Monday, July 4, 2022

Who put the hype in hypersonic?

Editors Note: it is the 4th of July 2022. My window is open and the war zone is open for business as well. Followed eventually by the sound of ambulances and fire trucks. 15 miles away from me in the affluent suburb of Highland Park, a shooter killed 6 and wounded 30 up at a 4th of July parade. Right there in the green zone. No one is safe now, was the message. Buy More Guns was the message.  


'National pride is at stake' crows the Science article about the race to develop hypersonic weapons. From the article:

For decades, the U.S. military—and its adversaries—have coveted missiles that travel at hypersonic speed, generally defined as Mach 5 or greater. Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) meet that definition when they re-enter the atmosphere from space. But because they arc along a predictable ballistic path, like a bullet, they lack the element of surprise. In contrast, hypersonic weapons such as China's waverider maneuver aerodynamically, enabling them to dodge defenses and keep an adversary guessing about the target.

The worry being these hypersonic demons are unstoppable. But for a great majority of the time even the predictable ballistic path missile have been unstoppable. There have been gains in anti-missile technology to worry missileers, but certainly much cheaper alternatives to hypersonic flight exist, and one has to assume there are larger reasons to pursue it. Again from the article:

Now, DOD is leading a new charge, pouring more than $1 billion annually into hypersonic research. Competition from ambitious programs in China and Russia is a key motivator. Although hype and secrecy muddy the picture, all three nations appear to have made substantial progress in overcoming key obstacles, such as protecting hypersonic craft from savage frictional heating. Russia recently unveiled a weapon called the Kinzhal, said to reach Mach 10 under its own power, and another that is boosted by a rocket to an astonishing Mach 27. China showed off a rocket-boosted hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) of its own, the Dongfeng-17, in a recent military parade. The United States, meanwhile, is testing several hypersonic weapons. "It's a race to the Moon sort of thing," says Iain Boyd, an aerospace engineer at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "National pride is at stake."

So, simple answer, space war butthead stuff. Not to be dismissive. The tech is fascinating. The tech is finally melding and all the niches for spaceflight are starting to mature. But just to hurl nukes? No dearie dear. Why build a cathedral and use it as a battering ram? My guess is there's a lot more to the Air Force X47-B space plane program than meets the eye. Lots and lots of stuff, not to mention all the Shuttle flights. The USA plays Aw Shucks almost as often as the game of Catch Up. 

And guess what? It is still rocket science. One hundred years on from the Wright brothers and it is still hard stuff to do. 

Everybody is worried about Russia and China when they shouldn't count out Iran. Or India or Pakistan for that matter. We may be looking at Space War One (or Two? I don't know).

It's just more monkey hive honey spent on space monkey hives that will never happen and instead we get a sky full of warbots.

If so, I want a swarm of warbots working for me. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Spoofing and Jinking

My brother went to see Top Gun: Maverick and said it was stupid but fun, like all good propaganda. 

The original Top Gun (which I also have never seen) was also propaganda which resulted in a huge recruitment boost for the United States Navy. The one thing my brother objected to (other than the hypersonic bullshit - of which I could write a separate essay called the Hype in Hypersonic) was the avoidance of a drone subplot. Possibly because tiny Tom Cruise would be sky burgers after about twenty seconds against a drone. Let's face it, unlike fighter drones, Tom Cruise cannot handle sustained 9 gee acceleration and look both ways at the same time. He cannot think a million times faster than a human.

Not to make too much of drones. Like hypersonic weapons, they suffer from design flaws and the biggest flaw is the machine intelligence itself. It's damn hard to audit a machine intelligence and the data it learns from. It's damn hard to know how it is doing what it is doing other than empirica evidence. This is nto a good situation. There have been numerous reports of bias introduced into these little critters (the classic example is how an AI chatbot was corrupted into a racist, sexist troll after being exposed to Twitter) and invariably the fault lies with the training data. Garbage in, garbage out.

One example is to attack machine learning training by re-ordering the sequence of training data. This is because ML models are susceptible to "initialization bias" (paging Kahneman and Tversky). Whatever data they receive first has a profound impact on the overall weighting of subsequent data.

Worse still, evidence is mounting that validating an ML model can be made impossible by planting an udectectable backdoor into the training data. Such a backdoor can change the classification of any input wihout detection by a tester - unless they are in possession of a "backdoor key". The mechanism is undetectable by any computationally bound observer, meaning you can't even tell if a backdoor was implanted into the model. That's pretty scary. Rather like the Manchurian Candidate, the thing itself doesn't know it is corrupted.

There are plenty of examples of how poison data makes ML baby Jesus cry, but for your entertainment, read this Pluralistic entry from Cory Doctorow. My favorite is  where a 2" piece of tape on a road sign can trigger 50mph accelerations in Tesla autopilots.

Other thing: I've had, hopefully, the last operation on my eye for the year. The retina had completely detached and my eye received essentially a boob job. The vitreous humor was removed and replaced (after the retina was re-attached with a laser) with silicone oil. The eye would have withered and died with the retina detached, So, the eye is saved, the vision is lost, and I'm good to go.

To mess with people, I published this aftermath photo, which is fake:

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A New History of Old Europe

A Short History of Humanity: A New History of Old Europe by Johannes Krause and Thomas Trappe (translated by Caroline Waight) gives us the latest info on archeology and DNA samplings from European archaeological sites. The title may be a bit pretentious, as it only covers an area of Earth more or less a cultural backwater until very recent times. Still, there is a lot of new information to give us an up-to-date picture of the peopling of Europe. European archeology covering the most ground, it is refreshing to see debunking and confirmations from new data. Particularly, and most interesting, the piecing together of prehistoric metadata involving artifacts and diseases.

I enjoyed this book as it is a good tie-in with David Graeber's and David Wengrow's The Dawn of Everything.

Shaman of Bad Durremberg

Europe, the largest peninsula on Earth, has it tough duing the Ice Ages. Though the central plains heading across Eurasia are ice free, living conditions at the deepest parts of ice ages are impossible. However, during the interglacials Europe is quite charming. Briefly, from current data in the book, what we currently know is that Europe's first known settlers are Neanderthals and Denisovans some 600,000 years ago. Early modern humans followed, but left no permanent genetic record among modern Europeans.

Three waves of anatomically modern humans have left genetic markers among Europeans today. The first wave, the hunter gatherers that produced the beautiful cave paintings at Lascaux and Altamira, entered from Africa approximately 45,000 years ago. Reconstructed DNA evidence taken from bones and teeth from that time indicate they were dark-skinned, and dark to light eyed. These Aurignacian hunters after mastodon and cave lion and short face bear were beautiful black people with blue eyes.

The latest Ice Age ended some 12,900 years ago, and was so abrupt as to be noticed in the short span of one generation. Times were good for the hunter gatherers in Europe, until about 8,000 years ago, with glaciers finally in retreat, farmers from Anatolia and the Fertile Crescent appear in Europe. Interestingly, there are two distinct groups of unrelated peoples inhabiting the western and eastern portions of the Fertile Crescent. The western people are the lactose tolerant cheese eating surrender monkeys of the future. Because they lack nutrients (vitamin D) from hunter gathering, they got paler and paler the further north they went. Funny thing is the physical records show the original hunter-gatherers staying way clear of these extremely violent farmers bickering over land, other than interaction through trade.

