Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Did Physicists Recently Create A Black Hole in a Lab?

This turns out to be more than the proverbial $64 question, especially since so many nervous Nellies around the planet (especially in the media) appear to be terrified that one of these days a black hole will be generated (maybe even by accident) that will consume the whole Earth and everything on it.

Not to worry. We are talking chalk and cheese when we compare lab-incepted "mini" black holes with the products of stellar collapse - which certainly could devour the planet (as well as the whole solar system) in no time.

In the latter case, the black hole marks the end stage of evolution for very massive stars, generally considered to be in excess of 4 solar masses, but in any event - leaving a stellar core behind of at least 2-3 solar masses (which then collapses to the black hole). In these objects the gravity is so strong that no light or any radiation can escape. Moreoever, the g-field is so powerful that neighboring objects, debris, gases are readily pulled through the hole's "event horizon".

It is this feature that enables to indirectly detect stellar black holes though we can't observe them directly. Thus, since many stellar black holes are coupled to other normal stars (in what's called a "binary system") what we have is x-rays given off when the companion star’s gaseous layers are sucked into it. The orbital dynamics of the binary system mean that very powerful and periodic bursts of x-rays, registered on sensitive satellite detectors. . Mathematically, the very brief periods (of less than a millisecond) betray an extremely compact volume. The x-rays indicate accretion to a large mass and large heating effects from the gas being compressed as it enters the hole's event horizon.

One million black holes in the center of our galaxy (probably a conservative number) represents a lot of dark matter. Multiply that by billions of other galaxies, in similar scenarios, and one has an enormous store of dark matter. In fact, given the number of massive stars in our galaxy, it is likely that eventually, 90 percent or more will have collapsed into black holes, especially with currently accepted lower mass thresholds for black hole formation.

Now, it was Stephen Hawking who originally posited another kind of black hole that doesn't originate with the stellar collapse process. There are believed to be quantum black holes, which can also ‘leak’ radiation in accord with well known laws of quantum mechanics. (For much more, readers are invited to refer to: 'The Quantum Mechanics of Black Holes', in Black Holes and Baby Universes, by Stephen Hawking, Bantam Books, 1994, p. 101.)

Because radiation is mass, according to Einstein's E = mc^2, then Hawking radiation in quantum holes must reduce their mass as it leaks away, effecting "black hole evaporation". The specific feature of the emergent radiation defining it as "Hawking radiation" is that the emission coincides with that of a black body (perfect radiator and perfect absorber, with Planckian radiation distribution) bearing a temperature inversely proportional to the black hole's mass.

Now enter Daniele Faccio and colleagues in the Physics Dept. of the University of Insubria, Italy. They reasoned it ought to be theoretically feasible to fabricate a mini-black hole (or at least evidence for such) if a workable event horizon could be made which exploits the pair production processes of quantum particles and anti-particles out of vacuum fluctuations. The latter cause particle-antiparticle pairs to appear close to the event horizon of a black hole. One of the pair falls into the black hole and the other escapes. In order to preserve total energy, the particle that fell into the black hole must have had a negative energy.

If a suitable event horizon can be created, it can then take advantage of these pair production processes occurring all the time. Again, one member of the pair will fall into the hole and the other betrays itself by Hawking radiation as it escapes.

The Italian physicists fabricated their ersatz event horizon using fused silica glass which constitutes a medium in which intense laser pulses can locally perturb the speed of light as it passes through the glass. Recall here from basic physics, that the index of refraction of the glass n, is related to the speed of light c in vacuo, and the speed of light in the glass c(g) by:

n = c/ c(g)

Thus, what the researchers found is that c(g) could be perturbed (i.e. reach higher than c limits) inside the glass using laser pulses.

This perturbation then, forms a moving event horizon which prevents normal photons from overtaking it since c(g) > c. Now, if a particle pair is produced (by pair production) close enough to the event horizon, they will be separated and unable to vanish again back to the vacuum. Faccio et al recorded photons hurtling outwards from the glass at a rate of about 1 per 100 laser pulses and with the key traits predicted for Hawking radiation.

Did the physicists successfully create or fabricate an effective mini-black hole? The jury is still out, and the primary reason is Faccio et al's own admission that they've no way to know that in fact the particle pairs really appeared at their event horizon. In Faccio's words:

"In our big piece of glass we have no way of saying where the other photon will end up".

One thing we can say, however, is that other physicists will seek to try to duplicate their results- and with them - actually verifying a working mini-black hole appeared, if even for a brief interval!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Catholic Church's Condom Quandary

Most everyone by now has heard the news of Pope Benedict XVI's allowance for condom use by male gay prostitutes. The decision has received much play in the media, given that the Church forbids the use of condoms in general, in terms of using them for artificial contraception. However, since gays don't procreate and male gay prostitutes especially are prone to HIV-AIDS, the Pope decided the "lesser of two evils" is appropriate and it was better to loosen the doctrine to leave a loophole for these prostitute gays, if for no other reason to save their lives. (After all, how would it look if they were allowed to die from AIDS, while at the same time the Church demands protection of the lives of the unborn. Either you are going to protect the lives of all your claimed "flock" or you're hypocritical.)

So, boxed in, the Pope issued his pronouncement. According to Financial Times columnist Christopher Caldwell ('Rome Protects Its Views On Love', Nove. 27), the Pope grew sensitive to accusations he was uncaring about the suffering of those with AIDS. In one recent issue of 'Light of the World' he's reported to have stated:

"I really felt that I was being provoked because the Church does more than anyone else"

Well, uh....yeah, after the fact- since an estimated quarter of the world's AIDS sufferers are treated by Church institutions, hospices, hospitals etc. But how about preventing that suffering in the first place? This is why the Pope and his Church were thrust between a rock and a hard place. They either had to put up or shut up about their alleged moral high ground, especially in the wake of the continued reverberations of the priest sex abuse scandals and Benedict's efforts to hide it.

Now, what about the use of condoms more generally, not just for male gays? How about for married Catholics who want to engage in sex but can't afford another mouth to feed? Or, say, the woman has serious health issues (e.g. mitral valve prolapse, kidney disease etc) which would be complicated by giving birth?

According to author Caldwell (ibid.)

"The Church's ideas about condoms are embedded in its ideas about love, which the Pope is forceful in enunciating. He deplores the modern attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves'. Sexuality, in his view must be open to procreation"

Which, of course, is poppycock - since in humans sexuality and love can be disjunctive. In addition, sexuality can be employed for relief (say of accumulated tensions) and this is certainly much much better than resorting to meth, or oxycontin! Again, the Church's officious moralistic stands get in the way of its reasoning.

As if to sustain the Vatican's codswallop, one Vatican priest this past week actually had the temerity to assert (ibid.):

"Contraception is intrinsically an evil"

In other words, the contraceptive-using married couple is bound and destined for "Hell" if they die in a mortal sin state not having confessed their use of artificial contraception - since all they've engaged in is "mutual masturbation". (Oooooohhh.....terrible!) . For this reason, it is useful to get a historical perspective on this stupidity.

Catholic impediments to a sane birth control policy began with the misguided encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968. The Pope at the time, Paul VI, issued this document in direct opposition to his own specially appointed Papal Commission on the matter. Author David Yallop, in his book In God's Name, has portrayed Humanae Vitae in stark terms indeed, as well as its paradoxical consequences[1]:

"On a disaster scale for the Roman Catholic Church, it measures higher than the treatment of Galileo in the seventeenth century "

The implicit assumption in Humanae Vitae and later, Pope John Paul II's encyclical Veritatis Splendor, is that procreation takes precedence over any other function of sexual intercourse. This is observably true in most other animals (with estrus cycles) but it certainly doesn’t apply to humans who exhibit a diverse array of sexual play. To devalue sexplay for its own end, while extolling procreation-based sex as the be-all and end-all, is to rob humans of their uniqueness as sexual primates[2]. Or, to refer to the words of one Catholic biologist:[3]

"Why do we call secondary the ends of the sexual act which have been accorded in fullness to us, and why do we call primary the end that we share with the lower animals?"

It's also to invite ecological catastrophe for this planet. Since 1968, for example, the world population has doubled, which surplus the Vatican merely welcomes as 'more souls for the Church' - potential or otherwise - while ignoring their collective impact on strained planetary ecosystems, exacerbating carbon infusion into the already beseiged atmosphere, and degrading the world's labor force via cheapening its value relative to capital. (I.e. the more people the greater the surplus labor pool, and the lower the value of each worker. Slavery anyone?)

Beyond all this, the Pope and his regressive Church insult all those couples who (for some biological reason) can't have children! In other words, they're essentially saying, 'Since your love isn't open to procreation it is either a defective and deficient love or doesn't exist!' Which is total nonsense.

Beyond the particulars of such couples, it was the late Arthur C. Clarke who rightly called all the anti-contraception Popes "enemies of humanity" and with good reason! Their persistent commitment to this deformed doctrine and perverse moral value has consigned increasing millions of people in Asia and Africa to destitution and starvation. This is because the underlying ‘natural law’ remains uninformed by current data concerning food production in relation to rising birth rates. Or, other things being equal, poverty is the natural accompaniment of larger families. Rather than adaptation based on updated information, unthinking adherence to an outmoded precept prevails.[4]

Worse, the entire moral underpinning is torpedoed by the presumed gravity assigned to artificial contraception and the claim any practitioners will end up hellbound. (Jeezus, these guys are as hell-obsessed as the freaking evangelicals!).

