Today's Weblog

This is long and varied enough, time to start a fresh log.  Here we have:
 SQL Slammer or Sapphire worm
 The State of the Union
 Meds for PAIN!
 The health benefits of olive oil
 The singular geography of Afghanistan
 CONFORMITY: How to do it
 The atavistic and reactionary nature of contra Enlightenment thought
 Photographs of Afghanistan
 Coverage of demonstrations against the Shrubbyist Perpetual War
 A new virus distribution trick
 Thoughts to live by
 3D web pictures and
 BioChemistry, bioinformatics, Computational Biology & Charles Molnar

For Dinosaur Flight, see the previous log!

Weblog 2003-01-29

Kansas Day  Our State's 141st birthday.   As well as my sister's birthday, shared with Tom Paine and Tom Sellek.   An early memory:  the Kansas Day night Mom was in the hospital for my sister's delivery.  We had a dirty blizzard, as much dust as snow, strong wind and bitter cold.  The toilet blew over - more than over, actually.   Dad had to drag it down South of the granary the next day, fill in the hole, and finish hooking up the indoor plumbing.  That was to have been done anyway, by the time Mom and the baby got home from the hospital, but it took on a dramatic aspect that would otherwise have been lacking.

It has made that birthday easy to remember.  I have never regretted no longer having to make those trips out to the little house before bedtime, in the dead of night and winter.

Rest and heat with mild stretching exercise seems to be alleviating the back and hip pain I've had the last few days.  Tuesday was BAD!   The pain med regimen decided on Monday has worked well too:  1 aspirin in the AM, then two hours later an ibuprofen, with another 6 hours later, then another aspirin or two later in the PM.

Weblog 2003-01-28

Fiddled some more with the recent "internet security" crisis, the SQL Slammer or Sapphire worm that put networks under such a load on the 24th and 25th.   My summary of what has been disclosed so far about this DoS (Denial of Service) attack and what my own firewall showed during the attack is here.

The Stupid of the Onion: Intensely disliked Bush's speech, more for the strategy it embodies than any specifics in the presentation.   It appears that Saddam H. is playing into the Shrubbyists' hand, and that his recalcitrance will end up justifying a UN Security Council vote for a second resolution - this one authorizing overt military action.   I do not believe that the Shrubbyists ever seriously planned to move without such a resolution; rather they felt from the beginning that Saddam would give them the excuse and the UN votes they need for a Security Council resolution authorizing military action.

All the Shrubbyist  extreme militarist posturing has been intended to do just what it has done - bring the opponents of their domestic and economic policies into the appearance of alignment with the most extreme pacifist and collectivist organizations opposing military action against Iraq, so as to discredit opposition to Shrubbyism generally.   A sucker punch.

I am not alone in wondering where these people who end up on the podium at the demonstrations against the Iraq war policy come from.  How do they get to be the spokespeople for a supposedly broad anti-war movement, espousing the most extreme and non representative positions?  Where do they get the money and organizational clout that permits them to 'stage manage' the opposition?   Are they supported, covertly, by rightists who wish to discredit centrist and moderate opposition to the Chicken Hawks' strategy?

The only hopeful signs I see are that some of the most extreme of Bush's budget and tax proposals are meeting with bipartisan skepticism.   Still, even though these proposals will, if passed, result in long term and highly inflationary deficits and stagflation, they are on the table, and will probably be irresistible.   Take the money and run guys, let the public deal with the consequences - another 25 year cycle of inflation, high interest rates, and an utterly impoverished public sector.

These Shrubbyist SOB's really tore it, when they decided to deride the most effective and successful economic policies of the 20th Century as "Rubinomics".   That is penis envy, pure and simple.  They know Bob Rubin has what it takes and they are pathetic wannabe pikers, fakers, and liars.

Weblog 2003-01-27

PAIN! I somehow managed to injure a muscle or nerve, or perhaps only precipitate a muscle spasm in my back, but I have had days of pain in my lower back, hip, thigh, etc. centered on or just above the crest of the Ilium, right side.   I take an aspirin every morning, but otherwise no meds. Rumors of 'interference' between aspirin and ibuprofen left me wondering what I should take for the pain.   Take the aspirin before the Ibuprofen, is the essence of the matter.

Then there is last week's exploration of the metabolism of steroid anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs.

Weblog 2003-01-27

Olive Oil Cookery: The Mediterranean Diet by Maher A. Abbas
Nutr Metab   Cardiovasc Dis 2002 Feb;12(1):42-51 -

. . .  As early as in the late 1950s, it was found that the inhabitants of Greece and Southern Italy had a very low incidence of coronary artery disease and that,  among other components, their diets were very rich in oleic acid, the main constituent of the olive oil, . . .  oleic acid directly interferes with the  inflammatory response characterizing early atherogenesis due to the endothelial   expression of adhesion molecules for circulating monocytes.

