To vent or not to vent?

Venting is a common concept in American English.

It is a metaphorical word connoting other metaphors with similar meanings: blowing off steam, getting something off your chest, getting something out, getting it out there, clearing the air, etc.

I think it would be much better if we greatly demoted these small metaphors and replaced them with plain speech, such as: I want to speak about something with you and hope you will listen to me and provide some feedback.

Speech is sacred. Speaking honestly to someone who listens honestly is always transformative. Our common metaphors for needing or wanting to speak with someone too often obscure the beauty and profound potential of these important speech acts.

Another distantly related point to this is all the deconstructing going on right now in American society.

What I want to say to you about this is simply: any technique used to deconstruct America can very easily be used against any society anywhere in the world during any period of time.

All groups can be deconstructed easily because all groups are fundamentally simple. They are lowest-common-denominator communication systems shared by their members.

A little deconstructing and intelligent analyzing can be good, but too much is destructive. It’s much easier to destroy something than build it. And building new or better things does not always mean destroying established things first; in fact that approach rarely works.

Dangerous times, dangerous thoughts, dangerous acts

This fictional exercise appeared over three years ago but it rings even truer today. We are living in dangerous times. We’ve seen what China has done. We know what Antifa is doing. Here’s something else that might happen.

“Seven”.
The earpiece crackled in Jake’s ear from one of the handheld radios they were each tuned to. They’d picked up a couple of dozen surplused Motorola LE-only encrypted radios on eBay, and after a lot of work, Gene had programmed them all to use a normally unused simplex channel reserved for the authorities for tonight. All anyone else would hear was a brief bit of static with the factory encryption, but they still stuck to brevity codes.
Jake calmed himself. He knew the signs of buck fever, and he took a few moments to stretch his whole body, starting with his toes, and ending with his fingers. It wouldn’t be long now, and he didn’t want to be fighting adrenaline when the moment came.
The van he was in was non-descript. It was the twin of one belonging to a local business the next city over, and the plates on it would be back in the morning, with any luck at all. Inside was dark and quiet, but he could already hear the noise of the protesters as they moved down the main street, closing at the speed of a 6000-footed caterpillar, fueled by youthful exuberance, and a healthy amount of stupidity. Well, they were about to get a lot more education than what they’d gotten at U Cal, and he was happy to be a teaching assistant tonight.
He focused on the intersection, and checked over his gear one last time inside the darkened vehicle, as the sounds of yet another leftist temper tantrum grew louder by the moment. (Tomorrow)

The Key Reason DC Hates President Trump – It’s a Big Club, and He Ain’t in It…

Something 99% of American voters do not understand.  Congress doesn’t actually write legislation. The last item of legislation written by congress was sometime around the mid 1990’s. Modern legislation is sub-contracted to a segment of operations in DC known as K-Street.  That’s where the lobbyists reside.

Lobbyists write the laws; congress sells the laws; lobbyists then pay congress commissions for passing their laws. That’s the modern legislative business in DC.

CTH often describes the system with the phrase: “There are Trillions at Stake.” The process of creating legislation is behind that phrase. DC politics is not quite based on the ideas that frame most voter’s reference points.

With people taking notice of DC politics for the first time; and with people not as familiar with the purpose of DC politics; perhaps it is valuable to provide clarity.

Most people think when they vote for a federal politician -a House or Senate representative- they are voting for a person who will go to Washington DC and write or enact legislation. This is the old-fashioned “schoolhouse rock” perspective based on decades past. There is not a single person in congress writing legislation or laws.

In modern politics not a single member of the House of Representatives or Senator writes a law, or puts pen to paper to write out a legislative construct. This simply doesn’t happen.

Over the past several decades a system of constructing legislation has taken over Washington DC that more resembles a business operation than a legislative body. Here’s how it works right now.

continue reading…

US Galveston National Laboratory investigated for Wuhan bio-lab ties

Galveston National Laboratory (GNL), part of the University of Texas system, has become a focus for investigators trying to track down the origin of COVID-19.

GNL is the latest concern in a wide-ranging investigation into US-China academic and scientific ties.

“Universities provided unguarded access to sensitive if unclassified data; American research institutions became hubs for information collection and the recruitment of spies; and universities with large numbers of Chinese students engaged in self-censorship lest they offend the Chinese government,” said Patrick Cronin, Asia-Pacific security chair for the Hudson Institute. (Prominent university bio lab urged to reveal extent of relationship with Wuhan lab at center of coronavirus outbreak)

The linked article has a good deal of information and is well-worth reading in-full. For example, a number of US investigations have:

…cast scrutiny on China’s Thousand Talents Plan, an illustrious program tailored to recruit leading academics and promote domestic research. The contracts signed for the plan, to the ire of lawmakers and federal officials, mandated that “participating scientists abide by Chinese law, keep the contract secret, recruit postdocs and sign over any intellectual property rights to the sponsoring Chinese institution.”

