Category Archives: Social issues ( be civil ! )

The Leakathon

My late father-in-law did financial forensics for the SEC and on loan to Treasury. His work involved high-profile cases and he put many people in jail. He never, ever, discussed a case he was working on with his wife, my wife and me. He retired in 1972 just Watergate broke. Sam Dash chief counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee asked him to come out of retirement and trace the Watergate money, saying it would only be a few weeks work, but he wisely refused.

This brings us to “The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House Official as a signifiant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.” as reported in the Washington Post 20 May.

This sort of thing is probably criminal and certainly disgusting. Presumably someone in the FBI is doing the leaking. Hopefully Mueller will put a stop to this.

What do you think the odds are, that collusion between Trump (or is campaign) and the Russians will actually be found? My guess is that they are quite low because, despite 7 months of leaks absolutely nothing substantive has been emitted. If the leakers had anything serious, we’d have heard of it by now.

I’ve never bought the idea that second hand smoke was very dangerous, yet we have breathless reports of second hand hearsay — Someone reading Comey’s notes (presumably not the man himself) about something he interpreted Trump to say. I don’t think hearsay evidence is admissible in a court of law.

I never really believed in the Deep State before, but it seems to be in full cry now — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_state_in_the_United_States

The powers that be at the New York Times have decided that Hillary is toast

Kremlinologists used to carefully look at who was in what position in the stands reviewing the annual May Day parade to understand behind the scenes power struggles and who was currently on top. Here in the States, we are more fortunate. All we need to do is read the letters to the editor on the editorial page of the New York Times.

Just like “Home on the Range”, never is heard a discouraging word (or a letter which disagrees with the editorial stances of the Times).

So today (15 May 2017) 4 letters appeared concerning a column written 7 May by Frank Bruni titled “Hillary Clinton’s Absolution” — all highly critical of Hillary and Bill.

A few quotes:

“The Clintons have been running the Democratic party like a personal fief for 25 years”.

“But to ruminate about how Hillary would have won if only the Russians, WikiLeaks and James Comey didnot do her in — well, I have had enough of this.”

“Frank Bruni” seems obsessed enough about Hillary Clinton’s feelings to write an opera.”

“But it’s also her (Hillary’s) supporters in the DemocraticParty leadership who need to seek redemption for abandoning the working class voters who once formed the core constituency of their party.”

Do you think the publication of these 4 letters was unintentional? By the purest of coincidences publication occurred the very day Hillary announced the formation of a new PAC to oppose Trump — http://fortune.com/2017/05/15/hillary-clinton-launches-political-action-committee-dedicated-to-liberal-causes/

The same day a full page article title “How Democracy Collapsed” concerning Venezuela. The word elites appears 3 times, the word socialism not at all.

A Touching Mother’s Day Story

A Touching Mother’s Day Story

Yes, a touching mother’s day story for you all. It was 50 years ago (yes half a century ago ! ! ), and I was an intern at a big city hospital on rotation in their emergency room. The ER entrance was half a block from an intersection with a bar on each corner. On a Saturday night, we knew better than to try to get some sleep before 2AM or until we’d put in 2 chest tubes (to drain blood from the lungs, which had been shot or stabbed). The bartenders were an intelligent lot — they had to be quick thinking to defuse situations, and we came to know them by name. So it was 3AM 50 years ago and Tyrone was trudging past on his way home, and I was just outside the ER getting some cool night air, things having quieted down.

“Happy Mother’s day, Tyrone” sayeth I

“Thanks Doc, but every day is Mother’s day with me”

“Why, Tyrone?”

“Because every day I get called a mother— “

Impeach Earl Warren ! ! !

Most of the readership is too young to remember billboards all over the South in the 50’s and 60’s crying “Impeach Earl Warren ! ! ! ” He was the chief justice of the Supreme Court which in 1954 rendered the decision that legally enforced racial segregation was unconstitutional.

