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Thursday, 30 November 2017

Humanoid sapiens and Minimum Viable Population

In my recent blogs on the Minimum Viable Population (MPV) and Technology & MPV, I concluded that Technology has a negative impact on the MPV of Homo sapiens. The more technology we develop, the more people we need to sustain our way of living.

Ancient societies ran into similar problems and used several methods for codifying Knowledge, like (i) traditional oral knowledge, (ii) cave art, (iii) Sumerian cuneiform writing on clay tablets, (iv) ancient Egyptian writing on papyrus, (v) book print in China (220 AD) and then Europe (1439).

The Sumerian people appear to have received their knowledge from earlier and unknown civilizations (Wiki). Hence, it's safe to say that - at least - for some 10,000 years, it has become impossible for one human to have the knowledge of the entire human race.

This situation was different for the Neanderthal who lived in small though viable populations for 700,000 years while enduring 8 (!) Ice Ages (eg, Quanta). Unless Homo sapiens accepts the living conditions of the Neanderthal, we need very many people to sustain our way of living.

There is one exception to the above: Humanoid sapiens (my blogs). Humanoid sapiens is the technologically enhanced version - and future successor - of Homo sapiens. Its philosophical concept is also known as Transhumanism (my blogs).

Currently, there are 3 different developments: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Bionics, and Robotics. The first and latter are already merging into AI Robotics. Bionics is developing rapidly through artificial limbs and powered exoskeletons (eg, 2008 sci-fi movie Iron Man, IMDb). I think, feel and believe that all 3 will eventually merge into my concept of Humanoid sapiens.

The main challenge for Humanoid sapiens is the human brain. There seem to be 3 different approaches: (i) use drugs to enhance the mediocre utilization of the brain (eg, 2011 movie Limitless, IMDb), (ii) insert technology into the human brain (eg, NRC, 1974 sci-fi movie The Terminal Man, IMDb, and the 1987 sci-fi movie RobocopIMDb), and (iii) uploading the human brain to a computer (eg, 2015 sci-fi movie Chappie, IMDb).

It's tempting to describe how Humanoid sapiens would look like. I think, feel and believe that it may function like an Octopus with 9 brains: 8 for each of its (artificial) limbs and 1 in its head (my recent blog). This allows for replacements and upgrades. The head is a communication center for downloads and uploads for adding and securing Knowledge (eg, distributed computing).

Homo sapiens is economically and technically outdated once Humanoid sapiens emerges. Its MVP may be 160 or lower. This may explain the (existential) human fear over AI and Robotics. It's unlikely that these 160 would include you or me. Hence, we feel that "change is in the air. It doesn't always need a name. You don't have to see it to know it's there but you can feel it."

You Can Feel It (2015) by Young Gun Silver Fox - Fblyrics, Tumblrvideo

It's coming around again 
Change is in the air
It doesn't always need a name
You don't have to see it to know it's there 
But you can feel it

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Technology and Minimum Viable Population

In yesterday's blog on the Minimum Viable Population, I hinted that technology has a negative impact on the MPV.

The historical world population growth (graph) has been very low compared to today. The acceleration in the growth of the world population started around 1500.

A closer look reveals that the upward curve has been accelerating significantly since the start of the Industrial Revolution (1760-1820/40), the 1st wave of the Technological Revolution of 1800-2100.

The relation between the current world population (growth) and the Technological Revolution is simple: more jobs, more money, more & better food, more & better medicine, better hygiene, better housing and so on.

This resulted in a significantly increased life expectancy; also see my 2016 blog. However, birth rates decline much later. 

Hence, the 3 UN world population scenarios for 2100 in the graph to the left: 7 billion (low), 11.2 billion (median), and 16 billion (high). Today, we are in between 7 (2011) and 8 (2024) billion people.

The 3rd wave (see my recent blog) of the Technological Revolution of 1800-2100 is introducing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics. However, we are still away from supercomputers like HAL 9000, J.A.R.V.I.S., KITT, and Skynet (see Wiki list of fictional supercomputers). Hence, the current state of our technology may require tens of thousands of people and perhaps many more.

