“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Thankfully, God is Dying: In just a few short centuries, human beings have gone from knowing almost nothing about the immense vastness in which our planet sits to hearing the very echoes of the Big Bang

Proof of the Big Bang

A stunning discovery made at a research station in Antarctica indicates that Albert Einstein was right about the nature of the universe

By Michael Hanlon
8:20PM GMT 17 Mar 2014

The most epoch-making discoveries can be made in the unlikeliest of places. The smoking out of the elusive Higgs boson, perhaps the greatest recent milestone in fundamental physics, took place in 2012 under the serene and agreeable pastures of the Franco-Swiss border, home to Cern’s muscular atom-smasher, the £8 billion Large Hadron Collider.

Now another team of scientists, this time American and operating a £12 million telescope in the considerably less clement surroundings of the South Pole, has announced the discovery of what may figuratively be described as the fingerprint of God.

The importance of this finding, announced yesterday afternoon at an excited press conference at Harvard University, cannot be overestimated; one leading physicist has gone so far as to describe it as “one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time”. The phrase “Holy Grail” is being bandied about, and there is talk of the most certain shoo-in for a Nobel Prize for decades. The researchers, headed by Prof John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, appear to have found the very echoes of creation.

The announcement confirmed that the Bicep2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarisation) telescope at the Amundsen-Scott polar base in Antarctica had found conclusive evidence for the existence of gravity waves, colossal ripples in space-time that pervade today’s universe and which were formed when the cosmos was just 10 to the minus 35 seconds old – a length of time shorter than it would take the Starship Enterprise to cross from one side of a grain of sand to another.

If this is confirmed, it will be the final experimental vindication of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. It will show once and for all that the notion that our universe began with a colossal explosion of matter and energy 13,978,000,000 years ago – the Big Bang – is correct.
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But the implications are more profound even than that. The existence of gravity waves is the “smoking gun” for the controversial theory of cosmic inflation, the idea that right at the start of the universe, nearly 14 billion years ago, everything underwent a colossally fast period of expansion – the “B of the Bang”, if you like.

If cosmic inflation, which we need in order to explain several weird facts about our universe, is correct, then this provides strong support for the notion of the “multiverse”; the idea that what we see when we look up at the night sky is but a gnat on the back of the elephant that is the true totality of creation.

The existence of gravity waves is strong evidence that “our” universe may not only exist alongside an infinite number of parallel worlds, but may itself be infinite in extent, containing endless copies of our galaxy – and indeed our world and you and me – located countless trillions of light years apart.
That is a lot of inferences to make from a discovery at a modest research station on the icy wastes of Antarctica. So what exactly has Bicep found? Before the discovery was made, theorists speculated that the violent, faster-than-light ripping apart of the fabric of space that took place during the Big Bang must have left the universe ringing like a bell, rippling with gigantic waves billions of light years long.

The colossal forces of inflation caused the fabric of space-time – a concept introduced by Einstein as a way of reconciling gravity, motion and time – to start wobbling, like the surface of a sea subjected to an earthquake. One objection to relativity was that no one had evidence that violent events can make gravity form waves like this. Now they have.

The telescope did not “see” gravity waves directly. Instead it looked at photons – particles of light – that have travelled to Earth from a time when the universe was a ball of hot plasma and just 400,000 years old. As these antique photons crossed the vacuum of the cosmos, they were pulled and squeezed by the peaks and troughs of gravity waves, much as a boat is thrown up and down as it crosses a stormy sea. This caused the packets of light to polarise – align in certain directions – in a way that you would not expect them to do if they had crossed space unperturbed by gravity waves. It is these slight attenuations that have been discovered by the Bicep team.
According to Prof Andrew Jaffe, a cosmologist at Imperial College London, this is – almost – proof that inflation theory is correct. “Inflation is the only way we know of to produce gravitational waves in the early universe,” he says, adding that although there are other possible explanations, they are “less compelling”.

And why do we need inflation? It was first proposed in the early 1980s by cosmologists led by Andrei Linde and Alan Guth (who were at the press conference yesterday, looking very happy) to explain some problems with the original Big Bang idea.

The main one is that deep space looks much the same in every direction. There are no gigantic “gaps” – no galaxies in some places and agglomerations in others – which is what you would expect if you had a simple explosion of matter and energy. Instead, the idea behind inflation is that right at the start of the “Bang”, a period of unimaginable, hyper-fast expansion, billions of times faster than light-speed would smooth out the unevenness, much in the way that pulling on a crumpled sheet will make it flat and even.

