The Sea off Fukushima is boiling

While most people are only concerned about xfactor, its back on in the UK this very eve, but off the East Coast of Japan we have a real story, still developing after 2 years of an essential news blackout.

“After a 29-month cover-up, the Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is now calling for international help and has all but admitted Fukushima’s radiation leaks are spiraling out of control. In addition to the leaking water storage units that are unleashing hundreds of tons of radioactive water each day, Tepco now says 50% of its contaminated water filtration capability has been taken offline due to corrosion,” courtesy of Natural News.

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This is not just worrying, in my opinion, it is the worst disaster in our known history on this planet. Our leaders are not bringing this up in parliament, we are distracted with so many non stories and shiny trinkets, when this gets into the food supply and it will (bio-magnification), expect cancer rates to go through the roof. This needs international help and mobilisation now, if the US public figured out they will and could already be irradiated on the West coast, heads would roll and markets would crash. This boils down to money and the effect on share prices of nuclear companies and markets themselves. Instead they’re off to start another war with a sovereign nation.

Life is worth much more than fiat money, its unmeasurable and priceless. Our leaders actions so far, are harrowingly silent and incompetent, who wants to crash the markets when you’re a narcissist?

Modified Theory Of Gravity Predicts Galactic Dynamics, Challenges Dark Matter

I read a book a year or so ago called The Electric Universe by Donald E Scott and it challenged my thoughts on science and current thinking. It helped change my perspective on peer reviewed research and that there is so much more to this reality than we’ll ever know. Courtesy of Redorbit:

For decades astronomers have studied the motions of galaxies – their rotations about their axes, as well as their interactions with each other – and been puzzled by what they have observed. The data suggests one of two possibilities: either these galaxies, and the space between them, contain significantly more mass than what is seen, or our physical understanding of gravity is flawed.

The oft-discussed solution is that there is some form of matter that dominates the Universe that does not interact electromagnetically, hence its name: dark matter. However, there are those who argue that, despite the growing amount of evidence that dark matter is real, perhaps a better explanation is that our laws of gravity are incomplete.

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Our best mathematical expression of gravity remains Einstein’s theory of general relativity. And while attempts have been made to add extra scalar fields and other metrics to Einstein’s equations to account for both dark matter as well as dark energy, these modifications add complexity to an already difficult set of equations to work with. Furthermore, much of that work has lacked conclusive predictions that can be tested with current technology (though that, too, may be changing).

Luckily, in many systems – the surface of Earth being a prime example – the cumbersome equations that define general relativity reduce to a simpler set of expressions that date back hundreds of years. Newtonian Mechanics, developed by their namesake Sir Isaac Newton, define the simple motion of objects in gravitational fields, so long as they are approximately uniform and not so strong as to introduce relativistic effects.

With this starting point, researchers have then been looking to develop a Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND) theory that would explain the motions of galaxies without the need for dark matter. When applied to systems that should roughly obey Newtonian motion (i.e. where the effects of relativity are minimal) such a theory should be able to predict the motions.

If shown to be successful, the underlying concepts could then be expanded to include relativistic effects, providing an important stepping stone in exploring which avenue of research – modified gravity or dark matter – is the more likely solution to the problem of galactic dynamics.

To investigate, Stacy McGaugh, professor of astronomy at Case Western Reserve, and Mordehai Milgrom, professor of physics at the Weizmann Institute in Israel and one of the originators of MOND, set out to establish predictions of the galactic motions of 10 dwarf galaxies in our local group. These dwarf spheroidal galaxies – systems similar to normal elliptical galaxies, but containing far fewer stars – are also popular targets for astronomers looking for dark matter interactions.

However, the predictions made in their paper, which will appear in an upcoming edition of the Astrophysical Journal, may suggest that the motions of the galaxies would be decidedly different than those anticipated by dark matter dominated galaxies.

In their theory, Newtonian mechanics has a small correction when acceleration is low – about 100 billionth the magnitude of the surface gravity on Earth. As a result, we would be virtually unable to probe such deviations on Earth, but in the gravitational interactions between these dwarf galaxies and the hosts they orbit – in this case, the Andromeda galaxy – there are measurable effects.

“The influence of the host galaxy may provide a test to distinguish between dark matter and MOND,” McGaugh says. “Dark matter provides a cocoon for the dwarfs, protecting the stars from tidal influence by the host galaxy. With MOND, the influence of the host is more pronounced.”

