A supermassive black hole is a black hole with a mass in the range of hundreds of thousands to tens of billions of solar masses. It is currently thought that most, if not all galaxies, including the Milky Way, contain a supermassive black hole at their galactic center.
Archive for March, 2008
Posted by madcap on March 21, 2008
Posted by madcap on March 19, 2008
“Barack Obama took the stage this morning to give what was billed as a “major speech on race.” It was, of course, an attempt to rescue his campaign from the revelation that his so-called spiritual mentor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, espouses a virulently anti-American and antiwhite worldview called “black liberation theology.”
“Obama expects us to believe that in the 17 years of attending Reverend Wright’s sermons, he never heard talk of Israeli “state terrorism,” the “US of KKK A” or any of the other myriad insanities uttered by the man he has referred to as his “sounding board.” He wants us to think that in all of his heart-to-heart conversations with his pastor, he never saw the angry, conspiratorial and America-hating minister now topping the charts on YouTube. Many of Obama’s supporters – given the messianic milieu of his campaign – are credulous enough to believe these evasions. But most general election voters will not.”
Rush Limbaugh’s Barack the Magic Negro
Barack Obama Footage 1974 Occidental College President
“Free the weed.”
Posted by madcap on March 18, 2008
Shelby Steele has an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal on how much race plays a major roll in Obama’s popularity. Steele has a great book on this topic titled “White Guilt” that goes into detail on the history and effect of “Black Power”on the black community. The Moyers link is excellent. I think Steele hits the nail on the head in so many ways.
“How to turn one’s blackness to advantage?
The answer is that one “bargains.” Bargaining is a mask that blacks can wear in the American mainstream, one that enables them to put whites at their ease. This mask diffuses the anxiety that goes along with being white in a multiracial society. Bargainers make the subliminal promise to whites not to shame them with America’s history of racism, on the condition that they will not hold the bargainer’s race against him. And whites love this bargain — and feel affection for the bargainer — because it gives them racial innocence in a society where whites live under constant threat of being stigmatized as racist. So the bargainer presents himself as an opportunity for whites to experience racial innocence.
This is how Mr. Obama has turned his blackness into his great political advantage, and also into a kind of personal charisma. Bargainers are conduits of white innocence, and they are as popular as the need for white innocence is strong. Mr. Obama’s extraordinary dash to the forefront of American politics is less a measure of the man than of the hunger in white America for racial innocence.”
But bargainers have an Achilles heel. They succeed as conduits of white innocence only as long as they are largely invisible as complex human beings. They hope to become icons that can be identified with rather than seen, and their individual complexity gets in the way of this. So bargainers are always laboring to stay invisible. (We don’t know the real politics or convictions of Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan or Oprah Winfrey, bargainers all.) Mr. Obama has said of himself, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views . . .” And so, human visibility is Mr. Obama’s Achilles heel. If we see the real man, his contradictions and bents of character, he will be ruined as an icon, as a “blank screen.”
Shelby Steele – Race and the Obama Campaign
“We are a congregation which is Unashamedly White and Unapologetically Christian… Our roots in the White religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an European people, and remain “true to our native land,” the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a White worship service and ministries which address the White Community.
Posted by madcap on March 17, 2008
Posted by madcap on March 15, 2008
This will be it for Obama.
“House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren: “In terms of Sen. Obama, I think he has a credibility question.”
Gingrich continued: “Does he honestly expect the nation to believe that for 20 years, longer than 20 years, according to his own testimony, … he didn’t notice the anti-American rhetoric? I mean, does somebody seriously believe that in over 800 potential Sunday visits, it never once came up, no one ever mentioned it to him? I think that strains credibility.”
Posted by madcap on March 15, 2008
“When we think about the idea of an internal and external universe, there seems to be a mismatch. The external universe is vast, it stretches to unknown frontiers of space and time. The objective world “out there” seems so much larger and significant than the subjective world “in my head.” And when viewed from this perspective it is no wonder that the scientists who focus on the objective universe often dismiss the nonphysical, internal phenomenon of consciousness as “merely subjective.”
In the modernist worldview much greater degrees of reality and significance are attributed to objective entities than to subjective entities. However, when we enlarge our conception of the internal universe to include not only the subjective domain of individual consciousness, but also the intersubjective domain of relationships and human culture as a whole, the internal universe begins to look more substantial. It is important to have some idea of “where” the internal structures of cultural evolution actually exist. These systems of human relationships are not “in the air,” nor are they merely in our minds. They exist in the intersubjective domain of the internal universe.
