A Two-State Solution… For The West?

Submitted by Erico Matias Tavares via Sinclair & Co.,

There’s a cold war raging.

No, not the one between the US and Russia. That’s old news.

We’re talking about the NEW cold war: the one for the soul of the West.

On one corner we have the globalists, basically political and financial elites who after the disasters of World War II decided that eliminating borders was the way to ensure a peaceful future. Increasingly diverse (multicultural) societies would now be governed by supranational institutions, the only way to confront problems that are global in nature: environmentalism, terrorism, epidemics, consumerism and so forth. And much of this has become mainstream, with the powerful backing of the liberal media, the entertainment industry, much of academia and influential think tanks.

While people from all political persuasions support this ideology, it appears to be more closely associated with the political left, sometimes from the hard left even, as shown by the picture above taken in a very progressive US neighborhood.

On the other corner we have the nationalists (also known as patriots, populists, and deplorables). They took a good look at the downsides of that brave new (open) world and said to heck with its ongoing destruction of national identities, borders, traditional cultures and religion, and constant foreign military interventions especially when they are incapable of protecting their own borders from mass immigration.

There is no question that 2016 was a pivotal year in this struggle, which is now playing out in the open.

First the British voted to pull out of the European Union, against all odds. Then the Americans elected a brash Republican outsider for President, also against ‎all odds.

After ceding cultural and political terrain for decades, the nationalists seem to be making a comeback. And now the cracks within Western countries are visible for anyone to see.

Take the United States, the leader of the Free World. Here is a recent survey of the approval ratings of that outsider, President Donald Trump:

Source: The Washington Post, ZeroHedge

Notice the huge disparity between Republicans and Democrats. It could not be any more striking than this – and just a few weeks after Trump’s inauguration.

This reflects of what is going on across much of the US, down to family and friends. It is clearly not confined to just “millennial snowflakes”, although these tend to be the loudest. Try walking in that very progressive US neighborhood wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ cap and see how that cold war can turn ‎hot very quickly.

The two sides no longer seem to agree on what a country is: if it should have borders, who has the rights and obligations in their societies and what it should stand for. Those are pretty basic – and fundamental – differences that look more and more irreconcilable by the day. Heck, there isn’t even an agreement on who is a woman and who is a man.

So what can be done about this?

Well, since everyone seems so keen in implementing a two-state ‎solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict, why not do the same across the West?

With one key difference: these two “states” would remain formally linked through a very limited federal/national government. Mainland Chinese public officials even have a name for it: one country, two systems.

If people in New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Oregon and California want to become openly multicultural and consistently vote accordingly, why stop them? Let them welcome anybody they want and implement whatever education system, gender identifications and values they desire. Good for them. Provided of course that all this should be funded strictly by their own state and local taxes, which is only fair (no doubt very rich globalists like George Soros, Bill Gates and Richard Branson will gladly pitch in).

On the other hand, if Texas and all others in flyover country believe they are entitled to bear arms, speak however they like in one language only, promote their values and culture and fully decide on who can live in their communities, what’s wrong with that? If you long to hear church bells on Sunday morning, sing the national anthem and use gender-segregated bathrooms you can always visit or move to those communities.

Source: Prof. Mark Newman, Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan

And that arrangement can be fined tuned further by going down to the county level, such that the views of local communities would be more accurately represented. In that case the map shown above provides an indication of how a two-state US could look like, with red being a proxy for the nationalist counties (i.e. majority Republican voters in the 2016 Presidential election).

Similarly, the same concept could be implemented across the European Union. If Germans, Swedes, French and the Dutch want their countries or municipalities to go full multicultural, good for them. What they shouldn’t do is impose their vision of the world through the supranational mechanisms of the European Union on the Poles, Hungarians, Finns and many others who do vigorously want to retain their culture and identities.

And that’s what we have in every election cycle, with one party seeking to push its values onto the rest of society, which is increasingly divided and at odds with each other. So the pushback from either side is predictable. New “populist” movements across Europe already threaten the very existence of that federal government (except that in Europe’s case it is anything but limited), and they will not go away any time soon.

This two-state system might be a seemingly fair way to achieve the best of both worlds, allowing both ideologies to coexist within a common governmental framework. A large scale version of Belgium if you like. But the reality is not so simple (just look at Belgium!)

First, Western nations for the most have accumulated debts at the supra-regional level so large that apportioning them ‎between the two “states” is likely to be extremely contentious. With their sustainability already dubious in many cases, and without even considering all the crushing healthcare and retirement contingent liabilities, any division would be really problematic. As such the federal/national government would likely continue to be much larger than what would be desirable to disentangle differing political views.

 

Second, transitioning into a multicultural society can be very problematic, as evidenced by the debate on Sweden’s immigration policies that has now gone viral, at least until a consensual set of rules and behaviors can be forged. The inherent security risks could force some parts of the other “states” to curtail the free flow of people. This is already happening in many parts of Europe as a result of the recent refugee crisis.