The implications of inflation are mind-boggling. Few cosmologists believe that if inflation happened it would have produced a universe only as big as the one we can see. The observable “edge” of our universe, the so-called “Hubble Volume”, is a sphere of space about 93 billion light years across, containing maybe half a trillion galaxies, each containing roughly the same number of stars (altogether about as many stars as there are grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth). A magnificent entity.
But that vast ensemble only encompasses the parts of our universe close enough for light to have reached us since the Bang. Inflation suggests that the original expansion created a volume of space-time much, much bigger – according to some equations, infinite. And the most extraordinary thing about inflation is that as you rip apart space you create matter and energy. Not only is our universe probably infinite in size, but it is studded with an infinite amount of stars and galaxies.

Prof Max Tegmark, a Swedish physicist at MIT, is a leading proponent of the “multiverse” hypothesis, which states that our universe is just a tiny part of a much grander mass of parallel worlds. “It’s a bad day for multiverse sceptics, now that the smoking-gun evidence for inflation has been found,” he said yesterday. “Alex Vilenkin, Andrei Linde, Alan Guth and others have shown that inflation generically predicts a space that is not merely large but infinite, teeming with duplicate copies of our civilisation living out countless variations of our lives far, far away.”

This is exciting stuff, but many questions remain. We still don’t know what happened before the Big Bang, or even if this question makes sense. We do not really know what drove this cosmic inflation, nor if it is related to the mysterious “dark energy” that continues to drive apart the galaxies (albeit more slowly) to this day.

And on a more profound level, we do not know what the purpose, if any, of our universe is; or what role, if any, life like ours plays in it. We still do not have an answer to the late Douglas Adams’s “Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything” (to which he gave the sarcastic answer: “42”).

But the fact that we have, in just a few short centuries, gone from knowing almost nothing about the immense vastness in which our planet sits to hearing the very echoes of the Big Bang is remarkable. Quite the most extraordinary thing about our universe is that we can begin to understand it at all.


  1. Joy to the World when the only refuge remaining for the “true believers” is a quaint harmless metaphor and God, the original and real terrorist extraordinaire is extinguished from reasoned thought. :)

  2. What an utterly dumb post. What has the Big Bang to do with religion?

    The Hindus have posted the recurring 'creation' and 'dissolution' of the 'universe' for time out of mind.

    Many others as well.

    Really really stupid, Deuce.

    1. As befitting your blog.

      Having thoroughly emptied my bladder for hopefully the last time tonight, g'nite, and may the Great Urinary Catheter be with you.

      Not that I use one. I piss in a trucker's piss bottle by my bed, for your information.


  3. Too bad Christopher Hitchens is not around to celebrate the beginning of the end.

  4. What has the Big Bang to do with religion?

    Think of it as an intellectual antibiotic.

    1. Think of your whole outlook as being utterly stupid.

  5. Go kill something. It will make you feel better.

    1. Not me. Rat is your guy. I am researching the price of taking my niece to Pamplona. It is pricey.

      She is celebrating Holi Festival this weekend I had never heard of it before.

      After reading her letter I happened on this in Jihad Watch -

      Pakistan: Three Hindus injured in acid attack for celebrating Holi

      Robert Spencer Mar 18, 2014 at 3:41am Non-Muslims in Muslim countries, Pakistan 0 Comments
      holi-feast-3“Muslims in Karachi believe that the attacker was a Hindu,” but this is extraordinarily unlikely. Holi is a Hindu feast during which people throw colored dyes upon one another. It’s a joyful, festive occasion, and while this may have been the work of some embittered Hindu, “the acid-throwing incident follows the burning of a Hindu temple and a community office in the southern Larkana district on Sunday, by angry mobs protesting the alleged burning of a Quran by a Hindu.” Those mobs were, of course, Muslim, and their rage is still burning white-hot. Also, given the occasions on which fanatical Islamic supremacists in Pakistan have thrown acid on women they deem disobedient, they seem to be the most likely suspects.

      “Hindu in Pakistan suffer acid attack for celebrating Holi,” from Most Intolerant Religion, March 17 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

      Three Hindus were injured in an acid attack during a religious festival in Pakistan’s southern port city Karachi on Monday, according to police.

      “People were throwing colors on each other at a ceremony to celebrate [Hindu religious festival] Holi in Model Colony area, when one of the participants threw acid-mixed color on the crowd and sped away,” said Pir Mohammad Shah, a city police chief.

