Speculation on Autism, Amygdala's and Parents

The amygdala - ( so hard to spell!) - are two parts the the brain sitting attop your spine near the middle of your head back behind eyes.  And the amygdala has a central role in threat detection and response.  

One striking feature of children with autism is that on average they typically have a 40% increased amygdala size, (www.jneurosci.org/content/24/28/6392), suggesting higher emotional expression of fear and revulsion and higher likelyhood of a threat response that includes attack.   

Twin studies have shown amygdala volume is predicted by common genetic factors.  Human amygdala volume is predicted by common DNA variation in ...https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3731781/

And nearly always parents contribute those genetic factors themselves, with or without expressing autism.  At least one parent of an autistic child probably has a large amygdala.  

And amygdala size is strongly corellated to political orientation. S0960-9822(11)00289-2

So what might this mean?   It occurs to me, that the often loud politics of autism, maybe, could be reinforced by a genetic component that codes for a oversized brain structure that encourages warning cries.   I'm not trying to be cruel, or make a statement about any one family or any individual.  Rather that, on the whole, as a population, with considerable uncertainty in my asserted hypothesis, autism immunization politics seem to strongly align with brain structure function in a way that appears tidy.

And great, now I'd made a inexpert statements about a whole group that would seem to be more quickly moved to ire than most...


The Problem with Facebook's Censorship Model is Facebook

I'm personally glad that I haven't seen one of the 1.5 million facebook video uploads of the Christchurch shooting that killed 50(+?) people in a New Zealand Mosque.   Yep, 1.5 million people saw fit to download, edit and upload so that they could share with facebook friends.  Nothing like rickrolling your friends contacts with spree hate killings footage I guess?

No doubt the reasons for re-upload range on an individual basis.  And no doubt that some equally deranged muslim hate groups will retaliate over what they witness in Christchurch, with live footage somewhere else in the world.  I don't expect it be long before the incited retributions and copy cat tragedy begin. 

Without stating the number of viewer impressions, Facebook says it effectively stopped 1.2 million uploads of the video, and has stamped out 1.5 million videos of the event in less than a week.  Facebook, don't tell me this compromises a heroic effort to eventually have humans or AI review already released and shared videos in compliance with local laws.  This is a fail.   Facebook is acting a lot like the almost but not quite "heroic" soccer coach that got his team trapped in a Thai cave eventually resulting in an international huge effort and one diver-rescue related death.   Of course Thai soccer coach had one moment of poor choices, where as Facebook's rulership...

And I don't know how I feel about Facebook mandating anything really.  Intentional incitement of hate is horrible even if it generates revenue, but the notion that the video, no matter how toxic, could be censored out of existence by well meaning profit motivated self interested tech giants and forever denied to future historians when it clearly has historical significance seems odious.    

I don't think Facebook's is making lives better with its intrusive creepy tech that tries to know almost everything about you.  Christchurch is a warning bell that Facebook's effort to exploit mob rule, use dictotorial mandate and be a lurking peeper - all for profit - has something seriously wrong about it.  I almost wonder if rather than censoring the original video they had dropped the page rank to near the end of the seemingly endless scroll feed, no viral campaign to edit and reupload would exist.   

But still a company win as long as everyone is talking about Facebook, right?  How I really feel about that company:  Die Facebook die.


Michael Jackson

He's dead.

And there are/were/continue to be child sexual abuse alligations.  And for decades, all allegations effectively diminished and dismissed- be they from family members, Neverland staff, victims or victim families. 

And suddenly some dormouse individuals seem to have waken after watching HBO's "Leaving Neverland" 

The story is so spirally complicated it seems it must be true only because why fabricate falsehoods framed so poorly when better lies would be far less effort?  And it would seem that sexually abused children were encouraged to lie in court against any abuse, and those kids were encouraged by parents and Mr. Jacksons team to protect Jackson.  And it would seem that those abused children had parents that could of filed legal claims on their behalf didn't, and as adults they themselves couldn't because the statue of limitiation's clock had run out.

Perhaps in a hundred years the next Shakespeare will find some ideas there for a tragedy set in an age of intentional ignorance featuring a charasmatic icon and lost innocence.  

So yea.  He's dead.  There is that...  


The Dismal Feasibility of Solar Corona Breaking & Corona launch

About a week ago I wrote a bunch of fun math in a (mathematica) notebook mostly as idle daydream entertainment... but all I tried to be accurate with all the math. 

So imagine you've built a star ship bigger than an oil supertanker and sent it out toward a habbital world.  And to ruin the fun, imagine you have to use real physics, and it's going to take multiple generations to get there and your propulsion is powered by onboard hydrogen reactors - a "just 30 years away" technology that might be ready in two hundred years.  And lets imagine a reactor and relativistic thrusters that "burned" hydrogen fuel into helium and spit out the helium waste at very close to the speed of light, so that said ship's thrusters can use and push with the relativistic momentium equations (p= MoV / (1-v^2/c^2)^0.5). 

