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Friday, December 30, 2016

The Legacy of Stone Church

The Legacy of Stone Church 
By Robert Carlson

This story written by Robert Carlson takes place in the late 1960s during the times of great social and political upheavals. The protagonist, Kayle, a young woman of mysterious origin washes up at the boat dock of Stone Church Commune located somewhere on the Mid-Atlantic of the US.

She is introduced to the people who have formed a diverse family who live in the Big House and other buildings of what they call the farm. A constant stream of young men and women find their way to the farm on their way to and from their pilgrimage to try to see the Boy Perfect Spiritual Master in New York City. They come and go not intending to stay, while a few find their new home at the ruins of Stone Church.

The church is a burned out relic of some conflagration many decades earlier. Kayle has disturbing dreams about a different Big House possible located in the area but not known to any of the Townies who harbor resentment and fear about the people who live "down the road."

Family relationships and romantic connections build and disburse as Kayle uncovers a horror from the last century which threatens to rise up once again consuming families and cultures. Rose Lynn is the anchor who makes the place run. Charlene is the one who is the mother to all. Deacon is the here-and-gone again free-spirit who pops into and out of Kayle's life. Johnny is the man who can pull together the two worlds which have clashed again and again through out the age. Saul is the boy who is mature beyond his years. A dozen other memorable characters populate this mystery paranormal tragedy and final Reconstruction.

Please visit and Like The Legacy of Stone Church on Facebook.      

This story is published in three parts. This first volume is the story of the creation and life of Stone Church commune and the pains that gave it its life.

The second story is the Aftermath of a calamity which so closely paralleled one of an earlier century.

The third story is the Reconstruction of the Commune at Stone Church.

The The Legacy of Stone Church is available as of January 2, 2017 at Amazon.

Books 2 and 3 are scheduled for the Summer of 2017.

If you enjoy this story, tell your friends and consider writing a review on my Author Page at Amazon.

The following vignette is from the night Kayle meets Johnny in the encampment around the old stone arch bridge:
"Meal time passed into an evening of festivities. A lone harmonica began a tune that started with a slow drawn note. Then from across the campsite, a rosined bow drawn across the strings of a fiddle sung out in response to the call of the harmonica. Its hollow wood scented voice was harmonized by the breathy reed sigh of an accordion. Next a whole host of musicians added their parts to the air of music that flooded the valley beneath the bridge. The high pitch of finger cymbals clinked and tinged to accentuate the rhythms kept regular by the fingers and palms of expert drummers on the goat skins stretched tightly over hollow wooden tubes. The singularity of the music diverged into several regional tunes that emanated from the periphery and molded into a profusion of sounds and rhythms." 
...and this passage from the final book...
"Kayle spent a lot of time wondering around the farm, walking the paths that remained indelible in the earth and thinking about how all the events swirled together and made one giant cause and effect chain of events. It was so peculiar to her that events of a hundred years earlier could sleep undisturbed only to awaken to wreak such havoc in her time. There did not seem to be any boundary that could contain the effects of a tragedy and keep it from rising up again and again to despoil the present. She wondered how the actions taken in the present would affect the long term health of the world and her little piece of it."

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

How We Form Reality in Our Heads

How We Form Reality in Our Heads

In order for we puny humans to be able to concentrate on any part of the universe, we need to limit the amount of sensory inputs we are able to perceive. To facilitate that limitations our minds (consciousness) is wrapped in an electrical system which gives us only a small amount of all possible information.

Our bodies necessarily limit us to only a single point of view of the world around us at a time. In a similar manner we are limited to a single moment in the progression of moments we see as time. We are also constrained in the frequency range of mechanical vibrations we can hear and the spectrum of light our eyes can see.

Sketch One
In the first sketch the reality of the tree can be seen from every possible angle at the same moment. Each of us can only see the one reality of the tree from the position we stand. All the other realities go forever unseen. They nonetheless existed and continue to exist, but unseen. This can be demonstrated by having another person stand at any other position and call out to you that they can see the tree and describe it to you.

If the tree was spray painted blue on the far side, they would claim it was a blue tree while you continue to swear it is green as always.
After the two of you walk away from the tree you will always hold your own opinion of the nature of the tree. Everyone else who ever visits the tree will likewise have the differing opinion depending on which side they stood at. 

