Family Crest

Family Crest
Motto: I will never forget. [ Source HouseofNames ]

HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK - Moves forward to 2125 due to election of US President trump.

Estimate of the time that Humanity will go extinct or civilization will collapse. The HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK moves forward to 2125 due to US President trump's abandonment of climate change goals. Apologies to Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for using the name.


While this material is copyrighted, you are hereby granted permission and encouraged to copy and paste any excerpt and/or complete statement from any entry on this blog into any form you choose. In return, please provide explicit credit to this source and a link or URL to the publication. Email links to

You may also wish to read and quote from these groundbreaking essays on economic topics with the same permission outlined above

The Jobs Theory of Growth []

Moral Economics []

Balanced Trade []

There Are Alternatives to Free Market Capitalism []

Specific Country Economic Policy Analyses - More Than 50 Countries from Argentina to Yemen []


Monday, December 21, 2015

Fall 2015 Country Studies

The Mike P. McKeever Institute of Economic Policy Analysis (MIEPA) is pleased to announce the publication of its Fall 2015 country studies.

Two countries have been analyzed by two Specialists: Uzbekistan and the United States of America.

Uzbekistan is analyzed by Specialist Makhmud Islamov; the analysis can be read at

The United States of America is analyzed by Specialist Jihao Chen; the analysis can be read at

Additionally, the recent currency control program imposed in Argentina is discussed together with some limited speculation as to causes and possible outcomes; it can be read here

MIEPA can be accessed at

Thursday, December 3, 2015

UPDATE National Security Threat from CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Splicing Tool

In a recent article, James Clapper identified the potential threat to the United States from the CRISPR/Cas9 gene splicing tool []

This space discussed this concept earlier, as below:

New technology will make gene splicing quick, easy and highly successful.

It is called CRISPR/Cas9 (an acronym for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats”).

Using this new technology, scientists can 'End the scourge of insect-borne diseases? Check. Inoculate endangered amphibians against killer fungi? Yes. Pluck invasive species from environments where they don’t belong? As you wish.' [Per article here]

The mere existence of this technology raises serious questions about the future of humanity.

On the one hand, it can be used to do many good things as mentioned above.

Used properly this technology could reduce significantly human deaths from many communicable diseases.

For example, a new study suggests that this technology can be used to modify plankton to increase the production of oxygen and thus reduce the effects of temperature increase in the oceans; the study is reviewed here

However, since the cost of this project would be significant, it is unlikely to attract funding.

On the other hand, that prospect raises at least two questions.

First, this technology WILL be acquired by terrorists and used to create death on a mass scale. The question is this: How can we limit those actions?

The second question is this: After many serious diseases have been eradicated, how will nature respond? It is likely that new diseases will evolve to infect a population with little or no disease resistance.

On balance then, this new tool poses an existential threat to humanity if it is allowed to be used by whomever and wherever chooses to do so.

The rational response to this threat is to limit its dispersal immediately and drastically by placing all of its uses under the strict control of the National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization.

Both these organizations should be tasked with the twin objectives of securing control of all this technology which exists currently and also creating a protocol and standards for who can apply to use this technology in the future.

Any other action or non-action is inconceivable.


Bev Barnes Don't believe that the WHO is our best friend. Seems like they get swayed by big industry and really will stop studies and research or go with poor research on items that unsavory corporations want approved. Could be just a rubber stamp for industry.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

All Salt Water Fish Will Die By 2048

According to a new study by Boris Worm, PhD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, -- with colleagues in the U.K., U.S., Sweden, and Panama -- all salt water fish will be extinct by 2048.

The result will be catastrophic for human beings who live close to the sea or who eat fish. 'Already, 29% of edible fish and seafood species have declined by 90% -- a drop that means the collapse of these fisheries,' according to CBS news. [Here is the link to the news story:]

The report suggests that sea life extinction can be mitigated, but also casts doubt that the world's governments have the political will to make the necessary changes.

This new study does not change the Humanity Doomsday Clock from its forecast of Human Species extinction by 2137.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Repeat - Islamist Oath of Non Violence

In the light of the Paris massacre, this space is reposting the oath of non-violence for Muslims.

The Quran has many passages which explicitly call for violence against non-Muslims.

It is logical to suspect any Muslim of harboring violent tendencies unless and until he or she renounces explicitly the Quran passages which call for violence.

In today's world, we are concerned justifiably that some Muslim extremists will visit violence on our citizens in the name of religion. While the vast majority of the Muslim population does not support these actions, it is our right and duty to protect ourselves against those extremists who want to harm us.

It is appropriate to ask each person suspected of harboring such violent wishes to swear an oath renouncing the use of violence. If the person refuses to take such an oath, then we are justified in deporting that person or otherwise expelling him or her from our country.

Some people will willingly and falsely sign such an oath while retaining their beliefs in violence. But, most potentially violent extremists will object to signing a document which asks them to renounce the Quran verses which support violence.

By deporting all who refuse to sign such an oath, we will reduce the incidence of violence in our country.

Such an action will create controversy and accusations of discrimination. However, our rights and duties to protect our citizens from violence support such an action regardless of any outcry.

The Quran contains several specific verses which call for violence from believers. We must require that any person suspected of violent tendencies swear an oath renouncing those passages in the Quran which call for violence.

This space has created such an oath which can be used and adapted by any interested party.

The Islamist Oath of Non-Violence is available here :

This oath is designed to force a suspected terrorist to make his or her views known to the police; if the person renounces each and every one of the approximately 100 explicit calls for violence contained in the oath, then the person can be deemed low-risk. On the other hand, if the suspected terrorist refuses to sign each of the renunciations, then that person should be expelled from the country.

Here is the first part of the oath:

'I desire and hereby make a formal renunciation of certain selected verses of the Holy Quran. This oath of renunciation does not change my belief in Allah as the true God and Muhammad as His servant and messenger and of the Last Day. I make this renunciation intentionally, voluntarily and of my own free will, free of any duress or undue influence. Each of the verses is listed below together with my specific renunciation of each. The English text of the verses is taken from the Noble Quran and can be read here :

Quran (2:191-193) - "And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing...but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)"

I, __________________________________________________________[Initial here] reject and renounce the Quran verse immediately above.'

Your faithful servant,

Saturday, October 10, 2015






Although the discussion below is now outdated for CCSF, perhaps there are schoolrooms elsewhere which cannot be locked. I encourage teachers in those schools to lobby for door locks to protect their students.

If you require details on the locks chosen by CCSF, please respond directly to me and I will forward your request to the maintenance department.


Since I am a College classroom teacher, I now must deal with the possibility of a moron with a gun on my campus. This is what my students and I will do:


My name is placed on this idea so no one else gets blamed for it. You are welcome to suggest changes to this plan. I have already asked the maintenance staff to install deadbolts on my class doors; if they do, then this discussion will become moot.

Neither my students nor I deserve to sit and wait to die when a moron with a gun starts killing CCSF students, staff and faculty.

We will act.

First, I will ask for volunteers who will be willing to act in the event of a shooter with the express understanding that they may be shot and/or killed.

Then, here's what I'll do in my classes.

1. Ask for all students to listen to outside noises and raise their hands in the air and make a pistol trigger pull motion whenever there might be one. Then the class will be silent to listen for confirmation.

If there is a repeat, the person hearing it will make the trigger pull sign with a raised hand.


2. If it is a classroom with one door that opens outward, as are most doors, then on confirmation, I as point person, or a volunteer student athlete, will grab the door handle and hold it closed since we cannot lock it.

[See below for two door classrooms.]

If someone tries to open it, the point person will hold it closed as if our life depends on it because it does.

At that time five volunteer students will gather at the door while all other students retreat to a wall out of sight and barricade themselves with desks.

3. If the point person cannot hold it closed, he/she will say 'GO'

With that, the point person will open the door forcefully and tackle the person outside at his knees.

Simultaneously, two volunteer students will rush the person and secure his hands, one student for each hand. If any weapon is found, the volunteer will throw it far away down the hall.

Also, two additional student volunteers will beat the person on his head with chairs until the person is still while the person's hands and feet are secure.

When movement stops, the fifth student volunteer will search the person's body for weapons and move any found away from the group.

