This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 28, 2011

Comment regarding a change in the format of the emails:

For no good reason, “This and that…” has gotten much much longer over the past few months. I suspect my having more time to myself has something to do with it. Whatever the reason, I thought that now that I had all this time, I would spruce the graphics up a bit and make it a little more visually pleasing, if not more interesting. Unfortunately, my email program lacks graphic capability (or I do not know how to use it) so I decided to use another program. This required that “This and that..” be sent to you as an attachment. If you feel up to it let me know what you think about the format.

This and That from re Thai r ment, by 3Th, 8 Joseph 0001

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1. 2011: Education matters.

Schooling in general, raises IQ by several points a year, based on research by Stephen Ceci, a professor of developmental psychology at Cornell, and others. “If you look at an IQ test, it asks things like, ‘Who wrote Hamlet?’ or ‘Why do we pay for postage?’ You are most likely to come across the answers in school,” Dr. Ceci says. Even nonverbal abilities such as solving puzzles and spatial tasks may blossom because math classes today include visual reasoning with matrices, mazes, blocks or designs, he added. ! (Please note, there still is some scholarly debate regarding who wrote Hamlet. Also, why do we pay for postage when SMS, emails, or Facebook are cheaper?)

2. 2011: Science matters.

The American Association of Science’s top 10 scientific innovations of 2011 includes a Japanese research team’s mapping of Photosystem II (no, not a photography app.), a protein that plants use to split water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms. This discovery may have application in the search for a clean energy source.

3. 2011: Finally some good news.

In March, National Marine Fisheries Service Administrator Eric Schwab announced that his agency was on track to start science-based catch limits on all 528 federally managed species of fish, thereby preventing overfishing —the act of catching more fish than science dictates can be sustainably harvested—from occurring in U.S. fisheries. This effectively ended overfishing in America. ! ! (Alas, too little, too late. Nice try though.)

4. Science matters too:

Sun and climate are going in opposite directions. Over the last few decades of global warming, the sun has shown a slight cooling trend. Sun and climate are going in opposite directions. This has led a number of scientists to independently conclude that the sun cannot be the cause of recent global warming. One of the most common and persistent climate myths is that the sun is the cause of global warming. This myth cherry picks the data – showing past periods when sun and climate move together but ignoring the last few decades when the two diverge.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Donuts:

According to an article in the Bangkok Post, Thailand is being praised “as a role model for innovative donut development.”

 One of the reasons I choose to live in Thailand is because it is all happening here.

2. Prohibition?

Thailand, it seems, has a law prohibiting the purchase of alcohol in supermarkets between the hours of 2PM and 5PM.

If anyone can figure out why, I promise to reward you by removing you from my mailing list.

3. Am I cold yet?

According to Roger Crutchley of The Bangkok Post, during a particularly cold snap in the country, the Post’s weather forecast read “cold to very cold” with projected temperatures of, “Min 17C, Max 29C.”(62-84 degrees Fahrenheit). In London at the same time the reported temperature was reported as 11C (52F) and its citizens were reveling in the warmth.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

About 4 months ago I decided to reduce my intake of “happy pills,” ! with the intention of abandoning them completely if I could avoid withdrawal which I consider worse than death. I am not sure why I made that decision. Perhaps I am affected with that the common delusion that we are not what we are because chemicals flooding our brain affect us to some extent, but that we can alter our genetics and our history by a supreme act of will along with generous payments lasting for generations to someone to listen to your ravings. (I once was told by someone who claimed to be a friend that thatʼs what friends are for. Given how that person ultimately demonstrated his friendship, I think I prefer paying for the service.) On the other hand, I could have been responding to the belief that somehow ingesting chemicals manufactured by someone making money off it, is less “natural” than someone selling me dried leaves or something and telling me it would be better for me, while taking my money.
!Or, what is more likely, I simply no longer wanted to spend the money, hassle finding a pharmacy that sells the stuff and keeping track of the dosage or whatever. Anyway about a month ago, I kicked the habit so to speak. I now discover that those hormones and chemicals my happy pills neutralized have come flooding back bringing with it irritation with almost everything, hostility and aggression at every real or imagined affront and alternating with bouts of the drooling bliss of an idiot.

I wonder if there is a pill to make you want to take your pills forever instead of searching for some reason not to. Heroin perhaps.

In the mid sixties, early in my career, I worked with those involuntarily incarcerated because of severe mental disability. The first psychiatric drugs were being introduced, much to the annoyance of those who had given up dealing with the truly mentally incapacitated with the lengthy quasi-religious Vienese-Swiss analytical procedures that they had spent many years in training to learn, for the more lucrative practice of assisting delayed adolescents comprehend why they cannot have everything they want.

The drugs performed miracles, restoring those who were seemingly permanently hospitalized for their own protection back into the world again. Soon, however, the deficiency in the miracle became apparent.

There was no drug to make them continue to take their medicine and so they often found themselves back in thrall to their delusions. Except now all the mental hospitals were closed and so they had to shuffle off and make do within society among us and either adapt our society or we adapt to theirs.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Since it is getting towards years end ( Gregorian Calendar not Pookie’s) it the time for review and predictions. So, I will try my hand at it.

2011: The Year in review.

I guess if I were to give the year a name, I would call 2011 “The Year the Train Left the Station and We Were Not On it.” Since there were too many departing trains that we missed to discuss here, I will only look at what could be referred to as “The Big Train” or the “Everything Train” or even the “God Train.”