In the meantime, Homo sapiens is vulnerable as we have lost the (Neanderthal) ability to be self-sustaining. We are dependent on electricity, food purchases, fossil fuel, heating, internet and money. Our Knowledge base could be wiped out during the glacial periods of a new Ice Age.

Despite popular belief, Homo sapiens was "lucky" that the anticipated glacial periods in the 19th and 20th century of the current Ice Age, have been delayed by excessive CO2 emissions following the Technological Revolution of 1800-2100 (eg, Bloomberg-2016, NYT-2003).

It's hard to imagine how humans could or would survive global cooling, like the Neanderthal did over 700,000 years and 8 Ice Ages (eg, Quanta). It's easy to imagine how humans could and would survive global warming. We probably need to relocate some megacities that were built (too) close to (rising) oceans and seas (my 2017 blog).

We Built This City (1985) by Starship - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Minimum Viable Population

Sunday evening, I was watching a 2017 TV series on Netflix: Salvation (IMDb). The word MVP or "Minimum Viable Population" caught by attention. This show claims that 160 people are enough. This number might even be 80 with some "social engineering". Both numbers originate from anthropologist John Moore from University of Florida (New Scientist, 2002).

A minimum viable population of 160 supports a 2017 Quanta article on the number of Neanderthal who lived in Eurasia. Genetic sequencing reveals that the global Neanderthal population only amounted to a few thousand rather than the 150,000 assumed earlier. One theory suggests the Neanderthal already lived 750,000 rather than 450,000 years ago. This could/would explain the higher archeological estimates.

The Neanderthal barely survived their departure from Africa: "the genetic data shows the population passed through a severe bottleneck, never observed in previous studies." (Quanta) "But whatever caused that brush with disaster, the archaic humans bounced back from it, and just a few thousand years later — by 744,000 years ago — they separated into two separate lineages, the Neanderthals and the Denisovans. The former then split further into the smaller regional groups []".

The most remarkable thing is that the small global Neanderthal population survived some eight (!) Ice Ages or glacial periods over 700,000 years before they became extinct: see blue dips in the right Wiki diagram.

Glacial periods imply low sea water levels. This would support an Out-of-Africa theory. Currently, we are in an interglacial period with deglaciation, which implies high sea levels. 

The last glacial period ended some 15,000 years ago. The post glacial (global) sea level rise is +120 to +140 meters (400-450 feet), which is documented in the left Wiki graph.  

A minimum viable population of 160 (or 80) either fits human societies with limited knowledge or extensive knowledge fully supported by talking supercomputers (eg, HAL 9000J.A.R.V.I.S., KITTStar Trek, Wiki).

Currently, human societies have extensive knowledge which is only partially supported by (talking) supercomputers. Given the degree of human specialization and the absence of polymaths (Homo Universalis), our minimum viable population may run in the tens of thousands. Without (mobile) internet and/or electricity, many people are totally "lost". Today, Homo sapiens is between a rock and a hard place.

Rock and a Hard Place (1989) by Rolling Stones - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

The fields of Eden
Are full of trash
And if we beg and we borrow and steal
We'll never get it back
People are hungry
They crowd around
And the city gets bigger as the country comes begging to town
We're stuck between a rock
And a hard place

Sunday, 26 November 2017

The Creator has a Master Plan

There was a time, when peace was on the earth
And joy and happiness did reign and each man knew his worth
In my heart how I yearn for that spirit's return
And I cry, as time flies
Om, Om

There is a place where love forever shines
And rainbows are the shadows of a presence so divine
And the glow of that love lights the heavens above
And it's free, can't you see, come with me

The creator has a master plan
Peace and happiness for every man
The creator has a working plan
Peace and happiness for every man
The creator makes but one demand
Happiness through all the land

The Creator has a Master Plan (1995) by Brooklyn Funk Essentials

Saturday, 25 November 2017

How Can I Be Sure?

How can I be sure
In a world that's constantly changin'?
How can I be sure
Where I stand with you?

