Seven Deadly Sins

Posted December 19, 2011 by masonblue
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


by annalise.ellen creative commons @ flickr

seven deadly sins are:

1. Wrath,

2. Greed,

3. Lust,

4. Sloth,

5. Envy,

6. Gluttony, and

7. Pride.

I doubt that there is an adult alive today who has not been gripped at least once by each of these demons, but I will leave that subject for another time.

Today, I want to share my thoughts with you regarding our nation, its relationship with these demons, and what will become of it if we do not act.

Piercing the veil of propaganda, I see our federal government captured and controlled by the too-big-to-fail banks, multi-national corporations that privatize profits and socialize losses, a paranoid national intelligence network that invades everyone’s privacy, and the military industrial complex. Our nation is war and war is big business.

Like moths cocooned alive in a spider’s web powerless to resist a slow agonizing death as its insides are slowly sucked out, we the people have been reduced to mere tax revenue units expected to pay for endless war and cover all of the financial-sector losses from the TBTF banks gambling in the world casino. Meanwhile, the private sector regards us as nothing more than interchangeable minimum-wage labor units to be exploited to the fullest extent possible without enjoying any benefits.

Our nation is known by all people of the world for its all-consuming quest for world empire via never ending war to seize valuable diminishing natural resources. Greed, which is Number 2 on the list of deadly sins, is god. Neoliberal economics is its Bible and nobody talks about the Golden Rule.

I see a nation seized by wrath against people with brown skin and illegal immigrants.

I see a nation seized by lust for natural resources that belong to others.

I see a slothful nation unwilling to change and work on developing renewable forms of energy.

I see a nation seized by envy for world empire.

I see a nation seized by the gluttony of wanting it all.

I see a nation seized by the false pride of American exceptionalism.

As I look ahead at the future, I see the ship of state capsized at sea by the seven deadly sins.

I see no other possible outcome unless we heal ourselves, take back our government, and kick the corporations out of the Temple.

Although the path to redemption and illumination will be long and difficult, we know where to find it because others have led the way and marked it for us. Remember always that one must die to be reborn and the seven deadly sins can be conquered by the seven virtues.

1. Wrath is conquered by Peace;

2. Greed is conquered by Generosity;

3. Lust is conquered by Purity of Intent;

4. Sloth is conquered by Courage and Effort;

5. Envy is conquered by Compassion for oneself and others;

6. Gluttony is conquered by Temperance; and

7. Pride is conquered by Humility.

Never forget the Golden Rule.

What do you see?


Forever Can Wait

Posted December 17, 2011 by masonblue
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,


Polandeze under creative commons on flickr

Forever Can Wait

“Don’t hurt me,” I beg

I cannot feel my legs

and my back is broken;

broken by the faceless Sheriff’s gun.

Zip ties cuff me

a gag chokes my pleas,

muffs silence my ears,

mask and hood blind me.

I scream inside my prison


but no one hears me

as he drops me hogtied

at forever’s doorstep.

He isn’t done with me;

Forever can wait.

We Can Never Go Back

Posted December 14, 2011 by masonblue
Categories: Future Planning, Righteous Rant

Tags: ,

I cannot shake the feeling that most people still believe that we can return this country to what it was before the big fall. This belief is delusional nonsense.

For more years than I care to remember while millions of people all over the world were starving to death and millions more were barely eeking out a subsistence living, we the people were gorging ourselves on food and throwing away enough of it to feed all of the starving people in the world. We also participated in an orgy of consumption buying new stuff to replace perfectly good stuff that we threw away.

How can anyone desire to return to such grandiose selfishness as millions starved and continue to starve in increasing numbers as climate change inexorably turns breadbaskets into deserts?

I can see it so clearly now that I am unemployed and unemployable, a member of this nation’s new caste of untouchables. I participated and I am ashamed. I no longer want to engage in or be a part of the self-indulgent orgy of consumption for the sake of consumption.

I like my life now and I like myself.

Like many others, I am developing a new vision of a sustainable future based on conservation, using renewable energy, and following the Golden Rule.

Do you long for the past or are you creating a new future?

The jobs are never coming back and it will never be the same.

The Elusive Higgs Boson Probably Has Been Discovered

Posted December 14, 2011 by masonblue
Categories: Higgs Boson, Large Hadron Collider, Particle Physics

Tags: , , , , , ,

Large Hadron Collider

Large Hadron Collider by John McNab under noncommercial, no derivative works Creative Commons on flickr.

Why do I say the Higgs boson probably has been discovered?