If the person remains still, then we will look for belts or rope and tie the hands behind the back and the feet together.

If the person is not still, the beating will continue.

The event will be over when the person is secure with belts and is still.


Step one is the same, the point person holds the door closed and is joined by five other students.

But, the goal is to allow enough time for the other students to escape safely out the second door.

If all the other students have escaped safely, the last will yell 'CLEAR'.

Then, if the door is holding, the remaining team will exit the other door.

If the door is not holding, then the team will proceed as above.

With sadness,

mike p. mckeever

UPDATE May 2016: Oceans May Lose All Oxygen by 2030

Scientists discussing global warming are considering whether it will happen much faster than we thought.

A recent study suggests that all oceans may run out of oxygen by 2030 as a result of global warming [].

Additionally, James Hansen is the former NASA scientist who called attention to global warming in 1988. His new paper suggests our models may underestimate the speed of the change. Here is the link to the paper:

For a detailed and non-technical presentation which includes other scientists' views, read Chris Mooney in the Washington Post here ;

Additional projections of sea warming effects on the marine food chain are available here :

The possibility that warming and glacial melting may happen very quickly moves the Doomsday Clock forward.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Half of Sea Life Lost Since 1970

Since many people depend on fishing for food, the loss of half of all sea life since 1970 moves the Doomsday Clock forward to 2138.

Details are here -

Friday, September 4, 2015

Productivity and Wage Gap in the United States

Barry, My Liege:

Just in case you were wondering why so many Americans are really P. O'd, see this graph

Your faithful servant,

Saturday, August 22, 2015

UPDATED LINK TO VIDEO: Black Mother Peggy Hubbard Tells the Truth

Barry, My Liege:

Racial relations in the United States of America appear to be deteriorating.

It is difficult to address the issue without fear of being labeled a racist.

But, black Mother Peggy Hubbard in St. Louis can tell the truth.

Boy, can she.

Watch it here if you dare:


[Sadly, the Atlantic bleeped out most of the profanity, but the situation IS profane and profane language is the only way to express that.]

Your servant,

Friday, August 21, 2015

Dems : Don't Be Evil, Pass Iran Treaty

Barry, My Liege :

This is to the Dems we need to uphold your veto of the Republican's cancellation of the Iran Treaty.

Hey Dems - messing with this deal is the same as telling the heart surgeon who is saving your wife's life that he is doing it wrong and that you have a better idea.

Just shut the hell up and let him work.

Here's a link to what Eric Swawell (D) California and a member of the Intelligence Committee says :

The Reublicans idiots and the Israeli's are beyond the pale, just ignore them.

Your servant,

Thursday, August 6, 2015

INQUISITION 11: On Changing the Course of History

'It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.' Harry S Truman

"The past is never dead. It's not even past," William Faulkner


My generation was required to practice 'duck and cover' drills in elementary school to prepare for an atom bomb attack from the Soviet Union. Air raid sirens would sound and we would crawl under the desk for a few minutes. Later in the day we would go to the auditorium and watch movies showing the vaporizing of buildings and mannequins representing people, including teachers at a blackboard and children like us sitting at our desks.

In one of the Terminator movies, Sara Conor has a nightmare of children being vaporized from an atomic blast. Lots of kids had that nightmare.

After graduating college in 1963, I went to graduate school at the London School of Economics and studied the Soviet Union to see if they were about to bomb us. Or, if we were not going to be bombed, would Communism take over the world?


After two years and an M. Sc. (Econ), my conclusion, and the conclusion of many other academics, was that the Soviet Union's economic system was not capable of creating both military power and civilian prosperity simultaneously. Further, it was clear that both military might and political influence require a prosperous economy as a foundation. The Soviet Union was simply not capable of producing both things due to its badly designed system of central planning and collectivization enforced by mass murder.

The corollary conclusion is that sustaining military strength and influence requires economic strength; a system which devotes too much of its economy to military power will lack the long term resources to maintain that power at an effective level.

Those conclusions were not popular at the time since the received wisdom in the United States was that Communism was an imminent threat. To counter that threat, the United States was required to build a massive military. Nevertheless, I relayed that conclusion to a person of some influence in conservative political circles in 1966.

Over the years, the Soviet system gradually weakened and eventually collapsed in 1991; it was replaced by the Confederation of Independent States (CIS). The final straw in that collapse was probably Ronald Reagan's aggressive posture in confrontation with the Soviets. The most likely spur to Reagan was his apparent conviction that the Soviet system was weak.


Another similar series of events involved World War II. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 changed the perception of everyone in the United States. We went from a country seeking peace to a country determined to enter and win the war. It has been argued that Franklin D. Roosevelt as President made a decision to delay entering the war until the mood of the country changed in favor of war.

Apparently, it is possible to change the course of history by changing the dominant perception of events. Many writers have explored this topic.

When one consciously tries to change events by changing perceptions, it can be called 'propaganda'.

But, it's 'propaganda' only when it is obvious and crude.

When the event which changes perceptions is not noticed as a change at all, it is more effective.


When an organization or person wants to change events, then he needs to change the basis of the thought by which people make their decisions. To be effective, the generally held perceptions are altered so that the decisions people will make are more favorable to desired objectives.

The question becomes how a person can change the way people perceive reality so that they will reach the conclusions wanted by the person creating the changes.

Of course, that is not to say that every change in perceptions is caused by some evil genius, but it is to say that some of the changed perceptions are created deliberately.

From Keynes: "The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back... soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil."
-- John Maynard Keynes, "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money"


My goal is to change the way the world thinks about economics so that more people will be better off materially. One of the failures of Classical Economic Theory as proposed by Adam Smith in 1776 is that it creates an economic model which explicitly excludes any concern for the welfare of individual people. Keynesian theory partly addresses that deficiency by providing instances when the government is required to intervene in the economy to avoid extreme human suffering as was seen in the 1930's.

The more recent Nordic economic model extends Keynesian government interference in the economy to the individual level; governments which adopt that model take responsibility for individual health care, education, employment and housing by raising taxes on wealthy citizens to pay for a better life for the population.

One of the requirements for both the Keynesian and Nordic economic models is that the economy must grow in order to provide for more people. Since the population constantly increases, the amount of material goods required to avoid misery also grows every year.

Economic theories about growth have been inadequate to address the real problems of providing for more people. The most recent significant theory was proposed in the 1950's and is no longer adequate. Previous theories of economic growth rely on capital accumulation to create growth. They assume that employment would grow if the GDP grew.

In 1995 I created a list of economic policies which can be followed by any country and which will ensure economic growth. The stated purpose of the policies is 'the betterment of humanity through the promotion of sound economic policies.'

The basis of the policies is to create as many jobs as possible. Thus, it is called the "Jobs Theory of Growth" and can be read here

Effectively, it is a new and different economic theory of economic growth.

Students in my economics classes have the option to write an analysis of how well their home government performs on each of the 34 individual policies, which are designed to ensure growth. I publish their country analyses on my website here Currently, there are nearly 60 analyses of individual countries prepared under my direction on the website.

Perhaps some countries may be persuaded to change their policies affecting economic growth when they face the probability of receiving a grade on those policies.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Something's Happening Here, What It Is Ain't Exactly Clear [Buffalo Springfield]

Barry My Liege:

Things in nature are changing.

Scientists call it the 'blob'.

Or, the 'New Normal'.

Read it here:

[For some reason, the link is not working in IE, but is working in firefox]

Your servant

INQUISITION 10 : On Waiting

Accomplishing most things requires cooperation from other people.

We can finish a work in solitude as a sole performer, but it is more satisfying when others see the work.

And, placing the work where the public can see it requires working with others.

Of course, while the particular thing we want is important to us, it has less importance to the others on whom we depend.

An experienced performer creates an action plan of specific steps to take before starting the process of working with others.

That plan has two phases: the items which the performer can accomplish without help from others and the items which require others to perform.

First, we do all the items in the plan that do not require others.

After that, we examine the list to be sure that we have done all we can do. If we have done all that and the plan is not progressing, we will have the urge to hector others to hurry along their actions on our behalf.

That approach has limits. Too much hectoring can cause the hectored to disregard the hectorer's wishes from spite. Less is more when urging others to do our work for us.

