is proceed with the amazing story.

Sidemissions also take a major hit & the developers kinda dropped the ball with this one. In the previous game side missions were doled out everywhere you went. Random people would talk to you, you would hear the beginnings of one of you rode in an elevator, even Admiral Hackett, the leader of the Alliance Military would contact you for help. In this Mass Effect you must scour every planet in every galaxy to receive a 5-10 minute distraction that's supposed to pass as a side quest. It's pretty uninspired also seeing how it's a big waste of time cause you must also scan the planet hoping for a quest. There is one that stands out to me where you must walk atop the hull of a derelict human space craft thats teetering on the precipice of a cliff & has crash landed many years ago. Be too careless & the ship will tumble down to the ground along with you on it. 

For everything wrong with sudemissions the main story arc & different personal quests that you're squad mates request you to go on are nothing short of awesome. You will have to infiltrate & bust out of a maximum security prison spaceship, battling a Thresher Maw on the Krogan home world of Tuchanka, & taking down 3 separate gangs & their respective crime bosses consecutively. Every one of these quests are varied & extremely fun. Never out staying their welcome. Every character gets fleshed out during these quests & you understand what makes them tick. It's very fulfilling. The main story is engaging & keeps you guessing on what's going to happen & when you finally get to the end you crave more. Let it be said though, it's possible for you & your team to die. Like actually croak & everything. No more Shepard. No more squad.

Mass Effect 2 starts off with a flying kick to the face & doesn't let off the throttle until the final credits roll. Bioware has improved upon the Mass Effect lore & it feels like a real universe is living inside this disc & it's your civic duty to save the universe once more.This is definitely a genre setter & other studios should get out their pencil & notepad & take some notes. You are invested in Shepard & actually care about what happens to Shepard & the gang. Bioware has crafted art & if not for the sudemission fiasco than this game would be a complete masterpiece. As of now though, This Game Is Freaking Awesome.


          228 - Ship in a Bottle        
He's suave, dangerous, brilliant and Data's favorite holodeck challenge. He also happens to have consciousness, and he wants a life out there in the real universe. Moriarty is back! It's elementary - Ship in a Bottle on this week's Mission Log.   Do you think you have a comment? Then you are encouraged to get in touch: On Facebook: facebook.com/missionlogpod On Twitter: @missionlogpod On Skype: missionlogpod On the phone: (323) 522-5641 Online: missionlogpodcast.com We may use your comments on a future episode of Mission Log.
          A Rubber Band Model Of the Universe - (Tournament)        
In this project, the student used rubber bands to construct a desktop model that illustrates the principles of Einstein's theory of special relativity. This rubber band desktop model is a fully self-contained model of a universe in which one can actually do experiments in special relativity. One of the fundamental principles of modern science is that the speed of light is constant in every inertial frame of reference. In this rubber band model, I am able to demonstrate why this principle is true. In this rubber band scale-model universe, all laws of physics are controlled by the Sine-Gordon equation, a single nonlinear partial differential equation that admits stable solutions that are known as solitons. By using these special solutions, I am able to construct measuring rods made out of kink solitons and clocks made out of breather solitons. If these solitons are then given a velocity, the kink measuring rods undergo length contractions and the breather clocks undergo time dilations. As measured by rubber band people living in this universe who use these measuring tools, the speed of light in this universe is constant in every inertial system. What is important about this rubber band desktop model universe is that we can do other experiments involving special relativity and that we can then extrapolate these results to our own real physical universe. In particular, this rubber band model universe shows why the speed of light in our own real universe is constant in every inertial system.
          Product Sourcing for Home Business Moms        


鑱?
Products



Fashion accessories is a favorite offering product, be it on-line or from the real universe. This seriously isn't a shock as everyone around the globe wears gadgets. These style items should only with regard to women. An abundance of men lately are in to accessories too precisely as it is regarded as a showcase of these personality. Products have a broad target marketplace, to say minimally. Unfortunately, thanks to its recognition, a many retailers already are selling products so benefits competitors also. Stores selling products can end up being easily found on-line but this is not to mean you get zero chance to achieve success with this specific product. Home based business moms must find as well as create market Internet products for example handmade jewellery from seashells, earrings with excellent crystals or maybe woven hay handbags to be able to sdistinguish themselves from other competitors.



鑱?
Work from home health products and solutions



Basically, people today tend to be more health conscious when compared with during the past. Jogging, gonna the health and fitness center and trying to play sports have become part connected with people's sessions. They are eating better foods, as witnessed because of the opening connected with salad bars in addition to health meals stores around town. This conduct will keep on as a lot more people found yourself in their feels that training and consuming healthy have become important so that they can balance out there today's high-stress standards of living. With that in your mind, a home based mum can certainly sell wellbeing products for example exercise gadgets, exercise Digital video disks for yoga exercises, lower backside exercise, pilates etc .. It is actually wiser to be able to target market health products for example all-natural natural supplements, instead connected with selling products and solutions which currently have a variety of challengers.



鑱?
Jigsaw puzzles



Jigsaw puzzles is among the many other humorous product thoughts which essentially bring final results. There tend to be few stores specializing within only jigsaw puzzles from shopping department stores. The norm is the fact that jigsaw puzzles could be located in the small corner from the toys in addition to crafts portion, but that's concerning this. The selection is normally very constrained, therefore whether a home based mum focus on all sorts of jigsaw puzzles, she will certainly make any handsome budget. Furthermore, with regard to such market products, each visit towards online retailer is practically a assured sale due to the fact normally the prospect is already wanting to purchase your handmade jewelry.



鑱?
Even though you'll find so many options with regards to product sourcing for home based business moms out there, it is actually pivotal they've passion and fascination with the selected product. It's going to be tough with regard to them to obtain work from home success should they have a deficit of interest in addition to passion therefore to their trade.



          Reply #1692        
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          2 Chainz & The Real University – T.R.U. Jack City        

The post 2 Chainz & The Real University – T.R.U. Jack City appeared first on Hip Hop Lead.


          Our Photovoltaic Future: the Next Five Billion Years        
As part of a series of posts on photovoltaic energy as a metabolic revolution of the earth's ecosystem, I am reproposing a post that I published last year on "Cassandra's Legacy" with the title "Five Billion Years of Energy Supply". 



It seems to be popular nowadays to maintain that photovoltaic energy is just an "extension" of fossil energy and that it will fade away soon after we run out of fossils fuels. But photovoltaics is much more than just a spinoff of fossil energy, it is a major metabolic revolution in the ecosystem, potentially able to create a "stereosphere" analogous to the "biosphere" that could last as long as the remaining lifetime of the earth's ecosystem and possibly much more. Here are some reflections of mine, not meant to be the last word on the subject, but part of an ongoing study that I am performing. You can find more on a similar subject in a paper of mine on Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, (BERQ)






"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest," is a sentence attributed to Albert Szent-Györgyi. It is true: the basis of organic life as we know it is the result of the energy flow generated by photosynthesis. Sunlight promotes an electron to a high energy state in the molecule of chlorophyll. Then, the excited electron comes to rest when a CO2 molecule reacts with hydrogen stripped away from an H2O molecule in order to form the organic molecules that are the basis of biological organisms. That includes replacing degraded chlorophyll molecules and the chloroplasts that contain them with new ones. The cycle is called "metabolism" and it has been going on for billions of years on the earth's surface. It will keep going as long as there is sunlight to power it and there are nutrients that can be extracted from the environment. 

But, if life means using light to excite an electron to a higher energy state, there follows that chlorophyll is not the only entity that can do that. In the figure at the beginning of this post, you see the solid state equivalent of a chlorophyll molecule: a silicon-based photovoltaic cell. It promotes an electron to a higher energy state; then this electron finds rest after having dissipated its potential by means of chemical reactions or physical processes. That includes using the potentials generated to manufacturing new photovoltaic cells and the related structures to replace the degraded ones. In analogy with the biological metabolism, we could call this process "solid state metabolism". Then, the similarities between the carbon-based metabolic chain and the silicon-based one are many. So much that we could coin the term "stereosphere" (from the Greek term meaning "solid.") as the solid-state equivalent of the well known "biosphere". Both the biosphere and the stereosphere use solar light as the energy potential necessary to keep the metabolic cycle going and they build-up metabolic structures using nutrients taken from the earth's surface environment.

The main nutrient for the biosphere is CO2, taken from the atmosphere, while the stereosphere consumes SiO2, taking it from the geosphere. Both metabolic chains use a variety of other nutrients: the stereosphere can reduce the oxides of metals such as aluminum, iron, and titanium, and use them as structural or functional elements in their metallic form; whereas the biosphere can only use carbon polymers. The biosphere stores information mostly in specialized carbon-based molecules called deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA). The stereosphere stores it mostly in silicon-based components called "transistors". Mechanical enactors are called "muscles" in the biosphere and are based on protein filaments that contract as a consequence of changing chemical potentials. The equivalent mechanical elements in the stereosphere are called "motors" and are based on the effects of magnetic fields on metallic elements. For each element of one of these systems, it is possible to find a functional equivalent of the other, even though their composition and mechanisms of operation are normally completely different.

A major difference in the two systems is that the biosphere is based on microscopic self-reproducing cells. The stereosphere, instead, has no recognizable cells and the smallest self-reproducing unit is something that could be defined as the "self-reproducing solar plant factory." A factory that can build not only solar plants but also new solar plant factories. Obviously, such an entity includes a variety of subsystems for mining, refining, transporting, processing, assembling, etc. and it has to be very large. Today, all these elements are embedded in the system called the "industrial system." (also definable as the "technosphere"). This system is powered, at present, mainly by fossil fuels but, in the future, it would be transformed into something fully powered by the dissipation of solar energy potentials. This is possible as long as the flow of energy generated by the system is as large or larger than the energy necessary to power the metabolic cycle. This requirement appears to be amply fulfilled by current photovoltaic technologies (and other renewable ones).

A crucial question for all metabolic processes is whether the supply of nutrients (i.e. minerals) can be maintained for a long time. About the biosphere, evidently, that's the case: the geological cycles that reform the necessary nutrients are part of the concept of "Gaia", the homeostatic system that has kept the biosphere alive for nearly four billion years. About the stereosphere, most of the necessary nutrients are abundant in the earth's crust (silicon and aluminum being the main ones) and easily recoverable and recyclable if sufficient energy is available. Of course, the stereosphere will also need other metals, several of which are rare in the earth's crust, but the same requirement has not prevented the biosphere from persisting for billions of years. The geosphere can recycle chemical elements by natural processes, provided that they are not consumed at an excessively fast rate. This is an obviously complex issue and we cannot exclude that the cost of recovering some rare element will turn out to be a fundamental obstacle to the diffusion of the stereosphere. At the same time, however, there is no evidence that this will be the case.

So, can the stereosphere expand on the earth's surface and become a large and long-lasting metabolic cycle? In principle, yes, but we should take into account a major obstacle that could prevent this evolution to occur. It is the "Allee effect" well known for the biosphere and that, by similarity, should be valid for the stereosphere as well. The idea of the Allee effect is that there exists  a minimum size for a biological population that allows it to be stable and recover from perturbations. Too few individuals may not have sufficient resources and reciprocal interactions to avoid extinction after a collapse. In the case of the stereosphere, the Allee effect means that there is a minimum size for the self-reproducing solar plant factory that will allow it to be self-sustaining and long-lasting. Have we reached the "tipping point" leading to this condition? At present, it is impossible to say, but we cannot exclude that it has been reached or that it will be reached before the depletion of fossil fuels will bring the collapse of the current industrial system.

The next question is whether a self-sustaining stereosphere can coexist with the organic biosphere. According to Gause's law, well known in biology, two different species cannot coexist in the same ecological niche; normally one of the two must go extinct or be marginalized. Solid state and photosynthetic systems are in competition with each other for solar light. There follows that the stereosphere could replace the biosphere if the efficiency of solid state transduction systems were to turn out higher than that of photosynthetic systems. But this is not obvious. PV cells today appear to be more efficient than photosynthetic plants in terms of the fraction of solar energy processed but we need to consider the whole life cycle of the systems and, at present, a reliable assessment is difficult. We should take into account, anyway, that solid state creatures don't need liquid water, don't need oxygen, are not limited to local nutrients, and can exist in a much wider range of temperatures than biological ones. It means that the stereosphere can expand to areas forbidden to the biosphere: dry deserts, mountaintops, polar deserts, and more. Silicon based creatures are also scarcely affected by ionizing radiation, so they can survive in space without problems. These considerations suggest that the stereosphere may occupy areas and volumes where it is not in direct competition with the biosphere.

The characteristics of the stereosphere also allow it the capability of surviving catastrophes that may deeply damage the biosphere and that will eventually cause its extinction. For instance, the stereosphere could survive an abrupt climate change (although not a "Venus Catastrophe" of the kind reported by James Hansen). Over the long run, in any case, the earth's biosphere is destined to be sterilized by the increasing intensity of the solar irradiation over times of the order of a billion years. (and smaller for multicellular organisms). The stereosphere would not be affected by this effect and could continue existing for the five billion of years in which the sun will remain in the main sequence. Possibly, it could persist for much longer, even after the complex transformations that would lead the sun to become a white dwarf. A white dwarf could, actually power PV systems perhaps for a trillion years!

A more detailed set of considerations of mine on a related subject can be found in this article on "Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, BERQ). 


Notes: 

1. I am not discussing here whether the possible emergence of the stereosphere is a good or a bad thing from the viewpoint of humankind. It could give us billions of years of prosperity or lead us to rapid extinction. It seems unlikely, anyway, that humans will choose whether they want to have it or not on the basis of rational arguments while they still have the power to decide something on the matter. 

2. The concept of a terrestrial metabolic system called the stereosphere is not equivalent, and probably not even similar, to the idea of the "technological singularity" which supposes a very fast increase of artificial intelligence. The "self-reproducing solar plant factory" needs not be more intelligent than a bacterium; it just needs to store a blueprint of itself and instructions about replication. Intelligence is not necessarily useful for survival, as humans may well discover to their chagrin in the near future.

3. About the possibility of a photovoltaic-powered Dyson sphere around a white dwarf, see this article by Ibrahim Semiz and Salim O˘gur.

4. The idea of "silicon-based life" was popularized perhaps for the first time by Stanley Weinbaum who proposed his "Pyramid Monster" in his short story "A Martian Odissey" published in 1933. Weinbaum's clumsy monster could not exist in the real universe, but it was a remarkable insight, nevertheless. 








          Episode 261 – Crisis Counselling 4 – So Long Earth 6, We Hardly Knew Ye        
Paul and Darren dig into Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 and take a look at what else was going on in the DC and real universes at the time. Grab a New Coke, and join in!
          Six sides of dice, and mature engagement with reality        
dice

Dice are familiar objects, right? Little cubes that fit in your hand, numbered one through six with decorative dots.

Think about one of them. One die, strange as the singular name seems. Which of its six sides is most important? Which of the six numbers is most important?

Well, it really depends on the game, right? And without the context of some particular game, no side is more nor less important than the others. All six sides are facets of the whole object. Dice wouldn't be dice without all six sides.

People sometimes ask me what I think is the most important aspect of sustainability. What's the most important problem? What's the most urgent? What's the one thing that worries me most?

Like identifying the most important side of a die, the answer varies. My answers to such questions vary from day to day, from conversation to conversation, depending upon the context. But there are some recurring themes.

When I try to explain the recurring themes I sometimes suggest a visual metaphor. So far, the best visual metaphor I've found comes from those six sides of dice.