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So far, their model has proven successful in predicting the velocity dispersions observed in similar dwarf galaxies. Further observations will be undertaken to test the theory, but currently the model put forth by McGaugh and Milgrom is gaining traction. But for now, only time will tell if MOND will emerge as a serious challenger to dark matter theory.

So its Syria we need to be worried about now?

As the war drums beat yet again, lest we never forget that the United States, officially a secular nation but predominantly Christian who has attacked the following countries since 1980:

El Salvador (1980), Libya (1981), Sinai (1982), Lebanon (1982 1983), Egypt (1983), Grenada (1983), Honduras (1983), Chad (1983), Persian Gulf (1984), Libya (1986) , Bolivia (1986), Iran (1987), Persian Gulf (1987), Kuwait (1987), Iran (1988), Honduras (1988), Panama (1988), Libya (1989), Panama (1989), Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru (1989), Philippines (1989), Panama (1989-1990), Liberia (1990), Saudi Arabia (1990), Iraq (1991), Zaire (1991), Sierra Leone (1992), Somalia (1992), Bosnia-Herzegovina (1993 to present), Macedonia (1993), Haiti (1994), Macedonia (1994), Bosnia (1995), Liberia (1996), Central African Republic (1996), Albania (1997), Congo/Gabon (1997), Sierra Leon (1997), Cambodia (1997), Iraq (1998), Guinea/Bissau (1998), Kenya/Tanzania (1998 to 1999), Afghanistan/Sudan (1998), Liberia (1998), East Timor (1999), Serbia (1999), Sierra Leon (2000), Yemen (2000), East Timor (2000), Afghanistan (2001 to present), Yemen (2002), Philippines (2002) , Cote d’Ivoire (2002), Iraq (2003 to present), Liberia (2003), Georgia/Djibouti (2003), Haiti (2004), Georgia/Djibouti/Kenya/Ethiopia/Yemen/Eritrea War on Terror (2004), Pakistan drone attacks (2004 to present), Somalia (2007), South Ossetia/Georgia (2008), Syria (2008), Yemen (2009), Haiti (2010) etc.

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Who is the danger to world peace? I don’t think it’s Syria.

The loss of life through war and imperialism is disturbing and unbelievable, since the beginning of the 1700’s 1967 is the only year in which the UK hasn’t lost a member of the armed forces in conflict.

The U.S., Britain and Israel have Used Chemical Weapons within the Last 10 Years

Hypocrisy is rife within Western political circles, when we say there is a line that can’t be crossed with chemical weapons we conveniently forget that the US and UK crossed that line in previous illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A docile population and the media acting as the propaganda arm for the government ensures we forget the crimes that we commit to further the narrative. With depleted uranium, white phosphorus and napalm used in previous and current theatres of war, who are we to judge other regimes? I don’t believe the Assad regime used chemical weapons, it has the most to lose from doing this but the narrative must be furthered.

If the UK, US and Israel are concerned over the humanitarian issue of 5,000,000 displaced Syrians, where is the help for these vulnerable men, woman and children? Instead of dropping £2,000,000,000 worth of ordnance on Syria, spend it on helping the refugees, not lining the pockets of the military industrial complex.

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Courtesy of Washingtons blog:

We condemn all use of chemical weapons.

But the U.S. used chemical weapons against civilians in Iraq in 2004. Evidence here, here, here, here, here, here.

Israeli also used white phosphorous in 2009 during “Operation Cast Lead” (and perhaps subsequently). Israel ratified Protocol III of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (“Protocol III”) – which outlaws the use of incendiary devices in war – in 2007. So this was a war crime.

Moreover, the 1925 Geneva Protocol (which is different from Protocol III) prohibits “the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases”.

The use of White phosphorus (“WP”) may also be a war crime under other international treaties and domestic U.S. laws. For example, the Battle Book, published by the U.S. Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, contains the following sentence: “It is against the law of land warfare to employ WP against personnel targets.”

The U.S. National Safety Council states that “White phosphorus is a poison . . . If its combustion occurs in a confined space, white phosphorus will remove the oxygen from the air and render the air unfit to support life . . . It is considered a dangerous disaster hazard because it emits highly toxic fumes. The EPA has listed white phosphorus as a Hazardous Air Pollutant.

