Friday, March 23, 2018

Selected Questions - Answers From All Experts Astronomy Forum (Stellar Distance Using Parallax)

Question: Can you please explain the idea of parallax and how it is used to measure the distances to nearby stars? Could you also give a specific example in how it might be used? Thanks!


One of the most basic types of astronomy problem entails finding distances, say to nearby stars. The most intuitively obvious method is known as "trigonometric parallax" which is illustrated in the diagram below;

 It is generally agreed this can apply to all stars within a distance of maybe 50 parsecs (pc) or those for which a measurable parallax angle p exists.   The angle p is obtained by taking photographs of the same star six months apart (i.e. from opposite sides of Earth's orbit) and comparing the two positions. One can thereby obtain the distance, D from:

D = r/ tan (p)

The relationship is such that for p = 1 arcsec the distance of the star would be 1 parsec (e.g. par-allax sec-ond). an angle of 1 arcsec = 1" = 1/3600 degree. So we see it is an extremely tiny angle. similarly, if the angle p = 1/10" then D = 10 parsecs, so we perceive a reciprocal relationship such that D = 1/p", though we must ensure the units are consistent.

In many applications, the parallax angle p is merged with the equation for the "distance modulus" which is a simple logarithmic equation that makes use of the absolute magnitude M  and apparent magnitude m.

If D is the distance, the usual expression for distance modulus is:

(m - M) = 5 log (D /10) = 5 log D - 5 log 10 = 5 log D - 5

But: D = 1/p


(m - M) = 5 log (1/p) - 5

Or: (m - M) + 5 = 5 log p

Consider the case of  finding the distance (in light years) to Barnard's star, which  has an absolute magnitude of M=   +13.2 and an apparent magnitude m = +9.5. 

We may use the parsec form of the distance modulus:

(m - M) = 5 log (1/p) - 5

(9.5 - 13.2) = 5 log(1/p) - 5

-3.7 = 5 log (1/p) - 5

5 log (1/p) = (5 - 3.7) = 1.3

log (1/p) = (1.3)/5 = 0.26

Taking anti-logs:

1/p = D = 1.81 pc

But 1 pc = 3.26 Ly, 

So D = (1.81 pc)(3.26 Ly/pc) = 5. 9 LY

Be Afraid...Be Very Afraid...Dotard Appoints John "Ripper" Bolton To NSC Adviser

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"He (Bolton) is not only a hawk, he's extremely reckless. He believes in going to war first, and diplomacy second. Having him as the National Security adviser would be a terrible situation and put us into a likely nuclear war. He could go after North Korea and that would result in millions of people being killed and i wouldn't put it beyond him to drag China and Russia into it."- Richard Painter, last night on All In.

For those too young to register it the 1964 film 'Dr. Strangelove',  starring George C. Scott and Peter Sellers, featured an unhinged United States Air Force general ("Jack D. Ripper") who orders a first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union.. (Ripper  believes the Soviets have been using fluoridation of United States water supplies to pollute the "precious bodily fluids" of Americans.)  The film revolves around the various efforts of the sane contingent  to try  to stop the madman's plans which include dispatching a B-52  with a hydrogen bomb- and ordering radio silence. In the last scene Major T.J. Kong rides the bomb down to its target like a rodeo bull until detonation, e.g.

That story was a farce depicting the folly of nuclear weapons and the greater folly of irrational men who might be controlling their use (including the codes to the nuclear football) - in this case a pre-emptive strike setting.  Alas, with the appointment of John Bolton as Trump's new National Security adviser  yesterday, we may be seeing the beginnings of a play that ends not too differently from Dr. Strangelove. To  sum up, Bolton's basic philosophy translates to "bomb first - preferably with nukes - and talk later."

Which brings us to Bolton's justification for pre-emptive strikes as laid out in his recent WSJ op -ed,''The Legal Case For Striking North Korea First',

Seldom in human history are malignant intentions and vile future acts telegraphed in blunt terms. The problem is too many of us are too preoccupied - often with irrelevant fluff and nonsense - to take note when it happens. Because we ignore the warning shots over our existential bows, we pay dearly for our nonchalance later. Such was the case after the publication of Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' in which he literally laid out his foul plan  to exterminate the Jews in black and white  But too few took note at the time, and read the warning signs mostly after the fact.

