a universe in the brain

200 billion neurons linked to one another via hundreds of trillions of synapses.

A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth,” he said.

“In a human, there are more than 125 trillion synapses just in the cerebral cortex alone,” said Smith.

That’s roughly equal to the number of stars in 1,500 Milky Way galaxies.

knightly news

Thinking about nature as capital should not be considered heresy.

Nov. 19:
Making a Difference: Using his high-profile role to help save the planet, Prince Charles discusses his new documentary ‘Harmony’.

Note: NBC’s hyperlink is a dinky winky trailer.

pilfering is tips

Flag? You can’t handle flag.

America is not a clean country, none are, we human society, thus you must know >corruption<.

Yves Smith

Yours truly has complained off and on over the years about ‘consulting’ and ‘research’ firms whose entire business model revolves around the procurement and sale of inside information.

These companies solicit consultants, who in the vast majority of cases are employees of major corporations, to provide insight into what is going on at their employer’s operations.

These vendors are generally smart enough to make their consultants sign various waivers, which have the effect of shifting liability on to the hapless chump paid a couple of hundred dollars an hour for an hour or two for information worth vastly more than that.

They are effectively exploiting the contract worker’s lack of understanding of the finer points of SEC regulations and corporate policy.

last night I dreamed

“Around ten years ago, the world’s most famous sailor, Sir Peter Blake, took over leadership of the Cousteau Society and was murdered by pirates on the Amazon River close to where I was captured many years before.

Reid Stowe sails and sails and sails

He’s holding the World Record for Longest Solo At Sea.

This very atmospheric old photo… In 1974, the Amazon River… captured by pirates.

“We were tied up for three nights and two days while the pirates stripped the boat and argued amongst themselves. They let us live… We untied ourselves and sailed out…

“Four months after my pirate experience at the age of 22, I went back to the Amazon and stole my catamaran out of the pirate’s den. I sailed up to Martinique where I rejoined my French sailing friends. That was when they took this photo of me on my catamaran.

“Imagine sailing to four continents on this 1,400 pound, 27 ft boat navigating with an old brass sextant and having no motor, no electricity, no radio, or life raft.

“Those were the days!

“Those years of sailing set the stage for me to conceive of accomplishing the longest sea voyage in history.

Reid

William Reid Stowe, born 1952, is an American artist and mariner [wiki]. Silly brave clearly romantic wonderful man and tremendous new family, unheralded gift, tells a story, you can write his screenplay, pirates and a’that, so unnewsy vogue, so merely gloriously our family.

functionally illusory

There is a fundamental conformity across the news spectrum… NEWSVERTISING.

Most of the time news, soap-operas, reality shoes, pornography, and adverts blend seamlessly into one another, which is to be expected given that, fundamentally, they are all the same thing… [making] their money not through sales to readers, but through sales to advertisers.

The news, in other words, is not a product, which the reader or TV viewer consumes, but a by-product. The product is the reader, which the newspaper and news-channel sells to the advertiser.

Darren Allen

You may have noticed, while reading The Guardian, Le Monde or The New York Times, that no mention is ever made of the fundamental cause of conflict, the origin and nature of history, the best way to experience the center of the universe while making love, how another person can really be known, what death has in common with asking a girl out, how to be free of worry, what to do if you accidentally find yourself trapped in a prison, school or office, why things don’t go haywire anymore, what the coming world catastrophe has in common with cellular biology, why a beautiful shoe will always be beautiful, how to enhance empathy, why we have placed birth and death in the hands of experts, what trees have in common with improvised theater, why mystery and irrational generosity are illegal, the secret connection between modern art and corporate wealth-maximizing and what all this has in common with formality, play, metaphor, the oldest meaning of the word god, the color of Tuesday and why we smile when we meet a friend. Finally no mention is ever made of the reason why these, and thousands of other illuminating topics, never find their way into the pages of the news-media; why the reader has to look elsewhere for a beginner’s guide to democratic mind control…

One day–and the day is coming–there will be a genuinely alternative, genuinely independent news source.

It will sell nothing.

tarp camps arising

Haitian protest is starkly aimed:

“Those soldiers are tourists! The money that’s invested in MINUSTAH – they could invest that money in education. They could invest in constructing hospitals, in cleaning up the country. but they’re paying those soldiers instead.”

The United Nations Stabilization Mission In Haiti (Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en Haïti), also known as MINUSTAH, an acronym of the French translation, is a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti that has been in operation since 2004. …en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MINUSTAH

put us on the brink

Joseph Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics and served as Chief Economist of the World Bank from 1997-2000.

What do you think it is about the U.S. that makes it so hard to achieve corporate responsibility?

I think it’s basically a vicious cycle in which we’ve gotten ourselves, because the corporate executives control the corporations. The corporations have the right to give campaign contributions. So basically we have a system in which the corporate executives, the CEOs, are trying to make sure the legal system works not for the companies, not for the shareholders, not for the bondholders – but for themselves.

So it’s like theft, if you want to think about it that way.

These corporations are basically now working now for the CEOs and the executives and not for any of the other stakeholders in the corporation, let alone for our broader society.

