Nuclear demand is high where air pollution is at its worst and where economic activity is fast and furious — in Asia generally, and in China and India in particular… China and India are building half of the 60 new reactors under construction worldwide, according to Andrew Paterson of Verdigris Capital Group, which studies nuclear. __ Inside Sources
Populous Asian nations China and India are currently leading in the global race to install new nuclear power plants. Japan is in the middle of restarting its nuclear plants after a temporary post-Fukushima shutdown for maintenance and upgrades. US nuclear construction is currently stalled while its abundant deposits of cheap natural gas are being utilised for electric power generation. And most of Europe is fearfully retreating from nuclear power, even while it eagerly welcomes a much greater threat in the form of human time bombs from the third world.
Despite the temporary slowdown of new US nuclear power plant construction, in the long run there is no substitute for nuclear energy in a modern and prosperous society. In a free society, technology development never stops.
The United States is on the frontier, pioneering a generation of wholly new reactor concepts, mostly for small modular reactors and even big new reactors.
Eventually the supplies of oil, gas, coal, and other hydrocarbons will become too expensive to burn. Whether that deadline occurs in ten years or two hundred years, improvements in nuclear reactor design will continue to be made. Newer reactors are becoming safer, cleaner, more efficient, more affordable, more reliable, better at “load following,” more versatile for CHP (combined heat and power), and more scalable. Within the next few decades — even if hydrocarbon fuels remain abundant — advancing nuclear technologies will gradually crowd older technologies out of most power applications.
The average wind turbine you see along the highway turns out 2 megawatts of electricity when there is wind, a trifling amount compared to the 1,600 megawatts a new nuclear plant produces continuously — and probably will produce for 100 years before it is retired.
Asia, choking on air pollution and with huge growth, needs nuclear. America is not gasping for new generation: demand is static and there is a natural gas glut… But U.S. nuclear creativity, even genius, will not rest. The United States is on the frontier, pioneering a generation of wholly new reactor concepts, mostly for small modular reactors and even big new reactors, which may first be built in China and India but, like so much else, will be “thought up in America.” __ http://www.insidesources.com/nuclear-booms-asia-new-reactor-ideas-flourish-u-s/
Matter-antimatter annihilation: indeterminate matter and antimatter
Nuclear fission and fusion have the capacity to cleanly power advanced human societies into the indefinite future — on planet and off.
New nuclear plants are likely to produce high levels of clean, reliable, affordable power for over 100 years. The components in the best wind and solar plants, for example, lose efficiency and begin to break down in less than ten years. The most modern electric storage batteries begin to lose efficiency within a few years.
Generation IV reactor designs under development by GIF
Gas-cooled fast reactors
closed, on site
Lead-cooled fast reactors
lead or Pb-Bi
Molten salt fast reactors
UF in salt
Molten salt reactor – Advanced High-temperature reactors
UO2 particles in prism
Sodium-cooled fast reactors
U-238 & MOX
Supercritical water-cooled reactors
thermal or fast
Very high temperature gas reactors
prism or pebbles
* high = 7-15 MPa
+ = with some U-235 or Pu-239
** ‘battery’ model with long cassette core life (15-20 yr) or replaceable reactor module.
Paradoxically, new nuclear technologies may help bring about a new age of hydrocarbons. But rather than burning most of them in combustion engines, most will likely be used for other purposes such as plastics, fertilisers, lubricants, and similar higher value commodities requiring organic feedstocks.
A dangerous proportion of China’s vaunted GDP is based upon capital misallocation, overproduction, and “broken window” style investments. The “demolish and build” cycle so prominent in many Chinese cities is only one case in point.
The era of economic reform and openness that Deng Xiaoping launched in 1978 was built on a foundation of gradual liberalization at home and greater openness to the outside world… All of China’s growth now is achieved through mobilizing more money and labor, not improvements in human capital or technology. It now takes three times as much capital to generate a single unit of economic growth as it did in 2008. The result is an explosion of debt that now accounts for at least 280 percent of GDP, and could break through the 300 percent mark by year’s end. __ Source
Human “Monkey Brains” are Easily Impressed by Size and Glitter
Beneath its glossy exterior, ghostly troubles haunt the daunting Shanghai skyline. Only 20% of office space is actually occupied. So while Shanghai’s skyline paints an impressive facade of China to the world’s gullible, a deepening problem of “ghost tower architecture” spreads outward from Shanghai to other Chinese cities.
For two decades, Shanghai’s skyline has symbolized China’s economic renaissance and modernization. That’s by intention. In 1991, the local government held a competition to design a signature business district on the riverfront. The winning proposal included three supertall buildings intended to represent the rise of Shanghai’s financial district — and of China more broadly.
… The only problem? Finding people to work there: Only 60 percent of Shanghai Tower is rented out, and only a third of current tenants have actually occupied their leased space. __ Bloomberg View
Other cities have followed Shanghai’s “skyscraper facade” model, and are beginning to suffer from the same ghostly after effects. Back in the 1990s, China was booming and flush with foreign direct investments, technology transfers from the west, and an export bonanza that simply would not quit. Now, everything has changed. Today’s Chinese skyscraper boom is built on an entirely new economic model, which is quite unsustainable.
Some 46 percent of the 500-foot-plus buildings under construction in the world are in China, partly spurred by local governments keen to emulate Shanghai’s skyline (just as the Shanghai government once hoped). In recent years, seemingly every aspirational Chinese city has followed the same model of highly concentrated downtowns topped by massive towers.
Yet for all its symbolic value, that model is almost certainly obsolete — and the Chinese cities of the future are likely to look very different.
One reason is that China’s breakneck urbanization is creating cities that sprawl further than ever, leading to long commutes, reduced well-being and economic inefficiency. __ BV
Since 2008, China has suffered significant losses of exports, foreign direct investments, and legitimate technology transfer from the west. Foreign owned factories are moving from China to Mexico and to friendlier countries in Asia. China’s economy has hinged on massive stimulus, local government driven city sprawl, shadow loans, and a massive indebtedness that is eating away at the pillar of corrupt state-owned enterprises.
Even China’s current diminished economic growth is largely an illusion, created by government policies and maneuvers which in the long run will have devastating effects on the lives of the Chinese people.
… the country’s economic growth has slowed considerably, and that changes the dynamics.
Worries about China’s economy are prompting companies and families to send their money out of the country for investment or safekeeping. If the Chinese central bank did nothing, the net outflow of money would cause the renminbi to weaken against the dollar. __ NYT
Many otherwise intelligent observers and analysts have become caught up in the excitement of the China boom –> bubble. But after all this time and turbulence, wise readers will have at least become sensibly sceptical and thoughtfully contrarian about China. Potemkin skyscrapers are no longer enough for intelligent brains — even for human monkey brains.
The “China Bubble” phenomenon still has a ways to go before most of Europe, the Anglosphere, and the free nations of East Asia wise up. But when things go “pop!”, those who “hoped for the best but prepared for the worst” will be feeling a good deal better than those with monkey brains who failed to read the portents.
…Inheriting longer telomeres will be particularly beneficial for tissues and biological functions that involve rapid cell growth and turnover – such as the immune system, gut and skin – the scientists believe.
And it could have significant implications for general population health.
“As paternal ancestors delay reproduction, longer telomere length will be passed to offspring, which could allow lifespan to be extended as populations survive to reproduce at older ages.” _BBC
Here’s more from an earlier Stanford study:
It turns out that older men chasing younger women contributes to human longevity and the survival of the species, according to new findings by researchers at Stanford and the University of California-Santa Barbara.
Evolutionary theory says that individuals should die of old age when their reproductive lives are complete, generally by age 55 in humans, according to demographer Cedric Puleston, a doctoral candidate in biological sciences at Stanford. But the fatherhood of a small number of older men is enough to postpone the date with death because natural selection fights life-shortening mutations until the species is finished reproducing. _Stanford
This makes a certain amount of evolutionary sense. If humans stop reproducing around the age of 40 or 45, there is no particular reason that longevity-promoting genes would be passed on to future generations at a higher rate than anti-longevity genes.
We know that women lose fertility fairly rapidly after the age of 35. A woman’s overall energy levels and ability to keep up with a young child also decline with age.
Women in their twenties have a good chance of becoming pregnant as a result of a relatively greater number of eggs in their ovaries. Additionally, a larger percentage of those eggs are normal genetically. Since a woman is born with all of the eggs that they will have in their lifetime, the older she gets the fewer eggs are left. In addition, as women age the percentage of genetically normal eggs remaining decreases. This is why women have a decreasing fertility rate, increased miscarriage rate and increased chance of birth defects like Down syndrome as they age. _Female Age and Fertility
Older Sperm and Younger Eggs?
Scientists have learned that in more traditional hunter-gatherer societies, the older man / younger woman pairing was most common, with a typical age difference of up to 15 years. And for good reason: The younger the eggs, the longer the telomeres!
Starting at puberty, there is a hierarchy with long-telomered oocytes ovulating first [14, 15]. This contrasts with the constantly high telomerase levels in the testes, which ensure lifelong telomere length stability in male germ cells per generation [6, 7].
… the widely known strong positive correlation between the mother’s age at conception and trisomic pregnancies (e.g. Down’s syndrome)  seems to be a clear indication of telomere erosion in the female germline , and even more so since the father being of an advanced age does not increase the incidence of chromosomally abnormal offspring, despite lifelong germ cell divisions . __ Molecular Cytogenetics
In other words, the younger the eggs the better. As for the age of the testicles, sperm from older and more vital men is likely to have longer telomeres due to a temporary sidestepping of the steady shortening in human telomeres generation by generation — which is located in the female germline. By skipping more generations of this female-based decline of the human telomere, older and more vital male sperm confers advantages of various sorts — many of which have yet to be investigated.
For those especially curious about the likely mechanisms for this effect, consult the Molecular Cytogenetics paper linked just above. I suspect that the author of that paper has hit upon the likeliest explanation.
Other Advantages of Older Man – Younger Woman Pairings
In modern times, older men capable of attracting younger women are more likely to be able to provide an economic advantage to offspring — in addition to the pro-longevity advantages. A more affluent mate can provide more assistance and a greater sense of security, which young mothers often need. The relative maturity and greater experience of the older man compared to the younger woman can provide the wisdom of a longer time perspective for the family as well.
Future Fertility Methods Should Improve
Eventually, scientists will be able to select both sperm and eggs which confer life extending advantages — and many other benefits — to offspring. Until then, it might be best to follow the proven evolutionary path. At least, Donald Trump and a large number of other men seem to think so. 😉
We usually think of China when contemplating “ghost cities” and other ghost real estate properties. But the Chinese propensity to build infrastructure far in advance of actual demand is not limited to the Middle Kingdom. The Chinese Communist Party wants to open the world to the construction of ghost infrastructure by Chinese economic consortiums. Africa has been one of the first overseas test platforms for this “Chinese economic pressure relief valve,” but it will not be the last.
Chinese Ghost Infrastructure Rushes Into Kenya
Observers now warn of overbuilding. Nairobi is a traffic-clogged city, with sprawling slums where most of 4 million population lives. Too many high-end developments are being built for the number of high and middle-income consumers that exist.
Too much new office space in Kenya last year hurt rental prices and occupancy rates, according to Knight Frank’s 2017 Africa Report. The report notes that this was exacerbated somewhat by the departure of oil multinationals like Shell and Chevron over the last few years, and the exodus of expatriates. Prime residential prices also fell. Retail space took longer to let; mall merchants reported sales declines as high as 60%.
It is not the problem of Chinese developers when real estate supply overwhelms real estate demand. That is a problem for the host country — whether in Africa or in any other country that buys into the global Chinese push to build infrastructure.
In Africa, Chinese developers have often used the “natural resources in exchange for infrastructure” business model. When worked properly, Chinese developers walk away with their profits. African nations are usually left with infrastructure that they cannot properly maintain or operate.
Between 2008 and 2011, Chinese development company CITIC built an empty city for 500,000 people on the outskirts of Luanda. Christened Kilamba by the Angolan government, apartments were promptly priced too high to sell. Two years later, the Angolan dictator ordered prices to be lowered. Subsequently, the occupancy rate for Kilamba rose from near 0% to around 20%. But the journey from “ghost city” to development success has been very rocky and is nowhere near the halfway point. Consider:
Now in 2014, there are indeed many people living Kilamba, but there, and in other similar developments, the issue is that basics like running water and electricity remain elusive. I saw pictures just last week of women queuing with buckets at communal taps.
Several journalists have continued to report on the trials and tribulations of Kilamba, though mostly in Portuguese, so perhaps the stories have not been seen as widely as the early pieces with the “ghost town” headlines. __ In Comments Here
In China, ghost cities are often used as “investment markers” by absentee owners eager to protect their wealth in an economy where they are not allowed to invest freely overseas. With their investment options severely limited, putting money in real estate — even ghost real estate — seems better than hiding it under the mattress.
In Africa, a Chinese-built ghost city looks better than almost any other existing place to live — at least in the city’s early years before decay, infrastructure breakdown, and slum-building have had a chance to fully emerge. The government was forced into lowering rents and prices to below profitability, for political purposes. And occupancies do indeed rise. But no political edicts can stop the inevitable onset of widespread decay.
Africans Have Little Understanding of Maintenance
All technology requires maintenance. When technology is not maintained, it eventually stops working as designed. This is a problem everywhere, but particularly in third world countries — especially Africa.
White rule in South Africa ended in 1994. It was about ten years later that power outages began, which eventually reached crisis proportions. The principle reason for this is simply lack of maintenance on the generating equipment. Maintenance is future-oriented, and the Zulu entry in the dictionary for it is ondla, which means: “1. Nourish, rear; bring up; 2. Keep an eye on; watch (your crop).” In short, there is no such thing as maintenance in Zulu thought, and it would be hard to argue that this is wholly unrelated to the fact that when people throughout Africa say “nothing works,” it is only [a slight] exaggeration.
_Gedaliah Braun, “How Africans May Differ From Westerners”
The abysmal decay of foreign-built infrastructure for lack of maintenance is a common problem across sub Saharan Africa. It makes no difference whether the railways, electrical power infrastructures, or high rise constructions were built by the Chinese, Europeans, or Americans. The inevitable onset of decay from lack of proper operation methods and routine maintenance leads quickly to breakdown and the need for replacement.
The sickening collapse of Zimbabwe and the accelerating decline of South Africa highlight the difficulty of Africans to maintain infrastructures of all kinds. After China gets the natural resources it wants from Africa, it too will leave the dark continent to its own decay.
As for Africa, it is in a race against time, and losing. African populations are bursting the seams, pouring into African cities and beyond. Ghost cities can certainly be built in Africa by the Chinese, but they will soon be crime-ridden slums of broken down hopes and infrastructures.
