Thursday, November 29, 2012

Distributed everything



In The Third Industrial Revolution Rifkin discusses the worldview matrix that was enacted through the energy regimes of particular eras.  Fossil fuels are found is select areas and require large financial and military investments to secure them. Along with this comes a way or organizing business top-down with centralized command and control. For example, the railroad required large financial investments that included foreign investors, and such immense capital required a stock market to track it. Ownership became separated from management, and workers from management. All of which was a drastic change from the more agrarian economy envisioned by Adam Smith. Max Weber studied this shift and noted that the new business model emphasized pyramidal organization structure (top-down), pre-established rules for all operations and jobs, a strict division of labor and wages. This railroad model transformed all businesses (107-09).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

GOP anthro climate change denier to head House science committee

See this story. It should come as no surprise that the House GOP nominated Lamar Smith to head the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Smith denies that humanity is responsible for climate change despite overwhelming scientific consensus. Regressives are still living in a fact-free bubble and show absolutely no sign of changing to the contrary. This is why we must not compromise with them but rather continue to defeat them as we did in the last election.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Black Hole Sun

Listened to this today, a golden oldie:


God for atheists

Balder started this IPS thread based on a website on the topic. My comment:

This reminds me of our prior discussion of God as immanent, created prosthesis. Recall:

Betcher, quoting Bruns: "God does not generate love in us, but rather, our loving generates God" (72). Which is consistent with God as a conceptual prosthesis, one generated by our embodiment and connected to the abstract universal principle. But a principle that is not a source from some ideal universal that works its way down into embodiment. Which is what I was talking about in my last post. This is how we can have a universal that is not transcendent but transcendental.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Objected-orientated Gaga

Balder introduced this to me in the IPS OOO thread. It's going to take a few listens for me, quite deep. For those Gaga critics who don't get her, she is quite aware of serial media remixing and does it to make a statement. No, she isn't deep into OOO and doesn't understand it like this presentation, but she enacts it via her art replete with the implications so elucidated. Gaga is not only a product of her culture but produces and remixes that culture.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Krugman on regressive head burying

His article yesterday was touched off by Rubio's response to the age of the earth, but he also got into the conservative aversion as a whole. Therein he mentioned Chris Mooney's recent book, The Republican Brain, "a survey of the now-extensive research linking political views to personality types. As Mr. Mooney showed, modern American conservatism is highly correlated with authoritarian inclinations — and authoritarians are strongly inclined to reject any evidence contradicting their prior beliefs... And, no, it’s not symmetric. Liberals, being human, often give in to wishful thinking — but not in the same systematic, all-encompassing way."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Robbert on Latour's latest

Robbert posted a brief summary review of a recently released translation of the intro and first chapter of Latour's latest work. From Robbert:

"Recall that at the start of his introduction Latour gave us an account of an encounter, between the industrialist and the climate scientist; legislating between claims was the central issue. But also recall that this legislation will not be accomplished by an appeal to language games or speech acts (though it might include these). Rather, Latour now argues, this legislation will be attempted through metaphysics and ontological pluralism. To put it differently, it is being over language that is at stake for Latour. Here we might ask: Isn’t the appeal to metaphysics — to ontotheology, more precisely — what caused so much trouble in the past, before the advent of critical philosophy and the glorious decapitation of speculative philosophy? Wasn’t confusing beings with a single Being — White Men, God, Selfish Genes, Atoms, whatever — the whole problem with the violent nature of metaphysics to begin with? Maybe, but this is not what Latour means by 'metaphysics.'”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Petition for Elizabeth Warren on the banking committee

According to this story the Wall Street banksters are already using their muscle in an attempt to thwart the new MA Senator from being put on the banking committee. Warren is an obvious fit, given her previous leadership in financial reforms. But that's the rub for the 1%ers; they don't want reform or regulation and they know she will fight for it. If this last election proved one thing, not even big money can overcome the will of the people. Therefore please consider signing the petition at the link to request Warren be placed in this Senate committee. Thanks.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Jeffrey Sachs on the economy

From this recent article, where he sounds more like Rifkin. I wonder if they've worked together?

