Friday, December 30, 2016

Trump's space policy: making Russia great again and turning US into an ant

Promise Versus Reality in Human Settlement of Space

I still have access to a huge network of technical, economic and human information
regarding space. As of the end of 2016, the information coming back points to a high probability of
a near-term disaster in that sector, where Trump may promise and sincerely try to rise to the level of John Kennedy... but then end up with a fate similar to Richard Nixon – who also had the great thrill of being elected and reelected before reality caught up with him.  My motive in writing this up is a wild hope that someone might be able to prevent disaster in time for the State of the Union speech, or at least in time for when decisions become irrevocable. Small hope? Better than nothing, but Nothing may yet come...

I wish I could explain this in a quick twitter burst. I have tried, and failed, as I will describe later.

A basic problem:  even when your car is urgently about to explode, a quick thrust of the sledge hammer won’t make things better. Here is a RELATIVELY simple picture, unfortunately the minimum needed to avoid disaster... to keep this car from exploding... I will add more detail later... even a bit on methods and sources..

1. Disaster before Trump:

Much of America’s erosion as a real great power has been due to what Trump has called “the swamp,” a system of corruption quite similar to what Ayn Rand depicted in describing Taggart’s DC operation in Atlas Shrugged.
(No, I do not believe everything in that book, and I do not believe everything in the Bible. One would have to be a total fuzzhead or schizo to believe everything in both of THOSE books! But they both have moments of intense clarity and realism. I can’t say that the Catholic Church was totally irrational when it banned public access to the Bible a few centuries ago, or that rulers of Morocco were wrong in saying that certain parts of the Koran should not be discussed with children in general.) When I was in Senator Specter’s office, as the person assigned to handle space policy in 2009, I saw first hand how the swamp creatures’ operation worked to prevent any new wave of US progress in space, getting rid of efforts to develop new high technology to max out our capabilities in space launch  in order to reduce risk, in order to get rid of the painful uncertainties and anxieties for investors which had occurred when there was real competition, and in order to shift jobs to areas of low skill and low understanding of advanced technology; Shelby and Lamar Smith are current centers of the swamp creature movement, in effect, to drown out hopes of humans in the galaxy.  

2. What COULD be done:

Concretely, when I was at NSF, for a few years they let me fund the most advanced serious concepts of hypersonic flight to orbit, and to exploit the full peer review capabilities of NSF, interagency cooperation and workshops to probe what is actually possible.  I learned that “off the shelf” (high technology readiness) technology would allow us to reduce costs to earth orbit by a factor of 10 or 100, beyond anything now in sight realistically from “old space” (Lockheed and Boeing and such) or from new space (like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, XCOR, Blue Origin and many others). World class industrial cost estimators agreed with the realism of a $12 billion total 5-year price tag to get to flying prototypes (already enough to
dramatically increase our space launch capability!)  and, more important, an upgrade of Boeing’s Seattle plant to be able to pump out low-cost spaceplanes as well as they pump out Dreamliners. (It is so hard for me NOT to say anything about important and exciting technical details, right now... but essential as they are they don’t go in the summary section.)
I posted a few more details, as of 2008, in the space part of, but need to update that part...

At one point, I asked the guy running the national security work at the Marshall Institute: “What happens, strategically, when one nation can orbit ten to a hundred times as much into orbit, for ANY purpose? Who really owns the highground of space at that point? Do we really want to relinquish the US fate?” Before that, I had a long friendly meeting with the Major General who ran the National Security Space Office, who gave direct orders in my sight “to get this started yesterday.” But two weeks later, the dinosaurs ate him.

