Who’s Afraid of Jordan Peterson?

According to Caitlin Flanagan, the Left is Afraid

In an Atlantic article “Why the Left is So Afraid of Jordan Peterson,” writer Caitlin Flanagan takes us into her home, where her own son has recently grown captivated by the prairie-born clinical psychologist.

Two years ago, I walked downstairs and saw one of my teenage sons watching a strange YouTube video on the television.

“What is that?” I asked.

He turned to me earnestly and explained, “It’s a psychology professor at the University of Toronto talking about Canadian law.”

… That night, my son tried to explain the thing to me, but it was a buzzing in my ear, and I wanted to talk about something more interesting. It didn’t matter; it turned out a number of his friends—all of them like him: progressive Democrats, with the full range of social positions you would expect of adolescents growing up in liberal households in blue-bubble Los Angeles—had watched the video as well, and they talked about it to one another.

The boys graduated from high school and went off to colleges where they were exposed to the kind of policed discourse that dominates American campuses. They did not make waves; they did not confront the students who were raging about cultural appropriation and violent speech; in fact, they forged close friendships with many of them. They studied and wrote essays and—in their dorm rooms, on the bus to away games, while they were working out—began listening to more and more podcasts and lectures by this man, Jordan Peterson. __ The Atlantic

These bright boys of good leftist households were naturally curious about the larger world of ideas — a larger world which is denied to them by their university professors and administrators, on the whole.

Because all of this was happening silently, called down from satellites and poured in through earbuds—and not on campus free-speech zones where it could be monitored, shouted down, and reported to the appropriate authorities—the left was late in realizing what an enormous problem it was becoming for it. It was like the 1960s, when kids were getting radicalized before their parents realized they’d quit glee club. And it was not just college students. Not by a long shot.

… The alarms sounded when Peterson published what quickly became a massive bestseller, 12 Rules for Life, because books are something that the left recognizes as drivers of culture. The book became the occasion for vicious profiles and editorials, but it was difficult to attack the work on ideological grounds, because it was an apolitical self-help book that was at once more literary and more helpful than most, and that was moreover a commercial success. All of this frustrated the critics. It’s just common sense! they would say, in one arch way or another, and that in itself was telling: Why were they so angry about common sense?

The critics knew the book was a bestseller, but they couldn’t really grasp its reach because people like them weren’t reading it, and because it did not originally appear on The New York Times’s list, as it was first published in Canada. However, it is often the bestselling nonfiction book on Amazon, and—perhaps more important—its audiobook has been a massive seller. As with Peterson’s podcasts and videos, the audience is made up of people who are busy with their lives—folding laundry, driving commercial trucks on long hauls, sitting in traffic from cubicle to home, exercising. This book was putting words to deeply held feelings that many of them had not been able to express before. __ Caitlin Flanagan

Ever since 12 Rules for Life was published in January 2018, leftist writers and interviewers have been trying to destroy Peterson. But nothing seems to work, and Peterson simply becomes better known and better liked with every week that passes.

Most of the anger directed against Peterson by mainstream lefties has a political basis. That seems odd, since only a vanishingly small portion of 12 Rules for Life has anything to do with politics. Apparently to leftists, everything is political.

What the angry, frightened leftists seem to be defending is the entrenched and wealthy institutions which currently suffer under leftist conquest — such as the universities. Peterson has plenty of accusations to level against the university.

In fact, anyone who has been paying attention has a lot of bad things to say about higher education:

Western education institutions now generally and self-evidently serve not as robust developers of young minds and souls, but of a ridiculously expensive, careerist version of virtue signaling. Schools and colleges routinely graduate people who can hardly read or do math at even an eighth grade level. Large percentages of would-be teachers, all of whom graduated high school and college, cannot pass licensing exams typically set at approximately a fifth- to eighth-grade level that completely ignore key competencies such as knowledge of how to teach reading.

I regularly field articles from people with advanced humanities degrees who ought to have flunked fifth-grade writing. Just about every professor at a non-elite institution can tell similar stories, and even at elite institutions can clearly tell the marked differences in students admitted due to affirmative action, which can be the equivalent of an artificial 400-point SAT score boost. __ Federalist

Under Obama, the US government-educational-industrial complex had gone to rot very quickly. The corruption in modern higher education is blatant and massive, and largely overlooked by almost everyone. But the stakes are too high to overlook the stinking pile of corruption any longer. And so when people of rising popularity such as Jordan Peterson say bad things about such cash cows and indoctrination centres of the left as the modern university, leftists tend to become riled — and fearful.

It is relatively easy to homeschool these days, with the help of the many online educational aids now available. It is also easy to get the equivalent of a first-class university education online, at very low cost. Then, if the youngster is intelligent and ambitious, he can start his own business and work for himself.

If he is bound to work in a field where he must work for an institution, then the university credential is needed. But even in such cases, it is possible to use online resources to minimise the amount of money the university can extort from him.

The left is afraid of Jordan Peterson because he tells the truth about collectivist corruption in schools and in society at large. If people know the truth, they may do some things in the future that will make the election of Donald Trump look like the epitome of political correctness and virtue signaling.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Be Dangerous. Be very Dangerous.

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Posted in Jordan Peterson | Tagged | 9 Comments

Who Will Help Russia Build Better?

Russia needs a lot of good men and good weapons to defend its vast and porous borders. Russia is falling behind on both. Who will help Russia to build more and better young men and weapons?

Russia’s New Weapons Do Not Work

Problems with new weapons: Air, Sea, Land

The new weapons often do not work at all and even if they do there is never enough money to produce them in the quantities implied. Russian development and manufacturing efforts are still crippled by shortages of cash and talent…

Government efforts to project the image of a modern, professional and constantly improving armed forces is proving more difficult to sustain…
__ All According to Plan

Tanks, ships, planes — all boldly announced and touted for their new and advanced features. But they cannot be manufactured by the new, crumbling, increasingly unskilled Russian industrial infrastructure.

Problems with selling old weapons in global marketplace

Arms exports are hurtespecially with competitors like China continuing to produce Russian designs more efficiently (more effective, reliable and less costly in the long run). __ Strategy

Ethnic Russians Fading Away…

To defend its vast and porous borders, Russia needs large cohorts of strong healthy men who actually believe in the Russian Empire. But ethnic Russians are fading and being replaced by non-Russians over most of the huge land mass.

Russia 2015 Population Pyramid
Source

Predominantly ethnic Russian regions are far older on average, something that means there are fewer women in the prime child-bearing age cohorts than is the case in the much younger over all populations of these non-Russian regions.

Given that demographic reality, the ethnic Russian regions are likely to experience a continuing decline in population while non-Russian republics in many cases are likely to continue to grow in size absolutely and relatively. __ WOE2

Meanwhile in China, the Warlord Era Approaches

On the Chinese mainland, wealthy and powerful Chinese are not able to maintain their own private armies. But across the spreading overseas empire of Chinese control and influence, private armies are de rigeur.

A firm like Blackwater would not be allowed to operate inside China, as it smacks too much of a private army that could be used against the state. That is something that has happened frequently in Chinese history. But overseas is another matter…

… Building an overseas empire consisting of many outlaw operations, in addition to mostly legitimate ones, puts a lot of Chinese at personal and financial risk. Until recently China had few security companies authorized to work overseas and most of the security firms (about 5,000) in China were doing little beyond providing watchmen (some armed) and bodyguards. Overseas this was inadequate, thus the need for Blackwater-type methods and standards. __ Private Chinese Armies Proliferate

Blackwater China is just the beginning of a massive new growth industry — the private army revolution — among the billionaire Chinese class who are developing the exploding Chinese assets of Africa, Latin America, pan-Asia, and parts of Europe.

Xi is jealous of all Chinese power wherever on the globe that Chinese people exist. But the combination of global capitalism, wealthy Chinese out-migration, and rapid disruptive innovation of technologies — including weapons technologies — means that Xi is limited in control. And whatever Xi does not control he considers to be a threat.

Hence, the coming warlord era, as wealthy Chinese who feel threatened by Xi arm themselves against a dictator who feels threatened by them.

Meanwhile in the Western World “Crying Wolf” is the Fashion

Ever since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, western media from Europe to Latin America to the Anglosphere has been screaming Wolf! at the top of its lungs 24/7 365/yr. The mass hysteria of media, university, and the deep state, has spread to those of limited mental endowment and easy excitability, but over all it is creating an intellectual arena where the public is growing ever hungrier for meaningful discourse — for a change. Hence the intellectual dark web with a popularity that seems to be growing by leaps and bounds.

(For an example, scroll down to Jordan Peterson’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube followers)

World Has Never Been Better?

You don’t have to look too far to find negativity these days.

Just watch the news, go on social media, or even have conversations with friends, family members, or co-workers.

You’ll likely hear or read about political instability, natural disasters, murder, disease, or an endless list of bad news you can find 24/7 because of the free flow of information. Every year people label the current year the worst year ever but these people have obviously never read a history book.

I’ve read four books over the past few months that make it clear just how much progress the world has experienced to get to this point (all four books were excellent):

Each of these books methodically goes through the data to show how human ingenuity and innovation have created massive progress around the globe. There is still a lot of work to be done and the world is certainly far from perfect.

___ Read much more: http://awealthofcommonsense.com/2018/04/50-ways-the-world-is-getting-better/

Dictators vs. Rest of World

By trying to hold onto the idea of The Great Russian Empire, Putin is taking Russians down a dark, dead-end road. Fewer people believe in the Russian enterprise every year as the old ones die off and the younger ones are becoming far fewer, less skilled, and weaker in almost every way.

After many thousands of years of inward looking existence, China is finally seeking to assert itself around the world via its OBOR project and other quasi-imperial enterprises. But such an expansion carries the seeds of ultimate collapse, as China’s age-old cycle of expansion-collapse, expansion-collapse, begins to assert itself in earnest as new Chinese centres of power pop up around the world to challenge Beijing. And in reality, China is due for a correction:

China will soon be faced with a massive credit crisis, as it can no longer borrow to prop up its fictitious shell of an economy. Like the Soviet Union and post-Napoleonic France, it will emerge healthy, but economically a third of its former size. __ https://www.tbwns.com/2018/08/13/the-bears-lair-chinas-coming-austrian-collapse/

Meanwhile in the allied western world, the world is getting better in a lot more than 50 ways, for all of the mass hysteria spewing from big media, big university, deep state government, big activism, and dieoff.orgy leftism.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. Make yourself and your clan very Dangerous, so as to be able to move with the changes. Turbulence — but not doom — ahead.

Posted in China, Russia, Russian Decline | Tagged | 7 Comments

Beyond the Bounds of Cynicism and Comfort

This article is cross-posted and adapted from The Dangerous Child

When training Dangerous Children, we use various techniques to push students beyond normal comfort areas. In the method discussed today, the child acts as his own teacher and “therapist,” as is typical throughout The Dangerous Child Method from the earliest ages on into adulthood.

Al Fin stumbled onto this particular approach years ago when he was living in a lefty commune, making cheese and beer, smoking pot, and fraternising with naked young girls. During a late night bull session in the common room, Al Fin blurted out to an overly talkative and cynical teenage visitor to the farm: “The end result of cynicism is that it feeds on itself until it grows to a critical mass, then it self-destructs. At that point the person is free to live a more authentic life.”

The youngster reacted in a predictably cynical manner to this sage outburst, but the steadier and more seasoned potheads in the room nodded their heads in agreement with the wisdom expressed.

Since then Fin has often reflected — and sometimes practised — the idea of “supersaturation” with unpleasant feelings and experiences in order to liberate himself from them. This idea is closely related to the common self-help staple of “failing in order to succeed.” It is well known to productive people from inventors to writers to entrepreneurs, that in order to achieve meaningful success a person must experience multiple failures — then learn from each one in order to build and grow to the winning effort.

The human nervous system experiences everything on a relative scale. Consider the optical illusion below:


The two pieces A and B are the same colour, although because of the relative shades around them and at the junction, they appear to be distinctly different.

We may be comfortable in an air-conditioned environment indoors on a hot summer day, but after going outside for a time and acclimating, when we return indoors we suddenly feel exceptionally cool. We experience the world in relative terms.

Consider a person living in a cozy part of town, with favourite restaurants, entertainments, and everyday habitual activities of recreation and amusement. After traveling away for a few weeks or longer when he finally returns to his nest he may learn to appreciate new aspects of his almost-habitual lifestyle. Or he may be moved to try new things. The act of placing oneself outside of normal comfort zones perturbs the equilibrium, often leading to change.

Dangerous Child Self-Therapy

In the Dangerous Child Method, therapy is just another form of teaching and training. Past a certain point of development, it is all self-administered with only occasional checks and graduations.

Some very young children have difficulty with the concept of “cynicism,” but they easily understand hot and cold, bright and dark, wide open and closed in, and hunger/thirst vs. satisfaction. Voluntarily putting oneself well outside personal comfort zones for certain minimal periods of time leads to forms of understanding and enlightenment not readily available through verbal instruction.

In the mainstream we see something similar in the act of “sitting” in Zen, or mindfulness practise. For most people “just sitting” is uncomfortable to the point of distraction. It is likely that a significant part of the benefit that comes from sitting or mindfulness is the act of transcending the “discomfort” of stretching boundaries.

For Dangerous Children, it is crucial for the student to understand the relativity of experience. Coming to terms with discomfort, unease, fear, and pain, is a vital aspect of becoming Dangerous.

The training itself goes quite deep, at least for the individual child. It is all relative, and each child can do only so much at his particular stage of development. But what he can do with training is far more than what conventional children are expected to do in the dumbed down world of convention.

Simply put, we take the concept of “overtraining,” and apply it to as many aspects of physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual experience as seems appropriate for the particular child. Just as in the development of particular skills (music, movement, language, pattern etc.), the child himself indicates through subtle signs where and how far the experiment should proceed at a particular time and place.

Nietzsche’s dictum that “what does not kill us makes us stronger,” and Taleb’s concept of “anti-fragility” express an important idea of growing beyond former limitations. But in order to do that, the limitations must be challenged. And doing that is not always fun or blissful, and may not lead directly to happiness.

Life is not really about happiness, not directly. Like finding a faint star in the night sky, one must often use the periphery of vision to find what one seeks.

