Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - Dec 9, 2023
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Morning - A few subjects I found interesting this week.
Scientists Stunned as Redwood Trees Sprout 1,000-Year-Old Buds After Weathering Wildfires Sputnik Global Dec 5, 2023
Despite fears that most of the redwood trees would perish due to intense blazes, a recent study revealed that these towering giants tapped into energy reserves dating back decades, enabling them to sprout new growth and challenge existing understanding of tree survival.
Tree ecophysiologist Drew Peltier and his team from Northern Arizona University discovered that, contrary to expectations, the surviving redwoods mobilized long-held energy reserves, using sugars produced from sunlight decades earlier. These reserves were channeled into buds that had been dormant for centuries beneath the bark.
The Big Bang never happened – so what did? Asia Times Dec 3, 2023
In the past year, the story that most cosmologists have been telling about the history of the cosmos has begun to crumble under a flood of new data from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and other instruments. The hypothesis that the Universe is expanding from a gigantic explosion 14 billion years ago is today contradicted by dozens of separate sets of data and, by any scientific test, has been invalidated.
But if the Big Bang never happened, what did happen? Is there an alternative history of cosmic evolution that actually has been verified by observations? And what difference does it make to the here and now what happened in distant galaxies billions or trillions of years ago?
In fact, an alternative, scientifically validated history of cosmic evolution has been developed over the past half-century, starting with the work of physics Nobel Laureate Hannes Alfvén and his collaborators. ...
Yin and yang trump Marx and Lenin in China Asia Times Dec 7, 2023
A new book by Dr Levente Horváth, Director of the Eurasia Centre at Budapest’s John von Neumann University – “Chinese Geopolitical Thinking – The Belt and Road Initiative from a Chinese Perspective” – presents a nuanced (and unorthodox) interpretation of the ideas that motivate China’s foreign policy, including its much-bruited Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).
Horváth makes a solid case that present-day China is more the product of 5,000 years of Chinese history and pedagogy than it is of messianic Marxism-Leninism, an ideology that is unprecedented in Chinese history, dates only to 1949 and is now running on fumes.
For this reason, he repeatedly takes the West to task for its burgeoning Sinophobia, which he suggests is tinged with paranoia over the prospect of having to play second fiddle to a rising power viewed as not clubbable.
Horváth’s thesis should play well across Eurasia and the so-called Global South, while garnering brickbats from many of the China mavens who work in our think tanks, universities, and newsrooms.
Horváth describes how China’s ancient philosophy and the concept of yin and yang – the view that seemingly contradictory forces in nature are, in fact, interwoven and interdependent – is at work in its foreign policy.
“‘Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.’
And when the moment is right and all circumstances right, in the words of the ancient Chinese sage, tianshi dili renhe, then it is the time to step up and begin the fight in the spirit of Tao and bring the world into balance, into the right yin and yang, to restore the world order.”
Horváth illustrates China’s approach versus the West’s with a metaphor: “while in the Western world the most popular strategic game is chess, in China weiqi is more popular. In chess, the aim is to annihilate the opponent with a checkmate; in weiqi, the object is not to destroy the other player, but to gain territory and surround him.”
Thus, explains Horváth: “With the Belt & Road Initiative, the Chinese state has not created a unilateral [or unidirectional] policy [at the expense of others], but a common platform where participating states can negotiate and discuss, as equals, [paths to] the future development of countries, regions, and the world.”
Having said all this, Horváth points to this telling factoid: “More than 130 countries are participating in the BRI because they see the potential for economic development.” It would seem much of the world is betting that the BRI will not only succeed but prove mutually beneficial or they would not be playing ball with Beijing.
Who is Tesla’s super-fast, bulletproof Cybertruck built for? Asia Times Dec 7, 2023
The angular shape, flat surfaces and triangular roof line of the Cybertruck look like nothing else currently on sale. The vehicle is very different from the traditional Tesla lineup of cars that are more curved and jelly mold-like in their appearance. This means they’re highly aerodynamic, with reduced drag to maximize their electric range.
In design, there is a well-known saying, “Form follows function.” In Tesla’s lineup to date, the design language clearly speaks to efficiency and dynamism.
However, the rather surprising outcome of the Cybertruck delivery event launch on November 30 was the admission by Musk that the angular shape had largely been decided by the material choice: high-strength stainless steel (understood to be 30x cold-rolled stainless steel). This choice has apparently restricted the manufacturing process, resulting in a flatter, angular form.
