Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Idle moments

I am between projects, though researching transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans. There is not much of this type of inheritance in offspring apparently, most of the DNA methylation being stripped in several events between germline and embryo. The politically correct/multiculturalist/leftist remnants in various fields lost their communist sympathies after the brutal totalitarian interpretation of Marx made by Soviet and Chinese governments became clear, but they seem hopeful Lamarckism (I would summarize Lamarckism as the hope that the natural selfishness of humans can gradually be educated out of future generations in a communist society; I note that Jesus accomplished this goal through a process the description of which is avoided at all costs by the pc/mc axis) can be salvaged through finding any evidence of epigenetic inheritance. That makes reading the relevant molecular biology textbooks difficult, there being a conscious effort by the authors to conflate epigenetic inheritance in mitosis, i.e., the preservation of DNA markers in cell division, e.g., in an organ the cells remember that they are part of a liver, say, and actual passing of environmental experience of a mother or father to their sons and daughters. 

I read American political scientist Samuel Huntington's 2004 essay, "Dead Souls: The Denationalization Of The American Elite," over the holidays (holidays meaning the Christian celebrations around the conventional birth of Christ and the New Year's celebration following). I was surprised to find most of the things I am worried about were covered by Huntington, in particular the divergence between the concern of the core of America with the deterioration of the existing patterns of language, culture, association, religion and national identity of people living in America and the interests of a cosmopolitan elite who see the world as simply a general trough for them to feed on while the masses of particular nations tates toil away.

The title of Huntington's essay comes from an 1804 Walter Scott poem, "The Lay of the Last Minstrel." Scott asks

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,

Who never to himself hath said,

This is my own, my native land!

Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,

As home his footsteps he hath turn'd,

From wandering on a foreign strand!

If such there breathe, go, mark him well;

For him no Minstrel raptures swell;

High though his titles, proud his name,

Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;

Despite those titles, power, and pelf,

The wretch, concentred all in self,

Living, shall forfeit fair renown,

And, doubly dying, shall go down

To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,

Unwept, unhonor'd, and unsung. 

The connections are obvious, but also there is the synchronicity between Scott "introducing the figure of the minstrel as intermediary between the period of the action and the present," and the fact that in my early years I was a modern-day minstrel. I was not the black faced variety, though I often thought of my situation as similar to the experience of black folks in a white society, the differences being more subtle than color, more color of soul and intellect in my own case. My black friends and acquaintances over the years, at least those who I trained with might find that amusing in readily apparent physical terms. 

I note that decades ago I lost a couple of black friends after having to fight a black man (one of my more memorable bouts, the assailant, a huge fellow towering over me, ended up on the ground without my having actually having struck him, but I was in top martial arts form those many years ago). I was really devastated that they turned on me. I guess there are racial stereotypes among all groups. It is of course generally true that American black folk are a little better equipped physically so I assume there must be some typical dismissal of whites in that area, which is dangerous when interacting with white policemen and policewomen, as I have noted before---you must respect the badge, regardless of who wears it. On the other hand, my sensei was a black combat veteran who was always pleased (often amused) when I surprised the unwary. 

But back to Huntington's essay, for Americans, the identification with their country is far more than simply their familiar land. America was created by settlers with Anglo-Protestant culture and political values. The resulting government and society (at least until recent decades of decay) was demonstrably different than other countries in the present or past of the world. As an engineer and citizen-scientist (that is, academic pursuits where perverted intellects cannot make a living through sophistry), among other callings, I find it insane that it is not obvious, as Huntington points out, that had America been settled in the 17th and 18th centuries not by British Protestants, but by French, Spanish or Portugese Catholics, the result would have been Quebec, Mexico or Brazil, not America. I might add that it is odd that our media never asks why it is that Muslim refugees must try to enter Western countries rather than those dedicated to Islam. 

There was also an unusual silence in the media for several days following the immediate fall of Afghanistan after we left last year, aside from some half-hearted proposals to blame America for "not having tried hard enough" to show that poor country how to be a democracy. The irony of us attempting to teach anyone that lesson at the moment is not lost on me. What is the difference between Afghanistan and America? Did they lack money (we spent trillions there), weapons and training (again we were more than generous for twenty years), education (the best multicultural politically correct education possible)? Best for the media to transition immediately into stories about the miserable time the people there are having with the return of their local psychopaths (the Taliban) to power and avoid any discussion of why the country collapsed so quickly.                       

In the past, immigrants to America and their children "achieved wealth, power and status in American society precisely because they assimilated themselves into the prevailing American culture." The American ideal of "God and country" means something quite different from the phrase used to justify murder (often mass murder) by members of other cultures and religions. It means we see the world in terms of evil and good and are not confused at all as to what those terms mean. However, the radicals of the 60's are now tenured professors who viciously reject any colleagues who deviate from their pc/multicultural/atheist line and silence any students who question this stance. They are succeeding in destroying the assimilation of immigrants. The result is low percentages of the non-white population who consider themselves patriotic or even identify as Americans, much less who say they are willing to fight for America. Huntington quotes polls from decades ago: 75% immigrants, 67% blacks and 52% Hispanics answer yes to that question--those percentages have almost certainly decreased. 

In 1998 the differences between the general public and foreign policy leaders ranged from 22% to 42%  on most foreign policy issues. Similarly, the public is greatly concerned about the effect of unrestricted immigration (particularly in light of the perverted education the incoming people receive in our universities and media), but few of those in foreign policy elites share these worries. In fact, the corporate masters of our elected officials routinely use foreign labor to avoid paying proper wages to their employees, technical or unskilled. 

I suppose I cannot entirely blame the Trumpites for being disgusted with the political system that now offers them only a politically correct multiculturalist party line or corporate whores as potential representatives. They accordingly have embraced a grotesque parody of anything that characterizes the best in American leaders in history. What I do hate is the Trumpite refusal to at least try to find a decent man to follow. The anti-intellectual anti-achievement masses have discovered themselves and the result is a pending collapse of the Republic. The laws of a civilization do not govern behavior so much as codify the moral convictions of the people. When those convictions are lost to desperation and suspicion of anyone claiming the right to teach, there is no law, at least there is no law (or question of fact) to dilute the animal passions which often motivate men when left to their own devices (as John Adams was so aware).

Speaking of the collapse of the Republic, the Democratic party is slowly coming to the realization that a number of states are methodically setting up the means to discard the vote of their populations in favor of the preference of the fanatics who have infested the applicable state legislatures. There will be much talk in coming weeks, but the fact is that Senator Manchin is committed not to the United States, but to the demands of his local population. One could argue that was representative democracy at its best I suppose, except, as our Framers knew, the goal must be to elect the best men of a population, not the most servile. Manchin's neighbors back home want only to obstruct any and all attempts by the current President to govern and have no interest in assuring that elections are conducted with integrity (quite the opposite). Without Manchin's vote (and perhaps another ringer), the Senate cannot abolish the filibuster, much less pass a voting protection bill. I say again that the President (and whatever Congressional support possible) is going to have to make some hard decisions in coming months. The threat to the Republic has never been greater. Perhaps the Civil War was a more obvious threat to unity, but the current pathology can result in the dismantling of the democratic process of the country itself. England descended into totalitarianism in 1653, but recovered by 1660 (to a constitutional monarchy more or less), primarily because the Leader (Oliver Cromwell) died and a successor with sufficient strength did not appear. Would America fare as well if democracy is corrupted? There is a terrifying array of totalitarian surveillance technology available today compared to means of control available in 17th century England. 

Also, there are at least two powerful enemies of the United States just waiting for any further sign of weakness that would permit a decisive attack without fear of intolerable retaliatory destruction. This is not the same America that fought WWII: In 2017 a Russian reminded me of that fact when I asked him (I had been commenting, at Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, on a new American technology that would adjust multiple nuclear warhead trajectories as they neared the target, improving accuracy to the extent that it might be possible to destroy an enemy's nuclear silos) whether it was not obvious that Putin had no valid reason to fear a first strike by the US when America had shown no interest in that option when it was the sole nuclear power at the end of WWII. Interestingly, the Russian told me incidentally that were he an American he would vote for Trump over Clinton, but preferred Sanders. I appreciated him educating me that the Battle of Stalingrad had really been won to the north of the city (rather than by the brutal urban fighting by the determined defenders) where Russian regular forces endured massive losses but stopped most of the German Army from entering the city (until the Germans could be encircled and defeated subsequently).

Well, I am old and I suppose it should not be as significant to me that the world, my world, should disintegrate at this late date in my own life. However, it does get to me. I would estimate that at least half of my groaning in the night is spiritual anguish over what is happening to humankind, in particular America (the other half a natural outcome of a life of physical damage, motorcycles, martial arts training, wild life, etc.). I pray for the good people, that small number that always gladden the heart when encountered. I don't see a benign way out of the mess we are in, but I am only human (apparently a rare attribute these days).

