Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Supremacy Of Law

On this planet, there is power, and there law. Two entities of which law reigns supreme. It is a basic principle of any modern legal system. When power believes itself to be above the law for example - ancient regimes, sovereigns, nobles or kings and queens who do not comply with the law are an arbitrary power. An arbitrary power by definition is power that is not given by law or a command which is used without following procedures binding the exercise of the command.

When someone says "It is legal because I demand so," governments, unions or institutions, we as a planet or as a nation or a country which abides by supreme law, are violated.  At times in history and even today when power acts above the law the corpus of legal values and constitutions for which they are written, judges, lawyers and people are violated. Protectors of the law including the people whom they are meant to protect have the duty and the right to defend those values against the tendency of power to go beyond them.

The reason we have laws, or what is know as the Supremacy of Law is to end sovereigns, nobles, bureaucrats, banks and financial powers. In other words, they have to comply with the law. This is ultimately the reason many times in history, for instance, why the United States began its revolution against a king - King George III Of England. Laws which defend key values are the reason we have presidents and not kings in our country anymore. When King George began a law upon the colonists called "The Coersive Act," it was in fact a Simulacre. Called the Administration Of Justice Act, this set of "laws" was nicknamed the "Murder Act," by colonists when he mandated British soldiers live in the homes of colonists, or that any murder trials for British soldiers would be tried in England, giving British officers the freedom to get away with murder - able to slaughter whole crowds at once without trial. These concepts of law or Simulacre are nothing more than the interests of a power or king. Truth and justice twisted to be whatever power wants. Laws and documents and stamps, placed inside a legal system for whatever purpose it hopes to achieve.

But where is law today? Today these very same laws protect institutions - like the EU Bank for instance, where the law is used to defend the interests of financial powers above peoples and nations. I find it somewhat coincidental that Great Britain - a country that we fought against so many years ago over power, fighting that same arbitrary problem. History repeated. Power. Don't forget that power also uses something called sensemaking, which by the way has nothing to do with truth or justice. Sensemaking can be an ambiguous ruse and a manifestation of power. They said no, as the right to chose for themselves under the threat of 'economic consequences." Why not. They'd already lost everything.

I find it highly interesting in recent events in 2015 for instance when the president of Euro-group decided to exclude Greece. Their lawyers told Varoukis (the financial minister at the time) they could do what they wanted, and thus Euro-group by doing so, acted above the law like a regime.  Did they realize they were facing the county who invented democracy? Well, democracy was born in Athens in the 6th century B.C. Funny how that little thing called an equal share of power can be brought to light again in the same city it was born in - just a few years later. I don't know how it will play out, but being inside a union of any kind will ultimately have to benefit the masses. Not withstanding law, but it seems to me the Socratic theory of the moral good from which law stems, also stands on the grounds of logic, freedom and self -sufficiency, otherwise it becomes non-existent.

Law will play out in our future as well, even for the first colonists on Mars. I tend to think of Mars Gov as one that exists to play fair, based on the ideas of science. In my books I hint that certain laws will follow old maritime rules, that is, the astronaut will abide under the laws by which country his ship originates. Problem is - what happens when they step outside the ship? This is where you see this little term called extradition. But when extradition takes a few million miles what will happen? As it becomes a reality, and Mars becomes its own entity, will they rebel like we did over taxation? Talk about free trade or an import fee!  It's important to learn from history, to establish what will be, and protect democracy - even in space. The most likely scenario could be much like an old western. I understand the law exists, and is there to help us in ways we cannot imagine, but even with advanced technology abundant, watch out. It will be every man, or woman for themselves.

Saturday, August 13, 2016


We are on the brink of curing cancer using a new break through called CRISPR...

We actually did this by studying an ancient battle. Not the kind of war you're thinking of like Rome against Carthage, but the one between bacteria and viruses. These two microorganisms have been fighting each other since the dawn of time. Which side wins actually has to do with DNA recognition. When viruses hunt down bacteria, they insert their own genetic code into the bacteria to kill them. The bacteria who are weaker (like Carthage) try to resist but fail most of the time. The clue comes to us however, when they survive. If they survive, they save a part of the virus DNA into their own genetic code, in an DNA archive. Called CRISPR, this information is safely stored away. When the virus mercenaries show up again, the bacteria are ready, arming a secret weapon called CAS9. CAS9, like a quiet librarian inside a library, takes the virus DNA coding and compares it to the sample in his archive. When he finds 100% match he cuts out the Virus DNA making it useless. The bacteria wins.