Sketch two
The passage of time is also expressed in the single moment you are ever able to see at one time. A bird flying to the tree, roosting there for some interval and flying away will only be discernible as a fluid progression through the air to and from the tree. time lapse multiple exposures can depict what one might see if successive moments could all be observed simultaneously. The impressions would be highly chaotic.

The tree has a full life-cycle which is stretched out into years. It rises out of the soil as a seedling, to become a sapling then a fully grown tree only to be felled some day by ax, wind, flood, or decay. We can come back occasionally to see the changes but not ever see the multitude of appearances all at once. That would be part of that chaotic experience which psychotic people might be experiencing in their mental illness.

The physical processes by which we see the reality we see involves receiving a small number of photons on our retinas as two dime-sized areas upside-down. The two images are fused together to appear 3D and are projected out into the world outside our heads. Imagine THAT. In order to see movement two successive images are fused together so that we see one image moving. This means there must be some sort of storage buffer to hold the previous image. A lot of processing is going on for our sensory abilities to be. We are not able to see anything unless photons reflect off of it.

We also know that a lot of post processing is going on in order for us to see what we see ant not see what we don't see.  For example we don't see the red blood cell that are floating around in our field of vision. We don't see the two holes in our retinas where the optic nerve passes through and back to our brains. Actually, there are no retina cells to see the color YELLOW but we see it nonetheless. 

In our dreams we see objects without the benefit of light or eyes.

All of the reality we see is only a field of light waves interacting with each other until some tiny portion reaches a retina and a sentient brain where it is converted something we perceive as tangible and "real." There is no image until it is seen. the image making process requires an aperture through which the light waves pass and are highly filtered to limit the light to only that portion which arrive from the same direction. In Sketch One thee is only one image of the tree and it the one You see. the rest of the light is merely a bunch of disorganized photons forming interference patterns that will never be seen.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Repurposing the Doomsday Clock

Let us cut through all the name calling and character assassination after the 2016 Presidential Election. He's this and She's that. There is little value in continuing the rhetoric and vitriol. We can even dispense with recriminations for how and why the election turned out the way it did. Whatever comes now we must be able to survive it.

  Whatever else Donald Trump is, he is a corporate CEO. He thinks like a corporation man and acts accordingly. None of his supporters can or would argue against that statement. He uses the rules which have been put in place to benefit corporate interests. He is correct in his assertion that he was proper in writing off nearly a $1 bn in losses which would allow him to not be liable for income taxes for nearly two decades as the result. Not even the reason for the written off losses are really pertinent.

The trouble with his mentality as a CEO and President of the USA is that one cannot run a country like it was a corporation. Here is the point. Corporations have Internalities and Externalities. Countries of people cannot have externalities.

To a coal mining corporation the price of mineral leases and how much labor is required to get it out of the ground is an internal concern of the owners. What their customers do with the coal is an externality, i.e. none of their concern. The coal mining company doesn't care how efficiently the coal is burned, how much ash is left over to handle or what the customer does with it. The company only concern is to pay enough wages to get a man into the mine. Whether that pay is enough to live on is external to their operation. If the miner is injured, it requires Federal legislation to force the company to attend to the costs. They do not take care of disabled miners out of the goodness of their heart. Doing so diminishes shareholder value.

Donald Trump in and by himself is not so much a counter-productive thing, but the CEO of a corporation sets and shapes corporate mentality and attitudes. The fiasco of Wells Fargo Bank and the employees defrauding millions of customers with unwanted credit accounts flows directly from the top down. Corporate leadership created the climate where employees felt it necessary to commit financial crimes in order to succeed in their jobs.

Mr. Trump has led a sizable portion of this country down a road that leads to manifestation of fear, hatreds, violence and vitriolic free speech. The gun manufacturers had yet another banner year of sales with the prospects of Hillary Clinton becoming President. I suggest this time sales were driven not by the prospects of the government coming for the weapons but that they will be needed in an imminent demographic clash. Who suggested that such a need would come to be?

Beyond the prospects of ultra-conservative SCOTUS appointments gutting the ACA, Roe v. Wade, Marriage Equality and Gender Rights is the prospect that the Trump-modified complexion of the Supreme Court will more deeply entrench Citizens United, corporate and fetal personhood, and divest the nation of such externalities as fair living wages, health care access, education and environmental protections.

