Topics: African Americans, Diversity in Science, Women in Science
The National Society of Black Physicists stands with those that fight against systemic racism and for freedom, equality, liberty, and justice to become a reality for all of America’s citizens. Click the button below to read the statement from our president.
Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Existentialism, Fascism, Human Rights
“The human understanding is no dry light, but receives infusion from the will and affections; whence proceed sciences which may be called ‘sciences as one would.’ For what a man had rather were true, he more readily believes. Therefore, he rejects difficult things from impatience of research; sober things, because they narrow hope; the deeper things of nature, from superstition; the light of experience, from arrogance and pride; things not commonly believed, out of the deference to the opinion of the vulgar. Numberless in short are the ways, and sometimes imperceptible, in which the affections color and infect the understanding.” Sir Francis Bacon, NOVUM ORGANON (1620)
The GOP today is a tale of two parties. One of them, the gubernatorial wing, is growing and successful. The other, the federal wing, is increasingly marginalizing itself, and unless changes are made, it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win another presidential election in the near future.
Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. States in which our presidential candidates used to win, such as New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Florida, are increasingly voting Democratic. We are losing in too many places.
It has reached the point where in the past six presidential elections, four have gone to the Democratic nominee, at an average yield of 327 electoral votes to 211 for the Republican. During the preceding two decades, from 1968 to 1988, Republicans won five out of six elections, averaging 417 electoral votes to Democrats’ 113.
Our job as Republicans is to champion private growth so people will not turn to the government in the first place. But we must make sure that the government works for those truly in need, helping them so they can quickly get back on their feet. We should be driven by reform, eliminating, and fixing what is broken, while making sure the government’s safety net is a trampoline, not a trap.
The Republican Party must be the champion of those who seek to climb the economic ladder of life. Low-income Americans are hardworking people who want to become hardworking middle-income Americans. Middle-income Americans want to become upper-middle-income, and so on. We need to help everyone make it in America.
America is changing demographically, and unless Republicans are able to grow our appeal the way GOP governors have done, the changes tilt the playing field even more in the Democratic direction.
In 1980, exit polls tell us that the electorate was 88 percent white. In 2012, it was 72 percent white. Hispanics made up 7 percent of the electorate in 2000, 8 percent in 2004, 9 percent in 2008, and 10 percent in 2012. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2050, whites will be 47 percent of the country while Hispanics will grow to 29 percent and Asians to 9 percent.
If we want ethnic minority voters to support Republicans, we have to engage them and show our sincerity.
Magical thinking is the belief that one’s ideas, thoughts, wishes, or actions can influence the course of events in the physical world. It is something people all over the globe engage in, and many religious and folk rituals center around it. While magical thinking can be a very normal human response, and there are aspects of it that can have psychological benefits, it can also be counterproductive at times and even be a sign of a mental health concern.
The “Growth and Opportunity Project” looked at the prospects of the Republican Party being viable even with the changing demographics that are inevitable. It’s a quick read, and quite logically laid out. It’s a calming alternative to what the party has become.
From Grand Old Party to Growth and Opportunity Project, to Gang of Putin, insurrection and Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor-Greene. The GOP is starting to look more like Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane with Riddler, and Joker. This is not just acceptance of violence against opponents they should debate with better ideas. This isn’t a “bug” for the Republican Party: violence is becoming a feature, a feature of fascists.
Kevin McCarthy can retire. He’ll never be Speaker of the House, except if they overthrow the republic, and we become The Republic of Gilead in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” John Boehner couldn’t control the “Freedom” Caucus – and they were SANER! What does he think “talking to” Taylor-Greene will do? Oh yes. From the link above, she’s removing all the homicidal, anti-Semitic, controversial calls to assassinate Speaker Pelosi. Like I said, never Speaker.
Echo and Narcissus is the fable from which we derive the word narcissist. He dies pining for his own reflection, in love with himself, or at least his reflection; starving to death, the Nymph Echo saying the only thing she could say: his last word before expiring: “farewell.” McCarthy literally “kissed the ring” of the loser narcissist of the 2020 election. The same he blamed for the insurrection, then a week later recanted. It’s like he’s never read the Growth and Opportunity Project, or like his president, used it as toilet paper on a golden throne. The entire party is too proud to change, but narcissistically blames “others,” and stares at itself in the mirror, finding no flaws. The fat lady has sung; Echo is warming up.
The U.S. Capitol is both a crime scene and a toxic work environment. Democrats think Boebert and Greene might try to kill them. They’re buying Kevlar to go to work.
