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How Your Brain Is Like The Cosmic Web July 22, 2017

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Interestingly enough, the total number of neurons in the human brain falls in the same ballpark of the number of galaxies in the observable universe.

It is truly a remarkable fact that the cosmic web is more similar to the human brain than it is to the interior of a galaxy; or that the neuronal network is more similar to the cosmic web than it is to the interior of a neuronal body. Despite extraordinary differences in substrate, physical mechanisms, and size, the human neuronal network and the cosmic web of galaxies, when considered with the tools of information theory, are strikingly similar.

http://nautil.us/issue/50/emergence/the-strange-similarity-of-neuron-and-galaxy-networks

Boom – See the Shock Wave June 8, 2017

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Super SloMo

Can you see the 4 Concentric circles that never touch? June 3, 2017

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About How Long is a Day in the Solar System? May 31, 2017

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In an Internet Minute… May 9, 2017

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How to Disagree March 25, 2017

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If we’re all going to be disagreeing more, we should be careful to do it well. What does it mean to disagree well? Most readers can tell the difference between mere name-calling and a carefully reasoned refutation, but I think it would help to put names on the intermediate stages. So here’s an attempt at a disagreement hierarchy:

Source: How to Disagree

If Great Scientists Had Logos March 25, 2017

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The Age that You Peak at Everything March 25, 2017

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Age That You PeakMany of the points mark the middle of an age range that scientists have identified, which means they are all determined by averages. Some are also surveys, not controlled trials, so there is a possibility the self-reports don’t capture the most accurate picture.But in many cases, the numbers keep cropping up for a reason, which is that life isn’t a downhill slide from youth.Here’s what you have to look forward to.

Source: The peak age for beauty, wealth, and more – Business Insider

International Cultural Stereotypes March 20, 2017

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. Lewis, after visiting 135 countries and working in more than 20 of them, came to the conclusion that humans can be divided into 3 clear categories, based not on nationality or religion but on BEHAVIOUR. He named his typologies Linear-active, Multi-active and Reactive.

Source: The Lewis Model – Dimensions of Behaviour | Cross Culture

5MB IBM Hard Drive, 1956 February 23, 2017

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If you want to understand a culture, look at its drugs of choice. February 23, 2017

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Scarface!!!!!!!!!!1“Drugs have always reflected a simpler, consistent truism. Sometimes we have wanted out of ourselves, sometimes we’ve wanted out of society, sometimes out of boredom or out of poverty; but always, whatever the case, we have wanted out. One can only guess where this is leading America and Trumponomics will be hard pressed to reverse it. In the past, this desire was always temporary — to recharge our batteries, to find a space away from our experiences and the demands of living pressed upon us. However, more recently, drug use has become about finding a durable, lengthier, existential escape — a desire that is awfully close to self-obliteration.”

Source: If you want to understand a culture, look at its drugs of choice.

Video Games and Unemployment February 2, 2017

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Temptation_of_ipadA few decades ago, an unemployed person might be stuck on the couch watching TV, isolated and depressed. Today, cheap or free services such as Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Netflix provide seemingly endless entertainment options and an easy connection to the outside world. Video games, in particular, provide a strong community and a sense of achievement that, for some, real-world jobs lack.

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Bill Perry Is Terrified. Why Aren’t You?  January 7, 2017

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When I was a child, I often had nightmares that ended in a blinding nuclear flash. I became an evangelist for building basement fallout shelters and actually convinced one neighbor to build and stock one.
We have been lulled back into a false-sense of security. Our aging minuteman missiles, which still run on floppy discs, are our biggest risk for an accidental annihilation of civilization, as we know it. The Russians have no early warning satellites left in orbit, so their paranoid that we could launch an ICBM leadership-decapitating sneak attack,has been to develop a six thousand-mile range remote-controlled thermonuclear torpedo, which could destroy a coastal city. Russia still openly discusses using tactical nuclear weapons in regional conflicts, without apparently appreciating the resulting inevitable escalation.