I was recently moved to tears by the story of the Ritchie Boys (a CBS 60 Minutes presentation), many of whom were Jews who fled Nazi persecution, who trained at Camp Ritchie, Maryland and provided interrogation and clandestine services to our Army during WWII. The emotion was pride that such men had lived, as well as sorrow over what would be their fate in a world where America has been destroyed from within. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Just completed three or four months of research and writing, posting a comprehensive article on the measurement of CMOS input capacitance (among other things that came up in the process) along with SPICE (Ngspice-27) simulation code to accomplish that task:

CMOS article

I note that it is better to download the pdf than view it in your browser because GitHub may strip the hyperlinks (that I used generously to assure the reader could cross-reference material in the article quickly, as well as locate many of the references cited). The Ngspice-27 circuit code and model cards (BSIM4 with RF settings) are at the repository also:

CMOS measurement GitHub repo

Don't know what my next project will be, but I suffer physically and spiritually if I am not immersed in academic work, with the occasional interaction online with professionals or students in the particular area. That has included email exchanges with an Italian physics professor specializing in neutrino physics. It was interesting to hear of he and his family being sequestered during the first year of the COVID pandemic (was it 2020? I lose track of time). 

Of more interest to me during the time neutrino physics (had trouble getting the Italian to understand what I was saying, partly because of language perhaps, and partly because he may have assumed I did not know what I was talking about--I did get him interested in history at any rate after talking about the decline of the West and making parallels with events in the fall of the Roman Republic and the fall of the Empire a few centuries later) was my focus 2016 through early 2019 was some correspondence with an American physics professor who had been in the news a few times during his career, having directed some novel experiments involving the relation of light and matter (don't want to be too specific as that would identify him and I certainly don't want the fecal material routinely tossed at me to hit him). He immediately understood what I was getting at, i.e., that the usual thinking about the spatial extent of neutrino wave packets was founded on erroneous physics. I suggested that the true time constraint on the emergence of the neutrino in beta decays was the necessary time constraint on the W boson through which the neutrino is birthed as it were (in the erie world of quantum field theory hugely massive particles like the W+/- blink into being out of the vacuum, but like Cinderella, they must disappear again into the void within a certain almost infinetesimal time, the more brief their life the larger their mass energy). I was pleased that he agreed that I was correct, at least privately. I pushed a little too hard though when I spoke of my more radical views, which I freely admitted were speculative and not founded in hard physics as was my W constraint opinion. I noted that it was suspicious that neutrinos seemed to be involved whenever space-time violently expanded, e.g., the Inflation proposal early on and in core collapse supernovae events. I had tried to relate the current likely increase in neutrino production coinciding with the main sequence stars aging in our current epoch with the apparent increasing expansion of space-time itself, but the numbers did not come out right. I mentioned this idea to a physicist at Cambridge previously and rather hope he might develop it (could keep the credit).

At any rate, it is difficult for me to observe what is going on around me in America, in the world. Facebook has been a major factor in the rise of the Trumpites, more or less with the effect placing large mirrors around a baboon cage would have on the occupants. Yet, the idiot pc media immediately moves on from the story of Facebook perfidy to concentrate on Instagram and the self-image of teens. One wonders how their self-image could suffer, they having been taught by the perverted educational system of America that they are perfect in every way, that their slightest activity is commendable, that they can be anything they want to be, the latter being partly true at least in areas where pc/multicultural garbage is dominant, i.e., where true capability is not a factor. Along with the militant atheism of the pc multi establishment (more on that in a moment), it is not surprising that you see some little snot-weasel receive a new automatic from his trash parents and take it on in to school a couple of days later to execute some of his fellows more or less at random---and immediatley as for an attorney when he is apprehended, without a fight of course like the coward he is. I really wish they would stop instructing students and faculty to hide when one of these events occurs and to instead use their force of numbers to overwhelm and tear to pieces on the spot the assassin.

Christmas and pc/multi/militant godless heathens are hard-pressed to put on documentaries and movies involving anything but Christian faith and the actual story behind Christmas. They detest to even use the word Christmas, applying their cancel culture techniques here as well. Vacuous productions with actors recognizable to the new zombie population feature lots of excited pseudo-drama about "the season"--with a glaring hollow underpinning. What is "the season" and why does it mean anything? "The holidays"---Newspeak at its best. What is really worrisome is this powerful movement extends into anything remotely transcending the apparent goal of pc/multi-heathens to indoctrinate the entire population into believing they are simply bipedal rats (the latter certainly being true in many cases).

The once excellent Nova science documentaries are recruited in that man-beast doctrine to the point it is impossible to watch them now. "The Universe, all that is or was or ever will be"--none of the truly brilliant physicists of the early 20th centure would pronounce something so insolent and flatly false. The Big Bang is undeniable. The Universe, at least as it is today, clearly "was not all there is." Aside from the moronic declarations (I recall the grand conclusion on a geophysics documentary, "yes, at first the Earth was just rock---we came from rock"), the gesticulating spastics, pc appointees to academia who have been told that these antics are a good substitute for personality, is enough to make one vomit. Even acknowledging that they are desparate to hold the attention of a largely attention-defective population who now communicate more in animal calls (sequences of words that are repeated for any applicable occasion, the great creativity of human language tossed in the trash along with the rest of Western civilization), it is insufferable to me.

PBS and other media announce the growing crisis of fresh water availability---and never once mention the real problem, i.e., humans reproducing without limit, as so many bacteria in a pollute petri dish. Frontline examines the Boeing failures with the 737 Max and never acknowledges the true problem, i.e., the perversion of talented human endeavor by placing a parasite figurehead in charge and directing much of the income of the company into rewarding their "service." The Faux-News masses clutch at the myth of corporate leadership with a religious fervor, having never met any of these folks (as I have) or seen the true operation of engineering-based firms or the like. "They create jobs"---No! they destroy jobs, the parasites are brought in and told they can obtain more millions grotesquely in excess of the compensation of the true creators and workers of the company if they cause stock prices to rise (that is another idiocy---they idea that another class of leech can make an obscene living off of betting on the shares in once-legitimate businesses). The 737 crashes are a natural outcome of the separation of talent and leadership. An engineering company run by a "business major." They really should turn the former CEO over to the third-world countries whose citizens were slaughterd needlessly as a direct result of their decisions.

But back to science, huge projects like the Webb Space Telescope employ a satisfyingly diverse workforce for years so a bankrupt physics can desperately search for some clue as to what they are missing. Dark matter, dark energy? Really? You really must wonder if we have reached a point where we are simply dogs staring at a blackboard covered with calculus equation, completely unable to understand.

The media increasingly hints that the morons who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID are causing good people throughout America to be denied medical care (so the unvaccinated can flood the hospitals and force staff to work beyond human limits trying to keep their retarded asses alive). Why don't they come out and say the obvious, i.e., like a restaurant or any other gathering during a pandemic, patients unable to show proof of COVID vaccination should not be admitted to a hospital. They probably will quietly implement that protocol once the Pfizer antiviral treatments are given emergency treatment, i.e., when some obese jackass shows up at the local ER with COVID and no vaccination, they can hand them a box of antiviral pills and tell them to take 5 daily for 2 weeks, then let staff know how they are doing.

More and more media are reporting on the fixing of the vote in Trumpite states, the removing of honest officials at every level (or the removal of their power) and the implementation of laws and policies that will permit them to do what Trump asked in 2019, i.e., "just find a way to make me the winner." The current President may have to face a difficult decision in the event the next election is plainly fraudulently conducted in those states. I would suggest a true plebiscite conducted via the Internet (excluding Russian GRU operatives hopefully) to authorize the suspension of the election until such time as honest men and women regain control of their States (if the hospitals would simply stop treating the unvaccinated, that would hasten the process, grin).

Well, you might ask me, "Dalton, if you detest the pc/multi/heathens on one side and the white trash Trumpites on the other, where does that leave you?" That leaves me alone, thanking God for the occasional man or woman of good heart I meet along the way. The man who walks alone is in serious jeopardy of course, but I never had the tolerance for sacrificing my God-given dedication to truth and justice just to belong to some group or another. I join those down the centuries who have prayed for the direct hand of God in human affairs (the apocalyptics), knowing that the conditions are so dire that nothing else will suffice.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Affliction, flowering reality, Cuban missile crisis, decline of civilization

 "Affliction is able to drown out every earthly voice.....but the voice of eternity within a man it cannot drown." (Søren Kierkegaard, Christian Discourses). I was pondering this statement by Kierkegaard again for several days, being ill and unable to continue my usual work researching and writing in whatever area I happened to have become interested. I should note that Kierkegaard elaborated in  Christian Discourses that affliction does not bestow hope, but it recruits hope in a man, precisely because "affliction prevents him mercilessly from obtaining any other help or relief whatsoever; affliction compels him mercilessly to let go of everything else" (from the Walter Lowrie translation of Discourses, quoted in the my oft-read text of The Choice is Always Ours anthology, edited by Phillips, Howes, Nixon, Smith).