Indeed, it is interesting to note that the U.S. previously called white phosphorous a chemical weapon when Saddam used it against the Kurds. Interestingly, it has just come out that the U.S. encouraged Saddam’s use of chemical weapons.

Moreover, the U.S. and Britain have been dropping depleted uranium in virtually every country they fight, which causes severe health problems. See this, this, this and this.

University of California at Irvine professor of Middle Eastern history Mark LeVine writes:

Not only did the US aid the use of chemical weapons by the former Iraqi government, it also used chemical weapons on a large scale during its 1991 and 2003 invasions of Iraq, in the form of depleted-uranium (DU) ammunition.

As Dahr Jamail’s reporting for Al Jazeera has shown, the use of DU by the US and UK has very likely been the cause not only of many cases of Gulf War Syndrome suffered by Iraq war veterans, but also of thousands of instances of birth defects, cancer and other diseases – causing a “large-scale public health disaster” and the “highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied” – suffered by Iraqis in areas subjected to frequent and intense attacks by US and allied occupation forces.

And Israel has been accused of using depleted uranium in Syria.

Two wrongs don’t make a right. But it is hypocritical for the U.S., Britain and Israel to say that we should bomb Syria because the government allegedly used chemical weapons.

Note: The U.S. sprayed nearly 20,000,000 gallons of material containing chemical herbicides and defoliants mixed with jet fuel in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects as a result of its use. The Red Cross of Vietnam estimates that up to 1 million people are disabled or have health problems due to Agent Orange. But that was some 50 years ago.

Meet Saudi Arabia’s Bandar bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind The Syrian War

I’ve posted quite a few articles from The Hedge as of late, it seems like the one stop shop for well written ad investigative journalism. I think its indicative of our times that there are so few outlets for actual news. The majority of news is propaganda which furthers the narrative, that terrorists are everywhere and must be defeated, even though we are supporting the terrorists, financially and politically. You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time. Courtesy of The Hedge:

Yesterday the Telegraph’s Evans-Pritchard dug up a note that we had posted almost a month ago, relating to the “secret” meeting between Saudi Arabia and Russia, in which Saudi’s influential intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan met with Putin and regaled him with gifts, including a multi-billion arms deal and a promise that Saudi is “ready to help Moscow play a bigger role in the Middle East at a time when the United States is disengaging from the region”, if only Putin would agree to give up his alliance with Syria’s al-Assad and let Syria take over, ostensibly including control of the country’s all important natgas transit infrastructure. What was not emphasized by the Telegraph is that Putin laughed at the proposal and brushed aside the Saudi desperation by simply saying “nyet.” However, what neither the Telegraph, nor we three weeks ago, picked up on, is what happened after Putin put Syria in its place. We now know, and it’s a doozy.

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Courtesy of As-Safir (translated here), we learn all the gritty details about what really happened at the meeting, instead of just the Syrian motives and the Russian conclusion, and most importantly what happened just as the meeting ended, unsuccessfully (at least to the Saudi). And by that we mean Saudi Arabia’s threats toward Russia and Syria.

First, some less well-known observations on who it was that was supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt even as US support was fading fast:

Bandar said that the matter is not limited to the kingdom and that some countries have overstepped the roles drawn for them, such as Qatar and Turkey. He added, “We said so directly to the Qataris and to the Turks. We rejected their unlimited support to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere. The Turks’ role today has become similar to Pakistan’s role in the Afghan war. We do not favor extremist religious regimes, and we wish to establish moderate regimes in the region. It is worthwhile to pay attention to and to follow up on Egypt’s experience. We will continue to support the [Egyptian] army, and we will support Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi because he is keen on having good relations with us and with you. And we suggest to you to be in contact with him, to support him and to give all the conditions for the success of this experiment. We are ready to hold arms deals with you in exchange for supporting these regimes, especially Egypt.”

So while Saudi was openly supporting the Egyptian coup, which is well-known, it was Turkey and most importantly Qatar, the nation that is funding and arming the Syrian rebels, that were the supporters of the now failed regime. One wonders just how much Egypt will straing Saudi-Qatari relations, in light of their joined interests in Syria.