Consider: if it’s equally grievous to kill twenty people with an AK-47 as it is for a married Catholic couple to induce a single orgasm using artificial contraception - say with a condom- then where is the proportion? The equalization of gravity, in terms of postulated penalties ('eternal damnation') leads to an inherent logical inconsistency that permeates and weakens the entire moral foundation. It’s as if the nature of an action (e.g. sexual) automatically elevates it into the realm of severe moral unlawfulness (or intrinsic evil), despite the fact no evidence exists that anyone is harmed. Yet the credulous Catholic is asked to balance this on the Vatican’s scales of eternal justice, with twenty lives lost to an AK-47!

It's little wonder that this insanity, combined with the Church's loss of moral stature from the sexual abuse crises, has seen more than 75 million Catholics depart their Church in the past 15 years. And there's no sign of it abating! The only thing keeping the Church's numbers relatively stable is the contingent of poor, illiterate, and deprived (including of education) masses it's cultivated in Africa - mainly by prohibiting them the use of artificial contraception so more Catholic babies can be generated than others.

At least one Pope, John Paul I (Albino Luciano), had intended to change the Vatican doctrine, but he didn't live to achieve it, dying suddenly under mysterious circumstances barely a month after the papal vote. All the signs point to his murder, and those interested can read much more about it in Yallop's fine book [1]).

In the end, given this deplorable moral gamesmanship, one must concur with renegade Catholic theologian Hans Kung, that this latest move is merely a "tactical shift" undertaken to avoid making the Church looking ridiculous. The trouble is, their moral platitudes concerning the use of artificial contraception still make them look ridiiculous - and will until they follow John Paul I's original instincts and overturn this foolishness.

[1] See Yallop, D.: In God's Name, 1984, Corgi Books, Great Britain, p. 58.

[2] By this I mean, primates unconstrained by limitations of pregnancy or fear of such, in their sexual proclivities. And indeed, most human orgasms are obtained apart from an impregnation or even marriage context.

[3] Daugherty, Elizabeth:1964, The Lessons of Zoology in: Contraception and Holiness: The Catholic Predicament, Fontana Books, Great Britain, p. 110.

[4] Obviously, one reason for this dogged adherence in the face of all controverting evidence is the fear of changing an ethic. Authoritarian religions are justifiably wary that by recanting on one or more of their (formerly) absolutist (or "infallible") teachings they will be compromised. This is probably a valid fear, but the alternative of ignoring current world conditions is certainly not better! It only postpones the day of reckoning.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Truth Claims and Propositions: How to Sort the Fraudulent from Real

The issues related to truth claims and propositions were covered in previous blogs but it's well to examine them again, since they're not what we'd call "natural" in terms of how humans think. A certain level of rigor or discipline must be applied to the thinking, especially taking care truth categories are not mixed up or that claims of truth are confused with attitudes to truth! Sadly, most who pontificate on these matters have probably never taken a logic or philosophy course in their lives, so end up flying by the seat of their pants - and end up crashing and burning.


1) One cannot assume a "logical deduction" unless there exists a relationship between the premise and the conclusion such that we have a right to expect the conclusion IF we know the premise is true (Russell, Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, p. 145)

Said relationship then ought to be between analogous truth claims OR attitudes but not mixing up both.

2) From (1) it follows that two truth functions which have the same truth value for all values of the argument are indistinguishable. Thus, p and q are the negations of not-p and not-q.

In terms of propositional functions, let q = S(A) and p = S(B). Then if p = f(q) the contradictory hypothesis is p' = f(~q) .

Example: if p = f(q) = "The Bible is the actual word of God verbatim and cannot have either errors or contradictions"

BUT - if one error or contradiction is found in it, we must have: p' = f(~q) or:

"The Bible has a contradiction in it, so cannot be the actual word of God, but of mentally-limited humans."

3) Five basic truth functions exist (op. cit.)and are not all independent:

i) The 'negator': Not-p

Expresses that function of p which is true when p is false, and that which is false when p is true.

Note: The truth of a proposition or its falsehood is referred to as its "truth value". This can be either TRUE or FALSE, i.e. the true value of a true proposition is true, and the falsehood of a false proposition.

Thus: Mars has two Moons, Deimos and Phobos, is a true proposition, and

Saturn does not have 101 Moons, is a true proposition

ii) The disjunction: p OR q:

This is a function whose truth value is 'truth' when p is true and also when q is true. (It can be mechanically-electronically embodied by the logical OR - gate)

But the truth value is falsehood when both p and q are false.

iii) The conjunction: p AND q:

Has 'truth' for its truth value when BOTH p and q are true, otherwise falsehood.

It is denoted by the logical AND gate.

Example: p : "Solar flares erupt with large areas and temperatures in the millions of degrees"

q: "Solar flares result from magnetic instability in the associated plasma"

iv) Incompatibility: ~ (p /\ q)

E.g. p and q are not both true, or the negation of conjunction (iii). It is also the disjunction of the negations of p and q, i.e. not-p or not-q. The truth value appends 'truth' when p is false, and also when q is false. Likewise, the truth value appends falsehood if both are true.

v) Implication: p->q (p implies q) or "if p, then q"

Example: If the New Moon is aligned with the Sun we can get a total eclipse of the Sun

Here: p = alignment of Sun and New Moon

q = total eclipse of the Sun

This can be generalized in various ways, e.g.

"Unless p is false, q is true" OR

"Either p is false or q is true"

4) Further generalizations are possible using (1)-(3), e.g.

a) Negation is the incompatibility of a proposition with itself, or p/p

E.g. "the Apollo astonauts brought back Moon rocks made of green cheese"

b) Disjunction is the incompatibility of not-p and not-q or (p/p)[(q/q)

Example: "Saturn is not a very large or hot star"

c) Implication is the incompatibility of p and not-q, or p[(q/q)

Example: "If the Moon rises tonight, the Sun will not rise tomorrow"

d) Conjunction is the negation of incompatibility, e.g. (p/q)[

Example: "Saturn and Earth are both member planets of the solar system"

5) Gödelian Truth Limits:

Consider a simple statement of logical transitivity:

X = Y

Y = Z

therefore X = Z

What if instead we append an axiomatic statement that reads, in effect: "X=Y is unprovable-in-the-system". If this statement is provable-in-the-system, we get a contradiction, since if it is provable in-the-system, then it can’t be unprovable-in-the-system. This means the original axiom: "X= Y is unprovable-in-the-system" is false. Since in any consistent system nothing false can be proven in-the-system, the proposition is undecidable.

Now, given all these basics, let's see if we can apply them to the assertions or alleged propositions made by a recent blogger:

Example (1):

"All TRUTH is exclusive ! The truth that "two plus three equals five" is very exclusive too . It does not allow for any other conclusion ."

The basic and most fundamental error is that he mixes up an absolute general statement, with a particular one. "All Truth is exclusive" is in fact unprovable by the same set of axioms or axiomatic statements that would prove "2 + 3 = 5". The reason is that the first is a meta-statement about the WHOLE Truth system! To be more concise, the offender is rendering an ALL-inclusive truth statement about what he insisted is an absolute exclusivity! He claims "all truth is exclusive" but his statement itself is all-inclusive and implied to be the exception to his own proposition! Thus it violates the Gödelian Truth Limits (5).

It helps here to present a more concrete illustration and example, to show why the most general statement is false. We take here the original claim of Epimenides in his “all Cretans are liars” paradox:

"All Cretans are Liars"

If the speaker is a Cretan, then the statement is ipso facto unresolvable. If Cretan, he exists within the so-called abstract, formal system. Yet, he’s making a statement (meta-) about the system. Hence, is he lying? Or is he telling the truth? This cannot be resolved. An undecidable proposition, as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem (II) applies.

In like manner, the statement "All Truth is exclusive" emerges as an undecidable proposition at the very least. (And it may also be false in the framework earlier considered).

Scott Soames in his monograph Understanding Truth further clarifies the issue of more and less general schema to arrive at truth, and what is “materially adequate” p. 69:

The characterization of individual instances of (different) schema has consequences for more general definitions of truth. If such instances (e.g. L1 statements) are thought of as partial definitions, then the task of defining truth for an entire language may be seen as finding a way of generalizing the partial definitions so as to cover every sentence of the language.”

In other words, in order to make the claim: "All Truth is exclusive" one would have to: a) have access to ALL COMPLETE truth statements that can exist in the universe, and b) show that no two of them exhibit disjunction, or incompatibility of other problems. In addition, one would have to articulate his proposition as compatible with the claim: in other words, one cannot formulate an all-inclusive truth statement to apply to one for which "All Truth is exclusive". This is not feasible, because no human mind is capable of formulating an absolute exclusive truth statement via an all-inclusive truth claim.

