The Accidental Liberation of the Soviet Union and the Tearing Down of the Berlin Wall

Günter-SchabowskiPrior to Mikael Gorbachev, every decade or two, resentment would foment within the Soviet Union and an uprising would commence with the Soviets clamping down, killing dissidents, and repressing ideology so as to continue to hold power. The reason this did not occur in 1989 is because change came not externally through dissidents, but rather internally, particularly from the center, through Gorbachev. The collapse of the Berlin Wall however, was actually a mistake, as Soviet Press Officer Günter Schabowski did not fully understand the content he was speaking in reference to during a press conference as he had been elsewhere smoking during the meeting which would have briefed him. Schabowski pulled out documents which he was not supposed to read, read them aloud, and read them incorrectly which turned Gorbachev from a reformer into a revolutionary over the course of a few short moments, with the Berlin Wall falling shortly after, liberating and uniting East Germany and West Germany with the ultimate fall of the Soviet Union occurring within short proximity afterward

The Scientific Reason Conspiracy Theories are Subscribed to

social-media-appsConspiracy theories are adopted because those who believe them, produce an alternate frame of reality which tends to make sense out of a scenario in a manner which coincides with the world view of the person believing the propaganda. Within the discipline of cognitive psychology, a phenomenon referred to as the “Illusory Truth Effect” exists in which hearing a statement repeatedly, makes the statement appear more plausible. Scientists have examined this principle by having subjects read news stories, then distracting the subjects with unrelated material (e.g random surveys), then once again exposing the subjects to more news stories. Scientists found that when subjects are asked to rate the accuracy of news stories read during the second round, they are much more likely to rate information as credible if having seen it once before. For a news article or headline which has not been observed before, these snippets of information are only rated as true 18% of the time but for a news article or headline which has been observed before (e.g. prior to the intermission random poll), subjects are more likely to identify this information as factual 24% of the time. Social media is a great example of this principal being exploited. It’s not that logic and reason are being hijacked when people utilize social media to obtain news, it’s that participants within the social media ecosystem are not bothering to apply logic and reason in the first place, applying intuitive gut responses to news consumed. Surprisingly, scientists have found that when subjects stop judging intuitively, and begin using logic and reason, with evidence based argument and rationales, they become substantially better at determining truth from misinformation

The Ancient Mesopotamian Law Code of Hammurabi

Code-of-Hammurabi

Dating from 1770 B.C., the most complete of ancient Mesopotamian legal texts is the Code of Hammurabi, a compendium of 282 laws which dictated the rules of commercial interactions and set fines and punishments for those found in violation of these laws. Inscribed upon a phallic piece of black obsidian, Hammurabi’s Code is depicted as receiving these laws from Shamash, the god of the sun, justice, and order, with the primary role of protecting the weak from the strong. It is written and recognized within the Hammurabi Code the first appearance of the biblical punishment of an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. Considered by many scientists to be one of the foundational stones of world civilization, the Hammurabi Code is a mixed blessing for women, both protecting women and lowering their social rank as second class citizens. Upon the positive end, the Hammurabi Code recognized women’s basic right to own property, fundamental in its importance as it provided women legal protection in regard to the control of their dowries and inheritance. The Hammurabi Code also forbade arbitrary poor treatment and/or neglect, which meant wives who were ill or barren couldn’t be simply discarded. In divorce, women were permitted to keep their dowries, and in widowhood, women were permitted the opportunity to utilize their husbands estates as their own for the duration of their lives. The Hammurabi Code essentially recognizes Mesopotamian women as distinct persons in a legal sense, rather than property which is how most of the ancient world recognized women. Upon the negative side however, women’s economic and sexual freedoms became severely restricted, forbidden from performing any commercial activity outside of their home and supporting and legalizing the concept of the patriarchy by providing men immense autonomy over the bodies of women, meaning husbands and fathers now owned the sexual reproduction of their wives and daughters which lead to women being executed for adultery, virginity becoming a condition of marriage, and rape not viewed as a violent sexual offense against the female victim, but rather an economic offense against her father as it would cause the father to suffer a severe loss in respect to a daughters bride price as the daughter would be considered a damaged commodity. It’s unclear how these legal mandates and statutes worked at the local level as they are ideals of Mesopotamian culture, but the driving force of these laws and how they are setup and constituted is abundantly clear, allowing male authority and patriarchal notions of male honor, to become sacrosanct

Photographic Evidence of Lewis Carroll’s Alleged Pedaphilia Involving Alice Liddell, the Protagonist of Alice In Wonderland