 And the trade networks are a regular time crystal of a quantum computer connected by atom lasers. Much to be gleaned from the metadata of traded artifacts, but the extent of networks reached all the way across Eurasia, and possibly into the Western Hemisphere. These are the peoples behind the poorly named Agricultural Revolution, with groups picking up and abandoning agricultural practices as set their whims. (My mother's side of the family can be traced back to the Scandinavian penisula, which became ice free a mere 6,200 years ago.)

5000 years ago the last migration wave arrived from the Ponticsteppes above the Caspian and Black Seas, the Yamnaya. The Yamnaya brought Indo-European languages, bronze age tech, and domesticated horses with them. They originally migrated across the Caucasus to the steppes from the Zagros mountains of Iran (thus the whole shithead Aryan white supremacy thing).

This third migration wave DNA is prominant in Northern and Eastern Europe, and also in Native Americans. (Easily solved problem traced back to a 24,000 year old skeleton in Mongolia, the common ancestor). We are up to speed save for an interesting deduction via the metadata of disease. There is a suggestion that the Black Plague came with the Yamnaya, like a biocidal invasive species.. Further, plague has a possible origin in the domestication of horses. The bacteria responsible for plague are indigenenous to the Vast Plain of Eurasia. Further evidence, the Yamnaya replaced their steppe horses and tamed native European horses (possibly more resistant to plague). 

Obviously, the authors stress the absurdity of racial superiority and that we are still of dangerously limited genetic diversity. (Me being Scandinatian makes me seriously inbred). Thank goodness for the African Diaspora.

Still lots to do, lots of books to come, and still a lot of places to dig up.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Harold Redux

Around 2014 I started building a plaster mold collection at the college for bronze and clay. All gone now, stolen or thrown away. Still, over time I made lots of waxes from those molds and tossed them in boxes. Today I have three boxes of waxes.

I've thought about having a Frankenstein Party. Go through my stuff and combine it like a variant of Exquisite Corpse. But that doens't sound all that interesting. It's what I've been doing, at the outset of making an art object, but it was always just the beginning.

Find The Game    =  World Building (characters in a world)
Raise The Stakes  =  Perspective Shifting (character interaction, expand the world)
Play to the End     =  Action Generating (let her rip, with callbacks and connections)

I talked about The Harold before, a generative procedure for long form improvisation developed by Del Close and Charna Halpern. I thought about those boxes of wax parts and I said how can I use the Harold with these? It would seem an obvious thing to just substitute art or music or poetry for comic performance and surely smarter people than me have done it to make jazz and other collaborations. I looked for diagrams, found one, studied it, and finally it hit me.

I finally noticed a scene or "beat" as they like to call it, produced a temporary art. Well, duh. More improtant, the Harold can be recursive, both during the procedure and results input as new values in a Recursive Harold. (Although that's for another time). 

So, do I need other players in this game? It woud be more fun. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Awaiting Rescue

Heard a news story today that a ridiculous number of Americans think they can survive in the wilderness for two weeks. You could call it Dunning-Kruger, but it turns out Dunning-Kruger is Dunning-Krugered.

Two weeks, though, clearly they think they will be rescued and merely have to hang out vs. living indigenous for the rest of their life. Well, know how to make a fire with flint and get clean fresh water is all you have to do.  You can live without food for two weeks.

What if they don't have a zippo? "Find some rocks to strike together" 

What if there are no rocks? "Fill a plastic water bottle and use if as a magnifying glass" Wow*

Maybe a lot more Americans have survival skills than I thought. I certainly would be fucked.

Me, a Boomer, supposedly trained for war, pampered beyond repair, woefully unprepared. It's different if you are a Boomer from the South (or similar hunting cultures throughout the USA). Much better prepared for so-called primitve camping. Still and all, the attitude is awaiting rescue. 

We expect and enjoy our Anthropocenic Tour of Nature.

Other things. Quick eye update. When your opthamologist/retinologist says "Let's try this", you know you are dealing with permanent vision loss. And sure, enough, at last appointment, he told me there will be permanent vision loss. How bad is still to be determined, but right now, the answer is legally blind in the right eye. It's like my macula is balding, big blind spots on the right side. That aint' com ing back and I already feel my cortex rewiring accordingly. The one interesting thing of note is my new reliance on propriosenses(?) and body awareness. Presence. I am more present with the loss of an eye.

For example: Teaching welding is more difficult. Loss of depth perception has turned me into a monkey touching a stove. But whatever you use to throw a ball without looking, that's what I tap into to do welding demos. 

(My welding has always been atrocious, but I can teach, I am a damn good teacher)

Today is 4/20 which is Weed Day so Happy Weed Day from Grandpa Weed. My
bet is federal legal soon and I don't get why Grandpa Joe hasn't pulled that train into the Junction. 

I declare myself a natural medicine enthusiast. Weed, yes. Mushrooms, definitely. Poppies, for sure

*out in the middle of nowhere and they can find a plastic bottle. Answer since 1973? Yes.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

The lesson of history is that no one learns it

I have a student named Lenin. You got to admit it sounds cool, but I don't think her parents realized just how much of a cocksucker, a plague virus, bad RNA, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was. Last year I had a student who informed me he was a Stalinist. Then again my ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide in my head seemed like magic to him.

I was there once, inexperienced, wounded by lack of knowledge and adorable in my ignorance but not this fucking stupid. Maybe the reactionary minds that feel they should be in control have a point. But reactionary minds gets you the freedumb stuff. No liberties allowed.

Anyway I'm making clay this semester, and I know keep saying it but I really miss color. Metal 

- and I will always pour metal until I am too frail - 

Metal makes lustrous colors but not vivid colors. A plague has made me crave vivid colors. These are some clay figures I made, Frankenstein style, random parts except for the legs. Acrylic paint, and I get a sense of maritime creatures. Maybe you don't. What about Speedo, white legs and black socks, a comedy classic?

The legs makes them sexy?

More of a vegetarian?

Or nautitical?

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The End of the Golden Age of Barbarism

Which happened 40,000 years ago, I reckon.

According to Marx and Engels, the means of production is technology and ancillary components. Ownership of the means of production can be private (capitalism), society (socialism) or the state (command/communist/fascist).

The real means of production is the uterus, the womb. 

You may have heard about the woman in Texas charged with baby murder by induced abortion. Charges dropped, but the woman was put through what Texas dough boys wanted her (and the media) to be put through.

This has resulted in a Practical Guide to Not Getting Arrested for a Miscarriage or Abortion.

This is not simply crime codes and control or commodification, but a recent push towards totalitarianism. Forced birth is a declaration of ownership rights (slavery), and it appears that ownership, in the state of Texas, belongs to the state. Fucking Commies. 

When did the Republicans, or the radical right, become communist? Their organisations and institutes even ape Soviet naming conventions. (Committee For Future Prosperity, etc.). Maybe its In order to defeat the asshole, you must become the asshole kind of thing. Or Horseshoe Theory.

Whatever it is its happening, the push is on towards more restrictive and exclusive laws and mandates against the people in the states, picked off piecemeal. It is obvious this is a response to the climate shock and awe just around the bend, the big windshield heading towards us ape-shaped bugs.