As Africa’s workers seek better opportunities, they are flocking to cities faster than those cities can absorb them, leading to the proliferation of slums in urban areas and a flood of illegal migration to the West. As the demand for education, health care, and other public services continues to grow, social pressures will continue to mount. And without economic security, some young people will resort to illegal activities, or fall prey to extremist groups exploiting their desperation. __ https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/automation-africa-industrialization-by-brahima-coulibaly-2017-06
Freshmen and seniors at about 200 colleges across the U.S. take a little-known test every year to measure how much better they get at learning to think. The results are discouraging
. From a report:
At more than half of schools, at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table, The Wall Street Journal found after reviewing the latest results from dozens of public colleges and universities that gave the exam between 2013 and 2016. At some of the most prestigious flagship universities, test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years. Some of the biggest gains occur at smaller colleges where students are less accomplished at arrival but soak up a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum.
There is an excellent reason why today’s college students never learn to think in all their years of higher education: They are never taught to think. Why not? In the first place, teaching students to think is not a priority for the faculty, staff, and administration of most universities. Secondly, most faculty members themselves never learned to think — so they could not teach students those skills even if they wanted to.
Faculty Members Can’t Think
Sadly, studies of higher education demonstrate three disturbing, but hardly novel, facts:
Most college faculty at all levels lack a substantive concept of critical thinking.
Most college faculty don’t realize that they lack a substantive concept of critical thinking, believe that they sufficiently understand it, and assume they are already teaching students it.
Lecture, rote memorization, and (largely ineffective) short-term study habits are still the norm in college instruction and learning today.
These three facts, taken together, represent serious obstacles to essential, long-term institutional change, for only when administrative and faculty leaders grasp the nature, implications, and power of a robust concept of critical thinking — as well as gain insight into the negative implications of its absence — are they able to orchestrate effective professional development. __ Critical Thinking
You may be surprised to learn that small, relatively unknown colleges often succeed far better at teaching students to think than many larger and more prestigious schools.
At some of the most prestigious flagship universities, test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years.
Some of the biggest gains occur at smaller colleges where students are less accomplished at arrival but soak up a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum. __ Tax Prof Blog
If They Haven’t Learned to Think Before College, Too Bad
Children and youth should have been taught thinking skills long before reaching college age. Teaching thinking skills to college students should probably be thought of as remedial education — and it is typically left out of the curriculum.
Critical thinking, like other higher-order skills, gets crowded out in college courses that try to cover as much of the subject matter as possible. In the large introductory courses, with the largest number of students per class, students devote instructional time to a wide range of topics because no one wants to leave anything out. That forces the students into a breakneck pace that leaves little time for anything more than learning the vocabulary of the discipline — vocabulary that mostly gets forgotten just after the final exam. If critical thinking is addressed at all, it tends to be tacked onto the core content in a manner that everyone can tell is contrived. Students might be invited to reflect on potentially interesting topics, but few will do so without meaningful feedback and some kind of credit toward a good grade. __ https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2016/11/29/roadblocks-better-critical-thinking-skills-are-embedded-college-experience-essay
And — once again — faculty members themselves tend to not have a clear idea what critical thinking is and how to teach it:
Though the overwhelming majority of faculty claimed critical thinking to be a primary objective of their instruction (89%), only a small minority could give a clear explanation of what critical thinking is (19%). Furthermore, according to their answers, only 9% of the respondents were clearly teaching for critical thinking on a typical day in class.
Though the overwhelming majority (78%) claimed that their students lacked appropriate intellectual standards (to use in assessing their thinking), and 73% considered that students learning to assess their own work was of primary importance, only a very small minority (8%) could enumerate any intellectual criteria or standards they required of students or could give an intelligible explanation of those criteria and standards.
While 50% of those interviewed said that they explicitly distinguish critical thinking skills from traits, only 8% were able to provide a clear conception of the critical thinking skills they thought were most important for their students to develop. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority (75%) provided either minimal or vague allusion (33%) or no illusion at all (42%) to intellectual traits of mind.
Although the majority (67%) said that their concept of critical thinking is largely explicit in their thinking, only 19% could elaborate on their concept of thinking.
Although the vast majority (89%) stated that critical thinking was of primary importance to their instruction, 77% of the respondents had little, limited or no conception of how to reconcile content coverage with the fostering of critical thinking.
Although the overwhelming majority (81%) felt that their department’s graduates develop a good or high level of critical thinking ability while in their program, only 20% said that their departments had a shared approach to critical thinking, and only 9% were able to clearly articulate how they would assess the extent to which a faculty member was or was not fostering critical thinking. The remaining respondents had a limited conception or no conception at all of how to do this.
__ Critical Thinking
College students are typically considered to be the leaders of the future. They will certainly be tomorrow’s journalists, politicians, academicians, and political activists.
They will be tomorrow’s voters. If they cannot think, they can have no perspective on world and national events. They will increasingly be prey to political hucksters such as Corbyn, Obama, and Sanders. They will be doomed to repeat the fatal mistakes of recent history, because they never learned the lessons — and would not be able to connect the dots even had they memorised the historical facts.
Demographic decline takes many forms. Dysgenic decline occurs when higher-IQ populations have far fewer children than lower-IQ populations — both internationally and within a nation’s borders. This phenomenon is clear to see when comparing birthrates of sub Saharan Africa with birthrates in East Asia, Europe, and the Anglosphere. Another source of dysgenic decline is when low-IQ immigrants from the third world pour into traditionally higher-IQ countries — such as what is happening inside Europe, Russia, and most of the Anglosphere.
But demographic decline also occurs when higher-IQ populations are immersed in dysfunctional ideologies. The prominence of the climate apocalypse cult, for example, across much of Europe and the Anglosphere, exposes an ideological self-immolation by populations that have marinated too long in a dumbed-down educational environment and a degraded popular culture. They cannot think, so they are easily led from one artificial hysteria to another by dysfunctional systems of media, education, and government.
Instead of helping students to think for themselves, modern colleges and universities seem committed to stamping out any sparks of original thought that students may once have had.
Critical thinking is the ability to evaluate the connection between evidence and potential conclusions. It is the ability to make logically sound judgments, identify assumptions and alternatives, ask relevant questions, and to be fair and open-minded when evaluating the strength of arguments. __ Inside Higher Ed
It does no good to have the genetic ability to learn to think when one never utilises his genetic complement.
Hope for the Best. Prepare for the Worst
The Dangerous Child Method is the perfect antidote to the engineered obsolescence of the modern western mind. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood. But no one can be forced into being a Dangerous Child, whatever his age. It is an informed choice, made by people who learned to think.
For 70 years we have been told that we are on the verge of a machine apocalypse — the near-total replacement of humans by machines across society. But the gap between the reality and the hype remains wide.
Artificial Intelligence: Failed Early Predictions
In the 1950s and 1960s, computing pioneers were convinced that humans were on the brink of the emergence of revolutionary “thinking machines.” Smart computers would design smarter computers, and so on, until machine intelligence would eclipse the intelligence of humans.
In the 1960s, pioneers in artificial intelligence made grand claims that AI systems would surpass human intelligence before the end of the 20th century. Except for beating the world chess champion in 1997, none of the other predictions have come true. __ http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/micai.pdf
Research in artificial intelligence has been able to provide a number of technological breakthroughs in isolated areas, but the quest to create a machine of human level intelligence across a wide range of problems continues to run into significant obstacles.
Now, as Moore’s Law seems to be starting some sort of long goodbye, a couple of themes are dominating discussions of computing’s future. One centers on quantum computers and stupendous feats of decryption, genome analysis, and drug development. The other, more interesting vision is of machines that have something like human cognition. They will be our intellectual partners in solving some of the great medical, technical, and scientific problems confronting humanity. And their thinking may share some of the fantastic and maddening beauty, unpredictability, irrationality, intuition, obsessiveness, and creative ferment of our own. __ IEEE Spectrum: Can We Copy the Brain?
Researchers are being led to an imitation of nature, motivated by opportunism combined with frustration over past failures.
The Return of AI Giddiness in the 21st Century
The failure to achieve “artificial general intelligence,” or human level intelligence, has not stopped 21st century researchers from continuing to pursue the holy grail of the great machine ascendancy. Consider the recent special issue of the IEEE Spectrum, an international journal for electrical engineers, which examines how machines might become intelligent by imitating or “recreating” the human brain:
Karlheinz Meier of Heidelberg University describes various approaches to computer imitation of the human brain — including his own research efforts — in the article linked below:
Copying brain operation in electronics may actually be more feasible than it seems at first glance. It turns out the energy cost of creating an electric potential in a synapse is about 10 femtojoules (10-15 joules). The gate of a metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) transistor that is considerably larger and more energy hungry than those used in state-of-the-art CPUs requires just 0.5 fJ to charge. A synaptic transmission is therefore equivalent to the charging of at least 20 transistors. What’s more, on the device level, biological and electronic circuits are not that different. So, in principle, we should be able to build structures like synapses and neurons from transistors and wire them up to make an artificial brain that wouldn’t consume an egregious amount of energy. __ Imitating the Brain with Electronics
The brighter theorists in AI are no longer discussing “intelligent algorithms,” but are rather pursuing the “supra-algorithmic space” in which human brains operate. But they have not quite located the level of salience within the brain’s cognitive operations. But they are trying very hard.
Jeff Hawkins of Numenta describes his own multidisciplinary approach to the problem in the article linked below:
The solution is finally coming within reach. It will emerge from the intersection of two major pursuits: the reverse engineering of the brain and the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence. Over the next 20 years, these two pursuits will combine to usher in a new epoch of intelligent machines.
The neocortex stores these patterns [of perception] primarily by forming new synapses. This storage enables you to recognize faces and places when you see them again, and also recall them from your memory. For example, when you think of your friend’s face, a pattern of neural firing occurs in the neocortex that is similar to the one that occurs when you are actually seeing your friend’s face.
While it is true that today’s AI techniques reference neuroscience, they use an overly simplified neuron model, one that omits essential features of real neurons, and they are connected in ways that do not reflect the reality of our brain’s complex architecture. These differences are many, and they matter. They are why AI today may be good at labeling images or recognizing spoken words but is not able to reason, plan, and act in creative ways.
That may not sound like much, but that tiny cube contains about 50,000 neurons connected to one another at about 500 million junctures called synapses. The researchers hope that a clear view of all those connections will allow them to discover the neural “circuits” that are activated when the visual cortex is hard at work. The project requires specialized brain imaging that shows individual neurons with nanometer-level resolution, which has never before been attempted for a brain chunk of this size. __ “http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/imaging/ai-designers-find-inspiration-in-rat-brains”
Think about that for a moment: The 5 year, $100 million project is hard-put to thoroughly understand 1 cubic mm of rat visual cortex! Not only that, they are looking at a “static” map which can only be computer modeled — not actually observed in action as it works within the living creature going about its natural life.
Some Differences Between Brains and Electronic Machines
The grand pioneer of information theory, Claude Shannon, was quoted in 1961 as saying:
…I believe that… there is very little similarity between the methods of operation of [present-day] computers and the brain. Some of the apparent differences are the following. In the first place, the wiring and circuitry of the computers are extremely precise and methodical. A single incorrect connection will generally cause errors and malfunctioning. The connections in the brain appear, at least locally, to be rather random, and even large numbers of malfunctioning parts do not cause complete breakdown of the system. In the second place, computers work on a generally serial basis, doing one small operation at a time. The nervous system, on the other hand, appears to be more of a parallel-type computer with a large fraction of neurons active at any given time. In the third place, it may be pointed out that most computers are either digital or analog. The nervous system seems to have a complex mixture of both representations of data.
These and other arguments suggest that efficient machines for such problems as pattern recognition, language translation, and so on, may require a different type of computer than any we have today. It is my feeling that this computer will be so organized that single components do not carry out simple, easily described functions. One cannot say that this transistor is used for this purpose, but rather that this group of components together performs such and such function. If this is true, the design of such a computer may lead us into something very difficult for humans to invent and something that requires very penetrating insights… I know of very few devices in existence which exhibit this property of diffusion of function over many components… __ http://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/global-catastrophic-risks/potential-risks-advanced-artificial-intelligence/what-should-we-learn-past-ai-forecasts
Computing has advanced since Shannon’s day, but the essence of many of his reservations holds true. Neural nets, fuzzy logic, genetic algorithms, and many other clever approaches to overcoming the limits of digital computing algorithms are still not bringing us close to human level AI.
Some specific challenges of imitating the brain:
Traditionally, neurons were viewed as units that collect thousands of inputs, transform them computationally, and then send signals downstream to other neurons via connections called synapses. But it turns out that this model is too simplistic; surprising computational power exists in every part of the system. Even a single synapse contains hundreds of different protein types having complex interactions. It’s a molecular computer in its own right.
And there are hundreds of different types of neurons, each performing a special role in the neural circuitry. Most neurons communicate through physical contact, so they grow long skinny branches to find the right partner. Signals move along these branches via a chain of amplifiers. Ion pumps keep the neuron’s cell membrane charged, like a battery. Signals travel as short sharp changes of voltage, called spikes, which ripple down the membrane.
Are their predictions more accurate now? Ray Kurzweil predicts human level AI by 2029. Jurgen Schmidhuber of the Swiss AI Labs predicts human level AI “soon.” Jeff Hawkins expects it to take 20 years. Psychology prof Gary Marcus of NYU predicts such machines within 20 to 50 years. Most other “experts” are more cautious in their predictions.
Minds are not Like Computers
Early AI researchers imagined that they were devising algorithmic “thinking machines” which worked in closely analogous manner to how minds work — in essence if not in substance. But that optimistic idea (to them) fell by the wayside.
Few researchers now have the goal of devising a single method that will by itself give rise to a thinking machine; instead, typical research projects attempt to tackle small subsystems of intelligence. The hypothesis, again, is that the separability of the mind into layers implies that each layer, like a computer system, is composed of distinct modules that can be studied and replicated independently. Among those researchers whose ultimate goal is still to create a truly thinking machine, the hope is that, when the subsystems become sufficiently advanced, they can be joined together to create a mind. __ Why Minds are Not Like Computers
It is likely that those researchers who wish to create individual working components of thinking minds — then join them together to achieve human level AI — are barking up the wrong tree. Such an approach may well create “brain prostheses” which can be implanted to “replace” damaged brain components. But enough of the original brain must remain to coordinate activity and compensate for the shortcomings of the artificial prosthetic devices.
Those theorists who drone on about creating a “thinking algorithm” are even more completely deluded as to the nature of human cognition. And those who believe that assembling a large enough conglomerate of computing devices will result in a thinking machine, are most deluded of all.
By examining the basic misconceptions of AI researchers, it becomes easier to understand why the research has become so fragmented, specialised, and diverging. No single approach — or simple combination of approaches — is achieving what is desired. And so, unfortunately, $billions of dollars and many of the best human minds are sent on wild goose chases in search of a holy grail that cannot be found on the level of thinking which is being utilised.
We will continue to reap significant benefits from this research, of course. But anyone who is well informed in the multiple disciplines of neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, computing, and information theory cannot help but be frustrated by the failure of both the researchers themselves — and the funding agencies — to see beyond the fumbling levels of thought currently being utilised. This is particularly true for any such person with even a milligram of intuition or lateral thinking skill.
