View 823 Wednesday, May 07, 2014
“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009
If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.
Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983
The big news today is that a report prepared by 300 climate change experts supervised by 60 climate change scientists – I quote from an approving account – are telling us that climate change is here, now, and the news is not good.
Climate change is here, action needed now, says new White House report
By Kevin Liptak, Jethro Mullen and Tom Cohen, CNN
Climate change report warns of frantic future for Florida
A federal report released Tuesday shows much of South Florida could experience dramatic, damaging effects of climate change and rising sea levels within just a few decades.
The Third National Climate Assessment, compiled by more than 300 national experts over the last three years, says climate change threatens Florida’s tourism industry, water supply and public health. Sea levels will rise between 1 to 4 feet by 2100.
It is disputed, of course:
‘Climate Hustle’ or ‘American Doomsday’?! Obama climate report panned by scientists – ‘Pseudoscience’ ‘sales pitch’ ‘follow the money’ ‘total distortion’ ‘false premise’ ‘outdated & wrong’ ‘failure’
Heartland Institute’s James Taylor: Obama climate report exposed: ‘Leading authors of this report include staffers for activist groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists, Planet Forward, The Nature Conservancy, and Second Nature’
US physics professor: ‘Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life’
Readers here will not find any of this surprising. We all know that the trend has been toward global warming since about 1812. Prior to that was the Little Ice Age during which the Thames and Hudson froze over so hard that not only were there skaters, but farmer’s markets set up on the ice. The Little Ice Age set in about 1320, ending the Medieval Warm period during which the Vikings settled Greenland, Domesday Book showed vineyards in York, Nova Scotia was called Vineland and supported fierce Skraelings who drove the Viking settlers out after lengthy attempts to form Viking settlements in the New World well before Columbus, and monasteries across Europe reported longer growing seasons and better crops. And before that there was another cycle of warm and cold, with rising seas flooding coastal cities during the warm periods, and bad crops and shorter growing and sailing seasons during the cold.
In other words, the Earth has in historic times been warmer and colder than now; and while CO2 may have a warming effect, it certainly was not the cause of the Roman Warm period, nor of the Viking Warm period; nor was lack of CO2 the cause of the cold period that contributed to the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the migrations of the Goths, Visigoths, Huns, various Slavs, and other invading tribes that changed the face and composition of Europe.
The current weather patterns are attributed to La Nina and El Nino, but no climatologist understands the causes of those ocean circulation events, and few even purport to. And my weatherman has predicted rain for our area for weeks, any day now, but so far there hasn’t been much, and Niven and I will go hiking when he gets here.
There is neither new data nor new science in this report, and the assertions that we now know how to predict future hurricane and tornado seasons are absurd. The sea levels have been rising for years, but the seas haven’t reached the levels they were at in 1066, and from my visit to Thermopylae and the distance of those Hot Gates from the Aegean Sea I’d say the seas are considerably lower than they were in the time of the Persian War. In any event they are not rising faster now than they were in 1850.
We will be asked to pay lots more money to avert this new climate disaster, and the costs will be enormous because the effects of the remedies on the economy will be enormous, and cause famines in Africa. Now that they might get in on this industrial progress we are closing the gate in their faces, but that’s the way the climate changes.
At least there are jobs in climate change analysis. So long as you come up with the accepted results. If you don’t, well, you must work for an oil company.
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Niven is here and we’re off for a hike. More later, on how to get eternal youth, and the problems that new discovery will have,
We’re back. Good hike. Stopped 1/2 mile and 200 feet climb from the top today, as I was a little unsteady. We need to do this more often so that we get to the top every time.
BREAKING: Massive Explosion in Qazvin, Iran – May Have Nuclear Origins …Update: Roads Blocked Off for 2km | The Gateway Pundit
My heart bleeds for Iran.
Most nuclear enrichment facilities don’t explode. Of course by now the NSA will know all about the nature and characteristics of the explosion, and there may even be a fly-through to get air samples…
Young Blood Renews Old Mice
Rejuvenated. Reconstructions of blood vessels in an old mouse’s brain (left) and in an old mouse that received young mouse blood.
Could the elixir of youth be as simple as a protein found in young blood? In recent years, researchers studying mice found that giving old animals blood from young ones can reverse some signs of aging, and last year one team identified a growth factor in the blood that they think is partly responsible for the antiaging effect on a specific tissue—the heart. Now, that group has shown this same factor can also rejuvenate muscle and the brain.
"This is the first demonstration of a rejuvenation factor" that is naturally produced, declines with age, and reverses aging in multiple tissues, says Harvard University stem cell researcher Amy Wagers, who led efforts to isolate and study the protein. Independently, another team has found that simply injecting plasma from young mice into old mice can boost learning.
Repeated from yesterday’s View (which see)
>>[E]xposure of an aged animal to young blood can counteract and reverse pre-existing effects of brain aging at the molecular, structural, functional and cognitive level.<<
Larry Niven long ago postulated that his teleportation booths might be the secret of eternal youth: each time you teleport, waste materials are not carried along with you, nor are aging compounds, and thus you get renewal and eternal youth. Science fiction. And Heinlein’s Methuselah’s Children had something of the sort, enough young blood into an adult will arrest aging. Of course the Medieval Vampire legends suggest much the same thing.
But it has long been suspected that enough youthful blood exchanged into mature adult will arrest aging in that adult. Indeed, it has long been suspected by conspiracy theorists that this is well known to insiders, but of course the knowledge is carefully suppressed. In any event it is becoming more and more clear that it is no longer just science fiction, but a possible hypothesis, and animal testing seems to confirm the view. In other words, the possibility of eternal youth.