And here we are trying to grow things too, trapped in the ditch of agriculture. Got to feed the baby cannons somehow. (In chicken and egg style, yes, food is needed, but only tehcnologically derived only recently in the past 5K years or so, in which case you need people to tend machines. 40,000 years ago getting food took no time at all amidst such plenty. Now, we are finding out, a different plenty, and the wrong kind).

Currently, food is grown with oil and natural gas via domesticated plants. This is not sustainable. Ammonia, used as fertilizer, is derived by the Haber Bosch process, run on oil and gas. This is not sustainable. Top soil, especially in North America, has been eroded down to unsustainable levels, washed down the rivers into the oceans to become useless. The useless silt deposits have created dead zones, anoxic waters. The ocean is not getting enough oxygen, 

Soylent Green, way above budget but only slightly behind schedule.

And for people who read all this as a crisis (and they are right), they are getting their doomsday forts ready. A doomed effort, because collapse means Collapse. No where to hide, rich people, not even New Zealand. Nope, the reactionary minds, thinking that only they know how to run things, are making their play. They have moved from hippy underground to set piece battles, and the rest of the decade will be interesting times (as if the past couple of decades haven't been interesting).

Do I think I'll be around for the collapse. Oh, sure, and honestly it will be like a brick wall thrown at us. Meaning life will still continue to be pleasant on the surface, all rot and degradation underneath, but this is not news. We will keep on doing what we do, like stupid bacteria with no off switch, and eat and eat and eat and eat.

Whats' to be done? Well, thank goodness for a limited lifespan. I once figured 2032 was my death year. Coming up fast, and probably wrong. If I make it to 2042, that's when it gets really bad, or really, really good. Probably just the robots that survive, and maybe that's what we scramble to do the next 20 years. Get everyone into their emergency avatars, and do our darndest to simulate them in the wandering satellites and moonlets of the Metaverse. 

Fake people living in robots.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

DALLE-2 and the End of Art

Arthur C. Danto, art critic, once declared the end of art and DALLE-2 might be it. 

DALLE-2 is a text to image app from OpenAI and it is astonishingly good. You put in any text and a scene is provided in return. A djinn and a wish. For example, "Hothouse elves in a greenhouse of flowering fire plants and vines, in the style of ____" and voila! A replicator and a holosuite rolled into one produces your scene. Your world building, your characters, and you can adjust it just by being more specific like a recursive wishaholic. 

Graphic and game designers, artists who know about it are either nervous or greedy to get their hands on it. I'm signed up. You can submit pic requests to OpenAI via Twitter and Instagram right now if you wish. Some consider this highly dangerous, deep fake wise, but if you cannot rely on computer number one (taps head) to sift out the bullshit, you are kind of fucked anyway. Hopefully someone will look out for you.

I played with DALLE back in 2021 and am blown away at the advancement. I shouldn't be, but I am. Here's the thing, that part to me that I wanted to use was: in the style of_____

I was too lazy to download and learn the software, so I relied upon service, Snowpixel. I relayed the desire that when it came to that In the Style of____ lazy Johnny wanted in the style of me. The developer replied you are about the millionth person that wants that. Artists hand a multiuniverse generating versions of their own works. A vast portfolio of John Kurman stuff for me to pick and choose and point in directions I want to go. It is a Moog synthesizer of  brain toy. 

Here's the funny thing, you guys ready? Samples of my art indicate I am 73 different artists. Never one to be patient, I roam the borders, forever in novelty. So of course I want to use DALLE-2.

OpenAI also has a text generator called GPT-3 which can code, blog, and argue. I'm sure someone has suggested GPT-3 texting DALLE-2 and bye bye.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Breaking News: Elon Musk Invades Twitter

Musk has been buying shares of Twitter since January, amassed 9.2% of the company to become the largest shareholder. The Twitter put him on the board of directors with his promise he would not seek controlling interest. No one wants to call it a hostile takeover, but that is what it was, exactly the same to when Musk took over Tesla.
Sieg Heil Baby

Musk claims this is a free speech issue, but this is a red herring considering 1) under Citizen's United, money is free speech, and therefore Musk is more than free to speak; 2) his own censorious history and lame shitposting negates his claim to be a free speech absolutist, and 3) this is not a First Amendment issue. Only the mentally challenged, highly naive or cynical nihilists buy the Free Speech bullshit.

Is any of this important? Could be, under certain counterfactuals. Twitter has been getting the tar beat out of it by TikTok and Snapchat. User numbers of Twitter, like Facebook, are not going in the right direction. I doubt that Musk is interested in growth so much as control, our thin-skinned petty tyrant is making Twitter how he wants it to be. I will tell you right now, Twitter jail will be expanded to a gulag.

(One wonders why Donald Trump didn't try this instead of tragic attempts to get his mojo back. It oculd, aside from not being smart enough to think of it, or having smart advisers to think of it, Trump just didn't have the money to pull it off. So, he stinks of loser stench forever after, amen).

If Musk is actively involved in management, we can expect similar disappointments that Tesla and SpaceX have provided. 

What? Scream the stans, Tesla is worth over a trillion dollars, and SpaceX disrupted the aerospace industry. But keep in mind, without stellar management and countless faceless engineers for him to Thomas Edison in front of, Musk would have neither Tesla or SpaceX. In fact, he barely managed to be part of PayPal.

More and more, the comparison to Hitler's early luck and later meddling seems ready to play out. All Musk needs now is a Doktor Feelgood to shoot him up with concoctions to get him to the next meeting.

Which is to say, this is more illiberal democracy, more of the totalitarian future we can all look forward to. Social media is carved up and siloed, but clearly all it takes is the next invention to fuck up the status quo. You don't need innovators or disruptors to muck about the place, things just keep on changing. Without the next big thing, it's just churning the waters with a shit stick to see what can be skimmed. Perhaps that's all this is, or perhaps Musk thinks he can, with his brain control shit, control brains. 

Or maybe he just wants an Edit button.

Friday, April 1, 2022

World War IV

We Kurmans have a dark, bleak, pitch-black sense of humor. Our observational humor could arise from either side of a death camp fence. But even our humor will not save us from doomsday. Ragnarok. Armageddon. The Apocalypse.

Right now everyone is focused on a slap, but we will armchair general our way back to Ukraine, and what went wrong? Is it going wrong? Is Putin playing nine-dimensional chess? Is Xi thinking 200 years ahead? Is the US going to do what it always does? 

Will there be World War III? Nope. We already had that, and the Boomers won. 

Over the period of the Cold War, about half a gigaton of nuclear tests were done, poisoning air, water and soil. The fact that millennials and zoomers don't have two heads or flipper limbs is a testament to the robust supply chains of DNA.

(Life started out as RNA world, when Earth and Sol were still part of a globular cluster chock full of ionizing radiation and blazing sister stars. I suspect DNA world didn't get started until Sol was flung free of the birth cluster, but I digress).

Meanwhile we've pumped out Hiroshimas per second of CO2 and methane, heated up the oceans and air, to set up something that dwarfs the might of all the world's nuclear weapons. World War IV is upon us.

And of course, we are losing. Oh sure, temporary victories, like fusion. But pulling tech out of our ass only works in movies that end with a big musical number: musicals, comedies, and musical comedies. 

Fusion will not decarbonize the atmosphere. Fusion will not stop the sixth extinction, even if we all cluster into monkey hives and let Mama Earth do Her thing. That ain't gonna happen. So Apocalypse it is!

