Saturday, April 13, 2019

Science updates!

It's hard to evade politics, even in a weekend science update. for example when a top Republican factotum declares: “Science is a Democrat thing.” 

Um. They say it proudly! Yes, science, but also every single fact-based profession. Including medicine, law, teaching, journalism and those "deep state" enemies -- the Intel/FBI/military officer corps -- who know that fact and science and climate change are real.

== Long ago at least they had an excuse for ignorance... ==

As we re-examine our distant past...

We’re finding numerous past eras when the male population in a region was winnowed to a narrow gene pool or else replaced by newcomers. One massive swing happened about 12,000 years ago, about the same time that two technologies might have exacerbated male death rates: agricultural kingdoms and the availability of plentiful beer. (This is actually my own theory, based upon traveller reports from Polynesia and other places that told of kings ordering the instant death of offending louts. It would help explain human resistance to addiction, which though terribly imperfect is greater than in most species.)

Now comes evidence that a mass migration of males transformed the genetic make-up of people in Spain during the Bronze Age. It remains unclear whether there was a violent invasion or whether a male-centric social structure played an important role.”  Interesting article!  And yet, in my “contrarian gadfly” role, I must point out that while dominance by top king-chief-patriarchs seems the most likely explanation, there IS another way that a Y chromosome winnowing could have occurred. 

Female dominance. There have been a few cases of matriarchy in which women councils exerted strong control over which males were allowed to breed. It is quite conceivable (get it?) for such councils to enforce hypergamy – preference to share those males who meet strict standards, rather than “settle” for average. 

A mild version of this practice was seen among the Cherokee and Iroquois, for example.  Yes, our sad litany of nasty and oppressive patriarchies was far more common. But it’s wrong simply to assume that Y chromosome winnowing happened because of inter-male strife. It might have been female selection, which is actually the great driver of evolution in many non-human species.

== More evidence from the past ==

And the Denisovan story gets even more complicated and strange: our Denisovan cousins may have mated with modern humans as recently as 15,000 years ago.

A fossil discovery in North Dakota is strongly believed to be a fish that was blasted and killed precisely the very day that the Cretaceous ended with the Chicxulub meteorite impact, 66 million years ago, the most incredible (and precise) paleontological discovery of the century, so far. If this story is even 5% Just wow.

Meanwhile a new fossil trove in China - the Qingjiang biota - has yielded thousands of Cambrian period specimens, with dozens of new species, yet to be named.

Gabonionta are the earliest multicellular macroscopic organisms discovered so far, vastly older –by almost 4x ! – than previous evidence for complex life. Known only from their fossilized mucous trails in black shale from Gabon. Likely something like colonial amoebae or slime molds, they seem to have appeared almost right after Earth finally got appreciable oxygen in its atmosphere. Good science reporting.

My old Caltech housemate Joe Kirschvink has done it again, proving (with colleagues) that humans have a small but verified sensitivity to magnetic fields. 

== Tech updates ==

Via Peter Diamandis: Researchers at Boston University have mathematically designed a 3D acoustic metamaterial that can block up to 94 percent of noise flowing through it. Most dramatically, however, the 3D-printed structure reflects noise-producing vibrations without impeding the passage of light or airflow itself.

GauGAN, from NVIDIA, may be the “MS Paint for the AI age.” Using a generative adversarial network (GAN) trained on 1 million Flickr images, GauGAN can create photorealistic images from just a few lines drawn by a user. As an example, a user could click on “tree,” draw a line, and GauGAN will create an image of a tree trunk.

And “Google has successfully shrunk its speech algorithm storage demands down to 80MB, rendering its speech recognizer small enough to fit on your smartphone, and work offline.”

A world game-changer would be to wean billions off cattle or other inefficient and eco-damaging meats, either with vegetable substitutes like the (yummy) Beyond Burger or else real-meat by tissue culture. Latest: “Memphis Meats, for example, recently filed a patent describing a method to create real chicken and beef tissue using CRISPR.”

Goodyear unveiled its new concept Aero tire, designed to run on roads and double as a propulsion system for flying vehicles.  Yes, the tires become rotors capable of downward thrust and lift. Yipe. Amazing tech.

Optical interferometry has long promised to help us parse distant planets from their hugely brighter nearby stars. Now a group claims to have done it. But then, a few weeks later, we got that image of a real black hole(!) via a method very similar.

