Saturday, September 03, 2016

Science Marvels: A Goldilocks Planet? Mass extinctions. Prognostication!

Sitting in at the symposium of NASA's Innovative & Advanced Concepts program (I am on the NIAC advisory council) we all gathered round for the announcement confirming recent rumors of a "goldilocks zone" planet orbiting the nearest visible star to our own -- Proxima Centauri. 

The planet orbits every 11.2 days. It’s at least 1.3 times as massive as our planet, and based on its likely size, astronomers think it is rocky. Its home star is only .15 percent as bright as the sun. "The system is 25 trillion miles away, more than 270,000 times farther than the sun."  The Proxima team used the radial velocity method, analyzing the star's light for wobbles caused by orbiting planets… a different approach than the "transit eclipse" approach used by the Kepler spacecraft to detect thousands of new worlds. They used the HARPS spectrograph, mounted on a 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile. 

Note this planet orbiting so close to its dim sun will probably be tidal-locked like our moon is toward the Earth. Also, like most small K or M types stars, Proxima emits a lot of flares and X-rays, meaning even if there's liquid water on this world. Hence any life would need to shelter along a Twilight Zone.

Can we learn more? Well, if we are lucky with the Proxima system's orbital plane -- there’s only a 1.5 percent chance the Proxima Centauri system’s geometry is arranged in such a way that we could see it transit in front of its sun. But if so, we might be able to look at its atmosphere. Even if there's no transit, some of the endeavors being funded by NIAC might enable us to see this new world much better, so stay tuned!

Oh, other news in the oh wow department: a galaxy with the same mass as the Milky Way but with only 1 percent of our galaxy's star power. Apparently, at first impressions, about 99.99 percent of this other galaxy is made up of dark matter.

== Looking to the future... and past ==

My friend and fellow futurist Glen Hiemstra - founder of futurist.com -  was interviewed by Popular Mechanics on the pitfalls and rewards of trying to peer ahead into tomorrow’s Undiscovered Country. 

Speaking of which, this seems an Indiegogo crowd-funding project worth a look. One of the best-looking endeavors to develop processes for tissue culture meat. In this case the ambition means “growing real meat, non GMO, no antibiotics, in machines at supermarkets all over the world.” To be clear, this once-science-fictional idea - if implemented in ways that deliver a tasty, healthful product with far great efficiency and vastly lower karma than current herds and slaughterhouses - could reduce human impact on the environment decisively, in the nick of time.  (With no help from those helping wage a War on Science.)

Turning the other direction. For 35 years I have been tracking the topic of past extinctions on Earth, as paleontologists parse the sedimentary fossil layers ever more finely, dissecting periods when our planet's diversity of life gradually rose and then suddenly plummeted.  We know the most famous extinction event, the demise of the dinosaurs, was caused (all or mostly) by a huge asteroid that struck the Yucatan Peninsula, 65 million years ago. Evidence is growing that extinction events  - many or most of them - seem to follow a cyclical rhythm of every 26 to 30 million years, with varying severity, and I have discussed this cycle - with fascinating theories - elsewhere.

But not all such events fit into any cyclical pattern. Some were one-off… as would be the "anthropocene" extinction that we're causing ourselves, right now, through the powerful impact of human civilization. Time will tell, perhaps soon, whether this will be a mild one (if we wise up and act like grownups) or a severe event.

Now comes evidence of another one that shows just how scary the universe can be. Scientists have found remnants of a supernova - anomalous traces of Iron 60- encased in the fossilized chains of “magnetofossils,” extracted from two Pacific Ocean sediment cores. The supernova that expelled the iron-60 is believed to have occurred at least 325 light-years away from Earth, starting around 2.6 million – 2.8 million years ago, bombarding the Earth for nearly 800,000 years. This corresponds with an extinction event which occurred in that timeframe, affecting mollusks such as marine snails and bivalves. There was also a global cooling at the same time.  

These things come in all sizes. For example, anomalous amounts of carbon 14 are found in certain tree rings around the globe, suggesting that 10,000 or so years ago there might have been a massive solar flare -- far smaller than any supernova, but near and sharp enough to affect isotopic ratios in the atmosphere. Such a flare - today - would be vastly worse than the "Carrington Event" that fried telegraph lines in 1859, or the slightly lesser one in the 1920s.  We are fools if we don't do minimal preparations to safeguard civilization. (A theme I just preached in DC for the upteenth time.)

== Innovative ideas ==

Solar City is taking the step I’ve longed for — they are going to roll out a roofing integrated product. “It's not a thing on the roof. It is the roof, which is a quite difficult engineering challenge and not something that is available anywhere else," Elon Musk said.

China announced plans to create a human occupied station 3000 meters below the surface of the ocean, to develop methods for exploiting undersea resources.


Though there’s a need to tease out certain selection effects, if appears that eating more protein from plant sources was associated with a lower risk of death, while eating more protein from animals was associated with a higher risk of death. Synergistically, the same shift in behavior can help the planet, too.  Still… I wonder if fish protein rates differently.  Other studies seem to say so.

Experiments at the South Pole have apparently ruled out a fourth type of “sterile” neutrino.  

Dassi, a UK bike manufacturer, claims a bicycle frame frame that weighs 750g, although it says that this could be more than halved to just 350g at some point in the future, incorporating super strong graphene layers amid the carbon composites. Look forward to bikes you can lift with a finger, or cars that weigh hundreds of pounds vs. thousands.

An Oslo-based startup called Iris AI (www.iris.ai) is building an AI science assistant. Iris is built with combination of neural and statistical models to help researchers and corporate innovators identify knowledge for their R&D project, PhD or innovation process across research disciplines. How it works: Drop in a research paper abstract and Iris builds you a visual results map letting you browse the most relevant open-access research on the topic of your interest.  Someone try it and report back here!

== Science and the world ==

Fascinating and fun… “We finally know who forged Piltdown Man, one of science’s most notorious hoaxes.”  Oh BTW… want some musical fun from a great classic? Mike Oldfield's spectacular album Tubular Bells has a 'Caveman' part known as 'The Piltdown Man.' It is way cool.

A lovely essay by a physicist who offered to consult for amateurs (sometimes – if unfairly – called ‘crackpots) and steering them toward either refining their ideas or seeing the flaws. It’s a fun piece. Scientists should learn from it and we all should have to spend 50 hours doing this, in our apprenticeship.  But what really stands out is the core lesson: that scientists have no objection to amateurs in principle.  We  all know about Humason and many other gifted amateurs who won names in the annals of science.  Most working scientists haven’t the time and many lack the patience… but in a burgeoning Age of Amateurs, making this kind of connections may be increasingly important.  

And finally...

"The human footprint continues to expand, with three quarters of earth's land surface now experiencing measurable pressures from buildings, roads, crops, pastures and other human structures and activities, according to a new report. Those pressures are building most intensely in the few remaining wild areas of high biodiversity, it notes. But the report also finds an encouraging trend: in recent years, growth in the footprint has lagged far behind population and economic growth. From 1993 to 2009, population grew 23 percent, and the global economy by 153 percent–but human influence on land went up only 9 percent. The mismatch suggests that increasing urbanization and more sustainable use of resources may be buying time ." -- from Kevin Krajick, in Physics.org

We need to remember what's at stake. Anyone participating in the War on Science, or swallowing any of the propaganda put out by media that hate the knowledge professions, is actively hurting your grand-children and our world.  There is no compromise here.  Any political party that has collaborated with the War on Science needs to be torched. To the ground.

77 comments:

Rud Merriam said...

The point to remember is an "amateur" is just someone who is not getting paid for their work. Amateur Radio Operators provide critical communications in disasters working along with the paid communications operators. Both provide professional level service.

I'm an amateur roboticist but have decades of paid experience in embedded systems work. Just because I'm not getting paid doesn't mean I'm not doing professional work.

Paul SB said...

Rud,

Amateurs can be awesome! Unfortunately the adjective form /amateurish/ implies someone who makes foolish mistakes and does not recognize their own limitations. I like Dr. Brin's point that the internet is making amateurism much more possible than ever before, due to the greater availability of knowledge. If you haven't read his novel "Existence" he has a lot of amateurs in what he terms "smart mobs" doing great things, similar to the Amateur Radio Operators you mention. It's one of the more inspiring aspects of the book, one that makes me wish I was a decade or two younger.

Paul SB said...

Dr. Brin,

You are most likely right about fish, though it will no doubt vary by species. The cholesterol needs of animal cells in terrestrial life explains very well why cow and pig is so much worse than chicken or turkey. Buoyancy means that aquatic life has less need for cholesterol, but that might be affected by the depths at which any particular species lives.

From the last thread: I have never heard the word /racialism/ used the way you are using it, but I am very familiar with the phenomenon. I teach in a majority minority neighborhood. Less than 15% of our students are Caucasian, and nearly all of those are Armenian. My experience mainly comes from the teens I deal with, and it goes beyond tiresome to the point of being nauseating. From their perspective it is ultimately self-destructive, since it acts as an excuse for sub-mediocre achievement. As a teacher, though, we all have had the experience of being called into the Principal's Office to answer charges from some irate parent who insists that their child only failed because the teacher is racist. It doesn't matter how many children of the same ethnic background have an A+ in the same class, if their child fails, the teacher is racist. It goes beyond tiresome to the point of threatening the livelihoods of newer, less experienced teachers, and that feeds the vicious cycle of the teacher shortage. Fewer teachers means bigger classes, and bigger classes means more failure, which leads to more teachers being driven from the field. Yay!

