Random Access Minds – Happy Birthday Hedy Lamarr!

Let’s talk about Hedy Lamarr, Ada Lovelace, and Erna Hoover.

November 9 is the birthdate of Hedy Lamarr, and a good day to celebrate women who made their mark in technology. A good day also to wonder what could have prompted women like Kathleen Booth to develop one of the first computer assembly languages when, as another technology pioneer, Erna Hoover, said, “When I was hired, the glass ceiling was somewhere between the basement and the sub-basement.”

So, let’s celebrate just three of the many technology pioneers who happened to be women.

Hedy LamarrHedy Lamarr – Frequency Hopping and your Wi-Fi

Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler was born on November 9, 1914 in Vienna, Austria. By age 18, she was married to Austrian ammunition manufacturer Fritz Mandl, who encouraged her to participate in his professional and social associations with the Austrofascist elite. Also by age 18, Eva Kiesler became known for her role in Ecstasy, a film that shocked for its acknowledgement of female sexuality, similarly to the cognitive dissonance that to this day accompanies the combination of beauty and brains.

Soon after Ecstasy, Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, escaped her fascist milieu, went from Paris to Hollywood, and took the name of Hedy Lamarr. From the late 1930s to the late 1950s, Hedy Lamarr had a successful film career. She also decided during the 1940s to contribute to a solution to detection by enemy forces of radio-guided torpedoes. The knowledge of fascist plans and operations she acquired during her marriage to Fritz Mandl served her well.

“During World War II, Lamarr learned that radio-controlled torpedoes, which could be important in the naval war, could easily be jammed, thereby causing the torpedo to go off course. With the knowledge she had gained about torpedoes from her first husband, she thought of creating a frequency-hopping signal that could not be tracked or jammed. She contacted her friend, composer and pianist George Antheil, to help her develop a device for doing that, and he succeeded by synchronizing a miniaturized player-piano mechanism with radio signals. They drafted designs for the frequency-hopping system, which they patented.”

U.S. Patent 2,292,387 “Secret Communications System” was awarded to Lamarr (under her married name Hedy Kiesler Markey) and Antheil in 1942. Although the Navy at the time turned down the idea, probably because it could not conceive of torpedoes being guided by player-piano rolls, years later more random minds understood the basic usefulness of the principle of frequency hopping. The system eventually contributed to the development of spread-spectrum technology, the basis of today’s of wireless communications.

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace – the First Programmer

Augusta Ada Byron, born in 1815, was the daughter of poet Lord George Gordon Byron and Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke. The couple separated soon after Ada was born, and Ada was raised by a single mom, who simply decided not to worry about gender roles. Ada had tutors in science and mathematics just like the boys of the day. She married William King, Earl of Lovelace, father of Ada’s three children and supporter of her academic endeavors.

Around the age of 17, Ada met Charles Babbage, “father of the computer” and inventor of the analytic engine. Ada studied the machine, and “described how codes could be created for the device to handle letters and symbols along with numbers. She also theorized a method for the engine to repeat a series of instructions, a process known as looping that computer programs use today.”

Erna HooverErna S. Hoover – Feedback Control so your phone systems don’t overload

Erna Schneider Hoover, born in 1926, did not let her gender keep her from earning a PhD from Yale, being awarded one of the first software patents, becoming the first female supervisor of a technical department at Bell Labs, or being inducted in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

In an age of ubiquitous smartphones, we tend to forget that it was not so long ago that Bell Labs struggled with a growing number of analog telephones and switching systems overwhelmed by dropped calls and dreaded busy signals. Aided by her background in mathematics, Erna Hoover drew plans for a computer program that kept track of the number, intervals, and classes of calls. The monitoring allowed for prioritizing resources, thus preventing systems from overloading.

Dr. Hoover was awarded U.S. Patent No. 3,623,007, Feedback Control Monitor for Stored Program Data Processing System. Inventors listed are Barry J. Eckhart Ottawa, Canada, and Erna S. Hoover, Summit, NJ, U.S.A. For information: the order in which names are listed under “Inventors” does not indicate importance of contribution.

What to “Just Vote No” On?