It is better to rely on an accurate assessment of the hectored's motives and incentives to do our work. If we have presented the request so that the other party can see that it is in his self-interest, then it will get done when the other party chooses.

When all the other parties' interests coincide with our interests, then there is little more we can do.

It is better to fight the urge to do 'something, anything' to move the project along.

If the plan is well designed and appeals to all parties' interests, then action for the sake of action can destroy the project.

It is better to re-examine the plan to improve it.

If the plan is sound and all the actions that can be taken are complete, then it is time to wait.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Who Gets the Money - Labor Productivity has Far Outstripped Wage Gains in the USA

Barry, My Liege:

As you know, workers in the United States of America have shown consistently increasing productivity for half a century or more.

Productivity is a simple concept, just divide the total output of the country, or the real GDP, by the total number of hours worked and you see a measure of how much wealth each hour of work produces.

Clearly, there are several factors which combine to increase productivity.

Increasing the amount of capital invested in the workplace will result in higher productivity as machines replace workers. And, developing new technologies which result in a single machine replacing even more workers also increases productivity.

Both of these factors can be attributed to business owners and the owners are entitled to a fair return for their investment in our market economy.

But, workers also have contributed to the productivity increase by improving their personal education levels. They have done so at their own expense and are therefore entitled to a portion of the increased wealth they produce in the form of higher wages.

However, increasing labor productivity has not correlated with higher wages, as seen in the chart below:

Your faithful servant

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Boorish Rich Kids Make the Case for Inheritance Tax

Barry, My Liege:

This space has suggested consistently that income inequality is bad for the country.

Part of the equalizing process is to institute an inheritance tax so that each generation is required to make its own way and so that we do not create an hereditary noble class.

Luckily, the boorish behavior of many rich kids lends credence to the idea that inherited wealth is bad for the country.

Follow rich kids here, if you have the tolerance:

Please pass a strong inheritance tax.

Your faithful servant,

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Stop Corporate Spying, Change or Veto the CISA Bill

Barry, My Liege:

Proposed legislation called the CISA, gives corporations and government too much power.

Please veto the legislation and insert more privacy protection for citizens.

Read the article here:

Your servant,

Autonomous Weapons: an Open Letter from AI & Robotics Researchers

Barry, My Liege :

Here is the text of the letter:

'Autonomous weapons select and engage targets without human intervention. They might include, for example, armed quadcopters that can search for and eliminate people meeting certain pre-defined criteria, but do not include cruise missiles or remotely piloted drones for which humans make all targeting decisions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.

Many arguments have been made for and against autonomous weapons, for example that replacing human soldiers by machines is good by reducing casualties for the owner but bad by thereby lowering the threshold for going to battle. The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow. Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce. It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists, dictators wishing to better control their populace, warlords wishing to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, etc. Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group. We therefore believe that a military AI arms race would not be beneficial for humanity. There are many ways in which AI can make battlefields safer for humans, especially civilians, without creating new tools for killing people.

Just as most chemists and biologists have no interest in building chemical or biological weapons, most AI researchers have no interest in building AI weapons — and do not want others to tarnish their field by doing so, potentially creating a major public backlash against AI that curtails its future societal benefits. Indeed, chemists and biologists have broadly supported international agreements that have successfully prohibited chemical and biological weapons, just as most physicists supported the treaties banning space-based nuclear weapons and blinding laser weapons.

In summary, we believe that AI has great potential to benefit humanity in many ways, and that the goal of the field should be to do so. Starting a military AI arms race is a bad idea, and should be prevented by a ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control.'

Please support this.

Your faihtful servant

Thursday, July 23, 2015

R.I.P. Sandra Bland

Barry, My Liege:

I am going to call 'B S' on the folks who suggest that police is the single reason for the tragedy of Sandra Bland.

The original dash cam video and audio of the stop and arrest shows that Ms. Bland was verbally combative, verbally abusive and physically assaultive on the officer.

Here is the link -

Ms Bland clearly lost it and went off on the cop without an adequate justification.

UPDATE 7.25.15: Recently released autopsy is '...consistent with suicide...' []

Police are trained to handle these situations and my impression is that he did so per training.

The commentators who hold Ms Bland totally innocent and suggest that there was no reason for the police to arrest her since the original infraction was a minor event ignore any of her actions which may have caused the police to act the way he did.

There appears to be a common thread among some commentators of ignoring any action of the 'victims' of police actions; but, and it is a big 'but', there is a real possibility that some of the 'victims' precipitate their injuries by their actions during a police activity.

Clearly, there are poor police, but there are also violent criminals with whom the police interact every day.

If a 'victim' behaves like a violent criminal then he or she will be treated like a violent criminal.

That is the job we ask of our police.

We need to let them do their job and keep us safe.

Your faithful servant,


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New Book on Global Warming

I am pleased to announce the publication on Amazon Kindle of my new book

'The DOOMSDAY Clock: Planetary Homo Sapiens Die-Off':

Selected science documenting global climate change including projected worst case scenarios Kindle Edition

by Mike P. McKeever July 2015 (Author)

It is available for $0.99 or for free depending on your Amazon membership.

It is available here:

Your reviews will be appreciated.

Mike P. McKeever

Friday, June 26, 2015

Billionaires Bribe Barry - Barry Boots Bro's

Barry, My Liege:

This is what will happen after you approve the TPP:

1. Billionaires will get richer

2. American workers will lose thousands of jobs; some will get depressed and commit suicide while others will simply drink and abuse their wives and children

3. Whatever money is committed to re-train the workers who lose jobs will be wasted - not because the workers won't try but because the program will be too small and too poorly managed

This we know from prior experience.


The billionaire assholes who are continuing to screw the American public don't even have the balls or grace to tell us exactly how we will be screwed.

So, Barry, you owe us this at least:

When you screw us, at least tell us how we will be f***ed.

Your servant,

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sixth Species Exinction Event Under Way Now

Human activity is creating the sixth species extinction event in Earth's history. Mankind will lose significant bio-diversity in the span of three human lifetimes. See a summary here:

This is further documentation of the effects of human activity on our ecosystem. '...current species extinction rates are 10 to 100 times faster than previous estimates,' stated in

At some future time, the species likely to go extinct will be the human species.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Spring 2015 Country Studies Published

Spring 2015 Country Studies Published

The Mike P. McKeever Institute of Economic Policy Analysis (MIEPA) is pleased to announce the publication of its Spring 2015 country studies.

Two countries have been analyzed by two Specialists: Burma/Myanmar and the United States of America.

Burma/Myanmar is analyzed by Specialist Aung P. Phyo [A nom de guerre at MIEPA suggestion]; the analysis can be read at

The United States of America has been analyzed by Specialist Christopher Babcock and can be read at

MIEPA can be accessed at

Monday, May 25, 2015

INQUISITION 9: Denial and The Tyranny of Hope

In one of the episodes of The Wire television series about drug dealing gangs and politics in Baltimore, a gang boss walks into a convenience store. The security guard recognizes him and pleads with him to avoid trouble. 'Please sir, I don't want no trouble. I am just trying to feed my family.'

The gangster looks him in the eye and says 'You'd like it to be one way, but it's the other.'

Then, the gangster takes some beef jerky and puts it in his pocket, making sure the guard can see him. The guard does not say a word.

Later the same day, the gangster sends someone around who shoots the guard.

In economics, we call it the difference between positive thinking and normative thinking. Normative thinking is when we think about what we want and positive thinking is when we think about the way things really are.

Whenever we say we have hope, it really means that we know the way things really are but we want them to be different. We want the the 'other' way.

I spent some years working with financial data trying to make accurate predictions about the future. Here's what I learned: changes are small and barely noticeable when they occur. There are very few big, dramatic changes - mostly, change is incremental.

In the 2006 film 'An Inconvenient Truth', Al Gore claimed that while global warming appears inevitable and will severely damage the ablity of the Earth to sustain life, there are several specific actions we can take to modify our lifestyles and to reach manageable temperature rises.

However, as a species we appear to be unable to modify our behavior so far. Here's how Wikipedia put it: 'Near- and long-term trends in the global energy system are inconsistent with limiting global warming at below 1.5 or 2 °C, relative to pre-industrial levels.[184][185] '

Failure to limit global warming below the 1.5 or 2% threshold will lead to increasing climate change with negative consequences for us all.