      We can hardly doubt the motivation behind this attack on Minority Hindus in Pakistan. As per the Standing Committee on Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas, it is strictly prohibited for Muslims to take part, celebrate the festivals of Kuffar (Hindus). It reads:

      It is not permissible for the Muslim to join the kuffaar in their festivals and to express joy and happiness on these occasions, or to take the day off work, whether the occasion is religious or secular, because this is a kind of imitating the enemies of Allaah, which is forbidden, and a kind of co-operating with them in falsehood. It was proven that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” [Fatwa no. 2540]

      Muslims in Karachi believe that the attacker was a Hindu, ironically the acid-throwing incident follows the burning of a Hindu temple and a community office in the southern Larkana district on Sunday, by angry mobs protesting the alleged burning of a Quran by a Hindu.

      Pakistan is a Muslim-majority country where Hindus are the second largest minority after the Christians. They make up 2 percent of the 180 million population.

      You need to give up the arabic girl friend Deuce, and get a fun loving Hindu.

      Why is there no fun in Islam?

      "There is no fun in Islam"

      Assaholla Khomeini

      Nice pic of a Holi Festival in the article if you are interested.

  6. By the way, it was your stupid Catholic Church that insisted on the idea of a once for all 'creation' in the first place.

    And you are still reacting to that non sense.

  7. Wonderful post, Deuce. I'll forgive you for "no thongers" this time.

    What an incredible brain that Einstein must have had to be able to even get a glimmer of the magnitude, and monstrous majesty of all that.

    How infinitesimally puny we are. How tiny, tiny, insignificantly tiny.

    1. Magnitude does not correlate with significance.

      Where do you come up with such errant non sense?

      Further, the BB Theory says the whole bubble was once contained in a space much smaller than one of your molecules.

      Riddle me that.....

    2. The whole damn thing could have once fit inside a Bud Light, in other words.

    3. ;)

      (I thought that was pretty good)

    4. Just to tick Quirk off, I'll quote Kant - "space and time are forms of human perception, categories of human understanding"

      By the way, didn't Einstein say time doesn't 'really' exist?

    5. And don't some experiments in non locality indicate that space doesn't 'really' exist either?

  8. At 1:00, yesterday afternoon, California was getting 36% of its electricity from Renewables.

    Ca ISO

  9. Nietzsche declared God not dying, but dead long ago. Said we killed him/her/it.

    1. Later the Nazis killed the Jews, as the Palestinians wish to do.

  10. Holi Festival in India -

    1. This -

      gives more the colorful flavor of it.

      Chris Hitchens would be drinking alone in a bar.

      Quirk would be drinking among the crowd, throwing paints, and perhaps selling paints, too.

    2. Though a lot of them look oddly like 'American' Hindus....


    3. Quirk can be seen at 0:32......0:33

    4. Bob, I went to your new blog site, and you were not there.
      I was so disappointed


    5. Good morning, sick fuck.

  11. Russian President Putin has told a special session of Russia's parliament that the referendum vote is "more than convincing".

    Mr Putin also said that "in people's heart of hearts, Crimea has always been part of Russia".

    He was speaking at the Kremlin, where he announced new laws for Crimea to join the Russian Federation and asked MPs to back the move.

    Crimean officials say 97% of voters backed splitting from Ukraine in a controversial referendum on Sunday.


  12. Consumer Prices Little Changed as U.S. Inflation Contained

    The cost of living in the U.S. was little changed in February, showing inflation is making scant progress toward the Federal Reserve’s goal ahead of the policy makers’ meeting this week.

    The consumer-price index increased 0.1 percent, matching the advance in January and in line with the median forecast of 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. Excluding volatile food and fuel, the so-called core measure also climbed 0.1 percent from January and was up 1.6 percent over the past 12 months, the same as in the previous month.

    Companies are keeping prices low to try to boost sales as unusually harsh weather has kept customers from venturing out to stores. Limited price pressures are giving the Fed room to keep interest rates low even as unemployment declines.

    “Firms are reluctant to raise prices, given that demand is still not where we want it to be,”
    said Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group Inc. in Pittsburgh, who correctly projected the 0.1 percent rise in inflation.

    “The Fed has made it clear that they’re concerned about inflation being too low rather than too high.”


    1. Central bankers raised concerns about too-low inflation several times throughout their last gathering, with some participants arguing that prices persistently below their target should be considered as detrimental as those that are consistently above.

      Fed officials have said they will probably hold the bank’s target interest rate near zero “well past the time” that unemployment falls below 6.5 percent, “especially if projected inflation” remains below its longer-run goal of 2 percent.

      Producer prices unexpectedly dropped 0.1 percent in February, held back by the biggest decrease in the cost of services in almost a year, according to Labor Department data released last week. February import prices advanced 0.9 percent, the fastest pace in a year, data showed March 13.


