Thursday, August 31, 2017

"Processed Meat" Explained

Processed meat is considered to be any meat which has been modified in order to either improve its taste or extend its shelf life. Methods of meat processing include salting, curing, fermentation, and smoking. Processed meat is usually composed of pork or beef, but also poultry, while it can also contain offal or meat by-products such as blood. Processed meat products include bacon, ham, hotdogs, sausages, salami, corned beef, beef jerky, canned meat and meat-based sauces. Meat processing includes all the processes that change fresh meat with the exception of simple mechanical processes such as cutting, grinding or mixing.

                                                     Processed Meats at a Grocery Store  
IARC at the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a Group 1, carcinogenic to humans, since it has found sufficient evidence that consumption of processed meat by humans causes colorectal cancer.

A 2016 report by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund found that processed meat consumption increased the risk of stomach cancer. A 2012 paper by Bryan et. al. identified H. pylori as a potential causative agent that warranted further study.

Meat processing began as soon as people realized that cooking and salting prolongs the life of fresh meat. It is not known when this took place, however, the process of salting and sun-drying was recorded in Ancient Egypt, while using ice and snow is credited to early Romans, while canning was developed by Nicolas Appert who received in 1810 a prize for his invention from the French government.

The preservative sodium nitrite (E250) (mixed into curing-salt) is well known for its role in inhibiting the growth of clostridium botulinum bacteria spores in processed and refrigerated meats. A principal concern about sodium nitrite is the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in meats containing sodium nitrite when meat is charred or overcooked. Such carcinogenic nitrosamines can also be formed from the reaction of nitrite with secondary amines under acidic conditions (such as occurs in the human stomach) as well as during the curing process used to preserve meats.

Nitrate and nitrite are consumed from plant foods as well as animal foods, with 80% of a typical person's nitrate consumption coming from vegetables, especially leafy and root vegetables such as spinach and beets. Some nitrate is converted to nitrite in the human body. Nitrite is generally recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Helium-3 and the Moon

Helium-3 (He-3, also written as 3He, see also helion) is a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium with two protons and one neutron (common helium having two neutrons). Its hypothetical existence was first proposed in 1934 by the Australian nuclear physicist Mark Oliphant while he was working at the University of Cambridge Cavendish Laboratory. Oliphant had performed experiments in which fast deuterons collided with deuteron targets (incidentally, the first demonstration of nuclear fusion). Helium-3 was thought to be a radioactive isotope until it was also found in samples of natural helium, which is mostly helium-4, taken both from the terrestrial atmosphere and from natural gas wells. Other than 1H, helium-3 is the only stable isotope of any element with more protons than neutrons.

Helium-3 occurs as a primordial nuclide, escaping from the Earth's crust into the atmosphere and into outer space over millions of years. Helium-3 is also thought to be a natural nucleogenic and cosmogenic nuclide, one produced when lithium is bombarded by natural neutrons, which can be released by spontaneous fission and by nuclear reactions with cosmic rays. Some of the helium-3 found in the terrestrial atmosphere is also a relic of atmospheric and underwater nuclear weapons testing.

Much speculation has been made over the possibility of helium-3 as a future energy source. Unlike most other nuclear fusion reactions, the fusion of helium-3 atoms releases large amounts of energy without causing the surrounding material to become radioactive. However, the temperatures required to achieve helium-3 fusion reactions are much higher than in traditional fusion reactions.

The abundance of helium-3 is thought to be greater on the Moon than on Earth, having been embedded in the upper layer of regolith by the solar wind over billions of years, though still lower in quantity than in the solar system's gas giants.

Extraction from Extraterrestrial Sources

Materials on the Moon's surface contain helium-3 at concentrations on the order of between 1.4 and 15 ppb in sunlit areas, and may contain concentrations as much as 50 ppb in permanently shadowed regions. A number of people, starting with Gerald Kulcinski in 1986, have proposed to explore the moon, mine lunar regolith and use the helium-3 for fusion. Because of the low concentrations of helium-3, any mining equipment would need to process extremely large amounts of regolith (over 150 million tonnes of regolith to obtain one ton of helium 3), and some proposals have suggested that helium-3 extraction be piggybacked onto a larger mining and development operation.

The primary objective of Indian Space Research Organisation's first lunar probe called Chandrayaan-I, launched on October 22, 2008, was reported in some sources to be mapping the Moon's surface for helium-3-containing minerals. However, this is debatable; no such objective is mentioned in the project's official list of goals, while at the same time, many of its scientific payloads have noted helium-3-related applications.

Cosmochemist and geochemist Ouyang Ziyuan from the Chinese Academy of Sciences who is now in charge of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program has already stated on many occasions that one of the main goals of the program would be the mining of helium-3, from which operation "each year three space shuttle missions could bring enough fuel for all human beings across the world." To "bring enough fuel for all human beings across the world", more than one Space Shuttle load (and the processing of 4 million tonnes of regolith) per week, at least 52 per year, would be necessary.

In January 2006, the Russian space company RKK Energiya announced that it considers lunar helium-3 a potential economic resource to be mined by 2020, if funding can be found.

Mining gas giants for helium-3 has also been proposed. The British Interplanetary Society's hypothetical Project Daedalus interstellar probe design was fueled by helium-3 mines in the atmosphere of Jupiter, for example. Jupiter's high gravity makes this a less energetically favorable operation than extracting helium-3 from the other gas giants of the solar system, however.

Not all authors feel the extraterrestrial extraction of helium-3 is feasible. Dwayne Day, writing in The Space Review, identifies some major obstacles to helium-3 extraction from extraterrestrial sources for use in fusion, and questions the feasibility of extraterrestrial extraction when compared to production on Earth.

Several science fiction works have featured helium-3 extraction on the moon, including the films Moon (2009) and Iron Sky (2012), the video game Anno 2205 (2015) and the novel Luna: New Moon (2015). The novel Morning Star (Pierce Brown, 2016) features helium-3 mining on Phobos (a moon of Mars), while his novel Red Rising (2014) features helium-3 extraction from Mars itself.

