Time


Enrique Zafra

Time is fundamental, it is much of what ‘being’ is about. It is central to reality. It is central to our lived experience, it is central to our hopes and dreams. But as central as it is, it is still an enigma.

Time is a knotty problem for physics, metaphysics, philosophy, religion, something fundamental to our existence and experience but for thousands of years and billions of person hours of contemplation and analysis it escapes understanding. Like others down the centuries I find that the more I think about it the harder to grasp it becomes.

Pragmatically there is only the local now, a few moments from the past and a glance into the future. Practically there is the Past and the Future, now is just a transition from one to the other.

What is time? It seems like it is about change, and times arrow is provided by entropy, the slow winding down of the universe.

Existence, the now, is only the Plank Time instant. What stitches the universe together are memory(enabled by change) and imagination (enabled by memory.)

One option of quantum physics says that it is the conscious mind that ‘collapses’ the probability function to one reality. In that view it is our mind-memory that provides a crashing rock against which universal potentiality breaks into reality. Is it us, stitching together the universe?

Why do we talk about timespace? Because time has no meaning without space and space no meaning without time. Imagine an infinite cube of arbitrary complexity. Without time nothing about it has any meaning. You cannot travel from one point to another, there is no energy, because no movement, nothing can move, because movement is about change of location and that has no meaning with no time. Equally, without space, time has no meaning, there is nothing to change, one could say something can endure or wind down but without space for that to occur it has no meaning.

So we ‘live’ in timespace that we instantiate and make objective. It is still real in that the physics of it are fixed (probably) but is it possible that it is our (or other consciousnesses) that take possibility and harden it to reality and inflate the universe around us, out to the limits of our questing minds?

Maybe….

Stealing the Lede

eye4dtail

So 2 of our most obnoxious ‘organizationoids’ Black Lives Matter (the Org not the concept) and Antifa (Anti-fascist, which is technically anybody not International Socialist[communist-marxist]) essentially stole the lede as I think of that term, which is essentially something like ‘mind share tag.’

When you steal the lede, that mind share tag, you make it very difficult for others to use certain symbols, words, phrases, ideas, against you. For Black Lives Matter it made it very difficult for the majority to point out that they were destroying little B black, little L lives, by destroying their neighborhoods and local businesses. As has been pointed out elsewhere, it made pointing out that Antifa is exactly fascistic in its heart and operations, impossible to make stick.

In both of those cases i think the evidence clearly shows that if you seal off some of our ability to communicate things clearly it in fact makes it very difficult to combat actions and ideas until the damage is obvious enough not to be obfuscated by ‘mere’ words.

Expect more of ‘this.’

Xu Xianqin, Vice-Minister of Rites, overseeing the imperial civil service exam circa 1587, during the Ming Dynasty. Credit: Public domain.

Like it or not, history shows that taxes and bureaucracy are cornerstones of democracy

Article In Phys.Org by Field Museum of Natural History.

It is actually a reasonable article about a study that on its face makes sense though I believe it to be one that could be easily spun. It is a quantitative analysis of essentially qualitative factors, this is done by assigning numerical scores to identifiable attributes for multiple, ancient civilizations. You can then run analysis from simple to complex and use the scoring to make a point. Having done this sort of thing the problem is that it is very easy to bias the output especially when the results (as they all too often do) come out showing no clear message.

But as I said the basic discussion is not bad and appears balanced but the top level spin put on it by the articles title is spin. And then using images of Imperial Chinese Bureacracy and Festivals seems extremely Propagandistic. While the ancient Chinese Imperial Dynasties varied in many ways and had some good in them more by accident than intent, they were autocratic and ruthless to a one and to a fault.

This is the sort of soft propaganda one gets with things like the Confucius institute A CCP run propaganda arm, the Biden administration is giving free reign in academia to put their thumb on the scales with this sort of authorship, along with the woke fellow travelers who seem to feel that this sort of spin is necessary.

