Dark Winter, Brighter Spring…

Topics: Biology, Civics, Civil Rights, COVID-19, Existentialism, Human Rights

I have taken the following vaccines this year: Pneumonia, Seasonal Influenza (Flu), Shingles in two booster shots.

Therefore, I am very likely to take the Coronavirus vaccine either offered by Pfizer or Moderna.

Pfizer is pushing back on the Trump administration’s suggestion that the company is having trouble producing its COVID-19 vaccine, saying it’s ready to ship millions more doses – once the government asks for them. As the company spoke out, several states said their vaccine allocations for next week have been sharply reduced.

Here’s what the key players are saying about a complicated situation:

What Pfizer says

“Pfizer is not having any production issues with our COVID-19 vaccine, and no shipments containing the vaccine are on hold or delayed,” CEO Albert Bourla said via Twitter. His company says it has completed every shipment the U.S. government has requested.

We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses,” Pfizer said in a statement.

The company also noted that in the past week, it shipped 2.9 million doses of the vaccine it developed with BioNTech in what is widely seen as a breakthrough in the nation’s fight against the coronavirus.

Pfizer Says Millions Of Vaccine Doses Are Ready, But States Say Shipments Were Cut, Bill Chappell, NPR

Unlike the 1918 pandemic, I don’t think it will take us a decade to come to some sense of normalcy. I am concerned, from a cultural perspective, that the vaccine spreads equitably.

We have a reason to be suspicious. The Tuskegee Experiment happened over four decades, affected hundreds of lives, allowing syphilis to infect men, women, and children. It makes trusting authorities with our lives a bit problematic. As I’ve said, if it helps anyone reading this entry, I will take the vaccine. I would like to get back to some sense of normalcy.

The revelation of the recent Russian hacks is the equivalent of a Cyber Pearl Harbor. Our nuclear triad material, three states (including Austin, Texas), the Central Intelligence Agency, Treasury, NASA, Commerce et al. This is a stickup. Think the city, lights: sewage. Like a burglar, we could all be held hostage by a foreign power. To paraphrase a false claim attributed to Nikita Khrushchev, Putin could literally “bury us without firing a shot.”

The shenanigans of the current obtuse, malignant, narcissistic, and incompetent administration will come to an end. Vaccines will go out, modeled by an incoming administration that like previous democratic ones before them, have to shovel the country out of the smoldering ruin that the previous republican one left the country in. They will of course delay vaccines, they will of course, try to sabotage on the way out. They are the steroids equivalent of Clinton-to-Bush removing the W keys, and costing the government approximately $15,000. It was disappointing and sophomoric. This stunt is petty, malevolent, and deadly. We have crossed the Rubicon of 300,000 dead Americans. At a rate of a 9/11 per day, we’ll reach 400,000 by inauguration. Delay during a pandemic will kill more Americans, but I guess that’s not a big concern to a malignant narcissist.

But I am hopeful for a brighter spring.

Mango Mussolini can do a lot of damage in 33 days, but it’s 33 days at noon when he loses access to the nuclear football, he loses the presidential immunity that protects him from an indictment, not that Letitia James, Cyrus Vance, SDNY, or EDNY are bothered by his threats of family and self pardons. His crimes in New York are state felonies, likely involving inflating his wealth, or decreasing it when it suited him. We’ll likely find out he’s not as rich as he claims to be. He cashed a series of diminishing value checks sent as a gag by Spy Magazine, proving himself a bit player in the New York Real Estate market. He’ll need every penny he’s grifting from his deluded followers to stay out of prison. Not that I’m sympathetic: but grift on this constant level has to be exhausting, and depleting of finance, and bodily constitution.