Power Generation

A second-generation approach to controlled fusion power involves combining helium-3 (32He) and deuterium (21H). This reaction produces a helium-4 ion (42He) (like an alpha particle, but of different origin) and a high-energy proton (positively charged hydrogen ion) (11p). The most important potential advantage of this fusion reaction for power production as well as other applications lies in its compatibility with the use of electrostatic fields to control fuel ions and the fusion protons. High speed protons, as positively charged particles, can have their kinetic energy converted directly into electricity, through use of solid-state conversion materials as well as other techniques. Potential conversion efficiencies of 70% may be possible, as there is no need to convert proton energy to heat in order to drive a turbine-powered electrical generator.

There have been many claims about the capabilities of helium-3 power plants. According to proponents, fusion power plants operating on deuterium and helium-3 would offer lower capital and operating costs than their competitors due to less technical complexity, higher conversion efficiency, smaller size, the absence of radioactive fuel, no air or water pollution, and only low-level radioactive waste disposal requirements. Recent estimates suggest that about $6 billion in investment capital will be required to develop and construct the first helium-3 fusion power plant. Financial breakeven at today's wholesale electricity prices (5 US cents per kilowatt-hour) would occur after five 1-gigawatt plants were on line, replacing old conventional plants or meeting new demand.

The reality is not so clear-cut. The most advanced fusion programs in the world are inertial confinement fusion (such as National Ignition Facility) and magnetic confinement fusion (such as ITER and other tokamaks). In the case of the former, there is no solid roadmap to power generation. In the case of the latter, commercial power generation is not expected until around 2050. In both cases, the type of fusion discussed is the simplest: D-T fusion. The reason for this is the very low Coulomb barrier for this reaction; for D+3He, the barrier is much higher, and it is even higher for 3He–3He. The immense cost of reactors like ITER and National Ignition Facility are largely due to their immense size, yet to scale up to higher plasma temperatures would require reactors far larger still. The 14.7 MeV proton and 3.6 MeV alpha particle from D–3He fusion, plus the higher conversion efficiency, means that more electricity is obtained per kilogram than with D-T fusion (17.6 MeV), but not that much more. As a further downside, the rates of reaction for helium-3 fusion reactions are not particularly high, requiring a reactor that is larger still or more reactors to produce the same amount of electricity.

To attempt to work around this problem of massively large power plants that may not even be economical with D-T fusion, let alone the far more challenging D–3He fusion, a number of other reactors have been proposed – the Fusor, Polywell, Focus fusion, and many more, though many of these concepts have fundamental problems with achieving a net energy gain, and generally attempt to achieve fusion in thermal disequilibrium, something that could potentially prove impossible, and consequently, these long-shot programs tend to have trouble garnering funding despite their low budgets. Unlike the "big", "hot" fusion systems, however, if such systems were to work, they could scale to the higher barrier "aneutronic" fuels, and therefore their proponents tend to promote p-B fusion, which requires no exotic fuels like helium-3.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Best Formula One Driver

Michael Schumacher (born 3 January 1969) is a retired German racing driver who raced in Formula One for Benetton and Ferrari, where he spent the majority of his career, as well as for Mercedes upon his brief return to the sport. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers, and regarded by some as the greatest of all time, Schumacher is the only driver in history to win seven Formula One World Championships, five of which he won consecutively. The most successful driver in the history of the sport, Schumacher holds the records for the most World Championship titles (7), the most Grand Prix wins (91), the most pole positions (68) (along with Lewis Hamilton), the most fastest laps (77) and the most races won in a single season (13), and according to the official Formula One website, Schumacher is "statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen".

                                                             Schumacher in 2012

After success in karting as a child, Schumacher won titles in Formula König and Formula Three before joining Mercedes in the World Sportscar Championship. In 1991, his Mercedes-funded race debut for the Jordan Formula One team resulted in Schumacher being signed by Benetton for the rest of that season. He finished third in 1992 and fourth in 1993, before becoming the first German World Drivers' Champion in 1994 by one point over Damon Hill. In 1995 he repeated the success, this time with a greater margin. In 1996, Schumacher moved to Ferrari, who had last won the Driver's Championship in 1979, and helped them transform into the most successful team in Formula One history, as he came close to winning the 1997 and 1998 titles, before breaking his leg at the 1999 British Grand Prix, ending another title run.

Schumacher won five consecutive drivers' titles from 2000 to 2004, including an unprecedented sixth and seventh title. In 2002, Schumacher won the title with a record six races remaining and finished on the podium in every race. In 2004, Schumacher won twelve out of the first thirteen races and went on to win a record 13 times as he won his final title. Schumacher retired from Formula One in 2006, after finishing runner-up to Renault's Fernando Alonso. Schumacher returned to Formula One in 2010 with Mercedes. He produced the fastest qualifying time at the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix, and achieved his only podium on his return at the 2012 European Grand Prix, where he finished third. In October 2012, Schumacher announced he would retire for a second time at the end of the season.

His career was not without controversy, as he was twice involved in collisions in the final race of a season that determined the outcome of the World Championship, with Damon Hill in 1994 in Adelaide, and with Jacques Villeneuve in 1997 in Jerez. Schumacher is an ambassador for UNESCO and has been involved in numerous humanitarian efforts throughout his life, donating tens of millions of dollars to charity. Schumacher and his younger brother, Ralf, are the only brothers to win races in Formula One, and they were the first brothers to finish 1st and 2nd in the same race, a feat they repeated in four subsequent races.

In December 2013, Schumacher suffered a traumatic brain injury in a skiing accident. He was placed in a medically induced coma for six months until 16 June 2014. He left the hospital in Grenoble for further rehabilitation at the University Hospital of Lausanne. On 9 September 2014, Schumacher was relocated to his home where he continues to receive medical treatment and rehabilitation privately.

Monday, August 28, 2017

1980 Swiss Opera House Riot

Opernhauskrawalle is the Swiss German term generally used for the youth protests at the end of May 1980 in the Swiss city of Zürich, a municipality in the Canton of Zürich. Also called Züri brännt ("Zürich is burning"), this even marked the 'rebirth' of the Hippie movement in Switzerland in the 1980s.


