Saturday, February 28, 2009

Room at the Top .

Room at the Top .
Andre Willers
2 Mar 2009

"There is room at the bottom" Feinman
A famous statement that led to nanotechnology .
Why should there not be room at the top ?

This is essentially an argument that quantitive change causes qualitative change .
If you make things small enough , what you can do changes in nature .

Is the same true in the other direction ?

From a systemic viewpoint it is true . Building the pyramids is inherently different from building a house . We can sense it . But exactly how?
And is it relevant if scaled ? Is a mini-pyramid a house ? At what point does a large structure become , well , large ?

This is not idle speculation . Previous civilizations constructed pyramids , mausoleums , monuments , public temples , etc , all providing steady employment from surplus wealth through periods of fluctuating fortunes .
It also created wealth . (See below)
At present we have NASA , Foundations , Red Cross et al to do the same .

This changes the society and the humans that comprise it .

Wealth creation .
We know from previous arguments that the upper boundary of sustainable , hierarchical growth = 2/3(non-reserves) * 1/3(reserves) = 22%

Most historical rates are far below 22% .
The difference is the room at the top .

This is why humans have very large scale projects like Stone Henge , the Pyramids , cities , NASA , large wars , etc .

Briefly , non-reserves (profits) are put into long-term-reserves like exploration and research . It has immediate short-term effects , as well as a multiplier on long-term effects .

Building huge buildings and monuments make money . (The velocity of money increases significantly : 10% to 20% . ) So all those old Romans and Greeks weren't so dumb after all .

The Colosseum and the Pyramids still stand and rake in more tourist money than they did while operating . A good , long-term investment for the society .

I hope the same is true for the GreenPoint Stadium in Cape Town . Much as it galls me , the logic compels me that it will be probably true .

There is room at the top .
Really large scale enterprises make the society richer . Even if they have no productive purpose .

A modest proposal :
A Pyramid to match Gizeh at the southern tip of Africa would have a pleasing symmetry . But built by manual labour on the old Egyptian method . Tourists can pay to be part of the effort . Inscribe their names on the inside of the stones . Locals can be paid as a Public Works program . This would be nifty .

Triangularly yours


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Gold Licks.

Gold Licks.
Andre Willers
26 Feb 2009

Biological need :
Why would a life-form dependant on reactive , water-soluble chemicals need tightly-bound , nearly non-reactive element like gold ?

Answer :
For the same reason we use nano-particles for their disinfectant properties in fridges and air conditioners .

Disruption of those pesky parasites , germs and viruses .

These nitty-gritty nano particles get rubbed between the virus and the cell-wall with considerable force (remember , the fluidic environment at that scale is like a thick glue) .
The virus wall gets punctured , and destruction ensues . The cell-wall is thicker , and can survive it . Ditto for bacteria . At the worst , locking in to the receptor sites are hindered .

Evolutionary path :
The oceans has had appreciable concentrations of gold compounds since the Witwatersrand complexes were laid down at least 1.3 billion years ago .
So , there was plenty of time and materiel to evolve this response .

When the sea-organisms migrated to land , they lost the access to nano-nutrients like gold . But the ones who developed a hunger for it survived better .
They hungered for gold-licks .

Gold-bearing areas always had a richer ecology .
Salmon in the American northwest springs to mind .
One would expect gold deposits in the Scottish highlands .

What about humans ?
Gold nano-particles are administered via jewelry . The continual rubbing causes nano-particles of gold to pass into the bloodstream through the skin .

Hardness :
Nine-carat alloys are harder than 16 , etc to 24 carat (pure soft gold) .
Too much gold , and you get heavy metal poisoning (cell-walls get damaged too) .
Too little , and there is hardly any effect .

Filing .
Roughening the gold surface in contact with the skin with a nail-file will make any low-carat gold yield sufficient nano-gold particles . Rather roughen 9 carat gold than 18 or 24 carat gold .

Wedding rings .
If you wear an old , smooth wedding ring , once or twice a year just run a nail-file lightly around the inner side .
This will revitalize your immune system and libido .

Warriors with golden torcs or chains (like gangsters) have more rapid wound healing and greater resistance to infection . (Greater resistance to addiction ?)

Added fertility and reproductive success . Though the planet does not exactly need this now , gold nano-particles around the edges of the ovum disrupts all but the most successful of sperm , preventing the sperm-fratricidal effect .

Round viruses and bacteria are disrupted at a higher rate than normal .
Note that HIV is a ball .

And the libido ? There is a strong correlation between perceived readiness for conception and urge to sexual activity .

There are other health benefits that you can undoubtedly think of .

"Rough Gold is good for you!"

The Gold Lick .
Gold mining sites to humans are like salt licks to animals .

Scientific Administration of gold Nano-particles .
This can be done better , of course . But by the time the FDA approves it , then we will all be dead .
In the meantime , try roughened jewelry .

Gold Addiction .
Can humans or animals become addicted to gold?
We know that humans can , but ascribe it to social conditions (what the gold may buy).
But what if it is an actual physical , nano-addiction ?
This can be easily tested in experiments . But , sigh , there are very few real scientists around anymore . Anyone who will even entertain the thought , never mind get the funding .

Can babies sense gold?
Tactile exposure , as well as mouthing will play a role . A simple experiment , but do not try it on your babe (unless she is over 18) .

And now for something completely different .
Asteroid mining .
The general concept is that handy chunks of nearly pure metals and minerals sit around waiting for us to exploit them .
Sigh .
Most of the concentrated minerals on Earth are the result of geophysical processes in the presence of a dissolving medium (eg water) and lots of time . We will probably get the same in some of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn .
But the asteroids ?

We know that clumps of heavy metals like iridium , ferronickel , etc fall to earth . But no gold or lead .
But gold and lead are on earth . The conclusion is that in the planetary formation process , these minerals became concentrated in planetary bodies and moons , not small floaters . The mechanism is open to conjecture , but we have to deal with observable fact .

The same is probably true of other solar systems .

The conclusion is that the relative abundance of gold is small , and it has to mined from deep gravitational wells . (Venus probably has a big core of gold , leading to problems with it's magnetic field)

The Tellinger Hypothesis.("Slave species of god")
A small commercial interstellar company sent an expedition about 200 000 years ago to mine gold cheaply using bio-engineered workers . Humans being the workers .
The existing bio-structures were used to create addiction pathways to gold (this can be done today) . When this became commercially unviable (probably because they learned to synthesize elements in their singularity run-up at home) , they simply pulled up stakes and left . The locals collapsed and died in agonies of withdrawal symptoms .
Some remnants of this remain as the frenetic grasp after gold in humans .
This can be tested , as the addiction pathways are well-known .

You can visit the ruins:email
Old Northern Transvaal , on the edge of the plateau .

Occam's Razor .
Like all these hypotheses , it fails Occam's Razor . But , as any evolutionary biologist will tell you , Occam's Razor does not apply to complexities over a certain level .
(complexity > =Beth(1) to be exact .)
See "New Tools : Orders of randomness"

The technology hypothesized here is about 5- 10 years in advance of our own (2009) . In other words , understandable .