 == short takes ==

Methane is so good at trapping heat that one ton of the gas causes 32 times as much warming as one ton of CO2. And Methane is spiking. The possible sources are worrisome. The GOP blocked Obama efforts to fund more inspectors to prevent venting from oil fields. But Trump savagely cut them further and progress toward an international treaty have foundered. 

Even worse are signs that methane is bubbling forth from permafrost and undersea hydrate ices, threatening the “blurp” cascade that would truly make it all deadly, making Earth an almost literal hell. These people are outright enemies of your children.

Slime molds’ ability to reconfigure their volume while fleeing from spots of light has enabled scientists to use these biological computers to solve complex mathematical  conundrums like the Traveling Salesman Problem.

Our opportunity to save ourselves includes ideas like the “Circular Economy.” Watch the video. Then re-read Earth?

An article on Vox discusses the latest silly-wrongheaded attempt by zealots to shout “messages” into the cosmos without ever doing risk analysis or talking it over with the rest of humanity, or allowing their assumptions to be examined. The saddest part is their dislike of science fiction, since SF explores a wide horizon of possibilities, and their religious fanaticism allows for only one.

Wallace’s bee, the size of your thumb and thought extinct, rediscovered!

Evidence that the huge Deccan Traps volcanic eruptions started just before the Yucatan asteroid impact, and hence may have severely weakened the dinosaurs and other species… but then got even worse after the impact, possibly tightening the noose. “The researchers' dates are also consistent with a major shift in the properties of the erupted rock occurring at the same time as the impact. This supports the idea that the impact's seismic effects reached across the entire planet.”

Wired ran a story on Valentine’s Day about OpenAI, the nonprofit institute founded by Elon Musk and Y Combinator founder Sam Altman, which has apparently designed a system that can learn natural language patterns better than any previous attempt so far after feeding it eight million web pages to train it. What is newsworthy to me about this is what they did next: they stopped to consider the implications.  “It could be that someone who has malicious intent would be able to generate high-quality fake news,” an OAI vice president told Wired.

We are a glorious, scientific civilization. Pictures of black holes! SpaceX triple landings! New disease cures! Meat substitutes! And if the enemies of all this want to make this partisan, then let's go.


*bot said...

dr.Brin... you tend to give marxism credit of being science. I cannot agree with such claim. Because it's contre-intuitive and contre-historical to me.

And you claim that I should show more "curiosity"... it as if some devoted enthusiast of shark behavior research, would argue with someone whose leg was bitten out by shark: "why you don't like that cuties-sharkies??? they SO adorable!!!". :\

Well, I understand why so. You from country from over two ocean. And not only that XX century struggles are far from you, but your life experience far from anything like that. But... its my people, my relatives, was slaughtered during that marxists historical experiments...

How do you think? Purely theoretical. And/or psychologically. Is it enough excuse, from your POV, to not be curious???
Especially, because that questions SO new and peculiarly-interesting for you... was MAIN topic of numerous discussions in late USSR and 90th... and long last as completely decided.

So, your behavior about it... it's just like some newcomer, to the old-old forum... where all things in all possible variants was already discussed, and old fags coming rarely to share some new anecdotes...
with his youthful vigor trying to reignite it and start discussion from anew. From the same old and non-interesting to anybody basics.

Jim. It's dead. (c)
Nothing that have "labor theory of value" in its core can be a science.
And as poisonous ideology it is also almost dead (I hope).

David Brin said...

Do not lecture me about relatives lost in European wars. I have no 3rd, 4th or 5th cousins. I wonder why?

I do not undderstand the rest of your lecture, nor am I inclined to try very hard. You are in no position to tell me I am "purely theoretical" when I have been an engineer, inventor, teacher etc, and vastly more people think I understand the cosmos than believe you do.

Stalin and Lenin and Breszhnev used a religion to marshall sincere millions to support them. It is important to understand that religion.

yana said...

David Brin thought:

" Deccan Traps volcanic eruptions started just before the Yucatan asteroid impact, and hence may have severely weakened the dinosaurs and other species… but then got even worse after the impact, possibly tightening the noose. “The researchers' dates are also consistent with a major shift in the properties of the erupted rock occurring at the same time as the impact. This supports the idea that the impact's seismic effects reached across the entire planet.”"

