This blog consists of daily news items of interest to followers of QUIDDITY as a qualitatitive method of describing the world. This approach was described by Clive Barker in "The Great and Secret Show" and analyzed in the 149 posts of the QUIDDITY blog of this writer (see link to companion blog).
Kids Praised for Being Smart Are More Likely to Cheat
By Inga Kiderra, University
of CaliforniaSan Diego
September 17, 2017 -- An international team of researchers reports
that when children are praised for being smart not only are they quicker to
give up in the face of obstacles they are also more likely to be dishonest and
cheat. Kids as young as age 3 appear to behave differently when told “You are
so smart” vs “You did very well this time.”
The study, published in Psychological Science, is co-authored by Gail Heyman of the
University of California San Diego, Kang Lee of the University of Toronto, and
Lulu Chen and Li Zhao of Hangzhou Normal University in China.
The research builds on well-known work by Stanford’s Carol Dweck,
author of “Mindset,” who has shown that praising a child’s innate ability
instead of the child's effort or a specific behavior has the unintended
consequence of reducing their motivation to learn and their ability to deal
The present study shows there’s also a moral dimension to
different kinds of praise and that it affects children at younger ages than
previously known. Even the kindergarten and preschool set seem to be sensitive
to subtle differences in praise.
“It’s common and natural to tell children how smart they are,”
said co-author Gail Heyman, a development psychologist at UC San Diego. “Even
when parents and educators know that it harms kids’ achievement motivation,
it’s still easy to do. What our study shows is that the harm can go beyond
motivation and extend to the moral domain. It makes a child more willing
to cheat in order to do well.”
For their study the researchers asked 300 children in Eastern China to play a guessing game using number cards.
In total, there were 150 3-year-olds and 150 5-year-olds. The children were
either praised for being smart or for their performance. A control group got no
praise at all. After praising the children and getting them to promise not to
cheat, the researcher left the room for a minute in the middle of the game. The
kids’ subsequent behavior was monitored by a hidden camera, which recorded who
got out of their seat or leaned over to get a peek at the numbers.
Results suggest that both the 3- and 5-year-olds who’d been
praised for being smart were more likely to act dishonestly than the ones
praised for how well they did or those who got no praise at all. The results
were the same for boys and girls.
In another study, published recently in Developmental Science, the same co-authors show that the
consequences are similar even when children are not directly praised for their
smarts but are merely told that they have a reputation for being smart.
Why? The researchers believe that praising ability is tied to
performance pressure in a way that praising behavior isn’t. When children are
praised for being smart or are told that they have reputation for it, said
co-author Li Zhao of HangzhouNormalUniversity,
"they feel pressure to perform well in order to live up to others'
expectations, even if they need to cheat to do so."
Co-author Kang Lee, of the University of Toronto’s
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, emphasized the take-away for the
adults in kids’ lives: “We want to encourage children. We want them to feel
good about themselves. But these studies show we must learn to give children
the right kinds of praise, such as praising specific behavior. Only in this way
will praise have the intended positive outcomes.”
The Singaporean presidential
election of 2017 was the fifth Singaporean presidential election. It was
held to elect the successor of the previous President of Singapore, Tony Tan,
whose term expired on 31 August 2017. Following amendments to the Constitution
of Singapore, the election was the first to be reserved for a particular racial
group under a hiatus-triggered model. The 2017 election was reserved for
candidates from the minority Malay community, who had not held the presidential
office since 1970.
The close of nominations was on
13 September, and polling would have been held on 23 September if two or more
candidates were eligible to stand. In accordance with the strict criteria laid
out in the national constitution, the Elections Department declared Halimah Yacob to be the only
eligible presidential candidate on 11 September. Halimah was consequently
declared president-elect on 13 September, and was inaugurated as the
eighth President of Singapore the following day.
Background of Singapore
The President is the head of
state of Singapore.
Following the Westminster
system, the position is largely ceremonial, but enjoys several reserve powers
including withholding presidential assent on supply bills and changing or
revoking civil service appointments. The current system of holding elections
for the Presidency began with the 1993 election, with the election of Ong Teng
Cheong. Before then, the President was selected by Parliament.
There are strict requirements for
prospective presidential election candidates, and whether a candidate meets the
qualifications or not is decided by the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC),
who are given the task of issuing a certificate of eligibility (COE) to
The Presidency is, by the rules
of the Constitution, required to be nonpartisan.
In his speech to Parliament on 27
January 2016, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that it was timely to review
the eligibility criteria of the Elected Presidency. On 10 February 2016, a
Constitutional Commission consisting of nine individuals and chaired by Chief
Justice Sundaresh Menon was formed. In its report released on 7 September 2016,
the Commission recommended the following key changes:
The election should be reserved for a racial
group if it is not represented for five terms, or 30 years. If there are
no eligible candidates from that group, the election would be opened to
candidates of all races, and the "reserved election" would be
deferred to the next Presidential election.
The Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA)
should be increased from six to eight members, with two alternate members.
The President would have to consult the CPA on all monetary issues related
to the financial reserves and all key public service appointments.
A qualifying candidate from the private
sector should be a senior executive managing a company with at least
S$500 million in shareholders' equity. Previously, such a candidate
had to be a chairman or CEO of a company with at least S$100 million
in paid-up capital.
For qualifying candidates from both the
public and private sectors, the length of time that the candidate has held
office should be doubled to six years.
The public sector offices of Accountant-General
and Auditor-General should be removed from automatic qualification.
An applicant's entire qualifying tenure
should fall within a 15-year period preceding Nomination Day.
announced in a White Paper published on 15 September 2016 that it has broadly
accepted the recommendations, including the first three changes above. The
government did not accept the three other proposed changes, preferring to adopt
a "cautious" approach given the other concurrent changes to other
aspects of eligibility criteria. On 8 November 2016, PM Lee, under the advice from
Attorney-General, announced that the 2017 Presidential Election will be
reserved for candidates from the Malay community.