So here's a list of things I consider crucial to achieve a sustainable culture. Like the sides of dice, these are all facets of a whole. No one of them is necessarily more nor less important than the others. They're all related. I won't number them nor rank them. I just list them in some order that seems convenient and flows, like this...

  • empathy

  • ability to perceive harm
    (even subtle harm)

  • ability to anticipate consequences
    (outcomes both good and bad)

  • maturity
    (regardless of birthdays)

  • healthy engagement with the real universe around us

  • ability to learn
    (especially from mistakes and unexpected outcomes)


Conservation is important. Recycling is important. Economic justice is important. Of course!

But all of those important things result from our human interactions: our human interactions with each other, and our human interactions with the real universe that surrounds us.

Sustainability is about attitude. Sustainability is about culture. Sustainability is about empathy, and maturity, and the ability to perceive harm in all its forms. Sustainability is about anticipating consequences. Sustainability is about anticipating harm. Sustainability is about learning from our mistakes. Sustainability is about seeing the real universe and engaging reality as healthy grown-ups.

Sustainability is about all of those things, and a lot more. But that seems a good start.



---

In his own way, Professor George Mobus addresses many of these sides of the dice at his blog, Question Everything.

Photo courtesy of Designs by Darren.

          Fish And Destroy        
See how quick your reflexes are by trying to survive in this unique surreal universe. Explore its mysterious wonders as long as you can.To have the strength to go further eat the sulky fishes.As they are attracted by your light and use their bones as bullets to destroy enemies.Meanwhile collect batteries to charge your bulb.But […]
          Understanding The Hysterical Reaction To The Google Memo        

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Today’s post is the final installment of a four part series on the Google memo and the various issues it’s raised regarding our cultural capacity for intelligent debate. I’ve also touched upon the very serious issue of Google’s expanding position as an integral and willing tool of U.S. imperial foreign policy, as well as its defense of oligarchy and status quo thinking at home.

Here are the first three parts, in case you missed them:

Part 1 — Why the Google Memo Brings Forward an Overdue Conversation

Part 2 — ‘The Firing’

Part 3 — Google: Search Engine or Deep State Organ?

Before I get started, I want to make something clear. I am entirely sympathetic to the fact that the Google memo justifiably made many women who work in the tech industry feel uncomfortable and anxious. While I’ve never worked in that field, I worked in the highly aggressive and male-dominated environment of Wall Street for a decade. That sort of culture can definitely make women feel left-out, awkward or worse. I do not deny that such problems exist in an industry dominated by one gender. Unfortunately, that very legitimate issue has become totally swamped in the public mind due to the hysterical, dishonest and illogical reactions by many to the Google memo.

Irrespective of what you think of the memo, it’s dangerous and counterproductive to start calling people names rather than engage in calm, intelligent debate. Certainly, James Damore could’ve done some things differently in the composition of his memo, but anyone who reads it can see he was trying to be fair and open-minded. I have no doubt that he was genuinely trying to have a conversation about an issue he identified at Google and feels passionately about. He wasn’t trying to make his colleagues feel anxious or uncomfortable. For that transgression he was demonized and fired. Are we already back to burning witches?

Today’s post will focus on applying what we learned about consciousness evolution in my five-part series on Spiral Dynamics to the Google memo affair. I’ll do my best to make this as understandable as possible for those of you who never read those posts, but to fully grasp what I’m about to discuss, you should probably read (or reread) them.

As I started reading the Google memo I couldn’t help but think that I was reading something written by someone coming from a second-tier consciousness perspective. This is important, because according to author and thinker Ken Wilber only a small fraction of the world’s population (about 5%) is centered around yellow consciousness or higher. Here’s a brief description of yellow consciousness from a prior post.

     7. Yellow: Integrative. Life is a kaleidoscope of natural hierarchies [holarchies], systems, and forms. Flexibility, spontaneity, and functionality have the highest priority. Differences and pluralities can be integrated into interdependent, natural flows. Egalitarianism is complemented with natural degrees of excellence where appropriate.

 

Knowledge and competency should supersede rank, power, status, or group. The prevailing world order is the result of the existence of different levels of reality (memes) and the inevitable patterns of movement up and down the dynamic spiral. Good governance facilitates the emergence of entities through the levels of increasing complexity (nested hierarchy). 

If that’s confusing, here’s an alternative attempt:

Yellow value system Characteristics

Firstly, he noticed that a Yellow orientated lifestyle is much more free than a lifestyle in any of the other value systems. Yellow oriented people seemed to move and express themselves completely free and independent of their life environment. Contrary to people in other value systems, they were not afraid anymore to be rejected and they didn’t fear other people’s or God’s judgment. They didn’t show the need to make an impression on others and to reach the top at the cost of everything.

 

They also didn’t strive anymore for absolute truths and they didn’t have the need to belong to something anymore. In short: these were people without irrational fears, compulsive needs and compulsive behaviors. However, this Yellow freedom doesn’t mean that people in the Yellow value system are not connected to their environment. On the contrary, Yellow oriented people are very much involved and show a lot of compassion. The biggest difference with people from other value systems is that their life environment is not fearfully or compulsively leading them.

Right off the bat, I identified James as a second-tier thinker when he wrote the following about political leanings.

 

Neither side is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors.

What James does right there is something most people never do. He objectively, and without claiming one to be superior to the other, discusses the key traits of people who tend to lean left versus those who lean right. Of course, you could always add to the list, but I think he pretty much nails it. He goes on to state that both are necessary for a functioning society. This is where it becomes clear he’s coming at political debate from an integral, or second-tier consciousness perspective. Rather than profess one ideology to be superior to the others and try to fight about it in an attempt to gain power and dominance, which is what first-tier thinkers always do, he understands that different human perspectives are important and necessary to the whole. Progress is not about demonizing and subjugating people who don’t agree with you, but rather integrating all the various and beautiful differences amongst us in the most healthy and beneficial way possible.

Moving on, one of the many things Ken Wilber so accurately notes throughout much of his work, is how the prior leading-edge level of consciousness (green) tends to despise and react very negatively to anyone operating on second-tier consciousness. When we talk about green in 2017, we are really talking about how green currently manifests on the planet, which is actually just a twisted perversion of its original self. This devolution of green consciousness into a destructive “mean green” meme is a big part of what’s been holding us back as a species, and also played a consequential role in the election of Trump. Ken Wilber discussed this at length in his excellent e-book on the election, Trump and a Post-Truth World. Here are a few relevant excerpts:

The green postmodern leading-edge of evolution itself has, for several decades, degenerated into its extreme, pathological, and dysfunctional forms. As such, it is literally incapable of effectively acting as a real leading-edge. Its fundamental belief—“there is no truth”—and its basic essential attitude—“aperspectival madness”— cannot in any fashion actually lead, actually choose a course of action that is positive, healthy, effective, and truly evolutionary. With all growth hierarchies denied and deconstructed, evolution has no real way to grow, has no way forward at all, and thus nothing but dominator hierarchies are seen everywhere, effectively reducing any individual you want to a victim. The leading-edge has collapsed; it is now a few-billion-persons (or so) massive car crash, a huge traffic jam at the very edge of evolution itself, sabotaging virtually every move that evolution seeks to take. Evolution itself finds its own headlights shining beams of nihilism, which can actually see nothing, or narcissism, which can see only itself. Under this often malicious leadership (the mean-green-meme), the earlier levels and stages of development have themselves begun to hemorrhage, sliding into their own forms of pathological dysfunction. And this isn’t just happening in one or two countries, it is happening around the world.

 

As the decades unfolded, green increasingly began veering into extreme, maladroit, dysfunctional, even clearly unhealthy, forms. Its broad-minded pluralism slipped into a rampant and runaway relativism (collapsing into nihilism), and the notion that all truth is contextualized (or gains meaning from its cultural context) slid into the notion that there is no real universal truth at all, there are only shifting cultural interpretations (which eventually slid into a widespread narcissism).

One of the reasons contemporary greens act so hysterical all the time is because of the fact that their entire worldview is actually based on a contradiction. On the one hand, they claim to believe that there’s no absolute truth and that everything is a social construct, yet…

For postmodernists, all knowledge is non-universal, contextual, constructivist, interpretive—found only in a given culture, at a given historical time, in a particular geopolitical location. Unfortunately, for the postmodernists, every one of its summary statements given in the previous paragraph was aggressively maintained to be true for all people, in all places, at all times—no exceptions. Their entire theory itself is a very Big Picture about why all Big Pictures are wrong, a very extensive metanarrative about why all metanarratives are oppressive. They most definitely and strongly believe that it is universally true that there is no universal truth. They believe all knowledge is context bound except for that knowledge, which is always and everywhere trans-contextually true. They believe all knowledge is interpretive, except for theirs, which is solidly given and accurately describes conditions everywhere. They believe their view itself is utterly superior in a world where they also believe absolutely nothing is superior. Oops.

The madness emanating from a lot of these folks makes sense when you deconstruct it all and realize that pretty much the entire postmodern green ideology is based on a massive, irreconcilable contradiction. This is precisely why they don’t like to debate issues, but would rather shout people down by calling them names like Nazi, racist, misogynist, etc. It’s a brutish form of language oppression and authoritarianism, which they somehow justify in the name of their view being superior (in a world where nothing is supposed to be superior). No wonder they’ve lost their minds.

It’s even worse than that though. Not only do greens have to deal with the fact their ideology and worldview is rooted in a lie, they now have to deal with the obvious truth that their policies in government have completely failed the public. As Wilber notes:

Meanwhile, the leading-edge green cultural elites—upper-level liberal government, virtually all university teachers (in the humanities), technology innovators, human services professions, most media, entertainment, and most highly liberal thought leaders—had continued to push into green pluralism/relativism—“what’s true for you is true for you, and what’s true for me is true for me”—all largely with intentions of pure gold, but shot through with an inherently self-contradictory stance with its profound limitations (if all truth is just truth for me and truth for you, then there is no “truth for us”—or collective, universal, cohering truths— and hence, in this atmosphere of aperspectival madness, the stage was set for massively fragmented culture, which the siloed boxes and echo chambers of social media were beginning to almost exclusively promote and enhance).

 

The problem very quickly became what Integral Metatheory calls a “legitimation crisis,” which it defines as a mismatch between Lower-Left (or cultural) beliefs and the Lower-Right systems (or actual background realities, such as the techno-economic base). The cultural belief was that everybody is created equal, that all people have a perfect and equal right to full personal empowerment, that nobody is intrinsically superior to others (beliefs that flourished with green). Yet the overwhelming reality was increasingly one of a stark and rapidly growing unequality—in terms of income and overall worth, property ownership, employment opportunity, healthcare access, life satisfaction issues. The culture was constantly telling us one thing, and the realities of society were consistently failing to deliver it—the culture was lying. This was a deep and serious legitimation crisis— a culture that is lying to its members simply cannot move forward for long. And if a culture has “no truth,” it has no idea when it’s lying—and thus it naturally lies as many times as it accidentally tells the truth, and hence faster than you can say “deconstruction,” it’s in the midst of a legitimation crisis.

 

In the meantime, the leading-edge of both green “no-truth” and techno- economic “no-job” had created a seething, quietly furious, and enormously large amount of what Nietzsche called “ressentiment”—which is French for “resentment.” Nietzsche meant it specifically for the type of nasty, angry, and mean-spirited attitude that tends to go with “egalitarian” beliefs (because in reality, there are almost always “greater” and “lesser” realities— not everything is or can be merely “equal,” and green resents this mightily, and often responds with a nasty and vindictive attitude, which Integral theorists call “the mean green meme”). But the notion of “ressentiment” applies in general to the resentment that began to increasingly stem from the severe legitimation crisis that began to soak the culture (which itself was, indeed, due primarily to a broken green). Everywhere you are told that you are fully equal and deserve immediate and complete empowerment, yet everywhere denied the means to actually achieve it. You suffocate, you react, and you get very, very mad.

So where does all of this lead us? For starters, we’re dealing with a mean green ideology that increasingly dominates most elitist institutions. This worldview is based on an obvious contradiction, and over the past several decades, has also publicly failed when it comes to governing. While Trump’s election was a regressive political backlash to this reality, the cultural dominance of green remains firmly in place as we can see with the dishonest and unfair reaction to the memo by the media and Google itself.

Going forward, there are two paths to a better future. Personally, I don’t think greens will ever get control of their own madness and become healthy “greens.” Rather I think we will have to push to try to get 10% of the world’s population to what Ken Wilber describes as the “tipping point.” Here’s how he put it in his e-book:

The one other option, slightly different, is for evolution to leap-frog to an integral stage of unfolding as its new leading-edge, which would inherently perform all of the tasks now required of a regenerated green. This “leap- frogging” would not constitute skipping a stage (which is not possible), but it would mean building a higher stage on a diseased predecessor, which lands it with a handicap right from the start. The integral attitude, however, is designed to effectively spot and route around such roadblocks, and this we would expect to see.

 

The most likely course of action, however, is some mixture of both. That’s not a cop-out, it’s a precise prediction. Green simply cannot function, not even on its own level, if it continues in its extreme, mean-green-meme (vindictively seeing “deplorables” everywhere), hyper-sensitive, over-the- top politically correct, dysfunctional, and pathological form in which it now exists. Its inherent contradictions are increasingly being seen and felt, and ways to work around them are being explored (which incorporate the partial truths of green but not their extreme and pathological absolutisms).

 

That lessening of green’s pervasive hostility and vindictiveness toward all previous stages of development is what we identied as “step one” in the requisite self-healing of green. There is at least a decent likelihood that this will—and to some degree already has—begun to happen. On the other hand, “step two”—the realization that growth holarchies provide the actual basis of the value judgments that green is already making, and that these growth holarchies also are the only truly effective means to displace the dominator hierarchies that green correctly ranks on the bottom of the list of social desirables—is a bit less likely to occur at the green level itself, but will most likely depend upon the transformation to integral 2nd tier. My strong suspicion, therefore, is that green will perform a good deal of step one on its own, and that this will have a very positive effect on culture at large. (And conversely, to the extent that at least this first step is not taken, then the self-corrective drive of evolution will continue to push, and push, and push into existing affairs, driving more Trump-like “disasters” as evolution redoubles its efforts to force its way through these recalcitrant obstructions.)

 

But step two will likely be taken at this time only by integral communities themselves, and otherwise will await the growth of 10 percent of the population which would initiate a tipping point and propel the integral stage into being the next-higher leading-edge, with altogether stunning repercussions.

 

Contributing to this growth and increase in truly inclusive awareness, and under the drive to discover “what’s next” after postmodernism, various Integral theories and metatheories are increasingly gaining ground, and wherever they do, they automatically correct the green dysfunctions that they unearth. Little by little, in other words, an Integral awareness is helping to embody an evolutionary self-correction in its very actions.

 

It is this Integral view that I wish to recommend to any who are ready for such…In embracing all of yesterday, it opens us to all of tomorrow. And it will provide a leading-edge of evolution the likes of which humanity has literally never seen before.

 

This is indeed the next, authentic and genuine leading-edge, and it has already begun its inevitable emergence. It carries with it the inexorable drive to “transcend and include” literally all of the previous stages of development and the stations of life that they now inhabit—but minus the inherent rancor that each of them, on its own, feels for the others.

 

Humankind has never had a leading-edge like this at any previous point in history. It is indeed “cataclysmic,” “a monumental leap in meaning,” and it is here for each of us to embrace and express should we so desire. And it is the one, sure, and certain balm—if authentically inhabited—for the isolating, regressive, repressive, mean-spirited, and fragmenting state in which the world now nds itself rapidly drowning.