Where is the evidence ?
Some high-tech remains must be around , since it seems they simply abandoned the site in haste . Look for anomalous magnetic responses to pings (use a simple microwave magnetron on the water frequency for the pulses on the sequence 1^3 , 3^3, 5^3 ,7^3. This should elicit some response .They were too lazy to reset the default .)

I would certainly like a few words with them about responsibility .
And death or 200 000 years is certainly no barrier .

Hot diggity .


Monday, February 23, 2009

Arctic Oil Wars

Arctic Oil Wars
Andre Willers
24 Feb 2009

Low oil prices force oil producers to fight about new low-cost sources (such as Arctic Ocean ) instead of accumulating reserves to exploit higher-cost renewable energy resources .
See "Financial Crises" , ""New Tools" , et al .

Sakhalin Island .
Shell and Russian companies have developed technologies to exploit deep sea oil and gas deposits in semi-frozen conditions under a Production Sharing Agreement(PSA) .

Arctic Ocean .
This technology will give them a crucial advantage as the Arctic ice-pack melts .
They are drilling now .

Ownership of resources and routes .

Ownership of resources:
The National States involved (Canada , US , Russia , Norway , Iceland , Greenland , plus anybody else that can think of a way to horn in ) , plus international companies (like Shell , BP , Exxon , Gazprom , etc ) , all will have claims , backed up by military force and court action .
The resource sites will probably be very evenly distributed , due to the lack of meteor impact sites from out of the ecliptic .

Ownership of Routes:
Pipeline and tanker routes will be even more subject to uncertainties . Expect semi-official states of war and letters of marquee .

The Wars of the National Champions .
No nation state can be directly involved in a confrontation , as each is under a nuclear umbrella .

But their champions can .

Putin deliberately formed the Russian response to capitalism as companies like Gazprom that are profit-orientated , but sensitive to state needs . The state is the majority shareholder .

The western systems are exactly the same . Ownership and management are divorced.
Management might want to pursue short-term profit , but ownership (especially after this last collapse) will enforce longer-term views .

Both have their strengths and weaknesses .
They will fight it out in the Arctic in a battle of relative advantages . Very reminiscent of the 1600's , before the knockout wars of 1759 .

Mercenary companies in the service of companies will battle it out for strictly limited objectives .

A rather romantic period .

The last hurrah of oil before the singularity .

More ice in your drink ?



Interesting references :
1. "Petrostate" by M. Goldman ISBN 978-0-19-534073-0 (Oxford University Press 2008)
2. Henry Kuttner's "Venus" mercenary companies are a relevant exploration of the alternatives here .

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rome vs China

Rome vs China
Andre Willers
18 Feb 2009

"SPQR" vs "The Mandate of Heaven" .

The underlying problem that has to resolved is how to unify Tribes .
Tribes are a natural social unit of humans .
Tribes are groups of families tied by similar language and customs from a common root . Successful tribes grow . The advantage of size is obvious to all , but how to get different tribes to co-operate effectively against competing alliances of tribes ?

1. SPQR means "The Senate and People of Rome" .
It means the whole state , rulers and ruled alike .
Inherent in the statement is some mechanism of achieving this consensus .

Adoption (also known as Incorporation)
This Roman mechanism developed from the Sabine-women episode (see previous posts .) "Roman woman shall not cook or grind corn" . From this humble beginning , Romans learned to grow by incorporation of different tribal elements .
The Sabine woman who led this intervention seems to grow in importance as a watershed person the more we understand of history .
Cf the use of the Gens mechanism to facilitate adoption of individuals .

Commercial Corporations became legal standard and became the workhorse of the Roman Republic , Empire and Roman Catholic Church (where they were known as Orders or Monasteries) , as well as present civilization's companies .

The Army .
If social mobility through the ranks is allowed , any army incorporates persons from different tribes .The later Roman Empire Army is often denigrated as an Army with a state . But this is exactly how they integrated the barbarians . It was essential . The Chinese did not , with ultimately fatal consequences .

("Divine Right of Kings" was a shortlived experiment in dynasties , ending with Charles I and ultimately WWI )

The Western Progression:
Roman Republic
Roman Empire
Roman Catholic Church

2. The Mandate of Heaven
This is the more natural progression .
The progression is by Dynasties .

A strong and capable leader unifies a number of tribes by force of arms . His relatives and tribe form a ruling class (Dynasty) . The other tribes submit as long as the dynasty is successful .

2.1 Losing the Mandate of Heaven
This is a particular , delineated pattern evolved through long history in China .
There is a pattern recognition meme involved .

2.2 The Pattern of Losing the Mandate of Heaven
2.2.1 Unfair taxation.
2.2.2 Official Corruption
2.2.3 Poverty , mainly due to official inability to handle population growth and natural disasters . (Poverty here means starvation)

Notice that losing wars against foreign aggressors does not qualify , unless it is seen as the fault of the ruling Dynasty due to above reasons .

The presence of all these factors means armed revolt of the tribes and provinces . The cycle repeats into a new dynasty .

By this definition , Chinggis Khan's Law(Yasuk recipe) to bind tribes together was a Mandate-from-Heaven system , as is most organized religious binding systems .(A really long story.)

Rome vs China : An Alternate Reality .
The closest when this could have happened was at the time of assassination of Julius Caesar.

Rome : End of the Republic , before the static empire of Augustus set in . Large armies of veterans of all nations , hungry for loot and land . Caesar (in full control) was preparing a very large-scale expedition to the East , trying to emulate Alexander .

China : The Han dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) was at it’s height . Very aggressive , with large armies , capably led .

Hsiung-Nu : a large confederation of nomad tribes on China's eastern borders , giving them considerable trouble . (The source of later Westerns troubles as the Hun).

If Julius Caesar was not assassinated :
Rome had fairly detailed knowledge of China and the surrounding areas via the Silk Routes . The purely tactical military problem facing the legions was how to handle highly mobile light-cavalry in open , semi-arid terrain . (Cf Parthians)

Caesar would have seen it as a strategic problem .
1. Split the Hsiung-Nu (the old divide-et-impera technique , as used successfully in Gaul) . They were a loose confederation open to bribes .
2. Enlist the Han to send expeditionary forces to threaten the rear of the Hsiung-nu and Parthians .

Defeat them in detail by pinning them between the legions and the Han .

Nomads can be pinned .
About a third (see "New tools: reserve" as well as historical records ) of Mongols (Artisans , bowyers , miners , children , pregnant women , old aged , trainees , etc) were in permanent settlements around the edges of the steppes . These had to be defended . If lost combat effectiveness declined drastically over three years . Used by Kitchener in SouthAfrica circa 1901 AD)
The romans had experience of this in Gaul , Palestine and elsewhere .

The Han would have considered this offer as worthwhile , since they could not imagine being defeated in straight , in-your-face battles (they had very good troops) , but had never faced hoplites or legionaires .

After this , there would be a confrontation between Rome and China .

Rome would need new conquests to maintain its system , while China did not .

Caesar would attack the strategically weak "Mandate of Heaven" by piece-meal assaults with local numerical superiority (after suitable feints) , then making deals with locals (or else) . This is the strategy Rome followed before , with great success.

(An aside : Compare this with the "Knights-and-Castles" defense against light horsemen evolved in Western Europe about 500 AD in our time-line , where everybody was expected to fight to the death . (That is why they needed a Religion involving self-sacrifice of the militant variety) )

In this conflict between strategic systems , Rome would have won . Indeed , it's descendants did win by using these same strategies in the twentieth century in the our time-line .