For most people, The natural human reaction to such facts is to 'hope' that we will find a way to limit the effects somehow.

It appears that the likelihood of irreversible climate change is too large a concept for most people to grasp. Instead of facing the 'positive' trends, many people revert to the 'normative' hope that the problem will disappear. This is often called 'denial.'

And yet, we limit our ability to create effective responses to future trouble by 'hoping' or 'wishing' it away.

Perhaps if we can eliminate 'hope' from the problem, we can face it realistically.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Blacks Are Different

Recent news regarding a seeming increase in the number of black males killed by police action raises questions.

Numbers do not show whether the rate has increased recently or stayed the same since the statistics are sketchy in general. But, black males have been killed by police at about four times the rate of white males [].

The conclusion is that the recent public concern has changed, but not the incidence of police killings of black men.

Does this mean that white police officers kill black men at a high rate because they hate black men?

No such inference can be drawn from the data.

But, a corollary conclusion may be possible.

Do the data and research suggest that black males behave differently than whites while interacting with police in stressful situations?

No certain conclusion can be drawn, but there is tantalizing evidence of hormonal differences between the races which may lead to behavioral differences.

Levels of estradiol [serum estrogen] in black males are higher than in whites: ' Non-Hispanic blacks (40.80 pg/ml) had a higher estradiol concentration than non-Hispanic whites (35.46 pg/ml; P < 0.01) and Mexican-Americans (34.11 pg/ml; P < 0.01). Non-Hispanic blacks (36.49 nmol/liter) had a higher SHBG concentration than non-Hispanic whites (34.91 nmol/liter; P < 0.05) and Mexican-Americans (35.04 nmol/liter; P < 0.05)'.

The study is titled 'Serum estrogen, but not testosterone, levels differ between black and white men in a nationally representative sample of Americans', by Rohrmann S1, Nelson WG, Rifai N, Brown TR, Dobs A, Kanarek N, Yager JD, Platz EA. published by the National Institute of Health. []

Additionally, higher estrogen levels in humans are associated with more impulsive behavior [].

Higher estrogen level reduces anxiety in social situations, thus contributing to more impuslive behavior [].

Finally, females demonstrate different behavior during high estrogen periods, i.e, menstruation [].

The conclusion is clear - black men behave differently during interactions with police than do white men, possibly because of hormonal differences.

Perhaps such an understanding may lead to lower tensions between police and black men.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

INQUISITION 8: Fear, Time and Accomplishment


One of life's pleasures is to undertake a task which has no deadline. It's a pleasure to take as much time as needed to complete the task the right way.

This is a luxury in a world driven by greed - just about everything we do has a deadline; and, time is money.


When a plumber comes to repair a toilet, he charges a fixed cost for the trip plus a fee per hour for his time.

Analogously, years ago, a manager assigned me the task of writing a list of the ten accomplishments I would finish each week in decreasing order of importance. And, as an incentive, he promised me a raise when I accomplished the top 3 items on the list for four weeks in a row.

The lesson was clear: learn how to break down large accomplishments into their smaller, component parts so the larger objective will be reached via a series of smaller steps.


Incorporating time into a critical list means choosing which steps are required to be finished before other steps can be taken.

If a particular task did not have other tasks depending on its completion, then it could be completed in a non-time sensitive manner, but all the tasks on which other tasks depended had to be completed expeditiously in order to finish the project on time.

With the critical path established, then the weekly list of ten accomplishments becomes a meaningful tool in finishing projects.

The denouement of the exercise was that while I learned about accomplishing things, the promised raise never happened since the manager who made the promise was fired before I logged in four weeks of successful accomplishments.


The list making method of structuring work offers an additional benefit. By placing all the tasks one needs to accomplish on a piece of paper, one may then examine each item at focused leisure to see if everything that the list maker can do to accomplish each task has been done or not.

Once everything that can be done has been done, then one can and should go to some other activity which is not associated with any item on the to-do list.

This has the advantage of letting the mind rest from task focused projects and then relax. And, while the mind is relaxing from task activity, it will actually process thoughts about the tasks unconsciously. Thus, taking a break from an intense task may actually be a method of becoming more effective.

This approach has worked for the writer. In a time where many bills were due imminently and no funds were available to pay them, the process of writing a list of actions which could be taken to raise cash and/or postpone each bill allowed a focus on productive action instead of panic or other fear based responses. Once everything that could be done was done, then the writer found a diversion. That time off actually created a fresh approach to the problem.


Our minds can play many tricks on us; and, one of those tricks is to create an overwhelming fear of failure. The fear can be so large that it can interfere with rational thinking and prevent us from finishing a task.

One way to manage that fear is simply to recognize that it exists and is normal. That recognition of fear as a normal emotion can reduce its power to interfere.

Secondly, fear derives its power from its lack of boundaries. It can become a strong negative emotion due to its seemingly endless nature.

But, boundaries for fear can be created by writing on paper a list of the worst things that could possibly happen as a result of failing to complete the task. This boundary limitation is one method of reducing the power of fear to prevent accomplishments. Concretizing the feared outcomes instead of leaving them as vague and overwhelming threats will reduce the power fear has to prevent action.


Sometimes fear and a long list of problems can create depression. And, that feeling can stop any rational actions.

But, feeling depressed occasionally is a normal behavior. A wise person realizes this and avoids any actions while depressed. The feeling will pass after some time and then rational actions can be done.

[Depression is a treatable disease; if one is depressed for more than five days, then one should see a physician.]


In order to produce the best approach to any problem, the mind should be clear of any distraction so the full power of attention can be directed to the goal. The mind works best when focused on a single question and not distracted.

One of the consequences of writing a list of tasks to complete is that none of those items will distract the mind from its current task. The process of writing the list means that the each of those issues is safely deposited on the paper and the mind then is free to work on other issues.

From this it follows that the idea of multi tasking is not workable. In order for the mind to do good work it must be free from distraction and able to focus on a single issue. Experiments have shown that automobile drivers who send and receive text messages while behind the wheel drive as poorly as drunk drivers.


Writers who have all the time they need to write a book or article have found that the intense focus required to write effectively cannot be sustained for long periods because it is too exhausting. Some writers can write continuously for four hours as long as those hours are between 7 am and 1 pm. These writers find that any work produced after completing the intense focus period is usually worthless. In those cases the writer will switch to other pursuits like gardening, shopping or napping. These writers produce just as much good work in half a day of focused intensity as do some other writers who force themselves to write beyond the time of focus.


One method of ensuring that the mind is functioning as well as possible is to harness the power of unconscious thought. The logical and conscious mind is only one tool. Another tool is the information processing which our minds do while we are not thinking about a problem.

Most people have noticed that problems seem less difficult in the morning after a night's sleep. Something happens during sleep which re-orders thoughts and questions.

This writer routinely postpones any important decision until the morning to take advantage of that process.

In addition, the writer has found this an effective method of addressing large and important questions.

This method consists of asking the unconscious mind a specific question and providing the mind a specific deadline before which to fashion an answer.

For example, I might pose the question this way: 'Should I accept the offer or counter the offer? I need an answer in three days.'

Then, I can ignore the problem for three days. Without fail, I will have the answer in three days.

I have confirmed this approach with some psychiatrist friends. But, they want to know all the specific things the unconscious mind performs while working on the question. For me, the answer is the only thing I want. Exactly how the unconscious mind derives its answers is not so important.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Temperature Rise 14,700 Years Ago Killed Ocean Species, Discovery Moves DOOMSDAY CLOCK to 2139

[Photo from United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)]

Barry, My Liege :

Evidence of relatively recent ocean temperature changes and associated species die-off moves the HUMANITY DOOMSDAY CLOCK forward 6 years to 2139.

New science shows that a temperature rise 14,700 years ago killed off just about all species living in the ocean. It took only 170 years to accomplish the extermination but thousands of years for the species to recover.

View the entire article here :

Humans will find it difficult to recover.


Everyone dies.

We accept it calmly.

Despite some popular entertainment vehicles, our species knows that it is not possible to survive death as a computer file.