I would not protest this article, even its title so much if I felt that there was a reasonable, rational, balanced, look at the path from the past to now in modern academia especially in the west. The problem is that there are only so many minutes in a day so many moments of attention that can be paid to anything. If this sort of soft propaganda and equivalent takes up mind space, and is not counter balanced by a strong base of what current civilization owes to the West and to Industrial Anglo Sphere then the intent is to create a totally false impression of reality.

The rest of the world was not an empty bowl waiting to be filled from the west, representatives of the west did bad things. But the Christian West was always on an upward path. None of the eastern empires had advanced in any consistent and appreciable way for centuries or millennia and that had nothing to do with resources, everything to do with culture, religion, conquest and autocratic rule, none of that the peoples fault, all geography and circumstance. But pulling down the smallish bit of humanity that managed to break free and start the ball rolling uphill is chillingly evil.

Thought for the age

Governments have no resources. They only have spending power insofar as they can arrogate to themselves a percentage of private production; meaning government spending is a consequence of economic growth rather than an instigator. The same applies to “money.” It’s not wealth; rather it’s an agreement about value that enables the movement of actual wealth. In short, abundantly circulated money is a consequence of production as opposed to an instigator.

Forbes article via RealClearMarkets

OK, if Hornady says it’s so,I guess….

GunsAmerica’s Digest is a good general guns and ammo site picking up articles and topics from all over. Suggested.

The Truth About Ammo – GunsAmerica Exclusive Interview With Hornady

by JORDAN MICHAELS on JANUARY 23, 2021

The emails and social media messages to Hornady’s customer service team haven’t let up in months;

“Where’s all the ammo?”

”Are you still making hunting cartridges?”

“Have you shut down due to COVID?”

“Why are you making T-shirts and not ammunition?”

“Are you hoarding ammunition?

“Are you selling all the ammunition to the government?”

A quick survey of Hornady’s Facebook page reveals of few of these missives.

So I even muttered under my breath, ‘only the Feds have the resources to buy up all the ammo, real people can’t be buying it all.’ Even if I know that’s bat shit crazy.

It was easy to sense the frustration and fatigue in Jason Hornady’s voice when he sat down with GunsAmerica last week. As the vice president of one of the nation’s largest ammunition manufacturers, Hornady has captained the company through the greatest surge in demand in the industry’s history, …

….they increased production by 30 percent last year, when they usually only grow five or ten percent each year. They ran through their entire inventory 18 times in 2020, when a normal year only sees six inventory turnarounds…. “Anything we make yesterday is shipping today,”

“Normally, a guy would buy one or two boxes. Instead, they’re buying cases,” Hornady said.

“Anyone who thinks that ammo companies aren’t trying to make and sell as much as they can, doesn’t understand capitalism,” he said. “We all like money. Nobody wants to ever make less.”

“It’s shipping all the time. We’re all shipping more all the time,” Hornady said. “The biggest thing is, be patient.”

Bottom line? Hornady and other manufacturers are working as hard as they can to meet today’s unprecedented demand.

So there you have it.

There are some supply restrictions on the input side, primer I hear is a big issue. It’s dangerous stuff and a lot is imported because it’s hard to build plant in the US. But even stuff like cardboard boxes are getting hard to get…So…. be patient, soldier on. Don’t burn through your practice stock too fast.

WOW! A cool SETI theory…

Figure: The Wow! Signal. The peak is 32 times the signal to noise ratio of the observations. Courtesy of Sam Morrell. (From the article)

Not much more to be said so I post the intro to the article from Centauri Dreams, about an article/Theory by James Benford. Cool…

Was the Wow! Signal Due to Power Beaming Leakage?

by PAUL GILSTER on JANUARY 22, 2021

The Wow! signal has a storied history in the SETI community, a one-off detection at the Ohio State ‘Big Ear’ observatory in 1977 that Jim Benford, among others, considers the most interesting candidate signal ever received. A plasma physicist and CEO of Microwave Sciences, Benford returns to Centauri Dreams today with a closer look at the signal and its striking characteristics, which admit to a variety of explanations, though only one that the author believes fits all the parameters. A second reception of the Wow! might tell us a great deal, but is such an event likely? So far all repeat observations have failed and, as Benford points out, there may be reason to assume they must. The essay below is a shorter version of the paper Jim has submitted to Astrobiology.