3. Where we are now:

In DC, the term “stakeholder process” has become a euphemism for corruption and corporate welfare, the general system
which Trump has called “the swamp.” For many people embedded in that particular corporate culture... if you can’t turn all decisions over to a coalition of Lockheed and Boeing lobbyists, you need to find another hero in the same kind of PR business. And so, the exciting effort to get out of the swamp and make America great again in the space launch business has been shanghaied by another corporate welfare movement, this being the one to pick SpaceX as a kind of new virtual monopoly. Lots of good intentions, moving towards a disaster. Ironically, I myself did my best (which was relatively effective) to get SpaceX more visibility on Capitol Hill when I worked for Senator Specter, and I really do not want to use harsh language here. But objective reality... nature.. Murphy’s Law can be quite unforgiving, even for the nicest of people with the best of intentions. The current stated Trump space policy is to cut back on stuff like the great space dinosaur called SLS (great!), to rely more heavily across the board in civilian and military space on strong competition for launch services (also great, part of what SpaceX has asked for), and to rely on the private sector for new development of launch technology (OOPS!!).  That new launch technology, well beyond the capabilities now present OR IN SIGHT of the New Space companies, is what offers the 10 to 100 times improvement in launch capability. By analogy... if our lives depended on Elon Musk developing a new unified field theory on his  own, without effective strategic help... well, some of us would be reviewing what we do or do not know about afterlife. That’s where I am right now, at the end of the day (and perhaps of the human species beyond earth).

Still, there is some hope that the EU, India or Russia might fill in, and occupy the high ground. (China’s space programs look as mired as ours.) Wouldn’t that be an interesting end to Trump’s six to eight years, an image of the US as a little old bug overshadowed by a Russian mother ship? Or even a simple coup d’etat as the generals who have the intelligence data decide they just won’t put up with it (egged on by a variety of folks emotional about Russia, some who support democracy less than Netanyahu supports the two-state solution)? This is a serious crossroads folks, and I’m not the only one worried.

4. What Could Be Done

Many people resist rational policies because rationality is not exciting to them. But that is the only possible way forward. It can be packaged to be exciting (even scary) at times, but if we fall into “let’s play dress up and pretend Elon Musk is Iron Man or Andrew Carnegie” we lose what hope is left.

At a technical level, when I was in a few inner circle meetings at the international Hypersonics conferences of the AIAA (lead society for real aerospace technology, though IEEE is also big there) ... my entree was control technology and systems technology. But anyone really good in systems engineering knows the importance of fighting the perpetual pitfalls of tribalism, and of working hard to protect and defend other pieces of the puzzle, other specialities which complement one’s own. I have learned that the number one urgent need, to get to orbit at low cost with rockets or airbreathers or more advanced technology from Russia, is now to restore, upgrade, digitize and harden Boeing’s technology for “hot structures.”

Wow is that hard for your garden variety ersatz rocket scientist to understand! Let alone the PR people who really hate being reminded that the used cars they are selling would all lose their tires after just a few trips!

How could nature possibly be so cruel to cancel all the value of huge investments just on the basis of something so mild and petty as the skin of spacecraft melting away as it enters or leaves the atmosphere at high speed? (For rocketplanes, repeated reentry is the challenge, but advanced airbreathers and “Ajax” technology also require skin which is robust when going up.)

DARPA’s little XS program is the closest we now have to developing that technology, but they don’t have enough money.  
Also, they have political oversight. I remember very vividly when Senator Shelby’s person, attending a meeting at the Pentagon with me and Gary Payton (head of USAF space programs), expressed puzzlement about that, and she and other leading authorities said “of course we know how to solve that problem. TPS is the solution..” and the political appointees overseeing DARPA have insisted that TPS be the lead there, as “we know it works.”

Lots of folks know it works, and that’s a key reason why the US and the secret Chinese military space programs are going nowhere. They know it works, and it doesn’t. (Musk by contrast is counting on a combination of older technologies, manna from heaven and incredible expensive wastes of fuel. I do hope we can supply the manna, which neither he nor NASA Ames show any sign of being onto yet. Ames COULD be upgraded, with new money and strong more serious technology

TPS – active cooling of the leading edges – was in fact the technology which the National Aerospace Program of Ronald Reagan relied on. NASP ended up as a great failure for Reagan and for me and for many others, but it was our best try so far, and it did develop some useful technology. I worked very closely with McDonnell Douglas at the height of NASP.
(Just look up The Handbook of Intelligent Control by White and Sofge, and google about it.  Some things in 1992 were ahead of where the industry is today!) When the NASP program office decided it was finally ready to fulfill Reagan’s vision, with enough proven well-tested component technologies to put together to design a vehicle with real data (not Musk data), the net payload worked out to be negative... because of the huge weight of the very best active TPS system which the best people in the US were capable of supplying. (Actually, White and I had an idea for how to cut the TPS weight in half, by really risky new combinations of technology, but from a  systems viewpoint you’d be an idiot to choose that over what Boeing proved out before at Wright Patterson test labs. To do it, you’d also have to give tons of money exactly to me and to White... not a set of technologies they teach even at MIT lately. China and UK are closer to it... but it really is scary.)