So , while the Han Armies and the Roman Legions would have been fairly equal , (except for sieges : Roman siege systems were far superior to Chinese) , the fatal weakness of the "Mandate of Heaven" command and control system is that it can be fractured more easily than the Incorporation system .
Alexander used this deliberately at Issus and Gaugamela , and the Romans would have done the same .

In this alternate reality , we would all be speaking Latin , but about half of the citizens and officers would be Chinese .

Would the Mongolian Eruption have happened ?
Chinggis would most probably have been a very senior Roman Officer , maybe even Emperor . But he would have been incorporated into the system .
Then we would definitely all be speaking Latin .
Chinggis starting with a base of the Roman Empire means a world empire .
He really was something else .

In our time-line , the Mongolian threat to China only went away when Russian expansionist pressure on their western flanks , combined with defensive superiority of fire-arms from forts , denied them mobility . They were pinned .(Circa 1759 AD)

The Relevance today ,
The use of these alternate realities is to understand the present time-line better .
We can immediately see why Russia and China went communist . They were both "Mandate of Heaven" systems , which had lost the mandate . Communists were the new dynasty . They went the "Big Founder" route , and only realized their mistake later .

When they lost the mandate in Russia , they were unceremoniously kicked out . Nobody lifted a finger . Not a shot was fired . Typical of "Mandate of Heaven" systems . Support just disintegrates by common consent .

China is different . They bend over backward (as with the latest earthquakes , corruption , etc) not to trigger the "Loss of the Mandate of Heaven" memes deeply imbedded in the population . This is probably better for the population than democratic systems , where representational voting means that the people of New Orleans will wait forever for any relief .

Will Chinese communists lose the Mandate?
No .
Look again at the triggers in "2.2 The Pattern of Losing the Mandate of Heaven " above .
I must emphasize again that these all triggers , and all must be present .
Unfair taxation seems to be the only reasonable complaint .

But all the flashpoints have been split by assigning certain provinces (previously tribal territory) as growth territories , with associated high-risks , and encouraging mobility .

Family and tribal units spread risks (they have been at it for literally thousands of years) by having a foot in every camp .

This is an incorporation mechanism , albeit slower than western systems .

The West .
Sigh . How the champions have fallen .
They are supposed to be superior by incorporating the needs of the people they are comprised of by incorporating the people . You know , Democracy .
Instead , a small group has highjacked the whole system for its own gain . It no longer even satisfies The Mandate of Heaven .

2.2 The Pattern of Losing the Mandate of Heaven
2.2.1 Unfair taxation.
2.2.2 Official Corruption
2.2.3 Poverty , mainly due to official inability to handle population growth and natural disasters . (Poverty here means starvation)

Tick the ones applicable to your country .

The election of Barack Obama is actually a dynasty change . The old system had degenerated into a dynasty system . It remains to be seen whether they can bootstrap themselves up again to a democratic , incorporating (ie SPQR) system .

The US system has proven surprisingly resilient . But inheritance laws need some major revision . Incompetent people have inherited about 80% of US capital , then left the management of it to "professional" managers . Ie , persons , who have control but no responsibility . Hence the present financial crisis .

And so it hops along .

Andre .

Monday, February 16, 2009

Financial Crisis – Cars. 16 Feb 2009

Financial Crisis – Cars. 16 Feb 2009
Andre Willers
16 Feb 2009

Selling Cars below cost .
The automobile industry has been selling cars below cost for some considerable time .
See "Financial Crisis 31 Jan 2009" et al why this is a Bad Idea .

How could they manage it ?
1. Parts
Building a car from parts costs at least about ten times the shopfloor price . Yet these parts are made on the same assembly lines . Users are fobbed off with various excuses .

What happens:
The extra profits from future sales of parts form an income stream that is used to subsidise the price on the shopfloor .

Once a car has been sold (ie it is in circulation) , actuarial principles can be used to calculate the exact future income over a large number of vehicles .

Part of this is applied to subsidise the shopfloor price , to make it seem more competitive . The rest is profit .
Everybody is forced to do this to sell the clunky contraptions with too many doodads .

New-business strain :
This process places a new-business strain on the company ie the difference between the actual cost at time of sale and the (shopfloor price + future income stream ) . This is handled by bridging credit at the company level .

All very lucrative , until the credit dried up .

2. Theft
Automobile companies used pension- and health benefit reserves to play the futures markets in their own and other stocks , to the detriment of their employees
This was a major source of profit to many of them .
These profits were partly used to subsidise the new-business strain of new cars .

The whole process formed a positive feedback loop that pushed up share prices while lowering shopfloor-prices of vehicles .
Hence SUV's , luxuries like air-conditioning , power-steering , power-adjustable seats , etc , etc .

What to expect .
1.A glut of overly-subsidised luxury vehicles . But the price on the shopfloor won't go down as one would expect from supply-and-demand . Get two for the price of one (as is already happening) or other equally imaginative schemes to get vehicles into circulation . This is to kick-start the income-stream from parts , which can be discounted for desperately needed immediate cash and accounting figures .

2.The price of parts will go up for obvious reasons .
Renault is a good example . They have the same basic model , with parts for different years differing in minor details . They retain the same production line , with minor alterations . Prices are variable (usually upwards) , with excuses of scarcity , transport , storage , etc .

3.Some companies will go belly-up , and deservedly so for abusing a perfectly good mechanism . Their parts will become more and more expensive . The second-hand value of their cars will fall until they are scrapped .
The impact of their demise can be reduced by keeping some parts-lines in production .

4.Does this mean the end of the cheap car ?
I'm afraid so .
No matter how one slices it , the day of the cross-subsidy mechanism is done .
Full up-front disclosure of the real cost has arrived .

Real cost = shopfloor cost + parts + interest + fuel + maintenance + emissions costs + parking + scrapping costs + infrastructure costs .

It will take some time . As the process proceeds , the number of unnecessary add-ons now standard will be reduced to the absolute minimum . Prices will normally rise .

Sometimes the actual total price might even reduce (eg a Model-T BMW) . The marketing corkscrews will be fascinating to watch .

5.The number of models will reduce and simplify .
Green will be in .

6.Public transport .
This will increase . Big auto manufacturers that wish to survive can switch to buses , etc . Suburban and inter-city car traffic will still flourish , but be very expensive and much smaller in volume .

7. Ancillary industries
Small businesses supplying the motor industry will have immediate long-term credit problems . They will slowly go the way of buggy-whip manufacturers .

8. Real estate .
The sprawling suburb is dead .
Expect problems with infrastructure , especially water and sewerage as population densities shift quite rapidly to reflect new costs of transportation .

9 Alternative transportation .
Expect a splitting of urban and rural transportation systems .
Probably the biggest effect of this little storm .

At present , we treat the two as the same , at a huge cost .
We expect to drive on a rural road with maybe 200 users a year in the same vehicle at the same speed as on an inter-urban road serving 200 000 users a year .
Cheap cars and cheap petrol fuelled this , as so many tax-payers expected to go where they pleased in their ordinary car and were willing to pay for it .

But it is really expensive .