Helpful to think of earth as a very soft-boiled egg where you have magically managed to cook the very center of the yolk hard. An impact will puncture a spot, but the shockwave has equally profound effects.

More likely, Traps volcanism was still going on when Chixalub pounded us. The Siberian flows, the result of a fascinating magma wave pattern across the earth. If you ever wondered about the somewhat circular shape if ice-free Antarctica, it was the primary upwell of the Iceland impact shockwave. Then we got a mid-Atlantic ridge and India speeding north, yada yada, we all know the story.

But there was a secondary ripple across the crust, either an effect of upper magma rotation or the geologics at Iceland or the angle/speed of the impact, i don't know. We see the higher amplitudes of this shockwave today, as a swoosh of highlands. From Hebrides to Alps to Balkans, Caucasus, Parthia, the Kush to the Himalayas. Get a topographical globe, it really helps to see it.

It goes right across Eurasia, the Himi's are higher because speeding India of course, but if we see the swoosh as a high-amplitude part of a wave, then where are the low-amp stripes? Right there, the line of volcanism and faults along the southern Europe Mediterranean and Anatolia, the low deserts of south Iran, heck maybe even the Persian Gulf itself. To the north of the hi-amp swoosh, land low enough for the Baltic, and further east, a vast rip in the crust: 'traps' of curtain volcanoes in Siberia.

The reason that earth life is so diverse today (moreso 200 years ago, pitifully) is that the universe keeps changing the rules at the drop of a hat. Let's not get caught fixing our tie when a hat drops, eh?

Daniel Duffy said...

If you want books on climate change that will keep you up at night I would recommend the following:

"A Farewell to Ice" by Peter Wadhams

Wadhams outlines how CO2 emissions are smashing the system, spinning the thermostat to hot. Without the albedo effect of ice – by which it reflects solar radiation up to 10 times more effectively than open water – we have entered a positive feedback loop... The ice he worries about most covers Arctic seabeds – permafrost from the last ice age. Losing this will release huge methane plumes. Methane is 23 times more effective in raising global temperature than is CO2. Wadhams and colleagues have modelled the consequences using different dates for methane release.

"Falter" by Bill McKibben

Oh, it could get very bad... A 2017 study in Australia, home to some of the world’s highest-tech farming, found that “wheat productivity has flatlined as a direct result of climate change.” After tripling between 1900 and 1990, wheat yields had stagnated since, as temperatures increased a degree and rainfall declined by nearly a third... Assuming the same trends continued, yields would actually start to decline inside of two decades, they reported. In June 2018, researchers found that a two-degree Celsius rise in temperature — which, recall, is what the Paris accords are now aiming for — could cut U.S. corn yields by 18 percent. A four-degree increase — which is where our current trajectory will take us — would cut the crop almost in half...when researchers grow grain at the carbon dioxide levels we expect for later this century, they find that minerals such as calcium and iron drop by 8 percent, and protein by about the same amount. In the developing world, where people rely on plants for their protein, that means huge reductions in nutrition: India alone could lose 5 percent of the protein in its total diet, putting 53 million people at new risk for protein deficiency.

"The Uninhabitable Earth" by David Wallace Wells (annotated version of the original article that the book is based on)

Unless you are a teenager, you probably read in your high-school textbooks that these extinctions were the result of asteroids. In fact, all but the one that killed the dinosaurs were caused by climate change produced by greenhouse gas. The most notorious was 252 million years ago; it began when carbon warmed the planet by five degrees, accelerated when that warming triggered the release of methane in the Arctic, and ended with 97 percent of all life on Earth dead. We are currently adding carbon to the atmosphere at a considerably faster rate; by most estimates, at least ten times faster. The rate is accelerating... Humans, like all mammals, are heat engines; surviving means having to continually cool off, like panting dogs. For that, the temperature needs to be low enough for the air to act as a kind of refrigerant, drawing heat off the skin so the engine can keep pumping. At seven degrees of warming, that would become impossible for large portions of the planet’s equatorial band, and especially the tropics, where humidity adds to the problem; in the jungles of Costa Rica, for instance, where humidity routinely tops 90 percent, simply moving around outside when it’s over 105 degrees Fahrenheit would be lethal.