The God Train has an engineer and a conductor who sometimes change jobs. One I like to callThe Sorcerers Apprentice.” He represents the fundamental physical and mathematical constraint that nothing in nature increases geometrically forever. (In other words the only miracle of compound interest occurs if you are lucky to get out in time.) As long as there is an end (a wall), whether it is at the far reaches of the universe or across the room compound, growth eventually must stop. In our case, you and I, the limit is often set by the earth; its air water or whatever.

In 2011 it appears to me that most of us, even those whose interest it is to ignore or deny it have recognized a feeling no matter how vague that there are limits to most things. Unfortunately, one of the undeniable aspects of geometric growth is that, in effect, it speeds up the closer it gets to its limit. This is often represented in the hockey stick graph we have all seen whenever someone wishes to frighten someone else into awareness of a particular limit. (It never works by the way. I guess no one fears a hockey stick.)

The second employee of Godʼs Railroad, I like to refer to as the Rich Poor Ghost. (Not the Poor Rich Ghost there are a lot of them around. Perhaps more today than ever.) You see there is another physical law of the universe; everything, even thought, takes energy no matter how little. But. what is special about the Rich Poor Ghost, is that often when you want to do something else, almost anything else than what you are doing (or change something), it takes energy (or money) to stop what you are doing and even more energy or money to start doing the new thing.

Take for example an old automobile you have that you may still have some payments on it. You would like to rid yourself of the old clunker and get something that would better let everyone know that you are richer than you really are. Now normally there is no problem. You go to the dealer and trade in your old car and drive away with a fully bank owned new car. You can do it because the manufacturer bears the cost of building the auto and charges you a mark up for that service when you purchase the car.

Assume however, he doesnʼt do that and you are required to advance him the cost right from the digging up the metals with which the car is fabricated all the way until it reaches you freshly painted in the color of your choice. You then, for a while, are paying twice, paying for your old car and for your new. Unpleasant, but you have a good job with extra money and a great deal of optimism, so you make the deal. But what happens if you do not have the money? Well you can sell your old car, but you would have to go without personal transportation. You could wait until you have paid off the car, but it is an old car and there is increased upkeep and maintenance before your fully warranted car is ready and so on.

Well, the Rich Poor Ghost is telling us that, if we want to have a chance to avoid driving into the Sorcererʼs Apprenticeʼs wall, it is going to cost money. But, in 2011 we realized that our money (or energy ) is decreasing so there is less of it with which to do what we want. And, since the Rich Poor Ghost tells us is that you must pay twice in order to get that new car or energy system or financial system or whatever, you are going to have to give up something else that you have or want. In other words a significant contraction of life style and a contraction of the economy is necessary.

In 2011 we, vaguely perceiving the God Train about to leave the station, had another drink at the bar decided that the tickets were too expensive and hoped that a new train with cheaper tickets would depart in the morning.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Since it is yearʼs end and I am experimenting with this format, we will leave Vince, until next year, trembling in the stairwell, in mortal danger and on the verge of shitting his pants again.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/ .

1. What can I say:

Tea Party Nation president, Judson Phillips, sent out an email to Tea Party Nation members claiming that President Obama deliberately offered the recently captured predator drone to Iran…and that Osama bin Laden wasnʼt killed but his death was in fact “staged” by Obama.

2. David Frum Republican Party consultant and conservative political commentator explains what is wrong with Faux News and right-wing punditry:

“Now we are all entitled to our own facts, and conservative media use this right to immerse their audience in a total environment of pseudo-facts and pretend information.

Itʼs one thing to worry (wisely) about the long-term trend in government spending, and another to demand big, immediate cuts when 25 million are out of full-time work and the government can borrow for ten years at 2 percent.

The conservative shift to ever more extreme, ever more fantasy-based ideology has ominous real-world consequences for American society. The American system of government canʼt work if the two sides wage all-out war upon each other: House, Senate, president, each has the power to thwart the others.”

3. Buddy Roemer on Dodd-Frank:

“The Dodd-Frank financial reform law is “a disgrace” because it formalizes the concept that mega banks like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs are “too big to fail,” regardless of whether they pursue reckless or unscrupulous practices. “The taxpayers will not support any more bailouts,” “Thatʼs [the view of] Occupy Wall Street. Thatʼs the Tea Party. Thatʼs Buddy Roemer. Itʼs America, and if the bank is too big to fail, then the bank ought to be disbanded.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

1. The 14 defining characteristics of Fascism :

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each. In my prior post I listed the first 5. Here are the next 5:

 6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war-time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power élite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

2. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

a. A fairer distribution of the benefits and burdens of society:

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b. Why can’t we be more like France of Japan:

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Or better yet, less like Britain and Canada.

3. Signs that you are smarter than average:

According to Reuters, “Researchers found that among 121 Canadian children between the ages of 3 and 7, those whose mothers had suffered morning sickness scored higher, on average, on certain tests of IQ, memory and language skills.”  (

Maybe in Canada.

4. So you think you are a reasonable person who respects the facts:

Once people receive misinformation, itʼs quite difficult to remove its influence. This was demonstrated in a 1994 experiment where people  exposed to misinformation about a fictitious warehouse fire, were then given a correction clarifying the parts of the story that were incorrect. Despite remembering and accepting the correction, people still showed a lingering effect, referring to the misinformation when answering questions about the story.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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TODAY’S CHART:

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I do not know about you, but am firmly convinced that  consumption of ice cream causes crime.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 28, 2011

  1. Great post! We are linking to this great post on our
    website. Keep up the good writing.

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