You look at who won with the excessive risk-taking and shortsighted behavior of the banks. It wasn’t the shareholder or the bondholders. It certainly wasn’t American taxpayers. It wasn’t American workers. It wasn’t American homeowners. It was the CEOs, the executives. And they use all kinds of language that quite honestly is deceptive.

The top 2% of Americans receive 75% of all returns on wealth: interest, dividends, rent and capital gains.

The scam remains largely untouched, says Matt Taibi:

There’s really no room left for illusions. We live in a gangster state, and our days of laughing at other countries are over. It’s our turn to get laughed at.

On charlatans and the prevailing truth of the God-like Free Market:

The prevailing central assertion of these theologians for many decades has been that an entity called the ‘Free Market’ efficiently allocates resources and maximizes prosperity, is ‘self-correcting’, i.e. it maintains itself in an ‘equilibrium state’ from which goodness flows, and it works best when government intervenes the least. Taxes and regulations can only damage its mystic perfection.

They make a large number of assumptions, all of which happen to be rather obviously false. They build an elaborate edifice of theory based on those assumptions. Then they forget that the assumptions are false and insist that reality corresponds to their theory, even though anyone can see that it does not.

we the debtcroppers

Young people and what only cynics might call ‘homeowners’ have no choice but to jump on the treadmill of debt, as debtcroppers. The goal is not to have them pay off their debts, but to owe forever. Whatever a debtcropper owes, a wealthy creditor owns. And as a bonus, the heavier the debt burden of American citizenry, the less able we are able to organize and claim our democratic rights as citizens. Debtcroppers don’t start companies and innovate, they don’t take chances, and they don’t claim their political rights.

the conservative economic mind

The unemployed can’t get work because there are five people needing work for every job opening.

Republicans say we should extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Embrace laissez faire capitalism. Supply-side deregulation. Tax holiday on overseas earnings. Eliminate corporate income tax. Complete privatization of the money supply. Repeal financial reform. Eliminate new infrastructure spending. Government out of health care. Cut minimum wage. Move K-12 education to the private sector. Restrict Medicare and Medicaid to only catastrophic health events. Shorten unemployment insurance to encourage people to work. Return the gold standard. Privatize Social Security with cash grant to opt out.

Ideologues stumping to fix the problem without understanding what the problem is.

votes of attack

The secret money served it up, and the logic-impaired tea party irregulars swallowed the poisoned bait with relish. The net result of the vaunted populist rebellion of 2010 was a sharp turn toward corporate feudalism…

Hal Crowther:

Where’s the country’s conscience? Where’s its heart? Where’s its brain?

I can’t explain why Americans would vote to return to an economic philosophy that imploded in their faces just two years ago, causing most of the misery they’re bearing so unstoically. No more than I can explain why a majority of women, for the first time, voted Republican.

It may be that voters below a certain level of ratiocination, their logical faculties permanently maimed by reality TV and video games, are no longer able to resist the kind of attack ads that came at them in a $4 billion tidal wave. The big corporate contributors wouldn’t fund this operation so generously if they weren’t confident of a handsome return.

Never in human history has so much cash and so much expertise been devoted to what would once have been called mind control, or brainwashing, and is now called free speech.

There’s no apparent limit to what the right-wing coalition can spend, or will spend, to bring out the worst in Americans.

ratiocination: the activity or process of reasoning…

common scented products emit toxics

Manufacturers are not required to disclose any ingredients in cleaning supplies, air fresheners or laundry products.

1) “The products emitted more than 420 chemicals, collectively, but virtually none of them were disclosed to consumers, anywhere.”

2) “We analyzed best-selling products, and about half of them made some claim about being green, organic or natural. Surprisingly, the green products’ emissions of hazardous chemicals were not significantly different from the other products.”

3) “More than a third of the products emitted at least one chemical classified as a probable carcinogen.”

4) “The 25 commonly used scented products emit an average of 17 chemicals each. Of the 133 different chemicals detected, nearly a quarter are classified as toxic or hazardous under at least one federal law.”

our mortgage zoo

A detailed pic chart of how we slice & dice a typical mortgage. Perhaps yours. Worth viewing once at least. A quick peek is good for you.

Just When You Thought You Knew Something About Mortgage Securitizations

detention conscience

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s public address. NLD Headquarters, 14 November 2010.

“I  have to begin by thanking you for your support.

“We haven’t seen each other for a long time but I am happy to see that our mutual faith remains strong, it fortifies me.

“We Burmese blame it all on luck. But do you know what luck means? Luck means you reap what you sow. So if there is anything you want, you have to work to achieve it.

“We cannot simply bribe the people and promise them the impossible (Cheers and applause). We will try hard and pave the road that the people want. We will pave it together and we will take that road together. It’s not right that one person paves the road while the other stands idly by. Speaking of paving roads, maybe I picked an inappropriate analogy (laughter and cheers). It was a slip of the tongue. What I mean is that we will walk the road that leads to the democratic goals. We will walk on it together, we will pave it together. It is only this way, can we reach our goals.

“Don’t wait for others to do it for you.

“I want to tell you not to be dejected.