As I've said before most people don't have a strong enough imagination of post-apocalyptic life because they will be dead. 

Who is gonna die? Well, if we go with the Kurman Maxim, those least deserving of it.

India was supposed to be a superpower by now. Instead, they have staggering poverty rates, 1 in 5 people. (The USA is 1 in 10 poor). Glacier loss is important, loss of ice as water storage. Less water down river for everyone. Tibet, the Himalayas, the Third Pole, is warming up and that is bad for Earth Island. Not just India but southeast Asia. Australia is getting clobbered, and will continue to get clobbered. Africa is already familiar with drought and deluge, but the loss of wildlife is astonishing. The Western hemisphere, traditionally arid, is nostalgic again. Europe? Is for Mister Toad's Wild Ride

In all we are entering a period of prolonged instability between Icehouse and Hothouse.

Let me explain. In college I got interested in nonlinear equations.Not being very bright I modelled stuff on the university computers. Nowadays it is called chaos theory or complexity theory. Running my FORTRAN programs, most stuff flips from one state to another and then stays the same. But sometimes there is turbulence, switching between states, and this can become a permanent thing. 

RE: wild wild weather from here on out. Strap in. Build your infrastructure accordingly. People get acceleration and shock, but they don't get 4th derivative and up stuff. Just this energizing of the atmosphere and the oceans gets you standing waves of static. Or..

Per Kurman's Ironic Global Warming, the tropics and subtropics ain't that bad. The poles still get cold by being in seasonal shadow, so there's still a heat sink. There is still tropic to pole circulation, but not the good kind that mixes up waters and oxygenates oceans. This is the problem. Suddenly relying on fossil oxygen while the generators are shut down. Nothing so dramtic as the Great Dying of the Permian. But nothing nearly as nice as the Miocene-Eocene warmup.

Quite simpy, most people are fucked. Fuck Mars. Time to think about terraforming Iceland. Or Northern Siberia.

There's the rub.

Friday, March 25, 2022

A Pendant for Hope

My great-niece is graduating high school and off to college. I asked her if she needed anything. 

"You're getting gift money, but anything else? "

"Make me an amulet"

"Hon, I'm not religious or superstititious" 

"Do your best".

I took an old design I liked, cast it in silver, and then started beaming power into it, for lack of a better word. I figured I'd be better at cursed objects to ward and protect rather than lucky charms, So, I imagined pumping evil into that silver. A protective hate to surround and shroud my kin.

Thank goodness for the internet news. That provided plenty of evil to pump into that amulet. I would grip the silver in the palm of my hand and rage at events and think pure evil (but with an algorithm that excludes the precious wearer).

I gave her the amulet and told her I pumped a shit ton of evil into it to protect her. She put it on and grinned and hugged me.

It was a perfect Uncle Fester with Wednesday Addams moment.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Hairy Eyeball Update

I got my followup with the radiation doctor today, and here is the possible outcome after having a proton blast slammed into my right eyeball.

Short version? The tumor will shrink and die over the course of about a year and a half. It is hard to say what my eyesight will be like long term,but right nowit is like looking through a vascularized Sargasso Sea of tentacles and frog's eggs.

Longer version. Death and shrinkage of the tumor really isn't going to start until around May or June. Seriously? I impatiently asked. And then the tumor will slowly shrink and die down to maybe a 2 millimeter vestigial upside-down mushroom maybe a year from now, year and a half. . 

The vision outlook is not so clear. Last visit to the fantastic retinologist it was determined I had 20/100* vision in the right eye. 20/20 in the left. (While we were about it, I asked the nurse to test my left eye without glasses and it was 20/25. That's not bad). There is going to be scarification of the macula (the face and color part of the retina), and minimizing the damage is the strategic plan. My guess is, based upon occasio0nal clear patches I see when the tumor sways, that the vision is still there. If we can keep the scarification to the tumopr stump, I just lose lower visual field. That's the hope, but I could still lose the eye.

Quality of life? I've essentially lost the eye, behavior and navigation-wise. In most cases, I close my right eye to operate better. I've debated wearing an eye patch, which makes things easier. I have lost a confidence I did not know I had,an ease of bodily presence. I was no catlike graceful strutter before, but this is almost intolerable. trying to raft this big ape body around the bends and rapids of day-to-day.

I'm not getting used to this shit either. And I have at least a ear and a half ahead of me, which BTW is also the rest of my life with impaired vision.

Cancer-wise, if things spread or go south in the next year and a half? I'll miss out on the apocalypse won't I?

*20/100 means things 20 feet away look 100 feet away

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Ironic Global Warming Redux

Both north and south poles are melting as I type this. The Eastern Antarctic is experiencing a 2021 Pacific Northwest heatwave, relatively. It's late summer and the sun is still up, the temperature is 10F, when it should be -60F. Eastern Antarctica getting a heatwave is bad.

Though still late winter, the Arctic is already melting

Some would chalk it up to freakish weather but I am, yes, alarmed. And yes, I am going to be an alarmist. We've put too much heat in the ocean and air. Expect big storms, weird storms. Global weirding we should have called it all along.

Seasons have shifted or collapsed, gone to Drought and Deluge. We must shape the landscape accordingly or disappear. Or hole up in cities, in fear of the skies.

At this point, I am almost George Carlin in black sympathy of homo sapiens sapien. Yes I would like everything to be nice, but that's not the plan. The plan is to be mice, or roaches, or ants, and eat everything down to stone. And if that is what we are to do, c'est la vie.

Après moi, le déluge

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Where Is Everybody?

The Fermi Paradox isn't really questioning the existence of extraterrestrial life so much as questioning interstellar travel. Maybe it's just too hard to do it. Maybe you don't need to because you have the vast riches of an entire solar system to breed in.

(For all their smarts, humans behave like every other animal or microbe: exhausting food supply at an exponential rate like a person with no impulse control. Maybe that dooms us)

Maybe FTL attempts opens portals to Hells or some other popular fiction: multiverses, dream roads, supernovae? And STL just takes too damn long or, if you can live in multigenerational ships, you no longer need worlds to colonize. 

Although my favored solution? Intelligence is self-destructive. Earth has had at least five great extinction events. There's no evidence of intelligent life, or at least artifactual life, of being a cause. But there's no reason not. I guess I have to find evidence, don't I?

Let's pretend I'm right. Assume each extinction was caused by a self-doomed technological civilization. 

The Ordovician/Silurian Event, from which the popular Silurian Hypothesis theorizing past intelligent creatures on Earth before humans, was caused by the sqwuids cuttlefish and octopus and such, who built a number of bases on the inner planets and asteroids before they left Sol. Yes, they trashed Earth, just as we are doing. TV Show?  My Favorite Mollusca about a Silurian octopus monster that sounds like Jackie Mason.

The Devonian Event, war of the fish peoples. Sponge Bob. Still some Squidwards hanging around.

The Permian Event, war of the lizard peoples. Although honestly, no. The Earth is a dangerous planet, as the dyings of Permian/Triassic/Jurassic show in stone. Can't really make a justification for lizard people.

The K-T Event, war of the bird people. Fed up, one side let loose a fist of god and clobbered our future Yucatan. Bird people might still be around. Bird people discovered the silurian squid bases on the Moon &c and modified them enough that even astronauts could open them. That's what happened.