On a more positive note, I am loving every minute of my second "read" through "Glory Season," and I think the major reason I like it so much has to do with the fact that it reads more like the books I grew up reading. To be specific, it has just one viewpoint character, whereas many of your other books, and probably a majority of sci-fi novels these days, use multiple viewpoint characters. I wouldn't say that's a bad thing in general. I loved many of your viewpoint characters in many of your stories (though what you did to Asyx {not remembering the spelling} turned his plot line into a horror story!), but having a single viewpoint character makes the story feel much more personal.

My daughter suggested a couple days ago that it is really common for space opera stories to have some sort of aliens coming from Alpha Centauri, so finding a goldilocks planet around its binary Proxima seems prophetic.

Laurent Weppe said...

From the previous comment section:

* "Perhaps the phenomenon of a Donald Trump or a Hitler comes along when enough of a national population does become radicalized enough to make such an appeal possible at that level?"

No: a Trump or Hitler comes along when enough among the upper class become stupid enough to delude themselves into thinking they can ride the bigoted tiger without getting eaten.

***

* "Here in the states, where social conservatives are always finding ways to enforce more modesty, not less, it's amusing (in a not so funny way) to see them insist that women should be forced go more undressed in public."

Here we've had right-wing politicians suddenly proclaiming themselves feminists, in one of the most obnoxious and clumsy display of hypocrisy, sometimes proclaiming themselves paragons of gender equality and reasserting their sense of ownership toward women in the same fucking sentence

ZarPaulus said...

That "SuperMeat" crowdfund thing has vouchers for their products with an estimated arrival date of this December. I sincerely doubt that.

Also, they'll probably need to add antibiotics to the cultures since they would lack immune systems.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the previous post:

"Racialism" is something else. It is a tendency of some among minorities to couch everything they see as due to racism. It can be aggressive and yes, just as tiresome.


For decades, I resisted that liberal tendency to see everything as driven by racism. But some of the specific right-wing attacks on President Obama, some of the ridiculous claims about Social Security and Medicare, and perceiving Obamacare as "reparations"...they literally make no sense unless one realizes that the opposition is really opposition to government assistance to black people.

Treebeard said...

"Any political party that has collaborated with the War on (My Ideology that Wants to Eliminate all Nations in Two Generations and Dominate the World) needs to be torched. To the ground."

You make claims like this almost every post. Repetition, absolutism, calling people traitors, threatening enemies with elimination, arrogant boasts, grandiose, apocalyptic claims. You are clearly a dangerous fanatic.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "You make claims like this almost every post. Repetition, absolutism, calling people traitors, threatening enemies with elimination, arrogant boasts, grandiose, apocalyptic claims. You are clearly a dangerous fanatic."

Freud's Zombie just called: he wants your brain: he's convinced that your weapon-grade projection tastes delicious

Jumper said...

I'm sometimes dismayed when people get into discussions on the meanings of words and it becomes clear not a damned one of them deigns to look it up in the freakin dictionary.

Paul SB said...

Jumper, you have a good point, but I looked up /racialism/ on Dictionary.com and it just listed it as a synonym for /racism/. I didn't check any other dictionaries. Sorry.

On another front, since I was just teaching my anatomy classes about macromolecules, I read the Kurzweil article, eyeing it as something I might have my students read. It was a bit too short, so I tried Science Daily. I thought the Science Daily article did a better, more thorough job of summarizing the study. if anyone is interested, here's the link:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160801113654.htm

Mike Oldfield and Piltdown Man: ironically I had a college roommate who was an Oldfield fan (one of the very few things we had in common). He loved that Piltdown Man bit from "Tubular Bells" and insisted that the fact that Piltdown Man was a hoax was an indication that the whole theory of evolution was a hoax, too. The guy's father was a Baptist minister, so I guess no surprise there, but he had majored in Physics, then Chemistry, before changing to Psychology. Hmm.

Freud Zombie will have to settle for some rather jammed-up phloem.

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

"Any political party that has collaborated with the War on (My Ideology that Wants to Eliminate all Nations in Two Generations and Dominate the World) needs to be torched. To the ground."

You make claims like this almost every post. Repetition, absolutism, calling people traitors, threatening enemies with elimination, arrogant boasts, grandiose, apocalyptic claims. You are clearly a dangerous fanatic.


Whereas you are a courtesan?

LarryHart said...

PaulSB on:

On a more positive note, I am loving every minute of my second "read" through "Glory Season," and I think the major reason I like it so much has to do with the fact that it reads more like the books I grew up reading. To be specific, it has just one viewpoint character, whereas many of your other books, and probably a majority of sci-fi novels these days, use multiple viewpoint characters. I wouldn't say that's a bad thing in general. I loved many of your viewpoint characters in many of your stories (though what you did to Asyx {not remembering the spelling}


"Asx"


...but having a single viewpoint character makes the story feel much more personal.


Many if not all of the italicized chapter introductions are from another character's POV, although that might not be evident until a certain point in the plot.

David Brin said...

The ent is no replacement for locumranch, whom I kinda miss. This confederate is more typical. A member of a cult that has eviscerated and harmed the nation and planet I love and the prospects for my kin and heirs… without being able to name a single moral or positive outcome from decades of GOP rule, waging bilious war of hate against science and against all knowledge castes, wants me to feel guilty for responding with some hate of my own.

Putz. It’s called cause and effect. As Lincoln and the Union tried with the slaveocracy, we have tried reason, evidence and every other adult negotiation tool that the kindergarten teachers told us to attempt, with nasty, destructive bullies. And across 30 years and longer, we have discovered it only made the bullies laugh and double down.

In the end, we know one truth. When bullies won’t negotiate and keep hitting us, there comes a point to hit back because… well… you started it.

Do not try that “fanaticism” shit on us. You are a drooling, raving, anti-science, anti-democracy cultist. And we have a right to defend ourselves and our nation.

====
PaulSB while I believe in psychology and dabble in it… most of the psych majors I knew were, well, crazy.

Paul SB said...

My old college roommate certainly fit the old adage that psych majors do it for self help. When I first met him, he was pretty enthusiastic about psychology, but by the time he graduated a couple years later he was not at all. Apart from the lousy job prospects, he explained what he had learned that sapped his enthusiasm. First he asked me if I had taken a statistics class. At that time I hadn't, so he said I probably wouldn't really understand. However, in actual practice, when psychologists try to cure people, less than a quarter actually get better, about the same number get worse, and about half stay pretty much the same. At the time I thought that sounded like pretty poor odds. The I took statistics a couple years later and it hit me what he really meant. It was a rough, layman's approximation of the Normal Distribution, which in scientific parlance means that psychological treatment actually has no effect whatsoever. It's the Null Hypothesis.

That was about 25 years ago, so maybe things have improved since then. I don't know. I certainly haven't kept in touch with the bloke. He was a rather bitter fellow. But the experience taught me one important thing: I don't ever choose what "everybody knows" over the testimony of a real expert, unless it is something I have some real expertise in myself. Later, when we read Gould in Bio Anth and I saw just how subtly the statistics had to be manipulated to make it look like some "races" are smarter than others, it was even more clear that things people commonly believe are often wrong for reasons they can't really understand without better than average training. You have to really understand statistics to get how the stats used to support a racist agenda are just plain lies. Most people would see those stats as proof, even if they were not inclined to be racist (or sexist) on moral grounds. The Devil is in the details, and you only learn those details in a handful of advanced university courses.

madtom said...

Dr Brin, I have a lot of sympathy for what you said in your response to Treebeard, coz I've said and felt the same thing myself. And I still have to work to restrain those emotions. But after retiring from a career as a teacher and fan of science, what I learned from studying psychology (1 year undergrad, 1 year grad, then on my own) has made me re-examine that torch it to the ground response.

Anger to the fight & kill level can feel good and can be justified in many ways. After all, it is how evolution has usually settled such disagreements, and so far, so good: here we are, enjoying our big brains! But in our novel modern human environment, some evolved responses are likelier to exacerbate problems than solve them.

We have certainly found it worthwhile to restrain *some* built-in behaviors. We value toilet-training, and we guys (mostly) don't seize every chance to rape and steal. All in the interest of living relatively harmonious and healthy lives in large groups, where cooperation must generally prevail, rather than the most simplistic Darwinian competition. This because larger groups beat out smaller ones for many reasons, so it pays to practice some in-group restraint.

I think that in the War-on-Science, restraint by our side is especially important. This because I see our in-group-loyalty and intergroup-conflict instincts being professionally triggered and manipulated in service of the divide-and-conquer tactic that has so polarized America and notoriously paralyzed the government in important ways.

We see where this has led us, and few people I know are happy with the prospect of of a President Trump. Although his candidacy is so clearly the result of our artificially exacerbated partisanship, the general response so far has been to aggravate the partisans even more. How well has *that* served us?

Those War-on-Science folks feel the same way about us that we feel about them - same instinct at work - and they're taking pleasure in ignoring Trump's negatives, partly just to poke us in the eye.

It might be more productive in the end to recognize and emphasize the things we have in common with them, which are many. Like love of our country and loyalty to the Constitution and the maximum of liberty consistent with the rule of law. Only if we can both recognize our common membership in the same human group, and let the inter-group conflict emotions simmer down, can we hope for increased rationality on both sides. And I sincerely believe that both sides - all sides - badly need exactly that: more rationality.

