"The mind is a compact, multiply connected thought mass with internal connections of the most intimate kind. It grows continuously as new thought masses enter it, and this is the means by which it continues to develop."

Bernhard Riemann On Psychology and Metaphysics ca. 1860

Today's Elites

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Mental illness rise linked to climate"

The greenshirts have collectively lost their marbles long, long ago.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Good News on the Fight Against Disease

Scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have discovered that a mysterious class of large RNAs plays a central role in embryonic development, contrary to the dogma that proteins alone are the master regulators of this process. The research, published online August 28 in the journal Nature, reveals that these RNAs orchestrate the fate of embryonic stem (ES) cells by keeping them in their fledgling state or directing them along the path to cell specialization.

Embryonic stem cells can follow one of two main routes. They can either differentiate, becoming cells of a specific lineage such as blood cells or neurons, or they can stay in a pluripotent state, duplicating themselves without losing the ability to become any cell in the body. When the researchers turned off each lincRNA in turn, they found dozens that suppress genes that are important only in specific kinds of cells. They also found dozens of lincRNAs that cause the stem cells to exit the pluripotent state.
"It's a balancing act," said Guttman. "To maintain the pluripotent state, you need to repress differentiation genes."
The researchers also uncovered a critical clue about how lincRNAs carry out their important job. Through biochemical analysis, they found that lincRNAs physically interact with key proteins involved in influencing cell fate to coordinate their responses.
"The lincRNAs appear to play an organizing role, acting as a scaffold to assemble a diverse group of proteins into functional units," said John Rinn, an author on the paper, an assistant professor at Harvard University and Medical School, and a senior associate member of the Broad Institute. "lincRNAs are like team captains, bringing together the right players to get a job done."
"By understanding how these interactions form, we may be able to engineer these RNAs to do what we want them to do," said Guttman. "This could make it possible to target key genes that are improperly regulated in disease."

Obama's Long Lost Uncle Arrested for Drunk Driving

Unlike his uncle Onyango, Barack Obama is driving the whole nation into the ditch, made drunk with power and lovesick by too much staring at his own image in the rear view mirror...

Strange Bedfellow?

Abdelhakim Behadj a.k.a. Abu Abdullah Assadaq is the commander of Tripoli Military Council. It appears that this person is none other than a high ranking Al Qaeda operative...Is NATO -- a.k.a. the war council of President Obama -- once again in the tender embrace of Al Qaeda?

Lilliputians Are At It Again

Both the admittedly Aristotelean Deus Ex Machina dreadfully pitiful argument and the premise of random point mutations a la Darwin are dead wrong. The negative entropy exhibited by human scientific progress demonstrates for anyone willing to honestly consider it that the universe is bounded  by a lawful ordering by vectored interactions among the lithosphere, biosphere, and noosphere.

Things don't just go bump in the night and somehow evolve; nor does an impotent and dead clock winding god set things into a nightmarish increasing disorder.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Libya: The Humanitarian Mask Comes Off

There are also reports of hospitals being “overwhelmed” with casualties and “dozens of decomposing bodies …piled up at one hospital in the area… One room had 21 lying on stretchers, while 20 more were left in a courtyard. It was not clear who killed the men, or when they died.”
Also, reports by Amnesty International that it has evidence that both pro-Gaddafi forces and rebels abused detainees in their care:
Guards loyal to Col Gaddafi raped child detainees at Abu Salim prison, Amnesty said. It also accused rebels of beating prisoners, including a boy conscripted by Gaddafi forces who surrendered to the rebels at Bir Tirfas.
Hmm…Interesting…So NATO’s humanitarian intervention (i.e. bombing)has led to widespread inhuman and depraved acts that always accompanies low intensity insurgencies? As the talking heads are wont to utter, who could possibly have foreseen this?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ask Not What Is Debt? Ask What Is the Physical Economy...

While much of Mr Graeber’s work is unobjectionable and his criticism of the IMF, et al. is appreciated, the problem is that the entire field of academic “economics” itself is a fraud. It entirely leaves out of the question that there is a physical economy apart from money. And, it just so happens that that study of the improvements in that physical economy and how populations are sustained at increasing standards of living is the only way out of the current monetary crisis. Yes, debt moratoria are required, but then the question is what sorts of long term investments are necessary to pull the world away from the last 50 years of looting the world’s physical economy?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

From Pizza to Stem Cells

Having burnt the roof of my mouth many times over from over eagerly chomping into too hot pizza, I naturally was struck by how quickly that burnt skin up there (or oral mucosa) heals. After reading about regenerative research on worms and lizards, I tried googling research on this topic. Alas, I lacked the proper term: oral mucosa! Now, I have it. Eureka! Bravo Sandu Pitaru, et al!

