Welcome to the Idiocracy: Lynn and Flynn Agree

Scientists Richard Lynn and James Flynn are well known for their discovery of the Lynn-Flynn effect. First Lynn and then Flynn independently discovered that average IQ test scores in industrial nations were rising during the mid to late 20th century. No one fully understood the underlying mechanisms of the IQ rise, but for several decades it was an accepted finding of IQ studies.

But now the Lynn-Flynn effect appears to be stumbling, with a new trend of falling IQ scores taking hold. From recent research in “Intelligence” by James Flynn et al:

The IQ gains of the 20th century have faltered. Losses in Nordic nations after 1995 average at 6.85 IQ points when projected over thirty years. On Piagetian tests, Britain shows decimation among high scorers on three tests and overall losses on one. The US sustained its historic gain (0.3 points per year) through 2014. The Netherlands shows no change in preschoolers, mild losses at high school, and possible gains by adults. Australia and France offer weak evidence of losses at school and by adults respectively. German speakers show verbal gains and spatial losses among adults. South Korea, a latecomer to industrialization, is gaining at twice the historic US rate. __ Sourceh/t

Richard Lynn has studying out the global decline in average IQ for some time, and has long predicted the reversal of the Lynn-Flynn effect.


There are many ways to test “g”, or IQ, from “Progressive Matrices,” to Stanford-Binet type standardised tests looking at verbal, math, spatial skills etc., to the testing of brain reaction times.

Besides declines in average scores on conventional IQ tests, everal scientists have discovered an ominous decline in average brain reaction times (one component of intelligence) which has been ongoing since the Victorian age:

Simple reaction time measures correlate substantially with measures of general intelligence (g) and are considered elementary measures of cognition. In this study we used the data on the secular slowing of simple reaction time described in a meta-analysis of 14 age-matched studies from Western countries conducted between 1889 and 2004 to estimate the decline in g that may have resulted from the presence of dysgenic fertility. Using psychometric meta-analysis we computed the true correlation between simple reaction time and g, yielding a decline of − 1.16 IQ points per decade or − 13.35 IQ points since Victorian times. These findings strongly indicate that with respect to g the Victorians were substantially cleverer than modern Western populations. __ Woodley & Charlton Published in “Intelligence”

An update from Bruce Charlton

Declines in French IQ scores are thought to have a biological cause. As more third world immigrants from low-average IQ countries continue to pour into France and other European nations, perhaps we should expect to see continuing declines in average IQ scores across all age cohorts, as the inflooding proceeds.

The first evidence of a dip in IQ was reported in Norway in 2004, closely followed by similar studies emerging from developed countries including Sweden and the Netherlands… some experts believe our IQs are in a state of permanent decline.

Some researchers suggest that the [Lynn-Flynn] effect has masked an underlying decline in our genetic intelligence — meaning more people have been developing closer to their full potential, but that potential has been dropping. ___ Source

In the 2014 news story linked above, James Flynn was quoted attempting to explain away the effects. But in his more recent research quote at the top of this page, he is shown coming to terms with the demise of the Lynn-Flynn effect — whatever it may eventually be found to have been.

Human Societies Need People of Genius

In order to advance in science, technology, and in every aspect of society touching on quality of living and standard of living, human societies need men (and women) of genius. Genius is far more than “high IQ,” of course, and all of the aspects of genius should be considered by any planners or policymakers wishing to increase a society’s complement of genius.

But before putting forth remedies, a wise physician usually needs to gain a good understanding of the cause of the current problem. The free online booklet, “The Genius Famine by Bruce Charlton and Edward Dutton,” provides a very good foundation for acquiring such an understanding.

From the book’s introduction:

This book is about genius: what it is, what it does, where it comes from.[1]
And about geniuses: especially why there used to be so many and now there are so few; what was the effect of an era of geniuses, and what will be the consequences of our current Genius Famine.

This book describes the genius as an Endogenous personality; that is, a person of high intelligence combined with a personality driven from within, an ‘inner’ –orientated personality: that is, a dominated by the Creative Triad of (1) Innate high ability, (2) Inner motivation and (3) Intuitive thinking. __ The Genius Famine, a free online ebook

More, from Chapter 2, elaborating on the interaction of intelligence and personality:

Intelligence and Personality are the two main ways that psychologists have developed for describing differences between people.

In brief – Intelligence is an ability, while personality is character; intelligence is general – with the level of intelligence affecting many specific abilities, while personality can be understood as a pattern of motivations, preferences, satisfactions.

… A person high in intelligence, or high on a personality trait such as Conscientiousness, is ‘high’ relative to other people. ‘High’ or ‘Low’, in both intelligence and personality, therefore does not describe an objective measurement of a personal attribute in the way that (for example) high or low blood pressure or blood sugar measurements would.

Intelligence researchers are discovering the ongoing decline in average IQ across the developed world. But worse than this incremental dysgenic demographic measure, is the ongoing decline in character and personality traits among youth, due to widespread dysfunctional practises of education and child-raising.

These declines in both IQ and in character do not mean that modern populations are doomed. But the combined declines put more weight on those who are capable of contributing at high levels of functioning and innovation. Fortunately, advanced computing technologies are beginning to provide a “force multiplier” effect for persons of all levels of functioning.

Bonus:

Idiocracy movie free for download or streaming at archive.org

Trailer for Idiocracy movie:

The idea of dysgenic IQ decline was treated as a joke in the movie. As time goes by and you are able to watch the end effects of this decline for yourself, you may not always be laughing.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood ©.

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Posted in Cognition, Demographics, Dysgenics, Idiocracy, IQ | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Safer, More Abundant World

Safer Forms of Reliable Power

For advanced human societies, reliable and affordable power & heat is a life or death issue. It would be wisest for such societies to pursue the safest forms of reliable/affordable power available. But who ever said that western political leaders were wise? For in fact, what we see instead of wisdom is the head over tail pursuit of unreliable and exorbitantly expensive forms of energy such as big wind and big solar, across Europe and the Anglosphere.

How do these expensive, unreliable forms of “green” energy rate on safety? Here are some numbers:

And here is another source:

Nuclear is the safest source of energy, producing only one-quarter the number of deaths per terrawatt hour as wind, which is the second safest. Coal is by far the most dangerous, producing deaths both in the mining and transportation and in its emissions of air pollution. Petroleum is the second most dangerous, again producing deaths in the drilling and in emissions from automobiles. Natural gas, hydro and wind are all extremely low by comparison but nuclear is the best. What seems to prompt fear of nuclear is the possibility of a catastrophic accident but even in the worst disaster in American history, Three Mile Island, no one was hurt or killed.
http://www.realclearenergy.org/charticles/2015/12/04/nuclear_safest_source_of_energy_108914.html

Updated numbers from NextBigFuture

Wind is not as safe as portrayed above — in fact every single wind turbine is a death trap. And for the low reliability and small amount of intermittent energy provided, one must question the sanity of anyone who plans for or pays for large wind farms.

Other Reasons to Hope for a Safer World

Deaths from natural disasters are in decline:

This finding is in direct contradiction to the message one reads in papers or hears over the airwaves and cables. Humans who wallow in doom seem not to comprehend the many improvements in living conditions which our species has experienced over the past century or two.

Linguist/Psychologist/Philosopher Stephen Pinker wrote a book in 2011, “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” which argues that human violence has been shrinking over time.

Economist Bjorn Lomborg, in his 2001 book “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” brought thoughtful doomsayers down to earth with a scholarly takedown of the doomer viewpoint.

In The Skeptical Environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg challenges widely held beliefs that the global environment is progressively getting worse. Using statistical information from internationally recognized research institutes, Lomborg systematically examines a range of major environmental issues and documents that the global environment has actually improved. He supports his argument with over 2900 footnotes, allowing discerning readers to check his sources. __ http://www.lomborg.com/skeptical-environmentalist

In “The Rational Optimist,” Matt Ridley carefully and thoroughly explains to thoughtful sceptics why the doom they expect is not likely to occur.

Peter Diamandis goes further to predict a coming age of “Abundance” and widespread prosperity.

More on the anti-doomers and prophets of radical abundance.

The Secret is to Stop Making Stupid Choices

On the personal level in opportunity societies such as those in North America, other parts of the Anglosphere, and parts of Europe, the secret to “not being poor,” is to finish high school, get a job, don’t have children out of wedlock, get married, save money, and live within your means. All that time you should seek to enlarge your knowledge and your wisdom, and keep your eyes open for genuine opportunities to improve your situation. In other words, don’t make stupid choices.

On higher societal levels, the maxim of “stop making stupid choices” still applies. Organisations and institutions need to learn to “invest in their strengths,” instead of pouring money indiscriminately into their weaknesses. This mentality of reinforcing one’s strength can easily be seen in battlefield strategy and tactics, where the wise general aims most of his forces at the enemy’s weak points, in the effort to break through or to outflank and “roll up” the enemy’s force for destruction.

In peacetime, that philosophy applies to how a company or government agency spends its operating and research budgets. If a society spends most of its funds on the weakest and most perennially failure-prone aspects of their bodies, it will have less funds, time, and energy to spend on the parts of their bodies which offer the most hope for disruptive change and the creation of radical abundance.

Unfortunately, we often see the opposite of wise choices being made in government and other societal institutions, leading to massive waste and futility. The reasons for a lack of wisdom in decision-making bodies are many, and include graft & corruption, ideological idiocy, and a general stupidity in high places.

Things are Getting Better and Things are Getting Worse

On many levels humans are growing and learning their way into a better existence. Optimists such as Matt Ridley, Julian Simon, Peter Diamandis, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Bryce, and many others can point out the reasons why we should cultivate at least a certain portion of optimism in our daily lives.

On the other side of the equation, large institutions are staffed by stupid, greedy, and dishonest people, who think nothing of spending large quantities of “other people’s money” to achieve destructive goals. A good example of this massive top-down dysfunction can be seen in the “green movement,” in almost all of its manifestations — in government, media, academia, foundations, NGOs, intergovernmental agencies, non-profits, and in ideologically bound corporate boardrooms and departments. Another example is the pernicious top-down crusade for indiscriminate third-world immigration into Europe and the Anglosphere. Many more examples of top-down dysfunction can be readily called into consciousness, given a bit of time and effort. The exercise would do you good.

Keep in mind the strong link between “doomerism” and most of these destructive movements. Try not to let doomerism happen to you. Keep your mind focused, sharpen your skills, and stay alert for possible courses of action. It is never too late for a Dangerous Childhood, and “retirement is not an option.”

Doomers are a dime a dozen

Start building a better future

Optimism

When trying to understand why the enemies of western societies and free market capitalism fight so hard to destroy reliable and affordable sources of energy, electric power, and heat, keep in mind that all of an advanced society’s critical life and death infrastructures include or are deeply dependent upon abundant, high quality (and affordable) electric power:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_infrastructure

Posted in Energy, Nuclear Power, Optimism | Tagged | 5 Comments

A World More Suitable for Stupid People?

Intelligence 2017
Karpinski et al


A recent study published in the journal “Intelligence” points out the tendency of American Mensa members to suffer more frequently from mood disorders and other psychological and physiological conditions. These differences are based upon the results of an internet questionnaire filled out voluntarily by a self-selected subset of the members of American Mensa. The researchers were looking for possible “overexcitabilities in various domains that may predispose [persons with high intellectual capacity] to certain psychological disorders as well as physiological conditions involving elevated sensory, and altered immune and inflammatory responses .”

The authors of the paper suggest a possible mechanism which may explain some of the differences in the prevalence of these conditions in high IQ and in normal populations:

You can see in the flow chart above and the graph below that the spectrum of reported differences spans both psychological and immunological domains.


The findings of the study seem to suggest that the stresses of the world may be too much for many intelligent people, who become overwhelmed with mood disorders, allergies, and autoimmune disorders. In other words, the authors seem to be saying that many intelligent people may not be “fit” for the world they live in.

h/t David Z Hambrick

What Does This Mean?

Since high intelligence has been widely correlated with high levels of health and “system integrity” in previous research, the findings of the study above should be looked at critically. Any study that is based upon survey data should certainly be scrutinised very carefully. In the study above, results are based upon voluntary responses to an invitation to participate in an online questionnaire. In other words, the study left itself wide open to severe selection bias from the onset — before any collection of data whatsoever.

Neurotic Mensa members with time on their hands seem far more likely to bother with this type of survey than do persons who are busy with their lives, putting their high intelligence to more productive use. So put a check mark next to the box “self-selection bias.”

Another large problem with this study is the possible confounding of “high intelligence” with “high sensitivity.” Consider the personality trait “sensory processing sensitivity.” Elaine Aron‘s book “The Highly Sensitive Person,” brought significant public attention to this trait and its consequences in individuals. According to Aron, there is no clear correlation between “high sensitivity” and “high IQ,” nor is there any demonstrable connection between sensitivity and “giftedness.” Keep that in mind when considering this quote:

In order to understand this notion of intensity – imagine a pot of water at a low simmer and a pot of water on high boil. Most people’s nervous systems operate at the low simmer level – needing a high flame (a great deal of stimulus of any kind) to produce a high boil. For you, being on a low flame still feels like a high boil.

… The world causes you pain – from events, to poor architectural design, to harsh language and careless actions.

People tend to say you think too much, are too intense or are too “heavy”, that you should “lighten up”.

In fact, your intensity is an indicator of how truly alive you are. You have not ever been asleep to the world around you – though sometimes that might have been an appealing idea. __ Life Coach Jessica Thayer

It is likely that “high sensitivity” is a heritable trait which often appears alongside the trait of creativity or high intelligence. But these traits are different, and not correlated highly enough to be considered strongly associated, according to psychologist, author, and speaker Elaine Aron — a very sensitive and intelligent person with whom Al Fin has conversed at length.

When passing down from the trees, across the savannah, and on to the caves and huts of the middle east, Europe, and beyond, those migrating humans who were more aware of their environments were more likely to live to procreate and raise offspring to viability. High sensitivity would also likely be associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression — particularly in the modern world where entire industries (media, advertising, etc.) and agencies of government thrive on creating “false alarms” and “crying wolf” scenarios.

