Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Can you say, White Christmas?

I was gonna get out the bike, but..

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Conspiracy of Ignorance

To govern effectively the mass of people must be kept poor and ignorant - Bernard Mandeville, 1670-1733, paraphrased from The Worldly Philosophers, R. Heilbroner

The dumbing down of America is evidence of cynical men in power conspiring to keep Americans poor and ignorant. The men in Washington don't want educated, intelligent, informed voters. They are too hard to manipulate by fear & greed.
cf. Patriot Act - scare the voters into giving up rights & freedoms so we can make more money selling arms & supplies to the military.
How many Senators & Congressmen send their kids to public schools? Why would they, unless they were trying to fund them, to improve them, to produce educated, intelligent citizens? They are not, so they don't.
Simple really.
Why is military spending so far ahead of education spending in the US? Could it be that there is profit in guns, but none in producing an aware citizenry that can't be fooled so easily into electing self-serving egoists like W?

Every time a school board tries to deny access to ideas by banning ideas from the classroom and substituting propaganda - as when Texas replaced science with theology - we lose.

I should have provided the reference to the Texas School Board: here it is:

"AUSTIN, Tex. — After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light. "


"In recent years, board members have been locked in an ideological battle between a bloc of conservatives who question Darwin’s theory of evolution and believe the Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles, and a handful of Democrats and moderate Republicans who have fought to preserve the teaching of Darwinism and the separation of church and state.

Since January, Republicans on the board have passed more than 100 amendments to the 120-page curriculum standards affecting history, sociology and economics courses from elementary to high school."

It is done not by revolution, but by erosion. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Today's Care2 newsletter held a brief article by Deepak Chopra on the mind/body issue. My reaction is below. Here is his article:

The mind has remained a metaphysical riddle for centuries because it inhabits the physical world like a ghost. But that’s a Western perspective based on our bias for solid, tangible things. We insist that the brain must be the source of mind because the brain is a visible object, which is like saying that a radio must be the source of music because it is a visible object from which music emerges.

The Vedic rishis adopted the opposite perspective, insisting that visible objects couldn’t be the source of mind since the physical plane is the least conscious of worlds.

Our Western prejudice against the invisible isn’t easy to overcome. Mind will only be proved to exist outside the brain if it leaves some kind of footprint, a visible sign that is as convincing as the MRIs that provide concrete evidence of neural activity.

Right now you are a bundle of information in mind and body. You have unique memories; your cells have undergone chemical changes shared by no one else in the world. When you die, none of this information will vanish, because it can’t. There is nowhere for plus and minus, positive and negative to go since the field contains nothing but information. Therefore their only alternative is to recombine.

There is growing evidence that in fact we do share the same mind field. The brain belongs to “me,” but if ideas belong to “us,” then we are participating together in a field, sometimes quite mysteriously.

Adapted from Life After Death: The Burden of Proof, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2006).

Read more:"
End Quote.

Sloppy thinking, poor reasoning, unproved assumptions and ridiculous conclusions like these really get up my nose - especially when people get paid for it.

Some points:
"The mind .. because it inhabits physical world like a ghost" - This is called "begging the question" for it is the mind's existence that is at issue. Here Chopra casually assumes the thing which is to be proved.

Western prejudice against the invisible is not prejudice at all. It is healthy skepticism of things for which there is little or no evidence.

"When you die none of this information will vanish.."
Really? What happens to the words on the Scrabble board when the game is over and the tiles are tipped back into the bag?

"Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.."

"There is growing evidence.." - really? Citations please.

What is mysterious is how long charlatans have gotten away with garbage like this.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Inconvenient Truth: FAIL

Al Gore made a film, established himself as an environmental activist, but in the end it only entertained the liberal-minded, middle-class who already accepted the climate change model he espoused.
The movie was a decent first step but was ultimately useless because the only people who went to see it were already believers. It was preaching to the choir.

I venture to say that no one who had already made up their mind that
"climate is changing as a result of human activity" was bogus, was converted into accepting this as true.

The only thing that will reduce harmful climate change is having fewer people. I see no political will to reduce population voluntarily, thus I suspect that nature will take care of the human over-population problem and it won't be pretty.

Meanwhile, converting to electric cars, recycling plastic bags, etc. doesn't mean a thing while Nigeria and Siberia continue flare off enough useable natural gas to power New York.

At night Nigeria and Siberia are brighter than Paris, London, L.A. put together and there are no large cities in these places.

Look it up:

so, sadly, "every little bit" doesn't help because it lulls people into thinking it is all okay. It isn't

Apart from the gas flaring in these places, on another front, China is building 2 coal-fired electricity generating plants EVERY WEEK

for the next several years. Don't bother with your personal re-cycling if you aren't going to change Washington's policies on trade with these nations, and know this, 25% of US oil will come from Nigeria by 2025.

These three factors alone outweigh anything individual citizens can do to change matters. This problem was created at a national level and will only be solved at a national level.