The idea of the intersubjective domain of evolution can sometimes be difficult to grasp, but one way to see its significance is to ask: what is real? Well, objects are real, consciousness is real, and relationships are real. Indeed, when faced with death, humans fear the loss of their relationships—separation from their loved ones—as that which they dread the most. Relationships have a definite ontological status—their being is as real as anything else.
The difference between a real intersubjective relationship and an imagined (and thus merely subjective) relationship is that real relationships impact us in ways we can’t always anticipate or control. Real relationships move us. And the relationships found in the intersubjective domain encompass more than our personal relations with family, friends and colleagues, they also include what we might call “indirect” relationships—relationships with our favorite authors, artists, musicians, and public figures, living and dead. Indirect relationships can be remote in space or time—they do not require direct contact or real-time communication—yet such relationships can be very significant to our consciousness.
Meaningful relationships need not be directly personal to move us; we can engage in meaningful relationships with our heroes by simply allowing their words, deeds, or art to communicate with us in the present. As long as there is communication (even one-way communication), there is a relationship.
A recent example of the evolution of culture produced through the development of indirect intersubjective relationships is found in the significant impact made by the music of Bob Dylan in the 1960s. When Dylan sang The Times They Are a Changin’ he “sat behind a million eyes and told them what they saw.” His music caused people to agree with him at a deep level of feeling, and those who together formed Dylan’s audience found themselves to be in a kind of indirect relationship with each other to the extent that they were all deeply moved.
The beauty and truth communicated by the music of Dylan and his contemporaries in the sixties produced a solidarity of understanding that helped a new type of culture to be born. We can see the importance of these indirect relationships in the evolution of culture when we realize that all culturally significant works are forms of communication, and that the receipt of this communication always creates an intersubjective relationship between the receiver and the person or group that created it.
When we begin to see the evolving reality of not only the objective external universe and the subjective interior of consciousness, but also the intersubjective realm of relationships, this constitutes a significant new way of seeing things. Just as Descartes’ vision of the objectivity of external reality resulted in the opening of a new frontier of human progress, so too does integral philosophy provide a new way of seeing things by revealing how intersubjectivity (in concert with subjectivity) comprises the internal universe. This idea of intersubjective evolution emerges out of murky abstraction when we begin to see the presence of living systems within the intersubjective realm exhibited in the reality of human relationships. That is, relationships are the real, evolving, living systems of human culture. And, as we will examine below, this vision of relationship systems is fortified by the integral worldview’s recognition and incorporation of the recent discoveries of systems science. As we will see, it is this new understanding of the systems of cultural evolution that endows integral philosophy with the ability to positively impact the condition of human society everywhere.”
Posted by madcap on March 12, 2008
This just came out. I have been waiting for the full version, and now here it is!
Posted by madcap on March 9, 2008
Evidence is presented that the death of White House Deputy Counsel Vince Foster was not a suicide. Expert testimony, contradictory statements from witnesses, official bungling/corruption, the missing bullet, the missing X-rays, the missing crime scene photos, the strange, untraceable gun, the missing papers from Foster‘s office, plus more disturbing evidence and possible motives for his murder, are reviewed in detail.
Posted by madcap on March 8, 2008
Episode 6: Nietzsche on Hardship – British philosopher Alain De Botton explores Friedrich Nietzsche’s (1844-1900) dictum that any worthwhile achievements in life come from the experience of overcoming hardship. For him, any existence that is too comfortable is worthless, as are the twin refugees of drink or religion.
Posted by madcap on March 7, 2008
New Plant Evolution Paper Misfires while Debating the Controversy That Doesn’t Exist
In short, this paper is not about biological origins, it’s an empirical study of the processes of cell wall growth in plants. (As an afterthought in his paper, Kutschera does observe that there are striking similarities between the growth of helicoidal structures in both plants and insects, but he finds that these must be convergent similarities and no where attempts to explain how cell walls evolved.) Why would Kutschera claim that this is evidence against intelligent design?
Fundamentally, intelligent design investigates the origin of the information in life. What Kutschera has done is analogous to a person who opens up a computer and does nothing more than describes how it works. One can study a computer and find that a good one will work without any intelligent oversight as long as it’s plugged into a power source. But that doesn’t mean that the complexity underlying the computer’s operation evolved by a natural process. Such a study may describe how a computer works, but it does not explain how the computer arose in the first place. Thus, Kutschera’s empirical study is worthwhile. But such types of studies do not explain mechanisms of the origins of the first computer—nor of cell walls. Full article