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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Butch Cassidy, Donald Trump and other Lost Causes

Cinema is full of stories where the heroes are up against overwhelming odds and some says, "let's do it." Earlier on in the movie Butch and Sundance are standing on the precipice above the rocky rapids below. They are about to be captured or killed by the posse. "We gotta jump." "I can't swim." With a laugh, "Go on, the fall will probably kill us anyway." They jump.

The iconic Alamo battle with the war cry, "Remember the Alamo!" precedes death to the last man of the American side at the hands of the Mexican Army. In Beau Geste the Foreign Legion all die at the hand of Arabs in the Arabian deserts. All these men sacrificed their all for the Lost Cause. Even Thelma and Louise preferred to drive off into the void than be caught.

There is something of the bulldog in the human psyche that won't allow a person let go when the chosen path proves to be really dumb. The behavior is similar to the habitual gambler who knows he must pay the rent and pay off his debts but instead must place the one last bet with the small winning he just got. Statistically and inevitably he loses that bet and must face the consequences.

Supporters of Donald Trump exhibit that same foolish tenacity to stand their ground in the face of all the nonsense Mr. Trump espouses. At least in the case of Hillary Clinton there are no new "scandals" or massive bad rhetoric which a supporter should consider as a negative attribute. She has been fully vetted over the past 25 years. Nothing has been indictable in all that time.

On the other hand, Donald Trump continues to incite and inflame the electorate with increasingly bizarre statements and behavior.  His stage presence has devolved into one of lurking behind opponents, name calling and character assassination. He seems to think he lives in an alternate reality where videotape has not been invented. He claims to have not said something are instantly debunked by the video of him saying it.

His entire campaign is only made possible by the fact that there are Americans who are like Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid and will stand by their man even if it kills them. They have made their decision and nothing will dissuade them from their course.

Hillary maintains a positive course toward trying to improve this nation while Donald is perfectly willing to dissect it and trample each piece to feed his own personal feelings and behavior. His position on everything is regressive. There is nothing in his platform which will move us well into the future. Coal is so 19th Century. Building walls is so Communistic and Authoritarian. Cutting taxes on corporations is Fascist. Denying people food, shelter and medical care is as unconstitutional as denying Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Creating religious tests for the making of laws, admission to the country and for citizenship is expressly against the Constitution.

There is not one progressive plank in his platform for a Trump Administration. While his position is so utterly negative, there are people who cannot let it go. They still cling to the notion they have a cause to defend even though it is a lost one. 

**cue Butch and Sundance rushing out into the hail of Federale bullets.**

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dutchsinse and the Complex Geology of the Earth

Earthquakes and Volcanoes happen all the time. Right? The Earth is so big and one quake in Japan, or even two, are not related to a quake in Ecuador, right? Seismic shaking near but not AT a volcano is mere coincidence. The observation of a volcano which is venting steam stopping for a few hours after a large nearby earthquake then resuming is nothing to be concerned about. At least this is what the USGS and several highly regarded academics are wont to say.

This is precisely what those people had to say after the Ecuador earthquake on April 16, 2016. Their contention is the distance between Japan and South America is too great for the forces of one side to cause the other is far too great and the possibilities so remote as to be mere coincidence.

One man who has been watching the USGS earthquake feed for years has observes many relationships among the seemingly isolated seismic events around the world. Dutchsinse has been highly criticized for reporting his observations and posting his research "as it develops." The academics on the other hand spend their time collecting the data and holding it until they have a publishable body of evidence and a peer reviewed paper which represents their career work. They cannot afford to be wrong nor ever present a conclusion which doesn't prove out to be completely true. However, that is what happens on a regular basis.

The attitude of NIH (not invented here) prevails in academia as well as in industries where the companies don't appreciate someone else telling them their business – hence the Edsel automobile. Dutchsinse is in direct competition with men and women who have staked their entire research careers on the hypothesis they first propose then go on to prove by selecting evidence which supports it and rejecting evidence which does not. Dutchsinse publishes the data and his interpretations for the public at large to "peer review." His learned watch list is not not prophesy nor sensationalism like many conspiracy websites. He has developed and expanded on concepts which explain what is observed by others while not running against other people's observations and research.

 John Tuzo Wilson a Canadian geophysicist and geologist was instrumental in the development of the concept of Plate-tectonics and continental drift. While he as an adult was publishing "Cabot Fault, An Appalachian Equivalent of the San Andreas and Great Glen Faults and some Implications for Continental Displacement" in 1962, I as a 5th grader was telling my geography teacher that all the continents seemed to me to have been fit together. I even cut up a flat map to show what I meant. She told me it was impossible because God made the Earth the way it was. I was ridiculed and dismissed. My parents confronted her and only got the satisfaction of having gone through the exercise of trying. She had 2000 years of faith on HER side. I had no academic backup to "my theory" because I was only 11 years old and had not read any of the university papers. A note of satisfaction comes from the fact that people such as J. Wilson were similarly chastised by their learned peers in the early days of shedding light on how the continents got to be where they were and how they looked.

The assertions of there being only mere coincidence between earthquakes taking place on opposites sides of the Pacific is short sighted and dangerous. While the proximity in time of large quakes in undeniable, their proximity of cause is far less evident. There certainly is some cause and effect relationship even if not significant enough for academics to see and measure. The denial of such cause and effect relationships neglects the fact that both are caused by the SAME cause, i.e. tectonic forces in the crust and asthenosphere. Even if there is zero cause and effect, there is a common cause. The Japan and Ecuador locations were merely the latest "weakest" spots to rupture.

There are undeniable forces inside the Earth and we need to be watching for their evidence without the veil of preconception. To not be observant and act to minimize the peril to people invites the  Principle of Imminent Collapse where it only takes a Nudge to make the system fail.