Whenever I, whenever I am away from you
I wanna die 'cause you know I wanna stay with you

How do I know?
Maybe you're trying to use me
Flying too high can confuse me
Touch me but don't take me down

Whenever I, whenever I am away from you
My alibi is tellin' people I don't care for you
Maybe I'm just hanging around
With my head up, upside down

It's a pity
I can't seem to find someone
Who's as pretty 'n' lovely as you

How can I be sure
I really, really, really, wanna know
I really, really, really, wanna know

How's the weather?
Weather or not, we're together
Together we'll see it much better
I love you, I love you forever
You know where I can be found

How can I be sure?
In a world that's constantly changing?
How can I be sure
In a world that's constantly changing?

How can I? How can I? How can I?
How can I be sure?
I really wanna know
How can I? How can I? How can I?
I really wanna know

How Can I Be Sure (1967) by David Cassidy - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

R.I.P. David Cassidy (12 April 1950 – 21 November 2017)

Friday, 24 November 2017

Star dust and star bugs

On 17 November 2017, astrobiologist Arjun Berera, of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, (pre) published his forthcoming study "Space Dust Collisions as a Planetary Escape Mechanism" (arXiv:1711.01895). This study deals with the origin of life.

Professor Berera's study was translated in this news title: "Tiny aliens may ride clouds of 'space dust' between planets" (eg, AstronomyBBCC-Net, Daily MailIndependent, NBCScientias). Arjun Berera in Independent: "The proposition that space dust collisions could propel organisms over enormous distances between planets raises some exciting prospects of how life and the atmospheres of planets originated."

The estimated annual amount of cosmic, space or star dust is 40,000 metric tons, based on a 2001 estimate by Herbert Allen Zook (Wiki). Universe Today-2015: "Satellite observations suggest that 100-300 metric tons of cosmic dust enter the atmosphere each day". This cosmic dust has been found in the white cliffs of Dover (Independent-2017) and on roof tops in Norway (NYT). The EU also funded a project on Cosmic Dust in the Terrestrial Atmosphere (CODITA).

In the 1980s, astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle and astrobiologist Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe had already speculated on this in their books Evolution from Space (1982) and Viruses from Space (1986). In May 2000, they claimed in Current Science that the influenza "outbreak was caused by dust deposited high in the atmosphere by passing comets being forced down to earth by energy generated by cooler patches on the sun's surface, known as sunspots" (Guardian, 2000).

Wiki: "In April 2016, Jiangwen Qu of the Department of Infectious Disease Control in China presented a statistical study suggesting that "extremes of sunspot activity to within plus or minus 1  year may precipitate influenza pandemics." He discussed possible mechanisms of epidemic initiation and early spread, including speculation on primary causation by externally derived viral variants from space via cometary dust."

In June 2017, Jiangwen QuNalin Chandra Wickramasinghe and others, published a study called "Sunspot Cycle Minima and Pandemics: A case for vigilance at the present time". Conclusion: "Minima in the sunspot cycle present conditions conducive to the entry of viruses and bacteria to the Earth and also for mutations of already circulating pathogens" (study).

present time
The June 2017 study noted that the "three grand minima of solar activity on record, being the Spörer minimum (1450-1550), Maunder minimum (1650-1700) and the Dalton minimum (1800-1830) have all been marked by a preponderance of pandemics: Small Pox, English Sweats, Plague and Cholera." It adds that the years 2002-2017 have the deepest sunspot minimum ever and also show a resurgence of several pandemics, like SARS, MERS, Zika, Ebola, Influenza A.

The 2017 study by astrobiologist Arjun Berera may also explain why some viruses appear to be older than planet Earth (my blogs, AstrobiologyScientific American).

Stardust (1927) by Hoagy Carmichael - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Thursday, 23 November 2017


In my 17 November blog on the TV series Mindhunter, I made a casual remark that kept me thinking afterwards: "the background music already suggests an accelerating society." The relationship between technology, music and society is a difficult but intriguing one, especially because they are characterized by waves.

