The John Batchelor Show

Monday 29 July 2013

Air Date: 
July 29, 2013

Photo, above: The globe of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, is seen illuminated outside Geneva, Switzerland.  See: Hour 4, Block D, Danny Hakim, NYT, in re: Faster Than the Speed of Light?


Hour One

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re: US troops preparing to deploy to ISAF, now but not for long.   Something strange going on in Iraq:Fourteen truck drivers were killed by gunmen on the highway between Kirkuk and Baghdad, Al-Mada Press reported July 25. Sunni militants also attacked the sub-district of Suleiman Bek, near the town of Tuz Khurmatu, using mortars.

Pakistani Taliban leader discusses 'global jihad,' Syria in al Qaeda video   Maulana Asim Umar, a Pakistani Taliban and al Qaeda propagandist, is featured in a new message disseminated by As Sahab. Umar calls on Indian Muslims to take part in the "global jihad" and emphasizes the importance of the fight in Syria . . . [more]  Asim Umar is a sr leader in both Taliban and al Qaeda.  Pulling in troops from all over the world – incl Europe, South America and China – to fight Assad in Syria.  Al Q adopted e black flag of Khorasan early on; much symbolism, now adopted by many groups globally by groups that at least share al Q's ideology.  Two camps: all these groups are local; other view: "This is a global movement." They're committed to the cause and are fighting everywhere, from Times Square to the southern Philippines. 

Drones: an undeclared program.  In Pakistan (Shoua Valley?), operated by CIA. In Yemen: the mil and he CIA both run drone programs.

Taliban as a swarm of centipedes.

American passport found at al Qaeda base in northern Syria  American and Egyptian passports belonging to Amiir Farouk Ibrahim, who was born in Pennsylvania, were among a number of travel documents found after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant abandoned a base in northern  . . .  [more]

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re: PKK (Kurdish) fighting al Qaeda in northern Syria; Assad bombing Kuridish groups.  Al Nusrah Front (al Q in Syria) seizes territory; internal emirs got into a fight over who'd control; Zawahiri sided with al Nusrah Front; the other emir openly defied Zawahiri, but everyone is still fighting their common enemy. US withdrawal from Iraq plus failure to keep a presence allowed al Qaeda to take over. North Africa, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan – without strong leadership it all goes to pot. Qatar taking some reins. Reminiscent of Japanese troops' massacring Chinese people in the 1930s.  These groups are challenging the notion of a nation-state. The US is stuck in incomprehension.

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Lara M Brown, political analyst and author, and Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, in re: Obamacare shutdown?

Obama Groundhog Day economy?  [more]  See:  Salena's conversation with the governor of Ohio.

Many people confused about what Obamacare will bring; pols are shying away from being affiliated with it.  Of course, Social Security started out a bit messy, but it started small and with fewer promises. Also, there was less of a safety net, at all, so people were interested. Obamacare looks to have overpromised.

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Francis Rose, Federal News Radio, in re: Two members of House Oversight and Reform Committee ask for a new investigation of the charges thawt the IRS targeted patriotic and tea-party groups. Letter from Darrell Issa and Jim Jodan to the IRS Inspector General on IRS years-long delays in approving tax-exempt status for conservative and tea-party nonprofits.   The letter was signed by committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).  Seems that Reps Jordan and Issa are learning more: also involves indefensible review of organizations that already had tax-exempt status, e.g., The Leadership Institute, audited in 2011 and 2012 for activities in 2008 (spent $50K to send in 23,000 pages of documents).  The investigation grows. Also can be seen as an extension or add-on.  Rep Elijah Cummings asks to see if progressive groups also were interrogated.

Jack Lew's odd water-carrying - "equal opportunity bad judgment at the IRS" -  remarks from yesterday. Fox: "No evidence!"

Jack Lew on IRS scandal – What political pressure? « Hot Air  Secretary Jack Lew said Sunday the Internal Revenue Service exhibited “equal opportunity bad judgment” in the improper targeting of ...