This has already happened in many countries , developed and developing . Road and railway maintenance budgets have been concentrated on core areas and core routes .

This is seen as a disaster , instead of the massive opportunity that it is .

Electric and hydrogen cars can be economically implemented in intra- and inter urban areas , but be prohibitively expensive in rural areas .

Why bother ?
Because the rural areas still feed the urban areas .
Without the food from tractors , harvesters , food- and fertilizer transport and silos , the cities starve into a welter of anarchy and war . See "10 . Rural Effects" below .

Expect that this abrupt shift in the automotive industry will lead to a schism between urban and rural transport systems .

10 . Rural Effects
10.1. Rural Roads and railway lines .
A big casualty .
Major routes will be maintained , but smaller country-side routes will no longer bear enough traffic to justify central subsidy or privatization .
But crops still need to be stored or get to market .
This is already a problem in South Africa .

Many countries don't even have rural roads or railways, to start with .
In developed countries , many rural routes , both road and railway , have been allowed to degenerate to a state where is more expensive to repair them than build new ones .
See Land Train below .

A big winner .
As rural roads grow worse , tyres will grow bigger . Using new synthetics much tougher than existing materials (eg cheap carbon-fibre composites) . They won't be going fast , so they need not be very sophisticated or expensive .

10.3. Land trains .
The "time is money" argument does not hold much water for occasional , slow speed cargo that can be planned for .

We're talking a prime-mover with ten-meter or larger wheels , towing dollies with equally large wheels over rough roads . Fast enough for crops and cargo .
Refrigerated if needed .

External combustion engines would be quite sufficient , cheap and can use any fuel .
Rugged and can be maintained or nearly rebuilt in the field .
Run by co-ops or transport services .
Beats walking , horses , oxen or mules .

10.4 Real 4x4 's
Not the dinky toys that masquerade as sports or military vehicles .

A 4x4 that sneers at bigfoot .
Whose old tyre makes a nice swimming pool . And an engine lasts for centuries .

10.5. Bridges and passes
Toll privatization plus government subsidy .

10.6 Emergencies
Aircraft , hovercraft , airships , high-performance real 4x4's . etc .

10.7 Tractors , harvesters .etc
Really important .
The prime feeders of the cities .
No need to change them in the short term .

10.8 Tourism .
Luxury land-trains carrying 4x4's , horses , planes , flying-wings , swimming pool , tennis court , squash court , etc .

The dynamic golf-course : tee-off from the train onto a pre-prepared golf-course , hop on horse to complete the putt and gallop back to a pukka 19'th hole .
The only golf course a thousand kilometers long .

Put the whole damn train on land-train dollies and travel on the Railways' right-of-ways all over the country . Beats canal barges . And never mind if enterprising locals have stolen the rails .

10.9 Aircraft .
Private airplanes are already extensively used . The cost of a small plane is about the same as an expensive car at present . This will even be more true as cars become more expensive and costs of planes fall due to the new US FAA licencing laws that have stimulated the production of small private planes .
Expect a huge demand for pilot training and ancillary services .

10.10 Water .
Water transport will become a big problem , not only in SA but all over the world .
Periodic droughts will necessitate the irregular shipments of thousands of tons of water for human and animal use over routes that have been allowed to decay to rough tracks . An infrastructure of land-trains can do this .

Summary .
As you can see , there is plenty of scope for making lots of money , using existing technology and not much capital .

In South Africa , there is actually no choice . Transnet has already allowed rural railway networks to decay to the point where they are unusable to get bulk crops to silos . And no new capital will be forthcoming .
Credit has dried up to buy food . Entrepreneurs (like Rovos) are quite capable of cobbling together a land-train .

What will they do ?
Tune in to the next thrilling episode and find out .


Friday, February 13, 2009

Financial Crisis 14 Feb 2009

Financial Crisis 14 Feb 2009
Andre Willers
14 Feb 2009

I have been asked to expand a bit on the shorter term .
See "Financial Crisis 31 Jan 2009"

The trigger to the crisis .
The crisis is a typical bubble , triggered by the rise in food prices that started in May 2007 . The figures are rounded to the nearest ten .
May 07 Mar 08 Oct 08
Wheat Futures (Chicago USc/bushel) 400 1190 400

Aug 07 Jul 08 Dec 08
Brent Crude(US$/barrel) 70 150 40

The primary driver is the rise in food prices as discussed in Maslow hierarchies in "Financial Crisis 31 Jan 2009" . This destabilized the global financial systems with a lag of about three months . (Remember the food riots? Wonder why they went away ?)

Note that the primary driver , namely the wheat price , rose by 200% , before plunging .
This is to be expected from the general argument in "Optimal Markups"

What happened ?
A steady increase in the oil price led to a switch to biofuels as producers tried to out-guess the market . The speculators and hedge funds got on board and the bubble was off . The rise in the food prices triggered the bubble .

The end of the trigger bubble :
As can be seen from the figures , this ended about Oct 2008 . Stock markets stabilized around then , then fell again .

What happened ?

Skeletons in the closet .
The bad mortgage-debts alone would have been mostly out of the system . It was never very large to start off with (a few trillion at most) , and could be rolled over .

But there was a decade of bad loss-making business decisions which had been hidden in footnotes or securitised and sold on with a nudge and a wink , so the CEO's and assorted managers could keep on receiving their exorbitant bonuses . The oversight by politicians and boards of directors here must carry a large part of the blame .
These amounts are much larger than the toxic mortgages . They are now creeping out of the woodwork .

The companies see this as a golden opportunity to get rid of these millstones , preferably with the taxpayer footing the bill for their greed and incompetence .

This is standard technique during big downturns .

Get rid of all the bad news in one fell swoop .
Fire a lot of people and renegotiate liabilities like defined benefit pension plans and health schemes .

When the upturn comes , it will be so much bigger as they rehire at reduced wages the same people they fired before . Big bonuses and kudos for management .
This has been the way it has been done before .

The Credit Freeze .
The mechanism is fascinating .
Not all companies were reckless and incompetent . Those who were not , were asked lend money to the bad ones . They refused . They saw it as being penalized for prudence and competence . Jealousy amongst CEO's also played a role .
Companies had and has a very good idea who were credit-worthy , and lending between them still goes on . It just does not make the press .
The bad-debt companies cleverly play the mass-media hysteria , equating their survival with economic well-being of the society .

The Fashion .
A CEO or manager who does not make noises like laying off thousands and being tough on credit-applicants runs a real danger of facing the chopping-block himself .

Lies .
As can be seen , industrial-scale lying is going on . The statistics are even more worthless than normal .

Food-prices .
These are fairly reliable for the "real" economy . These have stabilized since Oct 2008. It is the fat cats who are squealing the most .

The stampede .
Prudent companies have large capital reserves . They are using the hysteria and short-selling mechanisms in the market to drive down prices so they can buy assets at very reduced prices . This has happened many times before . The best-known one is Rothschild in London in 1815 , but the same happened in Russia during the 1990's (Ask Abramovich et al) . The result are oligarchs .

Expect private equity companies to expand greatly .