There is a place for boldness and a place for subtlety. Learning the proper approach for the situation is a skill not often taught in school or university — or virtually anywhere in the mainstream. Rather than experimenting in the public sphere, it is best to set out to learn one’s own limits and points of departure first.

Yes, it often takes a lifetime to become aware, and to know what to do with that awareness. But the earlier one begins, the better.

Posted in Competence, Dangerous Child | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Fusion: Far and Near, Slow and Fast

Politically Correct Fusion by 2060 or Later

… ITER’s workers often liken themselves to stonemasons hewing blocks for a cathedral: They may not get to see the fruits of their efforts in their own lifetimes. To the researchers at fusion start-ups, the whole thing seems downright medieval. They don’t want to be stonemasons working on a large geopolitical science project; they want to transform the electrical grid, pronto. __ https://cen.acs.org/energy/nuclear-power/Fusion-start-ups-hope-revolutionize/96/i32

If we wait for the grand international ITER project to give us usable nuclear fusion power, we will probably wait until the latter half of the 21st century. More likely the project would collapse long before that for lack of “other people’s money” — and because small-scale entrepreneurial fusion companies had already beaten them to the finish line.

Or We Can Try Something Smaller, Quicker, More Affordable

Want to make a quick $trillion? A better type of energy to replace fossil fuels is a good bet, if you can make it work. That is why you see people such as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos investing in advanced nuclear reactor projects.

Almost two dozen private ventures are trying to crack the fusion challenge, backed by a combined total of more than a billion dollars of private investment, said Chris Mowry, the CEO of Vancouver, B.C.-based General Fusion. (One Seattle venture, CTFusion, is currently looking for lab space.) __ https://www.geekwire.com/2018/commercial-fusion-ventures-learn-lessons-engineering-expectations/


One of the relatively small start-up approaches to nuclear fusion energy is TAE (Tri Alpha Energy), working out of a hangar-type space in Orange County, California. TAE is working with Google, and is one of the better-financed fusion startups in the field of contenders.

On either side of the TAE reactor is a pair of long quartz tubes. Hydrogen gas gets injected into these tubes, and metal coils wound around the tubes pump it with radio-frequency pulses generated by those clanging electrical discharges. The pulses convert the gas into plasma, and the two plasma streams rush down the tubes, colliding head-on in the center of the reactor. Magnetic fields hold the colliding plasmas steady, while beams of protons streaming out of four particle accelerators bombard the plasma. The beams are aimed so that the plasma forms a tirelike, spinning toroid.

The energy injections from TAE’s particle accelerators help make the plasma stiffer, so the magnetic fields don’t have to be so strong. The TAE reactor uses some magnets to guide the plasma jelly, but they are much smaller than those needed for a tokamak. As a result, the TAE reactor is relatively compact. __ Source

TAE is not planning on waiting until 2060 to achieve its fusion targets.

Jeff Bezos is Helping to Fund General Fusion

In the Pacific Northwest, Jeff Bezos has joined the Canadian and Malaysian governments in funding another small fusion energy startup (General Fusion) with high hopes for grabbing a piece of the jackpot of $trillions.

General Fusion is raising hundreds of millions for 70% scale demo system to be completed around 2023. The next system after the 70% scale system will be a full commercial system. They have a pulsed system without the need for plasma containment. General Fusion feels if they can prove out end to end power generation that scaling to higher energy return will not be a hurdle.

Simulation will be used to validate the economics and design specifics to move to a 100% system.

The Demo system will cost several hundred million dollars… General Fusion had received over $100 million in funding from a global syndicate of investors and the Canadian Government’s Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) fund. __ Brian Wang

Small Tokamak Startups With Big Plans

Commonwealth Fusion Systems, the company spun off of the MIT [tokamak] project, has an aggressive schedule. The company plans to build an experimental reactor based on these new magnets in three years—and they expect that reactor to produce twice as much energy as needed to run it. If all goes as planned, this first reactor will produce 100 MW, one-fifth of ITER’s expected power output, at about one sixty-fifth of the volume.

Tokamak Energy in England is also banking on new magnet materials, though its reactor has a slightly different design. Instead of encouraging plasma to form a doughnut shape, Tokamak Energy uses magnetic fields to shape plasmas into a thicker toroid that looks like an apple with the core taken out. Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory experimented with this plasma shape back in the 1980s. The shape can, in theory, allow for a smaller reactor. Executive Vice Chair Kingham says the company’s reactors could be on the grid in 2030. __ Source

Several other startup projects continue to refine their various approaches to small nuclear fusion, including Helion Energy, LPP Fusion, Lockheed Compact Fusion, and more than a dozen others in the lineup. Many of these small companies have been working on their projects for ten years or more, with varying degrees of progress to show their investors.

With two dozen fusion startups, and about four dozen advanced fission projects, innovation in the nuclear power industry is pressing forward — and attracting private investors.

The promise of $trillions in rewards for a successful breakthrough in advanced nuclear energy is tugging at the purses of some of the same tech billionaires who are also financing some of the ambitious outer space projects — including the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos. That is not surprising, given that advanced energy and outer space resources and access are two of the hottest paths to $trillionaire status available at this time.

No Single Project Has a High Probability of Success

It is only in hindsight that radical breakthroughs seem inevitable. From this side of the bifurcation, none of these approaches offer a sense of inevitability. But the application of human ingenuity to problems generates a multiplicity of possible solutions. Only in an opportunity society that provides multiple means of financing innovative problem-solving are we likely to see big winners coming out of nowhere — such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, SpaceX, and other household names that weren’t always that way.

Low corruption, high opportunity societies that are capable of generating projects from the ground up — seemingly “out of nowhere” — are likely to continue to surprise people of sedate and unimaginative dispositions.

As always, hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. Consider a Dangerous Childhood ©, if not for yourselves, then for your children.

Dangerous Children are trained specifically to operate skillfully in uncertain times and situations. And unless the US is taken over by the cabal of the stagnant mindset — as almost happened two years ago — smart persons will prepare to be surprised.

More: A Few of The Challenges that Need to be Addressed

Future fusion reactors may need to be made of heat- and radiation-resilient materials that don’t exist yet. But most people working at fusion companies and even in academic groups are plasma physicists. Wade says the field needs help from materials scientists to do experiments on what will happen to materials when they’re bombarded with uncontrollable neutrons, each carrying a potentially atom-shaking 14 MeV of energy.

There are some high-strength alloys that probably come close to being able to withstand the neutron bombardment, says Laila El-Guebaly, a materials scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison’s Fusion Technology Institute. But there’s nothing on Earth like a fusion reactor, so it’s hard to know for sure, and it’s difficult to test new materials under extreme conditions today. “The lack of a 14-MeV neutron source provides a huge hurdle for the development of fusion worldwide,” El-Guebaly says. ITER may offer the first chance to investigate these questions, Wade adds.

Tokamak Energy’s Kingham agrees that shielding materials from neutrons is a big challenge. Because of the geometry of the company’s spherical tokamak reactors, the magnets will be particularly vulnerable to neutron bombardment. The company is developing shielding materials to protect them, and he expects they may need to be as thick as 60 cm.

Then there’s the tritium fuel problem. The isotope has a half-life of just 12 years, so there’s not much of it on Earth. As a result, fusion facilities will have to produce the radioactive material on-site to keep running over long periods. Fusion researchers usually envision doing this inside the reactor, with the help of those wild neutrons. Part of ITER’s project is to explore materials for “breeding” tritium from lithium and energetic neutrons. General Fusion’s Mowry says his company has addressed this issue in its designs. It plans to dope the liquid-metal walls of its reactor with lithium. But no one has demonstrated lithium breeding in a full reactor yet. __ https://cen.acs.org/energy/nuclear-power/Fusion-start-ups-hope-revolutionize/96/i32

Posted in Disruptive Technologies, Energy, Future, innovation, Nuclear Fusion | Tagged | 4 Comments

Donald Trump: China’s Great White Grandfather

“Reagan to Trump: ‘Let me get rid of the Communist Party in Soviet Union first; you find some opportunity to get rid of the CCP in the future.’ Trump to Reagan: ‘OK! Deal!’”
Source

Chuan Da Ye

People in the United States and other Western countries may have called Donald J. Trump a lot of different names, but in China, many people are addressing him as “Chuan Da Ye.”

“Chuan” is the Chinese pronunciation for Trump. “Da” means big or great, and “Ye” means grandfather, grandpa, or more broadly, an elderly male. So “Chuan Da Ye” can be roughly translated as “Powerful Grandpa Trump.”

For people who know the Chinese language well, the words “Da Ye” together carry connotations of affirmation, respect, affection, authority, capability, and more. When people call someone “Da Ye,” it often means that they are willing to follow this person, at least morally. And they would rather side with this man than oppose him. ___ Source

A number of Chinese analysts and intellectuals have recently suggested that Donald Trump holds much the better hand in the ongoing trade negotiations between the US and China. Certainly Mr. Trump himself seems to believe this to be the case. And given the many rabbits that Donald Trump has pulled out of his hat throughout his long and turbulent careers in business, entertainment, and politics, he deserves the benefit of a doubt.

Jin Yan, a Chinese commentator, wrote in an article that since Trump became president, the world had seen changes that haven’t happened since the Cold War.

He thinks that Trump has easily defeated the CCP’s “Hezong” (vertical integration) efforts with his own “Lianheng” (horizontal integration) strategies.

Both “Hezong” and “Lianheng” are very famous Chinese strategies dating back to as early as the Warring States Period (475–221 B.C.). During that time, smaller countries tried to form different alliances to fight together against bigger countries.

Jin thinks that although China wanted to adopt the “Hezong” strategy and form an alliance with Europe to oppose America during the trade war, Trump somehow turned the tables on the Chinese regime and reached a “zero tariffs” and “zero subsidies” understanding with Europe instead. __ ET

The Chinese people have lived and died under the iron boot of Chinese Communist Party oppression for 70 years. Those who care about freedom of expression, religion, or livelihood have few choices — unless they have accumulated enough wealth and connections to flee the country. The idea that an outsider such as Trump may offer them hope is a new concept that will take time to sift through China’s labyrinthine thought channels.

Wang Shan, a Chinese language correspondent for French current affairs radio station RFI, thinks that both Trump’s “enemies” and “friends” have all underestimated him, especially his determination to not let other countries to take advantage of the United States, as well as his determination to end the unfair trade orders formed in the past 30 years. Because of that determination, Trump did things his own way, even while world leaders and media were condemning him, said Wang.

… Tang Hao, a Chinese commentator, thinks that Trump is fighting a “comprehensive war” against the CCP.

“The trade war between the United States and China is not an international trade war as it appears on the surface,” Tang said. “It is, in fact, a war between the nature of the CCP and humanity, and a war between the universal principles of the international world and the CCP’s party culture. __ ET

Like Russians, Muslims, and Africans, the Chinese have never actually lived in an environment free of strong-man control and arbitrary law. The closest they have come to rule of law was in the few periods of certain dynasties where Confucian rules of conduct were closely adhered to by government bureaucracies. But Chinese rulers — like most rulers — do not like having their hands bound by cords of lawful restraint.

And so you have the ongoing destruction of churches in China, and the live vivisection and harvesting of organs for transplant of Falun Gong political/religious prisoners. You have the corrupt state-owned-enterprises that are too big to fail, propped up by shadow banks sucking up the savings of the people and building a teetering debt mountain. You have scum that rises to the top, harboring goals of global domination that represent a sharp departure from anything China has ever attempted.

China Enriched by Corrupt Westerners

Under the EU and the US administrations of Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, western corporations have enriched and empowered the Chinese Communist Party via copious investment and technology transfer. China has taken blatant advantage of trade with the west to become even wealthier. China is now using that wealth to take over strategic ports in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Greece, and Latin America — among other locations. China is also building a strong next-generation nuclear missile attack force to be launched from land, sea, air, and outer space.

Ignoring the misery of the Chinese people and the future potential catastrophes for the free world that they are nurturing, western corporations continue to transfer the most advanced technologies and huge piles of investment wealth to China.

On Having a Unique Vision

In Donald Trump’s imagination, he does not see a triumphant China dominating the world — harvesting the organs of the free world so to speak. But Trump may be the only one who considers the obvious consequences of clear actions. And he may be the only one with the strength of will to initiate tactics and strategies to oppose the planned rape of the world by the CCP.

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

Posted in China, Donald Trump | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Surge of Americans Renouncing US Citizenship

It seemed like there was exponential growth in the number of expatriates from 2008 until the end of 2016. However, the numbers seem to be leveling off, or even dropping. __ Source via TaxProf

A large number of US citizens said that they would reject US citizenship and residency in the US if President Trump was elected in 2016. Here is a short list of celebrities that made such a promise. I am acquainted with several others who made similar claims. Certainly there must have been hundreds of thousands of US citizens who promised to leave the US if Donald Trump became president?

Sure, the list of “celebrities who didn’t leave” above represents a sample of stupid people who think they are smart, who happen to have achieved celebrity status. But now they can also be seen as unreliable, in other words liars. The same can be said for the hundreds of thousands (or millions) of more common folk who say things they are unwilling to back up.

Politics is Ideology; Ideologues are Perpetual Liars

Anyone who actually believes in a particular political ideology, is committing himself to a path of chronic and repetitive dishonesty and a stubborn blindness to the inconvenient realities of the larger world. Making promises or predictions based upon a political ideology reveals either an utter stupidity or a deep and determined ignorance.

In “Philosophy is for Thinkers; Ideology is for Stinkers,” we pointed out the crucial distinctions between ideologies and philosophies. Ideology is a sticky trap that holds its adherents, once caught. Ideology shuts believers away in blinded cages that prevent outside light from getting in. Philosophy welcomes all light, using logical filters to get at what is most true and most probable.

In Europe and the Anglosphere of the modern day, popular news & entertainment media have been taken over by propagandists and ideologues. Unfortunately the same can be said for most educational systems and institutions in the west. This being the case, most of today’s young are unable to distinguish philosophy from ideology, since ideology is the only approach to thought that they have ever known.

It is Never Too Late for a Dangerous Childhood ©

The Dangerous Child Method is one of the few known methods of child-raising which exposes ideology for what it is, from the earliest years of the child’s existence and training. Children learn to think for themselves, which is something that ideologies can never allow them to do, by definition.

