Friday 19th of August 2022

8-10-13-16-19-22-23 — the beauty of consciousness....


8-10-13-16-19-22-23 — the beauty of consciousness.... (The numbers refer to the chart in "a simplified history of religion"... WAR)


... and wars...


As the 100th anniversary of WWI is looming with gloom upon us, we can only reflect on the poor usage we have made of the beauty and of the ability of our consciousness. Not only that, we have used this consciousness as a tool to lie to ourselves — mostly because we did not understand reality and survival may have involved deceit at some stage. Not any more, but hey... we still live in "the age of deceit".


The viciousness of war — wars — could appear unnatural but war is "unnatural" not in its happening but in its ferocity and intent. Intent is part of the fuzziness of stylistic decisions rather than of needs. 


Modern humans mostly developed in the last 10,000 years, though many civilisation by then had developed a sophisticated social consciousness that involved stylist interpretations of reality. For example the earliest stylistic representations that we know of, human activity involving extrapolation into symbolism go back at least 50,000 years, this possibly also in tandem with the use of fire. The stylistic interpretations of reality also exploited images from dreams, which mostly seem to be from a "different reality" and this would have created a confused view of the world. It still does. Dreams often manipulate our angst and other emotions beyond the possible.


In the Neolithic period, human activity was mostly confined to survival of small groups, hunters and gatherers who used very basic crude tools made of stone. Then came the bronze age and the iron age, in which humans, using fire, were able to "manufacture" stronger tools — used in hunting, defence or attack against other groups. Since then, the number of wars has been phenomenal... Human conflicts have helped some "inventiveness" while they have also increased the propensity for viciousness. 


The big melt of about 10-12,000 years ago added another dimension to some areas in which humans lived, as grasses, the grain of which could be eaten, became abundant and also could be "grown selectively by removing others and/or be cultivated". This was a major step changing the focus from hunting and gathering to cultivation and the herding of animals. 


Here came a new diversification of survival with a less immediate need but with a planning element for the future, for the descendants of monkeys. 


Some animals do plan for the future: spiders will set their webs or nets and wait for the prey to be trapped. There is anticipation of a possibility in which survival is dependant of probability. I have seen spiders that busy themselves with making webs for no return and after a few times of this process, the spider could become "empty" of silk, should the previous web be taken down by passing traffic. 


I have seen spiders eat their own web in a "recycling" necessity. When the web has been taken away by accident or such too many times, I have noticed spiders dying, should they fail to change position of the web. Most spiders will reset in a place where "traffic" (animal or human) is less of a problem. I believe the individual spider would be aware of the situation to a fair degree. Building a web below this line becomes a no-go area thus "learned instinctively".. 


Spiders can create web while adapting to the surroundings. No two webs are the same. even for the same species of spider, though there are various "styles" of webs. The anchoring of main strands of a web is a feat of engineering: a main strand will be supported at its base by at least three other short (at four or five degrees angle) strands hitched at different levels along the main strand... Anyway I have digressed into the "consciousness" of spiders — species that have been performing the "same" thing for hundred million of years and survived well accordingly. 


Squirrels will collect nuts and store them in hideouts for the winter-time when food is less easy to find. Some ants will store the pupae of some insects as supply of food for their developing young... Termites build mud structures that are as complex as housing estates. Birds build nests and prepare for the next season of young. The smaller birds will be on the lookout for bigger birds species coming to rob them. Crows are often chased by Australian mynas, in pairs, for just being in the vicinity of their nesting place. The lorikeet community is noisy as if the birds were fighting "happily" amongst themselves. They may be establishing and maintaining the pecking order in the trees they visit to feed, though there is enough nectar for all — or they just like to "chat"...  or pair for life.


In the animal world, the skirmishes are rarely deadly between individuals of the same species. Sex for the male praying mantis is more dangerous. Instincts are the component of consciousness using the format of the DNA make-up of specific species. It gives them leeway to adapt to various circumstances in which "stylistic" choice can be made. Most animals have a stylistic ability — albeit small and contained in the memory of learned reactivities. 