Because today two independent teams (ATLAS and CMS), each composed of approximately 3,000 scientists and each team using a different particle detector, reported the results they have obtained from generating head-on collisions of protons traveling close to the speed of light using the particle accelerator at the Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile tunnel 600 feet underneath the ground below the border between France and Switzerland.

Using different methodologies, each particle detector records and identifies the subatomic particles produced by the collisions.

For many months the teams have been analyzing the immense amount of data generated by their ongoing experiments searching for the theoretically predicted profile of the subatomic Higgs boson. Assuming it exists, it should be an identifiable product of a collision, although scientists believe it would decay and cease to exist almost immediately, which explains why it has not yet been confirmed to exist.

The particle is so short-lived that it can only be detected from the particles that it decays into. In the course of millions of collisions, the scientists are hunting for a significant excess of a particular combination of decay particles.


Team ATLAS reported that they found the theoretically predicted profile, or what they call a “spike” in their data, in the 116-130 GeV range (GeV = gigaelectronvolt) and the odds that the result is attributable to chance, or background noise, is 1 in 5,000.

Team CMS reported that they also found the spike in the 115-127 GeV range with similar odds.

Combining the two results, the data suggests that, assuming the Higgs boson exists, it has a mass of 124-126 GeV, or about 130 times the mass of a proton in an atomic nucleus.

A gigaelectronvolt is one billion electron volts and scientists use it as a measurement of the mass of a particle.

The odds are equivalent to 2 sigma, and in order to statistically exclude the possibility that the results are due to chance (i.e., background noise that matches the profile), the results must be 5 sigma, or better than 1 in a million. The scientists must analyze more data to reach that level of statistical certainty, but the matching results of the two independent teams are extremely encouraging and provide a basis for considerable optimism.

This is why I say the scientists “probably” found the Higgs boson.

What is the Higgs boson and why do scientists call it the God particle?

Mass is, quite simply, a measure of how much stuff an object – a particle, a molecule, or a Yorkshire terrier – contains. If not for mass, all of the fundamental particles that make up atoms and terriers would whiz around at light speed, and the Universe as we know it could not have clumped up into matter. The Higgs mechanism proposes that there is a field permeating the Universe – the Higgs field – that allows particles to obtain their mass. Interactions with the field – with the Higgs bosons that come from it – are purported to give particles mass. This is not unlike a field of snow, in which trudging through impedes progress; your shoes interacting with snow particles slows you down.


Under what is known as the Standard Model of Physics, the boson is posited to have been the agent that gave mass and energy to matter after the creation of the universe 13.7 billion years ago – leading some to nickname it the “God particle.”


I find that the following metaphorical description of the Higgs Field and the Higgs boson is particularly useful. It is used by the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco.

“Imagine you’re at a Hollywood party. The crowd is rather thick, and evenly distributed around the room, chatting. When the big star arrives, the people nearest the door gather around her. As she moves through the party, she attracts the people closest to her, and those she moves away from return to their other conversations,” the museum wrote. “By gathering a fawning cluster of people around her, she’s gained momentum, an indication of mass. She’s harder to slow down than she would be without the crowd. Once she’s stopped, it’s harder to get her going again.”


How do scientists search for the Higgs boson?

Ironically, the Standard Model does not predict an exact mass for the Higgs itself. Particle accelerators such as the LHC are used to systematically search for the particle over a range of masses where it could plausibly be. The LHC works by smashing together two beams of the sub-atomic particles called protons at close to light speed. This generates a vast shower of particles that are only created at high energies. The Higgs will probably never be observed directly, but scientists at the LHC hope that a Higgs will momentarily exist in this soup of particles. If it behaves as researchers think it will, it should decay further into yet more particles, leaving a trail that could prove its existence.

It is not the first machine to hunt for the particle. The LEP machine, which ran at Cern from 1989-2000, ruled out the Higgs up to a certain mass, and the US Tevatron accelerator searched for the particle above this range before it was switched off this year. These data are still being analysed, and could yet be important in helping confirm or rule out the particle. The LHC, as the most powerful particle accelerator ever built, is just the most high-profile of the experiments that could shed light on the Higgs hunt.

When will we know if we have found it?

As with all particle physics, this is a tricky point. The Higgs should show up in a particular range of masses, and signals that indicate it is there in the mess of particles will show up as a kind of “bump” in the data. Making sure that bump is really due to a Higgs is a different matter. If you flip a coin ten times and get eight heads, you might think the coin is somehow “loaded”. But only after hundreds of flips can you say so with the kind of certainty that physics requires for a formal “discovery”. What is clear about the LHC results so far is that the two teams working to find it do not have enough data – enough “flips” – to say that the Higgs has been found or excluded beyond doubt. More experiments will be needed for that.


