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Sun, 26 Jan 2020
The World for People who Think


Richard Dawkins and Half a Wing

Dawkins evolution

Evolution in progress. You are now obsolete and awaiting removal by natural selection.
What good is half a wing? That is the question. If wings evolved step by step on some wingless species, there had to be half a wing at some point, so we might ask this question. In fact, we might ask lots of questions, because nothing about Darwinian evolution really makes sense, but this one is traditional. So let's ask, what good is half a wing? And who could enlighten us better than Richard Dawkins, the king of evolutionary explanations. He spoke thus in his highly delusional book The God Delusion:
"Half a wing is indeed not as good as a whole wing, but it is certainly better than no wing at all. Half a wing could save your life by easing your fall from a tree of a certain height. And 51 per cent of a wing could save you if you fall from a slightly taller tree. Whatever fraction of a wing you have, there is a fall from which it will save your life where a slightly smaller winglet would not. The thought experiment of trees of different height, from which one might fall, is just one way to see, in theory, that there must be a smooth gradient of advantage all the way from 1 per cent of a wing to 100 per cent."
If Richard Dawkins had 1% of a wing, he'd be really happy to have such a magnificent evolutionary advantage. He could fall from 1cm higher than you without dying. His offspring would fill the earth, and we would all die out. Natural selection would somehow make sure of that. 1,000 generations later, somebody would evolve 2% of a wing, and the one-percenters would die out because there's no way they could compete with 2% of a wing. This has to happen very slowly and gradually but never leave any incriminating evidence in the fossil record. It's evolution, baby!

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Objective:Health #35 - Organic Hemp Farming and More with Dave & Erica of Highlander CBD Farms

O:H header
The consequences of the ongoing misguided "war on drugs" have been devastating on multiple fronts not the least of which is the lack of research into actual benefits. On the last episode of Objective:Health we looked at the new research being done on psychedelic drugs to help with a whole range of mental issues. This week, we shift our focus to cannabinoids, better known as CBD, a powerful medicinal from the marijuana plant.

Joining us today are our regular O:H host Erica and her husband Dave who will be telling us all about their recent venture: Highlander CBD Farm. We discuss the healing potential of CBD and the multiple conditions it can help address, as well as getting into the differences between CBD and THC and the healing potential of both. We also talk about the nightmare Dave and Erica are going through trying to navigate the bureaucracy of constantly changing regulations on the federal and state levels. It sometimes feels like one step forward, two steps back!

Tune in for this interesting show where we talk about all things CBD!

And check us out on Brighteon!

For other health-related news and more, you can find us on:

♥Twitter: https://twitter.com/objecthealth
♥Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/objecthealth/

And you can check out all of our previous shows (pre YouTube) here.

Running Time: 00:56:56

Download: MP3 — 51.6 MB


U.S. Didn't 'Withdraw' From Syria - It Redeployed, And Now Controls 75% of The Country's Oil

war peace oil

Same oil story
The United States is to keep forces at the oil fields in Syria despite the troops' withdrawal from the north of the country. The formal justification of the move is the need to "deny ISIS access" to the oil fields. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that the US military is already "taking some actions" to strengthen and reinforce their position in Deir Ezzor. This, Esper said, will include "some mechanized forces".

US military convoys already started entering Syria from Iraq and moving towards the US-controlled oil fields on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. The Pentagon provided few details regarding numbers of troops and equipment that will remain in the area. Media reports speculate that around 500 personnel reinforced with dozens of pieces of military equipment will be stationed there. For example, Newsweek reported that the US is seeking to deploy a half of a US Army armored brigade combat team battalion that includes as many as 30 Abrams battle tanks to the oil fields. The US is also going to keep its military garrison in the al-Tanf area, on the Damascus-Baghdad highway, where about 150-200 troops remain.

Comment: This location is useful because it provides an additional 'roadblock' against Syrian-Iraqi trade, communication and general cooperation.