Alice-LiddellA photograph linked to Lewis Carroll was found in the Musée Cantini, a French museum in Marseille, France, which depicts what appears to be a pubescent aged Lorina Liddell who was the younger sister of Alice Liddell, the person whom the fictional character of Alice in Alice In Wonderland was based upon. The photograph is problematic as it displays Liddell, fully nude, from a frontal angle. It’s unclear if the photograph was taken by Carroll or only linked to him, and it’s not completely clear as to whether or not the girl in the photograph is actually Liddell. The image isn’t permitted to leave France, so any study upon the subject must be conducted within the borders of the country. In 1993, Carroll expert Edward Wakeling deemed the photo to be not of Liddell after repeated examination and comparison to other images of Liddell. Nicholas Burnett, a picture conservationist with specialized knowledge in 19th century photography technology has stated that he believes the inscription upon the photograph which states “Lorina Liddell, Carroll, Col, MC” is actually a dealers notation which states what the photograph is of, where it came from, and denotes that it’s part of a collection, hence the abbreviation “col”. It’s unclear what “MC” stands for as the Musée Cantini does not use this abbreviation, but it could possibly stand for “Musée Cantini”. Carroll photographed the Liddell girls during the 1860’s which is crucial because the photograph in question has a slow growth mold which is difficult to reproduce fraudulently, beneath a thin layer of egg white albumin used as an outer coating. This photograph is known to have been cropped as the negative is larger than the print which is impossible to achieve unless the photograph itself was cut down. Carrol favored using an Ottawa Walls folding camera which is the same kind of camera which created the photograph in question. Finally, the print was made from a wet collodion negative which is a printing technique which Carroll is known to have used. If the photograph was from a later date, it would have used a paper negative which would have caused it to appear less crisp and clear. The evidence seems to suggest that Carroll did indeed take and develop the photograph. Forensic comparative analysis using modern scientific methods of comparing one photograph to another were used to examine the photograph and experts concluded that the girl in the photograph, is indeed Lorina as the eyes, specifically the epicanthic fold of the eyes, matches that of photographs of Lorina when she is in her adult years, as well as her elder years. The nose provides another example of evidence as the width of the nose at the nasion, meaning the point between the eyes and the bridge of the nose, the width of the alae (pronounced “ail-ee”) which is the spongy part of the side of the nose, and the nostrils are all broadly consistent with later photographs of Lorina. The lips provide further evidence, and perhaps the most interesting of all the compiled evidence as the lips definitively show a Cupid’s bow upon the upper lip, but also a lower lip which is prominent and protruding upon the right side, but not the left. These features forensically demonstrate that there is moderate likelihood that the photograph of the pubescent girl is indeed Lorina. The leader of the forensics team which evaluated the evidence at hand has gone on record to state that because no court case involved, it can confidently be stated that the photograph in question is in fact Lorina, however it should be noted that if a court case were pursuant, the evidence presented may not be enough to garner a conviction as its lacking solid, definitive proof, beyond and to the exclusion of reasonable doubt

The Advent of Parallax Distance to Measure Immense Distances in Space

Hubble-Telescope-stars

Stellar parallax is a measurement technique developed by Friedrich Bessel to measure far away objects in deep space. The process of stellar parallax involves measuring an object from two separate vantage points hinging upon the fact that the object being observed will appear to move a lot more than objects further behind it (e.g. if an observer closes one eye and views their finger in front of a building, and then repeats this act with their second eye closed and the first eye open, the observers finger will appear as though it has moved much further left or right, relative to the other objects behind it). Because Bessel developed a method of calculation to take advantage of this phenomena, astronomers now have the ability to map grand distances with relative accuracy. Bessel worked out that if an observer took an image of a star when the Earth was at either side of its orbit around the sun, it would be possible to observe the star shifting in its position. By knowing how much a star shifts, it is possible to calculate the distance the star is from its observation point on Earth. Bessel surmised that the relatively close star 61 Cygni must be 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) kilometers away from the Earth because of his parallax distance method. This technique unfortunately is severely limited as the diameter of the Earth’s orbit is only 300,000,000 (300 million) kilometers which means that the parallax method can only measure objects up to a factor of 1,000,000x (1 million) the Earths orbital rotation, allowing for a maximum distance of 300,000,000,000,000 (300 trillion) kilometers which is only a tiny fraction of the size of the Milky Way Galaxy or the universe as a whole

The Advent and Original Intent of Intelligence Quotient​ Examinations

inteligent-quotiant-examination

Intelligence quotient examinations were invented by the French psychologist Alfred Binet as a way of measuring and identifying skill sets which children had or had not yet developed during their adolescence. The idea was to calculate the mental age divided by the chronological age to determine whether a child was ahead or behind their peer group

The Abhorrent and Racist U.S. “Loyalty Examination” of World War II Designed for Japanese Immigrants and Japanese American Citizens

U.S.-Japanese-loyalty-examination

The U.S. War Relocation Authority created a supposed “loyalty examination” which was provided to young Nisei Japanese males of draftable age. The term “Nisei” means “second generation” in Japanese. Question 27 asked “are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States on combat duty wherever ordered?” and Question 28 asked “will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, or any other foreign government, power, or organization?”. These questions were met with confusion and resentment within the population of Japanese and Japanese American internment prisoners of war. A yes answer was designed to prove unwavering loyalty whilst answering no was designed to entrap and prove malintent towards the U.S.. Some detainees answered no to both questions which lead to the term the “no-no boys”, a slanderous term designed to segregate Japanese and Japanese American citizens from their American counterparts. Question 27 was at its most fundamental roots designed to ask if a person was willing to serve in the U.S. military and Question 28 was designed to ask whether a person swore allegiance to Japan or not. Many prisoners did not know how to answer these questions, including both immigrants and American born citizens of Japanese descent. Those who were unsure and answered “I don’t know” or something similar to this with a cross out and the answer yes written in afterwards, were denied early clearance from detention and were subject to possibly being relocated. Those who passed were often permitted to leave detention upon the promise and agreement that they would not return to the west coast

The Physics of the Pac-Man Universe

Pac-Man.png

The game of Pac-Man allows players to exit the world on one side, and re-enter upon a completely different side without delay. Pac-Man’s universe appears to be a flat, two dimensional, rectangular shape, but in reality it must be cylindrical like a pipe, only with the 2 ends of the pipe touching, making Pac-Man’s universe actually in the shape of a donut