A more complete plan for how to fix NASA, with lots of bells and whistles, is posted as an article in:
In a way, this represents a joint viewpoint of IEEE and AIAA, as I was deputy chair of the IEEE Committee on Transportation and Aerospace Policy in 2015, and Ed chaired the AIAA Colonization committee (with tons of access to 
current industry work on such issues). I did not accept to be chair of that committee in 2016 because the previous VP of IEEE-USA for government relations overrode a unanimous vote of the committee to accept this as an official IEEE position. We have reached a point where substantive technical inputs are more and more essential to avoiding disasters in many, many areas of policy! If only professional PR/lobbyist views ever get to the top... well, it all is at risk. 


OK, I am out of time today. You might search this blog for what I learned about NASA from its earlier effort to build a Mach 6 airplane without an engine (keyword: legends), and how the stakeholders got rid of the one guy at NASA headquarters who really tracked and tried to provide technical oversight to prevent that.... Much much more meat for all of this...   

If OSTP lived up to the original vision and scuttled the corruption which has grown there lately, under orders to follow the stakeholder system strictly, disasters like this might be easier to avoid...  well-meaning fuzzy leadership or technically ignorant leadership has been a growing problem.

I vetted this by asking specific technical questions about the SpaceX (and Trump) plans of many people, some very well embedded in the aerospace community. The best that any of the SpaceX crew could come up with was
"well, we have done our own tests, and of course we can't say more to nonmembers." But Dr. Paul at WPAFB assured me that his was the only test facility in America able to test all three kinds of stresses which a reentry vehicle must pass,
and it did not come cheap for the government. When I visited it, it was sobering to see the many hundreds of test articles there at any time... let alone the thousands tested over time.. and I was very pointed in asking: "Is it true as I have heard that only the Boeing article ever passed the whole suite"? Yes, even though every one of those thousands were supposed to be certain to work and well-funded by SOMEONE.  The ((now declassified) TASC evaluation said that all three competitors failed at first, in the most serious test to date, even Boeing's, but they figured out how to change the design and make it work to the full satisfaction of the group paying. (CIA at that time.) 

Many DC salesmen argue we don't NEED reusable rockets, because expensive expendables are cheaper when you orbit just one payload per year. That's greta if our plan is for the US to orbit just one payload per year  (even in event that someone kills a key satellite) and for someone else to be able to orbit thousands efficiently and economically. Any hope of human settlement of space would require the latter.  I really know those DC salesmen... and I remember the DARPA-funded global reach vehicle which melted and exploded not so many years ago (after a valid program was modified by political appointees responding to a guy I actually met in other contexts).  

Monday, December 19, 2016

Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey

This event today is certainly entangled with crucial larger issues in play, and possible outcomes.

Among other things, one immediate issue appears: will Erdogan tell the real truth to Russia and to the world? I hope any serious major power with serious intelligence capabilities knows by now not to take at face value the PR of folks quite willing to "bend the truth" for their political purposes. The news says it was a Turkish policeman who shouted "Ali Akbar." Erdogan wants to blame everything on Kurds and Yezidis, but to accept such BS PR right now would be a strong warning about the sanity and maturity of anyone believing it. (Sure, Russia has some value in being tactful and not saying "BS PR" itself to the TV, but.,.. )

At best, Erdogan might have just been "playing to his base" by shifting Turkey to be more of an Islamic Republic with Sunni theocracy and sharia and so on... just as Trump has at times played to a base. But it is clear that "playing to that base" has serious consequences. Purging the independent thinkers and managers form the police and the army of course creates the potential for this situation... and a lot more. In his deal with Erdogan, Putin was ... making a deal with the devil... while Erdogan himself might have executed an actual employment contract of that sort.

