The Monster They Made…

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

It’s the kind of floor speech that sets up a presidential run in 2024 when no one in her party has any illusions: the blogger in Florida will be in too much legal, and financial trouble to actually run for his old “executive time” job, plus, he’ll be two years shy of eighty. It’s what Rafael Edward Cruz trolled the insurrectionists about. It’s what inspired Toy-Story-Woody Josh Hawley’s raised fist broadcast around the world. Both salivate to ride this dragon. A Cheney has put herself in the way of their ambitions.

She sounds principled. Noble. Statesmanlike. It’s also superfluous bullshit. Don’t get me wrong: she’s right. Anyone sane seeing the January 6, 2021 insurrection can’t call it anything but that, unless that’s ultimately their goal. But the environment she finds herself in stems from her, and her father’s previous actions. They sowed the seeds that germinated the Tea Party, that metastasized into the Orwellian “Freedom Caucus,” Alt-Right, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, QAnon, that through Fox Propaganda and its many clones in right-wing talk shtick culminating in a modern attempt to overthrow our federal republic.

On September 16, 2001, Vice President Cheney appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and talked about what it will take to deal with the terrorism threat: “…We have to work the dark side, if you will. Spend time in the shadows of the intelligence world,” Cheney said. “A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion …”

PBS Frontline: The Dark Side

David Corn rightly points out that Liz Cheney, and her dad, Dark Lord of the Sith, paved the way to the big lie. It’s why congressmen are comparing the January 6, 2021 insurrection to rowdy tourist (typically, tourists who smear feces, and urinate in halls are jettisoned from the park). She, her dad, and a lot of obfuscating republicans that lied us into the “weapons of mass destruction” that wasn’t in Iraq brought us to this point.

The right had a hissy fit when Janet Napolitano warned about right-wing violence in 2009. So did Daryl Johnson, an intelligence analyst at DHS. The “chickens came home to roost” on January 6, 2021, and the current Attorney General Merrick Garland, and DHS Secretary Mayorkas is warning the same thing in 2021, specifically by name: white supremacy.

Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debates are being held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California — so you can be sure that each candidate will deliver an effusive homage to Reagan, and then explain why he or she is Reagan’s one true heir.

(The first GOP presidential debates were in Cleveland, and even there Reagan was invoked by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham.)

But no matter how much the candidates talk about Reagan, you can be sure that none of these extremely important things about him will come up. And maybe that’s appropriate — since if Reagan stood for anything as president, it was creating a completely fictionalized version of the past.

1. Reagan launched his 1980 general election campaign with a speech lauding “states’ rights” outside Philadelphia, Mississippi — the site of the notorious “Mississippi Burning” murder of three civil rights workers in 1964.

James Chaney, Mickey Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were abducted and killed in Mississippi by the local Ku Klux Klan in June 1964 — a case that garnered enormous national attention because, as Schwerner’s widow said, he and Goodman were white.

On August 3, 1980, Reagan traveled to the Neshoba County Fair, which a prominent state Republican had recommended as the place to find “George Wallace-inclined voters.” There — within walking distance of the earthen dam where the murderers of the three civil rights workers had surreptitiously buried them just 16 years before — Reagan delivered a speech including these lines:

I know that in speaking to this crowd, that I’m speaking to what has to be about 90 percent Democrat. I just meant by party affiliation. I didn’t mean how you feel now. I was a Democrat most of my life myself. …

I believe in states’ rights. … And I believe that we’ve distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended in the Constitution to that federal establishment. …

SEVEN THINGS ABOUT RONALD REAGAN YOU WON’T HEAR AT THE REAGAN LIBRARY GOP DEBATE, Jon Schwartz, The Intercept

As columnist William Raspberry wrote upon Reagan’s death, his endorsement of “states’ rights” — the same phrase white Southerners had used for decades to justify Jim Crow segregation — was “bitter symbolism for black Americans” and “an important bouquet in [GOP] courtship” of Dixiecrats.

*****

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is an 1818 novel written by English author Mary Shelley. Frankenstein tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20. Her name first appeared in the second edition, which was published in Paris in 1821. Wikipedia

Shelley’s most pressing and obvious message is that science and technology can go too far. The ending is plain and simple, every person that Victor Frankenstein had cared about met a tragic end, including himself. This shows that we as beings in society should believe in the sanctity of human life. Minori Cohan, Shelley’s warnings in Frankenstein

Ironic that a Russian criminal hacker group calls itself Dark Side Leaks that pretty much shut down the eastern seaboard from New York, to Alabama. Sadly, the people who hoarded toilet paper during the pandemic emerged to meme ridicule, making the Ransomware attack worse than it needed to be.