Hbomb-detonation-colorized

The mechanics of building a crude nuclear device are easily within the reach of well-educated and well-funded militants. The crate would arrive at Dulles International Airport, disguised as agricultural freight. The truck bomb that detonates on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and Capitol instantly kills the president, vice president, House speaker, and 80,000 others.Where exactly is your office? Your house? And then, as Perry spins it forward, how credible would you find the warnings, soon delivered to news networks, that five more bombs are set to explode in unnamed U.S. cities, once a week for the next month, unless all U.S. military personnel overseas are withdrawn immediately?If this particular scenario does not resonate with you, Perry can easily rattle off a long roster of others—a regional war that escalates into a nuclear exchange, a miscalculation between Moscow and Washington, a computer glitch at the exact wrong moment. They are all ilks of the same theme—the dimly understood threat that the science of the 20th century is set to collide with the destructive passions of the 21st.“We’re going back to the kind of dangers we had during the Cold War,” Perry said. “I really thought in 1990, 1991, 1992, that we left those behind us. We’re starting to re-invent them. We and the Russians and others don’t understand that what we’re doing is re-creating those dangers—or maybe they don’t remember the dangers. For younger people, they didn’t live through those dangers. But when you live through a Cuban Missile Crisis up close and you live through a false alarm up close, you do understand how dangerous it is, and you believe you should do everything you could possibly do to [avoid] going back.”

Source: Bill Perry Is Terrified. Why Aren’t You? – POLITICO Magazine

If you want to read further on this risk http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/world-war-three-by-mistake

A Brave New World Order December 18, 2016

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, philosophy & politics.
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ChinaUSAPuzzleJapan had the first world leader to meet with President-elect Trump. For the first time in eleven years, Putin just visited Japan for two days of talks. Trump’s proposed Secretary of State was awarded a Friendship medal by Vladimir Putin. What if anything do these have in common? Maybe nothing, but I can’t help but consider the implications for a Grand Alliance  between Japan, Russia and the United States to contain China’s expansionist tendencies

Until recently, only Mao and Deng Xiaoping have achieved the title of “Core Leader”.  Deng wanted the Communist Party to become a consensus-based system with rotating leadership and he would be the last Core leader. Current Premier Xi has put the end to that with his recent appointment as Core leader. We will have to see if this turns out to be an over-reach or the start of Emperor Xi’s dynasty.

China has always been a difficult country to rule. There are five distinct regions and multiple languages. There have only been a few times where a dynasty has been able to rule them all. Revolutions start, not when things are at their worst, but when rising expectations are dashed. Xi can see the demographic wall they are about slam into, as a result of the one-child policy lasting too long. He also knows that there will be economic dislocations, as they try to change from an Export-driven to a Consumer Society.

His biggest threat internally may not come from the aging establishment’s backlash, but from a youthful burgeoning left-wing Maoist movement. That is why the charismatic populist Bo Xilai was the victim of one of the first Stalin-like Show Trails. Xilai’s popular message was that Mao’s revolution has been hijacked by the corrupt Princelings – a group that Xi was fortunate enough to be born into.

China doesn’t it view itself as a Rising Power, but a a Returning Power. After all, with just 250 years under their belt, these Americans are only upstarts.  While Kissinger was secretly meeting with Deng for Nixon’s Machiavellian opening to China, he asked Deng what he though about the French Revolution. After a pause, he said “We’ll have to see how it turns out”.  China takes the long view of history and their future.

Embattled leaders will often use external threats to distract a restless populace. Xi knows the end of China’s economic miracle will bring unrest. Xi’s expansionist foreign policy has unnerved its neighbors, the most powerful of which are Russia and Japan. They could be open to a Grand Alliance with the United States to counter China’s rise. After all the US joined with Stalin to defeat what we thought was the greater foe – Hitler.

There is no love lost between Russia and China. They fought a seven month undeclared border war in 1969.  China is financially taking over Mongolia and expects its other neighbors to eventually become vassal states also.

Russia had always been torn. It’s either a European or an Asian power. The construction of St. Petersburg was supposed to tilt Russia to the West. Putin rose to power from there. He has revived the Russian orthodox church. Putin’s Russia feels more comfortable with the West than the East. Russia is a declining power, who is afraid of the dragon’s growing power on it’s western borders. Japan is afraid too. Fear of a common enemy can make for strange bedfellows. Trump’s unconstrained collection of  no-nonsense generals and plutocratic deal makers could think far enough outside the box to try and pull off such a Grand Bargain.