Something else which is obvious to anyone who has looked into this phenomenon, is that Mensa members are not representative of the high IQ population in general. A better subset of highly intelligent people would be participants in the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth, or another equivalent program in North America or Europe. Such studies do a much better job of vetting the actual IQ of participants. Even better, these participants are even farther out on the right end of the IQ normal curve than most Mensa members, suggesting that any real effects would be even more noticeable than in the Mensa responders.

Take Home

The overwhelming majority of prior studies looking at associations between IQ levels and levels of health, have found positive correlations between high IQ, longevity, and positive health. While it is possible for the authors of the above study to take questionable survey data and create a large number of potentially plausible reasons for their statistical findings, it is also easy for them to go astray when their study fails to account adequately for potential biases and confounders.

For now, this study should be seen as a flawed outlier that requires a more carefully thought out research design, if it is to be made duplicable by other researchers.

More:

A more rigorous approach to this question:

Cognitive functioning is positively associated with greater longevity and less physical and psychiatric morbidity, and negatively associated with many quantitative disease risk factors and indices.1 Some specific associations between cognitive functions and health appear to arise because an illness has lowered prior levels of cognitive function.2, 3 For others, the direction of causation appears to be the reverse: there are many examples of associations between lower cognitive functions in youth, even childhood, and higher risk of later mental and physical illness and earlier death.4, 5, 6, 7, 8 In some cases, it is not clear whether illness affects cognitive functioning or vice versa, or whether both are influenced by some common factors. Many examples of these phenotypic and cognitive–illness associations are shown in Supplementary Table 1. Overall, the causes of these cognitive–health associations remain unknown and warrant further investigation. It is also well recognized that lower educational attainment is associated with adverse health outcomes,9 and educational attainment has been used as a successful proxy for cognitive ability in genetic research.10, 11 A study that included three cohorts of twins indicated that the association between higher cognitive function and increased lifespan was mostly owing to common genetic effects.12 ___ https://www.nature.com/articles/mp2015225

The research study quoted above was published in “Molecular Psychiatry,” and utilised sophisticated statistical analysis of genetic techniques using genetic and cognitive data from the UK Biobank.

One would arrive at a far different conclusion from looking at the above Molecular Psychiatry study, in contrast to what might think from looking at the Karpinski study in Intelligence.

As the advanced nations of the world develop more and more sophisticated technologies and infrastructures, the advantages of high levels of intelligence should be clear. Any potential disadvantages of high intelligence should be considered in a careful and sober manner, without undue bias or preferential outcomes. All research studies require careful analysis, criticism, and duplication.

More:

Some of the contradictory findings of the Karpinski study might be explained by looking at Autism Spectrum Disorder as a confounder. At the high functioning end of ASD one often finds high IQ alongside mood disorders and anxiety disorders.

It should also be assumed, based on observation, that a finite but significant subset of Mensa members feel some insecurity (anxiety) about their personal competence, else they would have never pursued Mensa membership in the first place.

Posted in Cognition, IQ | Tagged | Leave a comment

Fossil Fuels Beat Greens Into Submission

Continue to Supply Over 80% of World’s Energy Needs

Every year since 1971, more than 80% of all our energy has come from fossil fuels. That’s still true today, which is surprising for two reasons. Most nuclear power plants came online between 1971 and 1990, and most renewable energy farms were built in the last 10 years. We’ve added so many more non-fossil-fuel energy sources in the past 45 years, and yet it doesn’t seem to be at all reflected in the chart. __ https://qz.com/1144207/the-worlds-astonishing-dependence-on-fossil-fuels-hasnt-changed-in-40-years/

Hydrocarbons Still Power the World
Image Source

… [OPEC] says fossil fuels will remain the main energy source decades from now. The organization’s annual World Oil Outlook published Tuesday says renewables are projected to record the fastest growth but their share of total energy supply is still anticipated to remain below 5.5 percent by 2040. __ quoted in Energy Matters

The world cannot survive without its fossil fuels, despite 50 + years of the constant “renewables are taking over” drumbeat. The belated realisation by Deutschland’s Green party that it has been drumming out of time, is giving lefty-greens around the world a big headache.

After the latest round of exploratory talks between the parties, the Greens said they were ready to admit that their goal of a ban on combustion engines by 2030 was unrealistic. “It is clear to me that we will not be able to enforce a ban on internal combustion engines by 2030,” the Greens’ co-leader Cem Özdemir told Stuttgarter Zeitung. The Greens are also prepared to modify their demand that the 20 most polluting coal-fired power plants in Germany should be shut by 2020. __ Euan Mearns

The Prussians already face a looming exodus of heavy industry due to high costs and poor reliability of power. Germany would freeze and go into a recession without its coal plants and its grid connections with other nations who utilise massive nuclear and hydroelectric resources. Germany’s green hypocrisy has resulted in consumer power costs that rank near the highest levels in an already power-costly Europe.

It is clear what Germany needs to do — move back to nuclear power for both heat and electricity needs. Without fully facing this reality, Germany will continue to lose out to its industrial competitors in China and North America.

China, for example, has no qualms about expanding its own nuclear power fleet. The dragon is rapidly building up dozens of nuclear reactors for electric power, and is now considering building nuclear plants that would produce heat exclusively.

nineteen reactors totaling 19.9 GW are under construction in China, accounting for more than a third of all nuclear projects under construction worldwide. The country plans a total of 58 GW of new nuclear by 2024, with China expected to surpass the United States as the country with the most nuclear electricity generating capacity by 2032. __ http://www.power-eng.com/articles/2017/11/eia-forecasts-nuclear-growth-in-china-decline-in-the-united-states.html quoted by Euan Mearns

Japan is working hard to re-start its nuclear power plants, and France is moving to turn back its earlier plans to retire its own nuclear reactor contingent.

Enough Hydrocarbons to Run the World for Centuries Longer

Abundant Gas Hydrates
Der Spiegel

As we have pointed out many times — both here and at the late Al Fin Energy blog — this planet holds enough oil, gas, coal, bitumens, kerogens, gas hydrates, and other hydrocarbons to power the planet for centuries yet. But there is no need to tap into all of that combustible fossil fuel energy, when the wise development of advanced nuclear fission and nuclear fusion could power humans both on-planet and off-planet for many millenia.

Impoverished political ideologies — particularly on the left — have retarded the development of progressive, affordable, efficient, and reliable forms of energy and power for several decades now. As a result, humans are still forced to use primitive hydrocarbons for the bulk of their energy needs — and will continue to do so for decades more, until the slow-witted political human brain realises that nuclear power is the only way to power large human populations into the future.

Energy Density Comparison from Wikipedia
Fusion, Fission Orders of Magnitude Better than Chemical and Other Energy Sources

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood © .

Posted in Electrical Power Grid, Energy, Germany, Green Quagmire, Nuclear Power | Tagged , | 2 Comments

An Important Distinction: GDP Growth vs. Economic Growth

Real GDP Growth in China 3% or Less

It is actually much worse than China expert Michael Pettis explains below:

GDP growth is not the same as economic growth. Consider two factories that cost the same to build and operate. If the first factory produces useful goods, and the second produces unwanted ones that pile up as inventory, only the first boosts the underlying economy. Both factories, however, will increase GDP in exactly the same way.

Most economies, however, have two mechanisms that force GDP data to conform to underlying economic performance. First, hard budget constraints, which set spending limits, drive companies that systematically waste investment out of business before they can substantially distort the economy.

Second, there is a market-pricing factor in GDP accounting that when bad debts caused by wasted investment are written down, the value-added component of GDP and the overall level of reported growth are reduced.

In China, however, neither mechanism works. Bad debt is not written down and the government is not subject to hard budget constraints. It is the government sector that is mainly responsible for the investment misallocation that characterises so much recent Chinese growth.

The implications are obvious, even if most economists have been surprisingly reluctant to acknowledge them. Anyone who believes there has been a significant amount of wasted investment in China must accept that reported GDP growth overstates the real increase in wealth by the failure to recognise the associated bad debt. Were it correctly written down, by some estimates GDP growth would fall below 3 per cent.
__ Michael Pettis quoted in Mishtalk

Since 2008, virtually all of China’s GDP growth has been built on bad debt, overproduction, and shoddy construction and misallocation. Perhaps all those empty buildings would represent economic value — had they been built to last and hold their value. Sadly, this is not the case.

China’s Buildings and Public Works are “Poorly Made”

In order to meet government growth quotas, construction projects are thrown up quickly, with minimal quality checks or oversight. Poor steel, poor concrete, and shoddy construction methods combine to create buildings, bridges, tunnels, and towers that are made to fail prematurely.

Quality Fade” is not uniquely Chinese, but it is much too common across the spectrum of products that are made in China.

China’s Economy is Not All It’s Made Out to Be

China’s top Party leadership owns a significant portion of the rotten enterprises that should have been allowed to die off many years ago. But due to the connection between Party leaders and zombie enterprises, China’s unsound debt bubble has been allowed to inflate without checks or bounds. As long as the rest of the world pretends that there is nothing wrong, China’s economic problems will be contained on the backs of its workers. Elites will milk the system as long as they can, hoping that they can get out when the time comes.

There is no significant “market discipline” within the Chinese system, so that when the props start failing there is likely to be little warning ahead of time. The good news for China is that it has become the supplier of low priced goods to the entire world, when quality does not matter so much. From weapons systems to consumer electronics to pet food, low prices will continue to draw buyers and investors/exporters to China for many years.

The bad news is that other emerging nations can now offer better deals in terms of labour costs and shipping costs than the ageing dragon, without most or all of the piracy, technology theft, and under the table dealings. And China’s working aged population is beginning to shrink.

The number of working-age people in China fell by 4.9 million last year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The record annual drop brings the number of people aged between 16 and 60 to 911 million, and illustrates a trend in which fewer young workers are entering China’s workforce, while the number of retirees grows. __ https://qz.com/599508/charted-chinas-rapidly-shrinking-working-age-population/

More

China boosters tend to swallow official economic numbers without chewing them first. This may make them gullible, but it makes any readers who take them seriously into chumps. Take care to look beneath the facade.

More: The Cracks in China’s Economy

China seems to be working alongside Russia to create the North Korean nuclear monster. Russia provides the rockets, China supplies the guidance systems. The axis of evil lives on.

Posted in China | Tagged | 4 Comments

Elite Flight Out of Russia Worse than Thought

Both the Numbers and the Types of Emigrants are Changing

… an enormous 32 percent of Russians aged 18-24 are ready to move abroad, according to the Levada Center survey. __ Artemy Troitsky

You won’t hear about this from mainstream media or official Kremlin sources — and especially not from the troll propagandists working from St. Petersburg who infest western internet sites. But Russia’s demographic crisis is only getting worse with time.

As a rule, estimates place the number of emigrants between 200,000 to 500,000 annually. The State Statistics Service counted 350,000 in 2015, which is 10 times more than in 2010.

[we are now seeing] successful and accomplished professionals leading the exodus, despite the fact that many will lose their economic and social status by starting again abroad. This might seem strange, but by way of explanation, I can cite myself as an example. __ MoscowTimes

If 350,000 elites were leaving in 2015 — and the overall situation has only grown worse since then — Russia is staring into the barrel of a full-blown skills and expertise crisis.

Different emigrants expressed different reasons for their decisions to join the exodus of the elites:

… the 42 percent of Russians who had considered emigrating were primarily attracted by better living conditions abroad. Other than the ecological situation in Russia, I had been happy with my life here.

At 41 percent, the second most common factor cited by the survey was the “unstable economic situation in Russia.” Although I lost my job for political reasons, many thousands of professionals in healthcare and education lost theirs through mass layoffs, or have been forced to leave, unable to survive on their meager salaries.

In third place was the desire to “provide a decent future” for their children, with 28 percent of respondents citing this reason. This is just like us.

Most interesting was the fourth reason, the 17 percent who expressed concerns over “the lack of protection from arbitrary abuse from the authorities.”

… even more important is the intangible and yet increasingly oppressive sense of hopelessness. The belief that Russia has hit a dead end and that change under the current system is impossible. __ A Suitcase State of Mind

Russia’s working age population is collapsing at the same time that the number of women of child-bearing age are dropping through the floor. The HIV crisis among the young is growing exponentially, and those who can get out are either doing so or making plans that will make it easier to get out when the time comes.

15 percent of all Russians are “packed and ready to go” at any time. Of those, 3 percent — or 4 million Russians — have definite plans to emigrate. The remaining 12 percent say they will “probably” leave the country.

This is in keeping with the jaw-dropping forecast made by former Federal Migration Service Deputy Director and current 21st Century Migration Foundation Chairman Vyacheslav Postavnin who said that up to 15 million Russians are expected to move out of the country in the coming years. __ Moscow Times

Putin’s Minions Put On a Good Show

Putin’s KGB training has served him well in the putting up of a good Potemkin front. The Kremlin’s propaganda effort is second to none, and some efforts to foment discord in the west are achieving excellent results , at least in western universities and cities. The Kremlin is blending its efforts alongside those of more clearly radical groups, making them more difficult to tease out from communist, socialist, Maoist, and other insurrectionist agencies. In the long run, though, such efforts to destabilise western societies and to spread disinformation, are likely to backfire.

Even Russia’s efforts to bolster the nuclear launch abilities of the North Korean terror state are likely to blow back onto the declining bear.

Already, most people who browse the net are getting tired of all the Moscow-facilitated troublemakers, as well as all the “Baghdad Bobs” running around claiming that all is well with the decrepit Eurasian dictatorship. Anyone who takes the trouble to inform himself can easily see through the fogscreens.

China Stands Ready to Move When the Time Comes

The Russian economy is growing ever more dependent upon Chinese trade and investment. But all of that comes at a steep cost, and when the piper comes to call, Mr. Putin may find himself at an embarrassing loss of face.

Russia’s armed forces are slowly but surely filling up with Muslims, who have a somewhat different viewpoint of Russian history and the great Russian Empire than the shrinking numbers of ethnic Russians whom they are replacing. China may feel it has no choice but to take the reins, rather than risk all that nuclear weaponry falling into Muslim hands.

Time is not on Russia’s side.