Ok, here's another movie idea, John Carpenter's sequel to The Thing. Global warming has thawed out both the Thing at the South Pole and the Blob at the North Pole. Now you might ask, wasn't Santa supposed to be looking out after the Blob? Is that asking too much from that jolly old elf? Well, we are going to find out in The Blob vs The Thing

The Blob is a slime-mold metaphor of us, you and me, yes, we are the Blob. When it comes to consciousness, the connectionists appear to win. The Blob will take over the Northern hemisphere rapidly. Meanwhile, in Antarctica the Thing has thawed out. My pitch to John Carpenter is Kurt Russell is a Thing, but knows he is a Thing and is pissed off he's a Thing and wants to fight the Thing. This conflict is interrupted when the government types show up (ala Escape from New York) to tell Thing Kurt Russell about the Blob. Thng Kurt Russell and the Thing agree to exterminate the Blob but it means most people will have to become Things. 

Damn I wish Donald Pleasance were still alive, but with these cheap reverse engineered mini brains called AI, we have deep fakes for all that.

How do we get Kurt Russell to win against The Blob and The Thing? By sacrificing himself duh! No sequel. Only prequels. Which, since people understand What If is now, is: plenty o stories.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Ironic Global Warming

Ice apes, baby. Hothouse Earth bad. So we are told. And yet paleontologists call these past warm climes paradise. The polar regions heat up and tropics stay relatively the same. Going by natural cycles, the Earth should be going back to ice age just as scientists in the 1970s predicted. Humans pumped CO2 into the air and postponed that.

Granted, we are a force of nature that has changed the planet in mere centuries and has to be beyond a shock to the system. But it could be, if we stop killing things, might be very pleasant in the latter half of the 21st century and beyond. Not the dystopian realm so many assume. But only if we stop killing things.

Tumor Talk. I am losing the battle for sight in my eye. The doctor injected a steroid to the detached part of the retina, but my eyesight is 20/100 maybe worse. It wasn't just the tumor messing with me. I am now resigned to impaired vision. 

I'm getting used to needles getting stuck in my eye. I could probably handle a needle every every other day.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

The World of Sears

Why doesn't Sears rule the world? What if in, say, 1994, one savvy dick had a light bulb and in 2022, there is no Amazon, Walmart, etc., there is only SEARS.
In the early 90s, one out of seven jobs was with Sears, and good paying jobs with benefits I might add. They (had they known) could have owned the entire internet. They had everything: customer data, credit agency, communications, you name it. All they needed was to have someone from the future clue them in, I guess. 

Now Marvel has us all familiar with the multiverse, now let's talk about counterfactuals. Counterfactuals are time travel, but there is a spectrum of least likelihood the further back you go. Nonlinear dynamics compound, therfore there is no return to mean except from left field. 

Actually, a world of SEARS might not be bad right now. Given everyone shitting their pants. Alright, Johnny lets split us in half for a Q&A.

Q: What do you think about Ukraine?

A: As opposed to Yemen, Syria, Ethiopia, for starters? Oh, WHITE refugees, why didn't you say so?

Q: That's cynical. No, what's going to happen?

A: Russia is going to win. Putin is not going to accept anything else. Hopefully, former President Zelenskyy is hosting the Oscars next year.

Q: The Russkie look like they are getting their asses whupped. Ironically by drones from Turkey. But where TF is Russian air power? 

A: Prisoners and cannon fodder first to judge defenses, hard elements for counter strike. Classic KGB battalion. And don't kid yourself, Putin will use nukes if he has to.

Q: You don't think that a bluff.

A: Nope. He will use them and is counting on you to not believe him

Q: Who are you the Putin whisperer?

A: Think of this long term. Russia is now on its own which it has always figured on. It has nothing to lose. But, Russia has got a buddy in China. That's not going to change. Russia got the future cultivating acres, China already up in Siberia, still plenty of Arctic gas and oil to tap into. Long term wise, China and Russia got a good 40 year surplus over the old USA. Besides the real WWIII is China taking over Taiwan.

A: They are thinking World Island. Our (USA) only option is Your World Island in My Solar System, bitch.

Q: Thank you for your time.

A: Bye!

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Can Del Close Save META?

In 1973 I went on a high school field trip to Second City, the sketch comedy club in Chicago. I got to watch - without knowing it - John Candy and Bill Murray on stage. I also remember this weird guy with glasses at one of the tables, chain smoking and laughing loudly. He often distracted the audience enough to fluster the players. Only later did I realize he was Del Close.

Del Close helped figure out long form improvisation, and it is my opinion that art form will be the only savior of META and the VR universe.

Let me unpack that. VR has been around forever, but only lately have the 1980s fictions like Ready Player One become closer to reality. MPORG games have been around forever and it was assumed that VR would just be 3D glasses. But get past the avatars and the goofy chaos of youtube hooligans, and people have been social on it. Not mass event social but small theater social.

What is not realized is there are things that must be shared events, public events, and VR doesn't do it. Not when you can do it IRL. Dinner theater and one ring circus would seem to be VR outlets. But nothing unstructured and liberating. Instead the artficial joy of pixels and voxels and a Disney Ride. The only improvement to VR action will be hamster balls*, but creative play? Not on Zuck's lawn. 

Enter improv. Del Close, paraphrased, said "conflict is boring. I'd rather say 'Yes, and' instead of  'No".

Del Close came up with a generative method of long form improv called The Harold. The Harold was later improved to produce long form experiences of 10-45 minutes. The successful performance (allowing participants more time to develop believable characters and storylines) involved initial suggestions, followed by vignettes, followed by a group game using the vignettes, iterate until it goes bust or something magical happens. Good participants witness a logical structure develop from a premise, a set of equations today now known as Chaos Theory or nonlinear models.

Long form improv has advanced beyond actor warmups and parlor games, but what's wong with those? Aa parlor game can be either premise-based or organic play, can be expanded into a community, a consensual reality, and then you get the gestalt effect. If you've ever played in a garage band and improvised, you get the idea. Out of all that awful dirt appear nuggets of gold. You use those nuggets to make less dirt and more nuggets, before you know it you have a world built and a personal mythology to follow. And you will note that those instances or trances occur when the band was the Band, hive mind achieved.

How does this work for VR experiences? People improvise anyway, right? Anyone who has watched Youtube videos of VRChat understand too much improvisation is annoying, not at all freeing or creative as a social place to go. My suggestion is the people don't follow The Harold, the bots do.

Consider: the internet is increasingly being writen by bots. Probably 99% of internet content will be AI-generated. Online worlds and all the stuff that inhabits them, with humans in a tiny minority. How will it be fun and useful for us humans? My answer, hard-wire the spirit of fun and play into the bots. How do you have fun? You feel safe. How are you able to play? It's safe to play. The Yes-And logic of The Harold, that conflict is boring, could possibly make META safe and interesting. Although honestly, VR, like block chain, is a solution looking for a problem.

Other things. I got done with my radation treatment. The proton beam really anatoginized the tumor, however, I am noticing an improvment in vision as the inflammation subsides.

I got a ceremony at the end of treatment. I rang a bell and got a challenge coin. I don't consider my role in this as military veteran, as the rituals and tone would suggest, still I acted the part. I am honored by the network of care.