So, if form follows function, the key function that has determined the design of the Cybertruck is the requirement to be bulletproof. For a public-facing consumer vehicle, that’s a rather surprising, unique selling point. Especially when taken in the context of Musk’s “why not?” reasoning, which he followed up with the rather worrying statement:
The apocalypse can come along any moment, and here at Tesla we have the best in apocalypse technology.
At the launch event, Musk said of driving the truck: “If you have an argument with another car, you will win.” The Cybertruck appears to focus very much on protecting its occupants, while negating the advances in road safety that take into account vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and even other vehicles.
A bulletproof, go-anywhere, do-anything tank with the ability to reach 60 miles per hour in 2.6 seconds? Quite a tool in the wrong hands.
Not a good sign.
Biolabs at Work? 'Antimicrobial Resistance' Sees Alarming Spike in Ukraine - CDC Sputnik News Dec 8, 2023
Resistance to antimicrobial medicines which prevent and treat infectious diseases has experienced an explosive rise in Ukraine.
The report, made possible through collaboration between the CDC, the Center for Public Health of Ukraine (UPHC), and other local health authorities and “international partners,” including the World Health Organization and the US State Department, used data collected in hospitals in the western and central Ukrainian regions of Ternopol, Khmelnitskiy, and Vinnitsa.
The study found that in the period between November and December 2022, some 14 percent (50 out of 353) sampled patients suffered from health care-associated infections, with 30 of the 50 infected with a carbapenem-resistant organism – a type of bacteria that can produce chemicals that destroy antibiotics.
Now, as the problem of drug-resistant infections in Ukraine appears to be reaching critical mass and
- threatening America’s European allies, - https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/29/8/23-0567_article
the CDC’s report could very well constitute an attempt to cover up its activities and blame Ukraine’s underfunded and “war-strained” health care system for a potentially explosive regional health crisis to come.
However, Tim Fish notes in an October 2023 article for Breaking Defense that the chances of New Zealand joining AUKUS Pillar Two dramatically increased following its general elections that month.
US hegemony was on full display yesterday. Our sole negative vote to prevent a ceasefire forces our ruling elite opinion's onto the world. Now the rest of the world needs to determine their next steps without using the United Nation's organizational structure created after WWII to prevent conflicts.
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations briefing calling for action.
Israel/Palestine Crisis: 'The eyes of the world, and the eyes of history, are watching' - UN Chief 9 12:30 min) Dec 8, 2023
The vote 13 yes, US no, UK abstain.
US vetoes truce resolution: Draft UN resolution to stop fighting shot down (2.42 min)
Does it effect us personally - probably will in the future. The US vote basically implies - US governing body believes collective punishment of all civilians who voted in a political party who engaged in violent acts is an acceptable practice.
Of course we may not need to wait for actions from other countries if the Dec 7 Tweet from Tucker Carlson is accurate. Our ruling elite may already have plans if we do not fully support them.
The Biden administration is openly threatening Americans over Ukraine. In a classified briefing in the House yesterday, defense secretary Lloyd Austin informed members that if they don’t appropriate more money for Zelensky, “we’ll send your uncles, cousins and sons to fight Russia.” Pay the oligarchs or we’ll kill your kids.
Micheal Rectenwald PhD is the Libertarian candidate for president and says he is running as a peace candidate. Not an endorsement - simply informational.
Prof. Michael Rectenwald: Why does Congress fund foreign wars? (23:24 Min)
Prof. John Mearsheimer has walked back his talking point for the last few years of an inevitable conflict between between the US and China. Of course we have simply been misunderstanding him.
Additional information on the subject of South China Sea by soryang yesterday- The Second St. Thomas Shoal is not an island.
Prof. John Mearsheimer: Russia, China, and Gaza. (25:59 min starts 22:18)
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson: When soldiers kill civilians. (25:14 min)
The livestream videos this week by Judge Napolitano channel ongoing discussions regarding current events in Israel/Hamas/Gaza, China and third subject Ukraine/Russia conflict. The interviews are generally posted on Monday through Friday if would like to view them in a more timely manner. The link opens in the LIVE column, occasionally an interview only appears in VIDEOS section.
What is on your mind today?