 

Third, Western alliances would likely have to be redrawn along this split in Western aspirations. Donald Trump has more in common with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán than Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, who will likely never welcome him in his city despite the special relationship between his country and the US.

 

Indeed, Trump proposes core nationalistic values not too dissimilar from his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (a key reason why the globalist media and intelligence are so keen to demonstrate a formal connection between the two). On the other hand, German Chancellor Angela Merkel – a hardcore globalist – could not be farther apart from either one.

 

Fourth, how can each “state” coordinate on international commercial policies with the other one, as many companies have extensive operations across the two? This cold war is now spreading to the corporate sector, with some employees feeling alienated and consumers on each side threatening boycotts and sanctions. It has come to that.

 

And finally, a divided West is a weak West. China is not worried about any of these existential social issues. Neither is Russia, Turkey or Iran‎. There aren’t any mainstream cultural hesitations in any of these countries (although each has its own fairly large share of dissidents, with good reason). As such, this split is a sure way to accelerate the erosion of the West’s standing in global affairs, although the current state of affairs is not exactly helpful in that regard either.

Let’s have no illusions: this is a deep division and it’s unlikely that we will ever return to a level of unity and understanding in Western societies like we had in the recent past. We’re at a major crossroads in History.

Will we be able to live together even if our backs are turned against each other, or will one side try to impose its will on the other with backlashes turning more violent each time? This will not be solved with simple calls for unity since the two sides are so far apart at this point.

More importantly, which “state” will YOU choose?

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-25/two-state-solution-west




Human brain hard-wired for rural tranquillity

Science has now proven what many have suspected for years; living the quiet rural life is relaxing, good for thinking, peaceful, and more calm.  Writers and other intellectuals have often kept rural properties as their main residence or even as a backup, to be secluded with only their thoughts, and the countryside.  With the advent of electronic trading, some traders have come to the same conclusion:  being in a rural environment, outside the bustle of Wall St. (or any city) is better for the mental state, and for thinking, critical parts of successful trading.

Humans may be hard-wired to feel at peace in the countryside and confused in cities – even if they were born and raised in an urban area.

According to preliminary results of a study by scientists at Exeter University, an area of the brain associated with being in a calm, meditative state lit up when people were shown pictures of rural settings. But images of urban environments resulted in a significant delay in reaction, before a part of the brain involved in processing visual complexity swung into action as the viewer tried to work out what they were seeing.

The study, which used an MRI scanner to monitor brain activity, adds to a growing body of evidence that natural environments are good for humans, affecting mental and physical health and even levels of aggression.

Dr Ian Frampton, an Exeter University psychologist, stressed the researchers still had more work to do, but said they may have hit upon something significant.

“When looking at urban environments the brain is doing a lot of processing because it doesn’t know what this environment is,” he said. “The brain doesn’t have an immediate natural response to it, so it has to get busy. Part of the brain that deals with visual complexity lights up: ‘What is this that I’m looking at?’ Even if you have lived in a city all your life, it seems your brain doesn’t quite know what to do with this information and has to do visual processing,” he said.

Rural images produced a “much quieter” response in a “completely different part of the brain”, he added. “There’s much less activity. It seems to be in the limbic system, a much older, evolutionarily, part of the brain that we share with monkeys and primates.”




Chaos, Complexity, and Entropy

Chaos, Complexity, and Entropy PDF

Chaos, Complexity, and Entropy
A physics talk for non-physicists




Numerical study and prediction of nuclear contaminant transport from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the North Pacific Ocean

Download PDF – 163857159-TTMYGH-26-Aug-2013




Thorium Research

Thorium-based nuclear power – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thorium-based nuclear power is nuclear reactor-based electrical power generation fueled, ultimately, by the element thorium. According to proponents, a thorium fuel cycleoffers several potential advantages over a uranium fuel cycle—including much greater abundance on Earth, superior physical and nuclear fuel properties, and reduced nuclear waste production. However, it suffers from higher production and processing costs, and lacks significant weaponization potential. Since about 2008, nuclear energy experts have become more interested in thorium to supply nuclear fuel in place of uranium to generate nuclear power.

A nuclear reactor consumes certain specific fissile isotopes to make energy. The three most practical ones are:

Some believe thorium is key to developing a new generation of cleaner, safer nuclear power.[1][2] According to an opinion piece (not peer-reviewed) published in a major scientific journal, considering its overall potential, thorium-based power “can mean a 1000+ year solution or a quality low-carbon bridge to truly sustainable energy sources solving a huge portion of mankind’s negative environmental impact.”[3]

After studying the feasibility of using thorium, nuclear scientists Ralph W. Moir and Edward Teller suggested that thorium nuclear research should be restarted after a three-decade shutdown and that a small prototype plant should be built.[4][5] Research and development of thorium-based nuclear reactors, primarily the Liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR), MSR design, has been or is now being done in India,ChinaNorwayU.S.Israel and Russia.

