Monday, December 12, 2011

The "Concert Manque" ? or "Three Waller" ?

When asked by a Canadian "what am I
working on, I explain, "its a sort of "Billy Bishop Goes To Manhattan".

" I mean a sort of 'Ten Lost Years' or 'Tighten the Traces, Haul in the Reins'".

They generally know what I mean, right away.

But would the rest of the world?

I doubt it.

However most educated Canadians already know how rurally-raised playright John Gray came to conceive of  the format for his megahit "Billy Bishop Goes To War".

He did while touring rep theatre in rural southern Ontario.

He couldn't help noticing that most Canadians, deep down, think it is RUDE to spy on people up on stage, through a Fourth Wall Removed.

So he elected to have his actors pretend to be in a Christmas Concert -- and thus have an excuse to directly address the audience before they sing.

But his actors also pretend to be Billy Bishop, so I always felt John held back the full impact of his insight.

A better model might be those successful Canadian folksingers in coffeehouses or 'boite a chansons' who have learned to combine a bit of standup/ monologue cum performance art with their song.

They aren't an actor playing the role of a singer, they are a real life singer who tells stories and evokes the past ( rather than re-enacts it in character) with a few basic props, in both speech and song.

This isn't Fourth Wall Removed at all - it is 'Never Been A Fourth
Wall To Remove' .

A Three Waller - a concert.

But it can go too far.

 When the performance only seems to be a concert - because the story telling and evoking is so extensive relative to the singing, and  when it is also supported by too many and too obvious sound effects and props,(ie when it goes Broadway-wanna-be) it really is a concert manque, not a real concert, pure and simple.

Now, that's my objective: a Canadian-style talk 'n' sing three waller that doesn't degrade into a full blown concert manque ...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

the OTHER Manhattan Project

The problems of 'Doctor D', 'Miss H' and of Charlie don't seemed to have loomed up very large in the work of historians, novelists, composers or movie makers in the 75 years since those problems first began.

Set along the mean hospital corridors of an America almost as much at war with itself as it was with the Axis, these problems seemed then - and seem to most now - far too small to consider posing alongside the grander epic themes of WWII.

But one person's hill of beans is another's monumental ground changer and I guess I am just one of those guys.

The physical bullets may have stopped flying but I think World War Two's real battle - which I think was an intellectual battle - goes on as strong as ever.

Did I actually say 'intellectual battle' ?

Silly me - I of course meant a battle between scientists - with scientists like Heinrich Himmler on the much bigger side.

That battle was all about confronting the messy,untidy,unequal variety one finds in Nature and in human society: it was all about whether we should celebrate it or should we seek to eliminate it.

We all think we know the relatively few who sought to tame and eliminate variety and diversity during World War Two, but is this actually true - or is it simply the propaganda of the victors talking ?

The story of 'Doctor D' (Doctor Martin Henry Dawson) should make us question the easy division of the participants in World War Two into two neat piles of the good guys and the bad guys.

The world is still divided between those scientists (and citizens) who think reality is fundamentally, at its base, simple, predictable and hence perfectible - and those who see it as irreductibly unpredictable and hence endlessly variegated.

The big battle today is over humans' ability to change the climate for better or for worse .

Back then, the big battle was over whether we want to create, at the point of a syringe, a volk democracy of equally healthy and strong people or whether we can learn to accept a messy hierarchy of differing talents and healths among human kind.

I hope Dawson's story will not merely seem like ancient history but rather will move people to look again at our current environmental disputes in a different light....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Don't let my modest manner fool ya

Intellectually, I am damned immodest.

I don't think of us greens/ environmentalists as alternatives at all.

We hold the only accurate view of Reality -- it is our opponents that have a delusional scientific grasp on Reality.

This has been true since the 1920s, at least ; does it need a century to go by before they acknowledge this ?

We can only blame the teaching professions for the fact that kids in the 21st century still leave school stuffed full of the non-truths of the 19th century, by-passing the insights of  20th century science altogether.

If the human species is to survive, teachers must change - or go....

This post came from an old deleted blog called

Friday, June 10, 2011

2011: creation of clash of 1840s darwin/dalton versus 1940s dirac/dawson

The "Four Ds" are not "The Four Divas" but two groups of conflicting scientists who laid the ground for the world most of us are destined to live , reproduce and die in - the 21st century.

John Dalton and Charles Darwin, scientists from the 19th century, still bulk out 21st science education for most of us, thanks to the ego issues of the teaching class, who can not accept that the world is not fully composed of definite answers to definite questions.

But our century is actually the dialectic result of the WWII clash between the scientific certitudes of Darwin and Dalton colliding with the scientific uncertitudes promoted by Paul Dirac and Henry Dawson, scientists definitely of the 20th century.

Plenty of irony in the latter pair.

Dirac's QUANTUM PHYSICS said the behavior of a billion radioactive atoms are predictable in true Daltonian fashion, but  the activities of any one individual radioactive atom is not.

In contrast, Dawson's QUORUM BIOLOGY agreed that a single individual bacteria was as dumb as Darwin said all the"primitive races" were, but that collectively a billion bacteria were collectively (and unpredictably) smart in ways we are only beginning to comprehend.

Both agreed that the smallest entities of matter and life were not as stable and as dumbly inert as civilized man had assumed.

Conversely, WWII itself seemed proof enough that civilized man was not as smart as he had thought.

From above, such Phaetons as Albert Einstein fell back earthward, while from inside the ground itself, Penicillium rose up in our esteem to meet Einstein midway to dine with him at Life's commensal table...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What this Blog is about

Henry Dawson's tiny AKTION 4F team and his research into QUORUM BIOLOGY were hopeful first steps towards restoring sanity amid the horrors that Phaetopia released during World War Two.