Jumper said...

Sorry for the snark. I suppose friends can get bent out of shape more than strangers when we don't live up to potentials. It's that here I expect scalpel-like logic. Because I've seen it here before. It's you guys' fault that I expect genius!

And without that logic and precision of meanings that whole "racism" discussion will go nowhere further than anywhere else on the internet.

And that you get nervous in an elevator with a black guy. WTF?

Anyway, it's harmful to communication to mix up terms such as racism, bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, and racialism. Each means something different. Prejudice might make one only hire trumpet players who are black. An anglo bigot likely would not. Etc.

Jumper said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racialism

Paul451 said...

MadTom,
"Anger to the fight & kill level can feel good and can be justified in many ways. After all, it is how evolution has usually settled such disagreements"

Not really.

Killing people like yourself is a very difficult and unusual thing. We know that from how difficult it is to train people to kill in war. Before modern training methods, most soldiers would either refuse to fire, or shoot to miss. There were stories in WWI of English units who unexpectedly stumbled upon German units, coming within a literal stones-throw before noticing each other. And instead of shooting, both sides put down their rifles and threw rocks (and insults) at each other, to drive each other away. When later asked why they didn't just shoot, they couldn't explain it, it just hadn't occurred to them.

And yet it should make perfect sense. If you scare someone away, it's better than actually fighting them. If you actually fight them, they might fight back. And even if you win, you drastically increase the chance that you will be injured, which may be disabling or result in infection. Instead, fights are about posturing and threatening (and "counting coup"), making the other person back down or, if equally matched, providing motivation to mutually back off. It's the same with most animal combat. Dominant males will engage is fairly ritualised combat, many prey species will try to make themselves look "big" or aggressive to predators (to make the predator think twice about risking injury.)

Paul451 said...

You see this even in drunken "bro" fights. First insults, then pushing, then grabbing and scuffling, long before anyone actually throws a punch. Providing the maximum opportunity for someone to back off, or third parties to break them up and mediate a truce. Anyone who has had even a little training will almost always win, simply because they throw a punch early and hard, before their antagonist realises the "fight" has reached that level and so was unprepared.

You see that latter effect in historical warfare, where certain types of training vastly increase the effectiveness of soldiers. Such as Roman phalanxes being able to defeat armies containing an order of magnitude more warriors. (And stories of battles where the locals would come out with their families to watch (and cheer/jeer) like the battle was a sporting event. Because that was how battles were thought of.) In modern warfare, you have events like the Battle of Mogadishu (aka "Black Hawk Down"), where you had 160 US servicemen against 4-6000 militia and armed civilians, with the US troops being completely surrounded and out-of-position. Yet the US side suffered about 19 fatalities, while estimates for fatalities amongst the Somalis ranged from hundreds to the low thousand. It's logistically impossible for that outcome, unless the vast majority of the Somali fighters weren't actively trying to cause harm; just shooting in the general direction of the Americans, rather than actively targeting them, essentially using their firearms as shouty "go-away" noise-makers. Like the soldiers in WWI throwing rocks. The US soldiers were heavily trained to see-target-fire, see-target-fire. Machine-like and efficient.

Paul451 said...

This is one of the things that makes the US police shootings of unarmed civilians even more disturbing. It's not "natural". It seems to be driven by the type of training the officers receive, which links the fight-or-flight startle-reflex to a drilled draw'n'shoot response. That means if the officer panics, someone will die. And that means that "people not like me" are more likely to trigger a panic, because the officer's fear response is higher. And that means that the official policy of targeting minorities (because of the higher "conversion" of minor stops into warrants) will keep officers in a high-stress state, increasing the likelihood of them reverting to that fear-driven training. And you see that in stories, after some shootings of unarmed suspects (such as the Florida shooting of a disabled man's carer, while he was laying on the ground in surrender), where the officer is asked by colleagues why he fired and he says he just doesn't know. Note, the same response as the WWI soldiers who didn't fire.

Like the police shootings, the "war on science" and associated rabid partisanship, is a similar hijacking of the natural response - via training - to cause unnatural outcomes. Unlike the police training, the war-on-science/etc is a deliberate, knowing tactic by certain oligarchs to pervert people's natural instincts of fairness, property, and loyalty, in order to get people to vote against their own interests.

Paul451 said...

PaulSB,
"My daughter suggested a couple days ago that it is really common for space opera stories to have some sort of aliens coming from Alpha Centauri, so finding a goldilocks planet around its binary Proxima seems prophetic."

Trinary.

Alpha Centauri is a binary, made up of two Sun-like stars in fairly tight (80yr) orbit around each other, called Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B. Then there's a third star further away (about a fifth of a lightyear), the red dwarf Proxima Centauri, which may be gravitationally bound (making it a trinary star system) in a 500,000yr orbit, or might just be a coincidental close pass. If Proxima is bound to Alpha Centauri, then it would be "Alpha Centauri C".

Ie, when people talk about the binary star system called "Alpha Centauri", that doesn't include Proxima Centauri.

Aside:
Aside:
Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B don't have individual names (other than A & B), which seems a shame to me. The second and third closest stars to Earth should be named. There was an old convention to call AC "Rigil Kent" (or Rigel Kent or Rigil Kentaurus...), and apparently it was also briefly called Toliman in another star catalogue. Both Rigil Kent and Toliman come from Arabic names, Rijl Qanturis (foot of the centaur) and al-Zulman (ostrich), respectively. Rigil is too easily confused with Rigel. But Kentaurus and either Toliman or Zulman seem like reasonable names for A & B.

Paul451 said...

Double aside?

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

You see this even in drunken "bro" fights. First insults, then pushing, then grabbing and scuffling, long before anyone actually throws a punch. Providing the maximum opportunity for someone to back off, or third parties to break them up and mediate a truce.


Fully realizing that "Hamilton" isn't everybody's thing, this was made evident in the play with the song "The Ten Duel Commandments". There are plenty of chances in the rules of dueling to make peace, even there at the dueling site.

Paul SB said...

Jumper,

The wikipedia article you linked to credits the term /racialism/ to W.E.B. Du Bois, a fellow I have often said I wished more people would read. Sounds like my old brain has forgotten why I liked him so much. Presumably the article I mentioned before referenced Du Bois, but I can't honestly say I remember. Maybe since I have a long weekend, I should make an honest effort to find the book that article was printed in. Embarrassing, but in addition to my usual duties, I have to prepare a day-long presentation for the rest of my colleagues about Writing Across the Curriculum strategies (it's WAC!), so the long weekend comes with extra work to do.

Paul451,
Regarding Alpha Centauri A & B and Proxima, same excuse. Sorry, but I can always count on you to have those details at hand. Genius, as Jumper says.

In reference to both Paul451 and Mad Tom, what the other Paul is saying about violence being "natural" is exactly right, and a point I often make when dealing with 'naturalist' fools like the sapling whose conceptualization of instinct is purely masturbatory. Instincts are simply not as simple as people - including psychologists - assume they are. It has only been with the revolution in brain imaging technology and growing comprehension of neurochemistry that we have been able to finally scratch the surface of that understanding. But one thing should be clear: violence is not some natural 'manly' urge. The natural urge idea is nothing but an excuse to justify bad behavior.

Having said that, though, I think Mad Tom has a point about how to deal with partisanship, especially regarding the war on science/war on smarts. If the smart ones start chanting slogans, hurling insults etc., they suffer more from that because of old stereotypes about pettiness, especially among ivory tower academics. If we want to take the moral high ground, we have to come across as being above the common pettiness we see from the right-wing gurus. There was a speech McCain gave during his run for the White House when he was disagreeing with Obama, but not trying to slander him. When McCain invited an old lady from the audience on stage to speak, all she said was that Obama's a Muslim, and the crowd went wild. McCain wouldn't confirm the old lady's assertion, and he lost the audience. We don't want people like that in our camp. It makes us look just as stupid as the other side, and feeds the "there are all just as bad" narrative. We have to show that we are better than that to be taken seriously by the undecided. Otherwise the undecided will just whichever way the wind seems to be blowing.

Jumper said...

About 10% of black men in the USA are military veterans. Usually non-veterans have a hard time spotting them. Perhaps expectations have something to do with it. As an experiment for me, a non-veteran, I am actually fairly good at it. If you ask yourself why you aren't, keep trying. It's been interesting for me and a decent icebreaker. (I haven't gotten any hostility back when mistaken.)

Treebeard said...

Nah, I'm from a blue, blue area; the time I've spent in “Confederate” lands can be measured in weeks. Having seen how the blue partisans think and operate close up most of my life, I've gotten pretty good at resisting their propaganda.

I just don't buy this “democracy” as practiced in the USA. It is almost completely owned by a hidden plutocracy and manipulated by their opinion-maker shills. Nor do I buy all the talk of “tolerance”, “peace”, “liberalism”, etc., when this Illuminist gang has been waging one war after another on all the backwards and regressive civilizations of the world for centuries, bringing down the mailed fist of state power on anyone who strays far from a narrow spectrum of acceptable ideas and social arrangements, preaching “democracy” while relentlessly centralizing power and subverting democracy via plutocracy, NGOs, media, etc. Wall Street/Pentagon/Plutocrat favorite Hillary Clinton and the phony Atlanticist propaganda war on Russia are a perfect current examples of this Illuminist fraud.

