143 thoughts on “General Discussion – 2

  1. Pandas are ‘cutesy and capture the paying publics attention, Clark.

    Admittedly China fully exploited that emotion and probably garnered the attention other species did not receive.

    The point I am making is human short sightedness precludes the highly likely proposition that humans don’t really know what they are doing.

  2. Squonk, thanks for posting those links – the SN5 hop was the next thing I intended catching up on today; your links will save me from having to search for it 😀

  3. Ben, you beat me to it. Yeah, publicity probably drove the failed approach. Rather, entire habitats should be protected, and then the inhabitants will look after themselves.

  4. Aww, Squonk, that was beautiful. Just look at the clarity of that flame, and its instantaneous directional adjustments.

    Yes!!! Mars, here we come!

  5. Node, August 4, 10:21 am:

    “What I’ve just described is medical policy being led by the media on behalf of big pharma. […] It shows that despite achieving promising results, tests of hydroxychloroquine were ended through fraudulent means before their effectiveness or otherwise could be established.”

    In fact: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroxychloroquine#Timeline

    “On 3 June 2020, the WHO announced it would resume its global trial of hydroxychloroquine, after its data safety monitoring committee found there was no increased risk of death for COVID‑19 patients taking it.”

    Node, August 4, 6:55 pm:

    “I already know what happens next. We’ll pay billions to use Remdesivir instead…”

    In fact, Node doesn’t even know what’s happened already.

  6. “Entire habitats should be protected..”

    Including invasive species? Did you read how the unbalanced ecosystem affected indigenous groups?

    Again….we don’t know what we’re doing and until we do..leave well enough alone.

  7. Yeah, but we weren’t leaving well alone; we were trashing the habitat. From the excerpt I posted:

    “…commercial logging, direct poaching of both the carnivores and their ungulate prey, and possible infection and spread of contagious diseases via domestic animals.”

    Ben – “Did you read how the unbalanced ecosystem affected indigenous groups?”

    No, I haven’t read that bit; post an excerpt. But it sounds familiar; the indigenous groups usually know how to respect their environment, and it’s invasive, intensive pursuit of profit that drives degradation.

  8. Until humans can accurately predict the ramifications of their blundering through the World with nothing better than well intentioned intervention, they should stfu.

  9. Node, thanks.

    Covid-19 treatment trials comprise an extensive and fast-developing field in its own right, and I am aware that my own familiarity with it is rudimentary at best. Three pharmaceuticals seem to to be mentioned most frequently: hydroxychloroquine / chloroquine, remdesivir, and dexamethasone. Here are my impressions, and I stress, merely impressions; treatment assessment is not my job nor something I have looked into in depth beyond Ben Goldacre’s two books.

    (Hydroxy)chloroquine seems to be being promoted, sometimes as a magic bullet, by a tiny but vocal faction, mostly among the US Right. However, it also seems to be being falsely undermined by a small but very dodgy US outfit called Surgisphere – Surgisphere produced the paper that was disowned by the Lancet. Other trial results seem marginal / mixed.

    Remdesivir results also seem marginal / mixed.

    – The above two points seem the focus of a politicised battle in the US, the US medical authorities acting against (hydroxy)chloroquine and in favour of remdesivir, in the absence of strong, reliable evidence either way.

    (Hydroxy)chloroquine have other well-established uses, but sudden demand sparked by publicity from the politicised battle has caused a worldwide shortage.

    Dexamethasone does seem to have some reasonable evidence, but gets mentioned less, and hasn’t (yet?) been embroiled in the politicised contest mentioned above.

  10. A while ago I asked if anyone here can ride bicycles or motorcycles, and only got one reply so I’ll try it the other way; who here can’t ride a cycle?

  11. Here’s an interesting compilation from cameras aboard the solid rocket boosters (SRBs) of two Shuttle flights; 400 seconds from lift-off to slash-down. It always amazes me how rapidly the velocity increases. Post separation, subject to nearly identical forces, the other booster remains almost parallel, the background whirling around both. And I love the sound; so eerie.

