A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On

The cold snap has left us Southerners with a bit of a shiver……normally we in the Deep South do not suffer from the bone chilling weather that most the country has to endure…..and we do not suffer quietly.

My garden is only a memory from the summer…..at least the wide array of birds are still visiting and makes it seem like Spring…..

Sorry I was babbling on but it is Sunday and what better day to go on aimlessly?

Now we get to the good stuff……..

Sunday and I have some sad news for the world……looks like that next year, 2018, is going to be a bad year for earthquakes……17 to 20 major quakes of 7.0 or higher magnitude……

Two geologists may have spotted a surprisingly simple correlation that can help predict earthquakes—and if they’re correct, the Earth is on track for an uptick in major quakes next year. The pair pored over a century’s worth of a data on earthquakes and detected a pattern: When the Earth’s rotation slows, as it does periodically, the slowdown is followed by an increase in quakes with a magnitude of 7 or greater, reports the Guardian. Their research, published in Geophysical Research Letters, has been well-received in the field, and it will be put to the test soon. The rotational slowdowns typically happen over five years, and the last began four years ago. Meaning, we can expect to see two to five more major earthquakes than normal in 2018, or 17 to 20, reports Science.

“The Earth offers us a five-years’ heads up on future earthquakes, which is remarkable,” says Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado, who detected the correlation with Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana. Exactly where the quakes will take place is fuzzier, but typically the increase shows up in regions along the Equator. The researchers aren’t sure how to explain all this, but one theory is that it involves nearly imperceptible changes in the flow of molten iron in the Earth’s core. That might be enough to slow down the Earth’s spin a millisecond or two, a difference that can be measured by atomic clocks, and perhaps result in the release of vast amounts of energy underground. The cycle seems to take place about every three decades, writes geologist Trevor Nace at Forbes. (LA residents won’t like this San Andreas prediction.)

WE do not need more major disasters for our president has NO idea how to handle these disasters…..Puerto Rico proved that all to shamefully.  We can only pray that Arizona will not become beach front property.

Sunday is over and I will withdraw to my room and read and write……

 

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Operation Paperclip

At the end of World War 2 the US ran all over Germany snapping up German scientists, most of whom would be tried for crimes against humanity but their expertise was needed so Operation paperclip protected these criminals and moved most of them to the US under the protection of the government.

More about Operation paperclip here…..

Operation Paperclip, named after the use of the ordinary paperclip attached to the personnel files of select German scientists, was a special operation of breathtaking scope. Instead of highly trained teams tasked for important combat missions, these teams were hunters and gatherers sifting and searching through the wreckage and ruin of a devastated Germany. Theirs was a high-stakes contest against an equally determined Russia and other less malevolent former allies. German scientists and technologies were the pawns, and the prize was nothing less than national security and preeminence as a world power. When it was concluded, hundreds of German scientists and their families, tons of documents, hardware, weapon systems, and technologies would be transferred from Germany to the United States.

Officially, Operation Paperclip concluded on Sept. 30, 1947. In a public statement, the Army announced that the operation had brought into the United States 457 scientists and 453 dependents. But a closed-door decision was made to allow Operation Paperclip to continue, this time as a top secret program. To justify the continuation, the Air Force stated that the 209 German scientists working for it had substantially advanced the development of weapons systems and the scientists were “superlative specialists … the best available in the world today.” They were saving the Air Force millions of dollars and an estimated 10 years in cost and development. The Navy added its praise, stating that German mathematicians, aerodynamicists, and experts in heat transfer had proven that “their professional education and training [were]superior to that of any U.S. personnel available.”

https://argunners.com/operation-paperclip-saving-german-scientists/

Some of the research that America used in their space program was testing done on Jewish prisoners that resulted in a horrific death and yet we decided that it was somehow okay to use this research if it put us a head of the Russians.

I personally have a problem with this type of program….a war criminal is a war criminal and should face the same judgements that others had to face.

Thoughts?

Hiding In Plain Sight

Saturday and I am getting myself ready for some news from my doctor……

SO that lead me to think about some of theories of the destruction of the planet….if you are a fan of the Ancient Aliens theory (of which I am not) then you know all about the mysterious planet….Niburu or Planet X….

Many people think these “conspiracist” are out of their minds……….but some news that hit thw wires last week nay give their crazy theories new legs…..