This Thorium Reactor Has the Power of a Norse God

The Energy From Thorium Foundation The Energy From Thorium Foundation

Uranium Is So Last Century — Enter Thorium, the New Green Nuke | Wired Magazine | Wired.com

China Is Using US Research to Take the Lead on Thorium Reactor Development | Motherboard – Includes good video from Thorium advocates

T.E.A. – Conference 5

THE THORIUM PROBLEM – Danger of existing thorium regulation to U.S. manufacturing and energy sector

Thorium reactors and their feasibility: Thomas Drolet on Cambridge House

The Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor: Why Didn’t This Happen (and why is now the right time?)

Robert Hargraves – Thorium Energy Cheaper than Coal @ ThEC12

India’s experimental Thorium Fuel Cycle Nuclear Reactor [NDTV Report]

ORNL Thorium Molten Salt Reactor Experiment Researchers – Dick Engel & Syd Ball – Dinner & Interview

Articles about dangerous current nuclear technology

Recent disclosures of tons of radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima reactors spilling into the ocean are just the latest evidence of the continuing incompetence of the Japanese utility, TEPCO. The announcement that the Japanese government will step in is also not reassuring since it was the Japanese government that failed to regulate the utility for decades. But, bad as it is, the current contamination of the ocean should be the least of our worries. The radioactive poisons are expected to form a plume that will be carried by currents to coast of North America. But the effects will be small, adding an unfortunate bit to our background radiation. Fish swimming through the plume will be affected, but we can avoid eating them.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-perrow/fukushima-forever_b_3941589.html?view=print&comm_ref=false

 




China Is Using US Research to Take the Lead on Thorium Reactor Development

A CAD render of an old Oak Ridge molten salt reactor design, via Flibe Energy

In the fracking-dominated and carbon-obsessed United States, we often forget that carbon-neutral energy doesn’t have to simply be solar and wind. There’s also nuclear power, of which alternative, safe power cycles exist, ones that were first developed by American researchers. But after years of sitting around, that research is finally being put to use–by China.

We’ve long discussed the thorium dream in depth here at Motherboard, largely because it’s oh so tantalizing: an alternative fuel cycle for nuclear reactors that produces little to no waste, has very low proliferation risks, and has extremely low risks of meltdowns–and in some cases, none at all. Thorium is a very abundant resource, and, as proponents like to say, converting the world to thorium power would provide thousands of years of carbon-free, clean energy.

But the nuclear dream in the United States stalled in the 70s and 80s. Promising research into thorium-powered reactors that reaches as far back as the 60s was shelved because, at the height of the Cold War, we needed uranium reactors, which produce plutonium for bombs. And in any case, large energy corporations had already invested heavily in pressurized water reactors, and thorium represented a fresh start on a whole new avenue.

While the US has only paid lip service to thorium in recent decades, China is joining the likes of India, Japan, and Norway in a quest to develop a working, commercially-viable thorium reactor. And because China is in the midst of a huge nuclear push, it’s likely to end up selling any successful designs it’s able to develop. Princeling Jiang Mianheng

In other words, China has taken a pair of massive problems–increasing energy demand, pollution, and its reliance on coal–and is trying to make money off the research it will take to solve them. Compare that to the US, where research funding into alternative energy has turned into an ever-shrinking, Solyndra-branded political football, and you wonder who’s going to be powering our future.

It gets even more frustrating, at least if you’re American. According to the Telegraph, a Chinese thorium research lab, led by Jiang Mianheng, already has 140 Ph.Ds, and will have a staff of 750 by 2015. All of those folks are working on research that’s based on an American body of work that was just lying around:

The thorium blueprints gathered dust in the archives until retrieved and published by former Nasa engineer Kirk Sorensen. The US largely ignored him: China did not.

Jiang visited the Oak Ridge labs and obtained the designs after reading an article in the American Scientist two years ago extolling thorium. His team concluded that a molten salt reactor — if done the right way — may answer China’s prayers.

Sorensen, you may remember, was the main subject of Motherboard’s documentary about thorium in the US, and has long struggled to build support for molten salt reactors, which don’t get hot enough for a meltdown, and which have a built-in failsafe design. That means that those cooling towers of Simpsons lore would no longer be necessary. Instead, we could have small, plug-and-play nuclear reactors that could help power the future distributed grid.

The Department of Energy has made funding available to develop small modular reactors, but there’s not been a huge amount of push behind them, especially when we’re in the middle of such an incredible natural gas boom. China, which has more pressing energy growth concerns, and hopes to get a working reactor fired up in the next couple decades.

At least there’s one dimly bright spot: While China races forward into a nuclear renaissance, there’s hope that the US will be able to collaborate on research. Yet when energy is such a godawfully important resource, it’s rather frustrating to see China take the lead using research the US pioneered.

Read more: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/china-is-taking-the-lead-on-thorium-reactor-development#ixzz2by397Bpn