In the most recent iteration of this John Bolton published a commentary arguing for the "legality" of a first strike against North Korea in the February 28th WSJ . Bolton's piece: 'The Legal Case For Striking North Korea First', telegraphs, as clearly and blatantly as Hitler did in Mein Kampf, what he would do if the conditions merit. That is, he'd launch a pre-emptive (first) strike against North Korea.

Let us carefully note here that if this psychopath were to follow through on his plan, many millions more would perish than  all the Jews who died in Nazi gas chambers.

Without being hyperbolic with rhetoric,  let me try to impress upon readers the gravity of the situation and why Bolton's nuclear strike document - which is what it really is - ought to scare the bejeezus out of any sentient person.

Interviewed in April last year about a possible U.S. first strike attack on North Korea, former CIA North Korean analyst Sue Mi Terry responded:

 “I can’t see him following through on this and that is the problem with the brinksmanship policy. Because you’re putting yourself in a bind. You will either have to back down and lose credibility or you are stuck on a ledge with a military option which is very, very risky.

 North Korea is not Syria. It’s not Afghanistan. It’s going to have very devastating consequences.  North Korea will retaliate to any kind of military option. They will retaliate against South Korea given seventy percent of its ground forces are deployed within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the DMZ.  And there’s twenty thousand U.S. military in South Korea and twenty million people in Seoul”

She was warning that any U.S. first attack would assuredly incept a powerful counter attack that would  wreak havoc on Seoul, South Korea – with the potential to obliterate over 20 million people as well as all U.S. troops stationed in S. Korea.  She was referring to more than 10,000 artillery pieces capable of hurling shells into Seoul bearing not only sarin nerve agent but biological weapons such as anthrax, Ebola, smallpox and cholera.

While the U.S.  has focused on the North's nuclear capability, there has been little mention of this formidable conventional arsenal.  Nor has it evidently been on Bolton's radar or he'd have been more circumspect with his op ed.  He simply appears not to have processed that even if a first strike were to eliminate the North's nuclear missiles, it would barely scratch the surface of its highly fortified artillery. Worse, such a foolhardy strike could also draw in the Chinese and even the Russians. At the end we could be looking at a full, all- out thermonuclear war with more than 9,500 hydrogen weapons exchanged.  It's difficult to get a sense of what such a war wold look like but this clip from the 1984 Brit film 'Threads' gives some idea, e.g.

Watch it then watch again- especially the last 2 minutes of the clip-  to see what we may be in for with this goddamned lunatic.

What is especially unnerving in his WSJ piece is how he justifies a pre-emptive strike on the basis of what is am "imminent" threat, predicated on an 1837 'test of necessity' formulated by Daniel Webster.  Webster's test referred to when British forces invaded the U.S.  to destroy the steamboat 'Caroline' in 1837. It had been used by Canadian rebels to transport weapons into Ontario.

Webster argued that Britain had failed to show 'the necessity of self-defense was' instant', leaving no choice of means and no moment of deliberation.

Bolton, having set the premise up then writes (ibid.):

"Would an American first strike today against North Korea's nuclear weapons' program violate Webster's necessity test? Clearly not. Necessity in the nuclear and ballistic missile age is simply different than in the age of steam.....In 1837 Britain unleashed pre-emptive 'fire and fury' against a wooden steamboat. It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current necessity posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons by striking first."

Missing in Bolton's "necessity" doctrine is any element of ethics or basic morality. Namely, that he is fully willing to sacrifice 20-25 million South Korean lives to justify this perfidy under the banner of some abstract "Caroline criteria" argument. Effectively doing so merely because North Korea possesses  weapons that might hit the U.S. Bolton also appears never to have learned the most fundamental lesson of basic morality: the ends never justifies the means.

Bolton is also amiss in terms of international law and specifically Nuremberg Principle VI:
"The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
(b) War crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
(c) Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime."
So Bolton's claim of "legaality" for his first strike is total bollocks.

As Richard Painter, former ethics adviser to George W. Bush put it last night.: "We already had one hothead now we have another hothead who believes the same crazy stuff." Sen. Chris Murphy was even more specific noting Bolton advocates for a first strike on the North for the "mere possession of weapons that might hit the United States" adding, "that is a Pandora's box."