Update: Both Sachs and Rifkin serve on the Scientific Committee of the Ideas Foundation.

"The entire Keynesian apparatus that dominates Democratic party circles is also outdated and outmoded. It is a cyclical theory trying to fit a secular (that is, longterm) structural challenge. The US needs massive overhauls of its key economic sectors, almost all of which have public and private sector components that are deeply intertwined. Aggregate demand management cannot fix excessive healthcare and college costs, broken infrastructure, or an economy based on fossil fuel that needs to be decarbonised.

"Mr Obama’s legacy should be to foster the overhaul of the US economy. The IT revolution can and should lead to lowcost online universities, radically lower healthcare costs, smart grids, smart cities and smart lowcarbon energy systems."

Michael Moore's letter to the President

Much like Maher, Moore also supports Obama but now would like more of him. Check out his letter here. The key points follow:

1. DRIVE THE RICH RIGHT OFF THEIR FISCAL CLIFF.

2. END ALL THE WARS NOW.

3. END THE DRUG WAR. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Maher entreats Obama

In his special comment on New Rules last night Maher entreated Obama to throw caution to the wind and go for those progressive causes that help the people and the environment. For example, clean energy, civil liberties, the drug war, the drone war, the war war. The President "is free now to no longer have to kiss the ass of coal miners and say the words 'clean coal.' There is no such thing.... It's like saying internet privacy, or tea party intellectual, or Fox News journalist." He'd also like us to cut the defense budget. "We have the same problem with our defense budget that Mrs. Petreus has with his penis; it's swollen and we can't bring ourselves to touch it." He is proud that Colorado and Washington legalized pot. So if conservatives bitch about it "throw States rights back in their face." And this big one that so many progressives were upset about: "How about re-writing the Patriot Act. How about another look at rendition, warrentless searches, wiretaps, and stop listening in on our phonecalls and reading our emails."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Elizabeth Warren redefines a balanced approach

The freshman Senator from Massachusetts provides a progressive take on what balance means in terms of a budget. It means cutting is necessary but it depends on what is being cut. No cuts to Social Security or Medicare. Yes cuts to the defense budget, agriculture and oil subsidies, fraud and abuse, and tax cuts for the rich. This is what she, and the President, ran and won on so this is the mandate from the majority of the people. Congrats to Senator Warren and keep up the good work.

Bryant is right, and wrong, on networks

Bryant's post on networks was disheartening. He notes 3 types of network: centralized, decentralized and distributed. He rightly criticizes centralized version as transcendent. But then he wrongly criticizes distributed networks as communist anarchy, a leveling where everything is equivalent. He instead promotes decentralized networks that maintain hubs, gravitational regimes of attraction through which other nodes in the network must pass. He rightly notes that one such immense hub is fossil fuels, required to build anything.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reading The Third Industrial Revolution

I posted the following in the end of the last hydrogen post but it belongs in a new post, since I'm now reading this book:

"Rifkin's agenda fully answers Bryant's latest rantings against academia as purely intellectual stuff, since Rifkin's ideas of a new energy infrastructure are currently being implemented in the EU. And it is ushering in a new  political economy based on renewable energy, distributed capitalism and democratic sociological restructuring within an emerging and viable P2P paradigm. And all of which far surpasses kennilingus conscious capitalism, still based in the old political economy and social structures."

One of the things Rifkin emphasizes in the book is that all of the pieces of the TIR must be generated, developed, coordinated and implemented simultaneously for it to work. I.e., it is an integral paradigm touching on and integrating all quadrants/zones. He observed that even with more investment in renewable energy sources it was still organized top-down with large-scale, centralized control as part of the old paradigm. While he recognizes that this is necessary as a transition step the goal is to have small-scale distributed renewable energy generation in every home and office building, thus supporting the P2P paradigm. 

