Ben Carson is driving me insane

Never mind his nonsensical platform that borrows heavily from theocracy and libertarian social Darwinism… it’s his absolute shit grasp of science and history that sends me in a spiral of rage.

And lunatics applaud him. Ben Carson also believes that anyone who doesn’t hold Sabbath on Saturday is hell bound. Would they clap for that too? It’s another strongly held article of faith of his. He has just as much evidence of this as he does about his declarations for an earth only 6,000 years old and that evolution is a lie spread by Satan.

He loves that simpering platitude that he doesn’t have enough faith to believe in science.  “I just don’t have that much faith,” he said. “But they are welcome to believe whatever they want to believe. I’m welcome to believe what I want to believe.”

No, he’s not welcome to believe that. He should be shamed from public life and barred from holding any public office. When his beliefs infringe on the interpretation of objective reality, it’s no longer a quirk that can be shrugged off. When he makes decisions based on false assertions about reality, he grates against everything that brought civilization into the 21st Century. People like Ben Carson are dangerous.

I was being silly about it yesterday. The pyramids of Egypt being built by Joseph for grain silos is exceptionally insane. I’m still reeling in outrage.

It’s deranged. There’s part of me that gets why evolution and climate change are not grasped by certain elements of the populations. To deny something as easily verified as the pyramids not being hollow is a special kind of crazy. He can fly to Egypt and look at the pyramids. They’re not hollow. Regardless of how old he thinks they are or who built them, they’re clearly not designed to hold grain. This is someone who doesn’t give a flying fuck about how the world actually works, as long as it makes sense in his own head. This is someone with no curiosity, no ability to adapt, no desire to engage physical reality… why would anyone like this be allowed to run a nation?

The consensus among political journalists and bloggers I read is that Carson is not really running for president. He’s a grifter gathering names for a mailing list to sell things to the rubes who are buying what he’s selling. I sincerely hope this is true, but he’s uncomfortably popular locally. I almost miss the Trump cheerleaders or the smug old man who paternalistically hands the crew Ted Cruz’s book every time we walks in and tells us that we need to know just how evil socialism is.

the old guard of paleoanthropology are being pissy elitists

They throw up a ton of criticism about the way Homo naledi was presented by Lee Berger and his collaborators, but the fact remains that the findings of Homo naledi have been published as open source. Anyone has access to them. Anyone can analyze the findings and challenge them. If Berger’s findings don’t hold up in the long run, so be it. He’s not hiding anything.

Everything else they say is a smokescreen. The old guard are mandarins. Their old system needs to be swept away as it’s stifling innovation and interest.

Fuck ’em.

The archives of Albert Hofmann are in danger

Beat Bäche is doing yeoman’s work but someone needs to step in to preserve the archives of Albert Hofmann. It’s easy to assume that these are papers that would be preserved by posterity but it turns out no one legitimate wants to be associated with the cultural baggage of LSD. I cannot presume to know who should handle this archive though. The fears of it being sensationalized or exploited are too valid.

It’s just sad that no one goes to examine them.

mega-tsunami 73,000 years ago

A tsunami on Cape Verde 73,000 years ago was allegedly powerful enough to crash a 170 meter wave into a nearby island. That seems like a interesting time and place for a tsunami. I wonder… How’d that affect the western coast of Africa at the time? Maybe even coastal Spain? There’d be humans there, right? Aterian culture spread as far as Morocco. How far west was the range of the ancestors of the people who lived in the Iwo Eleru cave? Hm… Maybe the massive population drop wasn’t solely the Toba explosion in Indonesia?


30,000 year old giant virus

New giant virus, Mollivirus sibericum, has been discovered in the melting permafrost of the Siberian ArcticPithovirus sibericum, another giant virus described last year, came from the same sample.

Two interesting details:

  • More giant viruses! Their discovery changing the interpretations of how viruses evolved. Nifty!
  • Global climate change will have more frozen viruses thawing out. Some might be virulent.

I listened to this Radiolab broadcast on giant viruses a few weeks ago right before stumbling across this story. It’s obvious in retrospect, but it surprised me how viruses actually evolved to become smaller.

“a gift culture to a potlatch culture”

It’s not just about Homo naledi. John Hawks and others are waging a progressive revolt on how data should be shared in paleoanthropology and throughout science. Open source! He references a paper by Wallis, Rolando and Borgman, If We Share Data, Will Anyone Use Them? Data Sharing and Reuse in the Long Tail of Science and Technology. These people are inspiring in their forward thinking.

Reading this, I also think of NASA and its affiliates throwing up all of their data to be pored over by amateurs. These actions are a sharp rebuke to the corporate science that has stifled a future renaissance in the obsession of monetizing proprietary ideas and data.

Exxon’s Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels’ Role in Global Warming Decades Ago

Christ. What a bunch of assholes.

In July 1977, Exxon’s executives received this assessment:

In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels

What did they do? Recruit the best and brightest researchers. They outfitted a ship to trek from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Circle with the most advanced technology recording data. They wanted answers. The new research clarified that the situtation was even worse than originally predicted. They continued this path for a decade, but kept all of their findings internal.

Then in the late ’80s, they decided… eh, to hell with it… and reversed course to become the biggest climate change deniers of all, lobbying the hell against anything saying other than fossil fuels are awesome, churning out bogus research, and insisting we should burn them all up as fast as possible.

It’s absolutely pathological behavior.