I don't know exactly who you mean by your “kin and heirs”, but if you mean apostate Jews from Eastern Europe who always seem to be spreading some kind of fanatical world-revolutionzing ideology wherever they go, who never forgive, never forget, and have a tribal desire to smite everyone who once treated their forefathers badly, then I understand perfectly where you're coming from. What I would like you to do is just admit to your tribal or weird spiritual agenda, and stop hiding behind abstractions.

Jumper said...

Democracy is not all-powerful, and attempts to make it so in retrospect are usually deliberate - not accidental - obfuscation. The US republic is an idea. It is hard not to be honored and humbled about American exceptionalism, not when chanted by nativists, but lectured by people from far away schooling us on our own values. Values whose failure make people such as Treebeard criticize hypocrisy.

As a card-carrying Illuminatist, I challenge most of Treebeard's bigotries. Human rights need examination, but not for whether they should exist. They need examination for a strategic way forward.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B don't have individual names (other than A & B), which seems a shame to me. The second and third closest stars to Earth should be named.


Hamilton and LaFayette.

:)

LarryHart said...

PaulSB:

I think Mad Tom has a point about how to deal with partisanship, especially regarding the war on science/war on smarts. If the smart ones start chanting slogans, hurling insults etc., they suffer more from that because of old stereotypes about pettiness, especially among ivory tower academics. If we want to take the moral high ground, we have to come across as being above the common pettiness we see from the right-wing gurus.


You and Tom have a point, which is that there's no point in the Enlightemnemt side trying to out-Romanticist the Romanticist side. If we play that game, we're going to lose, because they're better at it, and voters who admire that game will vote for them, not for us.

But I don't think it works to keep trying to find common ground with them when they're not playing that game. To keep going with this line of thought, the two sides are no longer competing with each other in the same game--rather, we've got competing games competing for viewers (voters). We can't beat them at their game, but neither can we beat them at ours (because they're not playing). We have to manage to convince the general public that our game is better than theirs.


There was a speech McCain gave during his run for the White House when he was disagreeing with Obama, but not trying to slander him. When McCain invited an old lady from the audience on stage to speak, all she said was that Obama's a Muslim, and the crowd went wild. McCain wouldn't confirm the old lady's assertion, and he lost the audience.


I remember well that altercation, and I like to think that McCain purposely undermined his own campaign (and Palin's) after seeing what it had wrought. Maybe he did put country ahead of party at that moment.


We don't want people like that in our camp. It makes us look just as stupid as the other side, and feeds the "there are all just as bad" narrative. We have to show that we are better than that to be taken seriously by the undecided. Otherwise the undecided will just whichever way the wind seems to be blowing.


You're probably right, for reasons stated above. However, what we've been doing so far isn't working. Hillary should be picking out drapes for the White House right now instead of showing neck-and-neck in the polls with Donald effing Trump.

Since you're right that we can't be "more Trump than Trump", and if I'm also right that we can't just hope our obvious wonderfulness attracts more voters than their obvious nastiness, then the question remains, how do we win?

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

I just don't buy this “democracy” as practiced in the USA. It is almost completely owned by a hidden plutocracy and manipulated by their opinion-maker shills. Nor do I buy all the talk of “tolerance”, “peace”, “liberalism”, etc., when this Illuminist gang has been waging one war after another on all the backwards and regressive civilizations of the world for centuries, bringing down the mailed fist of state power on anyone who strays far from a narrow spectrum of acceptable ideas and social arrangements, preaching “democracy” while relentlessly centralizing power and subverting democracy via plutocracy, NGOs, media, etc. Wall Street/Pentagon/Plutocrat favorite Hillary Clinton and the phony Atlanticist propaganda war on Russia are a perfect current examples of this Illuminist fraud.


You think Well Street/Pentagon/Plutocrats will be thwarted by putting Republicans in power?


I don't know exactly who you mean by your “kin and heirs”, but if you mean apostate Jews from Eastern Europe who always seem to be spreading some kind of fanatical world-revolutionzing ideology wherever they go, who never forgive, never forget, and have a tribal desire to smite everyone who once treated their forefathers badly, then I understand perfectly where you're coming from


You just described exaclty where you are coming from, in more ways than one.

Sorry, you can't stand the fact that your God chose the Jews. Take it up with Him.

(Dr Brin, feel free to remove this post if it's over the line)

David Brin said...

Amazing ent. Denounces a nation controlled by “plutocracy”, yet gets down on his knees and opens wide for the party og those plutocrats, suckling from their subsidized “news” outlets and marching like a loyal confederate to their every drumbeat. Confederate is a state of mind, fellah. It’s hatred of modernity and science and “facts” and willing obedience to any rich lord who also hates those things.

Oh, but his racism and anti-semitism and sheer nastiness boiled forth later. And now that he is getting less abstract, down to personal evil, he is that close to being banned.

Feh... bored... zzzzz

Laurent Weppe said...

* "Killing people like yourself is a very difficult and unusual thing. We know that from how difficult it is to train people to kill in war"

Or how local governments officials within despotic regimes are seldom killed in their sleep despite 90+% of the population having good reason to want them dead.

Or how beaten spouses seldom kill their abusive husband/wife.

But the drunken fight are another story: before modern police was established, the murder ratio in european cities and town was very high, I'm talking 80-120 murders per 100.000 inhabitants per year, and most of these came from arguments which had devolved into street brawls. Although (or perhaps because) humans are conflict averse, they tend to suck at measuring the lethality of their strikes, which means that once a fight has started, it's rather easy for someone high on adrenaline to kill.

locumranch said...


"Killing people like yourself is a very difficult and unusual thing".

That's why we have 'Identity Politics', dumdum: To destablise society, dehumanise the out-group & make killing other people that much easier.

That's also why progressive 'Identity Politics' has become increasingly boring, dangerous & self-defeating because the creation of any identity sub-group necessitates the reactionary creation of an equal, opposite & polarised out-group, whether or not you choose to condemn or support the 'War on Science', misandric feminism, white pride, BLM thuggery, 'La Raza' racism or incipient anti-semitism.

For this loss of social cohesion in the EU & abroad, I lay the blame squarely on those truth-seekers that Edmund Burke would describe as 'Insane Reasoners' who elevate abstract reasoning (idealism) over the concrete interests of the community & reject prudent compromise in pursuit of the cultural 'enemy of the good' (perfection).

Circa 1953, Eric Frank Russell deconstructs the problematic nature of Identity Politics in 'Somewhere a Voice', showing that any attempt to 'torch' the designated out-group will have (and, is having) disastrous consequences for the in-group & all concerned.


Best
____
Merkel to be ousted by the anti-diversity AfD; Turkey & Russia united against Syria's antigovernment forces (ISIS & the Kurds!!); and Trump gaining in the polls: Who woulda thunk it?

David Brin said...

Whoa! The prodigal son returns! And eloquently argued. Though as usual, cockeyed wrong. Show us the society other than our liberal one that channeled human lives less, due to prejudiced assumptions about stereotypes and identity of background..

Sure, we TALK about race and such today, but for the most part in order to dig out and toss away such preconceptions that even our well-meaning parents took for granted.

Are there leftist otherness-fetishist racialists who put this process of redress and compensation into shame, by making it an excuse for preening and bullying? Sure. Especially the "trigger warning" bullshit on college campuses. Terrible people... whose excesses have nothing at all to do with general liberalism, which pragmatically has overcome "identity" politics more than any other force in history.

Moreover you know it.

David Brin said...

What amazes me is how many folks can do this. Declare a blatant opposite-to-truth and BECAUSE it is so shocking it somehow gains credibility! Heck I do it, but only when the opposite thing IS true! Because when you declare something true that's opposite to common knowledge, you do bear some burden of proof.

Hence, when I claim thatDemocratic administrations are always... and I mean ALWAYS... more fiscally mature and responsible than all Republican administrations... and I mean always... then, well, I need to put forward the evidence that I provided here:
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

In contrast, our returned prodigal son offers an opposite that's a doozy -- "liberals are the real racists!" that is hugely popular on today's jibbering loco right. Do they offer evidence? These folks who call their half negro legitimately elected President all sorts of awful names, the LEAST of which has been "muslim born in Kenya"?

Never. It is all blathered, armwaved magical incantations and assertions. And no wonder they wage war on science.

Paul SB said...

I spent the day kayaking with my daughter, only to come back and find that the Creature from Locum Ranch has Returned, in all his B-rate glory. When it was just the Sapling and our newest troll Iroquois Boy (and don't pretend he's not a troll, not when he starts his first post with "dumdum" - mild compared to previous attacks, but childish nonetheless), most of the community was much more productive and interesting. It seemed to largely be Alfred, Donzelion and Duncan, but between them and others we saw some finely nuanced discussions, whereas before they always got sidetracked by everyone jumping down this guy's throat. I don't recall even seeing a single F-bomb from Laurent. The odd thing, though, is that most of loci's missives are just as easily dismissed as the others by thinking human beings (the adjective tends to exclude partisans, as they don't really think so much as merely react, as he does).

Case in point, his spiel about "identity politics." In this case Larry's usual poor marksman quote could be applied, but with a little further explanation. Identity politics pretty much began when the HMS Jesus of L├╝beck first brought African slaves to the New World. Before then, slavery was a matter of personal debt, or in many societies being a prisoner of war. In the New World, once a person's social identity became the determinant of freedom, those of Caucasian morphology were on top of the social hierarchy. To a great extent their descendants still are, today. So it should be obvious why the right wingers don't want to hear about identity politics. It's exactly the same reason the hereditary wealthy castes don't want to hear about class warfare. They are already on top, so they have nothing to gain and everything to lose. if there are no identity politics, those who are on top stay on top, and few will even think to challenge their hegemony.