    Riding the Booster with enhanced sound:


  12. The death of former NSA Brent Scowcroft should bring a halt accolades about former deceased public servants.

    He was instrumental in getting POTUS Gerald Ford to pardon Tricky Dick, putting a seal on his murderous deeds which changed the country forever.

    And getting G W to make 9/11 a war on terrorism.

  13. Trowbridge: But Scowcroft was so helpful after he could do nothing but salvage his eternal damnation..

    Doesn’t he deserve some credit for repentance…you know….like salvaging his soul?

  14. Bill Barr is even wurst than Scowcraft or Goebbels for that matter.

    His perfidy on Nixonian grift and Iran/Contra criminality is more than crime.

    It’s Capitalism at its finest hour

  15. Sorry for the thought chains as comments.

    I find things hard to digest unless I do so in bits and bytes

  16. continuing on the human debacle-chain…

    We’ve seen the wurst of human instincts but as the Sage once said ‘the Road to Life is narrow but the Death Road is wide’ (paraphrasing)

    The point…as I’m not a literalist without a sense of metaphor, is to painfully point out that there are far more folks who predominate self-interest than those who see the collective benefit of cooperation.

    We see that so clearly in the controversy of wearing masks.

    The sad reality of that lemming-level intelligence is our Doom if they prevail, as I predict they will , is virtually assured.

    WWI and WWII proven by current events, shows the Prussian mind will always prevail.

    Ask William Wallace.

  17. “there are far more folks who predominate self-interest than those who see the collective benefit of cooperation”

    I’ve seen that increase in my lifetime.

    It’s only to be expected. Organisms adapt to the environment, and the political environment has been moving to the Right for decades.

    That shift itself is also to be expected. Whichever organisations gain dominance also gain the power to promote their ideology, which influences voters. And so the feedback loop is closed; governments favouring capital, which controls media, influencing voters, electing the government. The people become more selfish because they have to, or they’ll go under, and that adds to the same dynamic. Plus there are short-circuits like this:


    Two things follow from this:

    1) There is no point complaining about “bad men” in power, be it Nixon or Trump. The system itself is fundamentally dysfunctional.

    2) Oppression and exploitation will increase until enough people realise, and are uncomfortable enough to rise up and change the system.

    People talk of the “political pendulum”, but that’s a minor, decade-scale matter. The more important, century-scale dynamic has the shape of the teeth on a saw; gradual increase in oppression followed by sudden rebellion.

  18. The truth is that, to many people calling themselves Socialists, revolution does not mean a movement of the masses with which they hope to associate themselves; it means a set of reforms which ‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders. On the other hand, it would be a mistake to regard the book-trained Socialist as a bloodless creature entirely incapable of emotion. Though seldom giving much evidence of affection for the exploited, he is perfectly capable of displaying hatred—a sort of queer, theoretical, in vacuo hatred—against the exploiters.

    George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier.

  19. Fred, I agree; it’s a major problem. That sort of “socialism” is the sort that the toxic system will cooperate with. We saw that with Blair’s lot; promoted by the corporate “news” media, ~3000 new laws, secret courts, massive expansion of private “security”, mandatory ongoing “professional education” and recertification that could only be bought, and perpetual war for resources.

    Corbyn’s support came from the people upwards, and there’s genuine compassion and concern in XR – though there’s also much naivety in XR, the attitude is embodied in the Core Principles:

    8. We avoid blaming and shaming – We live in a toxic system, but no one individual is to blame.

    6. We welcome everyone and every part of everyone – Working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces.

    4. We openly challenge ourselves and our toxic system – Leaving our comfort zones to take action for change.

    10. We are based on autonomy and decentralisation – We collectively create the structures we need to challenge power.

  20. “…it means a set of reforms which ‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders.”