The Technological Revolution of 1800-2100 (my blogs) is characterized by three major waves:
1. 1800-1900: Mechanization which includes the Industrial Revolution (1760-1820/40);
2. 1900-2000: Automation: computer (1938 onwards), personal computer (1946 onwards);
3. 2000-2100: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics for caredomesticindustrysexwarfare.

The history of music has seen three major waves so far:
1. the classic composers of the 19th century, like Beethoven (1770-1827);
2. introduction of electromechanical instruments, like electric guitars (1931);
3. introduction of "instruments that artificially produce sound using analog or digital circuits and microchips", like the Moog synthesizer (late 1960s). This 3rd wave is being renewed right now: AI-composed pop songs (eg, Futurism-2017, Quartz-2016, Verge-2016).

Main events in societies often relate to the 7 Belief systems, and its Knowledge and Power domains. Wars or military conflicts are the main struggles in the Power domain: French invasion of Russia (1812), WW1 (1914-1918) and WW2 (1939-1945) and many, many others.

An overview of the main events in the Power domain since 1800:
1. events related to Money: Great Depression (1929-1941);
2. events related to Politics: rise and fall of communism in Soviet Union (1922-1991);
3. events related to Religion: Islamic terrorism (late 1960s - onwards).

An overview of the main events in the Knowledge domain since 1800:
1. events related to Philosophy: scientific racismwhite peopleWhite Supremacy;
2. events related to Science: atomic bombings (1945), medicine (eg, PasteurFleming);
3. events related to the Truth: global use of fake news / disinformation (21st century).

Love, the 7th Belief system, also had an impact on societies through declining birth rates, increasing divorce rates, disintegrating family life (eg, urbanisation), single households, nursing home-care for elderly people, dating by technology (eg, Tinder app), same-sex marriage.

Society at large also had several major waves:
1. Urbanisation (ever since at least 1st millennium BCE);
2. Technological Revolution of 1800-2100;
3. Globalization (19th century onwards);
4. Secularization (20th century onwards).

Everything goes in waves. Evolution goes in waves. The ocean goes in waves. Energy goes in waves. Sound travels in waves. Quote by Edgar Ramirez (b. 1977)

Waves (2013) by Mr. Probz - artist, IMDblyrics, video, Wiki-1Wiki-2

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Competitive advantage

In my 5 July 2017 blog on Advantage vs Empathy, I concluded that humans are driven by gaining advantage in life. Our relentless drive for advantage is what separates us from any other species on this planet. Recently, I realised that this view is somewhat similar to a concept from the field of microeconomics, known as Homo economicus (Wiki).

Homo economicus was/is driven by his utility function and his choice (or preference) is based on the highest added utility (a.k.a. value). However, lots of things in life do not have a price tag and can thus not be valued. Critics also referred to reciprocity in human behaviour and the related "gift" economy rather than the market economy.

Our drive for gaining advantage is broader than Homo economicus. To put it bluntly: everything we do is geared towards gaining advantage. It covers financial, psychological and social advantage. Hence, advantage includes behaviour that makes people like us more than others. Hence, I wonder whether altruism is an exception to this view.

Mahatma Gandhi is generally considered being an example of altruism. Some of his quotes reveal a philosophical view rooted in gaining advantage: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Or: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Or: "Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."

Perhaps it's a simple as this: gaining competitive advantage equals survival. This seems more appropriate than the survival of the fittest given its actual meaning: "Survival of the form that will leave the most copies of itself in successive generations." (Wiki).

Obviously, competitive advantage is primarily business terminology. However, one cannot but conclude that all life-forms use this same survival concept. It just shows that humans have understood this prime driver of life and also apply it to businesses and organisations.

Gaining competitive advantage is key in the 3 stages of Life: (i) Needs (eg, food, shelter, and water for all life-forms), (ii) Wants (life-forms using tools), and (iii) Beliefs (the 7 Belief systems are for humans only). Nevertheless, "more than 99% of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct" (Wiki).