The rules for campaigning have
also been modified. Rally sites will no longer be designated for the
candidates. All candidates are required to apply for police permit on their own
to hold a rally. Also, candidates are required to sign a statutory declaration
to affirm that they understand the roles of a President. These rules are
purportedly made to ensure that the candidates campaign in a
A cofactor is a non-protein
chemical compound or metallic ion that is required for a protein's biological
activity to happen. These proteins are commonly enzymes, and cofactors can be
considered "helper molecules" that assist in biochemical
transformations. The rates at which this happen are characterized by enzyme
Cofactors can be subclassified as
either inorganic ions or complex organic molecules called coenzymes, the
latter of which is mostly derived from vitamins and other organic essential nutrients
in small amounts. A coenzyme that is tightly or even covalently bound is termed
a prosthetic group. Cosubstrates are transiently bound to the protein
and will be released at some point, then get back in. The prosthetic groups, on
the other hand, are bound permanently to the protein. Both of them have the
same function, which is to facilitate the reaction of enzymes and protein.
Additionally, some sources also limit the use of the term "cofactor"
to inorganic substances. An inactive enzyme without the cofactor is called an apoenzyme,
while the complete enzyme with cofactor is called a holoenzyme.
Some enzymes or enzyme complexes
require several cofactors. For example, the multienzyme complex pyruvate
dehydrogenase at the junction of glycolysis and the citric acid cycle requires
five organic cofactors and one metal ion: loosely bound thiamine pyrophosphate
(TPP), covalently bound lipoamide and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), and
the cosubstrates nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and coenzyme A (CoA), and a metal ion
Organic cofactors are often vitamins
or made from vitamins. Many contain the nucleotide adenosine monophosphate
(AMP) as part of their structures, such as ATP, coenzyme A, FAD, and NAD+. This common structure may reflect a common
evolutionary origin as part of ribozymes in an ancient RNA world. It has been
suggested that the AMP part of the molecule can be considered to be a kind of
"handle" by which the enzyme can "grasp" the coenzyme to
switch it between different catalytic centers.
Classification of Cofactors
Cofactors can be divided into two
broad groups: organic cofactors, such as flavin or heme, and inorganic
cofactors, such as the metal ions Mg2+, Cu+, Mn2+, or iron-sulfur
Organic cofactors are sometimes
further divided into coenzymes and prosthetic groups. The term
coenzyme refers specifically to enzymes and, as such, to the functional
properties of a protein. On the other hand, "prosthetic group"
emphasizes the nature of the binding of a cofactor to a protein (tight or
covalent) and, thus, refers to a structural property. Different sources give
slightly different definitions of coenzymes, cofactors, and prosthetic groups.
Some consider tightly bound organic molecules as prosthetic groups and not as
coenzymes, while others define all non-protein organic molecules needed for
enzyme activity as coenzymes, and classify those that are tightly bound as
coenzyme prosthetic groups. It should be noted that these terms are often used
A 1979 letter in Trends in
Biochemical Sciences noted the confusion in the literature and the
essentially arbitrary distinction made between prosthetic groups and coenzymes
and proposed the following scheme. Here, cofactors were defined as an
additional substance apart from protein and substrate that is required for
enzyme activity and a prosthetic group as a substance that undergoes its whole catalytic
cycle attached to a single enzyme molecule. However, the author could not
arrive at a single all-encompassing definition of a "coenzyme" and
proposed that this term be dropped from use in the literature.
Not Apply is a 2014
short Internet documentary film, directed, produced, written, and edited by CGP
Grey. The film focuses on the future of the integration of automation into
economics, as well as the impact of this integration to the worldwide
workforce. It was released online as a YouTube video [link below].
The film focuses on the topic of robots'
rapidly increasing usefulness through human society, discussing how automation
will lead to a future where human labour is no longer required. The film's
title is a play on Irish need not apply, a phrase said to be used on job
postings in the 19th century.
Early on, an analogy is made
describing how humans once displaced horses from their jobs (by creating
mechanical muscles such as automobiles), dismissing the argument that humans
will always find new work, seeing as horses are not nearly as much used now.
This analogy finishes by connecting the creation of mechanical minds, or
"brain labor", will lead to robots ousting humans out of their occupations.
Grey also discusses how economics is the force behind a future based upon
automation.Grey concludes by stating
that 45% of the workforce could be replaced by bots, a figure which is
inclusive of professional, white-collar, and low-skill occupations, and higher
than the 25% unemployment figure of the Great Depression. Grey further states
that even creative occupations are not secure, mentioning the included bot-composed
music in the background of his video.
Additionally, the viewer is
reminded that the short film is not discussing or portraying a future based
upon science fiction, using examples such as Baxter, self-driving cars
(referred to as autos in the film) and IBM's Watson.
Production and Funding
The film was
funded through Subbable, a crowdfunding website. Grey used this website as a
means to support his projects, before moving to Subbable's successor Patreon.
Not Apply was covered by
several publications, including Business Insider, The Huffington Post,
and Forbes. Coverage of the video complimented its presentation, calling
the video "well-produced". These publications also praised its
premise, calling it "thought-provoking", and "compelling",
but also maintaining that the points and topics brought up in the video were
"terrifying". Bruce Kasanoff of Forbes commented
that the video was "sobering," and "suggests, in a convincing
fashion, that many
human jobs will disappear over the coming years, because automation
will do them faster, better, and cheaper." After a few days of release,
the video reached one million views. As of June 2017, Humans Need Not Apply
has reached over 8.7 million views.
Stock Market Contrarians on WolfStreet.com Speaketh
to a WolfStreet article]
Sep 10, 2017 at
the 1990s the physical economy – as distinct from Wall Street’s speculative
casino – has been systematically pillaged and asset-stripped by the oligarchy.
Not surprisingly, something like 80% of the volume on these rigged, broken,
manipulated markets are high-frequency algos buying and selling to each other.
As the middle class becomes more pauperized and sees its purchasing power
debased by the Fed’s deranged money printing and the inflation the Fed purports
not to see, they are too busy paying bills to speculate in the market. The main
driver for these ludicrous stock valuations has been corporate buybacks using
borrowed money (which used to be illegal), with valuations completely divorced
from any underlying fundamentals.
and how will the Ponzi end? God only knows. The correlation between central
bank balance sheets and “the markets” is close to 100%. As long as the
fraudsters at the Fed and central banks keep buying stocks and bonds, the Ponzi
will keep levitating. But at some point true price discovery is going to asset
itself, and that will be cataclysmic for the central bankers debt-fueled asset
bubbles. When the whole house of cards comes tumbling down, millions will be
wiped out, but the fraudsters running our central banks for the exclusive
benefit of their oligarch patrons might finally be arrested and hauled in front
of an honest judge as a long-overdue first step toward ending the Fed and
restoring sound money and honest markets.