All of the cutting edge repositories of modern technological wealth — including Amazon, Google, Apple, IBM, etc. — are in pursuit of the holy grail of machine intelligence. The rewards of winning such a race are incalculable, particularly if human-level AI quickly morphs into superhuman-level AI.
But to this point none of the published approaches seem to have overcome the theoretical limitations pointed out by so many AI sceptics over the past several decades.
While AI may not “stink” as badly as it did for many years, it can still be labeled “malodorous” in comparison to the many claims still being made by its enthusiasts. AI is likely to remain in the category of subservient “human helpers” for many decades to come.
The Age of Machines Has Not Been Canceled
At the same time, the steady replacement of human workers by machines — which started thousands of years ago and was accelerated in the industrial revolution — shows no sign of slowing down in the modern age of advanced computing.
Humans must therefore develop great flexibility of mind and body if they are to avoid becoming underskilled dependents of the steadily encroaching “age of machines.” It is never too late for a Dangerous Childhood.
Deep Neural Nets: Someone needs to tell the writers of this type of article that such computing devices can no longer be properly referred to as “algorithmic.” Training algorithms are utilised, but that is also true for training humans. The actual functioning devices — neural nets or human brains — do not utilise algorithms to complete their tasks in any meaningful sense of the word. The use of the word to describe non-algorithmic mechanisms betrays the lack of relevant vocabulary for what is on the way.
Just over 100 years ago at the dawn of the 20th century, the world was awash in empires. Once strong empires such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Tsarist Russian Empire, The British Empire, The German Empire, The Qing dynasty of China, and other miscellaneous European colonial empires were in decline, and doomed to fall. Soon, horrific world wars and bloody wars of colonial revolution dotted the globe, putting an end to the most recent age of empire for the most part. Even the strong and budding US empire closed its own era of territorial acquisitions, and eventually turned over most its populous overseas possessions and protectorates to self-rule (e.g. Philippines) or the option of self rule (e.g. Puerto Rico).
Since World War II and the Bretton Woods agreement, the US has provided an umbrella of protection over Europe, the Anglosphere, and the world’s oceans, trade routes, and resource centres such as Saudi Arabia. A subsequent explosion of global trade has allowed nations such as Germany, Japan, China, and to some extent Russia, to emerge into prosperity from devastating wars and experiments with ideological suicide.
The 3 Empires of Today
Now in the early decades of the 21st century, 2 new empires — the Russian neo-empire and the Chinese Communist Empire — vie for influence and domination in a world where the USA appears to be backing away and entering a stage of retrenchment. The result is one empire that is voluntarily stepping back (the USA), one empire that is making a grand gesture of indebtedness to “have it all” (CCP and its ambitious new Silk Road), and one empire that is using every desperate measure just to hold itself together in its ghostly self-image (neo-imperial Russia).
Each empire is nuclear armed and capable of dominating most of its own region. Only the USA is still capable of force projection over virtually the entire globe at a moment’s notice. But China is moving forward frantically in an attempt to make itself the “global pivot.”
Where is Europe?
Europe was, for a time, the centre of global empire. But after the cruel bloodletting of the 19th and 20th centuries, the human substrate of Europe has been in decay.
Europe was already becoming an increasingly seedy retirement home for for the fearfully entitled, long before Merkel embraced energy suicide (Energiewende and the nuclear phaseout) and demographic suicide (the admission of millions of violent and unassimilable third worlders). But after Merkel’s fateful and unutterably stupid decisions, Europe has no chance — unless the EU is obliterated and a strong, new, rational generation of national leadership emerges in Europe.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Japan was in ascendancy, seemingly destined for a central position among the world’s leading nations. World War II put an end to those Nipponese dreams. But once again in the 1980s Japan seemed to be destined for global greatness. Its manufacturing might and prowess in robotics and computing projected an intimidating image over Europe and North America. But economic overreach and mismanagement stalled Japan’s late 20th century move to greatness. Finally, the demographics of Japan point toward population collapse, as in Europe.
Economically, the US dominates — by GDP, and by several other measures. China is in second place and may eventually match the US raw GDP numbers due to its massive population. Russia’s economy has been in trouble now for over eight years, and has been forced to cut back on many projects which will make its neo-imperial ambitions far more difficult to accomplish.
If the US does not enmesh itself in the EU’s mutual suicide pact of energy, climate, economic, and immigration stupidity, it will face a relatively prosperous future.
If China’s economy does not implode — and if China’s people do not rebel against a governmental system that fails to keep its end of the bargain — China is likely to expand its area of economic and political dominance over ever larger parts of the third world as well as the Russian Far East.
For economic and demographic reasons, Russia will be lucky to avoid significant fragmentation and loss of territory before 2040. Since the Kremlin is also aware of this ominous likelihood, expect ever more destructive flailings from the neo-empire, similar to Crimea, Donbass, and Syria.
Informed speculation on the near-future geopolitical scene:
The US global empire is over 200 years old, and showing many signs of age — but also some signs of self-renewal. Just a few clever decisions made at top levels now can set a course change that will renew the US for decades — even centuries — longer.
The Chinese Communist empire is less than 70 years old, and already shows many troubling cracks about the walls and foundations. The video above exposes many of China’s weaknesses and problems which most readers will not have considered.
Neo-imperial Russia is less than 30 years old, and if not for its vast nuclear missile fleet would be considered on a par with Saudi Arabia as an energy resource hub. A shrinking number of ethnic Russians will struggle increasingly to hold the vast and loose collection of nations and states together by whatever means they can under the flag of Muscovy.
A Dangerous Child will master at least three means of financial independence by the age of 18 years. And that is just the beginning. Dangerous Children continue to learn and master new skills and competencies their entire lives, in order to be able to ride the shifting currents of creative destruction in the larger world.
Versatility in Thinking is Just as Important
Being able to thrive financially is important for adults of all ages from 18 to 108. Just as important is the ability to adapt to new ideas and ways of thinking, as we gain experience.
If we indoctrinate the young person in an elaborate set of fixed beliefs, we are ensuring his early obsolescence. [It is important to] develop skills, attitudes, habits of mind and the kinds of knowledge and understanding that will be the instruments of continuous change and growth on the part of the young person. __ Chapter 3 in Self-Renewal by John W. Gardner
The Dangerous Child movement grew from the realisation that if humans are ever to move beyond the current levels of thinking and living, that a better — more competent and self-aware — substrate of humanity is needed.
Albert Einstein understood that humans needed to move to different levels of thinking in order to solve many new problems which were cropping up.
The above quote is often phrased: “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them” (Goodreads) .
It is safe to say that most people rarely contemplate the different levels of thought which they — and others — may use in the course of making plans, solving problems, and working through their days.
It is unfair to expect everyone to be able to change their ways of thinking, at whatever point in their lives they have reached. But children are something else, and Dangerous Children are something else yet again.
While ordinary and extraordinary children will inevitably think somewhat differently from their parents, Dangerous Children are trained specially to be flexible and versatile thinkers and doers.
The versatility of thinking displayed by Dangerous Children goes far beyond their broad base of skills, competence, and resourcefulness in the practical world. Dangerous Children are flexible thinkers, and are trained to review key assumptions in their thinking and planning at regular intervals. This is necessary because much will have been experienced by the child directly and indirectly over time, which may induce him to modify some of his basic assumptions. He must have a sound and effective way of making whatever changes are necessary in his conscious (and sometimes unconscious) foundations of thought and action.
Habits Rule us All
The specialist is more susceptible to falling into the rut of rote responses to stimuli, over time, due to the limited scope of problems he typically faces. Generalists must necessarily be more flexible, since they face a wider range of problems.
But even generalists can be forced into rote patterns of thought and response. That is why periodic reviews of personal and professional axioms, premises, and assumptions are necessary.
Habits are good insofar as they allow us to function productively in a more efficient way — freeing us up for greater achievement and enjoyment. But habits must be questioned from time to time, and changed as necessary.
The Dangerous Child is Usually a Mixture of Specialist and Generalist
In human societies there is no reason whatever why specialists should not retain the capacity to function as generalists. __ John W. Gardner in Self-Renewal
We are born into generalism and must function as generalists as we learn to walk, talk, read, and get along with others. Dangerous Children are immersed much more deeply into versatile generalism in the course of developing their broad base of skills and competencies. But many Dangerous Children will launch themselves from the springboard of early financial independence into more specialised careers and businesses — until they are ready to move on to something more challenging.
Modern human societies are based upon the specialisation of labour, and would not be nearly as prosperous without it. But specialists too often find themselves out on a limb as times change, and the world seems to move forward and leave their now-obsolete specialty behind. For the individual as for society as a whole, versatility is crucial.
Note: In an age when most of mainstream international media is united in prosecuting an “image war” against an unconventional but accomplished US president — using unnamed sources, innuendo, and all the weapons of propaganda — we must remember the difference between unsupported speculation and documented fact. “The map is not the territory.” The model is not the climate. The news story is only about creating an image, and has nothing to do with reality. We are living in a superficial and chimerical age of popular delusion.
Children Deserve Better than “Image is Everything”
Image is Everything
Remember when tennis legend Andre Agassi was the poster child for “pretty-boy losers?” No matter how many times he said “Image is Everything,” his perfect image still lost tennis matches. Only after devoting himself to the hard work of becoming a better tennis player was he able to escape the “image trap” and develop the master inside of himself.
Agassi After Being Hit by Reality
Although the popular culture of celebrities is all about the fantasy life, the “image is everything” life, the real world only has room for so many celebrities and artificial role models. For most people, a successful life would be better achieved through facing reality head on.
Genuine Self vs. Fantasy Self
Dangerous Children cannot be owned or made by anyone but themselves. Becoming a Dangerous Child is hard — but playful — work. The art of personal unfolding and self-realisation, which all Dangerous Children must undergo, leads naturally into a deliberate and self-guided ascent up the mountain to becoming a genuine — as opposed to fantasy — self. Genuine selves are aware that they are fallible, with faults and weaknesses. It is this awareness which allows genuine persons to push themselves to grow.
Mainstream society, on the other hand, encourages conformity, dependency, and fantasy as ways to escape difficult challenges and personal responsibility.
Because the main goal [of the fantasy self] is the attainment of glory, he becomes uninterested in the process of learning, of doing, or of gaining step by step — indeed, tends to scorn it. He does not want to climb a mountain; he wants to be on the peak. Hence he loses the sense of what evolution or growth means, even though he may talk about it. Because, finally, the creation of the idealized self is possible only only at the expense of truth about himself, its actualization requires further distortions of the truth, imagination being a willing servant to this end. Thereby, to a greater or lesser extent, he loses in the process his interest in truth, and the sense for what is true and what is not true — a loss that, among others, accounts for his difficulty in distinguishing between genuine feelings, beliefs, strivings and their artificial equivalents (unconscious pretenses) in himself and in others. The emphasis shifts from being to appearing. __ “Human Growth” by Karen Horney
It is easy to recognise the modern perpetual adolescent in Karen Horney‘s description above. Today’s university student may spend years exploring college coursework before finding a field of study which does not require too much exertion. Because they had always been told how “special” and “smart” they were, and how they could accomplish anything at all to which they set their minds — and because they had never learned how to work or to discipline themselves — today’s generations of psychological neotenates find themselves at a loss. As they move out of the respective wombs of their childhood homes and artificial school environments, they become aware that the world that awaits them may not place as high a value on their abilities as they do themselves.
Limit Early Exposure to Supernatural Fantasies
Since very young minds are exquisitely impressionable to all ideas — no matter how unrealistic or absurd — Dangerous Children are not exposed to the concept of superheroes or perfect humans until they have acquired the character and self-discipline they need to teach and guide themselves through the difficult process of self-discovery. They must avoid groupthink and become natural independent contrarians.
In the young years, teaching the child to love working hard to achieve his own goals should take precedence over any religious concepts of “perfection through faith” or other ideas that could easily be taken as magical by very young minds. Children must grow from the stage where everything is done for them to later stages where they are able to do more and more for themselves and eventually for their own families. “Magical solutions to real problems” can become lifelong impediments to a child’s development of personal competence.
For this reason, Dangerous Children spend most of their early years experimenting and discovering their interests and aptitudes, developing grit and character (executive functions), and in establishing footholds for future learning and self-teaching. This is all done in a playful context, allowing for plentiful serendipity, but within a deliberate framework.
Modern Culture is a Cesspool of Mindless Fantasy
And this is why so many college graduates and college dropouts cannot pay their student loans, and are forced to live in their parents’ basements or garage bedrooms. This is why young men who should be working and starting families spend their lives playing video games, watching internet porn, and living in fantasy worlds imagining themselves as superheroes and superstuds.
When the early years are frittered away on television comics and fantasy tales, invaluable time is lost which should have been spent developing basic foundations of competence and character. When children are handed over to institutions run by persons who have no real interest in the child’s development of a genuine self — but prefer instead to mold the child into a groupthinking zombie mind to make things easy on the institution — opportunities for developing personal competence and individual mastery of aptitudes and skills are squandered.
Today’s Youth are Disappointed In Reality, but Helpless to Make Things Better
Because most modern youth have been pampered, sheltered, made to feel special even when they are not, and are never given meaningful foundations for learning, self-teaching, or common sense — they are apt to have trouble finding a place for themselves. Their genuine selves were never developed, so they are left with fantasy selves and overactive imaginations necessarily disconnected from reality.
The modern world is evolving rapidly as a result of disruptive innovations in science and technology. In addition, the foundations of modern societies are being eroded by unwise energy policies (green energy scams), scientific hoaxes perpetrated by political activists (climate apocalypse cult), suicidal debt levels, and a dysgenic undertow that threatens to carry everything away.
Modern youth have never been prepared for such a world of increasingly precarious foundations. They have not even been prepared for a normal world of real-life expectations. But this world? It is an impossible situation for them.
And So the Need for Raising Dangerous, Self-Teaching Children, Who Love Hard Work
The perfect is the enemy of the good. And the perfect — the Platonic ideal — does not exist in the real world. Dangerous Children understand this, and are taught early to learn the shade-tree engineer’s approach of optimising, rather than perfecting.
The real world is where things get done and where there is money to be made — as opposed to government, organised crime, and academia where there is money to be stolen and stripped away from the productive world of work and enterprise.
Dangerous Children Teach Themselves Money Skills and Entrepreneurship and Much More
There are dozens of $billionaire college dropouts and thousands of millionaires who never went to college or dropped out to participate in the real world. They are largely self-taught. Self-Teaching for Ordinary Adults
The Dangerous Child movement is about more than building a strong personal base of operations. It is about building a competent society, one Dangerous Child at a time. Dangerous Children go on to network with other Dangerous Children to form Dangerous Communities, and networked Dangerous Communities. As these networks of competent communities proliferate, they provide a safe redundancy for the larger society in case of disaster or catastrophe. If worse comes to worse, networked Dangerous Communities can provide the nuclei for a more robust, resilient, and anti-fragile society to come.