According to concerned lawmakers, the contracts thus offer incentives for scientists to set up “shadow labs” in China that emulate U.S. taxpayer-funded research at their home institutions.

But with the novel coronavirus having claimed more than 60,000 lives in the United States alone, the Wuhan-U.S. academia trail is now being met with an even more discerning eye from Washington.

“The scope of China’s exploitation of our open universities, including medical, biology, and other scientific labs, is only recently coming into focus,” Cronin added. “At the end of 2019, the FBI and the NIH announced they were investigating 180 separate cases involving more than 70 institutions

“In almost all cases, the alleged theft of biomedical research information was done by Chinese citizens or Americans of Chinese descent. Bit by bit, China found ways into government scientific labs.”

One point I don’t see mentioned often enough is if COVID-19 evolved in nature and jumped to humans at the Wuhan market, or even at the Wuhan bio-lab, what is the original animal host population of the virus, what animal is it, and where is it? If no host population can be solidly identified, no matter how “natural” the virus looks nor how “natural” its evolution may appear, a more likely explanation for its capacity for human transmission is it was bred in a laboratory by human beings.

related: Coronavirus NSW: Dossier lays out case against China bat virus program

The following links are all unconfirmed but plausible and very consequential if true:

Steve Bannon suggests Chinese scientist holds coronavirus secrets

Breaking news! A Wuhan P4 Lab insider and his family have successfully left China for Europe

China’s “bat woman” Zhengli SHI, seeking asylum in US embassy in France

Nick Bryant on the Franklin Scandal, child trafficking, and more

This interview happened in 2017 but is well-worth listening to today. As bad as the Franklin Scandal was, it was “just” one tentacle on a much larger beast. And as bad as child abuse for sexual purposes is, that too is just one (even larger) tentacle on a much larger beast. That beast itself also murders, maims, and tortures children, both physically and psychologically.

It does this for various reasons: to cover up crimes and discredit witnesses, but also to destroy the communities the children belong to. I have personal knowledge of one, now deceased, actor in the Franklin Scandal. His name is Peter Citron. I know enough about Citron to be certain that he belonged to a large group of prominent child traffickers. And I also know that he was connected, directly or indirectly, to another group that maims and kills children and young people.

It is very difficult to prove child trafficking for reasons Bryant goes into. Children who are abused develop psychological problems and become marginalized. They also feel fear, shame, and profound doubt that anyone will believe them or ever do anything about any of it. Children who have been maimed are even less able to come forward. Those who have been murder obviously can do nothing at all.

Part One

Part Two

From last month: Nick Bryant | From Franklin to Epstein: The Cover-Up Continues

General analyses of signaling systems illuminate fundamentals of psychology

Individual psychology is a locus or node within a larger social system.

More precisely, individual psychologies are particular signaling systems within larger social signaling systems.

It is valuable to see this because general analyses of signaling systems—even those having nothing to do with human psychology—can shed light on human signaling systems, including both individual psychology and many aspects of sociology.

When human psychology is viewed as a signaling system, we can readily see that narcissism is bound to occur because narcissism is fundamentally a simplistic signal system.  (See Narcissism redefined (yet again) for more.)

When human sociology is viewed as a signaling system, we can similarly see that parasitism is bound to occur because the exploitation of one system by another is a fairly simple matter.  (See Social parasitism in ants and humans for more.)

In like manner, we can see that social hierarchies importantly have evolved because they are simple and decently efficient signal (communication) systems.

We can also see why hierarchical system often are overthrown and why they often do not arise in systems where they are not needed.  For example, no hierarchy is needed for a language system once the basics have been established.  A parasitic or authoritarian group might impose a hierarchy on a language system, but that’s a different animal.

When individual psychology is viewed as a signaling system, we can see that a great deal of what we consider “disordered” or “ill” within that system is fundamentally a problem of the signal system itself and not the “personality” we have mistakenly abstracted out of that system.

Indeed, most of what we think of as personality is nothing more than an individual signal system attempting to conform to its understanding of the larger social system within which it exists.  When science is applied to “personality” erroneously conceived, we arrive at the many psychometric tautologies on personality traits we now have.  Psychometrics have limited value for describing societies, but are frequently misleading, even damaging, when applied to individuals.  In this, they resemble BMI data which originally was used as a marker for the health of whole populations, not individuals, and which can be misleading when applied to individuals.

When we view individuals as signaling systems rather than personalities, we can immediately see that these systems can and should be optimized for better communication.  Indeed, this is the real job of psychology—optimizing individual signaling systems. Not just treating “personality” disorders.

_____________

first posted

Imaginary communication

Normal socially-defined communication—business, school, professional, etc.—operates within known limits and terminologies. Skill is largely defined as understanding how to use the system without exceeding its limits, how to play the game.

