Wednesday, May 31, 2017

If You're Unfamiliar with 17-Year Cicadas, It's Probably Best #Science

These are tales of cicada wimps and you won't even believe.  It's more comedy than hard science but the tag still applies.  (Washington Post:  Read if you dare: Cicada horror stories)

No-one has reason to fear the cicadas except motorcycle riders who don't so much fear them as hate them.  You don't know bug love until it hits you at sixty mph.

A cicada slowly pulls out of its exoskeleton after being buried in the ground for more than a decade.  This scary photo was taken May 24 in Herndon, Va. (Kevin Ambrose)

- WP

I'm keepin' the fear alive, keepin' the fear alive.

That's the cicada emerging after it has molted from its underground form which emerged to the climb the tree.  It couldn't bite you if it tried and it's tiny.

Here's a hot tip for drawing cicadas to you.

For more cicada horror stories, I contacted Dan Mozgai, who owns and operates Dan warned me that cicadas are attracted to lawn mowers, weed whackers and similar machinery because of the sound they make. Essentially, the machines sound like a chorus of cicadas ready to mate.

- SD

Cicadas only emerge to find love.  That lasts a few weeks to lay some eggs and then they die.  Now you can sound with your lawnmower like the greatest cicada sex bomb on Earth.  Enjoy that thrilling exercise in lawn maintenance.

Ed:  that's a long time to wait to get lucky!

They do like kids on abstinence programs (i.e. they lie).  In the case of the cicadas, it's true since they have waited seventeen years or thirteen in the case of these surprise early risers but they have all those years of libido crammed into two weeks so you bet they sing at night.

There's a wealth of crazy cicada stories in the source article and the interested student ... or comedian ... is invited to pursue it.

Keeping Bacteria Away with a Special Paint #Science

Researchers have developed a way to place onto surfaces special coatings that chemically 'communicate' with bacteria, telling them what to do. The coatings, which could be useful in inhibiting or promoting bacterial growth as needed, possess this controlling power over bacteria because, in effect, they 'speak' the bug's own language.

Science Daily:  Chemical coatings boss around bacteria, in the bugs' own language

That's highly anthropomorphic so far and there isn't much science from that but we see the approach and wonder does this really work.

Princeton University researchers found that adding chemical coatings to surfaces can promote or inhibit bacterial communication known as quorum sensing, which is involved in biofilm formation and other bacterial behaviors. In this photo, graduate student Minyoung Kevin Kim views bacterial activity through a microscope.

Credit: Princeton University

Unknown what quorum sensing might be but we do see bacteria need that and this 'paint' inhibits it.

If you're thinking smart, paint ... it is.

The new technology, reported May 22 in Nature Microbiology, contain the very same sorts of biomolecules that microbes release naturally for communicating and coordinating group behavior -- a process called quorum sensing.

Hijacking this bacterial language of quorum sensing could open a range of applications, the researchers said. Coating surfaces in hospitals could combat the formation of fortress-like communities of bacteria called biofilms, thereby leaving the germs vulnerable to antibiotics in humans or to disinfectant cleaning products on hospital surfaces or equipment. Alternatively, if the bacteria deliver benefits -- as in wastewater treatment plants or in probiotic production -- then coating the surfaces of industrial equipment could boost the microbes' helpful activities.

- SD

Likely you're aware of MRSA and there's some potential for dealing with it effectively.

In closing

Overall, the prospect of selectively ratcheting up or tamping down bacterial chatter as a means of managing microbes has come much closer to actual practice.

"One can now imagine surfaces coated with these or other quorum-sensing molecules or derivatives for use in medicine, industry or agriculture that are resistant to colonization by harmful bacteria or promote colonization by beneficial bacteria," said Bassler, the Squibb Professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Biology, as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

"We believe this surface-focused approach can be impactful," said Stone, the Donald R. Dixon '69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. "We hope to continue the research and work with potential partners who might have applications that would benefit from the approach we are developing at Princeton."

- SD

This Rockhouse finds the news highly encouraging since I'm truly more afraid of MRSA in a hospital than I am about any surgery and I've had a lot of it.  There's no need to reiterate the problems with MRSA since we learned young about the dangers of infection and MRSA is among the worst of the worst but it's still generally the same thing.