Bolton, of course, is also willing to scuttle the Iranian nuclear deal.. Bolton's appointment, then,  is also the latest in a long series of signals Trump has sent in recent months that he is determined to take the U.S. out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. This despite strong protests from European allies, as well as Russia and China, who are join signatories to the deal.  Bolton himself Bolton published an open memo on how to “free America from this execrable deal at the earliest opportunity”.

Some conservatives close to the White House had argued that Bolton was too hawkish for Trump, and that his foreign adventurism would detract from Dotard's“America first” strategy of concentrating on creating U.S, jobs and cutting immigration. But it is now apparent that Trump - increasingly besieged by the Mueller investigation into his campaign’s contacts with the Kremlin- aims for reckless military distraction and asserting U.S. might abroad. 

Having another rank lunatic by his side in Bolton, instead of someone like HR McMaster to curb his worst instincts, means we are all on the muclear countdown  clock. This because many actually believe if an indictment does come from Mueller Trump will punch in the nuclear codes. And with "Ripper" Bolton there to urge him on, there will be no second chances.  Hyperbolic? No, not from a character who believes firmly he is more important than the entire world and all 7.5 billion on it.  Can you say "malignant narcissist"?

See also:


 'Yes, John Bolton Really Is That Dangerous'


There are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton is to lead the country into war. His selection is a decision that is as alarming as any Mr. Trump has made so far.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sorry, NRA Guntards, the MD School Shooting Outcome Doesn't Prove More Guns Are Needed in Schools

Blaine Gaskill - the guntards' current "hero" for his role in stopping the shooter at a  MD high school. But we still don't know if either of the wounded students was hit by a round from his weapon.

Well, I predicted it wouldn't be three days before the Right wing gunnies and guntards - who favor stocking guns with teachers - would be shooting off their yaps at the successful killing of an active shooter at a a Maryland high school -- and by a school resource officer (Blaine Gaskill). In this way they figured they'd be able to show -  Hey, see. it works!  I.e. that an official deputy with a gun can take down an active shooter, and hence put Scott Peterson  (the deputy at Stoneman Douglas) to shame. This is given Peterson did not go inside Bldg. 12 where Nikolas Cruz was firing dozens of rounds with his AR- 15.

Just a few things off about this cozy, expedient little picture:

First, let's try to get our gunny friends to calm down long enough to concede there's a huge difference in the training of  Gaskill vs. Parkland's Peterson. That is, Gaskill was a SWAT-trained officer in the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office, which makes a world of difference in terms of skill and  shooting ability. That was an advantage Peterson didn't have. Oh, and Gaskill had also been in armed confrontations before, a little fact the breathless gun zealots omit.

Second, there's a little bitty difference in weapons: the perp in the MD  incident had a Glock 9 mm which is not the same as an AR -15 military style rifle.  The rounds from a Glock, 9 mm, travel at much less the speed of the AR-15 (which is 2800 ft/sec) and the firing rate is roughly half that of the AR. Also, the Glock 9 mm  is far more limited in magazine capacity (compared to the AR) - giving a school officer at least half a chance to succeed in a "shoot out". That and the fact Rollins was evidently firing at one student - instead of dozens- gave Gaskill an opening. One he'd not have had facing an AR-15 spraying rounds all over and taking off limbs, ears, heads..

Third,  the perp  (Austin Rollins) Gaskill faced was not decked out in body armor as was the Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz.

I submit these differences totally destroy the right wing gun nuts' case that Gaskill would have done better at stopping the  Parkland FL killer, though there is a small possibility one round might have nicked Cruz somewhere. Big deal. My bet, Gaskill would still have ended up dead man walking and likely with lots more student collateral deaths too.  This highlights the core problem of gunnies and guntards: the prefrontal cortices of their brains simply aren't large enough to realistically project an AR- 15  active shooter scenario. In other words, they inhabit gun la-la land thanks to deficient mental capacity - or they're totally dishonest.

As we've since learned Gaskill confronted the perp (Austin Wyatt Rollins)  as students and teachers scrambled for cover. Both Gaskill and Rollins fired their weapons, with Rollins fatally wounded. (Gaskill was not injured)

As of this writing, investigators were still reviewing video and taking testimony to determine exactly what happened in the chaotic exchange that sent two students — a girl, 16, and a boy, 14 — to the hospital with injuries. Officials could not say who shot the boy or whether the attacker was killed by Gaskill or shot himself with the Glock semiautomatic.