Hour Two

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent; and John Fund, National Review Online, in re: Obamacare groundhog day economy.  Enzi rules?  Obamacare shutdown?

GOP: Linking Obamacare defunding to fiscal talks may be a political loser. Congressional Republicans have little interest in threatening a government shutdown or withholding votes on the debt ceiling as leverage to defund Obamacare — but only because they view the strategy as a political loser. Republicans intend to extract concessions other than the defunding from President Obama and Senate Democrats in exchange for votes to raise the nation's borrowing limit and advance a continuing resolution needed to continue funding for the government beyond Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. Repealing Obamacare's medical device tax is high on the GOP's list of priorities, as is winning administration approval for the Keystone XL pipeline — just a few items Republicans might seek to negotiate.  Public polls show that a majority of Americans either oppose Obamacare or view it . . .  [more]  Today, Hillary Clinton and Pres Obama had lunch at the White House.

The two new pro-Hillary movies will leave out a lot of her scandals . . .   One movie will curiously ignore first 50 years of her life, including many of the scandals...the other will cover her time as lawyer on Nixon Judiciary impeachment committee. Will it mention chief of  Judiciary committee says he fired her  for unethical behavior? 

News of the Diane Lane film was on Drudge over the weekend.  NBC will be releasing a four-hour miniseries about Hillary Clinton starring the Academy Award nominee Diane Lane. What did surprise me was that the series will cover none of her life before the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which took place five years into her husband’s second term as president and when Hillary was already 51 years old. It’s as if her first half-century will be airbrushed away, along with the many scandals that dogged her in those decades. While the series will still have a lot of ground to cover — impeachment and the “vast right-wing conspiracy” she suspected, her successful 2000 Senate race, her loss to Barack Obama in the 2008 primaries, her time as secretary of state and her role in the Benghazi debacle — it’s striking that so much rich material will be excluded even before footage is discarded on the cutting-room floor.

North Carolina GOP has more than a Senate seat riding on the 2014 elections. independents -  "the unaffiliated" – growing rapidly.  White suburban women and the unaffiliated voters, and how they break.

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 2, Block B: John Fund, National Review Online, and David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in re: Clare Boothe Luce Policy Group was interrogated over a long time.  A few progressive groups also were harassed. Lois Lerner is still being paid! (GOP Rep Grills New IRS Commish on Lois Lerner’s Paid Leave: ‘Is That Your Definition of Accountability?)  What's the crime for which Lois Lerner took the Fifth?

Detroit’s Precious Art  Sell some of it, or cut pensions? Sell it.

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 2, Block C: Kara Brandeisky, ProPublica, in re: the NSA's metadata collection program. Explanation of six other legislative proposals on the table.

For instance, NSA analysts could be required to obtain court approval before searching metadata – to whom, how long, some routing info; Verizon has been turning all of this over to the NSA.  Patriot Acct: govt must prove that the data sought are relevant to an investigation under way; court has interpreted this very, very broadly.  Bill would rein in the surveillance court, oblige an "articulated" explanation of each [intrusion].  Right now, the rulings of the court are secret.  "A bill from Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., would require the government to petition the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court every time an analyst wants to search telephone metadata. From there, a surveillance court judge would need to find 'reasonable, articulable suspicion' that the search is 'specifically relevant to an authorized investigation' before approving the application."

Congress could also declassify Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) opinions and/or change the way its judges are appointed.  Brandeisky notes there are 3 bills about declassifying opinions and adds, "A bill introduced by Rep. Schiff would give the president the power to appoint surveillance court judges and give the Senate power to confirm."
 Other possibilities are ending phone metadata collection on constitutional grounds, appointing a public advocate to argue before the FISC court and raising the standard for what records are considered relevant.  FISA court – all seven judges apptd by Chief Justice John Roberts. Efforts to give Congress re say in the matter.  Maybe have the president appoint Congress affirm; or else let Chef Justice appt three and Congress, the rest.  Six ways Congress may reform NSA snooping.    See all ProPublica reporting in the Surveillance series

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 2, Block D: Gordon Chang,, in re: Through the five largest banks, the Chinese govt is flushing money through the system. "A sense of crisis in China" – "Important, because then people start to act on it" – G Friedman.  Probably lost 48 bil in forex reserves in one month. This is likely to lead to a downward spiral; were that to happen, we could wake up one day and find a crushed economy. At some point, people should panic. Same feel as the US in the Ssummer of 2008.

