Saturday, October 18, 2014

Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River (circa 1944)

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"The Mississippi River will always have its own way; no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise..."

 ~Mark Twain in Eruption


From Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River, by W. O. Dement for Harold Fisk (1944)

This cartographic beauty wasn't pulled from the mind of some orphic minded Art-Informal devotee trying to focus on the "uneasy co-existence of mind and body." It is the result of some 16,000 soil samples combined with aerial topography of the lower-Mississippi and shows Big Muddy's past routes which it travelled.

The yeoman's work, which was started in 1941 by geologist Harold Fisk and his accompanying team, was performed for a 1944's report titled "Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River."

Truly an awesome and humbling reminder that within all of the apparent chaos in nature there exists a working order of the highest level.
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The Berlin Wall: A Symbol of Misery and Oppression, Also Served As An Extensive Laboratory For Human Nature

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‘Ohne Butter, ohne Sahne, auf dem Mond die rote Fahne ’ (‘There’s no cream, there’s no butter, but on the moon the red flag flutters’). A popular slogan in the German Democratic Republic. 

Only days before the barbed wire went up around West Berlin on the night of 12–13 August 1961, Walter Ulbricht, leader of the ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED) in East Germany, vigorously complained to Khruschev about the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that the porous sectoral boundaries around West Berlin posed to the entire socialist project in East Germany:
The entire situation, influenced by the open border, hindered us from implementing adequate measures to eliminate the disproportions in the wage structure and to create a proper relationship between wages and performance. . . . Simply put, the open border forced us to raise the living standard faster than our economic capabilities allowed. . . . Of course we had similar difficulties with the transition to agricultural co-operatives as in other People’s Democracies. But one should not overlook the fact that some things are much more complicated here. . . . In all the other People’s Democracies, in the context of their closed borders, such political–economic issues could be tackled differently than was possible under our political circumstances.
This was merely one in a series of urgent letters during 1960–61. As Ulbricht had been warning the Kremlin, the mass population drain to the West was costing the German Democratic Republic (GDR) billions: production losses alone were estimated at around 2.5 to 3 billion DM. As a result, not only was
the much-vaunted goal of surpassing West Germany’s economic performance completely unachievable, but the aim had essentially become one of damage limitation, not least in order to curb the further population flow westwards.

By summer 1961, Ulbricht was warning Moscow that the GDR was on the brink of collapse and could not survive the vicious circle of emigration and production loss for much longer.

However, what was intended as a barrier against the freedom of human movement (or put better a peoples escaping despair and oppression to the prospects opportunity and freedom) turned out to provide a study in sociology, culture, politics and economic. 

The Boston Globe covers the human experiment in a wonderful essay.
Imagine this: If you were a researcher trying to determine how a political system affects people’s values, beliefs, and behavior, you would ideally want to take two identical populations, separate them for a generation or two, and subject them each to two totally different kinds of government. Then you’d want to measure the results, the same way a medical researcher might give two sets of patients two different pills and then track their progress.
Ethically, such a study would be unthinkable even to propose. But when the Berlin Wall went up in 1961, it created what London School of Economics associate professor Daniel Sturm calls a “perfect experiment.” While people in West Germany voted in free elections, read independent newspapers, and protested if they felt dissatisfied with their government, their Eastern counterparts lived inside a surveillance state ruled by a zealously doctrinaire communist party. Where “Ossis”—an unofficial term for those who lived in East Germany—drove famously shoddy Trabant cars, wore drab clothing, and drank off-brand soda, their “Wessi” counterparts enjoyed Pepsi and regularly saw BMWs in the street. The two halves of the country were like a pair of identical twins separated at birth and raised by two very different sets of parents. 
Over the past decade, the Berlin Wall has emerged as a uniquely powerful tool for answering questions about politics, economics, and human nature. How well does state propaganda actually work? What role do friendships play in stimulating business and trade? How does living under a repressive regime affect people’s inclination to trust strangers and government institutions?
The results have proved exciting for researchers, but their value goes beyond the ivory tower: They’re also likely to be important in preparing for real-world situations we may see in the future, like the opening of North Korea and Iran. “Understanding how, say, propaganda created by such regimes affects people’s preferences is very important, particularly when these regimes sooner or later collapse,” said Alberto Alesina, an economist at Harvard University. 
The insights that have piled up since the fall of the wall make it clear how long a single political event can continue to have social and economic effects on the people who lived through it. The marks it left are still being uncovered and measured, more than half a century after the architects of the wall unwittingly made it possible.