  13. The 'Bad Guys' have moved beyond 'Blood Avocados'
    Those that put a cash value on human life are ...

    Mexico Cartel Member Arrested for Kidnapping, Killing Children for Organs

    A suspected member of the Knights Templar, or Caballeros Templarios, drug cartel located in Mexico has been arrested on charges that he has been kidnapping and killing children in order to harvest their organs in order to sell them for the benefit of the cartel. A police official in the western Mexican state, Michoacan, announced the arrest today.

    The Public Safety Secretary of Michoacan, Carlos Castellanos Becerra, is accusing Manuel Plancarte Gaspar in the organ-trafficking scheme of the cartel. Plancarte Gaspar’s uncle, Enrique Plancarte Solis, holds a high rank within the Knights Templar cartel, having taken control after the death of the previous leader, Nazario Moreno, on March 9.

    Castellanos Becerra stated that those involved in the ring allegedly kidnapped children, took them to houses previously rented and supplied with medical equipment, killed the children, and removed their organs.

    According to Castellanos Becerra, evidence gathered in their investigations, which are still open, suggests that several individuals in the ring sought out certain traits in people, preferring children, and kidnapped those who had them. He was unable to release further details due to the open status of the case.

    Although Mexican police do not typically use Twitter to announce big developments, they took to the social network earlier today, tweeting a message regarding their investigation into organ trafficking.

    A vigilante group leader, Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles, heard of the tweet and told local radio station, MVS Radio, that it was well-known by the area’s residents that the Knights Templar was harvesting organs. As proof, the leader of the group of civilians formed to protect themselves against Mexico’s drug cartels offered the cases of several children, all from the same school in Mexico City, who had been rescued from refrigerated containers within vans while they were being transported through his town of Tepalcatepec. According to Mireles, the transport van had been headed to Lazaro Cardenas, a port city, but took a wrong turn and found themselves in Tepalcatepec.

    Mireles believes that the children had probably been kidnapped during a parent-approved excursion to the beach. The children were eventually returned to their parents. There was no indication on when this event had taken place, and Mireles did not answer calls to his cell phone.

    Police in Mexico stopped Plancarte Gaspar, 34, last week in a stolen car, along with one other suspect. Although the trafficking of crystal meth is no longer the main income source for the Knights Templar, who depend on illegal logging and mining as well as extortion to fund their group, police found crystal meth and cash on both men.

    The World Heath Organization has estimated that of the 100,000 transplants that are performed worldwide every year, 10 percent involve the illegal trafficking of human organs.

    The country of Costa Rica busted a large organ trafficking ring which involved members in Israel and Eastern Europe who used the country of Costa Rica and its citizens as a source for organs.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. This year, Father's Day, aka Dead Beat Dad's Day in ratlingo, is June 15th.

      Mark your calendar, set your cell phone, lest ye forget your sins, and even your Sireships.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. The Israeli are busted for trafficking in human organs, out of the Americas, as are the Knights Templar ...

      The best that 'Occupation is Human Suffering' can respond with ...


      Lovin' every minute of it!


    6. But since you brought it up...

      israel has now treated several thousand syrians. The syrians snipers (this is what jack did in central america) are aiming for the syrian kids spines... not to kill but to handicap them...

      sick pricks...

      hen why no thread on the 160 thousand dead syrian civilians?

      6 million refugees, some starving as we speak...

      and nothing but thongs, puppies, horses and fishing... and of course bashing israel.

      since i have no posting privileges I cannot post here, and yet? the thread I did post were quite well received and were just and fair....

    7. Despicable people, they profit on human suffering ...

      They ell you they walk with God.

      Both the Israeli and the Knights Templar, twin sons of different pigs.
      Kidnapping, murder, the sale of human body parts ...

      Trafficking in human organs, the lowest of the low.

    8. rat is marking down his calendar so as to remember Dead Beat Dad's Day, WiO, and he hasn't the time.


    9. They TELL you they walk with God.


    10. The Knights Templar say they are chosen by God, too.

      Not bound by man's laws, they answer to a "Higher Power" ...

      It is called GREED

    11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    13. And you TELL us about your 'adventures' in Central America, your abandonment of your child, and your pride in being a professional asshole.

      heh heh heh

      Well, since rat has arisen to put in another long day, I'm going to go take a crap, have some coffee, and go get the newspapers.


    14. Are you accusing the US Army of trafficking in human body parts?

      Do you have evidence of such activity?

      Please, post it, if you do.
      Any EVIDENCE of wrong doing would be interesting to read.

      Anything sourced from a reference that can be checked and verified, not charges made out of the vacuum of your skull.

  14. By the way, I was going to ask Ash, who is all for free speech:

    Ash, why have you not complained to Deuce concerning WiO's exclusion from threading?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.