    The reason it’s such a pervasive problem is what Freud described as our id-ego systems, which give everyone the feeling that they’re superior to everyone else.

    Maybe Ben is right; it’s destiny and cannot be changed. But I don’t find that an adequate reason not to try.

  21. See no mention of Scowcroft overruling Al ‘Deep Throat’ Haig in giving Nixon a pardon, but I was wrong in saying that he favored the Second Gulf War as G. W.’s NSA when he favored the First Gulf War as G. H. W. Bush’s NSA.

  22. Clark: I’m afraid the ‘system” was created by and is functioning not through some nefarious entity of mysterious origins, but is totally owned by People. The ‘man behind the curtain’ in our city of Oz is busy with levers and switches.

    As I’ve said even if Lot could have found one good man in the doomed City of Sodom and became a benevolent dictator, he would need to become vindictive in his rule in order to keep order amongst the disorderly masses.

  23. And when I say ‘men’ I mean it in the all-inclusive sense because women with power behave like men. I am nothing if not egalitarian. 🙂

  24. Ben, the system is owned by capital; it’s even openly named capitalism. The ‘man behind the curtain’ is capital. If it wasn’t the current bunch of people it would be another, because people are corruptible in predictable ways.

    Yes, one good man, attempting benevolence in dictatorship, can never do it, for precisely the reason you state. But the ‘disorderly masses’ can become orderly, by participating in governance and thereby learning how to generate order – by setting out to order the others, they learn to order themselves, so the more widespread the participation, the better it works. Example: Switzerland. “With power comes responsibility” cuts multiple ways; empowered people learn to be more responsible.

  25. Money as defined as exchanged goods or dollars or shekels or Quid is not the decision maker.

    People decide…not concepts or ideology or sense of purpose Clark.

    Can’t you see how you can free yourself from intransigence by simply accepting the fact that you can relax and enjoy the ride without guilt, remorse or regret?

    Take a load off yourself. You deserve it

  26. Ha! Not for me, Ben. No, there are only so many aspects of this ride that I will permit myself to enjoy. Only those that are given freely.

    Capitalism directs people like a body directs the cells of which it is comprised, or like a colony of social insects directs the seeming individuals. The cells forego their biological immortality for a more comfortable life, just as people forego their freedom and divest themselves of responsibility.

    But many organisational structures are possible. The current one needs changing radically, for it is collided head on with natural law.

  27. ” We have left the 10,000-year climate “safe zone” that gave rise to human civilization”


    “Answer two says that sure, intelligence may be as common as sand, but holding onto a technological civilization isn’t just hard, it’s essentially impossible. There are very good reasons to believe this is the correct answer.

    – It’s not just that since 1970, we’ve managed to kill off 60 percent of Earth’s animal life (yes, with caveats). It’s not just that humans and the things we eat now account for 96 percent of all the biomass on the planet—meaning that every Blue Whale, Mountain Gorilla, and African Elephant is left to squeeze into that last 4 percent. It’s not even that we’ve now driven our planet straight out of the climate zone where it has existed since our civilization originated. Although … yes, it could be any of those things. It may be that every intelligent civilization is simply not intelligent enough to not utterly foul its own nest.”


  28. Why, Ben, because he was ‘Deep Throat’. Woodward and Bernstein used the same source in the Nixon administration, not FBI Assistant Director Mark Felt, to print his claims. And they did not consider Haig one of The President’s Men. Years later they got looney Felt to confess he was he, Some journalism!

    And I made a big mistake in saying that Scowcroft was G. W’s NSA. At least he drew the line on not investigating NIxon, not making new enemies, like after 9/11.

  29. Glenn, my position on the Beirut explosion is that it was an Israeli missile with a pocket nuke on board.

    There is so much covert war going on with ships catching fire, others disappearing, and floods threatening dams bursting that it is impossible to keep up with the surprises.

  30. And don’t rule out drones infected with the virus poisoning Iranian, American and British waters.

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