Read the rest at the link
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Political Correctness Uber Alles

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Americans have long been in the clutch of the despotic hand of political correctness. It has been our country’s civil religion as long as I can remember. It mostly serves as a minor nuisance in everyday life. It exist just enough to control our thoughts and speech, to be an overseer of our behavior and obstruct our natural view the world around us. However, it has even made its way into actual policy decisions and laws, especially under Obama & Holder Inc. For starters, consider immigration. Only a country so removed from reality would allow its borders and laws to be violated the way the US has. 

Once across our border, uninvited and unwanted, illegal immigrants find refuge and welfare relief from many state and city governments. Free from arrest, and least of all, deportation. The goodwill and charity comes, not from private hospitably of citizens but from the aid of government at taxpayer’s expense. Any negative reaction, and there is plenty, is ignored and shamed. Ugly labels are used as duct tape over the mouths of the average citizen. Silenced, pummeled, and threatened back into their living rooms and told to be good consumer peasants. Meanwhile, the “political” debate on immigration is anything but. Instead, it’s an issue that is talked around carefully when it front of cameras, and rather candidly behind doors. More illegal immigration is one of the only issues where both sides tend to agree. 

This is startling considering that Americans routinely poll between 60 and 70 percent in favor of curbing or ending immigration, as well as sending those back to the country of their origin who willfully and knowingly violated our laws. 

Why has nothing happened under the force of a clear majority? The clergy and holy priests who occupy the seats in our town halls, federal bureaucracies, universities, nonprofits, courts and Congress do not answer to the people. Instead they adhere to their dogma. It is better to practice the teachings of political correctness, in the holy name of diversity, then to obey men. 

Our federal government is the secular version of the Vatican. 

And so now we have a more immediate, pandemic threat in which political correctness was very much a factor. Ebola is a disease so foreign and far away from our shores that most Americans know nothing about it. That was until a man named Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian, who brought it to the United States and infected a yet unknown number. He was allowed to board an airplane in Liberia and fly to America despite the risks to public safety.

A country secure in its identity and unanimous in its beliefs would unhesitatingly take any and all actions and precautions to ensure the public safety of its citizens. We do not, unfortunately, live in such a country. Discussions of travel bans by federal officials and liberal pundits are dismissed as if time travel is being proposed instead of simply ending flights in and out of Ebola ridden areas of the world.

As Patrick J. Buchanan wrote, “The Greatest Generation possessed a common sense that seems lacking today.”
In dealing with contagious and deadly diseases, common sense says to err on the side of safety. Public safety must come before political correctness. Community and country come ahead of any obligation to the people of West Africa.

Indeed, is not the first duty of the government of the United States to protect the lives, liberty and property of the citizens of the United States?

Traveling to Africa decades ago, Americans were given a series of shots to avoid contracting indigenous diseases. Travelers to the United States were questioned about diseases to which they may have been exposed in Third World countries.

Now we have a government that considers it discriminatory to put troops on our frontiers to halt the invading millions from across the Mexican border, and the mark of a cruel and cold people to send back lawbreakers who have broken into our country.

All great religions need their martyrs. But rarely has there been a time when the zealotry of so few endangered the lives of so many.
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Norway's Green Hypocrisy

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Hypocrisy evidently knows no bounds in the Nordic States...

From Freakonomics


By most measures, Norway is among the greenest countries on Earth. It gets virtually all of its electricity from hydropower; it plans to cut its greenhouse emissions by 30% by 2020; and it has more electric vehicles per capita than any country in the world. But Norway is also the biggest oil producer in Western Europe and the world’s third-largest exporter of natural gas. All that petroleum money allows Norway to subsidize its green lifestyle; it has also helped create what is now the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, soon projected to top $1 trillion.

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Lockheed Martin attempting to create Compact Fusion Reactor.

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Filed under interesting development...Lockheed Martin's vaunted Skunkworks division states that it is about ten years away from producing a workable Compact Fusion Reactor. Fusion power has long been the considered the "Holy Grail" of energy development and always seemed just out of reach. However, if Lockheed Martin's claims are true, it should be needless to say that the implications of this development are quite profound and  are a game-changer for energy development.

Related:

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Business is Good in Washington

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A record high $3 trillion in tax revenue was collected by the federal government FY 2014. Increases in personal income and corporate taxes by the Treasury Department shows the economy is ticking up. As a result, the budget deficit is at its lowest point since 2007 still at over $400 billion. In 2010 the deficit reached as high as $1.4 trillion. So, all in all, not bad with based on what we have to work.

In fiscal 2014 the federal government estimates revenue will be $3.0 trillion. State revenue for 2014 is "guesstimated" by usgovernmentrevenue.com at $1.6 trillion and local government revenue is "guesstimated" by usgovernmentrevenue.com at $1.1 trillion.
Total revenue at all levels of government in the United States is "guesstimated" by usgovernmentrevenue.com to be $5.4 trillion in 2014.