Whats very special about all this, is that CAS9 is its not just for microorganisms. Precise and programable, scientists can use CAS9 like a GPS system for human, plant and animal DNA. Precise, cheap and easy, this recent biomedical discovery offers us the ability to modify our own cells, switch genes on and off and fix our own DNA. We are still in a first generation stages, but more precise usage is being perfected as you read this blog.

In 2015 scientists used CRISPR to cut out HIV from cells in a lab proving it was possible. CRISPR was then used on HIV rats. Injecting CRISPR into their tails, it removed 50% of HIV DNA from the infected rat. In a few decades - or most likely years, prepare yourself for an HIV cure and wiping out other viruses that plague the human race like Herpes which hide inside human DNA. Once more CRISPR could also defeat one of our worst enemies - cancer. What this means is you could get an injection someday of your own cells engineered in a lab, healing you forever.

In fact over 3,000 diseases are caused by an incorrect letter in our DNA. We have already developed a CAS9 to fix just this one letter...
So far there is only one drawback. The cure would be limited to the individual. So when they die, so does the treatment. But CRISPR will eventually become a way to modify humans. Causing irreversible changes to the gene pool. Regardless of your views on genetic engineering it will affect us all and very soon. Eventually when these engineered traits are passed onto children, we will modify the gene pool of the human race. Modified humans could become the new standard much like the movie "Gattica."

What if we developed and sold a few special CAS9's built to identify genes that control aging? Maybe certain anti aging CAS9's will cost a million. A few others for disease - will only cost a hundred. The Cancer Society will become a thing of the past and CAS9's will become the trade. There are challenges ahead of us, ethical as well, but the future of medicine is at a crossroads with today. But then again, it always has been.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Critical Thinking

Its not easy to solve complex situations. One of the subjects I researched while I wrote my books was critical thinking, what it is, where it originated, and how people use it to resolve unforeseen problems.  Not that I've had to face anything as serious as what I imagined for my characters in my stories - but certainly I've had a few smaller experiences that enlisted a series of critical thinking practices. An example that comes to mind was a few years ago when I was traveling to New York on my way to catch another flight across the Atlantic ocean when everything was in perfect order. My flight time was impeccable, my layover was short and I had checked in one bag, busy exploring the airport. Watching the time, everything was going smoothly — perhaps too smoothly— so I had started to get edgy but what could go wrong? Whenever things are good I worry about what could go wrong - but maybe it's how who human brain is works after 200,000 years of avoiding predators. I shrugged off the feeling and complacently explored a book store looking forward to my trip, and then something went wrong — an unforeseen problem.

On the other end of my phone now, is my brother-in-law explaining that he can't move his car because I've blocked it with mine, ( my car is in Florida in his driveway) and he is unable to find my car key anywhere to move it - so he can get to work. I grip the phone. How could such a simple thing go awry?  I had left my car in their driveway, to save on airport parking fees - the usual plan.  My sister drove me to the airport. Nothing to think of really. She thought she had a copy of my car key – she thought – but as it turns out, she didn't. They are in Florida and I am certainly not – ready to leave the country for two weeks. He calmly asks, but yet I sense a panicked tone in his voice - if can overnight my car key? A simple situation, and certainly not the worst, but a critical problem none the less. Due to time and circumstances, I navigate my way through the airport looking for one thing. A post office! But don't ever waste your time looking for one from inside JFK, you won't find it much less a a padded envelope or a postage stamp.

It seems limitations are going to frustrate me as I go around in circles but time is at hand. Sighing I return to security where moments ago I removed my shoes, my belt, all electronics and so on, and underwent scanning. I am annoyed but realize I need to find a way. Frustrated, but thinking of my brother in law who takes matters into his own hands, if you don't —  well just then a friendly security guard told me there is a system there to mail things out. A UPS mailbox does exist at a checkpoint for passengers to mail themselves items that airport security can't let through. Yes there is a solution :)

A little creativity was needed to pull it off, so I purchase the thickest card and envelope I could find, slipped the car key inside with a note, and addressed it to my MIB. Inconvenient as it was,  I sent the key. I think the postage stamp was inside a coin machine. Maybe things have changed for mailing something at JFK since then, but navigating the most unlikely and somewhat humorous of problems like this can also be a hassle. I made my flight by the way with a few seconds to spare.After all that, when I arrived in Europe and called them be sure my key arrived intact, they did in fact find their original copy of my car key...