The iniquitous practice that companies (like insurance or pension fund administrators) can be bought for a fraction of the cost of the funds they control and stripped at leisure will be a challenge to future oversight mechanisms .
But at present , it continues apace and some people are literally increasing their net-control ten-fold or more . (Cf Rupert and Lehman )

Is there a bottom ?
Certainly .
It has already been reached in Oct 2008 . What the financial vultures are squabbling about is who will end up with the largest share of the spoils ("market share") .

The uncontrolled market has failed .
Adam Smith's Invisible Hand has become a fly-swatter wielded by the Owner-Managerial Oligarchies . Shades of the 19'th Century .

Remember , money is just a futures contract . It is subject to revision and contractual law . The Social Contract of Rousseau is still the underlying basis of all money-systems . If the owners of the money do not satisfy the Maslow-hierarchy needs as set out in "Financial Crisis 31 Jan 2009" , revision will follow , peaceful or not .

Toxic debts .
All debts are toxic . Some are just more toxic than others .
(Ask anybody getting married.)

We used to be in debt to the past (inheritances and savings ) .
Then they invented credit , and now we are also indebted to the future .
But we can and have managed it .

1.Bad-mortgage debts .
This has already been managed . The system has already absorbed it. Scale about $2 trillion .

2. Futures contracts (going back to LTCM at least) . Large amounts . See my previous estimates in 2005 . $300 trillion . But not all are bad . Even the bad ones have a decreasing toxicity . The trick is not to write them down all at once . Use a half-life formula (it seems to be happening in any case in the valuation models : if probability of repayment is smaller than interest )

3. Only a few firms are badly contaminated . The good ones are still trading . The bad ones have been isolated and are withering on the vine . The good ones are using the hysteria to get the non-toxic parts of the others at knock-down prices .

4. A trillion here , and a trillion there . Pretty soon we will be talking real money .

What does it mean ?
It means that human societies are immensely rich in promises .
The trick is not to renege on any one .
Remember , money is just future contracts on goods and services . As long as no promise is broken , the virtuous circle can remain unbroken and we don't have to run around reducing each other's populations .

The short term (2009)
The most important feedback-loop is US-China trade . The US has large amounts of capital invested in China , and China holds large amounts of US bonds . The netto is probably in favour of the US . But they are all promises . If either sides reneges , it is war . Both societies will probably disintegrate into civil war in a general war .Exciting times all round .
If this happens , place your head firmly between your knees and contemplate your spare navel .

The large US bond holdings of China are future contracts on goods and services of the US society . Inherent in this is the understanding that the services include buying from China . Ditto vice-versa .

But , hopefully , sanity will prevail . They will get together and pick on the weaker ones in true human fashion .

How do we know that the bottom has been reached ?
See "Exchange Rates"
The unit price of Alan Gray Orbis Feeder Fund (a SA rand denominated foreign exchange fund) has been fairly constant since Oct 2008 . Since the R-$ exhange rate tracks the DOW , especially on the down-side , it means that "real-value" is remaining unchanged (otherwise it would have gone down) . In other words , the market has reached bottom and is going sideways . (An amusing application of conservation laws) . See appendix a below .

How long can it go sideways ?
The world value-markets are already oversold . None of the stimulatory capital-injection packages have been implemented yet . All is hot air and reduced interest rates , but where is the money?

Markets are driven by velocity of money , not the amount of money . This is where the banks have the system by the short-and-curlies at the present moment . All the money is still there , but it is not moving , except between trusted clients .

This means that once money is injected , some will go into neutralizing toxic debts , but more will go into healthy firms , and we are back to the races .

Expect markets to rebound sharply towards July-Aug 2009 in value stocks .

Expect a sharp two-tier market . Good credit risks will get a much more favourable rate , while bad risks will pay considerably more . This is already happening in the raising of minimum amounts in Money Market accounts .

Inflation .
Only a problem if money is considered as real .
I have written about this before in previous posts . The problem is that the present monetary systems have no formal mechanism for destroying money except through inflation or exchange rates .

The problem with inflation is that it hits everybody , instead of just the culprits . (like a broad-spectrum antibiotic.)

What is evolving is two-tiered interest mechanism that not only destroys money in the culprit's hands , but puts it into the more efficient company's hands . This sounds like we already have , but the sharp differentiation between tiers means it is one of those rare instances where quantitive change brings about qualitative change . It almost always presages major sociological changes (eg French financial crises in early 1700's , SA in the 1980's , Zimbabwe in the 1990's , etc) .

An intriguing question :
Can an exchange rate mechanism give a constant value , reflecting the real , underlying value ?
The amazing answer is that it can !
And it does it by destroying or creating money using the exchange-rate mechanism .
In other words , the response is non-linear .
Saying something is non-linear means that there is discrepancies from linear paths . These are usually interpreted as forces or destruction/creation .

What is really amazing is that the relationship is so simple . and so similar to orbital dynamics . On second thought , not so strange , as the dominant currency plays the role of the central mass .

The Relationship is
R/D^2 = K
Where R= rands , D = dollars and K is some constant . K can be fairly fuzzy .
The derivation is given in appendix A .

Summary :
The primary bottom has been reached in Oct 2008 .
Secondary financial cycles are felt as companies jockey for position . Extremely sharp recoveries can be expected in July , Aug 2009 , unless the politicians muck it up completely .
After that , the usual ups and downs , but with a sharp upward bias as we go towards the singularity .

Money makes the world go elliptical .



Appendix A
Derivation of Rand(R) and Dollar(D) exchange rate relationship .
The symbol " ~ " means proportionate .
The prefix d means an infinitesimal .

R = dR/dD * D
This means the Rand is equal to the exchange rate times the Dollar . Not that the values are assumed to be continuously differentiable . This is a simple tensor equation. R is the number of Rands one dollar buys .

dR/dD ~ (-1)*d(DOW) / dt
where DOW is Dow Jones Index , and dt the usual time derivative .
It means that the Rand exchange rate tracks the DOW.
If the DOW goes down , the Rand exchange rate will go up . "Exchange Rates" for why .

Combining the two above gives
R ~ - D * d(DOW)/dt

But the value of the Dollar is dependant on the value of the DOW .
It is the dominant currency in the relationship .

Then we have :
d(Dow) ~ dD ( infinitesimals may be used in this relationship) and thus
R ~ - D * d(D)/dt

This gives
Integral( R)*dt ~ Integral (- D * dD)
Integral( R)*dt ~ -1/2 * (D^2)

Integral( R)*dt means the value of the Rand after an infinite summation between boundaries .
I have not bothered with constants , so the term (-1/2) can be disregarded after the integration . You can insert boundary conditions if you want to re-invent Newtonian orbital mechanics .

The above means that R ~ D^2
R/D^2 = Konstant .

Note that in real life , the tracking between the Rand/Dollar exchange rate is close if the DOW decreases , but is much looser when it increases . This is one of the mechanisms of making money using exchange rates .
See the table in "Exchange Rates"


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Negative Kelvin

Negative Kelvin
Andre Willers
11 Feb 2009

Synopsis :
Negative degrees Kelvin temperature and high-density energy storage .

Sources :
ScientificAmerican Nov 2008 p40

Discussion .
The Second Law of Thermodynamics is found to hold for linear momentum transfers , as long as non-equilibrium systems are examined in fine enough detail , though extra dimensions of descriptions have to be added .

