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Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
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400ky of atmospheric CO2
Natural CO2 levels oscillate between
180 and 280 ppm every 120,000 years
  1. War Pigs

    Generals gathered in their masses ° Just like witches at black masses ° Evil minds that plot destruction ° Sorcerer of death's construction ° In the fields, the bodies burning ° As the war machine keeps turning ° Death and hatred to mankind ° Poisoning their brainwashed minds ° Oh lord, yeah!

    Politicians hide themselves away ° They only started the war ° Why should they go out to fight? ° They leave that role to the poor, yeah
    ° Time will tell on their power minds ° Making war just for fun ° Treating people just like pawns in chess ° Wait till their judgement day comes, yeah!

    Now in darkness, world stops turning ° Ashes where their bodies burning ° No more war pigs have the power ° Hand of God has struck the hour ° Day of judgement, God is calling ° On their knees, the war pigs crawling ° Begging mercy for their sins ° Satan laughing, spreads his wings ° Oh lord, yeah!

  2. I have always been pro-nuclear power but this podcast demonstrates how politics will usually make a crisis worse.
    (1) Putting Three Mile Island off to the side for a moment, I recall reading an article in Scientific American back in 1986-87 claiming that political interference was the original reason for the cause of the  Chernobyl disaster (Russian engineers were ordered to test the reactor with safety systems disabled). That crisis was made worse when Russian politicians first denied that an accident had occurred then minimized the extent of the damage.
    (2) This is another example of why the PRAGMA of science, technology, or engineering must never mix with the DOGMA of politics or religion. We demand that scientists and engineers always tell the truth while knowing that our politicians will almost always lie to us. PRAGMA and DOGMA are like oil and water.
  3. Four balloons are making everyone crazy
    • In the middle of February 2023, the American military shot down four balloons
    • One was a surveillance balloon that China launched over Guam to monitor the installation of American hardware on that island. That balloon was only partially steerable so it is no surprise that bad weather accidentally pushed it into American air space.
    • One balloon was launched by a short wave enthusiast (ham radio) club from Illinois which had been up for more than a year.
    • Two were weather balloons. While much weather data today comes from weather satellites, between 900 and 1300 weather balloons are launched twice a day every day, and this has been going on almost continually since the 1950s.
    • So what is the problem here? Answer: Over the decades, defense-based RADAR systems became overwhelmed with the total number of moving targets SO filters were enabled by operators to ignore slow-moving targets. These filters were turned off when someone asked "what is that strange object i am seeing?" Hysteria ensued.
    • So why are politicians and political muckrakers still trying to use these events to start a new cold war with a supposed perceived enemy? And what is wrong with people who always need a new enemy? Perhaps those people never read George Orwell's fictional book from 1948 titled Nineteen Eighty-Four (yep, the author purposely switched the last two digits)
    • Why did some people, including cable news broadcasters, seriously think these objects are of extra-terrestrial origin? Are you trying to tell me that aliens flew here in interstellar space ships then launched balloons? What happened to common sense?
  4. Not sure why some people are still complaining about 5G. Perhaps some people just cannot cope with change so here's a thumbnail table of highlights.
    Gen Lifetime Features Frequency Data Speed Max Power
    non-cellular radiotelephone service: click here to learn more
    1G 1980-1990 analog cellular 30 KHz 2 kbps
    2G 1990-2000 digital cellular (GSM), text messaging 1.8 GHz
    64 kbps
    email, web, camera phones

    3G 2000-2010 smart phones, video calls
    1.6 - 2 GHz 144 kbps – 2 Mbps
    4G 2010-2020 LTE, WiFi
    2 - 8 GHz
    100 Mbps – 1 Gbps 0.25 milliwatts
    5G 2020-2030 wwww (world wide web wireless)
    3 - 300 GHz
    up to 1 Gbps 100 milliwatts
    6G 2030-???? click here