As Wilber explains, green consciousness, so revolutionary and important in its early days has devolved and descended into madness. It is no longer capable of leading, and we face a major evolutionary crossroads — regress or push forward into higher consciousness. Green will go into this new world kicking and screaming as we’ve seen recently with the Google memo, but go they will. The more they act out, the more they expose themselves as vacuous, narcissistic charlatans, which will turn more and more people off. Its self-destruction is a necessary step in the path forward.


          Mixed Reference: The Great Reductionist Project        
Submitted by Eliezer_Yudkowsky • 29 votes • 353 comments

Followup toLogical PinpointingCausal Reference

Take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy.

- Death, in Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

Meditation: So far we've talked about two kinds of meaningfulness and two ways that sentences can refer; a way of comparing to physical things found by following pinned-down causal links, and logical validity by comparison to models pinned-down by axioms. Is there anything else that can be meaningfully talked about? Where would you find justice, or mercy?

... 
... 
...

Suppose that I pointed at a couple of piles of apples on a table, a pile of two apples and a pile of three apples.

And lo, I said:  "If we took the number of apples in each pile, and multiplied those numbers together, we'd get six."

Nowhere in the physical universe is that 'six' written - there's nowhere in the laws of physics where you'll find a floating six. Even on the table itself there's only five apples, and apples aren't fundamental. Or to put it another way:

Take the apples and grind them down to the finest powder and sieve them through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of sixness, one molecule of multiplication.

Nor can the statement be true as a matter of pure math, comparing to some Platonic six within a mathematical model, because we could physically take one apple off the table and make the statement false, and you can't do that with math.

This question doesn't feel like it should be very hard.  And indeed the answer is not very difficult, but it is worth spelling out; because cases like "justice" or "mercy" will turn out to proceed in a similar fashion.

Navigating to the six requires a mixture of physical and logical reference.  This case begins with a physical reference, when we navigate to the physical apples on the table by talking about the cause of our apple-seeing experiences:

Next we have to call the stuff on the table 'apples'.  But how, oh how can we do this, when grinding the universe and running it through a sieve will reveal not a single particle of appleness?

This part was covered at some length in the Reductionism sequence.  Standard physics uses the same fundamental theory to describe the flight of a Boeing 747 airplane, and collisions in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.  Nuclei and airplanes alike, according to our understanding, are obeying special relativity, quantum mechanics, and chromodynamics.

We also use entirely different models to understand the aerodynamics of a 747 and a collision between gold nuclei in the RHIC.  A computer modeling the aerodynamics of a 747 may not contain a single token, a single bit of RAM, that represents a quark.  (Or a quantum field, really; but you get the idea.)

So is the 747 made of something other than quarks?  And is the statement "this 747 has wings" meaningless or false?  No, we're just modeling the 747 with representational elements that do not have a one-to-one correspondence with individual quarks.

Similarly with apples.  To compare a mental image of high-level apple-objects to physical reality, for it to be true under a correspondence theory of truth, doesn't require that apples be fundamental in physical law.  A single discrete element of fundamental physics is not the only thing that a statement can ever be compared-to.  We just need truth conditions that categorize the low-level states of the universe, so that different low-level physical states are inside or outside the mental image of "some apples on the table" or alternatively "a kitten on the table".

Now we can draw a correspondence from our image of discrete high-level apple objects, to reality.

Next we need to count the apple-objects in each pile, using some procedure along the lines of going from apple to apple, marking those already counted and not counting them a second time, and continuing until all the apples in each heap have been counted.  And then, having counted two numbers, we'll multiply them together.  You can imagine this as taking the physical state of the universe (or a high-level representation of it) and running it through a series of functions leading to a final output:

And of course operations like "counting" and "multiplication" are pinned down by the number-axioms of Peano Arithmetic:

And we shouldn't forget that the image of the table, is being calculated from eyes which are in causal contact with the real table-made-of-particles out there in physical reality:

And then there's also the point that the Peano axioms themselves are being quoted inside your brain in order to pin down the ideal multiplicative result - after all, you can get multiplications wrong - but I'm not going to draw the image for that one.  (We tried, and it came out too crowded.)

So long as the math is pinned down, any table of two apple piles should yield a single output when we run the math over it. Constraining this output constrains the possible states of the original, physical input universe:

And thus "The product of the apple numbers is six" is meaningful, constraining the possible worlds. It has a truth-condition, fulfilled by a mixture of physical reality and logical validity; and the correspondence is nailed down by a mixture of causal reference and axiomatic pinpointing.

I usually simplify this to the idea of "running a logical function over the physical universe", but of course the small picture doesn't work unless the big picture works.


The Great Reductionist Project can be seen as figuring out how to express meaningful sentences in terms of a combination of physical references (statements whose truth-value is determined by a truth-condition directly correspnding to the real universe we're embedded in) and logical references (valid implications of premises, or elements of models pinned down by axioms); where both physical references and logical references are to be described 'effectively' or 'formally', in computable or logical form.  (I haven't had time to go into this last part but it's an already-popular idea in philosophy of computation.)

And the Great Reductionist Thesis can be seen as the proposition that everything meaningful can be expressed this way eventually.

But it sometimes takes a whole bunch of work.

And to notice when somebody has subtly violated the Great Reductionist Thesis - to see when a current solution is not decomposable to physical and logical reference - requires a fair amount of self-sensitization before the transgressions become obvious.


Example:  Counterfactuals.

Consider the following pair of sentences, widely used to introduce the idea of "counterfactual conditioning":

  • (A) If Lee Harvey Oswald didn't shoot John F. Kennedy, someone else did.
  • (B) If Lee Harvey Oswald hadn't shot John F. Kennedy, someone else would've.

The first sentence seems agreeable - John F. Kennedy definitely was shot, historically speaking, so if it wasn't Lee Harvey Oswald it was someone.  On the other hand, unless you believe the Illuminati planned it all, it doesn't seem particularly likely that if Lee Harvey Oswald had been removed from the equation, somebody else would've shot Kennedy instead.

Which is to say that sentence (A) appears true, and sentence (B) appears false.

One of the historical questions about the meaning of causal models - in fact, of causal assertions in general - is, "How does this so-called 'causal' model of yours, differ from asserting a bunch of statistical relations?  Okay, sure, these statistical dependencies have a nice neighborhood-structure, but why not just call them correlations with a nice neighborhood-structure; why use fancy terms like 'cause and effect'?"

And one of the most widely endorsed answers, including nowadays, is that causal models carry an extra meaning because they tell us about counterfactual outcomes, which ordinary statistical models don't.  For example, suppose this is our causal model of how John F. Kennedy got shot:

Kennedy causes Oswald

Roughly this is intended to convey the idea that there are no Illuminati:  Kennedy causes Oswald to shoot him, does not cause anybody else to shoot him, and causes the Moon landing; but once you know that Kennedy was elected, there's no correlation between his probability of causing Oswald to shoot him and his probability of causing anyone else to shoot him.  In particular, there's no Illuminati who monitor Oswald and send another shooter if Oswald fails.

In any case, this diagram also implies that if Oswald hadn't shot Kennedy, nobody else would've, which is modified by a counterfactual surgery a.k.a. the do(.) operator, in which a node is severed from its former parents, set to a particular value, and its descendants then recomputed:

do Oswald=N

 

And so it was claimed that the meaning of the first diagram is embodied in its implicit claim (as made explicit in the second diagram) that "if Oswald hadn't shot Kennedy, nobody else would've".  This statement is true, and if all the other implicit counterfactual statements are also true, the first causal model as a whole is a true causal model.

What's wrong with this picture?

Well... if you're strict about that whole combination-of-physics-and-logic business... the problem is that there are no counterfactual universes for a counterfactual statement to correspond-to.  "There's apples on the table" can be true when the particles in the universe are arranged into a configuration where there's some clumps of organic molecules on the table.  What arrangement of the particles in this universe could directly make true the statement "If Oswald hadn't shot Kennedy, nobody else would've"?  In this universe, Oswald did shoot Kennedy and Kennedy did end up shot.

But it's a subtle sort of thing, to notice when you're trying to establish the truth-condition of a sentence by comparison to counterfactual universes that are not measurable, are never observed, and do not in fact actually exist.

Because our own brains carry out the same sort of 'counterfactual surgery' automatically and natively - so natively that it's embedded in the syntax of language.  We don't say, "What if we perform counterfactual surgery on our models to set 'Oswald shoots Kennedy' to false?"  We say, "What if Oswald hadn't shot Kennedy?"  So there's this counterfactual-supposition operation which our brain does very quickly and invisibly to imagine a hypothetical non-existent universe where Oswald doesn't shoot Kennedy, and our brain very rapidly returns the supposition that Kennedy doesn't get shot, and this seems to be a fact like any other fact; and so why couldn't you just compare the causal model to this fact like any other fact?

And in one sense, "If Oswald hadn't shot Kennedy, nobody else would've" is a fact; it's a mixed reference that starts with the causal model of the actual universe where there are actually no Illuminati, and proceeds from there to the logical operation of counterfactual surgery to yield an answer which, like 'six' for the product of apples on the table, is not actually present anywhere in the universe.  But you can't say that the causal model is true because the counterfactuals are true.  The truth of the counterfactuals has to be calculated from the truth of the causal model, followed by the implications of the counterfactual-surgery axioms.  If the causal model couldn't be 'true' or 'false' on its own, by direct comparison to the actual real universe, there'd be no way for the counterfactuals to be true or false either, since no actual counterfactual universes exist.


So that business of counterfactuals may sound like a relatively obscure example (though it's going to play a large role in decision theory later on, and I expect to revisit it then) but it sets up some even larger points.

For example, the Born probabilities in quantum mechanics seem to talk about a 'degree of realness' that different parts of the configuration space have (proportional to the integral over squared modulus of that 'world').

Could the Born probabilities be basic - could there just be a basic law of physics which just says directly that to find out how likely you are to be in any quantum world, the integral over squared modulus gives you the answer?  And the same law could've just as easily have said that you're likely to find yourself in a world that goes over the integral of modulus to the power 1.99999?

But then we would have 'mixed references' that mixed together three kinds of stuff - the Schrodinger Equation, a deterministic causal equation relating complex amplitudes inside a configuration space; logical validities and models; and a law which assigned fundamental-degree-of-realness a.k.a. magical-reality-fluid.  Meaningful statements would talk about some mixture of physical laws over particle fields in our own universe, logical validities, and degree-of-realness.

This is just the same sort of problem if you say that causal models are meaningful and true relative to a mixture of three kinds of stuff, actual worlds,  logical validities, and counterfactuals, and logical validities.  You're only supposed to have two kinds of stuff.

People who think qualia are fundamental are also trying to build references out of at least three different kinds of stuff: physical laws, logic, and experiences.

Anthropic problems similarly revolve around a mysterious degree-of-realness, since presumably when you make more copies of people, you make their experiences more anticipate-able somehow.  But this doesn't say that anthropic questions are meaningless or incoherent.  It says that since we can only talk about anthropic problems using three kinds of stuff, we haven't finished Doing Reductionism to it yet.  (I have not yet encountered a claim to have finished Reducing anthropics which (a) ends up with only two kinds of stuff and (b) does not seem to imply that I should expect my experiences to dissolve into Boltzmann-brain chaos in the next instant, given that if all this talk of 'degree of realness' is nonsense, there is no way to say that physically-lawful copies of me are more common than Boltzmann brain copies of me.)

Or to take it down a notch, naive theories of free will can be seen as obviously not-completed Reductions when you consider that they now contain physics, logic, and this third sort of thingy called 'choices'.

And - alas - modern philosophy is full of 'new sorts of stuff'; we have modal realism that makes possibility a real sort of thing, and then other philosophers appeal to the truth of statements about conceivability without any attempt to reduce conceivability into some mixture of the actually-physically-real-in-our-universe and logical axioms; and so on, and so on.

But lest you be tempted to think that the correct course is always to just envision a simpler universe without the extra stuff, consider that we do not live in the 'naive un-free universe' in which all our choices are constrained by the malevolent outside hand of physics, leaving us as slaves - reducing choices to physics is not the same as taking a naive model with three kinds of stuff, and deleting all the 'choices' from it.  This is confusing the project of getting the gnomes out of the haunted mine, with trying to unmake the rainbow.  Counterfactual surgery was eventually given a formal and logical definition, but it was a lot of work to get that far - causal models had to be invented first, and before then, people could only wave their hands frantically in the air when asked what it meant for something to be a 'cause'.  The overall moral I'm trying convey is that the Great Reductionist Project is difficult; it's not a matter of just proclaiming that there's no gnomes in the mine, or that rainbows couldn't possibly be 'supernatural'.  There are all sorts of statement that were not originally, or are presently not obviously decomposable into physical law plus logic; but that doesn't mean you just give up immediately.  The Great Reductionist Thesis is that reduction is always possible eventually.  It is nowhere written that it is easy, or that your prior efforts were enough to find a solution if one existed.

Continued next time with justice and mercy (or rather, fairness and goodness).  Because clearly, if we end up with meaningful moral statements, they're not going to correspond to a combination of physics and logic plus morality.


Mainstream status.

Part of the sequence Highly Advanced Epistemology 101 for Beginners

Next post: "By Which It May Be Judged"

Previous post: "Causal Universes"

353 comments
          Mardonius on Mixed Reference: The Great Reductionist Project        

Well, I was specifically thinking of this passage

The Great Reductionist Project can be seen as figuring out how to express meaningful sentences in terms of a >combination of physical references (statements whose truth-value is determined by a truth-condition directly >correspnding to the real universe we're embedded in) and logical references (valid implications of premises, >or elements of models pinned down by axioms); where both physical references and logical references are to >be described 'effectively' or 'formally', in computable or logical form. (I haven't had time to go into this last part >but it's an already-popular idea in philosophy of computation.)

And the Great Reductionist Thesis can be seen as the proposition that everything meaningful can be >expressed this way eventually.

Which, to my admittedly rusty knowledge of mid 20th century philosophy, sounds extremely similar to the anti-metaphysics position of Carnap circa 1950. His work on Ramsey sentences, if I recall, was an attempt to reduce mixed statements including theoretical concepts ("appleness") to a statement consisting purely of Logical and Observational Terms. I'm fairly sure I saw something very similar to your writings in his late work regarding Modal Logic, but I'm clearly going to have to dig up the specific passage.


          Comment on Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith Donate $150K Toward ‘Justice… Or Else!’ March by Bernice Cintron        
ITT Tech... Guess you were unable to make it into a real university like many of us.
          Understanding The Hysterical Reaction To The Google Memo        

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Today’s post is the final installment of a four part series on the Google memo and the various issues it’s raised regarding our cultural capacity for intelligent debate. I’ve also touched upon the very serious issue of Google’s expanding position as an integral and willing tool of U.S. imperial foreign policy, as well as its defense of oligarchy and status quo thinking at home.

Here are the first three parts, in case you missed them:

Part 1 — Why the Google Memo Brings Forward an Overdue Conversation

Part 2 — ‘The Firing’

Part 3 — Google: Search Engine or Deep State Organ?

Before I get started, I want to make something clear. I am entirely sympathetic to the fact that the Google memo justifiably made many women who work in the tech industry feel uncomfortable and anxious. While I’ve never worked in that field, I worked in the highly aggressive and male-dominated environment of Wall Street for a decade. That sort of culture can definitely make women feel left-out, awkward or worse. I do not deny that such problems exist in an industry dominated by one gender. Unfortunately, that very legitimate issue has become totally swamped in the public mind due to the hysterical, dishonest and illogical reactions by many to the Google memo.