. . . incorporation of oleic acid in total cell lipids is accompanied by decreased   expression of a number of major pro-inflammatory proteins, such as endothelial leukocyte   adhesion molecules. . .   oleic   acid has a direct vascular atheroprotective effect, and suggest that it may be possible to  prevent atherosclerosis by modulating the vascular response to classical triggers (high   levels of cholesterol and the advanced glycation end-products of diabetes) using a strategy that is fundamentally different from, and therefore complementary to, drug-based therapy.

More about Olive Oil

Weblog 2003-01-25

The following links are to information about the singular geography of Afghanistan.  These are narratives by Daud Saba,   who as a youth  "became so obsessed with the beautiful landscapes of my country, such as the mighty Hindu Kush, that I   chose geology as my career."   Naturally, I think he is a pretty cool guy, as those of you who know me would expect.

by Daud Saba:

The First Slap of War: An Uncompleted Tour of My Homeland (Oct-Dec 99)
Faryab Journey (Oct-Dec 98)
Laghman Journey (Oct-Dec. 98)
Zabul Journey (July-Sept 98)
Balkh Journey (April-June 98)
The "Hamaam" (Jan-March 98)
Helmand Journey (Jan.-March 98)
Herat Journey (July-September 97)
The State Of Environment in Afghanistan & Our Stand (Oct-Dec 97)

Weblog 2003-01-24

CONFORMITY: How to do it.   A Google search string:  "Russell Jacoby" Social Amnesia: A Critique of Conformist Psychology from Adler to Laing yielded some interesting results.  Wish I had time right now to read up on them.  The Anatomy of Mind, by William H. Gass, is a review of four books on Freud, including Jacoby's, and is a really good read.

I was a NYR subscriber at the time Jacoby's book and the Gass review were published, which may be why I remember him and his book - though I thought I had a copy here.   I do have a copy of "An Anatomy for Conformity" by Edward L. Walker and Roger W. Heyns, c. 1962, Prentice-Hall Spectrum.   Why don't they write books like this anymore?   Quoting  from the jacket:

If one wishes to produce Conformity, for good or evil, the formula is clear.  Manage to arouse a need or needs that are important to the individual or the group.  Offer a goal which is appropriate to the need or needs. Make sure that Conformity is instrumental to the achievement of the goal and that the goal is as large and as certain as possible.  Apply the goal or reward at every opportunity.  Try to prevent the object of your efforts from obtaining uncontrolled education.  Choose a setting that is ambiguous.  Do everything possible to see that the individual has little or no confidence in his own position.  Do everything possible to make the norm which you set appear highly valued and attractive.  Set it at a level not too far, initially, from the starting point of the individual or group and move it gradually toward the behavior you wish to produce.  Be absolutely certain you know what you want and that you are willing to pay an enormous price in human quality, for whether the individual or the group is aware of it or not, the result will be CONFORMITY.
These principles have been applied intensely and purposefully by Nixon, Reagan, Bush, the Felon radio talk hacks, Rash Limpbow and Dr. No (whatzername?), but most effectively by Karl "Goebbels" Rove and the current Shrubbyist government.

Another 'hit' from this string produced some paragraphs of relevance to the atavistic and reactionary nature of modern contra Enlightenment thought.   (I often refer to it, along with fundamentalism, as "neo-Medievalist"; some of its adherents think of themselves as "Post Modernist".  None would confess to being in league with religious fundamentalism.)
Surrealist interest in wearing away a threshold between the conscious and unconscious relates to the insight,  shared by Freud, that the development and preservation of civilisation is predicated on the repression of 'natural' instincts and desires, and that the derepression of this alienated content would also entail the liberation of society as a whole, the repression of the two being mutually implicated. This conflict between the Id and the Superego, between the fulfillment of basic desires and the development of civilisation was regarded by Freud to be an irresolvable historical constant.(10)
 It is precisely surrounding the question of the deadlock raised by Freud's predication of civilisation on psychic  repression that the Frankfurt School made an important contribution. In contrast to certain Marxo-Freudian revisionists who wanted to rid the psychoanalytic model of the unconscious of its historically impervious, biological character, the Frankfurt School's insight preserves its biological character but in the revised form of a 'second nature'.(12)   Rusell Jacoby summarises their historicising of the Freudian Id thus:
 "The 'sub-individual' and 'pre-individual factors' that define the individual belong to the realm of the archaic and biological; but it is not a question of pure nature. Rather it is second nature: history that has hardened into  nature. The distinction between nature and second nature, if unfamiliar to most social thought, (but manifestly  not to the social thought of the great philosopher of the last half of the 20th Century, Herbert Simon, who  I think distinguishes carefully and successfully between the two in his work "The Sciences of the Artificial" - note by JP) is vital to critical  theory. What is second nature to the individual is accumulated and sedimented history. It is history so long  unliberated - history so long monotonously oppressive - that it congeals. Second nature is not simply nature or history, but frozen history that surfaces as nature."(13)
 Through this concept of second nature we also come closer to an understanding of how social history and the  individual unconscious are by no means separable (hence the idea of a social unconscious) and, further, how their mutual repression and/or derepression exists within a circuit of causation:
Unlike the surrealists, however, the Frankfurt School did not view the derepression of this     'alienated psychic content' as necessarily leading to social liberation. Instead, they considered    'post-liberal', totalitarian societies as having brought about a kind of short-circuit between the Id and the Superego, wherein the unthinkable happens: "the triumphant archaic urges, the victory of the Id over the Ego, live in harmony with (Note by JP:  I would say they are a virtual sine qua non of ) the triumph of the society over the individual".(14)
In their terms, this dissolution of the subject's relative autonomy provided by the Ego's  mediation between the life-substance of the drives and the social repression exerted by the Superego gives way to an immediate enlistment of regressive, compulsive, blind,  automatic behaviour by society. This they termed 'repressive desublimation' which they saw exemplified  in the slavish adherence to the leader and the imitative behaviour of the crowd in fascist   societies.