*bot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\Do not lecture me about relatives lost in European wars. I have no 3rd, 4th or 5th cousins. I wonder why?

Who said about European wars???
I said it clear -- "because of marxists historical experiments". It's about Civil War, Golodomor, Great Purge(s), et cetera massacres.
Your angry response just support my claim -- you do not know, and do not give a shit to know about real history of My People.

Well, I except it. And see no need to fuss about it.

But need to remark it -- your raise of voice and readiness to brag about who lost more -- is just outrageous and what "vatniks" usually do. Literary, on each mention of ethnic cleansing done by Communists Party of Russia, they raising this claims about victims of great wars, danger from "american imperialism", "ukrainian nazism crimes", etc. Anything go, to avoid it. And I understand why. But what is your problem with it? Why you react in such a way -- I don't know.

May all people of the world, past and present, died horribly, rest in peace. In peace, but NOT forgotten.
Without politicians of all kind using them in their political propaganda. My credo.

Daniel Duffy said...

Those Guatemalan caravans heading north? These are just a trickle caused by the initial stages of global warming. A trickle that in the future will become a flood. Not just from Central America, but from North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia:

But farmers, agricultural scientists and industry officials say a new threat has been ruining harvests, upending lives and adding to the surge of families migrating to the United States: climate change. And their worries are increasingly shared by climate scientists as well. Gradually rising temperatures and increasingly severe and unpredictable weather — like rain not falling when it should, or pouring when it shouldn’t — have disrupted growing cycles and promoted the relentless spread of pests.The obstacles have cut crop production or wiped out entire harvests, leaving already poor families destitute.

And wealthy refugees from coastal areas. Again from "Falter":

What’s really breathtaking is how ill-prepared we are for such changes. Goodell spent months reporting in Miami Beach, which was literally built on sand dredged up from the bottom of Biscayne Bay. He managed to track down Florida’s biggest developer, Jorge Pérez, at a museum opening. Pérez was not, he insisted, worried about the rising sea because “I believe that in twenty or thirty years, someone is going to find a solution for this. If it is a problem for Miami, it will also be a problem for New York and Boston — so where are people going to go?” (He added, with Trump-level narcissism, “Besides, by that time I’ll be dead, so what does it matter?”) To the extent that we’re planning at all, it’s for the old, low predictions of a meter or less. Venice, for instance, is spending $6 billion on a series of inflatable booms to hold back storm tides. But they’re designed to stop sea level rise of about a foot. New York City is building a “U-Barrier,” a berm to protect Lower Manhattan from inundation in a storm the size of Hurricane Sandy. But as the sea level rises, winds like Sandy’s will drive far more water into Manhattan, so why not build it higher? “Because the cost goes up exponentially,” said the architect. The cost is already starting to mount. Researchers showed in 2018 that Florida homes near the flood lines were selling at a 7 percent discount, a figure growing over time because “sophisticated buyers” know what is coming. Insurance companies are balking: basements from “New York to Mumbai” may be uninsurable by 2020, the CEO of one of Europe’s largest insurers said in 2018.

The financial losses of so much valuable coastal real estate will be orders of magnitude greater than the Great Depression - and they will be permanent.

*bot said...

>> David Brin said...
\\I do not undderstand the rest of your lecture...

I re-read my comment, your response. And now I see that problem. Somewhat. With my style of writing.

Sorry for that. I'll try to improve, though don't know how yet.

My claims is simple.
1. History of USSR, marxism stuff -- its distant concerns for you (well, if it is not true, can you state why?)
but It Is My Life...

2. That questions you raise -- about Lenin's errors, Stalin's falsehoods -- was discusses Much More Thorough and at greater length HERE, on turfs of USSR. And was answered. And all answers written. And buried. And place of it forgotten. As no more important.
Because all people know them, that answers, and there is lots of recent and more important questions to talk about.

3. That's why, its your attitude toward such topics is what interesting to me -- why you so interested in, why so concerned, in such damn old thing as marxism? Especially, if by all evidences it is not real historical marxism that I beholden, but some fantasy or scifi reconstruction of it. From very sparse and non-relevant sources. Like some old films...

4. What truth you want devise from such reconstruction? And why ignoring and angry back-biting at someone, who can help with verification/validation of it???

Mike Will said...