An abundant and expansive human future of free people is only possible if children grow into their genuine selves, rather than into the fantasy selves which today’s degenerate societies seem to prefer. Genuine selves will not accept the claims of media, academicians, or politicians without actual proof to back them up. The world is in desperate need of more “genuine selves” as opposed to fantasy selves.
Image is not nothing, but it is far from everything. It is only a bare beginning for further work and investigation.
1. Understand deeply
2. Make mistakes
3. Raise questions
4. Follow the flow of ideas
__ Burger and Starbird, quoted here
Note: The following article is adapted from a piece previously published on The Dangerous Child blog
Thinking is a set of skills we learned at a very young age, in an automatic and mostly unconscious manner. We cannot remember how we learned to think the way we do, and so we are stuck with a large number of thinking “tics and foibles” that we might be better off without. This is unfortunate for us, and even the most intelligent of us must often struggle to compensate for our sub-optimal set of thinking skills.
If we started at the beginning, we could provide a better path to deep, powerful, and independent thinking for our children — if we only took the time and trouble to discover how. First, we need to learn to think better for ourselves. Then we can do a better job setting the stage for our Dangerous Children, in their adventures in thought and learning.
How Does One Learn How to Think (Better)?
If you do an internet search query: “How to Think,” the search engine response is likely to contain a large number of links to websites telling you how to think in particular ways. “How to think critically,” “How to think creatively,” “How to think logically,” etc. It can be difficult to find information on “how to think” in general.
Even so, some websites provide bits of interesting advice that may help youth and adults to think more effectively, within conventional boundaries. For example:
Thinking is something that happens naturally in each individual, but there are ways to deepen your thinking abilities. It takes time and practice to become a better thinker, but it’s a process you can hone all your life. Being a better thinker and keeping your mind sharp can help your mental and physical health in the long run!
__ More: How to Think
When I applied for my faculty job at the MIT Media Lab, I had to write a teaching statement. One of the things I proposed was to teach a class called “How to Think,” which would focus on how to be creative, thoughtful, and powerful in a world where problems are extremely complex, targets are continuously moving, and our brains often seem like nodes of enormous networks that constantly reconfigure. In the process of thinking about this, I composed 10 rules, which I sometimes share with students. I’ve listed them here, followed by some practical advice on implementation.
The short articles linked above contain some useful tips for improving one’s thinking skills. But even the most unconventional suggestions are still quite conventional. If we are to help to liberate the minds of future generations of Dangerous Children, we will need to unleash our own minds in some radical ways.
Making Radical Improvements in Thinking is Difficult (but not impossible) After a Certain Age
De Bono has written a book on teaching children how to think. The slide presentation below provides a quick introduction to the ideas in Teach Your Child How to Think.
We should keep in mind that thinking is a set of interlocking skills and processes, which work behind the scenes in most adults in an almost wholly unconscious manner. These skills were developed from a very early age, beginning in the womb. They were automatically bootstrapped onto the rapidly developing neural substrate of the developing fetus, neonate, and infant. The process of thinking skills acquisition continues in childhood, is knocked off the tracks in puberty, and settles more or less in place by early adulthood.
If you want your Dangerous Child to have the most powerful and independent mind he can have, certain approaches to child nurturing and child raising will work better than others. If a parent or caretaker waits until college age — or even high school age — to provide an environment conducive to developing thinking skills, it will be much too late.
Teaching a Child to Think is Teaching Him to Be
The Dangerous Child Method is based upon the development of creative skills in movement, language, music, art, and pattern. Because the foundations of these skills are built long before the child can walk, talk, and meaningfully converse — even before birth — the approach to guiding Dangerous Child development in skills competency (including thinking skills) must take a primarily nonverbal form.
By developing the latent patterns of space, time, language, music, and motion, the Dangerous Child is prepared for a fuller range of possible skills when his brain moves through the sensitive periods of development in childhood.
For a very young child, there is no difference between thinking and being. It is only later that he learns to deceive, and create a secret inner life. It is crucial to facilitate the development of powerful thinking skills in the formative years, before the child begins to feel the strong tug of popular, nonsense culture.
Children are Born Creative
It is not necessary to teach a child to be creative. Rather, it is necessary to restrain yourself from destroying the child’s innate creativity. Some discipline is always necessary, since the child’s basic needs must be met in spite of the turbulent impulses and inner demands that most children are prey to.
Give the child a wide range of opportunities to experiment and exercise his creativity. Children begin to reveal their aptitudes and inclinations from an early point in their existence. Look for particular strengths which can be utilised for growth, and look for particular weaknesses which will need to be either eliminated or compensated for.
At each state of development, the process of developing new thinking skills will evolve and take different forms — building on older skills and integrating themselves, new into old.
Coaches Must Understand How New Thinking Skills Fit In
Some skills, such as music, art, motion, and language, seem to progress in a logical fashion, with occasional large jumps in skills and comprehension from plateau to plateau. The toddler is not so different from the olympic athlete, for example, in basic neuromuscular function. The development from one to the other is a matter of qualitative refinement and quantitative progression over time — and entirely plausible.
The development of a world class mathematician or theoretical physicist from a babbling infant is a little more difficult to conceive, but the basic ingredients are all there. Most infants who have the latent potential to be productive mathematicians or theoretical physicists will never develop into those professions, for many reasons.
One of the reasons for such a failure to evolve is that the necessary early forms of pattern experimentation and exploration were never attempted. Another reason for failure of latent physicists and mathematicians to develop is lack of interest or motivation. And so the tools for personal evolution (thinking skills and executive functions) were not provided at the needed time — usually long before parents even have an inkling that any useful skills of such a nature exist.
Children must be nurtured, but allowed to experiment and fail. They must be supported, but also taught to develop natural skills of hard work and independence. They must be valued, but not be led to see themselves as the centre of the universe.
Eventually the child will teach himself to bootstrap his own thinking skill sets. The real world will provide plenty of challenges against which to test himself and his unique approach to thinking.
Afterword: From birth, Dangerous Children are provided strong foundations in music, art, movement, language, and pattern, according to the child’s age and stages of development. This is in preparation for “the great divergence” in learning which occurs as children take up more and more of the responsibility for their own learning.
Thinking skills are both conscious and unconscious, and underlie the basic foundational skills above. Whatever the child’s level of intelligence, whatever his inclinations and strengths, he will benefit from thinking skills training in conjunction with executive function training.
Note: Thinking skills evolve over time, in layers which interact. Providing ample clear and clean experiences in a loving and playful context over a wide range of categories — from language to music to movement to textures, colours, and patterns — will give newborns, infants, and toddlers plenty of grain and grist for the mill. If you follow the techniques used to teach children to teach themselves, soon they will take on more and more of their training — including thinking skills training.
For adults who want to learn to think better, consider these tips:
1. Synthesize new ideas constantly. Never read passively. Annotate, model, think, and synthesize while you read, even when you’re reading what you conceive to be introductory stuff. That way, you will always aim towards understanding things at a resolution fine enough for you to be creative.
2. Learn how to learn (rapidly). One of the most important talents for the 21st century is the ability to learn almost anything instantly, so cultivate this talent. Be able to rapidly prototype ideas. Know how your brain works. (I often need a 20-minute power nap after loading a lot into my brain, followed by half a cup of coffee. Knowing how my brain operates enables me to use it well.)
3. Work backward from your goal. Or else you may never get there. If you work forward, you may invent something profound–or you might not. If you work backward, then you have at least directed your efforts at something important to you.
4. Always have a long-term plan. Even if you change it every day. The act of making the plan alone is worth it. And even if you revise it often, you’re guaranteed to be learning something.
5. Make contingency maps. Draw all the things you need to do on a big piece of paper, and find out which things depend on other things. Then, find the things that are not dependent on anything but have the most dependents, and finish them first.
7. Make your mistakes quickly. You may mess things up on the first try, but do it fast, and then move on. Document what led to the error so that you learn what to recognize, and then move on. Get the mistakes out of the way. As Shakespeare put it, “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
8. As you develop skills, write up best-practices protocols. That way, when you return to something you’ve done, you can make it routine. Instinctualize conscious control.
9. Document everything obsessively. If you don’t record it, it may never have an impact on the world. Much of creativity is learning how to see things properly. Most profound scientific discoveries are surprises. But if you don’t document and digest every observation and learn to trust your eyes, then you will not know when you have seen a surprise.
10. Keep it simple. If it looks like something hard to engineer, it probably is. If you can spend two days thinking of ways to make it 10 times simpler, do it. It will work better, be more reliable, and have a bigger impact on the world. And learn, if only to know what has failed before. Remember the old saying, “Six months in the lab can save an afternoon in the library.” __ https://www.technologyreview.com/s/409043/how-to-think/
The better one learns to think, the more obvious are the modern attempts to bamboozle by media, academics, government bureaucrats, attorneys, advertising, and the hordes of academically lobotomised psychological neotenates roaming the landscape.
Be wary about your use of and appeal to authority. Don’t rely on other people’s opinions, even if they seem to know what they are talking about. Check facts, look at alternate viewpoints. If you see holes in their arguments or reasoning, look into it. Don’t ever just stop looking into something just because an authority figure (like the news, or your professor, or your senator). Now, if a variety of independent sources are making the same argument or claim, it’s more likely that it is true.
Practice a healthy skepticism about what you uncover. Make sure that you find information that is corroborated by more than one source (it’s best to look for independent sources). Look into who is making the claims (are they subsidized by big oil companies, do they have a stake in propagating misinformation, do they simply have no idea what they’re talking about?).
Try new things and get outside your comfort zone. The more you do this, the easier it will be to look at opinions and ideas that don’t immediately conform to your worldview. It will also introduce you to ideas that you would never have encountered. So try out a cooking class, or learn to knit, or get interested in amateur astronomy.
Always continue to sharpen your skills at detecting scams and con jobs by persons high and low.
How to Lie With Statistics A classic sourcebook on common statistical fallacies used to deceive, free for reading or download at archive.org.
The more skillful and knowledgeable about thinking the adult, the better for guiding their Dangerous Child in his thinking evolution. The weakminded will never make the transition to The Next Level. But that is no reason for the rest of us to lag behind.
Some of President Trump’s tweets and actions — such as the abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey — seem almost nonsensical. The media and general punditry certainly want to paint Trump in all shades of crazy, but what if the currents run much deeper than all of the public mouthpieces are willing to admit?
The following excerpts come from quotes in an article on Jerry Pournelle’s “Chaos Manor” blog, a website of unusual insight. They contain both verifiable information and “fill in the blanks” speculation. You may well find a new window opening up before your eyes, helping to explain much that might otherwise seem inexplicable. Here are some bare-bones excerpts from the article from Chaos Manor. Follow the link below to the original article:
Begin by noticing how the President fired Comey when Comey was 3,000 miles away from his office, that Comey had no inkling he was being cut, that all his files, computers, and everything in his office were seized by his boss Sessions and the justice department. This was not a violation of protocol, it was tactical. Notice how Prez Trump compartmentalized the strike and did not inform any of his White House “staff” to prevent leaks. Notice how he emasculated Comey and the swamp denizens by letting them know in a tweet that the Attorney General got information (surveillance “tapes” from the seizure of Comey’s office) to let Comey and his handlers know that Trump’s DOJ has the goods on them. This was a brilliant, strategic and totally imperative move at exactly the right time against horrible, evil and corrupt powers infesting our government.
The swamp is on notice that the President is on to them, they are sweating bullets because their criminal games of corruption are being pursued and they know it. They are screaming and ranting because they are desperate denizens of the swamp who are beginning to realize they are roadkill.
… Comey was a minor assistant US attorney in the late 90’s. He only gained power and money by being the DOJ official who “investigated” and cleared Bill Clinton of any wrong-doing in Clinton’s totally corrupt pardon (for huge payoffs) of criminal financier Marc Rich as Clinton was leaving the Presidency. This is how Comey began his career as a creature of the “swamp” years ago, as a servant of the Clintons.
Comey provided “cover” for the Clintons in their gaining incredible power and wealth after leaving office through pardoning a billionaire money-launderer, arms dealer and criminal. Comey was a key piece in how the Clintons upped their corruption game and gained incredible wealth through their foundation after leaving the White House. A huge part of the scheme was giving Marc Rich a free pass when he should have spent life in prison, and that is what Comey covered-up for the Clintons. This set up Comey to be part of the corruption machine, making him powerful and wealthy.
Immediately after doing the Clinton’s dirty work as a DOJ official, Comey resigned from the DOJ and took a position as the head attorney (Counsel) of the Lockheed Martin company, a huge military contractor. While he was in that position Lockheed became a major contributor (millions) to the Clinton Foundation and its fake charity spin-offs. In return for these payment to Clinton Inc., Lockheed received huge contracts with Hillary’s state department. Comey was the chief legal officer of Lockheed throughout this period of contributions to Clinton Inc. in return for State Dept. contracts.
In late 2012, after overseeing Lockheed’s successful relationship with the Hillary State Department and the resulting profits, Comey stepped down from Lockheed and received a $6 million dollar payout for his services.
In 2013, the largest bank of England, HSBC Holdings, was deep into a scandal. Investigations by federal authorities and law-enforcement had revealed that for years HSBC had been laundering billions of dollars for Mexican Drug Cartels, channeling money for Saudi banks who were financing terror, moving money for Iran in violation of the sanctions, and other major criminal activity. HSBC’s criminality was pervasive and deliberate by the Bank and its officials. HSBC was a huge Clinton Foundation contributor (many millions) throughout the “investigation” and Bill Clinton was being paid large personal fees for speaking at HSBC events (while Hillary was Sec of State). Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department did what they were paid to do, and let HSBC off of the hook for a paltry 1.2 Billion dollar fine (paid by its stockholders), and not one Director, officer or management member at HSBC was fired or charged with any criminal. Exactly when everyone involved with HSBC Bank (including the Clintons and all of their “donors”) were being let off without penalty, and cover had to be provided to HSBC, Comey was appointed as a Director and Member of the Board of HSBC (in the middle of the fallout from the scandal). He was part of the effort to cover up the scandal and make HSBC “respectable” again.
After about a year as HSBC director, despite his lack of any law enforcement experience, no DOJ leadership experience, and no qualifications for the job, Comey was appointed FBI director by Obama. The only qualification Comey had was that the Clinton’s and their cronies knew Comey was in bed with them, was compromised and was willing to do their dirty work. Comey was appointed to the FBI right when Hillary was leaving the State Department, and was vulnerable to the FBI because she had been using a private-server, mis-handling classified information, selling access to favors/contracts from the State Department to Clinton Foundation Donors (including Comey’s Lockheed Martin), and much more. Remember that this was about the time the Inspector General of the State Department found over 2 billion “missing” from the State Department finances during Hillary’s tenure.
The obvious conclusion is that Comey was appointed to the FBI (along with other reliable Clinton-Obama cronies) to run interference for the Clinton’s and Obama’s at the nation’s federal law enforcement agency(in conjunction with a corrupt Department of Justice). Comey was and is owned by the Clintons. He owed all of his power and wealth to being part of their machine and providing them with cover.