Son of Fallen Chinese Official Enrolls at Columbia Law School  It's unclear how Bo Guagua, the son of Bo Xilai, will pay for his three-year education at Columbia, which has one of the most expensive law schools in the United States. The youngest son of Bo Xilai, the former senior Communist Party official now awaiting a criminal trial, has enrolled at Columbia Law School and is expected to begin studies this fall, according to a family associate and a person from Beijing with high-level contacts. The son, Bo Guagua, is a prominent figure in the third generation of an aristocratic Communist Party family. He earned an undergraduate degree from Oxford and a master’s degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and he has been living in the United States since he completed that degree in May 2012. His exploits since his Oxford days have fascinated many Chinese, and photographs of him at parties with his arms draped around young women have circulated widely on the Internet. He was known to have driven around Cambridge, Mass., in a Porsche.  Several Harvard professors said . . 

The incentives in the Chinese financial system encourage the riskiest behavior.  

Apple supplier bans Tibetans  According to a New York-based NGO, a Chinese supplier to Apple has banned Tibetans from working in their Chinese plants.  A report issued today by China Labor Watch documents how factories of the Apple supplier Pegatron Shanghai appear to discriminate against Tibetans (among other ethnic groups) in their recruitment policies. The report carries a photograph of what is reported to be a Pegatron recruitment poster, specifying their employment criteria. Free Tibet has translated the poster and can confirm that with regard to the “nationality” of employees, it states:

“Hui, Sala, Yi, Tibetan, Uighur, etc., who have unique lifestyles and customs will not be accepted.”  The report also accused Pegatron of  "discriminatory hiring practices" in refusing to hire persons older than 35 years old.

According to China Labor Watch, Shanghai-based Pegatron assembles Apple devices such as smartphones and tablets in a number of Chinese factories. Labour supply is usually contracted out to other organisations, based on criteria set by Pegatron.  Ethnic discrimination in employment practices theoretically violates Chinese employment law. In practice, Tibetans and other “protected” groups report that they are frequently the victims of many forms of discrimination, both within Chinese-occupied Tibet and when living, travelling or seeking employment in China. The Free Tibet director, Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren, said:  “Discrimination against Tibetans in China is well-documented and is among the many reasons Tibetans so fiercely resist Chinese rule. If it is confirmed that this supplier to Apple is indeed banning Tibetans, Apple needs to provide a full and immediate explanation of how this has been allowed to happen.  There is ample evidence that Tibetans face continuous and systematic discrimination in China regardless of theoretical legal protections. Any company operating in China, partnering with Chinese businesses or using Chinese suppliers needs to accept its responsibility for ensuring the rights of Tibetans and other employees are respected.”

Hour Three

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Eric Trager, Washington Institute, in re: Fears of New Violence in Egypt as E.U. Diplomat Visits The Muslim Brotherhood called for protests Monday evening, as Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top diplomat, was in Cairo to try to mediate the crisis.

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Bill Whalen, Hoover, in re:  What Was Behind Napolitano's Nomination?  She certainly lacks any experience in university administration; also is not a Californian. Further, she's just a bolt out of the blue.  UC presidents always chosen from an academic track.