The bad news is that this will likely give our politicians the green light to spend more money and fight over the revenue, which will result in more gridlock. It is unlikely they will ride the healthy momentum toward eliminating deficits altogether and begin paying down the nations nearly $18 trillion debt. 

In government, increased revenue means increased spending.
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2012 Polls and Election: A cautionary tale for Democrats, and Republicans, for the 2014 Mid-Terms.

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Nate Silver, sabermetrician, political prognosticator, and proprietor of fivethirtyeight.com, reminds us of the Republican now infamous "the polls are skewed" in the 2012 presidential contest.  That Ostrich Effect which infected the GOP has now spread among the Democratic party-faithful.

However...this in no way, shape, or form means that the GOP should suffer from a bout of overconfidence about victory in the mid-terms as Silver highlights
This year’s Senate election is close. Republicans have the clearer path to a majority, but it’s a treacherous one. Republicans are favored in Iowa and Colorado, for example, but not by much. If Democrats eked out victories in those states and picked up the seat in Kansas (by persuading independent Greg Orman to caucus with them), they could control 50 Senate seats and keep their majority. Democrats could also still pick up seats from the GOP in Georgia and Kentucky. And Republican gains in Arkansas and Louisiana are probable but far from certain.

There are still three weeks left until voting day. Subsequently, there is still room for the GOP to flub this election by becoming brash and lazy. Thus throwing away their chances for a Senate majority.  
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Ebola is the October Surprise

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“The situation with Ebola and what’s going on in Syria and Iraq — all of this is creating a high level of anxiety among voters and a sense of uncertainty about the future,” said Democratic strategist Doug Thornell.
You don’t say. Yes Ebola and the typical head-in-the-sand take on the consequences of the spread of the virus are playing as strong factors headed into the midterm elections. Americans are worried, sure, but disgusted is a better description. It is almost as if we anticipated the eventual and inevitable spread of Ebola to the US. I mean who but our politicians, and what but our government, is better equipped to inflict an unmitigated disaster on their countrymen?

The lethal virus carried willy-nilly by a man from West Africa, who jetted his way to the US, on an international flight from the Ebola cradle, sick of course with the virus, landed on US soil like a dirty bomb and died in Dallas, Texas. However, not before he infected, now two hospital workers, before he died. Assuredly, there will be more to follow.  

A Liberian Ebola patient was left in an open area of a Dallas emergency room for hours, and the nurses treating him worked for days without proper protective gear and faced constantly changing protocols, according to a statement released late Tuesday by the largest U.S. nurses’ union.

Nurses were forced to use medical tape to secure openings in their flimsy garments, worried that their necks and heads were exposed as they cared for a patient with explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting, said Deborah Burger of National Nurses United.

This is insanity. An outrage our political class has inflicted upon Americans. In the name of inclusion and diversity, not the slightest scrutiny was given to passengers from Ebola infected countries. The thought of a travel ban, even the mere discussion of it, is sacrilegious to dumb-headed multiculturalists

Dr. Tom Frieden: If we isolate these countries, what’s not going to happen is the disease staying there. It will spread more, all over Africa and we’ll be at higher risk.

This makes no damn sense whatsoever. So in the name of inclusion and diversity we must ensure “It will spread more, all over America so that we’ll be at higher risk?”

These types of people are in charge of our country and somebody has to pay for it. Short of taking up arms and forcibly cleaning out Washington, Americans will use the only legal means at their disposal.
Like a man frantically running from one side of the boat to the other just before it capsizes, voters will frantically run to Republicans. Not realizing jumping ship and braving the sharks is a better alternative. 

Nonetheless, voters will punish the Democrats and President Obama for this disaster.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tulane University attempting to develop 'Ebola pin-prick test'

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Being from New Orleans, I am keenly aware of Tulane University's outstanding reputation for research and contributions to the medical field. Once again and in true Green Wave fashion, doctors at the school are attempting to "develop a rapid diagnostic test that would give health care workers a fast and easy way to test patients for Ebola with a simple finger-stick." Needless to say the implications for early and safe detection of the disease should be fairly obvious.
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Commander Pigeon..Afghanistan's only known female warlord.

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   Photograph by Lorenzo Tugnoli, the New Republic
                                             
Gathered from the word of the obscure and inexplicable I am pleased to introduce you to Afghanistan's only known female warlord...Bibi Ayisha also known as Commander Pigeon.