My read on the Capital crud storm

So I got a concerned eMail from an aunt in England after the crud storm in DC yesterday. Below is my way longer than she probably wanted explanation of what was going on after pointing out that the ‘broke’ media over reported something while casting the worst possible light on it. Below that is a take on the political posturing that led up to it.

The reality is that 4 years ago the Democratic Party screwed up and did not cheat sufficiently to beat the groundswell of support that carried Trump to the presidency. The apparatchiks who thought they had a lock on the future of the country were horrified.

They started a low level insurgency in the gov’t and in the streets where of municipalities where they had absolute hold. Make no mistake, up until yesterday every place you heard about that was having street protests and really riots and violence were in deeply Democratic centers where the mayors and councils could neuter the police and had already neutered the ability of the people to push back.

This last time the Democratic Party was prepared for the Trump support and overwhelmed it. To my mind it looks like cheating put Biden over the top, but that is hard to prove since it would have been a passively cellular network of cheating in densely populated centers they already controlled. Suppressing Trump votes (which were still huge by historical standards) and expanding their own. Much of the issue both pro and con were changing the rules due to ‘COVID’ and a huge concerted drive by both sides to expand the vote, providing a jungle of confusion regarding the reality.

What is going on now is a knock on to that. The reality is that the laws regarding our national elections (in a republic of very differently governed states) are Byzantine in their complexity. What I think few have realized until this last 2 months is that the system has no real way of dealing with systemic breakdown in voting which is highly state centric. While the ‘news’ says that the thousands of accusations of fraud have been ‘proven’ invalid nothing like that has happened. Except in a few trivial cases nothing has actually reached the point of presenting proof. In every significant case the court has refused to take the case because:1) The protest should have been made before the election, once the election happened the protest is void (even though there was no time before the election to know what was happening.) 2) The person(s) making the protest had no standing because they were not directly harmed. 3) The court did not have jurisdiction and thus even if they took the case could not remedy any fault found. 4) The court did not have any remedy period…which is essentially what the US Supreme Court said when the States protested other States patently fraudulent election results.

The above and Trumps refusal to back down is what triggered yesterday which was very peaceful until an idiot shot an unarmed protestor in the capital building where she in fact had something of a right (as a citizen) to be. It should also be noted that this was a Potemkin affair, the Mayor (deep rabid Democrat) pulled the police and closed things down to enable violent rioting (that did not happen.) Also pulled the police from the capital and the protective services essentially did not push back when the crowds started building up. Then the politicos went into deep political posturing for the cameras thus providing all sorts of wonderful propaganda fodder for the ‘new.’

Should the invasion have happened, no. Did Trump make it possible, yes. Did his opposition PULL the crowds in for propaganda purposes, YES. Did the capital burn down or suffer any significant damage, NO.

What you see is the marxist left pulling the liberal idiots into their grip so that they can start stripping the country of its assets as they have been doing in the UK for the last couple of decades (from my view over the pond.)

An interesting blog piece on the background I discussed above from Mark Tapscott at Instapundit:

“….. the more fundamental question is whether Congress has the authority to set aside a state’s Electoral College votes. In my view, there are two key aspects of the question:

First, is there sufficient evidence of fraud in states like Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and others to justify the decisions of Republican senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri to register objections to the acceptance of their Electoral College votes? I haven’t had the opportunity to review all of the evidence for all of the allegations, but, as explained, for example, in this
“American Thought Leaders” interview on The Epoch Times with the Data Integrity Group, the evidence of vote manipulation in multiple states is substantial and cries out for a critical investigation.