I want to salute and critique other such worthy efforts - usually in the form of recommendations of books (or book-like objects such
as online PDFs of thoughtful articles ) .

Some may offer hope by (A) presenting alternatives to Phaetopia and some may offer hope by (B) simply making us more aware of the salient elements of Phaetopia, as it existed at its height and that still exist 'among us' .

This is NOT a 'book review blog'.

Book reviews only review ( ie sometimes praise, sometimes pan, sometimes only summarize)  new books ,that are currently
widely available, for sale, in commercial outlets.

Which is to say they are very much a part of the book marketing world and play by its rules.

My books might not even be books, they usually won't be new, and if out-of-print and only available in a library, may not even be for sale.

I won't recommend my own books on this blog, but I will say they will all fail the conventual book reviewers' sniff test in at least one vital area : they will be widely and permanently available, but will be available free , not sold !

They are also intended to offer hope, After Phaetopia, by method A or B, as cited above...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quantum Physics,Quorum Biology confound Phaetopia

Phaetopia seems a big word - its not.

I made it up recently - its a neologism - which is a big word  that means a 'newly invented word or phrase.'

Neologisms is what writers do - or should do - expand the language with new vivid and useful words that describe new concepts that the writers hopefully also came up with.

Phaeton Man (aka Modernity Man) is exactly like his ancient counterpart.

Both, while messing about with the Earth when they were specifically told not to, end up making some parts of it too hot and dry and others too cold and wet.

World War Two was a chance for Phaeton Man to really feel his oats, strut on a world stage and throw his weight around.

At the macro level, he came apart at Stalingrad and Guadalcanal where frostbite or heat stroke mixed it up with starvation and led to cannibalism and defeat.

The whole world - even children - could see this smashup.

But in addition, during that same War and albeit at a micro level and virtually unseen except inside university classrooms and laboratories, Phaeton Man's grandest delusion --- that he could control the inert building blocks of mass/energy (the atom) and life (the cell) went totally and permanently west.

Quantum Physics  said there was no stable reality inside the inside of the inside of an atom to control - heck there might not even be any reality there that we mere humans could ever understand.

People like Einstein, who sort of understood Quantum Physics didn't like this at all - famously called it "spooky action at a distance" and spent the rest of his life unsuccessfully trying to prove it wrong.

But quantum entanglement is still with us and has tended to clip the wings of the sort of physicist who is tempted to play God...

It is very well known but is very poorly understood - even by physicists who believe in it and spent their lifetimes studying it.

Henry Dawson's life work (Quorum Biology) - which was coming to a summing up point at his Fall of 1943 Columbia Genetics Department Seminar only because he knew he was dying, is much less known but ultimately is also much much easier to understand.

However easy it is to understand, it remains awfully hard for the Phaeton Men still among us to accept.

Think of it, pace Einstein, as "spooky action" right inside us, right beneath our noses, as opposed to happening off at the other side of the Universe.

Dawson's thesis, simply put was this:

 that the biggest civilized nations of Man were less smart than Man thought they were and that the smallest, weakest, oldest bits of life, the bacteria, were a lot smarter than Man could imagine them to be in his worst nightmare.

He said he had shown that oral commensal strep bacteria ,living inside Man as their habitual home, acted collectively in a form of collective intelligence, to evade the fiercest blows of the human immune system by being the ultimate shape shifters.

A group of bacteria, after collectively polling each other and achieving a quorum of agreement (hence the name QUORUM BIOLOGY) could run the gambit from L,R,S,M and B forms.

L cells had no cell walls and evaded our  immune system by being totally invisible in terms of having no known antigens.

R cells, the normal type of strep bacteria on our body (more or less living peacefully on our throat skin but not inside our throat skin) had a cell wall but no sugar capsule - our body thus recognized they were in a harmless ,non-invasive, phase.

The invasive S type had a cell wall and a medium thick sugar 'cap' and were the dreaded bacteria found deep in our internal organs.

The super invasive M type had a cell wall and a really thick cap and could really move through our skin defenses ---- but their cap consisted of a rare biological material normally only found in humans - our body thought they were us .

The B type had a cell wall but no individual cap - they had put sugar goo to work to create an entire house that didn't let big white cells and such in to hurt them, but let tiny food, water and water in and out along internal channels.

Think of it as a sort of tiny ant colony living on your teeth as plaque or as a endocarditis vegetation on your heart valves, as in SBE - Dawson's Bete Noire.

And Dawson had already shown, between 1928 and 1933, that strep bacteria had a quorum call at times of crisis and collectively agreed to toss all their genetic housekeys into a blanket and play house with each others' kin.

This was called by him, Transformative Horizontal DNA and it made a total mess of Darwin's prim and proper Vertical DNA inheritance.

I'll edit this lot later - off to work now !


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

post MODERNITY is pre COMMENSALITY , n'est pas ?

This blog argues that while the Peak of Modernity was the New York's World's Fair of 1939, Modernity was heading for its Nadir by 1945.

But !

But still hasn't hit its nadir yet - more than sixty five years later .

Post Modernity, which is the only world that the majority of the world's population (human, plant, animal,microbe) has ever known, is a hybrid existence.

It has elements of both the older Modernist Age and the newer Commensal Age co-existing in somewhat parallel streams, rather than having the two ideologies contesting each other directly and continuously.

This blog's job, as I see it, is to hasten MODERNITY out the door.

And, of course, to hasten on Commensality, before Modernity burns up this planet and renders the whole question moot.

But there is no way I am going to sprout cliches that we are "standing on the threshold of a totally new world, etc,etc."

All my talk of "LIFE 2.0" is rhetoric, not a fact.

We are changing, we have been changing and will go on changing forever.

No revolution - no revolution truly worthy of that name - will ever be televised : it will drift in slowly like early morning fog, speaking a language of its own new invention.