An article about women inventors might seem out of place on this website, but it is not. Here are four suggestions:

* Vote No on any proposal to allow prioritizing establishment politics over subject learning like reading, writing, arithmetic, science, technology. The women inventors had to know their subject, either by formal tutoring or schooling as Ada Lovelace and Erna Hoover, or by self study like Hedy Lamarr.

* Vote No on any proposal that excuses learning choices. If you wish to major in sociology, that’s fine, but be aware that on the average you will not be earning as much as someone who majors in engineering.

* Vote No on any proposal that emphasizes gender. They are all designed to keep women economically indebted to government largess.

* Vote No on any proposal to standardize schooling to the point that natural curiosity and randomness is stamped out. The inventions by Lovelace, Lamarr, and Hoover all called for planned randomness, finding a pattern in the unexpected, connecting dots where no connection was there before.

A Clockwork Orange World

Acceptance of Dystopia

Clockwork orangeA “clockwork orange” is a fruit that is organic on the outside but mechanic on the inside. People can be like that – human on the outside and mechanically programmed on the inside. Stanley Kubrick, in his 1971 movie A Clockwork Orange, based on Anthony Burgess’ novel by the same name, gave us a sample of such people.

Programming of minds is a theme in A Clockwork Orange. The other side of the coin of programming is adaptation. Our bodies adapt to hot and cold weather; our minds can adapt — be made to respond with increasing acceptance — to subliminal messages, innuendo, indoctrination, abuse, violence, or terror. Adaptation is experienced by perpetrators of deeds and by victims of deeds, barring death of either.

The story is still described today as depicting a future dystopian world.

Baby monitor - CopyAirport pat downgreat-america-attack-copy-e1509478335339.jpgStreet riot - Copy


The Keiser Report

Alternative media where fake news need not apply.

Max Keiser 2Just Vote No and friends view main stream media’s interpretation of the “news” with a decidedly jaundiced eye. Not only that, the more popular media spews gossip and calls it news.  So, our salvation rests in “alternative” venues, such as Zero Hedge or California Political Review.

A program that has been around since 2009 is The Keiser Report, hosted by Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert, and broadcast mostly out of the RT network. We say “mostly” because what is not acceptable even to RT, is posted in Max Keiser’s YouTube channel. Max is a long-time financial analyst and money manager, as well as a passionate advocate for investment in Bitcoin. Stacy is a television presenter and producer, besides also being a fantastic news analyst.

Here are some highlights from three episodes.

#1136 Artificial Intelligence

Max and Stacy report from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. At first blush this might seem a strange setting for a discussion on artificial intelligence. It is not. The white man’s devastation of the Native American way of life serves as cautionary tale for the coming annihilation of the average worker’s world by increasingly sophisticated technology.

#1140 Markets & Media Meltdown

Stacy discusses the sorry state of the American media, where a feud between a legislator in a cowboy hat and the President of the nation is reported blow by blow for days. Max challenges his audience to detect a difference between debt monetization, historically the precursor of run-away inflation and financial collapse, and quantitative easing.

#1142 “Help to Buy” – Who did it really help?

Max and Stacy reveal who really profits from the tax-payer financed U.K. program purportedly implemented to help people purchase homes: developers. A universal principle is that prices are raised to the extent taxpayers are willing to finance subsidies. In the case of the Help to Buy program, builders raise house prices by almost exactly the amount made available in the form of subsidies.

Private Property – As Viewed by James Madison and a Facebook Friend

What’s yours may or may not be yours.

Private PropertyThe concept of private property — that which belongs to an individual and ownership of which is protected by government – appears several places in the United States Constitution, most prominently in Amendment V: “…nor [shall any person] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”

The Papers of James Madison contain an excellent essay on private property. Here is a quote,

Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.

That said, that the only real function of government is to protect the property of individuals – including life and liberty, the ultimate expressions of property – Madison goes on to warn readers how government could fail.

That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty, is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest.

That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where arbitrary restrictions, exemptions, and monopolies deny to part of its citizens that free use of their faculties, and free choice of their occupations, which not only constitute their property in the general sense of the word; but are the means of acquiring property..

A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species: where arbitrary taxes invade the domestic sanctuaries of the rich, and excessive taxes grind the faces of the poor..

