Futurism, vision science, examined lies, Iceland and the politics of Better Call Saul!

As Professor Harold Hill has said — “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”

medium.com/@benjaminhardy/8-things-every-person-should-do-before-8-a-m-cc0233e15c8d


Ischaemic heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections and chronic obstructive lung disease have remained the top major killers during the past decade.

HIV deaths decreased slightly from 1.7 million (3.2%) deaths in 2000 to 1.5 million (2.7%) deaths in 2012. Diarrhoea is no longer among the 5 leading causes of death, but is still among the top 10, killing 1.5 million people in 2012.

Chronic diseases cause increasing numbers of deaths worldwide. Lung cancers (along with trachea and bronchus cancers) caused 1.6 million (2.9%) deaths in 2012, up from 1.2 million (2.2%) deaths in 2000. Similarly, diabetes caused 1.5 million (2.7%) deaths in 2012, up from 1.0 million (2.0%) deaths in 2000.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/


The top 1% of income earners in the US pay 45.7% of the entire 100% of income tax collected by the IRS.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/common-myths-about-rich-people-2015-6#ixzz3dyhv1bYL


The futurist says work in futures is about patterns, not predictions.

http://fivebooks.com/interviews/andrew-curry-on-futures-0


When it comes to the long tradition of thinking and writing about perception, Searle takes the situation to be rather bleak. He believes that the entirety of philosophical work on perception since Descartes has been bewitched by what he calls “the Bad Argument” and, as a consequence, is unnecessary and incoherent.

http://lareviewofbooks.org/review/vision-science


Nor is Texas the lone region for which Russia has cast secessionist support since the Crimean seizure. Venice, Scotland, Catalonia—the Russian media have voiced fervent support for secession in all these Western allies.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/vladimir-putin-texas-secession-119288.html#ixzz3dyjPpFmS


In order to regulate every aspect of our lives, the government cannot go it alone — it works through a web of intermediaries. Many of these institutions purport to take care of us, but in the process they chip away at our freedom.

https://mises.org/library/soft-tyranny-albuquerque-politics-better-call-saul


And what is the worldview of this pope? Well, it is a vision that is relentlessly pessimistic. According to Francis, the world is very nearly falling down around us. The poor are getting poorer, he claims. The inequalities between rich and poor are worse than ever, he says. Pollution is making us sicker than ever, he implies. And the basic requirements for sustaining human life are becoming more inaccessible than ever. These claims serve a purpose: to illustrate that the rise of industrialization and market economies (a modern phenomenon) are the cause of these social and environmental ills.

https://mises.org/library/pope-francis%E2%80%99s-relentless-pessimism-fuels-his-faith-politics


Considerable research into the neurobiology of memory retrieval supports the idea that our recollections are inherently shaky. According to a literature review in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience, the molecular mechanisms underscoring what scientists call memory reconsolidation—basically, the recovery of a memory that has already been coded into the brain—highlight the presence of a “labile period” during which “the memory can be modified.” The initial consolidation of a memory depends on a protein synthesis. When protein synthesis inhibitors are introduced into the brain after retrieval of the original consolidated memory, the updated memory, which has passed through the labile phase, takes a different cellular pathway. The result is an alteration of the original memory.

https://theamericanscholar.org/the-examined-lie/#.VYqWvPl_NBc


Denmark is pretty much the poster child for the sort of society American liberals at least say they desire. But it’s important to understand how it actually ticks. For a start, it is small. 5.6 million people small, about Wisconsin or Minnesota small. I maintain that it’s going to be a lot easier to get such a small group to think of themselves as all being part of the one polity, within which there should be substantial redistribution, than it’s going to be in a country of 320 million people.

But it goes much further than that. The national income tax rate is 3.76% (yes, really, 3.76) and the top national income tax rate is only 15%. That’s the amount that is collected from the citizenry and sent into the centre. Denmark does have astonishingly high tax rates overall, yes, but the bulk of that is paid to the commune. A commune being a unit of as small as 10,000 people. And that’s where all that redistribution and social caring is done. In those much smaller units, not at the national level. My suggestion is that precisely because it is being done in these small units that people are willing to cough up so much money to have so much of it.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2015/06/22/its-not-race-but-population-size-that-explains-americas-welfare-state/


In this superb new video – which is just under six-minutes long – the Manhattan Institute’s Nicole Gelinas explains the relevant, bailout-bloated history behind the 2008 financial crisis.  Contrary to popular myth, the chief cause of this crisis was not banks and other financial institutions being too free of the oversight of government regulators but, rather, banks and other financial institutions operating with perverse incentives created by myopic government officials.

http://cafehayek.com/2015/06/the-real-cause-of-the-financial-meltdown-government.html


If its beauty and magnificence is instantly apparent, so much about Notre Dame is not. To begin with, we don’t know who built this cathedral—or how.

The bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, commissioned the massive church complex around 1160. Yet the names of those who first constructed this masterpiece are lost to history. They left no records—only centuries of speculation—behind.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/150622-andrew-tallon-notre-dame-cathedral-laser-scan-art-history-medieval-gothic/


The shale industry is unlike any other conventional hydrocarbon or alternative energy sector, in that it shares a growth trajectory far more similar to that of Silicon Valley’s tech firms. In less than a decade, U.S. shale oil revenues have soared, from nearly zero to more than $70 billion annually (even after accounting for the recent price plunge). Such growth is 600 percent greater than that experienced by America’s heavily subsidized solar industry over the same period.

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/eper_16.htm#.VYqYFPl_NBc


Too much of the encyclical reads like a list of green gremlins cooked up by the most ardent environmentalists. Francis finds reason not to like genetically modified foods because, he claims, wherever they’re employed, “productive land is concentrated in the hands of a few owners” and small farms disappear due to “an expansion of oligopolies for the production of cereals and other products.” This claim ignores the good that genetically engineered food does in boosting production and helping to feed people around the world.

http://www.city-journal.org/2015/eon0619sm.html


Iceland’s recovery has become a myth wrapped in a legend inside a legend. It let its banks fail, slashed household debt, let its currency collapse, put capital controls in place—and now it’s doing better than those countries that did austerity! In reality, Iceland let its banks fail for foreigners, wrote down household debt only after their laws had made it worse, had no choice but to watch the krona plummet, but, at the same time, tried to keep it from plunging too far by limiting how much money people could take out of the country . Oh, and it did more austerity than any country not named Greece. The truth is a more complicated place.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/17/the-miraculous-story-of-iceland/


China, Japan as early as the Meiji, and Israel have consciously employed this golden relation to their advantage. In sum, rapid and sustained economic growth increases the marginal income of families and individuals beyond what is needed to survive, so that what under less favorable conditions would be a disproportionately high share of gross domestic product can be diverted to military purposes without threatening social cohesion and political stability. In just a few decades, the Meiji went from silks and swords to their modern battle fleet’s victory over Russia. Israel enjoyed the world’s fastest economic growth prior to the Six-Day War of 1967, the results of which are well known. And in only 30 years, China has become a military superpower.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/419604/indefensible-defense


In 1952, Stanley Miller and Harold Urey tested that hypothesis. They combined water, methane, ammonia, and hydrogen in sealed vials in attempt to replicate Earth’s original atmosphere. They bombarded the vials with heat and continuous electrode sparks to simulate volcanic activity and lightening. Eventually, the reaction produced a number of amino acids – the building blocks of proteins and, by extension, life itself.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2015/0623/How-can-life-emerge-from-nonliving-matter-UNC-scientists-find-new-evidence

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