More: Reading between the lines in the Russian media … Use webpage translators as needed, for a closer examination of particularly interesting Russian language articles.

Posted in Russian Decline | Tagged | 4 Comments

Renewable Energy Skyrockets, and Other Little Heard News

Unfortunately for Renewables, The Rocket Was Heading Down!

We have spent the last two centuries getting off renewables because they were mostly weak, costly and unreliable.

__ Limits to Artificial Energy

For over 200 years, humans have been trying to wean themselves from archaic, inefficient, and unreliable forms of energy production. As a result, people have become more prosperous, healthier, better fed, and experience far more leisure time than their ancestors dreamed of. But politicians and politically corrupt opportunists never let a faux crisis go to waste, and so the “climate apocalypse scare” has led to a massive green welfare scheme to profit already obscenely wealthy political insiders — usually on the left end of the spectrum.

In 2040, 15% to 20% of World Energy Expected to Come from Renewables

The burning of wood supplies most of the world’s “renewable” energy.

10 percentage points will come from wood. Hydropower provides another 3 percentage points and all other renewables provide 6 percentage points, of which solar PV and wind will [???] provide 3.7 percentage points.

Oh, and to achieve this 3.7 % of energy from solar PV and wind, you and I and the rest of the world will pay – according to the IEA – a total of $3.6 trillion in subsidies from 2017-2040 to support these uncompetitive energy sources. __ Energy that Makes You Poorer

Why are the people of the world being forced to pay $trillions in subsidies for sources of energy which could not possibly survive in a competitive market? On the one hand, it is a matter of “virtue signaling.” But on the other hand, it is a matter of massive corruption.

Russia Bravely Faces Long Hard Winter

Russians are nothing if not brave. One would need to be particularly brave to face the coming winter in Russia, after all that has happened over the past 4 years there.

Note: Please use webpage translators as necessary when consulting Russian language news stories linked below:

Russians’ real incomes continue to decline for the fourth year in a row (thinktanks.by/publication/2017/11/15/v-rossii-realnye-dohody-naseleniya-snizhayutsya-uzhe-4-goda.html), business production has stagnated again (gazeta.ru/business/2017/11/13/10983536.shtml), industry is facing collapse (newsland.com/community/4109/content/khronika-neizbezhnogo-krakha-promyshlennost-rossii-vozobnovila-padenie/6084506), bankruptcies are near historic highs (meduza.io/news/2017/11/12/chislo-bankrotstv-v-rossii-priblizilos-k-istoricheskomu-rekordu and https://republic.ru/posts/87703), bank profits fell and most businesses feel that (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5A0C39AF4852D and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5A0BEBC624E5B), the pension fund is almost exhausted (newsland.com/community/129/content/kudrin-priznalsia-chto-deneg-na-pensii-u-rossii-zakonchilis/6081391), inflation is rising and most people expect it to continue to do so (regnum.ru/news/omy/2345381.html and nakanune.ru/news/2017/11/14/22489244/), studies show that families having three or more children are condemned to poverty (newizv.ru/comment/valeriy-panyushkin/16-11-2017/valeriy-panyushkin-ne-uyazvlyayte-uyazvimyh-13c077c2-11f8-4cdf-902a-1a2b5a784337), and the wealthy are working ever harder to hide their money (https://momenty.org/city/i178928/).

… Cutbacks in medical spending by the government under Putin’s program have left a large majority of Russians upset about the quality of medical care they are receiving (newsland.com/community/5652/content/bolshinstvo-rossiian-nedovolny-otechestvennoi-meditsinoi/6085682 and newsland.com/community/4788/content/raskhody-na-zdravookhranenie-v-regionakh-sokratili-vdvoe/6076404). Many can no longer get even basic vaccines (newsland.com/community/politic/content/minzdrav-izuchit-dostupnost-meditsinskoi-pomoshchi-posle-optimizatsii-zdravookhraneniia/6083480, versia.ru/rossiyane-rasskazali-ob-aktualnyx-problemax-zdravooxraneniya and openrussia.org/notes/716137/).

… __ Source

Many Russians are choosing not to stay for the winter, however. Up to 200,000 young and fertile Russians each year make the fateful decision to leave the country for warmer locations elsewhere.

During a discussion yesterday with former finance minister Aleksey Kudrin at the All-Russian Civic Forum, [Moscow mayor] Sobyanin said that some 200,000 Russians are leaving the country permanently each year, an enormous embarrassment to the regime (newizv.ru/news/society/25-11-2017/v-spore-s-kudrinym-sobyanin-vpervye-zayavil-o-massovoy-migratsii-iz-rossii).

… “My friends,” he said, “do you know how many people leave Russia each year for other countries? We don’t have an iron curtain. 200,000. And how many come to Moscow? In recent times, this figure has fallen to 10,000. The Problem is not that they come to Moscow; the problem is that they leave for abroad.” __ Source

As hundreds of thousands of Russia’s young, fertile, and educated leave the country, tens of thousands of older ethnic Russians are forced to move back to Russia from surrounding countries such as Kazakhstan, due to a growing and very ugly racism against Russians in formerly Soviet nations. Russia’s demographic situation is experiencing a “perfect storm” of disaster, largely due to poor choices made by Putin over the past several years.

What if Donald Trump Owned Time Magazine and the New York Times?

If the feisty US President owned all the news outlets in the US, perhaps he would get more friendly news coverage? This is not a realistic situation, but a media conglomerate relatively friendly to Trump has been negotiating to buy Time magazine and its sister publications Sports Illustrated and People magazine.

[David Pecker of American Media Inc.] told The New Yorker in July he wanted to buy Time, Inc. and was, as the magazine put it, looking for a “deep-pocketed partner” to do it.

Enter the Koch brothers.

They have now injected $650 million from their private equity arm into the Meredith bid that ended up as an all-cash transaction of around $3 billion.

Meredith is at pains to point out that, in theory, the Kochs are passive investors. They will not have seats on the Meredith board “and will have no influence on Meredith’s editorial or managerial operations,” it said. __ https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-national-enquirer-sought-time-magazineand-may-still-get-it

And really, who reads any of those fake news outlets these days? But it is interesting to muse about how different, say, the Washington Post might be if it had been bought by Rupert Murdoch instead of Jeff Bezos.

Stimulating Brain Nucleus Boosts Cognition

Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus in the brain leads to improved cognitive performance in persons with Parkinson’s Disease. Such patients are prone to dementia, and any boosting of cognitive skills would help them to better manage their lives.

The type of electrical stimulation is of a low frequency (4 Hz) type, which is a new approach for DBS. In a fascinating twist, the 4 Hz stimulus to the subthalamic nucleus appears to boost delta wave activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, apparently supplying a crucial missing element in many Parkinson’s patients. More

This finding falls into line with previous research showing that even noninvasive electrical stimulation (tDCS) of the brain facilitates oscillatory wave activity in parts of the brain distant from the stimulus. More and more, the “long distance network” nature of brain function is being exposed to researchers who utilise artificial stimuli of electromagnetic (including photonic stimuli) or ultrasound types.

Abstract and video description of research

More on various types of brain stimulation:

Posted in Energy, Green Quagmire, Russia | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Today’s Left: A Compassionate Beating, a Caring Riot

Leftists Think of Themselves as “Caring and Compassionate”

But there is a huge difference between “feelings of compassion,” and true acts of kindness.

One is known by his actions, not by his words or his “feelings.” And the actions of Antifa are not those of kindness or caring.

What is true for Antifa is equally true for Black Lives Matter, the Climate Cultists, radical feminists, and the rest of the angry far left. They are protesting in Europe and the Anglosphere because it would be inconvenient and uncomfortable for them to travel to where the suffering is greatest and the oppression most acute.

Perhaps in a sense they are “caring and compassionate.” At least in their own minds. They claim to feel compassion for the downtrodden. They are certainly convinced that they “care” more than their deplorable political foes whom they would like to put under the ground to stay! But their actions tell an entirely different story.

Everyone agrees that to be left-wing and liberal is to be a better, more caring and compassionate human being. It proves what an enlightened and open-minded person you are. It sets you apart from conservatives and right-wingers, those selfish and nasty folk who are obviously racist, oafish and horrid… All this is true, right? Wrong. Being caring is actually a licence to be nasty. Not only this year have we witnessed a torrent of abuse and slander from the supposedly caring left, directed at so-called populists in the UK and the US, we have also seen physical violence acted upon them. Consider the aftermath of the US presidential election. On the New York subway, someone tried to strangle a 24-year-old wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ cap. A 49-year-old in Chicago was dragged down the street by a crowd screaming ‘you voted Trump!’ and ‘you’re gonna pay for that shit!’. In Maryland, a group of high-school protesters – carrying signs with the words ‘Love Trumps Hate’ – came across a 15-year-old fellow student wearing a Trump hat and beat him up.

The list of attacks goes on.

… none of this should surprise us. There has always been a malicious, vengeful streak in sections of the compassionate new left. Consider how they have always boasted about ‘hating the Tories’, as if hatred is an emotion to be proud of. The far left always talk of ‘smashing’ or ‘fighting’ things, whether it be capitalism, racism or the system. The rhetoric of caring and combat paradoxically go hand-in-hand. As Albert Camus observed in his attack on Sartre in his 1951 L’Homme révolté, the more someone professes to care about humanity, the more they tend to dislike people as human beings.

To be of the left these days is to assume a sanctimonious mindset. The more people are possessed of self-righteousness, the more they are convinced of the inherent goodness of their beliefs, and the moral deviance of their enemies, the more they feel at liberty to abuse others. __ Wrath of the “Do Gooders”

Antifa is sponsored by George Soros and various communist and socialist back alley organisations. Its cohorts and predecessors have been doing mischief on Europe for years, but the group itself has only made a significant appearance in North America since the departure of Barack Obama and the arrival of Donald Trump on the scene.

Antifa have been the main street wing of the liberal-capitalist elite in Europe for well over a decade, and now the artificially-created cancer has spread to the USA. As soon as Donald Trump was inaugurated on January 20, there they were, as if on cue — Antifa thugs breaking windows, burning vehicles, fighting with the police, and causing general mayhem.

____ https://knightstemplarinternational.com/2017/03/antifa-storm-troopers-of-the-new-world-order-video/

BLM Terrorists are Peas in the Same Pod as Antifa

The terrorist group “Black Lives Matter” promotes the murder of police officers in particular, and white people in general by implication. Unfortunately for these thugs, everyone understands who is really responsible for the wholesale slaughter of young black males across US inner cities: other young black males sharing the same inner cities.

BLM [is called] a terrorist organization, responsible for the deaths of at least a dozen police officers across the country, and the ambush shootings of dozens of others. As proof, I told him that the founders of the organization, three lesbian females, espouse communist beliefs and support for the New Black Panther Party, who wants blacks to kill whites, especially police officers of any color, and demand a complete separation of the races. __ Another Obama Legacy

The misnamed “Black Lives Matter” is sponsored by the same misanthropic left-wing groups that sponsor Antifa, the Climate Apocalypse Cult, and the Immigration Armageddon in Europe and the Anglosphere.

Sure they care. they care enough to want to shut you up! In reality, the disadvantaged have never had it so good. But violent leftists and anarchists have to exaggerate their righteousness to the point of utter fabrication and fraud, else not even their friends in the press would be able to swallow their bloody lies.

The loudest black voices trashing America are super wealthy Leftist blacks who could not have achieved their mega success without the enthusiastic support of white America. And yet, they are dissing our flag and national anthem. They are cheerleaders for the destruction of historical monuments and clamoring for us to throw out the U.S. Constitution. Shamefully, rich leftist blacks are using urban blacks as pawns to further the leftist socialist/progressive agenda. __ Lloyd Marcus

What is true for Black Lives Matter is equally true for Antifa, the Climate Cultists, radical feminists, and the rest of the angry far left. They are protesting in Europe and the Anglosphere because it would be inconvenient and uncomfortable for them to travel to where the suffering is greatest and the oppression most acute.

More:

Understanding your enemy

http://www.ocregister.com/2017/11/25/radicalism-is-on-the-rise-in-america-politics/

A false litany of the popular and academic left that deludes the ignorant and naive

when Black Lives Matter activists and “social justice” juggernauts deliberately and laughingly obstruct ambulances and other emergency vehicles, and endanger the lives of random people, while giving the ambulance drivers the finger, this doesn’t exactly indicate some lofty moral purpose.

__ http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2017/11/elsewhere-255.html

Posted in Coming Anarchy, Groupthink, Ideology, Idiocracy, Politics, Propaganda, Terrorism, University, Zombies | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Most Effective US President Since Reagan

Why These Morons Haven’t Moved to Canada?

We can’t say for sure why the idiots pictured above haven’t moved their permanent residences to Canada. But it could be because the world has not come to an end the way they expected that it would. Or maybe they just don’t know where Canada is?

Here is what one Canadian says about Trump:

… he has more than doubled the economic growth rate, reduced illegal immigration by about 80 per cent, withdrawn from the insane Paris Climate accord, helped add trillions to U.S. stock market values, created nearly two million new jobs, led the rout of ISIL, and gained full Chinese adherence to the unacceptability of North Korean nuclear military capability. He will probably pass the greatest tax cuts and reforms since Reagan, if not Lyndon Johnson, by Christmas, and may throw out the most unpopular feature of Obamacare, the coercive mandate, with it.

__ National Post

Why has Mr. Trump enjoyed such “unexpected” success? Perhaps he was better prepared for the job of US President than most of his detractors are capable of understanding.

President Trump was well prepared for the job. He’s been a CEO for 45 years… President Trump’s policies are being implemented. His administration already repealed 1,000 regulations… this is what has driven the stock market to climb 20%-plus since the morning after the election.

… __ A spectacular first year

Trump’s approval rises to 46%

Mr. Trump has reduced his detractors to wild-eyed screaming at the sky and senseless paranoid delusions. The fact is that Mr. Trump’s enemies can not come to terms with the reality of his election, or with the relentless ongoing aftermath of having lost the momentum and the high ground.