New issue of Constructivist Foundations on Luhmann

See this link for more. Of initial note I read Nassehi's "What exists between realism and constructivism." His closing answer to the opening question: "Operations. Do they exist? Not really. They operate."


Hydrogen, the Holy Grail

I’m reading The Third Industrial Revolution and the following reminds me of something I said earlier in the forum:

“Hydrogen had long been sought after by scientists and engineers as the Holy Grail for a post-carbon era. It is the lightest and most abundant element in the universe—the stuff of the stars.” (49).

Recall this forum post and following:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Obama on taxing the rich & telling regressives to stick it

I like Obama's new balls. It seems he has grown a brand new pair and is not afraid to use them. On the looming fiscal cliff the regressives are determined to not raise any taxes on the rich and instead are offering only to "reform the tax code" is some unspecified way. Obama simply responded, I won! And that means the agenda he campaigned on won, part of which was allowing the current tax cuts to remain in place but expire on the top 2% only. He's drawing the gauntlet and letting the regressives hang themselves, possibly taking everyone over the cliff and letting the tax cuts expire on everyone. He knows they will be held responsible as well they should. I like this new Obama, one who stands up for what he believes. One who knows that the regressives will promise him the world but if he compromises with them and accepts their suggestion they will just turn right around and vote against him as they've consistently done the last 2 years. I say Yea for Obama's bright, big new balls.

Romney reiterates his 47% bullshit

As if we didn't know he believed this taker bullshit before, he said it again, blaming his loss on the "gifts" Obama gave to blacks, hispanics and the youth. Of course Romney interprets this as free lunches and hand outs. But what is he talking about? Not raising student loan interest. Providing free contraceptives. Letting 26-year olds remain on their parent's insurance. You know, helping people in need. What he failed to mention were the "gifts" he and his Party give to the rich, like criminally low capital gains taxes, oil and gas subsidies, tax loopholes so that numerous large corporations do not pay any taxes. The latter gifts dwarf the money invested in our lower and middle classes where society reaps huge returns on this investment. Whereas the actual gifts given to the rich only serve to further enrich themselves at the expense of the public good. I'll take Obama's investment in most of us instead of Romney's gifts to his own 1% ilk. And fortunately, as the election proves, so will the majority of us.

Monday, November 12, 2012

American Nations

In my explorations of the difference between liberal and conservative, red states and blue states, here is a book recently referred to me, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America. An excerpt of its description follows:

In AMERICAN NATIONS, Woodard leads us through the history of our fractured continent, and the rivalries and alliances between its component nations. He explains why “American values” vary sharply from one region to another—how an idea like “freedom” as understood by an East Texan or Idahoan can be the polar opposite of what it means to a New Englander or San Franciscan.  Woodard reveals how intra-national differences have played a pivotal role at every point in the continent’s history, right up into the 2012 election cycle.  AMERICAN NATIONS is a revolutionary and revelatory take on America’s myriad identities, and how the conflicts between them have shaped our past and mold our future.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bill Kristol is ok with taxing the rich!

Yes, the election has consequences but how many expected this from Kristol, one of the founders of the Project for a New American Century?

"It won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires. It really won't, I don't think. I don't really understand why Republicans don't take Obama's offer. Really? The Republican Party is going to fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted Democratic and half of whom live in Hollywood and are hostile?"

Who knows, this might really be the start of a new American century?

Bryant on phenomenological perspectives

Bryant's recent post on posthumanism is interesting. I'm recalling Balder's previous suggestion on an integral grammatology. Here Bryant is focusing on that aspect of his work to do with perspectival phenomenology. Some excerpts:

"As I understand it, a position is posthumanist when it no longer privileges human ways of encountering and evaluating the world, instead attempting to explore how other entities encounter the world.  Thus, the first point to note is that posthumanism is not the rejection or eradication of human perspectives on the world, but is a pluralization of perspectives.... Posthumanism goes one step further in arguing that animals, microorganisms, institutions, corporations, rocks, stars, computer programs, cameras, etc., also have their phenomenologies or ways of apprehending the world. I think this is a point that is often missed about OOO.  OOO is as much a theory of perspectives, a radicalization of phenomenology, as it is a theory of entities.  While the various strains of OOO differ amongst themselves, they all share this thesis in common.  There is a phenomenology for, not of, every type of entity that exists."