The version of the troops' withdrawal from Syria that the media is trying to sell its audience says that the US is leaving the country. In reality, the US actions look more like re-deployment than withdrawal.

Comment: If that is what transpires, 'Islamic State' will have been replaced by a 'private' CIA fiefdom.

The geopolitical goal apparently remains the same as in 2011: keep Syria, Iraq and Iran apart... by any means necessary.

Update 3 Nov

Video footage has emerged showing US troops guard 'moderate rebels' as they remove oil from Syrian wells:


MindMatters: Wealth, Violence and Hierarchy in the Roman and Chinese Empires

rome china
The Roman elite were the original 1%. Status, wealth, power: the good life. Unless they happened to find themselves on a conscription list, in which case they were soon parted from their property, and their lives. The elites of the Chinese dynasties were in a similar position. Constant infighting and jockeying for influence and power allowed for a lot of turnover in the elite class. Families may have reigned for generations only to be wiped out or made paupers. But as long as peace reigned, even these means of coercive redistribution of property did nothing to change the overall situation. In fact, the social divisions polarized even further and inequality rose - often to the breaking point. In fact, inequality in the empires probably reached the maximum levels possible at the time: a small group of people had all the wealth, while the 90% on the bottom lived at subsistence levels.

Today on MindMatters we discuss Chapter two of Walter Scheidel's book, The Great Leveler, which explores the ancient Roman and Chinese empires: the development of their respective aristocracies, the forms in which extreme inequality manifested, and the violence and coercion it took to create and maintain such radical disparities in wealth. We may live in a different world today in many respects, but some things never change.

Running Time: 01:19:08

Download: MP3 — 72.5 MB


Witches, Comets and Planetary Cataclysms

© Dot Connector Magazine
When you think of Halloween, what is the first image that comes to mind? I took a little informal poll among my friends, family and associates. Guess what image came in first? Jack-o-lanterns! Bet you thought I was going to say "witches". Well, I sure thought it would be witches, but they only came in a close second!..

When I think of Halloween, I think of grade-school art projects where we cut out silhouettes of witches to paste onto large yellow moons made of construction paper. The witch was always on a broom with her black dress flying in the wind, accompanied by a black cat sitting on the back of the broom. I wondered even then how the cat managed to stay on and why anybody would think that straddling a broomstick as a seat would be even remotely comfortable.


Slippery Slope into Degeneracy: Media Keep Sexualizing Children and it Must Stop

sexualizing children
© Instagram / desmondisamazing
We now find ourselves amidst an epidemic of perversion as disturbing content is shared far and wide by today's major media. One of the most distressing subjects is the sexualization of children.

From gaming websites to news organizations, children are now props in a war on decency. Just last December, Desmond, an 11-year-old boy who has been described by Good Morning America as "trailblazing," twirled around on stage in female attire as men whooped and hollered and threw money his way.

That isn't a one-off instance. Throughout the past couple of years, other similar incidents have begun to stack up.

Comment: See: Objective:Health #33 - Society Is Degenerating


Camp Bucca, Abu Ghraib and the Rise of Extremism in Iraq

Abu Bakr Al- Baghdadi

Video stills (cropped) of Abu Bakr al-Bagdhadi and of a soldier torturing a prisoner at Abu Ghraib
Yesterday morning, President Trump announced the death of Abu Bakr Al- Baghdadi and three of his children.

President Trump said Al-Baghdadi, the founder of ISIS, was fleeing U.S. military forces, in a tunnel, and then killed himself by detonating a suicide vest he wore.

In 2004, Al-Baghdadi had been captured by U.S. forces and, for ten months, imprisoned in both Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca.

I visited Camp Bucca in January, 2004 when, still under construction, the Camp was a network of tents, south of Basra, in an isolated, miserable area of Iraq.

Mr. Potato

Something BIG Has Happened! Or Has it?