Many other forms of communication must be imagined. That is, I have to imagine what you mean and you have to imagine what I mean.

In many cases of this type I will imagine that you are normal to the extent that I am able to imagine what normal is. And I will imagine that you imagine me to be normal. As I imagine you I will probably assume that your sense of what is normal is more or less the same as mine. This is probably what the central part of the bell curve of imagined communication looks like. People in this group are capable of imagining and cleaving to normal communication standards. If you reciprocate, we will probably get along fine.

If my imagination is better than normal, I will be able to imagine more than the normal person or given to imagining more. If this is the case, I will tend to want to find a way to communicate more than the norm to you. If you reciprocate, we might do well communicating. If you don’t, I might appear eccentric to you or distracted.

If my imagination is worse than normal, I will have trouble imagining or understanding normal communication. I won’t have a good sense of the cartoons we are required to make of each other and will probably appear awkward or scatterbrained to most people. If you reciprocate, we might do well communicating and find comfort in each other.

Normal communication, even when imagined, is based on something like cartoons. I see myself as a cartoon acting in relation to the cartoon I imagine for you. If my cartoon fits you well enough that you like it and if your cartoon of me fits well enough that I like it, we have a good chance of becoming friends.

A great deal of normal imagined communication is cartoon-like, and being normal, will take the bulk of its cartoons from mass media—movies, TV, radio, and, to a lesser extent today, books and other art forms.

People still read and learn from books and art, but normal communication has come to rely heavily on the powerful cartoons of mass media.

The big problem with our systems of imagined communication is they are highly idiosyncratic, messy, and ambiguous. We have to spend a lot of time fixing problems and explaining what we really mean.

It’s good to have idiosyncratic communication, but we have to find ways to understand each other on those terms.

________________

first posted

Unrestricted Warfare: English translation

Since the whole world is now fundamentally at war with the Chinese Communist Party, I am supplying a PDF of Unrestricted Warfare. The text is roughly explained below.

Unrestricted Warfare (超限战, literally “warfare beyond bounds”) is a book on military strategy written in 1999 by two colonels in the People’s Liberation ArmyQiao Liang (乔良) and Wang Xiangsui (王湘穗). Its primary concern is how a nation such as China can defeat a technologically superior opponent (such as the United States) through a variety of means. Rather than focusing on direct military confrontation, this book instead examines a variety of other means. Such means include using International Law (see Lawfare) and a variety of economic means to place one’s opponent in a bad position and circumvent the need for direct military action. (Link)

The CCP did not disclose human-to-human transmission of COVID19 until January 20 of this year. They have known of the virus since late November or early December of 2019 and have engaged in covering up crucial information about it ever since. Doing so ensured the virus would spread throughout the world.

The Secret Speech of General Chi Haotian

This speech should be read by everyone interested in China. Draw your own conclusions about how much it has to do with recent events. Chi Haotian was the defense minister of China from 1993-2003. An excerpt from his speech can be found just below. Be sure to read the whole speech. More information about it is provided at the link below.

…Conventional weapons such as fighters, canons, missiles and battleships won’t do; neither will highly destructive weapons such as nuclear weapons. We are not as foolish as to want to perish together with America by using nuclear weapons, despite the fact that we have been exclaiming that we will have the Taiwan issue resolved at whatever cost. Only by using non-destructive weapons that can kill many people will we be able to reserve America for ourselves. There has been rapid development of modern biological technology, and new bio-weapons have been invented one after another. Of course, we have not been idle, in the past years we have seized the opportunity to master weapons of this kind. We are capable of achieving our purpose of “cleaning up” America all of a sudden. When Comrade Xiaoping was still with us, the Party Central Committee had the perspicacity to make the right decision not to develop aircraft carrier groups and focus instead on developing lethal weapons that can eliminate mass populations of the enemy country.

From a humanitarian perspective, we should issue a warning to the American people and persuade them to leave America and leave the land they have lived in to the Chinese people. Or at least they should leave half of the United States to be China’s colony, because America was first discovered by the Chinese. But would this work? If this strategy does not work, then there is only one choice left to us. That is, use decisive means to “clean up” America and reserve America for our use in a moment. Our historical experience has proven that as long as we make it happen, nobody in the world can do anything about us. Furthermore, if the United States as the leader is gone, then other enemies have to surrender to us.

Biological weapons are unprecedented in their ruthlessness, but if the Americans do not die then the Chinese have to die. If the Chinese people are strapped to the present land, a total societal collapse is bound to take place. (The Secret Speech of General Chi Haotian)

I have posted the translation found on J.R. Nyquist’s blog because this version contains parts left out of other versions I have seen, particularly Chi’s introductory discussion of an online survey.

As far as I have been able to determine, this translation is an accurate rendition of a real speech given to high-level Communist Party leaders.