The Republican Party that Liz Cheney wants to lead doesn’t exist if it ever did. She voted more for the previous resident’s agenda than against it, according to 538. She voted no on HR1: The For the People Act with the typical republican-speak against expanding the franchise to voters that probably wouldn’t think twice about not voting for her, or her party. Elise Stefanik was far less a sycophant, but fealty to a demagogue gets you a promotion from a dear leader out of power, for whatever that’s worth.

For the moment, she, and a lot of sane-sounding republicans that oppose open fascism are still on the “dark side.” They don’t want to expand the voting franchise, they are appalled at the thought of turning off the spigot of dark money, aren’t the least bit interested in raising the minimum wage to a living wage; could care less to have universal healthcare like most European nations. There is no interest in Liz’s party for the LGBTQ, which includes her sister and her partner because they without intervention can’t have more white babies that might grow up to vote republican (if they don’t, they’ll just block them like black and brown communities). There is no racism in their suburban cul de sacs. For god’s sake, a woman can’t have agency on when she gets pregnant, or if she wants to become a mother, because the only function of Liz Cheney’s gender in her party, according to the late, great George Carlin is broodmare of the state.

Prometheus in Greek mythology is a Titan. His name means “fore thinker.” In lore, he’s credited with creating mortals, and against the will of the gods, giving us fire. The punishment for this affront by Zeus was the creation of Pandora. Meeting Epimetheus (hindsight), he fell in love with her, despite Prometheus’ warnings. She is famous for the box unleashing evils, hard work, and disease on the face of the earth. Source: Britannica

For these fifteen minutes of fame, Liz Cheney sounds rational, majestic: presidential. Her vast connections to traditional republican powerbrokers will make the lives of Dumbo Gambino and the jellyfish-chin-in-a-suit-who-wants-to-be-Speaker a living hell. Her father, Lord Vader is deathly silent, and that’s scary (for them, and likely us).

To ascend and become our first female Chief Executive, she would have to admit her role in the monster she, and her father helped create. That would take something heretofore unseen in republican politicians, traditional, or QAnon: hindsight.

Volume of Chaos…

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology

Physicists have spent centuries grappling with an inconvenient truth about nature: Faced with three stars on a collision course, astronomers could measure their locations and velocities in nanometers and milliseconds and it wouldn’t be enough to predict the stars’ fates. 

But the cosmos frequently brings together trios of stars and black holes. If astrophysicists hope to fully understand regions where heavenly bodies mingle in throngs, they must confront the “three-body problem.” 

While the result of a single three-body event is unknowable, researchers are discovering how to predict the range of outcomes of large groups of three-body interactions. In recent years, various groups have figured out how to make statistical forecasts of hypothetical three-body matchups: For instance, if Earth tangled with Mars and Mercury thousands of times, how often would Mars get ejected? Now, a fresh perspective developed by physicist Barak Kol simplifies the probabilistic “three-body problem,” by looking at it from an abstract new perspective. The result achieves some of the most accurate predictions yet. 

Physicists Edge Closer to Taming the Three-Body Problem, Charlie Wood, Scientific American

Biological Fukushima…

Residents of the Pairaisopolis favela in Sao Paolo wait for meal distribution in the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic. Credit: Alexandre Schneider Getty Images

Topics: Biology, COVID-19, Existentialism, Pandemic

Note: Many stories are coming out of Seychelles. It is the most vaccinated nation on earth that is seeing rising cases of the Coronavirus due to tourism by Indian elites. We’re not going to solve this piecemeal, nor treating each other in our backward, moribund tribal “traditions.” This fight is a long haul, and hubris can make it longer, and more painful.

To be in Brazil right now feels like being trapped in the middle of a chaotic battlefield, a 14-month-long siege, without anyone in charge on your side of the trenches. Totally surrounded by a lethal enemy that keeps getting closer to you and your family. This biological foe keeps morphing in a way that seems well adapted to infect everyone within reach, showing mercy neither for pregnant women nor for their newborn babies.