I have tried to pack Neosporin everywhere I've been since I can handle bumps and bruises but infection terrifies me.  I did verify Neosporin has more active ingredients for anti-bug punch than Polysporin.  Now the risk of bugs may be reduced at least in hospitals and, judging by the write-up, the potential goes beyond that.  I still won't chuck the Neosporin but the news is good.

Two Out-of-State Bounty Hunters Got Whacked in Dallas Today

The bounty hunters waited at a car dealership where they had posed as Federal agents and they ambushed the fugitive four hours later.  All three died and the fugitive was never charged with any capital crime.

Dallas News:  Watch: Bounty hunters scuffle with fugitive as fatal shots ring out at Greenville car dealership

"Dyin' ain't much of a living, boy" - Outlaw Josey Wales

Some subset of the American population has made heroes of bounty hunters: bloodthirsty, gun-totin' vigilantes.  No vigilante ever made a problem better since they invariably make them worse.  Now they're dead and they won't be missed.

About those Comments and Moderation

The moderation of Comments will not stop but there's a better way to deal with them.  For those which are not spam or openly vitriolic poison, I'll go ahead and publish them.  However, there's no need to respond to those in which someone is merely pushing an agenda and felt like trying to patronize me.

The Rockhouse can save you some time.

If you want to argue climate change, go the White House rather than wasting my time with fake science (i.e. not validated by the preponderance of the evidence presented in peer-reviewed science).

If you want to argue for anti-vaxx, then go off to start shooting people to save some time.  It isn't your place here.

If you want to support Big Pharma then also go to the White House since, as with others before this one, they do nothing about it.

RT:   ‘Deadly mess’: Ohio sues 5 pharma companies over opioid crisis

That's almost a billion opiate doses delivered to Ohio alone so extend that out (roughly) to fifty billion for the country and you can see how stoner freaks caused the problem.

If you believe stoners caused the problem then your best option is yet again licking ass in the White House since stoners have nothing to do with junkies because we're not trying to die.  If kids get sick on your ganja then you're a fucking lousy parent for allowing it anywhere near them.

We're not sure why they come
when their interest is starting fights
but it shouldn't be surprising
when there's nothing showing much might

So make it about personalities
to ensure no real truth emerges
and the plague of that grim logic
is everywhere in the news

But it only wastes my time
when I've heard it all before
and that bloody simple rubbish
is a bloody simple bore

- Achmed Feinstein

This approach will prevent missing any Comments which do matter.  I won't censor others but neither will I respond to them.  If it is your purpose to promote fake news then your best bet is in a social network since they have more fake news and fake science than in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

I'll not suffer that hogwash anymore; there's been far too much already ... all my life.

What's Hot on the Blog 5/31


Who Really - about Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac

Hanging - about repelling vampires

A Baby Gorilla - no way this could possibly be cute

When Intelligent - the smart devices turn out to be worth not much of anything in this case

Father Anonymous - just a small chat with the fellow, a tête-à-tête (cough), if you will

Seven and Seven Is - some forgotten crazy from the late 60s (I believe ... not sure what year I first heard it)

Tells the ML EL - looks like it fell but what the hell it's really going just swell

The Chinese - I was kind of diggin' this one and it cracks me up that it draws more than the science articles

What Could - you need this since what could possibly fulfill you more than an intelligent laundry room

Lightning Bolt - this Millennial kid surprised me since it's not hip hop and he doesn't fall victim to the musical kryptonite of AutoTune

Today's Rockhouse Award for Dudeness Goes to this Unidentified Dude

For rescue of a fawn from a storm sewer for no particular reason, this scores high for Dudeness.

Ed:  dumb cracker probably wants to eat it

You know you're going to burn, right?  He's up there saving Bambi and you want to bust his chops?  There's a whole lotta WTF in that.

Hat tip to the Dude

"And Then I Met Henrietta" #Poetry

Perhaps you know of Harvey
as he could be a man's best friend
but I didn't know he has a sister
and Henrietta is here today

so now I find she loves me
and she always wants to play
You probably cannot see her;
she won't reveal if you don't believe

She sits upon my chest
and makes a purring rabbit sound
so I can't make a move;
she stands six feet off the ground

She's the biggest fucking rabbit
you'll see in your damn life
but too bad you can't see this one
as she wants to be my wife

There is a longer story
and I would love to tell the rest
but I just can't stop this bloody rabbit
from sitting on my chest

- Colonel Abuthnot Jones

Sallah:  Indy, you were named after a dog?