Magical thinking leads to conspiracy theorizing. Insane asylums manage magical thinking, republics require informed citizens with a firm tether to facts, science, and reality. It creates a world of “us and them,” saints and sinners, Batman and Jokers, protectors of the unborn against satanic pedophiles using concealed carry sidearms. Once one side makes “others” of their political opposites, they are of no more consequence than beetles on sidewalks joggers squish absentmindedly. Once your opponents in your mind aren’t even human, you can justify anything to rid yourselves of them – even insurrection, or murder.
And insurrection without consequences is a dress rehearsal. Fascism is incremental.
Formerly there were those who said: You believe things that are incomprehensible, inconsistent, impossible because we have commanded you to believe them; go then and do what is unjust because we command it. Such people show admirable reasoning. Truly, whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. If the God-given understanding of your mind does not resist a demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist a demand to do wrong to that God-given sense of justice in your heart. As soon as one faculty of your soul has been dominated, other faculties will follow as well. And from this derives all those crimes of religion which have overrun the world.
I would extend his theme to cover something that comes naturally to us all, which I’ll call Pseudo-exceptionalism—the unearned conviction that we are exceptional, superior to others because we were born…us.
We simply assume that we’re kinder, more honest, more realistic, more wholesome than those around us. After all, we’re married to ourselves for life, so we make accommodations: We cut ourselves slack. We’re fast to forgive ourselves. When challenged, we’re much better at making our case than our opponent’s. We spot injustices to ourselves far faster than we spot our injustices to others.
It is presumptuous to assume that we are worthy of special attention from advanced species in the Milky Way. We may be a phenomenon as uninteresting to them as ants are to us; after all, when we’re walking down the sidewalk we rarely if ever examine every ant along our path.
Our sun formed at the tail end of the star formation history of the universe. Most stars are billions of years older than ours. So much older, in fact that many sunlike stars have already consumed their nuclear fuel and cooled off to a compact Earth-size remnant known as a white dwarf. We also learned recently that of order half of all sunlike stars host an Earth-size planet in their habitable zone, allowing for liquid water and for the chemistry of life.
Since the dice of life were rolled in billions of other locations within the Milky Way under similar conditions to those on Earth, life as we know it is likely common. If that is indeed the case, some intelligent species may well be billions of years ahead of us in their technological development. When weighing the risks involved in interactions with less-developed cultures such as ours, these advanced civilizations may choose to refrain from contact. The silence implied by Fermi’s paradox (“Where is everybody?”) may mean that we are not the most attention-worthy cookies in the jar.
Cultural references: The post title refers to NC A&T Alumni, and Civil Rights icon Reverend Jesse Jackson’s appearance on Saturday Night Live, and the Wow! signal. Personal note: This signal appeared on the same day my granddaughter was born.
On April 29, 2019, the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia began listing to the radio signals from the Sun’s nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri, just over 4 lightyears away. The telescope was looking for evidence of solar flares and so listened for 30 minutes before retraining on a distant quasar to recalibrate and then pointing back.
In total, the telescope gathered 26 hours of data. But when astronomers analyzed it in more detail, they noticed something odd — a single pure tone at a frequency of 982.02 MHz that appeared five times in the data.
The signal was first reported last year in The Guardian, a British newspaper. The article raised the possibility that the signal may be evidence of an advanced civilization on Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf star that is known to have an Earth-sized planet orbiting in its habitable zone.
But researchers have consistently played down this possibility saying that, at the very least, the signal must be observed again before any conclusions can be drawn. Indeed, the signal has not been seen again, despite various searches.
Now Amir Siraj and Abraham Loeb from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have calculated the likelihood that the signal came from a Proxima Centauri-based civilization, even without another observation. They say the odds are so low as to effectively rule out the possibility — provided the assumptions they make in their calculations are valid.
Gases flow through a porous membrane at ultrahigh speeds even when the pores’ diameter approaches the atomic scale. This finding by researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK and the University of Pennsylvania in the US shows that the century-old Knudsen description of gas flow remains valid down to the nanoscale – a discovery that could have applications in water purification, gas separation and air-quality monitoring.
Gas permeation through nano-sized pores is both ubiquitous in nature and technologically important, explains Manchester’s Radha Boya, who led the research effort along with Marija Drndić at Pennsylvania. Because the diameter of these narrow pores is much smaller than the mean free diffusion path of gas molecules, the molecules’ flow can be described using a model developed by the Danish physicist Martin Knudsen in the early decades of the 20th century. During so-called Knudsen flow, the diffusing molecules randomly scatter from the pore walls rather than colliding with each other.