The United States is awash in taxation; subsidies to everybody and his uncle; monopolies in the media, utilities, on-line “stores,” farming (think Monsanto). It would be safe to say that Madison would consider such a profile as of that of a government least prepared to defend anyone’s private property.

Here are more quotes. Not from one of our distant Founding Fathers, but from a current Facebook Friend commenting on a post asking “What do you dislike most about taxes?” Note the connection made between taxation and private property, as James Madison discussed.

money bagThe majority of the public don’t know anything about taxes, other than taxes come out of their pay check. The government performs thievery and then makes themselves look good by “giving it back” to the people. They take our money and then decide how it would be best spent, with our best interests in mind (hilarious!!!!). For example, let’s take a look at education. We pay school taxes (if owning property) and then the government decides, for us, how it’s best spent (ie. curriculum). They take the credit for offering educational services, WITH OUR MONEY! On top of that, they pick what we have learned and what future generations will learn (for as long as the Dept of Education exists). What better way to control the population by stealing their money and using it to teach them that stealing their own money is completely fine. It’s genius, actually.

Owning property. We don’t own shit. You buy a home and call it yours, but it’s not yours – we’re on a short leash. Pay off your mortgage and you’re still paying another, endless mortgage, in the form of taxation. Pay off your mortgage (“own” your house) and don’t pay your taxes… bye-bye house! But how? I thought you owned it? Ha. The public, in general, is uneducated and the highly sought after dream of being a home owner is a facade. The government wants you to own a home, so they can take more money from you.

Another Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, conveyed what our Founders intended as a form of government.

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

New Political Development: Declaring War by Tweets

On Matters of War and Law

A couple of weeks ago, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho appeared to believe that the United States had declared war on his country.  And how did Mr. Ri come to that conclusion? Oh, tweets and speeches. The bizarre tale was told on several media sources. Thankfully, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders assured us that all was well during her press briefing of September 25. Most of that briefing’s Q&A dealt with the usual vapidity that would make muckrakers of times past roll in their graves. But, here is the part of interest on the subject of war and law,

“Q  Switching topics, Sarah. North Korea’s foreign minister said that President Trump had declared war on North Korea and that it reserves the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down U.S. aircraft. Does the White House view President Trump’s comments at the U.N. as a declaration of war?”

MS. SANDERS: Not at all. We’ve not declared war on North Korea. And frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd.”

Absurd indeed, but persistent none the less. One could excuse a foreign diplomat for not knowing the ins and outs of war declaration in the U.S. But journalist? How about defense secretaries? Back in August, the media reported that Defense Secretary James Mattis, referring to North Korea’s threat to launch a missile toward Guam, said that war “is up to the president, perhaps up to the Congress.”

Well, not really, Mr. Ri, journalists, and Mr. Mattis. War in the U.S. is not supposed to be declared by presidential tweets, speeches, or conversations with Defense Secretaries. It is supposed to be declared by Congress — at least that is what the United States Constitution says in Article I, Section 8, Clause 11.

But wait! Isn’t the President the Commander in Chief? Surely in that capacity he can declare war! Nope. The President directs deployment of troops after Congress declares war.  Cornell Law School:

“Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war. The President, meanwhile, derives the power to direct the military after a Congressional declaration of war from Article II, Section 2, which names the President Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.”

Ah, but what about the President’s “war powers?” Presidential “war powers” are the legislative equivalent of fake news. If voters allow it, Congress can pass all kinds of stuff, whether or not the U.S. Constitution allows it. Thus Congress has passed since the Korean war in the 1950s “resolutions” and “acts” that allow the President to send troops to or bomb wherever in the world he chooses.

How come? Why has Congress abdicated its responsibility to deliberate and decide on war or peace? Is it the perception of need for immediate decisions? On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor. On December 8, President Franklyn Roosevelt delivered his Day of Infamy speech urging Congress to declare war, which Congress immediately did. Roosevelt did not act unilaterally. It all sounds pretty immediate!

The reason for the abdication is more complex. CNN actually reported something substantial in an article dated September 25, 2017 – yes, the article is about the tweet that helped North Korean Foreign Minister Ri come to the conclusion the U.S. had declared war on his country.

“The Constitution grants Congress the ability to declare war in Article I, Section 8. But presidents don’t have to wait for Congress with the more broad interpretation of executive authority that has developed around the executive branch. When they do feel they need congressional authority, they have been more likely to seek and authorization for the use of military force. Even that has become more perfunctory in recent years…Lawmakers are loathe to take difficult votes on military force, however they do, to some extent control the President’s ability by controlling the national purse strings. They could conceivably choke off funding for a war.”

But, Congress has simply doled out the money to fund wars it did not bother to declare. Congress neither wishes to make difficult decisions nor curb questionable presidential ones.

Mother and Child in KoreaWhat happens now, as the U.S. faces a nation that claims to have nuclear missiles at the ready, whose leader’s speechifying matches our own, and that remembers the devastation of the so-called “Korean conflict.” Do voters demand responsible deliberation and decision making from an adult Congress, or do we just let tweets and speeches decide our fate?

For those interested in this subject, there is a unique website called War and Law League, where the league’s founder writes about destruction brought about by undeclared and unconstitutional “presidential wars.”  They also have a Facebook Page.

Donald Trump’s U.N. Speech 2017

A departure from the status quo: Globalization rejected.

The United Nations General Assembly meets in September of each year, when heads of state and other notables of member nations speak before the assembled representatives. On September 19, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump spoke. The mainstream media focused on his mention of destroying Rocket Man and on his denouncing today’s national pariahs. However, those who listened to or read his entire presentation would have noticed more important messages, 1) a reminder that in the U.S., the people govern; and 2) a shift from the global integration that Barack Obama emphasized in 2016 before the Assembly to cooperation among sovereign nations. Here are some quotes from Trump’s speech,

“In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people, where it belongs.”

“As President of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first.”

“All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens, and the nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition.”

“But making a better life for our people also requires us to work together in close harmony and unity to create a more safe and peaceful future for all people.”

“For the diverse nations of the world, this is our hope. We want harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife. We are guided by outcomes, not ideology.”

The part about in the U.S. the people govern is clearly spelled out in the U.S. Constitution. The part about the sovereignty of nations in the context of the United Nations has become somewhat obscure over the years since establishment of the U.N. in 1945.

The U.N. Charter says the purpose of the United Nations is to maintain international peace and security; develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination; achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character; be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

The U.N.’s purpose is clear, but somewhat open ended. However, Chapter I, Article 2, No. 7, indicates that nations are to maintain their sovereignty, except when they commit physical aggression upon another nation, in which case the U.N. can decide to intervene.

“Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state…”

Now, let’s see what obscured the original purported U.N. intent that nations were to remain sovereign. As a reminder, the U.N. Charter is considered a treaty, and the United States Constitution states that treaties to which the U.S. Senate concurs have the force of U.S. law.

In 2000, U.N. delegates adopted the Millennium Declaration, which significantly expanded the role of the U.N. For example, the 8 Millennium Goals committed participants to the implementation in their own countries by 2015 of policies to achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop global partnerships.

Sustainable Development 5The 8 Millennium Goals were superseded by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These new goals added new areas to the original 8, such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, and peace and justice.  They also made the old goals more ambitious, such as changing “Achieve universal primary education” to simply “Quality Education.”

We invite you to read legislation, especially land use legislation, passed since around 2006 by your state legislators, you might see an incredible resemblance to the language contained in the Millennium and the Sustainable Development Goals.

What Donald Trump did during his address before the U.N. General Assembly on September 19, 2017, was to cast a NO vote, not to peace, not to prosperity, but to U.N. mandates being implemented as national policy.  Interestingly, the mainstream media did not address this issue.

Old Debate: Homelessness and Reagan

Is deinstitutionalization still the cause of homelessness, after 56 years?

Ronald Reagan's inaugural address 1981In late 1980 and early 1981, interest rates hovered around 15%, unemployment was at 11%, and economists visualized a crises.  That is the backdrop of Ronald Reagan’s inaugural address .  In that address, Reagan said,

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?

These 74 words became a battle cry of both conservatives and progressives. Conservatives see Reagan’s words as warning against relying on government. Progressives see the same words as proof of the folly of not relying on government.