A good example of this rudderless full-speed cruising into the rocks is the hope and faith that leftists have placed in special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian collusion in the 2016 US national elections. Corrupt and disillusioned displaced elites have built their hopes for the impeachment of President Trump on the vanishingly small likelihood of the chance discovery of any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. The recent discovery of the real source of the “evidence” against the Trump campaign makes one wonder why there is still any investigation of Trump collusion with Russia at all.

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee reportedly hired the firm that assembled the infamous dossier that included salacious allegations about now-President Trump.

A lawyer who represented the campaign retained the Washington research firm Fusion GPS, which then hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to dig up the unconfirmed dirt on Trump, according to the Washington Post. __ https://nypost.com/2017/10/24/clinton-dnc-helped-pay-for-infamous-trump-dossier/

More truth leaks through the stone wall of media

And the more we learn about the involvement of both Bill and Hillary Clinton in the Uranium One scandal, the likelier it appears that any Russian scandal with legs to run points rather at the Clintons, instead of at Trump.

Trump is More Effective at This Job Than Most People Expected

From his repeal of dysfunctional regulations to his slow motion return of government to constitutional discipline, Donald Trump has pleasantly surprised many of his voters and sceptics — and has alarmed many high-level members of the parasitic classes who have been banking on the corruption and steady decline of the US.

Among the worst affected by “Trump Shock” are members of the news and entertainment medias, participants in the deep state, and employees of tertiary academic institutions. Even more shocked and dismayed are those billionaires and would-be billionaires who have been counting on a huge “welfare payday” from government policies and expenditures favoring suicidal green technologies, corporations, and institutions. Losers, losers, and more losers. Mr. Trump should be proud, if a man is to be measured by the nature and goals of his enemies.

Trump is Far from Perfect

He can be a tiresome and implausible public figure at times, and the reservations widely held about him, in the United States and elsewhere, are understandable and not unfounded. He is, however, the most effective U.S. president since Reagan. In the 20 pre-Trump years, over $5 trillion and scores of thousands of American casualties were squandered in Middle East wars (while most Iraqis were handed over to Iranian influence), an immense humanitarian refugee tragedy was provoked, along with the greatest world economic crisis since the 1930s, American GDP per capita growth and capital investment shrunk by 75 per cent, the work force lost over 15 million people, millions of unskilled, illegal migrants were admitted, and the national debt of 233 years of American independence more than doubled in the last seven years of Obama. Those 20 years were the only time of absolute decline in American history, as well as a period of prolonged economic stagnation. Americans, unlike the older great nations of Europe and the Far East, have never experienced such setbacks and stagnation, and don’t like or accept them. It was in these circumstances that this unusual president was elected. __ National Post

This phase of American politics has barely begun. The seemingly unstoppable rolling up of the American Enterprise by well-coordinated and well-financed leftist schemes and racketeers has been rocked back abruptly — although nothing could have stopped it altogether, short of invasion by interstellar invaders.

Over the past 50 + years, the relentless dumbing down of students in western schools from K-12 thru university has proceeded successfully, and the aftermath in terms of the degradation of the human substrate and the demographic decline of the west is not pretty. Not everyone can possibly wake up and wise up. But the “Trump respite” and partial rollback of institutionalised leftist idiocy is exactly the kind of rest and rebuilding period that wiser and more proactive heads needed.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late for a Dangerous Childhood © .

More:

American left being lashed badly by its own whip

Leftist women emboldened by Trump’s defeat of Hillary

Returning the US to its constitutional roots

More judges who value constitutional limits on government

Posted in Donald Trump, Groupthink, Hillary Clinton | Tagged | 4 Comments

Safe Spaces for Snowflakes are Melting

Fantasy Landscape of Higher Education Doomed

The U.S. Department of Education and Moody’s Investors Service project that in the coming years, closure rates of small colleges and universities will triple, and mergers will double. __ Source

And why not close them down? Why not burn them to the ground without delay? Colleges no longer teach youth how to think. Instead they teach them what too think, resorting to ideological indoctrination as a post-modern substitute for genuine education. Worse, they are driving young people into life-long penury under the deceptive banner of “self-improvement.”

Pit of Corruption and Brainwashing
Image Source

Half of US Colleges Going Bankrupt in 10 Years?

At the Innovation + Disruption Symposium in Higher Education in May, Christensen specifically predicted that “50 percent of the 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years.”

___ https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/15/hbs-professor-half-of-us-colleges-will-be-bankrupt-in-10-to-15-years.html

Modern higher education is a giant profit-making scam, built on the ruination of young lives and the lobotomisation of young minds. Instead of encouraging young people to use their minds to explore all the great minds and great ideas of the human past and present, colleges are brainwashing students to take a very particular point of view. The future for students who undergo such an “education” is very dim indeed, as are the futures of anyone living in societies which these pathetic snowflakes may build.

It is barely possible that a large portion of these sad emotional weaklings can be saved. But only if they submit themselves to the discipline of the wisdom of those who unflinchingly carry the traditions of true philosophy, education, science, and wisdom into the lecture halls and other places of genuine teaching.

Before I can teach you how to reason, I must first teach you how to rid yourself of unreason. For many of you have not yet been educated. You have been dis-educated. To put it bluntly, you have been indoctrinated. Before you learn how to think you must first learn how to stop unthinking. __ Law Professor Adam J. McLeod to his students in his “Foundations of Law” class

Tales of law schools forced to shut down: It’s probably better for everyone if at least half of the US’ law schools (and liberal arts colleges) are shut down.

Society’s Elites Have Gone Off the Edge

Top tier leaders in education, media, foundations, tech companies, deep government, and other parasitic institutions have leapt over the precipice, and are intent on dragging as many innocent bystanders over the cliff as possible.

Today’s elites and wannabe elites shamble angrily about in an unruly herd. Violent emotions rule their minds and actions, with no room allowed for rational thinking or for a dispassionate examination of facts or evidence. Such an intellectual foundation is doomed to crumble, leading to a hugely regrettable blowback and aftermath.

Are There Better Substitutes for Our Rotten Universities?

In his recent book, “The Innovative University,” Christensen and co-author Henry Eyring analyze the future of traditional universities, and conclude that online education will become a more cost-effective way for students to receive an education, effectively undermining the business models of traditional institutions and running them out of business. __ https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/15/hbs-professor-half-of-us-colleges-will-be-bankrupt-in-10-to-15-years.html?

Free online courses along with home-delivered courses widely available for a nominal fee can substitute most ably if the goal is to teach students about their world and how to think and act within it.

Today’s universities exist mainly for themselves, and for the ill-gotten profits they can extract from students, families, alumni, foundations, governments, and financial institutions. They do not trouble themselves with the traditional goal of assisting students in developing the independent means to think and act on their own confident competence. For these despicable administrators, faculty, and staff, students are merely a means to their selfish ends.

Even those who eventually graduate too often have to deal with a hellish reality:

He graduated summa cum laude four years later and immediately got a job in his field, as an English teacher.

But he graduated with $35,000 in debt, a big hill to climb on a part-time teacher’s $18,000 salary. He struggled with payments, and he and his wife then consolidated their student debt, which soon totaled more than $50,000. They declared bankruptcy and defaulted on the loans. From there he found himself in a loan “rehabilitation” program that added to his overall balance. “That’s when the noose began to tighten,” he says.

The collectors called day and night, at work and at home. __ Source

Please don’t let this happen to you or to your child — or to any youth you care about. Make sure that any youth or parents of youth in your circle become informed to the realities of this gigantic quasi-criminal financial scam and destruction of young minds.

Dangerous Children © would never put up with this nonsense. Nor should you.

Posted in Education, Groupthink, Ideology, University | Tagged , | 3 Comments

How Long Does It Take to Grow a 20 Year Old in Russia?

Needed: Millions of 20 Somethings

Russia is losing a million working age adults a year due to low numbers of young people entering the workforce, and high numbers of the aged leaving. Witness the cascading dropoffs in the Russian demographic pyramid below:

Russia’s Demographic w/ Cascading Dropoffs
Zeihan.com

Low birth numbers now reflect low numbers of births 18 to 20 years ago when those who now should be giving birth were born.

Because the size of that cohort was small, that alone, he points out, “leads to a reduction in the number of marriages and a consequent reduction of births, the first cascade.” That in turn sets the stage for another decline 18 to 20 years from now. And so on and so forth every two decades for as far into the future as experts can project.

And that in turn has a devastating impact on the number of working age Russians who are declining by a million a year at present. “If in 2010,” Gundarov says, “there were 88.9 million” working age Russians, in 2016, there were only 82.3 million.” Losses of a million workers a year represents “the most fundamental form of demographic [and hence economic] collapse.” __ Igor Gundarov (ng.ru/kartblansh/2017-11-14/3_7114_kartblansh.html) quoted in: http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com.ee/2017/11/looming-demographic-collapse-now-main.html

If one can read a “population pyramid” such as the one above, one can predict the demographic future of a country to an important degree. Russia’s population — like many populations in Europe, East Asia, and the Anglosphere — is shifting in composition. And that is bad news for Russia’s workforce of the future.

Russia can do little about the time it takes to grow a 20 year old. But the Kremlin is wasting the young people it does have in many ways, including nonsensical foreign military actions and a destructive bloating of governmental and quasi-governmental workforces — diverting workers away from potentially productive sectors.

Russian Economy Stutters and Stalls

Russia’s GDP growth has been achieved against the backdrop of rather shaky industrial output…

… Russia’s GDP growth disappointed as the July-September numbers came in well below the government expectation at 1.2 percent, making the annual GDP growth only 1.8 percent.

The government had been expecting 2.2 percent growth. __ The Moscow Times

This small level of growth is based upon borrowed money. And since Russia’s GDP is already so low, a tiny percentage of something tiny is actually very tiny indeed.

Aging Workers Taking Skills With Them

Russia’s “skills gap” is particularly severe, because the older engineers and skilled tradesmen of Russia are dying out and not being replaced by younger generations — thanks to educational systems in terminal decline. This trend is fatal for a nation whose income is based upon the technical extraction of oil & gas and upon the sales of highly technical weapons systems to the third world. Russia will no longer be able to maintain its position in either of these foundational industries as time degrades its demographic and economic base.

According to Russia’s state statistical agency, 350,000 people emigrated from Russia in 2015 — 10 times more than five years ago. The outflow began in earnest in 2012, driven mostly by political friction in the country, but Russia’s current economic crisis has accelerated the pace. The Kremlin is attempting to curb the so-called suitcase mood, but other national interests remain a higher priority. As highly skilled Russians emigrate, the future of innovation and private business in the country has been called into question. Meanwhile, migrants from mostly Muslim former Soviet states are entering Russia in search of work, altering the ethnic and religious composition of the population and heightening tension in the process. __ Source

Is Europe’s last empire fading away? More potential problems facing a shaky recovery:

1. Komsomolskaya Pravda today documents that under Putin, Russia has far too many people in the force structures and in government offices and far too few workers to ensure economic growth (kp.ru/daily/26756.5/3786426/)

2. Kommersant reports that the inequality of property ownership in Russia is now just as high as it was in 1905 at the time for the first Russian revolution (kommersant.ru/doc/3462081).

3. Vzglyad notes that divorces are now so numerous in Russia that they are by themselves having a negative impact on birthrates and social stability in Russia (vz.ru/society/2017/11/13/889977.html).

4. Regional news agencies are reporting that migrants are no longer making up for natural declines and outmigration from the millionaire cities of Russia, depressing the amount of funds they get from Moscow and calling into question their futures as centers of development (afterempire.info/2017/11/13/babkina/ and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5A042202234AE).

5. Demoscope Weekly reports that no nations in the Russian Federation now have birthrates more than twice those of ethnic Russians but that more than 30 of these ethnic groups have higher birthrates than Russians do and that most of these are traditionally Muslim (demoscope.ru/weekly/2017/0711/tema04.php), a pattern compounded by the fact that many of these Muslim groups because rates of alcohol consumption are so much lower than among Russians have far greater life expectancies than Russians do with people in Daghestan, one of the poorest republics, living on average five years more than Russians do (newstracker.ru/news/society/10-11-2017/prodolzhitelnost-zhizni-v-dagestane-dostigla-istoricheskogo-maksimuma-a7b997af-3734-437a-96a6-5a8bd62ec01a). __ Excerpted from http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com.ee/2017/11/five-more-worrisome-demographic.html

Russia vs. China

In both Russia and China, it takes 20 years to grow 20 year old workers. Since both nations are undergoing a “shrinking workforce” phenomenon, this could present a problem. But Russia’s problems and weaknesses are far closer to a terminal level than are those of China. The dragon is already strengthening its geopolitical position in Central Asia and Eastern Europe vis a vis the bear. Over time, the dragon will continue to eat away at the bear’s soft underbelly, gaining economic and strategic advantage at the expense of its ever weakening neighbor to the north and west.

China must move up and out, since its own land, air, and water have grown too toxic to sustain a vigorous and rising power. Unfortunately for China, it has not escaped its historical legacy of expansion followed by disintegration and collapse. Watch the underlying fundamentals of both of these powerful Asian nations — one still rising and one clearly on the downward path. But protect your eyes. The sparks may prove blinding.

Posted in Russia | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Chinese Century Is Already Over

A Workforce Already Shrinking

The working age population of China is shrinking so quickly that wages are being forced upward, driving many overseas investors to look to other nations to do their offshore manufacturing.

A country needs a fertility rate of 2.1 to replace itself and China’s has fallen to 1.2 — only 1.2 births on average per woman in their lifetime. Add to this a traditional preference for males as future breadwinners who then carry on the family line, and families often chose to abandon or abort any female baby.

… By 2050, it is projected that almost half of the entire population will be 65 years or older, meaning that there will be about 1.14 workers supporting every retiree. __ John Dale Grover in Real Clear World


For this reason and many others, foreign investors have been deserting China in recent years for fairer lands.

China’s Debt Mountain Builds to Extraordinary Dimensions

As China’s exports crater and foreign investors flee the dragonship, Mr. Xi has increasingly turned to debt as the primary driver of Chinese economic growth.

For the past twenty years, China has kept roughly half of the world’s cranes busy turning wheat fields and peasant huts all over China into skyscrapers. For someone like myself, who first visited China in 1979, the transformation is almost miraculous.

