Sunday, June 26, 2022

Hegoland

 https://www.npr.org/2021/05/27/1000444659/helgoland-offers-a-new-way-to-understand-the-world-and-our-place-in-it

This is one of those books that I can read  to my wife at bedtime and she will certainly fall asleep ... although I'd argue that since the theme of this book is that "reality is relationships" .... not matter, not quarks, gluons, cats in boxes with poison, or many worlds, but RELATIONSHIPS, it ought to be very interesting to women  ... if either we or they knew what a woman is. 

To get a feeling for Rovelli's perspective, imagine of a blue bowling ball that's 10 in. across and weighs 25 lbs. We think those properties — the ball's color, weight and size — are real in and of themselves. If the bowling ball were the only thing in the whole universe, it would still be blue, 10 in. across and weigh 25 lbs. But the lesson Rovelli wants us to learn is that nothing has any properties at all until it interacts with something else. And between those interactions there are no properties at all. What quantum mechanics is teaching us, Rovelli says, is that reality is a vast net of interactions where there are no things, only relationships. "This is the radical leap," he writes, that "... everything exists solely in the way it affects something else."

As a Christian this is quite appealing. Why is God three persons and one person at the same time? Relationship. What makes me spiritually real? My relationship to Christ.  

If you do go and read the book, you need to understand that the ψ symbol means "wave function".
In naming his wave, Schrödinger uses the Greek letter psi: ψ. The quantity ψ is also called the “wave function.”18 His fabulous calculation seems to show clearly that the microscopic world is not made up of particles: it is made up of ψ waves. Around the nuclei of atoms there are not orbiting specks of matter but the continuous undulation of Schrödinger’s waves, like the waves that ruffle the surface of a small lake as the wind blows.

My definition of wave function is likely totally wrong, but hopefully like the "where are we"? With the answer : "we're in a plane". So the wave function is all the places "something" (usually an electron) might be, and even how fast it might be going. If we measure one of those aspects, the function collapses. 

QBism abandons a realistic image of the world, beyond what we can see or measure. The theory gives us the probability that we will see something, and this is all that it is legitimate to say. It is not legitimate to say anything about the cat or the photon when we are not actually observing them.
In the preceding, "the cat" is Schrodinger's cat that in one interpretation of quantum theory is alive and dead at the same time. 
The weakness of QBism, in my opinion—and this is the turning point in this whole discussion—is that QBism anchors reality to a subject of knowledge, an “I” that knows, as if it stood outside nature. Instead of seeing the observer as a part of the world, QBism sees the world reflected in the observer. In so doing, it leaves behind naive materialism but ends up falling into an implicit form of idealism. The crucial point that QBism disregards, I believe, is that the observer himself can be observed. We have no reason to doubt that every real observer is himself described by quantum theory.

There are many books on idealism. Plato is at least one of the originators ... it being the thought that ideas are really all that are "really real" what we "see" is just a projection of a "perfect form" ... our existence, if you will, is "through a lens darkly".  

On 188, we get down to a bit of the "brass tacks" for apparently sentient beings wondering about "Where am I going"? 

Objections to the possibility of understanding our mental life in terms of known natural laws, on closer inspection, come down to a generic repetition of “It seems implausible to me,” based on intuitions without supporting arguments.*131 Unless it is the sad hope of being constituted by some vaporous supernatural substance that remains alive after death: a prospect that, apart from being utterly implausible, strikes me as ghastly

Ergo, we don't have  any real answers to consciousness, but it MUST be some kind of materialistic, quantum, relational "something" ... that is the only answer that "reasonable people" (a mass of poorly understood quantum relations) can accept! Anything else is "ghastly" (in scientific terms), and we certainly can't have THAT! 

If this book sells very well, I'd guess the list of those who read it is much smaller than those who buy it. The list of those that understand it, likely borders on absolute zero ... I don't claim to understand it, but I don't understand that much of Shakespeare either, but I see having tried and failed as superior to never having tried! 



Winston Churchill, Thoughts and Adventures

 https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2013/08/a-kind-of-dignity-and-even-nobility-winston-churchills-thoughts-and-adventures.html

The linked review is on the longlish side .... it certainly covers the book, so much so that you may as well read the book! It is a collection of articles he wrote before, during and after WWI. 

One of the reasons for picking this one out is that it gives a reasonably brief introduction to Churchill's entertaining, informative, and concise exploration of his life and history. 