A three-day celebration of the Zürich Opernhaus and the opening of a festival was celebrated on 30 May 1980. Uninvited, about 200 protesters demanded an autonomous youth center. The communal Stadtpolizei Zürich and state Kantonspolizei Zürich police corps were informed before and stationed in the foyer of the opera house. As the youths occupied the stairs, the demonstration degenerated into a street battle between the demonstrators and the police, who were equipped with water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets. A public referendum contributed to the riots, as the city of Zurich planned to grant CHF 61 million to the opera house of the rich Zürich people for a renovation and an extension of the building, but nothing to the planned Rote Fabrik in Zürich-Wollishofen, on the other side of the Zürichsee lake shore. The demands of the young people to have their own cultural center had been studiously ignored for years. Their reaction was now "long pent-up anger" as a newspaper headlined. "Züri brännt" is a household word, and is originally a punk song of the band TNT. Andreas Homoki, director of the opera house, described the situation in the "hot summer of 1980" as explosive, and in fact "there was not enough room for a youth culture", and that the then astronomical subvention on the one hand and on the other hand, the lack of commitment for the youth by the then conservative government of Zürich.

Thus, the extremely high subventions, but lacking of alternative governmental cultural programs for the youth in Zürich, occurred the so-called Opernhauskrawall, meaning riots or youth protests at the Zürich Opera House (German: Opernhaus). The youth protests culminated on 30/31 May 1980, at the present Sechseläutenplatz square in Zürich, but also in the whole city, spreading to others municipalities in Switzerland in 1980 and again in 1982. The youth protests mark the beginning of the modern youth movement in Switzerland, maybe started a hype of the alternative and former Hippie movement.


A first political compromise was the so-called AJZ (a shorttime youth centre at the Zürich main station), and the establishment of the so-called Rote Fabrik alternative cultural centre in Wollishofen in late 1980. Rote Fabrik still exists, and claims to be one of the most important alternative cultural places in the greater Zürich urban area. The most prominent politicians involved were Sigmund Widmer and Emilie Lieberherr, then member of the city's executive (Stadtrat) authorities. The Swiss newspaper WOZ Die Wochenzeitung exposed in 2006 that even an undercover police officer saw action in 1980 – in October 2016 a book about Willi S's double life as revoluzzer and police officer was published.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Video Game Walkthrough Guides

A video game walkthrough is a guide aimed towards improving a player's skill within a particular video game and often designed to assist players in completing either an entire video game or specific elements. Walkthroughs may alternatively be set up as a play-through, where players record themselves playing through a game and upload or live-stream it to the internet. Walkthroughs may be considered guides on helping to enhance the experience of players, to assist towards unlocking game achievements or simply as a means to socialize with like-minded individuals as a distraction from everyday life.

Walkthroughs originated as text-based descriptive instructions in magazines for playing through a video game. With the growth in popularity of computers and the internet, video game walkthroughs expanded to digital and video formats, with the typical average age of watchers being 23 years old and predominently male, according to a study undertaken in Finland during 2015. Some individuals and companies have been known to earn lucrative income through the process of recording and offering guides publicly.


Video game walkthroughs were originally included in video game magazines or on text-bulletin boards. In the late 1980s through to the mid 2000s, video game walkthroughs were also available through telephone 'hot-lines' in the United States. Despite the rise in popularity of internet based guides, text-based walkthroughs are still present today in both print and digital formats. Examples of print publications include strategy guides published by Prima Games, whereas text-based digital guides are hosted on gaming websites such as IGN, GamesRadar, and GameFAQs, often in the form of wikis. Until its closure by parent company Future plc, Computer and Video Games (CVG) also created and hosted digital guides on their (now defunct) website,

Player created digital walkthroughs are typically designed to assist other players in accomplishing certain feats within video games and are similar to text-based or telephony-based walkthroughs, except they can also be solely for entertainment purposes. These digital walkthroughs are typically uploaded to video sharing websites such as YouTube or live-streamed play-throughs to media streaming sites such as Let's Play videos are a special type of walkthrough generally more focused on entertaining rather than informing the viewer through humorous commentary given by the video's host as they complete the game.


Given there is no standardized format for the creation of text-based walkthroughs, guides exist that contain extensive examples and step-by-step instructions on how to write text-based walkthrough content. Prima Games and Computer and Video Games have produced walkthroughs. Prima Games produces official, dedicated text-based video game walkthroughs and strategy guides for a variety of video games in both print and digital formats. Computer and Video Games (CVG) published both text and video based walkthroughs of video games on their website and official YouTube channel until their closure by Future in February of 2015 in asset consolidation between various Future brands. IGN also creates and publishes video game walkthroughs in both text and video formats.

When it comes to video walkthroughs of games, gameplay may be recorded in multiple ways, such as through the use of screencast software, built-in recording features in some emulators or via a video capture device connected to a console or another computer. Some video games also include built-in recording features, such as Grand Theft Auto V (2013), which included in-game recording and editing features in its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One re-releases, allowing players to record and edit gameplay to share with others. Video content is typically shared over the internet via streaming, using video sharing and media streaming websites such as YouTube and Twitch, where the content has a potential audience consisting of millions of people.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Hurricane Harvey (2017)

Hurricane Harvey is a currently active tropical cyclone that recently made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane. It is the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-year period with no storms making landfall in the United States as a major hurricane. Harvey is the first hurricane to hit the state of Texas since Ike in 2008, and the strongest to hit the state since Carla in 1961. In addition, it is the strongest hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico since Hurricane Rita in 2005 and the strongest to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Charley in 2004.

                                                       Track of 2017 Hurricane Harvey
The eighth named storm, third hurricane, and the first major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Harvey developed from a tropical wave to the east of the Lesser Antilles on August 17. The storm crossed through the Windward Islands on the following day, passing just south of Barbados and later near Saint Vincent. Upon entering the Caribbean Sea, Harvey began to weaken due to moderate wind shear and degenerated into a tropical wave north of Colombia early on August 19. The remnants were monitored for regeneration as it continued west-northwestward across the Caribbean and the Yucatán Peninsula, before re-developing over the Bay of Campeche on August 23. Harvey then began to rapidly intensify on August 24, re-gaining tropical storm status and becoming a hurricane later that day. Moving generally northwestwards, Harvey's intensification phase stalled slightly overnight from August 24–25, however Harvey soon resumed strengthening and became a Category 4 hurricane late on August 25. Hours later, Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas at peak intensity.