Today’s young, on the other hand, are explicitly trained and shaped to fit into the popular herd, like sheep or cattle. The list of “leavers who didn’t leave” above are good examples of people who are both herd-leaders and members of the herd. Dangerous Children can be either wolves or sheepdogs, depending upon what the situation calls for. More

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. The vast numbers of young are being indoctrinated into a dominant ideology of groupthink conformity in the quest for a nonexistent utopia. The entire history of the 20th century reveals where that kind of thinking will take a society, and the world at large.

President Trump is giving the Americans who stayed enough time to make provisions for what is likely to come. Don’t waste it.

Posted in Donald Trump, Ideology, Philosophy, Politics | Tagged | 4 Comments

Universities: Destroying Lives for Ideology and Profit

Student loan debt has grown to overwhelm all other categories of non-housing consumer debt in this nation. __ Source

The general public is slowly becoming aware that colleges and universities are destroying young lives. Corrupt university officials are raking in high salaries while providing youth and young adults with mostly worthless degrees, and putting them into perpetual debt slavery. What should be done?

If the quality of a college education cannot be improved, we should concentrate on encouraging at least half of those who now go to college not to go, adjusting requirements for jobs and professional schools accordingly, and make provisions for an orderly shutdown or shrinking of most of our colleges and universities.

__ https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2018/07/26/the-sad-state-of-higher-education/

College Presidents Living Privileged Lives While Committing Mind Murder

Check out this list of college presidents making seven figure (and high six figure) salaries. Consider how many lives of youth are being destroyed via debt slavery and a disgusting academic indoctrination that leaves young people without useful skills and virtually lobotomised. Meanwhile, administrative salaries and staff sizes are ballooning to outrageous and inexcusable levels.

Six figure salary for “faculty diversity” recruiter

What Do Americans Think About the Academic Value of Higher Ed Today?

The more that concerned citizens learn about the situation, the less they like it.

A solid majority of all adults (61 percent) believe that higher education is headed in the wrong direction, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.

… When Pew analyzed why those who believe higher education is headed in the wrong direction hold that view, the answers were different (generally) for Democrats and Republicans. For both groups, concerns were evident about tuition and about whether students are being trained with the skills they need for the workplace, with Democrats more concerned about the former and Republicans about the latter. __ https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/07/27/survey-most-americans-think-higher-ed-headed-wrong-direction

Sad State of Higher Ed

Student loan debt has passed $1.5 trillion and is easily outpacing most other forms of consumer debt.

Around 25 percent of those admitted to four-year colleges and around 58 percent of those admitted to two-year colleges require remedial courses, and fewer than half of these students pass all the remedial courses they need; even a large number of those who manage to pass the remedial courses fail to graduate later. Whether because of a lack of ability, lack of preparation, lack of effort, or a combination of all three, students’ college completion rates are poor. Almost a third of the students who enroll in (supposedly) four-year colleges fail to graduate within eight and a half years, and almost two-thirds of those who enroll in (supposedly) two-year colleges fail to graduate within six years.

… While the amount of money spent on American education is obviously too high, concentrating on cutting costs seems questionable when the product is of such minimal value for so many students. For instance, what is the point of having professors teach a larger number of courses from which students learn little or nothing? Even if the average price for a public college education could be cut by a third, $50,000 is still far too much to pay for students not to learn anything. If all students want is to enjoy themselves on a break from studying and working, and the rest of us for some reason consider this desirable, they should be able to enjoy themselves for much less money, perhaps for a year at a pleasant place where they can live in comfortable dormitories and party, sunbathe, or ski with no classes to feel guilty about skipping.

If the quality of a college education cannot be improved, we should concentrate on encouraging at least half of those who now go to college not to go, adjusting requirements for jobs and professional schools accordingly, and make provisions for an orderly shutdown or shrinking of most of our colleges and universities. __ https://www.mindingthecampus.org/2018/07/26/the-sad-state-of-higher-education/

Higher Education: The cesspit that is becoming a graveyard

More:

College Campuses are Propaganda Machines for the Left, According to this Professor

Universities Boosting Socialism and subsequent decline of society.

Purging universities of free speech advocates in the faculty

As a wise man said: Burn them to the ground! Figuratively speaking, of course.

Or otherwise put them out of our misery.

Note: Higher ed’s destruction of the young comes not only from exorbitantly expensive administrative bloat and ideological fanaticism. The deepest and most damnable rot emanates from the classrooms, where professors actively indoctrinate young minds in failed ideologies — instead of helping students to grow and prosper in their minds and in the world around them. Instead of learning to think for themselves and solve real world problems, they leave college as drone-like hive minds. From all appearances, many of them never grow beyond that stage.

Posted in Education, University | Tagged | 1 Comment

Open Source Innovation: From Out of Nowhere

The Disruptive Innovation That Knocks You On Your Ass

These types of innovations often come from out of the blue. The more open the society, the more types of financing can be discovered to take a blockbuster innovation from new idea to trailbreaking enterprise.

Venture Capital Funding

Venture capital funding is one well-known approach to growing the seed of a business into a living money tree. From 2017 into 2018, venture funding has experienced a renaissance in the US. With the US government under new management — and showing a more friendly face to businesses of all types — investors are willing to take more chances.

The latest PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor report shows $57.5 billion invested across 3,997 deals for U.S. venture-backed companies thus far in 2018. The most recent quarter was the fifth consecutive with more than $20 billion invested.

“To say capital availability is high would be putting the true state of the U.S. VC industry lightly,” the report notes.

This follows a record 2017, when venture deal value surpassed $80 billion for the first time since the dot-com era. Pitchbook CEO John Gabbert said “the sheer amount of capital available across the entire venture landscape is reaching unprecedented levels.”

… Angel and seed-stage financing rounds are also seeing higher deal sizes… Exit activity is on pace to match results from last year … there is now a healthy IPO market, particularly for enterprise tech … __ Geekwire

Venture capital is most active in North America, Asia, and Europe:

… the world is experiencing staggering global growth. In 2017, we saw new records set in venture investing:

In the US, venture investments reached $84 billion
In Asia, venture peaked at $48 billion
European venture reached a new all-time high of $19.1 billion
__ Peter Diamandis

The stages of venture capital leading to an IPO are important for most companies that eventually break through into the big leagues. But many of the best ideas start out small, and for them it is useful to find small means of financing.

Crowdfunding

When first moving from concept to reality, it sometimes helps to approach a lot of small investors at a time. The internet is useful for this type of funding strategy. Crowdfunding uses the internet to find small investors for all kinds of early stage startup projects — from movies to small business to music to scientific projects to real estate to a political campaign to agricultural projects and more. The sky is the limit when it comes to crowdfunding ideas.

The total worldwide volume of crowdfunding, inclusive of peer-to-peer lending, was $34 billion in 2017, with 375 crowdfunding platforms in North America alone. But this too, like many digital platforms, is experiencing double-digit growth. Experts project crowdfunding to reach $300 billion by 2025. __ Peter Diamandis

And then there is the fascinating middle ground between crowdfunding and venture funding, where individual “angel” investors are matched to entrepreneurs and new projects based on definite criteria and vetting. A few examples of such financial matchmakers are listed here, near the bottom of the article.

A Surplus of Money is Chasing Likely Investments

Worldwide, large portions of populations of advanced nations are growing older and approaching retirement. Affluent people from all kinds of work backgrounds are looking for good places to invest their savings. Some investors are looking for a combination of safety and good return. Others are more concerned about “making a difference” in the world. Every type of investor you can imagine — and more — are out there. You can’t see them, but if you go on the internet with your idea, there is a good chance that they will be able to see you.

Where is the investment money going? The safest places to invest are places where the rule of law and the rules of investing are straightforward and universally applied. The Anglospheric countries, countries of northern Europe, some parts of East Asia.


Places to avoid would be high-corruption nations, where the rule of law is applied creatively, if at all. Africa, much of Latin America, much of the Muslim world, Russia, and China should all be viewed cautiously by smart investors.

Bigger is Not Necessarily Better

Columnist David Goldman has been quite bullish on China, based upon macro-statistics of numbers of STEM graduates and money investments in advanced technologies. A close analysis of Goldman’s reasoning reveals a man most impressed by “top-down” innovation-to-order, on a very large scale. Call it “The Manhattan Project” approach to disruptive innovation. But that is not how most of the world’s great enterprises began or grew into giants.

Peter Thiel has likewise taken an interest in China, and is considering ways that he might invest in Chinese tech/internet startups. Clearly someone will make a lot of money in new Chinese enterprises. But Thiel’s obvious caution and reluctance to simply leap into the fray, suggests an awareness on Thiel’s part that the Chinese game is rigged, and only insiders with clout will walk away with the loot.

China is big and in great turmoil beneath the surface. A lot of money is won and lost in China on a daily basis, with almost all of the winners being quite well connected with the Party.

What is true for China is true on a smaller scale for Russia, Africa, parts of Latin America, and parts of the Muslim world. Corruption rules those lands, and only one who is well connected with the ruling classes can expect to hold on to what he earns or innovates.

Why Do Men Dominate in Venture Funding and Crowdfunding?

The vast majority of venture capital goes to companies founded by men. Just 7% of the 2,005 founders on our list are women. Companies founded by women also get less money—an average of $77 million compared with $100 million for male-led startups.

… more founders of companies on our list dropped out of school than graduated from top universities. __ Bloomberg

The same dominance by men is also seen in crowdfunding. It is likely that the much higher levels of testosterone in males contributes to the higher sustained levels of time and effort which men tend to put into achieving their career goals over time — without the “mother pause” that causes so many women to step away from the rat race in the middle of the game.

Of course we see this phenomenon when looking at top levels of most careers where high-quality work and competence are the determining factors in top-level placement, rather than affirmative action or figurehead placement. Even in many areas such as fashion design, creative literature, and cuisine — where women might be expected to dominate outright — we see the hardworking male pushing his way to the top.

In the end it is hard work, competence, a certain level of vision and clarity of thought, and a logical working through of the possibilities, which allows one to move from a good idea to a workable project to a thriving enterprise. If one has all of those, the money is likely to be found.

More interesting ideas on this topic

Beyond that: Massive Transformative Purpose

Posted in Creativity, Economics, innovation | Tagged | 2 Comments

Empty Towers on Debt Mountains: China’s Vulnerability

Until now, China has managed to keep its huge raft of nonperforming debt afloat thanks to capital inflows, as successive waves of quantitative easing pushed dollars into the world. A tighter dollar would seem to make the bursting of China’s credit bubble an inevitability. When that happens, the renminbi will have to depreciate sharply… It will … lead to a decline in China’s share of global GDP, dramatically reduce the nation’s demand for commodities, and diminish its role on the international political stage. __ BQ

Cataclysmic Effect of Tariffs on China’s Economic Structure

US President Trump’s proposed tariffs on Chinese-made goods will have the effect of reducing US dollar flow into the Chinese economy.

  • Fewer purchases of Chinese goods will be made in dollars.
  • Investment (in dollars) by American companies in China will decline.

In their current highly-leveraged state, many of China’s important economic entities (banks, local governments, state-owned enterprises etc.) cannot survive a significant and sustained loss of income from the world’s largest importer. Trump’s tariffs — if fully implemented — will have the effect of bringing China’s debt to a crisis.

The chorus of anxiety about debt is reaching a crescendo, with daily press reports on governments that can’t pay their employees or meet pension obligations. Property prices are tumbling in some cities and frozen in others whose governments have placed a finger in the dyke by halting transactions.

That the massive burden of debt will drag the economy into recession is as obvious as the empty towers that rise on every landscape. Precise estimates are difficult, since the government’s dedication to the optics of invincibility induces financial institutions to push debt into alternate, opaque channels. But on any metric, the amount of new lending each year grows faster than the economy, and the interest newly owed exceeds the incremental rise in GDP. In other words, the whole economy is a Ponzi scheme. __ BloombergQuint

Trade Interventions and Tariffs — Not What You Think

We are seeing a mass insanity in the media in reaction to President Trump’s proposed trade intervention policies. We often hear claims such as “in a trade war everybody loses” and such obvious nonsense. In the real world that cliche has been put to the lie multiple times.

The idea that all countries lose in a trade war is unintelligible. This cannot possibly be true, not just because there is overwhelming historical evidence that countries have benefitted from trade intervention but also because the claim is logically impossible. Whether countries benefit or lose from trade intervention depends on the underlying institutions that mediate trade and capital flows, the extent of existing trade and capital flow imbalances, and the types of intervention employed.

… There are often cases in which mercantilist or interventionist policies in one country create trade and capital flow imbalances that must be absorbed by another country, usually in the form of unwanted trade deficits. According to both economic and trade logic, large deficits or surpluses cannot persist over many years unless significant policy distortions keep them in place. This is because trade imbalances alter economic conditions, especially monetary conditions, in ways that automatically cause them to be reversed.

In other words, to the extent that imbalances have persisted for many years, or even decades, they must be sustained by policy distortions in either the surplus or the deficit country. In such cases, if a country is forced to absorb the distortions generated by another country, and it implements trade intervention policies aimed at reversing the effects of these distortions, these policies benefit both the first country and the global economy, although usually at the expense of the country where the distortions originated.

This has become an especially important argument in recent years. Distortions in the distribution of domestic income in several countries (most importantly, in China, Germany, and Japan) have led to huge savings imbalances, which are automatically absorbed by countries that have deep, flexible, and completely open capital markets with strong legal and governance institutions (mainly the United States and, to a lesser extent, the UK and other so-called Anglo-Saxon economies). The result has been that the former countries have run large, persistent surpluses for decades, while the latter have run large, persistent deficits. Policies among the trade-deficit countries aimed at reversing these imbalances can be justified as economically efficient and to the benefit of the deficit countries. __ Michael Pettis

The article linked above is somewhat dense and semi-technical, but what the excerpt above is saying is that countries such as China, Germany, and Japan have been using trade policy to take advantage of the open policies of countries such as the US and the UK for many decades. In such cases the threat of tariffs — or the actual institution of a “tit for tat” set of trade policies — can be justified by the more open countries.