An interesting quote, from page 71;

"The longer one lives, the more one realizes that everything depends upon chance, and the harder it is to believe that this omnipotent factor in human affairs arises simply from the blind interplay of events. Chance, fortune, luck, destiny, fate, providence seem to me only different ways of expressing the same thing, to wit, that a man's only contribution to his life story is continually dominated by an exterior superior power."

I know that "superior power", and the more I read Churchill, I believe he does as well ... my guess is that he realized that if he was open about his faith, he would be less effective as a world leader, but of course I really have no idea. 

One of the key articles covered in the book is "Fifty Years Hence", Which I believe is completely included from the web here..

I quote the last paragraph:

After all, this material progress, in itself so splendid, does not meet any of the real needs of the human race. I read a book the other day which traced the history of mankind from the birth of the solar system to its extinction. There were fifteen or sixteen races of men which in succession rose and fell over periods measured by tens of millions of years. In the end a race of beings was evolved which had mastered nature. A state was created whose citizens lived as long as they chose, enjoyed pleasures and sympathies incomparably wider than our own, navigated the interplanetary spaces, could recall the panorama of the past and foresee the future. But what was the good of all that to them? What did they know more than we know about the answers to the simple questions which man has asked since the earliest dawn of reason—’Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? Whither are we going?’ No material progress, even though it takes shapes we cannot now conceive, or however it may expand the faculties of man, can bring comfort to his soul. It is this fact, more wonderful than any that Science can reveal, which gives the best hope that all will be well. Projects undreamed-of by past generations will absorb our immediate descendants; forces terrific and devastating will be in their hands; comforts, activities, amenities, pleasures will crowd upon them, but their hearts will ache, their lives will be barren, if they have not a vision above material things. And with the hopes and powers will come dangers out of all proportion to the growth of man’s intellect, to the strength of his character or to the efficacy of his institutions. Once more the choice is offered between Blessing and Cursing. Never was the answer that will be given harder to foretell.

From the temptation and original sin to eat of the forbidden fruit, man has always been plagued  by an unquiet soul. He was created to live forever,  and deep down he realizes it, though he fears it, and often denies it. He is faced with the eternal choiced of "blessing and cursing" -- and without submitting (something he is often too proud to do) to the Grace of God, these are choices beyond his ability. 

For me, the big message of the book, shown by Churchill's many scrapes with death, and from this perspective of the then future, we know MANY more, hs is one of the representatives of "is there a divine purpose and plan"? The whole Bible screams YES! One barely needs to scratch the surface of reading history to see the countless examples of "what are the odds of that happening (or not happening)?"

Incalculable ... but for the atheist, all is random chance and coincidence. The cosmic roulette table of chance is their object of worship. If they ponder the science/probability of what they believe, the only valid conclusion is that they do not in fact exist.  

I've read a lot about Churchill, and a decent amount of his own writings. I could spend the rest of my life focused only on studying Churchill, even if my life is a long one! 

Among the many jewels in this book, I was struck by the chapter on Moses. Churchill is often claimed to be "close to an atheist" by historians, and he was  certainly not a "practicing" Christian. However God doesn't really say much about how one "practices" Christianity. He does talk of fulfilling the Law, which is not possible without the Holy Spirit. Luke 26-27 explains how to follow the Law: 

26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

We all know John 3:16 ...

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

It doesn't say much about church at all. 

For ME, church is critical, since belief is not easy for me, I need a lot of help. The only unforgivable sin is unbelief. One of my frequent prayers is Mark 9:24  ... “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 

On page 214; "We believe that the most scientific view, the most up to date and rationalistic conception, will find its fullest satisfaction in in taking the Bible story literally, and in identifying one of the greatest human beings, with the most decisive leap forward ever discernable in the human story." 

He is referring to Moses, the "law giver", who is just the earthly voice of God. Christ is THE greatest fully human and fully God being who defines eternity  ... through Him, all things were made. 

A worthy read. 


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Proving A Negative ... Guns This Time

 https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2022/06/re-the-do-something-bill.php

As in sexual harassment law, the the new "do something" gun law puts the burden of proof is on the accused, not the accuser. 

While common law forever has put the burden of proof on the accuser rather than the accused because proving a negative is nigh on impossible, we continue to slip into the insanity of "prove to me that we have not been visited by space aliens",.