[see for a list of works]

Occasionally someone make an attempt like Russian Dmitry Itskov to outlive his mortal body. [Article here:]

There is in nature an acceptance of the inevitable. A rabbit which is wounded and about to be decapitated does not struggle. It accepts fate. Even insects will stop their struggle when death is unavoidable.

"How small a part of the boundless and unfathomable time is assigned to every man? For it is very soon swallowed up in the eternal. And how small a part of the whole substance? And how small a part of the universal soul? And on what a small clod of the whole earth thou creepest? Reflecting on all this consider nothing to be great, except to act as thy nature leads thee and to endure that which the common nature brings."

― Marcus Aurelius Mediations, Book Twelve, 32

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

INQUISITION 6 : Reflections on Old Age

Recently, someone asked me this question: 'What is it like being an old man?'

Well, I was about to say that I don't know.

Then, it hit me.

They probably think I AM an old man; after all, I am 74 and was born in 1941.

So maybe my life IS what it's like to be old.

I'm not sure because I don't have time to dwell on it. But, I'll try.

If you don't mind some personal stuff, I'll try to answer that question below using my life as a metaphor


One thing I realize is that people my age are the luckiest people on the planet. We have it all - good climate, incredible choices about life – I live in the San Francisco Bay Area of California - security so far from most of the terrorist attacks, good medical care, the list can go on and on.

But, there is the nagging concern and regret about the world we will leave our grandchildren.


When I was about 35 years old, I decided what to do with my life. It was this: re-write economic theory so that history 100 years in the future would remember my contribution.

So, I took a year off and moved to a cabin in the semi-civilized woods of Mendocino County and wrote a book about economic theory. Then, good friend Dave Alcott [who had been a reporter for UPI in Europe I met on the Queen Mary in 1963] read my book and said, in essence, that my book was crap.

That was a blow from a respected friend. Not only was my book crap but, additionally, I was a nobody. You can get crap published if you are 'Somebody', but it is harder if you're a nobody.

There I was with my life's ambition in tatters around me.

Nevertheless, the ideas were sound, so I rewrote them into a list of 34 specific polices national governments could follow to ensure economic growth. Then I made a website and had some of my students write an analysis of their home country's performance on each policy. Now I have published more than 50 such country studies and continue to add countries and analysis revisions each semester. You can read them at

The kids do some amazing work. My country studies are as good as anybody's, maybe better since they avoid politics and focus on economics.

That meant my life's ambition was realized, so I planned to relax and take life easy.


When I was a kid I liked playing baseball, so I started playing again at age 50.

Playing baseball allows me to hang out with other old men; they are mostly white with a few African Americans and other assorted mongrels.

We are mostly athletic and play competitive baseball - same rules as the major leaguers, but the game is a lot slower - slower throwing and running. The best thing about the game is that your ability is very visible but your ancestry is invisible. No one cares where you came from if you can hit or pitch. Just leave your attitude at home - the bench is close quarters.

A lot of the guys used to play professionally at different levels and still love the game, as we all do, even the guys like me who played at the amateur level only.

When baseball grabs you as a kid, it never lets go. I tried to quit a few times, but I couldn't. Each time I quit, it took longer to get back into baseball shape. There are different levels of conditioning - out of shape, in shape and in baseball shape. The idea is that playing the game competitively means you throw as hard as you can, swing as hard as you can and run as fast as you can. And, just like the major leaguers and all the kids, sometime you hurt when you do that.

My hero is a guy I never met. He was playing baseball when he was 82. He had to quit for awhile because he broke 2 ribs sliding into second base one day.


Also, I teach college kids about economics. They keep me young in spirit with their constant questioning, their eternal optimism and, yes, their occasional flirting. It is a good feeling to earn the respect of a room full of bright 20 year olds. I think I am good at it and I enjoy it.


A funny thing happened after my project was established and continuing. I read Marcus Aurelias 'Meditations' in which he says that whatever your concerns are today about fame, all the people who concern you will be dead in 100 years. Whatever your reputation, it will simply evaporate when all the people who know you are gone.

That's unassailable logic.

Then, news about the Human Extinction Event became interesting. Science suggests that climate change and associated problems spells the certain extinction of the human species very soon, soon as measured in geologic time.

It seems pretty certain that all human life will end within about 150 to 200 years.


If that's true, and I think it is, then maybe a good life is to publicize the event as much as possible and live life with as much grace as possible - and that's my project now

Living with grace today brings some questions.



Are things better or worse today than they were in the past?

Absolutely yes to that question. No doubt about it.

And they are the same and are also different?

Yes. Without a doubt.


There is one thing that is absolutely worse, though. Our economic and political system is completely broken. That is a new thing. And it is a bad thing.

When I grew up in the 50's and 60's, there were a lot of veterans from WW II who were in charge of things. Because they had seen a lot, suffered a lot and inflicted a lot of pain on others, they took a broad view.

There was a consensus on what was best for the country and that consensus carried the day most of the time. Greed and selfishness which harmed the public interest were a sin and a shame.

But now, those former sins are virtues. Greed and selfishness have run amok. The income and wealth disparities are staggering and unheard of in a supposedly democratic society. Many of those who have made it big appear to be totally selfish and uncaring about the common good. In some other countries it is less extreme. There is just no excuse at all for one person to own $80 Billion Dollars, as does Bill Gates. It boggles the mind.

We are returning to the Gilded Age of Robber Barons who stole from everyone until President Teddy Roosevelt busted the Trusts. Teddy got his support from the farmers and laborers who took up pitchforks and rifles to demand fair conditions in the railroads, mines, docks and factories. There was blood in the streets from labor strife then.

Then we got a Great Depression, thanks to the same bankers and banking laws we have now. We were wise enough to elect FDR who created Social Security and a general premise that it is the government's job to protect the poor from the rich among us. The rich have been pissed about that ever since the 1930's. Some of them are still trying to kill Social Security. Those folks are really caricatures of greedy assholes.


My Dad had three sisters and a brother and we had lots of family events with cousins running about and playing. They were good times.

I married three gorgeous women, Jeannetta from Aberdeen, Scotland, Margie from Avenal, Central Valley, California and Yelena who was born in Ukraine and raised in Moscow. I have sired three children I know about; now, I have four grandchildren. It has been a rich life and there is nothing I would do differently. Some of my family has trouble and I help them with love, but it is never enough help and that makes me sad.

My cousin Bev Barnes did a lot of genealogical work on our history. She found that we are directly related to John Adams, the Plantagenet family in England and before that to William the Conqueror, the Capet French Royal Family and even to Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelias. Very interesting.


I graduated from private, liberal arts Whittier College with a BA and no debt and lived in London for 2 years while I completed a master's degree M.Sc. (Econ) at the London School of Economics, also with zero debt. I sailed to England on the Queen Mary. Since then I have traveled to Mexico, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Philippines, Italy, France, Germany, Russia and Scotland. My daughter was born in Krankenhaus Nordwest, Frankfurt, AM, Germany.


In my working career, I was easily bored and frequently quit a good job to find something new. That's a recipe for learning but not for wealth accumulation. Oh well.

My book HOW TO WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN was first publshed in 1984 by Nolo Press, Berkeley CA and is now in its 12th edition.

I had more or less always been in charge of some things and responsible for critical parts of a company or charity. I tried retiring in 2008 to get a slower pace. The economy did not cooperate and I got really bored again, so I volunteered for Hillary Clinton in her Presidential campaign as a surrogate in some rural areas of California.

Below are some of the positions I have held:

Controller, San Francisco, Six years
Recruited to lead transition from manual to computer-based accounting systems and to supervise day to day financial and HR operations.

Business Manager, Pacific Horticultural Foundation, Six years
Hired to oversee daily business functions for non-profit publisher and educational foundation.

Senior FP&A Analyst, Dart Industries, Chemical Manufacturing. Four years
Recruited to introduce sophisticated financial planning methods, integrate new acquisition.

Development Project Manager, Pacific Coast Properties. Three years.
Recruited to build out two neighborhood shopping centers – sign leases, obtain permits, award contracts, manage construction, and secure financing.

Director of the Graduate School of Business Administration, Armstrong University, Two years.
Recruited to administer and reorganize MBA program.