    CB (Citizen Band) Radio (1958-present) 27 MHz

    4 watts
    • Residential microwave ovens heat water molecules using a frequency of 2.45 GHz which has nothing to do with any special resonance frequency (click here and here for more information about this public misconception)
    • While typical microwave ovens cook food at 1200W, inverter-powered microwave ovens can reduce their cooking power in 10% increments.
    • Smart phones are transmitting much less power (maximums: 4G=0.25mW; 5G=100mW) but also reduce their transmitter power by continually measuring the strength of the signal received from the cell tower. This feature allows your phone to run longer before needing a recharge. But if you are still concerned then use "the hands free feature" or "ear buds" to keep the phone away from your body because the inverse-square law applies to radio as well as light.
    • Note that "ear buds" are wireless bluetooth devices which work in the 2 - 2.4 GHz range but only utilize a tiny amount of power (range is usually a few meters). If this still makes you nervous then use wired head phones.
    • how do ear buds work? video (prepare to be shocked)
    • how does bluetooth work? video
    • Note: many people have lived in the presence of CB radios ever since they were introduced in 1958. Now while the frequency of CB radio may be 10,000 times lower than 5G, notice that the power put out by CB radio is 40 times hotter.
  5. From Anti-Government to Anti-Science: Why Conservatives Have Turned Against Science
    Empirical data do not support the conclusion of a crisis of public trust in science. They do support the conclusion of a crisis of conservative trust in science: polls show that American attitudes toward science are highly polarized along political lines.
    quote: Over the objections of the economics department, Luhnow provided the money for Hayek to be hired, and also funded the launch of the Free Market Project, bringing together several economists who shared their vision. One of these like-minded economists was George Stigler, who would produce an edited version of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations that expunged nearly all of Smith's caveats, including his discussion of the need for bank regulation, for adequate wages for workers, and for taxation for public goods, like roads and bridges.
    comment: People wishing to learn more might consider reading this 2023 book: The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market
  6. The Atlas of Impunity is the name of a publication which ranks countries by five dimensions of impunity: unaccountable governance, abuse of human rights, economic exploitation, conflict and violence, and environmental degradation. Visit the next link to learn more: https://www.eurasiagroup.net/live-post/atlas-of-impunity-2023
  7. War is a Racket is the title of a book written by a retired US Marine Corps Major General, Smedley Butler. Twenty five years later, US President Dwight D Eisenhower (a 5-star Army General during world-war-2) warned of the dangers of the military industrial complex which has since spawned the military industrial media complex as well as the military entertainment complex When are we citizens going to put a stop to this madness? The first step is to make our elected representatives accountable.
  8. Ignorance abounds in the era of social media where everyone offers opinions on things they know nothing about.
    (1) woke first became popular in US African American community during the 1930s and means "alert to racial prejudice and discrimination". So today, anyone who is anti-woke could technically be called a racist.
    (2) critical race theory (CRT) is an academic critique of a discredited pseudo science known as race theory (which is in the same dust bin eugenics). Since "race theory" was first used by the German NAZI party in the 1930s to justify murder, then anyone who criticizes CRT could technically be called a NAZI. Click here to learn more at NPR.
    (3) some political types are behaving as if transsexual issues are a new thing. I was unaware of this stuff until 1970 after I watched this 1970 movie staring Raquel Welch. More light landed on this topic after reading a 1978 article by Hugh Hefner in Playboy Magazine.
    (4) lots of political types want to ban books and/or takeover control of libraries. They seem to have missed the lesson that book bans are always on the wrong side of history, and that banning books makes those titles more sought after.
  9. Quote: A catastrophe lays bare the societies and states that it strikes. It is a moment of truth, of revelation, exposing some as fragile, others as resilient, and others as ‘antifragile’ – able not just to withstand disaster but to be strengthened by it.
    Niall Ferguson (author: Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe)
    comment: so stop saying "we need fewer regulations" because I do not want to die in the next substandard building that was unable to withstand a natural event like an earth quake or storm surge. 
  10. Exxon scientists in the 1970s accurately predicted climate change. "Analysis of internal climate projections shows Exxon scientists knew the harm of burning fossil fuels, while firm’s executives played down the risk"
    Exxon scientists accurately predicted the pace and scale of climate change more than 40 years ago, according to a study that its authors say adds weight to claims the oil firm knew about and sought to downplay the risks posed by continued fossil fuel use.
    Read more here: NewScientist issue 3422
  11. This 1980 quote by author-educator Isaac Asimov (PhD Biochemistry) now perfectly describes modern life in North America where citizens become uninformed and misinformed by accessing social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat (run by high-tech conglomerates) or politically biased news outlets (run by publishing billionaires like Rupert Murdoch). The graphic reads:
    "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

    Isaac Asimov (Newsweek, 21 January 1980) 

    A cult of ignorance
  12. Quote: "We need to worry less about the rise of a super intelligent A.I and more about human stupidity"

    Rodney Brooks

  13. Quote: "Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

    George Orwell (author: Nineteen Eighty-Four)

  14. Quote: "Smart people learn from everything and everyone, average people from their experiences, stupid people already have the answers."