The evil energizer bunny has to run out of gas sometimes. His tweets will reach a limited audience. Cities that haven’t YET gotten paid for his previous rallies will refuse to book him. He’s proposing bringing back The Apprentice because his “power” is his celebrity, and that dwindles quickly without cameras on you constantly. He can call it Apprentice, 2024: Finding a Vice President (a tacit admittance Pence didn’t help him win re-election). Several sources say Twitter might finally remove him, not the conviction to “do the right thing,” just that if his followers dwindle, they have no one to gather metadata from for marketing purposes. It’s business, and a one-term president probably isn’t good for the bottom-line.

That’s all fine and good, Donald unless you’re spending your evenings at Riker’s. Maybe they’ll station you at the Queens Detention Complex. He can see the old neighborhood, while the rest of us heal from his madness. We will get through this.

That’s it for this year. See you in January 2021.

No Strings Attached…

Image Source: Physicist finds loose thread of string theory puzzle, Cay Leytham-Powell, University of Colorado at Boulder, Phys.org

Topics: Einstein, General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, String Theory

For decades, most physicists have agreed that string theory is the missing link between Einstein’s theory of general relativity, describing the laws of nature at the largest scale, and quantum mechanics, describing them at the smallest scale. However, an international collaboration headed by Radboud physicists has now provided compelling evidence that string theory is not the only theory that could form the link. They demonstrated that it is possible to construct a theory of quantum gravity that obeys all fundamental laws of physics, without strings. They described their findings in Physical Review Letters last week.

When we observe gravity at work in our universe, such as the motion of planets or light passing close to a black hole, everything seems to follow the laws written down by Einstein in his theory of general relativity. On the other hand, quantum mechanics is a theory that describes the physical properties of nature at the smallest scale of atoms and subatomic particles. Though these two theories have allowed us to explain every fundamental physical phenomenon observed, they also contradict each other. As of today, physicists have severe difficulties to reconcile the two theories to explain gravity on both the largest and smallest scale.

Explaining gravity without string theory, Radboud University, Phys.org

TNOs…

Topics: Astronomy, Astrophysics, Comets, Space Exploration

Invisible structures generated by gravitational interactions in the Solar System have created a “space superhighway” network, astronomers have discovered.

These channels enable the fast travel of objects through space and could be harnessed for our own space exploration purposes, as well as the study of comets and asteroids.

By applying analyses to both observational and simulation data, a team of researchers led by Nataša Todorović of Belgrade Astronomical Observatory in Serbia observed that these superhighways consist of a series of connected arches inside these invisible structures, called space manifolds – and each planet generates its own manifolds, together creating what the researchers have called “a true celestial autobahn.”

This network can transport objects from Jupiter to Neptune in a matter of decades, rather than the much longer timescales, on the order of hundreds of thousands to millions of years, normally found in the Solar System.

Finding hidden structures in space isn’t always easy, but looking at the way things move around can provide helpful clues. In particular, comets and asteroids.

There are several groups of rocky bodies at different distances from the Sun. There’s the Jupiter-family comets (JFCs), those with orbits of less than 20 years, that don’t go farther than Jupiter’s orbital paths.

Centaurs are icy chunks of rocks that hang out between Jupiter and Neptune. And the trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) are those in the far reaches of the Solar System, with orbits larger than that of Neptune.

Astronomers Just Found Cosmic ‘Superhighways’ For Fast Travel Through The Solar System, Michelle Starr (no kidding), Science Alert

Measure of Our Impact…

Dams are just one type of infrastructure that can cause environmental damage. HUSEYINTUNCER/ ISTOCK

Topics: Civics, Climate Change, Environment, Existentialism

It’s not just your storage unit that’s packed to the gills. According to a new study, the mass of all our stuff—buildings, roads, cars, and everything else we manufacture—now exceeds the weight of all living things on the planet. And the amount of new material added every week equals the total weight of Earth’s nearly 8 billion people.

“If you weren’t convinced before that humans are dominating the planet, then you should be convinced now,” says Timon McPhearson, an urban ecologist at the New School who was not involved with the research. “This is an eye-catching comparison,” adds Fridolin Krausmann, a social ecologist at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, who also was not involved in the work.