Hurricane Harvey has been confirmed to have caused at least 2 fatalities; one in Suriname and another in the United States

President Donald Trump remained in contact with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and received a briefing from acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long. FEMA worked with the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prepare for the storm and its aftermath. The agency placed disaster response teams on standby at emergency posts in Austin, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Nazi Bank Note Counterfeiting

Operation Bernhard was an exercise by the Nazis to forge British bank notes. The initial plan was to drop the notes over Britain to bring about a collapse of the British economy. The first phase was run from early 1940 by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) under the title Unternehmen Andreas (Operation Andreas). The unit successfully duplicated the rag paper used by the British, produced near-identical engraving blocks and broke the algorithm used to create the alpha-numeric serial code on each note. The unit closed in early 1942 after its head, Alfred Naujocks, fell out of favour with his superior officer, Reinhard Heydrich.

The operation was revived later in the year; the aim was changed to forging money to finance German intelligence operations. Instead of a specialist unit within the SD, prisoners from Nazi concentration camps were selected and sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp to work under SS Major Bernhard Krüger. The unit produced British notes until mid-1945; estimates vary of the number and value of notes printed from £132.6 million up to £300 million. By the time the unit ceased production, they had perfected the artwork for US dollars, although the paper and serial numbers were still being analysed. The counterfeit money was laundered in exchange for money and other assets. Counterfeit notes from the operation were used to pay the Turkish agent Elyesa Bazna—code named Cicero—for his work in obtaining British secrets from the British ambassador in Ankara, and £100,000 from Operation Bernhard was used to obtain information that helped to free the Italian leader Benito Mussolini in the Gran Sasso raid in September 1943.

In early 1945 the unit was moved to Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria, then to the Redl-Zipf series of tunnels and finally to Ebensee concentration camp. Because of an overly precise interpretation of a German order, the prisoners were not executed on their arrival; they were liberated shortly afterwards by the American Army. Much of the output of the unit was dumped into the Toplitz and Grundlsee lakes at the end of the war, but enough went into general circulation that the Bank of England stopped releasing new notes and issued a new design after the war. The operation has been dramatised in a comedy-drama miniseries Private Schulz by the BBC and in a 2007 film, The Counterfeiters (Die Fälscher).

On seeing the quality of the notes, one bank official described them as "the most dangerous ever seen". Counterfeit notes worth £15–20 million were in general circulation at the end of the war. With such a volume in general circulation, in April 1943 the Bank of England stopped releasing all notes of £10 and above. In February 1957 a new £5 banknote was issued; the blue note was printed on both sides and "relied on subtle colour changes and detailed machine engraving" for security. Other denominations were also reintroduced: the £10 in February 1964, the £20 in July 1970 and the £50 note in March 1981.

The Tilhas Tizig Gesheften, a small group formed from the British Army's Jewish Brigade, obtained a supply of counterfeit pounds from Jaacov Levy, one of Schwend's money-laundering agents. The forged notes were used to buy equipment and to bring displaced persons to Palestine, in defiance of the British blockade of the territory.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Primer on Animation

Animation is the process of making the illusion of motion and the illusion of change by means of the rapid succession of sequential images that minimally differ from each other. The illusion—as in motion pictures in general—is thought to rely on the phi phenomenon and beta movement, but the exact causes are still unclear.

There are some forms of animation that do not feature a rapid succession of sequential images, but these are usually not considered "true" or "full" animation. For instance, the physical movement of image parts through simple mechanics in magic lantern slides and the movement of the projector (the magic lantern) in phantasmagoria provided popular moving picture shows.

Animators are artists who specialize in the creation of animation. Animation can be recorded with either analogue media, a flip book, motion picture film, video tape, digital media, including formats with animated GIF, Flash animation, and digital video. To display animation, a digital camera, computer, or projector are used along with new technologies that are produced.

Animation methods include traditional animation, and methods that use stop motion animation of two and three-dimensional objects, paper cutouts, puppets, and clay figures. Images display in a rapid succession, usually 24, 25, 30, or 60 frames per second. Computer animation processes generating animated images with the general term computer-generated imagery (CGI). 3D animation uses computer graphics, while 2D animation is used for stylistic, low bandwidth and faster real-time renderings.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

The 12 Basic Principles of Animation

Squash and Stretch
Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose
Follow Through and Overlapping Action
Slow In and Slow Out
Secondary Action
Solid drawing

          [see the link below for a thorough description of each of these principles]

Disney's Twelve Basic Principles of Animation were introduced by the Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas in their 1981 book The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation. Johnston and Thomas in turn based their book on the work of the leading Disney animators from the 1930s onwards, and their effort to produce more realistic animations. The main purpose of the principles was to produce an illusion of characters adhering to the basic laws of physics, but they also dealt with more abstract issues, such as emotional timing and character appeal.

The book and some of its principles have been adopted by some traditional studios, and have been referred to by some as the "Bible of animation." In 1999 this book was voted number one of the "best animation books of all time" in an online poll. Though originally intended to apply to traditional, hand-drawn animation, the principles still have great relevance for today's more prevalent computer animation.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Coming: Intelligent Automation

Great Links About the Coming Revolution in Automation
By the Blog Author

The Structural Jobs Fiasco No One Knows How to Deal With from 2014 (includes a grueling, 15-minute video about automation): 

The middle of this linked article leads to this 15 minute video, “Humans Need Not Apply.”  In the middle of the video is a diagram that displays the heart of artificial intelligence programming, a neural network that consists of:

             Inner Layer
             Hidden Layer
             Output Layer

The “hidden layer” is set up in a manner that mimics the wiring of the cerebral cortex of the brain.


For decades, I contended that the human brain doesn’t have and doesn’t need a central processing unit (CPU) as exists for computers since the CPU was invented by John von Neumann in 1947.  Computers still run on CPU architecture.  So I have stated many times that computers will never “really” achieve genuine artificial intelligence until they achieve a design that doesn’t need the CPU.

But a neural network with a hidden layer will provide a substitute kind of brute force intelligence if the memory available is large enough… millions and millions of bytes… which are now available on modern computers.  For details and a diagram of the neural network that is identical to the above video, see:

As a result of these searches, I retract my former contention that genuine artificial intelligence certainly requires a computer without a CPU.  If the hidden layer has huge memory capacity, it may exhibit intelligence.  Which means the article and video linked above are to be taken very seriously.