The luster begins to fade when you realize that the land was stolen by rapacious Communist officials from poor workers and peasants who had lived in these huts, and farmed these lands, for centuries. It disappears entirely when you understand that many of these new apartment and office buildings are often nearly devoid of tenants. This means that the soft construction loans that were so generously doled out by the Party’s managers of state-owned banks to their Party comrades who run construction companies will never be paid back.

… the country’s debt has been ballooning in recent years. The Institute of International Finance estimates that “China’s total debt surpassed 304 percent of GDP as of May 2017.” Knowing something about Chinese accounting practices, I would guess that even this startling number is a gross underestimate.

China Debt Mountain
Bloomberg via Mishtalk


Xi Jinping… is so bent on surpassing the United States and achieving his “China Dream” of world hegemony, that he ordered the Chinese economy to double in size in eight years.

… Xi’s blunder has led to a debt bubble so massive that it may turn China’s beautiful new façade of modernity into nothing more than a world-class Potemkin Village. ___ Steven Mosher

Based upon fertility, debt, and real investment, one might say that China’s people are growing old before growing rich. This will not end well for China, nor for those who have hitched their futures onto the Chinese mule.

China’s Healthcare System is Atrocious

For years, the country has been plagued by hospital scams, kickback scandals, unsafe medication, bribery, and substandard vaccines.

… many Chinese living in poverty continue to have no access to healthcare due to high costs. Additionally, public hospitals in China, with the lack of financial support from the Chinese authorities, continue to operate like private hospitals, desperate to improve their earnings. To make his point, Zhang pointed out that doctors at public hospitals have more outpatient clinic appointments than they can handle, in order to make more money off patients.

“These are not typical problems. These are deeper, systemic problems,” said Zhang. __ https://www.theepochtimes.com/a-broken-leg-exposes-a-broken-healthcare-system-in-china_2354778.html

The one part of China’s healthcare system that truly shines on the world stage is its rich and shining transplant centres. Here are details.

China Embodies Orwell’s 1984 Surveillance Society

China is the world’s biggest market for surveillance tools. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a trade show in Shenzhen City. Technology on display could detect people’s moods with a facial scan, gather information on people’s social networks… the footage of people crossing the streets and going about their day as information popped up next to them gave off an air of George Orwell’s “1984.” __ https://www.theepochtimes.com/chinese-regime-building-orwellian-nightmare_2351383.html

Getting themselves and their families out of China is one of the primary goals for those who are able to escape poverty and build a sizable dragon’s egg. If they can, pregnant Chinese women fly to the US, Australia, or Canada to give birth, giving their families a foothold in the free world. Sending children to college outside China is a second tier strategy. Finally, buying real estate overseas and shipping their families ahead of them, wealthy Chinese spur two strong trends in China: capital flight and human brain drain.

A Poisoned Land With all That Entails

The sad and too common tale of a poisoned village:

The crops began to suffer: untreated effluent in the water, heavy metals in the soil, sulphur dioxide in the air.

Tendrils of vine wind up a bamboo frame and Mrs Yang reaches across to pluck a winter melon, cracking it open and showing me the rotten inside. She’s been farming here all her adult life but she says that in recent years, the crops have been useless.

“Here in this village, many people have cancer. Three people died in the space of as many months. They were all so young. It’s so toxic here,” Mrs Yang says. __ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-33546231

China’s dirty secret and the cost that will be paid to the second and third generations, and beyond.

China has peaked

Online shopping addiction and fraud accelerates decline

The title for this article was borrowed from this National Interest piece

No grand strategy

As problematic as China’s future may seem, the dragon has more than one leg up on the neighboring bear to the north. Expect China’s dominance over Russia to grow dramatically as push turns to shove turns to stab in the back.

Posted in China | Tagged | 4 Comments

Sweden Needs Robots! Lots of Robots!

Sweden is In Desperate Trouble

Sweden never used to have so much gang violence, nor did it suffer from a rape epidemic before recently. All of that has changed since Sweden’s government opened the doors to third world immigration.

Such levels of gang violence are without parallel in Sweden’s modern history. And with police busy dealing with gang murders and shootings, rape victims wait for justice…

Police admit that rape cases are piling up without being investigated because resources are being drained by gang violence and shootings.

In June, a 12-year-old girl in the small town of Stenungsund reported that she had been dragged into a public restroom and raped by an older boy. Six weeks later the girl had still not been questioned by the police. Even though she believed she had identified the perpetrator, the police had yet to pay him a visit.

“We have so many similar cases,” a spokeswoman of the local police told the Swedish public television channel SVT on September 12, “and there are so few of us, that we simply don’t have the time.” She continued: “We have rape victims three years old,” and even their cases await investigation. __ http://quillette.com/2017/10/10/swedens-sexual-assault-crisis-presents-feminist-paradox/

Even if Sweden had enough policemen to investigate and punish these floods of violent immigrants, government policies of political correctness prevent them from doing what is necessary.

What if Sweden Had Robocops?

Robocops might take much of the human element out of policing, making law enforcement more an issue of algorithms than “faulty” human nature. Artificially intelligent robo-enforcers — being more objective — might be freed up to enforce the law on the basis of the evidence.

They are cheaper than humans, require no health insurance, never clamour for a raise and work 24 hours a day.

Sweden’s Problem Goes Deeper than Violent Immigrants

This immigrant-instigated rape epidemic and gang violence are really just symptoms of deeper problems within the mental substrate of Sweden’s elites. At its heart it is a crisis of radicalism, manifested most often in everyday life by a rabid feminism which denies Swedish men their just bedtime desserts. Swedish women have come to dominate their men to the point that most Swedish men have become emasculated. Emasculated men are unable to satisfy their women — and are unable to defend their women against external threat, such as violent immigrants.

Sex Robots Can Teach Swedish Women a Lesson

In the age of robotics, Swedish men no longer have to kowtow to every whim of their ideologically twisted women. Instead, they can turn to new, artificial intelligence-endowed sex robots to satisfy their sexual needs. As Sweden’s women — currently swimming in delusions of self-importance — find themselves much less in demand, they may have cause to rethink their ideological assumptions. Not only that, but their biological clocks are ticking down.

In this area, China may be leading the way, but Swedish men can also utilise this breakthrough technology:

A man who married his sex robot after his parents nagged him to settle down is designing models for other lonely men.

Engineer Zheng Jiajia is now creating more robots with a ‘sexual function’ to reportedly help other bachelors get hitched. ___ http://metro.co.uk/2017/11/05/the-man-who-built-and-married-his-own-sex-robot-is-now-making-them-for-other-lonely-men-7054550/

In Some Areas, Robots Have a Long Way to Go

One should not assume that robots are destined to take over the world any time soon. You may have been fooled by “fake media” into believing that autonomous automobiles are on the verge of taking over the autobahn, or that robotic surgeons will soon be kicking their human predecessors out of the operating suite. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Robotic surgeons, for example, are overpriced and their surgical results leave much to be desired. Also, while it is clear that autonomous cars crash, it is alarmingly likely that the more such cars are on the road, the more crashes they will cause.

Artificial Intelligence is Not All It is Cracked Up to Be

In some areas, robotics may be able to provide a reasonable surrogate for some of societies simpler needs. Robotic cultivators and harvesters, robotic surveillance, sex robots, robotic college professors, robotic lawyers, robotic journalists, robotic politicians — and other such low level occupations — have minimal intelligence requirements. But for tasks that require exceptional judgment and quick response, well-trained humans have the advantage.

The simplest way of putting it is that Artificial Intelligence stinks, and always has done. AI has never lived up to its claims or to the hopes that its promoters have clung to. That does not stop the AI carny pitch-men from touting their fantasies to the gullible rubes, using “fake news” media.

… while AI and machine learning have received substantial investment over the past five years and have been widely touted as a transformative technologies, “there is little sign that they have yet affected aggregate productivity statistics.”

“The simplest possibility is that the optimism about the potential technologies is misplaced and unfounded,” muse Erik Brynjolfsson and Daniel Rock (MIT), Chad Syverson (University of Chicago)… __ The Register

What Lessons Can Sweden Learn From This?

Sweden clearly needs to replace its entire government with robots. While robots are far from perfect, they are far superior to Sweden’s genocidal government.

Sweden’s college faculties should likewise be replaced by robots — at least in the humanities, social sciences, law, philosophy, and social anthropology. And of course Sweden’s journalists need to be ejected in favour of robotic replacements — certainly all female journalists, and most of the men as well.

Sweden desperately needs unflinching robotic law enforcers in the age of immigrant rape and gang violence. Virtually all of Sweden’s academic budgets should be devoted to the development of ever-improved generations of robocops.

Finally, Sweden’s radical feminist women no longer need to serve their sexual role in society, as sex robots are improving so rapidly. It should be stressed that until working artificial wombs arrive, Swedish women will have to serve the procreative role. Artificial insemination should suffice to that end.

Posted in Demographics, Machine Intelligence, Robots, satire | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Robert D. Kaplan on the Russia – China Rivalry

Savvy geographer and writer Robert D. Kaplan has had his eyes on developments in Central Asia since he published his influential essay and book, The Coming Anarchy, in the middle 1990s. Since that time a quiet but intense rivalry in Central Asia between China and Russia has grown ever warmer.

The larger Chinese goal is to dominate Eurasia, which means relegating Russia to a second-tier power… President Vladimir Putin’s compulsion to challenge the West — while China under President Xi Jinping is quietly on the march all around him — demonstrates his strategic shortsightedness at a time of Russian economic vulnerability.

__ NYT

Unheralded, China seems to be winning the “quiet war” between the two largest Asian nuclear powers. China has only one seacoast — vulnerable to multiple chokepoints. Most of Russia’s seaports are frozen over much of the year. Consequently, the largely economic battles between the two would-be superpowers take place largely on the great Asian land mass.

Asia

China and Russia share a land border of more than 2,600 miles, an interminable stretch of birch forest separating mainly the Russian Far East from Chinese Manchuria, whose particulars were formally agreed upon only in the last decade… China is vanquishing Russia in Central Asia. In the last decade, the China National Petroleum Corporation has become Central Asia’s main energy player. China pumps Kazakh oil to Europe and also to China through a pipeline, and the Chinese transport natural gas from Turkmenistan to western China. Chinese money has also been coursing through Central Asia to build power grids and transportation infrastructure, altering the landscape and forming the backbone of the One Belt, One Road plan. __ Robert D. Kaplan

China has copied most Russian / Soviet weapons systems, and is currently selling these reverse-engineered arms at cut-rate prices on world markets — in direct competition with Russia. At the same time, Russia is selling some of its best weapons systems directly to China’s enemies and potential enemies — such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and India.

Just like Russia, China is its own worst enemy. Excessively autocratic and wildly corrupt, leaders of both nations too easily forget how quickly government support can erode among the people who actually keep things going. Both China and Russia have suffered a number of governmental collapses and near-collapses over the past 100 years, and it is unlikely that this deadly turbulence has been truly quelled for either one.

China can be stopped only by its own internal demons. … China’s autocracy, precisely because of its successes, could face a crisis of legitimacy as social, ethnic and religious tensions intensify in both Han and Uighur areas, especially in the event of any further slowdowns in economic growth that thwart the rising expectations of its people. That’s why the ultimate success of One Belt, One Road will be determined less by what happens in Central Asia and elsewhere than by what happens inside China itself. __ NYT

How ironic that the underlying mechanism for One Belt One Road (OBOR) is the same problem that could pull the props out from under the dragon’s ruling classes — profligate and unsound debt. And how queer that Putin is finding himself outflanked in the east and south just as he had been stirring blood-feud feelings among his formerly friendly neighbors to the west. No matter what the media and your eyes are telling you, the “turtles all the way down” scheme of Potemkin expansionism being practised by both players, is quite unsound over the long term.

Sticky situations can develop very quickly in this great game. Always look beneath the surface facade whenever possible, if you wish to anticipate next moves.

Posted in China, Russia | Tagged | 2 Comments

No Fool Like a Green Fool

Mark Z. Jacobson: 100% Renewable Excrement

Debunked champion of the 100% renewable future, discredited Stanford professor Mark Jacobson has sunk to his lowest level yet. Hoping against hope to redeem his justly savaged reputation, he is suing the authors and publishers of the scientific article that debunked his wild claims!

Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson has filed a lawsuit, demanding $10 million in damages, against the peer-reviewed scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and a group of eminent scientists (Clack et al.) for their study showing that Jacobson made improper assumptions in order to claim that he had demonstrated U.S. energy could be provided exclusively by renewable energy, primarily wind, water, and solar.

… What Jacobson has done is unprecedented. Scientific disagreements must be decided not in court but rather through the scientific process. __ Environmental Progress

Asking a court of law to determine issues of scientific validity is nothing new in the fantasy world of neo-environmentalism. But what Jacobson is doing is asking for courts to levy damages against scientists and a scientific publisher for daring to expose his double-dealing pseudoscientific shenanigans! If scientists cannot call other scientists on their mistaken assumptions, faulty methods, and overly grandiose claims, then science is finished.

This Comes Against a Background of Green Collapse

Wind turbine makers will find it more and more difficult to survive, as government welfare starts slipping through their fingers. Electric vehicle makers such as Tesla can see no end to their losses, as similar government handouts start to be reeled back in. The sad truth about the growing mountain of toxic waste from the solar industry is giving more thoughtful environmentalists pause, as they begin to re-evaluate the headlong rush into a “solar future.”

Smart Environmentalists are Re-Thinking the Wisdom of the Stampede

It takes a lot of steel, a lot of concrete, and a lot of formerly unspoiled land to produce those unreliable megawatts!

… a MW of installed capacity for wind requires 460 metric tons of steel and 870 m3 of concrete compared to the 98 metric tons of steel and 160 m3 of concrete for coal, and the even lower 40 metric tons of steel and 90 m3 of concrete for nuclear. Natural gas is the lowest of all, requiring a little over 3 metric tons of steel and 27 m3 of concrete per MW, the reason gas plants are the cheapest and easiest to build. ___ https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/07/01/is-the-answer-my-friend-blowing-in-the-wind/#1e18825d786b

In reality, one cannot count on big wind and big solar to produce those costly megawatts when they are needed. A megawatt of unreliable/low quality energy cannot be compared to a megawatt of high quality on-demand energy — in the life or death world of electric power infrastructure.