Very INTERESTING but long story in the New Republic about a TNR reporter, Jen Percy's overnight stay with Commander Pigeon. Well worth the time.
...Then, in 1979, the Soviets swarmed her mountain and murdered her son. She turned to jihad. She killed the commando, organized a militia of 150 men to fight the Soviets, and rode alongside Ahmad Shah Massoud, leader of the Northern Alliance. They called her Commander Pigeon because she moved and killed with the elegance of a bird.
If there was ever a woman who could teach the misandrists in the United States a thing or two about real feminism it's this tough old bird. From the sound of things, I would hate to face her in a firefight.
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Liberal Desperation: Agenda Project Action Fund blames Republicans for EBOLA crisis because of budget cuts.

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Yesterday I highlighted an interview with Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institute for Health, and the Huffington Post. In this interview Dr. Collins declared that the reason the United States does not have an ebola vaccine or treatment was due to budget cuts. However, some research provided a little bit of  a different story. Now it seems that a liberal PAC has created an ad that lays the blame for Ebola solely at the feet of the GOP. Now there are many things you could honestly blame the GOP for, however, Ebola and the results of the horrible disease are not one of them. 

The rest of the one-minute ad is peppered with clips of Republicans asking for cuts, interspersed with top officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health saying the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could have been better handled if their agencies had more funding. NIH head Francis Collins said in an interview published Sunday that an Ebola vaccine might have been developed by now if it were not for a “10-year slide in research support.”
Erica Payne, the producer of the ad and president of the Agenda Project Action Fund, blamed the Ebola crisis wholly on the Republican Party.
“I think any Republican who attempts to chalk this ad up to politics is a Republican who is too afraid to examine the results of his of her actions and the very real consequences that they have,” she said. “They have developed a governing philosophy that is so fanatically anti-investment that they literally have at their doorstop death. There is no exaggeration in this.
“I think that the blame for the situation that we’re in now with the Ebola crisis is 100% the fault of Republicans and their fanatical anti-government philosophy,” she added. “They did this.”
This political scare-mongering reminded me of the video in which a mock Paul Ryan was shown pushing "grandma" off of a cliff in her wheelchair back in  2012. The Ryan video was also brought to us by the Agenda Project Action Fund (APAF), the creators of the abovementioned Ebola video. It seems the slime merchants over at the APAF have a penchant for attempting to cash in on the fear which is currently gripping the national consciousness.

Another point of interest is that this video is now garnering some attention around the same time Dr. Collins is out on the stump in interview after interview, blaming budget cuts for the NIH, more specifically NIAID, for the lack of an EBOLA treatment.  This to a skeptical mind might smack of political coordination and back room dealing to get attention off of the real problem. The inefficient way in which TEN different government organizations deal with the development and manufacturing of treatments for infectious diseases!




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We Are All Nigel the Parrot

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Nigel was a happy African grey parrot. He was reared in an English speaking household. His owner, Darren Chick, a Brit, taught him the ways of the English, to include an impeccable British accent. Unfortunately for Nigel, he went missing one day four years ago. All alone and without the guidance of Mr. Chick, Nigel had to assimilate into the culture around him. Being that Nigel lived in California with his owner, Nigel now speaks Spanish. His original heritage forgotten and replaced. 

…During his long absence, Nigel had forgotten all about his British roots - and started speaking Spanish.

Rather than swapping pleasantries in English, the bird now fires off a '¿Que pasa?' to passing humans, the Daily Breeze reported.

This story of Nigel is a cautionary tale—a microcosm of America itself.
All alone, Nigel was forced to pick up and immolate and adapt to his surroundings. Surroundings far different than the ones he was accustomed to. Outside the confines of his home environment, Nigel discovered the country was alien from the one Mr. Chick introduced to him.

That the parrot naturally adopted Spanish is indicative to the state of America: Rootless, without a definitive national culture of its own, a conglomerate of global humanity, languages, religions and diseases. The only advantage Hispanics have in this train wreck we call diversity is that Mexico and South America’s proximity to America’s nonexistent southern border. 

With a steady influx of fresh immigrants and a robust birthrate, California and other parts of the southwest will be a quasi-Hispanic Republic in just a few decades. However, that comes with costs. Already, California is the most illiterate state (only Miami, another US city with a heavy immigrant population, competes with California in sheer illiterate numbers) in the Union and is the US capital of illegitimate birth rates. It is one of the homes to the nation’s largest concentration of third world diseases such as tuberculosis, leprosy, AIDS to name only a few, not to mention a vast prison population fueled by immigration over our southern border. 

Essentially, we have a third world nation as large as most European countries within our own. And just like today, the inhabitants of this third world admixture and will forever be dependent on wealth transfers from the rest of the nation. Unlike today, however, in a few decades, the costs will become colossal for the remaining but dwindling first world regions in the US to cover. 

As more decades pass bringing our suicidal policies to its final close, we will all be Nigel the parrot. Leaving the Republic our fathers passed down through the ages irreparably changed and gone from the face of the earth forever.
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