That research lately has been more or less the relation of charge and voltage seen at the input gate of metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors or MOSFETs. Specifically I have been simulating such circuits in SPICE and designing methods to measure that capacitance dynamically, i.e., when driven by similar process complementary MOS (CMOS) logic gates at the appropriate voltages, rise times and frequencies. It is not that this is a new subject, just one that is often unfamiliar to electrical engineering students, a question posted in an online forum having caught my eye.  

Affliction certainly drowned out my ability to work, it being impossible to think at a high level with exhaustion, headache and cough. No, don't think it was one of the current popular pestilences circulating in the overcrowded bipedal zoo that is Earth in the 21st century, because I have numerous vaccinations and avoid leaving my home unless forced to forage for provisions (and wear a bandana over bearded face, in best Lone Ranger style, gasping and panting through the cloth as I race through the store, hanging on my grocery cart with my walking cane inside). This sickness was (I use the past tense as I write now, being worn out but apparently recovering) likely one of my own damnations, of which I have accumulated many traveling the thousands of miles of bad road that has been much of my life, metaphorically speaking. 

Inadvertently inhaling (aspiration) an allergy pill a few weeks ago doesn't help. The pill is apparently consolidated, since it only bothers me when there is general system inflammatory activity. My late father-in-law used to do bronchoscopies. He told me he once removed part of a jalapeno pepper from a lady's bronchial tubes. That must have been more irritating to the patient than a smooth little pill 4 mm or so in long dimension is to me. In any case, no way would I go to a local hospital. There are a few good people at both local facilities, but the incompetent and/or malevolent scum dominate (this being a microcosm of the host decaying civilization). I lost my orthopedic surgeon in 2019 after he made the mistake of going to a local hospital for a minor complaint (heartburn), though it is unclear how many bad actors or idiots in and out of the facilities contributed to his rapid demise. I had been looking for a doctor competent in orthopedic injuries a few years prior and had immediately scheduled an appointment with him when I saw he shared my praenomen and initials (I don't ignore signs in this waking dream that is human existence).     

Though in his 80's my doc had been a robust former fighter pilot and semi-retired surgeon before going to the hospital. After a couple of stays, during which I observed his rapid decline, he was dead by February 2019. Odd how synchronicity operates. He was the unsung Air Force pilot that nursed back the one recon fighter seriously damaged by anti-aircraft fire during the October Cuban missile crisis Fall 1962. He and the intelligence officer  onboard ditched just off Florida after he man-handled the damaged F100 (hydraulics out) back to just off-shore before having to eject in the drink Saturday, October 27 (1962). He injured his back in the ejection, ending his Air Force pilot career, but prompting him to attend medical school.

In late October 1962, President Kennedy had come to believe that only an invasion would accomplish removal of the medium range ballistic missiles in Cuba, but he was persuaded (by EXCOMM, the Executive Committee of the National Security Council, which included Vice President Johnson, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara,  and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell Taylor among others.) to wait and continue with military and diplomatic pressure. In the meantime (October 25), Robert McNamara recommended establishing a pattern of aerial surveillance that looked like an air attack so that the Cubans and resident Soviet forces would be surprised if an actual air attack was eventually ordered. On October 26 Kennedy increased the frequency of low-level flights over the island from two per day to one every two hours.

NSA archives recorded that Cuban anti-aircraft gunners did not fire on the increasingly frequent low-level US reconnaissance planes until notice came in around 1541 hrs EDT that several Navy RF-8's had been fired on and that another plane had almost been brought down (that was my doc's F100). In the declassified US records I could access, there was no mention of the Air Force F100 fighters being used (we were apparently trying to maintain a non-provocative appearance with the United Nations, though it is hard to see what difference the opinion of the United Nations would make if the doomsday machine was set in motion), but a note (posted online) from a Soviet officer stationed in Cuba at the time records that "USAF tactical fighters F-100 and F-101 appeared in the sky above Cuba regularly...carrying out reconnaissance missions....We were ordered not to open fire..." After the U2 shoot-down earlier that day, the Soviet notes record that they were having difficulty persuading the Cubans to stop shooting at the American planes and that one aircraft was hit by a 37 mm anti-aircraft weapon but managed to limp back to its base (my doc's F100).

The President was apparently very angry about those events and Saturday evening sent his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to tell the Russian Ambassador Dobrynin that we had found our planes were being fired upon and that we were going to begin shooting back if we did not get some kind of commitment by Sunday to withdraw the missile bases. Kennedy added that there were going to be other drastic consequences as well, which according to notes from an EXCOMM meeting before he left, included a major air strike on Cuba Monday to take out the missile sites and MiG aircraft, among other targets.    

Though I found no mention of it in the declassified files, I personally knew that Strategic Air Command B-52 bombers armed with nuclear weapons were in a holding pattern over Alaska Saturday night just waiting for the final order. My dad, a member of the flight crew of one of those B-52s, had not told us anything directly before he left (nor in later years, he adhering rigidly to orders), but he had us purchase and fill large plastic water storage containers, stockpile canned food and obtain plenty of ammunition for the family rifles and shotguns. These preparations were absurd considering we were close enough to the SAC base that we could hear the other planes kept idling on the airstrip at all hours for rapid takeoff, i.e., the Soviet nukes that would target the base were extremely powerful and not all that accurate, so my home was going to be blown apart, incinerated, irradiated with gamma rays, etc (47 years later I and a fellow guitarist I had worked with in the mid-70's, who, unbeknownst to me in 1962, had lived a 5-minute walk away from my home then, wrote and recorded a rock song, "Last Martini," talking about how it was to grow up with the threat of nuclear annihilation, you can hear or download the song at iTunes or Amazon etc at Dalton Bentley music ).  Funny the memories of a child though. I recall it was cold outside when my dad returned Sunday. I enjoyed picking over the uneaten contents of his flight meal (in a plain white, light cardboard box similar to a shoe box) issued for the long hours in the air over Alaska. My dad's appetite was probably not good during that long flight, bobbing up and down in the tail-gunner position on the B-52. That position was an insult by the Air Force to him after he had resigned his commission in protest in the 1950s over superior's failure to support his demand that the B-47 he captained meet the pre-flight checklist. The Air Force subsequently lost many B-47 bombers in accidents without any having seen combat. The B-47 quietly disappeared, replaced by the magnificent B-52. My dad eventually found a home in the Army, flying close combat support in Huey gunships for the 101st Airborne in Viet Nam. He completed the tour with only a single ground fire hole in his HU-1B helicopter, though fire was heavy throughout and many choppers were lost (it was not unexpected that generals who wanted to inspect the combat area insisted he fly them, once his inexplicable knack for survival became known--the Force ran strong in my family).     

But returning to evil pills flying down my trachea, there is an ancient rabbinical tradition that thousands of unseen demons surround all humans, making the most of any opportunity to cause harm. That nicely "explains" how it was that I could suddenly have an involuntary sneezing paroxysm while the pill rested on my tongue as I reached for my water bottle with which to swallow it, the sudden inhalation making the pill disappear down my trachea without resistance, to my horror. I ran into a discussion of that tradition in one of the many audio books I have downloaded (from the great free site librivox.org) and listened to during periods of incapacity. I am not Hebrew as far as I know, though it has seemed to me at times that I might be a descendant of one of Yeshua's kin, a couple of millennia distant, based on the amount of hostility I've faced from the world (recall John Lennon singing, "the way things are going, they're going to crucify me"). 

At any rate, illness or misfortune generally can certainly snatch away one's complacency and leave you a naked singularity of raw Being. In a 2016 Lancet note, Richard Horton quotes André Gide's thoughts on the matter c. 1930 (I don't really know who Gide is), "... there are certain doors that only illness can open. There is a certain state of health that does not allow us to understand everything; and perhaps illness shuts us off from certain truths; but health shuts us off just as effectively from others, or turns us away from them so that we are not concerned with them. I have never met one of those who boast of never having been ill who was not, in some way or other, a bit stupid...Those who have never been ill are incapable of real sympathy for a great many misfortunes.” I was not overly enthusiastic about Horton's subsequent suggestion that perhaps the role of the doctor might be as much about bringing a patient to an acceptance of their condition, making a reinterpretation of their life in the new context, as it is to alleviate suffering. 

