"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


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wherein Thingumbob Digresses to Go Fishing

I hate to say I told you so, over and over...but maybe dear reader you need to be reminded if you are not eating fish! Also, for vegetarians, read Ben Franklin's autobiography about why he foundered and ate the flounder.


Eating fish reduces risk of Alzheimer's disease

CHICAGO – People who eat baked or broiled fish on a weekly basis may be improving their brain health and reducing their risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
"This is the first study to establish a direct relationship between fish consumption, brain structure and Alzheimer's risk," said Cyrus Raji, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "The results showed that people who consumed baked or broiled fish at least one time per week had better preservation of gray matter volume on MRI in brain areas at risk for Alzheimer's disease."
Alzheimer's disease is an incurable, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and cognitive skills. According to the National Institute on Aging, as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer's disease. In MCI, memory loss is present but to a lesser extent than in Alzheimer's disease. People with MCI often go on to develop Alzheimer's disease.
For the study, 260 cognitively normal individuals were selected from the Cardiovascular Health Study. Information on fish consumption was gathered using the National Cancer Institute Food Frequency Questionnaire. There were 163 patients who consumed fish on a weekly basis, and the majority ate fish one to four times per week. Each patient underwent 3-D volumetric MRI of the brain. Voxel-based morphometry, a brain mapping technique that measures gray matter volume, was used to model the relationship between weekly fish consumption at baseline and brain structure 10 years later. The data were then analyzed to determine if gray matter volume preservation associated with fish consumption reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease. The study controlled for age, gender, education, race, obesity, physical activity, and the presence or absence of apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4), a gene that increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's.
Gray matter volume is crucial to brain health. When it remains higher, brain health is being maintained. Decreases in gray matter volume indicate that brain cells are shrinking.
The findings showed that consumption of baked or broiled fish on a weekly basis was positively associated with gray matter volumes in several areas of the brain. Greater hippocampal, posterior cingulate and orbital frontal cortex volumes in relation to fish consumption reduced the risk for five-year decline to MCI or Alzheimer's by almost five-fold.
"Consuming baked or broiled fish promotes stronger neurons in the brain's gray matter by making them larger and healthier," Dr. Raji said. "This simple lifestyle choice increases the brain's resistance to Alzheimer's disease and lowers risk for the disorder."
The results also demonstrated increased levels of cognition in people who ate baked or broiled fish.
"Working memory, which allows people to focus on tasks and commit information to short-term memory, is one of the most important cognitive domains," Dr. Raji said. "Working memory is destroyed by Alzheimer's disease. We found higher levels of working memory in people who ate baked or broiled fish on a weekly basis, even when accounting for other factors, such as education, age, gender and physical activity."
Eating fried fish, on the other hand, was not shown to increase brain volume or protect against cognitive decline.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

James Hansen: Global Warming Profiteer Par Excellence



Wow! With this kind of background, it seems like to me he's now qualified to run for President.


Dr. James Hansen’s growing financial scandal, now over a million dollars of outside income