Part of the "anti-fun" in going somewhere with Einstein's physics in space is that your gas petal and break are exactly the same thing.  Your fuel filled spaceship is sort of like a full can of soda, about 394grams full and 15 grams empty... so the closer you get to your target, the more sporty your ship is going to handle - so long as your thrusters stay the same.  In such a spaceship, Full engine thrust that started at doggish 1/26th of earths gravity by trips end (with empty fuel tanks) would feel a bit stronger than gravity we get here on earth.  (reality check, good luck even hitting 1/26th of a g from the thrusters even at the end of the ride.  Thrust would likely be far lower.)

This of course presumes most of the ship is going to be fuel... which only seems to be a requirement of impatient sorts like... well... most of humanity.  As the fuel to cargo ratio changes, the ship takes hundreds more years to get to destination, largely because it spends more time "breaking" and you have to carry more fuel to carry the fuel you carry in cargo in a unproductive loop.  Breaking here means the ship has to slow down by pointing it's thrusters at the very thing it wants to get to and blasting away so that it doesn't blow right into.

So this got me thinking, could a ship do solar corona breaking?  The corona is plasma, has inertial mass and plasma resists magnetic fields.  So just generate a huge magenetic field and crash into the solar plasma at whatever force you'd like as you can in theory vary the magnetic field size impacting the plasma.  Reality check - slowing down means magnetic coils get heated by a large fraction of the change in kinetic energy - speedy thing go in, molten thing come out - just from the helfire magnetic antenna wave absorbing bellyflop never mind that the sun is hot.  So it isn't hard to imagine a ship that could get close to the sun and fuel scoop or plasma/aerobreak, although survival with current tech is problematic.  If the breaking arch through the corona was 1% the sun's radius at 43700 kilometers, and said ship & crew could tolerate 5 times earths gravity while breaking through the corona in a peircing arch, that break manuver would take 944 seconds.  And in 944 seconds at 5g the hellfire plasma corona breaking manuver nets a 46270 meters per second speed reduction.

46 kilometers per second sounds fast.  It's about what it takes to get out of our solar system if you start near the sun.  And yet, even if you exit our solar system at that velocity expect to wait 34 thousand years before you reach the next star.  My hope is a 'Hypothetical popcan space ship' would be able to do it in less time... and if it could, why bother with a dangerous scortch mark breaking maneuvors?  

Even if the solar corona breaking manuveur covered a nice 1/4 arch around the sun the breaking only subtracts 231km per second in speed and increases "bake time" to about 78 minutes, provided the break acceleration stays at a survivable 5 times earths gravity.  I argue that most humans could survive 5g, the crush of 4 people stacked atop them for 78 minutes, with a respirator floating in a shallow pool.  The padi dive tables seem to indicate so, but still given the pressure gradients, with some risk of stroke, lung embolism and alveoli rupture.   

Corona bellyflops only makes sense if popcan space ship launches with near empty tanks - cannon style - with 1/25th fuel and then ends with a coronal belly flop that somehow earned a refuel.  A minimum fuel strategy... might be viable.  But is hard to do with real physics and real materials, so hard it might be nearly impossible to do bellyflop refuel leaving compression heated fusing star plasma in a "tokamak reactor shaped mega sized fuel tank that is just about hot enough to undergo fusion and blow the tokamak apart.  Hmm... maybe if the bellyflop fuel collection intentionally detonated collected fuel ram-jet retro rocket style it would work out.  But that's a bit beyond my math play.  

And that brings us back to a dismal future where fast spaceships with low fuel to ship crew and cargo ratios are painfully impractical.  Magnetic Plasma Bellyflops with less fuel are not likely to be a thing, not because stars are too hot, but because strong magnetic fields that could slow a ship need so much energy to run and unfortunately effectively convert some percentage of decades worth of reactor output (reactor energy->kinetic energy=speed) into electromagnetic coil heat in just a few minutes with predictable 'so hot they explode' results.  

And so the reality of space travel is slow.  Unless you can send ultra-low mass ships with a crew of cells that grow into humans on arrival, expect multiple generations worth of travel time.  Still, maybe my grankid's grankid's could leave sol and set sail someday.


The Popular Media 'Be White, Act White' Meme Bites

'American as Apple Pie' makes for an apple pie thats missing Cinnamon from Sir Lanka and Nutmeg from the West Indies.  That's terrible bland pie.   And the sugar in that malic American pie is going to cost dear unless it comes from Brazil.  So...  

Black face and Virgina.  Um... that's ugly.  You've got white supremisists on one side citing examples of white politicians in blackface as a reason those people suck, presumably for some lack of purity of thought.  And you've a reasonable thinking population thinking their elected leaders suck, presumably because they are about as racial sensitive as Rosanee Barr on double doses of Ambien.