For humans, a lot of the fights are deadly, decidedly so, as the disputes become somewhat esoteric and imbued with desire, lust, sadism and greed beyond the "natural" boundary of behaviour. Through evolution, human instincts have been modified by greater choices of stylistic value with a greater gamut of aggressive blows....


In the wild, an unfit individual of a species will have buckley's chance of survival. Humans can survive while being totally unfit because the social structure will "value" the lesser able as much as the most able, through a maze of compassion, religious beliefs and other stylistic interpretation of "good" — and of course marketing. 


On other subjects, rather than eliminate a problem, problems are often cultivated to search for a solution that keeps more people busy... this empirical development of technology and scientific curiosity has brought the human civilisation to where it is now... Despite the global village and world trade, communities still exist with noticeable differences.


Location, tooling, ethnicity, cultural beliefs, laws, origins, breed, race have diversified the stylistic behaviour of communities though the human DNA is basically resiliently the same with minor differences from one people to another. 


From the original DNA "soup" 3.8 billion years ago till about a billion years ago, individuals in some species developed a crude awareness of self, through the development of feelers, senses and eyes. Plants on or near the surface of the sea became more and more reactive to light. Photosynthesis is a very complex series of molecular adaptations that allow light to become a source of energy used in the "feeding" process — which is a molecular absorption of certain elements in cells that thus allow for survival and duplication of cells in order for the plant to grow. 


When life invaded the land surface, many of the animal species that evolved already had senses such as eyes and "hearing".


The image at top is telling of the battle DNA wages against itself. It's an accident of evolutionary construct that this battle exists. Sometimes it leads to "evolution", sometimes to "devolution" and sometimes to "extinction". At most time though it's just a battle that has no meaning, nor other purpose than a particular species way to acquire proteins to maintain itself in the greater context of the multiplicity of DNA strands. At top, the cockroach is still "alive" but unable to escape or defend itself... We know that ants will try to dislodge parts of our skin when they bite us... I have observed a team of ant chasing an earth worm that was well alive until, within minutes, the worm was overcome by the attack.


As DNA modifies there are point at which it cannot reproduce with a too far removed strand of DNA. ... Sexuality is the way DNA evolved over a couple of billion years to cope with complex association of cells. Some cells will become specialists in creating "pure" half-cells (gametes) that can create a new individual of a species by merging with another half-cell and then multiplying as stem-cells in a specific environment that provides "food" and "protection. In most species, this environment is what we call the "egg". 


So what about consciousness? There is more consciousness in the brain of an ant, than there is in the entire starry universe. The universe has no knowledge of itself, nor of the lives within. The moment at top is an existential happening when the cockroach brains are dying and the ants "steal" the proteins of its body. Such an instant could have triggered a writer's muse to imagine a human being taken by a mob of little people... Lilliput. 


Our consciousness has developed to a point at which it appears to be separate from the body. But our consciousness like that of other species is very much a function of memory. Without memory, there is no consciousness. Even the people who loose their "memory" through trauma or whatever still have the greater part of their memory intact or modified. Otherwise they would be either dead or in a coma with a dead brain. Alzheimer slowly reduce the size of our memory by removing slabs of it from our brain. Often it's the ability to recall the present that vanishes first. Consciousness suffers from this degradation until there not enough memory, including automated memory that regulate some organs, left to sustain life. Many sufferers of advanced Alzheimer end up with a blank look, as if "there was no-one there). They are unable to care for themselves. They only survive through care from other people. 

As well, we can modify our consciousness with some "foods" such as alcohol or other "drugs". Our consciousness is dependent of our body. So some people invented the idea of a "spirit" supplied by the godly department at the north pole, in order to sell some morality wrapped up in a religious paper to us. The "spirit" is thus designed to be the little person inside pushing levers towards "good" when our nature is trying to push us towards "evil"... It's all rubbish of course. We as humans descendants of monkeys have our own stylistic desires shaped by social constructs all developed in evolution from several converging factors simultaneously or in a succession of "improvements".