The Developing World Thinks Hitler Is Underrated November 27, 2016

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff, Geopolitics, News and politics, philosophy & politics.
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http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/10/05/the-developing-world-thinks-hitler-is-underrated-duterte-world-war-ii-nazi-politics/

(COL) *20.04.1889-30.04.1945+ Politiker, NSDAP, D Lagebesprechung im Hauptquartier der Heeresgruppe S¸d in Saporoshje (Ukraine); Hitler mit der Generalit‰t am Kartentisch (v.l.): Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein, Adolf Hitler, General Theodor Busse, Generalfeldmarschall Ewald von Kleist - 19.02.1943 Foto: Walter Frentz "english_caption" Hitler and the generals look at maps during a briefing at the headquarters of 'Heeresgruppe Sued' (Army Squad South) at Saporoshje (Ukraine). From left: General Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, Adolf Hitler, General Theodor Busse, General Field Marshal Ewald von Kleist - 02.19.1943 Picture: Walter Frentz "english_e


– 19.02.1943
Foto: Walter Frentz
“english_caption” Hitler and the generals look at maps during a briefing at the headquarters of ‘Heeresgruppe Sued’ (Army Squad South) at Saporoshje (Ukraine). From left: General Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, Adolf Hitler, General Theodor Busse, General Field Marshal Ewald von Kleist
– 02.19.1943
Picture: Walter Frentz “english_e

Yet in much of the developing world, where ignorance regarding the Holocaust and Hitler’s fantasies of world domination is rife, he is perceived less as a mass murderer and ideologue of global conquest than as a stern disciplinarian who addressed social ills in a briskly efficient manner. His is a legacy of “law and order,” not of horrific chaos and collapsed cities. Additionally, and crucially, in the non-Western world the name Hitler can connote “anti-imperialist rebel” due to the German leader’s nationalistic struggle against “Anglo-French-American-Zionist domination.”

(more…)

How a Solar Flare Almost Triggered a Nuclear War in 1967 August 11, 2016

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Hbomb-detonation-colorizedOn May 23, 1967, multiple radar installations in the Arctic suddenly and inexplicably went dark.The U.S. military believed the Soviets had managed to disable the Early Warning System. With war imminent, the Air Force began prepping aircraft equipped with nuclear weapons. However, those aircraft never launched, as commanders received crucial information at the last minute that may have averted full-scale nuclear war.

That information came from the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) newly established Solar Forecasting Center. A few days prior, it had detected a massive solar storm, one of the largest of the century. The storm produced solar flares and radio bursts that knocked out communications around the world, including the Air Force’s Early Warning System.

The Solar Forecasting Center issued a bulletin warning that severe solar flares were incoming, and that bulletin managed to reach a commanding officer in time to avert action against the Soviets. If that bulletin had been delayed a few minutes, those nuclear aircraft could have launched, and the solar flares would have made it impossible to communicate in the air. If those aircraft had launched, there would have been no way to call them back.

Source: How a Solar Flare Almost Triggered a Nuclear War in 1967

How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes August 6, 2016

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It’s not just Trump who is worried about a rigged election; it should be all of us.

With Russia already meddling in 2016, a ragtag group of obsessive tech experts is warning that stealing the ultimate prize—victory on Nov. 8—would be child’s play.

Source: How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes – POLITICO Magazine

Whose News do you Trust? July 25, 2016

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The Religion of Politics June 18, 2016

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PoliticsOfReligion

Why Facebook Is A Hotbed For Conspiracy Theories June 18, 2016

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The findings retin_foil_hat-218x300inforce prior studies that have shown that trying to debunk skeptics never works, and perhaps now we know why. Conspiracy theorists don’t join social networks to learn, they join them to hear comforting reinforcements of their own ideas. And if you disrupt their happy place with scientific facts, you’re not going to get very far. The study also suggests that social media, especially Facebook, has provided a particularly strong breeding ground for extreme ideas by creating a forum for loners to establish large communities that echo similar, strange beliefs.