On federal red flag law funding, perhaps the most controversial provision, the bill makes a big show of demanding protections for “due process rights” and against “infringement of the Constitution.” It demands there be penalties against “abuse of the program.” All of this is unenforceable, as Republicans know. A number of blue states have already passed red flag laws that nullify gun rights on the word of third-party accusations—sometimes, ex parte—and not only demand the accused prove their innocence before having their rights reinstated but allow for property searches without the usual evidentiary standards. Until the Supreme Court undoes these laws, highly unlikely, states will receive funding. But it’s one thing for California or Rhode Island to do so, and it’s another for national Republicans to fund their efforts.

"Ex-parte" done with respect to or in the interests of one side only ... in this case, only the accuser. 

So a disgruntled spouse, ex lover, neighbor, someone in your community that doesn't like you, just doesn't like guns, etc can have your house searched with no due process, and if your guns are found, remove them with no due process. 

Marvelous. 

As in all totalitarian states, removal of rights, and even locking them up without due process is an important government principle. The US used to be a real champion of "innocent until PROVEN guilty", and if you were a "protected group" (any minority), that proof had to be really airtight. 


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Apple $25 billion, Oil Companies Combined $10 billion Profits

 https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2022/06/chart-of-the-week-re-bidens-energy-demagoguery.php

In case you have been affected by the Biden / MSM propaganda. 

The chart is clear, the post is short, just read it and understand what "misinformation" really is. 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Energy Transitions

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2022/05/24/biden-says-the-quiet-part-about-the-energy-transition-out-loud/?sh=31000bb05306 

In his dotage, Brandon does have a way of saying what has been official Democrat policy since Jimmy Carter. They have always thought "$10 gas" was a worthy goal to keep us all "safe", lest the boiling oceans kill us all by the year 2000 or so. Accurate predictions have never been the left's strong suit. Truth is also not in their standard reportroir, but when you put a senile geezer in the Bully Pulpit, he sometimes forgets to lie. 

“[When] it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over,” Biden said. It was a mistake since, although running prices for fossil fuel-generated energy higher has always been part of the plan for Biden’s Green New Deal energy policies, admitting it aloud in public was not supposed to be part of the messaging.

"God willing"? Isn't that hate speech for Democrats? What about separation of Church and State? Isn't it triggering to subject intelligent people to the insane belief in God?  

We already went through a major energy transition  -- in 2019 we were energy independent, If you follow the link, you will see how that came about, but the primary reasons were fracking, the feds allowing drilling for shale oil on federal lands and better pipelines to move the oil to refineries. 

When I graduated from HS in the 1970's, the oil crisis, the 55 MPH speed limit, and the Jimmy "malaise" were all driven by the "fact" that the world was "out of oil".

So how likely is it that this "transition" that Brandon promises can happen? 




The chart is from 2018, and it hasn't changed much since then. 

So getting to Brandon's goals IS possible ... we just need to use nuclear. Is it risk free? No, but it is VERY low risk. France produces 70% of its energy via nuclear. 

The US has 86. nuclear powered ships at sea. How safe are they? 

Thousands upon thousands of people, 22,000 people at any one time, have lived, worked, eaten and slept within a stone’s throw of these nuclear reactors for 60 years with no adverse effects from radiation at all.

So why do we not do the obvious? Politics, money, and the desire by the left to cripple the US. One of the old scare tactics has been "what do we do with the waste"?  There are many tested and safe ways to deal with the waste that you hear nothing about. What you DO hear about is Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and  Fukushima.

Fukushima had one confirmed cancer death. Chernobyl had around 100 ... however it was well known to be a poorly designed and managed reactor. Three Mile Island had no confirmed deaths caused by the accident. 

The Democrats and the world "environmentalists" have a multi billion dollar long term scam going. If they actually cared about the environment, they would be demanding modern reactors to be built ASAP ... the life of the planet is at stake! Every year a few 100 of the "greens" need to fly in their private jets to sites where they use their limos to get around. Many of them invest millions in estates that they claim will be underwater in a few years, Obama for example ... as he says, "you only need so much money".  It is really worth taking a look at their $10 million+ home. Look at what the Climanistas DO vs what they say.

Were we to have followed a strategy similar to France, our electricity would likely be "too cheap to meter" as was once promised. The pie chart could be "80%" purple, and we could cry about other things than gas and electricity prices -- all with the planet saved. But who is to profit by that? Not the global climate cabal.

In a sensible world, we would use the available coal, natural gas. and oil resources, abetted by pipeline transportation and building new efficient and environmentally friendly refineries to "make the transition" with no pain for the masses, but "unfortunately" fewer trillions for the Davos elite. 