The problem lies in transfers of linear momentum to angular momentum and vice-versa .

This is easiest shown with thought experiments :

1.The Maxwell Demons :
The Demons directs higher-speed molecules to one side and the lower-speed ones to the other side . After a large number of iterations , one side boils and the other side freezes .

2.The Andre Demons :
The Demons direct molecules onto target molecules to increase their spin (paddlewheel principle) . After a large number of iterations , you have a matrix of molecules with zero linear motion , where all the energy is locked into the spin .
This is a material at negative degrees Kelvin . Any impinging particle will first have to soak up some of the energy in the spin before influencing the linear momentum (especially if the rotating molecules are locked in a matrix) .

These are theoretical ideals .
Ironically , Andre demons are much more feasible than Maxwell demons .
We use existing technology , mainly magnetrons(as in microwaves) and laser tweezers for the finishing touches for really high-density storage .

How to make a strong energy storage capsule:
Take a very well temperature- and electronic insulated capsule of hot water , put a strong electrical field across it to give a directional bias to the linear momentum of the water molecules .
In the same direction as the electric field , chirp the output of a magnetron at decreasing harmonic frequencies of 2.45 gigaHz .
The chirp has to be integrated with the Doppler-feedback from the spinning water-molecules(like a laser tweezer) . Some fancy electronics might be required .
This feedback process satisfies the Beth(1) requirements .

This spins a statistically significant number of water molecules using heat vibrations .
The capsule's measurable temperature decreases .
Repeat until desired energy density is achieved .

To tap it :
We can use the Reciprocity Relation (for which Onsager received the Nobel prize) to get a burst of electromagnetic-waves (laser weapon up to gamma ray wavelengths ) , or tap the EMW for electrons like a battery .

Biological systems .
It bothers me that present theory allows only mitochondria to use rotations .
Biological systems use anything available .
What about things rolling around on the cell-surface between receptor sites ?
Most viruses (like HIV) follows a circular configuration . A simple physical block preventing rolling between the CD4 and CCR5 receptors might prevent HIV infection.
Or spin the HIV virus using electromagnetic radiation at a resonant frequency , reducing the incidence of docking .

This is a Beth(1) technology .

And so it twirls .

Andre .

Monday, February 09, 2009

To see like a Honeybee .

To see like a Honeybee .
Andre Willers
9 Feb 2009

Synopsis :
The visual system of the honeybee is a marvel . It has one extra colour . It has a navigation system based on stellar and infrared terrain rcognition , as well as wind velocity and magnetic fields .
All in one little package .

Discussion :
Look carefully at a good definition micro-photo of the eye (as in Scientific American of Dec 2008 p54) or

You will see stiff hairs of varying lengths growing right out of the eyeball .
We know that hairs can be wave-guides (eg polar-bear fur )

The eyeball is the platform for the ommatidia and sensory hairs. It is bulbously shaped , with a less pronounced curvature toward the bottom than the top .

The optical-waveguides(hairs) are at right angles to the surface , with the shorter ones to the top . The longer the hair , the longer the wavelength .

We know that insects have an extra dopsin (light-sensitive neuro-chemical) towards the ultra-violet (mammals lost this about 100 MYA) .
The ommatidia uses these .

Relative airspeed
The hairs deform in relative air-movement , giving an indication of relative airspeed .

Infrared pattern recognition .
The downward-facing , longer hairs are used for terrain-following infrared pictures . This is why honeybees can be trained to recognize human faces (actually been done).
Infrared sensors are common in the animal kingdom , but is there a dopsin for it ?

Longer wavelengths (like microwaves , radio etc)
They can sense these , too . Twice a day (at sunrise and sunset) , a standing Electromagnetic pulse sweeps over any point on the global surface , giving another navigational indicator .

Stellar recognition .
Honeybees can see the stars in cloudless daylight . The waveguide hair acts as a narrow optical sensor , screening out the surrounding glare .
They can also see satellites and larger space debris . Better than the existing human Spacewatch .
Satelites must confuse the hell out of their navigational systems .

Magnetic fields .
A very old sensor . Sensing the Earth's magnetic field is very old . Whether this will be in the eye itself is not known .

Polarized light .
The hair(cilia) waveguides can also polarize light (like with polar bear fur) .
The honeybee can look directly at the sun with some cilia without burning out the system .

Putting it all together :
Why have such redundancy ?
The honeybee has a major problem . It has no stable platform from which to sense relative motion . This creates a major efficiency hurdle .

Land-animals assume that the ground is stable . All motion of the eyeballs are relative to this , calculated by muscle and motion sensors .
This makes possible the very efficient saccades (small rapid movements of the eyeball) , which scans and processes information about the environment . This is then stitched together in a seamless fashion in the Sensorium , using data from the nervous system .
(Hence seasickness or earthquake disequilibrium or nausea after general anaesthesia).

But the honeybee has to create it's equivalent of "solid ground" . It does this by redundancy . It always knows where it is in relation to the hive , and what it's spatial orientation is .
Instead of saccades , it moves its whole body to scan the environment .

When flying over a terrain , it builds up an infrared picture of the terrain . Not a map . (Note that the picture of a face is not a map.)
Since nature likes using the same mechanisms , it probably has the same faculty as far as stellar pictures are concerned . They can probably use constellations .
All these mechanisms has been experimentally proven to be used by single neurons in insects and humans . (Note , single neurons . Not even a cluster !)

All the other senses combine in the eye to tell the eye where it is .
The sensorium can then build up a seamless picture of what it sees .

What it is like to see like a honeybee .
It is a sequence of pictures in five colours . Like a very garish comic-book .

The sky is blue and ultraviolet (a colour humans can't see) , with white spots of the stars (even in daylight) . The sun and moon appear nearly of equal brightness (polarized light) .
The ground underneath has five primary colours
(Ultraviolet , blue , green , red , infrared).

The heat sensors(infrared) use a separate sensor and pattern-recognition network . In the sensorium this seems like a underlying "red" diffusing through the ground , with the bee's last path and the hive like "red" trails and spots .

Everything is alive with colour .

Some speculations :
1.Communicating with Honeybees .
Use garish pictures in sequence . The honeybee cannot understand narratives . It's intra-species communication dance has only a few key pictures .
Do a comic-book with referents that a bee can relate to . Simple communication can proceed from there .

But remember that the problem is the extremely rich information volume the bee is evolved for . Abstraction is not their forte .

The advantages of communicating with bees are numerous .
Better pollination , eco-warning , unequalled watch-systems , astronomy and spacewatch to name a few .
A number of hives in orbit will be an extremely powerful detection system .
Nature's astronomers .

Cheap , too.

2.Voices .
Theoretically , sound-pictures can be recognized by using the relative-windspeed mechanism .
Translate a comicbook frame by frame using synesthesia .

3. Scents .
This can be used in the communication protocols , but I doubt whether the honeybee can see scents . The lack of stable enough referents will make neural-networks unable to learn (why synesthesia is not more popular) .

4. The Intelligence of hives .
An unsettled question .
The problem is memory .
A distributed PNA ,RNA,DNA memory is far cheaper than having a full memory in each organism . (An analogue is software for rent on the Internet compared to having to buy it for your PC.)