PS:  I have ordered a 1965 paperback that includes the novella “The Midas Plague,” by Frederick Pohl.  It describes an analogy to a world where machines make everything.  It hasn’t arrived yet.  I only ordered it because of the deserved fame and genius of Pohl.  I read some of his stories back in the 1960s and early 1970s, but not this one.

PPS:  The political left (weary sigh) has already rolfed up the notion that intelligent automation will create permanent high unemployment and therefore make a mandatory free base wage (sometimes called a “negative income tax”) absolutely necessary.  My personal view is that this approach is an incompetent bribe that will be fiercely resented by the recipients.  The new unemployed need to interface with artificial intelligence and plot their own futures.  Trapping intelligent people into living as couch potatoes will result in millions of resentful addicts.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Triple Talaq Banned in India

Triple talaq (also known as talaq-e-mughallazah—Irrevocable divorce) is a form of Islamic divorce that was practised by Muslims in India. It allowed any Muslim man to legally divorce his wife by stating the word talaq (the Arabic word for "divorce") three times in verbal, written, or more recently electronic form. It has been a subject of controversy and debates within the country, raising the issues of justice, gender equality, human rights and secularism. The government of India and the Supreme Court of India have been involved in addressing the issues. On 22 August 2017, the Indian Supreme Court struck down instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) and termed it unconstitutional. Three judges on the five judge Constitution bench decided against triple talaq while two ruled in favour.

The issue has also caused a debate on the need for a uniform civil code in India.


Triple talaq is a form of divorce that was practiced in India, whereby a Muslim man could legally divorce his wife by pronouncing talaq (the Arabic word for divorce) three times. The pronouncement could be oral or written, or, in recent times, delivered by electronic means such as telephone, SMS, email or social media. The man did not need to cite any cause for the divorce and the wife need not be present at the time of pronouncement. After a period of iddat, during which it is ascertained whether the wife is pregnant, the divorce becomes irrevocable. In the recommended practice, a waiting period was required before each pronouncement of talaq, during which reconciliation is attempted. However, it had become common to make all three pronouncements in one sitting. While the practice was frowned upon, it was not prohibited. A divorced woman might not remarry her divorced husband unless she first married another man, a practice called Nikah Halala. Until she remarried, she retained the custody of male toddlers and pre-pubertal female children. Beyond those restrictions, the children came under the guardianship of the father.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), had told the Supreme Court that women could also pronounce triple talaq, and could execute nikahnamas that stipulated conditions so that the husbands could not pronounce triple talaq. The practice of instant divorce is already banned in 20 Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan.


A multi-faith bench heard the controversial Triple Talaq case in 2017. Though 2 judges upheld validity of Triple Talaq (Talaq-e-Biddat), the three other judges held that it was unconstitutional, thus barring the practice by 3:2 majority. The bench asked the Central government to promulgate legislation within six months to govern marriage and divorce in the Muslim community. The court said that until the government formulates a law regarding Triple Talaq, there would be an injunction against husbands pronouncing triple talaq on their wives.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Dogs of War (novel)

The Dogs of War (1974) is a war novel by Frederick Forsyth featuring a small group of European and African mercenary soldiers hired by a British industrialist to depose the government of the fictional African country of Zangaro.

An eponymous film was released in 1980, based upon the novel and directed by John Irvin. The movie was filmed on location in Belize.

The mercenary protagonists, like the protagonist in the author's earlier novel The Day of the Jackal (1971), are professional killers—ruthless, violent men, heroic only in the loosest sense of the word. Thus, they are anti-heroes. Initially introduced as simply killers, as the novel progresses they are gradually shown to adhere to a relatively moral mercenary code; however as the mercenary leader Shannon tries to explain at one point, it is difficult for civilians to understand this.

The story details a geologist's mineral discovery, and the preparations for the attack: soldier recruitment, training, reconnaissance, and the logistics of the coup d'état (buying weapons, transport, payment). Like most of Forsyth's work, the novel is more about the protagonists' occupational tradecraft than their characters. The source of the title, The Dogs of War, is Act III, scene 1, line 270 of Julius Caesar (1599), by William Shakespeare: Cry, 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war.

Forsyth draws upon his journalistic experiences in reporting the 1970 Biafran War between Biafra and Nigeria; though fictional, the African 'Republic of Zangaro', is based upon Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish colony. The novel's dedication to five men named Giorgio, Christian, Schlee, Big Marc and Black Johnny and "the others in the unmarked graves" concludes: "at least we tried"—and clearly alludes to Forsyth's time in Biafra; the dark tone and cynical plot of the story stem from the same source.


While researching the story of The Dogs of War, Frederick Forsyth pretended to be preparing a coup d'état against Equatorial Guinea on behalf of the Igbo people whom he passionately supports; he was told it would cost 240,000 US dollars.

Five years after the 1973 attempted coup d'état, Forsyth's research was subject of a feature story in the London Times, in 1978, that posited he had commissioned the operation in earnest; many people believed he was planning a real coup d'état in Equatorial Guinea. Later, Forsyth said that arms dealers were the most frightening people he had ever met; the mercenaries Mike Hoare, Bob Denard, "Black Jack" Schramme and Rolf Steiner are all name-checked in the novel.

Forsyth's African activities of that time are an extremely controversial subject, and it is difficult to separate fact and fiction; however, as UK National Archives documents released in 2005 disclose, in early 1973 several people in Gibraltar were planning a coup d'état against Equatorial Guinea, in the manner described in The Dogs of War. Spain arrested several mercenaries in the Canary Islands on 23 January 1973, foiling the plot (cf. Roberts, The Wonga Coup [2006]). Although it is difficult to separate what Forsyth pretended to do from what he might have planned to do, it is now reasonably clear, in view of the released documents, that several people were planning a coup d'état, as described by Forsyth, at the time he was researching his novel. Ironically there was a coup d'état in Equatorial Guinea in 1979 – the left-wing dictator of Equatorial Guinea was overthrown and killed by his nephew, the current right-wing dictator of Equatorial Guinea. In 2004, in a copycat plan based on Forsyth's fictional book, an actual attempted coup d'état against Equatorial Guinea, intended to secure lucrative mining rights granted by a client puppet government, involved Mark Thatcher, who was intending to trade on his mother's (British prime minister Margaret Thatcher) connections and reputation to call favours, and the mercenary Simon Mann, who subsequently stood trial and was convicted. {Thatcher received a suspended 4-year sentence; Mann was sentenced to 34 years in 2008 but was pardoned in 2009}

In Ken Connor's book How to Stage a Military Coup, the author praises The Dogs of War as a textbook for mercenaries; in much the same way that Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal is appreciated as a guide for assassins.