There are many measures of humanity’s impact on the planet. Fossil fuels have sent greenhouse gases soaring to levels not seen in at least 800,000 years. Agriculture and dwellings have altered 70% of land. And humans have wiped out untold numbers of species in an emerging great extinction. The transformations are so great that researchers have declared we’re living in a new human-dominated age: the Anthropocene.

Systems biologist Ron Milo of the Weizmann Institute of Science went looking for a new gauge of our impact. He and his colleagues synthesized previous estimates of the biomass of living plants for each year between 1900 and 2017. Those estimates account for about 90% of all living things and are based on field research and computer modeling. From 1990 onward, they also include data from satellites, which researchers have used to track global vegetation.

Human ‘stuff’ now outweighs all life on Earth, Erik Stokstad, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science Magazine

Reality-Truth…

Leonard Nimoy as Spock from “Amok Time,” TOS, first aired September 15, 1967

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Human Rights, Politics, Star Trek

I’ve been finishing up the semester. I passed my preliminary exam. Now I’m working on refining my research question for my dissertation proposal, due late spring. I usually take a break from blogging around the holidays, and as my Dean put it, dissertations proposals are “a bear.” So don’t be surprised if I take a blog break for LONG stretches.

o’thia
Literally defined as “reality-truth” in Vulcan religion/philosophy, methods of emotional self-control, and teachings of pacifism. The term o’thia is also known simply as logic. Note: there is an error on the wiki – cthia, versus o’thia. See: TOS novel: Spock’s World, by Diane Duane. See beta wiki: https://memory-beta.fandom.com/wiki/Vulcan_language

As I type this, the FDA meeting on the Pfizer version of the coronavirus vaccine has concluded. They have taken the first step towards approving the vaccine for distribution in America. The first woman in the world to receive it was a 90-year-old grandmother in Bristol. As she gave her arm and consent, many even in the UK expressed misplaced skepticism, expressing their version of European “anti-vax” sentiments. African Americans are still feeling the sting of the Tuskegee Experiment, decades later, and don’t trust anything the current administration might have produced after waves of destructive behavior, destroying what were marginal “norms,” but the pandemic has shown and is showing, we were not “normal,” and we still aren’t. The majority of WASP-C (White, Anglo Saxon Protestant Cisgender) countries are scarfing up vaccine supplies because they have the WEALTH to do so. We are still behaving carnally, like warring tribes over the next hill. The pandemic has revealed our world is imbalanced by racism and income inequality. A lot of the epidemics and pandemics stem from people trying their best to survive under circumstances they did not design for themselves. You can’t complain about anyone eating a bat any more than you can about someone eating chitterlings and high-salt hog products when the scraps were literally all African Americans had to eat. See Umar Haque’s article: “How Covid Proves the World is Even More Racist Than You Think.” Start getting used to the term “vaccine nationalism.” It’s short-sighted: you can’t do any international travel for business, or pleasure if developing countries – where we get a lot of precious metals – are still in lockdown.

Star Trek is modern mythology, born during the turbulent 1960s when there were the struggle for civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights (Stonewall), civil unrest, assassinations, and the Cold War with the Soviet Union, “duck-and-cover” drills being as part of the school curriculum as masks are now. Gene Roddenberry envisioned a world in the far future, with fantastic technologies and cooperation among humanity that from September 8, 1966, to June 3, 1969, he obviously hadn’t see demonstrated. In many ways, we’re trying to “live up” to the optimistic (some would say Pollyannaish) vision today.

Star Trek inspired many P.E.E.R.s (People Excluded due to Ethnicity and Race, see David Asai, 2020 here, and here) into STEM, Dr. Ronald E. McNair, for example, and myself.