Now we have a letter in today’s New York Times arguing for a recall presidential election, and an article in the 8 May New Yorker titled “EndGames What would it take to cut short Trump’s Presidency.” Don’t they wish. Hilarious. Santayana must be loving it. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

Red blooded women at Wellesley

You’ve probably heard that women’s colleges have been taken over by humorless politically correct snowflakes, angry lesbians, oppressed minorities etc. etc. etc.

The following link will show you that there are plenty of red blooded women at Wellesley. Enjoy

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/04/boston_marathon_2017_scream_tu.html

Don’t worry some very heavy molecular biology with implications for glioblastoma multiforme, Alzheimer’s and Parkinsonism will be posted tonight. In the meantime relax and enjoy the pictures.

Is this any way to write about Hillary Clinton?

Is this any way to write about Hillary Clinton?

“ xxxx has made it increasingly clear that she has no intention of being sidelined. … To the contrary . . . . she managed to elbow herself into a leading outspoken role.” From the New York Times of 9 April 2017.

What a pushy little bitch.

Of course not, they were writing about Nikki Haley.

Here’s how Hillary was treated the same day.

One paragraph should do it

“She noted the abundant social science research that when men are ambitious and sucdessful, they may be perceived as more likeable. In contrast, for women in traditionally male fields, it’s a trade-off; the more successful or ambitious a woman is, the less likable she becomes. .. . . It’s not so much that people consciously oppose powerful women; it’s an unconscious bias.”

Tne NYT should so inform the reporter who wrote the piece on Haley (both appear to be ‘women of color’) whose bias is far from unconscious.

A perfect opinion poll

We are about to find out the political persuasions (and perceptions) of a large group of people without spending a cent. National Public Radio (NPR) claims to be unbiased politically. The new budget of the Trump administration proposes to cut out all federal funding. It will be fascinating to see who complains and fights against it. If they’ve established themselves as neutral honest brokers, the complaints should arise equally from left and right, Democrat and Republican.

Note the results are irrelevant to the question of whether NPR is actually unbiased. This is about people’s perceptions of NPR, those liking it finding it agreeable to their world view and more likely to protest its discontinuance.

Did these guys just repeal the second law of thermodynamics and solve the global warming problem?

Did these guys just repeal the second law of thermodynamics and solve the global warming problem to boot? [ Science vol. 355 pp. 1023 – 1024, 1062 -1066 ’17 ] Heady stuff. But they can put a sheet of metamaterial over water during the day in Arizona and cool it by 8 degrees Centigrade in two hours!

How did they do it? Time for a little atmospheric physics. There is nothing in the Earth’s atmosphere which absorbs light of wavelength between 8 and 13 microns (this is called the atmospheric window). So anything radiating energy in this range sends it out into space. This is called radiative cooling. It doesn’t work during the day because most materials absorb sunlight in the visible and near infrared range (.7 -2.5 microns) heating them up. Solar power density overwhelms the room temperature radiation spectrum shorter than 4 microns. So for daytime cooling you need a material reflecting all the light shorter than 4 microns, while being fully emissive for longer wavelengths.

This work describes a metamaterial– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metamaterial — in which small (average diameter 4 microns) spheres ofSiO2 (glass) are randomly dispersed in a polymer matrix transparent to visible and infrared light. The matrix is 50 microns thick. The whole shebang is backed by a very thin (.2 micron) silver mirror. So light easily passes through the film and is then bounced back by the mirror without being absorbed.

Chemists have already studied the Carnot cycle, which gives the maximum efficiency of a heat engine. This is always proportional to the temperature difference between phases of the cycle. That’s why the biggest thing about a nuclear power plant is the cooling tower (and almost as important). Well few things are colder than the cosmic microwave background (2.7 degrees Centigrade above absolute zero).

So while the entropy of the universe increases as the heat goes somewhere, locally it looks like the second law of thermodynamics is being violated. No work is done (as far as i can tell) yet the objects spontaneously cool.

Perhaps the physics mavens out there can help. I seem to remember Feynman and Wheeler once saying something to the effect that radiation is impossible without something around to absorb it. If I haven’t totally garbled the physics, it almost sounds like emitter and absorber are entangled.