Professor, Micro- and Macro-Economics, City College of San Francisco, 2003 and continuing. Vista community College, 1998 to 2002.

Economic Analyst, McKinsey and Company, Los Angeles, Two years. Support consultants with industry and company analyses. Founder, Principal, McKeever Institute of Economic Policy Analysis, 1993 to present. Direct small, privately held think tank publishing studies of various countries’ national economic policies.

Business Analyst, Private Business Consultant specializing in business plan development for global and domestic businesses.

Owner, past owner of retail store, manufacturing business, service business as well as consulting and business brokerage firms


Maybe looking back is what old people are supposed to do.

I'll do some of that later, but right now I have to complete a divorce, write and agree to a property settlement, sell a house, buy or rent a house, move, teach five days a week, manage an involuntary commitment of a close relative, find a relationship, practice and play baseball three days per week and try to keep up with some favorite television shows.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

INQUISITION 5: The Physics of Love

Anecdotal experiences have proclaimed the existence of love as a physical force for centuries. Such proclamations frequently included 'telepathy' or mind-to-mind communication between people as well.


One example of that force has been the concept of 'cording' or an emotionally connective bond between a mother and newborn child. This concept of 'cording' between a mother and an infant suggests that the child communicates directly and non-verbally with the mother. Further, this idea has been expanded to include relations between adults in love. A detailed discussion of the concept is presented here

However, the discussion lacks verifiable experiments and relies on anecdotal and metaphysical explanations. The discussion has been unconvincing despite the proclamations of many individuals.


History provides records of many people attempting to prove telepathic communications or attempting to scam money from such attempts. The scam relied on the expectation of the audience that such a thing is possible. Science has been able to disprove these events. A short history of some of the previous attempts to explain the phenomenon, which have been debunked by science, is presented here


It is documented that love can create physical manifestations in the body identical to physical illnesses. Phenylethylamine, dopamine and oxytocin are chemicals that create symptoms of illness and are released by the body during intense love experiences. A summary of studies by DivineCaroline in February 24, 2009 is here


Also, now it is possible to stimulate various portions of the brain with remote wireless devices;


At this time, my reading of the science is that science cannot demonstrate the existence of telepathy or mind-to-mind communication without some form of physical assistance.


But, a new development suggests that it will be demonstrable some day. In the article titled 'Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies,' scientists discuss a demonstration of a long distance transmission of mental images [].

This may be a first step toward developing a telepathic mechanism.


Additionally, quantum physics suggests that telepathy may be theoretically possible in nature.

'In a study reported in the February 26, 1998 issue of Nature (Vol. 391, pp. 871-874), researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have now conducted a highly controlled experiment demonstrating how a beam of electrons is affected by the act of being observed. The experiment revealed that the greater the amount of "watching," the greater the observer's influence on what actually takes place.'

Some communication is taking place at a molecular level; science does not have a complete explanation as yet for this phenomenon. But, once explained, this process may well provide proof of love as a natural force.

Friday, March 13, 2015

INQUISITION 4: Honor and Integrity in Politics

As we enter an election cycle, it may become appropriate for candidates to consider these terms. I expect that many voters make judgments about candidates on exactly these issues, although it is not likely that voters realize that is what they are doing.

Successful candidates will be judged on their HONOR and their INTEGRITY.

Using the Google dictionary as a beginning place to examine the terms, which dictionary is very handy although perhaps not authoritative, I find these basic concepts:


INTEGRITY is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. "he is known to be a man of integrity". Synonyms: honesty, probity, rectitude, honor, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals, righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness. "I never doubted his integrity"


When HONOR is used to describe a person's character, it is an act of a person, when considered as a verb, or the quality of a person, when considered as an adjective.

I leave out of this discussion the act of paying compliments to another and focus on a person's internal character instead.

Honor happens when a person fulfills (an obligation) or keeps (an agreement). Quote: "make sure the franchisees honor the terms of the contract". Synonyms include: fulfill, observe, keep, obey, heed, follow, carry out, discharge, implement, execute, effect.

Honor has been used also to indicate a self sacrifice for the cause of a greater good, as in "he honored the Gods by his bravery."

The above make a case for both Honor and Integrity as demonstrating a consistency in behavior to others. Or, as we say, "Walk the talk', or do what you say you will do.


And yet, Shakespeare has Polonius say Act 1 Scene 3 of Hamlet:"This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!"

In my mind at least, Polonius' words can conflict with the definitions above. It seems possible to act in consistency with your internal moral principles and yet fail to demonstrate that consistency to others.

One may be behaving morally and yet not seem to be so.

That's a prescription for disaster for any candidate, or any person for that matter.


There was a movie some time ago where a minor criminal figure had some information on a major crime figure and was in a jam. So the protagonist asked the DA if the DA is a man of honor. The DA said he was and that our hero could trust him. So, our hero made a deal with the DA that he would give up the information in exchange for a deal of relocating his family. The DA agreed and used the information to put the major crime figure in jail. But, when the protagonist asked the DA to live up to the deal, the DA said he had more important things to worry about and could not make the deal.

But, said our hero, 'I trusted that you were a man of honor and now my family is in danger.' The DA said, 'That's too bad, then, but I can't help you.'

Similar situations happen routinely in politics where a candidate make a promise to a group of voters and then reneges on the deal after winning the election.


There is a similar issue in the business world. That issue has to do with customer expectations and the idea of quality.

When a business person wants to achieve a reputation for a 'quality' product, he or she has to consider what are the expectations existing in the minds of potential customers.

If the product can deliver more than the expectations, then it will be considered a 'high quality' product. When the product delivers less than the expectations, then it is considered a 'low quality' product.

Note that this has nothing at all to do with the materials, design or price of the product; it is just about expectations.

To make matters more confusing, consumer expectations are changing constantly. The definition of a 'quality or luxury' automobile from 1985 is vastly different from the expectations which fit that description today.


Of course, this means that some business people will make it their business to 'manage customer expectations'. This is so normal that many business have a saying to describe their managing of customer expectations.

The phrase is : 'underselling versus overselling.'

Simply put, 'underselling' is promising less than you deliver, thus creating customer satisfaction and a reputation for high quality; while 'overselling' is promising more than you deliver, thus creating customer dissatisfaction and a reputation for poor quality.


Numerous politicians make a career by overselling their opponents and underselling themselves.

But, the delivery that meets or fails to meet the expecations has nothing to do with policy in the public interest.

The delivery referred to here is a speech or comment about some issue that resonates with voters but has little or nothing to do with the public interest.

For example, if your opponent supports free choice of women in family planning, then you claim that he/she supports murdering babies. Then, then your opponent defends the right to choose birth control or abortion, you can claim that your opponent has met the expectation of a low quality candidate.

Newly Named Anthropocene Era Documents Human Geological Impact

Barry, My Liege :

Just in case you were wondering whether we humans have actually made an impact on the planet, a new study has documented our fossil record.

Although it does not move the Doomsday Clock since it is merely assigning a name to an event recognized previously, it is an indication that human activity has made provable geological changes.

We seem to be entering a new geological era where human activity dominates the planet.

The new era is called the Anthropocene Era.

The record includes proof that human activity is leaving permanent geological markers of irreversible global changes.

Introducing European colonists into the New World caused a die-off of some 50 million people beginning about 1500 AD and perhaps peaking around 1610 AD.

As stated in the Motherboard review by Becky Ferreira, Contributor, the study co-authors are geologists from University College, London, Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin; they told Motherboard :

"This dramatic crash of an agriculturally sophisticated population resulted in mass abandonment of farmland. As wildlife reclaimed these regions, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels noticeably dropped, due to the uptick in carbon storage as a result of reforestation."


Your faithful servant,

Thursday, March 12, 2015

NEW BOOK : Occupy Wall Street Plan 12

Barry, My Liege :

I am pleased to announce the Kindle Edition of my new book : 'Occupy Wall Street Plan 12: A Proposal for Twelve Specific Governmental Actions to Correct Some Economic Imbalances in the United States of America'

This is a short, comprehensive plan to re-invigorate the Economy of the United States and to simultaneously address some of the imbalances which harm many of our citizens.