Identity politics is necessary to make America what it claimed to be from the beginning - the Land of the Free (or so we sing, anyway) - but never really quite was. "All Men Are Created Equal" only really applied to propertied Caucasian males in 1776. But today things are different. Our expectations are higher, more inclusive. Some large percentage of us, at least, want to see those rights available to all people, not just the ones the Founders intended. When that equality truly is achieved, the need for identity politics will be over. But as long as ghettoes exist, as long as some neighborhoods get good schools and others get dilapidated leftovers and entire staffs comprised of inexperienced teachers (and administrators in public services who act like they are running businesses, but I shouldn't get started on that one...) as long as some groups are disproportionately represented in prison and given harsher sentences than other groups, there is a need for identity politics.

Easy enough, if your blinders aren't too big.

Paul SB said...

Laurent,

"Or how beaten spouses seldom kill their abusive husband/wife."
- I will never forget the police officer who explained to me, way back when I was quite a lot shorter and more well-endowed with cranial hair, that he, like other officers, feared being sent on a "domestic" way more than any other type of call. The reason is that most criminals will run away or give up rather than risk their lives in a shoot-out with police. Most criminals are basically making a living (albeit in questionable ways) and are at least reasonably rational. But when Mommy and Daddy are screaming at each other and one of them (we all know which one os most likely, though I have seen both) start throwing punches, tempers flair and rationality goes out the window. He said that even drunken brawls were less dangerous than jilted spouses, who are much quicker to pull a gun.

This discussion of violence reminded me of a really old film I saw in a Survey of Cultural class I had as an undergrad. It was called "The Ax Fight" and was one of many 35mm films made by Napoleon Chagnon in his decades of work among the Yanomami of Brazil & Venezuela. I tried looking for it on Youtube so I could give people a link, but all I found was a 5 minute excerpt that doesn't get to the climax of the film. In it, two men get into a heated argument, and when one turns around and walks away, the other grabs an ax and hits the other on the back of the head with the back of the blade. The blow knocks the victim to the ground, not unconscious, but clearly dazed. Now everyone in the room was horrified and shocked by this, but I pointed out that the ax wielder deliberately turned the blade around and hit the victim with the back of the blade, not the edge. he was not trying to kill the person, he was trying to subdue him. Even so-called 'savages' are not as savage as some people think all humanity is.

Paul SB said...

Larry, I don't think we are trying to win THEM to our side. Those people are small-minded and inflexible. If they ever change it will be because life smacks them in the face so hard even they have to admit that they are capable of immaculate perception. Most of the voting public are not really on either side. They just go whatever way the wind seems to blow. Since the media makes its fortune by creating angst, we have a very angsty electorate right now. The Regressive Party has been feeding horseshit propaganda for so long, many people believe it simply because they have heard it so often (the idea that HC is corrupt is a case in point - the fact that there is no evidence of corruption should make people ignore the baseless accusations, but True Believers claim that the lack of evidence is proof that she is so corrupt she can miraculously hide all evidence - can you say "witch hunt"?).

The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since 1974, crime is also at the lowest it has been since around the same time. But facts don't seem to mean anything. They certainly don't mean anything to the True Believers. They think that facts are things you can have options about. It's those people who are not really committed that matter. Most people respond to fact. Most people get that science (along with engineering) is what gave them most of what they have. The problem is that the Dems aren't bombarding the airwaves and the internet with the facts, they are stuck in the rut of playing the same propaganda games the Repugnant Party has been playing. An infusion of fact would help a whole lot. Dr. Brin points out those facts here all the time, but how many people are reading this blog?

Regarding John McCain, he struck me as an honorable person. He voted 90% the same as the Bush Administration, so the only way I would have voted for him would have been if the Dems had put up someone as shifty and fake as Trump. But he was a worthy, honorable person, as far as I could tell. You might be right. Maybe once he saw what a bunch of flaming lunatics were voting for his party, he couldn't bring himself to subjecting the entire nation to the whims of such turds. Anyone who doesn't get that freedom of religion means freedom to believe any religion - not just their religion - doesn't deserve to have the right to vote.

madtom said...

Much interesting discussion here, wish I had time and space to respond to each . .

Looking at identity politics, I see our very strong group-related instincts at work.

Our direct ancestors for about the last 20-30 million years have lived in social groups. Our ancient ancestors had some survival tactics that worked, and as selection deleted some species and created new species with bigger brains, the winning social group tactics survived even as new body types evolved.

Anthro Prof Joseph Henrich's book "The Secret of Our Success" is an enlightening read. He covers the links between culture and evolution very thoroughly. Likewise Prof Robert Sapolsky's "A Primate's Memoir" for its rundown of simian behavior in baboons and chimps - and people.

We *want* to form groups. We *need* to belong, or we're emotionally uncomfortable. Races, nations, religions, tribes, families, fans of athletic teams, members of political parties - groups galore. And belonging requires accepting group values, or else. Strong and automatic emotions let instinctive group behavior patterns sweep aside the much more recent overlay of preferences based on rational thought.

Even kids in summer camp who randomly get given colored t-shirts start to act like groups and become rivals and enemies, breaking pre-existing friendships. Check out the classic experiments of Sherif and Zimbardo.

All of our human groups overvalue value their special differences as identity markers. And the more we value our intellect as a defining group characteristic, the stronger the instinctive resistance to the idea that we share the got-instincts trait with other animals. Just like there used to be great resistance to the idea that we are animals at all.

How long can we go on marveling at the stupidity of people, when we know they're really *not* that stupid? What they *are* is controlled by an internal force they can't effectively fight because they can't admit that it exists.

So we get controlled by other people who see things clearly enough to trigger our instincts so that we act against logic and against our own best interest.

So [loyalty oaths, pledge of allegiance, condemnation of outsiders, you name it] become a group demand, a default requirement for membership in our group. Accept this or be labeled an outcast and enemy (i.e. commie, socialist, etc). Check Wikipedia for top physicist David Bohm's sad experiences, if you don't already know.

And the greater the emotional arousal from any cause, the easier it is for instinctive emotions to override logic and realities. [ see http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2319992 or the Alternet article about it: http://www.alternet.org/media/most-depressing-discovery-about-brain-ever]

Unless we can change that by accepting the facts about our instincts and using that knowledge to increase our survival potential.

We need to start recognizing it when someone tweaks our instinctive responses for their own selfish benefit.

Professional persuaders have done lots of good science to identify the details of *all* our instinctive behaviors and use them against us. Not just the group-related ones.

Our best hope is to go a level deeper and undercut their tactics by getting people to accept this reality about ourselves, so they will practice more logic and less automatic acceptance of what momentarily feels good.

And we'd better hope that the internet lets us accelerate this process so it's quicker and less destructive than the intra- and inter-religious group upheavals of recent centuries.

After all, it would feel best to pee when and wherever the urge strikes, but we have managed to overcome that strong urge by calling on even stronger group-related responses like embarrassment and loss of status - even criminal sanctions - as consequences of not bothering to find a toilet.

Can we do the same to escape continued domination by the group-emotion exploiters?

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Guys
Paul was re-reading "Glory Season"

I thought that this article was very apt

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/modest-proposal-trump-has-it-all-wrong-prevent-crime-we-need-do-some-exteme-vetting

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

and Trump gaining in the polls: Who woulda thunk it?


Anyone with eyes to see should have noticed, at least since the 2008 Democratic primaries, that whenever one candidate gets between 5% and 10% ahead, the media narrative shifts in such a way as to make it a horse race again.

LarryHart said...

PaulSB:

Larry, I don't think we are trying to win THEM to our side. Those people are small-minded and inflexible. If they ever change it will be because life smacks them in the face so hard even they have to admit that they are capable of immaculate perception. Most of the voting public are not really on either side. They just go whatever way the wind seems to blow. Since the media makes its fortune by creating angst, we have a very angsty electorate right now.


That's more or less what I already said. The Romanticist and Enlightenment sides are not competing in the same contest. Rather, we've got competing contests vying to convince voters that one game is preferable to another. The analogue is a basketball playoff game and a hockey playoff game at the same time on different tv stations. Whichever game (or whichever tv station) gets more viewers "wins". But a hockey team isn't going to win by beating one of the basketball teams at basketball, or vice versa.

Paul SB said...

Duncan,
- Love the Jonathan Swift article! Sometimes a little hyperbole is ápropos.

MadTom,
- You nailed it on the head in so many ways, here. Our culture contains an ancient strain that teaches that "we are not animals!" and tries to deny the power of our instincts, on the one hand, and reactionaries who claim that being weak-willed fools who give in to every unanalyzed impulse makes them the smartest men in the room (as the Enron boys claimed). As long as we look at instincts in the simplistic ways we have always tended to, taught by our various religions on the one hand to resist, but by our various war machines to submit, we can do no better than vacillate from one extreme to the other.