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Susan Berfield, Bloomberg Businessweek, in re:   THE END: BARNES & NOBLE TRIED TO TRANSFORM THE BOOK BUSINESS FOR THE DIGITAL AGE. TOO BAD IT FORGOT ABOUT THE BOOKS.  Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch’s July 8th resignation marked the latest casualty in B&N’s battle against two of the most creative, disciplined, and well-funded companies around: and Apple. Lynch was a Silicon Valley dreamer in charge of a bookstore chain, and tried to run the retailer like a tech startup, burning through about a billion dollars in four years. A chronicle of Lynch's brief career with Barnes & Noble, his early successes (e-reading device Nook), his failures (tablets) and the battles within the company about its destiny.  The full story…

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Bob Zimmerman,, in re: More climate fraud - The routine lowering of past climate data to make today’s temperatures seem hotter.  Almost all past temperatures have been adjusted downward, compared with the temperatures that were actually recorded at the time. During the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, when many record high temperatures were recorded, the readings have been adjusted downward by, generally speaking, one to one-and-a-half degrees. These adjustments stop abruptly in the late 1990s. The effect of the adjustments is to make the past look cooler in relation to the present.

       This kind of manipulation of data, changing the historical record after the fact, is done ALL THE TIME by the climate alarmists who crank out all of the data that are reported on in the newspapers. And the adjustments are always the same: they make the past cooler, so that the present will look warmer, in order to support their power-grabbing climate hysteria agenda. Whenever you hear on the radio that a temperature reading is the “warmest ever” in a particular place, you can reasonably assume that the “warmest ever” title was conferred by falsely reporting temperature readings from past decades.

And as Hinderaker properly concludes, “This is, in my view, the biggest scandal in the history of science. I can’t think of any competitor that could even come close.”

Hour Four

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 4, Block A: Ashlee Vance, Bloomberg Businessweek, in re: Can Silicon Valley's favorite carmaker, Tesla, win over the rest of the world? Elon Musk's rapidly expanding electric car empire has worked hard to overcome consumer objections, including cost and battery life, and with sales of the Model S luxury sedan booming, the company has finally turned a profit.  The next phase of Tesla’s growth is going to be exponentially more challenging as it introduces lower-priced models and aims to simultaneously become the next Ford Motor and ExxonMobil—to be a profitable, mass-scale manufacturer and fuel distribution network. Report on how Tesla must perform “that delicate dance of staying cool while trying to build its brand beyond the West Coast.”   [more]

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 4, Block B: David Davenport, Hoover, in re: America's Teachers Are Sharing Their Low Grades with America's Children

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Lou Ann Hammond, DrivingtheNation, in re: BMW i3 ‎- 2 hours ago 
The BMW i3 electric supermini goes on sale in November, with prices starting from £25,680. 
BMW i3 electric car targets everything from the Nissan Leaf to the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.  

BMW shows i3 urban electric car

Monday 29 July  2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Danny Hakim, NYT, in re: Faster Than the Speed of Light? Beyond the security gate at the Johnson Space Center’s 1960s-era campus here, inside a two-story glass and concrete building with winding corridors, there's a floating laboratory. Harold G. White, a physicist and advanced propulsion engineer at NASA, beckoned toward a table full of equipment there on a recent afternoon: a laser, a camera, some small mirrors, a ring made of ceramic capacitors and a few other objects.

      He and other NASA engineers have been designing and redesigning these instruments, with the goal of using them to slightly warp the trajectory of a photon, changing the distance it travels in a certain area, and then observing the change with a device called an interferometer. So sensitive is their measuring equipment that it was picking up myriad earthly vibrations, including people walking nearby. So they recently moved into this lab, which floats atop a system of underground pneumatic piers, freeing it from seismic disturbances. The team is trying to determine if faster-than-light travel — warp drive — might someday be possible. “Space has been expanding since the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago,” said Dr. White, 43, who runs the research project. “And we know that when you look at some of the cosmology models, there were early periods of the universe where there was explosive inflation, where two points would’ve went receding away from each other at very rapid speeds.”  “Nature can do it,” he said. “So the question is, can we do it?”