More

The Lady Doth Protest Too Much

Both the cries of indignant protest by China and the EU, and the wails of woe by the mainstream media, are largely meant to influence public sentiment and sway the ignorant and gullible.


The US is unique in its low levels of dependence on foreign imports and exports as a percent of overall GDP. This makes the US somewhat less vulnerable to trade retaliation from export-dependent nations such as China and Germany.

Importantly, a significant portion of US exports and imports involve trade with Canada, and Mexico.

It is unclear how far the “trade reset” under President Trump will move things away from the current status quo. But Mr. Trump certainly has valid reasons for wanting to shake things up. Under the Bretton Woods agreement, the US has carried the burden of international trade — at great expense. In the interest of international stability, the US has tolerated many trade transgressions against it, as well as spending massive amounts of funding to provide military protection for allies, and to provide military protection of global trade routes to the benefit of friend and foe alike.

Back to the Effect of New Trade Policies on China

China is particularly vulnerable to a re-equilibration of trade with the US. Particularly if the US tightens security against Chinese theft of industrial and military secrets, and begins to more closely scrutinise Chinese imports in terms of consumer safety and covert criminal activities.

Many analysts point out that the Chinese government owns everything, including the banks, and can just issue renminbi to infinity to keep the economy solvent. The flaw in that argument is China’s role in the global economy: It’s the world’s biggest exporter and second-biggest importer. The currency acts as the interface between the domestic and international economies, and its value is a matter of supply and demand.

The Ponzi economy has been sustained by cheap dollars coming in through legitimate or illegitimate channels, and the problem now is that structural surpluses are disappearing and there is less “hot” money from the U.S. seeking yield. When dollars enter, the central bank buys them and issues renminbi. If it has to issue more than is justified by the amount of inflows, it creates inflation, and inflation, which has toppled or almost toppled governments from the Ming dynasty to Tiananmen, is the third rail of Chinese politics.
__ BQ

China is living in a rapidly expanding bubble, courtesy of large numbers of chump investors and trading partners in Europe and the Anglosphere. In such a parasitic relationship, tit for tatt tariffs and other equalising trade policies seem among the mildest and most justifiable strategies.

More:

Apple Bends Over, Begs to be Buggered

Credit Suisse has China Concerns

Another scandal in Chinese pharmaceutical safety

Check Out “The China Hustle”

The China Hustle documentary reveals how business is too often done in China — especially when foreign investors are involved. Netflix has been streaming the full video, and clever surfers can find it available elsewhere. For those who want to understand how tragically an investment “opportunity” can contrast with the public relations presentation, let this documentary open your eyes. The trailer is below:

The documentary “The China Hustle,” which premiered recently at the Toronto International Film Festival, shows how hundreds of Chinese companies listed on North American stock exchanges can cause billions of losses to investors due to lack of proper oversight.

These Chinese firms enter the U.S. stock market through reverse takeovers with American companies and report revenues and assets that have no base in reality, thus inflating the companies’ stock value. __ https://www.theepochtimes.com/china-hustle-a-horror-story-about-chinese-firms-listed-on-north-american-stock-exchanges_2298943.html

More:

The unraveling described below may throw a wrench in Xi’s “OBOR Take Over the World” project.

http://www.atimes.com/chinas-new-woes-unravel-xis-personality-cult/

Posted in China, Economics | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Russia Could Use Some Help

The economy continues to have problems. GDP growth is currently about one percent a year which, combined with many other negative economic indicators, confirms that despite optimistic government propaganda, living standards and employment opportunities continue to decline, along with manufacturing activity and so much more.

… deficit spending and poor infrastructure have made Russia less attractive to economic partners (even China). The lower standard of living comes with higher unemployment and a growing number of younger and well educated Russians are unable to find work and emigrating … Russia still has one of the worst road networks in the world and the railroad system is still awaiting delayed (for decades) maintenance and upgrades. __ Don’t Mention It

Table 1. Out-Migration from Russia, 1997-2016.

———————————————————-

Year .                     Number Emigrating

———————————————————-

1997                               232,987

1998                               213,337

1999                               214,963

2000                               145,720

2001                               121,166

2002                               106,685

2003                                 94,018

2004                                 79,795

2005                                 69, 798

2006                                 54,061

2007                                 47,013

2008                                 39,508

2009                                 32,458

2010                                 33,578

2011                                 36,774

2012 .                             122,751

2013                               186,382

2014                               310,496

2015                               353,233

2016 .                             313,210

—————————————————–

SOURCE: See ‘Mezhdunarodnaya Migratsiya”, http://www.gks.ru/wps/wcm/connect/rosstat_main/rosstat/ru/statistics/population/demography/#.

The Kremlin’s failure to provide competitive opportunity and lifestyle for Russian youth is driving a massive Russian brain drain abroad. Russia’s discontented, highly educated, highly skilled university graduates tend to move abroad to find suitable work. __ Source

It is estimated that at least 40,000 Russian scientists and engineers have emigrated yearly since 2012. But as the best of the best leave, those that remain tend to be second rate.

Even the Russian Military is Hurting

As mentioned in the article excerpted at the top of the page, the Russian military has been given the lion’s share of government funding during the ongoing Russian economic crisis. But that hasn’t prevented the armed forces from suffering some crucial setbacks in critical weapons systems.

Look over the excerpted articles below, and see if you can make a connection between the hundreds of thousands of Russian scientists, engineers, and technicians who have been leaving Russia since 2012 . . . and the problems that Russia is having fielding advanced weapons systems.

The cancellation of the Su-57 comes as no surprise… two Su-57 stealth fighters sent to Syria conducted two days of testing their sensors and countermeasures over Syria and returned to Russia by the end of February. The reality was that all the Su-57s could do was land and take off. There were no sensors and countermeasures to test.

The Su-57 design was flawed and fixes were not available. __ https://www.strategypage.com//qnd/russia/articles/20180713.aspx

Besides the cancellation of the much-vaunted Su-57, Russia is having problems supplying its Navy with the new stealth frigates it had been promised. The first of the Admiral Gorshkov-class stealth frigates will be over a year delayed due to ongoing problems experienced during sea trials. The second of the same class will likewise be delayed — probably by another year or more. And those two are the only Admiral Gorshkov-class frigates on the horizon, because Russia only had two left-over Ukrainian-made gas turbine engines on hand — and is still unable to make the engines in Russian factories.

The Admiral Gorshkov-class has had to deal with various technical issues, including performance and compatibility problems with its Polimut Redut air defense missile system and with its propulsion system. The entire Project 22350 program also suffered from periodic funding shortages since its inception.

… Two additional Project 22350 frigates have been laid down in 2012 and 2013 respectively. However, given that the Russian defense industry is still struggling with designing a new propulsion system for the Russian Navy’s surface combatants as it can no longer rely on Ukraine-made gas turbine engines (it still had two Ukrainian engines for Gorshkov-class destroyers in stock), it is unclear when or if either of the two ships will enter service. __ The Diplomat

Russia Needs Help

Russia has been getting some help from China during the last few years of “hard times.” But help from China always comes with strings attached. If the Putin misery continues much longer, Russia may not have credible claim to much of the Far East remaining. China needs Siberian resources desperately, and has Putin over the barrel economically as long as western sanctions hold.

In an article on AsiaRussia.ru yesterday, [Aleksandr] Khramchikhin argues that a Chinese invasion of Russia is almost inevitable because “objectively” China cannot survive “in its current borders. It must become much bigger if it does not want to become much smaller” and it needs resources Russia and Kazakhstan have but Southeast Asia does not (asiarussia.ru/articles/4864/). __ via WO2

Russians Should Hope for Best and Prepare for Worst

After Russia’s brain drain and womb drain continue to plateau and then subside — because no other country will take those who remain — what is left of a formerly impressive ethnic Russian population will barely be able to make a pretense of defending current national borders.

China already wields greater economic influence in Central Asia than does Russia, and as the One Belt One Road loans come due, China will begin exerting military influence there as well. Chinese business interests are taking over financial control of Russian cities in the Far East and across the Siberian border. Lake Baikal is slowly becoming a Chinese water supply for all intents and purposes. China is insinuating itself deep inside Russia’s oil & gas infrastructure — the very life’s blood of the Russian economy.

It has taken Putin roughly 20 years to accomplish this. And through it all, Russophiles have defended him in a staunch and stubborn manner. How easily they have been played. Time to pay the piper.

More:

Young Russian Men Dying at Historically High Rates

Is Donald Trump Putin’s Puppet?

Shame Mr. Trump! You are straying from the official media script

Posted in Brain Drain, Russian Decline, Russian Womb Drain | Tagged | 2 Comments

Reaming Texas Bloody w/ Wind Turbines

Texas Fell Head Over Heels for Wind Farms

Nothing proclaims a politician’s virtue better than legions of hundred-metre high steel whirly-gigs marching off into the horizon. How green! How climate friendly! How . . . scatter-brained?!?

Giant wind turbines begin to break down within 10 years of installation. Unfortunately, most warranties on giant wind monstrosities only last 5 years. Most wind farms neglect maintenance on machines, voiding their warranties from the outset. And they are not putting aside enough money to pay for the cleanup of these looming junkyards of lost virtue.

Estimates put the tear-down cost of a single modern wind turbine, which can rise from 250 to 500 feet above the ground, at $200,000.

Texas is by far the leading wind energy producer in the United States, generating more than 20,000 megawatts of electricity each year. That is about one-fourth of the nation’s wind-energy production.

We can expect the Texas winds to blow forever, but the colossal turbines which capture the breeze and transform it into electricity will not turn forever. Like all mechanical things devised by man, no matter how clever, they eventually wear out.

“We don’t know with certainty the life spans of current turbines,” said Lisa Linowes, executive director of WindAction Group, a nonprofit which studies landowner rights and the impact of the wind energy industry…

… “So we’re coming in on 10 years of life and we’re seeing blades need to be replaced, cells need to be replaced, so it’s unlikely they’re going to get 20 years out of these turbines,” she said.

Estimates put the tear-down cost of a single modern wind turbine, which can rise from 250 to 500 feet above the ground, at $200,000. __ EnergyCentral

Canada’s province of Ontario just got itself a brand new business-friendly premier. Suddenly Ontario is seeing the light, and is cancelling 758 renewable energy projects, including at least one giant windfarm that nobody wanted. A reduction of over 10% in power bills off the top, will be the result.

The new Ontario government is canceling or winding down 758 renewable energy contracts that will see more than 200 projects killed off in southwestern Ontario as the newly sworn-in government follows through with its pledge to bring hydro bills down by 12 percent. __ https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Ontario-Kills-Renewable-Energy-Projects-To-Bring-Bills-Down.html#comment_added

Unreliable Wind & Solar are a Green Curse on the Gullible

In Australia, grid-scale wind and solar energy installation have created a gruesome electric power crisis. Prices for electric power are skyrocketing, at the same time that reliability is crashing.

… [electricity] prices, which 20 years ago were among the world’s lowest, soared to levels that were not only three times those in the US but substantially above those in Europe, which lacks our abundant, high-quality coal.

And as prices rose, a massive transfer of wealth occurred, from low-income households that could not afford rooftop solar panels to investors in renewables, who luxuriated in rates of return about 50 per cent greater than those earned by their US counterparts. __ Stop These Things

Hard Justice In the Wildlands of Montana and the Australian Outback

Giant noisy windfarms are hazardous to the health of bats, raptors, and human beings. Bats and raptors can do little about the bloody assaults on their persons, but human beings are another matter.

… there are plenty of wind farm victims who are keen to see them end up in bits; lots of little bits.

One of the turbines located in the Glacier County portion of the Glacier Wind 2 farm was shot sometime in mid-April. The bullet punched through the outer shell of the turbine and damaged a major cable leading to the generator, causing more than $100,000 in damage.

… STT has heard a few reports of Australian farmers letting loose on turbines with shots fired in frustration and anger. One shootist apparently decided to stop firing at the blades, because the holes made caused them to emit a ‘whistling’ sound, only adding to the acoustic torture.

The fact of the matter is that rural communities cannot abide these things. When asked fairly and squarely, more than 90% of threatened and affected communities are bitterly opposed:

Wind Industry Keeps Losing ‘Hearts and Minds’: Community Opposition Rolls & Builds

While only a few have taken up arms in response (so far), there’s been plenty of self-directed action from threatened and/or harmed communities around the world… __ Stop These Things (STT)

Wind turbines sometimes burst spectacularly into flames, sometimes turbines are smashed to bits when towers fall, but mostly the massive and unpredictable wastes of resources just wear out — prematurely.

Giant wastelands of dead wind towers dot landscapes across the US west. But that is just the beginning of the blight. On land, it is a matter of ugly, somewhat dangerous industrial waste. But at sea — where many of the most expensive wind projects are being built — we will see navigational hazards of a deadly and long-lasting nature, as the projects are abandoned for lack of upkeep.

Costly Consequences of Idiotic Virtue Signaling

Wind energy production tripled thanks to the Obama administration’s aggressive green energy agenda, going from 8,883 megawatts in 2005 to around 82,183 megawatts today, which is about 5.5 percent of the nation’s total power generation. __ https://www.energycentral.com/news/retiring-worn-out-wind-turbines-could-cost-billions-nobody-has

US taxpayers are on the hook for tens of $billions and more after Obama’s friends and campaign bundlers failed to pay back their green energy loans. This is politics as usual among the high-flying faux environmental crowd — stiffing the taxpayer for virtue and profit.

They Can Never Pay for Themselves — Why Were They Built?

The stated rationale for the large-scale construction of huge wind & solar projects was to fight global warming. But more carbon was released in building these idiocies than will ever be “spared the environment” by unreliable intermittent prone-to-break-down-prematurely grid-scale wind turbines and solar arrays.

The real reason for building these ruinously expensive nonsensical failures of logic, was financial payback to politically connected donours and “bundlers.” In other words, corruption on a massive scale, done in the name of virtue-signaling.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.

We are not recommending a wholesale attack on these corrupt and ugly contraptions, but if you feel you or someone you love may be harmed by them, try to use minimal force in retribution. Do not harm humans, even if some of the foremost backers of green energy — such as Tom Steyer — have been suggesting that a nuclear war may be the only way to fight the good green fight.