Second, some better-known observations by Putin on Russia’s relationship with Iran:

Regarding Iran, Putin said to Bandar that Iran is a neighbor, that Russia and Iran are bound by relations that go back centuries, and that there are common and tangled interests between them. Putin said, “We support the Iranian quest to obtain nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes. And we helped them develop their facilities in this direction. Of course, we will resume negotiations with them as part of the 5P+1 group. I will meet with President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the Central Asia summit and we will discuss a lot of bilateral, regional and international issues. We will inform him that Russia is completely opposed to the UN Security Council imposing new sanctions on Iran. We believe that the sanctions imposed against Iran and Iranians are unfair and that we will not repeat the experience again.” Then, Putin’s position vis-a-vis Turkey, whom he implicitly warns that it is “not immune to Syria’s bloodbath.”

Regarding the Turkish issue, Putin spoke of his friendship with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan; “Turkey is also a neighboring country with which we have common interests. We are keen to develop our relations in various fields. During the Russian-Turkish meeting, we scrutinized the issues on which we agree and disagree. We found out that we have more converging than diverging views. I have already informed the Turks, and I will reiterate my stance before my friend Erdogan, that what is happening in Syria necessitates a different approach on their part.

Turkey will not be immune to Syria’s bloodbath. The Turks ought to be more eager to find a political settlement to the Syrian crisis. We are certain that the political settlement in Syria is inevitable, and therefore they ought to reduce the extent of damage. Our disagreement with them on the Syrian issue does not undermine other understandings between us at the level of economic and investment cooperation. We have recently informed them that we are ready to cooperate with them to build two nuclear reactors. This issue will be on the agenda of the Turkish prime minister during his visit to Moscow in September.”
Of course, there is Syria:

Regarding the Syrian issue, the Russian president responded to Bandar, saying,

“Our stance on Assad will never change. We believe that the Syrian regime is the best speaker on behalf of the Syrian people, and not those liver eaters. During the Geneva I Conference, we agreed with the Americans on a package of understandings, and they agreed that the Syrian regime will be part of any settlement. Later on, they decided to renege on Geneva I. In all meetings of Russian and American experts, we reiterated our position. In his upcoming meeting with his American counterpart John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will stress the importance of making every possible effort to rapidly reach a political settlement to the Syrian crisis so as to prevent further bloodshed.”

Alas, that has failed.

So what are some of the stunning disclosures by the Saudis? First this:

Bandar told Putin, “There are many common values ??and goals that bring us together, most notably the fight against terrorism and extremism all over the world. Russia, the US, the EU and the Saudis agree on promoting and consolidating international peace and security. The terrorist threat is growing in light of the phenomena spawned by the Arab Spring. We have lost some regimes. And what we got in return were terrorist experiences, as evidenced by the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the extremist groups in Libya. … As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.”

It is good of the Saudis to admit they control a terrorist organization that “threatens the security” of the Sochi 2014 Olympic games, and that house of Saud uses “in the face of the Syrian regime.” Perhaps the next time there is a bombing in Boston by some Chechen-related terrorists, someone can inquire Saudi Arabia what, if anything, they knew about that.

But the piece de resistance is what happened at the end of the dialogue between the two leaders. It was, in not so many words, a threat by Saudi Arabia aimed squarely at Russia:

As soon as Putin finished his speech, Prince Bandar warned that in light of the course of the talks, things were likely to intensify, especially in the Syrian arena, although he appreciated the Russians’ understanding of Saudi Arabia’s position on Egypt and their readiness to support the Egyptian army despite their fears for Egypt’s future.

The head of the Saudi intelligence services said that the dispute over the approach to the Syrian issue leads to the conclusion that “there is no escape from the military option, because it is the only currently available choice given that the political settlement ended in stalemate. We believe that the Geneva II Conference will be very difficult in light of this raging situation.”

At the end of the meeting, the Russian and Saudi sides agreed to continue talks, provided that the current meeting remained under wraps. This was before one of the two sides leaked it via the Russian press.

Since we know all about this, it means no more talks, an implicit warning that the Chechens operating in proximity to Sochi may just become a loose cannon (with Saudi’s blessing of course), and that about a month ago “there is no escape from the military option, because it is the only currently available choice given that the political settlement ended in stalemate.” Four weeks later, we are on the edge of all out war, which may involve not only the US and Europe, but most certainly Saudi Arabia and Russia which automatically means China as well. Or, as some may call it, the world.

And all of it as preordained by a Saudi prince, and all in the name of perpetuating the hegemony of the petrodollar.

P.S. Russia and Saudi Arabia account for 25% of global oil production.