Film Adaptation

United Artists released a 1980 film adaptation directed by John Irvin and starring Christopher Walken and Tom Berenger.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Some Anti-Fairy Tales

An anti-fairy tale, also called anti-tale, is a fairy tale which, unlike an ordinary one, has a tragic, rather than a happy ending, with the antagonists winning and the protagonists losing at the end of the story. Whereas fairy tales paint a magical, utopian world, anti-fairy tales paint a dark world of nastiness and cruelty. Such stories incorporate horror, black comedy, mean-spirited practical jokes on innocent characters, sudden and often cruel plot twists, and biting satire. The term (German: Antimärchen) was introduced by Andrè Jolles  in his Einfache Formen (1930).

Examples of anti-fairy tales include "The Fisherman and His Wife" and "The Swineherd". The term is also used to refer to remakes of traditional "happy" fairy tales into "unhappy" ones. The Shrek film series, which parodies and satirises fairy tales, includes several elements of anti-fairy tales such as the deaths of heroic characters and scatalogical humour.

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Example: The Fisherman and his Wife


There is a poor fisherman who lives with his wife in a hovel by the sea. One day the fisherman catches a golden flounder, which claims to be an enchanted prince, and begs to be set free. The fisherman kindly releases it. When his wife hears the story, she says he ought to have had the flounder grant him a wish, and insists that he go back and ask the flounder to grant her wish for a nice house.

The fisherman returns to the shore but is uneasy when he finds that the sea seems to becoming turbid, as it was so clear before. He makes up a rhyme to summon the flounder, and it grants the wife's wish. The fisherman is pleased with his new wealth, but the wife is not and demands more -- that her husband go back and wish that he be made a king. Reluctantly, he does, and gets his wish. But again and again, his wife sends him back to ask for more and more. The fisherman knows this is wrong but there is no reasoning with his wife. He says they should not annoy the flounder, and be content with what they have been given, but his wife is not content. Each time, the flounder grants the wishes, but each time the sea grows more and more fierce.

Eventually, the wife goes too far when she wishes to command the sun, moon and heavens, and become equal to God. When that final wish is made, the flounder undoes all the wishes, and returns the fisherman and his wife to their hovel. And with that, the sea becomes calm once more.

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Example: The Willful Child


Once upon a time there was a child who was willful and would not do what her mother wished. For this reason, God had no pleasure in her, and let her become ill. No doctor could do her any good, and in a short time the child lay on her deathbed. When she had been lowered into her grave, and the earth was spread over her, all at once her little arm came out again and reached upward. And when they had pushed it back in the ground and spread fresh earth over it, it was all to no purpose, for the arm always came out again. Then the mother herself was obliged to go to the grave and strike the arm with a rod. When she had done that, the arm was drawn in, and at last the child had to rest beneath the ground. And everything went back to normal.

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Example: Frau Trude


A willful little girl will not obey her parents and, having taken it into her head that she wants to see Frau Trude, goes in spite of all their warnings. She arrives terrified, and Frau Trude questions her. She tells of seeing a black man on her steps (a collier, says Frau Trude), a green man (a huntsman), a red man (a butcher), and, looking through her window, the devil instead of Frau Trude.

Frau Trude says she saw the witch in her proper attire, and that she had been waiting for the girl. She turned her into a block of wood and threw her onto the fire, and then warmed herself by it, commenting on how bright the block made the fire.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Carnot, Father of Thermodynamics

Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot (1 June 1796 – 24 August 1832) was a French military engineer and physicist, often described as the "father of thermodynamics". In his only publication, the 1824 monograph Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, Carnot gave the first successful theory of the maximum efficiency of heat engines. Carnot's work attracted little attention during his lifetime, but it was later used by Rudolf Clausius and Lord Kelvin to formalize the second law of thermodynamics and define the concept of entropy.

                                                              Sadi Carnot at age 17
Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire


When Carnot began working on his book, steam engines had achieved widely recognized economic and industrial importance, but there had been no real scientific study of them. Newcomen had invented the first piston-operated steam engine over a century before, in 1712; some 50 years after that, James Watt made his celebrated improvements, which were responsible for greatly increasing the efficiency and practicality of steam engines. Compound engines (engines with more than one stage of expansion) had already been invented, and there was even a crude form of internal-combustion engine, with which Carnot was familiar and which he described in some detail in his book. Although there existed some intuitive understanding of the workings of engines, scientific theory for their operation was almost nonexistent. In 1824 the principle of conservation of energy was still poorly developed and controversial, and an exact formulation of the first law of thermodynamics was still more than a decade away; the mechanical equivalence of heat would not be formulated for another two decades. The prevalent theory of heat was the caloric theory, which regarded heat as a sort of weightless and invisible fluid that flowed when out of equilibrium.

Engineers in Carnot's time had tried, by means such as highly pressurized steam and the use of fluids, to improve the efficiency of engines. In these early stages of engine development, the efficiency of a typical engine — the useful work it was able to do when a given quantity of fuel was burned — was only 3%.

Carnot cycle

Carnot wanted to answer two questions about the operation of heat engines: "Is the work available from a heat source potentially unbounded?" and "Can heat engines in principle be improved by replacing the steam with some other working fluid or gas?" He attempted to answer these in a memoir, published as a popular work in 1824 when he was only 28 years old. It was entitled Réflexions sur la Puissance Motrice du Feu ("Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire"). The book was plainly intended to cover a rather wide range of topics about heat engines in a rather popular fashion; equations were kept to a minimum and called for little more than simple algebra and arithmetic, except occasionally in the footnotes, where he indulged in a few arguments involving some calculus. He discussed the relative merits of air and steam as working fluids, the merits of various aspects of steam engine design, and even included some ideas of his own regarding possible improvements of the practical nature. The most important part of the book was devoted to an abstract presentation of an idealized engine that could be used to understand and clarify the fundamental principles that are generally applied to all heat engines, independent of their design.

