A “Celtic Dolmen in Oregon?” – well, at least it’s a question!


Bad Arcaheology logo

By Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews

The supposed "Celtic dolmen" in Oregon (USA)

I couldn’t quite believe it when I saw this “story”. It seems to be constructed partly from quotations from Webster’s Universal College Dictionary and “Wickipedia” (sic) and is based on research using Google Earth. In fact, it’s written by the “Oregon Nature Examiner” for The Examiner (the “insider source for everything local”), one Dave Sandersfield, who has a degree in Technical Journalism, so we can excuse the lack of archaeological knowledge displayed by the article.

It’s actually quite difficult to understand what the article is really about. It seems that, somewhere in Pike Creek Canyon, north-west of Alvord Hot Springs in Oregon  (USA) (the article says that Pike Creek is west, but it’s clear from Google Earth that it isn’t), there is a dolmen that can be seen as “a big pile of rocks”. It is in the…

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A Mathematical Theory of Statehood and Warfare


Consider a system S containing state s at time t. At this initial time, the state has certain attributes, call them ai, and certain loose attributes are left within system S. Due to entropy in a closed (or quasi-closed) system, it is the natural tendency of things to change. At the most basic level this means that certain attributes will undergo mutations within state s. Like the biological concept, they can be alterations (in orientation, definition, etc.), insertions or deletions. Thus, the number of changes for any given time will be more than likely positive. However, we must specify three kinds of changes: 1) Systemic changes, which occur as part of the attributes tied to the system itself, 2) Nonessential changes of state, extra ‘baggage’, additions, etc. that are tied to the state as well, and 3) Essential changes of state without which the state would not be referred to as such. These changes would be measured by a rate of change  where ∆t = t’ – t at some arbitrarily and appropriately defined interval of time. E.g. the rate of change of software would have a unit of months while a rate of change of legal system would have a unit of years or decades.

When is reform better, and when is revolution better?

We can predict the likelihood of reform being accepted by the state as the ratio of nonessential changes to essential changes. Nonessential changes are to be maximized: for this is the entire purpose of reform, while essential changes are to be minimized, otherwise that specific state would lose its character. Thus, the equation  represents this ratio and is, as a net effect, to be maximized. Thus we want . This determines how favourable and likely a reform effort is going to be.

The probability of revolution in a system depends on what can be termed the pressure elasticity; that is, the ratio of the rate of change of systemic changes to the rate of change of (total) changes of state. It is a pressure because it is essentially a tendency ‘pushing’ towards a certain point of change. As the ratio increases, the number of systemic changes becomes increasingly large so that ∆si (i.e. si’ – si) << ∆Si (i.e. Si’ – Si); that is, the state, which was established at, and in response to, certain no longer present systemic conditions represented by Si (the new conditions being Si’). Note that since the state is a subelement of the system (at the same organizational level as nonassigned systemic attributes), a systemic change implies a change of state, if the state s is to survive in the new systemic organization S’. Thus, this ratio over a given interval of time, , will determine the likelihood of revolution. A revolution occurs when a state s can no longer sustain itself within the system S’, as it was established in the system’s (relatively) initial configuration S. It can be seen then, that : the changes of state will be so insignificant that they practically amount to no visible effect, increasing the likelihood of non-response to reform and therefore a continuation of this tendency (itself of static character). Revolution is most likely to occur when the two elements of a low visible effect of reform () and  is attained. However, a revolution can be starved off by compensating for the positive systemic rate of change  by an equally large rate of change of state , thus masking the effects of systemic change.

An interesting consequence of this to be observed is that the likelihood of revolution is always positive, so long as there are changes of state (and there always will be due to the constancy of system-level entropy); thus, short outbursts of instability can be seen as a result of a natural tendency of a larger trend of ‘faultlines’ reestablishing themselves, and having a ‘cracking’ effect to let off steam, if the analogy were apt. This is because the universe is by nature homeostatic (resistant to change), since for a closed and quasi-closed system, it generally takes more energy (and therefore more effort and resources) to adapt to this change than to remain static.

Note: here, state refers not just to the traditional geopolitical entity, but also to any form of being in the sense of ‘states of matter’.

The Trinity of Power: Putin as a Russian Neo-Medievalist


First we should take into account that Putin is not an ideologue. His politics is strictly pragmatic, and is an accumulation of neo-medieval, orthodox revivalist, neo-capitalist and fascistic ideas.

During the Yeltsin Era, the Russian Federation witnessed a systemic breakdown of authority at the federal level to become in a situation similar to China during the early phase of the Civil War (c. 1921-1931) in the case of the highest authority at the local level being the regional oligarch and not the central administration. Thus, a chaotic and neo-tsarist phase in the Russian economy grew, in parallel with its financialization, resulting in the impoverishment of large sectors of the populace who were previously insured under the Soviet centralized system.

In 2001 Vladimir Putin came to power and began to gradually restructure the Russian government at the federal level. Increasing the level of administrative coordination and economic cooperation between the federal regions, he was able to centralize federal control and keep in check the growing power of the oligarchs who were seen as unpatriotic parasitic forces by many Russians.

He also oversaw a revival of the Russian Orthodox Church which had been dormant during the Soviet and Yeltsin Eras, to the extent that it could provide a check against the capitalist class.

Thus, by balancing the Church and Oligarchy, Putin has amassed immense power which would be otherwise impossible for a Stalin-like dictator in modern Russia (indirectly rather than directly).

If we take the Trinity as inspiration for a Russian theory of Divine Right to justify Putin’s rule, we can see the following:


The Mind of Russia = God the Father = Putin’s Administration

The Body of Russia = God the Son = The Business Class

The Soul of Russia = God the Holy Spirit = The Orthodox Church


These three work together to ensure the emergence of Russia as an a-Western (rather than anti-Western) power seeking equality rather than subservience with other great powers.

According to the pre-Filioque Orthodox Nicene Creed, the Holy Spirit precedes from the Father only and not from the Son (unlike in the Catholic West, which allowed the emergence of the bodily-ruled Capitalist Class), which then means that the Business and Church classes are in a position of equality under the protection of the central administration.

Since the Holy Spirit precedes from the Father only, it is only the central government which has authority over the Russian Church, and therefore it can expand at will unhindered by capitalist interests, as it would otherwise be in any other capitalist country.

Neil deGrasse Tyson loses it in a discussion about science


This is beautiful.

Why Evolution Is True

This clip was highlighted, without comment, at Sean Carroll’s Preposterous Universe website. I’ll post it, too, but add a comment:

It shows Tyson losing it in a science discussion with Brian Greene, Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Tracy Day, Ira Flatow, and Bill Nye. The discussion was at an Arizona State University panel on “The Storytelling of Science” (you can see the full discussion here), where Tyson reacted rather violently when Krauss suggested that manned space exploration is driven mainly by the spirit of adventure rather than a search for scientific answers. I happen to agree with that, since the answers are about just as easily obtained with unmanned ventures.

In fact, I think that when John F. Kennedy first announced, in an address to Congress in 1961, that the country would try to send people to the Moon by the end of the decade (a prediction that…

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The New BID


Ladies and Gents,

As your new Communications Director, it is my intention to refurnish BID’s communications network and relations with the U of T Community. This website will be aimed towards interactivity and maximum possible readership and awareness of the BID community, as well as contact between BID members who are not able to use other means such as Facebook. However, this website is also linked to Facebook.