(The term critical thinking, is believed to be western in origination (Grk. κριτικός = kritikos = "critic") derives from the word critic is the intellectual capacity and the means "of judging", "of judgement", "for judging", and of being "able to discern)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Nasa Kepler-452b

We are on the verge of finding life on other planets in our starry sea. Under the warmth of our sun, with hydrogen, helium, oxygen, and water, life arose here. But yet this universal equation, this model of life, of suns, and planets and goldilocks orbits, is not finite in the surrounding regions of space. The evidence is faint, but abundant and unmistakable, and at the center of this cosmic tale, is a Nasa telescope, called Kepler, that sends us evidence and pictures of literally thousands, if not million of other planets, similar to our own Earth. Kepler orbits the sun trailing earth, pointing to the northern constellations of Cygnus, Lyra and Draco.

Known as exoplanets, Kepler 425b was one of these highlighted discoveries, carefully presented by Nasa because it met the cosmic life equation, in an orbit around a G2 class sun just like ours, in an orbit distance almost exactly of Earth, spinning around its sun in just 385 days, so similar to Earth that it creates a perplexing and troubling idea that this discovery could the beginning of the answer - are we alone?

Although the 452b star system is much older, emitting more heat than ours, the planet that orbits this sun is almost two times bigger than Earth offsetting the temperatures, striking the delicate balance of a life supporting ratio also coined as the Goldilocks zone. Not too cold, not too hot, but just right - for the primordial porridge of life.

Despite the growing collection of planets, the archives of Kepler seem to be telling us a tale that we may be as radiant and unique as the stars, and so far we have not found an Earth twin. It seems fair to say, this universe may not dominated by a delicate circumstellar range - yet - with time the "Rare Earth" debate might be challenged, and theres no way to refute the growing evidence of Kepler's observations. The answers are not entirely satisfying and the distance is still too vast to know for sure so the truth will have to rest entirely on scientific models and the evidence to lead the way. Perplexing and troubling as this may be, we need to prepare ourselves when we find out, at some point in the future. The next telescope Nasa is sending up called the James Webb Telescope (JWST) will collect and broaden even more information for exoplanets, epoch reionization, and galaxy debris. 

Its an imposing question in an endless universe but like the stars, we are born, live for a time and expand. At first we might struggle for an explanation, but the sense of urgency and dealing with existing beliefs is at hand. The key to information is enormously important, but in the face of scientific truth and controversy, what Kepler doesn't hand us is the subtle time to prepare, deliberate and reason. 

Scientific discoveries will deeply challenge our beliefs but what happens next is just another chapter in our cosmos. Earth is a rocky planet orbiting a G2 star in a quiet suburb of barred spiral galaxy. Kepler 425b and other planets may prove be more like cousins rather than twins but there still quite a few G2's out there, with an estimated 5% in our galaxy alone equaling billions. In all this thermal noise, gas and dust - hitch yourself to a star, but fasten your seatbelt and hang on. Ready or not, here it comes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Right Stuff

A person who is right brained is said to be more creative, intuitive, thoughtful and subjective. An amusing concept for an artist or writer, who like me, enjoy making claims to the right brain, or the mathematicians and scientists - likened to Spock, as the unemotional logical left brainers.

Uncovering the theory behind right brained-left brained observations is not just all pop psychology though, and stems from real research through the work of Roger W. Sperry, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1981. It's interesting but I also find Sperry's research somewhat eerie, since he made his discoveries by cutting the corpus callosum (the structure that connects the two hemispheres of the brain) for epileptic patients. This helped reduced or eliminate seizures, but the patients experienced some serious post-surgical communication problems. These "split brained" people were unable to name objects that were processed by the right side of the brain, but could name objects that were processed by the left-side. As a result Sperry deduced language was controlled by the left side but most current day research will tell you that our minds are strongest when both halves work together. And speaking of brains could alpha waves be flowing through my head as I remain in my wakeful state, writing my blog about the right stuff, or should we say it has to do with gray matter? Thats a little bit of a "gray" area but it seems to be linked to intellectual ability and intelligence.