Sep 10, 2017 at
response to this question is that back in 2000, it was the first bubble and
people were not up-to-speed on market drops. Remember consulting for a VC
funded company when told by their founders that they could always raise more
money. That was February, 2000. Now that we lived through 3 bubbles, serious
investors are more on their toes about the potential sharp downturn and private
equity investors are more sensitive to valuations (in some cases, though 2000
valuations can be found today with a number of unicorns). This is the only time
in history where you have seen 3 extreme bubbles in such a short time period.
look at crypto markets, people are making the same comments as your shoe shine
guy. And look at the Australian and Canadian real estate markets, where
valuations are through the roof. And then you have China, where there are trillions of
yuan invested in non-productive assets. The last two bubbles were popped in the
US, the next bubble will be
popped from an overseas market that will then cascade into the US
LehighUniversity, September 7, 2017 -- In
a study published today in Science, researchers from Lehigh and CardiffUniversity have demonstrated a promising
approach to using colloidal gold-palladium nanoparticles to directly oxidize
methane to methanol with high selectivity in aqueous solution at mild
Liquid methanol is widely
used as a feedstock for other chemicals and also has considerable potential as
an alternative fuel source. However, converting methane—the primary component
of abundant natural gas—into methanol is currently achieved by an indirect
process which requires high heat and pressure.
Now researchers have
discovered a new approach that allows the direct conversion of methane to
methanol utilizing molecular oxygen under much milder reaction conditions.
“Our work has shown that
if a stable supply of methyl radicals can be established—for example, by
incorporating a very small amount of hydrogen peroxide into the reaction
mixture—then the selective oxidation of methane to methanol using molecular
oxygen is entirely feasible,” said Kiely, the Harold B. Chambers Senior
Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering.
This latest discovery has
been guided by Kiely’s and Hutchings’ longtime collaboration on developing
Au-Pd nanoparticles as effective catalysts for many other reactions.
According to Kiely, the
researchers were surprised to find that for this particular reaction to proceed
they needed the Au-Pd nanoparticles to exist as free-floating colloids in a
very weak hydrogen peroxide solution into which they injected pressurized
methane and oxygen gas.
“In this case however,
the presence of the ceramic support turned out to be highly detrimental.”
In the chemical industry
methane is currently converted indirectly to methanol via the production of
synthesis gas (carbon monoxide and hydrogen) at high temperatures and
pressures, which is an expensive and energy intensive process. The most
promising candidate processes discovered to date for the direct conversion of
methane to methanol have tended to be complex, inefficient, and often require
very high temperatures and aggressive reaction environments.
“The new simplified
approach we have demonstrated brings us a step closer to making the direct
conversion of methane to methanol a practically viable proposition,” said
In addition to Hutchings
and Kiely, the authors of the Science paper include Qian He, who earned
his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Lehigh in 2013 and is now a
University Research Fellow in the School
of Chemistry at CardiffUniversity,
and Sultan Althahban, a Ph.D. candidate in materials science and engineering at
Lin Biao (December 5, 1907 – September 13, 1971)
was a Marshal of the People's Republic of China
who was pivotal in the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, especially
in Northeast China. Lin was the general who
commanded the decisive Liaoshen and Pingjin Campaigns, in which he co-led the
Manchurian Field Army to victory and led the People's Liberation Army into Beijing. He crossed the Yangtze
River in 1949, decisively defeated the Kuomintang and took control of the
coastal provinces in Southeast China. He
ranked third among the Ten Marshals. Zhu De and Peng Dehuai were considered
senior to Lin, and Lin ranked directly ahead of He Long and Liu Bocheng.
Marshal Lin Baio Lin abstained from taking an
active role in politics after the civil war ceased in 1949. He led a section of
the government's civil bureaucracy as one of the co-serving Deputy Vice
Premiers of the People's Republic of China from 1954 onwards, becoming
First-ranked Vice Premier from 1964. Lin became more active in politics when
named one of the co-serving Vice Chairmen of the Communist Party of China in
1958. He held the three responsibilities of Vice Premier, Vice Chairman and Minister
of National Defense from 1959 onwards. Lin became instrumental in creating the
foundations for Mao Zedong's cult of personality in the early 1960s, and was
rewarded for his service in the Cultural Revolution by being named Mao's
designated successor as the sole Vice Chairman of the Communist Party of China,
from 1969 until his death.
Lin died on September 13, 1971,
when a Hawker Siddeley Trident he was aboard crashed in Öndörkhaan in Mongolia. The
exact events of this "Lin Biao incident" have been a source of
speculation ever since. The Chinese government's official explanation is that
Lin and his family attempted to flee following a botched coup against Mao.
Others have argued that they fled out of fear they would be purged, as Lin's
relationship with other Communist Party leaders had soured in the final few
years of his life. Following Lin's death, he was officially condemned as a
traitor by the Communist Party. Since the late 1970s Lin, and Mao's wife Jiang
Qing (with her Gang of Four) have been labeled the two major
"counter-revolutionary forces" of the Cultural Revolution, receiving
official blame from the Chinese government.
International View of the
Official Chinese Explanation
The exact circumstances
surrounding Lin's death remain unclear, due to a lack of surviving evidence.
Many of the original government records relevant to Lin's death were secretly
and intentionally destroyed, with the approval of the Politburo, during the
brief period of Hua Guofeng's interregnum in the late 1970s. Among the records
destroyed were telephone records, meeting minutes, personal notes, and desk
diaries. The records, if they had survived, would have clarified the activities
of Mao, Zhou Enlai, Jiang Qing, and Wang Dongxing relative to Lin, before and
after Lin's death. Because of the destruction of government documentation
related to Lin's death, the Chinese government has relied on alleged
confessions of purged officials close to Lin to corroborate the official
narrative, but non-Chinese scholars generally regard these confessions as
Ever since 1971, scholars outside
have been skeptical of the government's official explanation of the
circumstances surrounding Lin's death. Skeptics assert that the official
narrative does not sufficiently explain why Lin, one of Mao's closest
supporters and one of the most successful Communist generals, would suddenly
attempt a poorly planned, abortive coup. The government narrative also does not
sufficiently explain how and why Lin's plane crashed. Skeptics have claimed
that Lin's decision to flee to the Soviet Union was illogical, on the grounds
that the United States or Taiwan would have
been safer destinations.