    2. He calls the host a NAZI, he libels the blog.

      Why would the host provide him a platform, to disparage and denigrate the host?

      The government and Google allow him his own site, to thread to his hearts content.
      His freedom to thread is not suppressed.

    3. Keep up the good work, WiO, I'm heading for the crapper.

      The day is ruined, rat has arrived.

      I think that Hindu Festival of Holi is neat, my niece said she really likes it.

      She's a very healthy minded young woman.


    4. I didn't call the host a Nazi. I mentioned Nietzsche and mentioned the Nazis killing the Jews, and how the Palestinians wish to do the same.

      The blog is a mess because you are here.

    5. Which is why I am checking out for now.

      You are here.


    6. You wanted a new blog, 'Occupation is Human Suffering' has one, yet you remain here.

      To bad you are not a man of your word.
      A bloviator, that is Farmer Bob.


    7. A fraud and a liar, that is Farmer Bob.

    8. Why should I have a problem with Deuce not allowing folk to post 'above the fold'? WiO is free to speak and he has no right to post above or below the fold. Deuce established and runs this blog and he has every right to do as he likes. Personally I think he should censor very lightly in the comments sections and, conversely, I think he should take a keen interest in what appears in the headline posts.

  15. I also challenged the shallowness of thought that somehow thinks to equate the Big Bang with some 'disproof' of 'God'.

    It's non sense, and I said so.

    1. Still here, aye.

      You said you were leaving, but that was a lie.

      To bad you cannot reconcile yourself with the truth.


    2. Everything you post is either a lie or a figment of your imagination.

      You write fiction, poorly.


    3. Farmer Bob seems to become ever more bitter, as his hair falls out.


  16. It is interesting that when truly dispicable crimes are uncovered, crimes that boggle the mind, like trafficking in human body parts, those that are involved are all at the 'Right Hand' of God.

    The Aztecs, the Knights Templar, the NAZI, the Israeli.

    The God that they stand by differs, but they all claim to be doing God's bidding, following instructions from 'On High'


    1. During the 'Inquisition' it was the 'Men of God' that burned other folks at the stake.

    2. The Republican Governor of Maine declared, yesterday, that it would be a "Sin" to expand Medicaid.

      Yep, that's the word that he used.


    3. Rufus, think we should try 'kayak fly fishing'?

      The other folks that participate in that sport ...
      ... seem nice.

    4. :) I'm not sure that the "Equipment" isn't above my pay grade. :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

    5. :) :) :) :)

      But, it does look like a Great Sport. :) :) :)

    6. :)

      Where was That sport 40 years ago?

      :) :) :)


  17. Ukraine Crisis Could Strengthen Russia-Iran-China Ties
    March 18, 2014 - 15:18

    TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Former Iranian Nuclear Negotiator Hossein Mousavian, in an article published by Al Monitor, opined that the ongoing disputes between the West and Russia over developments in Ukraine can result in stronger ties between Iran, Russia and China.

    In the last two decades, Russia and Iran have been carefully watching the United States and NATO expanding their reach eastward by erecting military bases around the borders of the two countries, with near-total disregard for Moscow's and Tehran's legitimate security interests. In recent years, under Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei's and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule, both states have been resisting Western hegemony, seeking to mend their wounded pride and prestige and attempting to extricate themselves from what they perceived as a lack of international respect and influence. In 2005, Putin said that the fall of the Soviet Union was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century. To give up on Ukraine and allow it to slip out of Russia’s orbit would be a monumental blow to Putin’s efforts for restoring Russia’s position in the international arena.

    Since 2006, the United States has successfully amassed consensus among world powers with regard to Iran’s nuclear program, the outcome of which were UN sanction resolutions, followed by unilateral US and EU sanctions. Now, a persistent Ukrainian crisis may bring to bear a number of scenarios.

    During negotiations of the final nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), it is of paramount US importance to suppress Iran’s nuclear program to the extent possible. However, while the crisis over Crimea continues — and presumably for the foreseeable future upon its conclusion — it will be difficult for the United States to garner Russian support as it did for the interim agreement in November 2013. This will likely weaken the US/European position on conditions that are aimed to limit Iran’s nuclear program beyond the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

    Since Americans and Europeans both have threatened to apply diplomatic pressure on Russia, including the imposition of sanctions, logic follows that Russia will play Iran’s nuclear card against the United States and Europe, hoping to influence the US and European position toward Russia in Ukraine.

    Furthermore, if Iran complies with the interim agreement and cooperates with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but the West continues to push Iran with excessive demands, Russia may attempt to ally itself with Iran and even violate sanctions by the West in response to the West’s diplomatic and economic pressures.