We will only truly realize that it has arrived ,at the moment of its departure - in the clarity of  hindsight.

I don't know how COMMENSALITY will turn out  and I am very mindful that most future-oriented predictions throughout history have been less accurate than flipping a coin with your eyes closed.

But this blog can (and will) imagine how it might look.

That is, it will express my personal hopes for the shape of the future, without pretending they are predictions worth betting the store upon.

I truly believe that the coming into being of The Commensal Age is already happening, without much conscious action on the part of anyone to make it so.

But I also believe a single individual can help speed it along and shape its path, to the fullest that their talents will allow....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

MODERNITY stole it from the Beatles - we're stealing it back

Before MODERNITY stole the term 'commensal' and tortured it out of shape , the concept had been used for thousands of years, to describe the particularly unique aspect of Jesus's physical ministry:

his willingness to share his table with just about anybody.

At a time when sharing the salt was only done with one's friends and family, Jesus was eager to be a 'diner at the common table' with just about anyone.

Including - or should I say particularly - those viewed with disdain by the general society.

Like it or not, we must all get along, share and share alike, if we are to survive Jesus told his followers.

MODERNITY Science, a sort of  Stephen Harper clone with a PhD in Biology, turns a stone cold eye to the very idea that commensality actually exists for very long out in the natural world.

But this is to take a normative view of something in which we actually have no choice.

All Life on Planet Earth, willy nilly, is a 'diner at a common table' .

Equally some Life - the human sort - could take all the food on the table and leave the rest of Life to starve to death.

But since humans don't actually produce food but are only parasites on those beings that do, we will soon quickly starve to death ourselves.

MODERNITY hates the thought of being dependent on non-humans but the facts are that we must.

If MODERNITY can't adjust to that fact, then it must go.....

Friday, April 22, 2011

1939-1945: the second WORD war.....

That is not a typo: I am interested in the abject historical neglect of the extent to which WWII was a war fought by words as well as by weapons .

No popular audiences wanted the war, so every leading nation at
war had to woo a large number of audiences.

First it had to deal with the concerns of its domestic population - civilians at home and their 'boys' under arms overseas.

Then your allies - their governments and their restless domestic audiences.

The neutrals - you hoped to move them to allies or away from your opponents to at least true neutrality.

Your opponents' domestic population and maybe even their military and elite.

The occupied people and one's colonial  populations were extremely important.

A moment's attention would lead one to quickly see the need to divide all these big populations into many subsets, each with their own unique concerns and need for unique messaging.

I tend to think very "election-ly" about everything , so I tend to see the war as a six year long election campaign fought between three major political parties (and a lot of lesser ones) for the hearts and minds of the world's electorate.

Each party laid forth its claims of virtue and attacked the others' shortfall between their virtues claimed and their very sorry failings in practice.

The three parties?

The ANGLO SAXON Atlantic Charter (Four Freedoms) Party , the GERMAN SAXON New Order Party and the JAPANESE SAXON Co-Prosperity Sphere Party....

A "glass-half-full" history of WWII

My book was inspired by an important poll of Americans seeking to determine the most important news story of the entire 20th Century.

In 1999, over 36,000 American men and women told the Newseum and USA Weekend magazine that the single most important event of the 20th Century involved a little boy and a baby girl and happened on a tiny island not far off the American coast back in the 1940s.

Actually the men and women divided by gender - the men pointing to the baby boy as story number one  and the women saying the baby girl was the most important.

The men , backed up by tenured, professional, important historians, said that WWII ended in a BANG, and gave a downcast glass-half-empty account of the war's end.

By contrast the women looked up from the diapers and said the war ended hopefully with a WHIMPER, and in their view the glass was half-full.

I too take this view and decided to write a green revisionist history of 1939-1945 that sees the outcome as more hopeful than not.

My view of WWII may owe more to Alexander Pope and Francois
Rabelais than to the academic Dunces of my own era but so be it....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

a Modernist is anyone who has never changed a diaper...

Hitler, Stalin, Mao,Tojo -  do you think any of those utopian dreamers ever changed a diaper?

WWII through a female-oriented lens...

I am not a female.

My most extensive bout of diaper changing was over 35 years ago, when I routinely changed diapers on adults with mental ages of one or two, in a mental hospital.

Never been a parent.

But neither did I grow up a privileged upper middle class male, waited upon hand and foot while I floated above it all , exalting in my profound thoughts.

Pause here for loud guffaw from Rebecca....

I had led a frugal life, living on a very small income and working at a variety of manually-oriented jobs.

I am very aware of the ability of material limitations to prevent grand ideas ever coming into actual existence.

And I have an ingrained respect for street smarts - be they from adults with a mental age of one or two, from infants with mental ages of one or two, or even when coming from the very humble-seeming bacteria.

Most think that World War Two was the apogee of modern science.

I ,and Adorno, disagree.

I see it was the time when Modernity was finally given its oats and told to 'go for it' .

Modernity then proceeded to 'go postal' and tore itself apart - on the inside .

It took thirty more years for Modernity to start to show its scars --- and it is still not dead yet.

I am here to help kill it - before it kills all of us and all of the Earth...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Modernity: a definition

A modernist is anyone who can claim, with a straight face , that there is a fixed gene for capricious human creativity, without immediately bursting into laughter.

A modernist, in other words, is an eugenicist - not sometimes but all the times and always.

In the 1960s, it was possible to claim that only the Nazis were eugenicists and since they were anti-modernist, eugenics and modernity were thus, ipso facto, poles apart.

The 1970s and 1980s had scholars detail the extent to which eugenicists were common in every nation and in every form of ideology. In particular, world cultural figures of the first water were shown to be avid eugenicists.