The concept of gaining competitive advantage is perhaps most visible in the Beliefs stage and its Knowledge (PhilosophySciencethe Truth ) and Power (MoneyPoliticsReligion) domains. Even in Lovereciprocity gives an advantage. Pascal's Wager claims that not believing in Religion gives a disadvantage. Knowledge and Power are the pillars of competitive advantage.

Our faith and belief in the concept of competitive advantage makes Homo sapiens willing to accept - and even drive - Change. The Technological Revolution of 1800-2100 might be the best example of this. In the words of Julie Sweet: "Innovation is the new competitive advantage."

Advantage (2011) by Machel Montano - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki

Note: after watching this video, I realised that even our (lack of) clothes are geared towards gaining competitive advantage...... ;-)

Tuesday, 21 November 2017


I have been learning nearly all of my life. The last few years, I have learned the things that really interest me. That is far from over as there are always questions on my mind. The more I am alone, the more I think, and the more questions arrive. Without these questions, I would have stopped writing in 2014 after my anger had gone. Today, there are nearly 1,100 published blogs.

Learning has a push and pull phase, of which the former is also known as teaching. Teaching brings answers to questions that were not raised by ourselves. The teacher decides on the curriculum (ie, the questions) and the students listen to the teacher's answers. Some teachers may, however, put future questions on your mind.

At the end of the - usually long - push phase of our learning, we have developed a set of beliefs. These beliefs relate to Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth, a.k.a. my concept of the 7 Belief systems. Our beliefs translate in our attitude (mind), behaviour (body), and our values (soul).

Our set of beliefs is usually lasting as beliefs are deeply rooted, like human firmware. Changing your beliefs thus becomes far from easy. In my case, it took a burnout (my blogs). A burnout is a loss of faith in your beliefs which results in lacking willpower to execute your beliefs. Writer Jennifer Senior refers to a burnout as "a crisis of faith" (NY Magazine, 2007).

A "crisis of faith" triggers existential questions: Why am I here? What is my purpose? Who am I? When will this [eg, heartache] be over? How will I survive this? The answers to these existential questions will slowly but gradually result in a new set of beliefs. I think, feel and believe that these answers have always been there but were slumbering inside us.

It takes a lot of time to develop faith in a new set of beliefs. I refer to this period as a (spiritual) Awakening. It's like putting on a new "coat". Your old "coat" still looks nice but it doesn't belong to the new you anymore. Once in a while, your old "coat" will bring back memories. These memories should - and will - reassure you that the new you is an improved version of your old you.

The push phase of my learning was very long, including professional education and mandatory continued professional education (CPE). Essentially, the answers in the push phase are "feeded" to you by bosses, coaches, parents, teachers and so on. The belief in these answers, and the faith in the persons giving them, will result in the willpower to taking these answers to heart - a.k.a. learning.

The answers in the pull phase arrive in a very different way. It feels like connecting to an elusive network of answers. Solitude is my prerequisite for establishing this connection. The answers appear to flow in some kind of void and you need to pull them in for digesting them. Writer Elizabeth Gilbert calls this process "your elusive creative genius" (TED video, TED transcript).

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." Quote by Albert Einstein

Learning To Fly (1991) by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
So I've started out for God knows where
I guess I'll know when I get there

R.I.P. Tom Petty (1950- 2017)

Monday, 20 November 2017

Rearview mirror

Many - if not most - of us are interested in the past and the present and the causes of events, including their (moral) accountability and/or responsibility. Even the people who are interested in future consequences, often cannot refrain from blaming others. Blaming others, however, seldom contributes to finding solutions. Why are few people interested in tomorrow's solutions?

Thinking about future consequences takes time, which is usually a constraining factor for many. Often it's also necessary to apply assumptions (my blogs) during our thinking. Assumptions are dangerous as they are "the mother of all mistakes" (my 2015 blog). Using the past as an assumption for extrapolating into the future makes sense as often "history repeats itself".

Our vocabulary makes a difference between (historical) factsopinions, and (future) predictions. In general, we do not believe in predictions. More and more, people do no longer believe in facts (eg, history, science). More and more, people only believe in their own opinions.