Irrespective of what you think of the memo, it’s dangerous and counterproductive to start calling people names rather than engage in calm, intelligent debate. Certainly, James Damore could’ve done some things differently in the composition of his memo, but anyone who reads it can see he was trying to be fair and open-minded. I have no doubt that he was genuinely trying to have a conversation about an issue he identified at Google and feels passionately about. He wasn’t trying to make his colleagues feel anxious or uncomfortable. For that transgression he was demonized and fired. Are we already back to burning witches?

Today’s post will focus on applying what we learned about consciousness evolution in my five-part series on Spiral Dynamics to the Google memo affair. I’ll do my best to make this as understandable as possible for those of you who never read those posts, but to fully grasp what I’m about to discuss, you should probably read (or reread) them.

As I started reading the Google memo I couldn’t help but think that I was reading something written by someone coming from a second-tier consciousness perspective. This is important, because according to author and thinker Ken Wilber only a small fraction of the world’s population (about 5%) is centered around yellow consciousness or higher. Here’s a brief description of yellow consciousness from a prior post.

     7. Yellow: Integrative. Life is a kaleidoscope of natural hierarchies [holarchies], systems, and forms. Flexibility, spontaneity, and functionality have the highest priority. Differences and pluralities can be integrated into interdependent, natural flows. Egalitarianism is complemented with natural degrees of excellence where appropriate.

 

Knowledge and competency should supersede rank, power, status, or group. The prevailing world order is the result of the existence of different levels of reality (memes) and the inevitable patterns of movement up and down the dynamic spiral. Good governance facilitates the emergence of entities through the levels of increasing complexity (nested hierarchy). 

If that’s confusing, here’s an alternative attempt:

Yellow value system Characteristics

Firstly, he noticed that a Yellow orientated lifestyle is much more free than a lifestyle in any of the other value systems. Yellow oriented people seemed to move and express themselves completely free and independent of their life environment. Contrary to people in other value systems, they were not afraid anymore to be rejected and they didn’t fear other people’s or God’s judgment. They didn’t show the need to make an impression on others and to reach the top at the cost of everything.

 

They also didn’t strive anymore for absolute truths and they didn’t have the need to belong to something anymore. In short: these were people without irrational fears, compulsive needs and compulsive behaviors. However, this Yellow freedom doesn’t mean that people in the Yellow value system are not connected to their environment. On the contrary, Yellow oriented people are very much involved and show a lot of compassion. The biggest difference with people from other value systems is that their life environment is not fearfully or compulsively leading them.

Right off the bat, I identified James as a second-tier thinker when he wrote the following about political leanings.

 

Neither side is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors.

What James does right there is something most people never do. He objectively, and without claiming one to be superior to the other, discusses the key traits of people who tend to lean left versus those who lean right. Of course, you could always add to the list, but I think he pretty much nails it. He goes on to state that both are necessary for a functioning society. This is where it becomes clear he’s coming at political debate from an integral, or second-tier consciousness perspective. Rather than profess one ideology to be superior to the others and try to fight about it in an attempt to gain power and dominance, which is what first-tier thinkers always do, he understands that different human perspectives are important and necessary to the whole. Progress is not about demonizing and subjugating people who don’t agree with you, but rather integrating all the various and beautiful differences amongst us in the most healthy and beneficial way possible.

Moving on, one of the many things Ken Wilber so accurately notes throughout much of his work, is how the prior leading-edge level of consciousness (green) tends to despise and react very negatively to anyone operating on second-tier consciousness. When we talk about green in 2017, we are really talking about how green currently manifests on the planet, which is actually just a twisted perversion of its original self. This devolution of green consciousness into a destructive “mean green” meme is a big part of what’s been holding us back as a species, and also played a consequential role in the election of Trump. Ken Wilber discussed this at length in his excellent e-book on the election, Trump and a Post-Truth World. Here are a few relevant excerpts:

The green postmodern leading-edge of evolution itself has, for several decades, degenerated into its extreme, pathological, and dysfunctional forms. As such, it is literally incapable of effectively acting as a real leading-edge. Its fundamental belief—“there is no truth”—and its basic essential attitude—“aperspectival madness”— cannot in any fashion actually lead, actually choose a course of action that is positive, healthy, effective, and truly evolutionary. With all growth hierarchies denied and deconstructed, evolution has no real way to grow, has no way forward at all, and thus nothing but dominator hierarchies are seen everywhere, effectively reducing any individual you want to a victim. The leading-edge has collapsed; it is now a few-billion-persons (or so) massive car crash, a huge traffic jam at the very edge of evolution itself, sabotaging virtually every move that evolution seeks to take. Evolution itself finds its own headlights shining beams of nihilism, which can actually see nothing, or narcissism, which can see only itself. Under this often malicious leadership (the mean-green-meme), the earlier levels and stages of development have themselves begun to hemorrhage, sliding into their own forms of pathological dysfunction. And this isn’t just happening in one or two countries, it is happening around the world.

 

As the decades unfolded, green increasingly began veering into extreme, maladroit, dysfunctional, even clearly unhealthy, forms. Its broad-minded pluralism slipped into a rampant and runaway relativism (collapsing into nihilism), and the notion that all truth is contextualized (or gains meaning from its cultural context) slid into the notion that there is no real universal truth at all, there are only shifting cultural interpretations (which eventually slid into a widespread narcissism).

One of the reasons contemporary greens act so hysterical all the time is because of the fact that their entire worldview is actually based on a contradiction. On the one hand, they claim to believe that there’s no absolute truth and that everything is a social construct, yet…

For postmodernists, all knowledge is non-universal, contextual, constructivist, interpretive—found only in a given culture, at a given historical time, in a particular geopolitical location. Unfortunately, for the postmodernists, every one of its summary statements given in the previous paragraph was aggressively maintained to be true for all people, in all places, at all times—no exceptions. Their entire theory itself is a very Big Picture about why all Big Pictures are wrong, a very extensive metanarrative about why all metanarratives are oppressive. They most definitely and strongly believe that it is universally true that there is no universal truth. They believe all knowledge is context bound except for that knowledge, which is always and everywhere trans-contextually true. They believe all knowledge is interpretive, except for theirs, which is solidly given and accurately describes conditions everywhere. They believe their view itself is utterly superior in a world where they also believe absolutely nothing is superior. Oops.

The madness emanating from a lot of these folks makes sense when you deconstruct it all and realize that pretty much the entire postmodern green ideology is based on a massive, irreconcilable contradiction. This is precisely why they don’t like to debate issues, but would rather shout people down by calling them names like Nazi, racist, misogynist, etc. It’s a brutish form of language oppression and authoritarianism, which they somehow justify in the name of their view being superior (in a world where nothing is supposed to be superior). No wonder they’ve lost their minds.

It’s even worse than that though. Not only do greens have to deal with the fact their ideology and worldview is rooted in a lie, they now have to deal with the obvious truth that their policies in government have completely failed the public. As Wilber notes:

Meanwhile, the leading-edge green cultural elites—upper-level liberal government, virtually all university teachers (in the humanities), technology innovators, human services professions, most media, entertainment, and most highly liberal thought leaders—had continued to push into green pluralism/relativism—“what’s true for you is true for you, and what’s true for me is true for me”—all largely with intentions of pure gold, but shot through with an inherently self-contradictory stance with its profound limitations (if all truth is just truth for me and truth for you, then there is no “truth for us”—or collective, universal, cohering truths— and hence, in this atmosphere of aperspectival madness, the stage was set for massively fragmented culture, which the siloed boxes and echo chambers of social media were beginning to almost exclusively promote and enhance).

 

The problem very quickly became what Integral Metatheory calls a “legitimation crisis,” which it defines as a mismatch between Lower-Left (or cultural) beliefs and the Lower-Right systems (or actual background realities, such as the techno-economic base). The cultural belief was that everybody is created equal, that all people have a perfect and equal right to full personal empowerment, that nobody is intrinsically superior to others (beliefs that flourished with green). Yet the overwhelming reality was increasingly one of a stark and rapidly growing unequality—in terms of income and overall worth, property ownership, employment opportunity, healthcare access, life satisfaction issues. The culture was constantly telling us one thing, and the realities of society were consistently failing to deliver it—the culture was lying. This was a deep and serious legitimation crisis— a culture that is lying to its members simply cannot move forward for long. And if a culture has “no truth,” it has no idea when it’s lying—and thus it naturally lies as many times as it accidentally tells the truth, and hence faster than you can say “deconstruction,” it’s in the midst of a legitimation crisis.

 

In the meantime, the leading-edge of both green “no-truth” and techno- economic “no-job” had created a seething, quietly furious, and enormously large amount of what Nietzsche called “ressentiment”—which is French for “resentment.” Nietzsche meant it specifically for the type of nasty, angry, and mean-spirited attitude that tends to go with “egalitarian” beliefs (because in reality, there are almost always “greater” and “lesser” realities— not everything is or can be merely “equal,” and green resents this mightily, and often responds with a nasty and vindictive attitude, which Integral theorists call “the mean green meme”). But the notion of “ressentiment” applies in general to the resentment that began to increasingly stem from the severe legitimation crisis that began to soak the culture (which itself was, indeed, due primarily to a broken green). Everywhere you are told that you are fully equal and deserve immediate and complete empowerment, yet everywhere denied the means to actually achieve it. You suffocate, you react, and you get very, very mad.

So where does all of this lead us? For starters, we’re dealing with a mean green ideology that increasingly dominates most elitist institutions. This worldview is based on an obvious contradiction, and over the past several decades, has also publicly failed when it comes to governing. While Trump’s election was a regressive political backlash to this reality, the cultural dominance of green remains firmly in place as we can see with the dishonest and unfair reaction to the memo by the media and Google itself.

Going forward, there are two paths to a better future. Personally, I don’t think greens will ever get control of their own madness and become healthy “greens.” Rather I think we will have to push to try to get 10% of the world’s population to what Ken Wilber describes as the “tipping point.” Here’s how he put it in his e-book:

The one other option, slightly different, is for evolution to leap-frog to an integral stage of unfolding as its new leading-edge, which would inherently perform all of the tasks now required of a regenerated green. This “leap- frogging” would not constitute skipping a stage (which is not possible), but it would mean building a higher stage on a diseased predecessor, which lands it with a handicap right from the start. The integral attitude, however, is designed to effectively spot and route around such roadblocks, and this we would expect to see.

 

The most likely course of action, however, is some mixture of both. That’s not a cop-out, it’s a precise prediction. Green simply cannot function, not even on its own level, if it continues in its extreme, mean-green-meme (vindictively seeing “deplorables” everywhere), hyper-sensitive, over-the- top politically correct, dysfunctional, and pathological form in which it now exists. Its inherent contradictions are increasingly being seen and felt, and ways to work around them are being explored (which incorporate the partial truths of green but not their extreme and pathological absolutisms).

 

That lessening of green’s pervasive hostility and vindictiveness toward all previous stages of development is what we identied as “step one” in the requisite self-healing of green. There is at least a decent likelihood that this will—and to some degree already has—begun to happen. On the other hand, “step two”—the realization that growth holarchies provide the actual basis of the value judgments that green is already making, and that these growth holarchies also are the only truly effective means to displace the dominator hierarchies that green correctly ranks on the bottom of the list of social desirables—is a bit less likely to occur at the green level itself, but will most likely depend upon the transformation to integral 2nd tier. My strong suspicion, therefore, is that green will perform a good deal of step one on its own, and that this will have a very positive effect on culture at large. (And conversely, to the extent that at least this first step is not taken, then the self-corrective drive of evolution will continue to push, and push, and push into existing affairs, driving more Trump-like “disasters” as evolution redoubles its efforts to force its way through these recalcitrant obstructions.)

 

But step two will likely be taken at this time only by integral communities themselves, and otherwise will await the growth of 10 percent of the population which would initiate a tipping point and propel the integral stage into being the next-higher leading-edge, with altogether stunning repercussions.

 

Contributing to this growth and increase in truly inclusive awareness, and under the drive to discover “what’s next” after postmodernism, various Integral theories and metatheories are increasingly gaining ground, and wherever they do, they automatically correct the green dysfunctions that they unearth. Little by little, in other words, an Integral awareness is helping to embody an evolutionary self-correction in its very actions.

 

It is this Integral view that I wish to recommend to any who are ready for such…In embracing all of yesterday, it opens us to all of tomorrow. And it will provide a leading-edge of evolution the likes of which humanity has literally never seen before.

 

This is indeed the next, authentic and genuine leading-edge, and it has already begun its inevitable emergence. It carries with it the inexorable drive to “transcend and include” literally all of the previous stages of development and the stations of life that they now inhabit—but minus the inherent rancor that each of them, on its own, feels for the others.

 

Humankind has never had a leading-edge like this at any previous point in history. It is indeed “cataclysmic,” “a monumental leap in meaning,” and it is here for each of us to embrace and express should we so desire. And it is the one, sure, and certain balm—if authentically inhabited—for the isolating, regressive, repressive, mean-spirited, and fragmenting state in which the world now nds itself rapidly drowning.

As Wilber explains, green consciousness, so revolutionary and important in its early days has devolved and descended into madness. It is no longer capable of leading, and we face a major evolutionary crossroads — regress or push forward into higher consciousness. Green will go into this new world kicking and screaming as we’ve seen recently with the Google memo, but go they will. The more they act out, the more they expose themselves as vacuous, narcissistic charlatans, which will turn more and more people off. Its self-destruction is a necessary step in the path forward.


          Eleven Discourses on Global Collapse        
1. The Big Sky

* It's sometimes useful to divide people into those who have read Catton's Overshoot and those who haven't. Which of the two groups people belong to determines most of their major decisions over the coming decades.

* In various countries, it's a curious indication of modern mentality that anyone walking along a road, rather than driving, is assumed to be an outcast, a parasite, living off the earnings of others. Before I left Oman to come back to Canada, I sold my car early, preferring not to be dealing with the hopeless Omani red tape while I was trying to get out of that dysfunctional country. Later, both in Oman and in Canada, I was carrying a knapsack and I was therefore a bad person. Someone who drives a car from one shop to another, although these are only a hundred meters apart, is a good person.

* I once showed a colleague the usual graph of the likely rise and fall of global oil production over past and future decades. I mentioned that one can apply simple mathematics to the available statistics on population and resources to see that windmills and solar panels aren't going to do the trick. "Yes," he said. "I know. It's amazing how people hang on to their illusions." A few days later he told me he was planning to go back to school in a couple of years to get an M.A. in some utterly anachronistic subject. Cognitive dissonance: one part of the brain doesn't want to know what the other part is thinking.

* I know several people who use most of their monthly paycheck to pay off a mortgage on a house that has had declining market value for years. They say, "We'll sell it when the market picks up again." I tell them that the credit crisis that began in 2007 is not part of a "cycle" of any sort. Anything that goes down for eternity is not a cycle. They give me a puzzled look and wander off.

* "Never mind all this doom and gloom. You have to tell us what to do." Well, it's been more than 250 years since Voltaire said, "Let us cultivate our garden," so I don't know if I have the patience to tell people what to do if they haven't already figured out what Voltaire meant. Anyway, with a dangerously declining economy, the most important rule is to do the opposite of what most people are trying to do, and get out of that economy.