I was particularly inspired by Spock. He wasn’t just Vulcan: he was biracial, not just of two cultures, but two worlds. From the canon, he seemed to experience xenophobia and insults from other “pure” Vulcans, as well as snarky humans like Dr. Leonard McCoy. Seeing myself in the outsider, “the other” in Science Officer Spock wasn’t even a little stretch. Empathy for his fellow Vulcan’s, and some human’s racism during the turbulent 1960s was easy.

o’thia

We are a country in the aftermath of being gaslighted by a man his clinical psychologist niece says is so delusional, he can gaslight himself. We are a country in the aftermath of four-hundred years of gaslighting between what is “superior,” and what is “inferior.” “Reality-truth” is anathema to him and his cult following, primed by forty-years of AM talk radio, and four-hundred years of generational brainwashing. The Fairness Doctrine wasn’t repealed by Reagan, but it was abandoned in 1987 during the lame-duck years of his administration. It affected radio broadcast licenses, so you can say this probably led to Rush Limbaugh and right-wing talk radio. Fox News is television, thus unrestrained by whether we had a fairness doctrine when they arrived in 1996, or not. The Texas AG and seventeen other AG’s – all WASP-C males (White, Anglo Saxon Protestant-Cisgender) have filed a frivolous lawsuit to overturn the 2020 election results because the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People Of Color, and P.E.E.R.s among them), have no votes that they deem credible unless they vote for republicans.

[Chief Justice Roger B.] Taney — a staunch supporter of slavery and intent on protecting southerners from northern aggression — wrote in the Court’s majority opinion that, because Scott was black, he was not a citizen and therefore had no right to sue. The framers of the Constitution, he wrote, believed that blacks “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it.” PBS – Dred Scott case: the Supreme Court decision, 1857

Dr. Mary Trump is the author of “Too Much, and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.” She’s apparently working on a follow-up book on the country’s collective trauma due to her uncle’s incompetence, and more likely, his many undiagnosed mental disorders. Also, as I listened to her View interview, she wants to talk about how we as a nation – not the BIPOC, or P.E.E.R.s – have collectively ignored our past, and never reckoned with the slaughter of Native First Nation Peoples, the kidnap, rape, and slaughter-at-will of the African Diaspora, to the point the current dwindling majority can’t see me any more than Taney did my ancestor, Dred Scott: we have no rights they are bound to respect, and our vote is by definition “fraudulent,” unless we vote for them as “masters.”

“Reality-truth” – o’thia – saved the mythical Vulcans from self-annihilation.

We might want a steady diet of o’thia if we want to survive as a species.

Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We can not. We must not. We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other. Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa in the movie Black Panther, Rest In Power.

Footsies With Armageddon…

Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Human Rights, Star Trek

Iran’s most senior nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated near the capital Tehran, the country’s defense ministry has confirmed.

Fakhrizadeh died in hospital after an attack in Absard, in Damavand county.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has condemned the killing “as an act of state terror”.

Western intelligence agencies believe Fakhrizadeh was behind a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program.

“If Iran ever chose to weaponize (enrichment), Fakhrizadeh would be known as the father of the Iranian bomb,” one Western diplomat told Reuters news agency in 2014.

Iran insists its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.

But news of the killing comes amid fresh concern about the increased amount of enriched uranium that the country is producing. Enriched uranium is a vital component for both civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s top nuclear scientist, assassinated near Tehran, BBC News

Yes, just like something out of Marvel’s Captain America. According to reports by U.S. intelligence, China has conducted human testing on members of the People’s Liberation Army with the ambitious goal of developing soldiers with enhanced biological capabilities.

Though it may sound like something out of science fiction, emerging technologies capable of augmenting the human body paired with the rapidly evolving world of genome-editing could arguably spawn the dawn of super-humans.

Concepts like artificial intelligence symbiosis, bionic body parts, and self-regenerating limbs are not too far off into the future.

Though the idea of getting your hands on some highly coveted Marvel-Esque superpowers sounds exciting, there are some real-world fears and ethical questions that need to be asked. Should we if we can?