IN other words, we have a bunch of loose ends and it's way too early for guntard cheerleaders to be proclaiming victory in the ongoing PR battle over rational gun control or the meme that Gaskill singlehandedly brought down the bad guy - without hurting anyone else..

But one thing I will guarantee is there would have been a lot more blood, guts and chaos had he attempted this bravado with Nikolas Cruz - decked in body armor and firing an AR 15 at Stoneman Douglas High on Feb. 14th.. For one thing there'd have been 30 rounds fired a minute and heads shattered along with limbs along with the 150 dB rounds blowing out eardrums. I seriously doubt Gaskill would have got one shot off far less two, without killing students in his firing line or being killed himself. But see, I am realistic unlike the NRA groupies who buy into Elmer Fudd cartoons.

I repeat again - hoping this time the guntards process it (but doubt they will)-   there is no form of training  that replicates the experience of going up against a real, military style assault weapon that has already blown off the faces, arms, and legs of kids who were alive just minutes ago. There is no freaking training that duplicates the emotional, psychological experience that a teacher (or ordinary school resource officer)  would encounter in an actual bloodbath scenario that is rapidly unfolding and in which the shooter has every advantage with his assault rifle.

And any guntard who claims differently is either on hallucinogenic drugs, or suffering from a schizophrenic disorder in which fantasies are deemed realities, or is a fucking liar.

 Even a Glock 9mm would be no match against an AR-15, and if we are on the sane side, we should not look forward to any  "grudge match"  between a body armor clad, AR 15 wielding active shooter and a single armed deputy. My bet would be that it is no contest.

Could a well -trained teacher (or school resource officer) armed with only a handgun bring down the bad guy with an AR-15?  Uh, yeah, IF..... the time is available to stand there and aim his-her handgun at the shooter.....

AND.... the shooter obliges by standing there frozen like a fucking deer in the headlights,  allowing the teacher or officer to do it.   In addition, the shooter - even if standing still as a statue - would have to further  cooperate by deciding not to fire his assault weapon at the officer with the handgun.

Pause now, collect your breath, and seriously tell me how you rate the probabilities for any of these to materialize.  Let's also add for completeness, that even if all these conditions are met, the teacher-officer would have to have a clear firing line - no students in the intervening space.  Ideally, this would have to take place outside in a hallway, not inside a classroom where any number of students could become collateral damage. The incident in St. Mary's County, MD didn't conform to that, given we still don't know whether either of the injured students were struck by Gaskill.  (The guntarded will totally deny if, of course, even before the evidence is in.)

Of course, no surprise that faced with a PR blitz by the Parkland students the Twitter feed of NRA- TV, an arm of the National Rifle Association, hailed Gaskill as proof of the group’s assertion that armed guards — or teachers — are a better response to school shootings than gun control. Again, proving the NRA and its groupies either are deficient in mental capacity - e.g. to realistically project an AR-15 mass shooting scenario, or dishonest.

Take away the B.S. and fulsome hype and all the St. Mary's incident really shows is that IF there is a SWAT -trained officer on the premises, and IF he is facing a perp with NO body armor, and bearing only a Glock 9mm handgun, he may be lucky enough to get in a kill shot . Though we still are not sure if that really happened or Rollins killed himself. Nor are we sure one of the two students injured wasn't hit by a ricochet  from Gaskill's gun.  And this is all despite the fact that Gaskill had successfully defused encounters with armed suspects before.

Most teachers as well as school resource officers would have been at a monumental disadvantage, since they'd have lacked the SWAT training of Gaskill or his prior experience in confronting armed perps.

In other words luck - and yes, some measure of skill and training-  decidedly played a role. But it is stupid beyond belief to think this could be easily replicated - especially against a shooter in body armor and firing an AR 15  at twice the rate of a Glock. 

Backing me up on my take that the St. Mary's County HS approach is hardly a one-size-fits-all answer to the active shooter gun crisis, is John Jay College of Criminal Justice Prof. Eugene O’Donnell, a former NYPD cop.  For one thing, O’Donnell said, the shooter wasn’t toting an assault rifle like the gunman who killed 17 students and teachers in the FL rampage in February. Also,  Rollins appeared to have been targeting a single student, although another classmate was shot,. (Though that may have been by a ricochet from Gaskill's gun)

As O'Donnell added (and this needs to be processed by the guntards):

"Don’t confuse run-of-the-mill incidents for mass shootings. It’s not the same. A gun in school could cause more harm than good. People are trying to find a case that fits their perspective. That’s not good.'