 But, both the Frankfurt School and the surrealists recognised a consonance between the social relations of  industrial capitalism and the 'alienated psychic substance' of the unconscious.(15)   Adorno read the  'autonomy' of the liberal bourgeois subject as an ideological lure from the 'opaqueness of alienated objectivity.'(16)  In other words, as Enlightenment rationality creates an ever more objectified and instrumentalised world, the alienation of the subject is accordingly inverted into the glorification of its autonomy.

But for net artists working in what has been discussed as the biopoltical age - a time in which capitalism is described by Negri and Hardt as having 'no outside anymore', when social reproduction is entirely assimilated as a productive force, when the externalities of nationhood and the binary structures of colonisation and decolonisation have been flattened into the internalised omnicrisis of Empire -  in short where information and interconnectivity come to overdetermine social relations, a very different mass psychological subject should be imagined.  Given that the promise derepression and desublimation once held for the surrealists has been parodied by advertising's adoption of its forms, in which 'repressed' libidinal desires are decoded as the drive to consume commodities, and that a primary mode of ideological interpellation occurs under the rubric of 'enjoyment', large-scale social derepression/desublimation must certainly be viewed today with some suspicion.(17)  (No woofin', Jack! - JP)  And yet, as we shall see, cyborg theorists and Deleuzian techno-Marxists (whose discourse of networks, rhizomes and cybernetic systems importantly inform the politico-cultural environment of the Net) see within this break-down of the myth of the autonomous subject the potential to overcome the oppressive metanarratives  of the Enlightenment and its legacy of instrumental rationality.

That last sentence, beginning "And yet," is about as perfect a distillation (a crock) of condensed owl manure as I have ever read!    Idjits will get for us all what only they deserve, if they succeed in their contra Enlightenment neoMedievalist nonsense!   They and the Shrubbyist fundamentalists claim to hate one another, but are psychologically yoked by  the same medieval Devils.  Aldous Huxley (and so many more right through Rollo May)  would readily recognize them as spawn of that ancient rot.

Weblog 2003-01-23 has added 100,000 new members in the past week, reflecting our concern about the Shrubbyists apparent headlong rush toward a full fledged war in Iraq.    It is a relief to see public apathy somewhat alleviated, and to think that these idjits latitude for ill advised and foolish adventurism may be somewhat constrained by public concern - no matter that I think the Shrubbyists have already accounted for and planned ways of working around the public.  Maybe we will surprise them yet, who knows.

Weblog 2003-01-22

Photographs of Afghanistan by Luke Powell:
JAN 18 - FEB 22,  OK Harris Gallery, 383 West Broadway, New York, NY

Luke Powell's web site has one of the largest collections of photographs  of Afghanistan of any site on the internet.  Mr. Powell is generous with  NGOs who want to use them.   On the site are well over one hundred  photographs from each of three different eras, from the 1970s, from  2000 (including Taliban and Northern Alliance areas), and from 2001  and 2002 while I was working for the United Nations.  Mr. Powell's  print  exhibitions have been to over 100 museums in thirty seven states and  many foreign countries.  Over the next two weeks he will add around  200 pictures taken in the 1970s.

 The direct link to the beginning of the first Afghanistan chapter is:

His home page is on a commercial server:

However, ever other page on the site is  on the server for Middlebury  College, and an alternate homepage for the site is also on that server:

 Luke Powell, 30 Seymour Street, Middlebury, VT 05753, 802 388-3827

This archive is a major resource of visual imagery for Afghanistan over the last 30 years.  Please check it out.