Fortunately, more and more information is getting out of the ivory tower into the hands of ordinary people - ordinary people who are not afraid to read, that is. The sources you mentions are just a few among many. I have brought up Sapolsky many times before, as well as Franz De Wall, Douglas Fields' recent book "Why We Snap," Po Bronson's "Nurture Shock" "The Honest Truth About Dishonesty" "Trust Me, I'm Lying" and I am sure these are just the tip of the iceberg. National Geographic's "Brain Games" show, now in its seventh season, gives all sorts of tantalizing ideas in easily digestible form for the academically challenged. People who are willing to be educated have good information available to them, though it would be handy if someone, somewhere, kept a list on a website of real good literature and other sources of information. A website would be ideal, since it would be updatable. Like i said before, we are only just scratching the surface of what instinct really is. Marketers have known enough for quite a long time to be able to use our instincts against us. The only way to fight back is through knowledge and willpower.

Paul SB said...

Okay, Larry, got it. I was probably too woozy from sunburn last night to see that we were saying the same thing. Linguistic communication!

Jeff B. said...



LarryHart:
"Hillary should be picking out drapes for the White House right now instead of showing neck-and-neck in the polls with Donald effing Trump."

While it's being sold on most major media as neck-and-neck,more careful analysis still shows Trump as an outside longshot. Fivethirtyeight still shows Clinton leading Trump 71-26%.

"Anyone with eyes to see should have noticed, at least since the 2008 Democratic primaries, that whenever one candidate gets between 5% and 10% ahead, the media narrative shifts in such a way as to make it a horse race again."

Yes, this. Heading slightly into paranoid territory, I've noticed a possible pattern; it seems as if every time Trump has a really bad week of really offensive, controversial statements, the next week mysteriously has "new discoveries" from Clinton's emails, or from Assange, or other statements. Curious timing, that- I'd love to see a more in depth analysis of this trend: is the every other week timing really coincidental?

I'd love to think there was some enterprising independent journalist or scholar looking at this now, but won't get my hopes up. I despise the likes of CNN putting their thumbs on the scale in their own self interest. Yes, they're a business, and they have to make money, but manufactured drama from such influential sources hurt the country. Even sources I trust like NPR sometimes fall into this from following the trends...

Jonathan S. said...

Jeff, there are actually a few "enterprising, independent journalists" looking into the matter currently. You might not have heard much from them, though, because of that "independent" part - it's hard to make yourself heard when you're given a wooden box and an unpowered megaphone, while trying to compete with the local television station...

My best suggestion is to go to Twitter and follow the accounts of William Gibson (@GreatDismal) and Coldplums (@coldplums). They retweet a lot of the coverage. Ordinarily I'd also recommend Jon Rosenberg (@jonrosenberg), but right now he's using the Poll function to run an Infocom-style text game in which the amnesiac protagonist finds himself in a doorless room with a table covered in cocaine, so...

locumranch said...


MadTom almost gets it even though most of you do not.

If any of you bother to read 'Somewhere a Voice', then you'd see that old school, anti-racist, pro-unity propaganda served to minimise interracial differences, insomuch as it argued that we are all the SAME underneath, despite externalities like having 2 legs or 4 legs, and this minimisation allowed us to create the most unified & externally diverse culture in human history.

Starting about 35 years ago, however, the propaganda changed as progressives everywhere -- perhaps in an attempt to accelerate cultural homogeneity by driving the unity equation further to the right -- started to emphasise and 'celebrate' superficial diversity and DIFFERENCE, leading to increased tribalisation wherein unification & cultural homogeneity became synonymous with 'acting white', Black Lives Matter more than 'All Lives' do, and self-designated minority cultures could demand ever more concessions from the homogeneous majority.

Such tribalisation polarises, bringing us to where 'We are Now', choosing sides even when no 'sides' need exist, as evidenced by the completely artificial 'War on Science' which conflates the natural conservative impulse with the straw-man 'enemy' of Radical Luddism & the insane 'Gender War' which has stripped most men of due legal process as the means to female empowerment.

I believe that progressives typically have the best of intentions, the problem being that most progressives exhibit 'insane reasoning', forgetting that (1) diversity leads to division rather than unity, (2) the equality of sameness is incompatible with celebrated difference and (3) 'War' on anything leads to partisanship & bloodshed.


Best
_____
Just as a poorly visualised galaxy (with only 1% of the Milky Way's "star power") is assumed to be "99.99%" dark matter, White & Black Pride are indistinguishable, as are the Black Power & neo-Nazi salute, assuming post-racial colour blindness.

David Brin said...

Who ARE you, stranger and why have you expropriated the name "locumranch"? That was cogently said. And while you are completely wedged re the SCALE of things -- the vast majority of liberals are not the same as their flakey-fringe kooks -- it is only natural that you assume the opposite, since the vast majority of today's US conservatives ARE the same as their flakey fringe kooks.

Tribalization polarizes, yes and the "trigger-warning" PC police on college campuses are disgusting bullies, pushing the notion of humanity are memically-frail... that average folk need to be protected from toxic ideas, exactly the noxious justification given by past generations of priests and kings. These bullies want to be the protecting sages. Plato's philosopher kings. I despise them. If America were the same thing as the 1000 lefty-infested university soft-studies departments out there, then I'd be on the right.

But it is simply dopey to conflate a few thousand dingbats with the vast number of liberal-moderate-pragmatic UNION (as in blue fighters for America) who believe in science and
saving the nation, yet again, from a confederate drooling insanity-treason that is vastly, vastly worse than any passel of PC lefty flakes.

Oh and the War on Science is real, bilious and fervid. It is the central cetechism of today's right. And Barry Goldwater is spinning at 10,000 RPM.

Jumper said...

"(1)diversity leads to division rather than unity,(2)the equality of sameness is incompatible with celebrated difference"

No, that's "insane reasoning." I mean, who says? How does one back up this? It's just hand waving.

Is it bad for Cajuns to exist as well as Spanish speaking New Mexico ranchers as well as men and women in the Merchant Marine with Boston roots? Who says that's a bad thing? No one. Who says they're all supposed to be alike? No one.

But go ahead and manufacture some other conspiracy theory that enables your victim-hood.

Paul SB said...

The whole thing about the "PC Police" has been around for so long that there are probably very few and very tiny enclaves where it still happens. That was late '80s/early '90s, and even in the universities, the supposed bastions of political correctness, it was treated as a form of suppression in the name of dignification. Hell, this showed up in cartoons in the early 2000s. Complaining about the PC Police now is kind of like shouting angrily at British people about taxation without representation.

I have said it before and I will say it again, if you stand way out on one extreme, anyone who is not in bed with you looks like the opposite extreme. This part, at least, was cogent 25 years ago. But as Jumper pointed out, he had to throw in his usual anti-diversity (and anti-50% of the human race) fascist diatribe.

Tony Fisk said...

The PC Police are definitely back on some campuses, using terms such as 'trigger warning' and 'safe zones' and 'cultural appropriation' to harass any free speech, not just hate speech. (um, hello? Campus? Here there be feral memes.)

The tribalism discussion prompts me to point out a local furore about a child who went to school dressed (as the occasion required) as his favourite book hero. Never mind that the 'book' part got ignored and he went instead as his favourite football hero, who happened to be of Fijian ancestry. The true outrage is that he went suitably skin toned.

'Black face' certainly does have the potential to offend, but is there no discernible difference between a child who looks up to someone, and a police officer who turns up at a fancy dress party dressed as a black death in custody? Apparently not.

David Brin said...

Jumper let me stand up for locumranch (full name when he's cogent.) There is no question that "diversity" fetishism can be dangerous. It's fine to declare that the Melting Pot should be a "goulash stew" of varied ingredients that remain distinguishable. It is another to deny what is blatantly true about America... that a basic amount of "melting" has been key to our success.

In Europe, it is very hard for a kid of immigrants, who speaks French or German perfectly, to be accepted as a real French or German person. In the US and Canada and the Scandinavian countries, people of all colors are encouraged to hold onto their old countries festivals and to potter in their Olde Language... but they must, and do, drop the old countries' wretched habits, grudges, bigotries and paternalistic sexisms. We will tolerate your diverse "ingredient" traits except intolerance.

I wish Europeans would see the diff between the burkha, which oppresses and seals women away from the surrounding society... and the "burkhini"... the wetsuit-like but close fitting body covering some muslim women wear to the beach. If they are frolicking in a Burkhini and that makes them comfortable being with us at the shore THEN THEY ARE WITH US AT THE SHORE. They are with us, and exposed to diversity, and clearly not being oppressed.

Locumranch sees a few diversity fetishists and perceives a threat to the melting pot, threatening a return to petty, grudge-holding tribes... which is ironic, since THAT is exactly what would have happened to North America had the confederacy succeeded in any of its major phases, 1778, 1830, 1861... or today. Subdivided into nasty fiefdoms filled with borders and armies and soldiers everywhere. THAT was the 2nd biggest reason the 1860s secession had to be utterly crushed.

He is wrong - as usual, in every matter of scale. But he is right about one thing... there ARE such assholes among the lefty-bully PC police diversity fetishists. They are not a trivial force on college campuses. In some places, their effects are deeply harmful, aggressive and often brutal. They are pathetically futile outside of 1000 or so soft studies departments and a few campuses now experiencing "trigger warning" insanities... heck even their ferocious, venom-drenched hatred of science fiction is being ignored now, by adults in the New York literary community!

They mostly harm us by giving guys like locumranch and Trump something to point at and yell "See? We aren't the only crazy ones!" Beyond that, they are pathetic, ignored by 100 million liberals.

But I will keep my eye on them. Were it in their power, some of them would have me put against a wall. Hence I will fight against their ever having real power.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Black Lives Matter more than 'All Lives' do


Dr Brin:

Who ARE you, stranger and why have you expropriated the name "locumranch"? That was cogently said.