Horton provided another quote from Gide, to the effect that a man achieves nothing worthwhile without constraint. I would say rather that a man can achieve nothing without self-knowledge and self-restraint. That might include working courageously through disability or disease. I was technically disabled from the year (1968) one of my hips was destroyed in a motorcycle accident, but nonetheless trained rigorously in martial arts for many years and made a go of life without much complaint until recent years, having to restrain my anger when encountering the occasional young male in the medical profession with no knowledge of what it means to be a man, yet with an opinion on my existential status, but that is common these days whatever the area, i.e., there is widespread insolence. 

I hastily add (having referred to self-restraint above) that I exhibited little discipline in my early life. This is not uncommon even in the case of saints, e.g., St. Augustin. Aurelius Augustinus, b. 354 AD, was quite profligate in his youth and was fairly wretched with physical infirmity in his late years, while positioned to witness the fall of Rome; I do identify with him in many respects. My spirituality was sidelined for some time in preference for the pleasures of life, “a vision of youth spent in a dream,” to quote Kahlil Gibran in The Dying Man and the Vulture...slipping in and out of time, songs on oldies station send me back to late night drives across the desert from Alamogordo, NM to El Paso, TX, returning from playing rock and roll at the officer's club at the AFB, my girl's head in my lap, she asleep, the cool late night air in my face from the open window in the car, "My Cheri Amor, lovely as a summer day" sings Stevie Wonder.

That relatively wild life (I recall decades ago an acquaintance's tat, "La Vida Loco," translating as "the crazy life") left me with physical and psychical disabilities as a relatively young man that made even harder my persistent struggle against a world (of man, loosely speaking) which in large part opposed me (which assures me I am on the right side as it were). The battle continues, but I am now descending the hill I spent years fighting to climb, paraphrasing George Washington's words in a December 8, 1784 in a letter to the Marquis de Lafayette. 

It occurs to most people, reflecting on the details of their lives later on, that everything that has happened seems to have been mapped out, the human beings appearing on the scene as mere performers in a play, their lives more like a systematically planned novel than a sequence of random or individually (human) intended events (paraphrasing from an 1851 essay on transcendent fatalism by Arthur Schopenhauer). In that essay, Schopenhauer returns to the dilemma of accident vs necessity, giving the usual philosophical definition of accidental as concurrence in time of that which is not causally connected, then being forced (by his belief in the mechanical physics of the time) to admit that even the most apparently accidental is merely a necessary result of a more distant causal chain. Noting that the causal chains of individual lives are interrelated, he says that:

. . . the subject of the great dream of life is in a certain sense only one thing, the will-to-live, and all plurality of phenomena is conditioned by time and space. It is the great dream that is dreamed by one entity, but in such a way that all its persons dream it together.

Some physicists (e.g., the late Stephen Hawking, writing in his Brief History of Time) hold the view that the “universe from beginning to end simply is,” a crystallized time-space causal entity (my phrasing). If you reduce our normal experience of space in three dimensions to only two, length and width say, then you could imagine space-time as a monstrous loaf of bread where one end is the beginning of time and the other the end of time and each slice is a snapshot of space in the Universe at a particular moment (Einstein's Relativity tells us that you can slice that loaf at different angles as it were and reverse causality, but we won't get into that here). 

Lee Smolin (a theoretical physicist who bucks the party line in observing that string theory is not very appealing, considering that it makes no predictions that can be tested and explains nothing) writes in his 2013 "Temporal naturalism" paper that "the physicists’ block universe (the monster loaf I mentioned) assumes that the universe’s history is the result of deterministic and immutable laws acting on initial conditions . . . nothing can ever be truly novel because any observable measuring a property of the universe at a future time can be expressed as a function of observables at any earlier time, by inverting the equations of motion.” He adds though, reversible equations notwithstanding, that we experience the world through moments and remember the past, but not the future. 

I would have to protest that many of us know that humans can in fact remember the future as it were. "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards," as the White Queen remarked to Alice in Through the Looking-Glass. In a 2010 paper, Feeling the Future, psychologist and experimenter Daryl Bem quoted the White Queen, making the paper more entertaining, though presenting the results of rigorously conducted experiments in retroactive cognition. Bem's paper so enraged the academic establishment, that part of it falling to the left on mathematician Kurt Gödel's 1961 ("modern development of the foundations of mathematics in the light of philosophy," Kurt Gödel, Collected Works, Volume III (1961) publ. Oxford University Press, 1981) scale of Weltanschauungen or world-views, i.e., skeptics, materialists, positivists (I fall to the right on that scale, in company with spiritualism, idealism and theology, though I have been employed in electronic and software engineering and self-published modest work in physics and mathematics), that it set off a movement to revise the notion of statistical significance and to demand the incorporation of Bayesian statistical methods. My opinion of Bayesian statistics is that it basically permit a hostile reviewer to arbitrarily reduce the published statistical significance of experiments based on his level of disbelief. This outcome is nicely consistent with the philosophy of the politically correct anti-Western civilization crowd that has quietly taken over our universities. Even before the literal acquisition of control over the educational system, the underlying movement (Zeitgeist or spirit of the time) was well-described by Gödel':

...skepticism (left on the scale I discussed above) is certainly a pessimism with regard to knowledge. Moreover, materialism is inclined to regard the world as an unordered and therefore meaningless heap of atoms...Now it is a familiar fact, even a platitude, that the development of philosophy since the Renaissance has by and large gone from right to left (on the world-view scale) Particularly in physics, this development has reached a peak in our own time, in that, to a large extent, the possibility of knowledge of the objectivisable states of affairs is denied, and it is asserted that we must be content to predict results of observations. This is really the end of all theoretical science in the usual sense (although this predicting can be completely sufficient for practical purposes such as making television sets or atom bombs)...[but] In fact, one has examples where, even without the application of a systematic and conscious procedure, but entirely by itself, a considerable further development takes place in the second direction (to the right on the world-view scale), one that transcends "common sense". Namely, it turns out that in the systematic establishment of the axioms of mathematics, new axioms, which do not follow by formal logic from those previously established, again and again become evident....it is just this becoming evident of more and more new axioms on the basis of the meaning of the primitive notions that a machine cannot imitate.

You can find (online) plenty of objections to what Gödel said (mathematicians, however, generally recognize Gödel as near the stature of Aristotle in the history of mathematics) as far as the limitations of machines, but you should notice that they are by either folks who have no actual working knowledge of computers, software, electronics, mathematics or physics, or those who are barkers  trying sell you some intellectual patent-medicine that helps maintain their academic department and job (think "Artificial Intelligence," existence as simulation, etc.).

Some the quantum physics folk (Everett 1957) suggest every moment results in the unfolding of an infinity of possible realities in multiple worlds, taking on all possible values for the hypothetical wave-function for the universe. You might envision this as a sequence of instantaneous blossoming of fractal flowers whose intricate structure models every possible path forward through space-time from the present moment--one of those paths includes the you that is reading this line, in another path perhaps you are annihilated by an unexpected meteor strike on Earth before you can continue. I don't see much utility in that view (many worlds), other than to satisfy those who are more interested in the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics (in saving the notion of the primacy of the wave function, but mathematician Roger Penrose, 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for work with the theory of black holes, for one, believes that present quantum mechanics must be improved to present a coherent ontology, and he is not speaking of philosophical issues) than simply using it to make things like transistors and lasers work. I do have some familiarity with quantum mechanics, having occupied myself 2016-2018 in determining for myself in detail why solar electron neutrinos are detected, or not detected more accurately, as other flavors at Earth; if you have some interest in the physics of neutrinos (or seeing quantum mechanics applied in a relatively accessible style rather than talked about), see my papers at my site Bentley Physics Papers.  

So, recovering, I will return to my intellectual pursuits and technical writing and attempt to ignore what is happening to the world. Heroes continue to sound the alarm. Frances Haugen (former Facebook software engineer) warns Congress and America that Facebook intentionally feeds the increasingly childlike American population material designed to stoke their rage and willingness to burn down the house as it were (to vote for an idiot and a fraud with dreams of autocracy and throw away the gift of freedom designed and given to them 200 years ago by intellectuals of high integrity like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who, I note, did not rely on a diverse population and the ideas of the crowd, but rather tapped the transcendental truths of Western civilization). The response of the media? They breathlessly report that Facebook must "become more transparent" and "stop making obese teenage girls feel bad about their body image." The fact that America is teetering literally on the edge of collapse in 2024 seems less important. I don't think America will survive long enough as a democracy for it to matter, but within a few years deepfake video and audio simulations will serve up on their Facebook feeds any hated person saying or doing anything desired (to assassinate by slander, cf St. Francis de Sales characterization of slander as a kind of murder.) for these same masses that now go red-faced and fall in the floor spitting, screaming and stamping their feet in reaction to a carefully constructed text or photograph.    