Consider the following statements referring to solar flares, and note the L1 hierarchy that presents:

1) A class X solar flare occured on the Sun last Tuesday.

2) A class X-7 solar flare occurred on the Sun at 22h 33m GMT last Tuesday.

3) A class X-7, optical class 2B solar flare occurred on the Sun at 22h 33m GMT last Tuesday.

4) A class X-7, optical class 2B solar flare occurred on the Sun at 22h 33m GMT last Tuesday and lasted a total duration of 1440 seconds.

5) A class X-7, optical class 2B solar flare occurred on the Sun at 22h 33m GMT last Tuesday, peaked 543 seconds after inception, and lasted a total duration of 1440 seconds.

Now, are ALL of the above statements (referencing the same event) EXCLUSIVELY true? Or better, are they all EQUALLY true? If not, why not? Can one therefore have true statements which do not express the entire truth but rather only a partial truth? Obviously, the answers are in succession: NO - they can't all be exclusively true (on account of factual intersection), NO - they are not all equally true (since they embody different levels of knowledge about the event), but YES - one can have TRUE statements which only convey a partial truth.

Now, if one can have partial truth statements then one can still access truth or true valued assertions at some level.

Let's go on:

Example (2):

"The same is true for value statements , such as "Racism is wrong" and "People should not be cruel." These views do not tolerate any alternatives . "

The problem here is that he has not proven the values are actual truth values, as opposed to the subjective values of a moralism in his own mind. In particular, he's violated Precept (1): "One cannot assume a "logical deduction" unless there exists a relationship between the premise and the conclusion such that we have a right to expect the conclusion IF we know the premise is true". But he has formulated no premise, because he's not defined either "racism" or "cruel" - he simply assumes everyone knows exactly what he means! Hence, he leaves us no testable proposition that can be put into any logical relationship, far less link a premise to a conclusion.

Questions then occur: E.g. : Is drawing or portraying President Obama as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose, racism? If not, why not ? The first step in setting out a premise that portends a "truth value" is therefore to carefully define one's terms, don't assume everyone knows what you mean!

So, IF he defines both "racism" and "cruelty" and then integrates them into a premise, tied to a conclusion that relates them- we may then consider whether "These views do not tolerate any alternatives". (In which case, depicting President Obama as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose may not meet the criterion of an "alternative" to him, hence can be "tolerated" - but as he's framed his case, we can't say so because it's too vague.)

Example (3)

"All truth CLAIMS are exclusive . For example , if humanism is true , then all non-humanisms are false . If atheism is true , then all who believe in God are wrong . Every truth claim excludes its opposite ."

As I already showed (Example (1)) the first statement is an undecidable proposition by virtue of en embedded contradiction. Thus, we behold an all-inclusive truth statement intended to apply to the proposition that "all truth is exclusive"! Thus it is a meta-statement about truth claims, not a statement within an axiomatic system concerning a class of truth claims. Thus, it is a non sequitur to flip from this most general, undecidable proposition to saying "thus if humanism is true all non-humanisms are false". In addition, it's an oversimplification, since one can have a conjunction (3(iii)) such that a truth value exists when BOTH p and q are true. (And again, we note he's neither defined "humanism" nor "non-humanism" so we've no idea what he means.)

But let's use the conjunction of propositions to show discrete and particular possibilities that defy his simple conclusions. It is known that in its most generic sense "humanism" means :

That philosophy or coherent attitude supportive of human values, i.e. those values that elevate, sustain and integrate a society beyond its merely physical or mechanical operations

Thus, our society provides physical infrastructure - such as roads, sewers, water mains, etc. and also mechanical contrivances (buses, or cars, trains) to help the people survive but humanism allows support systems beyond these basics, for example, decent and affordable health care. The reason is that a society without quality affordable health care (accessible to all) cannot function to its optimum. If too many are ill, then they can't be productive and if not productive, the society deteriorates because too few must work to care for the many who are ill or otherwise disabled.

The underlying conjunction here (p and q) is:

p: Humans are worthwhile beings to support in other ways besides purely mechanical

q: All humans have the same essential needs for humane support, so all should thereby be provided with said humane support

Since (p -q) defines the conjoint truth value, then "non-humanisms" would have to mean non-humans and would thereby be ab initio excluded from the proposition putatively concerning HUMANS. Hence, the claim of "non-humanisms" implicit in a human domain is a falsehood since it wouldn't apply to humans anyway! (Though one can argue that an "extended humanism" would also confer health care on animals in need, or at least certain classes of them, i.e. personal pets)

The statement about atheism is also invalid, because it reduces atheism to one meaning, ignoring all others. (For example, implicit atheism, and agnostic atheism). It would be like me writing: "If evangelical Christianity is true , then all other Christians who believe in God are wrong". This is arrant nonsense. Moreso since it hinges on the claimant providing the necessary and sufficient conditions for his (exclusive) deity to exist - thereby showing why its conditions supersede those of other Christians. To append a truth value to the statement then, a specific definition of atheism is needed, not an open-ended term that invites any reading.

Finally, the appended proposition:

"Every truth claim excludes its opposite ."

Has already been shown invalid, since it omits consideration of the fact that conjunction is the negation of incompatibility, e.g. (p/q)[. If one can have any conjunction, uniting propositions of truth p and q, then clearly a contingent truth claim p does not exclude its co-contingent q. As a more or less trivial example:

p: "Every photon of light is a particle"

q: "All light is waves"

In fact, as noted before in a blog:


Both statements can be true, provided the optical limits of observation are made clear. It is this very example, underscored by quantum mechanics, which displaces the either-or exclusionary absolutism of the claim. In other words, the actual experiments of QM show that observables in the form of propositions can be BOTH and not merely one OR the other! This is the very basis for the development of quantum logic, which we have actually examined before, e.g. http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2009/09/foray-into-quantum-logical-and.html

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Transmission Line Approaches to Solar Flares

There are numerous ways by which we can approach the transfer of wave energy in solar coronal loops, and one of the ways proposed (originally in my Ph.D. thesis) was via adopting the transmission line model. Such transmission lines are most often employed in the transfer of electric energy from a power grid to specific locations, but with some adaptations it's feasible to arrange the model for solar considerations. The accompanying diagram shows how this might work. (Note l in the equations is the Greek lambda in the diagram).

Here, we assume turbulent regions are terminated on either side by impedances (Z1, Z2) that cause partial reflection and standing Alfven waves each with characteristic wavelengths, l1 and l2. For simplicity of treatment, we let ℓ1 = l1 and ℓ2 = l2. So that, Z1 = Z1’ and Z2 = Z2’. Then the input impedance referenced to the base of the loop for each case is:

Z(1)in = j/2(Z1 – Z11) tan kl1 + [Z1 Z11 – ¼ (Z1 – Z11)2 tan2 kl1 ]^1/2


Z(2)in = j/2(Z2 – Z12) tan kl2 + [Z2 Z12 – ¼ (Z2 – Z12)2 tan2 kl2 ]^1/2

On each side, cut-off angular frequencies occur for which:

tan2 kcl = tan2 [(w_c l e^1/2) / c] = 4Z1 Z11/ (Z1 – Z11)^2 = 4Z2 Z12/ (Z2 – Z12)^2

At the base of each footpoint (in the limit of tan theta ~ 0) one finds the cut-off frequency is:

w_c ^2 = 4 Z11 c^2/ Z1 l1^2 e_o = 4 Z12 c2/ Z2 l2^2 e_o

(where e_o is the permittivity of free space, = 8.85 x 10^-12 Farad/m)

This can be simplified to:

w_c = 2 / [(L1 l1) (C2 l2) ]^1/2


tan^2 k_c l = tan ^2 [w_c l e^1/2 /c]

where: L1 = V(D) - RI1/ (dI1/dt)

is the loop inductance, dI1/dt the rate of current increase in the loop and R1 the resistance.

and the capacitance:

C2 = e2 [ℓ2 + ℓ2_perp ] = [1 + (i 4pi o2)/ w2 ]( ℓ2 + ℓ2_perp )

where the conductivity (o2) and plasma frequency (w2 ) are assumed to diverge from the values for the other loop BC segment. (In AR2776, the loop designated 'BC' is the one that could actually be observed and measured)

It bears looking more closely here at the associated wave impedances, Z1’ and Z2’ in the context of the theory of long lines. In particular: for the specific wave turbulent regions (wave guides) let:

Z(1) = -i(4pi rho(1))^1/2 and Z(2) = -i(4pi rho(2) )^1/2


Y(1) = -i/ (4pi n(1) m _e )^1/2 and Y(2) = -i/ (4pi n(2) m_ e )^1/2

where n(1), n(2) are the respective number (particle) densities, rho(1,2) the energy densities, m_e = 9.1 x 10^-31 kg is the electron mass, and the Y(1,2) are the linear vector admittances in the wave guides. Whence:

Z1’ = [(Z(1)/ Y(1))]^1/2

Z2’ = [(Z(2)/ Y(2))]^1/2


Z(1) = -i{4pi rho(1) (1 +ig1/ w)}^1/2

Z(2) = -i{4pi rho(2) (1 +ig1/ w)}^1/2

where g1 is the “growth factor” such that:

g1 (less than) g/w, where at resonance condition (Z1 = Z2, l1 = l2) , and we take g~ 10^6 s-1. Wave energy increase is determined by (Cromwell, [1]): dW/ dt = gW, or recast ln (W) = gt or W = exp(gt). Where g is the linear growth rate for ion-acoustic waves and W is the wave energy. The key point here is that when (T_e/T_i) > 4.8 a mean oscillatory condition emerges such that dW/dt = 0 (op. cit.) In other words, the wave energy will oscillate between maximal and minimal amplitudes and with it the dimensions of the wave region.