Influential Western historians
critical of the Chinese government's official story have promoted the view that
Lin did not have either the intention or the ability to usurp Mao's place
within the government or the Party. One theory attempted to explain Lin's
flight and death by observing that Lin opposed China's
rapprochement with the United
States, which Zhou Enlai was organizing with
Mao's approval. Because the Chinese government never produced evidence to
support their report that Lin was on board the plane that crashed in Mongolia,
Western scholars originally doubted that Lin had died in the crash. One book,
published anonymously using a Chinese pseudonym in 1983, claimed that Mao had
actually had Lin and his wife killed in Beijing,
and that Lin Liguo had attempted to escape by air. Other scholars suggested
that Mao had ordered the Chinese army to shoot down Lin's plane over Mongolia.
The Chinese government has no
interest in re-evaluating its narrative on Lin Biao's death. When contacted for
its comment on fresh evidence that surfaced on the Lin Biao incident after the
Cold War, the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated: "China already has a clear,
authoritative conclusion about the Lin Biao incident. Other foreign reports of
a conjectural nature are groundless." Non-Chinese scholars interpreted
China's reluctance to consider evidence that contradicts its
"official" history as the result of a desire to avoid exploring any
issue that may lead to criticism of Mao Zedong or a re-evaluation of the
Cultural Revolution in general, which may distract China from pursuing economic
A doppelgänger or doppelga(e)nger
(literally "double-goer") is a look-alike or double of a living
person, sometimes portrayed as a ghostly or paranormal phenomenon and usually
seen as a harbinger of bad luck. Other traditions and stories equate a
doppelgänger with an evil twin. In modern times, the term twin stranger
is occasionally used.
The word "doppelgänger"
is often used in a more general and neutral sense to describe any person who
physically or behaviorally resembles another person.
The application by
English-speakers of this German word to the paranormal concept is relatively
recent; Francis Grose's Provincial Glossary of 1787 included the term fetch
instead, defined as the "apparition of a person living." A
best-selling book on paranormal phenomena, Catherine Crowe's The Night-Side
of Nature (1848), helped make the German word well-known. However, the
concept itself, of alter egos and double spirits, has appeared in the folklore,
myths, religious concepts, and traditions of many cultures throughout human
In Ancient Egyptian mythology, a ka was a tangible "spirit
double" having the same memories and feelings as the person to whom the
counterpart belongs. In one Egyptian myth entitled, The Greek Princess,
an Egyptian view of the Trojan War, a ka of Helen was used to mislead
Paris of Troy, helping to stop the war.. This is depicted in Euripides' play,
In Norse mythology, a vardøger
is a ghostly double who precedes a living person and is seen performing their
actions in advance. In Finnish mythology, this is called having an etiäinen,
i.e., "a firstcomer". (see also Christfrid Ganander's Mythologia
In Breton mythology as well as in
Cornish and Norman French folklore, the doppelgänger is a version of the Ankou,
a personification of death.
Examples in Literature and
In Prometheus Unbound by
English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, the concept of a doppelgänger double was
described as a counterpart to the self. American writer Edgar Allan Poe's story
"William Wilson" (1839) describes the double with the sinister,
demonic qualities of a pursuer or challenger of the real self's psychological
equilibrium. English poet Lord Byron used doppelgänger imagery to explore the
duality of human nature. Russian Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky's novel The Double
represents the doppelgänger as an opposite personality who exploits the
character failings of the protagonist to take over his life. Charles Williams Descent
into Hell (1939) has character Pauline Anstruther seeing her own doppelgänger
all through her life. Clive Barker's story "Human Remains" in his Books
of Blood is a doppelgänger tale. The doppelgänger motif is a staple of Gothic fiction,
arguably its central expression of character.
Izaak Walton claimed that John
Donne, the English metaphysical poet, saw his wife's doppelgänger in 1612 in Paris, on the same night
as the stillbirth of their daughter.
Two days after their arrival
there, Mr. Donne was left alone, in that room in which Sir Robert,
and he, and some other friends had dined together. To this place Sir Robert
returned within half an hour; and, as he left, so he found Mr. Donne
alone; but, in such ecstasy, and so altered as to his looks, as amazed Sir Robert
to behold him in so much that he earnestly desired Mr. Donne to declare
befallen him in the short time of his absence? to which, Mr. Donne was
not able to make a present answer: but, after a long and perplext pause, did at
last say, I have seen a dreadful Vision since I saw you: I have seen my dear
wife pass twice by me through this room, with her hair hanging about her
shoulders, and a dead child in her arms: this, I have seen since I saw you.
To which, Sir Robert replied; Sure Sir, you have slept since I saw
you; and, this is the result of some melancholy dream, which I desire you to
forget, for you are now awake. To which Mr. Donnes reply was: I
cannot be surer that I now live, then that I have not slept since I saw you:
and am, as sure, that at her second appearing, she stopped, looked me in the
face, and vanished.
This account first appears in the
edition of Life of Dr. John Donne published in 1675, and is attributed
to "a Person of Honour... told with such circumstances, and such
asseveration, that... I verily believe he that told it me, did himself believe
it to be true. "At the time Donne was indeed extremely worried about his
pregnant wife, and was going through severe illness himself. However, R. C.
Bald points out that Walton's account
is riddled with inaccuracies. He
says that Donne crossed from London to Paris with the Drurys in twelve days,
and that the vision occurred two days later; the servant sent to London to make
inquiries found Mrs. Donne still confined to her bed in Drury House. Actually,
of course, Donne did not arrive in Paris until
more than three months after he left England,
and his wife was not in London but in the Isle of Wight. The still-born child was buried on 24
January.... Yet as late as 14 April Donne in Paris was still ignorant of his wife's
ordeal. In January, Donne was still at Amiens.