Indeed, it isn't good. O’Donnell added that Gaskill’s SWAT training — and willingness to engage the shooter — played a big role in the outcome. But look, it was also true that his SWAT training - which most teachers and school resource officers wouldn't have-  was precisely the factor that gave him the confidence (hence willingness) to engage the shooter. But it might very well have cost him his life, as well as students' lives, had he tried the same against the AR-15 firing, body armor clad Nikolas Cruz.

What we need is for the guntards to stop and think rationally and realistically instead of running off their mouths by entertaining and circulating fantasy memes of how a lone officer or teacher could take down an active shooter in body armor, firing an AR.

But don't hold your breath!

See also Kali Holloway's excellent blog post  ('The Armed Teacher Debate, America's Stupidest Moment') from smirking chimp:


Numerous educators have mishandled guns and shot themselves, often while classes are in session, over the last few years. That includes the Idaho State University chemistry professor who shot himself in the foot, the Utah elementary school teacher who shot herself in the leg and the Long Island University professor (and ex-cop) who also shot himself in the leg. An Atlanta high school teacher intentionally shot himself in the face last year, and since studies show the presence of a gun increases the chances of suicide, that’s something to consider before  you start suggesting schools stockpile weapons.

'But these teachers will be trained—we’ll just take the money out of children’s health insurance or something', some partisan hack is yelling at this very moment. That will ensure they’ll avoid those kinds of sloppy mistakes! First of all, an NRA employee accidentally shot himself at the group’s headquarters last year, and once you get past the staggering irony of the story, you note that training is no guarantee against mistakes

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Why BS Detection Is Next To Useless In Today's Internet

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As we've just learned about the secretly recorded conversations of Cambridge Analytica’s CEO, Alexander Nix, who claimed he had met Trump “many times”- we've also learned of the depths of the psychographic methods used to hoist Doturd into illegitimate office.  We also know another senior member admitted  the firm was behind the “defeat crooked Hillary” advertising campaign, adding for emphasis:

We just put information into the bloodstream of the internet and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again over time to watch it take shape. And so this stuff infiltrates the online community, but with no branding, so it’s unattributable, untrackable.

In other words, gestate a sophisticated mind fuck on an unsuspecting populace to effectively put a virtual thumb on the election scales for Donald Trump.  And we learned how -once infected by the germinated mind virus - they themselves become viral hosts spreading anti-Hillary memes far and wide, via sharing, likes or other more aggressive means. (Examples of which I will show later in this post). As Sen. Mark Warner - ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee - explained in an interview on Maddow last night:

"Cambridge Analytica is a pretty sketchy firm, known for not only operating on behalf of Trump but in other countries' elections. They were known  for their ability to disrupt the electoral process, and it potentially explains in so many ways how the Trump campaign crept up on a lot of folks because of their ability to use data, to use our social media companies. And use them in many ways that these companies were never prepared for. ....especially as Cambridge Analytica had a particular ability to drill down on millions of Americans, their personal wants and needs."

Caught on camera by an undercover team from the UK's Channel 4 News, Nix was also dismissive of Democrats on the House intelligence committee, who had questioned him over Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. Senior managers then appeared to suggest that in their work for U.S. clients, there was planned division of work between official campaigns and unaffiliated “political action groups”.  In the end the implication was it didn't matter if the Trump bunch colluded or not, the political actions groups - by spreading virulent memes and conspiracy theories like 'pizzagate' - were instrumental in getting him into office.

Reinforcing this, the company’s head of data, Alex Tayler, added:

When you think about the fact that Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 3m votes but won the electoral college vote that’s down to the data and the research. You did your rallies in the right locations, you moved more people out in those key swing states on election day. That’s how he won the election.

Now we know, including how the psychographics work of Cambridge Analytica helped the Rs grab the Colorado Senate (by 1 seat) in 2016 as reported in today's Denver Post (p. 1A). Well, at least part of the covert forces that were responsible for the Trump takeover of our country, the rest being due to Russian help. (As Sen. Warner noted as well, the Facebook incursions by Cambridge Analytica were supplemented by Russian videos, fake news etc. e.g.