Anyway beaming heat out into space through the atmospheric window sounds like a good way to combat global warming.

No wonder DARPA supported this research.

A book recommendation

If you’re Irish and your family looks like it’s been at a wake since 8 November or if you’re Jewish and your family has been sitting shiva since Trump won, I’ve got a book for them. They’ll hate it of course and reading it will be painful for them, but if they want to defeat him in the future they’d best buckle up and read it.

The book is called “How Trump Won” by Joel B. Pollak, and Larry Schweikart. Pollak is Breitbart Senior News Editor at Large, and Schweikart is an emeritus American history prof.

Why should the mourners read it? Simply this. If  you want to defeat Trump in the future you should know just how he beat you. The celebrators of his victory will need no urging.

It’s pretty well written, and the chapters alternate between the two with Pollak describing his experiences in the last days of the campaign starting 19 October and Schweikart covering American history starting with Martin van Buren to put things in context. It is disconcerting as Schweikart also covers the Trump campaign from its inception in 2015, so there are jumps in time from chapter to chapter.

Even though a political junkie I was as bamboozled by the press coverage of the election as anyone else, going to bed at 10PM election night because I knew it would be a rout of Trump — “Hispanics surging to the polls” etc. etc.

A few points to whet your interest. Giving the lie to Breitbart’s antisemitism, Pollak is a devout Jew,leaving the campaign trail each Saturday to observe the sabbath. He’s a Harvard Graduate.

The authors knew Trump would win Florida, based on the early voting. They knew how various counties reliably voted, and the panhandle was early voting heavily. They could see that blacks weren’t voting as much — down 3 – 4 % in Florida, 8% in North Carolina (apparently absolute absentee numbers by location are available long before the election, although not WHO the voters were for). So much for the theory that North Carolina was won because it was difficult for blacks to get the polls — there certainly is no obstacle for early voting.

Here’s another — why were the polls so wrong. People were afraid to say they were for Trump (particularly in liberal enclaves). One pollster (Trafalgar) figured out a way around this — they just asked people who they thought their neighbors would vote for.

On election night the media did what they authors expected, calling states for Clinton as soon as possible, and delaying calling any states for Trump for as long as possible.

Well that’s enough. Either you will grit your teeth and read it or you won’t.

A few other points — I’ve never seen the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Nation and the National Review agree on anything. But they were uniformly against Trump slanting the news against him, declaring his campaign imploding at various times. Fascinating that it had no effect. The National Review put out an entire issue in January 2016 titled “Against Trump.”

So if you find a biased article against your favorite politician (assuming you have one) — relax — it no longer matters.

The book is not abstract, filled with interviews by Pollak of those attending Trump rallies (along with interview of those there to protest him).

How diverse are thy articles oh alumni magazines

College Alumni Magazines love to brag about the wonderful things their graduates are doing. The recent Jan/Feb issue of one they send to me bragged about the exploits of two of their business school alums in the sports business, one graduating in 1968 the other in 1997. They also had profiles of 7 alums receiving awards at the 2016 reunions.

I didn’t get one even though attending my 50th medical school reunion. There was a lot of congestion as Donald Trump was attending the graduation of one of his kids while running for president. Our med school classmate and Nobel Laureate addressed the graduation. He didn’t get an award either, they thought he had enough.

The issue also had room for a nice recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies.

There was also an article about the president of the school deciding what US laws the University would and wouldn’t obey, declaring the University to be a “Sanctuary”

In one of the Sherlock Holmes stories the following dialog appears

Gregory (Scotland Yard): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

It wasn’t until I read the letters to the editor in the March/April issue, that I realized just what was curious about the Jan/Feb issue.

They failed to have an article about another graduate of the business school in 1968.

Donald Trump Wharton 1968.

The first US president from the University of Pennsylvania in its 227 years of existence.

To be fair they did have an extremely wimpy note from the editor concerning why they didn’t have an article about Trump.

Ah diversity of thought and opinion in the Ivy League

Res ipsa locquitur

It’s been over 50 years since McLuhan noted “the medium is the message”.  It’s still very true