After 12 months of such brutal biological warfare, more than 390,000 Brazilians have perished; the number of fatalities climbed to more than 4,000 fatalities a day in early April, and the number of new cases per day edged above 100,000, filling hospitals to capacity with tens of thousands of terminally ill patients who occupy all available ICU beds in a country that has one of the largest national public health systems in the world and more hospitals than the U.S. Such a steady tsunami of severely sick patients has led to an unprecedented collapse of the entire country’s health system and the setting of yet another pair of world records in terms of both infected and deceased health professionals. On top of that, the country’s stock of medical equipment and the supplies required to intubate patients in need of respirators to survive are running at a historic low and may run out completely because the federal government simply failed in the process of replenishing the national stockpile several months ago.

This, in a nutshell, is the catastrophic and unprecedented hecatomb that Brazil found itself locked in by mid-April 2021. A devastating second wave of the pandemic began to engulf all five regions of the country back in early November 2020. It resulted, in part, from the premature and chaotic relaxation of social isolation measures that had helped at least some regions of the country contain the worst of the initial phase of the pandemic. It worsened because of the large public political rallies that preceded the two rounds of the 2020 national elections, generating a multitude of super spreader events all over the country. And the situation was exacerbated by Christmas and Carnival, the largest national festivity.

Brazil’s Pandemic Is a ‘Biological Fukushima’ That Threatens the Entire Planet, By Miguel Nicolelis, Scientific American

Panspermia…

The mysterious object ‘Oumuamua passed through our solar system in 2017. Loeb has suggested it could have been sent by extraterrestrials. (Credit: European Southern Observatory/Kornmesser)

Topics: Astrobiology, Biology, Cosmology, SETI

Life, for all its complexities, has a simple commonality: It spreads. Plants, animals, and bacteria have colonized almost every nook and cranny of our world.

But why stop there? Some scientists speculate that biological matter may have proliferated across the cosmos itself, transported from planet to planet on wayward lumps of rock and ice. This idea is known as panspermia, and it carries a profound implication: Life on Earth may not have originated on our planet.

In theory, panspermia is fairly simple. Astronomers know that impacts from comets or asteroids on planets will sometimes eject debris with enough force to catapult rocks into space. Some of those space rocks will, in turn, crash into other worlds. A few rare meteorites on Earth are known to have come from Mars, likely in this fashion.

“You can imagine small astronauts sitting inside this rock, surviving the journey,” says Avi Loeb, an astrophysicist at Harvard University and director of the school’s Institute for Theory and Computation. “Microbes could potentially move from one planet to another, from Mars to Earth, from Earth to Venus.” (You may recognize Loeb’s name from his recent book Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, which garnered headlines and criticism from astronomers for its claim that our solar system was recently visited by extraterrestrials.)

Loeb has authored a number of papers probing the mechanics of panspermia, looking at, among other things, how the size and speed of space objects might affect their likelihood of transferring life. While Loeb still thinks it’s more likely that life originated on Earth, he says his work has failed to rule out the possibility that it came from somewhere else in space.

Did Life On Earth Come From Outer Space? Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine

Virgin Hyperloop…

Topics: Economics, Futurism, Magnetism, Transportation

In the desert just north of Las Vegas, a long white metal tube sits at the base of the mountains, promising to one day revolutionize travel.

That is where Virgin Hyperloop, whose partners include Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, is developing the technology for passenger pods that will hurtle at speeds of up to 750 miles an hour (1,200 kph) through almost air-free vacuum tunnels using magnetic levitation.

“It will feel like an aircraft at take-off and once you’re at speed,” said co-founder and Chief Executive Josh Giegel, who gave Reuters an exclusive tour of the pod used in its November test run, where it was propelled along a 500 meter (1,640 ft.) tunnel.

“You won’t even have turbulence because our system is basically completely able to react to all that turbulence. Think noise-canceling but bump-canceling, if you will.”

Virgin Hyperloop shows off the future: mass transport in floating magnetic pods, Reuters

Munchausen Oligarchy…

Image Source: Facebook meme

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights

Munchausen Syndrome was named after a German cavalry officer Baron von Munchausen (1720-1797), a man who traveled widely and was known for his dramatic but untruthful stories. In 1951 Richard Asher described a pattern of self-abuse, where individuals fabricated histories of illness. These fabrications most often led to complex medical investigations, hospitalizations, and needless surgery. Remembering Baron von Munchausen and his mythical tales, Asher named this condition Munchausen Syndrome.