Maybe some of it was, but I call bullshit on the canard of "Black Lives Matter" being a statement of special privilege, rather than a cry for justice, that black lives should matter as much as others, but don't seem to actually matter.

Doubtless, during the 1930s, European Jews asking not to be marginalized and killed were also asking for special privileges?

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

I wish Europeans would see the diff between the burkha, which oppresses and seals women away from the surrounding society... and the "burkhini"... the wetsuit-like but close fitting body covering some muslim women wear to the beach


They do see the difference. The attempts at banning the burkini is not about protecting women from oppressive menfolk. It's about being mean to Muslims. That's a feature, not a bug.

Paul SB said...

Tony & Dr. Brin,

If the PC Police are having their new day in the sun, it's news to be - but that shouldn't be a surprise on both accounts. The increased attention given to police shootings of African American people seems likely to inspire a PC backlash, especially among the young, and especially in universities, where most of the clientele are both young and educated (or in the process, anyway). Being news to me, well, I live in the I-used-to-have-a-life public schools bubble.

Larry,
Doubtless this sort of thing happens to pretty much any marginalized ethnic group in any human civilization. Where does our word "coolie" come from? The Kuli people of coastal India, who were treated as menial laborers for hundreds of years. French Canadians, Gypsies, itinerant Chinese workers in South Africa - every nation has a plethora of marginalized minorities, and they aren't always people with dark skin, as they so often are here.

I know you are one who gets that including all of humanity in our Horizons of Inclusion would go a long way toward making a more peaceful planet, and a more prosperous planet. I have no problem with the Black Lives Matter movement, but I do know people on both sides who see it as a demand for special privileges. On one side, they see this as taking away from themselves, on the other, long overdue compensation). For most it is pure canard as you say, but like Dr. Brin said, the existence of a few extremists is enough for extremists on the other side to point their hooked fingers and paint us all with the same extremist brush.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Locumranch sees a few diversity fetishists and perceives a threat to the melting pot, threatening a return to petty, grudge-holding tribes... which is ironic,


Not so ironic. He's again' the melting pot, not fer it. He thinks it's funny that liberals celebrate diversity, but the failing he's complaining about is that they don't take it far enough--to outright separatism.

David Brin said...

I don't mind some Black Lives Matter radicalism. We need push. But why isn't one of their chants: "Give us more tech!" Nothing empowered them - at last - to be believed more than the camera equipped cell phone. A cloud-linked go-pro shoulder cam should go to every endangered minority male out there... completely hands free. Stuff would change. Stuff IS changing.

LarryHart said...

PaulSB:

I have no problem with the Black Lives Matter movement, but I do know people on both sides who see it as a demand for special privileges.


Would any of them trade places with a black man in order to receive those special privileges?


On one side, they see this as taking away from themselves, on the other, long overdue compensation).


Ok, pardon me for asking, but what exactly do these people (or you) think is described by the phrase "Black Lives Matter"? I get that some people believe Obamacare is reparations for slavery, as if the only recipients of the benefit are black. Is that what we're talking about here?

Because to me, the Black Lives Matter movement is primarily about law enforcement interacting with black people the way they do with regular citizens instead of the way they do now. Is that really too much to ask? And what, pray tell, would that take away from white people if it were to come about?

Jumper said...

Be aware that some few people have staked out a main Black Lives Matter website as their own fiefdom, which is a recipe for failure in my view. Anyone can run to the front of a movement and shout "follow me." The PC is always strong in these types. It has little to do with the reasons the movement began.

raito said...

I'm definitely a melting pot guy. And not a diversity guy, at least as diversity is currently practiced in the US. An certainly it relates to identity. The problem with the current diversity meme is that it's one-sided. 'I'm different, and you must accommodate me. But I don't have to accommodate you' is hypocrisy.

I much prefer it when people throw what they have into the pot and we all get a bit, and they take from the pot some of the bits we threw in, too.

The other advantage of the melting pot is that it reduces 'the other'. You put your culture in the pot, it's now MY culture, too. I get to use it. And I get to defend it.

There's a difference in thought between, "I'm different" and "I do different things". One is divisive, and one is not. Similarly with "He's different", and "He does different things".

Combining madtom and psychology, I'm often less comfortable being in a group. Which makes me an outlier (and doesn't mean I think I'm one of those completely self-made guys who isn't standing on a lot of giants' shoulders). I don't care for people that much.

Jumper,

It gets worse when the movement moves in an unexpected direction, and the supposed 'leaders' don't keep pace.

As far as vat meat is concerned there's always this winner in the ttbooks.org 3 minute futures contest:
http://www.ttbook.org/book/3-minute-futures-michelle-clay

And whenever this sort of thing comes up and is touted as better for the environment, I always have to wonder by whose standards, whether they're lying or just being optimistic. Kind of like whether ethanol is really worth it (wife is a chem. E. whose specialty was that sort of thing).

With respect to violence, I've spent a good part of my life learning to deal it out. And I've had jobs where I was expected to do so if warranted (which was thankfully seldom). Ever read the autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini? The guy was a goldsmith and he thought nothing of killing people.

But there are in various societies social mores connected to violence. I've seen two men, dead drunk, pummeling each other with their fists while each wearing a sword. Because once you pull that sword, it's not a game any more, and someone might actually get hurt.

Part of the reason domestic situations suck is because the person getting beaten is just as likely to sttack as the aggressor.

Paul SB said...

Larry,
I'm not saying I agree with these people, just that I know these people. That includes Caucasians who swear up and down they aren't racist, but totally buy the Obamacare is reparations argument. They also see welfare and pretty much all social services as reparations to African American people, which they believe is undeserved because they buy into the Land of Milk and Honey myth and assume that anyone who is not rich must be lazy, stupid or both. I also know African American people (and not just my students) who think that they should be given pretty much anything they want because of what was done to their ancestors, and their perception that there are no opportunities to get ahead if you have the wrong skin tone. I doubt that either of these represent a majority, but they are pretty vocal about their opinions. They serve as finger magnets for the other side.

Preferring the side of humanity, I would be happy if all people were treated as equally as we claim they are, and if all that glorious opportunity were really there like they say it is. I have seen far too many smart, hard-working, talented people of many ethnicities, go nowhere in life. I wish I knew exactly why, so I could know where to aim my sights, but I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all answer. So having the police treat African American people exactly the same way they treat everyone else would be part of that ideal situation. One day I think it will happen, but it might take a generation or two.

Paul SB said...

Raito,

For the most part I agree with what you are saying. Your distinction between "I am different" and "I do different things" is a subtle but potentially important one. In the first case it suggests permanence, while the second suggests choice. Oddly enough, I first came across this in a German class, where the professor noted that in English we would say "I am hungry" whereas in German "Ich have hunger" literally means "I have hunger," which implies a temporary state. I don'y know if you can really carry the Sapir/Whorf Hypothesis too far, here, but it does suggest something about how we think about ourselves and each other.

But be careful here:
'I'm different, and you must accommodate me. But I don't have to accommodate you' is hypocrisy.
- Yes, it's hypocrisy, but can you say that all members of all ethnic groups who have not fully assimilated are guilty of this? I have known some who are, but others who are totally okay with mainstream Americans living their mainstream lives and doing their mainstream things as long as no one stops them from doing their things and living their lives. Some people are comfortable with difference, others make it an issue.

In most ways, there really doesn't need to be any issues. If someone wants to wear clothes that look funny to mainstream society, why should anyone care? I dress fairly conservatively, but I like the diversity just for the sake of dispelling monotony, and I enjoy all sorts of different cuisines. There are some more serious issues that can come up when you have different cultures, issues where a certain level of conformity may be necessary. I have known a lot of Latino people who believe in exorcism, and will take their sick family members to an exorcist rather than a real doctor. This can have tragic and fatal consequences. When it is a non-contagious condition, like schizophrenia, someone might argue that it's their choice if it only hurts them and not other people. But then you have the vaxxers, fools of multiple ethnic backgrounds who share common conspiracy theory, anti-science memes, and threaten public health with their stupidity. I can't think of any case where a specific ethnic group refused modern medicine to treat a contagious disease which then spread to the public at large, but I'm sure they're out there.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "Complaining about the PC Police now is kind of like shouting angrily at British people about taxation without representation. "

While still opposing giving statehood to DC

***

* "In Europe, it is very hard for a kid of immigrants, who speaks French or German perfectly, to be accepted as a real French or German person."

Yes, but once again, the reason why is that white middle and upper-class people often see these perfectly fluent kids of foreign descent and think "shit, those proles are actually smarter than MY kids"

The bourgeoisie's existential dread at the prospect of being intellectually outmatched by plebs and newcomers is as strong -and as strongly denied- in Northern America as it is in Europe, which is why it's so easy for Trump to recycle european fascist memes and have them resonate with his target audience.

As for the Burkini, I'll go in more details than Larry and say that Everyone in France see and know that it's not some salafist identity marker, it's just that a great many lie about it, either because they're too invested in their self image as white saviors, or simply because going to the beach is a visible sign of the slow but real gentrification of the French of arabic descent, and it enrages them to know that the great-grandchildren of the colonial empire's helots are getting a shot at enjoying middle-class leisure and material comforts.
And by the way, as far as I know, most if not virtually all women fined (fines which are being canceled as I write, since the illegality of the ban was established in the Nation's highest court of law) were not even wearing burkini: they were wearing shirts with veils or bandanas.