Hence, opinions are often stronger than facts (my 2016 blog). Essentially, predictions are opinions on future events. Nevertheless, predictions rank lowest in this hierarchy. The only predictions that we like, are horoscopes and weather predictions. We believe that the former is innocent gossip and we can always blame the weatherman.

The belief that our own opinion ranks higher, might be the best explanation for our (ferocious) use of the rearview mirror, like on social media. Internet trolls leverage on this belief by using social media "to provoke, inflame or defame others they rarely know offline or online" (source).

Another explanation for using our rearview mirror rather than looking forward, is our fear of the future. The future is uncertain and open to Change, and we generally dislike both. In this view, people who formulate opinions on the future (ie, predictions) should not be trusted.

Generally, people like to blame others (my 2015 blog) and also like to hold them accountable and responsible. It's hard discussing the accountability and responsibility (my blogs) of future consequences if the future is still open to Change. It's much easier blaming people for events that can no longer be changed as these events are part of history.

The odd thing, however, is that many of us try to control the present. We know that we cannot change - or control - the past. The present is however nothing more than today. Moreover, control is a consequence (output) rather than input. It takes a lot of effort to achieve some control.

Looking in the rearview mirror is a waste of time to me. Being right or wrong may seem important but it doesn't change anything to the future consequences. Blaming someone for being wrong in the past, is a guarantee for blocking a future. Solutions are all that matter.

Perhaps, a rearview mirror is important to those who are not interested in solutions.

Rearviewmirror (1993) by Pearl Jam - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Im Nin'alu


If there be no mercy left in the world,
The doors of heaven will never be barred.
The Creator reigns supreme, and is higher than the angels
All, in His spirit, will rise

By His nearness, His life-giving breath flows through them.
And they glory in His name
From the moment of genesis, 
His creations grow,
Captivating and more beautiful.

The wheel in his circle thunders
Acclaiming His Holy name
Clothed in the glory of His radiance,
The six-winged cherubs surround Him,
Whirling in His honor
And with their free wings sweetly sing,
Together, in unison

Im Nin'alu (1978) by Ofra Haza - artist, lyrics, lyrics-2, lyrics-3video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Notes: The above translation by Keren Barak appears on Ofra Haza's 1984 album Yemenite Songs. In USA, this album was renamed into: 50 Gates of Wisdom (Yemenite Songs). "The Fifty Gates of Wisdom are an essential concept found in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the Jewish Qabalah" (source).

Saturday, 18 November 2017

I'll Take Care Of You

I know you've been hurt
By someone else
I can tell by the way
You carry yourself

But if you'll let me
Here's what I'll do
I'll take care of you

I, I loved and lost
The same as you
So you see I know
Just what you've been through

And if you'll let me
Here's what I'll do
I just have got to take care of you

You won't ever have to worry
You don't ever have to cry
I'll be there beside you
To dry your weeping eyes

So darlin' tell me
That you'll be true
'Cause there's no doubt in my mind
I know what I want to do

And just as sure
One and one is two
I just got, I got to take care of you
I just got to take care of you
Take care of you

I'll Take Care Of You (1959) by Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart

Note: originally by Bobby Bland

Friday, 17 November 2017

Mindhunter - a Whydunit

Recently, I read somewhere that Mindhunter is the #1 binge-watch show on Netflix. Frankly, I had ignored Mindhunter as it seemed just another a dime a dozen crime show. Its #1 binge-watch rating made me wonder about my initial assessment: so many people cannot be wrong. This week I watched the first episode. I can tell you this: it's definitely not a dime a dozen crime show.

The setting is in the early 1970's, when I was a teenager myself. The atmosphere feels authentic as attention has been paid to details (eg, goldplated digital Pulsar watch). I still remember those watches as they were quite popular. All cars are American brands as the invasion of Japanese cars had not happened yet. Episode 4 introduces a car that looks Japanese. Actually, it's a Ford Pinto which still ranks as the #1 ugliest car of the world.