SNL Homeland parody

I love the show Homeland. This take-off is quite funny.


Do the election results indicate we need compromise?

At IPS Balder posted a link to this article. Following are my responses.

Obama is multiperspectival perhaps. But one with a multi view does not bargain with someone with a mono view who is unwilling to bargain at all. To do so only reinforces and enables the intransigent bully, to wit Obama's completely wasted efforts with the Republicans in his first 4 years. And comparing Rachel Maddow as an opposite equivalence to Ross Douthat is simply insane for the same reasons. Maddow, a gay woman who is one of those multi cross-culturals, is basing her opinions on such considerations. And oh yeah, facts.

I'm getting tired of this kind of so-called transpartisanship that thinks progressives need to compromise with racist, homophobic, fact and science-hating ignoramuses or we're considered one-sided and extremist. Obama won because he finally took the right side on progressive issues and quit the compromising with, as Ray Harris so wisely once said, what is not left or right but just plain wrong.

The fourfold unity

This is the 1111th reply to the IPS OOO thread. As such it numerologically indicates the 4-fold nature of unity. What? Just being silly... (Which word comes from selig, meaning blessed.)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bill Maher this week

Here's last night's show. From the monologue: "I know why you're happy tonight; your uterus is safe for another 4 years." "We are black in the saddle again." "The Republicans are licking their wounds, which is ironically Romney's healthcare plan." "This was such a good night for progressives Anthony Weiner is tweeting his dick again." "All the men who talked about lady parts during the campaign; they all lost."

The IPS twist on Bryant/Morton

Some more of the real and autonomous IPS OOO thread follows from this page:

Balder: As I've said before, I think it is something of an exaggeration to define objects as withdrawn from all relations, for a number of reasons we've discussed before.  OOO makes a good case that a radically relational (relation-only) view runs into trouble, since it becomes difficult to account for change, among other things.  But OOO also admits that a view of radical withdrawal would at least seem to make the interaction of objects impossible, and sets its task out to show how interrelationship is still possible.  (And Buddhism would argue, in the mirror-image of OOO, that island-like, wholly self-sufficient and self-existing objects also would never change).  So, as I've said from the very first pages of this thread (though my insight into this has been shifting and growing through this time), I think siding either for total relational determination or total withdrawal from all relations is a dead end and not workable.  While OOO, which leans towards withdrawal, needs to do work to show how interrelationship is nevertheless possible, I think a similar approach can be taken for the relationist camp:  to show how, even though objects are to some degree interdependently arising, they nevertheless do so in a way that avoids relational determinism and allows for change.  While I need to work this through more rigorously, my sense is that we can perhaps find this in what I've called (en)closure or the rounding of particularity.  Wherever we find a "whole object" which is a unit with internal relations, we find an instance of relational closure.  This closure is at once emergence (of a particularity) and withdrawal (from direct contact with other emergent objects).

Friday, November 9, 2012

More on hyperobjects and differance

Following is more from the IPS OOO thread, quoting Morton some as it relates to my recent posts in this regard with comments following. Here are some excerpts from Morton's response in Speculations to a review of his book The Ecological Thought:

"The entire Universe is what in chapter 3 I call a hyperobject, massively distributed in spacetime.... Hyperobjects are a good way to understand my concept of mesh.... In this sense the idea is Spinozan—there is really only one substance, modulated in different ways.... I believe I was careful to say that the mesh doesn’t exist apart from the entities that directly are it."