    Socrates (Greek Philosopher)

  15. SKEPTIC EPISODE #314 Michael Shermer interviews Martin Rees — Can Science Save Us? (90 minute interview)
  16. New mRNA-based influenza vaccine protects against all 20 sub-types
  17. SKEPTIC EPISODE #307 Nicholas Dirks on Science Denial, Distrust, and Skepticism
    comment: here is my two cents worth:
    1. Humans have not changed much over the last 70,000 years when fears about threats from the tribe over the hill were only seconded to fears from threats within our tribe. We certainly didn't think that our campfire might contribute to any existential environmental threat.
    2. But now we cave people use smart phones, smart televisions, computers and the (anti?) social media layer of the internet to propagate our fears to others. We collectively think we're so damned smart for developing this technology while ignoring the fact that it was developed by a very tiny number of us.
  18. Artemis: NASA's plan to return humanity to Earth's moon after a 50-year delay
    (1) While Apollo was totally funded by the American taxpayer, Artemis is funded by contributions from: USA (NASA), Europe (ESA), Canada and Japan via the Artemis Accords. This is necessary because US politicians of all stripes preferentially, and overwhelmingly, fund the American military. For example, compare the deceptively misnamed Defense budget (785 billion in 2022) with the NASA budget (24 billion in 2022). I wonder what NASA could do with the money misplaced by the Pentagon.
    (2) IMHO, manned missions to Mars at this time in human development are really a dumb idea and a waste of money but the moon is different. Humanity should have established a permanent moon base 40-years ago as envisioned by Wernher von Braun. Recall that humanity's voyages were restricted to the Mediterranean Sea for a thousand years before we ventured out onto the great oceans. The area between Earth and the Moon will be our new Mediterranean for the next hundred years while humanity develops space legs. (and 3-day rescue missions are always possible)
  19. USA geopolitical confusion will start the next world war (because it played a huge role in the recent Russia-Ukraine conflict)

    Jeffrey Sachs: U.S. Policy & "West's False Narrative" are Stoking Tensions with Russia, China

    (1) Watch the whole video to learn why American defense contractors (working though NATO) are primarily responsible for the war in Ukraine.
    (2) I wonder when the European Union will seize control of NATO - OTAN to stop this madness? (FYI: like the EU parliament, NATO - OTAN is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium)
    (3) update (Dec-5): https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/12/05/mediators-guide-peace-ukraine
    (4) archive: https://us19.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=50ec04f7fdd8f247aecfa0ddf&id=f1791aaa63
  20. Sea Level Rise is rising faster (one proof of global warming)
    sealevel rise over 30 years

    Global mean sea level has risen 101 millimeters (3.98 inches) since 1992, and continues to do so at 3.9 mm (0.15 inches) per year.