But let's be frank: The Cambridge Analytica operation was only a small part of the colossal clusterfuck that transpired with the 2016 election. As we learned in yesterday's WSJ piece, 'It's Time To Tune Up Your B.S. Detector',  p. A14, another huge reason for Trump's success is that so many in the population were plain gullible receptacles for "rubbish, nonsense and fake news".   That bespeaks the American populace's  lack of skill in spotting such, or to summarize it, "lies and BS".

The article also concedes that B.S. and false information isn't new, but alas, in today's social media environment the mind viruses are created faster and also spread faster   For example, the piece cites a new study from MIT published earlier this month in the journal Science. The authors analyzed the spread of 126,000 rumors tweeted by 3 million people over more than 10 years and "found that false news spreads faster than truth."

Well, again, not news exactly. Wasn't it Winston Churchill who once said: "A lie can go halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on"?

According to Jevin West, a professor of information science at the University of Washington (ibid.):

"We have reached epidemic levels of information pollution and we need to do something about it."

But what exactly?  The article expatiates on avoiding being susceptible to B.S. but how does one put that into practice? For example, we learn (ibid.):

"When people hear or see a false claim repeated even just once they are more likely to let it override their prior knowledge on the subject and believe it, according to two studies published together in October, 2015, in the Journal of Experimental Psychology."

I call these disinformation memes which amount to a form of lie, or again a deleterious mind virus. These memes or mind viruses also pack more punch, or enhanced mind fuck potential, when accompanied by imagery - photos. For example, let's take this debased one that's been making the rounds among the Right's lowbrows the past month or so - or since the activism of Stoneman student David Hogg has come to the fore:
Image result for David Hogg and Hitler images
The image and the embodied meme are total, absolute bullshit.  Placing Hogg in the same image with Hitler amplifies the bullshit and the essential virulence which then makes for further circulation in the bottom dregs of the net, such as 4chan, Reddit,, Infowars etc. In other words, the same bunch that gave us pizzagate.

Further reinforcing the disinformation that Hogg and Hitler are in favor of "disarming citizens" is the given text which itself is just a pithy fabrication, or if you want - codswallop. Hogg, for one,  is not for disarming anyone. He made clear his support for the 2nd amendment in his appearance on HBO's Real Time a fortnight ago with school mate Cameron Kasky.  What Hogg is all about is getting the military style weapons like the AR 15 off the scene, which btw, are not protected anyway under the Second amendment, e.g.

As for the Hitler- attributed text, repeated thousands of times by yahoos across the net, there's no evidence Hitler ever said any such words.  It is possible, however, they represent a massively truncated paraphrasing of words directed in a different context. In this regard, in “Hitler’s Table Talk,” we find the F├╝hrer making the following statement in 1942, regarding the colonization and denationalization of conquered territories:

"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.
So let’s not have any native militia or native police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order throughout the occupied Russian territories."

Which would be totally sensible in the context of controlling an occupied populace. I mean, why the hell would you want any of them gaining access to arms? But that has nada to do with the regulation or seizure of guns in Nazi Germany itself.  Logically speaking,  it is stupid because  - to seize weapons ("disarm citizens") -  the country would already have to be conquered. Germany was not "conquered" it was foursquare behind Hitler  (for the most part) in the search for Lebensraum (living space).  Second, if the majority of Germans had wanted to use their guns to fight the Nazis, they could have. But they didn’t. The ignoramuses that circulate that stupid meme ignore the fact  that the Nazis enjoyed significant popular support, or at least, broad acquiescence.  Given that popular support they had no reason at all to fear a popular revolt or uprising- again in Germany proper.. 

When the Nazis did come to power, they used whatever gun records they had to seize weapons from their enemies, but  Dagmar Ellerbock- an expert on German gun policies at the Dresden Technical University-   has noted the files included very few of the firearms  already in circulation. According to him:

"In my records, I found many Jews who well into the late 1930s possessed guns,"

This was confirmed by three former Wehrmacht troops I had occasion to speak with about the war and the Hitler era, when I traveled to Bielefeld (then West Germany)  with Janice in 1985. The three former German troops, a translator (Reinhardt) and myself had extensive  conversations about the war in the Teutoburger Forest,
Hans Borchers, the oldest of the former German troops,  affirmed he "knew many Jews who possessed rifles and pistols long after Hitler attained the Chancellorship in 1933".