We built ZERO refineries from 1998 - 2014, and the total capacity of the ones built since then is 246,000 barrels. The Saber refinery, built in 1975, processes 290,000 barrels today

All part of the Brandon "Green New Deal" and previous Democrat US energy killing policies going back to the Carter disaster years. Never let a crisis go to waste ... and if there isn't one around, CREATE ONE! Naturally, more government will be the only possible "solution". 









 

Podhoretz, Left To Right

 https://claremontreviewofbooks.com/present-at-the-creation-2/

Podhoretz is yet another well educated super intelligent Jewish American. I have a pro-Jewish prejudice, especially after working with super intelligent and diligent Jews from IBM's Haifa location

Smart is not always wise ... wisdom normally takes making and admitting to mistakes. Intelligence has a tendency to give one more opportunity to do this, and Norman Podhoretz (NP) is a great example. In the early 60's he was one of the founders of the "new left". One with standards of intellectual seriousness.  

Yes. At the time. I was editor of Commentary, and I rejected articles that were ideologically okay but callow. The most notable example was Tom Hayden’s manifesto, which was the founding document of the SDS, Students for a Democratic Society. Hayden submitted the “Port Huron Statement” to me, and I turned it down. And some people, including many of my friends, said, “Are you crazy?” And I replied, “It’s not intellectually up to par.” And they said, “Well, what difference does that make?” Well, it made a difference to me, and still does. So there was a limit to my commitment to that movement, but I was committed to it.

Like the Democratic Party leaving Reagan (vs him leaving it), the New Left left  NP, 

... at some point that analysis and that agenda changed dramatically—let’s say, from Martin Luther King to Stokely Carmichael. Or from David Riesman to Saul Alinsky. Maybe it was 1972, with the bombing of Hanoi, or perhaps earlier when the whole movement turned and said this country was not bad just because it wasn’t fulfilling its own ideals. In fact, it didn’t have such ideals. Those ideals were fake.

Alinsky is a name that shows up quite a bit if you start looking into how the Swamp came to be. Both Hillary Clinton and Obama were heavily influenced by him.  

NP understood and understands that America is in grave peril ... it is led by leaders that hate it. He understood and understands that Trump is a very imperfect vessel of saving America, and often compares him with the imperfect vessel King David. 

In 2019, you told the CRB’s readers that Donald Trump’s election in 2016 was “a kind of miracle,” and you called him “an unworthy vessel chosen by God to save us from the evil on the Left.” And you finished that passage by remarking, “If he doesn’t win in 2020, I would despair of the future.” Now it’s 2022. Trump didn’t win. Are you despairing?

He has this to say about the Founders ... 

They created a system whereby more freedom and more prosperity have been accorded to more people—including blacks—than by any civilization known to human history. That achievement is what puts us up there with Athens and Elizabethan England. That’s why I don’t hesitate to use the word “evil” in talking about the ideas and the people promulgating them who are trying their best to tear that precious system down. The last chapter of My Love Affair with America is called “Dayenu American-style.” Dayenu means “it would have sufficed.” It’s a Hebrew term and at the Passover Seder, there is a whole litany of gratitude to God: If God had only done this, it would have been enough. If he had only done this, it would have been enough. Dayenu, dayenu. So I have a whole series of dayenus about why I love this country so much. So this is where I stand. We all have to face the fact that we are at war, albeit a cold civil war, and that this moment is not just an ordinary political disagreement in which we can be bipartisan, etc., etc. All that, that’s gone. God bless America is all I can say. Amen.

America used to be "dayenu" ... "good enough", which can always be improved upon. The left no longer wants to fix it, it wants to burn it down, and given especially the  "matches" of voter fraud, they may well succeed. 

As I say incessantly, the left and the Democratic Party in particular are completely inconsistent.

I have to say that I am perfectly prepared to believe that the 2020 election may have been stolen. Yet the outraged reaction to anyone who says that or believes that has been absolutely astounding. Because think of Stacey Abrams, whom I regard as a nothing and a no one, lost her bid for the governorship of Georgia by something like 50,000 votes. And to this day, she has refused to concede, and for that refusal she was turned into a hero of the Democratic Party. So, the idea that it’s shocking beyond belief to cast some doubt on the 2020 presidential election is utterly demented. Anyway, the Democratic Party spent two and a half years and 20 billion dollars or whatever it was, trying to prove not just that Trump had stolen the 2016 election, but that he was actually a Russian agent, that is to say a traitor.

How does one negotiate in this conflict? 