His letters do not support the story as given.
On July 8, 1822, the English poet
Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned in the Bay
of Spezia near Lerici in Italy. On
August 15, while staying at Pisa,
Percy's wife Mary Shelley, an author and editor, wrote a letter to Maria
Gisborne in which she relayed Percy's claims to her that he had met his own
doppelgänger. A week after Mary's nearly fatal miscarriage, in the early hours
of June 23 Percy had had a nightmare about the house collapsing in a flood, and
... talking it over the next
morning he told me that he had had many visions lately — he had seen the figure
of himself which met him as he walked on the terrace and said to him —
"How long do you mean to be content" — No very terrific words &
certainly not prophetic of what has occurred. But Shelley had often seen these
figures when ill; but the strangest thing is that Mrs. Williams saw him. Now
Jane, though a woman of sensibility, has not much imagination & is not in
the slightest degree nervous — neither in dreams or otherwise. She was standing
one day, the day before I was taken ill, [June 15] at a window that looked on
the Terrace with Trelawny — it was day — she saw as she thought Shelley pass by
the window, as he often was then, without a coat or jacket — he passed again —
now as he passed both times the same way — and as from the side towards which
he went each time there was no way to get back except past the window again
(except over a wall twenty feet from the ground) she was struck at seeing him
pass twice thus & looked out & seeing him no more she cried —
"Good God can Shelley have leapt from the wall?.... Where can he be
gone?" Shelley, said Trelawny — "No Shelley has past — What do you
mean?" Trelawny says that she trembled exceedingly when she heard this
& it proved indeed that Shelley had never been on the terrace & was far
off at the time she saw him.
Percy Shelley's drama Prometheus
Unbound (1820) contains the following passage in Act I: "Ere Babylon was dust, / The
Magus Zoroaster, my dead child, / Met his own image walking in the garden. /
That apparition, sole of men, he saw. / For know there are two worlds of life
and death: / One that which thou beholdest; but the other / Is underneath the
grave, where do inhabit / The shadows of all forms that think and live / Till
death unite them and they part no more...."
Wolfgang von Goethe
Near the end of Book XI of his
autobiography, Dichtung und Wahrheit ("Poetry and Truth")
(1811-1833), Goethe wrote, almost in passing:
Amid all this pressure and
confusion I could not forego seeing Frederica once more. Those were painful
days, the memory of which has not remained with me. When I reached her my hand
from my horse, the tears stood in her eyes; and I felt very uneasy. I now rode
along the foot-path toward Drusenheim, and here one of the most singular
forebodings took possession of me. I saw, not with the eyes of the body, but
with those of the mind, my own figure coming toward me, on horseback, and on
the same road, attired in a dress which I had never worn, — it was pike-gray [hecht-grau],
with somewhat of gold. As soon as I shook myself out of this dream, the figure
had entirely disappeared. It is strange, however, that, eight years afterward,
I found myself on the very road, to pay one more visit to Frederica, in the
dress of which I had dreamed, and which I wore, not from choice, but by
accident. However, it may be with matters of this kind generally, this strange
illusion in some measure calmed me at the moment of parting. The pain of
quitting for ever noble Alsace,
with all I had gained in it, was softened; and, having at last escaped the
excitement of a farewell, I, on a peaceful and quiet journey, pretty well
regained my self-possession.
This is an example of a
doppelgänger which was perceived by the observer to be both benign and
A Victorian age example was the
supposed appearance of Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon. He was said to have
walked through the drawing room of his family home in Eaton Square, London,
looking straight ahead, without exchanging a word to anyone, in front of
several guests at a party being given by his wife on 22 June 1893 while he was
supposed to be in a ship of the Mediterranean Squadron, manoeuvering off the
coast of Syria. Subsequently, it was reported that he had gone down with his
ship, HMS Victoria, the very same night, after it collided with HMS Camperdown
following an unexplained and bizarre order to turn the ship in the direction of
the other vessel.
With the advent of social media,
there have been several reported cases of people finding their "twin
stranger" online, a modern term for a doppelgänger which exists in
reality. Twinstrangers.net, a website where users can upload a photo of
themselves and facial recognition software attempts to match them with another
user of like appearance, reports that it has found numerous living
doppelgängers—including three living doppelgängers of its founder Niamh Geaney.
Other reported cases have been The Independent's profile of Cordelia
Roberts and Ciara Murphy and the Daily Star's report of Neil Douglas who
met his look-alike on a flight.
In December 2016, a Channel 4
documentary called "Finding My Twin Stranger" featured a study by the
Department of Twin Research at St Thomas'
Hospital in London
in which seven pairs of similar looking people were examined. The tests
included empirical measures of the similarities of their features, and a DNA
Heautoscopy is a term
used in psychiatry and neurology for the reduplicative hallucination of
"seeing one's own body at a distance". It can occur as a symptom in schizophrenia and
epilepsy. Heautoscopy is considered a possible explanation for
In law, treason is the crime
that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's nation or sovereign.
Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors,
such as the murder of a husband by his wife or that of a master by his servant.
Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a lesser
superior was petty treason. A person who commits treason is known in law as a traitor.
Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as a "citizen's actions
to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure
the [parent nation]". In many nations, it is also often considered treason
to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government, even if no foreign country
is aiding or involved by such an endeavor.
At times, the term
"traitor" has been used as a political epithet, regardless of any
verifiable treasonable action. In a civil war or insurrection, the winners may
deem the losers to be traitors. Likewise the term "traitor" is used
in heated political discussion – typically as a slur against political
dissidents, or against officials in power who are perceived as failing to act
in the best interest of their constituents. In certain cases, as with the DolchstoBlegende(Stab-in-the-back
myth), the accusation of treason towards a large group of people can be a
unifying political message. Treason is considered to be different and on many
occasions a separate charge from "treasonable felony" in many parts
of the world.
In English law, high treason was
punishable by being hanged, drawn and quartered (men) or burnt at the stake
(women), although beheading could be substituted by royal command (usually for
royalty and nobility). Those penalties were abolished in 1814, 1790 and 1973
respectively. The penalty was used by later monarchs against people who could
reasonably be called traitors, although most modern jurists would call it
excessive. Many of them would now just be considered dissidents.