… If Hillary had won, Comey would have kept right on providing cover for the corruption of the Clinton machine. He would have kept the FBI paralyzed, prevented the Clinton Fund from being investigated, and continued to do his job as the Clinton’s personal scandal eraser at the FBI.
BUT TRUMP WON.
The Swamp and its bottom-dwelling denizens realize they are at risk from this political outsider who is not connected to the uni-party machines. Before Trump takes office, a “failsafe” plan is implemented to ruin Trump’s administration and try to force him out of the Presidency. The key players committed to the plan are the democrat politicians, the RINO establishment, the media, the Obama-Clinton operatives imbedded throughout the intelligence agencies and the entire bureaucracy, and most importantly, the Obama DOJ and JAMES COMEY. The scheme is to smear Trump with Russian “connections,” through a fake FBI “investigation” and more importantly, to trap him into a charge of criminal interference with the FBI. COMEY IS THE CENTRAL FIGURE IN THE SCHEME TO TAKE DOWN TRUMP.
The surveillance of the Trump campaign is continued after he is elected, all participants are “unmasked” illegally, and the transcripts are leaked throughout the government and to the media. When General Flynn appropriately calls Russian officials on behalf of Trump, they brush off the old fake “dossier” and all of the surveillance of the campaign, and Comey creates the “Russian Conspiracy” investigation. With help by RINO swamp kingpin and warmonger sell-out McCain, the fake “Russian pee dossier” is leaked to the press. There is no actual evidence of any collusion or connection between Trump or his campaign with Russia, but that does not prevent Comey from initiating an “investigation” at the FBI. …
… Trump tells almost no one at the White House that he is moving against Comey (so no leaks… no listening in on his conversations) Trump somehow contacts Sen. Grassley (the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee) and confirms that Comey told the Senator that Trump was not under investigation personally. Trump gets both the Attorney General and the new Deputy Attorney General to legitimately review Comey’s unprofessional actions at the FBI and to recommend in writing that Trump terminate Comey. Somehow Comey goes to California (at the request of AG Sessions or already scheduled and someone at FBI telling Trump?).
Trump seizes the moment and acts. While Comey is in California, 3000 miles away and 7 hours from his office, Trump prepares a letter firing him (with Sessions and the Deputy AG recommendations attached). In the letter Trump states that he had been told 3 times by Comey that he (Trump) was not under investigation. The letter is hand-delivered to the FBI headquarters by DOJ officials to lock-down and seize everything in Comey’s office, including all surveillance files (“tapes”) of Trump and others. All of Comey’s files, docs, computers and “tapes” are taken to Sessions at DOJ. They are not taken to the Whitehouse or Trump, but to Sessions, who has every right to have them. Sessions can tell Trump that Comey had surveillance tapes of Trump that contradict what Comey has been telling Trump, and perhaps tapes of conversations with other swamp “conspirators.” But Trump does not have them personally or at the Whitehouse.
… The whole Russia interference scheme crashes and burns. While the mouthpiece media, Hollywood and the insane fringe continue to scream about Russia and Comey being fired, the politicians who will soon be in the crosshairs of a legitimate (and ticked) FBI and DOJ are starting to fall strangely silent. Comey realizes all the leverage is with Trump and that he will be lucky if he is not added to the Clinton Death List because of his knowledge (better not take any baths near an electrical outlet or get on any airplanes). ___ https://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/recovery-opinionanalysis-on-comey-and-draining-the-swamp-a-note-on-education/
The article excerpted above is of much longer length, and contains much more background detail which can be confirmed independently.
It is becoming clear that deeply corrupt elements inside the US government were caught unprepared for a Trump presidency. Complicit with the media — which has always been strongly biased against Trump — these deep state operatives attempted an improvised plan to destroy Trump’s credibility, and to try to portray Trump as insane, evil, traitorous, and to place him in any other pejorative category possible.
But despite the tremendous power of old media, alternative methods of dispersing and cross-checking information are now operating strongly in society, and will only grow stronger and more pervasive.
There is no reason to believe every detail in the article linked above — only what is independently verifiable. But the fact that so much of the verifiable information above is not being made available to the public by the mainstream media tells us that the media is not interested in informing the public — only in manipulating public opinion to extend its own influence and control over information flows.
Keep your eyes open and your powder dry.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.
The corruption runs strong through the deep state, the old media, academia, big money political activist groups, and the wealthy elitists who channel money to feed the corruption. We’re gonna need a lot more guillotines!
New revelations have surfaced that the Obama administration abused intelligence during the election by launching a massive domestic-spy campaign that included snooping on Trump officials.
The irony is mind-boggling: Targeting political opposition is long a technique of police states like Russia, which Team Obama has loudly condemned for allegedly using its own intelligence agencies to hack into our election. __http://nypost.com/2017/05/26/how-team-obama-tried-to-hack-the-election/
Trends in Leaf Area Index, 1978-2009. Positive tones are greening, negative are browning, and the dots delineate where the changes are statistically significant. There is approximately 9 times more area significantly greening up than browning down. Source
Greenhouse operators have long known that enhancing CO2 levels enhances plant growth. Research scientists are discovering that higher atmospheric CO2 levels boost biological growth on land (and sea).
We show a persistent and widespread increase of growing season integrated LAI (greening) over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated area, whereas less than 4% of the globe shows decreasing LAI (browning). Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models show that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend… __ Source
References for article excerpted above:
Bastin, F-L., et al., 2017. The extent of forest in dryland biomes. Science 356, 635-638.
Zhu, Z., et al., 2016. Greening of the earth and its drivers. Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038
Earth’s oceans have warmed over the past 150 years, releasing more dissolved CO2 into the atmosphere. But the terrestrial biosphere has expanded as a result, and will continue to expand as long as it continues to be fertilised by increasing CO2.
Until recently, the biosphere of Earth has been relatively “carbon starved.” Life on Earth welcomes the chance to bloom again, and thanks humans for the very small contribution they make to this transient CO2 resurgence.
The Earth marks climate change on the scale of millenia and longer time spans. Climate shifts on short scales of hundreds of years usually do not leave a lasting mark on the record. The current politicised hullabaloo over miniscule temperature changes over small time spans is not the mark of an intelligent species.
Governments, Activists, Academicians, and Media Follies Compound
Many $billions have already been misallocated into the Climate Apocalypse Cult, and if the Paris Climate Treaty is put into full effect, hundreds of $billions will be thrown away in similar fashion each year.
In addition, several governments in Europe and the Anglosphere are committing their populations to a future of energy starvation via the corrupt and intermittent unreliables, big wind and big solar.
Even put together, wind and photovoltaic solar are supplying less than 1 per cent of global energy demand. From the International Energy Agency’s 2016 Key Renewables Trends, we can see that wind provided 0.46 per cent of global energy consumption in 2014, and solar and tide combined provided 0.35 per cent. Remember this is total energy, not just electricity, which is less than a fifth of all final energy, the rest being the solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels that do the heavy lifting for heat, transport and industry.
Such numbers are not hard to find, but they don’t figure prominently in reports on energy derived from the unreliables lobby (solar and wind). Their trick is to hide behind the statement that close to 14 per cent of the world’s energy is renewable, with the implication that this is wind and solar. In fact the vast majority — three quarters — is biomass (mainly wood), and a very large part of that is ‘traditional biomass’; sticks and logs and dung burned by the poor in their homes to cook with. Those people need that energy, but they pay a big price in health problems caused by smoke inhalation.
States that voted for Hillary are going broke and losing the people and businesses they cannot afford to lose.
High-tax states are losing human capital and financial wealth to low-tax states with more personal and regulatory freedom. When people leave high-tax states, it tends to reduce business formation, job creation, and consumption in those states. This means a smaller tax base to support high government spending. High-tax states need to cut spending, lower taxes, and foster a friendly regulatory environment if they want to keep their residents. California and Illinois also need to address their unfunded state pension liabilities. AIER pointed out in a recent post that unfunded state pension liabilities mean even higher taxes on the horizon.
… Burdensome regulatory policy and a lack of personal freedom also push people out of states such as New York, California, and Illinois. Each year, the Cato Institute creates the Freedom in the 50 States Index. The index includes state regulatory policies, personal freedom, and fiscal policies. Included regulatory policies concern such issue areas as health insurance, occupational restrictions, and land use. Personal freedom concerns marriage, education, and the criminal justice system. Last year, New York State was ranked 50th, or dead last, on the Freedom in the 50 States Index. California was right behind New York State at 49th. Illinois fared slightly better at 44th. __ Fiscal Times
States and countries with the best long-term prospects are those that maximise opportunity and minimise parasitic rent-seeking. A map of the US states by “levels of freedom” replicates closely a map of the US by November 2016 voting patterns. States that went strongly to Trump tend to be much “higher opportunity and high freedom states” while the states that went strongly to Clinton tend to be “lower opportunity and low freedom states.” Clinton states are also more likely to be crushed by the pension tsunami.
International Migration Is Also Attracted to Higher Opportunity
High freedom and high opportunity nations are also the most popular destinations for international immigration. Of nations sufficiently large to accommodate significant immigration, nations of Europe and the Anglosphere rank at the top.
Russia today is a huge and increasingly unwieldy conglomeration of smaller regions and nations held together by Muscovy, the central core of the Russian Federation. The empire is undergoing an existential crisis triggered by Vladimir Putin’s failed bloody attempt to recover control of Ukraine in 2014. The subsequent ongoing economic catastrophe inside of Russia threatens to drag the empire through another round of losses.
Russia is facing an economic crisis, and the search for palatable solutions has come up empty. Low oil and natural gas prices have hamstrung the Russian economy, which depends on the sale of hydrocarbons. President Vladimir Putin knows the status quo must change, but he has put off a decision on the path forward as long as he could, reluctant to face the negative political and social consequences of action. __ GeoFutures
Alexei Kudrin may be the one man who can save Russia. But it will come at the cost of Putin’s neo-imperial ambitions and over-generous people-pleasing pensions. Expensive military weapons systems would have to be scaled down or dropped altogether. Putin’s exorbitant world strut would necessarily be damped down. The unaffordable, bloody quest for imperial expansion would need to stop immediately, with the concerns of the Russian military restored to the more modest job of defending Russia’s internationally recognised borders.
It is unlikely that the Russian Federation will survive in its current form. Russia’s failure to transform its energy revenue into a self-sustaining economy makes it vulnerable to price fluctuations. __ Decadal Forecast
Too much land, too few ethnic Russians. Immigration is changing the fundamental nature of Russia’s population. Fewer and fewer “Russians” care about the Russian Empire every day that passes. The demographic decline of an increasingly urbanised ethnic Russian population accelerates the loss of control.
… Russia will devolve into a confederation or even fragment into secessionist parts by 2040. The future of Russian nuclear weapons will become a crucial strategic issue as this devolution takes place. __ Road to 2040
Russia Faces a Number of Secessions and Covert Annexations
Russia is composed of dozens of jurisdictions, most of which have some separatist ambitions from Moscow. As the RF loses its ability to hold onto these jurisdictions, several states and regions will jump from Moscow’s orbit — just as the many nations of Central and Eastern Europe jumped away in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Moscow is attempting to hold onto empire and world power through intimidation and regional invasions. But Russia’s dwindling income cannot support the many ambitions of the little big man currently in charge.
Unless Putin takes Kudrin’s advice, Moscovy is likely to feel lonelier and smaller over the next decades.
… it’s almost certain that the amount of money that makes its way into Belt-and-Road projects will be significantly lower than advertised. Grand in ambition but short on details, Xi’s sweeping initiative may be better thought of as a “philosophy” or “party line,” rather than a fixed commitment. One thing’s for sure: It’s going to be a lot harder than putting [out endless press releases and putting on conferences]. __ Why China Can’t Afford Its Grand Scheme
China’s leaders wish to build Chinese railways and seaports from Asia to Europe, across Africa, and through the heart of Latin America. But planning something and doing something are not of equal difficulty.
Belt-and-road projects are failing already. In Kara-Balta in Kyrgyzstan, Zhongda China Petrol, a state-owned company, built a big oil refinery—then found it could not buy enough crude oil to run it at more than 6% of capacity. The country’s deputy prime minister called the plant’s construction “ridiculous”; locals are protesting against its environmental impact. __ Economist
China’s ambitions are grand in scope. But as a modern industrial power, China is still experiencing growing pains. Chinese expertise in many areas of technology is simply not up to par:
… Chinese companies need to demonstrate that they are able to do the job. The CNPC subsidiary that built Abu Dhabi’s key strategic oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean port of Fujairah was heavily criticized over construction faults. As with BP in Iraq’s Rumaila field and Total in South Pars, Chinese firms may lean on international partners for technical and management skills in tricky, novel environments. __ Bloomberg
Just at the moment China was poised to step onto the stage which the US President Trump threatens to abandon, obstacles for the dragon’s ambitions suddenly appear. Clearly China is not really ready for prime time on the scale that its leaders seem to desire.
The scheme is running into three linked problems.First, it is unclear what its priorities are, or who is running it. “We haven’t really come up with a specific goal,” says Zou Tongxuan of Beijing International Studies University. Every province has its own belt-and-road investment plan. So do hundreds of state-owned firms. The government’s strong backing has helped to get many projects up and running faster than might have happened otherwise (Mr Xi first began to talk about the idea only in 2013). But no one is in day-to-day charge, so thousands of financially dubious schemes have the imprimatur of a belt-and-road project. And the overweening behaviour of Chinese companies in some countries where they operate has stoked fears in some places of an over-mighty China.
… [China’s economy] is so vast that belt-and-road countries fear being overwhelmed by it. Loans from one bank, China Eximbank, for example, account for a third of Kyrgyzstan’s foreign debt. Yunnan is one of China’s poorer provinces. Yet its economy is still four times bigger than that of its more populous neighbour, Myanmar. Countries both long for and dread Chinese investment. __ Economist
China’s women left the farms to work in the cities. But working women in China are having few if any children. Robots will need to take up the slack.
And Then There is Russia
Putin is not ready to accept a subservient role as junior partner in the Grand Dragon Express Global Control Enterprise. He has his own neo-imperial dreams which involve the conquest of many of the countries that China wants to make deals with. Conflicts between these frenemies are certain.
For its part, China sees great possibilities for the Russian Far East, if it can only be pried from the weakening grasp of an increasingly Europe-focused Moscow. The dragon wants a huge piece of the bear’s lunch.
One Yellow Brick Road a Fantasy in Flux
At least China has a grand goal toward which to aim as a national enterprise. Much of Europe and the Anglosphere are adrift without significant plans or goals, content to be slowly absorbed by less developed, less intelligent populations of official and unofficial immigrants — more prolific than the natives they will be replacing.
China alone, of the high IQ populations, continues to shoot for the moon as a nation.