“Sometimes there may be some things in our country that will make you feel dejected. Surely you must feel that we have not gotten anywhere or that there has been no development (applause).

“But there is no reason to feel dejected. We must strive hard.”

engineered plunder

1) “$10.00-$12.00/Hour. High-school education required.” And that’s for a ‘Supervisor of Foreclosure Department’.

2) These positions are the people who are going to determine a large part of the future of the American macroeconomy.

3) What’s important to remember is that this is a brand new business, a brand new way of organizing our financial system.

4) The critical thing to realize about servicers is that they are not subject to any oversight.

economics of high school

Scarcity determines value.

Among freshman boys, what’s rare, and therefore valuable, are freshman girls willing to have a relationship and, even better, willing to have sex.

Among senior girls, what’s rare, what’s valuable and scarce, are boys willing to have a relationship without having sex.

Game and its Theory, Bargaining, a multiplex emerges, a multitude of yearning, our multiplexipline, a contextual envelope, a dynamic of influence ::: prime anthropological stuff ::: Social Imitation Theory, Mutual Contingency, Attribution Modeling, Transference, Exchange Theory, the overt/covert power of cue.

triad of unhealthiness

Mark Hyman says, “Through innovation and creativity we can create a new economy based on products and services that make people thin and healthy instead of sick and fat.”

One third of our economy thrives on making people sick and fat —specific, traceable forms of structural violence promoted by Big Food, Big Farming, Big Pharma.

The default condition of a human being in the 21st century is to be obese.

Nearly 75 percent of Americans are overweight; 10% have diabetes.

This is not an accident.

Current food policies and subsidies encourage Big Farming to overproduce corn and soy which are then used to create sugary, fatty, factory-made, industrial food products sold as processed, fast, or junk food.

But in the produce isle of your supermarket you are on your own–the 2010 Farm Bill offers little support to farmers for growing fruits, vegetables, and healthy whole foods.

The resultant omnipresence of cheap, high-calorie, nutrient-poor processed foods in homes, schools, government institutions and food programs, and on every street corner creates default food choices that drive obesity.

Has everything to do with medical budgets, taxes and American debt.

What is difficult is to understand the priorities that we set in our health care policies. We read a lot about government regulation of new medicines and therapies. We hardly read anything about the importance of the very first crucial driver of our health: our food.   Read more…

gimme discount

More on this later.

Political reflection is so very important but yet so very challenging when the majority population is…

“…emasculation of community in whatever form by a corrupt culture that itself has whored itself to commercial ends.”

In the meantime:

“As Plato noted, and most people still don’t want to admit, the drawback to democracy, despite all its virtues, is that ignorant, compassion-impaired, and even mentally ill folks have as much influence on decisions as the wise and noble. smart, smart.”

Perhaps we are too late.

h/t Zo

positions of acquire

Let’s see now:

“The air’s bad, the ozone’s fucked, the water’s poison, and into whose eyes do we find ourselves staring when we look for providence? We have emptied out the heavens and put oblivion in the hands of a bunch of…”

People Without A Conscience, says Paul Lawrence.

People without a conscience don’t need to satisfy the drive to bond and can focus entirely on the drive to acquire, making them more likely to seek leadership positions.

When you’re considering candidates for a powerful position, you can say:

“Well, maybe we ought to test them and see that they get a license, so that they’re qualified,” the way we do with people that are going to be airline pilots or the people that are going to be a number of professional roles like doctors and lawyers and so forth—they have to produce a test for being licensed for those roles.

corpses in waiting

Medical error ranks as the country’s eighth leading cause of death, more deadly than breast cancer or highway accidents.

Between 44,000 and 98,000 patients die every year in of hospital acquired infections or as the consequence of a mistaken diagnosis or a bungled operation.

Various cut/paste snippets of Lawrence Latham’s The God in the Machine:

American hospitals and doctors are paid for the amount of care they produce, not for its effectiveness or its quality—their first care is for the treatment of paper.

It isn’t that the country lacks for competent and caring doctors, but too many of them have been infected with the virus of the profit motive, overburdened with the ceremonial filling out of forms…

They discuss the positioning of decimal points, the relative value of this or that budget estimate… the cash flows to be drawn… the health of profit margins… preserving the life of stock prices…

The “waste” and “inefficiency” in the system is its bone and marrow.

The annual tithe collected by the medical-industrial complex: The corpses in waiting serve as sacrificial offerings placed on the altars of the god in the ATM.

o’ say can you see us drain

Our Pentagon spends more than all 50 states spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

The debt is exploding why?

The pentagon consumes 80% of individual income tax revenue.

Facts About Military Spending That Will Make Your Head Explode !

The Pentagon is almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure.

Defense spending doubled while US economy shrunk.

America spends more on its military than the next 15 countries combined.

Cash ‘lost’ in Iraq could pay 220,000 teachers salaries.

Land area of US bases is bigger than DC, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Each day in Afghanistan costs more than it did to build the entire Pentagon.

Methinks there’s something very wrong here. No? Our wish to invest in ‘policies strengthening peace’ is poorly thought out and outright out of hand.

What a terrific conundrum we are America.