China is Creating Biologically Enhanced Super Soldiers, Says US Spy Chief, Donovan Alexander, Interesting Engineering

Act Two
McCoy is conducting a medical analysis on the unidentified man at sickbay on the Enterprise. McCoy is amazed at the physical and recuperative power of the man.

In sickbay, Kirk arrives to speak to the man. McCoy notes his superior bodily strength and efficiency of his lungs, hinting at his Augment origin. McCoy estimates that the man could lift both he and Kirk with one arm. He tells Kirk that it would be interesting to see if the man’s brain matches his body.

TOS: Space Seed, Memory Alpha

In July, we were estimated losing a person a minute to COVID-19. We may now lose the equivalent of a 9/11 per day by Christmas. Bah, humbug!

In the constitutional “peaceful transfer of power,” you would think the current occupant of the Oval Office would be laser-focused on the pandemic. He would have his agencies coordinating with the incoming administration to ensure its success, and minimize the loss of life due to a virus that spreads exponentially. You would think his Oath of Office would come to mind, the whole “protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign, and domestic.” That the safety of the nation and its citizens would be his highest priority.

Dude, you don’t know our current occupant. He’s playing president like he played a billionaire. He’s never been either one.

No action on the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist, no condemnation of the act, or sanctions on an ally that approved this action, nor officially logging our disapproval.

China is on the verge of fielding “Captain China” supermen on a future battlefield we may find our soldiers dying on. They’re already on the verge of technological supremacy without augments. Their fascination with Nazi lawyer Carl Schmitt is disturbing.

Of course, his priorities are arguing an election that he clearly lost.

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that China’s economic and military transformation, under the current Communist regime, has the potential to seriously threaten the future security of Canada and the West. The paper first looks at the economic reforms that have radically changed the Chinese economy. Then, the paper presents the significant changes that have taken place concerning military strategy, equipment modernization, and power projection capability. The strategic view and policies of Canada and the US are discussed in light of these changes and other recent incidents. The paper then presents the argument that there are three potential problem areas in which China could possibly threaten the West. The paper concludes by noting that China is a Communist country that is dissatisfied with its status in the world and that the West must not be naive to its intentions and ambitions.

When China awakes, it will shake the world – Napoleon Bonaparte

Once China becomes strong enough to stand alone, it might discard us. A little later it might even turn against us if its perception of its interests requires it – Henry Kissinger

China: the Emerging Superpower
by/par Major H.A. Hynes

The economic conditions before the first and second world wars were similarly dire, and related to each other. The gist of each causing massive losses of life (inclusive of the 1918 pandemic) was arrogance and greed.

We live in a cartoon. We think our actions are recoverable and survivable. We think there’s a “Season Two” to stupidity. We think that minerals we’ve given agency over our lives, spewed as the guts of stars parsecs away are valuable enough to hoard, steal, and kill over.

We elect caricatures of gangsters to high office: sociopaths with Twitter followers that are equally psychotic. We’re at the Entropy of our political experiment. Chaos is kind of unrecoverable without benevolent aliens and fictional warp signatures.

He’s running a con. He’s ALWAYS running a con. The con started with Reagan: “government is the problem” is as catchy and myopic a slogan as “defund the police.” What does either one mean? I don’t think officers should show up to a mental health crisis with guns blazing: that usually doesn’t turn out too well. Was there a libertarian rocketeer that had a cost-effective method of getting to the moon? Was there some unknown genius living in his mom’s basement that had a better solution than ARPANET (that became the Internet)? I’m as against bad, racist cops as anyone, but if my home is broken into, I EXPECT a government structure capable enough that when my glass break goes off, SOMEONE that my taxes pay for their salaries comes a-running, whether they like me personally, or not!