Russia is so corrupt as to be doomed, economically and demographically. The EU is sinking quickly under a flood of dysfunction from ruinous energy and immigration policies. Only elements of the Anglosphere (+ Japan, S. Korea, Switzerland etc.) continue to allow freedom of investment and enterprise which keeps them ahead in a wide range of science, technologies, and innovative industrial potential. For now, China must continue to steal, cheat, and spy to keep up. Even so, it will take time for China’s real expertise in performance to catch up with what it knows in databases.
The US, finally, is producing a larger part of its own energy at ever cheaper costs, as well as food and other essentials. Most of the US economy involves deals within the US itself, and with Canada and Mexico. Under US President Trump, expectations have been high that the US will back away from the role as world policeman, opening up that role to another would-be superpower. China would like the option to step in and take control, if it only could.
The risk of non-performing loans at state-owned banks is already clouding China’s future economic prospects. Since reaching a peak of $4 trillion in 2014, the country’s foreign-exchange reserves have fallen by about a quarter. The ratings agency Fitch has warned that many OBOR projects – most of which are being pursued in vulnerable countries with speculative-grade credit ratings – face high execution risks, and could prove unprofitable.
Xi’s approach is not helping China’s international reputation, either. OBOR projects lack transparency and entail no commitment to social or environmental sustainability. They are increasingly viewed as advancing China’s interests – including access to key commodities or strategic maritime and overland passages – at the expense of others.
In a sense, OBOR seems to represent the dawn of a new colonial era – the twenty-first-century equivalent of the East India Company, which paved the way for British imperialism in the East. But, if China is building an empire, it seems already to have succumbed to what the historian Paul Kennedy famously called “imperial overstretch.” __https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/one-belt-one-road-china-imperialism-by-brahma-chellaney-2017-05
China’s hard working, enterprising, and resourceful people can prop up even the worst of governmental systems for a time. But eventually the misallocation of capital and the straitjacketing of individual opportunities and freedoms will catch up to the dysfunctional system. At that point the long delayed train wreck can trigger long lasting destructive repercussions over a wide geopolitical area.
None of it is your fault. It is just the way the human brain is made. The brain tries to resolve ambiguities in the best way it can, using all the innate quirks of our senses, emotions, and rational thought processes.
Early (at least partially deluded) beliefs take precedence in shaping later beliefs, until in the end we are unable to comprehend what a confused mess we have made for ourselves. The article excerpted below goes into more detail of the different mechanisms of how beliefs are built and shaped.
Humans cannot perceive reality directly. Instead, the outside world is filtered through our various senses. Significant filtering and pre-processing occur in the sensory organs themselves. Inside the brain, “primary” areas are devoted to each of the senses, where further filtering and pre-processing of information take place — under the influence of feedback from “higher” brain areas. From the primary sensory cortex, the information proceeds to “associative” sensory areas and other cortical and sub-cortical parts of the brain, where an incredible free-for-all of clashing and matching information occurs deep below the level of consciousness. __ Everything You Think You Know Just Ain’t So
The challenge to each of us is to let down our shields which protect our castles of belief, and to reacquaint ourselves with the arts of observation, hypothesis generation, and testing of our hypotheses in merciless fashion.
It Doesn’t Help When “Authorities” Claim Too Much
We Really Are Empty Cups
The field of  is still in its infancy, and we’re just beginning to develop a true science of . Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go in that regard. There are hundreds of competing schools of , and every school claims to have the best approach. I’m convinced that many of our most cherished theories about the causes of  will eventually be proven false, and that our best  techniques will be eclipsed by vastly more effective models in the future. So we really are empty cups. If we can work together with a spirit of humility, mutual respect, and creativity, I’m convinced that we can do some good work — and maybe brilliant work at times — to . __ David Burns MD (workshop materials)
David Burns is talking about the field of psychotherapy, but what he says can as easily apply to climate science, human biological diversity, gender differences, cognitive science, and dozens of other areas of science which have been at least partially suppressed and biased by corrupting political influences.
You Cannot Trust What You Are Told Anymore
Of course you never could trust what you were told. But you were too young to understand that in your early years. Most of us came to discover the need for scepticism in our teens and early adulthood. But those with the wisest parents were led to that discovery much earlier, by the age of 10 or 12.
The earlier a child can be led to self-discovery, self-teaching, and self-authenticating of information, the earlier he can safely step into the swift currents of modern scholarship, entrepreneurship, and serious social relationships.
As Adults, We had Best Be Able to Check the Veracity and Validity of our Sources
Nothing is more distressing than to observe how herds of young adults are coerced and intimidated by university faculty, staff, and administration into a politically correct groupthink — at the expense of their ability to decide and think for themselves. Recent college riots and witch trials are only the surface manifestations of a deep rot which extends throughout academia, media, government, foundations, and other cultural institutions.
Avoiding all the traps of groupthink is not easy, even with the best parents, mentors, teachers, and coaches.
My students have learned since their early school days how to evaluate the facts the world holds out to them. They are often masters of logic and technique, accomplished debaters, and skilled at choosing between weaker and stronger claims. Yet, like children taught to believe that babies are brought in the beaks of storks, they have not learned to question how facts are made. This moment calls for an end to that dangerous innocence. Only through sustained reflection on why we know what we think we know can we find ways to strengthen, even augment, our collective knowing—and so push back against those who would dismantle the human institutions we have entrusted with the hard task of making public knowledge. __ Judith Curry
No wonder so many young adults are postponing the normal responsibilities of adulthood, choosing an existence of perpetual adolescence instead. No wonder so many choose employment as paid protestors and agitators in the pay of shady organisations financed by super-rich insiders linked to corrupt political machines, such as the late Obama administration. Lacking the perspective that comes from a true education and life experience, these psychological neotenates become oblivious cannon fodder for cynical manipulators among the politically aggressive wealthy elite.
Brains Mustn’t Miss Their Chances
Young developing brains pass through many sensitive windows of formative activity. If they are not given the proper chances to experiment, experience, and master the successive rites of passage, they will struggle unnecessarily with some of these issues for many years.
Sensitive Windows of Development
This is what much of The Dangerous Child Method is about. The most dangerous weapon a child can wield is a well honed mind. Particularly a mind which he has honed for himself, out of his own mastery of self-learning and doing.
Wise persons understand and take as a point of departure that everything they think they know, just ain’t so. Or put another way, everything they believe is a lie.
Understanding why it is true and how they can compensate for the problem is the starting point for wisdom and achievement.
There are three main ways in which IQ could decrease:
I. Selection could favor lower IQ within a group. How fast?
[AF Example: Biased government supports to less qualified groups pushes their fitness levels higher than actually warranted.]
II. Demographic changes– groups with lower IQ could be immigrating, or differences in birth rates could mean that smarter groups are declining relative to other groups.
[AF: Immigration into Europe and the Anglosphere come largely from lower IQ populations. Simultaneously, lower IQ native women tend to have significantly more children than higher IQ native women.]
III. Relaxed selection. It looks as if a lot of the variance in IQ is due to rare deleterious variants generated by mutation. Over the long run, selection has eliminated those deleterious mutations as fast as they were generated (mutation-selection balance). Over the last few generations, selection has weakened: a smaller fraction of babies are dying. Even though most of those babies in the past were dying of disease or starvation, not directly connected to baby IQ, babies in better genetic shape were more likely to survive.
The history of our genetic descent determines our relative advantages and disadvantages for surviving, prospering, and procreating in a particular environment. But over time, our genomes mutate and change. Mistakes pile up, and one of the many results is a greater difficulty in thinking clearly and intelligently within a particular environment.
Smarter people seem to live longer because they’re in better genetic shape – ultimately because a huge fraction of the genome is expressed in the brain and influences intelligence. Being smarter means that on average you’re in better genetic shape, while being in better genetic shape – having lower genetic load – means that on average you’ll be smarter. __ Greg Cochran
Genocide of more intelligent populations is a more rapid method of depleting the smarter elements from the human gene pool. Genocide can be done overtly — as in the Nazi death camps, or Pol Pot’s mass executions of educated people — or covertly, as in multicultural societies where the more intelligent breeding groups are put at artificial disadvantage by government incentives and disincentives (affirmative action, aggressive welfare policies, high taxes and health care costs, incentives to drive more intelligent women into the workforce and away from motherhood, etc.)
Genetic Load — Accumulation of Disadvantageous Gene Variants
More ancient breeding populations which developed under conditions of decreased selection can be expected to accumulate higher levels of deleterious gene variants, on a statistical basis. This may partially explain the very low levels of average IQ seen in sub Saharan black African populations.
Populations which evolved in harsher and less predictable climates will more likely “shed” many deleterious mutated variants under a stronger “selection of the fittest” for that environment.
In modern societies with more effective and aggressive medical care, selection is partially neutralised, allowing genetic load to accumulate more rapidly across the overall breeding pool.
As a result of all of the mechanisms above, average human IQ across the globe is in decline.
Hitler thought that he was improving the human race by trying to eliminate Jews from Europe. But by killing millions of high IQ Jews, he was reducing the brainpower of humankind, with all the disadvantages for the race which accompany an overall “dumber” human population.
It is clear that politicians and government agents cannot be trusted with the future of humanity, and neither can today’s class of self-appointed elitist “intellectuals.” Brighter people are going to have to take on this burden for themselves, understanding that no one and no group can “save the world.”
Non-violent, under the blanket methods will work the best for now, without the counter-productive eliminationist methods of the obviously failed past. Ultimately artificial wombs and other advanced reproduction methods will help to increase populations of fitter genomes — but then it is up to parents and communities to maximise the fitness of younger generations through more sophisticated education, self-education, and a proliferation of opportunities of life choice and self-development.
Shortly after the 2016 US elections which placed Donald Trump in the White House, George Soros met with a cabal of like-minded disaffected dementors to devise a path of destruction for the incoming Trump administration. It is not that these plotters explicitly planned to foment a US civil war. But the motto “by any means necessary” became the watchword of the astroturfed demonstrations which began popping up immediately after the closed meeting.
Plotting the Eve of Destruction
Over at the Fabius Maximus website — a site which is sympathetic to the old-style left/liberalism of Franklin Roosevelt but not so much to the intolerant new left which has taken over campuses, newsrooms, foundations, and other institutions — the editor is becoming quite concerned about the possibility of a cascading violence which could propagate throughout US society as a result of radical new leftist violence and intolerance.
The editor follows the timeline of leftist incitement from inauguration day in January, through the Middlebury College riot in March, to the April Berkeley riot stemming from Milo Yiannopoulis’ aborted talk on the UCB campus, to the present. He worries that it may be too late to stop the lines of schism from breaking through to the surface in violent manner.
… [Leftist writer Rick Perlstein’s] description of the situation is false because he grossly understates the Left’s role in this. This is very 21st century America, where responsibility has become one of the few words inappropriate for polite company (unless used in the second or third person).
I wonder if a Republic can survive when its people are unable to clearly see the world and have so little interest in truth (two of the great themes of this website). Both Left and Right have gone bonkers (details here). We need a reality-based community. Rising political violence suggests the clock is running. It will begin with decisions to act by individuals. Like you. __ Fabius Maximus
If you are on the right side of the spectrum you may feel that only the left has gone bonkers. But the left believes the same thing of you. In light of the ultimate threat involved here, it is crucial to attempt to see the ongoing schism from all sides.
George Soros is Desperate to Discredit Trump Totally Before Too Much of the Obama Legacy is Rolled Back
The question “Does George Soros Want to Incite a US Civil War” is a rhetorical question. But if Soros and friends cannot stop the Trump administration from “draining the swamp” in any other way than through violence, no doubt they will selectively utilise whatever they feel is effective.
The actions of Soros’ fascist followers to this point have not been successful in creating significant counter-violence from their opposition. But as they continue to violently block the free expression of non-radical leftists, any number of things can go wrong. And whatever happens, the mainstream media will take pains to portray non-leftists as the real instigators.
Unless non-radicals can devise a way to tame Soros’ radical instigators of violence in other ways than through counter-violence, sooner or later the conflict will generate chaotic hot spots of violence.
Soros’ Dark History
In his youth, Soros was a Nazi collaborator who assisted the Nazis in seizing Jewish properties to help finance Hitler’s war effort. [See 60 Minutes video] He learned his lessons well as a youth. Now, he and his cohorts would think nothing of destroying everything you own and hold dear, as long as it suits their ultimate goals.
The US Constitution Is a Thorn in Soros’ Side
From its birth, the US experienced unprecedented growth. From its beginning as a ragtag bunch of deeply indebted colonies, the US emerged as wealthiest nation on Earth — in a mere 100 years. More astoundingly, that 100 years was interrupted by one of the bloodiest and costliest civils wars in history — and yet thanks to its incredible constitution, the US emerged from that century as the wealthiest and most productive nation on Earth.
The nation has occupied that position at the top of the heap for the past 135 years and shows no sign of change, according to the best and most comprehensive analyses.
But George Soros and his co-conspirators do not want the US to prosper, if it means that the world’s sole superpower will continue to serve as an island of opportunity in a tyrannical world (see China, Russia, Islamic nations, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, etc.).
The US allows individuals to start with virtually nothing, and rise to the pinnacles of wealth and power. Such a wealth of opportunity and turbulent turnover of power is a grave threat to persons who want to permanently wield ultimate power on the world stage.
It was a horrid shock to Soros to wake up and find that Trump was President-Elect of the most powerful nation on Earth — the nation that Soros was so close to taming to his will. And so Soros is driven to extremes, to utilise “any means necessary” in the attempt to put the US back on the path of decline which Obama had so admirably followed during his tenure.
Watch carefully, and be prepared for the changes — which may come quickly and violently.
Discussion of China’s multi-faceted predicament begins near the 33 minute mark in the video below. The speaker anticipates a cascading war encompassing most regions of the globe as a result of economic constraints in China (poor supply lines), Russia (corruption, low oil prices, overreaching neoimperialist ambitions), and the Middle East (violent religious sectarianism).
Chinese officials are grappling with an epic Credit Bubble and the resulting greatest expansion of finance in history… The Chinese crisis would spur global “Risk Off” – de-risking, de-leveraging dynamics that I would expect to be particularly problematic for Europe and EM __ Source
A cascading collapse of financial systems that would make 2008 look like an economic golden age, is lurking in the shadows of the ghost cities of China, and in the hopeless corruption of Brasil, Russia, South Africa, and India. After the collapse of oil prices, the BRICS have been the last great hope of global investors looking for reliable high yields. But playing with fire can get a little boy’s fingers burnt.
A bursting Bubble would rather quickly see a crisis of confidence throughout China’s opaque financial system, certainly including “shadow banking” and “repo” finance more generally. I would expect collapsing real estate prices and economic dislocation to spur capital flight. There would be enormous pressure to unwind “carry trades,” greatly pressuring the Chinese currency. A collapsing currency would further impair Chinese borrowers, especially those (banks) exposed to dollar-denominated debt. Chinese officials would see no alternative than to impose strict capital control. __ Doug Noland
…The Chinese crisis would spur global “Risk Off” – de-risking, de-leveraging dynamics that I would expect to be particularly problematic for Europe and EM [emerging markets].