A language that enables a better memory might uplift them .
( "Ve haff vays of making you smarter !" )

One of the major reasons for the success of mammals are the saccades of eyeballs . This establishes a narrative at very basic neurological level , enabling memory to be stored in smaller blocks than whole pictures . Abstraction is then easier .

The honeybee system is similar to the cul-de-sac whales and orcas with sonar-type three-dimensional pictures found themselves in .
It is no surprise then to find that they are evolving into hive-like groups (eg beachings) .

The irony is that communicating with bees will probably enable us to communicate better with whales , orcas , and maybe dolphins .

5. Dirty jokes .
If you can swap dirty jokes with a honeybee over a cup of nectar , then you can make a claim to be cosmopolitan .

And so it buzzes .

Andre .

Saturday, February 07, 2009

NeuroMagic , The Zone , Sports and Exams.

NeuroMagic , The Zone , Sports and Exams.
Andre Willers
7 Feb 2009

NeuroMagic is a hot new science .
It is the fusion of NeuroScience and Stage Magic .
The exact neurological mechanisms of effective stage magic tricks are explored . The process is synergistic . Both sides benefit to an quite an extraordinary degree .

The Synergy :
Stage Magic exploits processes (flaws , weaknesses , or just the way it is done) in the perception and cognitive processes . It has a repertoire of tricks built up over thousands of years . Tried and tested in the real world .

Neuroscience explains them and suggests new approaches .

An explosion of applications is only now starting .

"Watch the ball ! "
"Pay attention!"
Heartfelt imprecations from generations of coaches .

But how do these mechanisms work ? More importantly for competitive sports , how to take advantage of them .

NeuroMagic manipulates the mechanics of the visual system , as well as the more important attention and concentration mechanisms at the neural level .

1.Mental lapses :
Change blindness , inattentional blindness , choice blindness .
The cognitive system is manipulated at a neural level .
2.Visual lapses
Curved and straight motions activate different neural systems at sub-retinal level and cognitive level .

The details can be found in the works of S Martinez-Conde , SL Macknik et al .
A good summary is in ScientificAmerican Dec 2008 p44 "Magic and the Brain" .
NewScientist has also run a good article .

Misdirection in sport .
This old standby of stage magicians is allowed (feints) .

The Zone .
Being "In Form" .
Well known in sport . Usually described as a state of relaxed concentration .
The meta-feedback processes in the brain are confident that they can handle anything because the processes they monitor are functioning well .
You can be in the Zone and still get wiped . It is an internal state .
But it is fragile .
Neuromagic techniques will be aimed at usable techniques to induce , maintain and recover it , while disrupting the opponent's Zone .

Is the Zone delineated ?
Yes .
It is a whole mess of feedback-systems coming together in a system recognized internally by the meta-monitoring systems as distinct .
So , yes , you do wake up in the morning knowing that everything is tip-top .
But it varies .
If you don't , neuromagic is supposed to develop techniques to kick-back into the Zone-state .
If all else fails , try rebooting . Go back to sleep thinking positive thoughts . Waking up is a fairly random initiation process of feedback loops .
This is where being part of a Team helps . The team acts as a flywheel , kickstarting the process if possible .

Zone Collapse .
If you are in the Zone , and it is then collapsed , a whole host of feedback processes are initiated that reduces effectiveness drastically . This is a neurological effect . Like dropping a spanner in watch-gears . The player's game collapses .

Disrupting Teams .
This is possible by inducing false narratives .
Eg in soccer:
This is done using misdirection and visual-system cues to make a ball disappear and reappear somewhere else from the opposing player's viewpoint . This induces a false narrative , collapsing their Zone .

Building teams can and is being done using similar techniques ,
but on an ad hoc basis , without a deep neurological-level theoretical background .
A quantum-physicist would be handy . The Zone-state is very much like a fragile quantum state generated from a number of players .

Virtualities .
Does anybody train in SecondLife?
It seems the obvious mechanism .

It is not physical responses that need training , but mental ones . A virtuality is better than real life , because plays can be replicated exactly and repeatedly , identifying and correcting mistakes . Levels of difficulty can be adjusted . Opposing teams can be modeled using agents . Tie it to Wii .

It can even generate revenue . Fancy yourself playing against Rinaldo ?
For $100 you can play against his model avatar . For $10 000 you can train against/with him in a real training exercise in SecondLife . This might even be advisable , to add randomness to the training regimen .

In effect , a player can play the opponent repeatedly before the actual tournament .

Of course , both sides will be forced to do this . SecondLife tournaments will grow in importance . Maybe even old , obese , cocaine-addicted brilliant players will make a come-back . (Or their avatars will . )

Business Team Building
This can be done cheaply , interchanging same company or a competitor's personel .
Headhunters can employ it to get a dreamteam .

Concentration .
The techniques of concentration developed for sport are applicable to scholastic pursuits .

Exams .
The scholastic equivalent of the sports tournament .
There is definitely a Zone for writing exams (personal experience) .
When there is no hesitation . An optimal utilization of known resources . Data flows unimpeded from memory .
The opposite , alas , also happens . The individual usually knows that he is not in top-notch shape (not in the zone , not in form) , but has no choice but to take part .
The results are then also well below expectation .

The scholastic Zone uses the same neurological mechanisms as the sports Zone .
Training mechanisms developed for sports can be used for academic purposes .

The Team and Zones .
At first sight , it would seem more difficult to induce a Zone state in a number of individuals than in one individual . But it is paradoxically easier , and is used on industrial scale all over the world .

This is the highest-paid skill in the world .
What coaches and CEO's are extravagantly rewarded for . The ability to use a team to induce the Zone state in the most talented members of the team .
Note the emphasis on the most talented members of the team . The team is a tool to get the best out the most talented . It also induces Virtual Teams in them .
Think of it as a Socratic method involving mirror-neuron networks .
("What will my team think" , etc)

The traditional tools are well-known : entrainment under mild stress , mimetic emulation , isolation , exposure to carefully vetted social influences , etc .

Neuromagic has expanded on this toolkit , and will enhance it further in the normal competitive manner .

Note that Learned Helplessness is most emphatically not included . The idea is not to crush the most talented members of the team , but to induce them into the Zone , thus also dragging along many in the team not so talented .

Most Universities , especially in South Africa , (Stellenbosch in particular) , still crushes the best students under the misapprehension that they are building teams . They are just creating mediocrity . The talented are supposed to uplift the others , not join them .

Study Teams .
An interesting adaptation of the sports team idea . Widely used in US universities . Note that by pruning , the talented surround themselves with a supporting mimetic pool . This helps to maintain them in the Zone , and also drag along the many others who would not make it on their own .
A natural outflow is FaceBookism , now gathering momentum (see previous posts)

Virtual Teams .
Humans have the neurological means to form Virtual Teams .
Mirror-neuron networks .

Mild Asperger's persons are rich in Mirror Networks . They are also most prone to being crushed by social learned-helplessness techniques forced on them . The few that do survive this process do so via Virtual Teams . Usually characters they read from history .
It is no accident that Napoleon , Hitler , Stalin , Mao to name a few were avid readers of history . It was not primarily to learn from it (since they did not) , but to fuel their virtual teams . (One of the major reasons why spectacles fueled social change)

A Virtual Dream Team composed of Alexander , Caesar , Genghis , etc will result in a Supernerd of a different ilk than a Virtual Dream Team composed of Buddha , Jesus , Mohamed , etc .