Perhaps the most important contribution Carnot made to thermodynamics was his abstraction of the essential features of the steam engine, as they were known in his day, into a more general and idealized heat engine. This resulted in a model thermodynamic system upon which exact calculations could be made, and avoided the complications introduced by many of the crude features of the contemporary steam engine. By idealizing the engine, he could arrive at clear and indisputable answers to his original two questions.

He showed that the efficiency of this idealized engine is a function only of the two temperatures of the reservoirs between which it operates. He did not, however, give the exact form of the function, which was later shown to be (T1T2)/T1, where T1 is the absolute temperature of the hotter reservoir. (Note: This equation probably came from Kelvin.) No thermal engine operating any other cycle can be more efficient, given the same operating temperatures.

The Carnot cycle is the most efficient possible engine, not only because of the (trivial) absence of friction and other incidental wasteful processes; the main reason is that it assumes no conduction of heat between parts of the engine at different temperatures. Carnot knew that the conduction of heat between bodies at different temperatures is a wasteful and irreversible process, which must be eliminated if the heat engine is to achieve maximum efficiency.

Regarding the second point, he also was quite certain that the maximum efficiency attainable did not depend upon the exact nature of the working fluid. He stated this for emphasis as a general proposition:

The motive power of heat is independent of the agents employed to realize it; its quantity is fixed solely by the temperatures of the bodies between which is effected, finally, the transfer of caloric.

— Carnot 1890, p. 68

For his "motive power of heat", we would today say "the efficiency of a reversible heat engine", and rather than "transfer of caloric" we would say "the reversible transfer of entropy ∆S" or "the reversible transfer of heat at a given temperature Q/T". He knew intuitively that his engine would have the maximum efficiency, but was unable to state what that efficiency would be.

He concluded:

The production of motive power is therefore due in steam engines not to actual consumption of caloric but to its transportation from a warm body to a cold body.

— Carnot 1960, p. 7


In the fall of caloric, motive power evidently increases with the difference of temperature between the warm and cold bodies, but we do not know whether it is proportional to this difference.

— Carnot 1960, p. 15

In an idealized model, the caloric transported from a hot to a cold body by a frictionless heat engine that lacks of conductive heat flow, driven by a difference of temperature, yielding work, could also be used to transport the caloric back to the hot body by reversing the motion of the engine consuming the same amount of work, a concept subsequently known as thermodynamic reversibility. Carnot further postulated that no caloric is lost during the operation of his idealized engine. The process being completely reversible, executed by this kind of heat engine is the most efficient possible process. The assumption that heat conduction driven by a temperature difference cannot exist, so that no caloric is lost by the engine, guided him to design the Carnot-cycle to be operated by his idealized engine. The cycle is consequently composed of adiabatic processes where no heat/caloric ∆S = 0 flows and isothermal processes where heat is transferred ∆S > 0 but no temperature difference ∆T = 0 exist. The proof of the existence of a maximum efficiency for heat engines is as follows:

As the cycle named after him doesn't waste caloric, the reversible engine has to use this cycle. Imagine now two large bodies, a hot and a cold one. He postulates now the existence of a heat machine with a greater efficiency. We couple now two idealized machine but of different efficiencies and connect them to the same hot and the same cold body. The first and less efficient one lets a constant amount of entropy ∆S = Q/T flow from hot to cold during each cycle, yielding an amount of work denoted W. If we use now this work to power the other more efficient machine, it would, using the amount of work W gained during each cycle by the first machine, make an amount of entropy ∆S' > ∆S flow from the cold to the hot body. The net effect is a flow of ∆S' − ∆S ≠ 0 of entropy from the cold to the hot body, while no net work is done. Consequently, the cold body is cooled down and the hot body rises in temperature. As the difference of temperature rises now the yielding of work by the first is greater in the successive cycles and due to the second engine difference in temperature of the two bodies stretches by each cycle even more. In the end this set of machines would be a perpetuum mobile that cannot exist. This proves that the assumption of the existence of a more efficient engine was wrong so that an heat engine that operates the Carnot cycle must be the most efficient one. This means that a frictionless heat engine that lacks of conductive heat flow driven by a difference of temperature shows maximum possible efficiency.

He concludes further that the choice of the working fluid, its density or the volume occupied by it cannot change this maximum efficiency. Using the equivalence of any working gas used in heat engines he deduced that the difference in the specific heat of a gas measured at constant pressure and at constant volume must be constant for all gases. By comparing the operation of his hypothetical heat engines for two different volumes occupied by the same amount of working gas he correctly deduces the relation between entropy and volume for an isothermal process:

Reception and Philosophical Views

Carnot's book received very little attention from his contemporaries. The only reference to it within a few years after its publication was in a review in the periodical Revue Encyclopédique, which was a journal that covered a wide range of topics in literature. The impact of the work had only become apparent once it was modernized by Émile Clapeyron in 1834 and then further elaborated upon by Clausius and Kelvin, who together derived from it the concept of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics.

On Carnot's religious views, he was a Philosophical theist. As a deist, he believed in divine causality, stating that "what to an ignorant man is chance, cannot be chance to one better instructed," but he did not believe in divine punishment. He criticized established religion, though at the same time spoke in favor of "the belief in an all-powerful Being, who loves us and watches over us."

He was a reader of Blaise Pascal, Molière and Jean de La Fontaine.

Death and Ultimate Reputation

Carnot died during a cholera epidemic in 1832, at the age of 36. (Asimov 1982, p. 332) Because of the contagious nature of cholera, many of Carnot's belongings and writings were buried together with him after his death. As a consequence, only a handful of his scientific writings survived.

After the publication of Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, the book quickly went out of print and for some time was very difficult to obtain. Kelvin, for one, had a difficult time getting a copy of Carnot's book. In 1890 an English translation of the book was published by R. H. Thurston; this version has been reprinted in recent decades by Dover and by Peter Smith, most recently by Dover in 2005. Some of Carnot's posthumous manuscripts have also been translated into English.