For the 1B/M4 flare event, HXIS measurements disclose Te = 1.04 x 10^ 7 K and T_i = 1.0 x 10 6 K so Te/ Ti > 10 and this meets the condition. The fact that as Crowell et al (op. cit.) note that the beam stopping length varies considerably in simulations can be explained by the fact that scale lengths in the turbulent regions as well as (ℓ1 ; ℓ1_perp ; ℓ2 ; ℓ2_perp ; L_k ) are oscillating.

This approximately addressed the model, but to verify if, we would need to observe actual solar loops in the process of oscillation at the scales of resolution for the (ℓ1 ; ℓ1_perp ; ℓ2 etc. components, or about 0."2. So far the only instrument that can deliver this at optical wavelengths is the Hubble space telescope but it's never been aimed at the Sun and likely will never be!

[1] D. Cromwell, P. McQuillan, and J.C. Brown:1988, Solar Phys., 115, 289.

'Buy Nothing Day' a Dud compared to Shopping Frenzy

The scenes of manic shoppers rushing into a Target in Buffalo, leaving a man pinned against the door screaming for help and no one paying sattention were difficult to behold. Has it come to this? That material goods, HDTVs, DVD players, and LCD tvs mean more than fellow humans to “Muricans? It appears so!

Buy Nothing Day, also on Black Friday, was always intended to be a counterpoint too the screaming consumerist frenzy of the people piling into stores scurrying like a million rats and prepared to take on more debt with less savings. Right now, the saving rate is barely 4% compared to 8% in Japan and 10% in Germany. Before the 2008 credit meltdown the US of A saved less than any nation, and actually reached the negative savings rate of -0.1%. This is disgusting.

With the recession ordinary Americans had pulled out of their debt-leverage miasma and were on the road to finally building savings back up and restoring their credit worthiness. The stock market crash had shattered their savings, and the housing credit crisis rendered millions of homes “under water” – with mortgages costing more than the homes are worth.

Into this milieu there arose ‘Buy Nothing Day’ but it’s generally been a bust, with barely 3% of potential shoppers adhering to its ideals. It appears the baubles and bangles of the erstwhile consumer culture are far more powerful than anyone ever dreamed.With tantalizing ads from Target, Best Buy, Penney’s, SEARS and so on filling the papers, how is a normal person to refuse the come on? Well, by doing what I do and just tossing out all the detritus.

Ordinarily, in macro-economic theory, all this buying ought to be generating millions more jobs. But is it? Look at the stats! Corporations are now sitting on nearly $1.5 trillion in cold hard cash reserves and aren’t doing diddly with it. So we have the worst of both worlds: Big corporations are thriving, sitting on mammoth cash amounts while real income for Americans is stagnant or decreasing because new jobs aren’t being supplied or existing ones are being farmed overseas.

Now, will there be an end to it all? Will Americans come back to their senses after watching that new 32” LCD tv and seeing their debts mount?

I’m not sanguine because we appear to be more a nation of spenders than savers. But, if it were ever reversed, as many observers note (e.g. the authors of The Winner Take All Society, and ‘The Trap’) then we’d have more high quality jobs to support us, as opposed to just commercial detritus.

Let’’s hope Americans finally wake up and maybe next year, the numbers participating in Buy Nothing Day reach at least 20%

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Haitian Cholera Outbreak: Of Nepalese Origin?

A Haitian suffering from cholera near Cap Haitien. Note the drawn, gaunt facial featues, typical of this disease which kills by massive dehydration (combined projectile vomiting and liquid diarrhea) within 24 hours or less.

In many parts of the media the beleaguered Haitian people are being depicted as conspiracy theorist crazies for blaming the UN’s Nepalese Peace keeping contingent for the cholera spreading there. These critical media insist that Haiti’s wrecked infrastructure (from the earthquake), poor water resources and crowding are the more likely source.

But not so fast!

Investigations by the Associated Press have found the Nepalese peacekeepers did have a base on the Artibonite River where the outbreak originated. Sanitation at the base was supposed to be handled by a private company, Sanco Enterprises, SA- which won the contract by underbidding a rival.

The septic tanks used were to be emptied once per week, but when the AP visited Oct. 27, a tank was clearly overflowing and “the back of the base smelled like a toilet had exploded”. The AP reported “dark, reeking liquid flowed out of a broken pipe toward the river from the latrines

UN military police seen taking samples were “clearly horrified”. Meanwhile, Haitian neighbors also reported a Sanco driver dumped waste in an area outside the usual repository pits.

The fact that the effluent from the broken pipes and overflowing tanks ran right to the river was evidence to many Haitians that the episodes at the base camp were the primary causative agents in the cholera outbreak. Their view is substantiated by other facts that have since come to light, including:

-the fact the latest Nepalese deployment came in October, after a summer of cholera outbreaks in Nepal

- The CDC (Center for Disease Control) identified the strain of cholera in Haiti with one that matched one originating in South Asia

- Though the UN claimed none of the Nepalese peacekeepers showed signs, this actually proves nothing since 75% of those infected with Cholera never show symptoms- but they can still pass on the disease for 2 weeks (especially in nations like Nepal where the population has developed an immunity because cholera is endemic)

- Before last month, there had never been a confirmed case of cholera in Haiti, since according to CDC health officials “there were no cholera bacteria there”.

In effect, no matter how deplorable a nation’s water delivery systems or resources, or the amount of filth, cholera cannot occur unless the bacteria are there. If not there originally, it needs to be introduced from outside.

Enter the Nepalese, some of whom were likely infected but asymptomatic – and who spread the infection when they used their latrines and the septic tanks leaked and pipes broke – sending the infected waste into the Artobonite River where vulnerable Haitians ingested it.

Of course, the UN – with its ass hanging out in a sling, has tried to spin away from that conclusion. For example, it acknowledged the reeking black liquid was overflow from the Nepalese base but insisted it was kitchen and shower waste (making one wonder what kind of grime could produce an odor analogous to a “toilet exploding”) What were the Nepalese peace keepers doing, playing in shit?

Another spin move was the UN insisting none of the Nepalese “had shown signs of cholera” which many news outlets misreported as claiming the soldiers “tested negatively for it”. But as we know, cholera can be present but asymptomatic in 75% of the population, especially from a county in which cholera is endemic so the populace has immunity. The media ought to be reprimanded for conflating an absence of signs (evidence of absence is not absence of evidence) with an actual test to verify the absence of outward signs equals absence of cholera.

When one strips away all the red herrings, misreported crappola and distractions there is likely only one conclusion on the cholera’s origination, as articulated by Prof. John Mekalanos, the Chairman of the Micro-Biology Dept. at Harvard University:

It very much likely did come with the (Nepalese) peace keepers or other relief personnel. I don’t see there is any way to avoid the conclusion that an unfortunate and presumably accidental introduction of the organism occurred.”

Lest one hastily seek to blame the Nepalese soldiers, let us bear in mind it was the private septic tank company, Sanco, which actually dropped the ball: by not emptying the septic tank in a timely fashion, thereby letting it overflow and not repairing a broken pipe, sending cholera-infected waste to the river Haitians used for bathing and drinking.

Thus, the Haitians are correct in claiming the outbreak originated with the Nepalese camp, but not correct in blaming the Nepalese peace keepers for instigating it. They need to direct their ire at the private, underbidding company that cost them their lives, health and mental well being. (Though the company will likely deny it – but the AP reports are very convincing regarding their culpability.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What's 'Thanksgiving' to an Atheist?

Well, it IS a special day! Let us bear in mind that atheists don't fall under one single uniform pool or mindset, as some fundies like to portray us. As such, atheists will respond to a day like today in almost as many ways as there are atheists. Let's look at some:

1) For the strong (explicit) atheist, this is just another day, although likely served up with more food, bigger helpings.

2) For the weak (implicit) atheist, there'll likely be a subdued thanks to his fellow atheists for support in trying times, keeping up correspondence, and especially helping him get into the hair of certain pastors!

3) For the immaterialist atheist, there'll likely be a hearty 'thanks' to the cosmos, for engendering his or her consciousness via cosmic evolution.

4) For the spiritualist or even agnostic atheist, there'll be an unspoken thought endorsing the universal energy surrounding and binding us all, and hopefully impelling us to do better.

What do any or all have in common? Well, the acknowledgement that this is emphatically not "a Christian nation" as the fundies would like to brainwash their minions and other 'Muricans into believing!