The brilliant National Security analyst Fiona Hill (an expert on how Vladimir Putin exploited the discontent of the Russian public to take power in the 90's and how Putin manipulated the public in the US via social media in 2016 to give Trump the election) continues to warn (beginning with her testimony at the 2019 impeachment of Trump) that Trump still wants to establish a dictatorship and that the American public is primed and already exhibiting violence to those perceived as the enemies of this new order (a confederacy of fools I would suggest, democracy only works when there is a homogeneous population of high intelligence and character, otherwise it is quite literally rule by the lowest common denominator). Judy Woodruff, hearing this from Hill in a live interview on PBS, clucks benignly, "well you sure have given us something to think about." I like Judy, but sometimes you really need to exhibit some fear and moral outrage, even if the issue is not directly related or confined to non-white, non-heterosexual, non-male, non-atheist, non-Christian groups and you can't find a way to offer a false equivalence to something the progressives are doing. It is painful to witness the increasingly strident pleas for donations by PBS and increasing replacement of their former high-quality programming with Hispanic junk (yes, it is clear that I am an elitist; it is madness to tell the masses that they should celebrate diversity rather than excellence wherever it may occur, if it contributes to the elevation of a civilization, not the apartness of a subgroup, America having originally been conceived as a noble experiment in how many might come together as one, of course, it is ok to notice who can actually play basketball better than most men, who can sing better, though the latter is conditioned somewhat on the context, you get the drift, i.e., you are allowed to compete normally in areas other than those most important to civilization) in a desperate effort to buy their support---the pc mindset quickly hits a brick wall when they encounter the actual behavior of another racial or ethnic group (other than the villified whites who have given them shelter and civilization) with increasing numbers, i.e., what anyone knows who has actually lived in other race environments is that every group prefers their own people, their own customs, their own language, particularly when the perverted immigration system and educational system tells them there is no reason to actually learn how to be an American, to speak English, to learn American history and the underpinnings in Western civilization.

Adam Schiff (Chairman of House Select Committee on Intelligence, prosecuted the 2019 impeachment) joins Judy on PBS for an interview and answers Judy point-blank that "yes, there is an increasing risk that the US is going to collapse into autocracy." In Judy's favor, I must admit that she did not smile and utter a benign response here, rather a weak, "what can we do?" Schiff offers basically, "I don't really know, other than try to advocate for ntegrity and honor in elected officials and those you support for election at all levels, state and federal." Schiff noted what I warned of nine months ago (in personal communication with someone I thought might be in a position to help), i.e., that the Republican radical groups are busily replacing every state official that refused to act dishonorably and against their constitutional duty in the 2020 election for president with their own ringers who will act differently on the next occasion (the convenient quality of true trash is that they indeed have no shame, recalling how McCarthy was stopped in the 50's--that question would fall on deaf ears today).

I will leave you with some words written by Aldous Huxley in 1946 (in The Perennial Philosophy):

...human beings do not, on any level of their being, live in harmony with ...the divine Nature of Things...They love to intensify their selfhood through gluttony, therefore eat the wrong food and too much of it; they inflict upon themselves chronic anxiety over money and, because they crave excitement, chronic over-stimulation; they suffer, during their working hours, from the chronic boredom and frustration imposed by the sort of jobs that have to be done in order to satisfy the artificially stimulated demand for the fruits of fully mechanized mass-production....a disordered society, professional group or family, living by a false philosophy, influences its members to assert their individual selfhood and separateness...

[M]ost human beings are chronically in an improper relation to God, Nature and some at least of their fellows. The results of these wrong relationships are manifest on the social level as wars, revolutions, exploitation and disorder; on the natural level, as waste and exhaustion of irreplaceable resources; on the biological level, as degenerative diseases and the deterioration of racial stocks ; on the moral an overweening bumptiousness; and on the spiritual level, as blindness to divine Reality and complete ignorance of the reason and purpose of human existence.

In such circumstances it would be extraordinary if the innocent and righteous did not suffer . . . [belonging] to a society which other individuals, his contemporaries and predecessors, have built up into a vast and enduring incarnation of disorder, inflicting suffering upon its members and infecting them with its own ignorance and wickedness. The righteous man can escape suffering only by accepting it and passing beyond it . . . 

Good night, and good luck.


 


 



Monday, July 12, 2021

Pins in the head, circuit simulation, Tasmanian devil face souls

I was recently researching the electrical characteristics of brain tissue after encountering the subject of deep probe stimulation in a 2014 paper by Koubeissi et al (Electrical stimulation of a small brain area reversibly disrupts consciousness). I had been studying neuroscience for some weeks trying to acquire a good understanding of the anatomy and function of the claustrum (the latter a rather quixotic goal on my part considering that is still a mystery in the neuroscience community, though the number of research papers on the subject is increasing yearly). 

The Koubeissi paper described finding that they could switch consciousness on and off like using a light switch in a 54-year-old woman with intractable epilepsy. One of the many electrodes (A14) they had inserted (I admit I am horrified at the idea of turning the human brain in a living subject into a pin cushion, but this woman was completely disabled by her seizures, which had returned four years after surgeons had removed her left hippocampus and given her a brief respite from the attacks) was placed near the left anterior insular cortex and the claustrum. In the process of firing up one after another of the electrodes and gauging their effect, they discovered to their amazement that, with application of a 14 mA 50 Hz 0.2 ms pulse width 3-10 second signal to the A14 electrode, the patient would abruptly cease reading (neurosurgeons often have patients perform a particular mental activity in order to assess the effect of monkeying with specific areas of the brain, rather like poking an ice pick into a television receiver's circuitry and looking for changes in the picture quality), stare blankly (I sometimes do this without probe stimulation), and become unresponsive to auditory or visual commands (e.g., an instruction on a piece of paper).  

Occasionally, if the patient had been speaking when the electrical pulses were injected, her speech would not stop immediately, but would persist for a few seconds as a few sporadic nonsense syllables while her face would appear confused, as if the plug had been pulled and it took a few seconds for the motor to stop turning as it were. When they stopped the contact stimulation her consciousness returned immediately and she had no memory of the loss of consciousness.

I was curious how the electrical current affected neurons and how the current traversed the brain tissue and interacted with the neuronal body or its axons and dendrites. I began looking at electronic network simulations of the physical effects of deep brain stimulation, for example, the 2006 Sources and effects of electrode impedance during deep brain stimulation by Butson et al, and the more specific (more specific to my interest in the aspect of simulating tissue using network theory) 2008 Active Mechanisms Are Needed to Describe Cell Responses to Submicrosecond, Megavolt-per-Meter Pulses: Cell Models for Ultrashort Pulses , by Smith and Weaver. Smith had been working on meshed cell modeling since at least 2006 when he submitted a thesis on the subject while working on his master's degree in electrical engineering and computer science at Duke University. 

In the 2008 paper, Smith and Weaver described using the MTNM (Meshed Transport Network Method), a way to model  relations between adjacent finite volumes cast as equivalent circuit networks.  The system is divided into Voronoi cells (VCs), each associated with a single node to which it is closest. The interface between the cells is then halfway between nodes, which are not necessarily uniformly spaced. 

Say we have a 2-dimensional area of brain tissue we want to simulate. We can arrange some points (these will be our "nodes," the locations where values of the electrical field will be calculated) on the area, the blue dots in the following (we just arranged these uniformly, but in practice a mesh program would generate the node placement):                                                                                               


We want to tell a computer how to relate those sample points to one another in 2-D space. We can connect them with Delaunay triangles, i.e., let a computer subdivide the set of points into a non-overlapping set of triangles such that the circumcircle of one Delaunay triangle (a disk drawn through the 3 vertices of the triangle) contains no other points:

We would like to know the nearest neighbors of that set of points though, since we want to simulate electrical signal propagation from one cell to the next in the direction of the electric field vector. So we can use a computer to draw a Voronoi subdivision of the space containing our sample nodes into nearest neighborhoods of those nodes:

It turns out that the sides of the Voronoi cells then turn out to be perpendicular bisectors of the Delaunay triangle edges, simplifying transport calculations between adjacent nodes marking locations in the tissue being simulated (because, for example, the electric field can be stipulated as normal to the edges of the cells). So we show you both the above figures plotted together:


In such a spatial field, Voronoi cells then act as small tissue volume domains into which the entire domain of our sample is discretized (considered as pieces), with the circuit behavior of each small volume approximated by its associated node. You can then understand what Smith and Weaver did here (we took this image from Smith's 2006 MIT thesis paper):


Why the mesh cells? If you hold a piece of metal with the end in a flame, the heat will work its way up to your hand. A mesh characterization would let you program a computer to calculate the diffusion and conduction of the heat up the metal over time, cell by cell, governed by interaction or propagation rules from cell to cell. Instead of heat, we are looking at electrical field and current and the object of interest is just a volume of electrolyte, the fluid between and within cells.