Second, Congress has an absolute right to set aside the Electoral College votes, according to President Abraham Lincoln, who
told Congress on February 9, 1865, that “the two Houses of Congress, convened under the twelfth article of the Constitution, have complete power to exclude from counting all electoral votes deemed by them to be illegal, and it is not competent for the Executive to defeat or obstruct that power by a veto …”

The
process seen in Wednesday’s Joint Session, interrupted as it was by the riot around and within the Capitol, was conducted as prescribed in the Constitution. Each properly framed and submitted objection to the acceptance of a state’s certified Electoral College votes gets two hours of debate in the Senate and the House, at the end of which members of both chambers vote on whether to accept or reject the objection.

Congress considered objections in 1969 (the “faithless elector” of North Carolina) and 2005 (Democrat objection to awarding Ohio’s votes to President George W. Bush) under this process and rejected the propositions. But Congress could have accepted the objections, which would have left Electoral College votes on the floor.

This reality should not surprise anybody who is familiar with the manner in which the Founders wrote the Constitution as a “legislative supremacy” document. So long as the Senate and House are of one will, Congress has, as Willmoore Kendal and George Carey
wrote, “all of the ultimate weapons in any showdown with either of the other two branches.”

Congress doesn’t like a program or action favored by the President? Congress can defund it. To cite but two examples: Congress doesn’t like how the Supreme Court is ruling? Congress can change the composition of the Court. If Congress has the will, the Founders gave it the power to do pretty much as it pleases so long as it respects the Bill of Rights.

Bottom Line: There is substantial evidence that Congress could have relied upon,
had it chosen to do so, in deciding to exclude the Electoral College votes of any of the challenged states Wednesday and thereby made either Joe Biden or Donald Trump our next Chief Executive.

Had I been a senator or representative Wednesday, I would have voted to uphold the challenges presented for Arizona and Pennsylvania (as well as those planned prior to the riot for Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada), on the basis of the Data Integrity Group’s statistical analysis, not because doing so would have given Trump another four years in office, but because somebody ought to go to jail after pulling off what is likely the biggest election theft in American history.

Either we have honest elections or we don’t.

UPDATE: Thanks to reader CptNerd for
this link to much easier to read version of the full Lincoln quote. I used the Congressional Globe link because the whole page makes interesting, though difficult to decipher in places, reading.”

Nuff said…

Observation re. Sunburst Hack

An act of cyberwar is usually not like a bomb, which causes immediate, well-understood damage. Rather, it is more like a cancer – it’s slow to detect, difficult to eradicate, and it causes ongoing and significant damage over a long period of time. Here are five points that cybersecurity experts – the oncologists in the cancer analogy – can make with what’s known so far.

The Sunburst hack was massive and devastating – 5 observations from a cybersecurity expert by Paulo Shakarian From The Conversation

Description of who, how, what at least in general terms and a thoughtful overview of how to start thinking about the impact and meaning.

To me this attack seems just part of the reality we live in. As discussed in Modes of War, this is one of the modern modes that are more about gains and pains than blood and gore. This sort of strike, ignored and multiplied, could bring a nation down and given the context of reality today, direct kinetic action is highly unlikely.

Oligarchic Jousting vs republicanism

The IM-1776 review Neo Feudalism or New Class War is ,as good non fiction book reviews should be, a thoughtful look at the books and discussion of the core thesis.

Michael Lind in The New Class War and Joel Kotkin in The Coming of Neo-Feudalism both demonstrate the defunct nature of the ‘socially liberal, fiscally conservative’ worldview that dominated post-Cold War politics. Lind’s central contention is that, because it creates vast power inequalities, class matters as much now as in pre-modern politics, in spite of our democratic aspirations. Kotkin, on the other hand, argues that class divisions now resemble the Middle Ages specifically. Both books herald a society we should strive to avoid.

