Invasive species and opposing natural selction

June 1, 2018

Sweden is planning to declare the mouflon to be an invasive species. It would then be politically acceptable to eradicate the species.

“The mouflon (Ovis orientalis orientalis group) is a subspecies group of the wild sheep (Ovis orientalis). Populations of O. orientalis can be partitioned into the mouflons (orientalis group) and the urials (vignei group). The mouflon is thought to be one of the two ancestors for all modern domestic sheep breeds.” – Wikipedia

 

I find much of “conservation” sanctimonious, hypocritical and illogical.


 

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MH370 search ends – not pilot suicide but the most successful state hijacking ever

May 29, 2018

So the “official” private search has ended.

A privately funded search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has drawn to a close. US-based company Ocean Infinity had been using a deep-sea vessel to conduct a 90-day survey of a vast area of the southern Indian Ocean.

But it found nothing and Malaysia’s government says it has no plans to begin any new searches. The plane disappeared on 8 March 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. There are still fierce debates over how the flight ended.

The hunt for the missing plane formed one of the largest surface and underwater searches in aviation history, covering more than 120,000 sq km (46,300 miles) of the Indian Ocean.

A few weeks ago the disinformation machine tried to pin the blame on a suicidal pilot – but it was all speculation and fairly idle speculation at that. The most credible explanation – which is still fairly incredulous remains the one I posted on April 13th, 2014 about 5 weeks after the event – that this was the most successful state-sponsored hijacking event ever.

MH370: The most successful, state-sponsored hijacking ever?

…….

This was no accident!

The most parsimonious explanation is that this vanishing trick was the deliberate and intended result of an operation which was spectacularly and successfully implemented.

Who then and why?

There were 20 Chinese software experts on board. They had been working for Freescale Technology in Texas on technology which could convert ordinary aircraft into “stealth” aircraft. Patents had been applied for but have not yet been granted. MH 370 was carrying a “large” package as a Chinese diplomatic package and was therefore not subject to any search or security procedures. The speculative, uncorroborated but plausible and most parsimonious explanation becomes:

  1. The Chinese software engineers “stole” technology on behalf of the Chinese government from Freescale.
  2. Freescale was slow in picking up the theft and alerting the authorities.
  3. US intelligence and security agencies were unable to prevent the engineers and their package from reaching Malaysia.
  4. They were also unable to prevent the engineers boarding MH370 bound for Beijing or the precious cargo from being loaded as diplomatic cargo.
  5. The operational arm of a US Security Agency took the decision – without recourse to their political masters – to prevent the engineers and their cargo from reaching Beijing, at any cost.
  6. Since collateral damage would be high it was imperative that all evidence be obliterated.
  7. With the probable assistance of Boeing, and soon after take-off, the in-flight computer was remotely re-programmed.
  8. The auto-pilot was remotely put into uninterruptible mode.
  9. The Malaysian military was “persuaded” – without the knowledge of their political masters – to ignore the plane’s turn-back and flight westwards over Malaysia for a few critical hours.
  10. The passengers and crew were all “executed” by the excursion up to 45,000 feet implemented by the autopilot.
  11. The remainder of the flight path was to get the plane and it’s cargo into an as inaccessible a location as possible.
  12. The aircraft was allowed to run out of fuel such that the auto-pilot made as soft a  ditching as possible in as remote a place as possible. This increased the probability of the plane sinking intact with little or no debris.
  13. The location was deliberately chosen to be over deep ocean so that any black-box evidence would be almost impossible to come by.


 

 

Behaviour, not form, defines a person

May 18, 2018

Within a decade or two we will need criteria to determine if an artificial intelligence has achieved consciousness. (I take consciousness without consciousness of self to be impossible). The criteria will have to be consistent and applicable both to life forms and to non-living entities. Within a few more decades, and certainly within one hundred years I think, we will need to be able to determine if an autonomous, intelligent, conscious entity meets the requirements for person-hood. At the same time it will become necessary to create criteria for judging what constitutes a person and what is meant by “mankind” (or person-kind).