For example, the opposing thumb, the lack of thick body hair, the larger — than we need for survival — memory size giving us the notion of choice when presented with options of equal value, spare time, and not the least, the fact that in the human species due to a variegated slightly degenerated DNA construct and other influences, NO INDIVIDUAL looks the same apart from twins.. All this led to the creation of stylistic habits and questioning in which survival is not the only game in town.  

From year to year, nowadays, most humans have new games to play and new ways to interact with other people. But the basis are still there, though some stylistic "information" such as religious morality can slowly disappear while new method of "passing" the time is dumped upon us... And we become happy or unhappy lemmings in the bigger game of our social and global constructs. This is where science and mathematics — mathematics being one of the stylistic languages that helps us understand our environment by giving us ways to explore repeats, predict and build most of our comforts, including money — have to shine more in our social endeavours. 

Our shared consciousness needs greater understanding and less deceit for a better future. As our present politicians and religious leaders are master of deceits, pigs will fly... 


Gus Leonisky

Professor of Arachnids...




"happy" ants...

the pursuit of happiness...


Modern Western culture is all about instant self-gratification — but this is not the path to true happiness, writes Dr Adnan Al-Daini.

THE AMERICAN Declaration of Independence mentions the pursuit of happiness as one of the unalienable rights for people; the others are life and liberty.

I have always found the phrase “pursuing happiness” problematic.

The dictionary defines happiness as the 'quality or state of being happy'; itdefines happy as 'indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy'.

 Assuming the basic needs of shelter, food, heat, love – and so on – are met, what other magical ingredients are needed to transform our lives into a state of happiness? 

We may believe that a bigger car or the latest mobile phone or laptop is the answer; only to discover that the happiness associated with such an acquisition is transitory, soon to be followed by the desire for some other product.

Contentment, actually, is the appropriate word to define happiness; however, what is being sought by people is the temporary kind. We need a deeper more profound type of 'contentment'.  An old Arabic proverb describes it beautifully 'contentment is an inexhaustible treasure'. Contentment, framed thus, becomes the treasure, not the product.

So we need to cultivate ways of developing it.

read more:,6180



Meanwhile this is what Gus had to say about happiness back a long time ago and written in 1994...:



the pursuit of happiness

This section in no particular order, lifted from another Gus' reasonably large work about depression (1994-unpublished), to be added to the first comment Sapiens in the mist on this line of thoughts related to "the Age of Deceit" project... by Gus Leonisky.



Preliminary exploration of happiness

Happiness is a dynamic complex emotion which derives from our acknowledgement of successful activities and reactivities. It is generated as we experience some accidental encounters, random events, sought-after results and cultural participation—all of which involve basic animal contentment. Although success at work and monetary gains can help generate happiness, it is usually the perceived quality of our attitude in our relationships, including the one with our self, which capitalise our successes into greater long-lasting happiness.

For the human species, life has developed way beyond mere survival. We have generated many social identities, as groups and sub-groups, using many concepts and tools in which we believe, including languages, religions, cultural traditions, technologies, sciences, money, arts and many more. These are stylistic interpretations of life. 
    It is through style rather than survival that we have modified natural reactivity into activity. Human stylistic interpretations are adaptive extensions of our complex memory in reaction to the environment. We make a stylistic choice when faced with several solutions presenting equal satisfactory result.  
    This is why stylistic interpretations do differ between groups of people and also why they can conflict within one single group. In short our ability to make an active stylistic choice is the most important part of human evolution. Yet choices can be influenced by many reactive factors, some relevant some not. This why we have to learn how to make the best active choices, and recognise the value of some reactive choices in certain situations.
        Like our other stylistic interpretations, happiness is a strong stylistic enhanced emotion, towards sublimation, of animal contentment, which in itself is the resultant of successful survival. This is why, as humans, there are many ways in which we can discover, feel or express happiness. 
         Not-surprisingly, many points of views about happiness have been expressed in contradictory, obscure and comparative manners... For example in some religious beliefs, while it is not a sin to be happy, pain and suffering are better rewarded, in a glorified after-life, than contentment. This has led to strange behaviours such as self-flagellation, auto-mutilation and martyrdom. Contrary to natural reactive balances of pain and pleasure, these beliefs encourage suffering, and distance us from care in our natural environment. 