Scientists anticipate they will know whether they found the Higgs boson by the end of 2012 and possibly as early as next summer.

If they have found the God particle, they will have confirmed the Standard Model of Physics and that will be a huge step forward.

Happy holidays!

Survival of the Wisest

Posted December 12, 2011 by masonblue
Categories: Golden Rule, Neoliberalism, Philosophy, Randian Neoliberalism

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Empathy is the basis for true morality.
Empathy is the basis for true morality
by aerie under flickr Creative Commons

Randian neoliberals, as in Ayn Rand, believe in competition and social darwinism. They claim that human life is like a vast jungle and they have adopted “survival of the fittest,” formerly known as the law of the jungle, as the guiding principle of their lives.

They adopted Grover Nordquist’s advice to privatize government as much as possible and drown what little remains of it “in a bathtub” abolishing all laws, regulations, and regulatory oversight.

They claim they want to create the free marketplace that Adam Smith wrote about in the Wealth of Nations; a mystical place controlled by the “invisible hand” of self-interest that they declare to be maximizing short-term profits.

They have elevated greed to the status of not just any god, but the god of gods. That their interpretation ignores Adam Smith’s warning that the marketplace must be regulated to protect competition from the monopolies that inevitably will develop in a truly free marketplace is no trivial matter.

They have committed an egregious sin by creating a philosophy to justify stealing from others that they put together with disparate elements of philosophy, science, economics, and religion as though selecting from different columns on a Chinese menu to feed their ravenous greed.

Survival of the fittest is not a law; it is a description of what happens when a hungry apex predator hunts, kills, and consumes its prey. If there were no other laws at work after approximately 4 billion years of evolution, only apex predators would exist, and possibly none of them either as they would have extinguished themselves by cannibalism.

Natural selection is an evolutionary process that weeds out unsuccessful genetic adaptations. Natural selection is not survival of the fittest.

In a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Science, research scientists at the University of Chicago reported that lab rats can show empathy. Their experiment demonstrated that free rats will work tirelessly to free caged rats. Even when presented with chocolate chips, a free rat will continue to labor on freeing the caged rat until successful. Then they share and consume the chocolate.

While survival of the fittest may dictate the outcome in most battles between a hungry predator and its prey, unless its prey outsmarts it or it is fortunate to escape, empathy occupies a far more important role in determining whether a species survives. Empathy leads to survival of the wisest and validates the age old maxim that the meek shall inherit the Earth.

Empathy is the basis of the Golden Rule.

Randian neoliberalism is junk science at its worst and should be universally discredited and the legacy of its practitioners condemned to a mere footnote in the sorry history of human greed.

Happy holidays.


Sycophant King

Posted November 21, 2011 by masonblue
Categories: Assholes, Frederick Leatherman, Poetry, Politics, Revolution, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,

Occupy Mordor
by Jamison Wieser on flickr Creative Commons
h/t to Crane-Station to save my marriage ūüôā

Sycophant King

He favors tailored navy blue suits that look exactly the same

And white shirts decorated with solid silk ties

Perfectly pinched below the Gordian knot

That binds him to the land of Mordor where the shadows lie.

He majored in deception and has picked many a pocket clean

Wearing his practiced smile of starched white teeth

Flashing like a strobe in an after hours club.

He reached the top the old fashioned way —

Kissing ass

Taking credit for other people’s ideas

Daggering them in the back with whispers made of lies.

No one knows what he really thinks and neither does he

Because he thinks like the people he seeks to please.

Now that he’s reached the top there is nothing left to steal

No one with whom to share a thought

Only angry ghosts seeking revenge.

Who shall shed a tear

For the sycophant king?

Cross posted at my new law blog, Firedoglake/MyFDL, and the Smirking Chimp.

Mic-Check, MIC-CHECK!

Posted November 20, 2011 by masonblue
Categories: Uncategorized

photo by Madaise, Creative Commons on Flickr

After Obama slithers back to the United States from his free-trade sellout of the 99% on behalf of the 1%, he should be welcomed at his first public appearance with the following:


I want to be very clear


in calling upon the Egyptian authoritie­s


to refrain from any violence


against peaceful protesters­.


The people of Egypt


have rights that are universal.


That includes the right to peaceful assembly and associatio­n,


the right to free speech,


and the ability to determine their own destiny.


These are human rights.


And the United States


will stand up for them everywhere­.


Mr. President


Put your money


where your mouth is.


(h/t to commenters Psychonalystus and ex-PFC Chuck @ nakedcapitalism for reminding me of Obama’s speech. See the comment @
comment 11/20 @12:45 am & 1:22 am)