It is available here :

The EBOOK, Kindle Edition is available for the LOW, LOW price of $0.99.

AND - for 5 DAYS ONLY - it is FREE!.

Starting Monday, March 16 and ending Friday, March 20, you can read the book with no cost at all! Just go to the Amazon link above and ask!

Thank you for your attention,

Your faithful servant,

PS: If you don't have a Kindle Reader and still want to read the book, send an email request to and you will receive the Word .doc file of 160kb by return email.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

INQUISITION 3: The Truth Will Set You Free

'“The truth will set you free” is a common saying in academic circles that want to promote academic freedom and the power of learning. Many universities have this statement emblazoned on a sign near the entrance of a building. But “the truth will set you free” did not originate in academia; Jesus said it in John 8:32. In context, Jesus’ statement has nothing to do with classroom learning. In fact, John 8:32 speaks of a higher form of knowledge than is capable of being learned in a classroom.' []

In this Inquisition about truth I will leave the 'higher forms of knowledge' to others and try to address the temporal world.

More specifically I want to address the question of the difference between what one person perceives as 'the truth' and that another may see as false or not see at all.

If we grant that there is an objective reality of physical objects that we see every day, then we can set aside for now the discussion of the atomic structure of the matter we perceive as solid and simply accept those things as real objects.

When looking at any physical object such as a chair, my perception of the object is affected by the memory I have about how that object looks and acts.

If my interaction with a particular chair has convinced me that the chair has dark brown leather upholstery, then when I see a chair of a similar design and shape I may 'see' a brown chair whereas the chair actually has black leather upholstery. Perhaps my mind is taking a shortcut by 'autocorrecting' my perceptions.

My mind has convinced me that I saw a brown chair instead of the real black chair in front of me. And, if I describe the 'truth' about that chair to you, namely that it is brown, then you will disagree about the 'truth'.

Probably I will take a second look at the actual chair and see the black color and acknowledge that I was mistaken.

That is all well and good for simple truths about tangible objects, but the real difficulties arise when we consider intangible issues.

One intangible issue we face daily is a memory of past events.

Well, science has pretty much proven that our memories are not reliable:

'Now, scientists have an idea of just how unreliable it actually can be. New research released this week has found that even people with phenomenal memory are susceptible to having “false memories,” suggesting that “memory distortions are basic and widespread in humans, and it may be unlikely that anyone is immune,” according to the authors of the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).' [Atlantic Monthly, Erika Hayasaki Nov 18 2013, 3:00 PM]

If you tell me that I had scrambled eggs for breakfast yesterday but I remember having eaten toast and peanut better, we expect a disagreement about the 'truth' will ensue.

Most likely you can insist that I ate scrambled eggs yesterday until you are 'blue in the face' but I will reject your version of 'truth' because my mind is made up.

It has been said by many that 'A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still'. [This phrase may have begun with Samuel Butler in his 17th-century poem Hudibras. Part III, Canto iii, lines 547-550.]

The practical implication of this concept is that a person who is attempting to get others to agree to a 'truth' or a more abstract concept first has to understand the 'truth' that the audience holds already.

If the preconceptions of the audience disagree with the speaker's message, then it is likely that the message will simply be ignored.

That means that if I want an audience to agree with my 'truth' I have to secure agreement on each of the pre-existing concepts of the audience in order to have them accept my change in their ideas. The audience will simply not accept any 'truth' that conflicts with their existing mindset.

All of this means that it is a very hard task indeed to simply 'tell the truth' so the audience can hear the 'truth'.

And, if the audience is one person, then the speaker must navigate all the preconceptions of that person in order to be heard. If the audience is 100 people, then the same thing applies, but multiplied by 100.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

INQUISITION 2: National Security

Having grown up in a world where children were directed to hide under a school desk to avoid being incinerated in a nuclear holocaust, I think about National Security, specifically the Economic National Security of the United States of America in the 21st Century.

The question today is stark: What will be the effects on Americans of the coming species extinction?

The Inquisitions here are not intended to be a definitive statement of these issues since the United States has a large bureaucracy devoted to these very problems. This space is simply summarizing some of the more obvious questions.


The foundation of National Security is always based on Economic National Security. True security requires that all the citizens of a country share the values and beliefs which guide the leaders. When that happens, then the leaders are given leeway and can move the country forward.

Such a country has a society where few feel excluded or marginalized. The United States of America enjoyed that shared perception for many years, but is currently losing that perception among many of its citizens. This is a potential security threat. Such a threat cannot be managed with police and security. It requires a feeling of inclusion.

But, when the perception of shared hopes is lost, then the nation's leaders are held to a fine standard and are afraid of the population. We have seen just that in many countries recently. Populations which are abused by the leaders want to kill the leaders in turn. Such a cycle creates increasing violence and death. Such a country is weak.

A secure country allows all its citizens to buy into the country and feel a part of it. Once the feeling of belonging is established, then people unleash their creative powers. Then do material living standards rise.

But, material standards won't rise until and unless citizens have that feeling of belonging.

President Obama was correct when he called for American Muslims to be allowed and encouraged to participate in all aspects of United States society. That is the best way to achieve internal security.

As we approach the extinction event, there will be more pressures on society from more desperate people. If the United States demonstrates the weakness of social and economic exclusion or lack of hope among its citizens, then our internal security will be fragile.

The pressures will come from terror, disease, climate change, military action and despair.


There will always be people who seek to destroy a strong society for any number of reasons. If the society is multi-national, as is ours today, then some terrorists from one country will seek to harm the citizens of another.

If that sort of movement becomes organized, then it may require the US to campaign militarily inside another country in order to secure the homeland.

Applying the concept of internal security described above, it is obvious that some countries are more secure than others. And, it is equally obvious that some citizens from a less secure country may try to harm citizens of a more secure country.

As the extinction event becomes more real to more people, terrorist acts will increase.

This is the justification for much of the security apparatus today.


Anti-biotic resistant bacteria and virulent viruses will overwhelm the medical system of the United States as the event comes closer.

A country which cannot manage the health of all its citizens both armed forces and non-military citizens is a weak country.

The only advantage the United States may have is that it will be even worse in other countries.

The USA may exhaust its supplies through caring for the ill of other places in addition to our own. And, that is an effort we make to ensure our own population's health.


Climate change is occurring and will increase. The underlying dynamic of increased carbon emissions, which is the primary cause of climate change, is well documented and irreversible in the practical world.

The major effects of climate change will be sea level rises and droughts in food producing areas.

The droughts will reduce the ability of our species to produce food at a time when the population is expanding rapidly.

Wars will be fought for water and food.


We are seeing wars waged today for religious reasons.

But the underlying causes of these wars may well be the feelings of exclusion and loss of hope on the part of many marginalized people.

As the loss of hope increases we can expect more military and terror actions.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Debaltseve Moves DOOMSDAY Clock to 2145

Barry, My Liege:

Continued Russian backed aggression in Ukraine kills peace treaty and raises threat of widening war.

Russian forces take rail hub on their way to Mariupol.

Details here:

With Russia's endgame mired in the fog of war, the DOOMSDAY Clock is moved forward one year to 2145 due to the increased risk of a wider war.

Your faithful servant,

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Personal 'Inquisitions'

So, I'm not sure if the impetus for these 'Personal Inquisitions' or reflections comes from facing my personal mortality or from contemplating the species mortality we all face. No matter, maybe some of the questions here will be of interest.

I'll try not to be bombastic or didactic, but I don't know what will happen.


First, a little more background on using the word 'Inquisition'.

An 'Inquisition' is simply a question.

According to Google's dictionary, an inquisition is "a period of prolonged and intensive questioning or investigation, as in 'she relented in her determined inquisition and offered help'. Synonyms: interrogation, questioning, quizzing, cross-examination, investigation, inquiry, inquest, hearing. Informal grilling, examination"

Although the word is also used to describe an 'ecclesiastical tribunal established by Pope Gregory IX circa 1232', the word is used here in its more generic meaning and does not reference any religious 'Inquisition'.

INQUISITION 1: Live a Good and Moral Life

Or, more completely:

'How can I conduct my daily affairs with decency and compassion while being convinced absolutely that the human species will go extinct during the lifetime of my great-great grandchildren?'