    Great economic rewards may also result from Russia cultivating closer relations with Iran. It is very likely that Iran will raise the inclusion of constructing up to 20 nuclear plants — obviously under international supervision — as part of the final nuclear agreement. Iran has already planned to build four of those in cooperation with Russia. The mega project of building 20 nuclear plants would involve tens of billions of dollars.

    It is unlikely that Europeans and Americans react to Iran’s demand of building these nuclear plants, even if the final nuclear deal has been satisfactorily signed between Iran and the P5+1. This would present itself as another opportunity for the Russians to take advantage of the situation and win this mega project, while tightening their ties with Iran in the direction of their strategic thinking.


    1. VOA News

      March 18, 2014

      Iran and the six world powers have launched a new round of nuclear talks as increasing tensions between the West and Russia cast a shadow over the negotiations.

      The latest discussions began Tuesday in Vienna after what a spokesman for the European Union's foreign policy chief described as a "constructive" meeting between Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

      Later, the full delegations sat down together for talks expected to end late Wednesday.

      Although the negotiations have no direct connection to Ukraine, their success depends on solidarity among the so-called P5-plus-one countries — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — in favor of a tough agreement with Iran to significantly downsize its nuclear program.

      Experts knowledgeable about the talks say that if Russia signals its cooperation with the West has weakened, that will reduce pressure on Iran to make concessions.

  18. California, possessing an economy much larger than Iran's, is down to One Nuclear Plant running at approx. half-capacity (1,000 megawatts.)

    see link above


    1. No one ever claimed the Iranians were 'clever; or 'smart'.

      They are way behind, on the learning curve.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. You can buy virtually unlimited amounts of Solar and Wind-generated electricity, now, for $0.05 kilowatt / hr.

      That's Way, Way, Way, Way, Way, way, way, way, way cheaper than you can build a Nuclear Plant.

    4. Uh, Rat, you need to check that "changes in latitude" link.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.


    6. One would assume that there is lots of 'sunshine' in Iran, given it's latitude.

      But, as has been noted, before ...

      Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes


    7. They are hoping that the sovereign fund allocates around 5 per cent of its assets in infrastructure of renewable energy. That would equate to around $40 billion.

      So far, the fund has spent up to $5 billion on projects deemed worthy. By the end of last year, those investments counted 166 companies, with returned 41 per cent in 2013.


      Norway - A Nation of Einsteins


    8. Ancient City of Petra Built to Align With the Sun

      Petra, a giant metropolis of tombs, monuments, and other elaborate religious structures carved into stone cliffs, was the capital of the Nabatean kingdom, a little-understood Middle Eastern culture that ruled much of modern-day Jordan from the third century B.C. until the first century A.D.

      These wealthy spice traders worshiped the sun, among other deities, and may have given importance to the equinoxes, solstices, and other astronomical events that are determined by how the sun moves across the sky.

      Now, a statistical analysis published in the Nexus Network Journal reveals that these heavenly phenomena likely influenced how the Nabateans created structures at Petra, a Greek word that means "rock."

      "The facades of Petra are not only beautiful in themselves, but they also show something additional," said study leader Juan Antonio Belmonte, an archaeoastronomer at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC), in a phone interview.
      During the winter solstice in Petra, the setting sun creates effects of light and shadow around a sacred podium inside the monument known as Ad Deir, or the Monastery, where the Nabateans may have held religious festivities.

      "It's the same thing seen in Christian churches [when sunlight illuminates] special altars," Belmonte said.

      E. C. Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, called this Ad Deir effect "fetching." The fact that it manifests only a week before and a week after the winter solstice suggests that "a symbolic alignment with the winter solstice sunset is plausible," he said.

      "This demonstrates we are not looking at an ancient observatory, but at architecture that is in part activated and sanctified by the sky," Krupp said in an email.


  19. This one, it's for Farmer bob, since ...

    When his bluff was called ...

    He folded.

    Havana Daydreamin' - Hemingway Tribute

    Havana Daydreamin' - or as was said on M*A*S*H - Suicide is Painless

    ja, ja, ja.


    1. On of my all time, old time favorites ...

      Cowboy in the Jungle

      Porto Bello, one hell of a village, great harbor, good seaside bar, lots of Canadian sail bunnies.

      Then there was Isla Grande, but those tales are for another day ...


    2. Forget that blind ambition
      Learn to trust your intuition



  20. Putin rips Ukraine's interim leaders, West

    In a televised address to Russia Tuesday, Putin defended Russia's move to annex Crimea, saying that the rights of ethnic Russians have been abused by the Ukrainian government.