    Here are a few points of view which have defined happiness:
    Content is happiness.
    Children and fools have merry lives
    It is comparison that makes men happy or miserable
    Sadness and gladness succeed each other
    Ignorance is bliss
    Happiness is in the mind
    Happiness comes not until sorrow is gone
    Money does not buy happiness
    Happy go lucky
    Happy like a pig in shit

We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
                            THOMAS JEFFERSON

    Not in Utopia—subterranean fields,— 
    Or some secreted island, Heavens knows where!
    But in the very world, which is the world
    Of all of us, —the place where in the end
    We find our happiness, or not at all!

                            WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

The object of government in peace and in war is not the glory of rulers or of races, but in the happiness of the common man.
                            WILLIAM LORD BEVERIDGE

Oh! How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes. 
                            WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE 

Happiness is a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion.
                            JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU

As naive and crude as the last quote appears, Jean-Jacques Rousseau expresses an interesting view of happiness. Applied to a modern society, happiness is reached on three interactive fronts: first when we are wealthy—a good bank account, second when we are aware of the importance of others, in Rousseau’s case—his cook, and third when we are in good health, in his words—a good digestion...

Healthy, wealthy and relating wisely
Indeed health and wealth provide two sound platforms for happiness, but acting life through reciprocated caring relationships — including the relationship with our self, appreciating the fact that we exist as we are—is the multiplying factor of happiness. We value our relationships with our self, our family, friends and partners more than anything else. We get hurt when these relationships falter for whatever reason. 
        Made of flesh born of its environment, we react to it. For example, love and compassion can be magnified by physical contact such as touch, cuddles and embraces. The reciprocity of sexual experience greatly surpasses personal gratification, yet personal gratification is not unnatural. Ultimately our mind is the place where acceptance happens. A great part of creativity is acceptance, including acceptance of diversity, existing as well as un-expressed yet. A ‘soul partnership’ generates with minimum effort because the stylistic interpretations of respective partners are at similar level of understanding—in some cases, even with cultural differences—in genetically constructed compatible framework. The combination includes intelligence (our ability to capture stylistic interpretations of life) as well as smell, voice and appearances. In a word, we click. Any further relationship developments still need to be creatively managed.
    In the management of health, wealth and relationships, we are influenced by our genetic trends, our perceptions, our sense of discovery, the uncertainty of events such as accidents, other people's behaviour, our expectations, our habits, ultimately, our creative decisions—all part of, or relating to, our stylistic interpretations.
    In our childhood we learn basic stylistic interpretations in a mostly empirical dictatorial manner. Should we be depressed, now is the time to refocus or modify these interpretation through new tooling processes which include deliberate curiosity and tricks, which have made some of us more successful than others.

To self-care or not to self-care...
Relatively wealthy, we care by eating the right food and by being active such as training at the gym (Walking is better, though)... We also enjoy great relationships. We are making the right decisions while being alert to dangers and valuing what we have and create. We are on top of the world. 
    Some of us are not happy because we go through life like driving through fog. We have no clear understanding of what we have or who we are. We rely on habits to survive. We are lucky if we do not get hurt. We should realise that our stylistic interpretations of life are too weak to provide us with anything greater than basic contentment, but usually cultivate disenchantment.
    Some of us are somewhat happy while being ignorant. We don’t want to know. Knowledge can be painful if it is not well managed. Thus happiness is hemmed in by reality or destroyed by traumatic events. We need to know more by becoming creatively curious.
    Some of us have not cared much, considering the risks we take. We have not cared much about any one, except on our own terms—for ownership, for status or for sexual gratification. Power is gained by physical strength, deceit or tactical authority rather than by care.
Love, trust and respect generate from caring reciprocity in relationship. In order to be caring, we do not have to abandon risk taking, nor do we have to wilt from the difficulties of competition, but we adapt and modify our attitudes to enjoy improved relationships. We need to be aware that stylistic interpretations of life inevitably contain illusions—self-delusions or socially engineered illusions—which make us react rather than act. 
    Creatively, we do not have to perform at warp speed at all time to generate permanent happiness. Happiness happens and is maintained incrementally. There are times for maximum thrust in creation, yet there are times for rest, peace, reflection and recreation in order to avoid burn out and losing track of the multi-faceted reality.