Weblog 2003-01-21

Coverage of  demonstrations against the Shrubbyist Iraq War strategy!  The press has finally covered opposition to Bush's War strategy.
Washington Post
LA Times
San Francisco Chronicle

It has been asserted by the protest organizers that:  "Today's NYT editorial signifies that a growing section of   the political establishment fears the dynamic rise of the   U.S. anti-war movement, and is deeply concerned that  Bush's rush towards war will have a destabilizing impact  on the political system as a whole. "   I doubt that any such fear exists.  But opposition to the Shrubbyists' "shadow" strategy has reached the point that it is no longer safe to pretend it does not exist - that might might actually be destabilizing if it were carried much further.

But that is a part of the Shrubbyist strategy, I think.  Excite the opposition with war plans that do not even exist in fact, work it up to a lather, then change the appearance of the plan.   Domestic opposition, not so much to the war as to the  Shrubbyists' revanchist social and political agenda, can be brought to the point of nervous exhaustion before the 'real' war plan is even exposed.

Those of us who oppose these idjits had better keep our cool, and not lunge after every piece of red meat they toss after us.  I do not believe they plan on unilateral action.   I think their strategy is to isolate and discredit their political opponents in the US and abroad, and their posturing with respect to Iraq is part of that strategy.   They will end up getting their UN resolution, if Saddam does not fall of his own weight first, and every extreme statement and position taken by their opponents now will be used to justify their triumphalist steam rolling of that opposition later.

Super-Sized Nation - Food Portions Have Grown Over Past 20 Years, Lending to Obesity

This is way past ridiculous, to the point of obscenity.  No wonder the world is  convinced we want Iraq's oil.  We seem to have a capacity for gorging ourselves on everything else.

A new virus distribution trick:  I received email "apparently from" the Postmaster at my ISP.   It pretended to be returning mail I had sent, which was undeliverable, and included this:

The following mail can't be sent to
Subject: All rights reserved.
The file is the original mail

Content-id: <WC518s86Ci9641T2b6>
Content-type: application/octet-stream; name=Essay.exe

Of course the file is NOT the original mail, there was no original mail.  It is a scam to get the recipient, me, to open the file - an exe file which is itself a VIRUS.   I parsed the headers, and complained to the real sender's ISP.  Hope it does some good.

This trick is made worse by the fact that there is a well known HOAX floating about that "warns you not to open or even look
at email that says 'Returned or unable to Deliver'."  Further the hoax warnings point out that " Email messages with such a
text are normal and simply indicate that your mail server was unable to deliver your email message when, for instance, the
email address was mistyped."  The "HOAX" is described at Email

Unfortunately, this Worm is actually using the method which the hoax only claimed was a problem.
The fact that the Yaha Worm uses the "returned email" trick to spread itself is discussed at:

Thoughts to live by, from

1. Refuse to fill your time, your life or your brain with garbage. Read the best stuff. Talk with the healthiest, wisest, smartest, most ambitious people you can. Attend the seminars, learn from the experts! Listen to amazing music. Sit quietly and listen to the whisperings of your heart. Laugh a lot. Worship often, and be grateful.

2. Do what you love. You will make your biggest contribution when you passionately pursue your talents and use your strengths. Martin Luther King, Jr. did many great things, but perhaps his greatest moment came in Washington, DC when he proclaimed, 'I have a dream!' We all remember that, and millions have been inspired by it. What's your dream?

'There's no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love. There is only a scarcity of resolve to make it happen.'
-- Wayne Dyer

'It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though the limits to our abilities do not exist.'
-- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

'The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.'
-- Maureen Dowd

'The man who comes up with a means for doing or producing anything better, faster or more economically has his future and his fortune at his fingertips.'
-- John Paul Getty

Weblog 2003-01-20;en-us;222469 has the skinny on what to do when scankdisk and defrag
won't run because of restarts.

If I understand correctly, many of us have difficulty 'seeing' the three dimensionality of  "3D" web pictures and novelty posters.   This is odd on two counts.  The usual instructions for making the things work are nonsensical to me, as they seem to require "crossing" the eyes, which would be as if the plane of the photo were nearer than it actually is.   Second,  seeing the three dimensionality of the picture generally takes me one or two seconds, if in fact I don't see that before I see the planar 2D picture.   I wonder if those two points are related?  I learned as a child to look beyond the planar picture, in effect to focus on the far horizon, to see stereo pairs in three dimensions, and that seems second nature to me now.    Seeing the cursor double is fun too.

In response to a question at "BiologycalSciences" I did not find mole weight  information for protein "Ckit ligand", but
the search reminded me to look at the  exceptional biochem information sites:

And the search led me to some more good stuff - for some information on BIOINFORMATICS:

for some information on COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY

for some information about pioneer CHARLES E. MOLNAR - a truly remarkable man, lost far too early-

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