A favorite topic for battle is homelessness. In 1967, while Governor of California, Reagan signed the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act which ended the practice of institutionalizing patients against their will for indefinite amounts of time. At that time, there were 22,000 patients in state mental hospitals. By 1973, there were 7,000. Community clinics with the help of newly-developed medication assumed responsibility for patient care. In 1981, as President, Reagan signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. The legislation created block grants for states, but reduced federal spending on mental illness.

To this day in 2017, more than half a century after the signing of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act and 37 years after the Omnibus Budget Act, progressives are still convinced that closing the state mental hospitals is the cause of present homelessness.

However, 56 years seems ample time to reopen state mental hospitals, where the mentally challenged can be warehoused out of sight and out of mind with or without their consent, if that is what Reagan critics desire.

Solar Power Plants – Far from Pristine

Moral of the story: We need to know what we are signing up for.

Solar Plant 2One way to success is to highlight a “crisis” and then pile on “solutions.” Al Gore made climate change the biggest crisis ever, and solutions just poured in. Terms like alternative energy, carbon footprint, sustainable development, walkable cities, transit corridors just sprang up. And government (taxpayers) started subsidizing anything that looked like it fought climate change. Here is a story about a federally subsidized solar power plant in California, Ivanpah.

In order to meet its production goals, Ivanpah needs to burn natural gas at night to keep the system primed and to heat water used in tower boilers. It also needs to burn natural gas when the sun is not shinning. Natural gas, although cleaner than coal, still is not “clean” energy.

So, how come Ivanpah qualifies under state rules as an alternative energy source? Because the natural gas is burned at night. Daytime burning of natural gas is what counts as bad.  This quote from a good article on the subject in The Press Enterprise Local expresses the frustration that can come with the realization of how solar power plants work:

Given the high-level of public investment, the plant’s natural gas use should have been better publicly disclosed before the project was approved, said David Lamfrom, California desert manager for the National Parks Conservation Association.
“The bottom line is the public didn’t expect this project to consume this much natural gas,” Lamfrom said in a telephone interview. “We did not have full knowledge that this was what we were signing up for.”

Not having full knowledge of what we are signing up for is the rule, not the exception. Deciders on the Ivanpah subsidies were correct that solar power is a good thing, since it does not use by itself finite resources such as coal and leaves a cleaner footprint than coal. However, they should also have known that we are years away from finding a realistic way to store solar energy for times when the sun does not shine, necessitating the use of natural gas for volume solar power production.

Massive Housing Programs and Massive Messes

The Fair Housing Act was only “fair” to white people.

public housing 2A recent interview on National Public Radio’s program Fresh Air discussed the federal government’s hand at segregating America’s suburbs during the 1930s through the 1950s. The Fair Housing Act of 1934 was established to facilitate financing and construction of housing, in response to what the federal government perceived as a “housing shortage.” Problem was the act aimed at providing housing for white families only. Vast tracks of suburban residential housing carried covenants that specified homes could be sold only to white families. We are all feeling the results of those misguided decisions to this day.

Government is populated by fallible people, just like any other group. When we allow or incentivize government to undertake massive endeavors, we might end up with massive unintended consequences.

Today the descriptive term has escalated to “housing crisis.” And again, especially in large metropolitan areas, there is massive government intervention in the form of central planning, subsidies, zoning, developer incentives, and a tsunami of new laws and financing proposals.

What will be the effects of the 2015 presidential executive order Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing or California’s Senate Bill 35, both mandating that every community build their “fair share” of housing at all levels of income – whether the community can afford it or not. But for these mandates to come true, they need financing, such as voter-approved housing bonds. Before we vote “yes,” let’s read the fine print.

Government vs Governance

Government is by elected officials. Governance is by unelected bureaucrats.

BadGuy 2Often the words government and governance are used interchangeably.  However, these words carry significantly different meanings.  Government is by elected officials and laws chosen at the ballot box.  Governance is by unelected bureaucrats who establish rules and regulations.

Today the trend is to create mega agencies, such as Metropolitan Planning Organizations (more on that soon).  Employees of these agencies plan land use and transportation, two of the most significant aspect of our lives.  Yet no one is elected to the posts they hold within those agencies.  Who do voters kick out of office if need be?  Do voters spend time studying organization charts to ultimately find who appointed whom?

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