The 1990s had scholars like Christina Cogdell demonstrate that popular or 'assumed' eugenics was endemic among the educated classes in America  and around the world until t least the end of WWII - eugenics being more 'simple common sense' than a formal organization you had to pay a membership fee to join.

I think  21st century research will suggest will move beyond the most advanced scholarship to date.

It will move beyond claiming that eugenics was a major branch of the broad church of modernity to state that it was its only dogma : modernity was eugenics ; eugenic was modernity...

Too many defensive histories of WWII ; too few explanations...

This blog and its eponymous website were created because I believe that there has been far too few books written about World War Two.

At first, or even second glance, this seems to be a totally untenable position to defend.

'Glut' is the usual word used to describe the mini-industry of books, movies and TV shows produced about WWII.

But I hold that all the books about the war, to date, have come in two (distinctly biased) thirty five year long 'chunks'.

The first 'chunk', produced during the war itself and on until the late 1970s, were written by participants, middle aged or older in 1940, who had started and sustained the war but who were too old to actually fight in the foxholes.

(These people were born mostly between about 1885 and 1900.)

Their books defended the specific positions and decisions they and their allies had taken during that war.

By the 1980s most were dead or in their mid eighties and their publishing careers were over.

Then starting around 1980, we got a second glut of books - this 'chunk' written by people who had been teenagers in 1939 and so hadn't started or run the war but who, thanks to their frontline bravery, finally ended the bloodshed.

These people had been born between about 1914 and 1929.

They stoutly defended their nation's overall goals during the war, while feeling free to criticize specific activities - after all, they had been too young to actually order any of those 'wrong-in-hindsight' decisions.

Now the youngest of them, in turn, are in their mid eighties and their publishing efforts have almost fallen silent.

What is most notable about all these books, in both chunks, is their defensive cast.

All these authors somehow sensed that the generations who hadn't been participants in the war failed to see it as a clear cut case of Good against Evil.

But I think that in the course of assembling a quick argument to dismiss such an absurd claim, all of these authors found some merit in the later generations' case.

They were then reduced to defending ,or explaining away, actions that were hard to condone in normal times, as regrettable actions taken at the nadir of a Total War they felt they were losing.

I will be 60 this year and came of age when the Cold War, let alone the Second World War, was at its moral ebb.

Seventy years of distance from the wartime deluge of propaganda should allow me and others of my generation (and younger) to finally seek explanations of WWII that do not, in advance, seek to explain away actions taken by any side or person in this conflict.

Never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever think I would be writing about WWII - growing up, that seemed as something for grandfather's and father's generations to do.

I came at the war obliquely after a lifetime of interest in Eugenics and Modernity - Eugenic Modernity, for short.

One should always strive to see that Eugenics and Modernity in America, Russia, Japan and German had a mixture of things they did or believed in common and a mixture of things they did or believed differently.

But after 70 years of books focussed on the differences between Communism, Capitalism and Fascism one does long for and hunger for a bit of balance and redress where their similarities are also compared and evaluated.

Fair is fair.

My bias in advance:

I see World War Two as a war that the educated in America, Japan,Russia,Germany (and in all other countries) had predicted would come, should come, must come : a biologically-scientifically proven battle that must take place between 'the fittest of the fit societies' for survival.

A war between humans, with the world present only as an inert backdrop.

That is not to say that most of them also didn't fear and dread it and wish it won't happen.

It is just that, as Richard Overy claims in his book "THE MORBID AGE", they expected it was about to happen because modern science had proven it had to happen - it was in our genes.

Evolution, Natural Selection,Progress , Genetics had all foredained it would be so.

So by June 1940, the ground rules for this drama had been laid out.

Against a totally inert backdrop of Nature, six huge military empires (the British Empire,America,German-occupied Europe,Russia, Japan and China) would fight it out over six vast continents - and as it turns out in a neat trick in symmetry, over six long years.

A mind war (martial spirits), not a material war (motor spirits).

In the beginning, Japan and Germany , tiny nations with few natural resources but abundant will-to-power in science and warfare, bested the bigger empires.

Did their military or scientific vigor falter during the war, leading to their defeat?

Few military men who ever directly engaged the forces of those two comparatively small nations felt that the Germans or Japanese fighters could be bested by the Allied side, one on one.

Our will-to-freedom simply couldn't reliably best their will-to-power.

This view is held by virtually all the world's public -  that the average German or Japanese soldier, as individual fighters, were fiercer than Allied soldiers, on average.

So perhaps Allied Science bested Axis Science. Much of the public -at least the older public - still believes this.

Interestingly, few scientists or historians who have studied the matter, do so.

So we are left with the consensus view that while Blitzkreig wars strike hard and fast, they also strike short.

That is to say, that the Japanese and German Blitzkreig in the Spring of 1942 fell short by only conquering about 8% of the world each, when what they really needed to do to be ultimately successful was to conquer about a half the world each.

Specifically German troops had occupy Britain and Japanese had to occupy Australia and both had to have met in Tehran and at the Urals Mountains by Spring 1942.

Under these conditions, America would have to resign itself to dominating the Americas and the southern half of Africa, but not seriously attempting to defeat Japan and Germany.

But the land and naval Blitzkreigs only conquered about one sixth of the world's surface and eventually the resources of the other five sixths defeated the Axis in a long slow war of attrition.

Thus accepting that the human factors failed to explain the ultimate defeat of the Axis ( the Allied morale/courage and scientific ability not being better enough in themselves to defeat the Japanese or Germans ) , the consensus view is forced back upon a material explanation for the war's outcome.

A explanation, from our best educated, for the outcome of the war that is totally at variance with the explanation for the start of the war, again from the world's best educated.

The Germans and the Japanese didn't lack ambition - they planned and agreed to meet in Tehran and on the Urals.

 They bested all the human enemies they ever met.