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, often referred to as MSbP, is a term coined by pediatrician Professor Roy Meadow in 1977. The term refers to the circumstance where the child is the subject of the fabrication of an illness by the parent. It was thought that the parent ‘with MSbP’ was motivated by trying to gain attention from medical professionals by inducing or fabricating the sickness in their child. In Meadow’s first article, he explored two case studies of children admitted to hospital with illnesses thought to be fabricated or induced by their carers: ‘These two [parents] flourished there [in the hospital] as if they belonged, and thrived on the attention that staff gave to them…. In these cases, it was as if the parents were using the children to get themselves into the sheltered environment of a children’s ward surrounded by friendly staff’ (Meadow 1977: 344-345).

A new name for Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: Defining fabricated or induced illness by carers, Ellen Fish, Leah Bromfield, and Daryl Higgins

The “Republican Party” is a name. It has no “principles” it lives by. It exists, to paraphrase Steve Schmidt, for the accumulation, acquisition, and maintenance of power for power’s sake.

Where the “Republican Party” is was eventually going to metastasize. Entropy, the Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to political systems, and philosophies.

Cutting the corporate tax rate from 70% to 28% sounds great: if you’re in industry, or on the receiving end of corporate largess from lobbyists. To say that Social Security is insolvent doesn’t begin to address the real problem: a theft in plain sight occurred, and reparations – not just slavery in the 1860s, but 1980s reparations – have yet to be paid.

“For-profit health insurance is the largest con job ever perpetrated on the American people–one that has cost trillions of dollars and millions of lives since the 1940s,” says Thom Hartmann. Taiwan’s single-payer system enabled the country to implement a nationwide coronavirus test-and-contact-trace program without shutting down its economy, resulting in just seven deaths, while in the United States more than 350,000 have died.

Hartmann offers a deep dive into the shameful history of American healthcare, showing how greed, racism, and oligarchic corruption led to the current “sickness for profit” system. Modern attempts to create some kind of government healthcare have been hobbled at every turn–including Obamacare, which Hartmann regards as basically a sellout to the health insurance industry.

There is a simple solution: Medicare for all. Thom Hartmann, The Hidden History of Healthcare, Penguin Books

A large part of why we don’t have universal healthcare in the United States is that “those people” (black, brown, LGBT, women who delay or forego marriage) would get it. Like the filibuster, it’s a relic of slavery. It’s remarkable in its longevity.

Everything about the “Republican Party” can largely be explained by sadomasochism, and Munchausen by proxy to feed oligarchy, their true, and only constituency. They claim the mantle of fiscal conservatism and spend like drunken sailors. They harm the body politic, then promptly blame it for the dysfunction they’ve caused. Politicians at their basic level are caregivers to the republic. It’s why we constantly recover from the lunacy of previous republican administrations during democratic administrations, then go right back to the lunacy after the change in administrations AS IF they’re capable of doing anything different than their previous debacles. They revel in a dysfunctional government, they cheer for dystopia and Armageddon. “Government is not the solution to our problem: government IS the problem” became a Reagan mantra, lazy politics, and intellectual bankruptcy. Why not goose the racist inclinations of your constituents, instead of leading them to help you solve problems, and actually earn your pay? For the crumbs from a chipped table between the Rich Man and Lazarus, they are willing to put hundreds of thousands of people to death, to gaslight about taking a vaccine to ameliorate a pandemic, to sacrifice Fox Propaganda viewers on the altar of Moloch so the economy can fail, and they can return to power, not because they have any novel ideas: It just makes them feel better.

They’ve been running this con for forty years. I have witnessed it and knew it would reach a saturation point: that it could not be sustained, as no lie, big or small can. They are desperately trying to patch the dam with fingers, hire QAnon “cyber ninjas” to audit Arizona ballots (already audited three times), to dwell in the “created realities” realm of Karl Rove. You can call it “religious freedom,” the “silent majority,” but it legitimizes their personal bigotry against whole groups for things they have no control over, nor they would change about themselves if they could. They can’t gain their votes, so, they block their votes.