How did the claptrap of a nation “under God” ever get started? Most historians point to the alterations in the original words of the pledge of allegiance (composed in 1892 by Socialist minister Francis Bellamy), rendered by a pathetic, fraidy cat insecure U.S. congress ca. 1954 because it was petrified of not being exclusive enough in the club of nations. The big, bad Soviet commies had scared them to a tee.

The original pledge by Bellamy never used or had the words “Under God”. As a young student at St. Leo’s School in 1952 Milwaukee, the words we used when we recited the pledge were:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

There was no “under God” in the words. But two years later, hysteria reigned as the despicable McCarthy hearings heated up (Sen. Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin, under the aegis of his “House UnAmerican Activities Committee"- made his name by conducting an inquisition of military, actors, decent citizens, political leaders….in order to discern who was a “real American” and who was a commie or commie symp). The whole McCarthy circus was an outgrowth of the unthinking political fear, demagoguery and hysteria at the time, which had otherwise sober people looking for ‘Reds under the Bed’.

In this ratty (rat out your neighbor or teacher or parent) environment, the alteration of the words in the Pledge to include “under God” was inevitable. Since it was widely accepted that only the absolute “godless” could ever be commies, then the thinking in the retarded congress was that, "Hey, if we include the words ‘nation under God’ we’ll automatically distinguish the United States from all the godless nations. And we will be above them too!”. Add to this the instigation of the Knights of Columbus (which had begun using the changed pledge on its own from 1951 and campaigning for it) and all the pieces were in place to deform Bellamy’s words.

And so, the ad hoc, mutated words were signed into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954. Thereby, a sinister collusion of religious malcontents and wacko "commie" (e.g. godless) haters, had officially begun a perverted path toward a de facto theocracy, trampling the Establishment Clause and rights of unbelievers in the sordid process. This reached its apotheosis with the Supreme Court’s recent cross ruling (see earlier blog) but even before that saw an even more outrageous manifestation when Bush Senior (now believed to have been the key CIA station chief at the time JFK was assassinated in Dallas) said in a 1988 campaign stop in Chicago:

"I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

Of course, the man demonstrated himself to be a total idiot and fascist to boot. Atheists are every bit as much citizens as any Christian, since this isn’t a theocracy and citizenship isn’t contingent on god belief. (No new citizen for example, is required to take an oath to God or even swear on a bible that he or she will believe in god to accept American citizenship) Bush therefore was way out on a limb and his thinking as distorted and misbegotten as other things he said while president. (Oh, and let’s not forget his “godly” Christian use of the racist, “Willie Horton” ads to attack Dem candidate Mike Dukakis in the same ’88 campaign. )

As I already showed also in previous blogs, the “God” the Founders invoked was not a theist God but a DEIST one. This is an important distinction, never mind people like a certain FLA pastor like to conflate the two in order to make a specious case. A case predicated on citing state constitutions which have no heft on the level of the federal constitution (which only recognized a Deist “Creator” or God).

The states’ constitutions, no matter how many times they cite a nebulous “God” or “Supreme powers”, have no mandated and specific rights. Thus, as Prof. Gary Wills notes ('A Necessary Evil: A History Of American Distrust Of Government', Simon & Schuster, 1999, p. 108) there's no such entity as “states’ rights). Only citizens can have rights, under the Bill of Rights, and since atheists meet every real criterion for citizenship (under the U.S. Constitution) their rights trump the artificial “powers” and prerogatives of the states. Thus, no state can ever ban an atheist from exercising his or her franchise based on “godlessness”. (For this same reason, states can’t impede or remove a citizens’ unenumerated rights under Amendment IX of the Bill of Rights).

As Alexander Hamilton first observed, governments have prerogatives, people have rights - so Hamilton referenced "abridgments of prerogative" in the state to protect rights of citizens. In other words NO state could exercise any prerogative to rescind a right already granted citizens under the U.S. Constitution.

In order for states to be able to deny atheists (or Jews, or Buddhists or any other minority) voting rights, then, they would have to be able to withhold all the Bill of Rights in the particular state. Since states’ exercise only powers and prerogatives – no rights- this could only be feasible if they secede from the federal system. In that case, their dubious constitutions would take the place of the federal one with its Bill of Rights.

For those interested in learning, that the U.S. is NOT a "Christian nation" was formalized in a declaration as part of the Treaty of Tripoli. sent to the floor of the Senate, June 7, 1797:



As extracted (Article 11)

Art. 11. "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

This is something the Christians inhabiting this land would do well to bear in mind today, as they prepare to gorge on their turkeys, apple cobblers, pumpkin pie or whatever.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Looking for 'Bloodbaths'? Be careful what you wish for!

Alan Simpson - Obama Deficit Commission Co-Chair, is having wet dreams pondering a blood bath in April.

According to Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, co-chair of the Obama Deficit Commission Alan Simpson is pining for a "blood bath". Seems like he just can't wait for next April and all the chaos it will bring as he says (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/22/opinion/22krugman.html?src=me&ref=general)

I can’t wait for the blood bath in April. ... When debt limit time comes, they’re going to look around and say, ‘What in the hell do we do now? We’ve got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give ’em a piece of meat, real meat,’ (meaning spending cuts) “And boy, the blood bath will be extraordinary,” he continued.

Extraordinary indeed! And the "guys" who will not approve the debt limit expansion (which is set to surpass $14.3 trillion, and if not enabled, the government shuts down) are the same rotten turds now blocking approval of the critical START II nuclear treaty. (See previous blog). And what do we see but this fulsome asshole Simpson salivating over it, over the prospect of millions of kids and their parents starving because of no food stamps, seniors not receiving their Social Security or Medicare.....and all hell truly breaking loose.

So far in this country we've not witnessed the scale of violence, angry marches (with smashing store windows, overturning cars and setting them afire) and riots that we recently beheld in France (where millions marched to protest Sarkozy raising the retirement age to 62) but that may end next April if Simpson gets his "blood bath". When people are pressed to the wall, desperation and desperate measures are bound to take precedence. Simpson or his fatass rich fucker cronies in the Repuke party may not like it, but no one is going to just lay down and die because a bunch of reprobates in D.C. refuse to enable the government to continue. Oh no. They will first suffer shock, but soon....very soon,,..reach for the pitchforks and maybe even guns to wrest back some of the material excess that has gone to the richest 1% and is now denied them. At that point we may have a real bloodbath.

No one of judicious temperament wants to see that, but evidently swine like Alan Simpson are perfectly willing to tempt fate. As Krugman himself put it:

"Think of Mr. Simpson’s blood lust as one more piece of evidence that our nation is in much worse shape, much closer to a political breakdown, than most people realize"

Indeed, and as the latest issue of The Economist put it, when January rolls around this nation will have the most divided congress since the end of the Civil War. Will it presage a new one? We can only hope not, but the signs aren't auspicious. Massive inequality continues to run rampant, and if the Reptiles get their wish and the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest go through, there will be hell to pay - especially while the long term unemployed ("99ers" - denied an extension of their benefits by the same repukes) wither away and behold their children begging for any crumb to fill the empty space in their bellies - while rich pigs across town buy new diamond necklaces and gold baubles.

Recall not long ago, Simpson already exposed his hand as a consummately brash loudmouth, asshole and wretch, when he compared Social Security (on which millions depend for their survival) to a cow with "310 million teats". Earlier, when appointed (misappointed?) to the Obama Deficit Commission, he made no bones about going after "entitlements" to meet deficit hawk needs, as he said:

"We're gonna stick with the big three. We're gonna stick with entitlements, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. This is the big three."

Omitting that the best immediate political solution to the deficit is simply to not allow the Bush tax cuts to go through. That will save an estimated $3.7 TRILLION over ten years, compared to the $3.8 trillion in draconian measures Simpson and his slice-happy sidekick Ernest Bowles (the very definition of a 'DLC'-Repug-lite Democrat) proposed.

Solutions are available, but the question is whether a political party more obsessed with constraining and hurting Obama will enact them.

If they don't, millions of Americans....and Mr. Simpson....may well rue the day in April that they willingly permitted the debt limit crash to manifest. A pity that President Obama appointed this miscreant to his Commission when so many superior, truly genial choices were available, such as Lincoln Chaffee - the moderate former Republican Senator from Rhode Island, or former Senator John Danforth from Missouri. To put it bluntly, just about anyone would have been a better choice than Alan Simpson!

Are the Repukes Totally Nuts?

One must ask this as we behold this degenerate party attempting to block ratification of the START treaty, thereby leaving the U.S. open to a massive undermining of its nuclear security . And THIS is the party that professes to be all about "national security"! Well, I guess it just shows they don't really mean it, but merely invoke that buzzword when it's convenient to do so for their own political gain - and damned the national welfare.