Lets not forget the reason we are drawn to such subjects in the first place is the human brain is one of the greatest mysteries in the known universe. In fact the brain contains more connections than there are stars in our entire galaxy. Which is why of course this blog is not actually about the universe today...or is it? The latest answers to the mysteries of the universe might be locked inside our own consciousness. There is a new birth of evidence that life and consciousness are fundamental to the universe. It is consciousness that creates the material universe, and not the other way around.

But getting back to the brain, research has shown that when someone in love is placed under an fMRI and shown a picture of someone he/or she loves, deep areas of the brain light up.  One of the deep centers of the brain thought to contain the secrets as to why we feel love is known as the nucleus accumbens. This is where the pathways of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin & vasporessin - the neurotransmitters thought to be involved with love - converge.

This is actually a deeper and older part of the brain under the thinking or neocortex section. Underneath that, well, you'll find something even older known as the Reptilian brain. The term reptilian is instinctive part of the brain that is shared by all reptiles, and mammals, including us. This is our most primitive region, an old and powerful area that without, we could not survive. This is where the attack or hide response function stems from, aggression, anger, fear, revenge, tribalism and reproduction. Survival is the biggest job of our brain and this area protects ourselves from threats. In some ways you could say this is a dismal reality, and we are nothing more than animals but we are much more than that, and think beyond our own self survival. Needless to say all vertebrates mate with their own kind because they have an instinctive urge to duplicate themselves and so do we, as we chose mates with desirable characteristics - or invent intelligent A.I. - but I'll get back to you on that one another time when my Alpha waves are flowing.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Storm In A Water Glass

Born on November 9, 1914, some believe Hedy Lamarr was one of the most beautiful women that ever lived. If you happen to see her pictures online, you might agree with that and understand why she eventually made it into Hollywood. Beginning her career in 1930 with two movies called Money On The Street and Storm In A Waterglass, she promptly landed several other roles in German language films but a controversial film called Extase (or Ecstasy) put her on the map in 1932. The film was racy, about a young woman who's husband is impotent causing her to seek out the companionship of a younger man. In one scene she runs nude through a forest and in a love making scene she appears to experience a climax. The movie was not well received, and the current Pope tried to stop her film career - on the other hand she attracted the attention of a millionaire arms dealer Fritz Mandl who married her in 1933. 

This story seems like a fairly tale at first, with a beautiful actress married to her new husband, complete with a castle home called Schloss Schwarzenau where they hosted lavish parties - until new husband Mandl began showing signs of obsessive controlling behavior. He also had fascist ties to Italy and the Nazis, selling munitions to Mussolini which didn't settle well with Lamarr. Eventually the restrictions of her marriage along with his social ties became too much for her and she fled to Paris only five years later in 1937. Describing her marriage like a kept prisoner, Hedy accounts her escape disguised as a maid. Hopeful she could continue her filming career, Hedy met Louis B. Mayer in Paris who described her as the most beautiful woman in the world. Scouting for talent in Europe, he instantly gave her a contract.

The most fascinating part of Lamarr's story is still brewing however, from times when she joined her husband in meetings where they conferred with scientists and other professionals in military technology. With Hedy's first introduction to applied science she nurtured and created her own inventions (against the Nazi's) including a jam-proof radio guidance system with a composer George Antheil for torpedoes. The pairs plan was to use a piano roll to randomly switch the signal sent from the control center to the torpedo in short bursts among 88 frequency, much like the 88 keys on a piano's keyboard. Was this inevitable fate to which a woman, born to a pianist was destined? Destiny is defined as the a mysterious power that predetermines the course of events. Or was it just chance alone that a woman, born of a pianist, with a brilliant mind would be exposed to the one thing that would give her the most noble cause of her life? 

This invention was granted a patent in 1942 (US patent No. 2,292,387) but the US Navy was not receptive to inventions from outside the military at the time. Much later in 1962  an updated version of this technology appeared on Navy ships substantiating her invention as a type of spread-spectrum communication technology, like CDMA, Wi-Fi and Blue tooth. Eventually it received multiple scientific awards. 