He’s making far more money in small-dollar donations by losing the election, whining about it was “rigged,” and putting out 46-minute bullshit infomercials to morons than winning it. As a malignant narcissist, he could care LESS who his rhetoric influences to commit violence, whether they’re Republicans, Independents, or Democrats. He’s probably as surprised as the 80 million who voted for the sane candidate that there are 74 million that would consciously and deliberately vote for him!

He’s running a grift reality show, while we all sit on a powder keg for forty-six days.

As he witnessed the first detonation of a nuclear weapon on July 16, 1945, a piece of Hindu scripture ran through the mind of Robert Oppenheimer: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. It is, perhaps, the most well-known line from the Bhagavad-Gita, but also the most misunderstood.

In Hinduism, which has a non-linear concept of time, the great god is not only involved in the creation, but also the dissolution. In verse thirty-two, Krishna speaks the line brought to global attention by Oppenheimer. “The quotation ‘Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds’, is literally the world-destroying time,” explains Thompson, adding that Oppenheimer’s Sanskrit teacher chose to translate “world-destroying time” as “death”, a common interpretation. Its meaning is simple: irrespective of what Arjuna does, everything is in the hands of the divine.

“Arjuna is a soldier, he has a duty to fight. Krishna, not Arjuna will determine who lives and who dies and Arjuna should neither mourn nor rejoice over what fate has in store, but should be sublimely unattached to such results,” says Thompson. “And ultimately the most important thing is he should be devoted to Krishna. His faith will save Arjuna’s soul.” But Oppenheimer, seemingly, was never able to achieve this peace. “In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humour, no overstatements can quite extinguish,” he said two years after the Trinity explosion, “the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.”

‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds’. The story of Oppenheimer’s infamous quote, James Temperton, Wired

Deep Thought, to DeepMind…

Topics: Artificial Intelligence, Biology, Research, Science Fiction

“Deep Thought” was the name of the computer in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” where it took millions of years to find the answer to “life, the universe, and everything” is 42.

An artificial intelligence (AI) network developed by Google AI offshoot DeepMind has made a gargantuan leap in solving one of biology’s grandest challenges — determining a protein’s 3D shape from its amino-acid sequence.

DeepMind’s program, called AlphaFold, outperformed around 100 other teams in a biennial protein-structure prediction challenge called CASP, short for Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction. The results were announced on 30 November, at the start of the conference — held virtually this year — that takes stock of the exercise.

“This is a big deal,” says John Moult, a computational biologist at the University of Maryland in College Park, who co-founded CASP in 1994 to improve computational methods for accurately predicting protein structures. “In some sense the problem is solved.”

‘It will change everything’: DeepMind’s AI makes gigantic leap in solving protein structures, Ewen Callaway, Nature

Quasiparticles, and Graphene…

Telltale traces In this doping vs magnetic field conductance map, the magnetic field is varied along the vertical axis. Horizontal yellow streaks show Brown-Zak fermions propagating along straight trajectories with high mobility (low resistance), whereas slanted indigo lines show the cyclotron motion around Brown-Zak fermions. The slope of these lines enabled the researchers to obtain the degeneracy (and find an additional quantum number) of these new quasiparticles. (Courtesy: J Barrier)

Topics: Fermions, Graphene, Nanotechnology, Quantum Mechanics

Researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK have identified a new family of quasiparticles in superlattices made from graphene sandwiched between two slabs of boron nitride. The work is important for fundamental studies of condensed-matter physics and could also lead to the development of improved transistors capable of operating at higher frequencies.

In recent years, physicists and materials scientists have been studying ways to use the weak (van der Waals) coupling between atomically thin layers of different crystals to create new materials in which electronic properties can be manipulated without chemical doping. The most famous example is graphene (a sheet of carbon just one atom thick) encapsulated between another 2D material, hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), which has a similar lattice constant. Since both materials also have similar hexagonal structures, regular moiré patterns (or “superlattices”) form when the two lattices are overlaid.