"Open Wide" for New Stem Cell Potential
Stem cells of the oral mucosa stay young, says TAU researcher
While highly potent embryonic stem cells are often the subject of ethical and safety controversy, adult-derived stem cells have other problems. As we age, our stem cells are less pliant and less able to transform into the stem cells that science needs to find breakthrough treatments for disease.
An exception to this can be found in the stem cells of oral mucosa, the membrane that lines the inside of our mouths. These cells do not seem to age along with the rest of our bodies. In his lab at Tel Aviv University'sGoldschleger School of Dental Medicine,Prof. Sandu Pitaru and his graduate students Keren Marinka-KalmanySandra TrevesMiri Yafee and Yossi Gafni, have successfully collected cells from oral mucosa and manipulated them into stem cells.
Though taken from adult tissues, these oral stem cells are almost as easy to manipulate as embryonic stem cells, Prof. Pitaru discovered. His research, which has been published in the journal Stem Cell, opens a new door to stem cell research and potential therapies for neurodegenerative, heart,  and autoimmune diseases, as well as diabetes.
The healing powers of Wolverine
Dentists have long been aware of some of the unique properties of the oral mucosa, says Prof. Pitaru. "Wounds in the oral mucosa heal by regeneration, which means that the tissue reverts completely back to its original state," he says. A wound that might take weeks to heal and leave a life-long scar on the skin will be healed in a matter of days inside the mouth, regardless of the patient's age. Except for the mouth, this type of healing usually occurs only in very young organisms and lower amphibians, such as the lizards that can regenerate their tails.
Prof. Pitaru set out to determine if oral mucosa could be a source for young, fetal-like stem cells with this unique healing ability. Even when obtained from an older patient, he says, these stem cells still have properties of young or primitive stem cells — which have a high capacity to be transformed into different tissues. Prof. Pitaru and his fellow researchers have already succeeded in coaxing oral mucosa stem cells into becoming other significant cells, including bone, cartilage, muscle, and even neurons.
All this, says Prof. Pitaru, is derived from a miniscule biopsy of tissue, measuring 1 by 2 by 3 millimeters. "We are able to grow trillions of stem cells from this small piece of tissue," he explains. The site of the biopsy is readily accessible, and patients experience minimal discomfort and require almost no healing time. This makes the mouth a convenient site for harvesting stem cells.
A safe and effective alternative
Prof. Pitaru and his fellow researchers are currently in pre-clinical trials, implanting these stem cells into various tissues within small rodents. Their projects include researching the impact of the innovative cells as a treatment for chronic heart failure; neurodegenerative diseases; inflammatory autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease; and diabetes.
These diseases are most likely to affect the elderly, and the oral mucosa stem cells would offer a more safe and effective alternative to both embryonic and adult-derived stem cells. Despite their therapeutic potential, patients would be required to take immunosuppressant therapies when being treated with implanted embryonic cells to ensure that the body does not reject the foreign cells. Once implanted, embryonic stem cells often cause tumors to form, Prof. Pitaru says. "Stem cells taken from the tissue of elderly patients have growth limitations and reduced functional capacities."
Stem cells derived from the oral mucosa, however, avoid the pitfalls of their predecessors. Because they stay young, they behave as fetal cells, but there is no danger of rejection because they are taken directly from the patient. And they show no signs of developing the aggressive tumors that surround implantation of embryonic stem cells. With limited risk and high therapeutic potential, these cells could step in to fill a major medical need, Prof. Pitaru concludes.

For more news about cardiac health research from Tel Aviv University, click here.
Keep up with the latest AFTAU news on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AFTAUnews.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Pusillanimity of Academia

This item reported on today demonstrates how really truly impotent and pedantic are these supposed scientists:

"Study shows powerful corporations really do control the world's finances"
(PhysOrg.com) -- "For many years conventional wisdom has said that the whole world is controlled by the monied elite, or more recently by the huge multi-national corporations that seem to sometime control the very air we breathe. Now, new research by a team based in ETH-Zurich, Switzerland, has shown that what we’ve suspected all along, is apparently true. The team has uploaded their results onto the preprint server arXiv."