After accepting the conclusion that the human species will go extinct soon, my first reaction was a feeling of complete helplessness. It is like watching a train wreck in slow motion when the train contains all your loved ones.

The 1993 movie 'Fugitive' with Harrison Ford has a scene where his character is watching just such a train wreck. It is a great visual image.

It happened that this revelation occurred simultaneously with my parent's passing.

Second, when considering the species event as opposed to the personal event, there are no tears of relief or comfort for angst this large. The likely reality is stark and unforgiving. And, there is nothing I can do to change the outcome. It will just happen.

The personal event is similarly stark, but it is less traumatic since it was expected and natural.

While considering either event, some can look to their God for relief, but I am not a religious person. There is no comfort for me in a 'belief' in any sort of God or supreme power.

It is apparent that the powers which control the Universe are vast and beyond our ability to understand.

It may be that the human species has constructed the idea of God and of religions to make sense of the unknowable. However, I would rather follow our collective curiosity toward greater understanding of truth than deliberately close off that inquiry by adopting some human construction of the universe. It is better to live with wonder and awe than it is to live with fear and ignorance.

To repeat the opening question, the question is this: how can I live decently in a world of unknowable powers and the certainty of impending doom?

I choose a dual path. First, I make every effort to alert people to the evidence supporting the extinction hypothesis. Perhaps there is a miracle waiting whereby we can avoid the pain and suffering that will accompany the extinction.

Perhaps that hope is merely 'pissing in the wind' and will accomplish nothing.

But, at least it is an effort in a positive direction.

One approach toward positive action is to take an idea from the Stoic philosophers, badly paraphrased as this: The past is over, the future is mostly unknowable and the only thing we possess is today.

That translates to a daily action plan of focusing on the things that I can do today while simultaneously letting go of any and all past actions

And, since any action has consequences for the future, I try to make decisions which will bring about a better future.

And here is the rub: there is no long term future when an extinction event looms ahead.

Some might argue that such a viewpoint suggests a hedonistic and acquisitive life is the best choice. There are lots of examples of that choice, regardless of any concern about species extinction.

But, pleasure and accumulation as a life style do not suit my temperament.

I acknowledge that I am singularly lucky to live as an adult today in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. There are benefits and rewards beyond measure and beyond our ability to enjoy them all.

But all the while, I recognize that my descendants will pay the price for my luxury and I am saddened by that. It is doubly sad that they are not even aware of the fate they face.

All I can do is to apologize in advance.

If my great-great grandchildren are reading this, then I say to them: The disasters you suffer were largely unavoidable. We could have changed things so you would have a better outcome, but we did not recognize the dangers in time and we were not able to overcome our behavioral flaws to act as a species instead of as selfish individuals.

Some of us regret that more than words can express.

To the question: What can I do today to make the troubled lives around me better?

More than regret and apology, what can I do?

Perhaps it is simply this: recognize explicitly that most people really do want to make the world a better place. So tell them - each and every one you see doing that. Tell them that their efforts are noticed by you and that they are doing a good job.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

DOOMSDAY Clock Stands Still Despite Remote Medical Diagnosing and Ukraine

Barry, My Liege:

Two recent events merit attention when considering the impending demise of civilization and the extinction of humanity. One recent event offsets the other so that the net effect is zero.

The extinction event stands at 2146.

The first event is positive: Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a mobile phone app which can provide instant diagnoses of several diseases. Currently, diagnoses of many diseases require examination of a sample by a spectrophotometers or test-specific readers; these devices are expensive and rare.

Soon, using the app in a remote location may easily provide a diagnosis of many diseases. This could reduce the severity of future epidemics by correctly diagnosing disease outbreaks at early stages, when the application is widely available. The backgound is here :

The second series of events is negative and offsets the positive news above. The continuing war in Ukraine appears to be sliding toward an expansion. Any such an expansion has the possibility of spiraling out of control into a continent wide war.

Your faithful servant,

Friday, January 30, 2015

Rich People Are Jerks

Barry, My Liege:

The numbers are in and it ain't pretty.

Rich people are jerks, plain and simple. Scientists have proven it.

The science is discussed here: []

But, to anyone who has followed the discussion, this is not news. This space reviewed Chrystia Freeland on Plutocrats on October 21, 2012
['Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else', by Chrystia Freeland]

The trouble is that great fortunes hurt the rest of us by their very existence.

Simply being rich is bad for everyone, even if the person does not behave badly.

The wealth accumulation creates evil in and of itself.

Bad behavior just makes it worse, but good behavior cannot ameliorate the bad effects of great wealth.

And, the wealth concentrations are getting worse while they expand around the globe.

According to the UN, the richest 1% of the population now owns 40% of all the world's wealth. []

This divergence is not sustainable.

At some point, violent change will occur.

The conclusion is inevitable and clear - The world will be better when the great fortunes are destroyed.

The destruction may happen with legislation or it may happen with blood.

But, it will happen.

This space has made a point of discussing the phenomenon of excessive wealth in a variety of subjects.

Here is a sampling of some of the statements made in this space in the last few years:

'Tax havens: Super-rich 'hiding' at least $21 trillion', published 7.21.12

'Recovery : Great Fortunes, Great Incomes' - How wealth reduces growth, published 5.18.2012

'Recovery : Monopoly, Revised with 2002 data', How monopolies inhibit growth, published 5.7.12

'USA Existential Crises: New Prince Class, National Security' How US superrich threaten USA middle class, published 4.20.12

'USA Rebellion's Coming' Our situation today is analogous to the situation [REBELLIONS] in England in the 14th Century, published 4.6.12

'Structural Difficulties with Recovery' According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, the share of total GDP acounted for by wages and salaries - that is where consumer demand comes from - was around 51% between the late 1940's and about 1969 when it peaked at 53.5%.
Since that peak, it has declined steadily until it stands at a low 44% of GDP today. Published 2.20.12

'Will the USA Collapse?' Some other civilizations which have collapsed, published 1.9.12

'DC Crony Fascism' How the US ruling class appoints cronies and damages the country, published 1.2.12.

'The Real Problem With Banks' Bankers are human - some of them steal, published 11.4.11

There have been other statements in this space as well.

Your faithful servant,

Monday, January 19, 2015

Islamist Oath of Non-Violence

Barry, My Liege:

In today's world, we are concerned justifiably that some Muslim extremists will visit violence on our citizens in the name of religion. While the vast majority of the Muslim population does not support these actions, it is our right and duty to protect ourselves against those extremists who want to harm us.

It is appropriate to ask each person suspected of harboring such violent wishes to swear an oath renouncing the use of violence. If the person refuses to take such an oath, then we are justified in deporting that person or otherwise expelling him or her from our country.

Some people will willingly and falsely sign such an oath while retaining their beliefs in violence. But, most potentially violent extremists will object to signing a document which asks them to renounce the Quran verses which support violence.

By deporting all who refuse to sign such an oath, we will reduce the incidence of violence in our country.

Such an action will create controversy and accusations of discrimination. However, our rights and duties to protect our citizens from violence support such an action regardless of any outcry.

The Quran contains several specific verses which call for violence from believers. We must require that any person suspected of violent tendencies swear an oath renouncing those passages in the Quran which call for violence.

This space has created such an oath which can be used and adapted by any interested party.

The Islamist Oath of Non-Violence is available here :

This oath is designed to force a suspected terrorist to make his or her views known to the police; if the person renounces each and every one of the approximately 100 explicit calls for violence contained in the oath, then the person can be deemed low-risk. On the other hand, if the suspected terrorist refuses to sign each of the renunciations, then that person should be expelled from the country.

Here is the first part of the oath:

'I desire and hereby make a formal renunciation of certain selected verses of the Holy Quran. This oath of renunciation does not change my belief in Allah as the true God and Muhammad as His servant and messenger and of the Last Day. I make this renunciation intentionally, voluntarily and of my own free will, free of any duress or undue influence. Each of the verses is listed below together with my specific renunciation of each. The English text of the verses is taken from the Noble Quran and can be read here :

Quran (2:191-193) - "And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing...but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)"

I, __________________________________________________________[Initial here] reject and renounce the Quran verse immediately above.'

Your faithful servant,