If the stacked layers of graphene-hBN are then twisted, and the angle between the two materials’ lattices decreases, the size of the superlattice increases. This causes electronic band gaps to develop through the formation of additional Bloch bands in the superlattice’s Brillouin zone (a mathematical construct that describes the fundamental ideas of electronic energy bands). In these Bloch bands, electrons move in a periodic electric potential that matches the lattice and do not interact with one another.

New family of quasiparticles appears in graphene, Isabelle Dumé, Physics World

Truthiness, to Truth Decay…

Image Source: Wikipedia link below

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

Truthiness is the belief or assertion that a particular statement is true based on the intuition or perceptions of some individual or individuals, without regard to evidencelogicintellectual examination, or facts. Truthiness can range from ignorant assertions of falsehoods to deliberate duplicity or propaganda intended to sway opinions.

The concept of truthiness has emerged as a major subject of discussion surrounding U.S. politics during the 1990s and 2000s because of the perception among some observers of a rise in propaganda and a growing hostility toward factual reporting and fact-based discussion.

American television comedian Stephen Colbert coined the term truthiness in this meaning as the subject of a segment called “The Wørd” during the pilot episode of his political satire program The Colbert Report on October 17, 2005. By using this as part of his routine, Colbert satirized the misuse of appeal to emotion and “gut feeling” as a rhetorical device in contemporaneous socio-political discourse.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness

Roger Ailes was very explicit as to why he wanted, and created Fox News: he wanted a news outlet friendly to conservative interests in the wake of Watergate, and the resignation of President Richard Nixon. I don’t think we realize how astonishing that was, and that we’ve mythologized those times as “halcyon days” of yore.

Richard Nixon ran on “law and order,” and the fear of violence in the wake of the deaths of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. He subtly stoked white grievance, the so-called “Southern Strategy,” infamously described by political operative Lee Atwater. It worked. He rode to power in 1968, and a landslide forty-nine out of fifty state win in 1972, where he became the first Republican to sweep the south.

Nixon didn’t need the plumbers to break into the DNC headquarters Watergate building, but there’s evidence he used government resources instructing them to do so. His Vice President, Spiro Agnew, was accepting “bags of money” at the White House – as he did as governor of Maryland – to do political “favors” on Capitol Hill. For all intents and purposes, that is bribery. Nowadays, they attach lawyers to it, and call it lobbying.

The Justice Department was in a conundrum: if they indict the sitting president for an illegal breakin, they have to indict the sitting Vice President for usury. Plus, that pesky thing called The Constitution said if removed from office, the next in line was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, then, as now, a Democrat. The “memo” came out, without legal standing, or precedence, that you “cannot indict a sitting president.”

We did not have cable television, cell phones, or social media apps. Every single American, presumably many who voted for Nixon’s landslide victory, got the same information from three television outlets: ABC, CBS and NBC news. Telegrams, letters, phone calls, letters to the editor in local newspapers and polls showed the country’s mood had turned against Nixon, plus his promise to get us out of the Vietnam War turned out to be a boondoggle: many families were welcoming their loved ones home in body bags in a war it clearly looked like we weren’t going to win. Altruism and fealty to The Constitution had nothing to do with Republicans then, or now. The party talked Agnew into leaving on a lesser charge to get Gerald Ford – a congressman from Ohio, with no association to Nixon, or Agnew – in as Vice President. Then, the republicans could keep power at the Executive Branch if an Impeachment in the House led to conviction in the Senate, and forced removal.

The speed of a sprinter, a thrown fastball, the luminescence of a distant star, or the Hawking’s Radiation of a Black Hole is demonstrable, measurable facts. They are not subject to opinions, “alternative facts,” quackery, or spin. On the one hand, first, second, and third place is determinable, the speed of a Rookie fastball pitched from a mound can be logged; the astrophysical properties of distant objects can be studied because, in sports and physics, there is an agreement on what IS true, and what is false.