In The Red

 https://claremontreviewofbooks.com/in-the-red/

This article sorely deserves to be read in its entirety. It describes the level of financial peril in the US as succinctly and as nonpartisan as is possible. Of course there are aspects of partisanship because we are a two party country -- we need to deal with the problems in that context as marital problems need to be dealt with in a two party solution. Unless the union is to be dissolved.

The first step in avoiding a truly calamitous, debt-ridden future is to understand how we got ourselves into this predicament to begin with. It is not national defense or even the New Deal but rather the Great Society that is bankrupting us.

Sadly, the excellent charts that make our peril painfully clear are not in the digital version linked, so I was forced to go screen capture PDF route, but I think you can get the picture. 



One of the quick responses from the left will be that our problem is that we are undertaxed, not overspent. More government MUST be better! 

A fundamental preliminary question is whether our government taxes too little or spends too much. The answer is easy to determine. In 2021, the federal government collected more than three-and-a-half times as much money, in real dollars per capita—that is, above and beyond inflation and population growth—as it did at the start of the postwar period. But it spent nearly seven times as much. From 1947 (the first postwar fiscal year, as FY 1946 began in July of 1945) through 2021, the population of the United States rose 2.3-fold, while prices rose nearly 13-fold. Combining these two factors, the federal government could have collected and spent 29 times as much in nominal dollars in 2021 as it did in 1947 without collecting or spending any more in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars per capita. Instead, the federal government taxed more than 100 times as much in 2021 as in 1947 and spent almost 200 times as much. By any reasonable standard, our government isn’t afflicted by a shortage of tax revenues but by an almost endless appetite for spending.

Means are always limited, desires are not.  

As the charts show, it matters which party controls the executive and legislative branches. 

Despite this subsequent debt explosion, the Clinton-Gingrich era was a successful one in terms of fiscal responsibility. Indeed, over the past 40 years, deficits have been lowest when a Democrat has been in the White House and Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress. The second-best scenario has been a Republican president with either party controlling both houses of Congress. Next-best has been a Democratic president paired with a mixed Congress (with each party controlling one house), followed by a Republican president paired with a mixed Congress. The worst scenario has been Democratic control of the whole government. Over the past four decades, Democratic control (average deficit of $1.1 trillion in constant 2012 dollars) has been more than twice as costly as Republican control ($490 billion).

It would appear that unless there is massive vote fraud, we may go from the worst to the best case in finances in 2023-2024, however the hole is very deep at this point. Thomas Jefferson described the likely outcome of our financial incontinence. 

Thomas Jefferson described fiscal profligacy as a precursor to inevitable misery and suffering, the first in a stampede of apocalyptic horsemen. “[T]he fore horse of this frightful team is public debt,” he wrote. “Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.” This wretchedness will only be more keenly felt as interest rates rise. Too much debt puts power in the hands of our enemies and renders the average American poorer every year.
How do we fix it? Pain ... a lot like how anyone "fixes" other cancers if they can fix it at all. In our case, we basically have to return to representative Constitutional  government -- rather than the Administrative/Deep State we are governed by now ... especially since Obama. 
It has become fashionable to think of constitutional amendments as relics from the past. But then, so are fiscal responsibility and—increasingly—representative government. The founders made the Constitution amendable for a reason, and we should take our cues from them. In the late 1990s, we showed—briefly—that it’s possible to take action to reverse our course and help save our country from the tragic fate that Jefferson described. But the first step is to recognize that the $30 trillion elephant in the room isn’t going away. It’s just growing bigger.

I'm thinking our odds are not very good.  



Thursday, June 2, 2022

Nihilism With A Happy Ending

https://spectatorworld.com/topic/monsters-become-nietzsche/

Nietzsche, who died in 1900, called it. Without faith, Christianity became performative, and God a source of inspirational mood boards. Without a living soul or a serious conscience, the human being is no longer an individual but a bag of animal instincts, indistinguishable from the rest of the species. The substitute doctrines of socialism, nationalism and Darwinism offer collective redemption by economics and biology. Technology and capitalism act as force multipliers, accelerating the vortex of futility — even in America, the land that, as Allan Bloom saw, promised ‘nihilism with a happy ending’.

A paragraph that summarizes a lot of my thhouthhs about where we find ourselves. Like a lot of promises in this world, the "happy ending" increasingly looks like a long shot. 

Even with the mention of Nietzsche, it is an easy and worthwhile read. Sometimes "you are here", is not the best of news.