Clearly Putin now has an option, after Trump's election, to move decisively to a different kind of deal. It would also have some costs (maybe quiet and lubricated), but a lot less than the kind of thing we saw today and where it might lead to. It helps to have a principled goal.


So many jokes floating in the ether....

China navy grabs a US research drone, opens it and sees the secret... the secret is "made in China." Oops.

Is it time to turn Turkey over to Assad?


but back to reality...  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cyber Capabilities of China and Russia Which US Does Not Have

Cyber Capabilities of China and Russia Which US Does Not Have

Whether we like it or not, the world is right now undergoing a rapid, massive reorganization due to the emergence this year of Information Technology (IT) powerful enough to suddenly make IT an equal partner with money, biology and spirit as a basic force organizing our lives on earth.  I previously posted an “elevator speech to Heritage House” on the big picture, and posted a vision of three major steps needed to build a sustainable IT foundation. Parts of that vision are really urgent, because we see serious crises around us right now, and the possibility is real that good things may crumble away as bad things erode too quickly.

I have made a lot of noise about unbreakable operating systems recently (as in, because a combination of policies by Mike Rogers and those pushing him from outside NSA, and leaks of cyberattack technology, have created an urgent crisis and a need for urgent technical action. I was very sad hearing one of our best senators talking today about cyberattack capabilities unique to Russia, when the press already covered how those capabilities came from the US but escaped to the larger world back when I was writing that NATO paper. The higher steps of the new IT vision, developing things like better intelligent markets and collaboration tools, are important, but less urgent. But what about the middle level, communications security?

I have not put out a proposal for communications in the new global IT system. But certainly I see key aspects of technology there  which are quite different from what most people know about.  

For example, from my web page:

Werbos, Paul J., and Ludmilla Dolmatova. "Analog quantum computing (AQC) and the need for time-symmetric physics."Quantum Information Processing (2015): 1-15. To see the full paper, click here. For more information on the amazing new experimental results of 2015, and possibilities for confirmation, click here.

Notice the citations in that paper to new unbreakable quantum communication designs from China and India, well beyond what is possible in the digital, first generation quantum technology which dominates most of the US work. (Apologies to Seth Lloyd of MIT, cited in my paper, who gave us the first footholds into the new continent of continuous-value quantum computing – but it goes much further than that early foothold.) Howard Brandt, the quiet leader of US government quantum technology, planned to showcase such developments in a workshop at SPIE a year or two ago, but died very suddenly a couple of weeks before that workshop. (Three or four of us did speak about the subject, but not with the kind of energy that Brandt would have created.)

Luda today tells me of a many-thousands-of-kilometers quantum communication line in China, being used in a practical way for secure communication. The same systems, she says, were proven in satellite communications as well. But I do not know whether they have deployed second generation yet.

Can we develop a third generation, exploiting time symmetry effects for even more powerful communications? That is what my NATO paper talked about.

Probably I will say more later today. For now, there is a key point: time symmetry is NOT the same as faster than light (FTL), backwards time telegraph (BTT) or forward-time camera (FTC). I do see pathways to the latter, but the ghost imaging technologies I cited in the NATO paper do not provide such pathways. All-angles triphoton is crucial to the future of science AND OF CULTURE, and only Austria and Tsinghua have the required entangled sources currently operating.    
It is not a crucial national security technology, and I hope the current blocks to US-China collaboration in that focused area can be overcome.


For your amusement, I hear lots of people asking "what does Russia really want?" The drumbeat of people itching for a stupid war is very disturbing. Certainly Putin wanted Trump, because he likes the idea of a genuine alliance focused on extreme sharia (the Third Caliphate movements including the Moslem Brotherhood.). Yet many people in the US depend on funds laundered from the Moslem Brotherhood origin, which is much more interested in overthrowing US democracy immediately than any of the original Trump people.  I am very disturbed by people who sound as if they want a legal action to outlaw RT, a clearly expressed outlet for one set of viewpoints, even as the bigger and more covert flows of laundered money from the Middle East (e.g. to Fox or to various allies in Congress) are quietly ignored.  Admittedly, Putin's recent deals with Qatar and Erdogan, as his earlier arrangements with Chechens, would have to be on the table in negotiating any alliance, but that still makes sense.