  21. IPCC projectionsSea-level rise (continued): While it is difficult to measure Earth's daily average temperature (consider: day-night cycles; seasonal changes) then do annual trend analysis (consider: daily weather events; decadal weather events like El Niño and La Niña), it is much easier to measure the effects of warming as seen in sea-level rise. Most climate-change skeptics stand down after viewing data showing average annual sea level rate-of-rise more than doubling from 1.7 mm per year to 3.9 mm per year in just one century (much of the original data came from military sources)
    additionally: The content of this scientific paper from Denmark ( https://os.copernicus.org/articles/17/181/2021/ ) is much more troubling. The first line of the abstract reads: "Recent assessments from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) imply that global mean sea level is unlikely to rise more than about 1.1 meters within this century but will increase further beyond 2100". This statement infers that a rise of one meter (39 inches) by the end of this century is within the scope of possibility.
    From this IPCC 2021 summary we read this very troubling line: Sea-level rise by 2100 is likely to be from half to one meter, but two to five meters is not ruled out, as ice sheet instability processes are still poorly understood.
    quote: “We live in an age of rising seas. In our own lifetime we are witnessing a startling alteration of climate.” Rachel Carson, 1964.
  22. Nature’s God: Why Christians Should Accept the Theory of Evolution
    If you give Christians a choice between Jesus and Darwin by telling them that the theory of evolution means you have to be an atheist, they’re going to pick Jesus every time. In this article, Larry Arnhart argues that Christians should accept the theory of evolution not only because it’s true but also that it does not mean they have to give up their religion.
  23. The Nuclear Option (for lowering CO2)
    article: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg25433881-800-do-we-need-nuclear-power-in-the-energy-mix-to-stop-climate-change/
    quote1: China has committed the equivalent of $440 billion dollars to build 150 nuclear reactors over the next 15 years
    quote2: Moreover, countries such as South Korea, China, India and Russia routinely deliver nuclear power plants on time and within budget
  24. Advanced life in the universe? People have always speculated about intelligent life elsewhere but no one took those thoughts seriously until Frank Drake published the Drake Equation in 1961 and Carl Sagan began promoting it 15 years later. Since then, other scientists promoting the Rare Earth hypothesis provided good reasons why the evolution of advanced intelligent life may only be possible in a solar system with:
    1. a water and metal-rich rocky planet in the Goldilocks zone
    2. gravitationally bound to a very large moon for both orbital and rotational stability
    3. where at least one gas giant can be found in an outer orbit to sweep up asteroids
    The Kepler space telescope provided proof that exo-planets exist (current number > 4000) with a decent fraction seeming to be of the correct composition, and found in the Goldilocks zone, but none with a significantly large moon. A new hypothesis (heard in a 2022 episode of CBC's Quirks & Quarks) suggests that our large moon is also responsible for plate tectonics -AND- without it, Earth's molten core would have cooled off long ago (a hot core produces a magnetic shield to protects life from most solar and cosmic radiation; Mars has no molten core so no magnetic field,)
    Conclusion: All this means that life on Earth might be the only precious life that exists anywhere in our galaxy -SO- we had better stop taking Earth's environment for granted -AND- had better stop fighting for foolish things -AND- better stop hoping for better conditions elsewhere where humanity might wish for a do-over.
  25. About NATO - OTAN
    • 1949: NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) also known as OTAN (Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord) began as an alliance of twelve countries to provide collective protection from Joseph Stalin.
    • 1953: Stalin died but NATO was not disbanded. NATO's mission quietly changed to offering collective protection from the USSR.
    • 1954: Eastern block countries expressed interest in joining NATO but were refused.
    • 1955: the Warsaw Pact was created after it became clear that Western countries would never allow Eastern block countries membership in NATO. food for thought: "could the building of the Berlin Wall have been avoided if NATO, or NATO hardheadedness, had not existed?"
    • 1989: the Berlin Wall is breached and Mikhail Gorbachev allowed it