The pace of Mindhunter is (very) slow which fits the early 1970s as I recall myself. Nevertheless, the background music already suggests an accelerating society. This mix of fast and slow is seducing and captivating. After only 1 episode, this has become my favourite Netflix show.

The main 2 characters are each other's opposites: old school versus new school. The respect for each other's experience and knowledge makes them become a successful team. Their opposites also emerge from the interviews with prisoners: die-hard, skeptic, bad cop versus a friendly, sensitive, good cop. In episode 3, the former says to the latter that being able to act as a prisoner's friend makes him one of the best cops ever.

Netflix's Mindhunter is about psychology which explains its name. Old school detective work was about "What + Why = Who". In 9 out of 10 situations, the perpetrator could then be caught. The decreasing 1970s crime solve rates showed that the police had a serious problem. Without a "Why", just about anybody could be the perpetrator.

The emergence of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit (1972-2014) at the FBI Academy was probably an answer to the increasingly missing "Why" component in crimes. Mindhunter focuses on the early days of the FBI's BSU. Interviewing prisoners for their motives, and collaborating with the academic world, was (very) uncommon. This makes Mindhunter a fascinating watch.

Unlike many other crime shows, the Whodunit plot is almost irrelevant in Mindhunter. Essentially, this Netflix show is a search for the Whydunit, and slowly emerging Whodunits. The focus on the "Why" is required to narrow down the number of possible suspects. Politics soon gets involved as it might be a new way for increasing the crime solve rates.

The 1995 book and 2017 TV-series Mindhunter (8.8 in IMDb) is a freeze-frame on the 1970s, when forensic science was still about fingerprints (USA: 1905 onwards) rather than DNA (1984 onwards).

Freeze-Frame (1982) by The J. Geils Band - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Thursday, 16 November 2017

The 4 stages of Life

Following my recent blog on the cycle of happiness and satisfaction, I noticed a 2015 article about Carl Jung's 4 stages of life. I realised that a similar 4 stages of life also transpire from my recent blog. In my 29 October 2016 blog, I had already covered Carl Jung's 3 births of the human spirit. It made sense to me to reconcile these topics. The result is my diagram below.

Compared to my recent blog on the cycle of happiness and satisfaction, I have shifted all 4 quadrants 90 degrees to the left, in order to synchronize with Carl Jung's 4 stages of life. The result below is pretty amazing considering the similarities.

The diagram suggests that Carl Jung's concepts validate my concepts of (i) Needs, Wants & Beliefs and (ii) Awakening. To some extent, the births mirror the Body, Mind & Soul concept. The 4 stages of Life also mirror the 4 seasons of Nature: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

The words spirit and soul have a connection to the ancient Sumerian civilization of 4,000 BC.

Essentially, the spirit or eṭemmu is the earthly component while alive, and ghost after death.

The soul or zaqiqu is the divine component at birth (breath of life) and death (last breath).

Carl Jung's 4 stages of Life and the 3 births of the human spirit both indicate a learning process in which the spirit and soul are shaped by good & bad deeds, words and thoughts during life. Soul and spirit follow separate ways after death. Please see my blog on soul vs spirit for clarification.

We will learn that all our choices (ie, deeds, words and thoughts) have consequences. That is the essence of (good & bad) karma. Both choices and consequences will tell us what is important. We only care about people who - and things that - are important to us.

The above is captured in a quote from the Tao Te Ching by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu:
“Can you love people and lead them without imposing your will? Can you step back from your own mind and thus understand all things? Giving birth and nourishing, having without possessing, acting with no expectations, leading and not trying to control: this is the supreme virtue.”

The Four Seasons / Le quattro stagioni (1725) by Antonio Vivaldi feat. Janine Jansen
video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Project Europe

Last Monday, Project Europe made a major leap forward without too much noise. Of all 28 EU member states, 23 agreed to join a military defence pact, called Pesco (eg, FT, NYT, Quartz). From a European perspective, this move is almost similar to the 1999 introduction of the Euro currency. From a NATO perspective, nothing much has changed. For Russia, a lot has changed. Project Europe is the main reason for Russian interference throughout Europe.