What this study studiously avoids is that there are a network of families that control world finance. They are none other than the British and Dutch royalty, which comprise the Inter Alpha group. However, that characterization is somewhat misleading, because these families are actually not based in states per se. They have always been a shadow oligarchy controlling Europe and most of the globe that knows no state boundaries, inter-marrying in a rather incestuous manner. Take Prince Phillip(who declares that he desires to be reincarnated as a virus to control population) for instance. He's Greek.
Very learned and studious

Friday, August 19, 2011

Meditation Upon Obama's Vacation

I have just Googled the perfect spa for our illustrious President to visit while at Martha's Vineyard. It is the Martha's Vineyard Community Services Adult Mental Health Services. Please Mr. President: do the honorable thing now!

The Unutterably Execrable State of Obama's "Space" Program--OR Who Spiked NASA's Coffee with LSD?

No dear reader this is not an April Fools Day prank. Would that it were...To wit:

Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists

Rising greenhouse emissions could tip off aliens that we are a rapidly expanding threat, warns a report

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rotten Ideology

How Computational Complexity Will Revolutionize Philosophy

The theory of computation has had a profound influence on philosophical thinking. But computational complexity theory is about to have an even bigger effect, argues one computer scientist.

KFC 08/10/2011

Since the 1930s, the theory of computation has profoundly influenced philosophical thinking about topics such as the theory of the mind, the nature of mathematical knowledge and the prospect of machine intelligence. In fact, it's hard to think of an idea that has had a bigger impact on philosophy.

And yet there is an even bigger philosophical revolution waiting in the wings. The theory of computing is a philosophical minnow compared to the potential of another theory that is currently dominating thinking about computation.

At least, this is the view of Scott Aaronson, a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Today, he puts forward a persuasive argument that computational complexity theory will transform philosophical thinking about a range of topics such as the nature of mathematical knowledge, the foundations of quantum mechanics and the problem of artificial intelligence.

Computational complexity theory is concerned with the question of how the resources needed to solve a problem scale with some measure of the problem size, call it n. There are essentially two answers. Either the problem scales reasonably slowly, like n, n^2 or some other polynomial function of n. Or it scales unreasonably quickly, like 2^n, 10000^n or some other exponential function of n.

So while the theory of computing can tell us whether something is computable or not, computational complexity theory tells us whether it can be achieved in a few seconds or whether it'll take longer than the lifetime of the Universe.

That's hugely significant. As Aaronson puts it: "Think, for example, of the difference between reading a 400-page book and reading every possible such book, or between writing down a thousand-digit number and counting to that number."

He goes on to say that it's easy to imagine that once we know whether something is computable or not, the problem of how long it takes is merely one of engineering rather than philosophy. But he then goes on to show how the ideas behind computational complexity can extend philosophical thinking in many areas.

Take the problem of artificial intelligence and the question of whether computers can ever think like humans. Roger Penrose famously argues that they can't in his bookThe Emperor's New Mind. He says that whatever a computer can do using fixed formal rules, it will never be able to 'see' the consistency of its own rules. Humans, on the other hand, can see this consistency.

One way to measure the difference between a human and computer is with a Turing test. The idea is that if we cannot tell the difference between the responses given by a computer and a human, then there is no measurable difference.

But imagine a computer that records all conversations it hears between humans. Over time, this computer will build up a considerable database that it can use to make conversation. If it is asked a question, it looks up the question in its database and reproduces the answer given by a real human.

In this way a computer with a big enough look up table can always have a conversation that is essentially indistinguishable from one that humans would have

"So if there is a fundamental obstacle to computers passing the Turing Test, then it is not to be found in computability theory," says Aaronson.

Instead, a more fruitful way forward is to think about the computational complexity of the problem. He points out that while the database (or look up table) approach "works," it requires computational resources that grow exponentially with the length of the conversation.

Aaronson points out that this leads to a powerful new way to think about the problem of AI. He says that Penrose could say that even though the look up table approach is possible in principle, it is effectively impractical because of the huge computational resources it requires.

By this argument, the difference between humans and machines is essentially one of computational complexity.

That's an interesting new line of thought and just one of many that Aaronson explores in detail in this essay.Of course, he acknowledges the limitations of computational complexity theory. Many of the fundamental tenets of the theory, such as P ≠ NP, are unproven; and many of the ideas only apply to serial, deterministic Turing machines, rather than the messier kind of computing that occurs in nature.

But he says these criticisms do not allow philosophers (or anybody else) to arbitrarily dismiss the arguments of complexity theory. Indeed, many of these criticisms raise interesting philosophical questions in themselves.

Computational complexity theory is a relatively new discipline which builds on advances made in the 70s, 80s and 90s. And that's why it's biggest impacts are yet to come.