The Whig Party: The Whig Party was a political party formed in 1834 by opponents of President Andrew Jackson and his Jacksonian Democrats. Led by Henry Clay, the name “Whigs” was derived from the English antimonarchist party and was an attempt to portray Jackson as “King Andrew.” The Whigs were one of the two major political parties in the United States from the late 1830s through the early 1850s. While Jacksonian Democrats painted Whigs as the party of the aristocracy, they managed to win support from diverse economic groups and elect two presidents: William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor. The other two Whig presidents, John Tyler and Millard Fillmore gained office as Vice Presidents next in the line of succession. History.com

The Know-Nothing Party: Know-Nothing party, by name of American Party, U.S. political party that flourished in the 1850s. It was an outgrowth of the strong anti-immigrant and especially anti-Roman Catholic sentiment that started to manifest itself during the 1840s. A rising tide of immigrants, primarily Germans in the Midwest and Irish in the East, seemed to pose a threat to the economic and political security of native-born Protestant Americans. In 1849 the secret Order of the Star-Spangled Banner formed in New York City, and soon after lodges formed in nearly every other major American city. Britannica.com

Neither of these parties exists in the United States.

Implosions are ugly, but like Entropy and blowing out gaslights, they are inexorable.

Recycled Plastics, Sustainable Fabrics…

MIT engineers have developed self-cooling fabrics from polyethylene, commonly used in plastic bags. They estimate that the new fabric may be more sustainable than cotton and other common textiles. (Courtesy: Svetlana Boriskina)

Topics: Ecology, Environment, Green Tech, Materials Science

Polyethylene is one of the most common plastics in the world, but it is seldom found in clothing because it cannot absorb or carry away water. (Imagine wearing a plastic bag – you would feel very uncomfortable very quickly.) Now, however, researchers in the US have developed a new material spun from polyethylene that not only “breathes” better than cotton, nylon, or polyester, but also has a smaller ecological footprint due to the ease with which it can be manufactured, dyed, cleaned and used.

The textile industry produces about 62 million tons of fabric each year. In the process, it consumes huge quantities of water, generates millions of tons of waste, and accounts for 5–10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it one of the world’s most polluting industries. Later stages of the textile use cycle also contribute to the industry’s environmental impact. Textiles made from natural fibers such as wool, cotton, silk, or linen require considerable amounts of energy and water to recycle, while textiles that are colored or made of composite materials are hard to recycle at all.

Hydrophilic and wicking

Researchers led by Svetlana Boriskina of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) set out to produce an alternative. They began by melting powdered low-density polyethylene and then extruding it into thin fibers roughly 18.5 μm in diameter (as measured using scanning electron microscopy and micro-computed tomography imaging techniques). This process slightly oxidizes the material’s surface so that it becomes hydrophilic – that is, it attracts water molecules – without the need for a separate chemical treatment.

Recycled plastic bags make sustainable fabrics, Isabelle Dumé, Physics World

Antistars…

Astronomers searched for candidate antimatter stars among nearly 6000 gamma-ray sources. After eliminating known objects and sources that lacked the spectral signature of an antistar, 14 possibles remained. (Courtesy: Simon Dupourqué/IRAP)

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, High Energy Physics

Fourteen possible antimatter stars (“antistars”) have been flagged up by astronomers searching for the origin of puzzling amounts of antihelium nuclei detected coming from deep space by the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) on the International Space Station.

Three astronomers at the University of Toulouse – Simon Dupourqué, Luigi Tibaldo, and Peter von Ballmoos – found the possible antistars in archive gamma-ray data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. While antistars are highly speculative, if they are real, then they may be revealed by their production of weak gamma-ray emission peaking at 70 MeV, when particles of normal matter from the interstellar medium fall onto them and are annihilated.

Antihelium-4 was created for the first time in 2011, in particle collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. At the time, scientists stated that if antihelium-4 were detected coming from space, then it would definitely have to come from the fusion process inside an antistar.

However, when it was announced in 2018 that AMS-02 had tentatively detected eight antihelium nuclei in cosmic rays – six of antihelium-3 and two of antihelium-4 – those unconfirmed detections were initially attributed to cosmic rays colliding with molecules in the interstellar medium and producing the antimatter in the process.

Subsequent analysis by scientists including Vivian Poulin, now at the University of Montpellier, cast doubt on the cosmic-ray origin since the greater the number of nucleons (protons and neutrons) that an antimatter nucleus has, the more difficult it is to form from cosmic ray collisions. Poulin’s group calculated that antihelium-3 is created by cosmic rays at a rate 50 times less than that detected by the AMS, while antihelium-4 is formed at a rate 105 times less.