I thought about being an actor, still could. The limiting factor in my case is probably talent. Too inappropriate reactions because duh autistic dork flinch.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Nuke That Tumor!

I started proton beam therapy Wednesday. This is the proton beam aperture and my immobilizing chair. The mesh cowl was premade to clamp my head. The plastic mesh has a haint that stays in my nose for a while. 

The proton beam aperture is appropriately intimidating. It's amazing this powerful cyclotron machine is delicately murdering my wayward cells with such care. (Let's not forget the doctor and technicians are the actual care, magnified to atomic eyed monster, magnifying glass of will and deadly purpose)

Really big hose clamp? No, precision ring and stand with a light I stare at. I'm surprised I'm not claustrophobic. The restraint oddly comforting. If the above pic were an illustration, I'd be intrigued by the form. It reminds me of the hibernation pods from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Or Space Ghost. It's the cowl I guess, huh?

Weekend off and then three more sessions next week. Anything go wrong, sight loss or black and white vision, I am to go straight to the emergency room. People ask how I'm doing and I'm fine.

I didn't feel anything. I didn't even see the flashes or flares or streaks of Cherenkov radiation like the astronauts see. Just as well, it would mean something went horribly wrong and I look like the Elephant Man before I die.

Nothing so dramatic. The proton beam is but a tickle compared to astronaut particle blasts.

I will tell you that my brain is sad. It has lost half its visual field. 

What I see is a sargasso sea with occasional patches of clear. Those are welcome, comforting fetishes of vision, but looking through a tumor at the world is no fun. I've noticed an insecurity that did not exist before. I am less lithe, more hesitant, having to pause to orient: the motions of an old man. It might not get better. Not getting out of the woods. It may be woods from here on out. My brain must deal with this.

If the vision fails to improve, I will allow the ghost of Del Close to possess me and practice this particular affectation, but with less hair.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Addicted to Gov

Last night I had a future dystopia dream. The interesting thing is I woke up to pee and wanted and managed to go right back into that dream. I been working on lucidity. Could be other people not so stupid as I. Could be others say yeah sure easy lucid dream.

The plot or action was mainly gang-pressing, drafting people involuntarily into labor and drudgery. I was threatened but never assaulted and could roam about the place. It was kind of a urban decay setting, perhaps soon after whatever collapse or breakdown as everyone seemed to be well fed and clothed. 

The basic definition of a state is a collective of people. How that collective forms itself differs but based upon a primate foundation: Social monkey hive gets you heirarchy and castes. But the state, the intentiional eggregore, seems to be scaled up from a ship. A nautical Snow Piercer of an organization, as self containted as can be, between sources of refreshment. Impressment, slavery, is a primary definition of a ship, like it or not. As to how voluntary that impressment is on a map with axes freedom and liberty? (If you feel the need to collapse to cartoon). 

You are free to take a shit on the hood of my car. You are not at liberty to do so.

There is a third dimension in the involuntary recruitments into a state and that is drugs. Intoxicants. Hallucinogens, yes. Always alcohol. Alcohol is a 500 million year old food. It easy to make and makes lots of calories. 

Every state had a public drug delivery system. Every single dug up site identified as maybe a state, had drug manufacturing facilities. And with monkey distillers, Good Stuff pretty much guaranteed to get you hooked. So much easier than enforced labor. Build my pyramid and I will get you so high. 

Friday, February 4, 2022

Fuck My Feelings

They say there are 100 billion dead behind us billions living. It's probably worse with bots. Bots have hurt my feelings on every venue of the intertubes. They are getting better at it.

One of the dumbest things I ever did was to waste time on the bulletin boards. It was interests and information exchange at first, and soon enough bickering and turf wars, spines and poisonous barbs come out. Little did I realize my reactions were being gauged, weaknesses and tender spots identified, triggers and reinforcements emplaced.

Probably by 2004 they had a really good simulation of me, or millions of me, in the virtual death spaces. Run a million times faster, consumerbot me, many me, knows exactly how to push my buttons.

To do what is the question. How am I working for the Man? (and don't even know it) Or rather, discourage me to do anything outside my established parameters. 

Had a daytime operation last Tuesday. Emplacement of little tantalum rings sutured in the white of my eye. These are references for the proton beam. Atomic fire of death in a couple weeks. This was with "twilight" drug. I was consicous at the end of the operation, the surgeon says "last stitch". I  asked him "good boy?" All the surgical staff  said "good boy". All these surgeries have lowered my IQ with the drugs. I reread my last essay and realized I was still under the power of whatever goofy juice they gave me. 

This is twice in as many months I've gotten a needle in my eye. After radiation treatments, and waiting for OK, I have another operation to salvage what sight we can. 

In the meantime my feelings are being damaged by generative adversarial neural networks not even as sophisticated as a pyramidal neuron in your average cerebral cortex. 

Friday, January 28, 2022

Eemian Civilization

The Eemian, the last interglacial, taken from the river Eem in the Netherlands. Eeemian also known as the Ipswichian, the Sangamonian, Valdiva, Riss-Würm, all referencing European digs. Unfortunately, none of those digs are important save to give insight into Neandertal lifestyles. Homo sapiens - anatomically modern Homo sapiens, is still mostly in Africa and perhaps some parts of the Middle East. This is, of course, based upon current dug up evidence, mostly in Morocco. As you can see from the map, still plenty of places to dig up. 

Let's be clear here though, skeletons anatomically modern go to back to 230,000 years. That doesn't mean they were us. But there were at least 10 other hominid contemporary (I hesitate to use the term Archaic not having met them), people wandering around as well. People today look nothing like back then. We couldn't because we are a mix of them, now. Going from folklore, you'd guess it was all fairy tale land, JRR Tolkein stuff, Middle Earth with trolls and goblins and elves. And why not? All fucking and fighting my friend. People don't get that they were still and all, people. Hell, for all we know it was Conan the Barbarian back then, with a leather and wood version of sword and sorcery.

Northern Africa with USA as size reference

Was there a civilization anything like what we call our modern predicament? The answer is probably no. From the previous essay:

The Eeemian shows up in the ice cores mentioned above and there is no evidence of nuclear atmospheric tests, plastics, petroleum or metallurgy. So, no modern things. Corresponding artifacts in stone and bone tell the same story of stone age glory. Homo sapiens is confined to Africa, perhaps some forays, but otherwise, not in Eurasia, and more important, not in the Western Hemisphere. 

The Eemian is almost smack dab in the middle of  the Middle Stone Age (300,000-30,000BCE) and the artifacts are flaked stone tools from factory cores, bone tools as well. Around 150,000 years ago there appears a bone tool for sewing. If there is sewing there is tanning, tent making, ropes, salt collecting, a large number of fiber industries, all supplemented by trade networks throughout Africa, and thus social networks, cultural bases and offsets (customs) in some cases universal. ( ex: Shells, drilled, uniform, everywhere far from the source. The same thing happened in the Holocene).

There are faitly accurate climate and terrain descriptions (based on ice and dust and pollen counts taken from drilled lakebed cores). For a few kiloyears in the middle of the interglacial, it is a hotter, mositer world than we experience.The Sahara and Arabian peninsula are green. A Green Hell, if there are hippos in Engand. Mostly savanna but also forests and swampland, with extensive north-south river systems in modern day Libya and Algeria and megalakes in Chad. It was much the same as it was some 5-6000 years ago when the Sahara was last green, but 2-3C warmer. There is today a vast fresh water aquifer underneath much of Libya and Algeria (fortunately untapped), from this green period.