      Einstein famously postulated that, as Dr. White put it, “thou shalt not exceed the speed of light,” essentially setting a galactic speed limit. But in 1994, a Mexican physicist, Miguel Alcubierre, theorized that faster-than-light speeds were possible in a way that did not contradict Einstein, though Dr. Alcubierre did not suggest anyone could actually construct the engine that could accomplish that.

       His theory involved harnessing the expansion and contraction of space itself. Under Dr. Alcubierre’s hypothesis, a ship still couldn’t exceed light speed in a local region of space. But a theoretical propulsion system he sketched out manipulated space-time by generating a so-called “warp bubble” that would expand space on one side of a spacecraft and contract it on another.

“In this way, the spaceship will be pushed away from the Earth and pulled towards a distant star by space-time itself,” Dr. Alcubierre wrote. Dr. White has likened it to stepping onto a moving walkway at an airport. But Dr. Alcubierre’s paper was purely theoretical, and suggested insurmountable hurdles. Among other things, it depended on . . .  [more]

What if Einstein was wrong? In developing his Theory of Relativity in 1905, he stated that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light. That pronouncement hasn’t prevented physicists from searching for faster-than-light particles, and the tachyon is the most sought-after—and elusive—prize.

This hypothetical particle was proposed 50 years ago, and in 2011 physicists at Geneva’s CERN laboratory, whose work focuses on fundamental physics, claimed to have found evidence for its existence. Though the experiment’s findings were later proven wrong, some physicists are continuing the search.

Several lines of evidence are used to support that quest. A recent analysis of neutrinos emitted from supernova 1987A, approximately 168,000 light-years away, and an analysis of data involving high-energy cosmic rays suggest that one of the neutrinos is a tachyon. If proven, the existence of tachyons could prompt a wholesale re-evaluation of the standard model of particle physics and cause physicists to rethink how the cosmos works. For example, a hypothetical technology using tachyons is claimed to be capable of sending messages backward in time.

..  ..  ..  

The warp drive proposed by Miguel Alcubierre would achieve faster-than-light speeds by distorting space-time. The device would generate a field of negative energy that would squeeze or stretch space-time, creating a bubble. The bubble would ride the distortions like a surfer on a wave. As evidenced in the big bang, space-time can expand so quickly that objects move faster than the speed of light.

1) The vertical dimension represents how much a given volume of space-time expands or contracts in Alcubierre's model. Positive values [red] imply an expansion. When space-time expands behind a craft, it propels the ship forward.

2) Inside the warp bubble, neutral space-time would leave the ship undisturbed. Passengers would experience a gravitationally calm zero-G environment.

3) Negative values [blue] imply a contraction in space-time. The contraction balances the expansion of space-time as the bubble moves forward.


Negative Energy: Creating a warp drive requires negative energy—a mysterious form of matter that repels rather than attracts. While predicted to exist, it has never been measured in a laboratory, and known methods for creating it are extremely limited; they would generate so much positive (normal) energy that any negative energy effects would likely be drowned out.

Faster-Than-Light Limitation: If scientists could generate a powerful field of negative energy, they would need to position some of it in front of the craft. “The problem,” says Alcubierre, “is that you wouldn’t be able to make this field reach the region you need.” In other words, to get the energy in front of the craft, it would need to move at faster-than-light speeds, which is impossible.

Destabilization: Even if scientists could generate and position a field of negative energy, there is little reason to think the integrity of the field would hold. A group of Spanish and Italian researchers wrote a paper in 2010 arguing that quantum mechanical radiation, analogous to the Hawking radiation that appears at the event horizon of black holes, would show up and “inevitably lead to [the warp bubble’s] destabilization whenever superluminal speeds are attained.”


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Hour 1:   Syriana. 24.  The Black Flag of al Qaeda. 

Hour 2:  Escape from New York Minority Report. Last Samurai.

Hour 3:  Ten Commandments. Hotel California.

Hour 4:  Ten Commandments. Escape from New York. The Raid. Michael Clayton.