Carnot published his book in the heyday of steam engines. His theory explained why steam engines using superheated steam were better because of the higher temperature of the consequent hot reservoir. Carnot's theories and efforts did not immediately help improve the efficiency of steam engines; his theories only helped to explain why one existing practice was superior to others. It was only towards the end of the nineteenth century that Carnot's ideas, namely that a heat engine can be made more efficient if the temperature of its hot reservoir is increased, were put into practice. Carnot's book did, however, eventually have a real impact on the design of practical engines. Rudolf Diesel, for example, used Carnot's theories to design the diesel engine, in which the temperature of the hot reservoir is much higher than that of a steam engine, resulting in an engine which is more efficient.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The "Bone Wars": Marsh vs Cope

The Bone Wars, also known as the "Great Dinosaur Rush", was a period of intense and ruthlessly competitive fossil hunting and discovery during the Gilded Age of American history, marked by a heated rivalry between Edward Drinker Cope (of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia) and Othniel Charles Marsh (of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale). Each of the two paleontologists used underhanded methods to try to outdo the other in the field, resorting to bribery, theft, and destruction of bones. Each scientist also sought to ruin his rival's reputation and cut off his funding using attacks in scientific publications.

                                                   Marsh (left) and Cope (right)

Their search for fossils led them west to rich bone beds in Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming. From 1877 to 1892, both paleontologists used their wealth and influence to finance their own expeditions and to procure services and dinosaur bones from fossil hunters. By the end of the Bone Wars, both men had exhausted their funds in the pursuit of paleontological supremacy.

Cope and Marsh were financially and socially ruined by their attempts to outcompete and disgrace each other, but their contributions to science and the field of paleontology were massive, and provided substantial material for further work—both scientists left behind many unopened boxes of fossils after their deaths. The efforts of the two men led to over 136 new species of dinosaurs being discovered and described. The products of the Bone Wars resulted in an increase in knowledge of prehistoric life, and sparked the public's interest in dinosaurs, leading to continued fossil excavation in North America in the decades to follow. Several historical books and fictional adaptations have been published about this period of intense fossil-hunting activity.


At one time, Cope and Marsh were amicable. They met in Berlin in 1864 and spent several days together. They even named species after each other. Over time their relations soured due in part to their strong personalities. Cope was known to be pugnacious and possessed a quick temper; Marsh was slower, more methodical, and introverted. Both were quarrelsome and distrustful. Their differences also extended into the scientific realm as Cope was a firm supporter of Neo-Lamarckism while Marsh supported Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. Even at the best of times both men were inclined to look down on each other subtly. As one observer put it, "The patrician Edward may have considered Marsh not quite a gentleman. The academic Othniel probably regarded Cope as not quite a professional."

Cope and Marsh came from very different backgrounds. Cope was born into a wealthy and influential Quaker family based in Philadelphia. Although his father wanted his son to work as a farmer, Cope distinguished himself as a naturalist. In 1864, already a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Cope became a professor of zoology at Haverford College and joined Ferdinand Hayden on his expeditions west. In contrast, Marsh would have grown up poor, the son of a struggling family in Lockport, New York, had it not been for the benefaction of his uncle, philanthropist George Peabody. Marsh persuaded his uncle to build the Peabody Museum of Natural History, placing Marsh as head of the museum. Combined with the inheritance he received from Peabody upon his death in 1869, Marsh was financially comfortable (although, partly because of Peabody's stern views on marriage, Marsh would remain a lifelong bachelor).

On one occasion, the two scientists had gone on a fossil-collecting expedition to Cope's marl pits in New Jersey, where William Parker Foulke had discovered the holotype specimen of Hadrosaurus foulkii, described by the paleontologist Joseph Leidy (under whom Cope had studied comparative anatomy); this was one of the first American dinosaur finds, and the pits were still rich with fossils. Though the two parted amicably, Marsh secretly bribed the pit operators to divert future fossil finds to him, instead of Cope. The two began attacking each other in papers and publications, and their personal relations deteriorated. Marsh humiliated Cope by pointing out his reconstruction of the plesiosaur Elasmosaurus was flawed, with the head placed where the tail should have been (or so he claimed, 20 years later; it was Leidy who published the correction shortly afterwards). Cope, in turn, began collecting in what Marsh considered his private bone-hunting turf in Kansas and in Wyoming, further damaging their relationship

Personal Disputes

While Cope and Marsh dueled for fossils in the American West, they also tried their best to ruin each other's professional credibility. Humiliated by his error in reconstructing the plesiosaur Elasmosaurus, Cope tried to cover up his mistake by purchasing every copy he could find of the journal it was published in. Marsh, meanwhile, made sure to publicize the story. Cope's own rapid and prodigious output of scientific papers meant that Marsh had no difficulty in finding occasional errors to lambast Cope with. Marsh himself was not infallible; he put the wrong skull on a skeleton of Apatosaurus and declared it a new genus, Brontosaurus.

By the late 1880s, public attention to the fighting between Cope and Marsh faded, drawn to international stories rather than the "Wild West". Thanks to John Wesley Powell, head of the U.S. Geological Survey, and Marsh's contacts with the rich and powerful in Washington, Marsh was placed at the head of the consolidated government survey and was happy to be out of the sensationalist spotlight. Cope was much less well-off, having spent most of his money purchasing The American Naturalist, and had a hard time finding employment thanks to Marsh's allies in higher education and Cope's own temperament. Cope began investing in gold and silver prospects in the West, and braved malarial mosquitos and harsh weather to search for fossils himself. Due to setbacks in mining and a lack of support from the federal government, Cope's financial situation steadily deteriorated, to the point that his fossil collection was his only significant asset. Marsh, meanwhile, alienated even his loyal assistants, including Williston, with his refusal to share his conclusions drawn from their findings, and his continually lax and infrequent payment schedule.

Cope's chance to exploit Marsh's vulnerabilities came in 1884, when Congress began to investigate the proceedings of the consolidated geological survey. Cope had become friends with Henry Fairfield Osborn, then a professor of anatomy at Princeton University. Osborn was like Marsh in many ways, slow and methodical, but would prove a damaging influence on Marsh. Cope searched for disgruntled workers who would speak out against Powell and the Survey. For the moment, Powell and Marsh were able to successfully refute Cope's charges, and his allegations did not reach the mainstream press. Osborn seemed reluctant to step up his campaign against Marsh, so Cope turned to another ally he had mentioned to Osborn—a "newspaper man from New York" named William Hosea Ballou. Despite setbacks in trying to oust Marsh from his presidency of the National Academy of Sciences, Cope received a tremendous financial boost after the University of Pennsylvania offered him a teaching job.