The intersection of Life Science and Computer Science is the future. Computation is to biology what math is to physics.
Google's Eric Schmidt is funding Deep Life.

I once made a joke about slime mold being the perfect development platform for many of the programmers I've known. My strange brew of a career has allowed me to be in the room with some great biologists, physicists, engineers, and industrialists (I was usually there to fix PCR machines, lab equipment, compute clusters, avionics simulators, etc). Being seen yet not seen, together with a 20th century, Forth and chips level, Asimovian perspective on things was fun.

*bot said...

Watching just now. Discussion on TV. About Stalin.

Was he insane? Why he succeed? And NO marxism, *at all*... as non-relevant.

Yes. He had so called hyper-compensation syndrome. And possibly paranoiac disorder. But well, it was even helpful in his circumstances.

Because. Revolution gave boost to social lifts -- many people was able to come from poverty into position with status. The same as with England under Cromwell. Or France and Napoleon. Pattern is quite obvious -- when you give weapon to common people -- get ready to that, they will use it against that, who oppressing them. It's the human nature, and not shady theories or religious doctrines -- that is just corollaries.

And. It was result of psychology of masses. Masses, that did not know other ways, other rules except terror and fear. No democracy.

That was History of My People, of my country.

Question was asked in the end, to people on streets -- do we need "strong hand", like Stalin's now? Majority saying -- no.
That is the result.

But for Russians -- Stalin is Number One...

Lloyd Flack said...

Not all Large Igneous Provinces had their formation coincide with a mass extinction. Some aggravating factor seems to be required.
In the case of the End-Permian and End-Triassic mass extincions they occured carbon rich sedimentary formations. It looks like it really was the baking out of fossil fuels. With the End-Cretaceous extinction there was a giant bolide impact. But without this impact would the erruptions have led to a mass extinction. Arguably not. The errupions were not in carbon rich formations.
Actually the damage in the End-Permian and End-Triassic extinction events appears to have mostly been done in brief periods when not much lava was erupting at the surface. Rather, dykes and sills were being inserted baking organics out of the rocks.

CP said...

Also, the severity of the mass extinction resulting from Chicxulub may also have been due to atmospheric effects rather than direct consequences of the impact. In that regard, it was a "worse case scenario" based on the place of the impact. Angle of impact, composition of the body (and timing of the impact?) may also have come into play.

It landed in a region with extensive sulfur-rich sedimentary deposits resulting in the release of large quantities of sulfate aerosols that probably caused short term cooling.

It landed in shallow ocean allowing large quantities of water to "quench" the crater releasing vast amounts of water vapor and keeping more energy in the system (perhaps, washing out sulfate aerosols more rapidly as acid rain?).

If I recall correctly, it impacted at a relatively low angle, perhaps keeping more ejecta in the system.

Then, release of carbon from sediments, the body itself (thought to have been a carbonaceous chondrite, I believe) and burning would have led to long term warming.

If a stony body of the same size and velocity had entered vertically in a continental interior with thick, and predominantly granitic, crust the effect on the atmosphere would have been far less and it probably wouldn't have caused a global mass extinction.

yana said...

That B612 place is barking up a tree which ain't got a squirrel in it. They're about "protecting the Earth" and "planetary defense issues."

Near-sighted. They're into survival of the earth, i'm talking about survival of the species. If The One is very large, humanity does not possess the lift capacity to transfer enough mass to interplanetary orbit to make an explosive defense, let alone a kinetic defense. Nor will we ever have enough lift capacity, held in standby mode, at any one time. We are using it as fast as it is economically feasible to build it.

Planetary defense is obviously a good thing, but we have very few options. If we see something on a collision course 50 years out, we could piggyback it with an ion thruster over decades, veer it into a near miss, not end-of-humanity.

If we see something 10 years away, we can send everything we've got at it, a nice way to get rid of the ICBM's we've all been dusting off for 50 years. In that timeframe, we could ramp up launch vehicles for kinetic deflection impactors, and i strongly suggest we make them out of ice!

Even 10 years may not be enough time to obliterate a speedy wrecking ball, only turn it from a planetkiller into a dispersed series of continent-killers. But the tragic fact is that we may only have a few days of warning. Which govt's choose to tell their people, and which do not... that'd be a great way to measure final score in the game of politics, though moot. We'd learn the best way to govern, once and for all, just days before that knowledge is lost to the entire universe. Douglas Adams is still laughing!