A “Risk Off” spike in European periphery yields and a widening of spreads would be a major issue for the thinly capitalized European banks. And with the European banking organizations having become such major players in derivatives, securities finance and EM, a crisis of confidence in European finance would quickly become a systemic issue globally. __ Credit Bubble Bulletin
The US Economy Stutters Under Obama
After using its economic and industrial might to help save the globe three times during the 20th century (WWI, WWII, Cold War), the US under Bush II and Obama has taken a break from rational economic behaviour. Corrupt handouts to the military industrial complex under Bush and Obama, and corrupt handouts to green billionaires and leftist activist groups under Obama, depleted the treasury without measurable benefit to taxpayers.
Under these two ne’er do well 21st century presidents, the US simultaneously built a massive national debt and ironically at the same time has built a monstrous latent economic potential. High taxes, crippling regulations, dysfunctional mandates, and wasteful spending have all conspired to prevent the natural economic dynamo of North America from functioning as it could. If those artificial restraints can be removed, latent North American economic potential can be unleashed — with the rest of the world a significant beneficiary once again.
Obama’s Rapid Doubling of US Debt Paralysed US Economic Plans and Developments
Most recently, Obama drove the US sovereign debt from under $10 trillion to roughly $20 trillion over a very short time period. The magnitude of the debt is unprecedented — and the rapidity with which it was acquired is stunning — which causes planners of every economic philosophy to pause before proposing solid and well-defined economic plans. Dysfunctional government debt sucks the vitality out of the US financial system, creating a huge debt without creating a corresponding benefit.
There is no painless way of dealing with a debt of this magnitude, but it should be clear to any student of economic history that over the long term, economic growth is the only viable approach which does not include default. Austerity will never erase this debt — not while US entitlement spending continues its exponential rise.
The only viable pathway out of this trap is to unleash the latent economic potential of US citizens and economic entities, by slashing taxes, destroying dysfunctional regulations, downsizing government spending, and obliterating destructive policies such as giga-tort.
Few if any of these vital reforms will be accomplished, due to the reigning idiocracy within the media, government bureaucracy, much of congress, and much of the judiciary and legal system (including torts). This means that the maximum benefit must be extracted from the minimal reforms which can be enacted. This will buy some time for building parallel infrastructure.
Besides the US, no other nation at this time has the potential to reverse its self-destruction, and to create a solid foundation for a global economic resurgence through trade, investment, and by example. Emerging nations such as the BRICS have always been a false hope, due to the corruption and unsound structures at the root of their economies. Under sound governments, Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Brasil might generate a large swelling of positive economic activity and innovation. But they all lack the heft which is needed.
Transparency in Corruption Rankings
The stagnation that is Russia’s economy:
Russians now recognize that however hard they work, most of them will be poor at the end (forum-msk.org/material/economic/13122598.html), more than a quarter of the Russian unemployed have been out of work for more than a year (iq.hse.ru/news/205587515.html), there are massive wage arrears in the construction industry in Moscow now (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/04/26/72298-na-zarplate-metrostroevtsam-sekonomili-milliony), 70 percent of Russia’s middle class has had to cut its spending since 2014 (ttolk.ru/2017/04/28 /после-2014-го-экономить-стали-70-российског/), and retail trade continues to fall throughout the country (http://www.ng.ru/economics/2017-04-28/1_6984_fail.html). __ http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.ca/2017/04/a-bakers-double-dozen-of-neglected_28.html
Most of the murders in the US are committed within a particular set of locations. The map above helps to highlight the US counties where most homicides take place.
In 2014, the most recent year that a county level breakdown is available, 54% of counties (with 11% of the population) have no murders. 69% of counties have no more than one murder, and about 20% of the population. These counties account for only 4% of all murders in the country.
Murders Concentrate in Most Dangerous Counties Source
Is There Anything Special About These Murder Magnets?
As you would expect, most murders are committed where most people live — in cities. But not all cities are the same. Cities with neighborhoods that contain more members of particular ethnic groups tend to have higher murder rates. We observe this phenomenon in cities such as Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore, Birmingham, Miami, New Orleans, and several other US cities (within counties) with particularly high murder rates.
Oddly enough, when one compares US county maps, one may find a visual correlation between counties that voted for former US President Obama in 2012, and counties with high crime rates in 2014 (see map at top above).
Roughly 95% of inner city urban residents voted for Obama. In fact, a large number of dead, senile, and felonious urban residents voted for Obama as well, due to the tight control of many urban precincts held by Obama loyalists and true believers. In politics, operators do what is necessary to win.
Consider again the crime : politics correlation when viewing this 3D map of urban participation in the 2012 election:
Voter fraud within the large cities of swing states in the 2012 election probably explains why Barack Obama was allowed to serve a second term.
If anybody has been reading the news lately, there has been some gradually disturbing news coming out about voting fraud in the Presidential Election. In critical swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois there are a lot of precincts in Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Chicago which reported 100% of their votes cast for Obama. These add up to many 10’s of thousands of votes for Obama and 0 for Romney. I repeat, 0 for Romney. I have read a number of articles about this and people knowlegable in Political Science and Statistics are starting to take notice of this.Statistically, even if among 10’s of thousands of voters all wanted to vote fo Obama, it would not be possible to receive 100% of the vote because at least a few would make a mistake and vote incorrectly for Romney. Not to mention the fact that a least a few of those 10’s of thousands might actually disagree with Obama. These types of election returns are only seen in countries run by dictators. I do not understand why this is not getting more attention. _Comment at NBC Chicago… Quoted at Abu Al Fin
Inner cities with high crime rates are often virtual “no-go” zones for police. A lot of murder tends to be done there. It is easy for voting precincts within such insulated “no-go” zones to do whatever they wish when it comes to registration of voters and counting the votes. Particularly when they receive a wind-wink, nod-nod, from city hall and often state leadership and national powers. A recent preliminary audit of voting machines in Detroit precincts for the 2016 elections demonstrated that 37% of Detroit precincts registered “more votes than they should have.” Such investigations of such precincts are never carried too far — for fear of what might be discovered. Follow the money and the power too deeply, and you are likely to get yourself into trouble.
What one sees in Detroit can also be seen in Chicago, Baltimore, Philly, DC, LA, Oakland, Tulsa, Memphis, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and other cities containing neighborhoods with high numbers of people who are of particular cultures and of particular political persuasions. Lots of crime — including murders. Questionable polling results. Corruption at all levels that never quits.
The Trump administration can make some progress against this violence : corruption axis by defunding particular programs which Obama used to channel $billions into left wing activist organisations. Obama also packed much of the federal bureaucracy with “sleeper” radicals, whose job it is to obstruct any reforms that might clean up the murder : corruption axis that served Obama and his extended cause so well. Trump must meticulously attempt to remove as many of these vile disruptors as possible. But this level of rot cannot be fixed through normal channels of political reform.
One area where Trump has achieved some success is by slowing the cross-border infiltration of illegals by land. This has been achieved simply by beginning to once again enforce laws which are already on the books, but which had been studiously ignored by highly placed Obama officials.
Keep in mind that a nation is only as good as its human substrate, combined with its rule of law and system of economic trade. On the international front, dysgenic procreation is the rule, and overwhelms virtually all other procreation in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This erosion of the human substrate is somewhat less severe in Europe and the Anglosphere — but as you can see for the US, it has deep roots within particular parts of the country, and tends to spread outward over time.
Solutions are Complex and Tentative
For now, it is best to follow conventional lines of redress, using the laws that work, while attempting to re-write laws that obstruct a more expansive and abundant human future. A focus on enforcement of useful laws is likewise warranted. More rational, future-oriented attorneys and judges in high places are likewise needed, along with high quality law enforcement personnel.
Most of all, Europe and the Anglosphere need many more Dangerous Children: competent, strong, clever, wise, and experienced.
Particular population groups too often feel entitled to brutalise members of other population groups. If anyone objects to this brutal behaviour, members of such innately violent populations think nothing of killing the person who gets in their way. It is considered an entitlement — a type of reparations. The right to murder, rape, and brutalise. Any society which tolerates such obscene entrenchment of violent attitudes is a society in rapid decline. (See Sweden, France, California, etc.)
Kori Ali Muhammad above killed 3 random white men to make the point that he hates white people. He admitted his crimes to police along with his motive.
Throughout history, most societies would have summarily executed both Muhammad and Butler (above) for their crimes. Western societies have thought themselves beyond such harsh and definitive methods of ending a violent criminal’s career. But the emergence of primitive third world tribalist motivations for crime is exposing the ineffectiveness of modern methods of jurisprudence in an increasingly third world setting. Third world punishments for third world crimes may be in order in such cases.
Incomes are up, but only because government workers’ wages are rising so fast. Bank deposits and the national reserve fund are at their lowest. “… missile factories are almost at a standstill because of shortages of parts and problems with existing systems (newsland.com/community/5325/content/kremliovskaia-lozh-o-vozrozhdenii-raketostroeniia/5789513)… ” and recruitment into the Russian military is stalling.
Russians Drinking More than Ever, Putin “Burns in Hell”
Sergey Shoygu, Russia’s defense minister, says that Moscow will still build submarines – a giant one was launched this week – and will recondition its only aircraft carrier – despite rising costs – but will build frigates rather than larger ships, [implying] that Moscow can no longer afford large surface ships for a blue water navy.
In reporting Shoygu’s assertion that the Russia’s main task is to attack coastal targets, Vzglyad journalist Andrey Rezchikov says that according to experts with whom he spoke, the minister’s words mean that “Russia can no longer permit itself an oceanic fleet” consisting of large surface vessels as in Soviet times (vz.ru/politics/2017/4/21/324418.html).
… Russia is no longer planning to field a fleet as powerful as the American one and instead is focusing on coastal defense and those tasks that smaller ships can perform. __ Window on Eurasia
Russia cannot afford to build and maintain a working blue ocean fleet — for many reasons. Just maintaining a brown water fleet for local defence will stretch the limits of Russia today.
The Economy Supports Everything Else
Russia went completely off the rails when Putin chose to invade Ukraine at the same time as global oil prices were dropping. Putin’s war calculations were based on much higher oil & gas prices. In addition, Putin did not expect a unified western reaction to his aggressive actions in Ukraine, so he was taken by surprise when western economic sanctions began taking a bite out of Russia’s ability to obtain high tech western equipment and expertise.
As Russia’s economy suffered, so did its ability to support medical care, education, and other critical infrastructures such as transportation, housing, and energy infrastructures. To top it off, Russia’s military systems had become dependent upon technologies and expertise that Russia no longer possesses. Under the sanctions regime, it became more difficult for Russia to modernise its Soviet-era military.
Russia’s Demographic and Economic Crises Feed Off Each Other
As the old guard quickly ages and dies, Russia’s new guard is finding it more and more difficult to maintain all the structures of governance and modern life which they are inheriting from a wealthier, more motivated, and more powerful past. They are making a brave show of it, but the will is more anemic and the heart is growing smaller under the personality cult of Putin.
Update: The fantasies of today’s young speak ill of their upbringing and education.
Shouldn’t These 20 Something Adolescents Be Doing Something Besides Denying Someone Else’s Free Speech Rights? Source
Earlier generations took on responsibility at young ages. Benjamin Franklin left school and began his working career at age 10. His writing career began at age 12 while apprenticed at a printing shop owned by his brother. More
According to prize-winning educator John Taylor Gatto and historian Joseph F. Kett, most men of earlier generations gained their competencies and skills through leaving home for early work and apprenticeships. Sometimes they would run away to sea. Often they would work as apprentices, journeymen, and often masters, before reaching early independent adulthood.
Such early independence of the young was somehow offensive to university scholars and professors, who felt that no one should achieve success without first having come under their influence. These scholars and their associates in government, media, and activist groups worked hard to place the yoke of mandatory extended formal education onto the necks of the young. These crusaders of incompetence compounded their errors by making all forms of profitable work illegal for children under a certain age. Their crowning error was to price entry-level employment above what the market would pay, for most inexperienced and unskilled youth. From that point on, society had doomed itself to successive generations of increasing incompetence and immaturity. Today’s college debt crisis and permanent underemployment of youth and college graduates is only a sign of the crumbling human infrastructure.
At fifteen, my grandfather left home and became an apprentice to a chicken-feed dealer (later he worked himself up until he became a very rich man, but that is beside the point). My father and I both happened to leave home at eighteen. Fast move forward. In the US between 2000 and 2011, the number of women aged 25-34 who lived with their parents went from 8.3 to 9.7%. The corresponding figures for men were 12.9 and 18.6%, a vast increase indeed. These changes have been accompanied by others, such as allowing people up to 26 years of age to join their parents’ health insurance (in the US, under Obamacare) and extending the licenses of “child psychologists” so as to enable them to treat 25-year olds (in Britain).
Crowning the process is the rise in the age at which people have their first child, which is now the highest in history. Even so, the above figures only form the tip of the iceberg. They are the last—for the time being, at any rate — stages in a process of compulsory infantilization that, in all Western countries, has been going on ever since the industrial revolution. __ Martin van Creveld (via Fabius Maximus)
Young people are taking decades longer to reach “adulthood” and independence — and to have their first child. In fact, if young women take much longer to begin having their first child, it will be too late altogether, since the biological alarm clock will brook no argument from the psychologically immature.
Al Fin Has Been Looking at This Issue for Over 10 Years
Under blog categories such as “academic lobotomy” or “psychological neoteny,” we at the Al Fin Institutes have watched generations of American youth become progressively infantilised and brainwashed into a helpless dependency that mocks the ambition and competency of earlier generations who built the world of plenty which these perpetual adolescents are now squandering. (To read these articles from the original Al Fin blog — which is being blocked by Google — run searches on the terms above, then click on the arrow next to the article link provided. Choose “cached,” “cached page,” etc. Use any search engine except Google, or try the Wayback Machine at Archive.org)
When you combine psychological neoteny, academic lobotomy, and runaway narcissism, today’s university student has hardly a chance to learn to think for him/herself, and mature into an independent person of solid judgment. It is a shame to lose an entire generation. But if members of the public–including parents and financial supporters of academia–can wise up at last, intellectual freedom may be allowed back on campus. __ Al Fin (original blog) (Don’t forget to use “cached page” or Wayback Machine)
On top of it all, growing numbers of university graduates and dropouts are taking on large life-postponing debts which they will never succeed in repaying. And so they pile failure upon failure. This is no way to begin a life — helplessly incompetent and indebted at 25, 30, or older.
Too Many of Today’s Youth are Mired in Groupthink and Lifelong Incompetence
At one time, university was a place where youth were exposed to a wide range of philosophies and perspectives. By weighing the merits and problems of different points of view, youth and young adults learned to think for themselves, to find their own way. But things are different now. Today’s university is a place where youth are given politically correct brain implants and lobotomies, where overgrown perpetual adolescents go to hide from uncomfortable points of view in “safe spaces.” These wilting flowers are in no position to face a world of mechanisms that loom far outside their fantasies, experiences and competence.