From an overview , supernerds like these are useful to give the whole system a shake-up now and then .
Those who can't keep up , will have to learn to run a bit faster . Is that not what was drummed into them ?

Choosing your Virtual Team .
As you can see from above , choosing a well-balanced virtual team is essential to anybody's successful and happy functioning as a composite entity .

Techniques for doing this has been known for a long time (meditation , study , role-playing , getting married , etc)

But we now have drugs (eg Ritalin) , electronics (biofeedback , fMRI) , neuromagic that give us easy-to-use methods of precisely forming a Virtual Team .

For a sportsman , this means he can be in the Zone on demand . But it is addictive .
Ditto for academics .

Zone-Addiction .
Remember , being in the Zone is only in internal optimal state (Feel-good . Endorphin release .) . If this conflicts with external events , then depression or mania or both will result . (Eg Hitler when reality and the model in his mind parted company.)

The definition of addiction is that it freezes out other behaviours .
Like sleep , non-zonal states might be necessary for other behaviour-states to have a look-in . Research is needed .

Off-hand , from reserve considerations ,
(see "New Tools: Reserves")
I would estimate that about of 1/3 of waking time is needed for non-Zonal activity . About 2-3 hours . The trick is to use neuromagic techniques to be in a Zonal state when the tournament occurs .

Toujours !

Andre .

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Placebo Strategy .

The Placebo Strategy .
Andre Willers
5 Feb 2009 .

For Renschia on her birthday .

Placebo : a placeholder .
Not "Nothing" , but a symbol denoting that it is a placeholder .

The most widely used and effective placebo is zero (0) . Essential to any financial or modern arithmetical system .

The placebo with the most dramatic effect is the zero's at the end of a bank statement , debt , salary cheque , banknote , etc . This can have a pronounced biochemical effect .

As discussed (see "Financial Crisis 31 Jan 2009" )
This placebo represents existing , but unknown , future contracts on the goods and services of a group of humans (society) .

The question is whether it has an underlying logical cause . Why in double-blind tests are placebo's still effective ? Why does Monopoly work ? or Confederate money or Roman coins give a thrill?

It ties in with duplication of gene-sequences . These duplicates can be seen as placebos in the biggest crap-game around , namely living systems .

The Logical Model .
See "New Tools: Orders of Randomness"

Briefly : if a random neutral signal periodically disturbs a system with a bias (like a living system) and it has a feedback-loop (ie memory) , it uses random-walk mechanisms to get better prospects in the direction of the bias . .

As you can see from the above analog , if no feedback (ie future expectation or contract) is involved , all systems involved are Beth(0) (ie ordinary chance) . There is no bias and that is the assumption in normal tests .

If there are feedback-loops involved , these take a finite time and are equivalent to future feedback . Call these Beth(1) systems .

In any living organism the Beth(1) systems have a bias towards continued existence .
Can you see that any periodic disturbance will bias towards continued existence?

Any periodic disturbance of Beth(1) (ie the placebo) will enable a random-walk process towards more continued existence .
Life is biased .
This can be shown rigorously (like throwing loaded dice with every instanciation of the placebo .)

But what is the memory?
In living organisms with many cells over large periods it is continued existence .

Inside cells , it is the PNA , RNA , DNA trinity .
See Scientific American Dec 2008 p38 " A new molecule of life"
Briefly , PeptideNucleicAcid(PNA) predated RNA and DNA , but was superseded because it was too stable . Life in competition requires unstable structures skating on the peripheries of chaotic attractors .

But PNA is still used in memory , immune system , epigenetics , micro-RNA and micro-DNA processes because it is nice and stable . It is also essential for placebo effects . The random-walk effect cannot work if there is no memory shorter than the lifespan of the cell .

PNA processes are , by definition , involved in longevity and immune systems .
It governs the expression of genes .

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS)
See Scientific American Dec 2008 p80 "Turning back the cellular clock."
Only 4 genes are necessary to create them :
Oct3/4 , Sox2 , c-Myc , and Klf4 .
As expected , uncontrolled proliferation(cancer) is a problem . Hence the involvement of PNA.

See "UnPacking"
PNA evolved first as the unpacker , then RNA and DNA as the packers using evolutionary processes .
Sharks , crocs ?

If the compound being tested is really active , it's effect can only be measured after deducting the Placebo-effect . This rarely happens .

On the other hand , real effects can be obtained simply by following a frequent , periodic (ie every hour on the hour) of the placebo regimen . It does not matter if the patient believes it or not , but it will help .

Enhancement .
The effect will be enhanced if capsules of easily recognized compounds are used . The best is probably alcohol . A drop of alcohol in a gelatin capsule taken every hour on the hour will trigger an optimal cellular sigma-sequence of the placebo-effect .

Notice prayer regimens with Christians , Muslims , Buddhists , sects , misers , accountants , etc .
Prayer-beads , genuflecting , counting , filling in tax-forms , etc .
Tibetan Buddhists are unique in that they have mechanized the placebo
Prayerwheels , driven by wind or water . Whether this works even as a placebo is very doubtful .

All those vitamin pills , etc .
The delicious irony is that many of these do work , but only as a real placebo effect . The problem is that the really effective ones are not known .

Memory .
Placebo memory is then very deep-rooted , down to intra-cellular level .

Gut Bacteria .
See NewScientist 6 Dec 2008 p 16
The important thing is not the various types of gut bacteria , but the gene-sets they have to handle human digestive processes . The orchestrator of this process is cellular memory in the form of PNA .
The variety matters more than the concentration .

Licking your wounds .
Saliva is rich in proline/glycinel/glutamine phosphoproteins nutrients plus anti-biotics .
These are directly applied to the open cells of the wound .
Effect : half of the affected area gets better in a 24-hour period .
It is species specific , but mammals(especially dogs)have some overlap with humans .
It is essentially a semi-placebo .
But it is of major significance in the mouth .
Any damage to the gums or challenge to the mouth's immune systems should be done at regular intervals , as discussed . This is where the rubber hits the tar and placebos are most necessary . It sets the tone for the rest of the digestive system .

A simple algorithm:
Throw a dice and remember and say aloud the number just before you throw the dice again (preferably at regular periodic intervals .)
Recommended frequency : at start , once every 5 minutes , then tapering off over 12 hours to once an hour , then once a day .
That's it .

General memory should improve , as well as immunity systems(PNA memory)
Digestion and mouth-hygiene should improve .

This is a placebo in it's purest form .

Clap your hands (fingertip neural activation) and stamp your feet and toes (feet neural activation) to activate timing mechanisms . A small sip of an expensive single malt whisky will add extra significance , as well as a clear physiological marker .
These processes make it easier for the cellular sigma-sequence of the effect .

The real present universe .
There is evidence that mirror-symmetry is not preserved . Ie , the Universe is biased and that periodic applications of placebos will exacerbate this tendency .
This is a process already used in chemical manufacturing under the name of Chaotic Manufacturing .

Summary :
As you can see , this is a simple Beth(1) technology .

A nice speculation is that most politicians are placebos .
They also serve who sit and pontificate .

And so it goes .

Andre .