So why did they fail? Why did Tojo, Hitler and Mussolini, ham actors all, fail to chew the scenery?

Why did the scenery prove much less than an inert backdrop, why did the scenery end up chewing the actors ?

Now I include such ham actors as Churchill and FDR, Portal and Hap Arnold and all those other Allied proponents of a swift Air based victory.

This because if the German armoured tank based Blitzkreig failed to deliver what it promised and the carrier & landing craft based Japanese Naval Blitzkreig failed to deliver, so did those B-17s and Norden bombsights and their Aerial Blitzkreig.

Three separate Blitzkreigs - three separate failures that crossed the Allied-Axis divide.

Why did they all fail?

These are some of the questions I hope to raise and hope to begin to answer.

There have been many accounts of the world war, I hope this one is a GREEN account - one that looks at least as much as the world's part in the war as we have given the humans' part in the war to date.....

Saturday, April 16, 2011

WWII was supposed to be the triumph of the PROFESSIONAL will-to-power

WWII was supposed to be "THE GOOD WAR" for modern science; its beginnings coinciding with the beginnings of that love-in for Utopian modern science that was the New York World's Fair of 1939-1940.

Ironically and appropriately, it was in a New York City university and hospital itself that these hopes were dashed six years later.

Until quite recently, most universities and hospitals (including these particular institutions) were founded by a particular church denomination and there was a documented religious
impulse behind the creation of these quasi-temples of God.

As is well known, modern science claims its beginnings from when it threw out the preachers (and their God and God's animate Nature) from these buildings and made them temples of science instead.

God's World and God's Nature ceased to be seen as full of animate biology (unpredictable tigers) and quasi-animate matter  (unpredictable earthquakes or monsoons) --- it all became inert matter that is never consumable, but merely, and eternally, transformable and utterly predictable.

This new temple was clearly for a new religion : "The-People-Of-The-First-Law" , ie the human-flattering First Law of Thermodynamics.

But in fact, these new - professional - scientists (amateur scientists had been around for millenniums) only fully succeeded when they threw the parishioners out of the temple as well.

Sir Charles Lyell, the Godfather of modern science, overthrew the preachers by convincing enough of the upwardly mobile professional middle class that there was no further need to hire preachers to make supplication to God for mercy when overwhelmingly immense catastrophes suddenly hit.

Under this uniformitarianist and gradualist view of the Universe, disasters still happened - but they happened only locally and only briefly and came with lots of warning ---- professional,full time, well funded, scientists thus had lots of time to mitigate the damage
----and to earn a full pension while doing so.

This was science at its most leisurely and at its most dignified - scientists who never sweated.

We can date this event with confidence - by no coincidence , it happened in the aftermath of the First British Reform Act when the  urban upper middle class came to share power with the rural land-based aristocracy.

Exactly when non-renewable ,dead, coal began to replace renewable life-and-land based biological energy as the engine of the modern economy.

Science became the (new) sinecure and a well paid, high prestige, job-for-life --- sort of like being a Canadian senator, a British member of the House of Lords or a member of the American NAS : a new professional degree-based aristocracy to replace the old land-based aristocracy.

But if disasters hit only infrequently, why hire a whole bunch of well paid professional scientists to deal with something that only happens briefly, infrequently, and probably only in a small section of somebody else's country ?

Professional scientists took heed of this view and answered that all those pioneers who had cleared the land, built their own homes and raised their kids unaided were revealed as dangerous amateurs:  actually these were only jobs that only trained professionals could be relied upon to do right.

DIY and self-reliance (aka subsistence farming) were bad,bad,bad --- old fashioned and out-moded.

So today, you can actually get a PhD in grief-counselling because ordinary people, the parishioners of years ago, can not be trusted to cry over the death of their own child properly --- and none of us  stand up and complain about this insult upon the average human being !

No global catastrophe was too big for the scientific professional
(because asteroids simply didn't drop out of the sky) just as no personal catastrophe was so small that an ordinary person could be trusted to deal successfully with it on their own.

Martin Henry Dawson was a modern scientist who at the height of WWII - the war of science - successfully challenged these twin dogmas of science.

Ironically he was not religious - apparently far from it.

But perhaps unconsciously, he smuggled both God's animate Nature and a big role for the amateur laity back into a leading Temple of Science, New York's Columbia University.

Scientists in all the warring nations and all the neutral states of World War Two tried to work up a sweat about what would happen if the (stars and stripes) (hammer and sickle) (swastika) suddenly replace the normal flag flying over the scientific institution where they worked.

But they couldn't - as Operation Paper Clip and its ilk revealed, smart scientists (even evil smart scientists) will always land on their feet, under what ever regime takes over.

But Dawson's efforts threatened the jobs and prestige of all science and he has never been forgiven for his transgressions, no matter how much us laity might applaud his efforts....

Thursday, April 14, 2011

WWII is a war the World won (and human hubris lost)

"Nature Bats Last" is hardly a catchphrase that originated with me.

But it is seems always to have been used in a non time-specific manner .

At least until I started this blog and website.

My unique take is this:

that World War Two marked both the high point
and  the beginning of the end for Modernist Science :
that is to say 1939-1945 marked the apogee of Modernism.

But because History is written by losers with money and tenure, WWII has been played out, for the last 70 years, as an unalloyed triumph of Allied science and modernity with the nothing-if-not
-scientific German Nazi and Tojo-era Japanese elite recast as anti-modernists.

Adorno never bought that and neither do I.

But because Mother Nature can't speak, someone has to step forward tell her side (the winner's side) of the story .

 Not seeing anyone else coming forward, I offer myself.....

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dinosaurs, Saber-Toothed Tigers,Nazis --- gone,gone,gone

75 years after the rise of the One Big Master Race, the one holding the one Master Key to fit in the one Master Lock of Charles Lyell's
world of stasis and equilibrium, we can better see that the Nazis were not anti-modern barbarians as is often claimed about them by others.