Astronomically inclined conspiracy theorists have long been predicting the Earth’s demise in a collision with a rogue planet called “Niburu” or “Planet X” biding its time out of sight somewhere in the solar system, CNET reports. In fact, Niburu was “supposed” to crash into Earth just last month. And while death-by-planet remains unlikely, the existence of an undiscovered planet in our solar system is now almost a certainty, according to NASA. Planetary astrophysicist Konstantin Batygin and professor Mike Brown set out to disprove the existence of a hidden planet a few years ago and, ironically, ended up finding convincing evidence for the existence of what they call “Planet Nine.”

The main evidence for Planet Nine comes from its “gravitational footprint,” but it’s convincing enough that Batygin says the solar system makes a lot more sense with the hidden planet than without it, Space.com reports. Planet Nine is believed to be 10 times more massive than Earth and located about 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune. From its position in the far reaches of the solar system, it has tilted and reversed the orbits of objects in the Kuiper Belt, according to Batygin and Brown. It also may be the reason the orbits of the planets are slightly off from the sun’s equator. Finally, Planet Nine could be the “super Earth” frequently found orbiting other stars but “conspicuously absent” around ours. Oh, and NASA wants conspiracy theorists to know Planet Nine, if it exists, is staying far away from Earth.

There you are….your astronomical news…..whatcha think?

Closing Thought–20Sep17

For 40 years I have been bad mouthing so-called think tanks….these institutions are there tom help formulate policy….there a conserv ones as well as liberal ones and even some that claim to be independent.

MY dislike for them comes from when I was working for one after college…..we were given the conclusion they want and we were to analyze and come up with policy the fit the conclusion.

I think they are worthless waste of time…..any way I recently read a good piece that asked if “think tanks were doomed?”

In 2015, Anne-Marie Slaughter, the president and CEO of the New America Foundation co-authored an ambitious manifesto about the future of the D.C. think tank that emphasized the need for civic action. “The Progressive Era model of think tanks as extensions of technocratic governance is no longer sufficient to make meaningful, large-scale progress in resolving public problems,” Slaughter argued. Instead, she suggested, “pre-partisan” efforts at civic enterprise were necessary for ideas to get traction “in the hyper-partisan, pay-for-play environment of Washington policy development.” She acknowledged that her undertaking was “an ambitious project—nothing short of rethinking the relationship between the people who make public policy and the people for whom they make it,” but New America was poised for the challenge.

Source: Are Think Tanks Doomed? – POLITICO Magazine

Too much cash involved for them to disappear…but they could be better run.

Aging Sucks!

Another weekend begins and I have been dealing with lots of issues so a couple of days away from the “news crawler” would be nothing but a good deal.

There is an ad on TV these days about sending in your spit so they can analyze your ‘telemeres”…it is an aging thing…..and now some research has been done along those lines…..

To err is human—our own cells do it all the time. But new research suggests that when it comes to aging, there may be a workaround. Scientists report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that they triggered cells to produce the protein telomerase, which lengthens the telomeres at the ends of chromosomes. (Telomeres shorten as we age.) The scientists used cells taken from 17 children with the rare genetic condition progeria, which causes them to age fast and typically die in their teens. Before the therapy, the kids’ cells would “multiply very poorly and then die,” Cooke tells Vice. After delivering RNA right into the cells to spur the production of telomerase, they saw a “dramatic improvement” as cells “proliferated normally.”

The study is small and the research is young, and many experts are highly skeptical. One professor of medical genetics at the University of British Columbia goes so far as to call attempts at telomere lengthening “snake oil,” and says that while telomeres shorten as we age, the correlation isn’t perfect and doesn’t necessarily signal good health or longevity. Plus, there may be at least one evolutionary benefit to telomeres shrinking over time; when cells become too short, they stop dividing and die. At least in the case of cancerous cells, that’s a defense mechanism. Meanwhile, a study out of New King’s College London published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology finds that bipolar disorder may shorten telomeres faster, while patients treated with lithium appear to reverse that effect.

They say another sign of old age is when we start talking to ourselves……my grandfather once said…”when you talk to yourself you talk to a better class of people”…..

Believe it or not….but there has been some research done in this field…..