    • 1991: the USSR dissolved but NATO was not disbanded. As part of the German reunification deal, the Warsaw Pact was dissolved and the USA promised Russia to not engage in NATO expansion 'East of Germany' but the USA broke that promise or perhaps never intended to honor it.
    • 1999: Vladimir Putin asked Bill Clinton when it would be possible for Russia to join NATO. Apparently Clinton smiled but no answer was given.
    • We learned from declassified NATO documents that NATO's original objective (according to Secretary General - Lord Hastings Lionel Ismay) was to "keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down” and I wondered what modern Germans might think about that.
    • I also wonder how many Americans know that continually supporting their own defense industry (which includes sales or gifts to other countries) may be unconstitutional. Article 1 Section 8 of the American Constitution states: The Congress shall have Power To raise and support Armies, but no appropriation of money to that Use shall be for a longer term than two years. America's founding fathers did not want America to decay from within due to excessive military spending as happened in the Roman Empire.
    • Since actions speak louder than words, many now wonder if NATO is nothing more than a sales channel for the military industries of NATO members. Especially since NATO membership has grown to thirty countries with many of them not geographically connected to the Atlantic Ocean (Turkey first springs to mind)
    • Americans are always banging on about capitalism and free markets but did not offer Russia a helping hand up after the USSR collapsed. food-for-thought: the world would be a different place had a US president had opened up traded with Russia like Nixon did with China in 1972
    • From Wikileaks, and other sources, we learned that Barack Obama's Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, took credit for the NATO attack on Libya in 2011 which destroyed that country while destabilizing the region. Was Obama aware of this? German chancellor, Angela Merkel, was aware when she commented on the large volume of refugees entering Europe then asked "why are the countries responsible for this not doing more?" While observing the international actions of Joe Biden's Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, it appears that the Secretary of State has always answered more to the defense Industry than the President. No western politician was ever allowed to question the value of NATO but in 2016 we heard presidential candidate, Donald Trump, referring to NATO as being obsolete, and now I cannot stop thinking that it is.
    • 2022-02-17: Today I learned some new things about the USA:
      • There are four lobbyists in Washington for every politician (now you know why politicians forget their electoral promises as soon as they take office)
      • The American military is the largest 'single payer employer' in the world.
      • The USA cannot afford to not be at war. Their September 2021 exit from Afghanistan (after 20 years) was only a temporary Pax Americana while they prepared for the next business opportunity (er, conflict)
      • President Joe Biden has requested the largest defense budget to date ($770 billion; nearly 3/4 of a trillion dollars).
      • 2022-04-01: After receiving congressional approval, President Joe Biden just signed off on a defense budget of $782 billion (over 3/4 of a trillion dollars). Remember than these are just budgets. Actual spending often goes over budget.
    • A civil war in East Ukraine has been on going since 2014 but the situation was made worse after the USA recently shipped more that $650 million weapons to Kiev. comment: I do not understand why the USA has provided Ukraine with more than $2.5 billion in military aid since 2014. Unlike the Ukrainian people, Ukrainian politicians have been considered some of the most corrupt in the democratic world. That is one reason why Ukraine elected a comedian as president rather than someone from one of the main political parties
    • 2022-02-xx: We now know that Kiev was using foreign hardware to attack targets in the breakaway Donbas region (Donetsk and Luhansk). Did the USA not realize that their gifts to one side would inflame the situation by upsetting the balance?
    • 2022-02-18: Russian-backed separatists evacuate residents from east Ukraine
    • 2022-02-19: BBC America showed videos of Donbas citizens being placed on buses destined for temporary safety in western Russia
    • 2022-02-20: BBC America reported that 93,000 Donbas refugees have sought refuge in Western Russia
    • 2022-02-24: Russia enters Ukraine with a three pronged attack: Belarus from the North, Russia from the East. Crimea from the South.