Until now, however, researchers didn’t know whether Knudsen flow might break down if the pores became small enough. Boya, Drndić and colleagues have now shown that the model holds even at the ultimate atomic-scale limit.
Ingenuity, a technology experiment, is preparing to attempt the first powered, controlled flight on the Red Planet.
When NASA’s Perseverance rover lands on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021, it will be carrying a small but mighty passenger: Ingenuity, the Mars Helicopter.
The helicopter, which weighs about 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) on Earth and has a fuselage about the size of a tissue box, started out six years ago as an implausible prospect. Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California knew it was theoretically possible to fly in Mars’ thin atmosphere, but no one was sure whether they could build a vehicle powerful enough to fly, communicate, and survive autonomously with the extreme restrictions on its mass.
Then the team had to prove in Earthbound tests that it could fly in a Mars-like environment. Now that they’ve checked off those objectives, the team is preparing to test Ingenuity in the actual environment of Mars.
“Our Mars Helicopter team has been doing things that have never been done before – that no one at the outset could be sure could even be done,” said MiMi Aung, the Ingenuity project manager at JPL “We faced many challenges along the way that could have stopped us in our tracks. We are thrilled that we are now so close to demonstrating – on Mars – what Ingenuity can really do.”
Ingenuity survived the intense vibrations of launch on July 30, 2020, and has passed its health checks as it waits to plunge with Perseverance through the Martian atmosphere. But the helicopter won’t attempt its first flight for more than a month after landing: Engineers for the rover and helicopter need time to make sure both robots are ready.
Nuclear fusion is a process that produces energy when two nuclei join to form a heavier nucleus. “Scientists are interested in fusion, because it could generate enormous amounts of energy without creating long-lasting radioactive byproducts,” said Theresa Benyo, Ph.D., of NASA’s Glenn Research Center. “However, conventional fusion reactions are difficult to achieve and sustain because they rely on temperatures so extreme to overcome the strong electrostatic repulsion between positively charged nuclei that the process has been impractical.”
Called Lattice Confinement Fusion, the method NASA revealed accomplishes fusion reactions with the fuel (deuterium, a widely available non-radioactive hydrogen isotope composed of a proton, neutron, and electron, and denoted “D”) confined in the space between the atoms of a metal solid. In previous fusion research such as inertial confinement fusion, fuel (such as deuterium/tritium) is compressed to extremely high levels but for only a short, nano-second period of time, when fusion can occur. In magnetic confinement fusion, the fuel is heated in a plasma to temperatures much higher than those at the center of the Sun. In the new method, conditions sufficient for fusion are created in the confines of the metal lattice that is held at ambient temperature. While the metal lattice, loaded with deuterium fuel, may initially appear to be at room temperature, the new method creates an energetic environment inside the lattice where individual atoms achieve equivalent fusion-level kinetic energies.
Topics: African Studies, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Diversity in Science
For thousands of years, ancient societies all around the world erected massive stone circles, aligning them with the sun and stars to mark the seasons. These early calendars foretold the coming of spring, summer, fall and winter, helping civilizations track when to plant and harvest crops. They also served as ceremonial sites, both for celebration and sacrifice.
These megaliths — large, prehistoric monuments made of stone — may seem mysterious in our modern era, when many people lack a connection with, or even view of, the stars. Some even hold them up as supernatural, or divined by aliens. But many ancient societies kept time by tracking which constellations rose at sunset, like reading a giant, celestial clock. And others pinpointed the sun’s location in the sky on the summer and winter solstice, the longest and shortest days of the year, or the spring and fall equinox.
Europe alone holds some 35,000 megaliths, including many astronomically-aligned stone circles, as well as tombs (or cromlechs) and other standing stones. These structures were mostly built between 6,500 and 4,500 years ago, largely along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts.
The most famous of these sites is Stonehenge, a monument in England that’s thought to be around 5,000 years old. Though still old, at that age, Stonehenge may have been one of the youngest such stone structures to be built in Europe.
The chronology and extreme similarities between these widespread European sites leads some researchers to think the regional tradition of constructing megaliths first emerged along the coast of France. It was then passed across the region, eventually reaching Great Britain.
But even these primitive sites are at least centuries younger than the world’s oldest known stone circle: Nabta Playa.
Located in Africa, Nabta Playa stands some 700 miles south of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. It was built more than 7,000 years ago, making Nabta Playa the oldest stone circle in the world — and possibly Earth’s oldest astronomical observatory. It was constructed by a cattle worshiping cult of nomadic people to mark the summer solstice and the arrival of the monsoons.
