Bits and Pieces – 20180724, Tuesday

Commentary

If you read only one referenced article in this post, make it this one: Trade Deficits And The American Empire. I came to accept the idea of an American empire a few years ago although I never attempted the research to argue the point. Sometimes you know you’re right and prefer to spend your time chasing other rabbits down there holes.

This article succinctly argues the point of an American empire, even without touching on characteristics of its military which I cover regularly. The article also, in the context of empire, explains why the US must have a trade deficit with the rest of the world, along with having a global reserve currency. Again, this is a point that I have covered on more than one occasion. The thing is that the author ties it all together in one beautiful little package.

This article is important because from it you will understand why, if Trump is to win his trade war, it will come at a much greater economic cost as the global system of trade will be damaged or destroyed and along with it the global financial system. Or in other words, to eliminate the trade deficit completely one must reduce imports and exports to zero. Consider what that will do to American jobs.

Psychological Warfare (Psyops)

Propaganda and Fake News

In another article that nicely packages a very broad current social and political meme, consider: James Howard Kunstler: Russian hysteria an exercise in psyops.

Here is food for thought: British Assassination Campaign Targeting Russian Exiles? A test of an event that should be high on the list of inquiry directions is “who benefits most from the event and who loses the most”?

The Skripal affair is a good example. Russia traded Serge Skripal to the West for assets of theirs that the West held, a standard interchange procedure. Skripal had been in prison in Russia for years. Prison, especially in Russia, would be the easiest place to have him killed, but this didn’t happen. To hand him over to the West also meant that he had nothing of intelligence value to give to the West.

Knowing that every time a high profile Russian dies on British soil the Kremlin and Putin in particular were blamed, the Russians stood to gain nothing from his death but stood to lose much in terms of added criticism of themselves as ‘murderers’. The British on the other hand would gain a propaganda benefit from his death and also the removal of someone who had no value to them but may have had information about his dealings with MI6 to warrant his silence.

The same analysis applies to the two alleged chemical weapon attacks by Assad on his people. They both and especially the first, were staged at a time when Assad was making significant progress and stood to gain nothing from the alleged attacks, either militarily or politically. In fact, his position was damaged by them. On the other hand, the rebel opposition was losing ground and benefited from the resultant Western intervention.

Unfortunately the sheeple are unthinking and complacently receptive to what the government wants them to believe.

The American Empire (AE)

Charles Hugh-Smith is a highly informed writer whose work I reference from time to time. The following essay speaks to one of my more penned themes, the AE: The Imperial Naivete of the American Public. Reading it sparked something that puzzles me as a Canadian: why do we so virulently hate Trump? He’s not our president and very little of what he does touches Canada or Canadians. In short what we think of Trump is largely none of our business.

National Politics

Trump

A friend sent a reference to the following article that discusses what may be a fatal flaw in Trump’s style of bargaining: Distributive Bargaining Doesn’t Work in Politics. It may be a couple of years before an assessment can be made on whether Trump has been effective in achieving his goals without destroying things like global trade.

Canada

Are you aware that Canada is taking in White Helmet families: More Shocking Details Emerge Of White Helmets Evacuation From Syria? Here’s an introduction to your new neighbours.

Personal Development

I want to capture two videos here for myself on the topic of samadhi: Samadhi Movie, 2017 – Part 1 – “Maya, the Illusion of the Self” and Samadhi Movie, 2018, Part 2 – (It’s Not What You Think).

Bits and Pieces

A problem that is never far from my mind is, can Toronto, with a current population of about 6 million, achieve the population of Lagos Nigeria with a current population of about 22 million. I believe the answer is “not without a much lower standard of living for its populace”. My intuition says that energy consumption per capita may be one means to quantify the problem.

What sparked this comment is the following article: Visualizing The World’s Largest Megacities By 2100. In it, Lagos is projected to have a population of 88 million. This is the result of linear thinking or thinking in silos. I doubt that a number anywhere near this can be achieved. Consider factors such as water, waste management, food supply, infrastructure and logistics to sustain even the current standard of living, disease, social order  breakdown, energy, pollution, employment and the social safety net which is probably non-existent, war with neighbours who are projected to have the second and third largest populations. That’s for a start.

But back to Toronto, I’m looking for a useful set of metrics to use to allow me to study the problem and project future development.

I stumbled across this video that is fascinating not for the interview which I didn’t watch but the opening segment from 1:30 to the 2:45 minute mark. Remember that this was mainstream TV advertising at one point:

Musings

My recent encounter with emergence theory took me back to my early encounter with the Schrodinger wave equation in quantum mechanics. As I recall, it was a probability function that defined the location of a particle, not as a specific location but as a probability that the particle would be at any point in space. The mathematics formulates a value for every point in an unbounded continuum.

I had never connected the Planck length to the problem. The Planck length sets a bound on the divisiveness of space – the smallest distance than can exist beyond which there is no smaller unit. The calculus, on the other hand, is founded on the premise that space is continuous, and that the integral of a function is taken at the limit where the unit of length become infinitely small. Is there a problem in the underlying mathematics as a consequence of this? I assume modern quantum physicists have reconciled this difference if indeed it is at all a problem but I don’t know the answer.

Over the ensuing years I would ponder discrete versus continuous representation of things. For instance in the colour space used by artists in computers, the earliest representation was 4 bits (binary digits) representing 8 unique colours. As technology advanced, we started using 8 bit colour giving us 256 discrete colours. Next was 16 bit representation giving 65,535 colours. At this resolution, the eye cannot distinguish between two adjacent colours. Today we use 24 bit colour representation which gives us 16,777,215 discrete colours.

Even analogue photography was limited by the grain size of the film. Artists pigments have a lower bound in size of the size of the pigment particle that a colourman’s mill can grind to. So any colour image created by any technology has a lower bound on the size of discrete colour elements, a size much, much eater than the Plank length.

Sound can be treated similarly and the characters used in written representations are all contained in the 32 bit Unicode character space.

I used this thinking in my 2005 painting (site location is ) shown and described below:

Title: The Sum of All Knowledge
Media: Acrylic, interference film and string on canvas
Dimensions: 48″x48″
Finish Date: November, 2005
Commentary:

 

I decided to do a series, with materials that are mostly achromatic. That is they have no native hue, and with the exception of black and white pigments, are essentially transparent. All chromatic colours perceived are due to the spectral properties of the light source, the microscopic structure of the materials used and the associated angles of illumination and viewing. This property I call kinechromaticism.

The Sum of All Knowledge is a minimal achromatic work exploring spatial relation and form. The open cube is meant to symbolize a hypercube of arbitrarily large dimension. A computer scientist would confirm that all human knowledge that has been or ever will be expressed in word, picture or music, can be represented by the binary labeling of the corners of such a cube.

I chose an isometric view of the cube. The bottom surface is uncoloured but is smoother. The higher reflectivity creates a different quality of black. The right-hand side is untreated and is distinguishable from the space the cube is embedded in, only by the coloured string, an artifice I had used in an earlier spatial study. The strings, being edge connected, flatten the spatial representation of the cube creating some visual tension.

End Notes

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