But the turbines themselves? If turbines are causing harm to humans — directly or indirectly — they should not be there in the first place.

More: Offshore turbine farms cost more to maintain and decommission than they are worth

Posted in Green Quagmire, Wind | Tagged | 5 Comments

What Does Full Employment Look Like?

We can get a good picture of full employment by looking at Midland, Texas, where the unemployment rate hovers near 2%. Finding workers to do ordinary jobs as teachers, restaurant cooks, bus drivers, city workers, prison guards, etc. is getting much harder. Why? Because they have all gone to work for the oil companies and oil services, where they can make much more money.

Truck Drivers Make $140 K per Year

In the country’s busiest oil patch, where the rig count has climbed by nearly one-third in the past year, drillers, service providers and trucking companies have been poaching in all corners, recruiting everyone from police officers to grocery clerks. So many bus drivers with the Ector County Independent School District in nearby Odessa quit for the shale fields that kids were sometimes late to class.

… schools that teach how to pass the test for a CDL — commercial driver’s license — are packed.

“A CDL is a golden ticket around here,” said Steve Sauceda, who runs the workforce training program at New Mexico Junior College. “You are employable just about anywhere.”

And you can make a whole lot more money than waiting tables at Gerardo’s Casita. Jeremiah Fleming, 30, is on track to pull down $140,000 driving flatbed trucks for Aveda Transportation & Energy Services Inc., hauling rigs.
__ LA Times

Welders, pipefitters, electricians, experienced oil rig workers, engineers, and other highly skilled workers make more than the truck drivers, of course. Almost all of the skilled trades are in short supply near the Permian Basin, as are most of the unskilled trades like truck drivers and pump checkers.

“It is crazy,” said Jazmin Jimenez, 24, who zipped through a two-week training program at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, about 100 miles north of Midland, and was hired by Chevron Corp. as a well-pump checker. “Honestly I never thought I’d see myself at an oilfield company. But now that I’m here — I think this is it.”

That’s understandable, considering the $28-a-hour she makes is double what she was earning until December as a guard at the Lea County Correctional Facility in Hobbs. __ LATimes

Oil prices are high enough now to allow drillers to begin paying off debts, and to allow the oil service companies to charge more for their indispensable services. And oil prices are not likely to drop back to the $40 bbl range any time soon.

Near-full employment brings higher wages. We see this not only in the Texas oil field regions, but in parts of North Dakota, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and other places where oil & gas are booming. This “skills drain effect” flowing to the oil & gas field areas, leads to skills and jobs shortages in other parts of the country where skilled (and unskilled) workers can then demand higher pay.

When a high tech economy is booming, there are many jobs paying between $20 and $40 per hour that can be learned in a matter of weeks or months. For an 18 year old right out of high school, such quickly learned and relatively high paying jobs (for their age) offer an opportunity to save a nest egg for longer-term goals.

Too bad that so many youth are routed toward college and university where they often go deeply into debt — only to drop out, or to graduate with a degree that gives them no advantages whatsoever in the job market. Perhaps only then, such young people can wake up out of their cultural dysphoria and begin to face the realities that no one prepared them for — not their parents, teachers, friends, or culture at large.

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

Posted in careers, Economics, Energy, Shale Oil & Gas Revolution | Tagged | Leave a comment

You Don’t Always Get What You Want

Two years ago in the summer of 2016, Donald Trump was everyone’s favourite clownish buffoon and laughingstock. As a political novice and long-standing butt of many jokes, Trump had no chance of being elected US president against the formidable and accomplished Clinton political machine.

When Trump announced he was running for president, I admit that I didn’t take this millionaire, hotel magnate, reality TV show celebrity as a serious candidate. I doubted his ability to do the job. So I drew him as a clown. In fact, my cartoons were as critical of him as many of my liberal cartoonist friends.

__ From Clown to Construction Foreman

In July of 2016, Trump was a clown to almost everyone. It was only when he began making substantive personnel choices and policy decisions that most members of the public became capable of seeing the mostly coherent vision of reclamation and rebuilding behind the gruff and buffoonish exterior.

But two years later, the social engineers of the radical left are in full panic mode. They have pulled out all the stops in their “shock and awe” propaganda campaign being waged from broadcast and cable news to late night “comedy” shows … to leftist-mogul controlled publishing empires and internet vox in the boxes.

Unfortunately for the radical leftist social engineers, almost all of their efforts are having either no effect — or the opposite effect to that intended. Trump’s first 500 days seem to represent a mere warmup to the main act in the making.

The election of Trump combined with his many substantive actions while in office, seem to be acting as triggers for broader-scale societal effects. In a previous posting here, I pointed to the Trump-enabled expansion of free speech and thought taking place on the internet, on campuses, and across North America and beyond.

As people discover that important knowledge and seminal ideas exist in society-at-large and not just in universities, think tanks, foundations, media, government, and large corporations — the bolder among them will begin to take some bigger chances, some of which are likely to pay off under the current regime.

As we have seen in the fields of microprocessors, telecomm, biotechnologies, robotics, space launch and technologies, nanotech, additive manufacturing, etc. etc. … core innovations can lead to interacting explosive and disruptive innovations in other areas.

Anything that expands risk taking in society at large, is likely to spur new and unexpected innovation of a generative nature.

For all his faults, Donald Trump is a walking representative of risk-taking and constructive enterprise. One of the few US Presidents of the last 100 years who was not merely a career politician, Trump brings skills and competencies to the table which most journalists, professors, and late night “comics” could never comprehend in 10 lifetimes.

Mr. Trump is taking the world on a wild ride. This ride is nothing like what is represented in the news and entertainment media, and shares almost no resemblance to what students are being taught about it by their professors. But that is the way of many genuinely constructive revolutions. Most people don’t even know what is happening until they feel the thing slipping into the dark spaces between their legs.

You can’t always get what you want. But if you try some times, well you might find . . .

Posted in Donald Trump | Tagged | 3 Comments

Saving the US from the Obama Decline

The Obama Economic Decline


One reflection of the Obama economic decline was the stark drop in labor participation rate over the 8 years of the Obama presidency. Under Obama, Americans exhausted themselves in the search for opportunity, and millions of them simply gave up. This is why the official “unemployment rates” gave a deceptively mild impression of the US employment picture under Obama.

Although the unemployment rate declined between 2008 and 2016, had the labor-force-participation rate in 2016 been at its 2008 level, the unemployment rate would have been far higher. People simply dropped out of the labor force. The unemployment rate is measured as a share of people in the labor force, so when unemployed people drop out of the labor force, the unemployment rate drops — but the employment-to-population ratio does not. __ Source

Since the 2016 US national elections, public and business optimism have risen — as have the labor participation rates.

Reversing Obama’s Economic Curse

Trump Boom vs. Obama Decline
US BLS Data via NRO

Obama embraced the stagnating policies of a proto-socialist economy and regulatory/taxation scheme. As a result, the US economy stagnated, entrepreneurs had fewer opportunities, and workers had to search long and hard for the jobs that would have been readily available under a different bureaucratic regime.

Under Trump, paradoxically even the population groups which rejected the Donald wholesale at the polls have benefited in the job markets (see table above).

Since then, unemployed people have reentered the labor force — driving labor-force participation up in virtually all groups. The difference is that many of those people have found jobs. The unemployment rate rose in June only because more people rejoined the labor force. (The only exception is white males, where the employment rate held steady.) __ Source

Obama’s Curse Hurt the US Across All Sectors and Spheres

Socialist stagnation in the age of postmodernism hurts every aspect of a society — from its economy to its education to its culture to its future goals and aspirations. The Obama path was a dead-end road, which was clear to the brighter and more observant contingent of observers from 2008 onward. Tying an entire society up in chains of regulations designed to suffocate free thought, free enterprise, and freedom of association and action, is no way to bring about prosperity and expansive innovation.

The biggest win for the US in 2016 was the defeat of Hillary Clinton in a tacit rebuke to the Obama dead-end path. That was a lucky strike in itself — but even more, Trump has proven himself to be a remarkably clear headed manager of ground-level economic activity. The US president seems to intuit the nuts and bolts of the bureaucratic policies that need tweaking, adjusting, and abolishing outright.

Hope for the Best. Prepare for the Worst

There is no such thing as clear sailing ahead for the seas which Barack Obama (and Bush and Clinton and Bush) prepared for the future of the US. We should expect storm after storm after storm.

Many highly influential billionaires in the US and abroad were able to profit handsomely from the Obama policies, even as the US people languished. These billionaires and their lackeys in the media would like a return to those halcion days of corruption.

For US workers, the best bet is to make yourself multi-competent in ways that cannot be easily outsourced to low wage countries. Develop practical skills of both high tech and low tech varieties, in order to be prepared for several eventualities.

It is never too late for a Dangerous Childhood © .

More: More becoming aware of Obama as loser

Posted in Donald Trump, Economics, Obama | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

US: Too Many Jobs; Not Enough Workers

US Labour Shortages Intensify Across All Sectors

For all areas of the US economy — from small businesses to giant corporations — a growing shortage of workers is beginning to be felt. The unemployed labour pool (6 million) is now smaller than the number of job openings (6.7 million), and the gap is only growing wider as the Trump reforms to the US economy begin to have an impact.

Truck drivers are in perilously low supply, Silicon Valley continues to struggle to fill vacancies, and employers across the grid are coping with a skills mismatch as the economy edges ever closer to full employment.

“Business’ number one problem is finding qualified workers. At the current pace of job growth, if sustained, this problem is set to get much worse,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement. “These labor shortages will only intensify across all industries and company sizes.”

__ Source

The Problem is Greatest for Skilled Jobs

Skilled trade workers average near 55 years in age, and as the baby boomers retire, so do the skilled workers — and they are not being replaced. Why not? According to “Dirty Jobs” TV personality Mike Rowe:

• High school curriculum: Most U.S. high schools have eliminated shop classes and other vocational training opportunities, as budget cuts claimed a traditional pathway into a career in the trades.

• College vs. the trades: In many cases, students are counseled that going to college (and often taking on thousands of dollars of debt) is the only way to become successful, despite the fact that there is a surplus of solid, good-paying career opportunities in the trades that do not require a bachelor’s degree.

• Family businesses: Many trades contractors are family businesses, in which the next generation may not want to continue the tradition.

… Today’s students are given the idea that obtaining four-year college degree is the only path to success, despite the fact that there are millions of good job openings that do not require a degree. “You have to make (skilled trades work) aspirational,” said Rowe. “You have to change the image of the opportunity.”

• Training programs: More training programs are needed for the next generation of electricians, plumbers and HVAC technicians. __ Skilled Labour Shortage

Food and Hospitality Services Also Hard-Hit

More people are employed, and eating out. But where are the food service workers?

A tight labor market and an explosion of new restaurants have made finding and keeping help ever more difficult across the country.

In 2017, the National Restaurant Association reports, 37 percent of its members said labor recruitment was their top challenge, up from 15 percent two years ago. With low profit margins leaving little room to do what most businesses do in tight labor markets — increase wages — restaurant owners are having to find other ways to attract and hold onto workers.

… “Everybody eats out,” said Gerri Mason Hall, the head of human resources at Sodexo in North America, the giant food service company and cafeteria operator, which also vies for restaurant workers. “We are competing for executive chefs, front line cooks, the entire talent pool.”

… Restaurant industry experts say the recent crackdown on undocumented workers has sent a further chill through the business. Dishwashers and other low-wage restaurant workers have long been recruited from the nation’s undocumented work force, but many restaurateurs are wary now of going to that well. __ New York Times

Blame Trump for scaring the undocumented restaurant workers away, but also give him credit for boosting the underlying economic activity that is pushing the greater demand for services.

Skills shortages in the oil industry include shortages of engineers, welders, rig workers, and on and on and on . . . Similar skills shortages in construction, manufacturing, health care, transportation, utilities, etc. etc.

The fierce competition for hiring has led to both a drop in the unemployment rate and a rebound in the prime-age employment-to-population ratio in Iowa. It has also raised the specter of labor shortages, with businesses simply unable to find experienced workers to fill their positions. “There are not a lot of welders sitting around looking for work. The construction trades, the roofers, the framers, the dry-wallers,” said Dan Culhane, the president of the Ames Chamber of Commerce. “Those are [workforce] challenges that Ames and Story County and Des Moines face.” __ https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/07/hello-full-employment/564527/?utm_source=feed

More on Retiring Baby Boomers

The US is not the only country that is losing skilled workers and gaining huge numbers of retirees. In fact, most developed nations are worse off in that regard than the US:

One reason the U.S. is in better shape is its comparatively high rate of immigration. Since people tend to migrate when they are younger, immigrants tend to bring down the age of the population as a whole…

The U.S. also has another trend working in its favor: Baby boomers are retiring just as their children — sometimes known as the “echo boomers” — are entering their prime working years. Boomers are no longer even the largest age cohort; more of today’s Americans were born in the 1980s and 1990s than in the postwar years. As today’s teens and 20-somethings enter the workforce, they will partly offset their parents’ exit. __ Source

Under Obama, Millions Gave Up Looking for Jobs

The US Obama administration seemed custom-made to sabotage the US economy and US industry. Millions of workers abandoned the search for work, discouraged by the pessimism across the economic sectors.

Under Trump, the opposite problem is emerging. Too many jobs and not enough workers will lead to a certain amount of wage inflation as employers are forced to bid for new workers against all other potential employers. Wage inflation will lead to higher prices for goods, and then interest rates will slowly rise to compensate. It is the typical business cycle in a capitalist economy.

The greatest challenge for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” crusade is to contain and reduce government spending, regulation, legislation, judicial activism, and taxation to levels that will not bring back the damaging malaise and pessimism that narrowed US economic horizons in the 70s under Jimmy Carter and in the 2008-2016 span under Obama.

Trump only has a few years to try to reverse many decades of engineered decline.

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

For some excellent thoughts on the liberating psychology of working with one’s hands, see Matthew Crawford’s “Shop Class as Soulcraft” and other writings.

Posted in Competence, Donald Trump, Economics | Tagged , | 5 Comments

This is Why Women are not Allowed to Drive Bulldozers

Topless Woman Drives Dozer Into Apartment Building

Women Need Not Apply
Source

Heather Houston has been charged with two felonies after allegedly stealing a front-end loader and driving it into an apartment complex in Great Falls.