“Here is human beings’ first attempt to make some serious connection with the heavens,” says J. McKim Malville, a professor emeritus at the University of Colorado and archeoastronomy expert.
Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.
I’ve been busy since last Friday, and numb from four years of bullshit.
There’s a sizable contingent of this country – 74 million or so – that don’t think I’m a citizen. Listening to a podcast with Chris Hayes and Ta-Nehishi Coates on what happened last Wednesday, like out of a pulp fiction writer’s fever dream. The discussion between them is ostensibly titled “The Attack on the Capitol.” Their dialog led to a dark logic.
For eight years of the Obama presidency, he was illegitimated by the birther lie. He was a secret Muslim, closet homosexual, his wife a transsexual man, and the kids adopted. It would have been news to their grandmother. Every effort made to make him “other,” inclusive of Witch Doctors and hanging him in effigy.
A whole cottage industry of conspiracy theories blossomed, and right-wing operators cashed in on the racism cash cow. Violence escalated nationally against African Americans – the majority of them men, but a few women because, racism – possibly to teach us our “places” in the authoritarian hierarchy. From Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Aubrey, Breona Taylor, to George Floyd we could not catch our breaths. We were hung, struck, shot: lynched in reality.
The Former Republican Party (look up the definition of republicanism) hasn’t won both the electoral college and the popular vote in four elections: 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016. The Southern Strategy obviously has a demographic shelf life, and a few in the privileged group is have the sads about it. If you “other” the first African American president, the votes of people sharing his heritage are by definition “illegitimate,” despite decisively winning elections and turning the power of the Senate. This happening despite denied voter suppression tactics of reducing drop boxes during a pandemic, cutting cables on voting machines, reducing precincts, delaying mail-in votes: they HAD to win, or so they thought.
Therefore, you can lie to your constituents, you can tell them the election was stolen without evidence. BLM protestors get teargas, water cannons, percussion bombs, and rubber bullets; armed insurrectionists get Capitol Police escorts who pose for selfies. They are fertile ground for sowing the grains of alternate facts. The ground had been prepared for over forty years. Rush Limbaugh, AM Talk Radio, Fox Propaganda, News Max, and OANN are the fruits born of this manure.
These fecal droppings also bear the fruits of violence. “Obama is coming to take your guns” raised more money than Midas for the gun industry from 2009 – 2016. They’ve lost money under Captain Crazy Pants. Without “jackbooted thug boogie men,” you don’t raise as much money for an industry so focused on a narrow clientele steeped in racism, religious extremism, sexism, xenophobia, and anxiety disorders.
So, after forty years of propaganda and bullshit, House Republicans aren’t afraid for the random QANON candidate to their far-right in a primary: they’re afraid the constituents they’ve been lying to for campaign dollars, the constituents they’ve played on their fears of the “other” and changing demographics to maintain power, will see through the wolf tickets they’ve been sold, and like the insurrectionists-seditionists cum insurgents, they will find them at their exclusive enclave residents – and kill them. The BIGGEST lie they’ve been told is that the current numerical minorities are taking their jobs. Middle-class jobs shipped overseas was a decision that happened in corporate boardrooms by people who looked like them. The rest is automation, computer science, and robotics.
Then First Lady (now Secretary) Hillary Clinton talked about a vast, right-wing conspiracy. Maybe it’s time to do what Senator Mitt Romney practically shouted in the well of the Senate post the attempted coup that threatened democrats and republicans alike. A coup that could have easily resembled how the “Son’s of Jacob” overthrew the government in Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” to set up the fictional Republic of Gilead:
“His [John F. Kennedy’s] assassination was the result of the climate of hate. Only I said ‘the chickens came home to roost,’ which means the same thing. A climate of hate means that this is the result OF something, and when I say ‘chickens coming home to roost‘ I mean the same thing.” He admonishes he didn’t say he was glad the president was killed: that’s what Malcolm says the press said. YouTube
The notion of bad deeds, specifically curses, coming back to haunt their originator is long established in the English language and was expressed in print as early as 1390, when Geoffrey Chaucer used it in The Parson’s Tale:
And ofte tyme swich cursynge wrongfully retorneth agayn to hym that curseth, as a bryd that retorneth agayn to his owene nest.
Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Human Rights, LGBT Rights, Women’s Rights
Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85). Source: FBI/terrorism
“If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.”18 U.S. Code § 2384 – Seditious conspiracy
“A government of laws, and not of men.” John Adams, Brainy Quote
Wednesday, the electoral college was certified, despite a blatant act of sedition.