Respect to B612 for "protecting the Earth" but there is no current capability. In contrast, the answer to protecting our species is 100% transparent and attainable, it means we set up self-feeding colonies on other rocks as soon as possible. What may look like a frivolous tourist resort in an exceptionally harsh desert, is in fact a reservoir for restocking the earth if cosmic push comes to shove.

That's the best way we have, today right now, to protect the earth. If it takes 80 years for the skies to clear, well, we know there's all those seeds and spores in the genetic library tucked away under Svalbard. We'll bring our crisprs back with us, we could have Earth up and running again in only a couple centuries.

We're the first species who can do that. Bizarre five-legged creatures once flourished in the sea. If one of them had realized that their whole planet could change in the flinch of an eyestalk, they'd give their rear dorsal arm to be able to set up some briny pools on the moon. Heh, maybe two of them did?

David Brin said...

yana: — They're into survival of the earth, i'm talking about survival of the species.”

Argh! We cannot do this without both. Earth is an ark of wonders. Humanity may be a rare opportunity for this ark to reproduce. You demand I choose between the body and the testicle. The choice is silly.


“1. History of USSR, marxism stuff -- its distant concerns for you (well, if it is not true, can you state why?) but It Is My Life…”

Then why do you care nothing at all about the RELIGION (marxism) that your persecutors believed in? They used that religion to get tens of millions of lower people to help them. Many of the “vatniks” even believed the religion, so it matters!

Hell, I give 25% chance Putin STILL believes in it.

“Because all people know them, that answers, and there is lots of recent and more important questions to talk about.”

No, you know nothing about them and you have no curiosity about them.

“why you so interested in, why so concerned, in such damn old thing as marxism?”

Their Marxist religion was NOT the ONLY part of their evil. Much of their evil was old fashioned feudal despotism and murderous insanity. But that religion played a big role and you ignore it! Anyone who ignores the role of religion in history, and especially the way that many religions fostered persecution is a fool.

The irony of all of this is that BOTH you and I hate Stalin! You have more personal reasons short term. But he killed plenty of my relatives, too. Your hostility toward me has no merit! No motivation and no basis.

Your hostility is deeply sick.

“do not give a shit to know about real history of My People.”

No sane person would interpret my remarks that way. Moreover, I had earlier shown I have knowledge of Ukrainian history going back to Nevsky, Novgorod and the Rus. I know more Ukrainian history than any American you will ever, ever meet. I know about the Great Purges by Stalin.

And YOU were the one “bragging” about how many relatives you lost.

“your raise of voice and readiness to brag about who lost more -- is just outrageous and what "vatniks" usually do.”

You started the “loss bragging.” You are truly an insane person. And I am almost fed up with you.

*bot said...

Most outrageous claim first.

\\You started the “loss bragging.” You are truly an insane person.

Here the direct quote:

\\its my people, my relatives, was slaughtered during that marxists historical experiments...

Where there is about "more loses", where and what exact words look for you as "bragging"???

I just re-phrased that obvious truth -- that It Is History of My People, not yours.
Therefore it is important to me, emotional thing. That still painful for me, for my country.
But of no importance for you, obviously. Why would you care? And you acting accordingly.

You know -- I can take blame for what I write... but totally can't, about how and why you understand/interpret it -- its your mind showing its true colors.

You are just despicable. And very akin to vatniks in it. With your gas-lighting my true feelings about My Life.

Well, I can bear with it. Russians/Vatniks doing it to ukrainians for numerous years.
And it is quite important observation, to know that ams can be that way...

David Brin said...

You could have had a community here. Interesting people who were interested in what you had to say. We tried very hard to appreciate the ways that you are smart and had interesting insights to offer. We tried hard to overlook your tendency to leap into outrage over insults that you entirely imagined.

But I now see it is hopeless. You are addicted to rage and you are not in any way logical.

I ask you to leave. Go away. You have been a very bad guest and you have spat on my hospitality.

Take your crazy rage response somewhere else.

Let's just agree to go our separate ways. Go... away...

*bot said...

I have no problem to talk even with vatniks. Calmly. And I more than capable to bear with you peculiar views about me and my country history. With your continuous offenses and ad hominem here. It's not a big problem for me.