Indiana Jones:  I liked that dog

Note:  there's an obvious association to familial situations but that isn't what it means.

When Intelligent Gas Metering Yields Almost Nothing #Science

There's quite a bit of sales that Artificial Intelligence will be your best friend but here's an extremely low level of Artificial Intelligence which didn't yield much of anything.

Canadian researchers compared data for nine months before and nine months after time-of-use rates were introduced in November 2011 by an unidentified distribution company with more than 20,000 household customers in Ontario. Using advanced statistical tools to factor out the impact of weather differences, their analysis showed residential demand for electricity dropped just 2.6 percent during on-peak periods and 2.4 percent during mid-peak periods following the change.

Science Daily:  Study shows big smart meter investment yielded 'very small' electricity savings

When there's a 2.6% change on Wall Street, it will be announced as a Galactic Disaster but in almost any other context it doesn't mean anything.  It doesn't mean anything on Wall Street either but it's useful for marketing.

Let's have a bit more of the science.

Using advanced statistical tools to factor out the impact of weather differences, their analysis showed residential demand for electricity dropped just 2.6 per cent during on-peak periods and 2.4 per cent during mid-peak periods following the change.

"There is a gain, but the gain is very small," said Lukasz Golab, a management sciences professor and Canada Research Chair at Waterloo.

- SD

If I'm observing that as the CEO, I'm getting pissed because I listened to my Tech Manager and she swore this would be a wise spend for a cost-cutting, go forward move.

So we estimate a grand for each smart metering device for a hardware cost of $200K plus we will need another $200K for the workers to go to each home to install them.  I'm down almost half a megabuck on this spend so I'm furious.

CEO:  Memo to Security:  I want the Tech Manager in the parking lot with a pink slip in thirty minutes or less.

Is this about gender?

CEO:  this is about money and if you cost me then I leave you bleeding in the parking lot while I get on with my busy day.  Savvy?

That's kind of savage, boss.

CEO:  welcome to corporate

Man Levitating in a Mosque

Gaza City

A man prays in al-Khalde mosque during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan

Photograph: Mohammed Saber/EPA

I thought only Buddhist monks in Tibet could levitate but we see this man doing it.  He isn't fully levitated since his toes seem to touch but it's impressive nevertheless.

Ed:  he just uses a pad which matches the carpet

Au contraire since that would disturb the line of the shadow underneath him and that's not evident.

Come for the Great Wall, Stay for the Dragon Water | China

Haikou, China

More than 200,000 local people and tourists bathe in “dragon water”, a local custom to mark the Dragon Boat Festival, at the city beach

Photograph: Imaginechina/Rex/Shutterstock

Inasmuch as this photograph had to have been taken by a dragon, the celebration today may be short although we hope you enjoyed the Great Wall.

A Machine with a Real Calming Effect - Science

While a toy such as a Fidget Spinner is likely to increase stress, there's an exceptionally simple way to reduce it.

New research published in Scientific Reports shows that a heartbeat-like vibration delivered onto the inside of the wrist can make the wearer feel significantly less stressed.

Researchers from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London assessed the calming effects of a new wearable device called doppel -- a wristband designed to actively reduce stress by using the intuitive responses that we all have to rhythm, and especially to heartbeats.

Science Daily:  Wearing a 'heart' on your sleeve can reduce stress

Maybe you react immediately, "It's bloody mechanized soma and I won't do it!"

It's definitely mechanized soma and, judging by that reaction, you could probably use one.

"High arousal is correlated with increased heart rate, whereas calmness is physiologically correlated with lower heart rate," said Professor Manos Tsakiris from the Department of Psychology. "We also intuitively associate higher and lower heart rate with anxiety or high arousal, and calmness. The design of doppel, the device that we used in our study, was inspired by these insights."

- SD

It sounds like the doppel is playing on being a Doppelgänger but maybe fair enough.

Coming from a blind experiment, the following was noted.

The researchers measured both physiological arousal and subjective reports of anxiety. The use of doppel had a tangible and measurable calming effect across both physiological and psychological levels. Only the participants who felt the heartbeat-like vibration displayed lower increases in skin conductance responses and lower anxiety levels.