What does Putin really want? Luda said... she saw him express great regret on TV recently, about how he "has travelled to so much of the world, only seeing hotel rooms and offices." "What would really make him happy would be if he could join us on one of our kinds of adventures (small sample picture below), ideally with us and Katherine Neville to keep him company." Well... back to more immediate things...

Picture taken in Condor Pass in Peru, more than twice as deep as Grand Canyon, discovered only relatively recently by folks not native to the area. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Most immediate possibility of us all dying

Is there a person out there ready and able to start a new world war post haste really?

No, I am not talking about Trump ordering demolition of the Chinese military islands in the South China Sea.  In a hypothetical sort of way, I can see a possible chain of logic for why he might do that.

No, I am talking about something more immediate, more likely, more indefensible and more destructive.

CNN reported yesterday that Mike Rogers (not the Congressman) wants to use cybercom to conduct offensive retaliation against Russia (but he loves China and Iran too) for their actions in hacking the DNC. Since DNC is Democrats, he expects they wouldn't resist. They report we really have great cyberoffensive capabilities we can use, like Stuxnet,

Oops!  Don't the CNN people have any memory, or read Fortune magazine? (OK, for decades I only read Fortune when google sends me there, but I do LOTS of all kinds of google stuff.) Don't they know that that cyberoffensive capability is out there now for anyone?

There is no nation on earth with significant energy whose electric power system is not highly vulnerable.

The reality is that any day now YOU could wake up to discover that your electricity is off, that it won't be on again for six months (forget your little diesel backup if you have one) , and that the same is true for the folks who brought you food. No problem, if you don't mind stopping food for six months, And Rogers (and the folks egging him on) don't seem to care.

CNN did at least note that if the US followed his desires we might experience a wee little pushback.

What's amazing is that we have such powerful people intent on causing such stupid damage to everyone, presumably for political purposes of their own, which are indifferent to whether we starve.

There COULD be a way out, if he had not abolished the department at NSA addressing the key protection issues. Is there any hope Trump's new people could understand what is going on and
install the urgently needed patches, while avoiding the immediate huge risks?  (By the way, my paper at www.werbos,com/NATO_terrorism.pdf has already had significant international distribution.
For myself, I would feel it already said what needs to be said, but if it were really understood on first read we would be in a different situation. Yet I remember the Republican staffer who quoted Upton Sinclair... "There is no fact so simple that people can fail to understand if they feel their paycheck depends on not understanding.")

Enough. We may live, and we may die, and I just a retired old guy with other things on his plate and absolutely zero authority. Sensitive enough that I can wake up and feel what your future pain may be.


For the few days left in which Obama is President, I suspect he would NOT authorize this kind of warfare, but the particular gang involved might or might not care all that much about such niceties. (No coincidence they have offloaded a lot of stuff the way Ollie North did, but of course not reporting to Nixon in this case, and burned a few bridges that would make connections obvious.) More likely, Obama will support "name and shame" leaks. It will remind Putin of how the US might have
strengthened its policy of becoming "mother in law to the world" under Hillary.

======= Clarification Dec 17

CNN just had a guy saying "the left also says the American intelligence community wants a war with Russia and China." This speaks to the same incorrect implicit assumptions which led Trump to say
"it's those folks who told us Saddam had WMD." There is a big difference between long-term government employees and outside networks developing powers to harass intimidate and overrule them. The WMD story is a classic case, where honest hardworking people did not lie, but folks like Cheney and his minions (still very much around, recommending cabinet officials to Trump!) took over the communication channels. I did name the name Mike Rogers because CNN already reported on Cybercom, and the reorganization which wiped out Information Assurance was also reported in the press (as cited in www.werbos.,com/NATO_terrorism.pdf). Massive reorganization, and massive strengthening of connections which input from a network quite different from the "bureaucracy" legal hierarchy. The analogy to Ollie North... well, enough said. To look beyond Rogers, look up and out, not in and down, and least in that sector. Other sectors... well, Hillary herself has pretty clear earthy data by now.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Yin and Yang and Xi JinPing

This week, the noosphere seems to have decided it is time to give me a flood of inputs related to China. But with warring factions within the Trump camp, with radically different goals, I sadly conclude it is probably not a good idea to discuss more than a few small bits of them. Certainly there are factions both within the US and within China which would love to see a war in the South China Sea, and even rational people on both sides face a tricky problem in how to deal with determined crazies on the other side. Rational people on both sides would find it remarkably easy to arrive at
arrangements (as I have noted before) which would be an emphatic win-win and free up resources to address common very serious problems (like the larger plans and capabilities of the Moslem Brotherhood, a particular organization which many underestimate).