A short-cut manual
Experiencing happiness from a distressed or depressed position needs some effort. Here are 36 simple study points that can help us refocus our motivation to achieve and maintain happiness:

Where are we at now?                    
        1.    have we made the decision to seek happiness?
        2.     assess our present and past position
        3.    know self-assets including talents
        4.     formulate or re-create goals, revalue dreams

Tuning the engine
        5.    manage bio-mechanical influences on mental states 
        6.    maintain and improve health
        7.    eliminate depression, avoid distress     
        8.    minimise fear, guilt and grief     
        9.    be in tune with sexuality, personal and in partnership

Consolidating bases
        10.    secure financial and psychological fall-back position
        11.    evaluate risks, recognise dangers, avoid accidents
        12.    make the decision to be conscious of reality
        13.    avoid drugs of addiction which modify consciousness 
        14.    be curious, seek discovery 
        15.    cultivate memory and foster imagination.
        16.     be creatively active 

        17.    avoid turning motivation into negative stress
        18.    enhance analysis and synthesis skills for problems solving
        19.    be adaptable to change 
        20.    increase success rate
        21.    value success, own and that of others
        22.    know when to control and when to let go
        23.     be strongly focused without being destructively obsessive

Relationships, partnerships or marriages
        24.    be alert to manipulations of others and of our own
        25.    be aware of responsibilities, impact of decisions and choices
        26.    be aware of individuality
        27.    care for others, value compassion and justice
        28.     eradicate violence without eliminating aggressiveness
        29.    be receptive without submission
        30.    improve relationships with women and men
        31.    maximise reciprocal bonding between self and partner

A life in the universe
        32.    be demonstratively assertive through personal attitude
        34.    discover and appreciate natural events and patterns
        35.    develop stylistic creativity without prejudicial beliefs. 
        36.    enjoy life




killer sex...

Queensland scientists have discovered a new species of mouse-like marsupial renowned for its deadly breeding habits in the Gold Coast hinterland.

The carnivorous antechinus received international attention last year after scientists found the male of the species was dying from stress after over-enthusiastic marathon mating sessions.

Now researchers have discovered a new species, the black-tailed antechinus.

It is thought the species is only found in high altitude, wet areas in the Springbrook National Park between northern New South Wales and the Gold Coast Hinterland.

The marsupial is known for its unusual mating habits that cause the male half of the population to die off after the stress of a rampant breeding season each year.

Dr Andrew Baker, from Queensland University of Technology, says researchers are applying for an endangered species listing while they conduct more research.

"They probably follow the typical pattern of antechinus, which is all males are dead before one-year-old," he said.

"Usually at around about 11-and-a-half months there will be a frenzied mating period and all males will die before the young is born.

"I suspect they'll follow that trend."

Dr Baker says it is not yet known how many exist...

it's a dog's life being human...

Devoted dog owners often claim that their pets understand them. A new study suggests they could be right.

By placing dogs in an MRI scanner, researchers from Hungary found that the canine brain reacts to voices in the same way that the human brain does.

Emotionally charged sounds, such as crying or laughter, also prompted similar responses, perhaps explaining why dogs are attuned to human emotions.

The work is published in the journal Current Biology.

Lead author Attila Andics, from the Hungarian Academy of Science's Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, said: "We think dogs and humans have a very similar mechanism to process emotional information."

Eleven pet dogs took part in the study; training them took some time.