In William Shakespeare's play King
Lear (c. 1600), when the King learns that his daughter Regan has publicly
dishonoured him, he says "They could not, would not do 't; 'tis worse than
murder": a conventional attitude at that time. In Dante Alighieri's Inferno,
the ninth and lowest circle of Hell is reserved for traitors; Judas Iscariot,
who betrayed Jesus, suffers the worst torments of all: being constantly gnawed
at by one of Lucifer's own three mouths. His treachery is considered so
notorious that his name has long been synonymous with traitor, a fate he
shares with Benedict Arnold, Vidkun Quisling, Marcus Junius Brutus (who too is
depicted in Dante's Inferno, suffering the same fate as Judas along with
Cassius Longinus). Indeed, the etymology of the word traitor originates
with Judas' handing over of Jesus to the chief priests, captains of the temple
and elders (Luke 22:52): the word is derived from the Latin traditor which means "one who
delivers." Christian theology and political thinking until after the
Enlightenment considered treason and blasphemy as synonymous, as it challenged
both the state and the will of God. Kings were considered chosen by God, and to
betray one's country was to do the work of Satan.
Many nations' laws mention
various types of treason. "Crimes Related to Insurrection" is the
internal treason, and may include a coup d'etat. "Crimes Related to
Foreign Aggression" is the treason of cooperating with foreign aggression
positively regardless of the national inside and outside. "Crimes Related
to inducement of Foreign Aggression" is the crime of communicating with aliens
secretly to cause foreign aggression or menace. Depending on a country, conspiracy
is added to these. In Japan,
the application of "Crimes Related to Insurrection" was considered
about Aum Shinrikyo cult which caused religious terrorism.
There are a number of other
crimes against the state short of treason:
Apostasy in Islam is considered treason in
Compounding treason is dropping a prosecution
for treason in exchange for money or money's worth.
Defection, or leaving the country, is
regarded in some communist countries (especially during the Cold War) as
disloyal to the state.
Espionage or spying.
Lèse majesté is insulting a head of state and
is a crime in some countries.
Misprision of treason is a crime consisting
of the concealment of treason.
Sedition is inciting civil unrest or
insurrection, or undermining the government.
Treachery, the name of a number of derivative
Treason felony, a British offence tantamount
Epigenetics are stable heritable traits (or "phenotypes")
that cannot be explained by changes in DNA sequence. The Greek prefix epi-
(ἐπι- "over, outside of, around") in epigenetics implies
features that are "on top of" or "in addition to" the
traditional genetic basis for inheritance. Epigenetics often refers to changes
in a chromosome that affect gene activity and expression, but can also be used
to describe any heritable phenotypic change that does not derive from a
modification of the genome, such as prions. Such effects on cellular and physiological
phenotypic traits may result from external or environmental factors, or be part
of normal developmental program. The standard definition of epigenetics
requires these alterations to be heritable, either in the progeny of cells or
The term also refers to the
changes themselves: functionally relevant changes to the genome that do not
involve a change in the nucleotide sequence. Examples of mechanisms that
produce such changes are DNA methylation and histone modification, each of
which alters how genes are expressed without altering the underlying DNA
sequence. Gene expression can be controlled through the action of repressor
proteins that attach to silencer regions of the DNA. These epigenetic changes
may last through cell divisions for the duration of the cell's life, and may
also last for multiple generations even though they do not involve changes in
the underlying DNA sequence of the organism; instead, non-genetic factors cause
the organism's genes to behave (or "express themselves") differently.
One example of an epigenetic
change in eukaryotic biology is the process of cellular differentiation. During
morphogenesis, totipotent stem cells become the various pluripotent cell lines
of the embryo, which in turn become fully differentiated cells. In other words,
as a single fertilized egg cell – the zygote – continues to divide, the
resulting daughter cells change into all the different cell types in an
organism, including neurons, muscle cells, epithelium, endothelium of blood
vessels, etc., by activating some genes while inhibiting the expression of
Historically, some phenomena not
necessarily heritable have also been described as epigenetic. For example, the
term epigenetic has been used to describe any modification of chromosomal
regions, especially histone modifications, whether or not these changes are
heritable or associated with a phenotype. The consensus definition now requires
a trait to be heritable for it to be considered epigenetic. Misuse of the
scientific term by quack authors has created misinformation and controversy in
Due to the early stages of
epigenetics as a science and the sensationalism surrounding it in the public
media, David Gorski and geneticist Adam Rutherford advised caution against
proliferation of false and pseudoscientific conclusions by new age authors who
make unfounded suggestions that a person's genes and health can be manipulated
by mind control.
Direct comparisons of identical
twins constitute an optimal model for interrogating environmental epigenetics.
In the case of humans with different environmental exposures, monozygotic
(identical) twins were epigenetically indistinguishable during their early
years, while older twins had remarkable differences in the overall content and
genomic distribution of 5-methylcytosine DNA and histone acetylation. The twin
pairs who had spent less of their lifetime together and/or had greater
differences in their medical histories were those who showed the largest
differences in their levels of 5-methylcytosine DNA and acetylation of histones
H3 and H4.
Dizygotic (fraternal) and
monozygotic (identical) twins show evidence of epigenetic influence in humans.
DNA sequence differences that would be abundant in a singleton-based study do
not interfere with the analysis. Environmental differences can produce
long-term epigenetic effects, and different developmental monozygotic twin
subtypes may be different with respect to their susceptibility to be discordant
from an epigenetic point of view.
A high-throughput study, which
denotes technology that looks at extensive genetic markers, focused on
epigenetic differences between monozygotic twins to compare global and
locus-specific changes in DNA methylation and histone modifications in a sample
of 40 monozygotic twin pairs. In this case, only healthy twin pairs were
studied, but a wide range of ages was represented, between 3 and 74 years. One
of the major conclusions from this study was that there is an age-dependent
accumulation of epigenetic differences between the two siblings of twin pairs.
This accumulation suggests the existence of epigenetic “drift”. Epigenetic
drift is the term given to epigenetic modifications as they occur as a direct
function with age. While age is a known risk factor for many diseases,
age-related methylation has been found to occur differentially at specific
sites along the genome. Over time, this can result in measurable differences
between biological and chronological age. Epigenetic changes have been found to
be reflective of lifestyle and may act as functional biomarkers of disease
before clinical threshold is reached.