- SD

Apparently it works.  There's no evidence of marketing in the article but that seems inevitable and destroy that Fidget Spinner ... please.  Your mind will love you for it.

My own situation is extremely high stress since there's little to no stress on the CEO of an organization but there's extremely high stress on the underlings.  We're the Untouchables below the underlings so there's some measure of stress.  We know the bullet will come from somewhere; we just don't know which direction.

If such a Doppelgänger were on the market, I would probably consider it so long as the marketing isn't strangled with smiley faces and miscellaneous attempts at being cute.

The Good Doctor Says It's a Generation of Smart Fools Rather than Swine - Science

BOSTON—At last weekend’s annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) in Boston, Cornell University psychologist Robert Sternberg sounded an alarm about the influence of standardized tests on American society. Sternberg, who has studied intelligence and intelligence testing for decades, is well known for his “triarchic theory of intelligence,” which identifies three kinds of smarts: the analytic type reflected in IQ scores; practical intelligence, which is more relevant for real-life problem solving; and creativity. Sternberg offered his views in a lecture associated with receiving a William James Fellow Award from the APS for his lifetime contributions to psychology. He explained his concerns to Scientific American.

Scientific American:  Is the U.S. Education System Producing a Society of “Smart Fools”?

So far the pitch is relatively benign and nondescript so let's get to some fightin' words.

In your talk, you said that IQ tests and college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT are essentially selecting and rewarding “smart fools”—people who have a certain kind of intelligence but not the kind that can help our society make progress against our biggest challenges. What are these tests getting wrong?

Tests like the SAT, ACT, the GRE—what I call the alphabet tests—are reasonably good measures of academic kinds of knowledge, plus general intelligence and related skills. They are highly correlated with IQ tests and they predict a lot of things in life: academic performance to some extent, salary, level of job you will reach to a minor extent—but they are very limited. What I suggested in my talk today is that they may actually be hurting us. Our overemphasis on narrow academic skills—the kinds that get you high grades in school—can be a bad thing for several reasons. You end up with people who are good at taking tests and fiddling with phones and computers, and those are good skills but they are not tantamount to the skills we need to make the world a better place.

- SA

You probably know already the Rockhouse is powering up the defensive, extremely-powerful lasers but they will be held in abeyance for the moment to review the remainder before deciding to fire.

What I argue is that intelligence that’s not modulated and moderated by creativity, common sense and wisdom is not such a positive thing to have. What it leads to is people who are very good at advancing themselves, often at other people’s expense. We may not just be selecting the wrong people, we may be developing an incomplete set of skills—and we need to look at things that will make the world a better place.

- SA

Seems like he's drifting into ethics more than education but, ok, since perhaps ethics is the recommendation.

Are you hopeful about change?

If one could convince even a few universities and schools to try to follow a different direction, others might follow. If you start encouraging a creative attitude, to defy the crowd and to defy the zeitgeist, and if you teach people to think for themselves and how what they do affects others, I think it’s a no-lose proposition. And these things can be taught and they can be tested.

- SA

From that we observe nothing is going to happen.  There is much more to the article so the interested student is invited ...

The Rockhouse observed nothing in the article which differentiated which kids should be in the university in the first place.  The topic of better help for kids in selecting appropriate schools has been flogged here since some kids would enjoy and would be served better by vocational schools and others will not but there's little apparent recognition of that at the high school level as is evident by the ubiquitous insistence on a university degree.

I'm a smart fool and I've happy to be one since I don't feel let down by my time in university in any way.  It can be a path to wisdom but that isn't going to work for everyone since a practical wisdom is an almost entirely different thing because that probably will not allow for pure science which may not even work and may not produce anything at all.

Note:  I didn't much care for computer tests from multiple choice queries but give me an essay test and I'll own it ... and I did, many times.

Ed:  so you're still blowin' bullshit after all these years

Yep, I definitely am and it will appear as bullshit to those approaching with practical wisdom but it may not to others.  As the good professor said, that's not so much an indicator of the presence / lack of intelligence but rather the ethical education which came with it.

Some say religion provides that ethical education and perhaps it's true but there''s nothing gained by extending that here.

Carpooling in California is Being Boosted by Google - Science

An obvious device for reduction of air pollution from automobiles is carpooling since a wild estimate is it could cut at least by half the pollution from cars for commuters.