Wind and solar megawatts cost more, they consume more costly materials and land, they destroy wildlife and wildlife habitat, and these megawatts are unreliable and of the lowest quality, but at the highest cost. So what good are they???

Green Energy Scam Hand in Glove With Climate Apocalypse Cult

If not for the grand green cult of climate apocalypse, only utter idiots would be taken in by the green energy scam. But since the climate apocalypse cult can claim most of the media, academia, the deep state, tax free foundations, NGOs, political activist groups, trial lawyer groups, and other collective denizens of the parasitic elite as dues-paying members, society as a whole is fouled up in the sticky green web. Breaking free of this corrupt and delusional enterprise will not be easy.

28 Years of Green Psychosis Requires the Strongest Shock Treatment

The green scam thrives on taxpayer dollars and government policy. Legislators and executives in government need to cut the parasite at its root, and deny it the unearned nourishment it has been sucking up for the past several years. Unfortunately the rot of fanatical delusion penetrates into university, high schools, grammar schools, down to the kindergarten curriculum level. Eradicating all of the intentional sabotage would take decades, and would inevitably fall short of total success. There is a lot of money in the great green scam, and the public at large seems to enjoy being deceived.

Cutting off the funds to the green parasite is only an initial — but necessary first step. Cleaning up all the stinking tendrils that enmesh and infest most sectors of society will take generations. And that is unlikely to happen without the most drastic measures being taken.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late for a Dangerous Childhood © .

The history of the great green scam is edifying to read. Here is a small sampling:

http://www.dividedstates.com/list-of-failed-obama-green-energy-solar-companies/

https://townhall.com/columnists/donaldlambro/2012/12/27/the-obama-green-energy-scam-you-may-have-missed-n1473435

Posted in Green Quagmire | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Mr. Putin’s Russia, Today

Turning Russia’s Neighbors into Enemies?

Putin has succeeded where centuries of Ukrainian nationalists failed: he has created a strong sense of [Ukrainian] national identity—and he has imbued it with deep anti-Russian sentiment. After Russia’s seizure of Crimea and some 10,000 dead in Donbass, that is easily understood.

… Hostility toward Moscow manifests itself in [many] ways. More Ukrainians now make a point to use Ukrainian rather than Russian. Harkening back to Moscow’s claim to a special right to protect ethnic Russians and Russians speakers, wherever they might be and regardless of their citizenship, a joke on the streets in Kiev is, “I’m afraid of speaking Russian now, because Putin might want to protect me.” __ Brookings

The same sentiments are easily seen across Eastern Europe and well into Central Asia. The people and government of Belarus are increasingly antagonistic toward Moscow, and the native peoples of Central Asia no longer bother to hide their hostility toward the ethnic Russians who still live amongst them.

And what is really happening inside Russia, that is not being reported on the mainstream? Warning: It isn’t pretty.

Russian Language News Links

Summary:

  • Educational and medical infrastructures in steep decline
  • Officials unconcerned about rising mortality
  • Illegal abortions rising
  • Fertility rates falling
  • Demographic Decline a “Perfect Storm”

List of free online webpage translators, useful for reading full Russian language articles linked below in your own language.

One Problem of Many
Source

Prison hospitals have been called “death factories” because so many die in them (lenta.ru/articles/2017/10/24/turma/). The intellectual degradation of the education system means that Russia will soon have a deficit of 10 million trained specialists, something the government doesn’t seem concerned about (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2017/10/24/1655638.html, newsland.com/community/4765/content/tak-vygliadit-degradatsiia-primer-vypusknykh-ekzamenov-po-matematike-1991-i-2016-godov/6046690, newsland.com/community/129/content/issledovanie-rossiiu-zhdet-defitsit-analitikov-i-tvorcheskikh-spetsialistov/6054111 and echo.msk.ru/news/2081178-echo.html).

The health minister of Sverdlovsk oblast says that rising mortality rates among older groups is a good thing because it reduces pressure on the pension fund (politsovet.ru/48652-ministr-zdravoohraneniya-smertnost-sredi-starikov-rastet-eto-horosho.html and babr24.com/msk/?IDE=166424). People in Vladimir Oblast have complained to Putin about the sad state of hospitals there (regnum.ru/news/society/2337536.html), and health experts say the rising number of maternal deaths in Russian villages reflects the growth in illegal abortions because of the absence of facilities, yet another a result of Putin’s optimization program (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=68469).

A lack of polio vaccines threatens to spark a polio epidemic in Russia (ura.news/articles/1036272754). There is also a serious shortage of insulin in the Russian Far East (egnum.ru/news/society/2337077.html), and Russian pharmacy companies have stopped making needed but less profitable medicines (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=59EDFE75C618C).

The Western sanctions regime and Russian counter-sanctions is pushing Russian demographic figures down, provoking outmigration, and helping to drive fertility rates down even faster than the rate of decline in the number of women in prime child-bearing cohorts (publizist.ru/blogs/108984/20964/- , kp.ru/daily/26746/3775003/ and spektr.press/cvety-zhizni-kak-v-latvii-reshayut-problemu-demografii/).

The construction industry is collapsing in many places (ng.ru/omics/2017-10-23/4_7100_kazna.html). Ever more companies are unprofitable (newsland.com/community/4109/content/rossiia-putina-dolia-ubytochnykh-organizatsii-na-rf-vyrosla-na-tret/6054733), and many others are losing confidence that they will soon return to growth (lenta.ru/news/2017/10/27/noconfidence/).

Russian consumption levels fell more between 2014 when Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine and 2016 than they did during the entire 1990s. As a result, Russia has seen its consumption decline in the last three years more than all the countries of the world except for Congo, Zimbabwe, and its victim Ukraine (cho.msk.ru/blog/aillar/2079346-echo/).

___ More links to Russian language news stories

These Russian language news stories do not fit the mainstream narrative — in fact they do not really fit any particular narrative very well. When we step away from our preconceptions and face cold realities, we learn that the world is much messier the more deeply we look.

Is Putin Descending into Madness?

Putin’s long and risky good-bye

Petersburg “troll factory” update

Russian military buildup hampered by corruption and mismanagement

Time to Liberate Russian Girls and Women

Saving Russia’s girls and young women from Mr. Putin’s gulag has never been more urgent.

To a Better World

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China’s Junk-Rated Future

One Belt One Road: Leap Into the Uncertain Future

China’s Mr. Xi has attained the pinnacle of one-man power in The Middle Kingdom. In order to achieve his ambition to make China the leading global power in economic, political, and military terms, he has committed the nation to the massive infrastructure project known as One Belt One Road (OBOR).

The majority of the nations in OBOR are junk-rated or not graded by international rating firms. China’s Obor drive is actually beginning to encounter a backlash in some partner countries.

__ Brahma Chellaney

The overland portion of OBOR represents the greatest initial challenge, with the least obvious payoff. Sea-based transport is far less expensive and ultimately more profitable than land transport. The sea-based portion of OBOR holds more potential, but China remains limited in its sea-going potential due to a number of devastating “maritime chokepoints” off of China’s coastline and beyond.

Mr Xi’s vision, which he has called the “Chinese dream”, is essentially to make China the world’s preeminent power by 2049, the centenary of communist rule. The longest that any similar system has survived in modern history was 74 years in the Soviet Union. Mr Xi’s grip on power may [or may not] still be intact when China overtakes that record in less than seven years…

Mr Xi … sees the West in retreat and wants China to gain the upper hand globally… Mr Xi wants to make China the central player in the international order. ___ The National

Mr. Xi — like Mr. Putin before him — seems to have leaped too soon, and his nation is likely to pay very dearly for his miscalculation. The appearance of indomitable strength is not the same thing as indomitable strength. Mr. Xi appears to have taken his own propaganda and ginned up statistics too seriously — committing the particularly egregious sin of projecting past trends into the future far beyond their expiration dates.

China doesn’t always offer the best value to partnering countries. Projects are often tied to political pacts through which China’s state-owned enterprises get exclusive bidding rights, as opposed to competitive tenders between SOEs and other international firms. Research by the Economist Intelligence Unit shows that in the case of Kenya, Chinese companies have delivered the centerpiece Standard Gauge Railway at a cost of $5.6 million per km, close to three times the international standard and four times the original estimate.

Poorly chosen projects funded by cheap loans from China’s may undermine the host countries’ ability to repay debts, which may ultimately put pressure on China’s banks. China has extended huge credit lines, estimated by Fitch Ratings at some $900 billion so far, to support the OBOR strategy, with much of the money being channeled into countries where the risk of debt default is high, such as Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sri Lanka.

Given the speed at which the Chinese government is hoping to expand the OBOR strategy, the above factors raise the risk of ultimately dampening its effectiveness and undermining China’s efforts to expand its global influence. __ Problems with OBOR

China’s looming debt mountain — combined with the deadly toxic China Bubble — represent problems that the thoroughly corrupted dragon has not even begun to face.

More:

China’s overcapacity/overproduction problem

China’s fantasy future

A sadder reality for most.

So why does Xi Jinping believe that the Party is fighting for its life? Because he knows that behind this gleaming facade lies another reality. He knows that the people who live and work in the soaring buildings dare not drink tap water, their life expectancy has been cut by five years by polluted air, and cancer is growing in their babies’ lungs due to levels of PM2.5 invisible to the eye but clearly shown by an app on my iPhone.

… It is not only their savings that the rich are trying to move abroad; China is suffering from the greatest brain drain in the history of the world (by 2006, 750,000 students who had studied abroad had failed to return to China.)

… It is not only their rulers whom the common people distrust: they tell me their distrust runs horizontally as well as vertically. They shake their heads and say: “In China there is no trust, and no truth.”

Mr. Xi Takes a Wild Leap

Going back thousands of years, China’s history is full of ambitious expansions followed by devastating collapse. Today’s Chinese Communist Party of Mr. Xi appears ready to take another wild ride on the cyclic China Express. It is difficult to see any other outcome than bloodshed on a grand scale — a phenomenon that historians often airbrush out of their portraits of time.

China’s geopolitics through the ages as “cycles of reunifications and expansions, followed by decay and fragmentations.” __ A Precipitate and Irrational Expansion

Always watch the fundamentals and discount the official public pronouncements and rah! rah! cheerleading. Remember that right up until the Soviet Union fell, it was still being promoted as the successor world superpower destined to replace the US — by a mainstream media and world punditry that remains similarly blindered and tunnel-visioned today.

Posted in China | Tagged | 1 Comment

A Mind Forever Young

Maintaining A Youthful Outlook

Two striking features of healthy children are a curious inquisitiveness and a sense of playfulness. Young kids are always asking questions. Ordinary preschool children ask about 100 questions per day. But then something tragic often happens soon after a child starts school.

Why Do Ordinary Kids Stop Asking Questions?
Source: A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger

This is one of the tragedies of modern schooling and child-raising. Children who go to conventional schools too often have almost all the inquisitiveness stamped out of them. A conscious schooltime suppression of inquisitiveness in children makes them old and dull before their time.

The Problems of the Future Require People Who Can Ask the Right Questions

Solving problems in the real world is altogether different from scoring points on multiple choice exams in school. Improvisational problem-solving facilitated by asking the right questions makes a worker or an entrepreneur far more valuable and sought after in the real world — especially in a world of accelerating change where novel problems are always appearing.

The world and workplace of the future will demand that its workers and entrepreneurs be observant, nimble, and able to anticipate important trends and changes that are likely to take place. If children and youth never learn to ask the important questions about things and events happening around them, they will be lost and at the mercy of prevailing powers.

Sadly, too many children are discouraged from active engagement and the asking of questions by school systems that are more concerned with generating numbers for government departments, rather than producing healthy and inquisitive young people who can think for themselves.

Student Engagement Over Time
Gallup


The graph above from a Gallup study reveals the steady decline in student engagement over time. This says more about teaching methods in conventional schools than it does about the students themselves.

Along with Inquisitiveness, A Sense of Playfulness is Indispensable

Play is central to the learning processes of very young children. And even as children grow older, play is a key component to learning foundational skills and for developing latent talents. Active play allows children to think outside the box and ask “what if?” questions which open new worlds of thinking.

New Generations of Youth Lack a Healthy Playfulness

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena discovered that recent engineering hires who were meant to replace older engineers who were retiring, did not know how to solve basic engineering problems with which they were confronted on the job. After investigating the reasons for this disturbing shortcoming of new engineers, they discovered something important about the type of engineers they needed to hire:

The JPL managers went back to look at their … retiring engineers… They found that in their youth, their older, problem-solving employees had taken apart clocks to see how they worked, or made soapbox derby racers, or built hi-fi stereos, or fixed appliances. The younger engineering school graduates who had also done these things, who had played with their hands, were adept at the kind of problem solving that management sought. Those that hadn’t, generally were not. __ From “Play” by Stuart Brown MD with Christopher Vaughan

The same problem with new hires and recent graduates is being seen in workplaces across the US as young people who were never given the experience of creative play and tinkering are hitting the workplace. People who developed the skills of improvising and tinkering in their youth will never forget these playful forms of problem-solving. Those who passed through their youthful years without developing these skills are at a serious practical disadvantage in a world of accelerating change, with newer unconventional problems popping up regularly.

Another example:

[Nate] Jones ran a machine shop that specialized in precision racing and Formula One tires, and he had noticed that many of the new kids coming to work in the shop were … not able to problem solve… After questioning the new kids and older employees, Jones found that those who had worked and played with their hands as they were growing up were able to “see solutions” that those who hadn’t worked with their hands could not. __ Play

We know that children pass through windows of sensitive neurological development as they grow older. If certain “connections” in the brain are not made during these sensitive periods of development, it will be more difficult — if not impossible — for many of these young people to make these important connections when they are older.

Asking the Right Questions Meshes with Skillful Improvisation

If humans grow up mastering the skills of playful improvisation and focused inquisitiveness, their minds will be continually “reset” and renewed, in contrast to the masses of people whose minds begin to atrophy soon after starting school — and continue sliding downward into mindless conformity the further their education takes them.