Dr James Hansen
Dr. James Hansen -Image by World Development Movement via Flickr
It seems esteemed NASA astronomer turned climatologist turned paid activist Dr. James Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) has not been reporting some income that he is required by law to do. How long will NASA continue to look the other way? Chris Horner explains. – Anthony
A Summary of James E. Hansen’s NASA Ethics File
By Christopher Horner
NASA records released to resolve litigation filed by the American Tradition Institute reveal that Dr. James E. Hansen, an astronomer, received approximately $1.6 million in outside, direct cash income in the past five years for work related to — and, according to his benefactors, often expressly for — his public service as a global warming activist within NASA.
This does not include six-figure income over that period in travel expenses to fly around the world to receive money from outside interests. As specifically detailed below, Hansen failed to report tens of thousands of dollars in global travel provided to him by outside parties — including to London, Paris, Rome, Oslo, Tokyo, the Austrian Alps, Bilbao, California, Australia and elsewhere, often business or first-class and also often paying for his wife as well — to receive honoraria to speak about the topic of his taxpayer-funded employment, or get cash awards for his activism and even for his past testimony and other work for NASA.
Ethics laws require that such payments or gifts be reported on an SF278 public financial disclosure form. As detailed, below, Hansen nonetheless regularly refused to report this income.
Also, he seems to have inappropriately taken between $10,000 and $26,000 for speeches unlawfully promoting him as a NASA employee. This is despite NASA ordering him to return at least some of the money, with the rest apparently unnoticed by NASA. This raises troubling issues about Hansen’s, and NASA’s, compliance with ethics rules, the general prohibition on not privately benefitting from public service, and even the criminal code prohibition on not having one’s public employment income supplemented. All of this lucrative activity followed Hansen ratcheting up his global warming alarmism and activism to be more political which, now to his possible detriment, he has insisted is part of his job. As he cannot receive outside income for doing his job, he has placed himself in peril, assuming the Department of Justice can find a way to be interested in these revelations.
The following summarizes records produced by the Department of Justice to resolve litigation against the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for refusing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding the required financial disclosures Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
These records are his applications for outside employment or other activity (form 17-60), approvals and accompanying documents, and public financial disclosure (form SF 278).
As detailed in the American Tradition Institute’s lawsuit which yielded these records, Hansen suddenly became the recipient of many, often lucrative offers of outside employment and awards after he escalated his political activism — using his NASA position as a platform, and springboard. This began with a strident “60 Minutes” interview in early 2006, alleging political interference by the Bush administration in climate science.
Hansen acknowledged this timing on his website, noting that first he was offered an award of “a moderate amount of cash– $10,000″ by an outside activist group. He claims to have turned this down because of the nominating process (without elaborating what that meant), and because of the impropriety of appearing to be financially rewarded for his outspokenness (“I was concerned that it may create the appearance that I had spoken out about government censorship [sic] for the sake of the $”).
Given that Hansen makes no bones about his (often outrageous) outspokenness and activism being, in his view, part of his job, this surely is also another way of saying it would look as if he were having his NASA salary supplemented by appreciative activists and others. That would violate the criminal code, 18 U.S.C. 209.
Yet, as the offers soon became larger, Hansen changed his mind.
The records reveal that NASA initially was very direct in warning Hansen of his responsibilities and prohibitions relating to these activities, which covered the subject of his public employment. Later, after Hansen gained much media attention and condemnation of his NASA superiors for (falsely) claiming he had been “muzzled” (the second president named Bush he claimed had muzzled him), certain clear restatements of the law were dropped from the approval letters responding to his applications for outside employment.
NASA oversight of Hansen’s compliance with ethics-related reporting requirements similarly waned. At no point did they seek reconciliation of his serially conflicting attestations detailed here.
Improper Receipt of Outside Income Without Obtaining Advance Permission
Hansen’s 2009 speech at Dartmouth University for a $5,000 honorarium and up to $1,000 in expenses came in violation of the clear rule against promoting his appearances as, or emphasizing his job with, NASA. It also had not been approved. NASA’s Deputy Chief Counsel Laura Giza, after admonishing these violations, demanded he return the improperly obtained money:
“[Y]ou may not accept the offered honorarium and travel expenses. If you’ve already received this money, you need to return it to Dartmouth.
“Also, in the future, if you have not received word that one of your outside activity requests has been approved, or at least that the legal office has concurred in the request, you should contact the Goddard legal office about the request before engaging in that activity. NASA regulations require that you obtain approval for certain outside activities…prior to engaging in that activity. 5 CFR 6901.103(d).”
If there were further correspondence about this demand it would be in NASA’s document production, but there are no such records. The only lawful scenario, therefore, is that Hansen quietly agreed to the demand, but did not inform NASA whether he complied. Otherwise, NASA, Hansen, or both have violated the ethics and/or transparency statutes and regulation.
Yet subsequent financial disclosure forms show Hansen attesting to accepting even more money, between $5,001 and $15,000, for a 2008 speech at Illinois Wesleyan University for which his file, according to NASA, contains no request for permission to engage in this outside employment, or approval to do so (each a condition precedent to lawfully engage in the activity, and to accepting the money).
There is no correspondence about these two glaring discrepancies in his filings reflecting more apparently improperly accepted outside income than most federal employees will ever see in their careers.
In order to continue his employment Hansen would therefore be required to bring himself back in compliance with the ethics rules by returning the money, between somewhere more than $10,000, and $26,000.
Although Hansen reported the income from both honoraria, he did not report receipt of travel expenses for him to get there. This omission is a pattern in his filings, to the tune of surely tens of thousands of dollars for airfare, meals and lodging to locations all around the country and Europe, all required by ethics laws to be reported.
For example, consider these failures to report often elegant air and hotel/resort accommodations received on his SF278 as required by law (the amount of direct cash income received from the party providing him travel, as well, is in parentheses):
  • Blue Planet Prize ($500,000), travel for Hansen and his wife to Tokyo, Japan, 2010
  • Dan David Prize ($500,000), travel to Paris, 2007
  • Sophie Prize ($100,000), Oslo Norway, travel for Hansen and his wife, 2010
  • WWF Duke of Edinburgh Award, Travel for Hansen and his wife, London, 2006
  • Alpbach, Austria (alpine resort)(“business class”, with wife), 2007
  • Shell Oil UK ($10,000), London, 2009
  • FORO Cluster de Energia, travel for Hansen and wife (“business class”), Bilbao, Spain, 2008
  • ACT Coalition, travel for Hansen and wife to London, 2007
  • Progressive Forum ($10,000)(“first class”), to Houston, 2006
  • Progressive Forum ($10,000), to Houston, 2009
  • UCSB ($10,000), to Santa Barbara, CA
  • Nierenberg Prize ($25,000), to San Diego, 2008
  • Nevada Medal ($20,000), to Las Vegas, Reno, 2008
  • EarthWorks Expos, to Denver, 2006
  • California Academy of Science ($1,500), to San Francisco, 2009
  • CalTech ($2,000), travel to Pasadena, CA for Hansen and his wife, 2007
The following is an incomplete list of other travel apparently accepted to make paid speeches and/or receive cash awards but not reported on SF278 financial disclosures:
Boston, Washington, DC (twice); Columbus, OH; Omaha, NE; Wilmington, DE; Ithaca, NY (business class); Chapel Hill, NC; Deerfield, IL (Sierra Club “No Coal” campaign); Dartmouth, NH; Alberta, Canada (as consultant to a law firm helping run an anti-oil sands campaign), Stanford; Minneapolis; Missoula, MT
Other travel apparently accepted but not reported, to provide expert testimony including on cases involving federal policy:
California (Central Valley Chrysler-Jeep v. Witherspoon), Vermont (Green Mountain Chrysler Plymouth etc v. Torti)
Failing to Report Gifts
World Wildlife Fund gave Hansen an engraved Montres Rolex watch, which typically run $8,000 and up (2006), but which was not reported by Hansen on his SF 278 under “gifts”, which must be reported if valued at more than $260.
Failure to Report Receipt of Free Legal Services
On his website Hansen said he began accepting free legal services in 2006. These are not reported on his financial disclosures, as they should be.
Also, NASA’s document production shows him attesting to receiving more, separate free legal services in the form of an amicus brief drafted for he and a few others to intervene before the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA. This was not reported on his SF278, as required.
These lapses on both Hansen’s part and NASA demand scrutiny to determine how laws designed to protect the taxpayer are, or are not, being respected.
###
This story has been updated to correct some small errors  and formatting issues@ 8:15AM and 9:50AM PST 11/19/11