Below are some quotes from Sun Tzu:

“The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.”

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

“Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

If the coronavirus is a bioweapon, we are on the brink of war

Whether USA did it to China or China did it to the world, if the coronavirus is a bioweapon at this point it no longer matters. We are on the brink of WW3.

The public will never know what happened and neither government can possibly know what the other will do next. If it’s a bioweapon, whether it was released accidentally or deliberately, we are on the brink of war because suspicion and threat assessments will be at their highest levels.

A bioweapon need not be lethal to be effective. Witness the effects of coronavirus right now. When people are harmed in great numbers, but not killed, they require expensive care and paralyze whole societies.

Signs coronavirus is a bioweapon are its “gain of function.” Gain of function is jargon that means weaponizing a natural pathogen through genetic or chemical manipulation to produce a more lethal, contagious, or otherwise effective organism.

The coronavirus shows several signs of “gain of function.” It is highly contagious, has a long period of symptomless transmission, and is lethal enough to cause panic and social confusion.

If it is a bioweapon, the two most likely perpetrators of its release are USA or China. The release may have been deliberate or it may have been accidental. It is quite possible a third party is responsible; Russia, some rogue NGO, or some other entity.

A significant sign that coronavirus is a bioweapon is to date no government has officially released a chemical or genetic analysis of its structure. If it were a naturally occurring virus, such an analysis would be an important part of the news.

Unofficially, there are more than a few indications that coronavirus (COVID19) is a chimera containing parts of the HIV and SARS viruses spliced onto a naturally occurring coronavirus.

If coronavirus was accidentally released, whoever did it will have to work very hard to prove it was an accident. There are some signs the virus was accidentally released in the USA last summer. Other signs that it was released in China in early November.

At this point, all we the public have is probabilistic thinking and guesswork. I posted these thoughts not to be alarmist but to be realistic. I can understand governments not divulging all the facts. They do not want to further panic their populations. But many of us are smart enough to handle the details. For us the opacity is what is most unsettling.

Good overview of Game Theory as applied to Artificial Intelligence

Game theory is experiencing a renaissance driven by the evolution of AI. What are some classic and new ideas that data scientists should be aware of.

Game theory is one of the most fascinating areas of mathematics that have influenced diverse fields such as economics, social sciences, biology and, obviously, computer science. There are many ways to think about game theory but one that I find really helpful, although overly simplistic, is:

game theory is probabilities with incentives

Games are playing a key role in the evolution of artificial intelligence(AI). For starters, game environments are becoming a popular training mechanism in areas such as reinforcement learning or imitation learning. In theory, any multi-agent AI system can be subjected to gamified interactions between its participants. The branch of mathematics that formulates the principles of games is known as game theory. In the context of artificial intelligence(AI) and deep learning systems, game theory is essential to enable some of the key capabilities required in multi-agent environments in which different AI programs need to interact or compete in order to accomplish a goal. (A Crash Course in Game Theory for Machine Learning: Classic and New Ideas)

Facial expressions: we often read them wrong and then make huge mistakes

Both emotions and facial expressions are ancient instincts.

Human language and cognition have grown well-beyond ancient instincts. Grown beyond but also still affected by.

We have become more complex.

Today, we not only read instincts, we also read instincts into other people’s cognition through what they say, how they say it, how it sounds, how their faces move.

Which micro-expression is the right one?

The truth is we don’t know. Our readings of facial expressions in real-time, real-world situations are often wrong, often tragically.

Our cognition has advanced beyond our instincts but generally speaking it has not advanced far enough for us to generally recognize this fact.

Cultures and social groups deal with the ambiguity of facial expressions by being formal, wearing masks, emphasizing “face” or “saving face,” promoting respect or strong egos that can sell themselves through assertion of meaning, Botox, makeup, boobs, etc.

I think it is arguable that many/most/all people take on and use religion or philosophy in order to provide themselves with a generalizable set of emotions and facial expressions that can be employed in many situations. In this we can see how the architecture of our cognition (our philosophy/religion) is connected to our emotions and facial expressions.

Obviously, our reading of other people’s faces and emotions is not always wrong. If it were we wouldn’t do it at all. But our readings are wrong often enough that tragic mistakes are frequently made.

It is a pity that these truths are not more widely recognized. Browse almost any psychological forum and you will find many comments concerning the anguish people feel at having a condition that is widely misunderstood or misread.

At least they know what is going on.

This morning I saw this article: NEVER trust a person’s face: Scientists say it is ‘completely baloney’ that you can read people’s emotions from their expressions.

And that led me to search for this paper: Emotional Expressions Reconsidered: Challenges to Inferring Emotion From Human Facial Movements.

I am sure most, if not all, psychologists recognize the basic problem of our poor abilities at reading emotions, tone of voice, gesture, and even what we mean at all when we speak and act.

Does anyone know what to do about it?