    He also called authorities in Ukraine
    “nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites,” according to Reuters.

    “Those who were behind recent events, they were ... preparing a coup d'etat, another one,” Putin said.
    “They were planning to seize power, stopping at nothing.”

    He denied Western accusations that Russia invaded Crimea prior to a referendum vote there, saying Russian troops were sent there in line with a treaty with Ukraine that allows Russia to have up to 25,000 troops at its Black Sea Fleet base in Crimea.

    Putin also said that Crimea's vote Sunday to join Russia is in line with international law, reflecting its right for self-determination.

    He pointed at the example of Kosovo's independence bid, supported by the West, and said that Crimea's secession from Ukraine repeats Ukraine's own secession from the Soviet Union in 1991.

    “Our Western partners headed by the United States prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun,''
    he told a joint session of parliament, according to Reuters.

    “They have come to believe in their exceptionalism and their sense of being the chosen ones.
    That they can decide the destinies of the world, that it is only them who can be right.”

  21. Looks like Jack is talking to himself again. With only Rufus occasionally listening in.

    he he he

    1. He's got your full attention. You are coming by just to see what he is doing. You are his biggest fan.

      ho ho ho


    2. “He would rather be attacked than unnoticed.
      For the worst thing you can do is to be silent as to his works.”

    3. Haven't really read a word you've said, other than your reply to my above. Was simply wondering if anyone else was around, Jack.

      The only full attention you've got is your own.

      ha ha ha

      bye bye bye

    4. The response is indicative of the falsehood you are attempting to relate. A lack of discipline and self-control is plainly evident in the denial of your interest in Jack. He was right about your predilection. You are gay.

    5. Yup, Jack, I am so interested in you I am urging someone to go to the trouble of starting a blog where you will never be around.

      That's how interested in you I am.

      Jack, you need help.

      Really, really badly.

      Because you are one sick fuck.

      Looks like no one has been around that might be interesting to read.

      By the way, Jack, external beam radiation does not cause hair loss. In fact, possibly the opposite. When I asked the doc about this very thing, that is what he said. Not that I need any hair growth. I am fine in that department.

      For you information, and other older men that might be interested, it is chemo that causes hair loss, not external beam radiation for early stage prostate cancer.

      Of all the options I was given to consider, chemo was not among them.

      I bet you are ugly as a gargoyle and bald as Yul Brynner, Jack, and that is why you couldn't find a girl to screw other than a teenage crazy Panamanian luckless.

      Remember: Dead Beat Dad Day is June 15th this year, Jack.

    6. But she wasn't totally 'crazy' was she, Jack.

      She had presence of mind to flee and get the hell away from you at the very first opportunity, did she not, Jack?

      You were hurt by this, weren't you, Jack.

      And you haven't paid a dime for your own child's upkeep since.

      It's all so obvious.

      You da man, Jack.


    7. My kid has a REAL job and a college degree, he did not have to settle for being a clerk a Walgreens, and he doesn't need a stipend from his daddy to pay the mortgage.



    8. He's bi-lingual, too.

      When you're on the 'right side' things work out.


    9. My kid has a REAL job and a college degree, he did not have to settle for being a clerk AT Walgreens, and he doesn't need a stipend from his daddy to pay the mortgage.

    10. Wait a second ... does a clerk at Walgreens even own a house?

      Does your boy need that stipend to pay the RENT?

    11. You should cut those apron strings, Farmer Bob.
      Just to see if your boy can make it on his own, before you die.

  22. (Newser) – There are six theories under investigation regarding the fate of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, reports NBC News, and most will sound familiar at this point: hijacking or pilot suicide, for instance. But there are far more than six theories being floated around, and Business Insider picks up a particularly fascinating one that Henry Blodget dubs the "most plausible" theory yet. It comes compliments of former pilot Chris Goodfellow, who makes the case that the pilot was a "hero" who was responding, properly, to a fire on board. Goodfellow lays out the timeline on Google+.

    He suggests that not long after takeoff and shortly after the "good night" sign-off, the pilots detected a fire onboard, with smoke starting to fill the cockpit.

    The source? Possibly a tire in the front landing gear, which could have blown "on takeoff and started slowly burning. Yes this happens with underinflated tires. Remember heavy plane, hot night, sea level, long run takeoff."

    The captain then followed his training, and changed course to the nearest feasible airport, in this case, Pulau Langkawi, and entered the new destination into the flight computer. He then took a sharp turn toward the west. Writes Goodfellow, "We old pilots were always drilled to always know the closest airport of safe harbor while in cruise. Always in our head. Always."