Our use of the concept of “mankind” or “humanity”  or “humankind” is both concrete and abstract. It is used variously to mean:

  1. the 7+billion people alive today,
  2. the 110 billion modern humans who have ever lived (starting arbitrarily from about 200,000 years ago),
  3. all the people who have ever lived and all their works and all their dreams,
  4. an abstract vision of those who exhibit some ideal behaviour.

My own view is that it is behaviour which determines. To look like a human or to have the physical form of a human is not enough. It is the exhibition of “human behaviour” which determines who qualifies to be a human. “Mankind” or “humanity” or “personkind” then consists of those who exhibit or have exhibited and met some standard of human behaviour.  It also follows that any intelligent, autonomous, conscious creature or entity which exhibits these qualifying standards of behaviour is then a member of “mankind” (or of person-kind if language needs a new word). Genetics would then be involved only insofar as genetics determines behaviour.

“Human rights” as used today is a false concept precisely because it is divorced from behaviour. It is ethically and logically unsupportable. It is focused on the physical form of “being human” and not on the behaviour which makes a human. As used today, “human rights” is about form rather than substance, and about sanctimony rather than reality. When being a person is defined in terms of behaviour it then follows, naturally, logically and inevitably, that privileges for a person are also determined by behaviour.


It would then be perfectly logical to consider the privileges of personhood to be enjoyed by every entity qualifying as a person. And then it would not be necessary to consider privileges for members of IS or MS13 or Anders Behring Breivik or for an Adolf Hitler when he next appears.


 

 

Skin colour is written in your DNA

May 14, 2018

There have been taboos in science about studying race and genetics and race and intelligence and genetics and behaviour, among many other “forbidden subjects”. It has been particularly incorrect to study race and intelligence, even though it might seem obvious that race (as a clustering of visible physical attributes) is genetic and that intelligence is partially hereditary and must also have a large genetic component. It has not been  politically correct to study the link between genetics and behaviour especially if the genetics can then be linked to race. Studies concerning the impact of crime and DNA have been deemed taboo.

image IUPUI

But some of these taboos are breaking down. A new tool can accurately use DNA markers to predict skin colour, eye colour and hair colour.

Lakshmi Chaitanya, Krystal Breslin, Sofia Zuñiga, Laura Wirken, Ewelina Pośpiech, Magdalena Kukla-Bartoszek, Titia Sijen, Peter de Knijff, Fan Liu, Wojciech Branicki, Manfred Kayser, Susan Walsh. The HIrisPlex-S system for eye, hair and skin colour prediction from DNA: Introduction and forensic developmental validationForensic Science International: Genetics, 2018; 35: 123 DOI: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2018.04.004

Science Daily writes:

An international team, led by scientists from the School of Science at IUPUI and Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, has developed a novel tool to accurately predict eye, hair and skin color from human biological material — even a small DNA sample — left, for example, at a crime scene or obtained from archeological remains. This all-in-one pigmentation profile tool provides a physical description of the person in a way that has not previously been possible by generating all three pigment traits together using a freely available webtool.

The tool is designed to be used when standard forensic DNA profiling is not helpful because no reference DNA exists against which to compare the evidence sample.

The HIrisPlex-S DNA test system is capable of simultaneously predicting eye, hair and skin color phenotypes from DNA. Users, such as law enforcement officials or anthropologists, can enter relevant data using a laboratory DNA analysis tool, and the webtool will predict the pigment profile of the DNA donor.

“We have previously provided law enforcement and anthropologists with DNA tools for eye color and for combined eye and hair color, but skin color has been more difficult,” said forensic geneticist Susan Walsh from IUPUI, who co-directed the study. “Importantly, we are directly predicting actual skin color divided into five subtypes — very pale, pale, intermediate, dark and dark to black — using DNA markers from the genes that determine an individual’s skin coloration. This is not the same as identifying genetic ancestry. You might say it’s more similar to specifying a paint color in a hardware store rather than denoting race or ethnicity.

“If anyone asks an eyewitness what they saw, the majority of time they mention hair color and skin color. What we are doing is using genetics to take an objective look at what they saw,” Walsh said.

The innovative high-probability and high-accuracy complete pigmentation profile webtool is available online without charge.

The study, “HIrisPlex-S System for Eye, Hair and Skin Colour Prediction from DNA: Introduction and Forensic Developmental Validation,” is published in the peer-reviewed journal Forensic Science International: Genetics.