    • 2022-02-25: Putin would have been considered a hero by many if he had only ordered Russian troops into the Donbas region to end the 8-year civil war while protecting the lives of Donbas citizens from further aggression. But he did not.
      comments: if Putin wanted to stop NATO encroachment around Russia then he could have done something similar to what John F Kennedy did in 1962 when the USA learned that Russia had been installing missiles in Cuba. But he missed this opportunity so I fear that many people will die in both Russia and Ukraine. Could his actions have anything to do with the fact that he was trained as a spy rather than a a soldier or diplomat?. Anyway, Putin's place in the history books will be forever soiled.
    • 2022-06-30: (article) quote: "NATO has been preparing for a war with Russia since 2014, said NATO" (Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg)
    • 2022-06-30: (article) quote: "NATO radically redefined its mission to reflect a new mantra which could be encapsulated as: keep the Russians down, the Americans in, and the Chinese out" (Scott Ritter)
    • To learn more about the Ukraine-Russia debacle:
    • To learn more about the real NATO:
  26. Limiting NATO - OTAN (only Europe can do this)
    • NATO began in 1949 and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
    • The European Union began in 1951 (Treaty of Paris) but was never more than an economic union until 1993 (Maastricht Treaty). It is also headquartered in Brussels
    • Whatever the original reason for NATO, it served to protect the Europe but "should have been terminated by the EU in 1993" or "transitioned into a more modern organization" (missed opportunity #1)
    • Today we can see numerous British and American influences on NATO (the 2011 NATO attack on Libya by Britain and France was directed by the USA) but that influence should have changed with BREXIT. With Britain out of the EU, continental Europe would be able to make better decisions without any interference from Britain or their militaristic offspring, the USA. (missed opportunity #2)
    • An opportunity now exists for the European Union to seize total control of NATO then convert it into an organization that only answers to the European Parliament (perhaps named the European Defense Agency).
      • This means that non-European countries like Britain, Canada, the USA, and Turkey would be out.
      • Canada and the USA could then better focus on their collective defense via NORAD rather than sabre-rattling in Eastern Europe
      • Britain and Turkey would be advised to negotiate friendlier treaties with their immediate neighbors.
      • More importantly, the EU would now be able to block EU member countries from directly purchasing military hardware which,up until this point, has only served to destabilize the European region.
  27. Electoral Reform. The two largest Dominions of the British Empire were Canada and Australia so I wonder why Canada stayed with first past the post elections while Australia, and most others, transitioned to proportional representation
    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominion
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_electoral_systems_by_country
    3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportional_representation
    1. The first chart in the article under link-3 uses Canada as an example of what went wrong in 2015 where Liberal votes (39%) were "over represented" in parliament while all others (61%) where "under represented".
    2. It appears that Canada and India might be the only ex-Dominion countries still using first-past-the-post. Perhaps we Canadian are just too stupid to change; or too influenced by American-sourced news.
    3. History shows that costly bad decisions are usually associated with "majority wins" because fewer people are involved in decision making. Food-for-thought: British politicians of all parties agreed to work together quietly under Churchill until the conclusion of WW2; everything went well (politically speaking) until the war end when party bickering resumed. If Britain had adopted proportional representation then I suspect:
      1. Britain would have joined the EU in 1952 rather than 1962
      2. there would have been no Suez Canal crisis which means the British pound might still be used as the world reserve currency.
        BTW, Anthony Eden won a majority government in 1955.
      3. there would have been no Falklands War
        BTW. Margaret Thatcher won a majority government in 1979
      4. there would have been no BREXIT
        BTW, exiting the EU began with a Conservative Majority
  28. POLIDIOT (political idiot) is a label applicable to both citizens and politicians who insist their "political opinion" is superior to "empirical fact" (this includes politicians who advocate for cryptocurrenices). To those people I present this quote from 1936:

    will work for food"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. There are not many who are influenced by new theories after they are twenty-five or thirty years of age, so that the ideas which civil servants and politicians and even agitators apply to current events are not likely to be the newest."

    comment: no one "likes" the idea of printing up money but you would not like the alternative. Recall that very little was done after the crash of 1929; this resulted in a decade of hobos (homeless men looking for work), soup kitchens, and people wearing signs reading "will work for food"
  29. Two decades of misinformation and COVID-19
    the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse Misinformation 1: The Republican-dominated US Congress of 1987 eliminated the FCC Fairness Doctrine citing a violation of the right to free-speech by corporations. This enabled politically biased outlets like Fox News (Cable TV) and Rush Limbaugh (Syndicated Radio) to play fast and loose with the truth. Americans today seem unaware of the fact that one-sided political propaganda in Germany resulted in world-war-2
    Misinformation 2: ARPAnet (1969) morphed into the internet (1982) which enabled the world-wide-web (1991) then mobile social media (2007). These last two iterations have published an ever increasing amount of nonsense, conspiracy theories and bad science (vaccine hesitancy is one example) from non-experts on both sides of the political spectrum. They also bankrupted many respectable newspapers as advertisers moved their money online. Recall that "newspapers could be sued under libel laws" so they employed editors and journalists to provide "best effort reporting" of "best-effort fact checked" information. Alternative media sites are protected from lawsuits under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (created in 1996 to help start internet businesses) so they check nothing.  Here is one example of many:
    In 2019, Buzzfeed laid off 43 journalists in their own news division TO SAVE MONEY. Then again in 2021, Buzzfeed (now rich) acquired The Huffington Post then immediately laid off 47 journalists TO SAVE MONEY. So it now seems that our economy thinks that making money is more important than publishing truthful information
    Comment: Evolution by natural selection is a scientifically proven fact even though many North American political and religious groups claim otherwise. Five years after Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, Herbert Spencer published Principles of Biology which contained the phrase Survival of the Fittest. People still questioning science after years of COVID-19 deaths caused me to wonder if many people did not know that we now live in the age of Survival of the Smartest which requires every citizen to be able to separate fact from fiction (or political opinion). And since many preferentially consume information from politically-biased ALTERNATIVE STREAM MEDIA rather than neutral MAIN STREAM MEDIA, a lot more people are going to die. They will think they are "politically right" but will also be "dead wrong".
    USA COVID-19 deaths: 1,151,000 lookup current value or lookup deaths by country (don't forget to sort by "deaths per 1 million")
  30. Half of us are as dumb as rocks
    I enjoy listening to the CBC radio program / podcast Under The Influence which tells past stories from advertising industry. Episode S10E14 compares the marketing success of the McDonald's Quarter Pounder with the marketing failure of the A&W Third of a Pounder. During post-failure analysis, marketers discovered that more than half the people in the focus groups were confused about which was the better deal. Consumers genuinely thought McDonald's was the better deal because they believed that a quarter pound was more than a third of a pound because 4 is bigger than 3. Duh!!!
    comment: makes we wonder how much of our Neanderthal DNA is active. Please think about this the next time you decided to pontificate on subjects like politics, the economy and vaccines.
  31. China in the news
    This video shows China moving forward on many Chinese infrastructure projects while we watch vested interests in the North American fossil-fuel industry doing their best to maintain the status quo.
    comments: this video was created by Bloomberg and is titled Why China’s Lead on EVs Has Been a Long Time Coming. Even if you disagree with the title, this video shows that a significant change is already taking place in the world's most populated country. China is no longer a country of bicycle riders. I am sometimes shocked when I see modern video from places like Japan, South Korea or China where their societies seem to be moving in the direction of The Jetsons while everything in the North America seems to be decaying.
  32. Commenting on Huawei: It appears to me that western society only supports capitalism "when the west wins". When a Chinese company, like Huawei, becomes the next Nortel, then ridiculous conspiracy theories are invoked. Huawei was one of many companies that bid on the sale of Nortel's intellectual property, as did Apple, Microsoft, Sony, RIM (Blackberry), Google and others. Huawei was not one of the winners which forced it to increase its own R&D operations (estimates put Huawei R&D in 2019 at a massive 40% of net income) so it should come at no surprise that Huawei is 18-24 months ahead of their competition in the field of 5G wireless. Simple logic shows that Huawei could only achieve parity if they were stealing I/P. Did I mention that their 5G hardware is 90% less expensive than anything from their competition?
    food-for-thought: according to the 2022 book Chip War, Huawei employed 100 IBM consultants for more than a decade with the intent that "Huawei could operate with IBM efficiency"
    Deng Xiaoping (pronounced "dung chow ping") once said "The Middle East has its oil, China has rare earth". Since modern electronics is dependent upon rare-earth materials then it should be no surprise that Chinese-made electronics is much less expensive. Speaking of Deng for a moment, in 1985 I was attending school in Boston where it appeared to me that Chinese students were everywhere. Apparently, Deng had sent 1.3 million Chinese students out into the world to receive a top-quality western education paid for by China (one of my more-gifted Chinese classmates was accompanied by "two minders" who were there to ensure that he returned to China). Unlike Mao, Deng saw great value in education and realized that this was the best way forward for China. Thirty five years later, China has moved more than 350 million Chinese citizens from poverty into the middle class. This number is greater than the total population of the USA so is it any surprise that China is doing well? Meanwhile, there is a tendency amongst some westerners to label "an educated person" as "an elite". It seems to me that the world has flipped.