I've referenced Morton's essay before, "Materialism expanded and remixed." A few edited excerpts relevant to my latest tangent.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Maddow on the election

In my last post I linked to Rachel Maddow's election reporting. Since it contained much, much more than just a brief mention of Silver's electoral accuracy I decided to give it a post of its own. She starts by noting what we're not going to have as a result: 1) a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v. Wade; 2) health reform repeal; 3) the end of Medicare; 4) a 20% tax cut for the rich; 5) a cut in food stamps and kids' insurance to pay for #4; 6) employer clearance for birth control under their insurance plan; 7) redefine rape; 8) Constitutionally prevent marriage equality; 9) double Guantanamo; 10) eliminate the Departments of Energy, Housing or Education; 11) spend $2 trillion on the military for programs it doesn't even want; 12) cut student loans; 13) vetoing the Dream Act; 14) self-deportation; 15) let Detroit go bankrupt; 16) start a trade war with China; 17) going to run down a scared gay kid and cut his hair; 18) no Secretary of State John Bolton; 19) bring Dick Cheney back; 20) have foreign policy advisers for the Iraq war. These are all the things we would have had if Romney had won.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whose electoral predictions were more accurate? Again.

Update: Also see Rachel Maddow's reporting on this. The Silver info starts around 8:30. Prior to that she details what the election means in terms of policies and who won where. Excellent reporting, as usual. And she debunks not only regressive electoral myths but several of their other other bubble myths not based in reality.

Remember this prior post on the Princeton Election Consortium and Nate Silver's 538. PEC was defending Silver against claims of bias and inaccuracy. Well, well, look who was right, again. Both PEC and 538 predicted much more accurately then any others. PEC: "In the races called thus far, pre-election polling medians were correct in 50 out of 50.... Senate: Of the closest races, election returns match polling medians in 10 out of 10. 538 like PEC was 100% with which candidate would win in which States. Well, he gave Obama Florida and right now Obama has a slight lead with 100% of the vote in, but it's within 0.5% so there might be a recall. Now sit back and listen to the regressive denial.

And how accurate were Republican pundits? Check this out.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Neuropath

Byrant has a quick reaction to reading the disturbing SF novel Neuropath. He also links to Shaviro's quite lengthy and deep review of it. Sounds like a book that belongs here. From Shaviro:

"Scott Bakker’s Neuropath is a science-fiction thriller about a rogue neurosurgeon who kidnaps people and grotesquely manipulates their brains, sometimes killing them in the process, and other times releasing them once their minds have been subtly but horribly deformed. It’s pretty disturbing on a visceral level.

Cloud Atlas and reincarnation

Continuing from my last post on the movie, much as I appreciated it I must address the reincarnation therein, and the worldview that informs that belief. The review linked earlier is called “Cloud Atlas’s Theory of Everything,” indicative of the certainty of, well, everything in its place like Wilber’s model. Therein it also said: “The directors made literal what Mitchell had left playfully ambiguous: characters in later sections are the spiritual embodiments—reincarnations—of those in earlier ones.” So here we have one metaphysical premise for the movie not in the book. At to mystical Oneness, the reviewer said:

“So intent are the Wachowskis and Tykwer on delivering the movie’s mystical tidings—we’re not just bodies, but also souls (or even holons); the choices we make in one life affect who we become in another; we’re all connected to each other and to something bigger than ourselves—that the film risks the earnest impenetrability of a New Age infomercial.”

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Robert Reich nails Romney on his real values

Alleluia! Tell it brother Reich, from this blog post. See the entire post for details and elaboration.

"1. Corporations are the basic units of society.

2. Workers are a means to the goal of maximizing corporate profits.

3. All factors of production – capital, physical plant and equipment, workers – are fungible and should be treated the same.

On death and immortality (of sorts)

Joseph posted a video at IPS on the film Griefwalker. My comments:

I understand him. Death is the prime motivator for me to write, to make my contribution, little as it is, to this world. Death is in each word, for I know my words are all of me that will remain. And hopefully, like in Cloud Atlas, some one(s) will somewhere in some time(s) read them and it will have some impact. Death's immanence drives the obvious urjency with which I write so prodigiously, if not so eloquently or penetratingly.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cloud Atlas

A fricken masterpiece. I suspended my disbelief in reincarnation and some mystical Whole that connects us all. Still, the theme of connection with the Other via love resonated deeply. And the separate stories, excellent in themselves, did cohere through a common thread of humanity and culture, if not of Spirit. Very well done. More later after I stew in it a while.