Google is expanding its paid carpool service throughout California, building on an effort to get more traffic-weary drivers to share their rides to work—and to collect data that could be useful for future transportation services.

The Wednesday move by Google's Waze unit, best known for its navigation and traffic monitoring app, extends the year-old carpooling service outside its initial markets of northern California and Israel. Waze will now be pairing up drivers and passengers across a wider expanse that includes heavily congested highways in Los Angeles and other parts of southern California.  Google expands paid carpooling across California

One answer is to pay people to do it and I have no immediate reason to assail it since maybe it even works.

Waze connects drivers and riders with similar commutes based on their home and work addresses. Riders request carpool rides in advance, but aren't guaranteed matches. Drivers can only pick up one rider; they also get to review the profiles of potential riders in advance and to select the ones they prefer. Riders can only request two rides a day.

The service is primarily focused on rush-hour commutes, when the odds of successfully matching drivers and riders are highest. Waze said tens of thousands of drivers and passengers have registered for carpooling in northern California. It won't begin booking carpooling requests outside northern California until June 6 to give interested drivers and riders a chance to sign up for the program.

Since signing up for Waze's carpooling service in February, Lesley Watson says she gets paid $3.50 to $5.50 every time she gives someone a ride on her morning commute from her home in Oakland to her job at an advertising agency in San Francisco. Sometimes, she also picks up a passenger on her evening commute home, although she usually drives solo on her return trip.

"It has helped me offset my commute costs for gas, tolls and parking," Watson, 28, says. It also has given her a chance to make new friends among the five or six people she regularly picks up through the Waze app.

- PO

That's going to be a hefty cost to Google to offset the pollution.  Call it $10 for the roundtrip every day for 100,000 commuters so the daily budget just for the end-mechanic of the payoff will be costing $1,000,000 per day.  Google derives benefits in the context of better understanding of driving patterns and the corporation has squillions to burn on it so maybe that represents a value.

The Socialist Left loves it since there's some redistribution of wealth and an excellent reduction in pollution for everyone.  While we do not foresee a far-right state adopting such a policy, there may be an angle to play since cities such as Atlanta are plagued by traffic as are many of the largest cities and they may see a reason for the expenditure.

Ed:  they can't afford it

We're not interested in Republican logic; we're interested in the future.

That aspect is required since you know already they won't pay for it.

Ed:  Atlanta will spend almost 1/3 of a billion each year on reducing traffic?

Yes, that's exactly what they will do because they don't have a choice.  The fuel savings alone will result in an immediate cost savings but the benefit is again Socialist so the state will likely argue but that doesn't obviate the necessity of addressing a problem which Detroit and Washington only make worse.

Traffic Produces Much More Nitrogen Dioxide than Was Estimated - Science

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Traffic contributes more to nitrogen oxide emissions in Europe than previously thought. This is the result of a current study carried out by scientists from the University of Innsbruck. The research team headed by Thomas Karl shows that even newer air quality models underestimate traffic related nitrogen oxide pollution by up to a factor of 4. The results of the study are published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports. Traffic dramatically underestimated as major nitrogen oxide polluter


In metropolitan areas throughout Europe maximum permissible values of nitrogen oxide are consistently breached. It has been a challenge to determine how much each polluter contributes to the emission output. Until now emission levels were mainly calculated by collecting emission data at laboratory testing facilities and subsequently extrapolating them in models. However, the amount of pollutant emissions that vehicles emit on a daily basis depends on numerous factors, for example on individual driving behavior. The recent Diesel scandal showed, for example, that measurements at engine test stands based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) or similar emission testing procedures can be highly uncertain for predicting actual environmental impacts. A large number of new studies have recently been published suggesting that emission levels from test stands have to be adjusted upwards.

- PO

NOx pollution is exceptionally insidious since that plus water gives you nitric acid.  Typically, acid rain has been a result of sulfur dioxide combining with water for a result in sulfuric acid so there's some additional rolling death to brighten the day.

However, there's some potential to mitigate at least part of it.

An industry-first technology developed by Loughborough University has the potential to significantly cut nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in diesel engines.

In 2015 the Government estimated that exposure to NOx and particulate matter emissions from diesel engines lead to around 52,000 additional deaths in the UK. NOx emissions are also the primary cause of smog in major cities around the world and a growing public health concern.  World-first technology reduces harmful diesel emissions

The news is they have a possible solution for it.