IM-1776, Neo Feudalism or New Class War, Henry George

As a side note IM-1776, an online magazine, appears to be a very promising source of thoughtful discussion on society from a somewhat acerbic point of view.

Have not read either book, but have them on the list of possible future reads. Possible because from Mr. George’s review I have to say that I have absorbed much of what they think from a broad swath of other reading and my own thinking on the topic of where we are and where we might be going. It is also interesting that Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) our populist public philosopher seems to be paralleling the threads woven here but I see his perceptions as being driven from dynamic understanding of the online gestalt rather than analytical sourcing.

Put rather bluntly the gestalt of the populace regarding their own nation is largely illusory. That while the theory and form of gov’t is one thing the reality is largely different. While we think this is a republic where the ‘will of the people’ rules the reality is that a small number of people establish what that ‘will’ is through control of the focus of the media and the ‘rules of the game’ via law and regulation.

If you look beyond America, at some extreme examples, you may see a distorted mirror of this. That in places like the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, the ‘people’ who could rise up and blot out the ‘establishment’ don’t. Because the ‘hive mind’ that is our base perception is convinced that the status quo is as good as it gets or at worst is so ingrained with everyone else that your rising against would be useless.

Recently Scott Adams pointed out that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook invested 10’s of millions in changing the voting rules in many places to increase the % of people voting. That you might see this as a driving factor in why certain places saw unprecedented voting, which tipped the balance to Zombie Joe instead of Orange Man Bad. (Now I happen to think that unprecedented levels of cheating had something to do with this as well but am willing to see MZ’s contribution as having a large, perhaps overwhelming effect… perhaps by making cheating easier?)

So Scott Adams said, (roughly) maybe Mark Zuckerberg’s is really the only vote that counted in this last election. Please note that Scott Adam’s is purposefully hyperbolic in many cases to get his thoughts to stick ‘directionally’ (which is how he sees a lot of Trump’s messaging on Twitter.)

What has evolved in the Post Cold War west is a form of Oligarchy with a surface wash of Republican representative democracy. The forms that Japan, Korea, Europe, even Russia and China took on are in essence what we have evolved to. You could say that the US was ALWAYS this way to some significant extent. With the Oligarchs jousting, politely’ each other and to a large extent, ‘following the will of the people.’ And if that then those other states maybe saw this more clearly than ‘we’ did and followed along since it clearly left the Oligarchs in charge while also providing them a safety buffer against the pitchforks and tiki torches.

If this is the future (and maybe it explains the past?) then one has to hope that the oligarchs who manipulate (for that is what it is) the people’s thinking have the best interests of the country in mind and are smart enough to know what that is before the results of past actions come to fruition. Because the rest of us are going to be suffering when the ‘best minds’ screw up.

Lasers and rail guns oh my

So linked at the bottom is a file by the congressional research service regarding the progress the Navy is making on laser weapons, rail guns and hyper velocity smart munitions. Not the best topic for Christmas Season but oh well.

A series of articles in the Drive and elsewhere have discussed the progress in laser weapons over the last few years. To recap, a technology that was discovered as a fairly early practical application of quantum theory evolved into an important digital communications tool where the demand for longer distance between repeaters drove the power up to a point where cutting material like paper was practical that evolved into cutting steel which provided the basis for weapons grade systems although the military R&D complex had been exploring alternative paths for decades.

Now real systems (in the sense of shooting down light weight drones or setting outboard motors on fire, as well as dazzling or spotting) are being deployed and fairly aggressive plans are being made. There still remain problems with the technology though many of them are resolvable. And like earlier many pieces are being worked on for civilian reason, not the least in the field of astronomy where light transmission through the atmosphere is important and the brain power is deep and unfettered by military R&D issues.

In the end it is not clear that at sea is the best place to locate a laser weapon but ships are (relatively) big and have (relatively) large power systems so they are a good early trial. If lasers can be of value there they are going to make it other places as the technology improves.