* Canada has an area of 10,000,000 km2. Most of the population lives in the strip along the US border, 100 km wide and 5,000 km long, i.e. 500,000 km2. That's 20 percent of Canada's total land area. The other 80 percent, for the most part, has such a low population density that it might be regarded basically as uninhabited. I am perpetually intrigued by the possibility of a certain amount of self-sufficient human settlement there. After all, the native people long ago inhabited (in some cases quite sparsely, of course) nearly every part of North America, with only primitive technology.

* I'm starting to get a clear picture of the future livability of various parts of Canada. My research methodology is a mixture of government statistics, real-estate ads, and local gossip. Since I don't intend to be a wage slave, an ideal area for me would be one with low prices, especially low house prices, basically caused by a low employment rate. For someone still hoping to be part of the global economy, on the other hand, an area of that sort might not be so ideal.

* Statistics Canada has a somewhat mind-boggling publication entitled Population Projections for Canada, Provinces and Territories, which indicates that the populations of the East Coast provinces will stay flat or decline over the next few decades, whereas those of the rest of Canada will rise. The reason is that the oil and gas industry, and the decline of fishing, have caused many people to leave the East Coast. It's also typical of the Pollyanna nature of the mainstream news-media that this dichotomy between "East Coast" and "other" does not appear in print, or not to my knowledge.

* My frequent spot-checking of house prices indicates that in all the East Coast provinces there are many livable houses for sale at less than $60,000, whereas in the rest of Canada such houses are rare.

* Even in northern Ontario the house prices are high, although there are no booming businesses there. A friend of mine living in the "near north" of Ontario thinks part of the reason is that retirees from the Toronto area no longer want to move a mere 200 km north of Toronto, where he is, but would rather move 500 km north, to the Kapuskasing-Cochrane area, where there is more elbow room. He himself has a second house in that more-northern area. Of course these people are the last of the rich pensioners, and when they are gone the prices might drop.

* I think the kind of analysis I use for Canada might also be used by people in other countries. Might as well make use of the Internet before the screen goes permanently black.

* I'm not sure if "Bangkok" was the "B" Lester Brown had in mind when he spoke of "Plan B," but in case there's ever an unpleasant surprise in one's first choice of location it's probably best to keep one or two alternate places in mind, perhaps quite different from one's basic selection. Canada's Presbyterian mentality can obscure the fact that there are those who have a different approach to the Apocalypse: an early death from AIDS or alcohol wouldn't necessarily be worse than a late death from boredom.

* Anyone thinking about "investment opportunities" should realize that most growth industries will be those that are now labeled criminal. Misha Glenny points out that tax evasion and organized crime already constitute 15 to 20 percent of global GDP.

* When I once questioned people in Canada about frugality, several suggested shopping at second-hand stores, but those stores will be closed when China stops shipping goods 12,000 km. A better frugality would be learning to appreciate the beauty of empty spaces, as in traditional Japanese houses, reducing our material possessions not as a form of arduous self-denial but as a blessing.

2. Looking for the Uncrowded Country

A couple of fridge magnets might hold the following desiderata: a place in the country with a couple of hectares of forest for firewood, another hectare for a garden, and a nice muddy beach for clam-digging (well okay, at least one of those three); and a small income or a large savings account as a buffer to the occasional but inevitable need for cash (until all dollars become Confederate dollars).

How fast things will decay is a debatable point. Personally, I would put my money on "faster" rather than "slower." There's a problem with perception: although the world's economy is collapsing rapidly, because it's all on a mammoth scale we don't notice it happening. In 2011 I mailed two boxes of used books, each of which was light enough for one person to carry easily. I sent them from Oman back to Canada by the cheapest parcel post, no registration, no insurance. The cost was $180 Canadian. Later I had to use a car to get those books and bring them somewhere else in Canada. The cost of the gasoline was greater than the cost, a few years ago, of the books. Nothing is cheap anymore, even if there aren't many people who register all the implications of that fact. It's true that collapse is not essentially an economic matter, since economists live in an unreal universe, but the economics of daily life should at least act as a signal.

Then one must deal with the enigma of concrete farmland. Finding a place in the country is central to surviving the next few decades, but the best land for gardening is both crowded and expensive. To a very large extent, where we need to live is not where we can live.

Canada's province of Ontario serves as a good illustration of this bind, although my own years of living there are part of my reason for focusing on that area. Roughly speaking, the province has 13 million people and 1 million km2 of area. But the province is commonly regarded as consisting of "northern Ontario" and "southern Ontario," more or less divided by the 45th parallel. Northern Ontario is about six times larger than the south. The division reflects many things, all interrelated. Partly it is history: the south was the area first settled by Europeans. Partly it is geology: northern Ontario is part of the Canadian Shield, mostly barren rock. Partly it is population: in contrast to area, the population of the tiny south is 12 times larger than that of the north. And partly it is agricultural: nearly all the good farmland is also south of latitude 45. To get to most of that usable land, one would have to dig up a fair amount of asphalt and concrete. Yes, there are pockets of farmland still in use, but to buy a few hectares one would have to pay a considerable price.

One of my own favorite computer games, therefore, has been to wade through the maps of the Canada Land Inventory, created from the 1960s to the 1980s (again, a sign of lost abundance) and now almost unobtainable. I compare these maps of agricultural and hunting land to the properties available at real-estate Web sites. I also compare them to various forms of demographic data, in particular to information on unemployment and depopulation; in a sense, I am profiting from the misfortunes of others: parts of Saskatchewan and the East Coast are losing population because of emigration to the relatively wealthier provinces. As a result, however, some usable land becomes available to intrepid "survivalists" with their shovels and hoes and collections of doomsday literature.

A constructive, non-fatalistic response to what I call "the coming chaos" might also include a reading of three particular documents by Ferguson, Lee, and Pimentel, on the topics of foraging, farming, and the social consequences. I prefer them to hundreds of other books and documents that present various viewpoints on those topics.

In "Energy Flows in Agricultural and Natural Ecosystems," Pimentel explains, among other things, some of the basic facts that would underlie any practical form of agriculture that does not rely on fossil fuels -- although, yes, any form of agriculture is ultimately destructive to the soil. Much of what he says is contrary to the conventional wisdom (or nonsense) offered by armchair gardeners, particularly in terms of the amount of land needed. Pimentel's article is rather brief and dry, but it provides a good starting point for any realistic appraisal of the limited agriculture that will be possible in the coming decades.

Ferguson's "Birth of War" is the best response I have seen to Hobbe's dictum that human life in early times was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." I think my recommendation of Ferguson's article is not on the basis of my own preconceptions or prejudices, because for a long time my reading was based on the assumption that Hobbes was right.

Lee's article, "What Hunters Do for a Living," like those of Pimentel and Ferguson, can be juxtaposed by many writings that make the opposite claim, or at least lead to opposite conclusions. That is to say, there are writers, including professional anthropologists, who basically assert that a foraging (hunter-gatherer) life is one of hard labor and near-starvation. Again, though, I should explain that my own more-optimistic conclusions come after a lengthy examination of the opposing theories. I eventually came to agree with Lee's statement (on his first page) that "with a few conspicuous exceptions, the hunter-gatherer subsistence base is at least routine and reliable and at best surprisingly abundant."

3. Collapse -- The Practical Paradigms

The entire global economy is collapsing, although very few people are aware of this: mainly the very rich and the highly educated. By understanding this, one becomes a member of the illuminati oneself, or if not at least an enlightened refugee.

The word "economy," however, is a misnomer, because economics is based on a misconception, like alchemy or astrology. Economists think everything can be explained in terms of money, which is seen as a closed system, perfect and eternal, like pure mathematics. What is happening, though, is not a closed system: the decline in natural resources, especially petroleum, and conversely the terrible rise in global population. It is a once-only event.

The decline in resources cannot be remedied. Those who believe in windmills and solar panels are closing their eyes to all questions of scale. Unfortunately we live in an age in which it is considered more important to have an opinion than to have an education.

Truth is another scarce resource: in particular, no one should trust television. A TV set is a machine for spreading lies, like the manure spreader behind a tractor. TV is controlled by an ever-shrinking number of corporations, and its goal is neither to inform nor to entertain, but to make profits. This is done by censoring the fundamental truths, and by depicting human society as a sitcom of seven billion characters, each of them too rich to be real and too mindless to be human. Yet we stare at the screen, longing for that illusory paradise, and then wander off to spend our hard-earned money -- hard to win, easy to lose.

Overpopulation is good for business. If a company in China or India can sell a product at a fraction of the price charged by an American company, that is because the cheaper product is based on what is virtually slave labor: the backbreaking misery of the poor.

The world is divided into a small number of the very rich and a much greater number of the poor. There is also the middle class, a vanishing breed who have neither the money of the rich nor the leisure of the poor.

Overpopulation is also correlated with crime (I mean "crime" in the usual sense of the word, although "white-collar crime" may be a greater evil). Contrary to its depiction on TV, there is nothing mysterious about crime. Anyone born in a poor neighborhood must occasionally break the law in order to survive. Prostitution, for example, is not an occult society: to a large extent, it is just a way of paying the rent.

As global society decays, those who plan wisely to survive and succeed must head for the hills, or if not the hills then the forest, the prairies, the seacoast. Nevertheless, for the next few years, until money as such is no longer the principal means of exchange, a little cash will probably still be necessary.

The most common mistake in such a transition "back to the land," therefore, is to recreate an urban house in an rural setting: the same house but with a greater distance to one's neighbor. One's cost of living has not changed, while one's income possibilities have droppped considerably. To renounce a modern income in order to break the ties to the collapsing global economy, one must also renounce "modern conveniences."

The future will be the Great Lurch Forward, crazier than Mao's Great Leap Forward and far deadlier. It will not be a mere extension of the American Dream, with fatuous executives guiding TV crews through a "green" domicile the size of a palace.

The transformation will be more than superficial. It will be psychological, philosophical, spiritual, and long-term, not technological and temporary. In the process, those who find the way must reconsider the ancient virtues, from fortitude to charity. They must recover their lost humanity, their identity as Homo sapiens, devoid of its plastic accoutrements. They must stop acting as if they were aliens on their own planet.

4. The Man Who Fell to Canada

The last leg was a tiny plane that left New York City and bounced down onto Halifax airport, at 10:00 p.m., on July 2, 2011. The taxi driver was Arabic, so we got along well. From Oman to Nova Scotia had meant three separate planes. I lost track of the number of hours because of the time zones, but I'd guess about 24 hours, crushed into an economy-class seat with little chance to sleep. But that left me dazed enough to get through five security checks: empty your pockets, remove your shoes and belt. The trick, of course, is to say as little as possible, keeping any dialogue bland and neutral. The questioning wasn't really aggressive, but it was still intrusive and disturbing. Strange how the USA devolved from liberty and equality into neo-nazism with a snap of the fingers. The Space Age died and became the Homeland Security Age.

There's a curious form of culture shock that accompanies returning to one's own country after long absence. I dose myself with Omani perfume on the airplane in lieu of taking a shower, then discover that Canada is now a "scent-free environment." I'm not only a dumb immigrant, I even smell like one. Never mind: I can still use my blue eyes to bully my way into getting priority service.

I brought a lot of dress clothes in case I end up looking for a job, but I'm still hoping that I can now completely retire. It's hard to say: the prices of everything seem ten times higher than when I was in Canada three years earlier. How can a sandwich cost five or ten dollars?

I'm not sure of the right metaphor for what I'm now doing. I don't know anybody in Nova Scotia, and I must therefore rely on my suitcase and my knapsack, both of which I had packed so carefully, opening them up to produce a car, a house, all the necessary plastic cards, and so on. The two containers are like an acorn that must become an oak, a spore that must become a mushroom, a space vehicle that must stick out its spidery legs and start collecting geological samples. My "return to the primitive" may be delayed for a while: I don't want to be recognized as a Luddite. But if all unfolds well, metaphorically and otherwise, I can one day relax and have a cup of tea at the edge of the ocean.

5. Last Days of the City

Like many other cities, Halifax, Nova Scotia is mostly a vast and somewhat ugly twilight zone, even if Lonely Planet Publications generally prefers the term "urban detritus." It has a tiny fashionable downtown area, mainly serving the affluent top 5 percent, but even that downtown has nothing resembling a "shopping center" -- "center" meaning "middle"; it's not easy to accomplish two tasks in one trip. Also, the public transit consists of about 60 bus routes, weaving and tangling, and even the locals don't seem to understand those routes. To some extent Halifax is dysfunctional because it is unsophisticated, but it is not an especially unusual city.

About 40 percent of Nova Scotia's population lives in Halifax. That's probably a fairly typical case of modern urbanization. Such a concentration of population may be useful in the sense that so many goods and services are available within a few hours' drive, but I can see how anyone not tied to a job might prefer to avoid such centralization, because what it really means is congestion. I would guess that many people who have either the money or the leisure to make choices would prefer an environment that is not a 24-hour-a-day traffic jam.

Because there is no common sense to the way things are located, nothing at "pedestrian scale" (as if pedestrians were a subspecies), Canada is probably one of the worst countries in the world in terms of forcing one to buy a car. Although it goes against my Luddite and primitivist principles, not to mention my bank account, I think I myself must now concentrate on getting a car, having just returned to this land. Then I will try to get out of the "urban detritus" of Halifax and take to the road for a while, hoping I can find that little cottage with the white picket fence. After all, it was the non-urban that drew me back here.

Canada has also become terribly addicted to electronics. Unless one is a homeless panhandler, there seems no way to live comfortably in a city without electronic communcation devices and a car. We live in an ocean of electronics, although not one person in a million could adequately describe the workings of any one of those gadgets. ("Don't own anything you can't personally repair.")

I'm almost inclined to accept Tainter's theory that our civilization will collapse from excess complexity. I'm sure overpopulation and resource-consumption are the main issue, but complexity certainly comes in there. My attempt to negotiate Heathrow and (far worse) JFK airports taught me that we all live in a teeth-grinding environment threatened by gridlock.

Perhaps above all, though, it is roads that are both the archetype and the metaphor for the problem: no matter how fast we build our ill-named "freeways," it is only a matter of time before they are clogged. The day will come when we will start turning off the engines and walking away.

6. Collapse -- The Enigma of Town and Country

In these early years of systemic collapse, as population soars and petroleum and other natural resources go into decline, the question is not so much "how" to live one's life, but "where." At the risk of oversimplification, the question can be reduced to the common term "town and country," or more accurately "city and wilderness and a few points in between." There are good arguments for various choices, although I shall not consider suburbia, which in the future will entail the worst of everything, in particular great expense and a total reliance on automobiles.

Pure wilderness is tempting. The Cochrane Southwest Unorganized Area, in northern Ontario, for example, consists of 553 km2 and a population of zero. There would be no serious problems with water, firewood, game, and fish, and probably even arable land. Once a house or cabin had been built, money would be almost unnecessary; all houses in Canada must adhere to the Canada Building Code, which requires electricity and plumbing, which in turn require money, but in remote locations there is less enforcement of these laws. And a time will come when no laws will be enforced. The long, harsh winter would be the main drawback, requiring the cutting and stacking of a great deal of wood. In addition, such a location would only suit a physically fit person who enjoyed long-term solitude. Another catch with wilderness life is that the distance to any settled area is so great that it cannot easily be covered without a motorized vehicle; if a long journey were ever necessary, the "simple life" might no longer be simple.