 Rather we can now see them , as they themselves claimed to be :  the people who best took the full logic of Modernist Science to its ultimate conclusion.

Its ultimately absurd conclusion, because Modernist Science was Bad Science.

It always had been, but it wasn't broadly revealed as such until 1939-1945.

The War stressed the tape holding Modernist Science together well beyond the breaking point.

The unexpected result was not just that many citizens of the Axis changed their mind about the value of Modernist Science, but that also so did many people in the Allied and Neutral countries as well.

WWII was the triumph of the weak and the wild over the forces of the might and of the will.

The bacteria and the Jews were still there but the mighty Third Reich like the dinosaurs before it was gone.

As had happened so often in the past history of global catastrophes, r-selected trumped K-selected once again...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

During WWII, the "4Fs of the 4Fs of the 4Fs" were the non-motile bacteria

No head or eyes or ears or nose or mouth, no arms or legs, just incredibly tiny bags of salty water floating about where ever the currents took them.

No wonder that during WWII zoologists and eugenicists (is there a difference?) called the non-motile bacteria living fossils from the childhood of the origins of life.

The stupidest of the stupidest, the unfittest of the unfit.

Sulfa drugs were expected to make short work of them and soon all the infectious hospitals would close for good.

Problem solved.

But it turns out that non-motile bacteria have been on earth for 4 billion years and will be here long after we depart.

They occupy every possible spot on Earth - hottest to the coldest, high in the stratosphere to deep in the bowels of the earth.

They are so numerous and successful that their biomass outweighs us and all the mammals even though we individually outweigh them individually a trillion times over.

Most of the cells in us aren't us at all - they're them.

Now that is a miscegenation nightmare for the latent eugenicist !

They can do things to DNA that we can only dream of - including altering our DNA to better suit them.

No better proof of how off target was the very concept of the unfit than how the educated middle class of WWII viewed the unfit bacteria world....

WWII's biggest battle didn't happen between six military empires

You all know the score: WWII was all about the empires ---- the
empires of Britain and American and Russia and China fighting the empires of Germany and Japan.

Six huge military empires (and their allies) with hundreds of millions of men under arms, fighting for six long years all over six huge continents.

75 million dead, trillions and trillions of dollars of non-renewable resources blown up or sunk or burned.

K-selected history with a vengeance.

The God of WWII history books seems definitely on the side of the big battalions.

But I argue the biggest battle of World War Two actually happened off the battlefield and occurred instead, inside the educated middle class's collective conscience - and I aim to compress that battle into three short hours and three tiny rooms in a New York hospital and thrust it onto a stage near you.

This is the r-selected history of WWII - cutting it down to the essence...

WWII's biggest battle happened inside our collective conscience

History is written by the losers, not the winners - the winners have better things to do.

It is written by the losers with l'argent .

As a result, history's losers say that Modernity won WWII -  by defeating the forces of darkness that were the Nazis and their friends.

So why then was the film TRIUMPH OF THE WILL was replaced at the moment of victory by the film ... DOUBLE INDEMNITY ?


 Surely this must rank as the sourest victory pageant ever staged.

It rather casts doubt on just how strong a triumph for Modernity were the victories of 1945.

I argue that ,in fact , the unexpected events of 1939-1945 dealt Modernity such a severe blow that it never recovered.

 And that the last 65 years have merely recorded its slow steady death throes.

No where is this more clearly seen than in the concept of the unfit, a concept that held wide support among the world's educated middle class from Berlin to Boston and from Toyko to Moscow  for almost a hundred years.

But that concept 'unfit' was transformed - in the narrow Henry Dawson sense of that word - by the actions of the 'unfit' and the 'fit' during WWII.

Remember the unfit's ranks could take in not only most of humankind but also most of the planet's lifeforms and even most inanimate planetary activities like the weather.

You and I probably fitted into it at various times and circumstances.

So a change in the concept of the term was bound to change almost everything.

But pushed to the wall in 1939-1945 by the fit, the unfit unexpectedly bit back hard and Modernity itself faltered.

This was because the conscience of educated middle class was gradually badly troubled by the events of WWII.

Slowly but surely, its members became progressively less and less glib about making easy assertions that the world neatly (and permanently) divided itself into the fit and the unfit.

After 1945, PostModernity then slowly arose from the resulting  moral ruins....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

If it feels like AKTION 4F's alter ego - that's because it is

This is new, additional, blog that will largely parallel the theme of my AKTION 4F blog.

So why yet another blog?

It is because I am 'test driving' my book series' title and subtitle which will appear on the books' front cover, website, posters etc.

Should it be:

 The OTHER Manhattan Project 
(In between the big, top, title and the small, bottom, subtitle will be my painted illustration of an August 1944 faux 'group photo' ---  4 team members  using crutches, canes or wheelchairs, together with two patients in wheelchairs, all exhibiting an air of tired and tattered triumph.)
Aktion 4F

Or should it be :

(In between the big, top, title and the small, bottom, subtitle will be my painted illustration of an August 1944 faux 'group photo' ---  4 team members  using crutches, canes or wheelchairs, together with two patients in wheelchairs, all exhibiting an air of tired and tattered triumph.)
the other Manhattan Project

I am inclined to favor option one , but I will have to await further reader feedback....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ungrateful bastards : Manhattan's penicillin saved a family member of everyone of the nineteen 9/11 terrorists

I admit that I didn't start this project on Dr Dawson's penicillin crusade with any intention to call it "the OTHER Manhattan Project".

But here is how it all came about, as best I remember it.

I was watching a CBC TV debate about the reasons why Manhattan was attacked on 9/11; this was some time in 2005... or even 2006.