The Energy Technology Institute's (ETI) Chief Technology Officer for Heavy Duty Vehicles, Chris Thorne said: "Based upon a brief review, the ACCT technology recently developed by Loughborough has the potential to viably produce gaseous ammonia at temperatures significantly below 190°C, thus enabling increased conversion efficiency and lower NOx emissions.

"It is likely that emissions legislation will become even tighter and vehicle manufacturers will need to develop technologies to address this, and it is our belief that the ACCT technology should be further developed as it could help address this challenge in the real world."

- SD

In both cases, the interested student is invited to pursue the matter further in the source articles.

If you have been reading in my article that trucks are the problem then you need to check the material again since there are many diesels on the road and trucks only represent some of them.

The chances of such legislation in America in the immediate future are not high but the way it will likely progress in Europe is the autonomous big rig trucks will be fitted with some kind of catalytic converter and protests from individual truckers won't make any difference because such trucks don't require them.

The situation then becomes a matter of the corporate judgment of cost-effectiveness which will always come back with a negative response since it costs more so they won't do it.  Enactment of legislation to force them to do it is likely since it won't happen any other way and didn't originally in America with the first generation of catalytic converters.

Note:  we're aware Richard Nixon signed to authorize the EPA and we're also aware Donald Trump is trying to discredit and destroy it.  They're not cut from the same cloth when one was the real thing and the other is only a tacky imitation.  Therefore, legislation for cleaner NOx emissions from diesels won't be expected soon but it's inevitable nevertheless.

The Ant Lions Are Increasing their Numbers Early

They're everywhere around me and they're preparing, awaiting the arrival of the Ant Lion King.

They're all over the place and they flourish anywhere they find to be dry.  One example is under the house where likely there are thousands of them ... waiting.

You thought it was a bitch when the ants came but you don't know love until you feel it from an ant lion, thousands of them.

Tells the ML EL, "Pell Mell ... Like Hell"

The ML EL is definitely coming but there's a bit of dancing along the way since the cable was going to go dark and that was the latest thrill.

I suddenly jump up thirty years and there's a robo folding machine in the laundry room ... but it doesn't work (larfs).

Ithaka:  What Could Make Life Better than a Talking Laundry Machine

Note:  why does everything have to scream "The Marching Morons" since who anywhere needs this machine.  The offer appears to be real.  The tiny flaw is the thought anyone who has that much money to blow on a toy of that nature would have stopped doing laundry for himself or herself years before.

It's the Magic Land Emergency Line and the angles look good on doing it even if the jingles ain't jingling quite merrily enough ... but ... it's close.

I also notice the ganja which I got at the start of the month still has a groovy and hefty appearance.  The ganja is a money suck and others deem that invalid ... but that just means none for them.  Pfft

Gladstone:  if you just stopped breathing so much, the house wouldn't get so hot since your temperature is ninety-eight degrees so wtf did you think would happen.

Thanks for that tip, Gladstone.

Oh, the air conditioning doesn't work either (larfs).

I can't tell you the number as yet since I don't know it because I do not have a phone now.  I don't detect a ganja whirlpool in the vicinity so the Magic Land should be happening in not so much longer.  There's been a bit of tactical skirmishing but the plan does proceed and My Duck Soup did not go down so the anchor would have survived in any case.

So far the plan looks rational and flexible enough to continue despite the tactical events but my plans always look rational ... right up until they explode and catch fire.

There's not likely a high probability of that ... unless ... I buy a Samsung but that ain't going to happen.

Samsung:  meet El Kabong

Ed:  you're just being an Apple fanboy!

In fact, I'm being a fireman, preventive in nature.  iPhones have blowed-up too but Samsung has been blowing up a lot of them.  No, thank ye.

Note:  you never hear of my plans which don't blow up because that's not sexy; that's not sexy at all.

Ref:  "Beverly Hills Cop"

Planners are great ones for building cloud castles and we're good at it.  Add stonin' to cloud castle buildin' and now you've got la Sagrada Familia.

Ed:  la Sagrada Familia is real!

Of course it is but it was built as a cloud castle first.

The ML El remains a cloud castle for the moment but I'm guessing a week.