START - for Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty- originated when the Union of Sovet Socialist Republics still existed. The initial signing occurred on July 31, 1991, and the enforcement provisions were brought to bear by December 5, 1994. (Interestingly, this was barely one year before an incident in which Russian nuclear missiles were suddenly put on alert for possible counterstrike at the U.S., when they evidently detected a 'bogey' bearing down on them and believed to be a U.S. missile. It turned out to be the full Moon. And thanks to certain START protections in effect, a global catastrophe was averted by about 30 minutes)

Technically, START has two parts, I and II. That which was signed in 1991 has become known as "START I". It's basic thrust has been to limit the total number of nuclear warheads, to 6,000, not counting an additional 1,600 allocated to submarines and bombers. For anyone unable to process this magnitude, given the limitation applies to a total of 15,200 warheads or bombs on both sides- it is enough to blow up the world about four times over. Thus, given the dicey Russian episode ca. 1995, it is more than in our best interests to seek the continuance of warhead limitations as manifest in START II. (START I expired on Dec. 5, 2009).

START II (to implement continued control of the respective nuclear arsenals, as well as to provide for site inspections) was signed on April 8, 2010 by President Obama and Russian President Medvedev. Unfortunately, as critical as this second part treaty is, it can't be enforced until ratified by the Russian parliament and U.S. congress.

While the Russians appear to be heading for approval, START II is now bogged down in the U.S. because of Republican intransigency- determined to use this critical treaty as yet another means to exact a political victory over Obama by refusing him success for getting it passed. Never mind that this treaty is in our national interests, the GOP doesn't care - all they worry about is their own political interests.

Even GOP stalwarts such as George Schulz and Sen. Richard Lugar have tried to call this off the rails party to account, and appeal to the better angels of Sen. John Kyl (AZ) but with little success. Kyl and his cohort, intimidated by the Tea Party nation, are in no mood to give anything to Obama, even in the interests of national security.

What this means, as Sen. Lugar pointed out, is we have no means of actually observing Russian compliance with the treaty. Indeed, there's every indication that if the Repukes' folly continues, the Russians will go on a renewed missile, warhead -building jag, spurred on by NATO's determination to build anti-missile sites near the Russian border.

We can only hope that eventually sense and wiser judgment prevails, but in today's Tea Party-dominated political climate that commodity appears to be in short supply! Will any repubs at all actually act in the national interest, as opposed to their own political interest? That remains to be seen, but personally I wouldn't hold my breath or make any bets on it in Vegas!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why Fundies are the World's Worst Bullies

In an issue of SKEPTIC magazine (Vol. 15, No. 2, 2009) from last year, a particular article by Robert Kurtzban and Peter Descioloi caught my attention. The article, entitled ‘Why Religions Turn Oppressive’, explores how and why religions (at least most) turn fascist, based on evolutionary psychology.

The thrust of their article is extremely important, in the context of unbelievers in the world, especially in the god-crazed US of A, because it shows the extent to which we can expect any possibility to live and let live with the other side. Or whether they won't be satisfied until they either convert all of us, or hurl us into ovens and gas chambers (as Joe Conason's fundie interviewees suggested in his 1992 Playboy piece, 'With God as My Co-Pilot'). But wait, that's the shtick of Islam, right? Either kill the Infidel or convert him? (At least according to Howard Bloom writing in his book, The Lucifer Principle.)

Actually not: it applies to all religions of any orthodoxy, but particularly to those which embrace an absolutist meme: that their beliefs are the one and only true ones and everyone else must heel to....or else...

According to the authors of the SKEPTIC piece:

“…religions are like bullies. One feature of bullying is that attacks are often made for no reason, aside from the ease of attacking the target. Such attacks can be used to establish dominance, or at least a reputation as someone to be feared and obeyed. …By forcing obedience in trivial matters – even harmless ones- religious leaders establish a reputation for punishment that allows dominance in more meaningful aspects of life. In this view the content of rules is relatively arbitrary"

This is exactly what we've found in the past four or so of a certain "pastor's" blog as he lashes out at atheists seeking to answer questions that he himself put out for atheists to address.

But from the looks of things- depicting each of his atheist responders as demonic or Satanically-controlled, there isn't the slightest hint of any respect. He uses the posting of their honest answers merely as an excuse to belittle them with his own absurd "rebuttals". He then follows that calumny and belligerence with further blogs trying to "argue" that other religions (the non-bullying type) use TOLERANCE to try to dominate!

Has anyone ever heard or seen such twisted reasoning since the words: 'War is Peace', and 'Freedom is slavery' writ large in Orwell's '1984'? Where each normalized thought is aberrated and transferred into one that is useful for the bullying Big Brother and his Thought Police.

Obviously when one uses such tactics, or the perennial "Hell" threats launched at those of us who espouse unbelief, then one can see the bully hard at work. The Bully, you see, doesn't seek co-existence, that word isn't in his vocabulary, No, he seeks dominance! Living must be on HIS terms, no others. Friendships must be predicated on his biases and fundamentalist preferences, beliefs, memes, chatter, books (mainly the KJV Bible) and no others. He doesn't want to hear about the films you've seen, books you read...not unless they have something to do with his good Book.

His yen for dominance is driven by his absolutism ....and it is the same whether we're talking about a Christian Fundie, an Islamic Fundie, or a Jewish one.

In their perverted world -universe, all thought outside their limited cosmos of precepts and passages is "false". All doctrines other than theirs are "heretic" or demonic. Free thinking is the next thing to cursing or blasphemy.

And don't ever expect a fundie to honestly attempt to answer or address OUR questions, like we do THEIRS! Oh, no! For we are regarded as "fools" to ask THEM questions, and they will excavate all the biblical crudpola they can to show why they must not answer "fools", e.g.

"As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool" ( Proverbs 26:8 )

"As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly" (Proverbs 26:11 )

And the choicest:

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good" ( Psalm 14:1 )

And the justification for proffering such vile offal is usually in terms of swift, sound bite gibberish like this (from the same Pastor's blog).

"Atheism relaxes moral restraints and is thus usually accompanied by corruption."

Although it is, in fact, fundamentalist religions that do that - because they extol the very bullying, genocidal behavior carried out by their anthropomorphic, psychotic god as GOOD.

Some examples of what I'm talking about, and why I wouldn't even trust a pet turtle to a fundie:

1)Deut. 22:22

"If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman and the woman; so you shall purge the evil from Israel"

2) 2 Kings 2, 23:24 (Concerning Elisha siccing "God's She Bears'" on little children):

"And he went up from then unto Beth-el: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him and said unto him: 'Go up, thou bald head, go up , thou bald head'. And he turned back and looked at them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD.

And there came forth two she-bears out of the wood, and teared up forty and two children of them"

You can find a satirical re-enactment here:


3) Deut. 21: 18-21

"If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and - though they chastise him he will not give heed to them, then his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of the city,'This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard. Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones, so you shall purge the evil from your midst"

On examining and considering these examples (which are in no way "misquoted" as the fundies might claim), which is more likely: 1) that a psychotic entity-deity with ten screws loose could actually exist and mete out "justice" as manifested in these stories, or (2) the stories were purely the fabrications of vile, debased minds and cruel hearts? In other words, the mental detritus of inherently evil men masquerading as wise fonts of ineffable wisdom, in order to confer a future basis for bullying to its most regressive descendents. That they may try to enslave the rest of us!

The atheist, meanwhile, must fashion his ethics and morality from human values and intelligence. He can't invoke some insane "good" predicated only on what an insane deity will do. The atheist demands any valid moral or ethical code feature a basis for which acts are ethical or not on their merits and specific valuations, not because a god did or condoned them!

In the evolutionary psychology context, the biggest, baddest religious bullies are the ones that inspire the most fear while they intimidate with physical or other threats. (Note the recent campaign against abortion providers in the South, using 'Wanted for murder by Jesus" posters - that include the name, address and photo of the provider) These are the ones most likely to survive the longest and compete most efficiently with other "bullies". It’s no surprise then that most of these religions employ the myth of 'Hell' to instill obedience, even while they mutually threaten each other with Hell! Thus, do Roman Catholics warn evangelicals that they are destined for Hell's eternal fires even as the evangelicals call this punishment down on RCs for not accepting the Lord JC as personal Savior.

Thus we see that the alleged "moral" mandates of the biggest bully religions (like Christian and Islamic Fundamentalists) are designed as a form of selection to assure their survival in the competition with other religious memes. All their affected morality is actually expeditious in terms of use of physical or psychological force, to control as many docile minds as they can. Still, this doesn’t get to why religious authorities (or even pretend ones) go after non-members who really should pose no threat. Unless their ideas do! Again, the SKEPTIC authors chime in:

"Perhaps the attention paid to suppressing the freedom of non-members is a way to signal the will and capacity to use force. Religions can condemn outsiders to remind followers of the social and physical consequences of disobedience- while avoiding provoking skirmishes within the group

The authors go on to also point out that the most picked on outsiders are “limited in the ability to retaliate”. Thus, favorite targets of bully evangelicals like James Dobson, Fred Phelps and Pastor Mike are homosexuals and abortion service providers, doctors. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel for them. Atheists are less likely targets, since we’ve become more empowered over the last five years, and will now strike out and hammer anyone who attacks us. We don’t “take it” anymore and will also launch criticisms where we see fit, without waiting to be criticized ourselves. Hence, because we fight back so often and with force, counterpunches, many fundies regard us as "looking for theological fistfights".

In fact, not - all we merely want is respect. But if you don't give it to us by accepting us for who and what we are, we will keep coming back to bash you - like you bash us- over and over again.