The mystery of matter and antimatter

The focus has therefore turned back to what at first may seem an improbable explanation – stars made purely from antimatter. According to theory, matter and antimatter should have been created in equal amounts in the Big Bang, and subsequently, all annihilated leaving a universe full of radiation and no matter. Yet since we live in a matter-dominated universe, more matter than antimatter must have been created in the Big Bang – a mystery that physicists have grappled with for decades.

“Most scientists have been persuaded for decades now that the universe is essentially free of antimatter apart from small traces produced in collisions of normal matter,” says Tibaldo.

The possible existence of antistars threatens to turn this on its head. “The definitive discovery of antihelium would be absolutely fundamental,” says Dupourqué.

Are antimatter stars firing bullets of antihelium at Earth? Physics World, published in Physical Review D

Masochists, Mask Holes, and Gaslighters…

Image Source: Good Reads

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights, Propaganda

Tucker Carlson appears to be made of Teflon. Fox News’ top-rated host has been repeatedly accused of anti-immigrant and racist comments, which have cost his political opinion show many of its major advertisers. Yet Carlson endures in his prime-time slot.

Carlson even attacked his own network’s chief news anchor on the air, with no real consequences. That anchor, Shepard Smith, quit mid-contract shortly after Carlson went after him.

Now comes the claim that you can’t expect to literally believe the words that come out of Carlson’s mouth. And that assertion is not coming from Carlson’s critics. It’s being made by a federal judge in the Southern District of New York and by Fox News’s own lawyers in defending Carlson against accusations of slander. It worked, by the way.

You Literally Can’t Believe The Facts Tucker Carlson Tells You. So Say Fox’s Lawyers, David Folkenflik, NPR

Attorney Sidney Powell is defending herself from a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit using the same tactic successfully deployed by Tucker Carlson‘s Fox News show last year.

Dominion Voting Systems is suing Powell for a series of statements claiming that the company was involved in a wide-ranging conspiracy to steal the 2020 presidential election for President Joe Biden.

Powell’s attorneys have said in a court filing that no reasonable person would have believed her allegations as fact and therefore she can’t have defamed Dominion. This approach was successfully argued by lawyers representing Fox News in a 2020 defamation case.

“[I]n light of all the circumstances surrounding the statements, their context, and the availability of the facts on which the statements were based, it was clear to reasonable persons that Powell’s claims were her opinions and legal theories on a matter of utmost public concern,” Powell’s lawyers wrote.

“Those members of the public who were interested in the controversy were free to, and did, review that evidence and reached their own conclusions—or awaited resolution of the matter by the courts before making up their minds.”

Sidney Powell Uses Same Defamation Defense as Tucker Carlson’s Fox News Show, Darragh Roche, Newsweek

“Science is far from a perfect instrument of knowledge. It’s just the best we have. In this respect, as in many others, it’s like democracy. Science by itself cannot advocate courses of human action, but it can certainly illuminate the possible consequences of alternative courses of action.”

“Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.”

Both quotes by Carl Sagan in, “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.”

Fox knows the pandemic is real, as does Tucker Carlson. Like most other functional news outlets, he’s probably getting a PCR test: polymerase chain reaction as well as temperature tests each time he comes to the building and set. Likely, his audience knows it’s real as well. They might know one, or two people who have had it, or perished from it.

But the lie is more intoxicating than truth.

Barack Obama is a talented, superficially charming politician that can retail politic and kiss babies credibly with anyone. As a graduate of Columbia and Harvard, a constitutional scholar, he was never this rabid liberal-secret Muslim-closeted-socialist Fox Propaganda and right wing talk radio made him out to be. He said a speech in 2004 that put him on the political map. The economy was in a tailspin in 2008 due to the moribund philosophy of “trickle-down economics,” that is more like a vacuum sucking up money from the lower classes to the 0.01%. The 46th president chimed the death knell to the moribundity.

The mother of lies was the “mama grizzly” from Alaska, saying the rabid liberal-secret Muslim-closeted socialist “palled around with terrorists.” A public display of affection with his wife became a “terrorist fist bump.” This was reductio ad absurdum on steroids.

After losing with her running mate, she glommed onto the “death panels” myth by former NY lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey’s objections to Section 1233 of HR 3200: the Affordable Care Act. The recently-departed Rush Limbaugh, along with Laura Ingram, and Sean Hannity parroted the claims because that’s what a propaganda echo chamber does. Add to this Orwellian programming trio, the irascible Newton Gingrich, who turned conciliatory political protocol into blood sport. They have killed more grandparents this pandemic than the aspect of affordable healthcare to all Americans from a black president.