On the other hand, in a world with diminishing fossil fuels an argument could be made in favor of living in the center of a big city. The public transit system might be good enough that there is no reason for buying a car. For that matter, one can generally get anything needed simply by walking. Renting an apartment may be better than buying a house; why spend thousands of dollars on a house if one has no intention of reselling it later or passing it on to one's descendants? The most common disadvantage of such a location may be the problem of noisy neighbors. A longer-term and more serious danger is that the center of a city is "ground zero" for any form of systemic collapse when it has truly arrived: food, water, fuel, and electricity would suddenly vanish. Cities have always been the weak spots in any form of widespread disaster.

Between those two extremes might be a location in a small town, or on the outskirts of one. An ideal property might be one that had a few hectares of land for vegetable gardening and for the sustainable harvesting of firewood, and with a well or at least a river for supplying fresh water. House prices and property taxes in such rural areas are much lower than those in a city, although higher than those in more remote locations. Shops, doctors' offices, and post offices might be within walking distance. The company of good neighbors might be valuable, especially in times of trouble. There might be electrical power, and perhaps even a municipal water supply, although all these "mod cons" defeat one's purpose of disconnecting from a collapsing economy. The main advantage of small towns is that, although they can sometimes be hit by the same kinds of shortages as cities, they are generally more self-sufficient.

As with pure wilderness, small towns can nevertheless present the irony that the distances make the use of motorized vehicles quite addictive: this problem is caused largely by the fact that modern small towns often replicate "urban sprawl." In earlier centuries, towns and villages had a radial structure, with the houses and shops in the center and the farmland at the perimeter, allowing greater self-sufficiency with less traveling.

In a rather complex manner, there is a further touch of irony, if not a genuine self-contradiction, in "getting away from it all." The most visible aspect of systemic collapse is the disappearance of one's own finances: the frightening imbalance between one's expenses and one's earnings, even after cutting back on what used to seem necessities -- everything from gasoline to education now seems an unaffordable luxury. Abstract theories of either economics or ecology seem tangential when staring at one's empty wallet. The irony is that by leaving the city one might be dealing both with smaller earnings and with smaller expenses, but at the same ratio: if the ratio is not changed, no advantage has been gained. Rural poverty and urban poverty are thereby the same, merely on different scales. Any genuine solution must therefore include shifting that balance. Eventually the money economy will collapse, and those who live furthest from the cities will do best: in general it was farming families who managed to get by during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It's the waiting that may kill us. The problem is not that the global economy is collapsing, but that it is not collapsing fast enough.

There is a final matter to consider: particularly in the affluent West, most people have lost the ability to make choices about the future. We neither know nor care what the next few decades may bring. We may have some vague intimation of storm clouds on the horizon, but our fears are quickly dispelled by the glib fantasies of the mainstream news-media. We must start to give up our computers, cars, and other toys, before we have forgotten how to live in a non-electronic world. We must rediscover how to live as a part of Nature, not in opposition to it.

7. Handy Hints for Turbulent Times

The following is a set of principles that might make it easier to deal, on a personal or individual level, with global issues arising in the first few decades of the twenty-first century. After that, there will be changes far more alien to our accustomed word-view: the demise of government and with it the end of money as a means of exchange.

* The present issues can be summarized by saying that oil, electricity, and metals are going into decline, and that as a result all other goods and services are also in decline. In terms of money, the general effect is "stagflation": stagnant incomes combined with increasing prices. The ultimate cause of all these issues is overpopulation.

* Dealing with the future requires two approaches: financial and non-financial.

* The first approach is to accumulate as much money as possible in the next few years and live on those savings. Of course, there is not so much "easy money" these days. One trick is to find a high-paying job that most people do not have the fortitude to accept.

* This financial approach means one must stop living in denial. In the first place, many people deny that they are short of money, while in reality their debt-to-asset ratio is atrocious: they are burdened with credit cards, mortgages, car payments, student loans, and so on. Secondly, many people are ashamed of their financial state and therefore keep it a secret; the same thing happened during the Great Depression. But this is absurd: If every family is poor, how can poverty be shameful?

* The non-financial approach is what the glossy magazines call "country living": learning how to provide oneself with food, clothing, and shelter in ways that do not involve being so connected to the global economy. These skills can vary greatly in the degree to which they are "pre-industrial" ("primitive"). The extreme approach would constitute going off into the bush with only a gun and an axe; less off-beat would be learning not to pick up a telephone and call for outside assistance every time something around the house needs a minor repair.

* The catch to the financial approach is that money is ephemeral, perhaps more so now than at any time in the past. To use a common expression, money nowadays is just dots on a screen; what do we do when we cannot see the dots? It can be rather frightening to consider that one's hard-earned life-savings are nothing but electronic impulses in a vast and complex network that nobody really understands.

* In general the word "electronic" should be a danger signal. Although modern industrial society is based on fossil fuels, it is not these but electricity that is the most fragile part of our way of life. Of all the really distinct stages of systemic collapse, the failure of electricity will be the first to arrive. The great blackout of northeastern North America in August 2003, among others, was an warning of things to come. Also, most people have forgotten that in the 1960s the extreme sensitivity of computers to electronic impulses (EMP) from nuclear weapons was recognized as a serious weakness. Our dependence on electronics becomes greater with each passing year: anyone without a mobile phone and a laptop computer is ostracized, alienated from middle-class society.

* Acquiring independence from the industrial leviathan takes many forms. One good rule of thumb is that every time one learns to do something without spending money, one has acquired a new "survival skill." A related principle is, "Don't own anything you can't fix." Obviously the use of a mobile phone does not follow those two rules of thumb.

* We should keep in mind the old lie perpetuated by Marshall McLuhan: that the medium is the message. The Internet probably uses about 5 percent of the global electricity supply, and about 10 percent of the US supply, although nobody knows for sure. Yet there is an important distinction between data and information. Most of the data carried by the Internet could be deleted with no loss to our species. We can no longer distinguish between quantity and quality. In reality, "more, bigger, faster" just means "dumber, dumber, dumber." One should get rid of the TV set and try having a conversation.

* There are not many problems that cannot be solved with a good knapsack and a few mountains. A look down any city sidewalk will reveal another form of denial: that most human beings in modern society are fat, pale, and pimply. The future belongs to those who are both mentally and physically fit. As Marx and Engels said in a somewhat related context, you have nothing to lose but your chains.

8. The Year 2050

Looking back on the early 21st century from its midpoint, historians (of a sort) will regard it as the Age of Insanity. Who would believe that such a large proportion of the world's grain harvest would be turned into fuel for automobiles, each of which was a colossal example of inefficiency, a 1,000-kg metal vehicle with a single passenger? And who would believe that most newspapers would laud the efforts of "our peacekeeping forces," who marched into countries where they did not belong, committing acts which were blatantly offensive rather than defensive, all in the name of a euphemistic "hegemony"? Hadn't such thinking gone out with Adolf Hitler? And who would believe that the top mannequin, the President of the United States, would tell the citizens that the solution to multi-trillion-dollar debt was to go further into debt? And who would believe that the US would surrender its manufacturing to other countries, leaving itself nothing but a nation of service industries, oblivious to the fact that nobody wanted to be "serviced"? (And why does this word remind me of prostitution?) And who would believe that in a world literally dying of overpopulation, the topic would receive less coverage than a Hollywood divorce, since it was an issue that both the left and the right regarded as inconsequential?

The bookmakers will have had fun with World War III. In McMafia, Misha Glenny explains that in the Soviet bloc there was never such a thing as "law" in any normal sense of the word. Western concepts of law are very complex, very detailed, and they were built up over many centuries. The Communist equivalent for law was little more that bullying: what the boss said was about the closest thing to a law, and what his own boss said was an equally vague "law." Consequently, when the Soviet world fell apart, but had neither law nor law enforcement to fall back on, the so-called mafias filled the vacuum. Russia is therefore dissolving in anarchy. China's threat to the rest of the world will disappear as it loses all its resources: while the West believes China has its fingers into everything, the reality is that China is geographically almost identical to Canada but has about 40 times the population. China will be fatally short of rice, water, coal, and almost everything else. The only competitor with the US for "global hegemony," if some problems of cooperation can be solved, will be the cluster of Muslim countries. Unlike Westerners, many people in those countries know the oil is running out, and that they will have to nationalize everything before too many more American fortresses are built in their lands.

One great weakness of the West is the sad farce of democracy. It was always a wonderful idea, but the present concept of the "vote" now tends to undermine the whole effort. Some people say democracy is all about money: who can be bought, and for how much. Other people say it's based on power: one power group vs. another, one lobby group vs. another ("You take the model railroaders, we'll take the birdwatchers"). But "money" and "power" are basically the same thing. In its present form, in other words, democracy is merely a struggle for popularity; such matters as truth, freedom, and justice get lost in the brawling. At the same time, "communications technology" has become a misnomer, as the endless innovations are largely used to deceive the populace. The final blow is that democracy works smoothly only in small groups anyway, as the ancient Greeks could have told us. When the "voter" can no longer look the "politician" in the eye, it's inevitable that the liars will take over. "Dunbar's number" is 150, the maximum practical size for human association: with a population of 312 million, the US is far beyond that number, and China has never even bothered to be democratic.

There are people such as R.B. Ferguson who have good arguments for a sustainable global population of something like one million. That was the population about 10,000 years ago, just before agriculture was invented. Not only was agriculture detrimental to the land, but the resulting population explosion led to urbanization, which led to major socio-economic differences, which in turn led to warfare, and the overcrowding of the urban areas led to epidemics. That figure of one million would be 1/7,000 of the present population, or slightly more than the present population of Fiji. In the year 2050, when oil production falls to a small percentage of its present level and mechanized agriculture collapses, we won't need a doomsday virus to adjust those numbers. While the results will be horrifying, there will ultimately come a redemption of some sort: a little peace and quiet.

9. Back to the Land (but You First)

"Well, this is the end of civilization. What are we going to do about it?" My answer is always the same: "Move out to the country. You can't stop the collapse, but you can get away from it." At that point, however, the conversation itself collapses: all I'm getting is a blank stare. So the entire dialogue, brief and simple as it may be, has a flaw of some kind. It's a defect that neither of us, apparently, can quite explain. The silence isn't from dishonesty or secrecy, I would think, but merely from some sort of confusion, some problem that results from the complexity of the subject matter. Country living, it seems, is too expensive, too hard, too alien. Something like that.

Let's go over those issues one by one. But first I should say: it's not all hopeless. Many people do in fact make that transition. They tend to be people who've beat the game by going either above the rules or below them. People who have income or savings well above average can certainly move to the country, or perhaps have a second residence out in the country. Those who truly don't care about keeping up with the Joneses can also do all right.

With the first category, that of those who "go above the rules," I don't mean those who own an uninsulated summer cottage perched on a square yard of lakeside rock, squeezed in between two families with extremely loud children. It's true that owning a cottage of any sort puts you at a reasonable level of snobbery, but a lump of granite isn't going to provide you with the right to call yourself a true survivalist. No, by "above the rules" I mean you have what the real-estate brochures call "acreage." You have enough land that you can neither see nor hear the satanic offspring that your neighbors are raising.

By going "below the rules," on the other hand, I mean that you're single (most likely), you live in a shack, you ride a one-speed bicycle, and all your clothes were acquired second-hand. It's also fairly likely that you're young, since middle age has a way of whispering in your ear that what you're doing isn't "voluntary simplicity," it's the terrifying vacuum of poverty, and that anyone who lives like that is at least borderline mentally ill.

Another catch to country living, if you aren't born to it, is that it's too difficult. But that's not really the right word. It's too bewildering. I've just discovered, for example, that until quite recent times people didn't have the habit of bathing every day, or changing their clothes every day -- and that these habits are probably not even good for us in the first place. The Merk Manual of Medical Information tells me now that the solution to a problem of chronically itchy skin (as I've had for a long time) is to go easier on the soap and water, and avoid scrubbing the skin -- all the contrary of our general but misguided belief that "cleanliness is next to godliness." The point I'm getting at here is that the countryside has too much DIRT. The dirt of the countryside can send us into a tailspin of "culture shock." When I was running a market garden, one of my best customers stopped buying my baby potatoes when I told her that washing them before selling them was ruining the skins, and from now on I would simply let the potatoes dry somewhat and then lightly brush the dirt off. She couldn't accept the fact that vegetables grow in dirt. If your crops don't grow in the air, you can't sell them.

In a sense, the "country" no longer exists. Conversely we're locked in to the urban life. The world -- any part of the world -- has been taken over by civilization, so the difference between city and country isn't what it used to be. You can be at the top of a mountain, thinking about the Paleolithic, and a wealthy tourist with a high-powered rifle can come in over your shoulder by helicopter and shoot that grizzly bear you've been admiring. You can't get away because there is no "away." To a very a large extent, the extinction of the countryside is -- once again -- the fault of the money economy. (But, yes, ultimately overpopulation is to blame.) A trip to a hardware store can easily cost a thousand dollars. Even before that, having house inspectors look at a piece of property you like will also cost you a thousand dollars. The lawyer who handles the transaction will want another thousand. Need a new roof? Need to install gutters? Need a water heater, a sump pump, better plumbing, new windows or doors? You might as well go to your bank and ask them to give you a bundle of thousand-dollar bills, because you won't have any use for smaller denominations.

Of course, it's very easy to make the mistake of thinking you're living the "country" life when all you're doing is living in a "city" house with a greater distance between neighbors than your former colleagues have to accept. Your cost of living, in that case, is the same as in the city, but your income is probably far less. Part of the solution, therefore, is to lower your standards.

Sadly, it must be said that we're prisoners of the city. Big Brother has got us. There are transponders, motion detectors, and closed-circuit television cameras ensuring we don't escape. And the economy itself has certainly got us trapped in either downtown or suburbia: the guidelines may tell us that our debts shouldn't exceed our earnings, but who has the ability to keep even a single credit card in line? This is the age of inflation. No, even that is a euphemism, it's the age of stagflation: prices go up, but incomes stay down. We can't afford even a tent in the country, let alone a cottage.

For that matter, maybe the country never was the country. What happened to the back-to-the-landers in that great migration of the 1970s? Most of them went back to the city. Each of them now regards himself (or herself) as a "sadder but wiser man (or woman)." Very few of them stayed, and if they did it was only because they found themselves jobs with steady paychecks. The same is true today. There may well be a need for astrologers out in the countryside, but the income won't be enough to help you out when you're pushing your shopping cart up to a cash register in a hardware store. Before I bought my first house in the country, a local woman in a restaurant said, "Kids always move away. There's nothing here but Bell, Hydro, and the police." (Bell and Hydro are Canadianisms for telephone and electricity.) In other words, you're either getting your paycheck from "the government," which means in essence that those "rich, lazy city folks" are keeping you alive thorough their income taxes, or you're just out of luck. No, there's no employment office in an average village: if there are any jobs coming up, they always go to someone's cousin, and don't waste your breath trying to define "nepotism."

The problem of the nonexistent -- or at least, disappearing -- countryside certainly goes back a few years. Throughout my life, my favorite book has been Thoreau's Walden. I suppose it still is, but I no longer carry a copy. Partly that's because I have the book memorized and therefore have a permanent copy in my brain, but also it's because no one has ever given me a good answer to the question, "Why did Thoreau leave Walden?" He was there for only two years. If "the answer" was Walden, why didn't he spend his whole life there? Most studies of Thoreau say he left because his mentor Emerson offered him a sinecure, a place in the Emerson household as a sort of tutor or resident scholar. My own guess is quite different. During his first year he had an enormous garden, and he sold beans and other crops at the end of that year. He mentions, however, that he later thought it might be wiser to tend a much smaller piece of land, and to do it more for self-sufficiency than for money. He speaks of the "miles" of his bean field. My guess, in other words, is that he found it all too hard. He couldn't live without money, and although he never had much of an income he did have various skills, from surveying to lecturing, that paid more than beans.