Lastly, all atheists need to bear in mind that peaceful co-existence with any bully is impossible on HIS terms. If said bully isn't prepared to compromise, we have no choice but to literally tell them to go to hell - ours, not theirs. And we promise we will fight their yen for control of our lives and minds to the very bitter end- family or no family- we don't care. If you are going to be a bully, we are going to fight back.

Deal with it.

Drag in the Strawmen when all else fails

Having failed miserably to torpedo the Roswell, NM incident of July, 1947, we find Pastor Mikey now dredges up the grandest strawman of all: the “alien autopsy video” which appeared (and was shown on FOX – as you might expect!) some four years ago. While the film instantly caused lots of consternation and comment, in the end sharp minds analyzing it realized that it was a well—constructed hoax.

Even film producer Ray Santilli and fellow producer Gary Shoefield admitted (by April 4, 2006) that their film was only partially real (a "few frames," in their words) and stated that the rest was a reconstruction of twenty-two rolls of film, averaging four minutes in length, which Santilli had viewed in 1992 but which had subsequently degraded from humidity and heat. They said that only a few frames of the original were still intact by the time they had raised enough money to purchase.

When I first saw the autopsy film, I taped it to study later. After several replays, I was convinced I was watching a superb theatric performance, and the “alien” was merely a fantastically crafted prop- not dissimilar to what one sees in many scifi films. While certain aspects of the set did conjure up a 1940s flair (such as the telephone) these were only meant to throw off the observer. In a way it evoked the “ectoplasm” that appeared when people attempted seances in the cemetaries of New Orleans in the 1960s, which I used to expose on a regular basis. (The fake ectoplasm was generally created by a hidden person using a fume-generating device that was popular in discos of the era)

Within four years after that, and heading to Barbados in Peace Corps, I began my UFO investigations, which mainly were done to show that nearly all such reported “craft” were really identified objects, natural or manmade.

Thus, arguing Roswell is nonsense on the basis of the purported alien autopsy video is like arguing cold fusion is nonsense on the basis of a cartoon showing two guys in lab coats using a test tube (in which water’s being electrolyzed to form hydrogen) to power up a whole library. In either case, if one genuinely seeks disproof, one must show the actual evidence for the claim doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. In the same way, I already showed how Noah’s Ark would sink because its displacement – given all the animal pairs it would have to board- would violate Archimedes’ principle of flotation, e.g.


Now, if one wants or demands a scientific source as the basis of putative alien intelligence visiting he Earth, one can do no better than enlisting Physicist Edward U. Condon’s Air Force- commissioned Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects(1969, NY Times Books) While most of the cases are exposed as either natural or meteorological phenomena – or possible hoaxes- one case stands out: Case 46, p. 396 from McMinnville Ore. (11 May, 1950) that concludes - and I quote, from p. 407:"This is one of the few UFO reports in which all factors investigated: geometric, psychological and physical appear to be consistent with the assertion that an extraordinary flying object- silvery, metallic and disc shaped flew within sight of two witnesses. "

I found the best part of the case study was the photometric analysis (pp. 402-06). This was essential in order to discriminate luminance conditions between a hypothetical hand model nearby and an actual, extraordinary, distant flying object. The key observation made by the investigators was:

"The shadowed bottom of the UFO (see image) has a particularly pale look suggestive of scattering between observer and object. If such scattering is detectable it may be possible to make some estimate of the distance involved".

From there they list a sequence of possible interpretations, including: optical fabrication or double exposure (rejected because the UFO is darker than the sky background luminance); a retouch of a drawn image (rejected because analysis of the negatives disclosed they were unretouched); physical fabrication using a 'frisbee' hand spun model (rejected because the UFO displays an off-axis pole which is never seen displaced, i.e. in rotation); model suspended from a wire (similar positions in each photo -so possible), and extraordinary flying object (since photometry suggests a large distance).

So, in the end, the last two interpretations had to be analyzed for consistency with the least likely of the two rejected.

The investigators proceeded by computation of the luminance, or the apparent brightness of an object at a distance r, normalized relative to some intrinsic value B(o) at r(o), viz p. 402:

B = B(sky) (1 - exp(-br)) + B(o) exp(-br)

where b is the scattering coefficient. In the equation, the first term (with B(sky)) represents scattered light and the second term, extinction. As the investigators noted (ibid.):

"Since all measures must be based on the witnesses' two photographs, we will determine b for the given day from the photographs themselves. Normalizing all brightnesses (measured from the film and assuming that the images fall on the linear portion of the gamma curve (see- e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma_correction) to that of the sky near the horizon, i.e. on a line within a few thousand feet of the ground, where the UFO is constrained to be by the reported cloud height and probable nearness to the camera, we have:

B = 1 + exp(-br)[B(o) - 1]"

From the above, if the object is sufficiently distant one would have:

exp(-br) -> 0

so therefore,

B = 1 + exp (0)[B(o) - 1] = 1 + [B(o) - 1] and B equals the sky brightness. (in optical terms, the optical depth t >> 1)

To ascertain whether the claimed sighting photographed is a fake then, all that's needed is to solve for the distance r, given a zero distance luminance B(o) cmopared to an observed luminance B. As can be seen from tjhe equation, to do this one needs to obtain the scattering coefficient, b.

The investigators used densitometric analysis to obtain an assorted range of values for the luminance B, for different objects appearing in the photographic image - these are presented in Table 2, from the Case Study. (Shown, with comparison of two plates, 23 and 24). Since the investigators knew the distance of 'Hill 2' at 2.2 km then photometry indicated B = 0.685 for the distance hill, while the foreground foliage yielded B = 0.403.

Processing all this data in concert, the investigators obtained the distance r = 0.32 km, or just over 1,050 feet as the distance to the object - nearly one fifth of a mile. The investigators graphically illustrated the domains of the two hypotheses via their graph (Fig. 3) which is appended here. As they note (p. 406):

"If the object is a model suspended from a wire only a few meters away the surface is some 37% brighter (B = 1.21 v. B = 0.885) than the tank and the shaded portion is probably more than 40% brighter than the shadow on the tank...nearly impossible to maintain in the face of the photometry.

The shadowed side of the UFO appears so bright that it suggests significant scattering between it and the observer

In other words, conforming with the distance calculated from the luminances*.

The point of all this is there IS evidence for extraordinary craft if those like the blustering pastor are willing to find it, including from thorough scientific sources. The odds are he won't seek any further than his good book, because he can't mentally process the shock of accepting a premise that he firmly believes it forbids!

(*Note: the investigators examined one last fake model possibility, with top and bottom sections painted differently- or an aluminum pie pan sealed on the bottom with white paper. However, they again ruled this out based on the photometry).

Monday, November 22, 2010

As Forlorn and Clueless as ever....

Seems Mikey, having exhausted all his "bully pulpit" on atheists (equating them with Satanic agents) now takes on the concept of alien life, namely the events at Roswell, NM. We can explore his criticisms, and at the same time, see how his prosaic binary brain works - and why it exemplifies the black-white fundagelical zeitgeist.

The wannabe pastor initiates his diatribe by writing:

"Many people ( mostly the unbelieving ) , cite the incident in Roswell , New Mexico to validate their claims . But , as I will show here ( using secular sources ) , it's in a word "NONSENSE ! "But hey , I'm simply going to present the evidence to y'all here - and you can then make up your own minds . Most, if not all, of the "evidence" concerning the recovery of saucer wreckage and alien bodies comes from one person - the late Frank J. Kaufmann. His testimony provided the stories that spawned several books about the Roswell incident. Kaufmann passed away in 2001. In 2002, three UFO researchers visited Kaufmann's widow, who allowed them access to his office and papers. In there the three found, finally, some real evidence. Unfortunately, that evidence, in the form of documents, drove them to the conclusion that Kaufmann had forged documents and made up stories for over a decade"

Most who have looked into Roswell, however, have no inkling of any "Kaufmann" or any role he played, since the true people on the spot and making the observations, etc. were Jesse Marcel and Mac Brazelle. Marcel, in one of his final interviews (on CNN's Larry King) before passing away, denied any 'Frank Kaufmann' had anything to do with initiating or circulating any "Roswell myth" and offered that it was more than likely a black operations, psy-ops tactic.

In his book, Information Warfare, author Winn Schwartau describes psy-ops as the tactic whereby false information or misinformation is sown pertaining to a real event in order to deflect attention from it and at the same time destroy or compromise the reputations of any who reported the facts.

This was seen, for example, in the wake of the JFK assassination, when numerous witnesses (e.g. Mary Moorman, Orville Nix, Beverly Oliver et al) had their respective critical films confiscated and then returned to them in a defective (manipulated) state. In the case of Orville Nix's film, taken from the opposite side of Elm Street, three or more frames were removed after the head shot to remove a clear blip of white light most have taken to be a skull fragment. Since the fragment was hurtling over the limo trunk, the direction of momentum had to have come from the front- not the rear. So any kill shot from the Texas School Book Depository would have been impossible.