Project Europe started in 1951 when Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands founded the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).

In 1957, its purpose was enlarged and its name rebranded in European Economic Community (EEC).

In 1960, 8 other European countries raised a similar group, called the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). In 1970 and 1991, 2 other countries joined.

In 1973, the UK and Denmark left EFTA and joined the EEC. In subsequent years, 4 other EFTA members did the same.

In 1993, the EEC changed its name into European Union (EU) through adoption of the Maastricht Treaty. Until 2004, only 3 countries joined the EU: Greece, Spain and Ireland.

Since 2004, the EU has expanded significantly and picked up twelve East European countries: 9 countries in 2004, 2 in 2007 and 1 in 2013. These countries had been in an economic and military vacuum since the fall of the Soviet Union (1922-1991). Economic expansion by the EU is considered a military threat by Russia, which loses buffer states and/or a potential for expansion.

Remarkably, all 12 East European countries have signed Pesco. This probably relates to their fear over Russia and its military expansion (eg, 2008-Abkhazia, 2008-South Ossetia, 2014-Crimea, 2014-Eastern Ukraine). Moreover, continued Russian election interference in Europe, UK, and especially USA, has now created what was once unthinkable: the prospect of a European army

The Russian efforts to weaken Project Europe have become a boomerang that may even threaten the 2018 Russian presidential (re) election (eg, BI, Express, TIMETimes, WP).

Leningrad (1989) by Billy Joel - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Hide in plain sight

"The Cambridge Spy Ring was a ring of spies in the United Kingdom, who passed information to the Soviet Union during World War II and was active at least into the early 1950s" (Wikipedia). When you think of spies, you think of cloak and dagger. Considering their business of espionage, secrecy is key for spies. Perhaps there is one better option: hiding in plain sight.

The people whom are mentioned in the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller share a similarity: they all hide in plain sight. Perhaps this very characteristic makes (some) people doubt the allegations of "conspiracy against the United States" a.k.a. high treason (my 31 October 2017 blog). How can a well-known businessman or politician be a spy or a traitor??

Well, betrayal or spying is usually either about ideology, love, and/or money. Ideology is the preferred motive. Money can always be outbid and turn someone into a double agent. Ideology is a synonym for a belief. Hence, the 7 Belief systems (ie, Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth) are also applicable in this area.

It's intriguing why some news articles hardly raise any fuss or noise. Guardian, 4 November 2017: UK's Foreign secretary among three senior past and present Foreign Office ministers targeted by people linked to FBI investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with Moscow.

Soon the UK may have its Westminster 5 after having had its Cambridge 5 in the 1950s and 60s. Some of the prominent names in the Vote Leave campaign for Brexit immediately spring to mind, like Boris Johnson the Foreign Office minister. Brexiteer Nigel Farage is also a "person of interest" in the FBI investigation into Trump and Russia (Guardian, 2 June 2017).

Last weekend, Dutch newspaper NRC reported that a Dutch politician knowingly misinformed the families of the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. This Dutch politician used a fake Ukrainian witness who corroborated the Russian version of the downing of the airplane with a Buk missile. The Dutch politician offered his apologies in a Tweet and later on Facebook, while claiming to be looking for "the truth" and the perpetrators.

Ironically, China and Russia both use Facebook and Twitter for their political interference while banning them at home (NYT, 8 Nov 2017). This might explain the Russian investments in Facebook and Twitter, as leaked in the Paradise Papers (Guardian, 5 November 2017). 

On 30 October 2017, Guardian and NYT reported that "Russian influence reached 126 million through Facebook alone". This news received much less attention than the initial - Facebook based - assessments of 10 million on 2 October (eg, CNN, Guardian, Reuters).

"That's what a good crime novelist - any good novelist - should do with you: play with your perceptions while showing you everything in plain sight". Quote by Harlan Coben, writer.

Hide in plain sight (2016) by Jim James - artist, Fblyrics, video, Wiki