Beyond the Supreme Court appointments, there are dozens of cabinet positions and agency chiefs who will not be aligned with human being concerns such as clean water and air (corporate externalities.) They are likely to give concessions to corporate interests which can never be recovered. The divestiture of a National Forest to logging and mining cannot be taken back. Once the ground water is contaminated it will take centuries if ever for it to be clear again.

If we do not put our financial resources into high school graduations and post-secondary college degrees, we will not have enough doctors to serve every American. We need nursing and other medical staff. We need to focus our efforts of training tens of thousands of such position. Where is the Trump leadership to keep that imminent disaster at bay? But remember, health care is a corporate externality.

One of the several Presidential job duties is to be America's Ambassador to the world. There are countries which already acknowledge the ineptitude of Donald Trump. More so than what WE think of him, is what the world thinks of him and of us. We are only 4.5% of the global population. What they think matters.

America cannot treat human needs and the environment like they were externalities. Doing so will increase suffering and move us closer to the metaphorical doomsday midnight. We used to have the clock face showing 11:58 pm to show us the world was only two minutes from nuclear disaster due to conflicts with China and the now defunct Soviet Union. That clock needs to be rebranded as the environment/social collapse clock.

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Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.

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.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Time Travel and the Presidency of Donald Trump

Walker Percy wrote Lost in the Cosmos to be the "last self-help book you would ever need." In it he spoke of the person, people, who launch into the stratosphere and remain in orbit until they manage to make re-entry. I think maybe Donald Trump and a myriad of followers have taken that course. He could become the next President of the US.

I once posited a time-travel scenario that could explain a few political realities most rational thinking human beings have pondered for many years now. This is how it goes.

Either time travel is not possible or time travel is possible. No vagueness there. If time travel is not possible then you can stop reading now. If it is possible, then our future selves will use it. Indeed they may have been using it for a long time. They would choose to use it wisely in order to not screw up their timeline and make their world a worse place to be.

They would have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, or so one might think. They would know about when the world went terribly wrong and be able to deduce when the fubar took place. They would also have multiple tries at getting it right, sort of like Groundhog Day the movie. Well anyway. They would go into their past and make little changes to the time line to effectuate the outcome they want. Any changes they make would be only what we had ever seen and knew so WE would be totally unawares.

Now consider this. The final outcome of the 2000 Presidential election rested on one or two goofy precincts in Florida and maybe one in Ohio. A few hundred ballots ruled either valid or invalid turned the outcome from President Al Gore into President George W. Bush. The complexion of the Supreme Court decided the final outcome.

Here's the intrigue. Our future selves saw the outcome of President Gore, whatever that might have been and decided that President Bush would do what needed to be done, whatever that was. Who am I kidding, we saw what he and his Administration did. But. But was that the lesser of evils? Only they would know. But now that they made the change, they don't know either.

If time travel is possible, and 8 years of Bush was the preferred outcome, I shudder to think what President Gore might have wrought. The scenario doesn't stop there. If the easy swap of a few ballots produced a worse outcome, one with which our future selves could not live, they would have fixed it and we would never have known. Therefore, the Bush Presidency was the better outcome.

Now I have to think about this. Maybe, just maybe, we needed 8 years of George W. Bush in order to get 8 years of Barack Obama. Certainly the Bush Administration directly led to the attitudes of the electorate and their voting for the first African American president in this nation's history. By my same logic about future people knowing the outcomes of decisions of today, President Barack Obama is (was) the preferred choice, not Mitt Romney.

Going one step further, if Donald J. Trump becomes President, it will be the preferred outcome of a world who knows the outcomes of each possible president. Alternatively, time travel is not possible and that scares me the most. It is either that or the world is so screwed up in the future that they think the paths we are on now are the correct ones – whatever that path is. Finally, Maybe we need to have President Trump in order to create what is next after him. Again I shudder.

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Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dead Man Protesting

Right from the get-go, when I saw LaVoy Finicum bundled up and peering out from under his Blue Tarp I said to myself, "that man is dying from some kind of cancer." His gaunt features resembled the countenance of a person with AIDS or late stage cancer. Considering the cold air, the blue tarp over his head would have provided a warmer humid air for him to breathe if he already have compromised respiration.