Someone on the panel was trying to explain that older people everywhere around the world, rather like Frank Sinatra, just loved the Hollywood movie version of New York City.

However the younger generation, in general and not just in the Muslim world, had some quite different, additional, images conjured up whenever 'Manhattan' was mentioned .

Such as the worldwide recession and high youth unemployment caused by the excessive 'Greed-is-Goodism' of a small handful of traders from Manhattan Island's Wall Street.

 And the prospects of Mankind blowing us all up, thanks to the nuclear bomb possibilities generated by "The Manhattan Project."

At this point, I yelled up to my better half, Rebecca, in my usual exasperated TV-watching tone, "What about the OTHER Manhattan Project??"

"I'd bet my life", I said," that someone in everyone of those 9/11 hijackers' families at some time or other had their life saved by the antibiotics that came out of wartime Manhattan and Dr Dawson's quixotic efforts ----- those un - grate - ful bastards !!!!"

I promptly forgot all about it after blowing off steam.

But I soon took to calling my effort, informally and only to Rebecca, Manhattan's other Project or the other Manhattan Project.

But I didn't take it too seriously as an actual concept or theme.

Like most of us, I had long thought the 'Manhattan' part of the Manhattan Project was a clever ruse to put the Nazis off the scent - everyone knew the atomic bomb was developed in the desert of New Mexico and also in desert-like conditions in Washington State and backwoods Tennessee .

Dusty - or muddy - areas as empty of people and urbanity as Manhattan was full of them.

Clever, very clever.

But actually the planners of the Atomic Project were even cleverer.

They took a page from Edgar Allan Poe and put the brainy bits of the atomic effort in Manhattan - "hidden in plain sight" - and only put the final production plants out in the desert. But all that high tech equipment and manpower out in the desert actually came out of the North East industrial core, in particular from the Greater New York City area.

Atomic Historian, Robert S Norris, set the world straight on the massive amount of  atomic history that happened first and foremost in the New York area.

But what I specially noted, even if Norris didn't particularly highlight the fact, was that the Cold War Nuclear Threat was actually birthed in Harlem, not out in the desert, and within a few hundred meters of the most dramatic single event in all the penicillin saga.

As a Baby Boomer, 1950s antibiotics ending childhood diseases and Cold War mass production of  A- bombs possibly ending childhood, period, interested me far more than the small amount of inefficient bomb materials developed out in the desert to end WWII but then were never used again to make A-bombs.

If our world should end tomorrow, it is gaseous diffusion uranium that did it - and that was the stuff developed in Harlem's Nash Building and then taken up by all the world's big nuclear bomb makers.

Now I had the two biggest news stories of the entire 20th Century ( according to a poll of 35,000 Americans ) happening in the same year in the same 80 acre space in North West Harlem - what a story !

And I stand by my claim - everyone on Earth, 60 years after the beginnings of the Antibiotic Era, has had a family member, now or in the past, whose life was saved by the antibiotic revolution.

You all remember the british policeman, one of the most famous patients in all history, who told his family when they saw the tiny dot of blood on his cheek, "Don't panic - I just got scratched by a rose while out gardening and you can't possibly die from that !"

But before antibiotics, you could.

 And he did.

Hospitals back then were filled with foul-smelling septic wards and filled with septic cases, sad stories of  healthy young people dying needlessly of blood poisoning that all started with a little infection.

You don't have to be at death's door to have a course of antibiotics 'save your life' ---- you just need to make the emotional leap back in time to think what might of happened to you if your minor infection hadn't been nipped in the bud.

So don't be like those ungrateful 9/11 bastards.

 Thank your lucky stars, and thank Dr Dawson, the next time your doctor yawns behind their hand while they write out a prescription for a course of antibiotics after discovering you have a minor bacterial infection.

 'May life-saving always be so routine' .....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Martin Henry Dawson was grandson of Independent MLA, John Barnhill Dickie

I was bemused to see John Barnhill Dickie's name re-emerge as one of Nova Scotia's relatively rare number of  MLAs who jumped the party they were elected under, to sit as an Independent or join another political party .

He represented Colchester County.

The same county represented by the province's newest ship-jumper, former Conservative Party leader (pro temp), Karen Casey.

Dickie is usually remembered today, if at all, because his inept actions as Speaker of the Nova Scotia legislature 125 years ago resulted in a very rare move by the legislature members to dump their Speaker.

He should be remembered, as well, as a very
successful businessman.

He moved from farming and schoolteaching into shipbuilding and then into banking and insurance -- all this success fueled by his extraordinary facility with mathematics.

Point of fact, he was one of the very,very first employees of the Royal Bank of Canada, aka RBC, (my bank) the largest bank in Canada and one of the largest in the world.

In addition,of course, he was the grandpa of the subject of this blog - Martin Henry Dawson  - who perhaps inherited some his scientific abilities from his grandfather....

Monday, January 17, 2011

Himmler: "Now I become Death"

I got it wrong, didn't I?

You know better than me - it was actually Robert Oppenheimer who uttered those famous words from the Bhagavad Gita when the Atomic Bomb successfully exploded on cue.

But actually Himmler never went anywhere without his own leather bound copy of BG - even slept with it at night.

It was the moral staff he leaned on to kill , kill and kill again without getting emotionally involved.

He paraphrased its main message quite closely in his famous Posen Speech, as he steeled the SS elite to do 'their painful duty' and kill every last Jew on the planet, children and all -- for the greater good of the greatest number - Himmler-Hindu-Utilitarianism as it were.

We see this same 'painful duty' line in the contemporary recorded and later re-counted justifications of the key participants for their actions in Aktion T4 and in the organized killings of Romas, Slavs and Homosexuals as well.

Menwhile, in the Allied World, Einstein also thought highly of this book and its main message : the self-sacrificing Will-To-Duty on behalf of Mankind , as did Ghandi and Herman Hesse.