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Have You Eyes But Cannot See?


The drama being displayed here is the alternative to the clock-maker's silly surmise of a "big bang." This marvel is the shockwave form of horn torii that is being created anew continuously in this our well composed and indescribably beautiful and singular universe. Here are the waters of life that move upon the heavens. Here too is the noetic principle that moves humanity beyond its infant cradle upon earth.

Can you see beyond the circumscribed orb of your mere senses, oh child of this, thy destiny? Will you at last put aside these mere baubles that weigh you down even unto oblivion? "Tis time, aye and well past time to waken. The universal voyage upon this awesome sea of potential harmony awaits.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

They Are All Cretans Now

Today's news item--Sarkozy tells Obama Netanyahu is a liar. Yet who to believe?

An Elegant Principle of Non-Entropic Survival

NASA news heralds the discovery under the title "Stellar Extremophiles" that stars form in the most improbable gas impoverished districts of our universe. Of course, in a universe composed according to the universal principle of survival of those forms of organization, thinking, living, and non-living and their interplay, this should surprise no one, except those with a superstitiously, zealous and atavistic belief system that lady luck chaotically governs all...such as Professor Heisenberg.
Heisenberg in a Bonnet

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Greek Tragic Mask Comes Off

Papandreou dismissed demands for rapid elections as championed by the opposition.
“Elections at this moment not only equal disaster but could not take place in the best interest of the people,” he said.
“There is one solution. To support the (EU bailout) deal with a multiparty approach, without elections, with a strong government.”

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Very, Very High Energy Physics

Oh great mother of academia! Let us drink the milk of your beneficence! Give us the mere reflection of your golden fount of knowledge! Today let our awestruck musings betoken our everlasting obeisance to your gracious  munificence as we visit the most profound quest our feeble imaginings have yet to encounter: precisely and unapologetically NOTHING. Viz:

On 'Nothing'
Adam R. Brown, Alex Dahlen
(Submitted on 1 Nov 2011)
Nothing-the absence of spacetime-can be either an endpoint of tunneling, as in the bubble of nothing, or a starting point for tunneling, as in the quantum creation of a universe. We argue that these two tunnelings can be treated within a unified framework, and that, in both cases, nothing should be thought of as the limit of anti-de Sitter space in which the curvature length approaches zero. To study nothing, we study decays in models with perturbatively stabilized extra dimensions, which admit not just bubbles of nothing-topology-changing transitions in which the extra dimensions pinch off and a hole forms in spacetime-but also a whole family of topology-preserving transitions that nonetheless smoothly hollow out and approach the bubble of nothing in one limit. The bubble solutions that are close to this limit, bubbles of next-to- nothing, give us a controlled setting in which to understand nothing. Armed with this understanding, we are able to embed proposed mechanisms for the reverse process, tunneling from nothing to something, within the relatively secure foundation of the Coleman-De Luccia formalism and show that the Hawking-Turok instanton does not mediate the quantum creation of a universe.
High Energy Physicist? 

Friday, November 04, 2011

Thugocracy on Display

“To have a default and to have real difficulty paying wages to the public servants, to the schools, to the hospitals, it will mean the paralysis of the country. I΄m sure the majority of the Greek people are reasonable people and that they don΄t want that kind of chaos to come to their country.”

This from European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. This ever so honorable gentleman and his ilk have been labelled "technocrats" by the fawning media. I put this question to you, dear reader-- How does this stated sentiment of el Presidente Licenciado Barroso toward the Greek people differ (except in the sheer enormity of scale) from the shakedown tactics of a Mafia Capo extortionist?




Blog Archive