But I'm still convinced that it can be done. There's nothing finer than to see a few perfectly straight rows of seedlings showing themselves above the ground. And there's nothing more evocative of the spirit of Nature than to watch, each spring, the shimmering whirlpools of a river in flood. Maybe I can even keep my Internet connection, so that I can stay in touch with distant friends of a similar mind, and we can convince one another that we may be crazy but we aren't stupid.

10. Doomers and Boomers

I keep trying to figure out how it is that doomers and boomers (or at least mere semi-doomers) have the same data but different totals. But maybe (a) they're not different totals and (b) maybe it's their half-full vs. my half-empty. We all seem to agree that there's a fair chance that oil production will stay somewhat flat for a while, and also that the next few years after that will probably see only a 2 percent average annual decline, or something like that, before going crazy. Of course, it's a sigmoid curve, and, as I discovered at age 12, when you're on your skis you can't turn around.

When I say "fair chance," of course, I'm excluding what might be called the Matt Simmons hypothesis, that some Middle Eastern countries are just lying through their teeth about how much oil they have left in the ground. If they are lying, it's time for each of us to start loading up the station wagon.

However, I was also thinking that another issue to consider (and maybe others have been thinking the same) is that if the next few years are "flat" and the ensuing years are only 2 percent, then why worry? Or, more precisely, why should you and I worry? We'll be dead by the time the S hits the F. Or as Louis XV said, "Apres nous, le deluge." After us, the deluge, so the hell with all those revolutionaries.

No, I'm not sarcastically hinting that it would be selfish not to care about the next generation. Or maybe I should say: I have mixed feelings. As far as I can tell, most Westerners under the age of 30 are mainly concerned about their tattoos. Also, the average American spends two and a half hours a day watching TV, which is basically a non-stop stream of little white lies, chopped into 5-second fragments. I'm not a neurophysiologist, but I suspect that a TV set has roughly the same effect on the human brain that a microwave oven has on an egg, even if only metaphorically speaking. So how many humans do I really want to save?

If the difference between the doomers and the boomers is a non-issue -- I mean, between the members of the two groups who have looked closely and carefully at the data -- then it may be that "getting out of Dodge" is also a non-issue. I've certainly had no luck getting my geriatric friends to study the Peterson Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, and my guess for today is that they assume that the deluge will only happen long after they're safely dead.

11. Sermons in Stones

I've been trying to figure out why my "back to the land" sermon usually falls on deaf ears. I'm getting some answers, but it gets complicateder and complicateder. I suppose the question dates back several years, when a friend in England was preaching the same thing, and most people (even among those closely following "peak oil" and similar problems) were really not listening to him. In those days, the main reason was what might be called the religion of solar energy -- 5 or 10 years ago, it was a common belief that we would soon be back to Business as Usual, but with solar panels nailed to the roofs of our cars. (Sorry, it's hard not to be sarcastic.)

But to him, as to me, it was basic arithmetic. There was no way, with the colossal disproportion between global population and global decline in resources, that the world could ever hope for a return to anything like "normal." Like me, he tended to use the word "survivalist" to describe a person who predicted an inescapable global disaster and then outlined the steps for providing food, clothing, shelter, etc. for the few who could be saved. And it was certainly "few," partly because of that initial seven billion -- or, at least, it was then headed in that direction, and now it's well over that number. That's the population of rats in the world, not the population of wolves. There was no way that seven billion of anything could fit at the top of the food chain. (In fact, as a citizen of the UK, he was living in a country with a horrendous problem of overpopulation.) But it was also "few" because the overwhelming majority of human beings were not listening. That's still the case: far less than one percent of the world's population have read The Limits to Growth (1972) or any of the other books with similar messages. Probably far less than one percent of one percent.

I remember one Canadian friend once telling me, with great pride, that he'd written a letter about peak oil to his Member of Parliament. Ho hum.

Then someone whose opinion I always respect and trust said she enjoyed my article about the year 2050, but felt that it didn't offer any "closure." I had thought that by ending the article with a paragraph on the reduction of population from seven billion to ten million, I was getting about as "closed" as mathematically possible. But obviously there was still a problem.

Then I tried to describe the nitty-gritty of "survivalist" behavior, with all the tedious complexities of going back to the Simple Life that is sometimes not so simple, but that is in fact possible, since it's an empirical fact that people do live in rural areas -- and not only the people who've lived there for generations. I got only one response, but a positive one, and I was glad to hear that it was from someone who'd grown up on a farm.

Later I was told that my only advice was to "run away," when I should really be "engaging." That kind of behavior might leave me with my compatriot who'd cheerfully written to his MP. In any case, I don't feel that by sharing practical advice on rural living I am doing anything that constitutes either negativity or selfishness or any other form of non-engagement. On the contrary: far better to say "game over" and help others to survive than to go into business selling solar panels for car roofs. Or writing to MPs.

I don't like the word "survivalist," of course, because that brand name has already been taken by people who can barely handle English grammar, and who think every solution must include a detailed description of guns and ammunition. Well, OK, I'd rather have a few gun nuts on my side than someone who writes letters to MPs, but surely there must be some who can talk about what I call "beans and corn" and not just the mathematics of hydrocarbon decline. But that probably makes me come across as rather self-righteous: even if they're far too quiet about any solutions they've come up with, there are in fact many people who are practicing what they preach -- or even practicing instead of preaching. Most of them seem to live in the Republic of Cascadia, but there may even be a few out east here as well. (What is it, a secret handshake?) But the silence prevails. Oh, well, maybe I should take a vow of silence myself, since I want to buy land again and don't want to start a stampede and drive up the prices. Maybe Lao Tzu had it right 2,500 years ago, when he said, "Those who know do not speak."




Peter Goodchild

Author of Tumbling Tide: Population, Petroleum, and Systemic Collapse(London, Ontario: Insomniac Press, 2014)


          A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos        
A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos
author: Geraint F. Lewis
name: Manny
average rating: 4.28
book published:
rating: 4
read at: 2016/11/14
date added: 2016/12/19
shelves: multiverse, received-free-copy, science, linguistics-and-philosophy, well-i-think-its-funny, australia
review:
I came across Luke Barnes and his blog Letters to Nature when I was looking for expert commentary on New Atheist Victor Stenger's The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning, and was delighted to quote from him in my review. Now Barnes and his colleague Geraint Lewis have come out with their own book, which they wittily describe in the bibliography as "the antiparticle of Stenger's". There's no doubt as to who wins this fight. Stenger, who should be ashamed of himself, commits all the crimes that atheists like to lay at the door of their creationist enemies: he's rigid, dogmatic, humorless and startlingly dishonest. Barnes, in contrast, is scrupulous about sticking to the facts and not mentioning the G-word, as he disarmingly puts it, until he gets to the final chapter. Even then, he follows tradition and presents his case as a dialogue between himself and (as far as I can see, non-theist) coauthor. I'm raising his hand in triumph above the supine body of his opponent. It's Barnes, by a knockout.

For the benefit of people who came in halfway through this mini-epic, let me recap. The "Fine Tuning Problem", which has now been around for over forty years, is the claim that the laws of Nature appear to be carefully adjusted in order to make life possible. The basic ideas have been presented in several earlier popularisations, notably Rees's Just Six Numbers and Davies's The Goldilocks Enigma; but these books, unfortunately, didn't go into enough detail and failed to make the case as convincing as it could have been. Lewis and Barnes (henceforth, L&B) have been defending fine tuning for some time in both academic and public forums, and demonstrate fingertip familiarity with all the issues. They know where the most convincing evidence is; they also know how to answer all the standard objections.

The problem is that the best line of argument, the relative masses of the different quarks and leptons, is also one of the most technical ones, but L&B have found good ways to explain what's going on. Everything we see is made of protons, neutrons and electrons, and there are also vast numbers of invisible, very light neutrinos constantly streaming through us. The masses of the proton and the neutron are determined by the masses of the up and down quarks. It turns out that there are numerous strong constraints on the different masses. If things are pushed a little bit in one direction, you get a universe where there are only neutrons; in another, you get nothing but an exotic particle which in our real universe is very unstable; in a third direction, all the hydrogen gets used up in the first few minutes of the Big Bang and there is nothing left to power stars; in a fourth, too much mass leaks away from the initial concentrations and galaxies never form.

When you put it all together, there's hardly anything left, just a tiny area of the graph where we fortuituously happen to find ourselves. It is indeed mysterious. Of course, you can pick at this argument, and L&B devote a whole chapter to the numerous responses. Yes, it's hard to define exactly what life is and there are borderline cases like viruses, but this isn't the point. Nearly all the universes ruled out by the constraints are so fantastically inhospitable that the borderline cases are irrelevant. No life remotely like ours is going to exist in a universe that consists entirely of huge black holes, or of a thin soup of protons in which each particle is separated by trillions of light-years from its nearest neighbor. And yes, it is conceivable that there are forms of life totally unlike ours, but until someone at least suggests an in-principle mechanism by which such lifeforms could function, it's science-fiction rather than science. Lacking such creative suggestions, it seems quite reasonable to assume that life requires chemistry based on carbon, the only atom which allows formation of large, structured molecules. This creates further constraints, and makes our universe even more special.

My personal sympathies lie more in the atheist direction, but I think L&B are doing something admirable here. It doesn't matter that fine tuning is currently popular with theists like Francis S. Collins (The Language of God) or Richard Swinburne (Is There a God?). It doesn't matter that one of them (Barnes) appears to be a theist himself. What matters is that they're doing their best to look impartially at the evidence and see where it leads them. They are in good company. William Paley's carefully observed Natural Theology inspired Darwin to discover evolution; Georges Lemaître, with his clever interpretation of Hubble's redshift measurements, provided the initial basis for the Big Bang theory. In both cases, good scientists who happened to be theists got a subject moving in a new and fabulously productive direction because they were not afraid to say they'd found something strange that needed an explanation. We don't know if fine tuning is going to be equally successful. But it's always nice to see people who think data is more important than political correctness.


          "Oxford and Cambridge Magazine " explored by David Taylor        

Dr David Taylor, Hon. Research Fellow, University of Roehampton; and Project Archivist, Lushington Archive, Surrey History Centre, gave a fascinating Morris-related talk at the "Places, Spaces, and the Victorian Periodical Press" conference at the University of Delaware. Here's the abstract for the talk, which is called "Dreaming Spires and Radical Roots, Oxford in the 1850s: Godfrey Lushington and the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine."

"The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine appeared in 1856. It was founded by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones while both were students at Oxford University. They were joined in the venture by other undergraduates including the twins Vernon and Godfrey Lushington who became disciples of Auguste Comte and leading advocates of Positivism and the Religion of Humanity.

Although always known and recognised for their role in the attempt to spread Positivism during the second half of the nineteenth century, the Lushington brothers remained shadowy figures until my recent acquisition of the important Lushington family archive. My resulting doctoral thesis and ongoing work cataloguing the papers, is bringing the Lushingtons more to the fore of the stage in the cultural and intellectual world of the fin-de-siècle.

Whilst Vernon Lushington was busy at Cambridge attempting to win converts for Comte (and taking time to introduce Burne Jones to Rossetti, thereby setting in motion the development of the second phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement), Godfrey was at Oxford where he fell in with Morris and other like-minded students.

The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine was devised by Morris and his friends as a successor to the short-lived Pre-Raphaelite periodical, The Germ. The enthusiastic students formed a 'Brotherhood' to take up the ideals of Rossetti, Holman Hunt, Millais and others who formed the original Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  But the new 'Brotherhood' was not to be an imitation of The Germ. Its aim, in the words of Burne- Jones, was to be as a weapon in a 'Crusade and Holy Warfare against the age,' meaning specifically the appalling conditions of life in the great industrial areas and the indifference toward them of the upper classes, and more broadly the lack of idealism in contemporary society. In addition to the original P.R.B., the inspirers of the new group were Carlyle, Ruskin and Tennyson.

The twelve numbers of the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine that appeared in print, first under Morris’s editorship and financial backing, were conceived with the 'central notion' 'to advocate moral earnestness and purpose in literature, art, and society.' It was in this magazine that some of Morris’s first writings appeared together with contributions of verses by Rossetti. The names of contributors of individual essays are not printed leading to much debate as to attribution of authorships. I have been fortunate to acquire Vernon Lushington’s own bound copies of the magazine in which he has added the names of many of the contributors against the essay titles. From this we know that the essay on Oxford was by his brother Godfrey. In fact this was Godfrey’s sole contribution; Vernon contributing a series of essays on Carlyle which form an important, early, critique of the great prophet of the age.

Godfrey Lushington’s essay is not another eulogy on the glories of Oxford. He makes the point of the essay at the outset by quoting from Carlyle’s Life of Sterling, 'Alas, the question of University Reform goes deep at present; deep as the world; - and the real University of these epochs is yet a great was from us.'

Reform ran deep in the veins of the Lushingtons. Their father had been a Whig MP with advanced ideas who supported the Reform Bill of 1832 and who strove for the abolition of slavery and other social ills. The call for University Reform voiced by Lushington in the
Oxford and Cambridge Magazine amounted to an attack on the 'social position' and the 'classed space' that the universities represented at this time. The demands surprisingly came from young radicals such as Lushington and his brother who were themselves members of the very same privileged elite he was criticising.
Matthew Arnold, coincidentally a friend and neighbour of Vernon Lushington, elevated Oxford to a 'sweet city with her dreaming spires'. Drawing upon the resources of newly discovered archive, I will look at the radical roots which lay beneath the veneer of Oxford’s romantic façade in the middle years of the nineteenth-century. I will consider the background of Lushington’s attack on the university system and the role that the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine in giving voice to that attack and its effectiveness in bringing about the changes that ultimate followed.  I will also show the importance of the magazine as a launching place for the pursuit of reform which can be traced throughout the brothers’ professional careers in the civil service and the judiciary. "

To contact the author about his work, email: david@taylorcobham.co.uk / davidcharles.taylor@surreycc.gov.uk





          Astronomers create first realistic virtual universe        

A newly-developed computer simulation has created the first realistic version of the Universe, enabling researchers to understand how galaxies, black holes and other cosmic phenomena evolved from early in the Universe’s development up to the present day.

The simulation, known as Illustris, follows the complex development of both normal and dark matter over 13 billion years, matching many of the features observed in the real Universe for the first time.

Developed by an international team of researchers, Illustris tracks the development of the Universe from 12 million years after the Big Bang up to the present, and identified more than 41,000 galaxies in a cube of simulated space 350 million light years on each side. The results are reported in the May 8th issue of the journal Nature.

Over the past two decades, researchers have been attempting to build accurate computer simulations of the development of the Universe, using computer programs which are capable of encapsulating all the relevant laws of physics governing the formation of galaxies.

Previous attempts to simulate the universe were hampered by lack of computing power and the complexities of the underlying physics. As a result those programs either were limited in resolution, or forced to focus on a small portion of the universe. Earlier simulations also had trouble modelling complex feedback from star formation, supernova explosions, and supermassive black holes.

Illustris employs a sophisticated computer program to recreate the evolution of the universe in high fidelity. It includes both normal matter and dark matter using 12 billion 3D “pixels,” or resolution elements.

Illustris yields a realistic mix of spiral galaxies like the Milky Way and giant elliptical galaxies. It also recreated large-scale structures like galaxy clusters and the bubbles and voids of the cosmic web.