The triumph of  sheer willpower, laid out in various forms, had a wide appeal across much of the world's educated elite in the years from the 1880s to the 1980s.

 I repeat: WWII was a fight within a family.....

Friday, January 14, 2011

Martin Bader and Charlie Aronson: different fates same disease

I had long suspected that there existed people who had exactly the same course of disease that Charles Aronson had, but who suffered an entirely polar opposite fate.

(Charlie was Martin Henry Dawson's Aktion 4F "posterboy", as it were.)

These would have been many people like Charlie in Germany , for example .

These would be people who had had a severe case of encephalitis lethargica (a form of sleeping disease) at the end of World War One but who had survived, albeit with obvious permanent stigmata of the disease's ravages.

This mysterious disease , a huge killer and crippler for the 10 years between 1917-1927, is only unknown to most of us because the Spanish Flu killed about 100 times as many victims in same time period.

Most of us first learned of its existence when Dr Oliver Sacks produced some incredible (but sadly short term) success with some of its long time catatonic victims, with a new drug called L-Dopa.

 You may have seen all of this in the book and film called "Awakenings".

Germany covered up then, and still covers up today, the real names of the the 250,000 "disabled/unfit" people it killed in the Aktion T4 program between 1939-1945.

Lately the new excuse is "privacy laws concerns for the victims".

I know that game: Canada can do this squalid "privacy law" game far better than even the Germans could ever hope to - only a small percentage of Germans are self-suited to become ask-no-questions bureaucrats, aka lifers.

But in Canada, it seems to be bred in all of our bones. But I digress.

A German historian, Dr Petra Fuchs, has wormed herself deep into a cache of medical records of 60,000 or so of the T4 victims found in the HQ of the old East German secret police.

Strict privacy laws keep the names concealed - so German youth can not put a human face on these 250,000 dead and start asking grandpa and grandma why did they let it happen.

 But by tracking down clues, Dr Fuchs has located some families who can tell the story of their dead relatives from the family end of the affair.

A elderly son named Helmut Bader got to put a face on one victim - his father,  Martin Bader.

Martin  had had the sleeping disease real bad - but not bad enough to kill him or stop him from running a business and earning a living afterwards.

But Hitler had a particular fear of this disease - based I suspect on the waxy catatonic features of its most severely affected survivors.

So Martin was swept up and killed and his family lied to.

Charlie also had the sleeping sickness bad, along with a half dozen other different Group A strep diseases ( this rare variant on sleeping disease is today felt to be a form of auto immune reaction to a highly particular variety of strep throat).

He had survived and he worked.

Prominent doctors here too wanted him dead - either directly with a needle (Dr Foster Kennedy) or indirectly by not-so-benign neglect (Dr Chester Keefer).

Dr Dawson felt differently - so differently  he made Charlie, this 4F of the 4Fs, the very first success story of the penicillin effort - and did so on the very day dedicated , above all else, to exalting the 1A above the 4F.

If you ,or someone you know, has ever been saved by antibiotics -------- raise a glass to Charlie, to Aktion 4F, and to a life, like all life, totally worthy of life.

 And raise a toast to Martin Bader who never got a chance to live out his life, thanks to Aktion T4 .....

BIG MO goes south - sort of....

In response to many puzzled potential readers of my ebook project on the lost history of wartime Manhattan's OTHER Project, I have re-titled it.


Here is the post from my new blog, Aktion 4f, that tells more.

Republican bloggers opposed to Obama's new health program re-introduced the term Aktion T4 (Aktion 4F's older, evil, sibling).

Millions of North Americans seemed to have missed its first introduction during what so many of us foolishly still call "The Good War".

I have changed the ebook's title many,many times.

This is because while each title was good ( and usually good-er than the last one) none was capable of encapsulating a big, big, complex story and theme in a short catchy title.

 This critical in today's world where most new books are first viewed from with a tiny, low resolution, 1 inch x 2 inch thumbnail photo online.

That is all that all online publishers and bookstores allow of any book's cover - from famous author or not.

With 1 million new book titles released in America alone, in just one year, we all do - and all must - 'judge books by their cover art and title' .....

my Aktion 4F posts are migrating - here's why

Read all about it in this post from my  new blog.

I try to explain why I am re-titling my ebook project about wartime Manhattan's OTHER Project as "Aktion 4F" .

It is entitled thus because that term (a) accurately describes the bulk of the project's medical staff and of their patients.

 In addition, (b) it reminds us that the project was begun to rebuke the Aktion T4 type of programs set up in Germany and throughout the Allied and Neutral worlds during WWII.

And it was changed because my readers and would-be readers are (almost) always right ...

Feedback back from would-be readers leads to new blog...

I had originally thought that the story of Dawson's "AKTION 4F" was a smaller story inside "MO goes po" (when Modernity suicided - and why) but my would-be readers disagreed.

They always immediately got the implications of something sub-titled "wartime Manhattan's other Project" because to them "The Manhattan Project" was a vivid shorthand for all that had gone wrong with the so called "Modernity Project".

Anybody who rose up as an alternative to, and rebuke of, the thinking behind the Manhattan Project was a hero in their eyes and someone well worth reading about.

But how and why and when Modernity became Post Modernity immediately seemed to evoke visions of french intellectuals speaking academic babble and my potential readers fled me as fast as they could.

They did want to hear about the decline and fall of Big Mo in a sense, but only if told through a 'life and times' biographical approach. I had thought I was doing that - I am doing that - but my title belied my claims.

Soooooooo - now the story of Big MO going postal (and postmodern) during WWII is inside Dawson's story - the minnow having succssfully swallowed the whale....

PS : A big thanks to Rebecca Mosher, my most ardent would-be reader of them all