The Nazis DID adopt a new gun law in 1938. Bccording to an analysis by Bernard Harcourt, a professor at Columbia University School of Law, it loosened gun ownership rules in several ways:

1) It deregulated the buying and selling of rifles, shotguns and ammunition.

2) It made handguns easier to own by allowing anyone with a hunting license to buy, sell or carry one at any time. (i.e. You didn’t need to be hunting.)

3) It extended the permit period from one year to three and gave local officials more discretion in letting people under 18 get a gun.

The regulations to implement this law, rather than the law itself, did impose new limits on one group: Jews. 

On Nov. 11, 1938, the German minister of the interior issued the Regulations Against Jews Possession of Weapons. Not only were Jews forbidden to own guns and ammunition, they couldn’t own "truncheons or stabbing weapons."   In addition to these restrictions, confiscation was also present, thus the Nazis had already been raiding Jewish homes and seizing weapons. But according to Ellerbock, also confirmed by Dieter - another Wehrmacht soldier:

"The gun policy of the Nazis can hardly be compared to the democratic procedures of gun regulations by law.  It was a kind of special administrative practice (Sonderrecht), which treated people in different ways according to their political opinion or according to ‘racial identity’ in Nazi terms."

In short, Nazi-era Germany imposed greater gun restrictions for Jews (and other perceived enemies, e.g. communists) at the same time it loosened gun restrictions for other groups.  German citizens as a whole were not disarmed by the Nazis. Jews and other supposed enemies of the state were subject to having their weapons seized. But for most German citizens, the Nazi period was one in which gun regulations were loosened, not tightened.

The above discourse is merely meant to show how a B.S. or fake historical idiom can be generated whether via carelessness, ignorance or intent.   In the first and second cases we can regard the mind virus as more incidental than weaponized. But if it spreads it has the same punch as if weaponized (For example, photo-shopped images showing Hitler putting his arm on the shoulders of David Hogg  - as if to support his activism.. This again is pure B.S. spread by ignorant yahoos.)

The desperation with which these lowbrow lowlifes are attempting to smear Hogg and his student associates is also embodied in other disinformation they've tried to spread. One example comes from the actor James Woods - who once played Roy Cohn, the degenerate attorney pal  of Trump's who tried to bring down Larry Flynt in a criminal law suit. Woods has actually fired off texts and tweets that Hogg is like the Hitler Youth who reported on their parents if they so much as talked about guns, or tried to smuggle any into the home.  This again is total bullshit, which my late friend (and former Hitler Youth) Kurt Braun put down way back in 1978 when we saw him in Frankfurt-Am-Main:
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Kurt still had photos from the 1930s-early 40s of his home that featured rifles mounted on the walls.

"Didn't Hitler seize all those guns at the time?" I asked him.

"Ach!  Nein! What kind of schwein hund told you that? We could keep all the guns we wanted! We weren't Jewish after all!"  (Kurt's family used the rifles to hunt Wild Boar.)

He basically reiterated the points made earlier on the history of weapons regulations in the Reich.  Woods' B.S. elicits the question of why he'd try to spread it.  In the case of the WSJ article we understand that such B.S. tends to be generated when:

"People feel obligated to have an opinion about something they know little about."

So, because certain Reich wing bloggers are upset by Hogg's student activism, and they may have seen or been told Hitler wanted to "take guns" from Germans, they concoct the B.S. that Hogg is a "useful idiot" for Hitler types (usually "Left Nazis")  and then invent images like that shown which they ignorantly spread to other ignoramuses who then spread them to others. In this way a similar mind virus "epidemic" is created to what the tools of Cambridge Analytica did.

In another version of the desperation to impugn Hogg,  some dolts try to tie him to one of the leaders of the Women's March (Linda Sarsour) who also helped to organize the student's walkout March 14th.  They claim Linda Sarsour is a fan of "cop killers"  because she once made some remarks that were construed that way. In any case, even if she did make some extreme remarks, the dolts fail to note the association is only incidental . Hogg doesn't even know Sarsour- never met her - and besides,  the actual effort by Hogg and Co. is this Saturday for the "March for Our Lives".  But again, because the lowlifes were unable to tar Hogg with the "child actors"  tripe, they are now attempting to use incidental associations to bring him and his fellow Stoneman survivors down. Can you say 'sick'?