But if it so big problem for you, we can just agree to not discuss anything between us here. Here is other people and other topics here.

Show me, you can behave as grown up. Agree. Or...

Larry Hart said...


Trump seems to relish the idea of running against [Bernie] Sanders, who he calls "Crazy Bernie," a name Sanders has adopted (analogous to the time when Andrew Jackson's opponents called him a "jackass," so he made the jackass the symbol of his party, which it still is). If Sanders gets the Democratic nomination, Trump will call him a socialist and his ads will probably feature Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong and other people who weren't socialists but who Trump would probably cozy up to if they were alive.

Mike Will said...

The Cheeto always puffs that he'd love to run against whoever the current frontrunner is. He thinks that makes him look smart and brave. He also has a huge tell when he lies bigly. He purses his lips and twists the words out even more slowly than usual. I'd love to play poker with him.

Larry Hart said...

Mike Will:

The Cheeto always puffs that he'd love to run against whoever the current frontrunner is. He thinks that makes him look smart and brave.

He probably thinks that it will make the Democrats support a different candidate for fear of running the one that Trump thinks he'll beat.

I actually remember conservative tv commentator Fred Barnes trying this in the 2008 primaries. The moment Obama became the candidate, Barnes began pontificating about the "fact" that Republicans would rather run against him because they were so scared of Hillary.

He also has a huge tell when he lies bigly. ... I'd love to play poker with him.

Except he wouldn't pay up when he lost. :)

Anonymous said...

Some of you may enjoy the book Commander in Cheat, which looks at Trump through the lens of a golf writer.

Fast read, worth checking out of your local library…

David Brin said...

I will not be told to "behave like a grownup" by a tantrum-throwing rage junky. I have asked pBot to go away. I will allow hiom one mote post in which he can be as clueless and offensive as the last one. Then I will start culling them.

It is with regret. He seems smart and interesting...and completely without perspective, curiosity or self-control.

Go away. Go somewhere else. I mean it. Please, go in peace.

Be a decent person and go away from where you are unwanted.

Alfred Differ said...

On a lighter note, Bill Weld is going to primary Trump.
I think I'll track down his donation page. 8)

yana said...

David Brin thought:

"Earth is an ark of wonders. Humanity may be a rare opportunity for this ark to reproduce. You demand I choose between the body and the testicle. The choice is silly."

Rather, suggest the choice is between egg and sperm. We can't guarantee a whole egg will exist for all time. But today, we can make a sperm with the data to build an egg. Or refertilize an old one.

Mike Will said...

Chicxulub built this ark. It seems strange that no religion worships it (AFAIK).

Alfred Differ said...

I used to think it would be humanity heading for the stars. After learning a bit more biology and then more about human immune systems, I gave up on a simple analogy except for the roving island one. Each of us is a biological island with our own little biomes to which our critters adapt. When we bump into other islands, we swap some. Sneeze, cough, kiss, whatever. The islands are fractal-like, though. At various scales, the scene looks about the same. Communities, species, physical islands, etc.

It won't be humanity going to the stars and setting up colonies along the way. It will be the whole fractal structure of which we are a part. I don't see that there is even a way to avoid this, though we shouldn't want it. means we set up self-feeding colonies on other rocks as soon as possible

Heh. Isn't that essentially what cities are? They don't get built by design very often and there is a perfectly good technique for building the typical ones that actually prosper.

Tim H. said...

Something interesting at The Atlantic:
This takes into account the inertia of a world-wide system, I'm thinking an appropriate analogy would be indigestion, we're asking the ecosystem to handle too much carbon and the reaction is not unlike a middle aged person making the unpleasant discovery that their body can no longer gracefully handle an entire pizza washed down with a half gallon of "Industrial lager". It also implies that a climate overshoot into an ice age from aggressive carbon reduction is also out of our reach, even if "Herr Drumph!" went green. The late Molly Ivins"First rule of holes" still applies, and small steps should not be shunned.

Alfred Differ said...


Bwa-ha-ha! Rigid thinking takes on additional meaning.

Anyway, they are shrinking the response times for observation tech. This brings us closer to computational tests of neural nets trying to imitate what actual brains do.

The title focuses on the prediction of the protein structure.
Much more important is the six to seven orders of magnitude improvement in solution speed.

David Brin said...