World War Zero brought down mystery civilisation of ‘sea people’ – New Scientist

We know from Hittite texts that the Luwian kingdoms sometimes formed coalitions powerful enough to attack the Hittite empire. Zangger thinks that 3200 years ago the Luwians did just that and destroyed the Hittite Empire (see map, above). Shortly after

Posted in History, Noted & Quoted, Science

An Update From the Astronomers Who Proposed the Alien Megastructures – The Atlantic

On the side of natural explanations, if a recent cataclysmic event in the system created a large cloud of dust responsible for the dimming events Kepler saw, then it’s possible a heat signature will show up at some point in

Posted in Noted & Quoted, Science Tagged with:

An Ancient Peruvian Mystery Has Been Solved From Space – IFLScience

The Nazca are famous for their impressive lines carved into the Peruvian desert, but they also built an incredible system of aqueducts, some of which still function today. The system is covered in spiral openings, called puquios, but their function remained

Posted in Noted & Quoted, Science

Hubble captures birthday bubble – Deepstuff

This year’s anniversary object is the Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7635, which lies 8 000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. This object was first discovered by William Herschel in 1787 and this is not the first time

Posted in Noted & Quoted, Science

New Evidence Points to Personal Brain Signatures – Scientific American

…[I]n a major development within the field researchers have begun documenting how brain activity differs between individuals. Such differences had been largely thought of as transient and uninteresting but studies are starting to show that they are innate properties of

Posted in Noted & Quoted, Science

Never-before-seen galaxy spotted orbiting the Milky Way – New Scientist

About four dozen known galaxies orbit our own. The largest in terms of breadth is the Sagittarius dwarf, discovered in 1994 – but it’s big only because our galaxy’s gravity is ripping it apart. The next two largest are the

Posted in Noted & Quoted, Science

Sundown on Mars

Sundown on Mars


Posted in Photography, Science, Technology

ultranatural (2)

“God” would be in addition to whatever else or not a name that returns us to that never fully displaced, or as-only-displaced, “my” in its universal quasi-adjacency to any all and all particularity or “the any”: the pure or originary natural, the natural itself or ultranatural.

Posted in Anismism, Philology, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Untimely Tagged with: , , , ,

Climate Change vs Moderation

This is the problem with Crook’s brand of High Broderist faux-moderation. Crook says he supports some kind of carbon tax and public funding for research and mitigation, but he quite obviously hasn’t given the slightest thought as to whether that

Posted in Neo-Imperialism, notes, Politics, Science Tagged with: , ,

Comments On Ecology and War

I am not asserting that conquering the will to conquer nature, or conquering human nature, or ending conquering, etc., whichever or whatever it comes to, must entail great violence, nor am I calling for it. I am however recognizing that violence would in some sense be normal, because whether or not you or I call for it, many seem fully prepared to demand it. Even and especially the most committed pacifists would therefore still be asked to risk their lives at least, and to be entangled in risks of life borne by others. In another sense, we, or some of us, are already undergoing or engaging in violence. The catastrophe is indeed very well under way if, along with acts that cause human suffering as normally understood, we treat habitat destruction, species extinction, factory slaughter, and so on, as forms of industrialized warfare against natural life. In that sense, it’s too late for “peaceful change,” though it may not be too late for less violent change, or even for less and less violent change.

Posted in Philosophy, Politics, Science, War Tagged with:

From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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