Aaronson points us in the direction of some of them in an essay that is thought provoking, entertaining and highly readable. If you have an hour or two to spare, it's worth a read.

If the readers of this review are not able of their own accord to comprehend the unbridgeable gulf that separates the human creative mind from any possible mechanical device they are hopelessly lost (or perhaps dead) souls.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Greenspan says print more money

With lunatics like Greenspan, Geithner, and Bernanke running the printing presses in the mistaken belief that they will save their friends' financial houses, one is reminded of nothing so much as the scene in Dr. Strangelove where Slim Pickens rides the bomb to oblivion with a roaring "Yahoo!" This is what these "masterminds" are now doing in real life, i.e. blowing up the system. So, dear friends, either we have a forced bankruptcy of these terminally insane financial houses by restoring Glass Steagall or  we go down...

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Downgrade Standard and Poor's!

Anyone who believes that Standard and Poors should determine the credit worthiness of the United States is a damnable and sniveling fool. Alexander Hamilton provided the tonic for removing this sovereign Republic from the grasp of a financial oligarchy based in the City of London. His named antagonist in his reports to Congress was none other than Adam Smith. Smith's doctrine that wealth was merely the product of buying and selling to get money, and that mankind must only be concerned with the principle of pleasure and pain and not the consequences of our actions upon the future of humanity is the epitome of a slave's (or rather a subject's) mentality.  For the most part, both sides of the aisle accept (and that unthinkingly and blindly) these tenets of Adam Smith's wretched ideology. The idea that the moneyed interests rule is their unshakable conviction. This is why they cower at the likes of S&P.
The simple fact is that everything decent our nation has accomplished has been based upon the exact opposite principle. We have led the world because we have had a vision that our nation has a mission to uplift mankind and that the purpose of government is precisely to provide for the general welfare of future generations yet unborn. It is well past high time we throw off the shackles of the craven belief that "money rules the world." What is required is that our  citizens exhibit a backbone again and impose a swift end to the control of these financiers by re-enacting FDR's Glass-Steagall. Call or write your Congressman now to support Marcy Kaptur's Glass Steagall Bill H.R.1489 and Maurice Hinchey's Glass-Steagall bill H.R.2451

Friday, August 05, 2011

The Babbling of Snake Oil Salesmen

Today's spate of media establishment hand-wringing, morning-after articles supposedly analyzing the current economic crises all miss the simple fact that we are at the tail end of the chimerical post industrial/consumer society hoax. The build up over some fifty years of ruinous speculative forms of illegitimate debt, a.k.a. derivatives securities, is like a terminal cancer on our system. The Federal Reserve and Treasury's bailout mania has only worsened this monstrosity by feeding that cancer... The only solution is to cut loose this muti-trillion anti-productive succubus in a similar fashion to what FDR did. First we must re-enact Glass Steagall and let the so called financial houses on Wall Street choke on their useless gambling derivatives. Secondly the government must issue credits to be used in physically productive, high technology, long term investments. That is the only basis upon which our nation will ever return to prosperity and a decent future.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

A Whiff (!) of Corruption at the IMF--Eau de Diabolique

Alack and alas!  alas. How could the unthinkable happen? The new IMF directrix appears tainted by financial scandal. Mon dieu. But her contract said this was not supposed to happen. What? Are there no clean hands in high finance these days? Oh, woe is us.

69% Say It's Likely Scientists Have Falsified Global Warming Research

I guess it’s like honest Abe said…

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

An Existential Dilemma for the Greenshirts

"Nearly half of the Earth's heat comes from the radioactive decay of materials inside, according to a large international research collaboration that includes a Kansas State University physicist."

So I guess that mother earth is a really just a nuclear reactor perpetually melting down. You greenies better start figuring  a way off the planet. Oh wait, your commander in chief Obama just shut down the space program. Tsk, tsk...
Gaia and Her Incestuous Brood

The Unconstitutional "Super Congress" Council of Twelve

The so-called Venetian Republic's council of ten did the bidding of a small and criminal oligarchy and carried out political assassinations of its opponents with impunity. This Venetian sort of tyranny is what James Fenimore Cooper exposed in his novel The Bravo. If we accept this new form of "Super Congress," then we shall have an outright tyranny of twelve handpicked henchmen of Wall Street, and our true form of constitutional republic will be no more a republic than the quondam oligarchic charade known as the Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia. Obama aspires to be nothing more than Il Doge, a figurehead lap dog of this brave new world.

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