The Great Falls Police Department responded to the Fox Hollow Apartment Complex on Sunday morning where they found 34-year-old Houston had stolen the loader from the 3100 block of Rainbow Dam Road and drove it across town to the apartments.

GFPD said Houston then ran over a fence, damaged a car, and hit the side of the complex. She was reportedly topless as she elevated the front end to the second floor and crawled into an apartment before coming back out. __ http://www.krtv.com/story/38550755/woman-crashes-through-fence-with-excavator-in-great-falls

Police are charging Houston with felony criminal mischief and felony endangerment.

According to unverified reports, police are also charging Ms. Houston with causing 3 separate traffic accidents while driving from Rainbow Dam Road to the Fox Hollow Apartment Complex. The accidents were a result of gawkers staring at the topless bulldozer driver, instead of watching the road in front of them.

A woman onlooker commented that if a man takes off his shirt and drives a bulldozer, nobody gives a second glance. If a woman does that, all hell breaks loose!

Comment:

It is the opinion of our editorial board that half-naked women should stay in strip clubs where they belong, not out driving bulldozers in full public view. We the editors fervently hope that no people of colour or LGBTQs were offended by the events portrayed in the news report above.

While we as feminists would ordinarily support the right of women to choose any career, we now see that there should be some exceptions.

Note: Some literary license was taken with the news report above, in the spirit of satire and the dominant mainstream ethic of fake news.

Posted in satire, Sex Differences | Tagged | Leave a comment

Entering the New Chinese Warlord Era

Chinese warlords have appeared all throughout China’s history, springing up in times of turmoil to gain power, and sometimes establishing their own dynasty. Warlords are normally aggressive and ambitious, they want to gain power and will use any means necessary to get it. This is a list of 10 ruthless Chinese warlords. __ http://eskify.com/10-ruthless-chinese-warlords/

China’s Modern Conundrum
Chokepoints of Supply

The fear of chaos has often been prevalent throughout history in China. For thousands of years, one Chinese dynasty has followed another. But not every dynasty has been able to control all or most of Chinese territory, and between the fall of one dynasty and the rise of another there has periodically been chaos. The Chinese Communist Party is just the latest Chinese dynasty, which itself emerged following a long period of war and chaos. __ Robert D. Kaplan

China is Always Driven by “Fear of Chaos“

China’s dynasties almost always seem to be interrupted by “warlord eras,” with bloody chaotic warfare between competing warlords. China’s most recent warlord era took place between the years 1916 and 1927, China once more divided into warring regions.

The Warlord Era (1916-27) was a period when national authority in China disintegrated and the country broke apart into a jigsaw of regions, each controlled by powerful local leaders. Warlordism was to some extent a culmination of internal divisions that emerged in late Qing China. As Qing authority waned, local leaders moved to increase their own power. __ http://alphahistory.com/chineserevolution/warlord-era/

Global Chinese Expansion Invites a Grander Warlord Era

Chinese expansion is inevitable due to the risk of Chinese supply lines being cut off (see map above). China has only one coastline, which is hemmed in by multiple island chains — many of them occupied by unfriendly or unreliable nations. China has moved to acquire control of foreign territories, seaports, and facilities for food, energy, and raw materials supplies.

The new “One Belt One Road” initiative is an attempt to create multiple supply lines — over land and sea — and multiple bases of support for maintaining those supply lines. The seizing of contested seaspace and building of artificial islands and military bases off the Chinese shoreline is a further attempt to prevent foreign warships from blocking Chinese supply lines, or interfering with any aggressive Chinese moves against its neighbors (including Taiwan).

As the Chinese expand into significant industrial/agricultural/mining/energy holdings in Africa and Latin America; as they move to control important seaports in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Greece, Africa, Latin America and beyond; and as the Chinese diaspora of both loyal and disaffected mainland Chinese continues, new centres of power will emerge.

New centres of Chinese power threaten Xi, who has just spent several years destroying all other centres of Chinese power within the nation’s borders.

How Can Xi Stop New “Warlords” from Emerging?

Difficult to say, since it has been in China’s very nature to unite and divide into perpetuity.

“Here begins our tale: The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been.” This opening adage of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, China’s classic novel of war and strategy, best captures the essential dynamism of Chinese geopolitics. At its heart is the millennia-long struggle by China’s would-be rulers to unite and govern the all-but-ungovernable geographic mass of China. It is a story of centrifugal forces and of insurmountable divisions rooted in geography and history – but also, and perhaps more fundamentally, of centripetal forces toward eventual unity.

___ Zhixing Zhang

It is not in the nature of Chinese strongmen to want to submit to a distant “emperor,” regardless of the ideology under which China pretends to operate at any given time. Xi will attempt to place only loyal strongmen in control of these dozens of new and farflung overseas Chinese power centres, but there is no room for failure. In such constrained circumstances, Murphy’s law ultimately prevails.

China Already Has Serious Problems

There is no need to rehash China’s debt mountain, its ongoing banking train wreck, its multiple economic, financial, and industrial bubbles, its poisoned land/water/air/food/medicine etc. crises, and so on. Other posts here deal with such issues in detail.

For most people to understand the undercurrents of events, they will need to cultivate aspects of their minds which largely sit unused.

It is not enough to read the summaries and “see” the basic outlines. Making sense of what one sees requires a deep substructure of understanding which requires years and decades to acquire.

Few China observers have the ability to look beneath the powerful facade to the underlying corruption and decay. We live in a dumbed down world, suckled on the 15 second attention-span internet and social media. People are no longer capable of reading books — or even extended articles or blog postings. Almost no one can hold all of the many ideas in his mind simultaneously for a long enough period of time to achieve a meaningful synthesis.

And so superficial facades are the only things that most people can see and understand. This is useful for propaganda states such as China and Russia, and for propaganda industries such as the mainstream news and entertainment medias of Europe and the Anglosphere.

But for those who can see, the future is falling apart and falling together at the same time, in virtual full view. It requires the ability to follow several dozen trend lines at the same time, while understanding the fundamentals that are driving those trends. But it can be done by those who cultivate their minds in the right way.

What is True for China is Doubly True for Russia

China and Russia are in a quiet but intense struggle for Eurasian resources and political influence. As Putin ages, several strongmen of Russia have begun to wonder “what comes after Putin?” Few of them have an answer that would satisfy them or any other Russian.

The question is more critical every day because China’s need for Siberian resources grow more critical every day. Soon China will need far more than the Kremlin will want to supply. Then, China will call in its markers.

China Will Reclaim Siberia NYT
Source

And Siberia will provide would-be Chinese warlords with rich training grounds for their rebels and warriors. Interesting times, Mr. Xi.

Posted in China, Siberia | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Rich Romp to the Stars: Fueling the $Trillion Space Economy

Planetary Resources
via Source

Trillions, High and Low

The transition from a $hundreds of billions space economy to a $trillions space economy may be quicker than anyone thought. Cheap access to space opens all kinds of doors which were expected to stay closed for the next few decades at least. Everything is changing.

Space is already a $350 billion economy, or roughly half a percent of the world’s GDP, [Morgan Stanley] estimates. And as more investments pour into technologies like reusable rockets that make space exploration cheaper, that economy could grow to $1 trillion, especially as countries recognize the need for a space presence to maintain national security. __ https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trump-apos-apos-space-force-140000121.html?

The internet satellite business is expected to earn up to $1 trillion per year worldwide, in roughly a decade or two. SpaceX is in line to eat a significant piece of that pie.

Asteroids worth more than a quadrillion dollars are floating free, waiting for ambitious space miners to strike paydirt. Several earth-based companies are already scanning the skies for likely prospects.

The space tourism business is already worth over $1 billion, just for earth-based space tourism such as “the Air and Space Museum, the Kennedy launch site, space camps, etc“. Moving space tourism into outer space — sub-orbital flights, orbiting space hotels, lunar resorts, etc. could easily boost the industry into the $trillion range.

An emerging cis-lunar economy that will service lunar bases, orbiting habitats and hotels, and orbiting fuel and supply basis supporting missions to Mars, the asteroids, and deeper space, could easily be worth $1 trillion even in the early stages of development.

Another factor playing into the space equation is US President Trump’s proposed national “Space Force” which Morgan Stanley says can fuel a “$1 trillion intergalactic economy.”

Morgan Stanley has been bullish about investing in outer space enterprises ever since the new private companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin began testing their rockets.

In the last fifteen years, the business of space exploration has changed substantially, with private corporations joining governments in creating and launching rockets and satellites. The recent advent of reusable rockets is drastically cutting the cost of sending satellites into space, and the potential for mass production of satellites could slash those costs further. __ Morgan Stanley

The two quickest ways for a $billionaire to become a $trillionaire are through the energy business or the outer space enterprises. We were discussing this topic back in 2010 and 2012 on the original Al Fin blog. Since then, Elon Musk has developed SpaceX into a viable satellite launch company worth perhaps $50 billion. Not far behind is Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin space launch enterprise. Bezos is pouring $1 billion per year or more into his company and is planning to sell sub-orbital space tourism flights beginning next year.

If you have a good idea for a space enterprise, consult this list of US billionaires for possible backers or collaborators. It is never too early to begin lining up your capital.

No one knows what these first steps will lead to. But we do know that a lot of people will pay a good sum for just a taste of outer space. And we know that people will pay for broadband internet that can follow them anywhere on Earth. And we know that $trillion and $quadrillion asteroids are orbiting just within reach — if we set up the infrastructure to find them, then mine them.

In fact, we already know about significant possibilities for valuable resources on the moon, on Mars, in the asteroid belt, and beyond. All we need is a reliable and affordable way to get there, and the experience and expertise to do the job safely and profitably.

There is room on Earth for a trillion people to live in a pristine environment — but only if the people are smart people. Since the people currently on Earth are not particularly intelligent, we had best keep their numbers under 20 billion.

In outer space there is room and plenty of resources for several trillions of humans to live safely and abundantly — if they are smart people. Living in an island of atmosphere surrounded by a sea of vacuum, stupid people are likely to stumble drunk out the airlock. Best to ship anyone born stupid in space back groundside. 😉

Asteroids: Path to riches, path to ruin. Humans need to learn how to find the one and avoid the other.

Some interesting space musings from the original Al Fin blog

Posted in Asteroids, Space Future | Tagged | 16 Comments

Jordan Peterson Read All of Sam Harris’ Books

The respective philosophies of Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson have not intermeshed smoothly so far. In two separate hour-length podcasts, the two men could not agree on a common concept of “truth” or an agreed upon method for the discovery of truth. Things have gone downhill from there. But it is in the nature of both men to continue to try. And so they meet in public appearance for the first time tonight in Vancouver.

Clash of the Cognitive Titans

Harris has a PhD in neuroscience, and Peterson has a PhD in clinical psychology. Both are popular authors who have also published scientific research that falls into the realm of “cognitive science.” Both men are philosophically inclined and seemingly comfortable speaking before large crowds. They are meeting tonight and tomorrow night in the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver. But what are the odds that they will be able to get past the epistemological obstacles that tripped up both their previous efforts to gain common philosophical ground?

In light of their previous two failures to meet on the same wavelength, Jordan Peterson took it upon himself to read all of Sam Harris’ published books. This is what Peterson does: He reads a lot of books and articles — many of which are bound to contradict each other — and attempts to achieve a deep set of meanings by combining what he has read with what he had read, heard, and known in the past.

In fact, that is how Peterson came to write his first book “Maps of Meaning,” which is a massive synthesis of many scores of deep tomes, myths, fables, and tales.

Did Harris Watch All of Peterson’s Videos?

I suspect not. Peterson’s Maps of Meaning videos dig deeply into the mines of truth that the Canadian professor, researcher, and clinician has discovered over the past 30 + years. Like a sculptor, he has brought together a wildly diverse set of ideas, and synthesised something useful for today’s thinking people.

Peterson is a clinical psychologist who cares about helping people to move beyond their personal fears and shortcomings, to build a purposeful life. Peterson wants to learn something from Harris, and to hopefully add to his own grand synthesis.

Peterson is Serious About Learning from Harris

Peterson is a clinical psychologist who has seen troubled clients on a regular basis. Doing this for decades allowed him to become a master at getting inside other people’s heads. We can get a hint of this in the Cathy Newman interview on UK Channel 4.

Peterson is better at this empathetic feat when he is not being distracted by a lot of ideas flying at him from different directions all at once. A master therapist needs to focus on the person’s thoughts-behind-the-words, and ignore most everything else. From there, the therapist’s own subconscious will supply what is needed to move the person past the rut that is stopping progress.

Harris Matured as a Public Persona Much Earlier

Sam Harris has become famous using his incisive intellect, which is capable of cutting through logical tangles to expose the presence or absence of inner cores of logical meaning. This is a substantial part of his public image, much of what he is known for.

Sam Harris is also known as a proponent of meditation to achieve inner peace and clarity. This is important, since any public intellectual who regularly wades into deep controversies is going to need a peaceful place to recuperate.

Defending the Public Throne

Harris was born into an entertainment media family. His father an actor, his mother a TV producer. Harris himself has been in the limelight — more or less — for more than a decade and a half. When he looks at Peterson, he sees a newcomer, an interloper on his own territory who threatens to provide an alternative approach to truth than Harris’ own.

In the two podcasts where Harris hosted Jordan Peterson, Harris’ frustration at being unable to make the “fatal cuts” of logic, was palpable. And the same frustration at Peterson has been clear in Harris’ subsequent interviews, podcasts, and public appearances whenever Peterson’s name is mentioned.

On the other hand, Peterson is also frustrated at Harris, but in a different way. Peterson wants to learn from Harris, and to hopefully add something important from Harris’ ideas, to his grand synthesis. Harris just wants to make Peterson go away.

Neither Man is Going Away

To most people it is inconceivable, why Harris and Peterson would be willing to interact with — and be interviewed by — personalities in media or academia who are openly trying to contradict their ideas. In the case of media personalities, some are actually trying to destroy the careers of public intellectuals who do not toe the public line of what is politically correct.