His eagerness to die for a cause rather than succumb to illness was evident in his rhetoric. This is why I believe that he was the only person to be killed during the highway blockade on the evening of January 26. The time was ripe. He would get no second chance to be martyred rather than die in prison of his alleged disease.

Dying of something as terrible as lung cancer would be far worse than dying for one's political beliefs. My neighbor died of lung cancer several years ago.  He had that same look LaVoy had. At a Christmas openhouse party in the neighborhood he appeared after three months of not being seen. I asked him how he was doing. He replied. "I wish I were dead."

I said, "That will come soon enough."

He replied, "NOT soon enough." I let the conversation stop there. He lasted 4 more months.

LaVoy got his 15 minutes of fame and may have sparked the flames which will consume many of his sympathizers "back at the ranch." The smarter one have packed up and left. The die-hard fanatics are strutting around in false bravado proclaiming the start of a new civil war in America. Fueled by Budweiser and Jack Daniels, they will fumble around the Wildlife Refuge leaderless until the "well regulated" government forces come to take them away.

No one needs to be injured or die in the cleanup operations. These wannabe heroes of the US Constitution just need to walk out single file without their AR-15s and other guns and take their consequences. They will get far more opportunity to speak their minds to their followers if they live to get in front of a media microphone and camera.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Confrontation

There are a few items to consider in an attempt to cut through all the hoopla over a group of disaffected men taking over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge  building in Oregon. One side says "yeah, you go guys" while another side suggests an all-out gun battle to route them from their hole. Both of these extremes are not the appropriate response.

The more liberal side asserts that if these men were Muslims or Blacks and they took over this building while carrying formidable fire power, they would have been dealt with swiftly and mercilessly. While that might be, only if such a group tries a copycat event, will we get to see.

The question of why hasn't such a liberation of the building been done already while other "protests" in other places were quashed with violent police action has been raised. One allegation is these men are white and will be afforded special consideration. While there may be some truth in that assertion, the more rational answer is that violent action is not warranted for a simple trespassing act and a whole lot of fiery rhetoric.

This action in Oregon is (so far) little different from an Occupy movement where protesters gather, set up an encampment and suggest that more supporters show up to solidify the movement. It is little different than protesters refusing to leave the state capitol building while swearing they will stay until the government capitulates. Yes, they have guns, they have said they will fight and die for their cause, but other than trespassing no huge honking crimes have been committed.

The other reason why armed intervention has not been initiated is this is Federal property, under Federal jurisdiction and the Federal government has a huge stake in the outcome of this standoff and will be judged and misjudged for whatever way this ends.

In Occupy protests of recent years, it was city police forces directed by Mayors and State Police directed by Governors who decided "when enough was enough" and they "could not stand no more." Occupy protests were designed to disrupt business as usual in cities whereas the Oregon protesters are out in the woods where nobody really cares. Mayors and Governors acted in favor of the corporate interests who claimed they were losing business because of the protests.  No such claim is being made here.

One can scream Treason, Sedition, Terrorism all you want to, but (so far) only free speech and unlawful assembly have been exercised. There is no reason yet to ratchet up violence in response to rhetoric. In the coming days, everything might change and it will be far better that the FBI and the ATF are not the instigators of the first round of gunfire and death. I would hope these organizations learned a few lessons from the incidents at Ruby Ridge and Waco Texas. The Feds can be really patient in "getting their man" if only they stay rational and not let the armchair Generals plan the battle.

Media outlets and numerous bloggers from all sides of the issue are calling for their own particular action to be taken. Drone strikes, black helicopters, police cordons, full frontal attacks, mass shoot outs and arrests all have been offered even as the FBI tries to negotiate a solution. Everyone is saying one thing or another - The government is too weak; the government is stepping on the rights of patriots; the government should come down hard on these criminals; the armed men are rebels, terrorists; the occupiers are right; the occupiers are wrong. Everyone has and expresses their opinions.  This includes myself who suggests the diplomatic approach that the Obama Administration has been willing to take in all international and domestic actions.

Diplomacy doesn't mean negotiations or capitulation. It just means "move carefully and deliberately" to bring about a resolution. Cutting power, water and cell phone services  will greatly shorten their stay since spring and warmer weather is months away.  As each offender walks out, a quiet arrest can be made.

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Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.