Situation Room with Trump
© The Drive
The Dissembler-in-Chief took to Twitter this past weekend to let the world know that "Something very big has just happened!" We now know that that something was a daring special forces raid that ended in the death of Osama bin Laden! . . . Or is that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? Or maybe Abu Omar al-Baghdadi? No, no, it was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi! Honest! We took DNA evidence before we threw him in the sea! Find out about the unlikely story of Baghdadi's umpteenth death in this timely edition of The Corbett Report podcast.

For those with limited bandwidth, CLICK HERE to download a smaller, lower file size version of this episode.

For those interested in audio quality, CLICK HERE for the highest-quality version of this episode (WARNING: very large download).

Comment: We live in clownworld.

Eye 2

They Live, We Sleep

"You see them on the street. You watch them on TV. You might even vote for one this fall. You think they're people just like you. You're wrong. Dead wrong." — They Live
They Live
© The LiveWired
We're living in two worlds, you and I.

There's the world we see (or are made to see) and then there's the one we sense (and occasionally catch a glimpse of), the latter of which is a far cry from the propaganda-driven reality manufactured by the government and its corporate sponsors, including the media.

Indeed, what most Americans perceive as life in America — privileged, progressive and free — is a far cry from reality, where economic inequality is growing, real agendas and real power are buried beneath layers of Orwellian doublespeak and corporate obfuscation, and "freedom," such that it is, is meted out in small, legalistic doses by militarized police armed to the teeth.

All is not as it seems.

This is the premise of John Carpenter's film They Live, which was released more than 30 years ago, and remains unnervingly, chillingly appropriate for our modern age.

Best known for his horror film Halloween, which assumes that there is a form of evil so dark that it can't be killed, Carpenter's larger body of work is infused with a strong anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment, laconic bent that speaks to the filmmaker's concerns about the unraveling of our society, particularly our government.

Time and again, Carpenter portrays the government working against its own citizens, a populace out of touch with reality, technology run amok, and a future more horrific than any horror film.

In Escape from New York, Carpenter presents fascism as the future of America.

In The Thing, a remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic of the same name, Carpenter presupposes that increasingly we are all becoming dehumanized.

In Christine, the film adaptation of Stephen King's novel about a demon-possessed car, technology exhibits a will and consciousness of its own and goes on a murderous rampage.

In In the Mouth of Madness, Carpenter notes that evil grows when people lose "the ability to know the difference between reality and fantasy."

And then there is Carpenter's They Live, in which two migrant workers discover that the world is not as it seems. In fact, the population is actually being controlled and exploited by aliens working in partnership with an oligarchic elite. All the while, the populace — blissfully unaware of the real agenda at work in their lives — has been lulled into complacency, indoctrinated into compliance, bombarded with media distractions, and hypnotized by subliminal messages beamed out of television and various electronic devices, billboards and the like.


U.S. Military Could Collapse Within 20 Years Due to Climate Change, Report Commissioned by Pentagon Says

The report says a combination of global starvation, war, disease, drought, and a fragile power grid could have cascading, devastating effects
uncle sam climate change
© Calvin Shen / Vice
According to a new U.S. Army report, Americans could face a horrifically grim future from climate change involving blackouts, disease, thirst, starvation and war. The study found that the US military itself might also collapse. This could all happen over the next two decades, the report notes.

The senior US government officials who wrote the report are from several key agencies including the Army, Defense Intelligence Agency, and NASA. The study called on the Pentagon to urgently prepare for the possibility that domestic power, water, and food systems might collapse due to the impacts of climate change as we near mid-century.

The report was commissioned by General Mark Milley, Trump's new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, making him the highest-ranking military officer in the country (the report also puts him at odds with Trump, who does not take climate change seriously.)

Comment: Again, that is not the root cause.

It's interesting that some at the Pentagon are at least aware that they ought to be preparing for the worst.

As we can see, however, between now and then, they'll be unable to resist the temptation to interfere in others' affairs and put hegemony before national security.