A more recent study, where 114
monozygotic twins and 80 dizygotic twins were analyzed for the DNA methylation
status of around 6000 unique genomic regions, concluded that epigenetic
similarity at the time of blastocyst splitting may also contribute to
phenotypic similarities in monozygotic co-twins. This supports the notion that
microenvironment at early stages of embryonic development can be quite
important for the establishment of epigenetic marks. Congenital genetic disease
is well understood and it is clear that epigenetics can play a role, for
example, in the case of Angelman syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. These are
normal genetic diseases caused by gene deletions or inactivation of the genes,
but are unusually common because individuals are essentially hemizygous because
of genomic imprinting, and therefore a single gene knock out is sufficient to
cause the disease, where most cases would require both copies to be knocked
International Astronomical Union -- The Working Group for Planetary System
Nomenclature (WGPSN) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has
officially approved the naming of fourteen features on the surface of Pluto.
These are the first geological features on the dwarf planet to be named
following the close flyby by the New Horizons spacecraft in July 2015.
The IAU has assigned names to fourteen geological
features on the surface of Pluto. The names pay homage to the underworld
mythology, pioneering space missions, historic pioneers who crossed new
horizons in exploration, and scientists and engineers associated with Pluto and
the Kuiper Belt. This is the first set of official names of surface features on
Pluto to be approved by the IAU, the internationally recognised authority for
naming celestial bodies and their surface features.
NASA’s New Horizons team proposed the
names to the IAU following the first reconnaissance of Pluto and its moons by
the New Horizons spacecraft. Some of the names were suggested by members of the
public during the Our Pluto campaign,
which was launched as a partnership between the IAU, the New Horizons
project and the SETI Institute. Other names had been used informally by the New
Horizons science team to describe the many regions, mountain ranges,
plains, valleys and craters discovered during the first close-up look at the
surfaces of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.
“We’re very excited to approve names
recognising people of significance to Pluto and the pursuit of exploration as
well as the mythology of the underworld. These names highlight the importance
of pushing to the frontiers of discovery,” said Rita Schulz, chair of the
IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature. “We appreciate the
contribution of the general public in the form of their naming suggestions and
the New Horizons team for proposing these names to us.”
More names are expected to be proposed to the IAU,
both for Pluto and for its moons. “The approved designations honour many
people and space missions who paved the way for the historic exploration of
Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, the most distant worlds ever explored,” said
Alan Stern, New Horizons Principal Investigator from the Southwest Research
Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado.
The approved Pluto surface feature names are
Tombaugh Regio honours Clyde Tombaugh (1906–1997), the U.S. astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930
from Lowell Observatory in Arizona.
Burney crater honors Venetia Burney (1918–2009), who as an 11-year-old
schoolgirl suggested the name “Pluto” for Clyde Tombaugh’s newly discovered
planet. Later in life she taught mathematics and economics.
Sputnik Planitia is a large plain named after Sputnik 1, the first space
satellite, launched by the Soviet Union in
Tenzing Montes and Hillary Montes are mountain ranges
honouring Tenzing Norgay (1914–1986) and Sir Edmund Hillary (1919–2008), the
Indian/Nepali Sherpa and New Zealand
mountaineer who were the first to reach the summit of Mount
Everest and return safely.
Al-Idrisi Montes honours Ash-Sharif al-Idrisi (1100–1165/66), a noted Arab
mapmaker and geographer whose landmark work of medieval geography is sometimes
translated as “The Pleasure of Him Who Longs to Cross the Horizons.”
Djanggawul Fossae defines a network of long, narrow depressions named for
the Djanggawuls, three ancestral beings in indigenous Australian mythology who
travelled between the island of the dead and Australia, creating the landscape
and filling it with vegetation.
Sleipnir Fossa is named for the powerful, eight-legged horse of Norse
mythology that carried the god Odin into the underworld.
Virgil Fossae honors Virgil, one of the greatest Roman poets and Dante’s
fictional guide through hell and purgatory in the Divine Comedy.
Adlivun Cavus is a deep depression named for Adlivun, the underworld in
Hayabusa Terra is a large land mass saluting the Japanese spacecraft and
mission (2003–2010) that returned the first asteroid sample.
Voyager Terra honours the pair of NASA spacecraft, launched in 1977,
that performed the first “grand tour” of all four giant planets. The Voyager
spacecraft are now probing the boundary between the Sun and interstellar space.
Tartarus Dorsa is a ridge named for Tartarus, the deepest, darkest pit of
the underworld in Greek mythology.
Elliot crater recognises James Elliot (1943–2011), an MIT researcher who
pioneered the use of stellar occultations to study the Solar System — leading
to discoveries such as the rings of Uranus and the first detection of Pluto's
[From a friend
of the blog author who grew up in south Florida]:
This is the best advice on how to
prepare for an emergency:
1. For a big
storm like Irma, you need enough water to drink for a minimum of 7 days. The
water does NOT have to be bottled. You can simply buy water containers and fill
them with tap water.
2. Get a
plastic sheet to line the tub. Then you can fill your tub with water without it
leaking out. You'll use this to flush the toilet and for basic cleaning if the
water goes out. Use sparingly.
3. Have enough
food on hand to eat for 7 days - food bars and other packaged food is good.
Canned soup, beans.
4. Buy a large
number of Ziploc-like plastic bags - large and small. You'll use them to
protect papers and other valuables AND you'll fill them 3/4 full of water and
stuff the freezer full. Do that by midweek to be sure they are frozen when/if
the power goes out over the weekend. It will keep the refrigerator colder. Do
NOT set your fridge on the lowest setting.
5. Get a portable
radio that receives AM and FM. NOAA radio is good, but doesn't get you
information on evacuations and other instructions. Get batteries.
6. Get LED
flashlights and/or lanterns. They run forever on fewer batteries. But you still
need plenty of extra batteries.
7. Get large
plastic bags. They are invaluable for keeping valuable things dry if you have a
8. Get large
plastic boxes. If you put your valuables, photos, and papers in plastic bags
inside the boxes, they will likely be okay.