Children and youth who develop the skills of asking good questions combined with competent and playful improvisation will find themselves in demand. And if these youth and young adults have also learned how to manage their finances, they are likely to eventually find themselves reasonable well off financially.

Dangerous Children, for example, learn to master at least three means of financial independence by the age of 18 years. Besides having multiple skills that are sought after in the marketplace, they have also learned to manage the finances of a household and of multiple small businesses by that same early age. Where they go from there is entirely up to them.

But that is just the beginning of what makes Dangerous Children skilled and nimble in this world or virtually any other human world. It is never too late for a Dangerous Childhood, but the sooner begun, the better.

More information on questions, and play:

Right Question Institute
National Institute for Play

The above posting was adapted from an earlier article in The Dangerous Child blog.

Posted in Childhood Development, Competence, Creativity | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

A Fundamental Confusion of The Information Age

Never in history has so much information been at the fingertips of so many human beings. And yet never have so many humans been so confused, so dismayed, so driven to addiction and a compulsive aimlessness.

Humans confuse data for information, information for knowledge, knowledge for truth, and truth for wisdom. So easily misled and waylaid by purveyors of false data and false knowledge, yet so certain of the rightness of our mashed up beliefs and clapped together causes.

The information signals never stop, 24 hours of news – opinion – internet – social media and the reflections and highly processed backwash of the same from friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. But what does it all mean — and more importantly — where should it all lead in terms of personal action?

Beliefs are Cheap, Actions are Risky

Beliefs are like shite, they happen. They are a byproduct of brain assimilation and processing of data, and excremental as they are, they form the foundations of our future actions. Given the neglectful and absentminded way that our beliefs are typically formed, this nugget of information should frighten you — but it probably doesn’t.

We are Producing an Inferior Human Substrate

As a result of our compulsive over-emphasis on data and our neglect of truth and wisdom, the bulk of human brains being produced these days are sadly misinformed, and totally unsuited for solving the kinds of problems that they are themselves creating.

This mismatch of supply and demand has always been the case throughout history — it is a most salient element of the human condition. But in The Information Age, the entire fiasco has been turned up several notches. In fact, modern society is built upon an insatiable addiction for data — and the absolute need to manipulate belief systems using public and private information flows.

If you have to ask who the sucker in this scenario is, it is probably you.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late for a Dangerous Childhood © .

The information below is a few years out of date, and doesn’t include news and popular media or most government, academic, and corporate information flows. Updated quantities should probably be multiplied by factors of ten, at least.

Every minute of every day we create:

– More than 204 million email messages
– Over 2 million Google search queries
– 48 hours of new YouTube videos
– 684,000 bits of content shared on Facebook
– More than 100,000 tweets
__ https://www.webopedia.com/quick_ref/just-how-much-data-is-out-there.html

Posted in Knowledge | Tagged | 2 Comments

What Kind of Pathetic Wimps are We Raising?

When we raise kids unaccustomed to facing anything on their own, including risk, failure, and hurt feelings, our society and even our economy are threatened. Yet modern child-rearing practices and laws seem all but designed to cultivate this lack of preparedness. There’s the fear that everything children see, do, eat, hear, and lick could hurt them. And there’s a newer belief that has been spreading through higher education that words and ideas themselves can be traumatizing.

How did we come to think a generation of kids can’t handle the basic challenges of growing up? __ Reason

New generations of children seem to be swept along on a massive wave of fear, incompetence, and perpetual immature adolescence. College only seems to make it worse!

colleges treat their students like hatchlings not yet ready to leave the nest, as opposed to preparing and encouraging them to fly.

__ Inside Higher Educationvia

Safe spaces, speech codes, segregated cafeterias/dorms/student unions, lack of ideological diversity in the classrooms and guest lectures, etc. all lead to fragile little snowflakes who will not be able to face the world as it is.

Children Need to face Risk in order to Develop

At the same time that adults are choosing to have fewer and fewer children, they also seem to feel it necessary to protect their rare “trophy children” from all risks whatsoever. But the real world has no tolerance for human beings who are incapable of dealing with challenges and risks. Sooner or later these special young things will pay the price for their parents’ lack of sense.

Preventing our kids from exploring uncertainty could have unintended negative consequences for their health and development, such as increased sedentary behaviour, anxiety and phobias. __ Source

It is much worse than that, of course. Modern societies are in danger of ceding the common spaces to violent and ideologically intolerant gangs and special interest groups. Civil society cannot exist in the absence of civilised common spaces, where people of varying backgrounds are free to mingle and interact. Interaction on the internet is a poor substitute for interactions in real life.

When we keep our kids constantly supervised by an adult, we think we are keeping them safe. But in fact we are doing the opposite. Kids need some independence — and even a little risk.

A study on risky play published in Evolutionary Psychology found that kids ‘dose’ themselves with the level of risk they can handle.

… Children deprived of these opportunities can end up more anxious. They haven’t been able to build up their bravery, organise their own games or solve their own spats. They have never got lost and had to find their way home, scared and then triumphant. Their coping skills are stunted.

That could be why today’s students are having a harder time than earlier generations at getting along on their own. From 2011 to 2016, the number of undergraduates in America reporting ‘overwhelming anxiety’ jumped from 50 to 62 per cent. Having been protected from so many risks and discomforts, children remain hypersensitive to them on the cusp of adulthood. __ https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/10/if-you-dont-let-children-take-risks-you-are-damaging-them/

The Fragile Generation

One day last year, a citizen on a prairie path in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst came upon a teen boy chopping wood. Not a body. Just some already-fallen branches. Nonetheless, the onlooker called the cops.

Officers interrogated the boy, who said he was trying to build a fort for himself and his friends. A local news site reports the police then “took the tools for safekeeping to be returned to the boy’s parents.”

… Today many kids are raised like veal. Only 13 percent of them even walk to school. Many who take the bus wait at the stop with parents beside them like bodyguards. For a while, Rhode Island was considering a bill that would prohibit children from getting off the bus in the afternoon if there wasn’t an adult waiting to walk them home. This would have applied until seventh grade. __ Reason

Not only have the new generation of fearful parents bought into the “philosophy of riskless child-raising,” but police forces and other civil servants have been co-opted into the perverse project of infantilising the next generations.

Why Children Need Risk

The general incompetence and lifelong immaturity that flows naturally out of the lack of childhood risk and adventure, is just one of the prices that society will have to pay. An increasing breakdown of public civility and overall law and order are additional likely consequences in large central city areas of Europe and the Anglosphere — where this plague of lifelong infantilisation is most severe.

Interesting Reading:

The Dangerous Book for Boys

Gever Tully: Tinkering School, 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do)

Dangerous Child blog

… without adults intervening, the kids have to do all the problem solving for themselves, from deciding what game to play to making sure the teams are roughly equal. Then, when there’s an argument, they have to resolve it themselves. That’s a tough skill to learn, but the drive to continue playing motivates them to work things out. To get back to having fun, they first have to come up with a solution, so they do. This teaches them that they can disagree, hash it out, and—perhaps with some grumbling—move on.

These are the very skills that are suddenly in short supply on college campuses. __ Lenore Skenazy and Jonathan Haidt in Reason

Posted in Childhood Development, Competence, Dangerous Child, Education, Groupthink, University | Tagged , | Leave a comment

China’s Growth is 100% Debt Driven

China Debt Mountain
100% Debt Driven Growth
Bloomberg via Mishtalk

China leads the world in economic growth but that growth is 100% debt-driven. China’s recent $10 trillion in growth comes from $10 trillion in additional debt.

… The instability of China’s credit-fueled, investment-focused growth strategy is—without a doubt—one of the greatest systemic risks facing the global economy according to Hedgeye Financials analyst Jonathan Casteleyn.

… __ Source

“The Chinese system has been propped up by debt-fueled growth,” Casteleyn explains in the video above from The Macro Show. “Eventually this very substantial contributor to GDP could start a banking crisis at some point.” __ Source

China’s non-performing loans (NPLs) are eroding the foundations of the national economy — and every other economy that China touches. Most of these NPLs relate to state-owned enterprises, which are too closely tied to communist party officials’ personal finances for China to allow the zombie industries to die, as they should have done years ago.

China is Not the Only Nation With Debt Problems

Many nations of Europe, the Anglosphere, and free Asia are likewise dealing with problems of rising debt, although not with the same degree of toxic undertow that plagues China’s Communist Party system — dogged by corruption and ideological dysfunction as it is. China is being overwhelmed by toxicity of its air, water, soil, food, and other products. It is growing old before getting its economic act together. Its economy is largely a Potemkin bubble, and most of what is real consists of assets that were stolen, pirated, or taken from naive foreign investors who never expected to be stabbed in the back.

In the US, Obama’s mindless debt binge is just now being slowly turned back by the new administration. All in all, the Trump administration is doing a magnificent job in gradually turning back much of the US governmental rot that has set in over the past 28 years or so.

US Millenial Snowflakes Love Trump’s Tax Plan!

Young leftists love the Trump plan — if it is presented as Bernie Sanders’ plan. 😉

Clearly these young snowflakes have no deep foundations of knowledge. Like most modern consumers of mainstream propaganda, they judge everything by surface appearances alone.

It should be obvious that if not for the propaganda classes and the classes of brainless sheep who listen to them, Trump’s reforms could move the US back toward constitutional government far more quickly.

More on China’s ongoing crisis:

China’s GDP fiasco

Fast forward the video to about 5 minutes for clearer audio:

Posted in China, Demographics, Economics, Poison | 2 Comments

Electrical Brain Stimulation and Enhanced Learning

By implanting neural sensor arrays into the brains of monkeys, scientists in Malibu, Montreal, and New York have begun to discover why tDCS electrical brain stimulation seems to boost learning. By measuring the brain’s response to tDCS while in the process of learning, researchers found that targeted electrical stimulation on the scalp facilitates high frequency brain wave coherence between distant brain regions. Brain wave synchrony at these frequencies seems to raise learning efficiencies and speeds.

First, scientists at McGill took macaques monkeys and implanted sensor arrays inside their brains. While other studies have done similar experiments monitoring the brain with an EEG machine, here scientists could measure the firing of neurons in vivo (from the inside), using intracranial sensing.

The non-stimulated monkeys went through 22 trials before the association was fully formed. Stimulated monkeys took only 12 trials. This was about a 40% improvement in learning speed.

The sensor implants within the monkey’s brains were able to record the changes caused by tDCS. __ Source h/t NBF

Human Brain Hemisphere (L) Lateral
Source

The tDCS cut the average number of trials to learn the assigned task (visual foraging for food) almost in half. And the scientists also learned the best moment in time to engage the electrical stimulation for the specific task, to maximise learning efficiency.

The improved long-range connectivity between brain areas in the high frequency bands and reduced connectivity in the low frequency bands were the determining factors in our study that could explain the learning improvements with tDCS of the prefrontal cortex,” Pilly said. “Just because neurons can be more brisk in their firing may not lead to changes in performance. Boosting memory function likely requires better coordination of task-relevant information across the cortex.” __ HRL Laboratories h/t Brian Wang

Published study abstract in Current Biology

Brain wave synchrony between distant brain areas at higher frequencies is thought to be the primary way that different aspects of complex “thought objects” are bound together. This concept was explored in depth in the book “Rhythms of the Brain” by Gyorgy Buszaki.

More:

2 hour seminar on noninvasive brain stimulation from Center for Consciousness Studies:

NIH lecture series on Multimodal Brain Stimulation:

We are in the early stages for this type of research, using electromagnetic stimulation to enhance normal human potential. Up until now, most research using these modalities (TMS, tDCS etc) looked specifically at the potential for mitigating disease states such as Parkinson’s, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimers, and other diseases related to brain pathology.

Given that the tDCS learning research above was sponsored by the US DARPA, it is likely that it will be pursued as long as it shows positive potential.

Posted in Human Brain, Learning Theory | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Mind the Brain

Human Brain Chart

The better you can understand your brain, the better you can understand your own mind. And understanding your own mind is an open door to self-liberation and freedom. Short of that, every human being is a slave to mindless habits, automatic trance states, and manipulation by outside special interests and powerful forces.

The short video clip below by Jordan Peterson provides a preliminary sketch of the human brain as a whole.

Peterson is a clinical psychologist and philosopher, so his concerns about the brain deal largely with higher level functions. But the brain can be understood on multiple levels — from the molecular to the neuronal to the local nuclear and neural cluster levels to lobes and white matter connections between organised brain centres.

Brain Networks
Source


Neuroscientists are beginning to focus more closely on “brain networks” and the “brain connectome”. Brain networks are now often seen as the highest level of brain function involved in consciousness, and the interconnections of the connectome facilitate the real time operation and interlinking of of brain locations and systems — which allows brain networks to emerge.

Human Connectome
Source

Default mode network: a network of brain regions that are active when the individual is not focused on the outside world and the brain is at wakeful rest

Attention networks: Primarily mediated by the frontal areas of the brain including the anterior cingulate cortex, attentional control is thought to be closely related to other executive functions such as working memory.

Cingulate Cortex: cortical hub. Anterior CC (ACC): cognition, arousal/motivation/drive, motor control, FOCUSED attention; Posterior CC (PCC): general, broad monitoring __ https://neurospirit.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/class-3-brain-basis-of-meditation-and-enlightenment/

Many cognitive scientists now believe that the interplay between the insular cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex plays an important role in how emotions / feelings combine with higher level executive functions to synthesise our day to day mind operations.