“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.”

“The scientific way of thinking is at once imaginative and disciplined. This is central to its success. Science invites us to let the facts in, even when they don’t conform to our preconceptions. It counsels us to carry alternative hypotheses in our heads and see which best fit the facts. It urges on us a delicate balance between no-holds-barred openness to new ideas, however heretical, and the most rigorous skeptical scrutiny of everything — new ideas and established wisdom. This kind of thinking is also an essential tool for a democracy in an age of change.”

“The whole idea of a democratic application of skepticism is that everyone should have the essential tools to effectively and constructively evaluate claims to knowledge.”

― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, also Brain Pickings: Science, and Democracy

The premiere of Stephen Colbert’s witty and insightful show probably had a lot to do with the “truthiness” on Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. That was demonstrably a lie. Yet, time and comparison to our current tweet-addicted sociopath make memories fail, as even George W. Bush now can pay respects to John Lewis: he was one of three living presidents to do so. The current occupant is too racist, devoted to his base, and fantasy to do so.

Ted Cruz is a Harvard-trained lawyer, and like President Obama, an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He’s taken to Twitter to spread baseless conspiracy theories, and promote a right-wing social media app, Parler, financed by Rebecca Mercer, who like her billionaire hedge fund father, funds right-wing causes around the globe. It also shows his disdain for the people in Texas that are his constituents: he thinks they’re fools, and probably wants to run for president again on the gravy train of lunacy Orange Satan built. The Republican Party genuinely fear their own base. They’ve stoked them every time a Democrat ascends to the presidency that the great purge of “coming to take your guns” is around the corner, any minute now. There were more guns sold during the Obama administration than the current imbecilic nightmare. I assume gun industry sales will improve apace.

The irony is, Parler is a completely enclosed silo. Part of the perverse joy of social media by sociopaths is “owning the libs,” a badge of honor after frustrating arguments back and forth on a platform that you get blocked. Similar I’m sure, to throwing pollutants in the air from smokestacks on trucks, thinking oneself immune from the effects on Earth-Two. There are few “libs” on Parler to own. It also shows the tech company’s regard for the intelligence of conservatives is limited, but they can see an opportunity, like most snake oil salesmen and conmen, to make a fast buck off gullible marks.

You cannot measure a sporting achievement without a knowledge of the rules, and adherence to them to make a judgment on performance.

You cannot have a STEM field without knowing the foundations of its knowledge, what is, and is not possible, and adherence to The Scientific Method to make an evaluation of the outcome of an experiment, and the world.

You cannot have a Democratic Republic with truth decay. To list them together is an oxymoron. Unless your ultimate goal is a fascist state.

Integrated Nanodiamonds…

Nanophotonic integration for simultaneously controlling a large number of quantum mechanical spins in nanodiamonds. (Image: P. Schrinner/AG Schuck)

Topics: Nanotechnology, Quantum Computer, Quantum Mechanics, Semiconductor Technology

(Nanowerk News) Physicists at Münster University have succeeded in fully integrating nanodiamonds into nanophotonic circuits and at the same time addressing several of these nanodiamonds optically. The study creates the basis for future applications in the field of quantum sensing schemes or quantum information processors.

The results have been published in the journal Nano Letters (“Integration of Diamond-Based Quantum Emitters with Nanophotonic Circuits“).

Using modern nanotechnology, it is possible nowadays to produce structures which have a feature sizes of just a few nanometers.

This world of the most minute particles – also known as quantum systems – makes possible a wide range of technological applications, in fields which include magnetic field sensing, information processing, secure communication or ultra-precise time keeping. The production of these microscopically small structures has progressed so far that they reach dimensions below the wavelength of light.

In this way, it is possible to break down hitherto existent boundaries in optics and utilize the quantum properties of light. In other words, nanophotonics represent a novel approach to quantum technologies.

Controlling fully integrated nanodiamonds, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster