February 28, 2006


The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. Friedrich Nietzsche

Last Rites from Father Gaia

I'd like to note the passing of February 2006 and be the first to administer last rites. February will go down in history as the last month of the era. When we look back at normal Amerikan life, this was the turning point where we jumped into the new beyond. It may take historians some time to pinpoint instances where the tide was turned, but by April, well, let's just say it may not be that is is is. Our 43rd president redefined the term and anything not nailed down could be gone with the wind. Shucks - but - ya gotta do what you can, and let mother nature do the rest - there aint no doubt about it, because we were barely seventeen and we were barely dressed. thanks Meatloaf - i believe in paradise by the dashboard light. FG

February 27, 2006

why we blog

Why we blog - because we can still demonstrate an understanding of knowledge. Whether the basis of understanding is fact or fiction, i'm afraid we will never know. So always assume fiction whenever in doubt and do due diligence, so that when we blog we at least seem to know what we're talking about.

Like why do we call it a unitary executive philosophy when Cheney calls all the foreign policy and Bush calls the domestic shots. I would call that the dual executive philosophy.

Or how to you concentrate power with a fair division of labor? Seems that multiplication increases while division separates. Why do we divide things into components and forget that they are all part of a whole. If each component functions optimally, then the whole vehicle rides smoother - so shouldn't effort be made to bring the broken parts up to speed, rather than weighing more of the load on the components that still work?

How do you create a cycle in a zero sum game? By the second round, the game is over? And how come the concept of fair always is two-sided? Shouldn't fair consider all the parties involved equally and not just those who found out that there is a table where they are represented at. But - if you don't spend the time wishing to be represented, does that mean you waive your rights to allow somebody who doesn't really represent you act as though they do? Why are credit signatures binding for only some people, while banks can unilaterally change the rules on the fly - or cut off access to the system?

This is why we blog. To find answers to unanswerable questions - sequentially or randomly. Context is in the frame of reference - the more data, the better the intelligence. But books and reading materials like blogs are only the gateway into the world of knowledge - you have to spend the time learning to put the pieces together in the way that makes the picture on the puzzle appear.

February 26, 2006

Needs kneed

blue dealings ...
wondering when enuf
is really enough
attitude alteration
attains desired affect
cedes to invisibility
til the next quest sought
roller coaster life
then psychopressure erupts
... spilling brains
on the way to the bedroom
because the shut door
locked away upstairs
refrains from opening
til desire based kneed
unearths a pry bar
... to allow few (mighty few)
gestures of love
that once were plentiful
and shall return
with separate remorse
for understanding needs
need be acted upon ...
to make whole the effort
upon which the journey
rides depend on quality

February 25, 2006

EH - 75 : Agriculture

Breadbasket - where does our food come from? What is the sense of turning viable foodstuffs into fuel, when fuel is a lower value than food? Building resources out of wastes will be the method of increasing value, but until the squeeze is stopped, people have problems. Ms Morrison is correct though in the importance of barges and the shortsightedness of not getting the means of shipment of grain out of the midwest except by truck defeats the purpose of having a grain crop - and turning the stagnant grain into fuel at a loss for everyone but the biofuel producers? Wrong area to be throwing money at.

Biofuels is not the ultimate solution, unless we are talking stalks and weeds and cellulosic inedible materials. These materials will still put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - but CO2 is not the real problem. Heat generated via inefficiency of use of current energy is the problem.

In the old days work came from harnessed metabolic energy - today it comes from machines. Perhaps next gen, it will come from harnessed metabolic energy, or chemical exchange energy, or solar or wind or even oil (if the peak oil argument is a pique, and the earth manufactures a steady state of oil internally).

Again - why are we not seriously questioning the entire knowledge base and rooting out the outrageous misconceptions that became embedded because it sounded good and nobody bothered to check it through, beyond the theory and initial practice. What are the long term questions and experiments preset by the Galileos and Newtons that require 100-500 years of data collection to answer? What are we doing now to set the stage so that our future can have organized data to base knowledge upon? Hopefully lots of people are keeping track of lots of things - the common knowledge is hardly common and i question whether in fact it is knowledge. Let's check what we know. How do you know what you know?

February 24, 2006

Rural Fuel Reduction Employment

A 2001 report by Resource Innovations - a precursor to its more recent research - found that wildfires have a greater impact on poor people than other community members. Rural, low-income households are often located far from help. A breadwinner working two jobs probably doesn't have time to get to volunteer fire training or clear brush, never mind apply for a brush-clearing grant. A homeowner or renter may not be able to afford insurance, or have the capital to recover from a catastrophic loss. And some people in rural areas don't want help, don't want to be disturbed, and don't want any contact with the government. As Oshana Catranides - director of the Lomakatsi Restoration Project, the nonprofit that assisted Chatterton - puts it, "People live out here because they like their privacy."

I have had the recent pleasure of cooperating with Lomakatsi in Tiller and can relate to this problem first hand. There is a large opportunity to train local people to do environmentally friendly fules reduction, if the return of the investment is used to feed the local communities rather than the US Treasury. Timber is not the only forest product, but small diameter wood is logistically tough due to excess handling and impossible trasport logistics. But burning slash is so unfreasible and cogen in the middle of nowhere is unlikely. These logistics are solvable and things may start to move.

A capital infusion would make a huge amount of difference - i can think of three significant endeavors that would be benefitted greatly by local analytical capacity. But - we still can't cut trees on federal land and federal land is 53% of the land base in this county. The federal govt. doesn't pay real estate tax - too much local burden and no local management control. ahem? ahem??

The photo features the Penny Stew Restoration done by the Lomakatsi Restoration Project. In the deep background you can see unthinned forest. Small diameter and non-desired competition was removed - 65% lowered volume - with oak/madrone savanah being the desired condition. Not doghaired conifer.

Another group led by Orville Camp from Selma has a natural selection based management process that is also developing. If local communities take different approaches, then demonstration of best management techniques can be compared to actually create definition for the term best. Currently, best means whatever is currently done here, now.

EH - 74 : University

Hot topic: Inside Higher Ed - what about tenure? (kudos to Ali for the tip) I like Science Professor's comments. I am so pissed off by the tenure process that i would never ever apply for a university position. Teaching part-time at a community college to supplement salary in a rural community has allowed me to develop my own interests, that are much deeper because i have had the freedom to somewhat self-support. But anybody who shuts it off because they now have access to the freedom to leisure, has missed the point and stifled the opportunity to really pursue their interest. Tenure is academic freedom to learn about things that nobody else knows, but it is politically governed to the point of quenching science in favor of group-think. Stupid group think at that.

Money is now the only issue - before it had never has been a significant factor. In 1995, when the rules changed and tenured faculty could garner industry support - the have and have-nots changed, as did the entire motivation for the endeavor. Any individual who values their work at a level that retains their interest would never think of abandoning it when they get tenure - unless the work they were doing was of no significance and this was their sole chance to abandon it. One cannot start a new science career without returning to fresh learning. But we are no longer in the brain development stage where we have that capacity - so might as well apply to other things.

Right now - university science people are so heavily vested in their careers and funding, that a hypothesis can't afford to be significantly different from the money driven world. And the PTB will take on anybody not toeing the pc line - cold fusion was pre-1995 and look at what happened by going outside standard channels. now ... michael chricton writes science, and the people believe.

Student Learning Advice

If you make things funny so that you laugh at them, you trick your mind into remembering details of things you wish to remember for a longer term. But to understand how things fit together, we must understand the intricacies of each component - or trust somebody else who does to either 1) explain them or 2) do the task themselves. Some people use that as their niche in life, and get very defensive when you step into their territory; while others will give you all the time and effort you need because then they have an able assistant and aide. Doctor Lenny much prefers working with the latter set.

Rosencrantz was back in the tub this week

February 23, 2006


The school shooting caused the lockdown of RHS for 2.5 hours, then the kids were bussed. School is cancelled for tomorrow and local youth pastors are running damage control. The injured dude is in stable but critical condition with four bullet woulds, three in the abdomen and the fourth in the elbow. The shooter had never been in trouble with police before, according to local news reports.
There was lots of rumors and innuendo. Both middle schools in town and fir grove elementary school were also locked down. I wonder what the real circumstances are - the rumor mill will operate and the kids will get cracked down on. I real think the response should be to lighten up and take life less seriously - enjoy it before its gone - woof ... vapor.

Breaking News - School Shooting

Link is to the Roseburg News Review - limited details, one student down, suspect under arrest, school locked down while investigation continues. Let's hope our kids were smart enough to keep their heads down, although this sounds like the detail could be similar to a situation that i read at a different blog site (Crooked Wisdom) yesterday.
On another note, cognitive dissonance convergence of meanings - j.l. wilson at independent country brought up the deal of synchronized thoughs with other bloggers - well, if we are working from the same information, we will come up with similar observation. But if we are from dissimilar areas and trainings, and we come up with simultaneous thoughts - like vache and i on the maslow posts at j.l. wilson's website - then the rod serling bells start going off and we catch on very quickly that something's going on.

EH - 73: Contemporary Scientists: Duesberg

"I would not be a scientist who ranks acceptance by the mainstream higher than scientific discovery. Since we all live only once I would rather be respected by the next generation for a lasting scientific contribution, than by the current one for work that is popular now but scientifically flawed." Peter Duesberg

The attached article relates research concerning aneuploidy - well - i never heard the term before this morning. (extra chromosome in genes). But y'know, if Duesberg is correct, it sounds alot like information suppression : time to order a book and read, learn and reflect. My guess is that anti-biological medicinals come in all forms within forest natural products. Time is ripe for investors to seek me howdt - i can envision three labs with different focus - energy, bio-tech and soils. We need to analyze information to determine validity - the science game has been fixed for too long - the PTB DMs have lost track of their game. Player Character rules. Player characters to rule. NQY.

February 22, 2006

Proper School Attire

As i am once again working in schools, i find myself distracted by the eye candy, especially as spring approaches. It might be wise to consider having a jeans and sweatshirts dress code that has only learning appropriate clothing in the classroom. Undergarments cause distractions and that's not where attention needs to be. Another benefit would be that we parents wouldn't have to spend near as much on clothing, since a no glintz/glamour setting would lead to less competitive shopping behavior. Crass materialism is fine on one's own hours, but if school is going to serve any purpose beyond babysitting, the discipline to dress appropriately needs to be enforced. And not with the all same as one brittany schoolgirl or dork with the bow-tie approach. After all, we adults don't show up for our work inappropriately dressed (much)(do we?)

February 21, 2006

distractions from the pain

people dealing width
cog dis overbearing
background noise
find other means as
distractions from the pain
no spanking monkeys
as jackson's songway
cranking disreality
down the chutes of
bright lights and
bumper crops and
lost souls yearning for
distractions from the pain
puritan morals
prohibit visual release
drugs enter minds via
visual frameworks as
orgasm substitutes while
brains melt away
for lack of love release
from the stresses
that never run away
distractions from the pain
when bright lights flash
another brain goes dead

(c) 2006 lemme howdt

science political

There comes a time when the sense that something big is up becomes pervasive. These two articles - one on global warming and the other on scientists gathering seem to me to be an amplification in the rhetoric that buries science even further away from the rationalizationability of the general amerikan public. Not being a box-watcher, i missed seeing the 60 minute rhetoric on global warming this weekend. But, too many people are running around masquerading as scientists to the public, when they no longer are (or never have been) involved in the process of collecting data and trying to really interpret the results.

Experimental design is critical - demonstrating phenomena requires observation and deep thought about what could cause the data pattern. It's not just what you read in books, it's how you interpret what the books say - when they are right and when they are not. Blind faith in texts in annoying. If you understand your topic well, then books are the boundary of where you get off the train : the become reference when you need them to explain concepts to others, not things you need, except to look up specific facts and new areas and, well, you get what i mean. You need books, but really, you need to be ahead of your books in your field to be doing anything significant, scientifically.

So congress needs some people of science to correct fallacies that many members have by assuming the common knowledge of science is in fact correct. I would gather that every field of endeavor that takes itself seriously in addition to science likely feels the same way about their level of consultation in the affairs of the world. I see a major realignment to a horizontal lattice from the current vertical lattice, but perhaps it would be wise to look at politics in three dimentional space and construct a curve that fits the data collected from reality, not from the minds of the fellows currently serving up DC on the potomac.

February 20, 2006


White Fawn

This came over the e-mail waves - i do not believe that it is as rare as the story appears - but here is the story intact.

Albino Fawn from folks who live on Bolivar Peninsula , Texas A very eventful day around here... A once in many lifetimes experience! Mark saw this lil' feller run out in front of a car, thought it was a lost baby goat. Stopped to get it, and WOW. A real Albino Whitetail Deer. Just hours old, but doing fine. No Moma deer around. Another car nearly hit it in front of Mark... Well,, he is THE neatest thing any of us ever saw. And such a 'freak of nature', that only 1 in more than a million are even born. He took his bottle of food, followed us around the house, doing great. So, we called the Zoo & Fossil Rim, who were both interested, but going to send him to a Rehab farm, at a vet that we have never gotten along with... So, one of Dad's best friends is our Game Warden. Kinda reluctantly, but, I called him and told him the deal. He came right over, of course... and assured me that he wouldn't take it to that vet, that he was going to 'go to higher levels' than that with him.. So, he is gone now. We got a lot of pix, and something we will never see again probably, so it was very cool. Maybe he will make it in captivity somewhere and be appreciated. So rare... Sure wanted to keep him tho. but, not the thing to do. And not LEGAL either ; But, here are a couple of pix to show ya. He was snow white, pink eyes, ears, nose and hooves. Kids called him POWDER. He was SO small. That is my shoe lying beside him... WOW..how cool is that??


February 19, 2006

fresh howdtlook

wandering around the web led me to some old places that i hadn't been to for a while and some new places that make sense in the frame of mind i am currently in. with that, welcome to future hi and alchemically braindamaged on the list of crosslynx. feeling positive and being realistic is not something in most people's current mindsets, but it ought to be. embracing change will lead to standing on the surfboard of life when the tsunami hits. as i said in a blog comment earlier today - if you can't affect the external, focus on the internal and hope that the eternal takes care of itself.

Short Poem

Waders On ?!...
When sh*t hits the fan
Pays to be the one
Holding the fan.

commented on Ali's blog on the role of knowledge - rather than repeat the thought, i'll send my readers there. http://alisvoice.blogspot.com/

A taste o winter western oregon style

EH - 72 : Self-reliance literature

David Brownlow talks in Christian terms about what people should do to activate politically and stop being a lemming. Unfortunately, i think that perhaps the lemmings really do wish to remain lemmings and even though they could do something, it takes too much effort and they are rewarded well for non-effort. In fact every effort at effort that doesn't support the status quo gets rewarded with grief. Bur grief is sort of a forbearer of real knowledge, because real work really requires effort . Life is hard, but it has been made easy for some. Life is easy, but it is made difficult for some. Easy and Hard are relative terms - what do they really mean?

Before writing off Brownlow because of his religion, pretend that religion is superfluous (does not matter at all) and then you would find that the message David brings is the same one doctor lenny brings, as did some other peaceful willful leaders of the past. Civil Disobedience is a major work by h.d.thoreau, an essay that packs more punch than Walden. While you are in reading mode - Bartlebey the Scrivener by h. melville (yes - the moby dick dude) is a short story on the same theme. To complete the tri-fecta, A Modest Proposal, by j swift (gulliver's travel guy) illustrates extension of the thoughts.

February 17, 2006

EH - 71 : Demographics

wow - the numbers are astonishing. But we do not have to divide people by pointing howdt their differences. It's all up to what we value, and we no longer value the things that produced our value. But who we define as we seems to be the key, and i'm certain that the collapse of both western and eastern civilization at the same time will lead to a much better respect for the ability to produce. Reason is one thing, but paper shuffling only produces paper consumption. When it comes to creating real value in order to feed onesself and family, i think people will start producing amazing results - if we work at it.

i really think that we need to invest our time and energies in improving ourselves to be able to meet individual challenges and collectively working in our own ways to help society. group think is super bad. our mullahs are named pat robertson and jerry falwell, but there are plenty of secular mullahs also - too much my way or the highway crowd. not that islam is good - but the party here is over. Not that the next party is bad - just different.

however, if we each take what we are good at, and enjoy improving at it, we should be okay. the consensus that will come will require people to pull their respect from pulling their weight. It really doesn't matter what field you pull weight in, just be good enough to the point where your effort is respected by people you deem worthy of having to earn their respect. The first person on that list is you. You don't get anywhere withhowdt self-respect.

If you are interested in joining lemme and i on our quest - start sending ideas to yourself on things that you have interest in. If you can document spending 100 hours on something you are personally interested in figuring howdt, i think you will know your subject matter. Then the learning fun begins. Document, journalize, write. Blog. Work is the expenditure of energy to accomplish a task - you have to put in effort to get results.

Or go watch TV and refry your brain.

February 16, 2006

Freelance Scientist: Ready, Willing and Able

First sticks, then stones. Now calling names. Tom Bothell points out that some of the people's assumptions about science are produced by the mass media. What a stunning relevation, no. Coulda fooled me. Yeah, right.

Bothell does make some valid points on who controls the funding, sets the direction of the endeavor, and if you've contractually sold your time, you are obligated to work on your employers task on his time. Being freelance - i sell my time or trade it in exchange for other people's time. If Mr. Bothell can arrange for ONRRI to be funded to assess the real chemistry of atmospheric conditions that lead to the generation of excess heat currently being displayed on thermal monitoring devices, i would promise an impartial assessment based on expert publications and how they stack up to a new theory of chemistry/physics interplay that i have been developing. I have no financial interest in any climate concern, though i admit to knowing and liking George Taylor - the Oregon State Climatologist. George gives a great lecture!

Doctor Lenny feels he should note that Mr. Bothell has a new book on the market - A Politically Incorrect View of Science - which I have not read, but is on my pick up list. Also - if somebody is a computer - that is has good analytic computational skills to understand flow dynamics of computation when different factors have different weights, i have two computational statistics problems that would easily earn a PhD at any accredited institution because the algorithym development in my brain needs to be extracted by somebody who comprehends the advanced mathematics and has the time to tease it howdt. I believe i can crack eight dimentional space in a physical model that applies game theory to evaluating learning environments - a basis for a different approach altogether. I have a new theory of chemistry based on d and f orbital dynamics that requires taking Pauling's Nature of the Chemical Bond and group theory and tabulating bond energies to help me look for specific activities in nature that demonstrate the philosophy of the novel chemistry. Nature is a cool laboratory - many places to hike and enjoy while thinking.
Meanwhile - biofuels, a totally dead-end idea - gets tons of funding lavished upon it because - (nothing to do with ADM). Which proves Mr. Bothell's point.

February 15, 2006

Public Comments

This morning i was making a public comment for the US Fish and Wildlife Service concerning marbled murrelets in the Elliot State Forest, as part of a draft environmental impact statement. As a director on the local watershed council, i attempt to keep informed of all relevant decisions in resource management in the local area. The Elliot State Forest is the home stomping grounds of Grandma Treetoad - a berkeley peace studies graduate, and all sorts of amazing critters. The Elliot State Forest is also designated as revenue for Oregon Schools - very necessary right now because the Rural Schools Act of 2000 is on tender terms for renewal.

Thomas Cech in his textbook Principles of Water Resources describes twelve federal water agencies in policy and brief history in 40 pages. Plus there are local water agencies, regional water agencies, state water agencies and multistate water agencies described in the next 23 pages. So 63 out of 454 pages of book is describing who has jurisdiction over what - not a single water rule. Methinks we are so overwhelmed with supervision, that we cannot get a straight clear answer on any issue based on any reason, or aspect of reason.

Can't we make it all the over and above sight just go away. Leave the land to be managed by the people who support themselves from it. Ah, Bartlebey.

The Elliot State Forest from Grandma TreeToad's Back Porch

EH - 70 : University

Kevin at the Mutualist had a very interesting post about the community of scholars. I believe this is more in line with anonymous' comment on EH - 69 about what science should be focusing on improving - science. Doctor Lenny sees himself as a science trained general educator, improving science education and giving youth life skills. Science is not for everyone, but it is also not a preisthood - it is just a way of thought. A Zen, so to speak.

Lurid Sex

As i surf the news this morning on the internet, having given up the daily newspaper, i started noting the lurid sentences that appear in news articles enticing people to continue reading, not for informational purposes, but to get the nasties of the details. Long ago, i gave up reading human interest stories about people, because invariably when i knew the whole story, the news was incorrect and embellished. In the many interviews that i have given, i have generally been taken out of context because i string ideas into paragraphs, not sentences. When my words are shortened, the editor always seems to clip the zingers.

Today, it struck me that in most of the news articles that i read, i caugh hook lines leading to lurid details that i have no way of validating as true or false, on anything i know from outside the story that i have read. This is junk information, only for lurid purpose, and has no business in pieces meant for real information exchange. So we should not mention SEX, unless we are talking about sex (or advertising).

(this would have made a better EH - 69 topic, eh)

February 13, 2006

EH - 69 : Fallen legion

"Properly conducted, objective science always describes the amount of uncertainly present in a conclusion. It appears that this agency, and others under the Bush administration, routinely abuse the science by giving equal credit to very small amounts of uncertainly when making decisions based on the available science. Depending on the desired outcome, this administration appears to select either the preponderance of evidence or the slightest uncertainty on which to base its conclusion. Not only does this lack of caution and misuse of science adversely impact natural resources, it misleads the American public about how science and the scientific method work. I can only conclude that, with NOAA Fisheries' help, this administration has considerably set back the public's understanding of science." Michael Kelly, fish bio, formerly with NOAA fish.

Not that Doctor Lenny doesn't believe that the bureaucracy is bloated and desperately needs to be cutback in size and scale. Extended Horizons recognizes Nick Turse @ TomDispatch for telling some of the stories that will allow us to refrain from repeating past mistakes in the future.

Living History - Search for Truth

When you look at the past half-century, the current government in crisis reminds us a lot of Nixon's Watergate Scandals. Of all the players at the time, I would have never guessed that John Dean would have made it through to remain on the stage - but his colume at FindLaw today just gets to the heart of political insight. We the people must demand self-honesty - don't trust anybody that appears to be deceiving themselves. Look for how politician's arguments can be carried toward the extreme, and whether they approach fairness as you move further away from the mainstream. Follow the money : who pays, who gets?

How can you know about people? Who is there to ask and how do you know if the data is valid? Can you create a timeline for the person of interest and account for their location? But situational evidence doesn't becessarily mean coalescences. I attended a banquet on saturday where Winona LaDuke spoke to 200 people - i knew about half. An out-of -town member may know a dozen people - but the reactionaries guiding the lemming crowd could say - hey you were there, you must be subversive.

If you observe things and record, journalize thoughts, then the record can be set straight after the fact. What really happened is known to the people it happened to, and their reality of the scenario is the only one that can be truthful. What happens without truthfulness? Guess were gonna find howdt. But John Dean has some experience - this is a worthwhile thread he follows.

February 12, 2006


getting ready to go
quite a production flow
hurry up and wait
hurry up and wait
so you made us late
tho no time frame
to be late for this game
let us go at a rate
where our comfort lies
as we decifer lies
and get on with our lives

(c) 2006 lemme howdt

February 11, 2006

Cute Overload

Only for the real serious cuteness buffs - if you can't handle too darned cute - don't follow this link.
It doesn't get any better than this - as far as to die for cuteness. Cuteoverload is full of the most adorable mice, kittens, and other critters that it just makes you melt. I have a few critters - the piggy (cavy) that ran wee wee wee wee all the way home, a lamb in a bookstore and the standard curious hodari. i will gladly let them copy photos off my site. BTW - Cricket, the cavy, is due in early March. cuteness drool alert.

EH - 68 : Public Broadcasting

Don't ya just love when you are reading an article and an aha moment strikes. The conservative egress from the PBS stations, means that we will be seeing the 'free' news media pushing leftward in full response to removal of a net releasing long overdue freedom of speech, just as the right wing political heavyweights are running for their congressional seats next November. Talk about a rally point for the lemmings!

What can you as an individual do? Take interest in the political system now and learn the ropes, so that by 2008 you are a veteran of the political war. Abbie Hoffman said Turn On, Tune In, Drop Howdt. Doctor Lenny says Turn Howdt, Tune On and Drop Kick DC, at least in status = (power + influence) x charisma terms. Run for local govt. positions and make changes that make sense to people who would follow a not very complex, right thing to do populist philosophy.

Join an organization like CUIP or Downsize DC, become an independent thinking voter, read the US Constitution annually and refrain from electing lawyers into the legislative branch of govt. Each of us can make a difference - and we'd better if we want to retain some form of the status quo. But maybe we don't? Hmmm.

February 10, 2006

Wierd Shitometer Stuff

"Despite inherent limitations, we cling desperately to what we think we know. Speed of light? A theoretical abstraction given the status of reality. Everything is relative to the absolute speed of light. What poppycock, yet every ‘bright’ person holds to this. Ones Psyche is conditioned by the larger societies take on reality. Our cognitive dissonance is reflective of the shortcomings inherent within our collective worldviews. We will exit this Box when we adopt a new set of criteria for understanding. We will see the blasphemy of men presenting their understanding of reality as being Absolute, both religious and scientific priests." Sounder

Jeff at Rigorous Intuition has a whole cast of responders to his posts - which get deep into a number of semi-related topics. The conversation pertails to UFOs and Jimmy Carter and George HW Bush. Sounder's blog response just struck me as so true, that i had to reproduce it here.

Good News and Good News?

Today was the second friday forestry day at the Alder Creek Childrens Forest, where a dozen teenagers in middle and high school at the Riddle Education Center came out and planted 180 trees. The replanting of oak is in an area that has recently been cleared of Cedar and Douglas Fir. The wetter area had drowned some root systems, which made the conifer stand susceptible to beetles. Kudos to Alan Baumann of the USFS for taking on the leadership roll and to Jesse for the youth leadership.

The link above is to a federal land sale - to raise $1B to fund the rural schools act. This is good because the federal government intends to pay for legislation imposed rather than expecting local communities to foot the bill. The constitution restricts federal land ownership to forts and post offices, but that has not been observed since the louisiana purchase. (i may be wrong about that - i am a scientist, not a historian). Management responsibility should be in the hands of the local populations that know how to grow trees in their locale, not managed by Washington DC politicians or Eugene-based federal judges.

February 09, 2006

Effectiveness Monitoring

Monitoring is a process of collecting data for validation purposes. Implementation monitoring is checking to see that a project is done under the terms and conditions of a contract. Effectiveness monitoring is looking at the results of the project and determining whether they produced the desired effect. While the former gets lots of attention, the latter is disappearing completely with the tightening of budgets and focused attention on how implementation occurs.

To do proper effectiveness monitoring, one must understand the motives of the design of the original project. What was it that was trying to be accomplished. When a project is to stabilize a bank with rip-wrap, the gabian, rock wired together to created an anchor weight is the implemented item. If it meets specs, it gets signed off on and the contractor gets paid. If after this winters floods, that gabian is now centered in the river, the effectiveness of the project is zero. The rocks didn't stabilize the banks.

Nobody gets held accountable for the cost of the project - it can be written off as useless, but the price was settled and set via implementation contracts. As stewardship of public lands transfers managing capability once again to people who have no clue as to how to manage the resource, the monitoring of accountability has to be refocused on effectiveness rather than implementation. Best management practices BMP is a euphanism for whatever we currently happen to be doing that works.

If we are going to take this seriously with the purpose of getting things right, we have to stop jobbing the numbers to use science to prove agendas. The proper design of science has to be governed by reproducibility of data - not by artificial quality controls. While quality control should govern the methodology - properly trained data collectors, vetted in their equipment use, with access to experts to reason with them in their field of interpretation - the data collected should not even be looked at for anything more than technical accuracy until the experiment is complete. Statistics are applied to data, not quality control. Duplicated and Blanks and Splits are fine for vetting equipment, but never never never can be applied to field data during collection events. EPA and state DEQ equivalents take note - all your information on everything is worthless data - the system is jobbed from the onset.

But - that means that we have to go back and validate our fundamental assumptions of science once again. And while some people may scream at this monumental cost, give them the finger and insist that it is a necessary precondition for getting it right. I am not calling for reinventing the wheel. School children can reenact newton's apple - at the Safari one time a Douglas High School physics class used the bear tower to reenact the pendulum in Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum - and a black bear spent an hour watching from 10 feet away. Got up once to chase two other bears away, and came back and continued watching. We don't give animals near enough credit for their intellegiance and then are totally surprised when they show humanlike independence - even though we choose our pets because they like us, which helps us like us.

Anyway - i drifted - to take control (nasty word) of your own destiny - you have to understand the situation that you are surrounded by. If you only implementation monitor -you will see that you accomplished what you said you would do - you done the project - got paid - done deal. Whether the project worked or not is determine by effectiveness - how well you achieved your goal. That can only be evaluated over time, after the money is spent. The government is reprioritizing domestic funds and strengthening implementation requirements while defunding effectiveness monitoring. The current controversy with BLM suspending OSU funding over a peer-reviewed published piece of science that was not vetted through contracted channels, ** , begs the science question entirely.

If you wish to learn to measure, that is what science is about. Get a simple tool, a thermometer, and start measuring the air temperature at the same time every day. Write down the time and the day and the temperature. Do this for a whole week. Did the temperature for the week get warmer or cooler? How do you know? Oh - you measured it. Will the same thing happen next week? How can you find out? Guess what - we have been doing effectiveness monitoing of the assumption that it gets warmer as we go from winter to spring to summer. Would we have the same results if we started in September? How many times should we do this until the information is certain? Will there be weeks where the temperature goes down? How will that affect the trend? What trend? Oh - the trend demonstrated by the data that we collected for ourselves with our thermometer. Global warming?

howdt ta here DL

February 07, 2006

Bite the Hand

If anyone thought that science today could be informative and non-political, the BLM suspended funds for the OSU research team that published in Science last week. Seems that the results of the tree regeneration study in the Biscuit logging area were meant to influence political opinion, and we just can't have federal dollars being spent on anything that influences pending legislation. Science must be banished from public discourse, unless of course it supports the opinions of the powers that be. Vindictiveness on the part of the administration toward anybody that doesn't toe the party line. Got your steel toed boots and your hip waders on? The manure has hit the fan.

February 06, 2006

EH - 67 : Surveying (Education)

Gary North gives herculean effort to demonstrate how a survey can be jobbed using advanced statistical techniques to get the desired data to demonstrate that private schools cannot teach math any better than public schools. If you have been there, you know what he says is true.

Dr. Lenny has Danielbug homeschooling right now - his current reading is CS Lewis and he just got 80% on geometry - using ten questions from last week's Science article. Daniel is eleven - the Science Zone will carry through this phase until Daniel is ready for college - in five years, not seven.

If you would like to have science and math made available in an outdoor resource setting - with the education based in research directed learning, register into yourclassroom.com using the Crosslynx and choose one of our classes. Dr. Lenny can depth tailor classes for any interest level. If you pass enough classes, by challenge or by taking them, to be assigned to a Zone project, then you will have access to the ornery scientists that i hang howdt with. Membership details forthcoming by March ... Zone programs formally start in March, but activity will be lite until October (after the start of the next school year).

February 05, 2006

Short Non-Partisan Political Rant

In the solemn confines of the mushroomroom on the morning of superbowl sunday, i observe a phenomena that leads me to believe that the big change is coming forth. Acceptance of the way it is relies continually on disbelief of what our senses tell us is true - even in this relative dogma called american life.

Individuals have a sense of preservation; an adherence to the mores of right and wrong is a preservationist tactic. Following the rules in a given situation has become a matter of expedience, where weighing the immediate impacts in a cost/benefit analysis lead to immediate irreversible action. In most cases, the importance of the decision is trivial on all outside the scope of the individual. With as many individuals as we have on this planet, it must be that way.

But now, right now, the right wing enforcement of law is bereft of truth, and the left wing acquiesces in the hopes of controlling the same marionette strings of power when the pendulum swings back is not acceptible. Too much is afoot under the radar screen of the people to choose to remain blissfully unaware. Recreating leadership that will empower people to solve crises, rather than create artificial crises to respond to, is what will enable a moral recovery from the ethics of today's leadership. We can no longer give jurisdiction to the political party system - register as an independent and vote for people that have no strings attached.

February 04, 2006

Alder Creek

The Forest Zone Field Laboratory will be based at the 80 acre Alder Creek Children's Forest. There will be a need to install 78 plots - one per forest acre during the next few years. Yesterday, when i was surveying the situation for next week's tree planting class, I ran into a crew from the Wolf Creek Job Corps - a juvenile training facility located out of Glide.
The crew was cleaning up tree blow-down that had spilled over onto a neighbor's property. The area had recently been thinned to remove douglas fir that had been killed by beetles, for reasons that can be explained at the ACCF Moodle site. The six youth and four adults - the neighbor, two ACCF volunteers and the WCJC team leader had six youth learning chainsaw and equipment use and maintenance, piling brush, cleaning up the damaged area, assessing the damage and interacting in appropriate and safe manner under difficult conditions.
Since the WCJC works through Brian Turner and the Wooley Center for high school diplomas and GEDs, Dr. Lenny will set up Tree Measurement Central to coordinate learning for this particular crew, which graduates February 19th. On Friday, February 10th, while the Riddle Education Center Youth are learning to plant trees, the Job Corps team will be installing the first of the 78 permanent plots on the ACCF site.
One further comment - the windstorm snapped quite a few trees, which may or may not have been aided by the logging that took place this fall. The ground is saturated and several of the blow-down trees came up from the roots and fell - something that logging would not have affected. Clearcuts and logging have their place in land management.
Now some eye candy from yesterday -


What is the numerically correct amount of change to carry in one's pocket? I typically like to have two quarters, two dimes and three pennies. Nickels are kinda passe', although the new jefferson picture from face on should be different. Pocket change is mostly worthless, unless you deal with meters or toll booths, though it is nice to have in restaurants to give an exact 15% tip. Usually, my change piles up in the cup holder in the car, or in a teddy bear jar the change gets rolled up every year or so and turned into a party supply fund. I just don't understand why all these people run around objecting to change? Change happens.

February 03, 2006

Science Integrity

A Column on Scientific Integrity - Dr. Lenny Howdt - ONRRI scientist www.howdt.com

Wendy McElroy has a good article at LRC on questioning scientific authority. She gives a series of questions to ask to see if the science is on the level. This is a good first step for lay people, but if she thinks that scientists can catch faked data in the peer review process, she misses the boat. When asking for proof through evidence, she really misses the boat, because as a scientist, I can design a good experiment that would produce great data, get a rock solid conclusions and be completely wrong. It comes from the fact that scientists are exploring unknown phenomena and making things up to see if they fit observation. We propose a theory and then attack it.

With the advent of applied engineering, science now is product driven. The entire medical research staff is pushing drug discovery to line their pocketbooks, not specifically to make any improvement in the standard of general living. The assumption (not yet sufficiently validated) is that that standard will trickle up. There is some base information in our set of assumptions that is wrong - that doesn't explain how something works that we know but don't really know. We have to validate the entire set of science theory again, to make certain that we are pursuing the right goal - an explanation and understanding of how things work.

Modeling is our current best tool. We collect enough data from various sources to paint a picture, a mosaic of things that are relevant until we see a correllation where things fit. Then we check the data against the reality and again ask to see if it fits. But what if we bias out sample collection - how can the data be right, if the sample has a contaminant? Depends on what you are looking for.

The two key events in the 1990s that broke the back of the historic science process were 1) the Pons/Fleishman cold fusion fiasco and 2) the change that allowed universities to collude with corporations on patented research. The former stopped a very promising energy field very dead in its tracks because of the practitioners method of information distribution - the mainstream media. The problem seemed to me to be that the vested interests were tying up the paper politically in the peer review process by insisting on changes than P&F refused to make. Knowing they were on to something, they release the info to the press without considering the backlash of the very offended (and very wrong) science community. Attack dogs can tear anything apart - but look at the status of current theories on cold fusion.

The second issue meant that there was no well funded public interest watchdog looking at science. The few people with means and integrity to start speaking out were quickly ostrasized from the community. While scientists seem to be enamored with the peer review system - this absolutely necessary double check has been terribly corrupted by personal pettiness. There is no doubt that many scientists hate sending their stuff out for review before publication because information in rejected papers always seems to come out in the accepted papers of reviewers, later in time. Since the reviews are conducted by the editors top picks of people in the field, there is a total vested interest in publishing only agenda supportive materials and burying any information that is not consistent with the science philosophy currently being pushed.

The only way to get a straight answer from a scientist is to insist that he explain the concepts in layman terms. Unless you understand what she is talking about - keep asking questions. People who know what they know will spend all the time in the world getting the message across in terms that makes sense to each person interested enough to ask. The depth level shifting really helps the scientist cement the ideas.

Scientists are supposed to be the greatest critics of their own research - you have to know you are correct before you publish, if you wish to inform properly. But that's the problem - science is not to inform - it is to make money by selling things to people as later, greater or better. If you take the sales out of the laboratory, you will take the wind out of the sails of most of the untrue science effort.

The best way to understand science, is to listen, write your questions down, and ask a different scientist about them. Without giving away context, you can ask any question of any true scientist and get a real answer about how that scientist sees the world works. But all scientists do not agree - in fact science, like life, is not a zero sum game. Things change.

Our quality control data approach exerts too much control - it forces data and rejects valid data on the basis of arbitrary criteria. If you observe something, then you tend to believe it. If you observe it twice, you are pretty certain and the third time is a charm. But if you have an expectation of the result and you set up to verify that expectation, any test that doesn't quite give the same result can be invalidated methodically until the results converge to support the expected answer. So science gets jobbed, people get bad information, bury it in the knowledge base and wait for some other scientist to study the problem again and invalidate the data.

But - big caveat - but science has become so expensive at the cutting edge and so competitive that nobody really can repeat anybody else's experiments properly any longer. The total transparency of science, that required simplicity enough that anyone anywhere setting up the same test could get the same result (Newton's apple) is now gone to details of submicroscopic theory and very low or very high energy measurement to support speculation based on speculation. Time to go back and check premises. And do calculations. And develop theories that can be supported by experimental evidence. That anybody can verify readily at any time.

Oh - can that be done? Can i buy a chemical anywhere to reproduce a chemistry experiment. Well - as a chemist, i can buy chemicals - because i have a track record and an official entity (employer) that has jumped through the proper government hoops to allow me to do my job. Of course, I am self-employed and knew which hoops to jump through - i doubt an average business person could have made the connections of the proper dots. Plus the three letters that allow doctor lenny to be called doctor help. But these letters can be bought as well as earned.

The only way to tell if science is valid is through due diligence. If you don't wish to learn science, that's okay - just know that the method used most is called trial and error. But find someone you trust who knows science and is willing to answer your specific questions to the best of their ability, and is willing to say i don't know, when they really don't know. If she says, let's find out, then you know you have a good friend that knows science. After all - if you are reading this, you found howdt for yourself.

February 02, 2006

EH - 66 : Science in the Budget

From National Review On-line

"For instance, the president endorsed yet another massive intrusion into energy markets through a 22-percent increase in clean energy research and development; he also promoted the construction of new nuclear-power plants and the development of ethanol and of fuel made from the waste of plant crops. But if these technologies had real promise, the private sector would make the investments. There is no reason for taxpayers to subsidize biofuels that are not cost effective. Many studies have shown that they cost more than the current alternative.

Along the same line, the president wants to promote the development of alternative fuel for automobiles. This program will complete a 12-year federal effort to develop a hydrogen-based source of energy for automobile use. Do we need to remind the president that the program that preceded it — namely the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, lavishly funded for eight years under President Clinton — never produced the hybrid car we were promised? However, nonsubsidized hybrid cars produced by foreign automakers Honda and Toyota have been available to U.S. consumers since 2004.

The president also wants to boost federal "investment" in math and education in mathematics, science, and engineering. Why? First there is little correlation between spending and results. Also, surely the president doesn't believe that America became one of the world's leaders in technological innovation and scientific advancements because of big-government subsidies. In fact, it is because the U.S. government managed to reasonably refrain itself from interfering too much in these fields that our country is way ahead of countries like Japan and France, which rely on government funding." Veronique de Rugy

This looks good on the surface for programs like the science zone, but the education establishment will not allow the students the concentration of time necessary to do proper science. Science Zone asks kids to put in that extra effort on their own time - and rewards them with the carrots of learning a field of interest, meeting others that share interests and exposing students to depth and breadth. If you wanna check it howdt, YC.C link is in the crosslynx.

Also - concerning bio-fuels - if carbon is the bad-guy in global warming, where is the net carbon savings in shifting fuel consumption from oil carbon to ag carbon? I am following the biofuels efforts in Oregon and will hold a YC.C class when five people are interested. DL

February 01, 2006

DL Old Movie Review: Hudson Hawk (1991)

Early Bruce Willis flick with Andie McDowell and a cast of recognizable players including Danny Aiello and David Caruso. Willis as a cat burglar has to steal Da Vinci art to foil a plot for world dominance by a world domanatrix. This movie came out just after Willis had problems with Moonlighting and was rejected badly by the public. But when you watch the flick, the humor rocks and you spend most of your time laughing.

The portrayal of the vatican secret police is about 12 years early, but seems right on in the world of security today. And the concept of timing by music is kinda cool. The Da Vinci motif adds to the humor, especially now that some of the missed subtlety has been explained in depth through books like the da vinci codes. I also got a kick out of the candy bars snoops. The science is shaky, but at least science is part of the theme.

This is the tape i pull out when i want to laugh. I switched to Dogma (1999) for a while, but the slapstick in Hudson Hawk is reminiscent of older fine comedies. Now if we only could tranform lead in gold ... Of course the premise is goofy, but what do you want from a comedy? This tape will be replaced because it is wearing out from overuse. Doctor Lenny - media critic

EH - 65 : The Drug War

The drug war is misdirected. It is foolish. It is stupid, unworkable, disastrous, tragic and sad. But beyond all that it is evil.
The drug war is grounded in an evil premise: that people do not own their bodies, that they have no right to control what they do with their own lives and their own property, that it is appropriate to lock them in cages if they produce, distribute or consume chemicals in defiance of the state."

Anthony Gregory resonates on this attack on the attack on freedom. If the fedgov wants to have a drug war, they first need to test their own, rather than imposing that cost on business and then giving their employees free reign to abuse without recouse under the guise of collective bargaining and personal freedom. Pardon me, but government employees work for we the people not the other way around. If you pee in a cup, insist they pee in a cup!