The lie metastasized with birtherism: the notion that Barack Hussein Obama (emphasis always on the middle name) wasn’t born in America. Newsflash: he was, despite the desperate attempts to decertify Hawaii as the reluctant 50th state. However, neither John McCain (Panama Canal) nor Raphael Edward Cruz, Jr. (Canada) was born on American soil. They are both American citizens because at least one parent – in McCain’s case both parents, were American citizens, so the argument that Stanley Ann Dunham could not confer the same status to her son had he been born in another country is feckless, racist, and moot. He was the living, breathing symbol of the change coming to the US.

The Tea Party reflected back to the beginnings of this republic with the Boston Tea Party: “taxation without representation” the battle cry and apparent raison d’etre for the existence of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands. All of them have one thing in common: a preponderance of Melanin, and fewer senators than Wyoming.

T.E.A.: taxed enough already, the modern battle cry for people not willing yet to admit their angst with the Affordable Care Act had little to do with socialism, or death panels, hence the pejorative “Obamacare,” because hanging him in effigy, and witch doctor placards were the last remnants of “wink and nod” genteel, subtle racial politics. The Tea Party “Freedom” Caucus (Orwellian as it sounds) swept into power in the 2010 midterms, despite Obama’s pleading with his following to vote in the same numbers as the 2008 presidential election. As history demanded, the opposition party took the House in 2010, helped by GOP Chair Michael Steele, jettisoned immediately after his token role was fulfilled. Moscow Mitch started his reign of terror with the 2014 midterms. Post Mr. Steele’s quixotic effort to engage more African Americans in the party, they went for the nasal-pronouncing Reince Priebus, soon-to-be in a distinguished succession of former White House Chiefs of Staff. Mr. Steele has since redeemed himself with The Lincoln Project.

An unlikely union occurred between a carnival barker, and a master spy, the latter master to the former: Dumbo Gambino pimped by Dr. Evil; the Ku Klutz Klan owned by the KGB. Neither of them planned for him to win against his more qualified, consequential opponent, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, so they had no plan for success, even for nefarious goals. It is why the last four years of Keystone Cop politics, chaotic, semi-form hand gestures; mumbled diction, misspelled tweets, hamberders, covfefe, and Page Six sensationalism ended in the current pandemic Zoom kerfuffle we’re all in.

“Palling around with terrorists”; “terrorist fist bump”; “death panels”; “birtherism”; the T.E.A. Party; “Freedom” Caucus: no challenges, not a single reset, no “this is not our party.” There were speed bumps that led to the biggest lie, even bigger than the Big Lie of stolen elections, and a January 6, 2021 insurrection: an alternative reality known as QAnon, that despite evidence to the contrary, the lie has its audience in sway because the truth requires responsibility.

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Good Reads

Even with the current revelations that QAnon is a guy and his dad in the Philippines, the 2020 platform that wasn’t, the lie has primacy over facts, which is imperative if you want to run something based on facts, like science in the lab, or a democracy.

Elephants, Mice, and Clocks…

Topics: Biology, DNA, Evolution, Research

In her laboratory in Barcelona, Spain, Miki Ebisuya has built a clock without cogs, springs, or numbers. This clock doesn’t tick. It is made of genes and proteins, and it keeps time in a layer of cells that Ebisuya’s team has grown in its lab. This biological clock is tiny, but it could help to explain some of the most conspicuous differences between animal species.

Animal cells bustle with activity, and the pace varies between species. In all observed instances, mouse cells run faster than human cells, which tick faster than whale cells. These differences affect how big an animal gets, how its parts are arranged, and perhaps even how long it will live. But biologists have long wondered what cellular timekeepers control these speeds, and why they vary.

A wave of research is starting to yield answers for one of the many clocks that control the workings of cells. There is a clock in early embryos that beats out a regular rhythm by activating and deactivating genes. This ‘segmentation clock’ creates repeating body segments such as the vertebrae in our spines. This is the timepiece that Ebisuya has made in her lab.

“I’m interested in biological time,” says Ebisuya, a developmental biologist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory Barcelona. “But lifespan or gestation period, they are too long for me to study.” The swift speed of the segmentation clock makes it an ideal model system, she says.

These cellular clocks help explain why elephants are bigger than mice, Michael Marshall, Nature