"We used positive reinforcement strategies - lots of praise," said Dr Andics.

"There were 12 sessions of preparatory training, then seven sessions in the scanner room, then these dogs were able to lie motionless for as long as eight minutes. Once they were trained, they were so happy, I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it."

snake oil with added morality...


A Victorian primary school principal last week described lessons in his school as “rubbish,” “hollow and empty rhetoric” and with “no value whatsoever.” He closed down the special religious instruction (SRI) classes and explained:

I was blindly accepting and approving these activities in my school until I started taking a closer look at the material and an even closer look at the actual sessions that the volunteers were conducting. I concluded that the material and the associated teachers and teaching methods simply do not reach the standard of quality educational practise that this school requires.

A teacher who found her son’s SRI class taught that dinosaurs never existed (God just planted the fossil record), called the lessons “unpalatable,” “offensive” and “unacceptable”.

Another primary school’s principal demanded an apology and is now hosting a departmental investigation after SRI volunteers gave year 6 children a “Biblezine,” advising girls how to avoid making their nipples a “distraction and temptation to men,” explaining that wives must “submit” to husbands and instructing children never to act on homosexual feelings. She called the material “completely inappropriate,” “against fundamental school values” and said it “smacks in the face of everything we do.”

This is hardly new. “The image of religious instruction ... is at best a free period and at worst utter chaos,” complained an Anglican clergyman to the church’s Newcastle Synod, as reported in the Newcastle Herald in 1969. The major churches had already pulled out of providing SRI in South Australia, beginning with the Methodists in 1968. During the 1970s, the Tasmanian, Victorian, South Australian and Western Australian governments held inquiries into SRI, and New South Wales followed in 1980.

All registered familiar frustrations: SRI segregated children by religion, when public schools’ essence is inclusion; it created organisational headaches as increasing numbers of families (and churches) opted out; it relied on volunteers, whose main qualifications were faith and enthusiasm, not necessarily teaching ability or knowledge of the subject; it was unfair, since minority religions had trouble finding volunteers, leaving their children ill-served; and short, weekly visits made it hard to build up any meaningful rapport between instructor and class.

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The start of this article is on good grounds but then the article slides into a faith pit... pit of pith. At no stage is there mention of science except in the case of the "missing dinosaurs" at the beginning and not one mention of atheism. The article laments the low standards of "volunteers who teach the faith in any way they can...  From the onset the plurality of faiths would be highly confusing to a primary school kid, unless there is segregation of faiths or fist fights. So it's all about how to teach "faith" better using professionally trained spruikers. It's about teaching lies so that religious morality can have a better foothold rather than be simplistic in its explanation... So this article is just about having better trained people on soap boxes, selling the snake oil... with better selling technique. 

I wonder why I bother... 


the battle of poisons...

COVER A portrait of a tawny crazy ant worker (Nylanderia fulva). Tawny crazy ants, native to central South America, are invading the southeastern United States and, in some places, displacing the current dominant South American ant invader, red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). A notable ability to detoxify the venom of imported fire ants apparently underlies the success of tawny crazy ants. See pages 974 and 1014. Photo: © Alex Wild/



Life in the Undergrowth,  a documentary series — a study of the evolution and habits of invertebrates, was the fifth of Attenborough's specialised surveys following his major trilogy that began with Life on Earth. Each of the five 50-minute episodes looks at a group (or aspect) of the creatures using innovative photographic techniques. It shows a view of life on earth we rarely see because we, urban dwellers, don't look or are too fast with the spray can of poisons and/or the automated poison mists that gives us this aura of confidence, while we eventually snootily pick up the dead bodies of the "offending pests" ...

We de-insect the world, we de-microbe the world... We have been told we should not like ANY of these crawlies and bugs — especially in our home. Let's be clear here: we have more alien bugs inside our body than we could see in a life time in a dirty kitchen. 