  33. Our culture is awash in lies, dominated by streams of never ending electronic hallucinations that merge fact and fiction until they are indistinguishable. We have become the most illusioned society on earth. Politics is a species of endless and meaningless political theater. Politicians have morphed into celebrities. Our two ruling parties are, in reality, one party - the corporate party. And those who attempt to puncture this vast, breathless universe of fake news, designed to push through the cruelty and exploitation of the neoliberal order, are pushed so far to the margins of society, including by a public broadcasting system that has sold its soul for corporate money, that we might as well be mice squeaking against an avalanche, but squeak we MUST
  34. A conservative friend of mine was fond of asking me political questions (I am a centrist) then would cut me off mid-sentence before I finished answering. Apparently he was the only conservative among his family of brothers, sisters and parents but had no problem thinking he was right (er, correct) while they were wrong. How could this be? This thought rattled around in my mind until I stumbled across a book titled The Republican Brain which was positively reviewed by liberals and conservatives alike. The book contains several points which I will pass along here:
    • Size differences in two brain structures, the amygdala (larger in conservatives) and the anterior cingulate (larger in liberals), bias human perspective of the world.
    • Conservatives see most issues as "black-and-white" (or good-and-evil) and are more pessimistic while liberals see "shades of gray" and are generally more optimistic
    • Conservatives are more fearful of others so are more easily encouraged to vote for POPULIST issues like "building the wall" or BREXIT (funny point: Britain had the lowest number of per-capita immigrants but had the highest political reaction against them)
    • Conservatives play politics as a team sport so will almost always "vote their party" while Liberals will split their vote choosing alternate parties (not very smart in first-past-the -post)
  35. When I was a student, I read an English translation of The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek. Then I later heard Margret Thatcher using the book to bash socialism, I wondered if she was reading a different translation (Hayek only published in German) since her quotes bore little resemblance to Hayek's book (was Thatcher paraphrasing?). Anyway, when Hayek slams socialism, he is referring to state-sponsored collectivism which is not the same thing as practiced (in one form or another) by most countries of the world except the USA. I recently stumbled onto this Hayek article titled Why I am Not a Conservative (excerpted from a 1960 book titled The Constitution of Liberty - I wonder if Thatcher knew about this).
  36. When I attended college in the early 1970s, many students seemed to be talking about Ayn Rand or quoting from her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged. Years later I finally got around to reading the book which left me with these thoughts:
    1. Like George Orwell (1984) Ayn Rand knows how to tell a fictional dystopian story
    2. Rand's character John Galt seems to be a kinder (although equally ridiculous) version of Orwell's character Big Brother
    3. 1984 (which Orwell claimed is really about 1948 England) was published in 1949 while Atlas Shrugged was published in 1957 so perhaps this tells us something about the zeitgeist of those years
    4. Ayn Rand seemed to project a naive (childish?) view of industry vs government regulation. Did she really think that corporations would never do anything evil? Had she lived longer I would have loved to hear her ATTEMPT to defend the actions of the Big Tobacco for knowing the numerous health hazards associated with the use of their product then hiding them in order to make a buck; or that EXXON knew as early as 1977 that the burning of fossil fuels would cause climate change (they hid these reports then hired retired scientists working for politically motivated think thanks to deny such a thing was possible). It is possible that these large companies got the inspiration to do this from Rand's description of the fictional "State Science Institute" which was low on science while high on politics. I wonder if people who read this book are also skeptical of science and vaccines.
    Feb-2022: I noticed that Atlas Shrugged had been made into a three part movie currently available on Amazon Prime Video. I watched them all in order; what a waste of my time; it was like a train wreck that I could not stop watching. Part 1 was okay; part 2 was corny; part 3 was just bad. BTW, my comments have nothing to do with the actors or set designers for these productions (which were all done with different actors for some reason); my comments have everything do do with the really bad childish story line that I thought would have repaired for life this side of Y2K; There must be something wrong with the human species when anyone takes this stuff seriously.
    Jan-2023: I just heard this pod-cast about Ayn Rand on NPR: https://www.npr.org/2022/12/22/1145107911/the-monster-of-we-2021
    comment: People who see the world through the prism of politics (or see the world in black + white) will love this. People who see the world in shades of gray may not.

Current Items: continued here (more sciency stuff)

"2001: A Space Odyssey"
A mysterious monolith awakens the imagination of humanity's distant ancestors. A second monolith awaits humanity's giant leap to the moon. And in orbit around Jupiter, a third monolith beckons humanity to transcend beyond the limits of of body and machine.
Click: 2001: A Space Odyssey @ Wikipedia
"a Feynman Diagram"
Feynman Diagram (animated) Feynman Diagram (static)
"All forces in the universe are mediated by particle exchange"
This "Feynman Diagram" (of electron repulsion) depicts the movement of two electrons (1 to 3 and 2 to 4) in space and time. A virtual photon transfers energy between them (5 to 6) causing them to repel each other. To learn more:
1) brief explanation
2) detailed explanation
Legend: Y-Axis (up-down) is time while X-Axis (left-right) is space

Neil Rieck
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Hosted by ionos.ca on a virtual private server
My personal email is changing from n.rieck@sympatico.ca to n.rieck@bell.net