Once known as the ecstasy lady I see Lamarr more like the storm in a water glass. A tempest in a teapot, or a storm in the water glass is an idiom meaning a small event that has been exaggerated out of proportion - an uproar about little or nothing - much like her erotic movie which powerful people tried to stifle. Later in time, Lamarr, wished to join the National Inventors Council but her scientific contributions were immediately overshadowed by her hollywood career. Sadly, she was actually persuaded by the NIC to instead use her celebrity status to help sell war bonds. 

Lamaar, a visionary, and inventor, was more than just a pretty face, but never shattered the stereotypes of her Silver Screen exploits. They say people are often confused by the desire to be validated with a desire to be seen but mistakes are how we learn. Three years before Hedy died, in 2000, she was given an award for her contribution to wireless communication. Perhaps she was finally given the validation, visibility and genuine recognition she always hoped for in the end.  Unique women like Lamarr don't come around much which is exactly why I fashioned the heroine in my books much like her. Hedy Lamarr was not an imaginary woman though, she was the real thing. 

"Analysis gave me great freedom of emotions and fantastic confidence. I felt I had served my time as a puppet." - Hedy Lamarr

Friday, February 19, 2016

P Is For Planet 9

A couple years ago, I started my own "x-files" on a supposed undiscovered extra planet in our solar system which runs in a long elliptical orbit. I found it disturbing and eventually stored it away. It is surprising however that we are being alerted to a mysterious planet "Planet 9" again but with more scientific evidence. Below you will see I listed some of the links I found intriguing for anyone who may be interested. Three of these links are genuine research papers, two of which are findings from scientists - J. J. Matese, P.G. Whitman and D.P. Whittier in the department of Physics at the University of Louisiana. 

I don’t know what to make of it, but I tried connecting the dots. I tend to be less skeptical and more open minded when we have so many scientists, research papers and growing evidence to support the findings of another planet. I see a lot of intense skepticism on the internet but I choose to be more impartial by digging into the genuine research papers on which these theories are based. 

In any case, there's many common misconceptions about binary star systems, one of the most common myths is that binary star systems are the cosmic oddity and that single star systems are the most prevalent, when, in fact, many of the stars - about half - in our galaxy are paired with a companion partner known as a binary (two star) system. Just because we can't see them doesn't mean they don't exist. Many stars can't be seen including blackholes, neutron stars and brown dwarfs. Furthermore, long cycle binary systems (those with orbit periods of thousands or tens of thousands of years) may be quite difficult to detect because of the very long observation period required.

Therefore, it shouldn't be too unreasonable to question if our sun might be part of a binary or multiple star system.For anyone who has doubts keep in mind the evidence that has been presented to us, and carefully look at the information yourself before you make any judgements. Besides - maybe me just personally - but I can't think of a really good reason why our own scientists would lie to the public. One of the basic hippocratic oaths of a scientist are as follows:

  • Do not knowingly mislead, or allow others to be misled, about scientific matters. Present and review scientific evidence, theory or interpretation honestly and accurately.

(1983) "Possibly as Large as Jupiter, Mystery Heavenly Body Discovered."
By Thomas O' toole, Washington Post Staff Writer

(1995) Astronomers Announce First Class Clear Evidence of a Brown Dwarf

(1999) National Aeronautics And Space Administration
A NASA press release issued by Jaqueline Mitton from Dr. John B. Murray - U.K

(1999-2003) Cometary Evidence Of A Massive Body In The Outer Oort Cloud
Published findings of J.J. Matese, P.G. Whitman, and D.P. Whittier - Department of Physics, University Of Louisiana

(2010) Cometary Evidence Of A Massive Body In The Outer Oort Cloud
A second paper followup Published findings of J.J. Matese, P.G. Whitman, and D.P. Whittier - Department of Physics, University Of Louisiana

(2016) Caltech Researchers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown Find Evidence Of a Real Ninth Planet

In addition this is the actual published paper of the findings by Konstantin and Mike Brown to which the news is reporting. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Keep It Distant, Difficult, And Dangerous...