Just Thinking about Science Triggers Moral Behavior

With science in mind, morality increases. Courtesy of Scientific America:

Public opinion towards science has made headlines over the past several years for a variety of reasons — mostly negative. High profile cases of academic dishonesty and disputes over funding have left many questioning the integrity and societal value of basic science, while accusations of politically motivated research fly from left and right. There is little doubt that science is value-laden. Allegiances to theories and ideologies can skew the kinds of hypotheses tested and the methods used to test them. These, however, are errors in the application of the method, not the method itself. In other words, it’s possible that public opinion towards science more generally might be relatively unaffected by the misdeeds and biases of individual scientists. In fact, given the undeniable benefits scientific progress yielded, associations with the process of scientific inquiry may be quite positive.

Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara set out to test this possibility. They hypothesized that there is a deep-seated perception of science as a moral pursuit — its emphasis on truth-seeking, impartiality and rationality privileges collective well-being above all else. Their new study, published in the journal PLOSOne, argues that the association between science and morality is so ingrained that merely thinking about it can trigger more moral behavior.

The researchers conducted four separate studies to test this. The first sought to establish a simple correlation between the degree to which individuals believed in science and their likelihood of enforcing moral norms when presented with a hypothetical violation. Participants read a vignette of a date-rape and were asked to rate the “wrongness” of the offense before answering a questionnaire measuring their belief in science. Indeed, those reporting greater belief in science condemned the act more harshly.

Of course, a simple correlation is susceptible to multiple alternative explanations. To rule out these possibilities, Studies 2-4 used experimental manipulations to test whether inducing thoughts about science could influence both reported, as well as actual, moral behavior. All made use of a technique called “priming” in which participants are exposed to words relevant to a particular category in order to increase its cognitive accessibility. In other words, showing you words like “logical,” “hypothesis,” “laboratory” and “theory” should make you think about science and any effect the presentation of these words has on subsequent behavior can be attributed to the associations you have with that category.

Participants first completed a word scramble task during which they either had to unscramble some of these science-related words or words that had nothing to do with science. They then either read the date-rape vignette and answered the same questions regarding the severity of that transgression (Study 2), reported the degree to which they intended to perform a variety of altruistic actions over the next month (Study 3), or engaged in a behavioral economics task known as the dictator game (Study 4). In the dictator game the participant is given a sum of money (in this case $5) and told to divide that sum however they please between themselves and an anonymous other participant. The amount that participants give to the other is taken to be an index of their altruistic motivation.

Across all these different measures, the researchers found consistent results. Simply being primed with science-related thoughts increased a) adherence to moral norms, b) real-life future altruistic intentions, and c) altruistic behavior towards an anonymous other. The conceptual association between science and morality appears strong.

Though this finding replicates across different measures and methods, there’s one variable that might limit the generalizability of the effect. There is some evidence suggesting that attitudes towards science vary across political parties with conservatives having become decreasingly trustworthy of science over the past several decades. Though the researchers did include measures of religiosity in their studies, which did not affect the relationship between science and morality, ideally they would have also controlled for political affiliation. It’s not a stretch to imagine that undergraduate students at the University of Santa Barbara disproportionately represent liberals. If so, the relationship between science and morality found here might be stronger in self-described liberals.

That said, there’s also reason to believe that the general public, liberal or conservative, can draw a distinction between the scientific process and its practitioners. In the same way that people might mistrust politicians but still see nobility in the general organizing principles of our political structure, we could hold charitable views of science independent of how it might be conducted.

These results might seem encouraging, particularly to fans of science. But one possible cost of assigning moral weight to science is the degree to which it distorts the way we respond to research conclusions. When faced with a finding that contradicts a cherished belief (e.g. a new study suggesting that humans have, or have not, contributed to global warming), we are more likely to question the integrity of the practitioner. If science is fundamentally moral, then how could it have arrived at such an offensive conclusion? Blame the messenger.

How can we correct this thought process? A greater emphasis on, and better understanding of, the method might do the trick. It’s significantly harder to deny the import of challenging findings when you have the tools necessary to evaluate the process by which scientists arrived at their results. That new study on global warming is tougher to dismiss when you know (and care enough to check) that the methods used are sound, regardless of what you think the authors’ motivations might be. In the absence of such knowledge, the virtue assigned to “science” might also be a motivational force for ideological distortion, the precise opposite of impartial truth-seeking.