Before his rise to power, Xi Jinping said very important things about the fundamental importance of unifying the subjective and objective views. But... there are huge practical issues in how to implement that.  As I noted at, the best of Confucianism addressed those basic issues of zhengqi better than other world "religions" (though is Freud a religion, and does he count?). But when he attended the "Thousand Year Academy," Mao learned all that, and noticed how Confucianism in practice had developed extremely destructive aspects, due to twisting to serve warlords and such. (Zu Xi? sp?). Maybe his most important saying there was "all of China is my family." At the level of the noosphere, all of earth is our family... and even our Self.
Xi has rightly concluded that the value-free pursuit of truth must be supplemented by consideration for values, for affect, and that the degenerate forms of Confucianism would cause real problems if used in a simple-minded way to fill that gap.

But the deep contradictions persist, and the folks who want to make useless war for lack of larger perspective are not encompassed by the slender reeds now in use. A more complete and modern objective view is essential, building on the past but building beyond it and making stronger connections.

All for now.


Well... let me add that I have tried to learn what I can from the whole body of human experience as pertains the human mind, and the aspects which go beyond the mundane and the obvious.

So of course I know about yin and yang, as does everyone in China. My COPN "flag" includes an icon I really like, which I developed, with a rose on the yin-yang, to symbolize the goal of... full development of human potential. To me, that is coequal with survival of the species as a basic goal, never to be forgotten, valid across all of humanity.

But I also probe Western traditions. So, for example, I attended two small discussions of a book called the "Kybalion," downloadable for free on the web.  I remember vividly a friendly Lebanese woman from the 1970s who swore by that book, and what it seemed to mean at the time.
This year, knowing more, and connecting to others in the group as I once connected my NSF panels... I find it a lot easier to penetrate to the objective meaning behind it, what it really says.

It was very amusing for me, this time, to read chapter 15, about "mental gender" to realize in a flash that this was very much the yin-yang concept. So much so that I wonder how much they actually drew on Taoism, how much knowingly and how much unknowingly.

But more. Yin-tang itself seems like a useful but fuzzy concept. Like "consciousness," it is a word
(OK, two words) with several different distinct and important meanings. Curiously... as chapter 15 got deep into the feelings and use they propose for the yin-yang concept... suddenly I could see beneath, and see that the core meaning is simply the objective/subjective duality which Xi JinPing has talked about (in more objective and concrete terms) and which I also wrote about in and in my big talk to the Confucius Institute in Qufu/LinYi
(posted somewhere on It "adds meat to the bones," describing how this feels.

In a way, we all start like mice or monkeys, in a highly subjective state of mind. We gradually learn to "look in the mirror" (with the help of mirror neurons of course). Looking at ourselves in the mirror, we develop a concept of "Me" which is different from the "I" looking in the mirror, though the two are connected.  Development of an objective view not only enables consistent, sane and powerful symbolic reasoning (one theme of my paper), but other capabilities as well, such as a certain kind of larger stronger Will. One of the other folks talked about the way that exercises like making yourself do things which do not come naturally is one way to strengthen the Will, but in general the objective view does this.

It is curious how a piece of sheer mysticism is such a strong advocate of the Objective or yang point of view. Maybe too strong. I reminded folks of how German and Russian folks in my past circle know of folks in those communities who took Will and Objectivity a bit too far, a bad extreme as bad as pure yin. I mentioned a guy I knew named Nguyen who had such strong yang control of his brain and his body that he did really outstanding world-famous work at Stanford, and did feats in the gym
as powerful as if someone else had hypnotized him to do amazing feats. (The book Hypnosis by Estabrooks is well worth reading, as I did when 14.) I mentioned how one day he went to the gym, gave strict orders to his body, his body obeyed, and he died of a heart attack right then and there.