This begs the question of whether B.S. and mind viruses can be reined in using "B.S. detectors" which are "tuned". I would like to believe this, but I doubt it.  There are two reasons for this: 1) The Dunning Kruger effect which has captivated a significant segment of the populace, and 2) the gross lack of knowledge- especially historical, concerning so many things.

In the case of the last, we are informed by Lisa Fazio - a professor of psychology and human development at Vanderbilt that (ibid.):

"It's easier to accept things especially when repeated because it's easier to process the second time you year or see it.  It is also time consuming and difficult to access one's previous knowledge so we go along with information if we think it's close enough".

But that could be a serious mistake as I showed above with the alleged Hitler quote:  "To conquer a nation you must first disarm its citizens".  So Prof. Fazio is saying that it's much easier to just accept the quotation as is than to do the scut work to ferret it out, historically or logically - or by talking to actual German sources who lived at the time.

Then there is the prevalence of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. An article by Dunning, “We Are All Confident Idiots,” provides both humorous and serious examples showing just how pervasive the problem is and it certainly transcends all age groups as well as disciplines.   In at least one aspect the false knowledge syndrome dovetails with Dunning -Kruger. Easily seen if one goes through the New York Times' comments sections for any given article, wherein one can see hundreds of spurious conclusions based on sketchy knowledge. However, the paradox is the Dunning -Kruger subject will apply none of the criteria to himself, i.e. in highlighting his shortcomings. As far as he is concerned, he has none. By the same token, the false knowledge adherent can't conceive that the knowledge which he possesses is actually inferior to the knowledge of most well educated people.

In like manner, too many global warming deniers suffer from the same syndrome. Devoid of sufficient background knowledge-  say of thermal physics -  they are convinced they can  simply opine on issues outside their specialty fields like global warming - or the alleged absence for it- without doing any hard work or proper research.  They believe they can simply bloviate from their armchairs or keyboards.   

Related to the preceding is what philosopher George Lakoff cites as the concept of hypocognition— i.e. that “we don’t have all the ideas we need.” One example he cited was the concept of reflexivity, “the fact that thought is part of the world. That when you’re thinking, it’s not separate from reality, it’s part of reality. And if your understanding of the world is reflected in what you do, then that thought comes into the world through your actions.”.

Take the Stoneman Douglas students  for their newfound activism and eloquence in speaking truth to power.   Many if not most who criticize them are simply unable to see themselves at the same age doing those things, or even being coherent in front of cameras. The bugbear in their heads is: "If I couldn't do that why should I believe they can?"

Lakoff’s discussion of hypocognition naturally comes to mind here.  What could be a worse idea to miss than the very idea of missing ideas?  If you don’t think the possibility for articulate and confident kids exists, you’ll never go looking for them—never believe anyone who behaves this way, either. If you honestly don't  believe there can be such things as confident, articulate student activists- then you will always believe they must be actors - i.e. kids who left school (like many nitwits claim Hogg did) and are now coming back act. 

If you can't take Hogg down to size with that B.S. then the next tack is to delegitimize him and his fellow students using tarring by associations, e.g. with Linda Sarsour, the Women's March organizer.  If you can't do that, well then use photo-shopped images of Hogg with Hitler. In other words, try every sordid trick in the books to force your stew of sliming into the open to try to spread it.

My pessimism of B.S. detection is based principally on the fact too many - especially on the Right- are unwilling to use it to come to the truth. They are too invested in bringing those with whom they disagree down, and that means no interest in either furthering their own knowledge, or abandoning the fact they are themselves "confident idiots" to use the phrase of  Dunning.

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The problem with misdirected anger is that it leads to misdirected policies that could undermine the internet’s capacity to catalyze much-needed social change. We need to ensure that when we think about internet policy we think about it with a political lens: how can we ensure the internet will enable us as citizens to share ideas freely, coordinate around common interests, and act in defense of our rights and interests? How can we ensure that people are afforded these conversations as a right today and in the future? How can we ensure these protections even in scenarios where the powers-that-be feel profoundly challenged by people’s capacity to coordinate?

If we accept that the internet has become a key tool for politics in this broad sense of the term, we can see the internet is indeed facing a problem. A problem that is often neglected for being less tangible, but that underlies much of what concerns the public about the internet. A problem that not only reflects but can reinforce current social problems, and frustrate the goal of ensuring meaningful political participation: centralization.