Of the two, Harris is distinctly more mainstream — and generally works to stay that way. His podcast with Charles Murray was a bold step into the unknown, which met significant backlash from the mainstream. When Harris brought Ezra Klein onto his podcast, he met a clever enemy inside his own “house” for an open discussion. Harris was wise to meet Klein on his own territory, rather than going to Klein’s “house” for a meeting where he would no doubt have been stabbed repeatedly in the back.

Peterson, on the other hand, goes everywhere, heedless of the danger. He has received his share of backstabbing. But for the most part — as in the Cathy Newman interview — all of the efforts of the media to destroy Peterson have only brought Peterson more fame, more followers, and more influence.

Sam Harris’ Truth is Negative; Peterson’s is Positive

Sam Harris’ fame was based upon his logical destruction of religious faith. Like a surgeon excising a tumour, Harris set about removing the roots of faith. He takes great pleasure in the task, like a happy surgeon.

Jordan Peterson has devoted his life to providing an approach to life that provides deep purpose — whether or not any religious faith is present.

Harris Sees Peterson as a Threat

Peterson talks extensively about religion — and draws deeply from concepts and “archetypes” which are found in religious writings. Although Peterson does not promote religious faith as such, the very fact that Peterson gives religious writings a certain level of respect and value is a fact that Harris (and the other career atheists) seem to resent very deeply.

Harris does not seem to feel that his work with Peterson is truly done until he destroys Peterson’s credibility — at least in front of the audience that Harris values.

But that is not the way that Peterson seems to be approaching Harris.

Peterson Just Wants to Learn and Add to the Synthesis

One of Peterson’s 12 Rules is (paraphrased): “Always assume the person you are speaking with has something to teach you.” By taking the time to read all of Harris’ books, Peterson demonstrates that ethic clearly.

We will see whether Peterson can get to the core of Harris’ ideas which might prove useful in building a purposeful life, in Peterson’s view. Peterson must find in Harris the things that Peterson finds admirable and potent, and develop those things in ways that can be incorporated into a larger approach to a purposeful life.

The Two Men Do Not Need to Like Each Other

Career atheists are unlikely to admire anyone who seems to move too closely to the orbits of religious or quasi-religious concepts or themes. It is in the nature of a career atheist to destroy belief in god(s) and to destroy faith. If another person’s ideas threaten to provide solace to any religious person’s faith, then those ideas must also be attacked and destroyed. This is a negative approach to truth, which cuts and cuts until nothing “threatening” is left.

But can the emotional guidance systems of the career atheists be trusted to judge and distinguish the “threatening” from the “non-threatening?” Probably not. But humans are only human.

Harris does not need to like Peterson, and Peterson does not have to like Harris. They only need to be honest, open, and articulate — in the context of clashing epistemologies.

In fact, for those who understand these things, it is better that the two men have no special regard for each other when their ideas clash. We are not judging the outcome of this clash by a few interactions. Neither man seems inclined to bow to the other’s established epistemology.

The confrontation is not for the two men. It is for the observers who must make up their own minds.

If only today’s mainstream culture could understand the need for such open and honest confrontations of opposing ideas and traditions. Instead, we are drowning in a monoculture of politically correct strait-jacketed idiocy.

Three cheers for Harris and Peterson. And for Brett Weinstein, appearing tomorrow night with Peterson and Harris at the Orpheum.

Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson Meet Tonight in Vancouver

Posted in Jordan Peterson, Knowledge, Philosophy | Tagged | 7 Comments

Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, and Brett Weinstein… Where They Belong

I Am Not Talking About Vancouver

Tomorrow, 23 June 2018, Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris will attempt another futile debate on the relative merits of their divergent epistemologies. The event at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver is sold out.

The next day, 24 June 2018 — again at the Orpheum — Harris and Peterson will have a moderated debate, with Brett Weinstein presiding as intercessor.

The fact that both events have been sold out for some time highlights the public interest in both Harris and Peterson — as well as for Weinstein, in the second event.

They Are Where They Should Be On the Larger Stage

Beyond Vancouver and all the other cities where these men are individually sharing their ideas with an interested public, their presence is being felt around the world on podcasts, YouTube videos, books, media interviews, and even testimony before the US Congress.

Where Were They Two Years Ago?

Two years ago, Weinstein was teaching biology at Evergreen State, Peterson was teaching psychology — doing research — seeing clients at U. of Toronto, and Sam Harris was writing books, practising meditation and Brasilian jiu jitsu, and attempting to refine his podcasts to reach a wider public.

But over the past two years the public has been taking greater note of these three — along with others who have been christened members of a group known as “The Intellectual Dark Web (IDW).”

People such as Camille Paglia, Christina Hoff Sommers, Jonathan Haidt, Eric Weinstein, etc. have been around for a long time — but are suddenly receiving more popular attention for their outspoken viewpoints, which often clash with the dominant politically correct postmodern neo-Marxist vision that guides most of the media, academia, foundations, activist groups, and many of the deep government states of the world.

Individuals who were first drawn to these independent points of view by Jordan Peterson or Sam Harris, are beginning to branch out and read the works of Sommers, Haidt, Paglia, and more.

It is not important that these persons are not perfect avatars of truth or deep intellect. Each is human and has significant flaws of both a personal and intellectual nature. If you are looking for a messiah perhaps you should convert to messianic Judaism.

In a world drowning in the stifling suppression of free thought and speech — especially in academia, media, and many governmental jurisdictions — the willingness of individuals such as those in the “IDW” to take public stands in person and on new & old media, holds the door to daylight and fresh air open — if just a crack.

Donald Trump is Something Else That Changed

Two years ago, Donald Trump was campaigning through a fierce primary schedule in the quest for the Republican nomination for US President. His chances were slim and no one knew what they might expect from a “President Trump,” however unlikely the prospects for such a thing might have been.

Two years later and Trump continues to be full of surprises, keeping his critics in frantic confusion, off balance. By keeping the news and entertainment media fixated on his tweets and other public statements, Trump has opened considerable room in the back spaces of the public sphere for new voices — including the voices of people who thoroughly hate the US President.

But it is not so very important, exactly, what all of these people are saying word for word. As long as they are openly giving thinking people around the world more choices in what they are able to think about and talk about.

Universities, media outlets, foundations, corporate bureaucracies, and deep states have been thoroughly infiltrated by the stifling ideologies of political correctness and a painful hobbling of speech and inquiry. It will take much more than is being done to bring about a renaissance of ideas, visions, and launchpads for new cultural freedoms and human potentials.

But in just two years, a lot has already changed. After you finish cleaning your room, consider what you might do to assist in the cultural blossoming and transformation.

More:

NYT on the Intellectual Dark Web

It’s about the audience, stupid.

Posted in Jordan Peterson, Knowledge, Philosophy | Tagged , | 2 Comments

You Can’t Have My Car, But I Can Spare You a Few Bullets

56% of carjackers were identified by victims as black, 21% white, 16% Asian or Native American, and 7% mixed race or unknown.[20] Some 93% of carjackings occurred in urban areas.[20][21] __ Wikipedia “Carjacking”

In Some Locations, Carjacking is a Popular Crime

In Walmart parking lots, for example, carjacking is becoming something of a spectator sport. Two days ago in a Walmart parking lot in Tumwater, Washington, a lone man went on a carjack/shooting spree — finally being shot dead by an armed civilian bystander.

The Thurston County Coroner’s Office on Monday identified the dead carjack suspect as Tim Day, 44, of McCleary, Grays Harbor County. Day has a criminal history, including violations of a domestic-violence protection order, felony assault and making death threats. __ Seattle Times

Mr. Day had already carjacked one vehicle that day, then critically injured a man in the attempted carjacking of a second vehicle, and finally was shot dead in his final attempt that day — the third carjacking attempt being the “charm.” He had also fired shots inside the Walmart store, before firing random shots into parked vehicles outside. In other words, Mr. Day was likely drunk, belligerent, and in search of a reckoning.

Parking lots, shopping centres, and petrol stations are popular carjack locations — with Walmarts being among the most common targets.

A Few Walmart Carjackings in Recent Years

Granite City, Illinois 13March 2018

Lauderdale Lakes, Florida 15January 2018

Bainbridge, Georgia 17November 2017

Greensburg, Pennsylvania 2016

Kenner, Louisiana 2016

Leesburg, Florida 2015

And so on . . .

Situational Awareness plus Rapid Reaction are Key

Carjackings are obviously “crimes of opportunity.” If the perpetrator can sense when an opportunity arises, then so should you. Be particularly alert in the types of public places where carjackings are most common. But you can also be carjacked in your own neighborhood, so be aware.

Among Some Populations, Carjacking is Done for Fun

Johnson noted an incident in which a police officer was carjacked on a Friday by a group of juveniles, who were locked up overnight, appeared before a judge the next day and were immediately released to their parents. Within 48 hours, one of the offenders was arrested for another carjacking. “The current catch-and-release system isn’t working,” Johnson said. “The victims are begging me to do something.” __ Chicago Under Siege

Carjackings are particularly popular in Detroit, and in South Africa.

In the US, both open carry and concealed carry of firearms among civilians are becoming more common. This makes the practise of violent person-on-person crime a trickier proposition.

Imagine how many schoolchildren — to say nothing of postal workers — might have been saved had employees of schools and postal facilities been both trained and well armed, instead of trapped in gun-free zones.

Are Walmart Parking Lots “Free-fire Zones?”

Probably not yet, although a touch of caution might be warranted. Consider whether that particular trip to Walmart is truly necessary before jumping into your car. If so, consider a spare magazine.

Posted in Crime | Tagged

Venture Startups and Disruptive Innovations

The election of Donald Trump as US President in November 2016 sent a signal to investors that the Obama government sabotage of business was coming to an end.

Following 4 straight quarters of decreasing investment, investors poured a record-breaking $5 billion dollars into enterprise technology startups in the first quarter of 2017 alone – a nearly 80% increase from the previous quarter – across a record number of 237 deals. __ https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/17/breaking-records-enterprise-fundings-are-up-nearly-80-in-q1-2017/

Venture capitalists expect to obtain returns equivalent to 10X their investment, over the first five years of a successful startup. To that end, they typically take an active role in how startups are run and how funding is disbursed.


Some nations and cities are friendlier to businesses, and encourage startups. Venture capital is drawn to such nations and cities. The map above and the table below provide a general overview of the most business-friendly places.

The map below shows the world’s leading centers for venture-capital investment globally. The largest dots, indicating the largest levels of venture capital investment, are located in the East and West Coasts of the United States, Western Europe, and around the mega-cities of China and India. The U.S. is the world’s dominant center for venture capital, accounting for nearly 70 percent (68.6 percent) of total global venture capital, followed by Asia and Europe with roughly 14 percent each (14.4 percent for Asia and 13.5 percent for Europe). __ https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/01/global-startup-cities-venture-capital/429255/

The 2016 table below shows the top 20 global cities by venture capital investment.

Source for table below: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/01/global-startup-cities-venture-capital/429255/
Venture-Capital Investment by City

Rank Metro Venture Capital Investment (millions) Share of Global Venture Capital Investment
1 San Francisco $6,471 15.4%
2 San Jose $4,175 9.9%
3 Boston $3,144 7.5%
4 New York $2,106 5.0%
5 Los Angeles $1,450 3.4%
6 San Diego $1,410 3.3%
7 London $842 2.0%
8 Washington $835 2.0%
9 Beijing $758 1.8%
10 Seattle $727 1.7%
11 Chicago $688 1.6%
12 Toronto $628 1.5%
13 Austin $626 1.5%
14 Shanghai $510 1.2%
15 Mumbai $497 1.2%
16 Paris $449 1.1%
17 Bangalore $419 1.0%
18 Philadelphia $413 1.0%
19 Phoenix $325 0.8%
20 Moscow $318 0.8%
Top 20 Total $26,790 63.6%
Total – All Metros $42,121 100.0%

Disruptive Innovation Comes from Venture Startups

It is no accident that much innovation originates in North America, including the shale revolution. Encouraging today’s venture startups is the best way of setting the stage for future innovations.

Tech billionaires such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, Peter Thiel, Bill Gates, and the founders of Google, are driving innovations in space launch and development, advanced nuclear fission and fusion, artificial intelligence, robotics, and other potentially disruptive innovations. By re-investing their profits from past successes, they push the boundaries of what is possible in the quest for even greater successes.

This doesn’t just happen anywhere in the world, against heavy odds and in such a relatively short time. It happened here, demonstrating that freedom, hard work, innovation, and courage — quintessential American values — are perhaps the most important resources of all.

__ https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-natural-gas-revolution-is-a-uniquely-american-story

We Desperately Need Investments in Rational Education

Perhaps the most disruptive innovation that could be achieved is to optimise each person’s ability to set purposeful goals and to achieve them, starting from a very early age onward throughout their lives. To give each person rational and productive purpose. Few high-profile billionaires have expressed a serious interest in pursuing such human innovations.

The closest I have seen to that is Jordan Peterson’s self-authoring and self-testing products, along with the ideas sketched out in his 12 Rules for Life. Peterson has also expressed an interest in creating an online system of learning based upon principles of genuine education and growth — as opposed to the current university systems that are built upon indoctrination and brainwashing.

Jordan Peterson is not a billionaire, of course. He is only a clinical psychologist, research scientist, professor, author, public speaker, corporate consultant, software developer, and family man. Imagine, though, if he could obtain the backing of an actual billionaire to pursue the goal of building a positive system of education and purpose-building.

Most Billionaires Would Rather Build Intelligent Robots

No matter. It will only take a relatively small investment to create a groundswell of purposeful individuals willing to break away from the mainstream in the pursuit of a more expansive and abundant human future.

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

Posted in Economics, innovation | Tagged

Sprucing Up Your Brain With Potent Psychedelics

This figure shows the effects of three psychedelics and one control (VEH) on cortical neurons.

… A new study, published June 12 in the journal Cell Reports, found psychedelics, specifically DOI, DMT, and LSD, can change brain cells in rats and flies, making neurons more likely to branch out and connect with one another. The work supports the theory that psychedelics could help to fight depression, anxiety, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

… “One of the hallmarks of depression is that the neurites in the prefrontal cortex — a key brain region that regulates emotion, mood, and anxiety — those neurites tend to shrivel up,” says Olson. These brain changes also appear in cases of anxiety, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. __
https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-06/cp-pdp060718.php

Psychedelics are not the most popular drugs for treating depression, but as we better understand how they promote the growth of new dendrites and synapses, we should be better able to develop safer and more effective antidepressants to accomplish the same effect.