There was a trans-Saharan corridor running from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf (Green Sahara and Arabia), and corridors leading to Southern Africa. In terms of animals, we know hippos and elephants were lviing in England some 130,000 years ago, so think heat tolerant tropical and subtropical fauna, incredibly rich, diverse and dense in varitety and population. Paradise.

Sea level is 20-30 feet higher than today, notably due to melting of large parts of Greenland and the complete collapse of the West Antrarctic ice sheet. 

The isthmus, where the Suez canal runs today, was mostly inundated but not impossible to traverse. Migration routes were open to the Saudi peninsula and north along the Mediterranean coast.

Which means migration into Eurasia was possible both ways, although no Nearnderthal remains are found in Africa, so far. Again the question of if "we" made it to Australia or the Western Hemisphere. So far, no.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Pushback on TDOE & further thoughts

Thinking more on The Dawn of Everything. I'd intentionally not read reviews of the book to color my own observations. Do a google search . Most reviews are glowing. Others vehemently against. It's pretty much a  left/right split on like/dislike. The liberal bastions the Atlantic and New York Times, were glowing. Wall Street Journal, various scholars, not so glowing. Those were the criticisms I was interested in. I should note that when Graeber first published Debt: The First 5000 Years, he discussed the book on Crooked Timber. Some criticisms were vehement, almost violent, and those tended to peck at the eyes, the obvious errors in fact or opinion, rather than knocking down the general logic of the book. Graeber held his own, but admitted there were errors. There are always errors .They should not be constured as straw man or cherry picking or argument from ignorance.. Having taught a class in logic and criticism, I gave him 8 for 2. Not bad. Crroked Timber also discussed TDOE and it was a funeral.

The Dawn Of Everything Gets Human History Wrong by Chris Knight, Nanacy Lindisfarne, and Jonathon Neale. Maybe it's my lack of reading comprehension but they totally agree with everything they object to. They call the Ds Often Wrong, then proceed to give the same fucking answer they object to. WTF, could be I skimmed the book too fast or I came to the wrong conclusions, the critics were arguing the same page. Are there errors in TDOE? I'm sure but I have to work through the notes.

Big Data has hit archaeology. It's no genie, more of a AI crow to find shiny, but the Big Data approach gave generalist expeditions into specialist data and observations. Couple this software octopus with increasingly intensive (private collections & museums digitally documented) and extensive (dense hi-tech field work) observations, incredible documentation tech, sampling to produce petabytes of insights about our world and us. It is now possible to visualize the world other than our own imagination to AR-include metadata of artifacts, real time referencing to all libraries and collections. AIs hungry for cut marks, ochre, intentional grinding  The Silver Age of Archaeology won't stop at the Golden Age, but further on. (especially if we pursue underwater archaeology to examine Ice Age shores and rivers now 200 feet below sea level. That's the goodies me bucko*)

A good example of technologically enhanced humanity is recent efforts to correlate volcanic eruptions to historic events. From the article:

Less than a decade ago, scientific calculations of the dates of volcanic eruptions used only 16 measurements per ice core to cover 2,000 years of history and included as much as two-century margins of error, too imprecise to be of use to historians. Instruments invented at the Desert Research Center in Reno now take 21,000 measurements per ice core and can detect at least 30 elements down to parts per quadrillion. This data improves on the old estimates by two orders of magnitude, enabling historians to make exact correlations with documented historical events.

History traditionally plays out on a wooden stage when obviously it's the deck of a heaving ship.

Survival of the fittest for that environment. Not a fitness landscape, a ship on a fitness seascape. And as sea monkeys grow into sea apes, the number and weight of the arks and fleets effects the ocean itself.  This is a familiar nonlinear model that descends into infinity fairly quickly. A difficult but not impossible field equation to solve.   That is where move from superorganism to eukaryote to what? A person? A singular monster?. Aren't that scale invariant? And if so, are we, as far as we know, an intelligent species that can do much cooler things than bees and ants? Or can we? The Solar System tamed and named, is that a triumph? I don't know. Intelligence increasingly looks self- destructive.

We could check. We got records. The Eemian, for starters, the last interglacial starting about 123,000 years ago. Lasted about around 14,000 years. Ironically we avoided the next Ice Age with our modern smoke, but Hot House Earth is not good for ice apes baby.

The Eeemian shows up in the ice cores mentioned above and there is no evidence of nuclear atmospheric tests, plastics, petroleum or metallurgy. So, no modern things. Corresponding artifacts in stone and bone tell the same story of stone age glory. Homo sapiens is confined to Africa, perhaps some forays, but otherwise, not in Eurasia, and more important, not in the Western Hemisphere. 

What's going on Eemian-wise? I don't know. I need to find out.

Picture yourself on a boat on a river. 

With tangerine trees and marmalade skies

Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly

The girl with kaleidoscope eyes. 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

The Senate by Sortition

My MRI. That is one sexy brain.

I half expected an octopus, or maybe a facefugger. It's reassuring that everything looks textbook up in the noggin. 

The Senate is a hindrance to democracy. It is the product of snobbery. The best band aid I can think of is selecting senators by lottery. Sortition. That is the most egalitarian method of choice.

Senators are chosen by lottery. Except right now, per the pesky 17th amendment, theys are directly elected by popular vote. A grisly popularity contest of weird magic and charisma. A 1920s high school none of us wanted to go to. I went to school with these assholes, and now look. 

1) get rid of electors, who can be used as man-in-the-middle attacks, otherwise serve no purpose in direct elections, duh. 

2) Form the Lottery Party. You, a paid member in  our Lottery Party, get an equal chance at becoming senator of your state if we win. Or a representative.

People sayd? What you let any idiot become senator? 

Hey, it's not like recall elections disappear with the lottery.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow

It is a tragedy that there will not be three or four sequels to this book, as planned. Genius is tossed about too casually, but David Graeber definitely was a genius. I'm gonna have to buy this book as the limit of the library loan made me skim a lot (never enjoyable). I like to read and then walk and sleep on it. This is a book worth rereading. The main point of the book is its time to reexamine our data, check our bias, see what is probably correct or absurdly wrong. Much of the prehistoric narrative, and the advancement of civilization, is mostly wrong. We have a prejudice, a bigotry, towards primitive man which has made us mostly wrong about the past. We have a paucity of imagination on purpose, to be scientific. But that makes us objectively wrong.

Picture yourself  15,000 years ago. Or I will. I'll look mighty peculiar. White people have not been invented yet. Oh sure, still another 8000 years and latitude and dietary changes to get the combo of light complected skin, eyes, hair. I am also frail and gracile compared to the short robust people of this time. Any one of these prehistoric people could break me in half. Mostly foragers, some play gardens towards occasional flood zone agriculture. They are incredibly fit and well fed, and also smarter than me, in a generalist way. 