The pure yang way, I concluded, is not the right or the natural way. Harmony and integration is the way. (That is what "sanity" is, as described more analytically in www.werbos.,com/Mind_in_Time.pdf and in my papers in Neural Networks.)
Yes, the Kybalion has useful suggestions, but, I said, it is important: (1) that the objective consciousness or Will work hard to listen to the other side ("Ferdinand smell the flowers"); and (2) in exercising yang "I am", it is important to exercise both the "I am" of the self and the "I am" of the larger Self, in effect the noosphere. We then discussed Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness, which I didn't actually read but intuit easily and scanned long ago.

Of course, the objective mind depends on the quality and degree of objective, scientific understanding.   Even the peak of German and Russian cultures have had a long way to go in understanding some very basic things, and need to discipline themselves to use the scientific method,
which calls for us not to be overly attached to the models of the day, and calls for us to exercise mathematical probability theory as part of the very ground of our being. That applies to all nations -- and especially to China as it begins to explore the yang side of life more sincerely, with the combination of strengths and pitfalls it entails.

It is curious who utterly "yin" Trump is in many ways, reminding me of Japanese generals who would fight hard and effectively but fight like artists with an artist's yin view of the world.
Tough-minded pursuit of truth and even of scientific approaches becomes a necessity more and more for the complex world humanity as a whole tries to survive in.

And yes, I mentioned to the group how much more "yang" Luda is than most male leaders of states,
and how incredibly much I owe her.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Has Trump defected to the Moslem Brotherhood?

Not consciously -- but it raises questions about how much consciousness is there after all.

For Secretary of State... he has taken advice of Condolezza Rice and Dick Cheney.

Just a few days ago, when he derided the US intelligence agencies for being "the folks who told us Saddam Hussein had WMD", some folks on TV noted that no, the folks providing the intelligence were the professionals who had had a different opinion, but were overridden by the geniuses who created the Iraq war -- above all Cheney, with Rice as perhaps his most loyal agent on scene. And I have seen enough with my own eyes here to know who is who more than .. many.

Of course, the Moslem Brotherhood (the folks wanting a global Third Caliphate) were pushing the Iraq War, and Cheney's company (Halliburton) was dedicated to serving clients in the Middle East above all (based in HQ in the Gulf now, recognizing a long-term de facto reality).

What should Russia think about this? Already they must have questions about how Trump says he would be friendly to Russia but would pick a fight with Iran. Where does THAT go? It goes to a kind of inner conflict, which of course the Secretary of State (whom many now call the new Cheney) can steer. And that group wants a war with Iran as a top priority, though also a US-China War, because they are led by folks who know the ancient game of encouraging enemies to destroy each other to create a clear field.

All the dominos are falling that way this week -- these and some others I should not say more about even here in this obscure site.

Best of luck. You will need it.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Extinction watch: New Trump appointments, coup plotters and yin yang

I have had a great and positive week this week, but the news coming in on the survival prospects of the human species are looking a lot worse than they did a few days ago.
       Day before yesterday, late at night, I returned from NIPS2016, the most important meeting on artificial general intelligence in the world in 2016. (More precisely: the most important meeting covering the realities of the technology; there are also big fantasy sessions for fans or enemies.)
I got to speak to thousands of people myself, but I also got to hear on-stage and off from leaders of the real work at google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, and people developing real systems for companies and governments. It was ENORMOUS fun... but on the airplane home, I realize that some of the information requires a lot of recovery. Especially, there is the depressing sensation that we are back to finding hard to imagine that this thread of human life will avoid extinction. Scary stuff related to Trump appointments and folks quietly planning coups d'etats.

(Seriously. Remember the folks at that conference monitor every social network on earth, using pattern recognition technologies far more powerful than what the world had just five years ago.
Lots of folks I know still think telephones are secure, but how can anyone NOT know about speech recognition systems NOW? Or about natural language and social networks? But spoken conversations in THIS conference center, thousands of people all milling about with similar keywords... technology to monitor THAT would be a whole lot harder, so real folks know...
things they would never say by email or telephone.)