Quoting Danielle Moody-Mills from Twitter:
“So, do we not call this a white seditious mob? Do we not call these people terrorists? Where is the teargas? Why are cops only trigger-happy, and baton-wielding with Black people, and supporters of actual justice?”
It was sedition that the seditionists boldly committed, and doxed themselves on social media. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz’s ambitions to run for president in 2024 are finished by the ample video evidence of their, and several other members of their former party’s willing participation in treason. SOMETHING has to be done about “social media,” a boondoggle whereby we, as customers, give them metadata on ourselves that allows them to sell it to businesses to influence our buying decisions, or to “buy-in” to the most lunatic fringe ideas that in the analog days used to exists in pamphlets spread by “woke trolls” on street corners like bean pies by the NOI. Think Alex Jones, who admitted in court testimony for his divorce in Austin, Texas that “he’s a performance artist.” Too bad the poor schmuck from Durham, NC sentenced to four years in prison for believing his bullshit couldn’t use that defense. Alex is still bullshitting all the way to the bank.
This is NOT the time to “turn the page,” and look forward. We have laws written for a reason: to enforce them, supposedly equally. Bullies and fascists are equally thwarted by the same tactic: standing UP to them. “Turning the page” only emboldens both, like impeaching in the House, and acquitting (i.e., letting a criminal get away with criminal shit) in the Senate. Hell, who needs to hear the Ukraine “perfect call” now? Dumbo Gambino reenacted the whole script Saturday with the Georgia Secretary of State!
I’m hoping the FBI and forensics are deploying facial recognition software to identify persons and associate them with their respective accounts. Then, reveal the Nazis to their bosses – Nazis start crying when you start firing them (racists have to eat). It’s a wonder why they just don’t bring back the Klan hoods – their ancestors hid their faces for a reason!
Once one of us (people of color) is killed, and converted to a hashtag, every effort by media and pundits is spent to look for every off-photo, making “hoodlums, gangsters, and thugs” out of the deceased to justify the killing. It’s ghoulish and evil.
Are we a “government of laws,” President Adams? Consider this as you, and our founding sociopaths that didn’t want to pay taxes to England are rolling over in your graves to the spectacle you could have never codified in a Constitution, or Articles of Confederation. The laws seem to specifically privilege one particular class of men, and women, ironically the first casualty of the act of sedition Wednesday was a supporter of the current Oval Office occupant that encouraged the “stop the steal” fantasy that lit the match. He poured on kerosene at noon, intimating he would “join them” in a march to the Capitol Building.
They were so privileged, many posed for “selfies” with Capitol Police. This is no different than the treatment the news gives a party at a “Freaknik” by HBCUs (historically black colleges, and universities) versus a frat party at a PWI (primarily white institution), where they routinely burn cars and damage public property with no repercussions. Hell, you all tear shit up after your team WON a Super Bowl, and nothing happens! Many seditionists were peacefully escorted out of buildings after damaging government property! This was the equivalent of Dylann Roof getting a cheeseburger after murdering parishioners he had just PRAYED with. If you’re tired of hearing about your white privilege, stop acting like insufferable, racist, murderous, privileged pricks!
We have a psychopath who incited insurrection blocked from social media, but still in charge of the nuclear codes. How does THIS make sense? We need the 25th Amendment, or another Impeachment that Moscow Mitch can support since riding this dragon cost him his leadership in the Senate, and likely put the republicans with the Whigs, and Know-Nothings as far as viability as a political party, literally “history.”
If we then are a “nation of men,” particularly white men, here’s my reparations:
I pay no taxes for roads, bridges, or congressional salaries.
My student loans are wiped clean, as well as those of my children.
I can freely expatriate to another nation after this pandemic is contained.
Beyond that, I don’t need a red cent or a plug nickel. Leave me the HELL alone. If you STILL support this psychopath, I really don’t want to hear your “point of view.”
Then, left with your purist, nationalist, racist fantasy of whiteness, you can apply the laws that you used to hammer Black Lives Matter protesters (because their lives obviously didn’t), equally on the white citizens you will have left to govern. You’ll have nothing but white criminals to prosecute, and those “for-profit-prisons” won’t fill themselves. Rome is a former empire, and America appears headed to that same dustbin of history. Good luck.
Or, after 400+ goddamned years of racist, white supremacist bullshit, Crispus Attucks being the first to DIE in the Revolutionary War, our participation in EVERY single war since the founding of the republic, you FINALLY treat us like equals, Americans and HUMANS!