Update: We're discussing this at IPS forum, where there was a link to a review that featured Wilber's ideas as likely influence on the film. My further comments:

The review though is telling. The author of the book, Mitchell, is critical of the reincarnation implication. And the general tone of the movie seems to be more of mystical evangelizing (like Wilber) where Mitchell offers subtle and more open implication. As the review summarizes:

Free-market capitalism?

Given my many ruminations on capitalism, here's David Coates' interesting editorial about US capitalism and the invisible hand. Some excerpts (but check out the whole article):

"Whatever else the United States economy is, or has been, in the twentieth century, it has not been free-market capitalism. We carry in our heads this image of economic markets made up of small producers and rational and fully informed consumers, and we tell ourselves that this is perfect competition and an ideal world. But actually it is a fantasy world. It is certainly not the world -- nor the economy -- that we currently face in the United States.

Regressives believe in demonic possession but not climate change

Here's some interesting polling data. 68% of Republican voters believe in demonic possession compared to only 48% that believe climate change is real. I'm actually impressed that the latter is as high as 48% so kudos to those Republicans with a brain. What is perhaps just as scary is that 49% of Democrats also believe in possession, but a more substantial 88% are convinced about climate change. Democrats are obviously not immune to such nonsense but are statistically less inclined.

Maddow reams Romney's faux compassion

Recall this post on Ryan's real imitation authenticity, where he pretended to help out at a soup kitchen. Enter Romney, who turned a supposed hurricane relief effort into a political campaigning stunt to make him appear compassionate. Rachel Maddow of course rightfully called him out, exposing that "according to BuzzFeed, the Romney campaign actually purchased $5,000 worth of canned goods and diapers from a Wal-Mart and provided event-goers with materials to then hand to Gov. Romney." Meanwhile the President and FEMA were actually doing something about it, and praised for doing so by NJ Governor Christy. Much to the frothing chagrin of regressives everywhere, since their focus has always been party before public interest, the latter an irrelevant impediment to their goals of power and money. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hydrogen fuel cell technology is here

See this link for the US Department of Energy's fuel cell technologies program. Here are some accomplishments and progress to date. See the link for much more. (Also recall this post and following on hydrogen as saectum saectorum.)

Reducing the Cost and Improving the Durability and Performance of Fuel Cells

Chart showing the cost of the automotive fuel cell system, which is projected to a high-volume manufacturing of 500,000 units per year. In 2002, the cost of the automotive fuel cell system (including balance of plant and stack) was $275/kW. The cost decreased to $108/kW in 2006, to $94/kW in 2007, to $73/kW in 2008, $61/kW in 2009, to $51/kW in 2010, and to $49/kW in 2011. The target cost for 2017 is $30/kW.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How realistic is alternative energy? And when?

A resource from the Department of Energy hydrogen and fuel cell program.

"DOE Announces $1 Million to Evaluate Technology Pathways for Cost-Competitive Hydrogen Fuel. Selected projects will evaluate the most promising technology paths toward achieving $2 to $4 per gallon gasoline equivalent of hydrogen fuel or less by 2020."

Another resource, founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Union of Concerned Scientists. From this page:

"Renewable energy resources like wind and solar power...could reliably provide up to 40 percent of U.S. electricity needs within the next 20 years."

The substance of hyperobjective species

An interesting twist to our recent ruminations on species can be found in this 10/29/12 Bryant post on ecological populations.

"An ecological orientation focuses not in discrete, individual entities, but rather looks at the existence of these entities in a network of relations to other entities defined by interdependencies, feedback loops, and hierarchical relations between what is dominant and subordinate within that ecology.  In other words, the fact that something exists is not, within an ecological framework, as important as how that thing is situated in a network of interdependencies to other entities and questions of how much influence that type of entity exercises."

Schism - Tool