The aim of this and other psy-ops moves (removing a curbstone with a 4th bullet imprint, seizing the bullet-marked limousine and sending it to Ohio for disassembly, removing JFK's brain at Bethesda etc.) were all meant to discredit witnesses who actually observed the head shot and putative Grassy Knoll evidence for a shooter. (In one case, soldier Gordon Arnold - on leave- while filming on the Grassy Knoll experienced the percussion as the bullet whizzed by his ear. When he asked his commander for permission to report this to the Warren Commission, he was dispatched to Alaska for the remainder of his service).

The point is, the objective of all psy ops operations is to eliminate the key evidence, and infect the information stream with cluttered narratives, following which a smear campaign is used to tarnish any witnesses. This is exactly what transpired at Roswell.

It's also interesting Mikey lashes out like this when his own brother, Jerome, reported having actually observed photographs of the Roswell aliens. This was in his unpublished memoir: The Aliens Are Here!: What Project Blue Book Should Have Told Us.

Was Jerry a kook or nut? Let Jerry describe his bona fides from his book:

"What you are about to read is a true account of my experiences while serving my country in the USAFSS, (United States Air Force Security Service). This division within the Air Force operated under this name from 1948 to about 1977, when it became known as Electronic Security Command (ESC), and later, the current Air Intelligence Agency (AIA). Over the years, the USAFSS and its successors supported and transferred information to the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), NSA (National Security Agency) and DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), as well as to the other Armed Services and their equivalent or similar divisions.

Even though my colleagues and I were officially in the Air Force, we were never really considered ‘regular’ Air Force. We always seemed to exist and operate outside or beyond the mainstream personnel and activities of this branch of our nation’s Armed Services. Once we emerged from the underground, windowless compounds where we often worked, we were allowed to go our own way.

Initially I was trained as a Morse Systems Intercept Radio Operator, reaching my five level of AFSC 29251—the level achieved after successfully completing an equivalent to an apprenticeship level of AFSC 29231. At this point, I was considered a highly-skilled Morse Systems Intercept Operator who needed no continual supervision as would an apprentice.
Eventually I became skilled at using 2 R-390 receivers and operated an FLR-9 antenna system, which was used to find track and DF (direction find) specific radio targets throughout Europe and Southeast Asia.

In the early days before computers and digital electronics became the norm, the information that was intercepted and copied on an AG-22 teletypewriter instantaneously went onto our chatter roll and was then automatically transferred onto perforated paper tape. All those in my office had Top Secret Cryptographic Clearance, which included a thorough background check by the FBI and the Air Force OSI (Office of Special Intelligence). We were referred to as the “spooks” amongst our regular Air Force comrades. "

Hmmmmm.....hardly sounds like a looney tune to me! More like a serious recorder of facts, trained in intelligence, and not one to dream up BS - say like Pastor Mikey's talking snakes and guys living three days in whales' bellies!

Mikey rambles on:

"Take out Kaufmann's phoney tales about the recovery of alien spaceships and bodies and the part he had in these operations and there is essentially nothing left of the alien story. "

BUT, if this is true, how come Jerry - our brother- could have reported encountering actual images of the aliens in Chapter Two of his ms.? Indeed, he also makes an indirect reference to what is likely the hand of psy ops tacticians:

"On numerous occasions I encountered civilians dressed in either suits or regular shirts and pants; clothing identical to what you might see on anyone on the streets of any town or city in the United States. These individuals, I was told, were NSA and CIA operatives who were getting firsthand information on one or more particular target subjects, phenomena or events that our unit intercepted and interpreted. "

Author Winn Schwartau (ibid.) points out that either of the two agencies noted is not above using PR groups in information warfare. According to him (p. 306):

"Public Relations Group' - is used loosely since they "do not have the best interests of the public at heart". For example they may require a 'mole' inside a group, and use the threat of disclosure of some embarrassing information to enlist the person as a 'mole' in their service. "A cash incentive can be used if blackmail fails" .

In all likelihood here, it is quite conceivable that F.J. Kaufmann was such a mole. (Assuming Mikey's sources are valid). As Schwartau also notes:

"The PR crew will feed information to the press on a selective basis."

Indeed, Philip Klass - whom Mikey cites and quotes at length- may well be one of these PR sources, intended to deflect Mikey and his ilk from further scrutiny of the case. SO, instead of going to his actual Air Force based brother, he invests all credulity in Philip Klass. Indeed, Mike cites a NM physicist Dave Thomas , a physicist and mathematician, and president of "New Mexicans for Science and Reason"... Hmmmm a PR front group? One wonders, but then we read this on Klass:

"Klass describes, and demolishes, the accounts of the long string of witnesses who waited decades before coming forward to claim their 15 minutes of fame: Grady Barnett, Glenn Dennis, Walter Haut, Gerald Anderson, Jim Ragsdale, Frank Kaufmann, Frankie Rowe, Col. Thomas Dubose, and more. "

But this is exactly what we'd expect a PR info warrior to do! (Indeed, some evidence exists that Klass is a contract agent for the CIA's clandestine Office of Scientific Intelligence, one of whose charges is to debunk controversial claims that could embarrass high functionaries).

But beyond this, why should this pastor (if he really is, or genuinely wants to be) go to a source for dismissal like Philip Klass? Is he aware that Klass appeared on a CNN Larry King show opposite the head of a fundagelical group (Rev. R.L. Heimers of the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle Church), and proclaimed there isn't one single evidentiary basis for believing in any "end of the world"? (This was actually to do with Nostradamus' purported prophecies).

During the altercation with the fundie minister, Klass bluntly challenged him, saying:

"If the end of the world is coming, and Jesus is to return, then give me the exact time and the date! You can't because it's all poppycock! Anyone can say anything if there are no time limits!"

The question almost begs asking, WHY would a fundagelical quote even indirectly a guy that doesn't believe the fundie's most cherished myths? The reason is, he doesn't care in this case! All of a sudden, Klass ceases to be "an agent of Satan" and becomes instead Mikey's deliverer - by way of helping him to obscure the Roswell incident.

Now, for reference, note that at no time did I myself ever say I accepted verbatim the Roswell accounts as given. What I said is that there appears to be more than a hint of evidence there, given our brother has apparently seen it first hand! Since I did not work in any capacity as Jerry did (while in the USAF) and neither did Mikey, then I defer to Jerry's expertise on this issue as well as his claims.

Or is Mikey calling our brother a liar, or asserting he's suffering from delusions?

And of course, we have the snide bully-boy attacks which imbecile Mikey can't help but make (as he's demonstrated with the atheists attempting to post answers on his site):

"My friends , again , I remind you that the above referenced sources are from SECULAR scientists / experts , and not from biased atheists ,

This one is a howler of the first order, since surveys taken repeatedly (e.g. by the New Scientist, the American Association for Advancement of Science etc.) show MOST physical scientists (62%) ARE atheists! So what exactly is the moron saying here? Does he even know?

He yaps on:

( like my atheist bro' , "Phil,") who , despite his "best efforts" was unable to obtain his Ph.D , and barely obtained an alleged "Masters" degree in astronomy from a foreign country ( diploma mill?? ) . "

Which paragraph segment is so replete with baloney and falsehoods (even after correcting him earlier) it's quite reasonable to suspect he is suffering from early onset Alzheimer's. In fact, my Ph.D. was indeed approved (by my advisor) for Physics, based on a thesis submitted in 1984 (Can Sunspot Morphology Be Used to Predict the Occurrence of Solar Flares?), and five papers published out of it. The Finnish examiner, however, deemed it would be better completed in toto at a site with access to observational facilities of the type referenced in the last chapter (e.g. the Solar Optical Telescope- not to be confused with the Hinode SOT launched from Japan in 2006). Alas, two years later the SOT project was cancelled by budget cuts, and the two years already put toward the completion of the degree rendered still born while the degree itself was postponed indefinitely- pending "adequate resources to carry out the work to the needed resolution". Alas, these never materialized, so the Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) in PHYSICS (not astronomy) was awarded in its stead, with a grade quality so high that I was awarded The Studentship Award of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society(AAS). But what are a few trifling details for a brain that can't even pass a basic evolution test like Mikey's.

Two of the papers published out of my thesis can be found here, for interested readers:



Hell, he still refers to the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill as a "foreign diploma mill" despite more than once offering him the links to verify for himself that isn't (unlike his diploma mill online bible college), e.g.




Interested readers who want to see the quality - say of undergrad physics - can access a number of lectures, seminars, and tutorials here:


Clearly this pastor needs some therapy which ordinary mortals can't give him. And we see exactly where his tirade on aliens and Roswell ends up- with more psychotic blabber:

"Lastly , the Bible gives us no reason to believe that there is life elsewhere in the universe. In fact, the Bible gives us several key reasons why there cannot be. Yes, there are many strange and unexplainable things that take place. There is no reason, though, to attribute these phenomena to "aliens" or "UFOs." If there is a discernable cause to these supposed events, it is likely to be spiritual, and more specifically, demonic, in origin !"

Hmmm....I wonder what Philip Klass would say concerning this regurgitated baby barf! I rest my case that he either needs a brain transplant, or a daily administration of lithium mixed with electro-convulsive therapy.