Wednesday, December 31, 2014

‘Empire of Cotton,’ by Sven Beckert - NYTimes.com

‘Empire of Cotton,’ by Sven Beckert - NYTimes.com:



 "The history of an era often seems defined by a particular commodity. The 18th century certainly belonged to sugar. The race to cultivate it in the West Indies was, in the words of the French Enlightenment writer Guillaume-Thomas de Raynal, “the principal cause of the rapid movement which stirs the Universe.” In the 20th century and beyond, the commodity has been oil: determining events from the Allied partitioning of the Middle East after World War I to Hitler’s drive for Balkan and Caspian wells to the forging of our own fateful ties to the regimes of the Persian Gulf."



'via Blog this'

Markets Hit High in '14 as Bull Run Endured - NYTimes.com

Markets Hit High in '14 as Bull Run Endured - NYTimes.com:



 "An accelerating United States economy trumped problems overseas to lift the stock market to new highs in 2014."



'via Blog this'

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Tidings of Comfort - NYTimes.com

Tidings of Comfort - NYTimes.com:



"Maybe I’m just projecting, but Christmas seemed unusually subdued this year. The malls seemed less crowded than usual, the people glummer. There was even less Muzak in the air. And, in a way, that’s not surprising: All year Americans have been bombarded with dire news reports portraying a world out of control and a clueless government with no idea what to do."



'via Blog this'

Monday, December 22, 2014

That Old PlayStation Can Aid Science - NYTimes.com

That Old PlayStation Can Aid Science - NYTimes.com:



 "This spring, Gaurav Khanna noticed that the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth physics department was more crowded than usual. Why, he wondered, were so many students suddenly so interested in science?"



'via Blog this'

Black Hills

Attack Is Suspected as North Korean Internet Collapses - NYTimes.com

Attack Is Suspected as North Korean Internet Collapses - NYTimes.com:



"SAN FRANCISCO — North Korea’s already tenuous links to the Internet went completely dark on Monday after days of instability, in what Internet monitors described as one of the worst North Korean network failures in years."



'via Blog this'

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Putin, Neocons and the Great Illusion - NYTimes.com

Putin, Neocons and the Great Illusion - NYTimes.com:



"More than a century has passed since Norman Angell, a British journalist and politician, published “The Great Illusion,” a treatise arguing that the age of conquest was or at least should be over. He didn’t predict an end to warfare, but he did argue that aggressive wars no longer made sense — that modern warfare impoverishes the victors as well as the vanquished."



'via Blog this'

Saturday, December 20, 2014

[1410.8724] Proton transport through one atom thick crystals

[1410.8724] Proton transport through one atom thick crystals:



"Graphene is impermeable to all gases and liquids, and even such a small atom as hydrogen is not expected to penetrate through graphene's dense electronic cloud within billions of years. Here we show that monolayers of graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) are unexpectedly permeable to thermal protons, hydrogen ions under ambient conditions. As a reference, no proton transport could be detected for a monolayer of molybdenum disulfide, bilayer graphene or multilayer hBN. At room temperature, monolayer hBN exhibits the highest proton conductivity with a low activation energy of about 0.3 eV but graphene becomes a better conductor at elevated temperatures such that its resistivity to proton flow is estimated to fall below 10^-3 Ohm per cm2 above 250 C. The proton barriers can be further reduced by decorating monolayers with catalytic nanoparticles. These atomically thin proton conductors could be of interest for many hydrogen-based technologies."



'via Blog this'

Electron Mass by Mario Rabinowitz

Electron Acceleration Gains Electron Mass
Whether It Radiates or Not .
For an accelerated electron, electrodynamics yields two self-forces on the  electron, a radiation reaction force and a previously unappreciated retardation force. These forces are examined and compared.  The traditional radiation reaction force exists only when there is radiation that produces a time rate of change of acceleration.  A retardation force results whenever the electron’s self-field changes due to acceleration, and is present even if there is no radiation and the acceleration is constant.  It is found that the retardation force on the electron is >>> the radiation reaction force.  In a new way, this circumvents problems of pre-acceleration, and energy run-away solutions. It is predicted that because the retardation force manifests itself inertially,  makes the dynamic mass of any accelerated subatomic singly charged particle about 1/137 higher than its rest mass.    

  It can be freely downloaded at

Friday, December 19, 2014

Border Patrol Apprehensions Show a Shift in Migration Patterns - NYTimes.com

Border Patrol Apprehensions Show a Shift in Migration Patterns - NYTimes.com:



 "For the first time in at least two decades, fewer migrants from Mexico were caught crossing into the United States in 2014 than people from other countries, marking a major shift in illegal migration into the country, according to annual figures published Friday by the Department of Homeland Security."



'via Blog this'

A ‘Brave’ Move by Obama Removes a Wedge in Relations With Latin America - NYTimes.com

A ‘Brave’ Move by Obama Removes a Wedge in Relations With Latin America - NYTimes.com:



"BUENOS AIRES — President Obama has been lambasted for spying in Brazil, accused of being a warmonger by Bolivia, dismissed as a “lost opportunity” by Argentina, and taunted in Nicaragua by calls for Latin America to draw up its own list of state sponsors of terrorism — with the United States in the No. 1 spot."



'via Blog this'

Celebrating the Legacy of a Chinese Explorer - NYTimes.com

Celebrating the Legacy of a Chinese Explorer - NYTimes.com:



 "MALACCA, Malaysia — When Zheng He, the seafaring eunuch explorer of the Chinese Ming dynastic court, guided boats packed with porcelain to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, he brought giraffes back to China and founded stockades along the shipping lanes of Southeast Asia."



'via Blog this'

Kepler Spacecraft Finds New ‘Super-Earth’ 180 Light-Years Away - NYTimes.com

Kepler Spacecraft Finds New ‘Super-Earth’ 180 Light-Years Away - NYTimes.com:



 "A year and a half after a pointing failure threatened to derail its epochal search for worlds beyond our solar system, NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has bagged another planet, astronomers announced on Thursday."



'via Blog this'

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Putin’s Bubble Bursts - NYTimes.com

Putin’s Bubble Bursts - NYTimes.com:



"If you’re the type who finds macho posturing impressive, Vladimir Putin is your kind of guy. Sure enough, many American conservatives seem to have an embarrassing crush on the swaggering strongman. “That is what you call a leader,” enthused Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, after Mr. Putin invaded Ukraine without debate or deliberation."



'via Blog this'

A Picture Captures Planets Waiting to Be Born - NYTimes.com

A Picture Captures Planets Waiting to Be Born - NYTimes.com:



 "We might be stardust, Joni Mitchell sang of Woodstock in 1969, echoing what was already a half-century of hard-headed astronomical truth. But astronomers have struggled to understand just exactly how stardust goes from being cosmic smog, littering the lanes of the galaxy, to planets and people."



'via Blog this'

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A New Beginning With Cuba - NYTimes.com

A New Beginning With Cuba - NYTimes.com:



 "Following months of secret negotiations with the Cuban government, President Obama on Wednesday announced sweeping changes to normalize relations with Havana, a bold move that ends one of the most misguided chapters in American foreign policy.

"



'via Blog this'

FACT SHEET: Charting a New Course on Cuba | The White House

FACT SHEET: Charting a New Course on Cuba | The White House:



"Today, the United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people.  We are separated by 90 miles of water, but brought together through the relationships between the two million Cubans and Americans of Cuban descent that live in the United States, and the 11 million Cubans who share similar hopes for a more positive future for Cuba. "



'via Blog this'

U.S. and Cuba, in Breakthough, Resume Diplomatic Relations - NYTimes.com

U.S. and Cuba, in Breakthough, Resume Diplomatic Relations - NYTimes.com:



"WASHINGTON — The United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century after the release of an American contractor held in prison for five years, American officials said Wednesday."



'via Blog this'

U.S. and Cuba to Start Talks on Normalizing Relations - NYTimes.com

U.S. and Cuba to Start Talks on Normalizing Relations - NYTimes.com:



"WASHINGTON — The United States will open talks with Cuba aimed at restoring full diplomatic relations and opening an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half century after the release of an American contractor held in prison for five years, American officials said Wednesday."



'via Blog this'

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Methane Is Found on Mars, Raising Hope of Life There Now - NYTimes.com

Methane Is Found on Mars, Raising Hope of Life There Now - NYTimes.com:



"SAN FRANCISCO — Life on Mars? Today? The notion may not be so far-fetched after all."



'via Blog this'

Obama Will Approve New Sanctions Against Russia for Ukraine Actions - NYTimes.com

Obama Will Approve New Sanctions Against Russia for Ukraine Actions - NYTimes.com:



"WASHINGTON — President Obama has decided to sign legislation imposing further sanctions on Russia and authorizing additional aid to Ukraine, despite concerns that it will complicate his efforts to maintain a unified front with European allies, the White House said on Tuesday."



'via Blog this'

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dodd-Frank Damaged in the Budget Bill - NYTimes.com

Dodd-Frank Damaged in the Budget Bill - NYTimes.com:



"On Wall Street, 2010 was the year of “Obama rage,” in which financial tycoons went ballistic over the president’s suggestion that some bankers helped cause the financial crisis. They were also, of course, angry about the Dodd-Frank financial reform, which placed some limits on their wheeling and dealing."



'via Blog this'

Undocumented Immigrants Line Up for Door Opened by Obama - NYTimes.com

Undocumented Immigrants Line Up for Door Opened by Obama - NYTimes.com:



"LOS ANGELES — They pushed strollers, tugged toddlers and streamed into the convention center in the heart of this city on Sunday, thousands of immigrants here illegally and anxious to find out if they could gain protection from deportation under executive actions by President Obama."



'via Blog this'

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Thomas Friedman

I WAS just about to go with a column that started like this: When they write the history of the global response to climate change, 2014 could well be seen as the moment when the balance between action and denial tipped decisively toward action. That’s thanks to the convergence of four giant forces: São Paulo, Brazil, went dry; China and the United States together went green; solar panels went cheap; and Google and Apple went home.

NYT

196 Nations Near Preliminary Climate Change Deal - NYTimes.com

196 Nations Near Preliminary Climate Change Deal - NYTimes.com:



"LIMA, Peru — Negotiators from around the globe were haggling Saturday over the final elements of a draft climate change deal that would, for the first time in history, commit every nation to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions — yet would still fall far short of what is needed to stave off the dangerous and costly early impacts of global warming."



'via Blog this'

Friday, December 12, 2014

Strange Climate Event: Warmth Toward U.S. - NYTimes.com

Strange Climate Event: Warmth Toward U.S. - NYTimes.com:



"LIMA, Peru — When it comes to global warming, the United States has long been viewed as one of the world’s worst actors. American officials have been booed and hissed during international climate talks, bestowed with mock “Fossil of the Day” awards for resisting treaties, and widely condemned for demanding that other nations cut their fossil fuel emissions while refusing, year after year, to take action at home.

"



'via Blog this'

In Mexico, a Growing Gap Between Political Class and Calls for Change - NYTimes.com

In Mexico, a Growing Gap Between Political Class and Calls for Change - NYTimes.com:



"MEXICO CITY — As the Nobel Peace Prize was being awarded in Oslo this week, a young man dashed on stage, unfurled a Mexican flag streaked with red paint and begged for help for his country because more than 40 college students have been missing for months after clashing with the police."



'via Blog this'

Flood-Causing Deluge Amounts to Just Drops in California Drought - NYTimes.com

Flood-Causing Deluge Amounts to Just Drops in California Drought - NYTimes.com:



 "The strong Pacific storm that left Northern California a sodden mess will not have much impact on the state’s historic drought, meteorologists said Friday."



'via Blog this'

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The C Programming Language by K&R

Chapter 1: A tutorial introduction

Let us begin with a quick introduction to C. Our aim is to show the essential elements of the language in real programs, but without getting bogged down in details, formal rules, and exceptions. At this point, we are not trying to be complete or even precise (save that the examples are meant to be correct). We want to get you as quickly as possible to the point where you can write useful programs, and to do that we have to concentrate on the basics: variables, and constants, arithmetic, control flow, functions, and the rudiments of input and output. We are quite intentionally leaving out of this chapter features of C which are of vital importance for writing bigger programs. These include pointers, structures, most of C's rich set of operators, several control flow statements, and myriad details.

This approach has its drawbacks, of course. Most notable is that the complete story on any  particular language feature is not found in a single place, and the tutorial, by being brief, may also mislead. And because they can not use the full power of C, the examples are not as concise and elegant as they might be. We have tried to minimize these effects, but be warned.

Another drawback is that later chapters will necessarily repeat some of this chapter. We hope that the repetition will help you more than it annoys.

In any case, experienced programmers should be able to extrapolate from the material in this chapter to their own programming needs. Beginners should supplement it by writing small, similar programs of their own. Both groups can use it as a framework on which to hang the more detailed descriptions that begin in Chapter 2.

Chapter 2: Types, operators and expressions

Variables and constants are the basic data objects manipulated in a program. Declarations list the variables to be used, and state what type they have and perhaps what their initial values are. Operators specify what is to be done to them. Expressions combine variables and constants to produce new values. These are the topics of this chapter.

Chapter 3: Control flow

The control flow statements of a language specify the order in which computations are done. We have already met the most common control flow constructions of C in earlier examples, here we will complete the set, and be more precise about the ones discussed before.

Chapter 4: Functions and program structure

Functions break large computing tasks into smaller ones, and enable people to build on what others have done instead of starting over from scratch. Appropriate functions can often hide details of operation from parts of the program that don't need to know about them, thus clarifying the whole, and easing the pain of making changes.

C has been designed to make functions efficient and easy to use; C programs generally consist of numerous small functions rather than a few big ones. A program may reside on one or more source files in any convenient way; the source files may be compiled separately and loaded together, along with previously compiled functions from libraries. We will not go into that process here, since the details vary according to the local system.

Most programmers are familiar with "library" functions for input and output (getchar, putchar) and numerical computation (sin, cos, sqrt). In this chapter we will show more about writing new functions.

Chapter 5: Pointers and arrays

A pointer is a variable that contains the address of another variable. Pointers are very much used in C, partly because they are sometimes the only way to express a computation, and partly because they usually lead to more compact and efficient code than can be obtained in other ways.

Pointers have been lumped with the goto statement as a marvelous way to create impossible-to-understand programs. This is certainly true when they are used carelessly, and it is easy to create pointers that point somewhere unexpected. With discipline, however, pointers can also be used to achieve clarity and simplicity. This is the aspect that we will try to illustrate.

Chapter 6: Structures

A structure is a collection of one or more variables, possibly of different types, grouped together under a single name for convenient handling. (Structures are called "records" in some languages, most notably Pascal.)

The traditional example  of a structure is the payroll record: an "employee" is described by a set of attributes such as name, address, social security number, salary, etc. Some of these in turn could be structures: a name has several components, as does and address and even a salary.

Structures help to organize complicated data, particularly in large programs, because in many situations they permit a group of related variables to be treated as a unit instead of as separate entities. In this chapter we will try to illustrate how structures are used.  The programs we will use are bigger than many of the others in the book, but still of moderate size.

Chapter 7: Input and output

Input and output facilities are not part of the C language so we have de-emphasized them in our presentation thus far. Nonetheless, real programs do interact with their environment in much more complicated ways than those we have shown before. In this chapter we will describe "the standard I/O library," a set of functions designed to provide a standard I/O system for C programs. The functions are intended to present a convenient programming interface, yet reflect only operations that can be provided on most modern operating systems. The routines are efficient enough that users should seldom feel the need to circumvent them "for efficiency" regardless of how critical the application. Finally, the routines are meant to be "portable," in the sense that they will exist in compatible form on any system where C exists, and that programs which confine their system interactions to facilities provided by the standard library can be moved from one system to another essentially without change.

We will not try to describe the entire I/O library here; we are more interested in showing the essentials of writing C programs that interact with their operating environments.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Browser Wars




In the early 90s, Mosaic was a software product for scientific visualization. Marc Andreessen , developed it at the University of Illinois, at Urbana/Champaign. It was a tool to help astrophysicists with big data sets, both the result of calculations, and observations. Soon it was realized that this, so-called "browser", could help the general public to navigate the Internet, which had recently been freed by the Department of Defense, at the end of the Cold War. There was a big increase in the number of Internet Service Providers. I got my first home connection through America Online, which I still use.

To some, it became clear, that personal computer companies, were in danger of becoming obsolete. Thus we went from the Cold War, to the Browser Wars.

The main players were Microsoft, and Netscape, the company spearheaded by Andreessen. Netscape lost to the monopolistic forces behind Microsoft. Nevertheless, due to the lack of vision of Bill Gates and Paul Allen, two young scientists from Stanford University, Sergei Brin, and Larry Page, created a killer application, the Search Engine powering Google.

Now Google is in its way to becoming the bigger company, that Microsoft never was.

SNMP Config for CUPS

snmp.conf(5)                                                                                   Apple Inc.                                                                                  snmp.conf(5)

NAME
       snmp.conf - snmp configuration file for cups

DESCRIPTION
       The  snmp.conf  file  configures  how  the standard CUPS network backends (http, https, ipp, ipps, lpd, snmp, and socket) access printer information using SNMPv1 and is normally located in the
       /etc/cups directory. Each line in the file can be a configuration directive, a blank line, or a comment. Comment lines start with the # character.

       The Community and DebugLevel directives are used by all backends. The remainder apply only to the SNMP backend (cups-snmp(8)).

DIRECTIVES
       The following directives are understood by the CUPS network backends. Consult the on-line help for detailed descriptions:

       Address @IF(name)

       Address @LOCAL

       Address address
            Sends SNMP broadcast queries to the specified address(es). There is no default for the broadcast address.

       Community name
            Specifies the community name to use. Only a single community name may be specified. The default community name is "public".

       DebugLevel number
            Specifies the logging level from 0 (none) to 3 (everything). Typically only used for debugging (thus the name). The default debug level is 0.

       DeviceURI "regular expression" device-uri [... device-uri]
            Specifies one or more device URIs that should be used for a given make and model string. The regular expression is used to match the detected make and model, and the  device  URI  strings
            must be of the form "scheme://%s[:port]/[path]", where "%s" represents the detected address or hostname. There are no default device URI matching rules.

       HostNameLookups on

       HostNameLookups off
            Specifies whether the addresses of printers should be converted to hostnames or left as numeric IP addresses. The default is "off".

       MaxRunTime seconds
            Specifies the maximum number of seconds that the SNMP backend will scan the network for printers. The default is 120 seconds (2 minutes).

SEE ALSO
       cups-snmp(8),
       http://localhost:631/help

COPYRIGHT
       Copyright 2007-2013 by Apple Inc.

23 April 2012                                                                                     CUPS                                                                                     snmp.conf(5)
 Manual page cups-snmp.conf(5) line 1/51 (END) (press h for help or q to quit)


Mike Sweet

Blog

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Recovery at Last? - NYTimes.com

Recovery at Last? - NYTimes.com:



"Last week we got an actually good employment report — arguably the first truly good report in a long time. The U.S. economy added well over 300,000 jobs; wages, which have been stagnant for far too long, picked up a bit. Other indicators, like the rate at which workers are quitting (a sign that they expect to find new jobs), continue to improve. We’re still nowhere near full employment, but getting there no longer seems like an impossible dream."



'via Blog this'

Saturday, December 06, 2014

[1409.8239] MetaCache: Efficient Metadata Caching in Linux file system

[1409.8239] MetaCache: Efficient Metadata Caching in Linux file system:



"Nowadays, Linux file systems have to manage millions of tiny files for different applications, and face with higher metadata operations. So how to provide such high metadata performance with such enormous number of files and large scale directories is a big challenge for Linux file system. We viewed that metadata lookup operations dominate metadata workload and incur low metadata performance. In this paper, we present a metadata cache to accelerate metadata access for Linux file system. Through this optimization, the Linux file system (such as EXT2, EXT4, BTRFS, etc.) can gain improvement in read rates as well as write rates."



'via Blog this'

Thursday, December 04, 2014

[1412.1114] Easy Hyperparameter Search Using Optunity

[1412.1114] Easy Hyperparameter Search Using Optunity:



Optunity is a free software package dedicated to hyperparameter optimization. It contains various types of solvers, ranging from undirected methods to direct search, particle swarm and evolutionary optimization. The design focuses on ease of use, flexibility, code clarity and interoperability with existing software in all machine learning environments. Optunity is written in Python and contains interfaces to environments such as R and MATLAB. Optunity uses a BSD license and is freely available online at this http URL"



'via Blog this'

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Feynman Checkerboard as a Model of Discrete Space-Time

Feynman Checkerboard as a Model of Discrete Space-Time:



"This paper began with Feynman's checkerboard, and concluded with particles forming an interference pattern. Perhaps this should not be surprising, as Feynman predicted this result in the early 1940's."



'via Blog this'

[1411.3013] Bayesian Evidence and Model Selection

[1411.3013] Bayesian Evidence and Model Selection:



"In this paper we review the concept of the Bayesian evidence and its application to model selection. The theory is presented along with a discussion of analytic, approximate and numerical techniques. Application to several practical examples within the context of signal processing are discussed."



'via Blog this'

[1411.2163] Information-Based Physics, Influence, and Forces

[1411.2163] Information-Based Physics, Influence, and Forces:



"In recent works, Knuth and Bahreyni have demonstrated that the concepts of space and time are emergent in a coarse-grained model of direct particle-particle influence. In addition, Knuth demonstrated that observer-made inferences regarding the free particle, which is defined as a particle that influences others, but is not itself influenced, result in a situation identical to the Feynman checkerboard model of the Dirac equation. This suggests that the same theoretical framework that gives rise to an emergent spacetime is consistent with quantum mechanics. In this paper, we begin to explore the effect of influence on the emergent properties of a particle. This initial study suggests that when a particle is influenced, it is interpreted as accelerating in a manner consistent with special relativity implying that, at least in this situation, influence can be conceived of as a force."



'via Blog this'

Monday, December 01, 2014

Putin, in Defeat, Diverts Pipeline - NYTimes.com

Putin, in Defeat, Diverts Pipeline - NYTimes.com:



"MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin said Monday that he would scrap Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline, a grandiose project that was once intended to establish the country’s dominance in southeastern Europe but instead fell victim to Russia’s increasingly toxic relationship with the West."



'via Blog this'

Anthony D. Marshall, Astor Son Who Was Convicted in Swindle, Dies at 90 - NYTimes.com

Anthony D. Marshall, Astor Son Who Was Convicted in Swindle, Dies at 90 - NYTimes.com:



"Anthony D. Marshall, the only son of the philanthropist-socialite Brooke Astor, who with one of her former lawyers was found guilty of criminal charges that they swindled millions from his mother after she was stricken with Alzheimer’s disease, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 90."



'via Blog this'

A Week Later, Protests Continue Over Ferguson Decision - NYTimes.com

A Week Later, Protests Continue Over Ferguson Decision - NYTimes.com:



"ST. LOUIS — Across the country on Monday, people walked out of their jobs and classrooms with their hands raised, the gesture that has become a symbol for the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo."



'via Blog this'

Avi Loeb Ponders the Early Universe, Nature and Life - NYTimes.com

Avi Loeb Ponders the Early Universe, Nature and Life - NYTimes.com:



 "CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Among astrophysicists, Abraham Loeb is known for his creative and prolific attempts to understand the early universe."



'via Blog this'

A Robot Exhibit at MoMath Aims to Bring Math to Life - NYTimes.com

A Robot Exhibit at MoMath Aims to Bring Math to Life - NYTimes.com:



"Behind a black curtain in a downstairs corner of the National Museum of Mathematics in Manhattan (known as MoMath), a small group of mathematicians, designers and engineers was hard at work — laughing, shouting, clapping and having a blast, while being chased by robots."



'via Blog this'

Protests Around the Country Mark the Moment of Ferguson Shooting - NYTimes.com

Protests Around the Country Mark the Moment of Ferguson Shooting - NYTimes.com:



"Students and others around the country staged protests on Monday in solidarity with Michael Brown, the black unarmed teenager whose shooting death in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9 at the hands of a white police officer has set off months of unrest around the country.

"



'via Blog this'

[1411.7569] Exactly solvable deformations of the oscillator and Coulomb systems and their generalization

[1411.7569] Exactly solvable deformations of the oscillator and Coulomb systems and their generalization:



"We present two maximally superintegrable Hamiltonian systems Hλ and Hη that are defined, respectively, on an N-dimensional spherically symmetric generalization of the Darboux surface of type III and on an N-dimensional Taub-NUT space. Afterwards, we show that the quantization of Hλ and Hη leads, respectively, to exactly solvable deformations (with parameters λ and η) of the two basic quantum mechanical systems: the harmonic oscillator and the Coulomb problem. In both cases the quantization is performed in such a way that the maximal superintegrability of the classical Hamiltonian is fully preserved. In particular, we prove that this strong condition is fulfilled by applying the so-called conformal Laplace-Beltrami quantization prescription, where the conformal Laplacian operator contains the usual Laplace-Beltrami operator on the underlying manifold plus a term proportional to its scalar curvature (which in both cases has non-constant value). In this way, the eigenvalue problems for the quantum counterparts of Hλ and Hη can be rigorously solved, and it is found that their discrete spectrum is just a smooth deformation (in terms of the parameters λ and η) of the oscillator and Coulomb spectrum, respectively. Moreover, it turns out that the maximal degeneracy of both systems is preserved under deformation. Finally, new further multiparametric generalizations of both systems that preserve their superintegrability are envisaged."



'via Blog this'

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Being Bad Europeans - NYTimes.com

Being Bad Europeans - NYTimes.com:



"THE U.S. economy finally seems to be climbing out of the deep hole it entered during the global financial crisis. Unfortunately, Europe, the other epicenter of crisis, can’t say the same. Unemployment in the euro area is stalled at almost twice the U.S. level, while inflation is far below both the official target and outright deflation has become a looming risk."



'via Blog this'

Notes on the Floating Crap Game (Economics Inside Baseball) - NYTimes.com

Notes on the Floating Crap Game (Economics Inside Baseball) - NYTimes.com:



"A new paper by Marion Fourcade, Etienne Ollion, and Yann Algan on the structure of academic economics (pdf) is getting a fair bit of attention among people I talk to. The tone is rather jaundiced, but that’s surely a defensible attitude, and everything substantive it says about economics rings true from my own experience; I’m glad to see that quantitative analysis confirms what I thought."



'via Blog this'

Perception

Professor Michael Eric Dyson reminds us that we construct what we see.

There is a blind spot in the eyes. It is a place where connecting nerves send the image to the brain. There are no sensing cells in that area, so literally we have a hole in our eyes. What gets sent then from there? We make up an image which makes sense, so we don't panic at our blindness.

Similarly, when something in the society around us, doesn't make sense, we make something up. So the junior policeman, who recently resigned from the Ferguson Police Department, Darrel Wilson, saw a huge devil attacking him, and he killed Michael Brown Jr. What is interesting, is that the jury, also saw a big menacing devil attacking this young white man.

Society has a blind spot, we don't see the humanity of African Americans.

For our social health, this has to change.

Where Do We Go After Ferguson?

Photo
A protester wrapped himself in a United States flag in Ferguson, Mo., on Tuesday.CreditJewel Samad/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Continue reading the main storyShare This Page
WASHINGTON — WHEN Ferguson flared up this week after a grand jury failed to indict the white police officer Darren Wilson for killing the unarmed black youth Michael Brown, two realities were illuminated: Black and white people rarely view race in the same way or agree about how to resolve racial conflicts, and black people have furious moral debates among ourselves out of white earshot.
These colliding worlds of racial perception are why many Americans view the world so differently, and why recent comments by President Obama and the former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani cut to the quick of black identity in America.
From the start, most African-Americans were convinced that Michael Brown’s death wouldn’t be fairly considered by Ferguson’s criminal justice system. There were doubts that the prosecution and defense were really on different teams. The prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, looked as if he were coaching an intramural scrimmage with the goal of keeping Officer Wilson from being tackled by indictment.
The trove of documents released after the grand jury’s decision included Officer Wilson’s four-hour testimony, in which the 6-foot-4-inch, 210-pound cop said that his encounter with the 6-foot-4-inch, 292-pound teenager left him feeling like “a 5-year-old holding on to Hulk Hogan.” He used the impersonal pronoun “it” when he said that Michael Brown looked like a “demon” rushing him. To the police officer and to many whites, Michael Brown was the black menace writ large, the terrorizing phantom that stalks the white imagination.
These clashing perceptions underscore the physics of race, in which an observer effect operates: The instrument through which one perceives race — one’s culture, one’s experiences, one’s fears and fantasies — alters in crucial ways what it measures.
The novelist Ann Petry vividly captured this observer effect in her 1946 novel “The Street,” in which the African-American protagonist, Lutie Johnson, remarks that racial perceptions of blacks “depended on where you sat.” She explains that if “you looked at them from inside the framework of a fat weekly salary, and you thought of colored people as naturally criminal, then you didn’t really see what any Negro looked like,” because “the Negro was never an individual” but “a threat, or an animal, or a curse.”
After a black man is killed in a failed robbery, she notes that a reporter “saw a dead Negro who had attempted to hold up a store, and so he couldn’t really see what the man lying on the sidewalk looked like.” Instead, he saw “the picture he already had in his mind: a huge, brawny, blustering, ignorant, criminally disposed black man.”
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Tear gas engulfed the police and protesters in Ferguson, Mo., on Monday.CreditJewel Samad/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Our American culture’s fearful dehumanizing of black men materialized once again when Officer Wilson saw Michael Brown as a demonic force who had to be vanquished in a hail of bullets.
IT is nearly impossible to convey the fear that strikes at the heart of black Americans every time a cop car pulls up. When I was 17, my brother and I and a childhood friend were pulled over by four Detroit cops in an unmarked police vehicle. This was in the mid-70s, in the shadow of the infamous Detroit Police Department task force called Stress (Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets), which was initiated after the 1967 riots. The unit lived up to its name and routinely targeted black people.
As we assumed the position against the car, I announced to one of the plainclothes officers that I was reaching into my back pocket to fish the car’s registration from my wallet. He brought the butt of his gun sharply across my back and knocked me to the ground, promising, with a racial epithet, that he’d put a bullet through my head if I moved again. When I rose to my feet, cowering, showing complete deference, the officer permitted me to show the car’s registration. When the cops ran the tags, they concluded what we already knew: The car wasn’t stolen and we weren’t thieves. They sent us on without a hint of an apology.
My recent dust-up with Mr. Giuliani on national television tapped a deep vein of racially charged perception. In a discussion on “Meet the Press” of Ferguson and its racial fallout, Mr. Giuliani steered the conversation down the path of a conservative shibboleth: that the real problem facing black communities is not brutality at the hands of white cops but brutality in the grips of black thugs. He cited the fact that 93 percent of black homicide victims are killed by black people; I argued that these murderers often go to jail, unlike the white cops who kill blacks with the backing of the government. What I didn’t have time to say was that 84 percent of white homicide victims are killed by white people, and yet no language of condemnation exists to frame a white-on-white malady that begs relief by violent policing.
This doesn’t mean that black people aren’t weary of death ravaging our communities. I witnessed it personally as I sat in a Detroit courtroom 25 years ago during the trial of my brother Everett for second-degree murder, and though I believe to this day that he is innocent, I watched him convicted by an all-black jury and sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.
Many whites who point to blacks killing blacks are moved less by concern for black communities than by a desire to fend off criticism of unjust white cops. They have the earnest belief that they are offering new ideas to black folk about the peril we foment in our own neighborhoods. This idea has also found a champion in Bill Cosby, who for the past decade has levied moral charges against the black poor with an ugly intensity endorsed by white critics as tough love and accepted by most black journalists as homegrown conservatism.
But Mr. Cosby’s put-downs are more pernicious than that. How could one ever defend his misogynistic indictment of black women’s lax morals and poor parenting skills? “Five, six children, same woman, eight, 10 different husbands or whatever,” he liked to recite. “Pretty soon you’re going to have to have DNA cards so you can tell who you’re making love to. You don’t know who this is; might be your grandmother.”
Journalistic mea culpas are now accompanying Mr. Cosby’s Shakespearean fall from grace. He has been recast as a leering king who is more sinner than sinned against as the allegations of drugging and raping women pile up. But these writers avoid mentioning the sexist blinders that kept them from seeing how hateful Mr. Cosby was toward black women long before he was accused of abusing mostly white women.
Bill Cosby didn’t invent the politics of respectability — the belief that good behavior and stern chiding will cure black ills and uplift black people and convince white people that we’re human and worthy of respect. But he certainly gave it a vernacular swagger that has since been polished by Barack Obama. The president has lectured black folk about our moral shortcomings before cheering audiences at college commencements and civil rights conventions. And yet his themes are shopworn and mix the innocuous and the insidious: pull your pants up, stop making racial excuses for failure, stop complaining about racism, turn off the television and the video games and study, don’t feed your kids fried chicken for breakfast, be a good father.
As big a fan as he is of respectability politics, Mr. Obama is the most eloquent reminder that they don’t work, that no matter how smart, sophisticated or upstanding one is, and no matter how much chastising black people pleases white ears, the suspicions about black identity persist. Despite his accomplishments and charisma, he is for millions the unalterable “other” of national life, the opposite of what they mean when they think of America.
Barack Obama, like Michael Brown, is changed before our eyes into a monstrous thing that lacks humanity: a monkey, a cipher, a black hole that kills light. One might expect the ultimate target of this black otherness to have sympathy for its lesser targets, who also have lesser standing and lesser protection, like the people in Ferguson, in Ohio, in New York, in Florida, and all around the country, who can’t keep their unarmed children from being cut down in the street by callous cops who leave their bodies to stiffen into rigor mortis in the presence of horrified onlookers.
President Obama’s clinical approach to race was cemented after the 2009 Henry Louis Gates Jr. incident — in which the Harvard professor and the white police officer who arrested him for breaking into his own house were invited to the White House to commune over a beer — convinced him that he should talk race only when his hand was forced.
He has employed a twin strategy: the “heroic explicit,” in which he deliberately and clearly assails black moral failure and poor cultural habits, and the “noble implicit,” in which he avoids linking whites to social distress or pathology and speaks in the broadest terms possible, in grammar both tentative and tortured, about the problems we all confront. It’s an effort that hinges on false equivalencies between black and white and the mistaken identification of effect for cause.
MR. OBAMA spoke twice in the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury’s decision. He spoke Monday night about America as a nation of laws and said that we must respect the jury’s conclusion, even if we don’t agree with it, and make progress by working together — not by throwing bottles, smashing car windows or using anger as an excuse to vandalize property or hurt anyone.
On Tuesday, the president doubled down on his indictment of “criminal acts” and declared, “I do not have any sympathy” for those who destroy “your own communities.” While he avoided saying so, it was clear that his remarks were directed at the black people who looted and rioted in Ferguson. But their criminal activity is the effect of going unrecognized by the state for decades, a crime in itself. As for the plague of white cops who kill unarmed black youth, the facts of which are tediously and sickeningly repetitive and impose a psychological tariff on black minds, the president was vague, halting and sincerely noncommittal.
Instead, he lauded the racial progress that he said he had witnessed “in my own life,” substituting his life for ours, and signaled again how his story of advancement was ours, suggesting, sadly, that the sum of our political fortunes in his presidency may be lesser than the parts of our persistent suffering. Even when he sidled up to the truth and nudged it gently — “these are real issues,” the president acknowledged — he slipped back into an emotional blandness that underplayed the searing divide, saying there was “an impression that folks have” about unjust policing and “there are issues in which the law too often feels as if it is being applied in discriminatory fashion.”
Whose impression is it, though that word hardly captures the fierce facts of the case? Who feels it? Who is the subject? Who is the recipient of the action? Mr. Obama’s treacherous balancing act between white and black, left and right, obscures who has held the power for the longest amount of time to make things the way they are. This is something, of course, he can never admit, but which nevertheless strains his words and turns an often eloquent word artist into a faltering, fumbling linguist. President Obama said that our nation was built on the rule of law. That is true, but incomplete. His life, and his career, too, are the product of broken laws: His parents would have committed a crime in most states at the time of their interracial union, and without Martin Luther King Jr. breaking what he deemed to be unjust laws, Mr. Obama wouldn’t be president today. He is the ultimate paradox: the product of a churning assault on the realm of power that he now represents.
No wonder he turns to his own body and story and life to narrate our bodies, our stories and our lives. The problem is that the ordinary black person possesses neither his protections against peril nor his triumphant trajectory that will continue long after he leaves office.
More than 45 years ago, the Kerner Commission concluded that we still lived in two societies, one white, one black, separate and still unequal. President Lyndon B. Johnson convened that commission while the flames that engulfed my native Detroit in the riot of 1967 still burned. If our president and our nation now don’t show the will and courage to speak the truth and remake the destinies of millions of beleaguered citizens, then we are doomed to watch the same sparks reignite, whenever and wherever injustice meets desperation.

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