Also you might be pleased to know that french Muslims are using the tech savvy approach you advocate: pictures and videos of abusive and illegal behavior, corroborating the witnesses' accounts, are being spread through social media while the thin-white-skinned "elites" are turning into third-rate conspiracy theorists, accusing any and all videos, pictures, audio file of being the result of deliberate manipulation, desperately clinging to the now utterly obsolete notion that they can drown mounting evidence under rhetoric spewed from soapboxes.

Of course, one should remain careful: there is a non negligible risk that the privileged here will simply "Fuck the Truth, fuck the Rule of Law, we have the money and the guns, we will make the riffraff and those who took their side obey"

Jonathan Sills said...

A question for those of your acquaintances who think "Obamacare" is reparations:

Why would the government be paying reparations to a white guy? Because until this came along, I had no health care; for reasons to complex to go into now, I've been unemployed for several years, and even before that tended to have jobs that paid too little for me to afford the "health care benefits" offered by the company. Now I can actually see a doctor, get X-rays and an MRI, and have my degenerative disc disorder diagnosed, instead of just griping about how badly my back and leg hurt.

(Oh, and a secondary question: The "Obamacare" plan is basically Romneycare, and is based on Gingrich's proposal in, IIRC, '94. Why would these Republicans have proposed a "reparations" system of any sort?)

Anonymous said...

Blind faith that technosolutions will magically solve the modern American's habit for meat (RIP passenger pigeon) is just that, blind faith; some would see such mechanization as yet another misstep of the Western death-path as it moves with haste to divorce itself from the biosphere. Others could point to Jevons paradox; cheap meat more humans more resource consuption more mines more land stolen from indigenous folks more evironmental activists shot—a particular problem in South America, whose lithium reserves are understandably next on the hit-list.

And no compromise? Where have I ever heard that before? Ah, yes: "you're either with us, or against us". Hmmm. Well! Carry on, then.

Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert said...

Dr. Brin, minorities are not chanting "we want more wearable tech" because they know the response.

"You just want free stuff, you mooch. You want a wearable camera? You get one yourself. And you better obey the law while wearing it, you pervert!"

Seriously. That will be the response. When poor people say "we want to have adequate food for our kids" the response is "get a job, you mooch!" When people say "we want affordable housing" the response? "Get a job, you mooch! We don't want you living off our largess!"

How the [censored] will wanting technology, even if to keep minorities safe from government persecution, be ANY different?

Rob H.

raito said...

Paul SB,

I don't believe that everyone believes that, but enough do that it's a PITA. Even ones in the 'mainstream'.

As far as the rest of your comment, there are cultures that are incompatible. For example, a culture that believes in personal property and one that doesn't. Resolving that stuff gets sticky. For a while in the early 90's a friend's father, a policeman, regularly had to retrieve 12 year old girls from the men they'd been sold to as wives, as an example. In those cases, not only different cultures, but different laws.

Tacitus2 said...

Obamacare as reparations? I have never heard that one, and presumably I am more in contact with the right of center world.

Obamacare as a form of wealth redistribution I guess you could stretch it that far. And I say that in an non judgemental fashion. It is not fair that leukemia would beggar a blue collar person and inconvenience a wealthy one. Nor is it fair that the survival rates might differ.

We can agree on the pursuit of fairness but disagree on the routes and definitions.

Tacitus

donzelion said...

"There is no question that "diversity" fetishism can be dangerous."

Really, "no question" at all? Hmmm...ok: seriously, how could diversity fetishism threaten society?

"In some places, the [effects of the diversity fetishists] are deeply harmful, aggressive and often brutal."
Where? The word 'often' and the word 'brutal' make me think that there must have been some secret series of beatings of white people by diversity fetishists, or widespread shootings. The Symbionese Liberation Army must have numbered in the millions, instead of a few dozen fellow travelers. They must be out there...somewhere...

"They mostly harm us by giving guys like locumranch and Trump something to point at and yell "See? We aren't the only crazy ones!"...

Well, alright, if that's the threat posed by their brutal tactics, then I can see a problem, but seriously, the Trumpists have done what they've done for millennia, for as long as there has been an oligarchy: they will target any minority at any time, and that minority would be as insidious a threat whether it was Jewish, Catholic, Masonic, Native, Baptist, Witch, or any other form they found disagreeable. The threat never comes from the conduct of the "dangerous other" - but from the powerful insider exploiting the willingness of people to believe in threats without looking more closely at them.

"But I will keep my eye on them. Were it in their power, some of them would have me put against a wall."
It is proper to oppose bullies. It is proper to acknowledge the possibility that by opposing bullies, one may degenerate into bullying others. So far, the worst sorts of bullying I've seen from the 'diversity fetishist' crowd is that certain speakers don't get invitations to speak, depriving them of platforms they thought they were entitled to. Certain actors don't get roles they thought they owned - Mel Gibson was "oppressed" by Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, who stole "his" character (but if Mad Max was ever "his" then capitalism and property law must be reconsidered).

In the "safe zones/trigger warnings" debate, we have atrocities like rooms in which people who want to can watch happy puppies, sip hot chocolate, and eat oatmeal cookies with "ethical chocolate." Outsiders look at those cookies and conceive a grand conspiracy, but as always, I'll want some evidence before buying it.

David Brin said...

Wrong, Rob. The BLM guys could picket a few dozen companies and foundations and get maybe $20M worth of Go Pros onto shoulders... and it would be great publicity for those companies. The need is so blatantly obvious that only foxites would say "free stuff." No, failure to do this is simpler. Most activists are bigots in their own ways. The notion of giving nerds and techies any credit for social advancement is anathema.

Tacitus, I keep waiting for some conservative to do a judo veer and declare that conservatism deserves all the CREDIT for Obamacare, because it was the Heritage-Gingrich plan.

Alas, no one has had the perspective or the guts. Sigh.
Ironic, since most dems especially HC would love to get a Congressional majority in order to DITCH Obamacare or ease it out!

The first thing they will do -- and I blame Pelosi for not doing this in 2009 -- is extend Medicare to all children up to 25 and drop the upper age to 60. It could be done on one page.

donzelion said...

@Anonymous - I had never heard that American meat habits had a connection with the extinction of passenger pigeons, but you'll find few 'blind' believers in the magic of technosolutions: in this space (which is hardly a 'safe space'), most proponents of technological endeavors are actually very cautious, conscientious, and concerned about the abuses to which their products might be applied.

The "Western death-path" developed in part because Western societies found a "life-path" with meat (that is, if one buys the Jared Diamond premise that constant interaction with herbivores resulted in constant exposure to diseases, followed by genetic resistances to those diseases).

It is fair to suggest that every solution to every problem creates new, unexpected problems. But it is foolish to suggest this is a "Western" invention, and it is stupid to suggest that the better solution is to cease trying to find solutions, or to refrain from using technology (or at least, hilariously ironically inconsistent to do so through a technological medium such as a blog).

LarryHart said...

PaulSB:

'I'm different, and you must accommodate me. But I don't have to accommodate you' is hypocrisy.
- Yes, it's hypocrisy, but can you say that all members of all ethnic groups who have not fully assimilated are guilty of this? I have known some who are, but others who are totally okay with mainstream Americans living their mainstream lives and doing their mainstream things as long as no one stops them from doing their things and living their lives. Some people are comfortable with difference, others make it an issue.


Dr Brin has pointed out the irony here before, but the one thing America can't celebrate diversity about is the identiy-group whose value is intolerance. I don't see white people or Christians as being denied their right to celebrate their own group culture except for the subset of both whose very group culture is their very ability to discriminate against others.

Likewise, American "religious freedom" is about our inalienable right to practice religion as we please, without coercion from the forces of society. It does not (or should not) mean the freedom of religious institutions to coerce individuals. That turns the whole concept of religious freedom on its ear.

So keep in mind, when we hear that white people, or southerners, or Christians are "the only group in America who is not allowed its group identity", what they're really complaining about is that they are not allowed to practice the intolerance they believe to be their birthright as Americans.

David Brin said...

Also LH any reflex toward"white culture" is by nature TEMPORARY. This is what folks miss about political correctness. Except for some campus trigger-warning comissars, most people want a future in which these prejudices are so old and near forgotten that the PC compensations will be shrugged off and Euro Heritage Month will be just another blithe excuse to do ethnic dances.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Larry

Religious "tolerance" has always meant the "right to persecute the other"

The Brits got shot of King James 2nd because he persecuted the protestants by interfered with their right to persecute the Catholics

Jim Lund said...

I enjoy a good 'cultured meat feeds the space colony' story as much as the next guy, but tissue culture meat doesn't make any sense. Livestock are efficient already, look at the Wikipedia feed conversion ratio page.

Tissue culture is hard and expensive--it requires sterile conditions, growth media that controls pH, gas regulators, temperature control, pure nutrient feeds, expensive growth factors (typically fetal serum), and lots of antibiotics to keep things going for a few weeks without molding over.

Good luck getting something with the taste and consistency of meat out of it at any price!

Farm animals are this efficient tissue culture system with add ons that simplify the process: a nutrient preparation system (stomach), a gas exchange module (lung), a tissue support structure (skeleton and fibrous tissue), an infection control system (immune system), nutrient pump (heart and blood vessels), and waste disposal systems (kidney, lower GI tract), and embedded wetware to run the system.