Rail guns…what can you say (I could say a fair amount but won’t) they are the technology of the future and have been my whole adult life. I spent a couple of years involved with them and that is enough to tell me that there are a lot of fundamental problems that appear surmountable in early hand waving but are practically insurmountable as you get closer and closer to reality.

The ‘rail’ part of the gun has most of the problems of a powder gun barrel of erosion, fatigue, stress, compounded by huge electromagnetic forces in the metal itself. Vastly more complex than a simple bang tube. The energy required is huge but not only that it has to be released in a controlled manner at several times the rate of an explosion since the energy and the power are both higher than the propellant ‘burn’ of a powder weapon. Modern power electronics can handled this but they are not light and the resultant waste heat instead of exiting the barrel in a plume of plasma is retained in the energy storage device and switching system, none of which can be dowsed with water like you can do with a gun barrel.

Every 5 years or so since the seventies the rail gun has popped up as a candidate to replace the powder cannon of the day. Each time more of the hurdles identified in the last round are knocked down. But then new hurdles appear, often more complex than those dealt with and hidden by the earlier barriers.

And at the end of the day is the result worth the price? In WWI and WWII guns of prodigious range were developed but made no difference in the end. Mostly filling in for fighter bombers when the weather was crappy or the target too diffuse to be worth risking a pilot/aircraft.

In the early days (the 1970’s) of the rail gun its potential range and rate of fire appeared very attractive especially for Naval support gunfire. 100 miles and 10 rounds a minute of lethal kinetic punch were very much of interest to the amphibious forces. Since they were powered by electricity and fuel is relatively cheap + plentiful and the rounds compact, the ‘depth of magazine’ was fantastic. And all of this is still deeply interesting. But. In the end is this really what you need? In WWII through Desert Storm this capability set would have been game changing. Today? Maybe not.

The round designed (successfully) for the rail gun, can fit in any of our current 155mm class cannons. These guns with their 52 caliber barrels can punch the round out to 40 miles or more. The round is guided and has shown the ability to shoot down a cruise missile ! So it is as accurate as you like. It’s ‘shortfall’ in modern ops game theory is that it is a bit slow for shooting down ballistic missiles or reaching the outer theater to shoot down other high performance targets. But there are missiles that can do that and the attrition cost of a missile on that sort of target is worth it.

40 miles is not 100 miles, some targets are out of reach, you cannot stand off as far or reach in as far to destroy targets. But in reality is that an issue? If you think that you are going into amphibious war against hostile beaches maybe. But you have to assume that you can destroy the enemies area denial defenses (Because otherwise why worry about 100mile standoff?) so you can get the amphibious forces in close enough to get on and over the beach at acceptable cost. None of that appears realistic today. While some kind of Eurasian Fascist Empire and air tight anti strategic defenses might create an existential threat that triggered WWIII and the concomitant bloodbath this scenario is simply not on the table now or foreseeable in the next twenty years.

For now we have Taiwan and the South China Sea as the most likely battleground for near peer conflict. ——— OK no one ever really KNOWS what is coming next, the Med, the Baltic, maybe somewhere in Oceana might go south with zingers but none of those have the deep resources required to cause an existential threat or survive an attrition campaign long enough to make the rail gun a potential player——

To continue, while T and SCS are both in their way an argument for that extended range neither is going to be resolved in any way by one weapon. Neither are any other scenarios one might game other that EFE+ATSD above and that ain’t goin to happen (yet.)

So? Lasers…full speed ahead, look to the sky, 150kW on a fighter is a game changer. Rail guns…spend some money, let the Chinese trial their barge, see if they have solved the problems, they haven’t but what do I know? Hyper (or High) velocity smart munitions,…go, go, go power rangers !

Congressional Research Service Report on Lasers, Rail Guns and Hyper Velocity Rounds, via the US Naval Institute Proceedings website.