Religious Devotion as Predictor of Behavior - Science

Some will spin in circles sputtering to themselves regarding this one but the research seems even-handed and bereft of an agenda.

Robert Lynch, a postdoctoral fellow in anthropology, says the level of devotion one feels toward religious beliefs can predict how that person likely will interact with members of his own group or with members outside of the group. Lynch's latest research paper, "Religious Devotion and Extrinsic Religiosity Affect In-group Altruism and Out-group Hostility Oppositely in Rural Jamaica," published in Evolutionary Psychology Science, suggests that a sincere belief in God—religious devotion—is unrelated to feelings of prejudice. Rather, Lynch's research finds that those whose religious beliefs are extrinsic—who use religion as a way to achieve non-religious goals such as attaining status or joining a social group—and who regularly attend religious services are more likely to hold hostile attitudes toward outsiders.

"It's not the true believers who are the problem," Lynch says. "It's the people who use religion, perhaps in a cynical way, to further their goals."  Religious devotion as predictor of behavior

That will likely get another crew sputtering and spinning but the truth of it is readily evident in prayer photo ops for politicians.  Do you seriously believe that pose?

Note:  that's not as slanted as it may seem since I've seen Comrade Vlad dancing about some with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox church.

Lynch says one way to look at the issue is to compare ISIS with Al Qaeda. He says ISIS is mostly composed of former Iraqi generals who served under Saddam Hussein, and they are not particularly religious. Members of ISIS routinely kill members of their own group as well as individuals outside their group (both Sunnis and Shias). One of the main objectives for ISIS is to expand its territory, and it often uses a religious pretext to achieve its goals. On the other hand, Al Qaeda, a Sunni Muslim organization created in 1988 to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, does not typically kill fellow Muslims. Lynch says members of Al Qaeda are true believers who like members of their own group and are not as hostile to outside groups.

- PO

There's a novel perspective on al Qaeda relative to IS-IS.

I'm lifting the article so you see I am not warping it to any purpose of my own.

Lynch's research is based on a 30-year study of 288 Jamaican citizens from youth to adulthood by Robert Trivers of Rutgers University, a colleague who is studying symmetry (how much an individual varies from left to right) in the island population. Lynch gave the study participants a survey to determine whether religious beliefs were intrinsic or extrinsic, as well as measuring religious devotion and church attendance. He says the findings suggest that the beliefs and social aspects that underlie religion have distinct effects on attitudes within and between groups. His research found that religious beliefs are positively associated with a willingness to sacrifice for one's beliefs and a greater tolerance of outsiders, while the social facets of religion, such as attendance, promote greater hostility toward outsiders.

- PO

From that I discern he is not assailing religious belief but rather those who use it inappropriately.  He's really not assailing the ones who do use it inappropriately and instead observes the phenomenon and make of it what you will.

Fair enough and proceeding.

"Group membership may be enough to produce a particular behavior and the religious beliefs themselves may be irrelevant," Lynch says. "Taken as a whole, these results point to a generally optimistic view of the ability for religious beliefs to generate compassion and a darker view on the social activities that promote group cohesion, which may also produce hatred of others."

- PO

The Rockhouse is calling that even-handed since you can observe the phenomenon any time and it would insult the point of the article if I suggest in this context any specific direction to point your finger.

The crux of it is in the nature of extrinsic (from without) or intrinsic (from within) belief.  That's a win for me since my beliefs don't seem to have come from anywhere; they just are and have been although a bit muddy for a time.

Ed:  so you just have monkey belief then?

I'll take that as a compliment for gorilla (i.e. ape) belief since they never hurt anything unless it screws with them and then only to defend.

Ed:  must be a blind gorilla since chimpanzees are hard-core predators

We never could teach them anything and found the best way to resolve it was to grow bigger than the chimps so they don't screw with us.  We couldn't teach the wise elephants either since they will run you down if they're annoyed.  Never mess with an angry elephant.

Ed:  it was probably because of the chimp helping the elephant

Chimps also work with Ronald Reagan.  Gorillas just kick back to observe.

Ref:  based on Chinese and possibly Indian mythology which relates to the relationship between an exceptional relationship between a monkey and an elephant in which the monkey is spontaneous and fast while the elephant is wise but slow so that made a perfect partnership.

That was the entirety of the article and the interested student is encouraged to pursue the additional references it presents.