Half a million years of cooking had shrunk their jaws almost as much as mine, but I had been selected for, among other things, vocal production. Language being a big bang for the buck communication;my short face, long neck, and descent of larynx has given my voice an operatic style of timbre, articulation, and perhaps range. This does not mean someone 15,000 years ago couldn't talk. Of course they could. Stuck in the popular mind are grunting and hooting cartoons. 100,000 years ago, yes, humans were not capable of the full range of human speech, but I think it ridiculous to assume they did not talk, or that language itself accelerated our cultural development. 

Articulate people, also playful, creative, imaginative, curious, cautious, and almost always in charge. They are not cowering in caves warding off animals with torches, but out and about in the world.

And what a world! Not the impoverished ecosystems of 21st century Earth, but teeming with an embarassment of overflowing life, lush with plants and animals. Rivers covered in fish. Oceans, plains, forests teaming with game, A landscape already fire shaped by human technology for human desire. Their entire necessary technology, the world's tools, on or about their person, and easy access to more.

How easy? By making, but more often trading. The trades extend throughout Eurasia and Africa going back at least 60,000-75,000 years. Extensive trade based upon so many objects far from their origins. Evidence also of not just making, but industrial mass production. A whole variety of things from arrowheads to mammoth ivory beads, to wood and bone and leather and rope. Beautiful things spectacular in their individual styles, yet still efficiently mass produced. The people back then, the myth goes, were much more free - free to work and play - than we are today. So, what went wrong? The idea is somehow we got stuck society-wise in this heirarchy, kind of like a bunch of bacteria locked in as symbiotes to a larger eukaryotic cell. The state? Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The Ds, Davids, Graeber and Wengrow have written a critque of the current narrative we have about prehistoric and near historic peoples,which I will get into, but they base much of their critique on what they call primordial freedoms:

Freedom to leave.

Freedom to disobey.

Freedom to play (at social experiments).

I think there is one more primordial freedom, which is:

Freedom to get fucked up, intoxicated, psychedelic, &c.

The Ds work from archaeological finds - the most recent 30 years - which are just now yielding vast amounts of information about how we past peoples lived. The archaeological evidence suggests the modern interpretation of prehistory, via people like Jared Diamond, Steven Pinker and Francis Fukuyama, are by and large just-so stories. 

This is not a put down of the above authors. Evidence changes, old museum artifacts identified correctly, new digs with contemporary technique, a clearer picture of prehistoric us. There is also recognized cutltural bias - despite cold reasoned deductive techniques - causing Victorian biologists to name a bug a queen bee. Not Egglayer. Not Old Means of Production. Queen. Or depicting Neanderthals as shambling ape men.

Starting with Rousseau and proceeding through the Enlightenment, the Ds say anthropological narrative mimics the stale story of the Bible. Starting in a egalitarian savage state and "racing for our chains" (Rousseau) via the agricultural revolution, property rights, and heirarchy. 

(The Ds make a good case that most of our American ideas about democracy were actually critiques and arguments from Eastern Woodland philosophers, towards Jesuits. There was certainly no tradition of democracy in Europe to compare to the radical ideas of the primordial freedoms).

The contemporary narrative of progresss is us moving from clans to tribes to chiefdoms to states. Each level an increase in population size, better lifestyle and accumulation of wealth. The evidence suggests otherwise. People did just fine as foragers. People did just fine without bosses. People built cities without bosses. Didn't need agriculture to sustain these cities. Most cities started out as mudpie play and added to over the centuries. They were built, abandoned, refurbished, demolished, like childrens treehouses. Again, a reminder that prehistoric us was just as imaginative, clever, and playful as we are now. Probably more. In any case, these European blinkers on paleontology produced some whoppers of judgements.

Example: The Great Leap, a cultural leap 40,000 years ago, based on increased sophistication of artifacts. Judgement: False positive, with bias. Western archeological research had been mainly digging up stuff in Europe. Unfortunately this priming error has promoted Western chauvinism (white supremacy). More to the point, the European invasion and slaughter of the inhabitants of Turtle Island (as N. America was indigenously known) was inevitable, almost manifest destiny. Diamond, Pinker etc. are quick to point out the external advantages, the guns, germs and steel, as opposed to any inate superiority of the invasive species, nevertheless they treat it as fate. Where instead is coincidence, and a small window of coincidence at that. 

Back to primordial truths. Freedom to leave. Freedom to disobey. Freedom to play. How are these supported in the archaeological record? Well, take prehistoric cities, like in the Anatolian highlands, the Indus valley, the Ukrainian mammoth bone villages, have no palaces, no physical signs of income inequality. More like suburban tracts of similar houses, cells in a beehive, all grown over centuries of playing around at building. Gobeckli Tepe, Kaharantepe, assumed to be temples, feel more like amusement parks, haunted houses. Built on some agreed upon plan with no central planners, or at least no permanent bosses. What you might call nowadays a DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization, but with some seasonality. As if, for a period of mutual improvement and fun, all volunteered for corvee labor, and then went on their merry way to do whatever TF they wanted until the next season or get-together.

So what you generally find, is that people do just fine without bosses. Bosses are nowadays a complex mixture of sovereignty, charismatic politics, and bureaucracy. Mini-states.Mini-mansions.

A big just-so story is once you get too many people together, you need a heirarchy of bosses to run them all. Turns out humans have been capable of mass industrial production with standardization of parts for at least 100,000 years, and with no evidence of heirarchy or dominance. Just the opposite. Often you would find the most elaborate paleolithic grave sights thought to be princes and princesses, were more often bone deformed in some way. Differently abled, cared for, cherished, dying in a society that allowed for charity.

Two questions that are determined to be stupid questions are: "When and how did inequality arise? "When and how did the state evolve?" 

One opinion they demolish is state as a monopoly of violence. Capitalism (for one) is based upon force and fraud. How that can be monopolized is a simplleton's understanding of scales of force and fraud. Better still, a Newtonian understanding of violence versus a Bose-Einstein understanding.

The Ds have tons of examples, but nothing was tied together to see if the question was stupid or poorly framed. They admit that their question is how did we get stuck? That's a better question, and I think that is what the next book would have been about. It's a rushed answer they give, but I've part of the answer. It involves my 4th primordial freedom: freedom to get fucked up. 

In every example of every state they reviewed, all the orgs had control over intoxicants, had a purity code and efficiently mass produced industrial drug system. 

Note to self: every state ever controlled their drugs. Standardized and regulated good drugs to the people. Mesopotamian barley beer, Egypt had wheat beer, Incas corn beer, and along with/before that the pscyhoactive drugs and any shit you can eat, drink or smoke. 15,000 years ago, people went to megalithic sites to party and get fucked up and fool around. Get freely fucked up and see a show. And what better way to get fucked up than with well regulated drugs? Well distributed drugs? Heirarchy is the best supply chain and before you know it, you're stuck.

I would argue that drug use, many other practices, is protected under the 2nd amendment. And that, dearie dears, being necessary to the security of the state, shall not be infringed.

Short version? Read the book. Worth reading. Read 1491 along with it.

Oh yeah, what about agriculture and property rights? The so-called Agricultural Revoltion was a 10,000 year span of opportunistic gardening, only adopted permanently after an impoverishment of the land. We stupid apes are worse than fire ants.

Property rights? Ridiculous at face value, that a tiny lifespan/spaced bug like you can own a piece of 4.5 billion year old Earth. OK firefly. Neverthless, obviously a perversion of sacred body space I guess. A persversion of what you consider sacred.