If there is anything to the hypothesis, we may look for a great deal of negative evidence suddenly to appear. After all, the last thing governments want is to stimulate a demand for eternal youth if it can be achieved only at the cost of premature aging for younger people – you can avoid getting older by draining the life out of younger people. If eternal youth is possible it will soon become an entitlement. And if there is a class of people more aware of and demanding of their perquisites and entitlements than Senators and Members of Congress, I am not aware of it. Then too there are the rich.
And some of the rich are already be buying young people as slaves. True they mostly buy girls for sexual purposes (although one supposes some boys are sold for such purposes as well) but if you are willing to buy sex slaves you are probably willing to buy enslaved blood donors. Economics will dictate whether it is better to keep a known healthy crop allowed to live in quarantine as they are repeatedly bled and allowed to recover, or simply bleed them to death and replace them with fresh young blood. I suspect both approaches will be tried. I say the rich, but that is a conclusion: someone is buying sex slaves, and there is a great deal of money in the traffic which has been going on for a long time.
But the incentive to buy sex slaves is small compared to the incentive to greatly slow aging. True, so long as it is not assured that this works the incentive is not so high, but I would think that the possibility of its working is now high enough to make it tempting to try; moreover, Moore’s Law is inexorable. Technology just now advances in a part of the S curve that is indistinguishable from an exponential curve. If we don’t yet know how to arrest aging, we’re making so many advances in biology that it would be odd if we didn’t learn the causes and preventions of aging – and alas all the best theories seem to lead to a requirement for young parts.
Meanwhile, Clarke’s theory that reliable contraception and paternity identifications would lead to the disruption of moral codes and sexual mores, changing sex from a means for reproduction into just another cool thing to do, seem already to have taken place in much of the West and are slowly boring their way into less progressive cultures. I see not reason for that trend to slow down. This weakens families, and thus weakens protection for young people belonging to a libertine culture. Perhaps I am just speculating. It is hard to think of people who would sell their own children into slavery. It is not so hard to think that there will not be organizations that exist to sell other people’s children into slavery. It’s just business…
We can hope that technology will take another giant step and come up with some way – nanotechnology? – to synthesize not just blood, but young blood. This may not prove so easy to do. We can clone Dolly, but we are still in the era of Schliemann and Schwann. It won’t be easy – and there is an easy way to collect young blood. There are already reasons for trafficking in young girls. Now there is an even more compelling payoff for those who buy them.
The good news is that advances in technology bring increased productivity, more goods with less work, with fewer people required to get the work done. Meanwhile the schools are kept in a condition indistinguishable from an act of war against the United States, and increasing numbers of citizens graduate without learning how to do one single thing that other people will pay you money to do. Now comes the news that many of them aren’t useless at all – at least not if they are young and healthy.
A late night thought:
In another conference I stated that the trend was clear, and that at some point half the population would be useless. This led to a challenge: it’s a serious charge, I was told. I should not say anything like that. The implication was that I was immoral for saying it, and had an evil definition of useful, and I suppose the inference I was supposed to make was that I should change my views of humanity, and presumably be more Christian. People are never useless, and I should be ashamed of myself for saying it.
It’s not bad advice but it had missed the point of what I was saying.
I am not advocating I am pointing to what appears to be an inevitable trend.
In 1900 well over 80% of the population was required to work in agriculture to grow enough crops and tend to enough animals to feed the farmers and families and the rest of the nation. Over time farms became more productive. Capital was invested in farm implements, farm labor became more productive, more farm products were available – and fewer and fewer farm worker were needed. Now considerably fewer than 20% of the population are needed to produce enough food to feed everyone in the US far better than we were fed in 1900, we can burn corn as fuel and do other wasteful nonsense, and we still have food to export. The productivity rise was just too much for the bureaucracy and the farm workers unions to stop, and the trend continues inexorably. We do not need 50% of the population to feed the other half and feed them well.
US manufacturing output has always been large compared to the rest of the world. During World War II we built an enormously productive war products manufacturing system and did it from scratch. From producing a thousand rifles a year we went to millions. When the Germans developed a Panther tank ten times better than our Sherman, we sent after each Panther twenty Shermans and several low cost Tank Destroyers to finish the job while the Panther was engaging ten Shermans. We built better airplanes than the Zero and the Betty, and we built a LOT of them. We turned out a Liberty ship a day from places that used to be mud flats.
After the war the economy boomed, and workers of all skills and abilities participated, so that a lot more than half the population possessed the goods of fortune in moderation – Aristotle’s definition of Middle Class, as Rule by the Middle Class was democracy. It all worked, we built schools to turn out workers for the new economy, and it looked as if we had reached the end or that part of history in which a large part of the population was doomed to Lower Class status.
But Moore’s Law – I use this for shorthand to indicate the great advances in all fields of technology that are so typical now – inexorably produces higher productivity. Labor costs never go down, but the capital cost of replacing a worker falls every year. US factories produce as much as they ever did, but they don’t need half the population working in them to do it. Or even a quarter of it. Robots are cheaper and their cost falls all the time. We can now print stuff that used to be forged, cast, injected… The trend is clear.
The schools could slow it a bit by teaching skills to increase productivity without incurring capital investment (the school being a kind of capital investment) but of course they don’t. Most of the schools teach their students nothing that anyone will pay them money to do. What they do teach isn’t so clear.
So it is easy to project the trend and come up with the possibility that half the population will not be able to do anything needed to grow the food and produce the goods needed by the entire population. They will be economically useless, because they can’t do anything someone will pay them to do. This is not a moral judgment it’s an economic statement. And it would appear to me to be the fate of this nation; and I cannot think that a republic can survive in those conditions.
There is always an ecology. It may not be one we much care for. Me, I sing for my supper.
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