More from Cell 12 June 2018:

Neuropsychiatric diseases, including mood and anxiety disorders, are some of the leading causes of disability worldwide and place an enormous economic burden on society (Gustavsson et al., 2011, Whiteford et al., 2013). Approximately one-third of patients will not respond to current antidepressant drugs, and those who do will usually require at least 2–4 weeks of treatment before they experience any beneficial effects (Rush et al., 2006). Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and addiction share common neural circuitry (Arnsten, 2009, Russo et al., 2009, Peters et al., 2010, Russo and Nestler, 2013) and have high comorbidity (Kelly and Daley, 2013).

… Atrophy of neurons in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a key role in the pathophysiology of depression and related disorders. The ability to promote both structural and functional plasticity in the PFC has been hypothesized to underlie the fast-acting antidepressant properties of the dissociative anesthetic ketamine. Here, we report that, like ketamine, serotonergic psychedelics are capable of robustly increasing neuritogenesis and/or spinogenesis both in vitro and in vivo. These changes in neuronal structure are accompanied by increased synapse number and function, as measured by fluorescence microscopy and electrophysiology. The structural changes induced by psychedelics appear to result from stimulation of the TrkB, mTOR, and 5-HT2A signaling pathways and could possibly explain the clinical effectiveness of these compounds. Our results underscore the therapeutic potential of psychedelics and, importantly, identify several lead scaffolds for medicinal chemistry efforts focused on developing plasticity-promoting compounds as safe, effective, and fast-acting treatments for depression and related disorders.

__ Psychedelics Promote Structural and Functional Neural Plasticity https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(18)30755-1

The neuroplasticity described in the 12 June 2018 paper in Cell consists of “neuritogenesis,” or the growth of dendrites and synaptic buttons — providing a denser connectivity between neurons.

Another form of neuroplasticity which may take place under some conditions is “neurogenesis,” or the growth of stem cells which develop into neurons. In adults, this may occur in the hippocampus and along the ventricular lining of the brain.

The hippocampus is the region of the medial temporal lobes thought to play a prominent role in the retention of long term memories. More on hippocampal (DG: dentate gyrus) neurogenesis:

… Here we assessed whole autopsy hippocampi from healthy human individuals ranging from 14 to 79 years of age. We found similar numbers of intermediate neural progenitors and thousands of immature neurons in the DG, comparable numbers of glia and mature granule neurons, and equivalent DG volume across ages. Nevertheless, older individuals have less angiogenesis and neuroplasticity and a smaller quiescent progenitor pool in anterior-mid DG, with no changes in posterior DG. Thus, healthy older subjects without cognitive impairment, neuropsychiatric disease, or treatment display preserved neurogenesis. __ https://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/fulltext/S1934-5909(18)30121-8

It is possible that some psychedelic mixtures may stimulate the transition of neural stem cells into functioning neurons:

When grown with ayahuasca compounds, the stem cells in the neurospheres also began to differentiate (change their properties) to resemble neurons more effectively than under control conditions. This means that the stem cells started to lose their stem-cell-like properties, and started making proteins that are found in adult neurons.

Overall, it seems that exposing neural stem cells to harmine, THH, and harmaline encourages them to grow and change into new neurons more effectively than under control conditions.

__ https://thepsychedelicscientist.com/2018/04/15/ayahuasca-neurogenesis/

This is All Very Controversial

Many neuroscientists still doubt that adult human brains can generate new neurons past adolescence. Proving that psychedelics can promote the growth of new neurons in the brain (eg hippocampus) will take some time, and perhaps a somewhat different perspective on neuropharmaceutical ethics than is dominant at this time.

It is less controversial to pursue the use of ketamine derivatives to promote new “branching” of existing neurons. But ketamine does not seem to be as effective at neuritogenesis as LSD, DMT, or psilocybin. In other words, some old prejudices may need to fall in order to achieve a better solution to an age-old scourge of the human spirit.

Here at the Al Fin Institutes of Neuroscience, we prefer the use of occasional treatments for chronic ailments over the everyday medication of persons. As people age, their ailments may tend to accumulate — as do the number of treatments required. Many persons may take as many as 10 to 20 medication doses per day. The use of psychedelics or psychedelic analogs for treating depression would likely be of an intermittent nature, rather than daily, and would help to cut down on the total daily dosage regimen.

We Actually Prefer to Avoid Medication Altogether

If possible, the avoidance of pharmaceuticals is best. Electromagnetic or photic approaches to treating depression are preferred, as are other alternatives such as advanced neurofeedback, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioural therapies.

Still, some people have experienced relief from depression lasting 6 months or longer from a single psychedelic experience, if well designed and overseen.

We have barely begun to understand all the productive approaches to functional neuroplasticity in the treatment of neurologic and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Renewed scientific interest in the use of psychedelics to treat disorders of the spirit can be seen as a positive sign.

Posted in Biomedicine, Human Brain | Tagged | 2 Comments

How Can We Explain the Coming European Idiocracy?

This post is a follow-on to yesterday’s article on the recent PNAS finding of a “reverse Flynn Effect” in Norway. IQs appear to be similarly falling in France, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, and elsewhere in Europe.

Yesterday we looked at the recent paper in PNAS by Bernt Bratsberg and Ole Rogeberg which reveals a significant generational drop in IQ in Norwegian male cohorts — a “reverse Flynn effect.” Other researchers have found similar results in the UK and in several European nations. An IQ decline of roughly 7 IQ points per generation was seen by Bratsberg & Rogeberg in Norway.

More:

Instead of getting smarter, humans have started getting dumber.

The study by the team consisted of analyzing IQ test results from young men entering Norway’s national service (compulsory military duty) during the years 1970 to 2009. In all, 730,000 test results were accounted for. In studying the data, the researchers found that scores declined by an average of seven points per generation, a clear reversal of test results going back approximately 70 years. __ Source

PNAS paper abstract:

Population intelligence quotients increased throughout the 20th century—a phenomenon known as the Flynn effect—although recent years have seen a slowdown or reversal of this trend in several countries. To distinguish between the large set of proposed explanations, we categorize hypothesized causal factors by whether they accommodate the existence of within-family Flynn effects. Using administrative register data and cognitive ability scores from military conscription data covering three decades of Norwegian birth cohorts (1962–1991), we show that the observed Flynn effect, its turning point, and subsequent decline can all be fully recovered from within-family variation. The analysis controls for all factors shared by siblings and finds no evidence for prominent causal hypotheses of the decline implicating genes and environmental factors that vary between, but not within, families. __ PNAS

We know that previous research from the UK had already discovered the problem:

The drop has been calculated to be between 2.5 and 4.3 points every ten years, according to two British studies. __ Decline in IQ Ongoing

The causes for this IQ decline in European populations will certainly be multi-factorial. Despite what is claimed in the abstract, one of the many factors involved is apt to be genetic or epigenetic in nature. Mating and procreative choices within the indigenous Euro populations have a distinct genetic component — even though the authors and editors of the PNAS paper above would consider those effects to be entirely cultural and environmental.

Adding the Dysgenic Effect from Immigration Makes it Worse

Lower IQ immigrants coming to Europe from Africa and the middle east can only add to the depressant effect on average IQ levels in European populations. The combination of both internal and external causes for declines in average IQs speed the coming of idiocracy in government, economy, scientific development, and the maintaining of high tech critical infrastructures.

Given the close correlation between national average IQ and GDP, economic prosperity for the future of Europe depends upon the honest addressing of this problem.

For a period of time — perhaps several decades — the residual effect of the “smart fraction” of indigenous Europeans and more gifted immigrants may well carry the economic prosperity and technological infrastructure on its backs. Eventually the combination of declining aptitude and increasingly bad governance will tip the balance toward rapid decline and collapse — unless precautions are taken.

First, Identify the Causes of the “Dumbing Down” Effect

The “reverse Flynn Effect” phenomenon is still new, and has barely been comprehended by most cognitive researchers. Teasing out all the genuine effects from confounders and artifacts will take time. Then, finding the causal agents for these genuine effects will likewise take time. Finally, finding effective counter-measures that are politically acceptable to the increasingly “dumbed down” populations will take time and political capital.

Bad government can destroy everything far more quickly than any dysgenic effect. But a combination of bad government and a dumbed down population — a far more likely outcome of the processes mentioned above — is especially pernicious, since it is likely to lead to bloody insurgencies, civil wars, and serial revolutions leading to long term decline.

Which Brings Us to the “Islands of Competence” Concept

Islands of competence are reasonably well-functioning high tech jurisdictions that exist in a sea of badly governed incompetence and idiocracy. Competence Islands can only exist by a careful maintenance of boundaries and constant internal training at all levels — to fend off the surrounding entropy. Trade with the outside can be maintained, but must be to the advantage of the competent party, without any undue altruism.

Each generational cohort must be carefully trained to optimise its skills and talents — as well as resilience and creativity — in the face of unstable and high entropy surrounding conditions.

Science and technology can continue their development within islands of competence, even while progress is largely shut down in the surrounding socialist dysgenic idiocracies.

Take Care of Your Own Corner

While university students are being taught to solve the world’s problems according to an already discredited cookbook of bloody revolution into utopia — the people who will have to build structures of resilience and anti-fragility that can withstand the coming waves of entropy — will need to ignore most of the outside noise and set about their building.

Think along the lines of parallel infrastructures at the same time as you consider ways to make existing infrastructures more anti-fragile.

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

More:

Review of literature on “negative Flynn Effect” (PDF) reveals scientific documentation of IQ declines in Finland, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, France, and other nations.

More on recent PNAS paper: http://www.theweek.co.uk/94224/why-iq-levels-are-falling

Posted in Cognition, Demographics, Idiocracy, IQ | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Dumb and Dumber: Flynn Effect Retreats in Earnest

Why Are Children Now Less Intelligent?

“Take 14-year-olds in Britain. What 25% could do back in 1994, now only 5% can do,” Shayer added, citing maths and science tests.

__ Why IQ Levels Are Falling

Multiple studies have demonstrated a reversal of the so-called “Flynn Effect”, with the result that youngsters in the west are growing less intelligent on IQ tests, rather than more.

The following extended excerpt is from an article in The Times (UK), providing more detail.

… Now that [the Flynn effect] appears be going backwards. The IQ scores of young Britons born after 1975 are declining roughly as quickly as they used to rise. Why? __ Times UK

Dumb and dumber: why we’re getting less intelligent

Oliver Moody, Science Correspondent

June 12 2018, 12:01am, The Times

The IQ scores of young people have begun to fall after rising steadily since the Second World War, according to the first authoritative study of the phenomenon.

The decline, which is equivalent to at least seven points per generation, is thought to have started with the cohort born in 1975, who reached adulthood in the early Nineties.

… The turning point marks the end of a well-known but poorly understood trend known as the Flynn effect, in which average IQs have risen by about three points a decade for the past 60 or 70 years.

“This is the most convincing evidence yet of a reversal of the Flynn effect,” Stuart Ritchie, a psychologist at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved in the research, said. “If you assume their model is correct, the results are impressive, and pretty worrying.”

There had been signs that IQ scores might have fallen since the turn of the millennium. Two British studies suggested that the decline was between 2.5 and 4.3 points per decade. This has not been widely accepted owing to the limited research to date. A study has now shown, however, that Norwegian men’s IQs are measurably lower today than the scores of their fathers at the same age.

Ole Rogeberg and Bernt Bratsberg, of the Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research in Oslo, analysed the scores from a standardised IQ test of more than 730,000 men who reported for national service between 1970 and 2009. The research appears in the journal PNAS.

The vast majority of young Norwegian men are required to perform national service and take a standardised IQ test when they join up.

The results, published in the journal PNAS, show that those born in 1991 scored about five points lower than those born in 1975, and three points lower than those born in 1962.

The reasons behind the Flynn effect and its apparent reversal are disputed. Scientists have put the rise in IQ down to better teaching, nutrition, healthcare and even artificial lighting.

Some academics suggest the recent fall could be down to genetics. Their argument is, crudely, that less intelligent people have more babies, and so over time the gains are cancelled out by the spread of genes linked to low-intelligence….

“Intelligence researchers make a distinction between fluid and crystallised intelligence,” he said. “Crystallised intelligence is stuff you have been taught and trained in, and fluid intelligence is your ability to see new patterns and use logic to solve novel problems.”

Robin Morris, professor of neuropsychology at King’s College London, said IQ scores probably had hit a ceiling in the west, but there was not yet any reason to be unduly concerned.

… Now that [the Flynn effect] appears be going backwards. The IQ scores of young Britons born after 1975 are declining roughly as quickly as they used to rise. Why?

… is it just that the digital age demands from young people a new kind of intelligence that IQ tests designed half a century ago are not very good at capturing? Nobody knows. This is only the beginning of what will be a vicious and protracted debate.

End of excerpt from The Times

Abstract of new PNAS paper by Bratsberg and Rogeberg

Comment: The author of the above piece in The Times appears too eager to rule out all possible explanations for this trend for fear of being seen as politically incorrect. Fortunately, real science looks beyond PC boundaries and questions inconvenient dogmas. Journalists cannot typically be trusted on matters of science. They have neither the training nor the integrity for the task, it seems.

This matter is far too important for the human race at large to be swept under the rug. Every possible explanation must be carefully examined and tested.

The findings have been replicated in the UK and now have been extended to Norway. These results seem to support the long-term decline in “reaction times” found by Jensen and others.

The Genius Famine by Bruce Charlton and Edward Dutton describes the modern dearth of high IQ geniuses and has some suggestions for how to reverse the decline.

Stupid and unaccomplished people in high places — such as government, media, academia, foundations, corporate human resources departments, etc. — can do untold damage to the future of the human enterprise.

The modern left seems to make a fetish of low intelligence, diverting scarce resources away from competent and productive enterprises toward groups and collectives bent on squandering the human capital of the world.

The first step toward finding a remedy to this planned murder of human genius and potential from the left, is to shine a bright light on exactly what is happening. With exposure of the true nature of the problem, genuine solutions should present themselves.

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

Posted in IQ | Tagged , | 6 Comments