But this cover of the AAAS magazine is about e-vo-lu-tion... As a keen observer of ant colonies since I was five, I am always eager to discover new tricks — even if these are accidental steps of evolution or even unrelated to each other — in the various species of ants... Even the tiniest of the ants has a will to be, a will to go, a will to search and explore, all driven by a complex social structure in which the specifics of DNA gives the intent. But the individual ants have to find their next target. here comes a complex, though small, stylistic decision made by the consciousness of the ant.

My view.


See picture at top.

winning the fields medal...

A woman has won the world's most prestigious mathematics prize for the first time since the award was established nearly 80 years ago.

Maryam Mirzakhani, a professor of mathematics at Stanford University in California, was named the first female winner of the Fields Medal – often described as the Nobel prize for mathematics – at a ceremony in Seoul on Wednesday morning.

The prize, worth 15,000 Canadian dollars, is awarded to exceptional talents under the age of 40 once every four years by the International Mathematical Union. Between two and four prizes are announced each time.

Three other researchers were named Fields Medal winners at the same ceremony in South Korea. They included Martin Hairer, a 38-year-old Austrian based at Warwick University in the UK; Manjul Bhargava, a 40-year old Canadian-American at Princeton University in the US and Artur Avila, 35, a Brazilian-French researcher at the Institute of Mathematics of Jussieu in Paris.

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my math knowledge is so small, it can fit on a microfilm...



More crap from the turdy government


Australian academics who teach mathematics may need to run new ideas by the Department of Defence before sharing them or risk imprisonment.

Some academics are set to become much more familiar with the department's Defence Export Control Office (DECO), a unit that enforces the Defence Trade Control Act 2012, Australia's end of a 2007 pact with the US and UK over defence trade.

Until recently, DECO only regulated physically exported weapons and so-called "dual use" items such as encryption, computing hardware and biological matter.

However in March the act was updated to include "intangible supply", which is intended to prohibit the transfer of knowledge from Australia that could be used to produce weapons.

From November 2016 Australian academics could face a potential 10-year prison term for sending information overseas if their ideas fall within the Defence Strategic Goods List (DSGL). Put another way, they could be jailed for delivering online course material to foreign students or providing international peers with access to a server hosting that material.

Academics like Kevin Korb are nervous that "overly broad" definitions in the DSGL could land them in court for teaching cryptography, high performance computing, image and signals processing and a number of other fields.

To avoid penalty, researchers may need to report newly hatched lines of inquiry to DECO.

"You will be coming to us and we will be working with you," a DECO officer recently explained to academics. "When your ideas aren't necessarily that formed, it may be that we say to you, 'Look, at the moment we don't see any concern, come back to us at a further stage'."

Defence said the new rules are necessary to stop the wrong technology falling into the hands of states or groups of proliferation concern.

"While the sensitive items are used for legitimate civilian research by Australian researchers, they can also be used for the proliferation of military, nuclear, chemical or biological weapons," a Defence spokesperson told Fairfax Media.

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they bite, necessarily...

Why should we care about ants?

Dr Gibb said ants were important to both natural ecosystems and agriculture.

"For example, there was a study a few years ago that showed that ants could increase crop yields by about a third," she said.

"They do collect a lot of dead animals and they even collect things like bird droppings and eat them, so they're certainly a part of the decomposition process.


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My ants don't know the difference (or may be they do) between my flesh and that of a dead cockroach... They bite, the little blithers... Read from top.

driving this thing...

For one who has treated depression for a long time (since the 1960s) with "activity" — including exercise, house-work and "doing things" — and written about it in 1994, I find this new research result quite "satisfying"... I wuz correct, but though it works, it's not as simple as this. Depression is about lack of motivation.

Read more at:



Physical activity can prevent depression, across all ages and around the world, a new study has found.

You may have heard before that exercise can help with mental health.

Now, a big international study has the numbers to show it can actually prevent depression from developing in the first place.

The international team included researchers from The Black Dog Institute, UNSW Sydney and Western Sydney University's NICM Health Research Institute.

They took data from 49 studies across the world, involving 266,939 people.

As Dr Joseph Firth from the University of Western Sydney explained, it is an exciting find.


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