They used the Berkeley SPICE electrical network simulator to "obtain the electrical response of cell equivalent of circuit networks to pulsed electrical fields"  (to calculate the ɸ E vector magnitude between adjacent VCs in the image above). This is a clever approach in that one piece of specialized open source software handles the characterization spatially, that is, placing the grid nodes, drawing Delaunay triangles and Voronoi cells. I wrote some trivial Python code using SciPy spatial functions to make the figures prior to the Smith figure, while Smith used some advanced Matlab code developed by Per-Olaf Persson and Gilbert Strang at MIT, Persson now at UC Berkeley. A program (SPICE) handles the electrical behavior between and among the many VCs on each step of the simulation run. For example, you might model the electrolyte medium comprising the arbitrary partitioning of the tissue into VC's as a parallel combination of a resistor R and capacitor C (recognize the  ɸ  electric field symbol from the VC mesh above):


You should note that the grid used by Smith was considerably more intricate than our samples above. In the following figure we see his VC pattern on left, Delaunay triangulation on right. The width of each box containing the circular generic body cell with a nucleus and organelle is 24 micrometers in scale, with 19,061 nodes. The dark perimeters are where the mesh becomes very dense (you could see this at higher magnification) in order to accurately capture the curve and the associated membrane electrical transport characteristics:


This got me interested in SPICE. I had done some work with a related GUI (graphical user interface) version of SPICE from Texas Instruments, "TINA-TI," some years back, and LTspice on a Windows machine in 2016. Actually my first exposure to automated network analysis was way back in 1980 or so, when I ported (rewrote the software in a different language) an HP CAP (Circuit Analysis Program) written in HP BASIC running on an HP desktop computer (an industrial computer with HP-IB bus to connect to instruments, designed for electronic labs, not the later MS Windows PC's HP offered to the public) to run on the BASIC dialect used on my TRS-80 Z80 microcomputer (I sold my 1971 Les Paul in 1979 to pay for the computer; my later music and some historical samples is still out there though if you search on "Dalton Bentley music").

Around that same time, I did punch some FORTRAN cards to run a circuit simulation on the IBM-360  mainframe computer at the University of Texas while I was taking a network analysis course there in c. 1980, but did not do much with it. They may have been running SPICE, but I don't recall, this being a classroom exercise, divorced from much interaction with the system in batch mode, other than to fix whatever error (type a new punch card) caused the line printer to start spewing paper (arousing the wrath of the computer operators as they raced to shut it off before it wasted a few hundred yards of continuous paper).

In any case, since I am running Linux now, I decided to work with Ngspice-27, without a GUI, just typing instructions in a text file (each line corresponding to one of the punched cards I mentioned above). I soon became bored with simulating simple RC circuits (and assumed the reader of the tutorial I was writing in a parallel project would also like something more challenging) and decided to examine an interesting power amplifier technique involving injecting pulsed current into a tuned LC load (an inductor L and capacitor C that resonate together at a specific frequency, tossing energy back and forth to one another as it were). 

In the process of researching neuromodulation, I had read a 2018 Berkeley EE & CS masters thesis by George Alexandrov, Powering OMNI: A Distributed and Modular Closed-Loop Neuromodulation Device. Medical regulations require that implanted wires (in the brain) carry zero DC (direct current). Alexandrov proposed therefore to distribute AC (alternating current) power (to leads in the brain) at high frequency from a pair of differential Class-E power drivers. Since half the sine wave of sinusoidal current is positive and half negative, the net DC current is 0. 

From my work in electronics, I knew of Class-A, B, and C amplifiers, but I had not heard of Class-E before. Steve Cripps, in his excellent textbook on RF power amplifiers, nicely characterizes amplifier types simply by conduction angle. The Class-A conducts 360 degrees of sinusoidal input, the Class-B 180 degrees per transistor in a push-pull pair (he also considers a single transistor conducting half, 180 degrees, to be a Class-B amplifier), and Class-C zero to 180 degrees, i.e., just a small chunk of the input sinusoidal. 

Following Alexandrov's cite, I found and read the 1975 Sokal paper that introduced the Class-E amplifier (Cripps' textbook noted, somewhat humorously, that the microwave community remained ambivalent to the Class-E concept until the Sokal patent expired c. 2005) and decided to specify circuit element values following the Sokal design rules simulate the circuit in SPICE (Ngspice-27). This is the applicable schematic (though I did include some series resistance in the wires of the inductors):


               

I decided to use a drive signal of 1 V peak, 256 ns period pulse  (3.9 MHz), on-time 128 ns. I assigned a load resistor using the Sokal 1975 equation (1), coming up with 11.73 ohms for RL load resistor (later adjusted to 13 ohms in order to reduce some of the current spiking on transition from voltage wave on open Q1 to current wave through Q1 saturated as switch).  I assigned 23.1 VDC to the power supply. Targeting 26 watts in our load resistor and using Sokal equation (3) I calculated 638.745 pF for C1, 410.273 pF for C2 using equation (4), 4.787 microHenry for L2 using equation (2). I just used the same L1 RF choke value of 68 microHenry as did Sokal (it must simply be large enough to block radio frequency, while sourcing DC to Q1).                    

The circuit as described (with RL adjusted to 13 ohms) gave me, in Ngspice-27 simulation, 16.3 watts rms, or 23 watts peak, pretty close to our design target above (a beautiful 3.9 MHz sine wave on the load, an astounding absence of harmonics considering the weird transistor switch waveforms, a result produced mostly by the resonant behavior of the L2 and C2 network) . Sokal equation (7) predicted the peak voltage across Q1 would be 82 volts and we measured just under 80 volts (see figure below). We measured 2.29 amps peak in the Q1 collector, differing somewhat from equation (6) Sokal predicting 1.56 amps. However, the Class E amplifier transistor voltage and current waveforms are quite unusual, both in shape and phase relation to one another, as you can see in the trace from my Ngspice-27 simulation trace:


In trace above note that the collector voltage (violet) has been scaled by 80, e.g., vertical 1 is 80 volts. Similarly, the collector current (green) has been scaled by 2, e.g., 1 is 2 amps. The time scale is seconds and the ticks are at 50 ns intervals, so the current is on roughly 120 ns (recall we set exactly 128 ns on-time for the input pulses 3.9 MHz). There is almost no dissipation of power in the transistor since this Class E design arranges the current flow to occur while there is no voltage across the transistor. We measured the product of voltage and amperes from the DC supply to be 18 watts, so the 16 watts in the load is produced at 16/18 or about 90%. Our transistor model in Ngspice-27 was not very realistic in that we used simply their generic BJT (bipolar junction transistor) model, obtaining a beta current gain of 81 here, which is really not believable for a saturated general purpose transistor. We are looking at modifying the BJT model or using a MESFET, but thought we should go ahead and post this, since we are not getting any younger and civilization is deteriorating rapidly (I would grin here, but some might not appreciate my gallows humor).

I continue to pursue academic interests while the worldline of 2021 Earth reveals itself moment by moment. From the US (pardon my provincial stance, I am aware that the world generally is sharing our disruption and dismay) pacific northwest on fire, most of the west scorched with heretofore unseen continuous lethal heat, tornados from the alley all the way to the east coast at times, the Atlantic coast battered by storms and hurricanes, and my relatively insulated portion of New Mexico almost ripped from the earth yesterday by a thunderstorm of incredible ferocity (sat in the twilight choking down bread and cold meat, power going on and off and afraid to try to heat anything or open the refrigerator and let out cold air), I feel a certain negative judgment by the Creator on the course we have taken. No matter, we are all born to die I suppose, but a man entertains delusions of timeless values, achievements, progress and it is bitter to see those dying as well.

I read Justice Alito's opinion (SCOTUS) in Brnovich et al v Democratic National Committee (decided July 1, 2021) and wonder what it feels like to be a sophist, to use the God-given ability to reason to dissemble. Alito knows very well that the purpose of the Arizona voting law that was the subject of the action was to permit ongoing attempts by republican legislatures to force just enough ballots into the hands of party loyalists that they can prevent another loss like they suffered in the 2021 presidential (and a few senatorial) election. We are talking tenths of percents, but that is exactly what is required to tip the balance. I wonder also how a man of talent can knowingly pursue the ends of destroying the American Republic, willingly trying to turn it over to a fraud and idiot who desecrated the ideals of the government, illustrating that the Constitution, like any laws in any civilization, does not shape behavior so much as codify the expectations of the framers (and unfortunately, those expectations are no longer prevalent, and the only text men such as Alito quote are lines sufficient to mask their evil purpose). 