I'm going to take the wildly unpopular view that the firmly established majority of American's are not thinking about this situation properly, and I'm near certain to fail to convince anyone that they should change their minds, but all the same I will try.

It is typically unkind to wear blackface, and there are good reasons to see it as intending to provoke, racially mocking or denegrating.   I really wish it was accepted as a way to celebrate black culture and black heros, or merely an excercise of free speech, but historical precidents exist.  Still the the absolutism of this problem falls apart with reductionism.   

My beautiful little sweetheart aunt with her mys'tary'us accent in the 1970's seemed to have a hard to identify racial identiy,  from old photos you might guess she was Itallian, latino, polynesian or middle eastern.  She was gentle, gracious and kind, even when being mimicked for her accent and softly spoken words by her mother in law.  When playing accordian she could pass for an outdoor Parisian musician.  She served stuffed peppers and tasty pan lasagna at family get togethers.  I don't think she was trying to sell herself as something she wasn't,  precious few people you meet are from Novia Scotia, play accordian and happen to be native american.  So if she committed a cultural offense it was, what: wearing what she liked, playing accordian, cooking 1970's dishes and defying expectation with a lack intense cultural identity?   

If the answer is that my Aunt gets a pass, they why just her?  I cite "its not fair!" and the foot stomp that follows usually seen in todlers. 

Mocking cultures is bad.  Notions of required cultural purity and cultural racial ownership are just about as bad. Freezing culture is bad, living cultures change, dead ones don't even with veneration.    The unspoken 'Be White, Act White or else' rule the media seem to have on Fox and Friends and CNN just reinforces those first three things in ways that are unhelpful.  Culturial contamination shouldn't be a thing worth caring about because it should grow and change.  I think Culture is at best ours to share, not ours to own.  Trying to own culture is like trying to insure that the great gran-kids are highly susceptable to skin cancer when you live in the Deep South... a questionable activity at best.  "Be white, act white" presumes American's love (and deserve) terrible tasting bland apple pie.

For rocking American Apple, please include a little spice.  And include ingredients from a few old immigrants, like afroeurasian cows for butter, Asian ginger, central asian Apples, and Turkish wheat.  And this is where my 'it takes-the-whole-world' to make good pie analogy breaks down a bit because Apple pies don't contain many things that originate in Africa, aside from the oven used for baking and really ultimately every human hand that puts the pie together.  Um, my bad...    

It is possible I just don't get oppresion, or understand the pain of being something you don't want to be part of.  I grew up in a ethnic Norwegian village (once called Norseville, the fading ghost of now disincorporated village), stranded in northern Wisconsin, and I identify as Norwegian - largely because we had the very best of welcoming loving inclusive intensely ethnic Norwegian neighbors that any child could ever hope for.  But the truth is, I'm not especially Norwegian and my ethnic heritage is closer to "microwave casserole" than rømmegrøt lefse polse sylterull and krumkake.

Maybe my fundamental error is in the belief that the whole of humanity owns human culture, when the reality is that the world never actually worked that way, and not but one tiny country may ever consider wearing any green on St. Patty's day.  I still don't get the notion of self appointed cultural defenders trying to curtail access to great ideas rather expand influence... but human culture doesn't have be what I think is better for human community in a small world.  Maybe culture exists in large part just to mark bounds, not to connect people but define and isolate.  Human culture can be so much more than what dogs do to fire hydrants, but maybe establishing boundry is culture's root fundamental feature.  Maybe I understand nothing.

Even if I am wrong about everything that the human heritage of culture is, should be and can be, I still grind my teeth when I hear someone called not black enough (say Kamala Harris for a mixed cultural ancestory and for mariage to a white man) or not white enough (say Thomas Jefferson for his relationship with Sarah "Sally" Hemings).   At about a quarter, I'm not Norwegian enough, but it doesn't matter because four were there for me, one upon a time, and treated me just like family.  That's my childhood past, and nope, nobody that wasn't there is ever gonna change that just on their say so.

There are reasons not to like Kamala Harris, a name so confusingly similar to a different politican that pled guilty to wire fraud that I confused Kamala Harris and Pamela Harris as the same person tops my personal list... or Thomas Jefferson, fathering enslaved babies with his wife's half-sister who he also kept as a slave is massively unseamly.  But how can those things move the history, ancestory and cultural experience of a living or dead person one bit?  If the goal is to exclude a member from a set and draw lines around what a person thinks they are, saying "I don't like TJ for keeping slave kids, and he wouldn't be welcome in my home" reflects the speaker in a far better way than saying "TJ wasn't white enough" and announcing the certainty of implicit racism inside the speaker's heart. 

Like conforming to random someone's personal imagined sterotype could somehow be perfect for all humanity and not total BS anyway.  We might want life to be as simple as true and false questions on a test, but reality: life is more like a long essay and thesis defense with judges willed to disagreement with amongst themselves.  One thing is certain, it is easy these days to speak dismal volumes about yourself when you choose to mock others with just a few slurs.