But as they say in the old song, “They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.”
Give a man a free house and he’ll bust out the windows
Put his family on food stamps, now he’s a big spender
no food on the table and the bills ain’t paid
‘Cause he spent it on cigarettes and P.G.A.
They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please
__ Rainmakers Government Cheese lyrics
If young people do not learn self competence, self teaching, and independent planning and ambition, they will be at the mercy of the social engineers who will throw them in the blender and set it on “High.”
Educated Echo Choirs of the Politically Correct
If you are ever in doubt as to what politically correct people should be thinking today, just tune in to mainstream sources of daily talking points, such as the mainstream news, trendy commentary, and nighttime comedy talk shows. Shaping of opinions and group mind management are the order of the day — on campus, in the media, in $billion dollar foundations and activist juggernauts, and in bloated government bureaucracies stuffed with career radicals dedicated to breaking any independent mind or enterprise. This is the world that results from the infantilising of youth and young adults, generation after generation.
Today’s young adult understands that he must not question the climate apocalypse cult, or else he will lose his job or be denied tenure. The lifelong brain-conditioned university graduate understand that he must never allow his mind to be open to heresies such as human biological diversity. Opening the mind to such things invites a banishment to outer darkness which may never be revoked. And never must he consider that some physical and psychological differences between men and women may actually be innate, rather than socially conditioned.
It is a progressive mess that can only grow worse with time unless a radical increase in openness to philosophical diversity is introduced at all levels of education, government, media, foundations, activist lobbies, and other important social institutions that influence the development, education, upbringing, and career opportunities for the young.
Many millennials are in effect priced out of becoming adults, if they have any reason they know they can not have a family in their situation, nor ability to learn the ropes of adulthood through managing a household. Apathy has paradoxically become a political tool as it amasses more drop out millennials who are not interested in fixing the system but subconsciously or consciously interested in facilitating its failure and perhaps hoping to find better opportunities in its descent.
Making Your Own Heat and Electricity In Any Climate or Location
Suddenly it is becoming possible to make all the electricity and heat for your home that you could need — no matter your latitude or weather conditions. Using “micro steam turbines” — or residential fuel cells — single residencies, condominiums, or communities can efficiently produce plentiful heat and power, in even the coldest, cloudiest, and most windless locations.
While the conventional method of producing usable heat and power separately has a typical combined efficiency of 45 percent, CHP [combined heat and power] systems can operate at levels as high as 80 percent. __ http://aceee.org/topics/combined-heat-and-power-chp
Combining Heat and Power Generation Boosts Efficiency Source
Residential Fuel Cell CHP
The Japanese have been pioneering residential fuel cell combined heat and power for decades. One Japanese program, Ene-Farm, has installed over 120,000 residential fuel cell units. Panasonic is claiming 95% efficiency for combined heat and electricity production, and is now expanding into Europe — with ambitions to move into the Korean and North American markets. The current Japanese residential fuel cell units run mostly on methane, but plans for units using other fuels, including hydrogen fuel cell CHP, are in the works.
Micro Steam Turbine CHP
In the US, combined heat and power [CHP] — often called cogeneration — comes mostly in the form of internal combustion engines, including gas turbines, steam turbines, combined gas cycle and steam cycle systems, piston engine systems, and an assortment of other approaches including fuel cells. Most of these systems are used for industrial plants, hospitals, large campuses, and sometimes for large apartment developments and isolated communities.
Micro steam turbines are becoming small enough and efficient enough to begin entering the residential CHP market.
About half the homes in the United States are heated by natural gas, so the market potential is strong. Comparable units in Europe are selling for two or three times the cost of a standard hot water boiler; Cocuzza’s challenge is to be able to price his unit for significantly less. If Enviro Power can make the price low enough that one of its mCHPs will pay for itself through energy savings within three years, Cocuzza believes he’ll succeed…
Enviro Power has a patent for a 10-kilowatt microcogeneration unit (mCHP) and is seeking financing to bring the product to market. Its mCHP uses a micro steam turbine, powered by propane or natural gas, to produce both heat and electricity. The company claims this cuts electricity consumption by up to 30 percent, reducing greenhouse gases and saving money. In addition, larger cogeneration units use an internal combustion engine that needs maintenance, while Cocuzza expects that a micro steam turbine engine will be maintenance free for 10 years. __ IEEE
Both Forms of Residential CHP Above are Still Expensive
The goal of manufacturers is to produce residential CHP units that will pay for themselves in energy savings within 3 to 5 years. At this time, the breakeven time is closer to 10 years in Japan for fuel cell CHP. That is probably not good enough for most people, since the lifetime of such units will probably not be much longer than that at best. But the technology is improving, and the underlying concept is far sounder than the rationale behind home wind and solar, for most modern homes and locations.
Making a case for microgrids is intrinsically making a case for locally-fired natural gas that simultaneously generates thermal energy, according to the researchers… small microgrids rely on relatively less gas… gas generators are still the favorite to provide electric and thermal energy [for microgrids].
Europe is currently the leading regional market for combined heat and power installation with the region accounting for 67.96% share in the overall market in 2014. The abundance of natural gas sources has contributed to the increased installation of CHP systems in the region. Countries such as Belgium, Russia, Poland, Germany, Italy, and Netherlands are major contributors to the Europe CHP installation market.
… The global market for CHP installation can be broadly divided into large-scale CHPs and micro-and small scale CHPs in terms of type. Large-scale CHPs is the leading segment with the segment accounting for 85.69% of the overall market in 2014. However, the segment is expected to lose a substantial portion of its market share to micro and small-scale CHPs over the coming years. Nevertheless, with increasing energy saving needs in emerging economies such as India and China, the uptake of large-scale CHPs is on the rise.
Off-grid solar only makes sense if you live in a dry zone in low to mid latitudes… Even so, you can sometimes have several days and sometimes weeks of heavy clouds which will deplete your system. And those solar cells need to be wiped clean on a regular basis. To depend on off-grid wind, you would need to live somewhere that winds blow reliably. And again, there will always be days and weeks of low to no wind, when your batteries will go dead without a backup generator — which are far from efficient.
Methane and propane always work, regardless of the weather. Cogeneration systems such as the ones we looked at above provide twice the efficiency of conventional backup generators.
A Home Nuclear Plant Would be Best
Meanwhile, nuclear scientists and engineers are busy at work developing smaller, safer, and more efficient CHP nuclear reactors and nuclear batteries. Such systems could conceivably provide up to 50 years of reliable power and heat between refuelings. And the energy density of nuclear fuels are second to none.
Energy Density Comparison from Wikipedia Fusion, Fission Orders of Magnitude Better than Chemical and Other Energy Sources
If you are planning to survive a coming ice age, nuclear cogeneration of power and heat is probably your best bet.
Russians worry about China’s long-run plans. Beijing already plays a dominant economic role in Central Asia, which the Kremlin views as within Russia’s sphere of interest. And concerns about Chinese influence in Siberia and the Russian far east, both in terms of economic impact and migration flows, are widespread in Russia.
The Chinese are migrating into Russia to take jobs, similar to the way that Mexicans and Central Americans migrate into the US and Canada. As a result, Russian wages are not rising as they should under Russia’s current demographic slide. And the Chinese newcomers are not alone:
Given the country’s demographic outlook, Russia will be relying on migrants for years to come. Over the next 15 years, the working population will shrink by about 10 million, said Alexei Kudrin, who was finance minister in 2000-2011.
While the Russians worry about inroads from China in Central Asia and the Far East, other more immediate concerns occupy their minds even more:
Russians consider their major problems (in this order); the economy, health care, corruption, education, unemployment and crime. Syria, Ukraine and NATO do not matter much to the average Russian. In addition most Russians indicated it was dangerous for an individual to openly discuss corruption. A third of Russians said they had paid a bribe at least once. Putin can blame whoever he wants but most Russians just want the economy fixed and that requires cleaning up the corruption. The new Cold War does not seem very relevant to all this. __ Russian Military Technology Falls Down on the Job
Putin focuses on what he considers most important: his own hold on power. But what is good for Putin is not necessarily good for Russia — especially in the long run. Putin’s wasteful and counterproductive adventures in Syria, Ukraine, and other nations in East Europe and the Caucasus, have diverted Russia’s resources from the things most important to the Russian people: the economy, healthcare, corruption, education, unemployment, and crime.
And under the blackout, Russia’s infrastructures for transportation, oil and gas production and transport, electric power transmission, clean water supplies, and regional security are crumbling. Corruption weakens Russian industry and commerce, even in the Russian weapons and rocketry sectors. Innovation suffers badly as a result, leading to the need for Russia to pose as a much stronger world power than it actually is — just as in the first cold war.
The “hopeful” demographic numbers trumpeted by Russian national media obscure a more worrying reality about Russia’s demographics: The overall population cannot be prevented from dropping, even with rapid immigration. This is because the number of Russian women of child-bearing age will soon “drop off a cliff,” falling by roughly 50% over 10 years. The same drop in Russia’s males will be felt as a rapid loss in working-age and military-age males.
In an interview posted by Stoletiye.ru yesterday, Anatoly Antonov notes that fertility rates in Russia stood at 1.2 children per woman in 1992, rose to 1.4 in 2007-2008, and now stand at “approximately 1.6.” That has given rise to much optimism, but that optimism is misplaced.
On the one hand, he points out, if the current level were to be maintained, that would mean that the country’s population would be only half the size it is now in half a century. And on the other, if it falls back toward a level of 1.1 as current trends suggest, that halving of the country’s population will take only 25 years.
What makes these conclusions worth noting is that they come from a scholar who has long been identified as a Russian nationalist… __ Source
According to Russian demographers such as Antonov above, Russia’s population could be cut in half between now and the year 2070. An increase in Chinese immigrants and Muslim immigrants could slow the decline in overall population, while radically changing the nature of the Russian population itself. The map below is a whimsical representation of what could happen with uncontrolled Chinese immigration into Siberia.
Unfortunately for Russia, Putin picked the wrong time to pursue neo-imperialism, and alienate the wealthier and more advanced western world. The Russian “alliance” with China is a precarious one, liable to leave Russia in an even weaker and more dependent state than at present. Certainly fellow neo-imperialist Xi will never tolerate a close neighbor who retains the ability to instantly wipe out all of China’s population centres with the touch of a button.
Things are never how they seem. Everything you are told is a lie. Whatever you think you know, just ain’t so. That is the beginning of understanding.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.
A perfect symbol of Chinese-Russian cooperation is provided by a half-built bridge between the two countries. As a picture of the site shows, China has finished its half of the bridge, but the Russians have done nothing but create a tent city on the Russian side of the border (zloy-odessit.livejournal.com/1834438.html).
To the inner circle only Moscow counts.
This is a key point, since an increasing number of observers are beginning to notice that money comes into Moscow from the resource-rich periphery, but the benefits seem to remain in Moscow. Already diverse parts of the empire are acquiring independent traits of behaviour which should scare Moscow insiders — if they were paying attention.
The Russian state is highly criminalised, and the interpenetration of the criminal ‘underworld’ and the political ‘upperworld’ has led the regime to use criminals from time to time as instruments of its rule.
… I was not behaving at all. I was, when I was awake, literally sitting in bed and staring at the wall with neither interest nor disinterest for three, four hours at a time. If you’d had a camera in the room, you would have thought I was comatose.
… People who are deprived of testosterone don’t become Spock-like and incredibly rational. They become nonsensical because they’re unable to distinguish between what is and isn’t interesting, and what is worth noting and what isn’t.
What Happens When Testosterone is Boosted Through the Roof?
Next we look at the experience of someone who was born female, but chose to transform herself into a “he,” using massive doses of testosterone. How did “his” experience of life transform? How did “his” mind change?
The most overwhelming feeling is the incredible increase in libido and change in the way that I perceived women and the way I thought about sex.
… I remember walking up Fifth Avenue, and there was a woman walking in front of me. And she was wearing this little skirt and this little top. And I was looking at her ass. And I kept saying to myself, don’t look at it. Don’t look at it. And I kept looking at it.
And I walked past her. And this voice in my head kept saying, turn around to look at her breasts. Turn around. Turn around. Turn around. And my feminist, female background kept saying, don’t you dare, you pig. Don’t turn around. And I fought myself for a whole block, and then I turned around and checked her out. __ Testosterone: This American Life archives
Beyond the predictable boost to libido, “he” also became interested in different things:
Something that happened after I started taking testosterone, I became interested in science. I was never interested in science before… I found myself understanding physics in a way I never had before.
Here is an interesting anecdote along these lines from Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds:
It’s funny, I was talking to a friend a while back who was very interested in math and science pre-puberty, but lost nearly all interest afterward, and she said, “when the estrogen came in, the science went out.” __ Source
Men earn most of the Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry, almost all Fields medals in mathematics, and occupy the elite levels of most professions that involve top-level spatial and mathematical skills. Men pioneer the conceptual underpinnings of the science and technology that make advanced societies possible.
Special Note: Testosterone Boosts Risk-Taking and Physical Courage
One of the shortest books you may find is “Great Female Explorers and Adventurers.” Most people know about Shackleton, Amundsen, Sir Richard Burton, Columbus, Magellan, Lindbergh, Humboldt, Marco Polo, Zheng He, Bering, Leif Ericson, Lewis and Clark, and several others. Almost all of the great explorers seem to have been men. But the physical courage that derives from testosterone does not just discover new worlds and break new conceptual ground. It also spurs men to take the risks that are necessary to run the modern world.
Rough, Dirty, and Often Dangerous Jobs Keep Your Boat Afloat
Advanced technological civilisations require a lot of construction and maintenance. Men have the strength and spatial/mechanical skills to get such vital work done. Most women have neither the physical strength required, nor the interest in doing such jobs. As is often said, “Women pick out wallpaper patterns. Men run the universe.” 😉 Just kidding.
These rough and dirty jobs are crucial for running critical infrastructures of advanced high technology societies. Given the influence of testosterone on strength, visual/mechanical skills, and physical courage, it makes sense for men to dominate these rough and vital occupations. But strangely, men also tend to dominate in music, art, literature — even fashion design!
A thorough reading of Charles Murray’s Human Accomplishment reveals that this disproportionate participation by males at the elite levels of discovery and mastery is not a new phenomenon. Not surprisingly, the huge difference in blood testosterone levels between average men (roughly 300 to 1000 ng/dl) and average women (30 to 95 ng/dl) is not a new phenomenon either.
With differences in testosterone levels so large between men and women, it would be very surprising not to find huge differences in male and female bodies and brains. And yet modern politically correct societies in Europe and the Anglosphere go about pretending that men and women should be the same! The contemporary “war against boys” that results from this basic mistake continues to cause untold hardship for individuals and large-scale damage to society at large.
Can testosterone really do all that? Not by itself, no. But when combined with good parenting, good genes, and plenty of healthy outlets for natural male enthusiasm, it can do all that and more.