9. Get plastic
sheeting and plenty of duct tape.
10. Do your
laundry this week! Lol
case.....A few hurricane tricks for those who may need it:
running your ice makers now and bagging the ice in freezer bags. Fill as
much space in between your freezer items as you can.
Freeze regular tap water for pets, cleaning or drinking in tupperware-type
containers. REMEMBER to leave a small bit of space between the top of the
water & the lids so the ice expands but doesn't crack the container.
using up your perishables to make more room for ice in the freezer.
up all vehicles & check tires & oil.
from ATM, at least enough to get you through tolls and gas out of town.
Call your bank if you plan on leaving the state so they don't freeze your
card for out-of-area "suspicious" transactions.
important docs screenshot & send to your email. Take originals in
sealed bags or plastic bins.
& livestock food & supplies. Vet records in case you need to
shelter then at a storm-safe facility.
plans and share with family members so they know where you're headed.
putting heirlooms & photos in plastic bins in a high place, second
floor, or safe room if you don't plan on taking them with you.
ALL FIREARMS & AMMUNITION PROPERLY.
& beach towels on your windowsills. Even with the best windows &
shutters, water seeping from the wind pressure happens. A few damp towels
is better than soaked drywall or floors!
windows and doors and bring everything outside into your garage or house
NOW. Do not wait until the day before. Better to get done early and relax
than wait until its too late, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE MANDATORY PERSONNEL
(hospital employee or first responder).
you don't already have your hurricane supplies, you might want to get them
now. Shelves are already empty in most places.
The Rime of the Ancient
Mariner (originally The
Rime of the Ancyent Marinere) is the longest major poem by the English
poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and published in 1798 in the
first edition of Lyrical Ballads. Modern editions use a revised version
printed in 1817 that featured a gloss. Along with other poems in Lyrical
Ballads, it was a signal shift to modern poetry and the beginning of
British Romantic literature.
The Rime of the Ancient
Mariner relates the
experiences of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage. The mariner
stops a man who is on the way to a wedding ceremony and begins to narrate a
story. The wedding-guest's reaction turns from bemusement to impatience to fear
to fascination as the mariner's story progresses, as can be seen in the
language style: Coleridge uses narrative techniques such as personification and
repetition to create a sense of danger, the supernatural, or serenity,
depending on the mood in different parts of the poem.
Inspiration for the Poem
The poem may have been inspired
by James Cook's second voyage of exploration (1772–1775) of the South Seas and
the Pacific Ocean; Coleridge's tutor, William
Wales, was the astronomer on Cook's flagship and had a strong relationship with
Cook. On this second voyage Cook crossed three times into the Antarctic
Circle to determine whether the fabled great southern continent
existed. Critics have also suggested that the poem may have been inspired by
the voyage of Thomas James into the Arctic.
"Some critics think that Coleridge drew upon James's account of hardship
and lamentation in writing The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."
According to William Wordsworth,
the poem was inspired while Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Wordsworth's sister Dorothy
were on a walking tour through the Quantock Hills in Somerset. The discussion had turned to a book
that Wordsworth was reading, A Voyage Round The World by Way of the Great
South Sea (1726) by Captain George Shelvocke. In the book, a melancholy
sailor, Simon Hatley, shoots a black albatross:
We all observed, that we had
not the sight of one fish of any kind, since we were come to the Southward of
the streights of le Mair, nor one sea-bird, except a disconsolate black
Albatross, who accompanied us for several days ... till Hattley, (my
second Captain) observing, in one of his melancholy fits, that this bird was
always hovering near us, imagin'd, from his colour, that it might be some ill
omen ... He, after some fruitless attempts, at length, shot the Albatross,
not doubting we should have a fair wind after it.
As they discussed Shelvocke's
book, Wordsworth proffers the following developmental critique to Coleridge,
which importantly contains a reference to tutelary spirits: "Suppose you
represent him as having killed one of these birds on entering the south sea,
and the tutelary spirits of these regions take upon them to avenge the crime."
By the time the trio finished their walk, the poem had taken shape.
Bernard Martin argues in The
Ancient Mariner and the Authentic Narrative that Coleridge was also
influenced by the life of Anglican clergyman John Newton, who had a near-death
experience aboard a slave ship.
The poem may also have been
inspired by the legends of the Wandering Jew, who was forced to wander the
earth until Judgement Day for taunting Jesus on the day of the Crucifixion, and
of the Flying Dutchman.
It is claimed that the harbour at
Watchet in Somerset was the primary inspiration for the poem, although some
time before, John Cruikshank, a local acquaintance of Coleridge’s, had related
a dream about a skeleton ship manned by spectral sailors. In September 2003, a
commemorative statue, by Alan B Herriot of Penicuik, Scotland,
was unveiled at Watchet harbour.
In Biographia Literaria,
The thought suggested itself
(to which of us I do not recollect) that a series of poems might be composed of
two sorts. In the one, incidents and agents were to be, in part at least,
supernatural, and the excellence aimed at was to consist in the interesting of
the affections by the dramatic truth of such emotions, as would naturally
accompany such situations, supposing them real. And real in this sense they
have been to every human being who, from whatever source of delusion, has at
any time believed himself under supernatural agency. For the second class,
subjects were to be chosen from ordinary life...In this idea originated the
plan of the 'Lyrical Ballads'; in which it was agreed, that my endeavours
should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least
Romantic; yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of
truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for
the moment, which constitutes poetic faith. ... With this view I
wrote the 'Ancient Mariner'.
In Table Talk, Coleridge
Mrs Barbauld once told me that
she admired The Ancient Mariner very much, but that there were two faults in it
-- it was improbable, and had no moral. As for the probability, I owned that
that might admit some question; but as to the want of a moral, I told her that
in my own judgement the poem had too much; and that the only, or chief fault,
if I might say so, was the obtrusion of the moral sentiment so openly on the
reader as a principle or cause of action in a work of such pure imagination. It
ought to have had no more moral than the Arabian Nights' tale of the merchant's
sitting down to eat dates by the side of a well, and throwing the shells aside,
and lo! a genie starts up, and says he must kill the aforesaid merchant,
because one of the date shells had, it seems, put out the eye of the genie's son.