On the other hand, you have the American university system and public education generally grotesquely perverted to the ends of one-world multiculturalism that is degrading the quality of American performance in business and government (and the quality of life), the standards lowered to fulfill the lie of equality (people have an equal opportunity to compete, but only an idiot would claim that humans are interchangeable) and constant bizarre demands for apologies from a culture that produced the most advance civilization the world had seen and in fact saved the world on several occasions.

I was fascinated by an infectious form of cancer that has all but eradicated the Tasmanian devils (I don't know if Bugs Bunny was involved). As humans become more and more like animals crowded into a zoo, there is the possibility such communicable nightmares will appear in humans, a step beyond the mere death promised by the current viral plague. When I view such a diseased devil, I can't help but see a representation of the souls of those who lie, slander and defile all that is honorable and good:


     

                                                                                                            

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Fat heads, deadly force incidents, decay of civilization

The latest outrage in the US news (April 2021) is of a policewoman “accidentally” shooting a suspect during a routine outstanding-warrant traffic stop because the young man had the unfortunately common instinct (i.e., a not-well-thought-out action) of people of color that if they decide they do not want to be arrested they can simply leave the scene. The officer said she thought she had a taser instead of her service automatic pistol. She could be heard yelling “Taser! Taser!” on the body-cam audio as she frantically thrust her arm into the suspect’s open car with pistol in hand and pulled the trigger (rather like yelling, “Caress! Caress!” while punching someone in the nose).

Aside from the stupidity involved in actually making such a mistake (or the stupidity in expecting anyone to believe it), why would such out of control action (as shown on the police body-cam) be appropriate in responding to an attempt to flee by an unarmed otherwise docile suspect with a minor outstanding warrant and no immediate crime in progress? Why not return to the squad car and use the radio to bring in other patrol cars to look for the suspect car and proceed to the location associated with the license plate? Or if you really felt the need to shoot something, why not stand back and shoot out the tires on the suspect car, which was not moving. I think a jacketed slug would penetrate a tire, don’t think they are allowed to use hollow-points (because they balloon on impact and destroy a huge amount of body tissue, organs). Maybe they should use some kind of quick-acting tranquilizer projectiles since you often see an officer empty an entire clip (or two) of jacketed 9-mm rounds into suspects without immediate response. The usual defense in a questionable use of deadly force event is that you can’t second-guess the response of an officer in danger, but there clearly was no danger to the officer in this case. This officer was a 26-year veteran reportedly (veteran in what capacity?). What kind of training and management results in this type of officer incompetence?

I will be watching the Chauvin trial defense to see if they now claim that Chauvin actually thought his knee was a stethoscope when he used it to crush Floyd’s neck into the pavement for 9 minutes, strangling him last year, unabashed by a crowd of onlookers who pleaded with him that Floyd appeared not to be able to breathe (and eventually quietly telling Chauvin that Floyd’s eyes had rolled back in his head and he had become completely inert, like a fish on the dock, paraphrasing a martial artist familiar with the effects of choke holds, who had been among the horrified group watching the murder). Like the taser-shot suspect above, Floyd had also decided he did not want to be arrested (after police were called when he passed a counterfeit twenty dollar bill; why no media questions about where the counterfeit bill originated or how it was arranged for Floyd to circulate it?).

Aside from better psychiatric screening, training and management for police, we might want to educate (rigorously, frequently) public school students in every year of attendance that it is a serious health risk, as well as poor citizenship, to resist arrest. You may not respect the man (or woman), but you must respect the badge. To the extent fatalities are associated more with non-white suspects, this might be part of the problem, i.e., the combination of a loose-cannon officer and a group that is more often inclined to resist arrest or flee when ordered to submit to arrest. Would Chauvin have kept the knee applied with full body weight on the neck of a large white suspect who had struggled violently against three or more officers for several minutes during an attempted arrest? I would be surprised if Chauvin’s past history of complaints of excessive force (I assume he has such a history, but perhaps I make the usual statistical error in interpreting human behavior) was entirely confined to black suspects.                                                            
              
Public radio (my only other airwaves choice is a fascist evangelical maniac bemoaning the loss of the Anointed One, The Last, hopefully, Trump) this morning interviewed one of the seemingly endless supply of ad hoc experts (I suspect the PBS staff simply take turns being the interviewee) about the suspension of Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccinations after a few cases of a rare type of cerebral blood clot occurred in patients following the shot. By the way, I assert that the vaccinations are not “jabs”, no matter how often the media ineptly and inappropriately attempts to coin a new “word.” One has to wonder if they wanted to say “pricks” but this proposal was immediately nixed by the radical feminists for obvious reasons.

From the first “um...eh...ahem...um” self-conscious self-important vocalizations preceding what should have been simple responses (think, “So Mr. Expert, why is it not dark during the day?”… “um...eh...ahem...um...there is um...eh...ahem...um...a thing called a sun in the sky!”), I had the uncontrollable urge to beat him about the head with a rolled-up newspaper. One of the first things I would do as world dictator/philosopher-king is to have a newspaper-wielding Guardian appointed in every media group (that I could text to have this constructive criticism applied to the person speaking at the time).

While I am at it (i.e., detailing my planned agenda as “Daltamesh, Bringer-of-Order-to-Chaos”), I would have every executive who presided over the transfer of American high-technology to third-world country manufacturing sites in order to avoid paying American workers a proper wage and now complains that those nations have “stolen” our technology (and by “our” they refer to the irreplaceable talented American engineers who created the technology, not the parasites they worked for) dragged out of their offices, de-pantsed and beaten with sticks daily by angry mobs of obese welfare mothers (it is admittedly physiologically difficult for a woman not to become obese under the best of conditions, but in particular while stranded at home with a brood to mother and no way to pass the time) who might have had jobs otherwise.

Daily outrages aside, I have been studying neuroscience in recent weeks, related to a question about the role of a curious structure (looks like a potato chip more or less, one chip in each hemisphere, like Lays chips, you apparently cannot make just one), the claustrum, in the brains of mammals. The claustrum is reciprocally connected with all cortical areas. Analogously, you might wonder why all the telephone lines of a city passed through the local police department, if you are old enough to remember that wires used to connect people to telephone communications and that the communications of citizens of bygone days were not routinely monitored by the government. The latter belief occasionally did occur back then, but the powers-that-be used to put those believers into hospitals and disable them with neuroleptic medication. Thorazine and its descendant chemical compounds of the anti-psychotics had the eventual frequent side effect of causing the patient to involuntarily snap at invisible flies in the air, making loud sucking sounds (there are other symptoms, potentially fatal, but this one caught my attention), so were termed “neuroleptics.”

To be labeled as insane now, the beliefs of a person must be more unrealistic (or more inconvenient). When I read the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) some years ago there were criteria for diagnoses of Axis-I disorders, e.g., 293.81 psychotic disorder with delusions. A mental health counselor I ran into (no, it was not a clinical appointment, grin) at a Starbucks c. 2008 told me that she thought those DSM formal symptom clusters were too restrictive. That should have come as no surprise to me given the widespread herd-democracy zeitgeist (no standard for truth or understanding other than the instant requirements of one’s own narcissism, i.e., free reign to whim). Nowadays, if you exhibit more unacceptable beliefs than merely thinking the government is watching you one way or another (which, of course, it is), the mind-killing medication is still prescribed (the “you are only sick if you believe you are” cognitive behavior approach has not worked out well for the therapists in Axis I severe cases). However, the patients are humanely housed in alleys in cardboard box structures, or they are sent to prisons, rather than confining them in hospitals (thanks to, I kid you not, the graduate thesis of some student in the late 50’s or early 60’s advocating that approach, labeled “community care” in best Orwellian form).                                                        

                      
At any rate, cortex is Latin for “bark,” i.e., the cerebral cortex is a layer of gray matter or neuronal cell bodies seen to be a 3-mm thin bark covering the cerebrum or average 1345 cubic centimeter volume of the brain (the “trunk” covered by this “bark,” which, now that I think about it, probably is indeed a substance more akin to wood than neural tissue in much of the population).                                                                                                   

I recently watched portions of a Ken Burns television production telling of the life of Hemingway. I cannot watch anything but scraps of a Ken Burns work, because my blood pressure is worsened by his habit of distorting facts either directly or through the numerous hand-waving spastic proxies available in academia in after the 1960s. In honor of Hemingway,  I wanted to try replacing my habitual parentheticals by brief independent sentences (perhaps this mode of speech was required while forced as a child by his eccentric mother to occasionally wear a little girl’s dress and serve tea, if we can trust Burns in this datum). However, that (me avoiding parenthetical remarks) is obviously impossible. My prose (and the generating thought) is as convoluted as the human cortex.