    Their priority would not have been to communicate, but to deal with the fire. And their first response would be to turn off electrical "busses" in a bid to isolate it. That would have disabled systems like the transponder and ACARs. (He cites the 1998 crash of a Swissair DC-10 off Nova Scotia that reacted as such to a fire and saw its transponders shut off as a result—trouble started an hour after takeoff.)

    Goodfellow's theory then takes a turn for the dark: "A tire fire once going would produce horrific incapacitating smoke," that ultimately caused the pilots to either lose consciousness or die. The plane continued on autopilot until the fuel ran out, or until the fire destroyed the cockpit's controls and the plane crashed.


  23. NSA surveillance program reaches ‘into the past’ to retrieve, replay phone calls

    Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani

    The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden.

    A senior manager for the program compares it to a time machine — one that can replay the voices from any call without requiring that a person be identified in advance for surveillance.

    The voice interception program, called MYSTIC, began in 2009. Its RETRO tool, short for “retrospective retrieval,” and related projects reached full capacity against the first target nation in 2011. Planning documents two years later anticipated similar operations elsewhere.

    In the initial deployment, collection systems are recording “every single” conversation nationwide, storing billions of them in a 30-day rolling buffer that clears the oldest calls as new ones arrive, according to a classified summary.

    The call buffer opens a door “into the past,” the summary says, enabling users to “retrieve audio of interest that was not tasked at the time of the original call.” Analysts listen to only a fraction of 1 percent of the calls, but the absolute numbers are high. Each month, they send millions of voice clippings, or “cuts,” for processing and long-term storage.

    At the request of U.S. officials, The Washington Post is withholding details that could be used to identify the country where the system is being employed or other countries where its use was envisioned.

    No other NSA program disclosed to date has swallowed a nation’s telephone network whole. Outside experts have sometimes described that prospect as disquieting but remote, with notable implications for a growing debate over the NSA’s practice of “bulk collection” abroad.

    Bulk methods capture massive data flows “without the use of discriminants,” as President Obama put it in January. By design, they vacuum up all the data they touch — meaning that most of the conversations collected by RETRO would be irrelevant to U.S. national security interests.

    In a statement, Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, declined to comment on “specific alleged intelligence activities.” Speaking generally, she said “new or emerging threats” are “often hidden within the large and complex system of modern global communications, and the United States must consequently collect signals intelligence in bulk in certain circumstances in order to identify these threats.”

    NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines, in an e-mailed statement, said that “continuous and selective reporting of specific techniques and tools used for legitimate U.S. foreign intelligence activities is highly detrimental to the national security of the United States and of our allies, and places at risk those we are sworn to protect.”

    Some of the documents provided by Snowden suggest that high-volume eavesdropping may soon be extended to other countries, if it has not been already. The RETRO tool was built three years ago as a “unique one-off capability,” but last year’s secret intelligence budget named five more countries for which the MYSTIC program provides “comprehensive metadata access and content,” with a sixth expected to be in place by last October.

    1. Ubiquitous voice surveillance, even overseas, pulls in a great deal of content from Americans who telephone, visit and work in the target country. It may also be seen as inconsistent with Obama’s Jan. 17 pledge “that the United States is not spying on ordinary people who don’t threaten our national security,” regardless of nationality, “and that we take their privacy concerns into account.”

      In a presidential policy directive, Obama instructed the NSA and other agencies that bulk acquisition may be used only to gather intelligence on one of six specified threats, including nuclear proliferation and terrorism. The directive, however, also noted that limits on bulk collection

      “do not apply to signals intelligence data that is temporarily acquired to facilitate targeted collection.”

  24. Wow, now That is some kinda sponge.

    1. Wonder which countries are in the 'NSA Six'?

    2. You would think they would be middleeastern, right?

    3. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt

      Iran, NorK, Germany.

      Which do they consider the primary mission, nuclear proliferation or common terrorism -

      Pakistan leads both lists. Russia is high on both.

      Iran would be the PC choice but from a practical threat perspective, not as much of a threat as Saudi Arabia.
      The Islamic terrorists have all been Wahhabi, not Shiite.

      Germany, which is where almost all of the attacks on the US were staged from or through.

    4. Then there is Yemen, but like NorK not a lot of telephones or cell towers.

    5. This whole thing has gotten so crazy, that I can't bring myself to make a guess.

    6. Got some real nice nurses in the next go-round, rufus.

      Harvesting human organs, by fraud and outright theft, it's quite the enterprise.
      It has even been state sponsored.

    7. Nurses. Oh boy, I likes Nurses. :) :) :)

      Are they riding horses?

      :) :)