“With our new HIrisPlex-S system, for the first time, forensic geneticists and genetic anthropologists are able to simultaneously generate eye, hair and skin color information from a DNA sample, including DNA of the low quality and quantity often found in forensic casework and anthropological studies,” said Manfred Kayser of Erasmus MC, co-leader of the study.


 

Political parties name themselves for how they wish to be perceived

May 8, 2018

Political parties adopt names according to how they wish to be perceived and because they actually are something else.

No political party wishes to be perceived as it actually is.

democracy – a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

republic – a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.


 

Writing nonsense is hard (but writing rubbish is easy)

May 5, 2018

It is not easy to write nonsense which just hovers on the edge of being comprehensible – but is not. Writing rubbish is easy and examples can be seen every day.

But real nonsense is not so common.

Wikipedia: Gibberish, light verse, fantasy, and jokes and riddles are sometimes mistaken for literary nonsense, and the confusion is greater because nonsense can sometimes inhabit these (and many other) forms and genres. Pure gibberish, as in the “hey diddle diddle” of nursery rhyme, is a device of nonsense, but it does not make a text, overall, literary nonsense. If there is not significant sense to balance out such devices, then the text dissolves into literal (as opposed to literary) nonsense.

Light verse, which is generally speaking humorous verse meant to entertain, may share humor, inconsequentiality, and playfulness, with nonsense, but it usually has a clear point or joke, and does not have the requisite tension between meaning and lack of meaning. Nonsense is distinct from fantasy, though there are sometimes resemblances between them. While nonsense may employ the strange creatures, other worldly situations, magic, and talking animals of fantasy, these supernatural phenomena are not nonsensical if they have a discernible logic supporting their existence.

Edward Lear is among my favourites and his Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo living on the Coast of Coromandel is just genius. (Madras Day, the Coromandel coast and the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo). The Dong is not so far behind.

From The Dong with the Luminous Nose:

Long years ago
The Dong was happy and gay,
Till he fell in love with a Jumbly Girl
Who came to those shores one day.
For the Jumblies came in a sieve, they did, —
Landing at eve near the Zemmery Fidd
Where the Oblong Oysters grow,
And the rocks are smooth and gray.
And all the woods and the valleys rang
With the Chorus they daily and nightly sang, —
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and the hands are blue
And they went to sea in a sieve.

 

The earth may be spherical but the universe is (largely) flat

May 1, 2018

The earth’s orbital plane is not quite flat. The ecliptic is currently reducing by about 1.4 degrees over 100,000 years.


 

Swedish Academy is wallowing in the gutter – of its own volition

April 28, 2018

It would be a travesty if a Literature Nobel was awarded this year. It would a greater travesty if any of the present members of the Swedish Academy are allowed to remain in their posts. The Nobel brand is being tarnished by the Academy. It is time for the Nobel Foundation to put its foot down – and very heavily.

Svenska Dagbladet writes (with spelling errors corrected):

The man at the centre of the Nobel scandal is being accused of having harrassed Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Three people have told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that they witnessed Jean-Claude Arnault, a major cultural figure, touching the Crown Princess on her behind at an event in Stockholm.

The Swedish Academy, which has awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature since 1901, is embroiled in the worst scandal since it was founded more than two centuries ago.

At the centre of the scandal is 71-year-old Jean-Claude Arnault – a French native who has close ties to the academy since he’s married to one of its lifelong members, and a close friend of the man who used to head the academy.

Inspired by the #metoo movement eighteen women last year accused Mr. Arnault of having sexually assaulted and harassed them. Some of the events allegedly took place at properties owned by the Swedish Academy in Stockholm and in Paris.

Other incidents allegedly happened at a prestigious private cultural club that Mr. Arnault ran together with his wife, Katarina Frostenson, who is one of Sweden’s most famous poets.

Mr. Arnault has also been accused of leaking the names of Noble prize winners. He and his wife have also been criticized for receiving money from the academy for their club’s activities.

Svenska Dagbladet can now reveal that three people within or with close ties to the academy have witnessed how Mr. Arnault sexually harassed Crown Princess Victoria by putting his hand on her behind. The incident allegedly took place at a gathering at the academy’s villa Bergsgården on the picturesque island of Djurgården in central Stockholm.