Trump's choice of Pruit is already... to those seriously betting on human extinction, it's like an event which wold send the Dow down by about 30% all by itself.  NOT because he is a doubter of climate change. NOT because he rightly views EPA as having really screwed up a lot of regulations.
(At, I described in great detail how totlaly screwed up are the regulations implementing RFS, which I studied in detail when I worlked for Senator Specter.) The problems are:
(1) no one has a chance of making regulations more rational if they don't have a firm grasp and deep respect for the challenge of rational market design, which requires at a minimum some economics and some desire to get to a Patreto optimum (and of course to know what it is); and (2) it now seems uinlikely that guys like Maddis (talking to Woolsey) will have any chance to put the US on a more secure footing versus real threats from the Middle East, with this kind of myopic suicide bomber type getting in the way of market design for energy security. If he wants a tough establishment guy... hell, Trump would  be better off with an electric power economist like Oren Schmuel of Berkeley (not a guy I have had collaborations with, to put it mildly... tough on me!) who knows about market design and a lot of energy economics, rule-making to make things work... or even maybe some Wharton guy.. As for climate doubting, reality will be heaving some impacts on that anyway...

The State issue is a bigger drop in the "stock value" of the human species. Trump says the Exxon guy
makes big deals solely for his company.  Is this perhaps the ultimate in totally unmaking the most basic and essential principles of conflict of interest? (COI). COI can get in the way of efficiency at times, when taken too far, but if grossly flaunted can cause entropy disintegrating a political system. That is now a very real danger. Making lots of deals is no good if they are made on behalf of myopic variables flaunting issues of survival itself. Even Putin has made questionable deals with terrorists;
he has a good side and a bad side himself (let alone his systems of advisers and supporters), and playing to the bad side is not a way to make that relation more productive and sustainable. It was also a scary sign when Qatar bought such a large share of Rosneft recently... a very bad sign.

I had to miss an important DC meeting on US-Russia relatoins last week because I was in Spain... but my very brief summary of "elevator point": dealing well with Russia is like dealing well with the Republican Party itself. The one-actor model is understandable when a single guy like Trump or Putin has a special role, but it is a HUGE mistake to ignore the incredible contradictions and diversities and such...

And yes, there is serious evidence Trump might even be fooled into appointing a guy who is a key partner in a plot to do a coup d'etat. Really. Maybe Obama might be able to give him a word to the wise, as Obama did learn a few things in his final weeks. (A damn shame it was so late, but the bad guys did choose the timing.) After Pruit and Exxon, many may hope that liberals would not resist the coup at all... though it is not liberals doing it... but some of the control techniques they have in mind suggest the coup would reduce our chances of survival even worse than those two clear bad choices would. Techniques; technologies. We do live in an IT world now.

But must run. Good luck. You need it.

P.S. Sorry my time ran out on the yin yang side this morning. Maybe later.    

Quick thoughts:

(1) why didn't Putin make a deal with Kerry instead of Qatar (and Erdogan)? Sure, Kerry was not a total pushover, but he was sincere and flexible and a lot safer than Qatar and Erdogan. I suppose good old fashioned ego and optics were there; it was pathetic a few weeks ago to hear Hilary advisors saying: "What does Putin mean by saying he wants more respect? What is this respect he is talking about? Of course it must be a codeword for some specific trade arrangement but we can't figure out..." That's valid, but do we have to sell out to a special Exxon gameplan (one I have seen in not-so-constructive action in recent years, a main part of the swamp, much more like Taggart than Galt) to deal in balanced respectful way?

(2)  After the labor appointment, I heard a joke: "Trump, before election: 'We will bring back your jobs from China.' After election: 'Oh, I forgot to say, when we bring them back, we will give them all to robots."

I wonder how many US people realize how close we may be to frexit and italy just falling off the table?


At NIPS2016, at the Q&A session, I mentioned
"If we don't get a solid IT foundation, fast, the rest will disintegrate and be swept away. "
The dissolution of Information Assurance at NSA is a gigantic problem, and warning.