Source: Why Facebook Is A Hotbed For Conspiracy Theories – Vocativ

Fish eat plastic like teens eat fast food, researchers say June 3, 2016

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The fish that did hatch in these waters with high quantities of micro-plastics were “smaller, slower, and more stupid” than those that hatched in clean waters, lead author Dr Oona Lonnstedt, from Uppsala University, said.When exposed to predators, about half the young perch from clean waters survived for 24 hours. Those that had been raised with the strongest plastic concentrations were all consumed by pike over the same period.

junkfoodMost surprising for the research team was the way that plastic changed food preferences.

“They all had access to zooplankton and yet they decided to just eat plastic in that treatment. It seems to be a chemical or physical cue that the plastic has, that triggers a feeding response in fish,” Dr Lonnstedt told BBC News. “They are basically fooled into thinking it’s a high-energy resource that they need to eat a lot of. I think of it as unhealthy fast food for teenagers, and they are just stuffing themselves.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-36435288

Which stars were you really born under? May 26, 2016

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did you know around 86% of us were actually born under a different constellation to our star sign?

Source: BBC iWonder – Which stars were you really born under?

Why Trump and Sanders May 17, 2016

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What do Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have in common?  – an authoritarian agenda.

The rise of Donald Trump has been accompanied by predictable murmurs of “only in America”. But the Trump phenomenon is better understood as part of a global trend: the return of the “strongman” leader in international politics.

Rather than leading the way, America has arrived late at this dispiriting party. Historians might one day highlight the year 2012 as the turning point. In May of that year Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin as president of Russia. A few months later Xi Jinping was installed as general secretary of the Chinese Communist party.

 Democracies elected Hitler and Mussolini to get their dysfunctional democracies working again. Citizens were willing to give up certain rights for the security of knowing that Mussolini would ” get the trains to run on time”.

In fact, Mr Trump exhibits many of the characteristics of the current crop of strongman leaders, including Messrs Putin, Xi, Erdogan, Sisi, Modi, Orban and Duterte.

Bernie Sanders promises that the power of government would rectify disgruntled voters discontent with Income inequality and wage reversals. Donald Trump promised that his bullying would get things back to where they once were. Both are authoritarian attitudes, relecting the world-wide trend of the return of the strongmen.

Rise of the Strongman

Millennials (and Xers) Taking the Tough Mudder Pledge | Saeculum Research Blog May 9, 2016

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http://blog.saeculumresearch.com/2012/11/millennials-and-xers-taking-the-tough-mudder-pledge/

Liberals Are Simple-Minded – Reason.com January 18, 2016

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It is almost a truism among psychological researchers that conservatives are simple-minded and dogmatic. Liberals, meanwhile, are supposed to be more complex and open-minded thinkers. But a new paper is calling those conclusions into question.

The more interesting and telling results were found when comparing the liberal and conservative results derived from the environmentalism and religion dogmatism scales. The researchers report, “Conservatives are indeed more dogmatic on the religious domain; but liberals are more dogmatic on the environmental domain.” In fact, they note that “the highest score for simplicity was for liberals” (emphasis theirs).

They note that liberals scored high for dogmatism in response to these three items:

9. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are for the truth that the planet is warming and those who are against that obvious truth.

3. When it comes to stopping global warming, it is better to be a dead hero than a live coward.

10. A person who thinks primarily of his/her own happiness, and in so doing disregards the health of the environment (for example, trees and other animals), is beneath contempt.

The researchers point out, “Those are not just statements about having an environmental position: They are explicitly and overwhelmingly dogmatic statements. And liberals are more likely to agree with such sentiments—for an environmental domain.” The liberal respondents are not just asserting “‘I am an environmentalist’ but rather ‘all people who disagree with me are fools.'”

Ultimately, the researchers report that both liberals and conservatives are almost equally simple-minded when it comes to topics about which they feel strongly

Source: Liberals Are Simple-Minded – Reason.com

And we may be born with a proclivity for being Conservative or Liberal.

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