The team dedicated five years to developing the Illustris project. The actual calculations took three months of run time, using a total of 8,000 CPUs running in parallel. In comparison, the same calculations would have taken an average desktop computer more than 2,000 years to complete.

“Until now, no single simulation was able to reproduce the Universe on both large and small scales simultaneously,” says lead author Dr Mark Vogelsberger of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, who conducted the work in collaboration with researchers at the University of Cambridge, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies.

“The Illustris simulation is a remarkable technical achievement,” said Dr Debora Sijacki of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy, one of the paper’s co-authors. “It shows us for the first time how the bewildering variety of galaxies and the supermassive black holes at their centres have formed.”

Since light travels at a fixed speed, the farther away astronomers look, the farther back in time they can see. A galaxy one billion light-years away is seen as it was a billion years ago. Telescopes like Hubble can give us views of the early Universe by looking to greater distances. However, astronomers can’t use Hubble to follow the evolution of a single galaxy over time.

“Illustris is like a time machine. We can go forward and backward in time. We can pause the simulation and zoom into a single galaxy or galaxy cluster to see what’s really going on,” said co-author Dr Shy Genel of Harvard University.

A selection of videos and imagery from the project are available online at www.illustris-project.org.

Story adapted from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics press release.

Astronomers have created the first realistic virtual simulation of the Universe, tracking 13 billion years of cosmic evolution.

It shows us for the first time how the bewildering variety of galaxies and the supermassive black holes at their centres have formed
Dr Debora Sijacki
Large scale projection through Illustris, centered on the most massive cluster, 70 million light years away. Dark matter density (left) is transitioning to gas density (right).

The text in this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you use this content on your site please link back to this page. For image rights, please see the credits associated with each individual image.

Yes

          Moments in Morocco with Lee-Ann Curren        

This past Winter, LeeAnn Curren traded chilly French breaks for warmer waters in the sleepy fishing town of Taghazout, Morocco. As a popular annual migration for many salty Europeans, the West African nation offers some of the most perfect right hand breaks, although with waves labelled - Mysteries, Killers and Dracula’s (for its razor sharp teeth like rocks below the surface) you might think twice before paddling out. Forget about the Souks and the Sahara, make your way to the rugged Moroccan coast for some incredible surf.


We caught up with Lee-Ann recently to hear more about her adventure, what we can expect from her band Betty the Shark this year, and where her board will take her to next.


Tell us about your trip to Taghazout, Morocco.

Taghazout is probably the main destination for Europeans in Winter, as Mexico is for Californians. It's warm, often offshore and just a short plane ride away. We met up with my friend Tom at the hotel he works at (Paradis Plage) and he took us surfing everywhere. My favorite moment was when we surfed perfect Dracula’s for a few hours, and when we came in starving we went straight for an Oreo milkshake in Taghazout with a few local friends.

Moments in Morocco with Lee-Ann Curren

What are your plans for this year?

This year my plans are to surf a lot and try to evolve my surfing by riding different boards and opening my mind when it comes to surfing. I've realized that being a free-surfer you have to learn to surf differently and have a beautiful approach to every wave you ride, so alongside my high performance boards I want to get a quiver that allows me to change my approach. Also my band will be taking up a lot of my time, as we are planning to release a new EP this year followed by an album. All I can say is we are playing with space sounds and disco grooves, and that the music has a lot of love in it.

Moments in Morocco with Lee-Ann Curren

Moments in Morocco with Lee-Ann Curren

What can we expect from you band, Betty the Shark, this year?

So the plan is to release some really good music videos (the first one is due in June), get some good remixes and create a real universe around our music. We have a lot to say and we want people to hear it when it comes out :) Play as many gigs as we can, and release our EP in September. We'll see where we go from there! Stay tuned by following us on Facebook

Moments in Morocco with Lee-Ann Curren

Moments in Morocco with Lee-Ann Curren

Follow Lee-Ann’s adventures by following her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook


          Our Photovoltaic Future: the Next Five Billion Years        
As part of a series of posts on photovoltaic energy as a metabolic revolution of the earth's ecosystem, I am reproposing a post that I published last year on "Cassandra's Legacy" with the title "Five Billion Years of Energy Supply". 



It seems to be popular nowadays to maintain that photovoltaic energy is just an "extension" of fossil energy and that it will fade away soon after we run out of fossils fuels. But photovoltaics is much more than just a spinoff of fossil energy, it is a major metabolic revolution in the ecosystem, potentially able to create a "stereosphere" analogous to the "biosphere" that could last as long as the remaining lifetime of the earth's ecosystem and possibly much more. Here are some reflections of mine, not meant to be the last word on the subject, but part of an ongoing study that I am performing. You can find more on a similar subject in a paper of mine on Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, (BERQ)






"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest," is a sentence attributed to Albert Szent-Györgyi. It is true: the basis of organic life as we know it is the result of the energy flow generated by photosynthesis. Sunlight promotes an electron to a high energy state in the molecule of chlorophyll. Then, the excited electron comes to rest when a CO2 molecule reacts with hydrogen stripped away from an H2O molecule in order to form the organic molecules that are the basis of biological organisms. That includes replacing degraded chlorophyll molecules and the chloroplasts that contain them with new ones. The cycle is called "metabolism" and it has been going on for billions of years on the earth's surface. It will keep going as long as there is sunlight to power it and there are nutrients that can be extracted from the environment. 

But, if life means using light to excite an electron to a higher energy state, there follows that chlorophyll is not the only entity that can do that. In the figure at the beginning of this post, you see the solid state equivalent of a chlorophyll molecule: a silicon-based photovoltaic cell. It promotes an electron to a higher energy state; then this electron finds rest after having dissipated its potential by means of chemical reactions or physical processes. That includes using the potentials generated to manufacturing new photovoltaic cells and the related structures to replace the degraded ones. In analogy with the biological metabolism, we could call this process "solid state metabolism". Then, the similarities between the carbon-based metabolic chain and the silicon-based one are many. So much that we could coin the term "stereosphere" (from the Greek term meaning "solid.") as the solid-state equivalent of the well known "biosphere". Both the biosphere and the stereosphere use solar light as the energy potential necessary to keep the metabolic cycle going and they build-up metabolic structures using nutrients taken from the earth's surface environment.

The main nutrient for the biosphere is CO2, taken from the atmosphere, while the stereosphere consumes SiO2, taking it from the geosphere. Both metabolic chains use a variety of other nutrients: the stereosphere can reduce the oxides of metals such as aluminum, iron, and titanium, and use them as structural or functional elements in their metallic form; whereas the biosphere can only use carbon polymers. The biosphere stores information mostly in specialized carbon-based molecules called deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA). The stereosphere stores it mostly in silicon-based components called "transistors". Mechanical enactors are called "muscles" in the biosphere and are based on protein filaments that contract as a consequence of changing chemical potentials. The equivalent mechanical elements in the stereosphere are called "motors" and are based on the effects of magnetic fields on metallic elements. For each element of one of these systems, it is possible to find a functional equivalent of the other, even though their composition and mechanisms of operation are normally completely different.

A major difference in the two systems is that the biosphere is based on microscopic self-reproducing cells. The stereosphere, instead, has no recognizable cells and the smallest self-reproducing unit is something that could be defined as the "self-reproducing solar plant factory." A factory that can build not only solar plants but also new solar plant factories. Obviously, such an entity includes a variety of subsystems for mining, refining, transporting, processing, assembling, etc. and it has to be very large. Today, all these elements are embedded in the system called the "industrial system." (also definable as the "technosphere"). This system is powered, at present, mainly by fossil fuels but, in the future, it would be transformed into something fully powered by the dissipation of solar energy potentials. This is possible as long as the flow of energy generated by the system is as large or larger than the energy necessary to power the metabolic cycle. This requirement appears to be amply fulfilled by current photovoltaic technologies (and other renewable ones).

A crucial question for all metabolic processes is whether the supply of nutrients (i.e. minerals) can be maintained for a long time. About the biosphere, evidently, that's the case: the geological cycles that reform the necessary nutrients are part of the concept of "Gaia", the homeostatic system that has kept the biosphere alive for nearly four billion years. About the stereosphere, most of the necessary nutrients are abundant in the earth's crust (silicon and aluminum being the main ones) and easily recoverable and recyclable if sufficient energy is available. Of course, the stereosphere will also need other metals, several of which are rare in the earth's crust, but the same requirement has not prevented the biosphere from persisting for billions of years. The geosphere can recycle chemical elements by natural processes, provided that they are not consumed at an excessively fast rate. This is an obviously complex issue and we cannot exclude that the cost of recovering some rare element will turn out to be a fundamental obstacle to the diffusion of the stereosphere. At the same time, however, there is no evidence that this will be the case.

So, can the stereosphere expand on the earth's surface and become a large and long-lasting metabolic cycle? In principle, yes, but we should take into account a major obstacle that could prevent this evolution to occur. It is the "Allee effect" well known for the biosphere and that, by similarity, should be valid for the stereosphere as well. The idea of the Allee effect is that there exists  a minimum size for a biological population that allows it to be stable and recover from perturbations. Too few individuals may not have sufficient resources and reciprocal interactions to avoid extinction after a collapse. In the case of the stereosphere, the Allee effect means that there is a minimum size for the self-reproducing solar plant factory that will allow it to be self-sustaining and long-lasting. Have we reached the "tipping point" leading to this condition? At present, it is impossible to say, but we cannot exclude that it has been reached or that it will be reached before the depletion of fossil fuels will bring the collapse of the current industrial system.

The next question is whether a self-sustaining stereosphere can coexist with the organic biosphere. According to Gause's law, well known in biology, two different species cannot coexist in the same ecological niche; normally one of the two must go extinct or be marginalized. Solid state and photosynthetic systems are in competition with each other for solar light. There follows that the stereosphere could replace the biosphere if the efficiency of solid state transduction systems were to turn out higher than that of photosynthetic systems. But this is not obvious. PV cells today appear to be more efficient than photosynthetic plants in terms of the fraction of solar energy processed but we need to consider the whole life cycle of the systems and, at present, a reliable assessment is difficult. We should take into account, anyway, that solid state creatures don't need liquid water, don't need oxygen, are not limited to local nutrients, and can exist in a much wider range of temperatures than biological ones. It means that the stereosphere can expand to areas forbidden to the biosphere: dry deserts, mountaintops, polar deserts, and more. Silicon based creatures are also scarcely affected by ionizing radiation, so they can survive in space without problems. These considerations suggest that the stereosphere may occupy areas and volumes where it is not in direct competition with the biosphere.

The characteristics of the stereosphere also allow it the capability of surviving catastrophes that may deeply damage the biosphere and that will eventually cause its extinction. For instance, the stereosphere could survive an abrupt climate change (although not a "Venus Catastrophe" of the kind reported by James Hansen). Over the long run, in any case, the earth's biosphere is destined to be sterilized by the increasing intensity of the solar irradiation over times of the order of a billion years. (and smaller for multicellular organisms). The stereosphere would not be affected by this effect and could continue existing for the five billion of years in which the sun will remain in the main sequence. Possibly, it could persist for much longer, even after the complex transformations that would lead the sun to become a white dwarf. A white dwarf could, actually power PV systems perhaps for a trillion years!

A more detailed set of considerations of mine on a related subject can be found in this article on "Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, BERQ). 


Notes: 

1. I am not discussing here whether the possible emergence of the stereosphere is a good or a bad thing from the viewpoint of humankind. It could give us billions of years of prosperity or lead us to rapid extinction. It seems unlikely, anyway, that humans will choose whether they want to have it or not on the basis of rational arguments while they still have the power to decide something on the matter. 

2. The concept of a terrestrial metabolic system called the stereosphere is not equivalent, and probably not even similar, to the idea of the "technological singularity" which supposes a very fast increase of artificial intelligence. The "self-reproducing solar plant factory" needs not be more intelligent than a bacterium; it just needs to store a blueprint of itself and instructions about replication. Intelligence is not necessarily useful for survival, as humans may well discover to their chagrin in the near future.

3. About the possibility of a photovoltaic-powered Dyson sphere around a white dwarf, see this article by Ibrahim Semiz and Salim O˘gur.

4. The idea of "silicon-based life" was popularized perhaps for the first time by Stanley Weinbaum who proposed his "Pyramid Monster" in his short story "A Martian Odissey" published in 1933. Weinbaum's clumsy monster could not exist in the real universe, but it was a remarkable insight, nevertheless. 








          #453 Part 1: Pokemon Ghostbusters        


Guests: We got birthday boy Benecide and his boy Dorian in the building!

Pokemon GO: You just can't get away from Pokemon Go, it is taking over! Where is Mike at with it? We also dip into some of the new stories surrounding the phenom.

Ghostbusters: Jim saw the new Ghostbusters movie, is he a misogynist piece of shit?! Lets find out.

HILLARY CLINTON!, POKEMON GO!, GO TO THE POLLS!, GIVE IT TO ME!, BABOW!, TURKEY COUP!, REVIEWS!, FLASHBACKS!, BEN!, BENECIDE!, DORIAN!, MILWAUKEE!, BIRTHDAY!, RACIST!, BLACK DUDES!, SWORN IN!, NEGRO CARD!, ETIQUETTE!, RULES!, POPPING OFF!, RACE WAR!, POKEMON GO!, APP!, GAME!, SOCIAL!, MECHANICS!, LEVEL 5!, GYM!, BATTLES!, FOUNDATION!, TEAMS!, VALOR!, INSTINCT!, TEAM HARMONY!, EXERCISE!, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!, THE PARK!, POKESTOPS!, PAY!, REQUESTS!, YELP!, POKEMON GO SEARCH FILTER!, T-MOBILE!, UBER!, ALEX JONES!, INFOWARS!, REAL UNIVERSE!, SECOND LIFE!, WORLD OF WARCRAFT!, INDUCT!, MOON!, SUN!, SCREEN TIME!, IQ!, POKYMON!, HEALTH!, FORESTS!, BITS!, CHARACTER!, STABBING!, ROBBED!, MISSION!, REAL LIFE BATTLE!, CHILD MOLESTER!, MURDERER!, FREEZE!, GLITCHES!, HILLARY CLINTON!, POLLS!, GHOSTBUSTERS!, KRISTEN WIIG!, MELISSA MCCARTHY!, PAUL FEIG!, LESLIE JONES!, KATE MCKINNON!, WRITING!, EFFECTS!, MURPH DIRT!, REBOOT!, REBOOTQUEL!, HOMAGE!, CAMEOS!, BILL MURRAY!, DAN AYKROYD!, ERNIE HUDSON!, SLIMER!, HAROLD RAMIS!, RICK MORANIS!, ANNIE POTTS!, ROWAN!, JOE BERRY!, REVIEW!, SPOILERS!, RANDOM!, STEVE CARELL!, ANCHORMAN!, FACES!, WINKS!, DANCING!, CHRIS HEMSWORTH!, DUMB!, RETARDED!, SANDWICH!, RHYTHM!, DEFENDING!, BATTLE!, LONELY NERD!, PLAN!, CONVOLUTED!, LESBIAN!, GIRL POWER!, FAUX IMPROV!, OZZY!, SHARON!, THE WORST!, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES!, SECRET OF THE OOZE!, VANILLA ICE!, JUDD APATOW!, FREAKS AND GEEKS!, MAN OF STEEL!, KNOCKING DOWN BUILDINGS!, SHOT IN THE DICK!, TAGGER!, ARTIST!, SUBWAY!, GALLERY!, BANKSY!, ZUUL!, GOZER!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD JIM AND THEM #453 PART 1 RIGHT HERE!