Additionally, according to two independent sources, the former head of the academy, Horace Engdahl, was told to “take measures” to make sure that the Crown Princess and Mr. Arnault did not end up “alone together” at the reception following a formal gathering of the academy in late 2006.

Horace Engdahl who seems to have been one of the staunchest protectors of Arnault has much to answer for.


 

The flow of time precedes causality

April 26, 2018

All origins, all beginnings presuppose the existence of a flow of time. Our imagination, our language and our thought are incapable of conceiving the non-existence of a beginning. We cannot conceive of anything in the world where a non-beginning is not also a non-existence. If it exists it must have had a beginning. There is no branch of science or field of study or area of thought which is not based on causality. We perceive the world around us through the eyes of causality. We perceive what is and look for what caused what is. We do not question that what is must have had a cause. We do not question either that what will be, will be caused by and follow what is. But causality pre-supposes the existence of a flow of time.

But there is no philosophy or theology or science which can explain

  1. what time is, and
  2. what causes time to flow

One could say that it is the existence of the flow of time which brings about causality. Causality is itself caused by time.

“Perhaps the simplest and easiest to understand is the argument of the First Cause. (It is maintained that everything we see in this world has a cause, and as you go back in the chain of causes further and further you must come to a First Cause, and to that First Cause you give the name of God). That argument, I suppose, does not carry very much weight nowadays, because, in the first place, cause is not quite what it used to be. The philosophers and the men of science have got going on cause, and it has not anything like the vitality it used to have; but, apart from that, you can see that the argument that there must be a First Cause is one that cannot have any validity. I may say that when I was a young man and was debating these questions very seriously in my mind, I for a long time accepted the argument of the First Cause, until one day, at the age of eighteen, I read John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: ‘My father taught me that the question, “Who made me?” cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question, “Who made God?” ’ That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument. It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu’s view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, ‘How about the tortoise?’ the Indian said, ‘Suppose we change the subject.’ The argument is really no better than that. There is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause; nor, on the other hand, is there any reason why it should not have always existed. There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our imagination. Therefore, perhaps, I need not waste any more time upon the argument about the First Cause.”  Bertrand Russel – 1927

Time, or space-time nowadays, is sometimes considered as a river. The analogy with fluid flow does not help greatly and only raises further questions. Fluids flow (over time and space) as a causal consequence of forces and energies which are not in balance and which seek balance. Fluids flow from a higher pressure to a lower (in a gas pipeline), from a higher level of potential energy to a lower (in a river) or by being physically forced from one location to another (in a pump or a compressor). In the fluid analogy it is particles of the the fluid which are transported over space and time.

If the flow of time is a river then what exactly is being transported? What then is the imbalance, and in what property or state which causes the transportation of the magical thing called time? Rather than addressing the First Cause, perhaps we should be addressing the First Questions.

What is time? and Why does it flow?

The existence of time precedes beginnings. The flow of time precedes causality. The problem of course is that without time, beginning and precede are undefined.


 

Nobel Foundation may cancel 2018 literature prize

April 25, 2018

The Nobel Foundation has assigned the Swedish Academy the job of choosing the annual winner of the Literature Nobel Prize. However Horace Engdahl and his ilk have brought the Academy into such disrepute that the Nobel Foundation may find it necessary to distance themselves from the Academy and protect the Nobel brand.

Swedish Radio: 

This year’s award of the Nobel Prize in Literature may be postponed after the crisis in the Swedish Academy.

“We are working on it right now. We will return to the question. You will be notified soon” said permanent secretary Anders Olsson.

The storm around the Swedish Academy continues, and may affect the award of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. According to Kulturnytt’s information, there are some within the committee in the Swedish Academy, which chooses the Nobel Prize winner, and the , who believe that the prize can not or should not be awarded this year.

If this Academy chooses, any prize winner would be horribly tainted.

The problem is that those within the Academy who have fatally tarnished it, don’t get it and are in denial. They do not even see what they have done.

The Nobel Foundation needs to cancel this year’s award and to lay down the rules for any newly constituted Academy to choose a winner.

Horace Engdahl and co. have brought the Academy into disrepute (image TT)


 


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