The cortex must fold into gyri (hills) and sulci (valleys) in order to fit into the limited volume of the cranium (interesting parenthetical: if your nerve axons were the same diameter as those of the great squid, your brain would not fit through a barn door). Hoffman 1988 (“On the Evolution and Geometry of the Brain in Mammals”) provides an equation (numbered 10 in the cited paper) giving the approximate empirically observed relationship between the total unfolded area of the cortex (you could, like a crumpled blanket, flatten out the hills and valleys of the cortex, at least theoretically) and the inner area of the cranium. For an approximate 1000 square centimeter available cranial inner surface, that equation would suggest the unfolded cerebral cortex would be around 3184 square centimeters:

log (unfolded area) = (1.25)log(inner cranial area) – 0.247        (Equation 10 from Hoffman 1988)
log (1000) is 3 (we use base 10 log). (3)(1.25) is 3.75. Subtract 0.247 to obtain 3.503. Take 10 to that power to obtain the unfolded area, i.e., 10^(3.503) =  3184
                                                                                                                                                 
Hoffman gives the typical unfolded surface area of human cortex as 2430 square centimeters, implying that actual average inner cranial area is a little less than the 1000 square centimeter value we used for the sake of approximation in our calculation above (I guess Anatole France was not the only pinhead). What we are calling here “average inner cranial area” is really just the surface area of the main volume of the brain. That is the part you see zombies eating in the zombie-apocalypse movies so ironically popular these days of consciousness-deniers and AI-believers.

I note, regarding “Artificial Intelligence,” that the 2016 most influential computer scientist, Michael I. Jordan, has been attempting for years, apparently with little success, to make people understand that computers have not become intelligent in any human sense (no high-level reasoning or thought, cannot formulate and pursue goals). Rather, computers, particularly with machine-learning technologies (software), can provide pattern-recognition capabilities at massive scale (these are the “AI” processes used by search engines, for example, and best-exemplified by the “Family Feud” game show, where contestants compete to return the most common string of words for a particular cue). I assume Jordan is afraid (of the vicious thought police who run the media and universities now) to publicly admit that current digital computers can never become conscious.

Jordan originally studied psychology (as did I). In 1971 I took Intro to Psychology at the University of Texas in a huge class of 150 students. I inadvertently ended up at the top of the class, but was normally unconcerned with top grades for their own sake (though I had been pleased about my National Merit Scholarship results my senior year of high school and the college offers that came to me as a result). We were told not to use the word “mind.” The psychology textbook included a picture of a grotesquely fat cat (it was recognizable as a cat only by the label, being a shapeless blob of white fur, with impatient little eyes) in the section on unrestricted reward-seeking behaviors (that picture would now be censored as “shaming” I assume). I must admit that is hypocritical of me to criticize lack of control, given that my general philosophy in my younger days was, “if some is good, more is better.” That being said, at least I can see my error clearly (one of the few benefits of aging).                                                                                                                                                                

Returning to brains, you could obtain the approximate cortex volume if you extracted a brain, discarded the cerebellum and brain stem, then submerged the brain in a bucket of water and measured the volume of water displaced. If the brain did not sink, you would have to attach a low-volume but dense weight to the brain to get it below the surface of the water. I believe the brain probably has fat-like density (some brains more so than others) and fats tend to float. For example, a symptom of pancreatic cancer is production of foul-smelling floating feces consisting of undigested fat. The pancreas normally produces enzymes that help break down fats in the digestive process; I studied for the USMLE (US Medical Licensing Examination) a few years ago, but only worked through sample tests, since I have not attended medical school.

A marginally less-nauseating inference (that a brain might float, minus brain stem and cerebellum) could proceed from considering that the density of paraffin, a hydrocarbon waxy solid at room temperature is less dense than water, so should float (as does butterfat on the more watery fluid in unhomogenized milk, or so I was told by a milkmaid many years ago, though I did not as a rule date milkmaids because they were well aware that there was no need to buy the cow if you could get the milk for free). Knowing that brain axons (which comprise much of the brain white matter, approximately 35% of the human brain volume being white matter, from Hoffman Fig. 6) are sheathed in myelin, which contains lipid, i.e., insoluble hydrocarbons or colloquially, simply fat, we might reason that a brain should float also.

It is not so much that humans have larger brains (fat or otherwise) than other mammals. An elephant, for example, has a larger brain (as I recall, but my recollection is not as good as elephants, which, as those of us who were educated by the high-quality cartoons of the early 60’s know, never forget...it is a pity that in 2021 there are fewer and fewer elephants around to forget anything and more and more misery for them to forget...I identify with them in that sense). As Hoffman points out, large organisms need large brains to manage the increased somatic (e.g., more muscle fibers to control by more motor neurons, larger surface area to sense) and vegetative (e.g., a stomach the size of a bedroom would have more smooth muscle and associated enervation to control mixing wave peristalsis, more sympathetic enervation to operate the huge number of gastric secretion sites) demands of life on a grand scale. Well, a large scale anyway (a grazing brontosaurus might not appear grand to everyone). There is accordingly an allometric power law relationship between animal body weight P and brain weight E, E= bP^a, where b and alpha are allometric parameters fit to the observed data. In logarithmic form log E = log b + a log P and a log-log graph of brain weight as a function of body weight is a straight line more or less. One would therefore want to compare brain size among similarly sized animals if trying to draw conclusions about relative intelligence (I suppose one could skip the work and ask public radio to appoint an imbecile to discuss the matter).
                                                                                                              
As it turns out though, once (over evolutionary time) the mammalian lines began to increase brain size beyond that required simply to manage their locomotion and viscera at a given body weight, it appears that groups of columnar cortical neurons comprising cortical areas of particular function, could be combined or duplicated and modified to introduce new capabilities in the particular organism. You can view this as evolution in a mosaic pattern, with some regions changing dramatically and others being conserved more or less unchanged over evolutionary time. The gene responsible for a particular “circuit” (keeping in mind that brains are not analogous in any respect to our electronic digital computers) could then occasionally be incidentally duplicated (these duplications are not uncommon). Selective pressures might then drive modification of the duplicate in a new direction, e.g., for example, there is evidence that the birds with increased ability to hear and reproduce sounds, e.g., parrots, evolved through this process and that humans, though on an evolutionary path that diverged from birds long ago, experienced something similar (there being an analogous genetic duplication and modification compared to primates that are less capable of speech, e.g., Republican baboons, or Democratic Capuchins).
 
I guess some readers might have the feeling that I am simply a prig who believes himself to be smarter than everyone else (and perhaps also, from the Latin se amare sine rivali, “to be fond of one's self without a rival,” i. e. to be alone in esteeming one's self). Arrogance can be some kind of compensation for other inferiority or just the same kind of narcissism I complain about in the population at large. That is not my motivation. What angers me (and motivates my biting comments) is seeing a process in progress which is destroying civilization (never mind that the same evil opposed me throughout life). The instant brainwashed response is, “who are you to say what is desirable in that regard. We are all equal.” It is difficult to proceed from there, since only a fool would say such a thing.

A desirable world would be one in which none of my complaints would apply, a smaller population, a smarter population (this is the only atmosphere in which true democracy can survive), a culture that did not reward greed, a culture that valued achievements that elevate the race of man (every contribution, no matter how small, works for that good). What are elevated characteristics? Honor, honesty, kindness, generosity, courage, intelligence, pride in working toward what is good for oneself and others—these attributes cannot be taught, they must emerge in the experience of a higher level of experience, one that is freely offered to all conscious beings. The mystery of conscious life, in every instant, is testament enough to a transcendent purpose, but seen only by those who wish it, paraphrasing somewhat from Confessions of St. Augustine, Book X, Chapter VI,  10.

The present level of technology and science was built by a civilization, that of America and the Western tradition that gave birth to America, that recognized these characteristics (and the higher experience from which they sprang) as desiderata. The current decaying culture rejects those aspirations (aside from rejecting any standards) and specifically their metaphysical source.

What will be the future for a densely populated world, one with deteriorating environment from climate change and the poisonous accumulation of a planetary biomass of humans, where the average intellectual capability of men has decreased significantly and the young have been taught that they are merely animals with no prime good other than to acquire what wealth and power they may? The proposed “Humanist Manifesto” as replacement for the true metaphysical inner experience upon which all good is founded does not seem to be working so well, judging by daily events. We find themselves in a sinking ship culturally, yet continue to haul in more buckets of water as it were (another substance comes to mind, but I will refrain from scatology). The history of mere biological evolution on Earth is a history of the law of death, i.e., the simple but brutal struggle of organisms for limited resources. It is not inner good that is driving our retrogression, but something diametrically opposed.