Talking to yourself doesn’t mean you’re crazy. In fact, the habit might be downright smart. That’s the takeaway from a new study in Scientific Reports, which involved two separate experiments. In the first, researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan monitored the brain activity of 29 students who were asked to review neutral and disturbing images and talk about how they felt while referring to themselves in the first and third persons, reports Today. In the second, researchers asked 50 participants to internally reflect on painful experiences in the same way. In both cases, “third person self-talk” allowed participants to better regulate their emotions to relieve stress, researchers say. “It kind of switches you to a different mode of experiencing negative emotions when you use your name rather than the word, ‘I,'” says the lead researcher.

Indeed, when students were met with disturbing images, activity in the regions of the brain involving emotions decreased within one second of third person self-talk, reports Newsweek. Both experiments also showed referring to oneself in the third person required no more effort than referring to oneself in the first person and much less effort than other forms of emotion regulation, like positive thinking. With third person self-talk, “it’s like you’re viewing [a situation] from an outsider perspective” and gaining “a tiny bit of psychological distance,” researcher Jason Moser explains, per a release. “It really does help.” An example, he says, would be to tell yourself, “Jason is really scared” and explain why during a stress-inducing situation. Moser even says psychologists should recommend it for those struggling with anxiety and stress. (Hearing voices might not be bad, either.)

This old fart is going to have some snacks and wine…..see you guys tomorrow….chuq

MKUltra

40 years ago the CIA project named MKUltra was exposed to the world…experiments in mind control…..

“Project MKUltra” was the name given to an illegal program of human experimentation conducted by the US Central Intelligence Agency, which investigated mind control. The 1975 Church Committee hearings exposed the operation – and on July 20, 1977 a Freedom of Information Act request uncovered a cache of 20,000 documents relating to it.

Below is an article in Sputnik International a Russian government publication….that aside it is a pretty good write on the program in question….I am sure that it is not printed as an FYI piece but rather as an embarrassment to the US government……keep that in mind as you read the piece…..

The origins of MKUltra lie in 1945, and Operation Paperclip — the secret transfer of top Nazi scientists to the US. Armed with extensive documentation on unethical Nazi human experimentation, including research into mind control, a clutch of military programs related to mental manipulation and behavioral modification were launched — including Projects CHATTER, BLUEBIRD and ARTICHOKE.

Headed by former chemist Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, MKUltra began in April 1953 on the orders of then-CIA Director Allen Welsh Dulles

Source: July 20, 1977: CIA Mind Control Project MKUltra Docs Released for First Time – Sputnik International

Closing Thought–21Jun17

I, Robot!

Before I begin I would like to report that TS Cindy is dumping lots of rain and a bit of wind but nothing too bad…..the local rivers will flood in the next day or so but they leave their banks if some one flushes a toilet upstream….the garden is taking a beating it may not return……oh well…..such is the life in the tropics.

Onto more important things…….

Remember the 3 Laws of Robotics?

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

There has been many leaps forward in AI research……some thought it was about time for some “laws”…….so at a recent meeting of the minds some goals and values and principles were set forth……

1) Research Goal: The goal of AI research should be to create not undirected intelligence, but beneficial intelligence.

2) Research Funding: Investments in AI should be accompanied by funding for research on ensuring its beneficial use, including thorny questions in computer science, economics, law, ethics, and social studies, such as:

  • How can we make future AI systems highly robust, so that they do what we want without malfunctioning or getting hacked?
  • How can we grow our prosperity through automation while maintaining people’s resources and purpose?
  • How can we update our legal systems to be more fair and efficient, to keep pace with AI, and to manage the risks associated with AI?
  • What set of values should AI be aligned with, and what legal and ethical status should it have?

3) Science-Policy Link: There should be constructive and healthy exchange between AI researchers and policy-makers.

4) Research Culture: A culture of cooperation, trust, and transparency should be fostered among researchers and developers of AI.

5) Race Avoidance: Teams developing AI systems should actively cooperate to avoid corner-cutting on safety standards

Source: AI Principles – Future of Life Institute

Will this make the science better or just a way to shut critics up?

Maybe a special session should be called to discuss the ethics of AI….I am sure somewhere the subject of morality will rear its head.

BTW….any tech types that have a plan or an idea about this subject please share……

That is it from me for the day…..time for a snack and a beer….and watch it rain…..be well, be safe….chuq