In terms of function, the insula is believed to process convergent information to produce an emotionally relevant context for sensory experience. To be specific, the anterior insula is related more to olfactory, gustatory, vicero-autonomic, and limbic function, whereas the posterior insula is related more to auditory-somesthetic-skeletomotor function. Functional imaging experiments have revealed that the insula has an important role in pain experience and the experience of a number of basic emotions, including anger, fear, disgust, happiness, and sadness.[59]

The anterior insular cortex (AIC) is believed to be responsible for emotional feelings, including maternal and romantic love, anger, fear, sadness, happiness, sexual arousal, disgust, aversion, unfairness, inequity, indignation, uncertainty,[60] disbelief, social exclusion, trust, empathy, sculptural beauty, a ‘state of union with God’, and hallucinogenic state.[61]

Functional imaging studies have also implicated the insula in conscious desires, such as food craving and drug craving. What is common to all of these emotional states is that they each change the body in some way and are associated with highly salient subjective qualities. The insula is well-situated for the integration of information relating to bodily states into higher-order cognitive and emotional processes. The insula receives information from “homeostatic afferent” sensory pathways via the thalamus and sends output to a number of other limbic-related structures, such as the amygdala, the ventral striatum, and the orbitofrontal cortex, as well as to motor cortices.[62] __ Insular Cortex

After digesting the gist of what the insular cortex is currently thought to do, consider the anterior cingulate cortex (the ACC):

The dorsal part of the ACC is connected with the prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex, as well as the motor system and the frontal eye fields,[5] making it a central station for processing top-down and bottom-up stimuli and assigning appropriate control to other areas in the brain. By contrast, the ventral part of the ACC is connected with the amygdala, nucleus accumbens, hypothalamus, hyppocampus, and anterior insula, and is involved in assessing the salience of emotion and motivational information. The ACC seems to be especially involved when effort is needed to carry out a task, such as in early learning and problem-solving.[6] __ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anterior_cingulate_cortex

The insular is best connected with the body’s internal sensors, while the anterior cingulate cortex (planning and judgment) is well connected to the prefrontal cortex, the limbic system (emotions), and the hippocampus (memory).

You Are What You Think (and do)

The different parts of the brain — and the interconnections between them — shrink or grow based upon what one thinks about and what one does with his time. The brain of a pianist will look distinctly different to an experienced brain scientist than will the brain of a mathematician or heart surgeon. Brains of accomplished individuals will display differently on anatomical or functional scans, depending upon their areas of expertise.

We should probably expect to see such diversity in brain functioning and brain anatomy between differently skilled persons of accomplishment — and between persons of accomplishment and persons who devote themselves almost exclusively to trivial pursuits. Even more interesting are the differences one would find when comparing the brains of persons who live in emotional turmoil, with the brains of persons who have largely found peace within themselves and with those around them. We need better imaging devices with higher spatial and temporal resolutions, but we can already note important differences with the machines that are already available.

Not Just Practise, But the Right Kind of Practise

If we wish our brains and our minds to function optimally, we need to work at it — to practise. But that takes a lot of work, and to do work we need to be motivated. Understanding the benefits of proper practise can help to motivate us to make more of an effort in shaping the different parts of our brains and lives.

The higher up the ladder toward mastery we climb, the more skilled we need to be at devising the types of practise we work at.

More for your consideration:

10,000 Hours to Expertise?

Professor K. Anders Ericsson studied the links between practise and expertise. Ericsson discovered that in some domains, expertise improved with increased levels of practise.

From “Expertise:”

For example, the critical difference between expert musicians differing in the level of attained solo performance concerned the amounts of time they had spent in solitary practice during their music development, which totaled around 10,000 hours by age 20 for the best experts, around 5,000 hours for the least accomplished expert musicians and only 2,000 hours for serious amateur pianists. More generally, the accumulated amount of deliberate practice is closely related to the attained level of performance of many types of experts, such as musicians (Ericsson et al., 1993; Sloboda, et al., 1996), chessplayers (Charness, Krampe & Mayr, 1996) and athletes (Starkes et al., 1996).

In other areas, highly practised experts performed no better than “less trained individuals”:

… recent studies show that there are, at least, some domains where “experts” perform no better then less trained individuals (cf. outcomes of therapy by clinical psychologists, Dawes, 1994) and that sometimes experts’ decisions are no more accurate than beginners’ decisions and simple decision aids (Camerer & Johnson, 1991; Bolger & Wright, 1992). Most individuals who start as active professionals or as beginners in a domain change their behavior and increase their performance for a limited time until they reach an acceptable level. Beyond this point, however, further improvements appear to be unpredictable and the number of years of work and leisure experience in a domain is a poor predictor of attained performance (Ericsson & Lehmann, 1996).

How do experts solve problems?

… For appropriate challenging problems experts don’t just automatically extract patterns and retrieve their response directly from memory. Instead they select the relevant information and encode it in special representations in working memory that allow planning, evaluation and reasoning about alternative courses of action (Ericsson & Lehmann, 1996). Hence, the difference between experts and less skilled subjects is not merely a matter of the amount and complexity of the accumulated knowledge; it also reflects qualitative differences in the organization of knowledge and its representation (Chi, Glaser & Rees, 1982). Experts’ knowledge is encoded around key domain-related concepts and solution procedures that allow rapid and reliable retrieval whenever stored information is relevant. Less skilled subjects’ knowledge, in contrast, is encoded using everyday concepts that make the retrieval of even their limited relevant knowledge difficult and unreliable. Furthermore, experts have acquired domain-specific memory skills that allow them to rely on long-term memory (Long-Term Working Memory, Ericsson & Kintsch, 1995) to dramatically expand the amount of information that can be kept accessible during planning and during reasoning about alternative courses of action. The superior quality of the experts’ mental representations allow them to adapt rapidly to changing circumstances and anticipate future events in advance. The same acquired representations appear to be essential for experts’ ability to monitor and evaluate their own performance (Ericsson, 1996; Glaser, 1996) so they can keep improving their own performance by designing their own training and assimilating new knowledge.

Going by the above descriptions, it should be clear that most of the persons who are thrown up as “experts” to the general public are not experts at all, but poseurs who are capable of speaking in jargon and mouthing simulations of reasonable arguments about superficial — often misleading — ideas.

It should also be clear why some people can never be actual experts, no matter how much practise time they put in. The quality of their cognitive apparatus cannot cope with the amount, complexity, and sophistication of concepts which must be skillfully stored, organised, and manipulated. But beyond the levels of cognitive skill, character structures likewise constrain many people from rising to the levels of expertise which a well-functioning society demands. Conscientiousness, impulse control, planning skills, motivation, grit, resilience, etc. etc. fall broadly under the umbrella of “executive functions” which are critical to achieving higher levels of expertise and success.

Finally, personality traits make some persons more likable than others, more empathetic than others, and better communicators than others. Persons with better developed personality traits are more apt to achieve success in many areas — including working their ways into positions where higher levels of expertise can be best applied.

Posted in Cognition, Human Brain, Learning Theory, Optimism, Philosophy | Tagged , | 1 Comment

They Merely Dislike Trump Less Than They Do the Other Guys

Most US voters do not care much for Trump. But they dislike his elitist detractors far more.

The Strange, Effective Logic of Trump’s Tweets

While the news and entertainment media tie themselves in knots reacting to last night’s tweets, Trump has already moved on to the next significant — but unnoticed — accomplishment.

Trump … in gesture, accent, vocabulary, and rashness, sounds like a cigar-chomping blue-collar machinist out of our past who is said to be outrageous in his crudity only because he is condemned by those who are far more outrageous in their mannered sobriety. In some sense, Trump welcomes wounds in order to inflict greater ones on the proverbial establishment.

… Trump is a sort of Road Runner: gone to reply to the next provocation by the time his Wile E. Coyote critics can put their hands around his long-gone neck. The pushback against him is usually yesterday’s news drowned out by tomorrow’s new melodrama. __ VDH

Flyover country — middle America — tried nice guys who didn’t fight back. But the nice guys lost. They thought they would try someone not so nice this time.

“We tried nice guys,” she said. “We had John McCain. Mitt Romney. They were nice, smiling at everybody, but they couldn’t beat out Hillary. Romney, I mean come on. The only thing people remember about him is that he tied a dog to his roof.”
__ The Nice Guys Lost

Trump is not a nice guy. Sometimes a brawler, sometimes a buffoon, oftimes a clown. But not so nice. More and more, that’s what his supporters like about him. Because his opposition is far worse, far more dishonest, far more vicious — in an after midnight, well obscured and covered up sort of way.

Mr. Trump understands that most of middle America wants economic growth — not leftist posturing such as they got from the late, unlamented ex-president Obama. The US Democratic Party has swerved so far to the extreme left that it has no conception of what economic growth is, much less how to achieve it. President Trump is far better schooled in those ways. He had to be, since he has actually done real work and created real jobs — unlike the posturing fools who prat on about this bizarre tweet or the other.

The old school of Democrat Party politicians sees the danger of moving too far into the leftist dysfunction.

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) said in a radio interview on Sunday that Democrats can lose to President Donald Trump in 2020 if they “overdo it” by becoming too liberal.

Not that tricky Dick Durbin will ever change his spots. He is warning his friends to hide their more leftist tendencies so that voters will be none the wiser.

There is much that humans do not know about their worlds and the universe in which they live. Even such a seemingly simple concept such as “inertia” can prove a mystery at deeper levels.

Politics has an inertia that is similarly poorly understood. Mr. Trump was able to build a substantial amount of inertia during last year’s presidential campaign, with little more than bombast and braggadocio. Imagine how much inertia (momentum) he can build from the Oval Office over a span of years.

Television ratings and ticket sales for the NFL have dropped substantially year on year compared to 2016. Late night comics are seeing their ratings plummet. Hillary Clinton is fading into the twilight, still falling down and hurting herself. Left-wing activists across the board are being forced to pursue funding that is no longer coming to them from the federal government, now that Obama is history. And behind the scenes, things are getting done that leftists won’t like.

Posted in Donald Trump, Politics | Tagged , | 1 Comment

How California Can Secede from US, and the World

Kim’s Missiles Can Reach California

Real Target is California
Source

With this year’s revelation that North Korea’s nuke-tipped missiles could likely reach the West Coast of United States, a more insidious threat has gained prominence—an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

While not deadly on its own, an EMP attack ruins most electronics in a massive radius and could cripple the power grid, sending [California] back into the 18th century—potentially a death sentence for a large part of the population. __ More

The government in Sacramento is already nudging California into a suicidal death spiral via abysmally stupid and self-immolating energy, immigration, environmental, and fiscal policies. But a “kiss of death” from Dear Leader Kim would likely be the nudge that accelerates the formerly “golden state” into an even deeper crash and burn.

A high-altitude nuclear explosion creates a disturbance in the Earth’s magnetic field. Just as electricity is induced in a loop of wire if we move a magnet around it, electric currents also get induced in all electrical circuits with the sudden shift of the planet’s magnetic field. They are called geomagnetically induced currents (GIC). They build up gradually and can last tens of seconds. And again, the longer the wire, the stronger the current. Long power transmission lines are thus especially vulnerable and the GIC disruption can destroy transformers attached to them.

This is actually the main problem. There are some 2,000 extra high voltage (EHV) transformers across the country. If enough of them are damaged, virtually the whole grid shuts down…

… replacing them would take years. The transformers are custom made in Germany and South Korea and it takes 18 months to make one, according to Peter Vincent Pry, former EMP Commission chief of staff.

“With few exceptions, [California’s] electric grid is unhardened and untested against nuclear EMP attack,” the commission’s testimony states. “In the event of a nuclear EMP attack on [California], a widespread protracted blackout is inevitable.”

Most people are not ready for a blackout longer than a few days—not to mention years. Tap water runs thanks to pumps—connected to the power grid; food arrives to stores in trucks that run on diesel pumped by gas stations—connected to the power grid. __ More

Up to 90% of persons in modern societies could die without the critical infrastructures that are built upon a reliable and affordable power grid.

California would, of course, be assisted in the recovery from its travails by the rest of the US — just as it always has been assisted in disasters of one kind or another. But the more of the US that is affected by loss of reliable and affordable electric power, the more people that will die, and the less assistance that will be available.

California Often Shoots Itself in Foot

California’s Wildfires Too Often Caused by Downed Powerlines

High winds — up to hurricane strength — frequently occur across California, from storms and from meteorological phenomena such as “Santa Ana” winds. When such winds impact trees and power lines, lines can be knocked down and transformers can explode. When dry brush, trees, and other natural tinder are allowed to accumulate near such lines the makings of monstrous killer firestorms can be lurking, waiting for the smallest spark.

This has happened often in the past, and once again is happening in California — with massive losses of life and property.

The owner of the power equipment, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, said in a statement Wednesday “hurricane-strength winds in excess of 75 mph,” and “millions of trees weakened by years of drought and recent renewed vegetation growth from winter storms, all contributed to some trees, branches and debris impacting our electric lines across the North Bay.”

… The company, just like all utility companies in California, is required to keep vegetation more than 10 feet away from its power poles and towers, and to remove flammable debris from around the surrounding ground ….

… Utility companies in California have previously been found responsible for major wildfires due to inadequate maintenance of their power infrastructure. __ More

Unfortunately, the government of California impedes the clearance of dry vegetation — both in the vicinity of power lines and across private property in general. Sacramento enforces such disastrous policies in the name of environmentalism, but the end result is larger and more catastrophic wildfires.

In addition, Sacramento’s mandating of a premature and overly rapid adopting of large-scale wind and solar energy schemes has put budgetary pressures on utilities, taking away money and resources that should have been used for line maintenance, in a futile and politically correct quest to implement exorbitantly expensive forms of energy which are incompatible with modern power grids.

These deep holes dug by Sacramento during “normal times” will make it that much more difficult for Californians to survive the coming of extraordinarily abnormal times, such as those which Dear Leader Kim might deliver to the golden state.

California Has Many Ways of Seceding

Parts of California — such as Hollywood — typified by poster boy Harvey Weinstein, have already achieved a secession of sorts. They have created their own imaginary, though dysfunctional, worlds in which to prance about in various degrees of insobriety. California’s universities and much of its coastal strip likewise float in worlds of imaginary sapience, heartbeats from disaster. But even the smallest disaster or disruption can cause such flighty flocks to call on more reality-based outsiders — such as hardened but relatively unsophisticated firefighters and other skilled (mostly) men who work with their hands in very dangerous and difficult situations.

Yes, California may certainly secede if it continues on its path of demographic and political decline. But more dramatic and abrupt methods of extra-political secession — such as might happen secondary to large scale disasters — should always be in the minds of those residents of California who wish to be prepared for whatever may come.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood © .

Posted in Electrical Power Grid, Government, Green Quagmire | Tagged , | 3 Comments