Merian Cooper, creator of "King Kong", was a man of adventure, and a film director. Cooper lived by a phrase  - "Keep it distant, difficult and dangerous" after meeting an arctic explorer named Vilhjalmur Stefasson, who proclaimed, "Men get killed easily when they don't live dangerously."

As a result of his eccentric and charismatic life style, Cooper also had a cinematic alter ego and created "King Kong" from one of his own real adventures.  It shouldn't be too surprising then to understand, that in the movie, where the movie director has hired a ship to film a distant foreboding island, is on shaky ground with a production company, recruits a starving beautiful actress last minute, and hijacks the screen writer is all based on a real life account. Cooper molded his movies after his own experiences.

But this is where the story of Skull Island, ends, and a new story unfolds for the adventurer—another distant, difficult and dangerous island called Svalbard. A frozen island, with ice and snow, but none the less where maps and vast windswept areas are still stamped 'unknown'. Resonating from the past, into the present day, or future, the reader becomes an explorer and fiction becomes discovery...

Out of the darkness a space ship originating from Mars named the Peregrines Interstellar (A Hungarian name which translates to The Star Wanderer) runs aground off course on a glacier in northern Svalbard.  A small unassuming journey to land at a space center in Longyearbyn, to collect seeds from the Svalbard Seed vault for a small colony on Mars is cloaked in mystery in the deep frozen canyon shrouding the city. The crash turns out to be quite unfortunate as the captain, a well-known pilot name Tibor,  also has a reputation as well known smuggler with a bounty on his head from neighboring Russia. Making matters worse is an impending snow storm and a scientist onboard named Dr. Lirren Lamaar with with a reputation for recklessness.

And what's troubling the impeccably prepared Lamaar, who's come aboard the ship to collect her heirloom seeds from Svalbard, is that she's stuck on the ice with only so much time to spare. Caught in an epic struggle for survival on Mars, Dr. Lamaar has taken this exotic migration trip back to Earth to help with crop survival on Mars only to find herself trapped on a desolate glacier named Spitsbergen.

"Everyone knows you're a brilliant scientist," Tibor tells Lirren, "but you have a reputation for recklessness."

Lirren had eagerly embarked on the trip. She had promises to keep, debts she owed herself, and her knowledge and skills as a agricultural scientist could help save Mars. She'd be damed if she didn't answer the call. If her own life was lost that was a small thing, but human life was at stake forcing her to take action.  The crops that sustained their small colony on Mars was dying, and a promised land of verdant crop fields on Mars was ironically just a few heirloom seeds away, waiting for her in nearby Longyearbyn.

In the heroic style of most cliffhangers, Lirren resolves to take a small ice craft named Zero Tibor provides her, to travel to Longyearbyn. Poised on the brink of disaster, Lirren speeds forward to make her appointment to collect her precious cargo. But what's really troubling is a dangerous special-ops team from nearby Russia closing in on Peregrines. In the days that follow, Tibor concentrates on repairing damages to his ship aware he and his crew are in danger. And thats not the only problem...

Dr. Lirren Lammar is in fact a mass of contradictions. Usually described as quiet or arrogant, she actually tends to be self-depreciating and humble, particular when it comes to some of her well known Ag inventions. She is a practical woman, but at heart a dreamer, preferring to pull the levers of power from behind the scenes. Lamaar's idealistic spirit is her shield and armor buttressed by a code of honor and devotion to duty. She had learned those values in the realm of science and technology now underway, changing the world forever.

Without regard for her own personal safety she strikes out into the snowy landscape, the mystery of the unknown, moving farther and farther into one of the remotest places in the world.

Adventure manifesting in all its forms and possibilities "Beyond Phobos" takes the spirit of adventure going deeper into the cold wild desolate, the unconquerable realm of imagination, a journey that leads to a showdown between the Russians, the Norwegians, Americans and yes — Mars.

The adventure continues when Lamaar winds up stopping at an old schooner called the Noorderlicht, which is intentionally frozen-in at Tempelfjorden, and is used like a ten cabin hotel to provide base-camp accommodation for arctic journeys.

Only the reader should discover how this adventure ends but taking to heart Merian Cooper's very own words this time, "These are the seconds which give the zest and fire to existence...These are the moments when conscience and memory alike are drowned in the find physical or spiritual beauty of life."